If men come from Mars and women from Venus, then we should be able to witness their passionate embrace by following the aspects between Venus and Mars during the year. As Venus and the Earth orbit the Sun relative to each other, Venus performs a magnificent dance, and over a period of eight years with five retrograde loops, Venus describes a perfect rose shape in the heavens. The tip of each or the five petals falls in almost exactly the same degree of each of five signs in this order: Pisces, Libra, Gemini, Capricorn, and – in 2023 – Leo. 2023 is going to be a year of drama and romance.

Venus Rose diagram

Venus retrograde
The reason for this is that Venus enters Leo on June 5th, goes retrograde at 28 Leo on July 23rd, only leaving Leo on October 9th. Four long months. Mars enters Leo on May 20th and leaves on July 10th. Naturally Mars has high hopes that Venus will catch up with him… and what loving couple would not want to meet on a Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo? It’s a royal signature with champagne and celebrations. You’d expect the coronation of Charles III there, but it is actually on May 6th.

There are, however, complications. Venus, which travels almost twice as fast as Mars, would normally catch him up, but the closest she gets is within three degrees. Then Venus, soon to go retrograde, slows and the loving embrace with Mars cannot take place. What story is this? We can imagine all the wedding preparations being made, the guests invited and the dress ordered and fitted, only for the event to be cancelled at the last moment.

Transit Graph 2023


Pluto enters Aquarius

A further complication. On March 23rd, Pluto enters Aquarius and hovers at around 1 degree until June 11th. This means that first Mars and then Venus oppose Pluto from Leo for the first time since June-August 1778 – 245 years ago, whilst the USA was in the midst of its war of liberation. The entry of Pluto into Aquarius in 2023 changes the nature of romance every time transiting Venus makes an aspect to it over the next 20 years.

Previously, Pluto in Capricorn added ambition and commitment to the mix – Venus was rather subdued – but now something quite different is in play. Pluto in Aquarius has a Pluto-Uranus quality, which is characterized by alienation, extremism, and the breaking of taboos. Also, this combination is both explosive and, paradoxically, very icy. The oppositions of Mars to Pluto, which take place on 21st May is exactly square Jupiter, which has just entered Taurus. This shows an authoritarian bull-y and as a romantic partner indicates someone hypermasculine with ideological obsessions and an inability to compromise.

Venus enters Leo just as Pluto retrogrades back to Capricorn, and the opposition takes place at 0.05 Leo-Aquarius. On an archetypal level this indicates a woman transitioning from a soft, emotional and family-oriented environment into a new iconic status. As with Mars, Venus also squares Jupiter (and the North Node) in Taurus, which indicates someone of great sensual power, and someone who flaunts material riches. Venus is now catching up with Mars in Leo, and the image is of a richly attired celebrity couple challenging sexual taboos and planning to lord it together.

The mundane square between Pluto and Uranus
In this window from March to June planets in fixed signs making hard aspects to Pluto will go on to make hard aspects to Uranus. It is possible that this will knit together Pluto and Uranus into a totalitarian block. Back in March 2011 when Uranus entered Aries, whilst Pluto was at 7 Capricorn, a tsunami swept over the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, so there was a kind of activation of Uranus and Pluto. There is a possibility that this kind of thing could happen again, perhaps with the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in Ukraine.

On a personal level, the activation of both Pluto and Uranus by Venus and Mars is going to lead to some extreme events in relationships during the summer of 2023. Mars squares Uranus once on June 26th with Venus following on July 2nd so this period at the end of June is a high-octane period. It’s probably a destabilizing period economically, and romantically this is the time when we may see high-profile divorces or, alternatively, the formation of unusual relationships.

As Venus moves retrograde there are two more Venus-Uranus squares activating 21-23 degrees of fixed signs in August and September. As the United Kingdom horoscope has Saturn at 23 Leo, perhaps there will be a major event affecting a high profile couple in this country at this time. The Flag-Up horoscope for Russia (25 Dec 1991) has a Venus-Pluto conjunction at 22 Scorpio, so this is the key period for an economic crash affecting the Russian Federation.

Whilst Venus is retrograde, Mars moves on, and, at the last square between Venus and Uranus, Mars is in Libra and moves to sextile Venus. This could be a window of opportunity for romance. From mid-September to early October the sextile is within one degree of exactitude, but it never becomes exact because Venus is picking up speed again. So it looks like the aspiring lover Mars never quite gets to form a union with this independent and stubborn Venus, and the wedding is called off once again.

The activation of Jupiter and Uranus
As Venus moves backwards and forwards through Leo, she make three squares to Jupiter and three squares to Uranus, so it looks like this describes a person of high privilege who makes no compromises and demands a high price for love. Freedom is important, and material wellbeing is also likely to be a crucial ingredient. Politically this is a right-wing combination, because all those rich people don’t want any social reforms redirecting their money elsewhere. Therefore we are likely to see powerful female politicians coming to prominence in this period. Perhaps a surprise candidate for the US election in 2024, like Kamala Harris for example, who has Mars at 21 Leo.

For ordinary mortals, the series of squares from Venus to Uranus and Jupiter in Taurus is more likely to show us dealing with mundane economic circumstances – high inflation for example. It’s a period of extravagance when there is a tendency to spend more money than is available. Therefore it is wise not to start borrowing money to spend on luxuries – or wooing potential partners who are high-expense items. The period when Mars is in Libra trying but failing to sextile the imperious Venus in Leo, which disposes of Mars, is a classic astrological signature for a weak man wooing to a strong woman. Spending on status is the big weakness at this time.

Planetary Pairs
Of course, Venus and Mars are not necessarily decisive factors in relationships, unless they rule the first and seventh houses, or perhaps if the sun sign in ruled by one of them. Relationships are favored when planetary pairs make a good aspect to each other. These pairs are Mercury-Jupiter, which favors relationships based on mental compatibility, the Sun (or Moon) and Saturn, favoring practical unions, and Mars-Venus, reflecting sexual chemistry. The ideal time for a wedding or union is when all of these planetary pairs harmoniously aspect or conjoin each other.

One occasion when this happens in 2023 is late June and early July, although this is that volatile time when both Venus and Mars in Leo square Uranus. Still, an unconventional relationship with someone from a different ethnic group, or a same sex relationship, might thrive. Mercury and the Sun in Cancer are sextile Jupiter and trine Saturn at this time. Late October is also a period when planetary pairs are aligned, but by this time Venus is in Virgo sextile Mars in Scorpio. Now it is Mars that rules the roost, whilst Venus is his humble servant. The Sun and Mercury in Scorpio oppose Jupiter and trine Saturn in Pisces, so all planetary pairs aspect each other.

Prospects of peace
For those hoping for some sort of peace on the battleground with Russia and Ukraine, it’s unlikely in 2023. The period up to March with Mars square Neptune is completely unreliable. Venus in Leo up to October is going to be too proud to accept any kind of defeat. The earliest scenario may be when the Sun, Mercury and Saturn conjoin at 9 Pisces at the end of February 2024, in exact sextile to Jupiter. At that time the Venus-Mars-Pluto conjunction, which characterized the beginning of the war, repeats at almost the same degrees – but this time with Pluto in Aquarius. It often happens that peace comes with harmonious aspects between the Sun and Jupiter, but preferably with Venus in the mix. The late great French astrologer Barbault has documented many examples of treaties when this combination comes into play, not least the armistice at the end of World War I and the armistice between the USA and Japan in 1945.

Romantically, peace may not be on the cards in 2023, but passion will almost certainly be. As the year starts, there is an exact conjunction of Venus with Pluto in Capricorn, so it’s going to be a shaky New Year’s Eve. Mars at this time is just about to move direct in Gemini, which means that it will soon return to make the third and last square to Neptune. Not a Mars you can rely on exactly. Mars does not even get the chance to make a third trine to Saturn in Aquarius, because by the time Mars leaves Gemini and enters Cancer, Saturn has moved into Pisces. So the trine is from a weepy Mars in Cancer to a sad Saturn in Pisces, which is not what Venus has in mind.

By the time Venus and Mars reach Leo in June, they are desperate for their passionate, but ill-fated embrace, so in the field of love, we can expect something extraordinary.

Adrian Ross Duncan
October 19th 2022