The summer months offer some of the brightest stars in the night sky, and it is a great time to familiarize oneself with the sun’s path across the sky, known as the ecliptic. In July, Leo rules over the western sky at sunset. It contains Regulus, one of the four “royal” stars in addition to Formalhaut, Aldebaran, and Antares, which the Persians regarded as guardians of the sky. Regulus sits at the bottom of the sickle shape that forms the celestial lion’s head and chest, and is right on the ecliptic, meaning the sun will cross directly over this point. Arcing eastward, the bright blue star Spica, of the Virgo constellation, reigns in the southern sky. It is the star at the lower left corner of the rectangle that forms the celestial maiden’s body. This star is slightly below the ecliptic. In the eastern sky Scorpius rises, containing another royal star at its heart, Antares. While red Antares sits well below the ecliptic, the head of the celestial Scorpion, Delta Scorpii, lies closer. Learning the placements of these major stars will teach you a new way to understand the calendar. The sun conjoins Regulus on Aug. 23, Spica in mid-October, and Delta Scorpii on Nov. 25.
There is a gravitas in July generated by Venus retrograde in Leo. Venus in Leo is warm, affectionate, and inclined to grand gestures. When the planet of love and beauty stations retrograde on July 22, however, her external radiance lessens as the focus turns inward. Venus rules our values, whether it be material things such as money and fine objects, or more ephemeral things like art and beauty. In her backwards motion, Venus may incline us to indulgence in that which brings us pleasure and comfort. Wallowing here would be a waste of this rare energy, which occurs only once every 18 months. This is a time to reevaluate our experience of joy and beauty. As the planet of relationship, Venus illuminates what draws us toward something, and in retrograde we have a better understanding of how we use our personal magnetism and what it attracts to us. Pluto, who opposed Venus upon her entrance in Leo, is a hidden factor here. Like Persephone or Inanna, Venus must travel to the underworld to mature from maiden to matriarch. Use the energy of Venus retrograde in Leo to refine your creative expression. Invest in yourself, and you will add more joy and beauty to the world around you.
~ Dawn Andreoni is a yoga teacher and astrologer. You can find out more about her offerings at celestialdawnastrology.com or follow her at facebook.com/astronotions.