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Venus Retrograde Ignites Romantic Chaos in Leo Season

Buckle your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Venus In Retrograde

Everywhere I turn, another couple bites the dust. Close friends, friends of friends, loose acquaintances—my group chats are on fire this week as couple after couple heads straight for Splitsville. If you are a victim, an ally, or a mere spectator of this romantic chaos, just know you’re not alone. We are at the start of one of the most significant astrological events of 2023: Venus in Retrograde. Combined with the theatricality of Leo season, this is going to be a tumultuous couple of weeks. Below is a guide to understanding Venus, how to demystify a retrograde, and the tools you can harness to get through this season (relatively) unscathed.

In a typical year, Leo season marks the crescendo of summer activity and extravagance. As a sign of love, self-expression, and confidence, Leo grabs the AUX cord from Cancer’s Summertime Sadness playlist and kicks us all into high gear for a Hot Girl Summer. Unfortunately, Venus—the planet of beauty, desire, partnership, and intimacy—decided to put in an OOO request from July 22nd to September 3rd. Yes, we’re all familiar with the memed-to-death Mercury in Retrograde, but every 18 months, Venus appears to take a backward transit through the sky. So what does it mean for Venus to go into retrograde?

Venus is the planet of pleasure, art, romance, and self-worth. Very similar to the sign of Leo, she is concerned with relationships, vanity, beauty, and confidence. When planets go into retrograde, that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly “opposite day” in the domain of that planet. Instead, it holds a mirror to these areas in your life and asks you: What aspects of my romantic life aren’t working? What clarity am I lacking in this partnership? What are the unresolved insecurities that I’ve been avoiding? How can I reevaluate my relationship to self-care? To money? To beauty?

A retrograde is an invitation to break old habits and maladaptive patterns, and Venus retrograde is set to dredge up unresolved tensions from the past. This might be in the form of an old friend reaching out, or an old fling circling back in your DMs. Perhaps all the issues with your long-term partner that have been swept under the rug are impossible to ignore. A retrograde is an invitation to examine uncertainty and get your hands messy. Yes, this is a profoundly uncomfortable process, but think of it like a slight chiropractic readjustment—the process is unsettling, but at the end of the tunnel is relief. If you play your cards right, whatever weights you carry into this retrograde might finally be shed when she stations direct.

Since both Leo and Venus put a spotlight on relationships, here is a breakdown of how to optimize this retrograde within a partnership, as a single person, or as someone on the giving or receiving end of a breakup:


Phew, what an incredible time to be single! Just because you aren’t currently in a romantic relationship, that doesn’t mean you are exempt from the perils of retrograde. You may have the most challenging task of all: examining your relationship with yourself. Since Venus is the ruler of beauty and self-worth, stationed in the most confident sign of Leo, this is a chance to start a dialogue with your ego. In what ways have you been too hard on yourself? Have you been neglecting self-care? Maybe you’ve been pouring your resources into work and friendships, leaving your cup noticeably empty. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been too lenient with yourself and it’s time to buckle down.

Take time to listen to the way you speak to yourself in your head: is that voice overly judgmental? Alternatively, have you been ignoring that voice? Whatever issues you’ve been running from—be that an relationship without closure, self-limiting beliefs , or a dead-end job—this is the time to face it head-on and begin the process of healing. Retrograde is about taking inventory of what isn’t serving you and loosening your grip. Heal the parts of yourself left in the shadows and clear space for a new chapter in your life.


Maybe you’re not in a certified relationship, but you’re casually dating someone (or a few someones). With Venus in Retrograde, you may find your confidence shakier in romance. You might be overthinking things that normally wouldn’t cause you to bat an eye. Maybe a person you thought was your type doesn’t match your expectations. Perhaps you’re attracted to someone you haven’t considered your “type” before. This is a time to interrogate what you seek in a partnership. Perhaps old dating patterns and personality types are no longer serving you with where you are in your life. This is a great time to take stock of what you’re looking for, and stand firmer regarding your deal-breakers. This retrograde isn’t the time to rush into a new relationship. Instead, take extra care to listen to your intuition as you spend time with new people. How do they make you feel about yourself? Maybe you have insecurities that you’ve been trying to fix through validation, and they might actually be something you need to reckon with alone.

During this time, be particularly wary of old flames boomeranging back during this retrograde. Flirtations and stale situation-ships like to creep back into your inbox during Venus in Retrograde. Sometimes this can be a harmless way to bolster your ego, but be wary if you sense yourself drawn to an ex out of self-sabotage.

In a Long-Term Partnership:

Expect a fair amount of turbulence from July 22nd to Sept 3rd. Old fights bubble back to the surface, resentments rear their heads, and fights end in a bitter stalemate. It’s hard not to lean into the fiery, fixed-sign energy of Leo, but don’t forget what lies under all that lion-like ferocity: a deep well of compassion. Try your best to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Maybe their “annoying” request for you to find a therapist is actually in your best interest? Maybe it is time to let go of that Christmas fight from 2016? Notice the areas where your ego is getting in the way of growth.

During this time, tune in to how your partner bolsters or drains your energy. If you find this time is highlighting irreconcilable differences, you might want to wait for the dust to settle at the end of retrograde to make any huge life decisions. If this leads to a breakup, continue ahead:


I know most of the pity is reserved for the break-up-ees in a split, but the break-up-er may have it the hardest of all. A friend once told me, “By the time you’re making a pro and con list of whether or not to stay with someone, the answer is no.” If you are the one who initiated a breakup, chances are this has been on your mind for a while. There were aspects of the relationship that you’ve likely tried to fix (or tried to ignore), but this Venus in Retrograde puts the kibosh on procrastination. Every issue in your relationship, big or small, is running through your mental marquee in all caps.

This Venus Retrograde in Leo is inviting you to put yourself first. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on another person when we feel stuck in our own lives, but often that relationship causes arrested development for both parties. Be honest with what you want from the next chapter of your life. Do an inventory of your strengths and step confidently into these next few months. As the person ending a relationship, it’s impossible to avoid feelings of guilt or pangs of regret, but trust your greater instincts. You owe it to your future self (and the past self that led you here) to venture out independently.


Just remember: nobody wins a breakup. This process is incredibly painful, but these feelings aren’t permanent (unlike Ben Affleck’s full-back phoenix tattoo—no matter how you feel, please don’t get a tattoo during retrograde). If this breakup came as a surprise, that probably means you’ve been turning a blind eye to some serious foundational problems. Take this time to ask yourself “Why?” Why was it easier to surrender to the comfort of a partnership instead of acknowledging the parts that didn’t work? How were you holding yourself or the other person back out of fear—fear of rejection, being alone, maybe even fear of growth?

As awful as it feels to grieve a relationship and the fantasy of what could have been, this is a fantastic opportunity to break out of your old patterns and start exploring your full potential. Use the combined focus of Venus and Leo to reunite with your deepest desires and self-esteem. Prioritize self-care, tend to the relationships that may have been neglected while you were with your partner, and return to the hobbies and passions that make you feel joyful. Use the momentum of extroverted Leo to connect with community and splurge on a post-breakup wardrobe while you’re at it.

In conclusion:

Keep in mind that Venus is also the ruler of finances, so expect some turbulence in that department. Don’t make brash choices with your career during this time, or any major life-changing investments. While self-care is paramount in the luxurious and ego-focused time of Venus and Leo, don’t make any major overhauls to your appearance. Leave the box dye in the cart, your eyebrows can wait to be bleached, and don’t give yourself bangs at 3 a.m. Wait for Venus to station direct before you take any giant leaps in this department.

From July 22nd to September 3rd, brace yourself for some uneasy feelings. This is a time when things will come to the surface to point out what in your life isn’t working or needs healing. Don’t run from this. There will be times when you fumble the pitch, succumb to unnecessary drama, or opt for a regrettable haircut—that’s all to be expected. The more you lean into the discomfort, the more you stand to gain from this experience.

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