Venus and Cupid by Lorenzo Lotto, 1520
Venus, the planet of love, beauty and values, goes retrograde from July 22nd - September 3rd for 40 days and 40 nights. If that length of time sounds familiar, it might be because it appears numerous times throughout the Bible (or perhaps because of the early 2000s rom-com starring Josh Hartnett). In both the movie and the Bible, 40 days and nights is time in which someone (Moses, Noah, Elijah, Josh, etc) was tested in order to receive illumination or absolution (or a date with Shannon Sossamon) following a period of trials and tests.
40 weeks is also the average length of time it takes to gestate a human life —as well as the period following birth, commonly referred to as “the first 40 days”, a necessary period of healing, rest and integration. 40 seems to denote a meaningful length of time in which one can endure a challenge, reflect on it, and come through it alchemized in some way.
Ancient Roman uterus talisman for childbirth
During the retrograde period, Venus descends to the Underworld to help us reignite lost connections, re-think creative projects, reconnect with forgotten pleasures, and recover shards of connection to our true selves which got lost in the forward-momentum of life’s usual pace. Since it’s happening in Leo, there will be overarching themes of re-evaluating our self-expression, creative urges, and our impulses for originality and individuality. Additionally, the people and activities which bring a sense of joy, pleasure, ease and connection may be up for review.
Medieval alchemical illustration of Leo and the Sun
During the retrograde, Venus will come as close in her orbit as she ever gets to the Earth. Symbolically, Venus’ proximity to us helps us to magnify our true desires and to examine them intimately. This period of review, re-examination, and re-evaluation of where we put our relational, libidinal and creative energy can help us to refine and clarify our desires, claim them, and emerge from this period with a deeper, heart-felt connection to that which we want to be in relationship with, to express, and to radiate.
Read on for your rising sign-based horoscopes (or if you use Placidus, you can look them up based on what house/s the retrograde will hit).
Aries Rising / 5th House Venus Rx
The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel, 1875
Venus will be retrograding through your 5th house of creativity, romance and fertility, representing that which we give life to either literally or metaphorically. The tug to re-examine what you want to create may feel especially strong, with an air of heaviness or seriousness as you review and reconsider what you’re putting your energy into. You may no longer feel satisfied by once brought a sense of pleasure and this period can help you refine what brings a deeper sense of joy. If you feel abandoned by your creative muses or your usual pathways to fun, allow a new current of inspiration to find you by digging through forgotten mediums and abandoned or unfinished projects. When this period ends, you can emerge with a renewed vitality and connection to your creative and life-giving energy.
Taurus Rising / 4th House Venus Rx
Snuffbox with decoration of Venus and Cupid, Jean Baptiste Carnay, 1766
Venus will be retrograding through your 4th house of home, family, foundations, and your past or lineage. During Venus’ sojourn through the roots of your chart, you may be prompted to review some aspect of your current or past home life. Whether you are considering literally moving house, redecorating, or are reconnecting with family, this period can be fruitful for aligning with a deeper set of values and principles in your home life. You could be uncovering some aspect of your family past or reconnecting to an aspect of your childhood which allowed you to feel creative, expressive, and playful. When this period ends, you can emerge with new ideas about what you need to feel authentically yourself at home.
Gemini Rising / 3rd House Venus Rx
18th c French decorative paper featuring Venus
With Venus retrograding through your 3rd house, you may be prompted to review your daily routines, communications with others, social activity, and the general amount of noise in your daily activities. Venus slowing down here can prompt you to reconsider what of your daily habits and patterns brings a true sense of joy, pleasure, and creative stimulation; and what feels less exciting or draining. If you’ve been working on translating an idea into a communicable form or media, you could be reviewing and re-working the way you want to get your message out in ways that are truly resonant with what you want to share, express or communicate. Allow this period to help you let go of, shift, and reconnect with your creative expression in unexpected ways.
Cancer Rising / 2nd House Venus Rx
Pendant with Venus and Cupid on a Dolphin, Alfred Andre, 1865
Venus will retrograde through your 2nd house of resources, prompting you to review the ways you earn money and the values that guide your income-generating activities. This period could also motivate you to review your possessions and assets to understand if they are offering you maximum pleasure and value. You could be reconsidering the ways that your self-expression or creativity impact the way/s that you earn money with a desire to calibrate a more clear expression of self. It may require a re-prioritization of resources or projects to allow you to see what work efforts are truly worth your time. If your sense of self-worth is deeply enmeshed with your income, this period of time could offer some opportunities to examine and disentangle these aspects of self.
Leo Rising / 1st House Venus Rx
The Planet Venus, German, mid-16th c
Venus will retrograde through your 1st house of self and identity, offering you some major opportunities to reflect on the way you channel your essence outwards through your style, presentation of self, and your persona. You may feel like your self-presentation is no longer resonant with who you feel you are now, and you want to channel your essence outwards with more specificity, performativity, play, and jouissance. There may also be opportunities to assess whether you feel supported to be your true self in the context of your close relationships, and to make adjustments if not. This retrograde can offer you opportunities to tweak your inner sense of identity as well as your outward appearance, and work to make changes so that they are in more alignment with each other.
Virgo Rising / 12th house Venus Rx
Venus and Psyche Pointing to the Underworld, 1530
Venus’ underworld journey happens in the part of your chart which corresponds neatly to your own underworld: the part of your psyche which is just beyond conscious awareness, the place where subconscious motivations, fears, and desires can bubble to the surface through dreams, intuitive insights, or nagging feelings. What Venus reveals during the retrograde can help you to reclaim something that’s been cast into the shadows — a part of your heart, your creativity, or your desire for self-expression which may slowly make itself known over this period of time. Stay open to receiving insights or clues in unexpected ways, which can help you reconnect to something vital that lives deep within. This period of time can offer you the opportunity to transform something that feels shadowy, fearful or unknown into a source of strength, creativity and pride.
Libra Rising / 11th House Venus Rx
Venus talisman with symbol of Libra, 16th-18th c
Venus’ retrograde tour through your 11th house of social and professional networks can instigate a period of review and adjustment in your social life, where you want to direct your social energy, and how that intersects with your larger hopes, aspirations and goals. With Leo on your 11th house, you may feel the need to connect with groups which allow you to feel a part of something larger, creative, and inspiring. The ways in which your friendships or alliances may feel disappointing or challenging can be highlighted during this time, prompting you to realign with those who you feel more connected to or who mirror your own creative energy.
Scorpio Rising / 10th House Venus Rx
Venus Triumphant by Fatima Ronquillo, 2017
Venus will be retrograding through your most public house of your vocation and career, prompting you to re-examine some aspect of the way that you show up in your professional role/s. With Leo on your 10th house, you’re driven to make your professional work a vehicle for self-expression, play and creativity, a place where you can channel your essence into your work. This retrograde might prompt you to reimagine how you express this part of yourself, initiating untold re-brands, launches and new offerings. How can what you “do” be more You — or at least, some version of you? Use this period to examine the ways that you can show up more confidently in your work and you can emerge from it with a renewed clarity on what values you want to embody and offer the world.
Sagittarius Rising / 9th House Venus Rx
Temple of Venus, manufactured by Meissen Manufactory, 1710
With Venus retrograding through your 9th house of higher values, you may find that this period draws you into an imaginative reverie on your ideals, beliefs and big-picture goals, with a desire to re-imagine how you embody them in the world. This can be an expansive time where you reformulate some aspect of what guides you creatively or ideologically, and a time where you can reconnect to some forgotten ideal, wish or idea that serves to inspire you and remind you of a buried but important truth. You might find that the prism through which you see the world expands, as you notice more facets to the jewel and observe the multitude of beautiful perspectives available to you. Through this process, you can formulate new paradigms of beauty, self-expression, and creativity.
Capricorn Rising / 8th House Venus Rx
Bath of Venus by Sir Edward Jones, 1890s
The shadows that live in your 8th house of sex, death and money are ripe for examination during the Venus retrograde. During this time, you can uncover some buried psychic treasure through therapy, journaling, or other forms of self-exploration which reveal your own forgotten desires and needs within partnership. This time could also see you reviewing your financial agreements and shared financial responsibilities with others to renegotiate and find new ways of sharing the load. The way through this retrograde is to go within and to look at what you share with others (emotionally, sexually, or financially) and to examine the ways that these agreements can be made more equitable, expansive or creative.
Aquarius Rising / 7th House Venus Rx
Venus and Mars engraved gem, ancient Greece
Venus will retrograde through your 7th house of committed relationships, prompting you to recover forgotten pleasures, people, or desires within partnership. If you’re in a committed romantic or business partnership, you may be reviewing the relational needs, wants, and agreements (spoken or otherwise) between you, with the intention of setting new patterns in your relationship. If feelings of boredom or disenchantment start to percolate, allow them to be the bread crumbs that lead you towards greater connection and pleasure. If you’re not attached, you could be revisiting connections from the past, though you could also just be reviewing the ways you want to show up in partnership in ways that feel more embodied, more true to who you are now.
Pisces Rising / 6th House Venus Rx
Anatomical Venus, Fontana Workshop, 1780
Venus will be retrograding through your 6th house of daily routines, health, and employment, prompting you to examine the structure and contents of your daily life. If your routines start to feel dull or limiting, you may be prompted to discover new pathways to pleasure, new ways of seeking employment or new health regimens that feel more expansive. Allow any feelings of boredom or limitation to guide you towards what feels more exciting, expansive and inspiring. If your days feel weighed down by boredom and drudgery, Venus’ retrograde tour wants to show you the way out and back towards a feeling of aliveness in your body and in your days.