Stargazer ~
astrology for July 2023
Image: Leila de Haan| UnsplashStargazer – astrology for July 2023: Winter warming | Curtains for Putin? | Venus retrograde – listen to your heart | The moon in your birth chart, and more...
by Stella Woods
There is so much stress and anxiety around us, and our modern world feeds on all of us doing, having, striving, achieving, cramming more and more of everything into our daily life, regardless of the seasons and our corresponding levels of energy. The constant struggle to get more done is exhausting and energetically depleting. It is so easy to forget that we are just another organic living being, and as such, are not immune to the turning of the seasons.
Claire Heywood – Yoga Teacher
Winter warmingAlthough the days are now growing longer as we move beyond the winter solstice, the solar energy is still weak, while lunar energy reigns supreme. Now is the perfect time to stay indoors in front of the fire feasting on nourishing and warming stews, pies, and roasts. Embrace the cooler weather and long dark evenings and snuggle up in bed with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate. Take the opportunity to slow down, rest, and meditate. Refuse to be rushed or pressured. Light candles and burn incense. Visit the sauna or spa, take a bracing walk on the beach, or enjoy the mountain air or ski season.

Those who honour the energy of the season of death and decay will easily ward off illness, exhaustion and the winter blues. Think of winter as a time to release unwanted energy and possessions in preparation for the freshness of spring.
North Node moves into Aries – self empowerment and individualityFrom 18th July 2023 to 11th January next year, the lunar nodes cross the Aries-Libra axis, with north node in Aries and south node in Libra. The lunar nodes are symbolic points, rather like directions on the cosmic compass. The north node (Aries) represents our collective path of growth and evolution, while the south node (Libra) signifies the things we need to let go of.

As the north node enters the fiery and assertive sign of Aries this month, it calls us to be brave and embrace new beginnings. Aries symbolises independence, courage, and the pioneering spirit. The next year and a half is a time to embrace our unique identity – step out of the comfort zone, and pursue our passions.

Simultaneously, the south node's entry into Libra signifies the need to release any negative patterns associated with partnership, harmony, and diplomacy. Have the courage to let go of excessive reliance on others' opinions, co-dependency, and a tendency to prioritise others' needs over personal desires.

The ideal is to find inner balance, establishing healthy boundaries while making independent decisions.
Curtains for Putin?In March 2022, I wrote an article about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that even if Putin succeeded in taking over Ukraine, I believed in the longer term he would fail in his mission. I still maintain this belief; not simply because of the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people, and the massive worldwide support from Ukraine’s allies, but because Putin’s astrological transits in 2022 and 2023 do not promise victory and glory, but rather defeat, failure, and even death.

In March this year, I wrote another article on a similar theme, listing Putin’s 2023 astrological transits (balsamic moon phase; solar return sun in the 12th house; Saturn at the base of his chart and solar arc Pluto and transiting south node crossing his Ascendant). Without getting too technical, all these events symbolise weakened energy, death, and endings, with June and July 2023 being critical months.

As if on cue, on 23rd June the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organisation, rebelled against Putin’s government, with 25,000 armed troops marching within 200 km of Moscow. Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, claimed that the Russian government's justifications for invading Ukraine were based on falsehoods, and that their invasion was designed to further the interests of Russian elites. He accused the Ministry of Defence of attempting to deceive the public by portraying Ukraine as an aggressively hostile force.

While Prigozhin’s forces eventually withdrew, this is the first time Putin’s power base has been seriously challenged. There are cracks in his armour and he looks increasingly like a weak, isolated old man, out of touch with reality. How much longer can he hold on? My prediction is ‘not long’.
The moon in your birth chart – habits, reactions, emotions, and your mum!
Each sign of the zodiac has a ruling planet that embodies a similar type of energy to the zodiac sign. The moon – feeling and nurturing, female nature – is the ruler of water sign Cancer. The symbol for the moon is the crescent, which joins together the two halves of the circle, symbol for the sun. One half represents divine consciousness and the other half human consciousness.

The moon in our birth chart describes the subconscious impressions we receive from our family of origin, our sense of belonging, and our emotional needs. She represents our ability to understand others, to show sympathy and empathy, to be sensitive and imaginative, and to know instinctively what is necessary for our wellbeing.

To understand your own lunar nature, think about how you behave when you are alone, relaxed, or in times of stress. For example if someone runs into the back of your car, an air sign moon (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) will take a calm, mentally-focused approach, noting down insurance details and assessing the damage. A fire sign moon (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) is more likely to display dramatic behaviour or lose their temper.

Those with a strongly-placed moon in the birth chart enjoy protecting and nurturing themselves and others. They are often family oriented and love tradition, security, and domestic life. They are in touch with their own needs, particularly emotions and bodily needs, are generous to others, and lead a balanced life.
Dark side of the moonNegatively, moon-dominant people can be smothering, possessive, moody and inconsistent, with a tendency to dwell in the past. Some of the classic moon professions include: kindergarten teachers, cooks, restaurant owners, interior designers, carers, midwives, nurses, healers, and counsellors. Lunar people often work with food, children and families, or work from home. Those with a weak moon often have difficulty with feelings and can appear cold or unsympathetic. These people are often forced to get in touch with their feelings when under stress from illness, redundancy, or relationship break ups.

In your birth chart, the sign and house placement of the moon describes the way you respond emotionally and how you find security and inner peace. The moon in a fire sign (Aries, Leo & Sagittarius) is warm, impulsive, and energetic, finding security in creativity and self-expression. The moon in an earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) responds cautiously and is pragmatic and sensual, finding security in form and structure. An air sign moon (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) is intellectual, communicative and detached, finding comfort in the world of ideas while a water sign moon (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) responds in a nurturing, feeling, and flowing manner, finding security in emotional intimacy.

The moon in a birth chart can also describe how you see your mother. For example those with a Virgo moon may see their mother as critical, hardworking, and well-organised while those with a Leo moon may view their mother as loud, fun loving, and spontaneous.
Capricorn full moon – keep your feet on the groundTalking of the moon, the July full moon falls on the 3rd in the earthy sign of Capricorn. Its theme is being grounded and effective communication. Intuition and wisdom will work their magic, and with trickster Mercury in the mix, you can expect a few surprises!

Relationship planets Venus and Mars are in close conjunction in fire sign Leo at this full moon. You may find your desire for pleasure and fun at odds with the need to be responsible and work hard.

Consider holding a full moon ritual with friends to honour this dark time of year.
Cancer new moon – emotions run deepThe July new moon in water sign Cancer on the 18th brings plenty of loving, healing energy, embodying the principle of the Great Mother. We all need that divine feminine nurturing energy in our lives, so take time out at this new moon to make sure all your physical needs are taken care of – nourishing food, fresh air, warm clothes, restful sleep and relaxation, gentle exercise, soothing baths, refreshing showers, and luxuriant beauty routines.

With the sun and new moon opposing Pluto, emotions will run deep, so avoid taking things personally or locking horns with others.
Image: Kelly Bork | UnsplashVenus retrograde – listen to your heart (23rd July – 4th Sept 2023)We’ve all heard of Mercury retrograde and how things can break down or disappear when that pesky planet travels backwards, but what about the other planets? Do they have retrograde cycles too? Well, not as frequently as Mercury, but when Venus and Mars turn retrograde, their effects can be just as unpredictable.

This month on 23rd July, Venus will begin her six-week retrograde cycle; an astronomical event which occurs every 18 months. Venus will travel backwards through dramatic fire sign Leo, disappearing from view as she passes in front of the sun. She will then reappear, reborn as the morning star, and complete her backward journey on the 4th September. Those with personal planets between 12-28º Leo and those with birthdays in the first three weeks of August will be most affected.

As the planet of love and values, Venus retrograde is a time when we re-assess what and who we value, or as astrologer Kyle Thomas labelled it: ‘the season of the ex’. Venus also rules fashion and aesthetics – you may notice that during Venus retrograde, many people start home renovations or completely change their image. And as Leo is the sign of pleasure, fun, and the inner child, don’t be surprised if your inner child suddenly breaks free and demands attention.
Venus retrograde – key themes
  • Compulsive and sudden attraction to someone or something
  • ‘Out of character’ behaviour reveals true motives
  • Reflection on self-worth and true values
  • An instinctive understanding of events and interactions.
  • Lovers and partners from the past coming back into your life
  • Forbidden, secret or guilty love – breaking social norms and conventions
  • Infidelity and jealousy – the dark side of passionate and romantic love
  • A cold, hard look at relationships of all kinds, often leading to break ups but also to reconciliation and new, more honest expressions of love
  • Understanding what is needed to maintain personal integrity
  • Awareness of hidden needs or desires can create emotional turmoil
  • Home renovations and image makeovers

Venus has an eight-year cycle meaning every Venus retrograde period mirrors a similar period eight years ago. Themes such as self-worth, financial resources, and relationship patterns may reappear, and what was incomplete or left unresolved eight years ago, may surface again for consideration.

As Leo is the zodiac sign of pleasure, fame, and royalty, during this Venus retrograde period we can expect to see a loss of confidence in leaders and celebrities whose values are seen to be selfish or irresponsible.

The best way to cope with the Venus retrograde period is to be as honest as possible with yourself and others. If your relationships and friendships are solid, you have no need to worry. But if Venus retrograde makes you uncomfortably aware of things that are missing in your life or people you need to say goodbye to, be grateful. Life is not meant to be about guilt, obligation, hiding feelings or keeping up appearances.
About the author:
Stella Woods is an astrology teacher, writer, and consultant. Contact Stella at or or

2020: The year I started getting paid while lounging in the nude

How coping with the lockdown started a new business, re-ignited a creative passion, and cured anxiety.


A framework for thriving through and beyond the pandemic

It may sound counter-intuitive but the key to thriving is struggle. So, if you have really struggled in lockdown this is your opportunity – grab it with everything you have!


The environment in a post-lockdown world

Earlier this year, the world entered unchar ted waters when a  coronavirus outbreak turned into a global pandemic. This placed  the citizens of most industrialised countries in an unprecedented  position, with home lockdowns, social distancing, and unfolding  economic impacts whose ramifications are starting to emerge. The  virus is affecting nearly everything, to a greater or lesser degree,  including how environmental issues can be tackled.


Finding pleasure and aliveness in a pandemic

Have you had a healthy relationship with your pleasure lately? How can we use sensual pleasure to become more resilient?


How do you prosper during COVID-19? 

Seeking strength through adversity, and adapting to change, Craig finds a  way to prosper – and discovers a brand new passion along the way.


The art of making meaning – post-pandemic style

Making meaning helps us endure and recover from traumatic experiences, and could help you thrive beyond COVID-19 by Larissa Wright