As one of the two 'feminine' planets, the first point to make about Venus is that she is not the Moon. The Moon describes our deep emotional attachments and needs, whereas Venus is potentially a much more conscious principle which affirms the individual and describes our tastes and values and talents as well as our own individual appreciation of what is beautiful and valuable. Where Venus is concerned, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
An image of Venus from an alchemical text by Nicola d'Antonio degli Agli (1480), portraying her as the volatile female element in the alchemical opus. The emblem on her throne represents her metal, copper. Taurus and Libra, the zodiac signs she rules, are shown below.
Venus is the power of attraction or, to put it another way, she is 'pulling power', which is a very powerful force indeed. Imagine that you are walking down a street and you see something in a shop window that attracts you. Before you realise what you are doing, you will find yourself walking towards it, because it is pulling you, whether it is a piece of jewellery, or a car part, or the latest computer, or a work of art. It attracts you, and there is a kind of fascination or mesmerising power. This is the power of Venus - she 'turns us on'. A similar thing happens when we are watching somebody in a film who we find particularly attractive. Attraction is not confined to things or to people: we can be attracted just as powerfully to aesthetic values and principles, to brilliant minds, to ideals of justice and fairness, to qualities of courage and honour, to music, art and dance.
Venus describes what gives us joy, regardless of the opinions of others. Whether or not our culture sanctions our particular individual pleasures, Venus needs to be fulfilled if we are to find joy in our lives. This is not as easy as it sounds because the Venus principle has become so collectively mistrusted, judged and distorted that we don't have to delve very far into our religious or cultural backgrounds before we find that 'woman' (Venus) is self-indulgent, selfish, lustful, greedy, dangerous, devouring, seductive, desireful and, not uncommonly, plain evil. The Venus principle seems to have become socially and culturally acceptable only to the extent that it has been channelled into the accumulation of wealth and possessions which, when achieved, often prove to have been distractions, empty substitutes for the true joy and pleasure we were seeking. So Venus needs to be redeemed both culturally and on a personal level. In my experience, there is almost always important work to be done according to the placement of Venus in our birth charts. It is almost the norm that we will be denying ourselves the full creative expression of Venus in our charts.
Venus has rulership over two zodiac signs, one positive and active and one negative and passive, which can be associated to Venus as the morning star and as the evening star. Venus rules the negative earth sign of Taurus and the positive air sign of Libra. So Venus rules both the earthy, sensual, gentle sign of Taurus and the aesthetic, civilised, principled values of the sign of Libra.
You will see from the table of planetary correspondences that Venus rules fruit and flowers, both symbols of the feminine. Beauty, wealth, comfort, jewellery, cosmetics are all ruled by Venus, as are the colours of nature, pale blues and pinks. As ruler of Libra, Venus is associated with all the civilised arts, with justice, diplomacy, equality, compatibility. Her metal is copper, which is a beautiful soft, glowing metal. In the body, Venus rules the neck and the throat, and the voice can be a very sensuous medium, can't it? Taureans often have beautiful voices and can be wonderful singers. As ruler of Libra, Venus rules the kidneys, whose function is to keep the body in balance and in harmony with itself.
Audience: My mother is always saying that if you don't respect your Venus, you are risking your voice and your kidneys.
Clare: Yes, because if we deny any one of the planets its full positive expression, it will tend to get its own back on a physical level.
Where do you find Venusian people? They can be artists and musicians, of course, or jewellers, models or bankers, since money is such a symbol of worth; diplomats, receptionists, beauticians, farmers. In the mundane world Venus rules gardens, wardrobes, dressing tables, cosmetics, art galleries and concert halls - everything and anything which makes life more harmonious, peaceful and beautiful. As the planet which describes our taste and values and talents, what is of worth to us, even what makes life worth living, Venus needs to be indulged. Now, if we deny ourselves the positive expression of Venus in our charts, Venus doesn't go away; she gets angry. Every personal planet needs to be fully acknowledged and encouraged. If Venus gets what she wants, she will be satisfied and fulfilled. If she is denied what she wants, she will become voracious, vicious and demanding, often with devastating results.
We will look at the various different desires of Venus when we come to look at the expression of Venus in the zodiac signs. This can be a really enjoyable astrological exercise, to find out what we really enjoy and give ourselves permission to have a bit more of it in our lives. We can also look to the Venus placement of our friends, families and partners for ideas about what presents they will enjoy, value and appreciate. This is very well worth doing and a lovely example of astrology in practice. Venus in the chart will also describe how and where we are talented, where we have the gift of the goddess. Naturally, we tend not to value our talents, thinking that 'everyone can do this', which is not true because it points to our own particular, unique talents and capacity for joyful creativeness.
Audience: So what we are attracted to will be shown by the sign that our Venus is in?
Clare: Yes, and according to the house it falls in as well as to the aspects it makes. At the moment we are taking it all apart and looking at the individual pieces of the jigsaw. The planets describe principles, which need to be looked at in isolation before we combine them with other factors. As we do this we will increasingly refine the picture until we can reach a much deeper and more accurate appreciation of each individual's unique values and talents.
Have a look at our example charts, and you will see that Sally has a Sun-Venus contact. This describes her perception of her father (Sun) as a gentle and loving (Venus) man whose praise and appreciation (Venus) would have been of value to her (Venus). This is likely to be extended to her partners in later life and she is likely to value (Venus) people with attractive and pleasant natures (Venus). With Venus connected to her sense of identity (Sun), she may become a musician or a gardener, lawyer, architect or beautician (Venus).
David, on the other hand, has a Moon-Venus contact in his chart. This indicates that he valued and loved (Venus) his mother (Moon), and this is likely to extend to valuing and appreciating women (Venus) generally. He needs (Moon) peace and tranquillity (Venus) and will have a gentle, sensitive and caring nature.
Mercury-Venus would describe someone who has a love (Venus) of words (Mercury), who could be a writer or an actor or even a collector of valuable books. They may have a gift (Venus) with words (Mercury) and are likely to be diplomatic and charming (Venus) in conversation (Mercury).
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
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