It’s the dull midwinter, so what better than to take another look at what’s going on beneath the sheets…
As we discussed in the Mars article, the markers of love and sex, Venus and Mars, are undergoing a slow evolution concerning the roles they play in our relationships. In the ‘old’ days, it was easy–Mars, men, sex; Venus, women, love. (It always seemed bizarre to me that no one accounted for the Moon in terms of sex, considering that the Moon rules the body and is also the seat of the psyche.) But the dance is shifting, things have been changing for a long time now, and it’s time to cast a fresh eye on Venus to see what rules still apply.
Venus can take on a lot of roles in a chart, ruling two signs and (usually) two houses as she does, but here we’re going to restrict our discussion to her role in expressing sexual love.
What I’m certain I’m seeing less and less of in synastry are relationships where one partner acts out Sun/Mars and the other Venus/Moon. These are the traditional relationships of our parents’ generations, where the man took on the active, external role and the woman ruled the internal dynamics of the relationship, the home and the family. Even if partners choose to take on traditional roles now, there is more of a balance of expression–one partner is not ‘living out’ the opposite energy of the other. This is a huge cultural and psychological shift which often goes unappreciated, and is an illustration of how the changing dynamics of Venus and Mars are displaying themselves in the chart and in the world. One of the reasons that synastry is trickier now than it used to be, is that more and more men are actively expressing Moon/Venus and women are expressing Sun/Mars, and there isn’t any way of telling how much by reading the chart. Saturn, too, has become more active for both sexes, emphasizing personal responsibility in relationship, rather than carrying the shadow of repressed and repressive authoritarianism (parentally influenced, or otherwise).
Venus represents both the sensual Venus of Taurus and the relational Venus of Libra, and for this reason alone her role has always been complex. Traditionally, Venus defines how we experience love and also how we express it. But this is assuming that love and sex are divorced from one another. The question of how we love in sexual terms is a delicate one, because Venus, like Mars, is also about desire. It tells us a lot about what we appreciate in bed. Venus in Pisces will respond to the gentlest of stimuli or a touch of glamour or romance. Venus in Scorpio needs passion and wants to be wanted. Venus in Leo will expect a generous, admiring and playful lover. Where Mars delineates how we respond sexually to stimuli, Venus tells us the type of stimuli that is desired and most effective. When people say we give the kind of love we want to receive, they are talking about Venus energy.
Our style of loving is as much defined by Venus as Mars. Women seem to naturally express their Venus more actively in relationship–it’s how they woo, how they display themselves (and what they’re comfortable displaying), how they touch, how they attempt to turn you on. This is the Taurus end of Venus, who attracts by expressing a natural sensuality, no matter what sign Venus is in. Sensuality can be expressed in many ways. Venus in Gemini is sensual about communicating. Venus in Aquarius appreciates change and anything new, Venus in Sag will invite you to explore. The relational, Libran, end of Venus wants to take that buzz and share it, offer it out there. This is how Venus attracts. Of course, there is the simplistic, ‘get gussied up and show yourself’ side of Venus, which is completely legitimate, but real Venus energy is about attracting by sharing the unique things we really value and appreciate.
Venus on the angles is a more receptive energy than Mars on angles. Venus ascending will soften the entire chart, to the extent that conflicts (internal and external) will be swept under the carpet for the sake of keeping the peace–either without or within. Venus on the IC puts great value on the interior life or may live through home and family (depending on aspects). Venus on the Descendant values partnership above all, and may sacrifice self-development. Venus on the MC will put a lot of value on displaying what it feels is good about itself, and will expect to be recognized for it. Venus in angular houses works much the same way, only to a lesser extent than when the angle itself is hit.
If Venus is to have a healthy expression, it has to be backed by a healthy dose of self-worth. We need to know what we have to offer another, and we must value that offering. If this isn’t the case, if Venus’s expression is thwarted by hard aspects to Saturn and beyond, we may have difficulty achieving a level of self-worth that allows us to partner in a healthy way. Venus/Saturn is full of self-restriction, and the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ often take precedence. We may never feel good enough, and may seek partners who give us the parental approval we never had. Venus/Uranus can be complicated–it often has a wound wherein its worth was taken away abruptly, and its love of freedom and its detachment can sometimes be a defense mechanism. Venus/Chiron often feels that there is something intrinsically ugly or ‘wrong’ with it, and unworthy of partnership. Venus/Neptune never knows its own worth, and longs to dissolve in fantasy and illusion (either of itself or other), rather than face the hard truth of partnership. Venus/Pluto alternates periods of wielding control with periods of utter powerlessness, and must learn the proper use of power within relationships and how not to abuse the trust of intimacy.
When it comes to feeling anchored and authentic in ourselves, we cannot escape Venus. Many men put all their eggs into the Mars basket, without actually paying much attention to the real (Venusian) issues at hand. This can result in ambitious Mars stumbling, the eggs breaking, and a man feeling at sea and illegitimate, without really understanding why. Contacts between Venus and Mars in a chart, even hard aspects, are invaluable, because when they are connected it’s easier for us to put our real values behind our energy and achievement. When there are no contacts between Venus and Mars, we may not understand our own basic desires and haven’t a clue how to use them to fuel our ambition. With Venus/Mars contacts, our action is much more organic to our being.
Venus can be easily misinterpreted in a chart if we use it merely to name the things we like. This short-changes and denigrates the real Venusian energy of creating via harmony and attraction. Not every Venus in Cancer likes to cook or wants children. Not every Venus in Pisces feels better near the sea. I’ve met many a Leo Venus with no desire to put themselves in front of others, or lead. Where Venus is concerned, we experience a deep internal shift, almost like a tide, that ebbs and flows, and pulls us to satisfy, and to be satisfied, in the manner the signs and aspects describe. Venus in its highest vibration, in its Neptunian form, allows us to manifest what we value. Value is the key word. Lots of people try to manifest their desires–it doesn’t work and they wonder why. Pure desire won’t cut it. That’s Mars’s territory. When we engage the world in a loving way, when we truly appreciate, without attachment, the world sends our love back to us in surprising forms. Venus, in no uncertain terms, is capable of a power that no other planet wields. Planets act within the world. Venus can create it. The connecting power of Venusian love is the reason esoteric astrology uses Venus as the ruling planet of Gemini. In the esoteric sense, Venus sets forward the vibration that creates the manifest world. Venus is how the inner world becomes the outer, the unmanifest the manifest, and is the reason we carry our experience of love within us through time. Once we are truly touched, we are altered forever. When we remove our mundane desires from Venus, it is capable of anything.