By David A. Wheatley
As Summer 2023 begins, Venus is moving through Leo which is a great place for Venus to show off it's best for its own sake, feeling good about itself without much care for what's in good or bad taste. This is the place and time for dressing up or down, to parade whatever self-image one wants to indulge in.
A stretched-out version of a Venus Mars flirtation
Venus will spend a lot of time in this sign because it turns retrograde before catching up to Mars, which is also in Leo. Normally Venus would catch up (conjunct) and pass Mars because being closer to the Sun it moves faster around the zodiac. But not this time or place, not yet. Chasing Mars, Venus doesn't quite make the rendezvous before turning retrograde, although from July 7 to Aug 7 they come into a loose conjunction around 22 degrees of Leo. Anyone with a natal planet or asteroid in this area or in aspect to these degrees will feel the growing but never consummated union of Venus and Mars during this time. There's a large part of the planet's population with Pluto near this degree of Leo and in this spirit the Venus Mars dance will affect a great many people at the same time.
On their own the Venus Mars passage here by itself should be a nice period for summer fun. As a generational effect - where Venus Mars passes over millions of people's natal Pluto – there could be an obsessive (Pluto) infatuation with a rising social or political star. This isn't necessarily good or bad by itself, it's a phenomenon of the several months moment.
Without getting into the unknown positions of individual charts in aspect to the Venus/Mars chemistry, what happens between these two planets is playful here in Leo. This style is appealing but it doesn't have anything to do with whether the object of desire is a healthy choice. Attraction is its own infection sometimes; it doesn't need a reason.
The courtship endures until February 2024
Venus and Mars won't actually consummate their conjunction until late February of next year, for about a week around Valentines Day. This is a long courtship to some. In the long-playing version of Venus Mars chemistry, from the summer of '23 to Valentines Day '24, there are benefits fertilized in this stretched out period that wouldn't normally have time to develop. Venus the faster moving planet normally buzzes up to, conjuncts and passes Mars in two to three weeks. As I've mentioned before, anytime a planet is slowed down by retrograde motion it gains in potency and Venus will slow down and retreat away from Mars. Their chemistry remains hanging until the retrograde planet turns direct and gets back or passes the point at which it was about to make a statement.
The chemistry of Venus Mars in the summer of '23 may start and end this summer for some, but for anyone patient enough or forced by circumstances to taking their time, the often romantic chemistry between these two could continue to slowly ripen for when Venus finally catches Mars, in Virgo. In Virgo both planets are tempered by what happens when the first date is postponed and then finally happens. Valentines Day may be an arbitrary holiday but it's part of the popular culture, something real in the psyche, and the timing here is itself fun to speculate about.
Another thing to be aware of is that Venus isn't just a goddess of Love
If you remember some of the love goddesses of myth, some of them are also great warriors and archers, characterizing multiple faces of beauty or love. Mother goddess love, young goddess love, the love of beauty one sees, feels, and to be inspirational with invisible qualities of beauty. Everyone needs to be nourished with the hope of this chemistry now and then. When combined with Mars, Venus could even be in love with war if other planetary influences support that, the sometimes temperament of Mars.
Adding to everything I've mentioned thus far, the asteroid Lilith is also in Leo this summer, and both Venus and Mars will mix and mingle their energies with Lilith. Lilith is sometimes called the Black Moon, implying a darker character. Because she is said to be the first wife or consort of Adam, she was given a negative connotation as the "other woman" in the Biblical tale which inspires some people to assume that Lilith is dark and evil. Mythic tales are metaphors used by the psyche and from my perspective religion is myth too, used by the psyche. I don't expect religious tales to be any more or less valid than mythic tales.
So how does Lilith impact this summer chemistry between Venus and Mars? Lilith coming into the mix adds depth. Sometimes adding pain makes love plunge deeper into the soul. The idea of a rival whether it be a man or a woman is a complicated well known extra ingredient in a relationship that can be painful or make a struggle to consummate one's desire even more potent.
If one can sail these stormy seas, there's a constructive juncture ahead when Venus does finally catch up to Mars because it happens in Virgo, around Valentines Day 2024. There's something about meeting finally in Virgo that compels maturity and pragmatism. Leo is out for display and applause. Virgo brings a narrower focus on what actually works and how to pay for it. If Mars and Venus were to finally rendezvous in Aries for example, they would be mapping out a great vacation together and then going their separate ways.
Lilith is present at the outset of the summer when Venus begins to approach Mars. Her influence is there at the beginning of the Venus Mars flirtation but it doesn't last, it's just a test. Lilith heightens the power of initial attraction and stirs the crossing over of some taboos, breaks us out of our boundaries. Venus and Mars move on from this initial excitement and wind up finally meeting in Virgo where things get more real. Imagine if they wound up in Libra, there wouldn't be a meeting of the minds except to plan a party with lots of fine wine, eating rich food, and extravagant fashion. In Virgo they meet and see if there is a way forward in the future. Virgo asks what's of value, what is the value, and what's the cost or in more mythic terms, what is the sacrifice that is to be made?
The sacrifice in some way involves the ego, to surrender some measure of it in order to cross a threshold
Not that one can't have a party, because the next sign both Venus and Mars move into is Libra, however while in Virgo the adults in the room want to know who's paying and how much? The party is coming later.
From Aries to Virgo, the first six signs, there's an evolution of Self from total self-absorption as children are, to the maturation of Self in Virgo. Some part of Self has to be sacrificed to join with the universe, to join with another, to grow beyond oneself. In Virgo this can happen for real.
Symbolically in the northern hemisphere Virgo is the end of Summer, the beginning of the fall and what must eventually come to complete it - the harvest. Whatever has been developed over the sunny signs reaches its apex in Leo and begins a slow decline into the fall season when the Sun grows less a visible factor in the 24-hour daily cycle. Libra the Scales, the balance of Self and Others, the only sign not an animal or fish, is the opposite of Aries and the beginning of Self surrendering the idea of total uniqueness and realizing the benefits of being part of a whole. But only after the sacrifice of Self in Virgo is made, to surrender some of the ego.
Ultimately, following the 12 signs around, the evolutionary destiny of the soul arrives in Pisces, home sign of the Psyche, which is the Greek word for Spirit. In Spirit we are more a nebulous part of the Great Sea. Once one returns to the Great Sea the Spirit does it all again, beginning with Aries and the emphasis on Self. Planets and asteroids are all over the zodiac. One can't find a chart with all the planets and asteroids in Aries and moving sign by sign. Describing the signs in this kind of sequence is merely to illustrate a point about their distinct characters as planets move through and make aspects or relationships one to the other.
Having said all that…
While this is going on Venus, Mars and Lilith all move in and out of aspects with other planets that affect their expression in this dance, until they finally meet around Valentine's Day 2024. There are significant interactions with Jupiter in Taurus where it's playing a game of catching up to Uranus. Because both planets move into retrograde motion, they don't actually make their very significant conjunction in Taurus until April of 2024. That's a subject for another day. From Taurus though, as Venus and Mars move more quickly through Leo, they make a stressful 90-degree relationship aspect to where Jupiter and Uranus are. Jupiter will inflate the excesses of whatever is going on, and Uranus could turn out to be someone completely unexpected. And that's why the stretched-out version of Venus and Mars flirtation isn't necessarily bad, giving us time to figure it out.
Contact David at email@example.com for a personal astrological consultation.
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