Leo the Lion

There is something to be said for quiet strength. Often we associate being strong and brave with an extroverted quality–  things like conquering, defending, and fighting for what is right. But these outward expressions aren’t always useful in every situation, particularly when peace is so hard to find in today’s world. This week’s astrology seems to grows in intensity as we approach the First Quarter Moon early Friday morning, requiring us to handle ourselves with more care if we want to avoid explosive confrontations.

It’s a busy week for the planets. Venus, which just moved into Virgo late last week, is slowing down to a crawl as it approaches its 6-week retrograde phase starting this Saturday. It will hover at 0 degrees Virgo throughout the rest of July, an interesting factor in the otherwise passionate energy of this month. Venus is the planet of relating; it corresponds to the way we are with people in close relationships, as well as the sounds, smells, and things we are attracted to. Where Venus falls in our birth charts represents our style, our tastes, and our values– what we feel is important and worthwhile, what pleases our five senses, and what is valuable in our hearts.

Venus enters Virgo, but then stands still and slowly retrogrades back into Leo on July 31st, where it will remain until October 9 when it moves into Virgo again. So for the next few weeks, we have a taste of this energy– a refined, more subtle and conscientious vibe that urges us to mend and heal. This is quite a big shift from the Venus in Leo energy we’ve been getting since early June, where we are urged to express ourselves with full power. Venus in Virgo is humble and modest, at times too perfectionist or insecure. But there is a focus on making things healthy with Virgo’s influence. So in the areas where we may have overstepped or over-done it, we are able to clean things up. And when Venus does return to Leo during this retrograde phase for the rest of the summer, we may be a bit wiser in what we use that self-expression for. Venus is reigning in our ego, and we sure will need it.

That’s because the Sun moves into fiery Leo Wednesday at 11:31 p.m. EDT, with Mercury following suit on Thursday morning. The two will join forces that afternoon, lighting the flames of creativity, self-expression, and personal authority. Leo is confident of its own power, it generates a strong sense of ego and a magnanimous feeling of love. People are often drawn to strong Leo-types because they tend to make others feel good with their humor, charisma, and generous natures– it always feels like a party around them, like life really can end up happily ever after.

With the Sun and Mercury joining together in this fixed fire sign, we are all contending with this strong ego in our own charts. As the week creeps along, the self-assertion level may seem to grow on a personal level. Confidence is great, but think about what happens when everyone is boasting about their ideas. Leo is not necessarily the best at compromise– Leo is the king, the lion, the sun of the solar system. If we’re all kings, we are likely going to do battle with a lot of other kingdoms. And there are other planetary forces operating this weekend that can spark conflict in that area, specifically relating to power struggles, authority, and the need for freedom and individuality.

So keep in mind the idea of quiet strength. We always need to be true to ourselves, to stand our ground with integrity and courage. But Venus in Virgo is urging us to do this work in the name of health and functionality, rather than personal gratification.

Quality of Life

Today’s Capricorn Full Moon is colored by the new Venus/Jupiter conjunction– a theme that will evolve through the summer of 2015. Venus is currently moving through Leo and bumped into giant Jupiter early this morning (which may have been visible to those with clear skies.) They will continue to dance throughout the next few months; Venus turns retrograde  on July 25, backs up toward Jupiter again in August, and then moves forward again for one last conjunction in September.

A Full Moon is a moment of clarity (sometimes a tense or strange clarity) where emotions can be at a high tide. The ‘clarity’ comes from the idea that the Moon is reflecting back the light of the Sun from an opposite sign– 180 degrees across the zodiac. The Sun and Moon are at opposite points, so there is a balance, a yin/yang quality of complementary characteristics that pull the disparate forces together into a whole.

Today’s Full Moon, with the Moon in Capricorn and Sun in Cancer, tends to highlight what we need for security and comfort versus what we want to accomplish or be known for. Cancer is the inner mother that nurtures and provides a safe environment to support growth, while Capricorn is the ambitious father who establishes rules and lessons to promote accomplishment. Together, the two zodiacal archetypes are symbolic of the foundation of a healthy inner and outer life– when one is neglected, the other becomes a burden or a trap. People who are obsessed with their careers are presumed cold and callous, those who avoid their personal goals and sacrifice all to caretaking and parenting may seem unfulfilled. There’s a balance between the two, and this Full Moon often brings with it a clear sense of what is out of balance in this area of our lives.

Now bring in the Venus/Jupiter combo in Leo, which increases the bravado and enthusiasm of our personal egos into the mix. Leo is a fire sign full of powerful self-expression, proud of its sense of entitlement. Venus represents what we value, what we’re attracted to; it describes how we flirt and what we are charmed by, how we get along and find the good in other people and things. Venus and Jupiter coming together in the fun-loving and brilliant sign of Leo turn up the tendency to be more self-indulgent and demanding of self-gratification. But there’s also a generous and magnanimous love of joy and good times that help encourage everyone to join in the fun.

There’s something to be said for authenticity in this lively atmosphere. When the volume gets turned up loudly, as it often does in a party, things can get carried away. People become too loud, selfish, obnoxious, and destructive. The Venus/Jupiter conjunction can help us feel out where we need to enjoy our lives more, where we need to indulge in beauty and laughter. But it is also a reminder that more is not necessarily better– there is a question of quality and value. Being joyful without infringing on someone else’s peace is a key to doing it right. Today’s Full Moon is an astrological signal to begin this summer season with the goal of simple enjoyment.