19 Jul Exploding Heart ~ Venus Retrograde in Leo – July 22nd-September 3rd, 2023
On July 22nd, just as the Sun is making its grand entrance into the fire sign of Leo, Venus will station retrograde at 28º. This begins a 40-day journey of alchemical transformation that will break through the darkness and awaken the light of your true Self.
The ruler of Leo is the Sun, the exploding heart of heaven that pours its love upon everything in creation. Venus in Leo basks in its warmth, adopting feline grace and ferocity. And she’ll inspire a longing to return to the naked and innocent beauty of your true Self, the childlike joy that glows within your heart.
Venus represents the attractive force of love and beauty, the unity between spirit and matter. She lives within your heart as the desire to love and be loved, finding her greatest expression through romance, friendship and art.
And sometimes, that primal need for love becomes buried beneath trauma, fear and insecurity. These buried needs will be uncovered during the Venus retrograde. It will be vulnerable, painful at times, but ultimately cathartic.
The spiritual purpose of Leo is to shine the light that’s in your heart, authentically expressing your true Self. And as Venus retrogrades through Leo, she’ll descend into the shadows, cutting away your ego’s false pride and self-loathing to uncover your deepest desires for love.
During the retrograde, Venus will be “switching skies”, disappearing from the night sky and reemerging as the morning star. According to the astrologer Gary P. Caton, this celestial cycle corresponds to the process of alchemy, that transforms darkness in the light of renewed consciousness.
The alchemical process of this Venus retrograde will unfold in three distinct stages:
I. Black Phase: Death & Decomposition
The Black Phase of the Venus retrograde will be from July 22nd-August 12th. By the beginning of August, Venus will disappear into the sunset, representing her descent into the underworld. This is the period where aspects of your old self will die, cutting through pretension and false pride to begin a new journey of self-discovery.
II. White Phase: Purification & Revelation
The White Phase of Venus’ retrograde will span from August 13th-26th. This begins with the Cazimi, when Venus enters into the heart of the Sun in Leo. Your heart will be purified of unworthy desires as the poisons of apathy and ignorance are burned away. Following the Cazimi, Venus will begin her rise as morning star, symbolizing the emergence of the light of your true Self.
III. Red Phase: Transformation & Rebirth
The Red Phase of Venus’ retrograde will span from August 27th-September 3rd. Your ego surrenders to the deeper wisdom of love and a renaissance begins. Venus’ brightness as morning star will continue to increase until September 19th. And your heart will come into full bloom under the light of your true Self.
Venus goes retrograde every 18 months, a reliable rhythm that creates her celestial art. Every 8 years, her orbital path traces a five-point mandala in the heavens called the Sacred Rose of Venus. And by connecting each of the five–petals of the Sacred Rose, the pentagram is revealed, corresponding to the the five elements of creation and the five senses.
The celestial mysteries of Venus were well known by the ancient Sumerians, found in artifacts dating back at least 5,000 years. And they translated their knowledge of Venus’ retrograde cycles into an underworld myth called, Inanna’s Descent.
Inanna was the goddess of love and war, torn between her conflicted imperatives to unify and destroy. In the myth of her descent, she’s stripped of every dignity, murdered by her own sister and hung from a meathook. But from the depths of despair, new light emerges. Inanna is resurrected and redeemed.
Great myths are enduring because they reveal truth through the language of the soul. Myths are like looking through a microscope into your own psyche, exploring inner space in shocking detail. When taken literally, myths seem inscrutable, primitive, and abhorrently violent.
Ancient myths are timeless, but myth-making has never been more powerful than through the medium of film. In the spirit of Inanna’s descent, a perfect myth to reflect deeply on this Venus Retrograde in Leo is the violent revenge saga, Kill Bill—the whole bloody affair.
Kill Bill is a mythic tapestry, woven from the threads of many genre films from bygone eras. As a myth, the debate about whether it’s too violent, or whether it’s a feminist masterpiece or misogyny in disguise become irrelevant.
Myth disguises nothing when you understand that every character represents an aspect of yourself. And in myth, violence is the catalyst for the soul’s transformation: the bloodier the better. Venus herself was born from the dismembered genitals of castrated Uranus. And all the conflicts, battles and strife in myth represent the soul’s struggle for redemption and resurrection.
“For those regarded as warriors…when engaged in combat, the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior’s only concern.”
The heroine of Kill Bill is introduced as the nameless Bride, a deadly assassin who leaves her life of crime when she finds out she’s pregnant. Her unborn child has revealed the light of her true Self. And she’s willing to sacrifice anything for the love that awakened.
I. The Black Phase – Venus Descends into Darkness
“Nothing is possible in love without death,” says the Sufi.
…as we die to the person we think we are.
Again and again we die to our limited sense of self
in order to step into the vaster dimension of our being.”
The black phase begins with the pregnant Bride on her wedding day: an archetypal Venusian symbol. In alchemy, the Bride is the feminine counterpart of the alchemical marriage, representing the unity of spirit and soul: the wholeness or holiness of the heart impregnated by a seed of divine light.
Just as Venus’ retrograde initiates an underworld journey, Kill Bill begins with the destruction of the Bride’s dreams of love. At the wedding chapel, she’s ambushed by the assassins she once worked with and shot in the head by her former lover, Bill.
Just like Inanna, the Bride is stripped of all her dignity and murdered. Thus, begins her mythic journey of resurrection and redemption.
The Bride is resurrected, awakening from a coma to exact her revenge. She creates a kill list, with the five names of her enemies, including Bill. Synchronistically, there’s one name for each of the five-petals of Venus’ sacred rose.
From a mythic perspective, these five enemies aren’t literal enemies. They represent aspects of the psyche that obscure the light of the true Self: pretension, false pride, ignorance, apathy, and obsession. They are the psychic poisons that must be purified. And their death catalyzes the Bride’s alchemical transformation.
The Bride’s first kill depicted is Vernita Green, who symbolizes pretension. Vernita is a vicious assassin, posing as a suburban housewife. The Bride herself had tried to take this path when she got pregnant. But a life based on deception can only end in disaster. Thus, the death of Vernita liberates the Bride’s authenticity.
The second kill depicted is O-Ren Ishii, who symbolizes false pride. O-Ren’s is haughty and authoritarian, giving the impression of tremendous power. O-Ren is a crime boss, defended by her personal army, the Crazy 88. A bloodbath ensues as the Bride cuts her way through the entire army, finally defeating O-Ren by cutting off the crown of her head. The death of false pride liberates Beatrix’s spiritual dignity.
II. The White Phase – Venus Enters the Heart of the Sun
The White Phase begins when the Bride’s true name is revealed to be, Beatrix Kiddo. The meaning of Beatrix is “she who brings happiness” and Kiddo is a nickname for a child. The restoration of her name symbolizes the reclamation of her joy and innocence.
“That Woman Deserves Her Revenge… and We Deserve to die.”
Beatrix seeks out her next fight with Bill’s brother, Bud, who symbolizes apathy. His lack of feeling has degenerated into an abject life of isolation and poverty. An in a dark twist of the story, Bud captures Beatrix and buries her alive. Trapped in a coffin 6-feet under, she has to dig into the deepest core of her strength to survive. It’s here that she remembers her training with the ancient master, Pai Mai, who taught her how to break through wood from only 3 inches away.
Beatrix’s burial also corresponds with the Cazimi on August 13th, where Venus is consumed by the fire of the Sun and is resurrected as morning star. As Beatrix breaks out of the coffin, she rises to become an unstoppable force, worthy of the final revenge she seeks.
Bud’s dies at the hands of Beatrix’s next enemy, Elle Driver. Her one-eye symbolizes ignorance, which is the source all evil. Beatrix destroys Elle by plucking out her remaining eye, leaving her for dead in a trailer full of poison snakes. The death of ignorance liberates Beatrix’s wisdom.
With four down, it’s time to kill Bill, who symbolizes obsession. Masquerading as love, Bill’s obsession was manipulative and controlling, eventually causing him to murder Beatrix in a fit of rage. As he says:
“I’m a killer. A murdering bastard, you know that. And there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murdering bastard.”
III. The Red Phase – Venus is Reborn in Divine Fire
“It is the burning of the heart I want; this burning which is everything…” – Rumi
The Red Phase is Beatrix’s triumph. Love is the fire that burns within her and the passion that destroys her enemies. As Venus grows increasingly brighter in morning sky, she reveals that love has triumphed over darkness. Love heals and liberates. And love unifies the spirit and soul within the heart.
Beatrix finally kills Bill with the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. (Venus’ number five) The Exploding Heart symbolizes the conquering power of love, something Bill admits he never learned how to do.
When obsession dies, Beatrix is reunited with her daughter BB, who is her true love. She walks out of Bill’s house with BB in her arms, having conquered all her enemies with her exploding heart. Beatrix’s daughter is the light of her true Self restored, born from within the darkness to redeem all that was lost.
Venus’ underworld journey through Leo represents a process of internal alchemy that can only be understood through the language of myth: the goddess descends, dies, is reborn in divine fire.
Myths are so medicinal because their primal images and evocations awaken your soul, offering guidance through uncharted territories.
Just like Inanna’s Descent was in ancient Sumeria, Kill Bill is one of the great underworld myths of this age, offering guidance and catharsis in your own struggle for liberation.
Kill Bill illuminates your soul’s journey to rescue the innocent beauty of your true Self, glowing with the joy of the divine child. Resurrected from darkness, your exploding heart burns with divine love and destroys all the enemies within.
On September 3rd, Venus will station direct. And as her star grows brighter in the morning sky, a renaissance of love and beauty will begin to unfold.