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.

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