Igniting Global Feminine Leadership Through the New Leo Venus Cycle
by Tami Brunk
On August 22, 2015 Venus rose as Morning Star in the sign of Leo, initiating a 19 month cycle completing March 31, 2017. On a personal basis, this period calls us to strip away distortions, beliefs or comparisons that block us from experiencing our intrinsic value and worth. In other words, we are invited to cultivate that rare yet precious quality of self-love.
As we tend to this deeper inner work, we feel stirred collectively through this Venus in Leo Cycle to step into our power as collaborative leaders. We tune into our individual and shared genius to create innovative solutions for global challenges.
It is time for ALL of us to shine like the Sun, remember our divine nature and our full creative potential, and align our efforts toward the renewal of our human culture and our beloved Earth.
An “Aha Moment”: Feminine Leadership Inspires and Empowers
I’ll never forget an October evening in 2008 when I stood alongside 4,000 of my fellow New Mexicans, listening to our future president speak. I had a realization about true feminine power there that has remained seared into my consciousness in the years following.
I’d arrived to the Obama rally from a much smaller gathering featuring historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz. Gar’s speech had focused on quiet yet promising economic trends that nourish community and the environment. He encouraged listeners to see how local efforts can lead to large-scale systemic change.
Gar talked about the growing number of successful cooperatives, worker owned businesses, and other new, community enhancing business models. The crowd was deeply engaged, asking thoughtful questions, posing local solutions.
At the Obama rally, I looked around to see a similar yet much larger and highly-charged gathering of my neighbors. We were wonderfully diverse in age, ethnicity, class, from the 80 year-old white grandma to the thirty-something black man in a business suit carrying his little girl on his shoulders, to the Native American teenagers. Energy was high, and we all felt like family.
Suddenly someone took up the chant and everyone joined in: “Obama, Obama!” In that moment I had my realization—it wasn’t Obama we needed, we needed each other. I found myself imaging that instead of focusing all of our attention on the “Great Leader,” what if we turned to one another? I imagined us beginning a conversation from the heart about what mattered most to us, and how we might pursue a shared vision together at the local level, as Gar had suggested.
Feminine leadership—whether practiced by women, or men, carries the combined qualities of both Gar and Obama. It inspires, uplifts, and empowers people while creating a container within which we can synergistically collaborate with one another. Yet our ability to step into this shared leadership requires something of us: the ability to love and believe in ourselves, and to let our inner light shine.
Not for the Faint of Heart: Remembering our True Divine Nature
So how do we cultivate self-love?
I love the story author Sharon Salzberg shares about her meeting with the Dalai Lama in 1990, where she asked what his Holiness thought about self-hatred.
He looked confused, asking his translators to explain what she meant and finally asked, “Self-hatred, what is that? You have Buddha Nature, how could you think of yourself that way?”
And yet, here in the western world, for all our personal freedom and material wealth, self-love is an elusive quality. We must cultivate it deliberately by doing our inner work—facing our demons, our perceived weaknesses, our flaws, our habits of comparison and self-negation.
This journey toward self-love is not for the faint of heart! Ultimately, to claim our greater selves, to fully love and cherish ourselves means to take full responsibility for our lives instead of projecting our happiness and power onto someone else.
Feminine Leo Leaders Among Us
To better understand the kind of qualities we can cultivate within ourselves and look for in the next 1½+ years of the Leo Venus Cycle, we can look for those whose charts empower the Leo Feminine. The two places I will look are for individuals with Venus in the sign of Leo or those for whom this Leo Venus Overtone Cycle is a “Venus Return.” More below on that.
So we might consider Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani advocate for women and children’s education. Her Venus is in the sign of Leo, and she embodies a magnificent form of Leo leadership. In 2012, during her 2nd Venus Return at the age of 15, she was attacked and shot by Taliban extremists. Her first speech after the attack radiates unshakeable Leo strength:
The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.
We might also consider Whina Cooper, the Maori land rights activist who, in 1975 during her 10th Venus Return at the age of 80, led a group of 5000 Maori on a months long walk to claim their land rights. The year of 1975 is significant because it was when the Venus in Virgo Overtone Venus Cycle shifted into the sign of Leo.
Part of what this means is that many individuals I’ve mentioned who were born into what is now the Leo Venus Cycle where born at a time when the cycle began in the sign of Virgo. So their leadership style and priorities, which in many cases emerged during or after their first Venus Leo Return in 1975-1977, are rooted deeply in the Virgo priority of care for Gaia.
In many cases, as we see with Whina, and with others I mention below, those born in this Virgo/Leo Venus Overtone Cycle accomplish some of their greatest contributions during their subsequent Venus Returns. Take for example Marianne Williamson, born into this cycle. She wrote her book “A Return to Love” during her 40-year Venus Return.
The Venus Return often carries major themes of birth. Frequently, people “give birth” to children or to books during these cycles, as can be seen through Marianne Williamson’s example above. Or consider Jean Shinoda Bolen, also born into this cycle. During a Venus Return she wrote “Goddesses in Everywoman.”
This book deeply influenced Daniel Giamario, who sourced the Shamanic Astrology paradigm, in his perspectives on Venus through the signs as describing a multitude of feminine archetypes–including the Virgin archetype “whole unto herself” described by both Leo and Virgo!
Also consider Pema Chodron, born into this Virgo/Leo Cycle. She published her first book, “The Wisdom of No Escape” during her 55 year Venus Return, just prior to her second Saturn Return. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, born into the Venus in Virgo/Leo Overtone wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves during her 47 Year Venus Return.
Other notable women born into the Virgo/Leo Venus Overtone Cycle include Vandana Shiva, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Carolyn Myss and Margaret Wheatley.
As mentioned above, there are many men, born within this cycle or with Venus in Leo, who model feminine leadership and care for the Earth magnificently. Gar Aperovitz was born during the Virgo/Leo Venus Cycle. The Dalaia Lama is a beautiful advocate for the Leo Feminine. He was not born into this Venus Overtone, but the sign of his Venus is Leo, so he loves and supports strong female leaders.
He calls himself a feminist, and in 2009 made the startling proclamation, which has reverberated in the years since that “western woman will save the world.” He models the healthy Leo qualities of a generous, loving spirit, emanating from a natural sense of self-love.
Another man who models feminine leadership qualities is Pope Frances. He, too, was born during the Virgo/Leo Venus Cycle, and will be experiencing a Venus Return during this cycle. His outspokenness on issues such as social justice, economic disparity, climate change, and other issues that address feminine concerns of the human family and the Earth demonstrate his leadership in service to the feminine.
Two men whose lives have been dedicated to Earth Care and for whom this cycle is a Leo Return are Bill McKibben, founder of one of the most powerful climate change organizations: 350, and Bill Mollison, the father of permaculture. McKibben began 350 during his 47 year Venus Return. Bill Mollison wrote the Permaculture Handbook during his 40 year Venus Return.
Creating a New Community of Collaborative Leaders Begins from the Inside Out
The power, beauty, and radiance we perceive in our beloved leaders reflect our own inner light and power. Yet most of us have some work to do in cleaning and clearing the muck off our mirrors, and this Venus in Leo Cycle is a perfect time to get our hands dirty!
We might begin by asking the following questions:
In what circumstances do I deny myself love and care, thus cutting myself off from my life force energy?
- In what circumstances do I allow habits of comparison to elevate others and diminish my own self-worth?
- Who knows me and loves me unconditionally in my light and shadow, and how can I practice seeing myself through their eyes?
- Where am I giving my power to another by waiting for them to make me happy, or waiting for them to allow me to take charge of my own life?
For support in making the most out of the Venus in Leo Synodic Cycle, join Cayelin Castell and me in our Leo Venus Teleclass Series! In this life changing course we share tools of monthly calls, guided meditations, group forums, and ceremony to support our community of Inspired Leo Leaders in cultivating radiant, radical self-love, and claiming our inner divinity! Sign-up for our Evening Star Series here!
For more about this Venus Cycle and practicing Self-Love see Cayelin Castell’s Article on Reclaiming the Divine Sovereign Queen HERE
Great article, but, Whina Cooper was NZ Maori, not Samoan. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5c32/cooper-whina
Wow, Jeanie, thank you so much for catching that! I knew she was Maori, and can’t figure out how in the world I put Samoan?? but my brain does strange switches sometimes! I am so glad you caught that! When I read of her I was so inspired, she was so far ahead of her time!!
Great article embodying the rise of the empowered feminine.
Maori luminary, Dame Whina Cooper, did indeed lead the peoples in protest for sovereignty over their lands, but may I kindly point out that the Maori and Samoan peoples are not identified as one in the same…
This is absolutely brilliant!
Thank you for these insights about feminine leadership. I am considering how I can step this up in my own life.
Lois, that is something we can all really tune into now–it feels so clear that we are needing true feminine leadership at this time!! Even more now perhaps than when I first wrote this article at the beginning of the cycle!