Venus is retrograde (May 12/13 to June 24/25)–which is a perfect time to explore your own Venus.
I was born with Venus in Scorpio—which I couldn’t relate to for years. It’s supposed to be the sexiest sign, which has hardly been true of me. Astrologers say Scorpio is a bad sign for Venus as she’s in her “detriment” here. My husband left me for someone younger, more beautiful, and sexier; so that figures, I thought. My Venus awakening wouldn’t come yet for decades. Until then, I had little natural ease with Venus things.
About fifteen years ago I decided to start learning. I was exasperated. Who IS Venus? How come I don’t have one? At the end of an article in The Mountain Astrologer about this puzzling archetype, I attached a note, inviting people to participate in a Venus research project with me.
I expected a dozen, maybe 30 replies. That number would surely dwindle when they saw my questionnaire. It was several pages long, with 33 open-ended questions, probing into all facets of the Venus experience—love, creativity, aesthetic tastes, relationships, finances, sex, sorrows, and happiness.
Hundreds replied. Over the next few months, I was drowning in completed surveys. When the same article appeared a year later on Astrodienst (and I forgot to delete my author’s note), more Venuses volunteered.
In the end I had 426 respondents. That in itself was a finding. It affirmed that I wasn’t alone. Curiosity about Venus was compelling enough to drag many otherwise busy people through a long self-revealing questionnaire. All knew some astrology—and most, like me, had complaints about their Venus.
Happily, quite a few reported that just doing the survey brought them closer to their Venus. That was indeed my hope—that asking the right questions would raise and reveal the Goddess for both respondents and the researcher.
Enter Neptune square Venus
Thrilled as I was to have so many completed surveys, for months, I didn’t know what to do with them. Many days I was afraid to enter my office. The intimacy, depth and sheer number of stories was daunting. Like most practicing astrologers, I was oblivious to my own chart. Eventually I realized that by transit, Neptune was squaring my Venus.
I could have hoped this would lift the veils of creative inspiration, bringing a Neptunian sense of timeless absorption as I spent days reading questionnaires and nights receiving dream messages from the Goddess herself.
Instead I got the “lost” Neptune transit. I went blank. All imagination disappeared. Whatever grasp I thought I had on Venus vanished. I’d alternate between reading questionnaires and avoiding them, feeling perpetually at sea and even a little embarrassed that I’d started this project. I remember a few eager folks would email me regularly to ask if I’d completed it yet. Argh!!
So it can go with Neptune transits. Neptune’s fog rolls in whenever we’ve been going in the wrong direction. His fog is meant to slow us down. We have to let go of what we thought we knew—so we can see what’s right in front of us. Which sometimes takes a while.
Neptune didn’t release me until his transit was done. On virtually the day that it lifted, I got it. Neptune’s message. Venus wasn’t waiting on a cloud somewhere, fingers crossed, hoping I’d find her in astrology charts. She was alive—just as the first astrologers believed—inside each and every one of us.
What I learned from over 400 surveys, was that people know what pleases them. Their bodies know. And they regularly choose things they love, even if their mind is muddled.
This is the action of Ishtar. The divine Shakti of nature. This is Venus. She’s fierce, kind, wild, knowing, and creative—full of desires and contradictions. She bears little resemblance to the caged go-go dancers in astrology cookbooks. When the sacred is stripped from astrology, the gods shrink. They’re reduced to human personality traits. How can we find the divine in that?
What puts you in a Venusian mood
What benefit then is astrology? It can alert you to certain archetypal patterns. But the real game is to catch these living energies in the act. Astrology is useful when it helps you to name what’s invisibly true. You listen loosely—for a convergence between the archetype and your experience. You learn to read astrology cookbooks with strong boundaries. You take what you like and leave the rest.
Listen to the different Venus patterns as they answer this question, “What puts you in a Venusian mood?”
One square of dark chocolate after lunch. (Venus in Virgo)
Any moment of communion with the Divine. (Venus in Pisces)
Do you hear the delicious, controlled sensuality of Venus in Virgo? You can be sure her square of chocolate is of the highest quality. And in contrast, the utter abandon of Venus in Pisces… wanting to dissolve into an ocean of love, one with everything.
A good workout at the gym. It makes me more aware of my body; it makes me stand tall and move gracefully. (Venus in Aries)
The physicality of Venus in Aries was a wonderful discovery. Today when I have an unhappy client with an Aries Venus, I ask how much exercise she or he has been getting. The answer is usually “none.” Yet they’ll often remember a time when they were much more active—and, coincidentally, that was when they were happiest. Aha! Venus in Aries likes to feel the blood pumping through her veins. It’s a simple pleasure. Yet you’d be surprised at how many Aries Venuses–warriors all–deny themselves this sweet rush.
Hanging clothes on the line. I enjoy feeling the fabric against my skin while birds are twittering and the soft breeze is a caress. (Venus in Cancer)
We could say, this is no surprise. Venus in Cancer is doing domestic chores. But listen to the sensuality. She is alive in a way that is rarely captured by the cookbooks. Great opportunities for practicing magic exist in the domestic environment, and Venus in Cancer instinctively knows how to take advantage. She’s not just drying clothes. So engaged with elemental forces, she’s casting a spell on the fabrics.
And what does Venus desire in the opposite sign, business-oriented Capricorn?
Getting dressed up and looking so great, people turn around to look at me. Or just relaxing after a very productive day.
I want to command some respect, or at the least feel that I had a productive day.
This Venus is focused. And what does Venus want in her own sign, social and sophisticated Libra?
Stimulating conversation with fine wine and terribly decadent food.
After a year of doing nothing with my data, I finally understood how to use everyone’s information. I wove their delicious quotes into what I hoped would be a different kind of cookbook—and the writing just flowed. This is often what happens when the gods are involved. That year my own Venus woke up.
In the table below are links to some of the surprises that appeared for each Venus sign. I learned a lot (including that outer planet aspects to Venus are valid even when they’re more than ten degrees wide).
And while signs and house positions are a little like apples and oranges—the same archetypes run through each. After exploring your Venus sign, you might find some resonance in the sign that’s in archetypal affinity with your Venus house.
|Venus Sign||House Affinity|
|Aries Venus||1st house Venus|
|Taurus Venus||2nd house Venus|
|Gemini Venus||3rd house Venus|
|Cancer Venus||4th house Venus|
|Leo Venus||5th house Venus|
|Virgo Venus||6th house Venus|
|Libra Venus||7th house Venus|
|Scorpio Venus||8th house Venus|
|Sagittarius Venus||9th house Venus|
|Capricorn Venus||10th house Venus|
|Aquarius Venus||11th house Venus|
|Pisces Venus||12th house Venus|
Awakening Venus with good questions
When I drafted my questionnaire, I had no idea which questions, if any, would be revealing. People’s childhood memories were informative, but not particularly helpful. It said more about their psychological stories than how Ishtar is living in their psyche.
Good questions take us to places we haven’t yet been with the logical mind. That’s when an honest answer can bubble up from the unconscious. The following two questions generally inspired the most imaginative portraits of each sign’s Venus, because the rational mind had no ready opinions.
- For one, I asked people to describe a woman, living or dead, whose feminine expression they really admired. Most answered with a perfect description of the best potentials of their own Venus sign, though few consciously made that connection. What surfaced was unconscious projection. People tend to admire in others what’s important and true for them. Here’s a portrait of Venus in Taurus—a strong, sensuous placement for the Goddess.
Sheena, from “Queen of the Jungle,” a TV show from the 50’s, comes to mind. As a 9-year-old girl, I used to watch reruns of the show in my country with awe. I thought she was the most perfect being on earth: beautiful, sensual, womanly, sexy, luminous with her blonde hair (even on black & white TV). She had a beautiful figure, tall, strong, and savage. She was one with nature, able to communicate with animals. I imagine her enjoying an active sex life with men and gods alike, but she would not belong to any, being a goddess of nature, a goddess of the wild.
- I also asked respondents to describe their ideal Goddess—either one they’ve met in real life as an actual person, or one they conjured from their imagination. These answers too were often strikingly on sign, with women/goddesses of independence and strength appearing for the Venuses in Aries, compassionate and nurturing goddesses for the Venuses in Cancer, and for the Venuses in Leo, bright, laughing goddesses, expressing themselves with confidence.
Here’s a response from Venus in truth- and freedom-loving Sagittarius:
When I imagine a goddess, she is definitely dancing! She has big happy hips and thighs that are good for having sex and babies and shakin’ her thang on the dance floor. She is in her body completely—embodied. She can be whatever she wants to be as long as she is herself. She gives love freely and doesn’t shy away from receiving love. She loves music, scent, color, texture, anything original and from the heart, and she creates freely. She swims naked in the ocean, lakes and ponds. She has a right to be whatever she is, and that is the gift she gives–freedom of expression.
Can you see how each woman described a living expression of Ishtar!
If you’d like to explore how this Goddess lives in your psyche, using my questionnaire,
you can download it here: Dana’s Venus Questionnaire.