Whilst Venus spends the vast majority of this retrograde period in Leo, she actually shifts direction in Virgo. In this detail lies hidden the key to her entire retrograde journey: it’s all about the nuances, not the bigger picture. Venus in Leo is flamboyant and demonstrative, passionate and radiant, but in the subtle shaping hands of Virgo she knows that the most reliable self-confidence is born of detailed self-knowledge: familiarity with the twists and turns of one’s psyche and their influence upon our well-being and relationships. When retrograde, Venus reveals the underbelly of those relationships, inviting us to see what may otherwise be hidden. She uncovers the subtle dynamics which shape our interactions with each other whilst reminding us the most important relationship is with the self.
Venus retrograde in Leo needs little from the external world. She is sure of her inherent worth, requiring no external affirmation. This can both help and hinder relationships. We may be so sure of our position that other people pale into insignificance against the backdrop of our self-assuredness. Alternatively, confident self-possession may enable us to willingly give completely to another without in any way diminishing our own sense of self. Knowing that the love of the divine flows through our veins enables us to give of that love as required, confident that our stores are forever replenished by Sacred Source. For those in need of this love and affection our attention comes as a healing force kindling their own self-accepting love.
The challenge of this Venus retrograde is to bridge the gap between isolated self-reliance and nourishing interdependence. We do this by embracing those Virgoan nuances. Venus cannot live only within and remain happy, healthy and whole. She needs connection, comfort, affection and attachment to thrive. Venus fans the flames of love and brings us together to share it. She naturally reaches out to connect, not within to detach. If we find ourselves isolated during this retrograde passage, disconnected from those with whom we seek intimacy, Venus encourages us to consider where we may have become so self-sufficient we believe we need nothing and no one. Such a belief is born not of a sovereign self but a besieged one, shielded by defensive walls built to avoid the vulnerability of need, dependency and desire. Venus invites us to wonder how we secured our isolation and how we could possibly need no one in a world of seven billion interdependent people. She asks us to reflect upon issues of dependency: the labour of strangers which ensures water from our kitchen tap; the endeavours of our ancestors whose legacy we live today; the toil of those who produce the food we need to survive. No person is an island, she reminds us. In an interconnected world dependence is not a failing but a fact, not a weakness but a fundamental truth, the realisation of which may just save us all.
It is time to explore our dependency, to face the thoughts and feelings triggered when we recognise our very life rests in the hands of another. In truth we each hold the other in our hands, nourishing their blossoming or crushing their delicate unfolding petals with our own need to control. We each owe a huge duty of care to the other as much as to ourselves and must be willing to embrace each day the vulnerability of inter-dependency for our own well-being and survival.
Venus reminds us that self-reliance is only a strength when it enables giving and receiving in equal measure. We will need it in the coming months to ride the ups and downs of change and stand firm in the face of challenge which threatens to steer us off course. But we equally need others to ride alongside us, cheering each other on when the going gets tough, sharing supplies for the journey and each other’s dreams. We are not islands in a sea of self-protection but instead one life, living through each of us to nourish and nurture itself. As Venus journeys back through Leo she invites us to know ourselves as each other, to celebrate dependence and to honour the truth that we each hold the life of another in our hearts and in our hands.