The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 315, titled:
With Chris Brennan and astrologer Becca Tarnas
Episode originally released on August 20, 2021
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released August 28, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This is episode 315. And in this episode, I’m going to be talking with Becca Tarnas about the significations and meaning of the planet Venus in astrology. Hey Becca, welcome back to the show.
BECCA TARNAS: Thank you so much for inviting me back.
CB: Yeah, I’m excited to do this episode. This is the fourth episode in my series on the significations of the planets, which started with the Moon and then I did the Sun and then Mercury. And today we’re finally going to do a deep dive into the significations of Venus and some of the different astrological techniques associated with Venus. And you’ve seen I think all the previous episodes, right?
BT: It’s a wonderful series. It was really enjoyable to listen to each one in preparation for this and just get a sense of the different voices you brought in to illustrate these different planetary archetypes. Yeah, well done.
CB: Yeah, thank you. For those that are just finding this series, part of the approach is that we’re going to read through a series of translations of different passages and excerpts from some ancient astrologers and some modern astrologers to see how they talk about Venus and what it means in astrology and we’re going to use that as the jumping off point for a discussion about the significations of Venus and developing a deeper understanding of what that means from an astrological standpoint. So, I think that’s the main thing that I wanted to mention and introduce. Are there any other preliminaries that we should get out of the way before we jump into our first set of passages?
BT: Well, I have to say it feels like an honor to be able to discuss Venus. I was really excited when you invited me to do this episode. I’ve always had a deep love of that archetype and the different goddesses and gods associated with Venus, so just thank you. Thank you so much.
CB: Yeah. And you’ve done a lecture I think not too long ago on Venus, you said, right?
BT: Focusing on Venus retrograde periods, yes. Yeah.
CB: What was that for?
BT: That was for the Association of Young Astrologers, actually.
CB: Okay, nice. That was like an AYA lecture. Is that recording available on your website?
BT: It isn’t available through my website, but I think it’s available through theirs.
CB: Okay, cool. So, I think that’s youngastrologers.org or .com or something like that if people want to Google that. Excellent. All right. Well, let’s go ahead and jump right into it then I think with our first set of passages just to get a starting point for what this planet means in astrology. Our first author is the second century astrologer Vettius Valens. Can you see the text okay here?
BT: I can, yeah.
CB: Okay. So, Vettius Valens was an astrologer who lived in Egypt in the second century. This is a translation of his text from my book. His book is called the Anthology. And right at the very beginning of the Anthology, he outlines the significations of the planets pretty extensively, so he’s one of our best sources for understanding how the ancient Greco-Roman astrologers understood the different planets. I’ll go ahead and just read it and then we can talk about it. So, Valens says, Venus is desire and love and signifies mother and nurse. She makes priesthoods, public benefactors, wearing of golden ornaments, the wearing of crowns, merriment, friendships, companionship, the acquisition of additional property, purchasing of ornaments, reconciliations for the good, marriages, refined arts, pleasant sounds, music making, sweet singing, beauty of form, painting, mixing of colors and embroidery, purple dyeing and perfume making both the inventors and also the masters of these professions, artistic or commercial works involving emeralds and precious stones, ivory working, and those who spin gold thread, decorate with gold hair cutters, those who are fond of cleanliness and play. She brings the past within its own bounds or degrees of the zodiacal signs and she grants the office of market overseer, measures, weights, trades, shops, giving, receiving, laughter, rejoicing, order, aquatic animals, and she gives assistance from royal women or relatives and secures a remarkable reputation, especially when Venus cooperates in such matters in the birth chart. Of parts of the body, she rules the neck, face, lips, nose and the front parts of the foot to the head, the parts of intercourse. Of the internal parts of the body, she rules the lungs and Venus is also the nourishing of another who’s capable of receiving and of pleasure. Of substances, she rules precious stones and multicolored adornments. Of produce, she rules the olive. She’s of the nocturnal sect, the color white and very oily in taste. So, that’s Valens’s super long passage on Venus and the significations of Venus. What are some of the things that stand out to you there? One of the things that’s interesting is like there’s some that are very obvious ones, especially from our perspective as modern astrologers. But there’s also some that stand out as a little different than some of the ancient astrologers that people are sometimes surprised at like the association with priesthoods, cleanliness, and other things like that or interesting ancient associations that aren’t normally mentioned as frequently in modern times.
BT: Yeah, the cleanliness really stood out to me and yet the more that I thought about it, the ritual of readying oneself to be beautiful, to be adorned is one of cleaning oneself or perfuming. And if we think about everything that goes into that cleansing ritual and even sweet-smelling soaps and perfumes and so on, that would be probably even more important in a time where you don’t have modern plumbing and so on. So, I can see that connection even when it’s a surprise.
CB: Yeah. And it makes a lot of sense also as the contrast like what’s the opposite of cleanliness would be like dirtiness or things being disorderly or out of order as opposed to Venus which is very good at putting things in order or in a nice order, something like that. So it’s an interesting contrast, I guess that’s a good starting point for actually also talking about since we’ve done the Sun and Moon and Mercury, Venus is actually the first of the benefic versus malefic planets and so this is the first one where we’ll start to see a lot of contrasts of one planet signifying something and that being opposed to or contrasted with some opposite in the benefic-malefic spectrum, especially in ancient astrology, where Venus and Jupiter were said to be the two benefic planets or the two good doers whereas Mars and Saturn were said to be the two malefic planets or bad doers or evil doers. And even though that distinction was not always very strictly held because sometimes the benefics could indicate challenging things and sometimes the malefic could indicate constructive or positive things, it was oftentimes like a good starting point for understanding some of the basic significations and contrasts between different groups of planets.
BT: Definitely. I mean, when we read through this paragraph, there’s just the sense of these are all the nice things in life. These are the luxurious things and the beautiful things. And while the first two significations of desire and love are one of the things that we would immediately think of even as contemporary astrologers of what Venus is about, but moving into the more specific expressions, it’s just like a multifaceted expression of those desire, love, beauty that carries so fully what the rest of these descriptions are. Looking at the ornaments and the gold, wearing of golden ornaments and everything around, painting and mixing of colors and embroidery, it’s all about adornment. It’s all about beauty even when it’s specific. And another one that really stood out to me was the purple dyeing because at that time to dye something purple was the most rare of colors and the most expensive color to be able to dye a piece of cloth and therefore, it was only reserved for royalty. So, Venus would oversee purple dyeing as well as perfume making and so on, just each one of these you’re given a rich image of yet another expression of beauty.
CB: Yeah. There was like a snail or like a mollusk or something that was in the Mediterranean that was very special and very rare and I think they used it so much for dyeing purple of royal garments and stuff that eventually went extinct or something like that.
BT: So many of these things that are limited when it comes to Venus, looking at the precious stones or the diamonds, the gold, the ivory. There’s another one that might be Venusian, but we don’t want to be touching that anymore.
CB: Right. And one thing I meant to share really quickly for those that are new to astrology is just a basic graphic that shows Venus and this is the symbol for Venus or the glyph for Venus, which is traditionally a circle with a cross directly underneath it. And in terms of the zodiacal signs that Venus is associated with, she’s said to have her domicile or her home sign in the signs of Taurus and Libra and the two signs opposite to that are said to be the signs of her antithesis or detriment as it’s sometimes called, which are Scorpio which is opposite to the domicile of Taurus and then Aries which is opposite to the domicile of Libra. And then finally, the exaltation is said to be in Pisces and the sign opposite to that is said to be the depression or the fall of Venus. That’s just the basic essential dignities of the planet.
BT: With the domiciles Taurus and Libra, I was thinking about this the other day, how the time of the year, if we’re thinking within the Northern Hemisphere and a temperate climate, the time of the year where the Sun is moving through Taurus is that middle of spring when all the blossoms are out, where the world is coming alive with beauty. And when we think of the time when the Sun is moving through Libra in the tropical zodiac, that’s the beginning of autumn when all the leaves are turning these brilliant, beautiful colors. And just thinking about those two moments in the year, they’re not exactly parallel, they’re not opposite each other, the angle that they make to one another and they really are in some ways, of course it’s open for argument, the most expressively beautiful times of year where you have these blossoms in spring where you have these colorful leaves falling in the autumn and how appropriate those would be the times that Venus oversees.
CB: Yeah, definitely, the period in which nature is sort of the height of its beauty in some sense as opposed to the signs opposite to the two luminaries which happen, the luminaries have their signs in the middle or the height of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere and opposite to that as the signs of Saturn in the winter, where everything is cold and has sort of died at that point and at least in terms of most plant life is gone dormant.
BT: And when we look back at what Valens is saying that one of the qualities is mixing of colors and that’s what we see at those times of years. All the colors are out and present and adorning nature. I think it’s Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that nature laughs in flowers. And that in this paragraph, the association of Venus with laughter and with rejoicing and how flowers in some way or the autumn leaves I would add or that kind of rejoicing of nature.
CB: Yeah, and of color and rejoicing and also like play. And by extension, some of the authors start mentioning things like games and other things that bring enjoyment or pleasure.
BT: Yeah. When we think about the relational element of Venus, when I am describing Venus, I’ll often start by saying, well, Venus relates to the heart and any relationship where your heart is involved whether that is love or romance or friendship and friendship is mentioned here, companionship is mentioned here, and those like games of pleasure are ones maybe not necessarily the heart is always involved, but that there’s friendship, that there’s companionship, that there’s that kind of an intimacy that’s present in those sorts of settings where we’re exchanging energy with others, laughter and so on.
CB: Right. So, there’s this almost like relational component to Venus that’s a heavy underlying theme or trend and there was a little bit of that with Mercury, the previous planet, but it was more in the idea of transmitting information and communication and transmitting knowledge as Mercury’s being the gatekeeper between the Sun at the center of the solar system and the rest of the planets so there’s this idea of transmitting something or transmitting information. And with Venus, which is the next inner planet after Mercury, we also have that almost relational component in some way, but it’s having to do with other people or bringing in the other and the idea of relationships in general.
BT: And this is something I would love to hear your thoughts on this on the very first line from Valens of Venus’s desire and love and signifies mother and nurse. And I’ve very much associated the mother or the maternal and I think you discussed this in the Moon episode with the Moon, the lunar archetype. But what we can see in these sources is that there is this connection to the mother to nurturing or caretaking that is also connected with Venus. And of course, it takes lovemaking to become a mother, to become a parent so I can see the connection there almost like a graduation from Venus toward the Moon to parenthood or motherhood. But I found that association right in the first line to be really interesting.
CB: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that really comes up with Venus and especially in terms of the traditional planets when it comes to the breakdown of the assignment of gender to different planets in ancient astrology, it was a bit lopsided so that the two main feminine planets that get associated with women in the ancient texts are the Moon and then also Venus. And so, they end up having to share, I’m not sure a lot of significations, but in between the two of them, most of the significations related to women end up getting jammed into those two in one way or another. And I think that’s a big part of it is just that Venus in general is said to be one of the planets that signifies women in a person’s life and in a person’s chart, and so one of the primary ways that that can come into play very early in the life is either through the mother or through whoever’s nursing the infant at the time.
BT: Looking at that gender role and the relationship of the different planetary meanings to that, that’s what’s so fascinating about doing a study like this where we go back to an ancient text and we look at a medieval or early modern text or a contemporary text is that we can see the evolution of a planetary meaning or set of meanings or an archetype and simultaneously recognize a core of meaning there. All the way through, I think we’re going to be seeing references to love, beauty, desire, the arts, but then some of these more specific expressions will change and that speaks to the culture, the time, this participatory relationship between that moment and how the planets meaning would be interpreted and would have to be interpreted because that’s the culture it’s coming into, so of course it means that then. But now when we read these texts, we’re almost being asked to see through them and how can we apply this without getting lost in the literal and rather see through it symbolically and therefore apply it in a contemporary context knowing there’s been this symbolic evolution and that’s where we can really free up how we apply these different planetary archetypes without losing that core of meaning that was there present from the beginning, maybe even before human participation in it, we don’t necessarily know. And so, in today’s context, I like to speak about if we need to bring in the feminine or we need to bring in the masculine, I’d really like to speak about like a Venusian masculine or a Venusian feminine and you can do the same with the Sun and the Moon, for example, a solar feminine. What does it mean to be a solar woman? What does it mean to be a lunar man? And yet the gift of astrology is that it gives us these terms where we can still describe these qualities of being say relational or receptive or nurturing or caring, but not then saying, well, that’s feminine and that’s only feminine. It really gives us more nuance to how we can allow the conversation to unfold and that’s where I would love to see the language of astrology almost leap beyond the walls of astrology, even if you’re not using it in a technical astrological sense. How can we use, oh, he’s so Venusian or she’s so Martian, in our everyday language? So that’s my hope how that would be able to be applied in a contemporary context.
CB: Yeah. And astrology is always partially a product of the culture in which it’s practiced and so you’ll see the astrologers expressing the language of astrology through the lens of their culture in different time periods and that’s something we’ll see as we read through different passages. And I think, yeah, when you’re studying older astrological texts even going back a few decades, it’s always important to look at them within that cultural context from a historical perspective as just being a representation partially of the times in which the astrologer lived, but then also trying to read between the lines to understand the deeper or underlying archetypal meaning of the planet that might be more consistent throughout and might be slightly less dependent on culture.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s like intuiting to some core of meaning that in each era or through each individual astrologer even takes on a different refraction and I recognize that I’m going to speak about Venus a little bit differently because of my Venus placements and someone else would speak about it in a totally different way, but we can still recognize the common Venusian element that’s present there.
CB: Right. And definitely in the past few decades there have been a lot of discussions and a lot of effort has been put towards by contemporary astrologers to look at the planets and redefine them in terms of the current understanding and current cultural norms in terms of things like gender and sexual orientation and gender roles and other things like that and that’s still an ongoing dialogue in the astrological community today. I mean, it’s an ongoing dialogue just in our culture in general, so of course the astrology itself is also going to be a reflection of that and it’s going to have to grow and change in different ways to adapt to the sensibilities of modern times. So, finding a middle ground and a way to balance understanding the historical view of Venus and other planets, especially once you start getting into issues of things like gender is tricky, but it’s just finding a balance I guess between that versus the more contemporary views is really important.
BT: Yeah, it’s exciting to be part of an evolving tradition and to see how something so ancient is also alive and changing with us and how the language can adapt and will continue to adapt. I think that’s so important not to get overly stuck in any particular past definition of someone said it this way this time and therefore, it’s always going to be that way. And again, just the importance of that seeing through to the symbol that lies behind it. Yeah.
CB: Yeah, definitely. And the tradition has always been growing and changing, it’s never been static. And that’s sometimes a misconception that some astrologers, especially some traditional astrologers have this idea that it’s always been this one singular thing but that’s never been true. While there have been core components that have stayed consistent during different periods or for long spans of time once they’re introduced, almost every concept or technique in astrology was new at some point and was introduced at some point before it became like a standard idea as part of the tradition. And sometimes even very standard concepts or ideas that we take for granted and we think have been around forever may have been different or looked at differently in different eras.
So when it comes to Venus, one of the things that’s interesting and that might be a good segue to talk about is part of the cultural, maybe even more than some of the other planets that I’ve talked about at this point in this series, some of the cultural understanding of Venus, especially in ancient astrology was very much tied in with the mythology associated with the goddess Aphrodite as well as some of the other goddesses that were part of that lineage or part of that tradition in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern culture, which is basically where Western astrology comes from. It’s like we have somebody like Vettius Valens who was living in the Greco-Roman world in the second century, the name he used when he referred to Venus was Aphrodite. So when astrologers used to that name, that automatically would have invoked some of the mythological and cultural associations with that goddess in ancient times.
BT: Yeah, it’s interesting to look at different cultures to see who carries that expression of the deity of love or the deity of beauty. And often it does overlap, but every so often it doesn’t. And it’s true that in many pantheons, it is a feminine figure, but every so often it isn’t, and that’s also just worth making note of which cultures will choose a more masculine expression or some will have both, which I think makes a lot of sense. And that in any myth that we invoke that expresses this Venusian quality, she or he is inevitably going to be blended with what we might think of now as planetary archetypes, but these myths are always relational. All the stories that are being told, the gods and goddesses don’t come in isolation. And so, it’s like we again get to see different refractions of Venus depending on which culture you look at, which particular story, even whether it’s of Aphrodite or if we look to the Norse mythologies, to Freyja as an expression or if we look to the Yoruba tradition and the Orisha Oshun as an expression of that Venusian archetype or in the Egyptian, there’s quite a few actually coming out of Egypt that we would think of as expressions of Venus, one of them being Hathor but Isis in some ways carries qualities of that as well several others. Same with the Vedic tradition, multiple different gods and goddesses who have these Venusian qualities. I think the one maybe closest to Aphrodite might be Lakshmi, but we can see Sita or even the artistic element in Saraswathi. And then of course, there’s the myth of Inanna in the Sumerian tradition, Ishtar is another name for her that’s so intimately connected to the cycles of Venus. And then we have some male ones. I mean, even within the Greek tradition the son of Aphrodite and Ares is Eros and this is a god of love or Plato described Eros as a daemon of love, not quite at the same level as the gods and goddesses but more of an intermediate being who traverses between the realm of the gods and the realm of human beings carrying love messages, Eros which in the Roman becomes cupid. Or we have Adonis is another male figure coming out of the Greek. So just getting to see these different figures who carry this Venus energies, it’s fascinating to know all their stories and compare them.
CB: Yeah. The last time you were on the podcast, I actually put you on the spot and asked you to define what is an archetype and I’ve realized I need to stop doing that, making people define something so broad. But this is a really good example of that in practice where part of the concept is just that there is this concept or this archetype that exists out there perhaps independently of Venus and what Venus signifies or what it represents in our world or in our universe and that that concept or that archetype can manifest itself in different cultures in very similar ways or archetypally similar ways and that’s the reason why you can list off so many goddesses in different cultures that have a similar role or a similar meaning in those cultures even though it was developed independently, right?
BT: Exactly, it’s as though this archetypal principle, which depending on your philosophical position could be seen as transcendent, that that archetype is then manifesting through different cultures and not just manifesting through different cultures, but being participated in and knocked it forth, called forth into different forms and that all of these different goddesses and gods that, let’s use the name Venus just because we need a name and that’s the name of the planet that we’re using, but it’s like they’re all different symbolic clothing almost to allow that transcendent principle to come to us in a particular cultural form. Because in its full transcendence, we can’t quite perceive it that it’s something beyond what is really given form. And so these different mythic expressions allow us to see a figure and recognize what animals or what colors or fruits are sacred to her or to him. But that’s all kind of a cultural clothing that nonetheless resounds true to that transcendent archetype. And in this discussion of Venus, I do think it’s helpful to bring in not just the mythic side but also the philosophical side. That when we look to Ancient Greece, it was the philosopher Plato who really articulated the idea of an archetype or for him was a form or an idea, the archai, first principles to articulate it philosophically rather than religiously or mythically. And in that articulation, we can see exactly what we’re talking about here, but for a moment may be separated from that particular being or form without the clothing, without the humanoid guys even, but just simply for Plato, it’s the archetype or the ideal form of beauty, beauty with a capital B and that we can recognize that archetype out in the world in all its diverse forms, whether that is in a rose that we’re looking at or the sunrise or our beloved’s face or even Venus. It seems so clear to me when we are out early in the morning or late at night and Venus is in either the morning or evening star phase and you look at Venus and there’s no question that this celestial body is the seat of the deity of beauty and love. That diamond shining brightness of Venus, in my mind, in my imagination, there’s no question about that. And when you see her sparkling like a diamond there, it’s breathtaking, it’s exquisite. No wonder that there’s very clear association between the planetary body and this particular god or goddess and this particular archetype of beauty and love all became associated as one.
CB: Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that seeing Venus in the night sky because Venus is actually the most bright planet, it appears to us if you just look at it in the night sky and if you can see Venus at that time of the year that it’s like a really bright star. It’s actually brighter than any of the other planets that can be seen with the naked eyes. That’s one of the things that stands out about Venus in terms of just the visual observation of it and probably the starting point for its meaning in astrology is that it’s this very bright beautiful star that will either appear very briefly either early in the morning just before sunrise or it will appear very late just after sunset in the evening in some parts of the year.
BT: I think if you brought together like a group of children, for example, to watch Venus after sunset and you just could ask them what do you see? Give some descriptors. I imagine that you would hear something like dazzling, shining, breathtaking. Maybe these are very articulate children. But that first impression of seeing this particular planetary body I think really carries a lot of the qualities that we are using when we’re reading these different descriptions of what Venus means, you can take so much of it just from the experience of gazing upon Venus in the night sky.
CB: Yeah, and I think that’s really important. I’m trying to find a picture, I’m finding a good stock picture that I can share. Actually, here’s one. Let me take that picture really quickly. Venus standing out to the naked eye and just appearing as this bright star in the sky. Here’s a little image of Venus, for example, where this must be just after sunset, so the Sun’s gone down and then all the stars start to appear in the night sky. But there’s this one that’s just much brighter and stands out compared to the other stars. Isn’t that what the Latin name for Venus ends up being tied in with where it’s named Lucifer I think which means like morning star?
BT: Right, Lucifer would have a loose light, the light bringer and that light-bringer just so captivates our attention. When we see Venus there, there’s this sense of what is that compared to all the other stars? And that’s very much the experience for anyone who’s had the experience of falling in love, you say, “Who is that? They stand out like that bright star against all the others because there’s some special connection there.”
CB: I love that. And that’s a really great point, the original Greek term for Venus besides Aphrodite which some of the attributions of the names of the gods to the planets came a little bit later and before that they had purely descriptive names. And in Greek, the term was Phosphorus which means literally light-bringer in Greek.
BT: Oh, that’s a perfect name. And I believe that in Greece as well as I think maybe also in Mayan culture, there were different gods ascribed particular points to the morning and the evening star, and that the morning star was seen as more of a lover and the evening star was seen as a warrior and a number of these different gods or goddesses of love also are gods of war and we see how intimately connected those are, whether we’re seeing that connection just within Venus as morning and evening star or particular gods or the special connection that Venus has to Mars whether that’s mythically or even just in terms of celestial placement on either side of the earth or in terms of the rulerships if we come back to the essential dignities and that the Venus is in antithesis in Mars’s signs and vice versa. So, they have this relationship, but it’s a bit of a contentious one too. They’re opposites, but as they say, opposites attract and so we have a very dynamic lover warrior kind of mythic relationship playing out in multiple cultures and also in just astrological technique and system.
CB: Yeah, totally. And that’s super important in that whole connection in the Greek pantheon of Aphrodite or Venus as the goddess of love and beauty and the contrast with Ares or Mars as the god of war and it’s interesting. Let’s see. Another image I want to show for the YouTube viewers or the video viewers was the famous painting of course by Botticelli of Venus emerging from the waves as part of the mythology of the origins of Venus and how that contrast of another way that’s sometimes talked about in the philosophical tradition between love and strife as being core archetypal principles in the world and how that concept gets built into the astrology as you’re saying through the contrast between Venus and Mars that are the two planets that are thought to represent those two core principles.
BT: Yeah. I mean, this speaks to something larger too that we see throughout the astrological system, whether it’s looking at planets or looking at the configurations of the signs, but how they really are all relational that they’re all of these opposites in qualities and that it’s almost as though one archetype calls in the other. If we are too Martian, if we’re too angry or violent or assertive, it’s almost as though we have to call in the love and the harmony and the grace. But at the same time, we can’t just be passive or only receptive or nothing will happen, so we need Mars to come in to make a little action happen and I think that’s why Venus and Mars are such great counterbalances to each other that there is this kind of lover’s friction between them and that, for example, you need both the principles of Venus and Mars for a kiss to happen because Venus is there to attract, to allure, to be beautiful but for that moment of connection, you also need that Martian assertion that is nonetheless attuned to be able to make that connection or for there to be this erotic friction between the two, and I guess that makes so much sense erotic and coming from Eros which is the child of these two gods of Aphrodite and Ares.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. There’s this more somewhat like receptive or attractive quality with Venus whereas there’s this other quality of action but it is the other side of the coin with Mars.
BT: Yeah, definitely, they really seem to balance.
CB: Okay. And here is just a diagram again for those just curious about some of the basics just in terms of the two home signs of Venus which are Taurus and Libra being opposite to the two home signs of Mars which are Aries and Scorpio and that just sets up a fundamental opposition and tension between those two planets as opposites but oftentimes in a way where it’s just the reverse side of the same coin in some sense.
BT: Definitely, yeah. I mean, I remember when I was learning just all those details of the zodiac and the great joy of when you go, “Of course, Venus is opposite Mars, of course, Saturn is opposite the Sun and opposite the Moon.” It’s just the complementarity is extraordinary.
CB: Right. Yeah. And actually, going back to part of the contrasts, I think very early in ancient astrology when it came down to some of the fundamental principles of observational astronomy, one of the things that you’ll notice and just going back to the benefic-malefic distinction is Venus and Jupiter in the night sky appears these two bright, white twinkling stars that are very notable and that you’ll see move against the backdrop of the other stars over a long enough period of time over several nights because the planets move of course and the other fixed stars stay fixed. But in contrast to that, Mars appears as this reddish darker star and Saturn appears more brown and even darker and more dim compared to the other planets, so that’s part of what I think sets up the basic contrast between the benefic and malefic planets is that initial observational component of their appearance to the naked eye.
BT: We’re really getting into the phenomenology of astrology where we’re looking at what do the actual planets look like from our perspective and how much of a story that tells. I’m sure that this comes up often amongst astrologers, but I just always feel like it’s such an important reminder to say astrology students to actually go outside and gaze upon the stars and let them be your first teacher before any book, before anything else, just allow the stars to speak to you, allow the planets to speak to you and use every sense to be able to take in those meanings and then check that against the books and the articles and the tradition and your teachers and so on. But that importance of first experience and actual witnessing I think is really essential and just exactly what you were describing how those appearances do give us a really clear sense of why Venus and Jupiter are the benefics and why Mars and Saturn are the malefics.
CB: Yeah. And also just in terms of first principles and going back to first principles and imagining that you didn’t know any of this or there was no established or pre-inherited tradition that you’re just the receiver of our learning, but imagine that you had to recreate astrology from scratch and decide what everything means, one of the most fundamental starting points is just if something is going to mean something, then there would need to be a second thing that would indicate its opposite. So, starting to establish what means what, one of the great starting points is by just setting up groups of opposing principles as just a basic fundamental building block of score or starting point.
BT: What this conversation is making me realize is how much this Venusian principle of beauty and harmony and order is part of the development of the astrological system in general, but also we refer to the cosmos and cosmos means ordered beauty. And so, in this speaking about this ordered system, we inherently have to reference Venus or that Venusian principle at least as part of all of it. It must be harmonious, it must be balanced, it must be beautiful in order to make sense and how that speaks to the consciousness that the astrological tradition was emerging out of, one that really privileged that, prioritized harmony and beauty.
CB: Yeah, and harmony and beauty and saw that as important property in the cosmos that kept things together and led to coherency. Okay. Well, let’s go back, see before we move on to our next author where we jump forward several centuries just to keep us going, let’s see if there’s anything else in Valens that’s worth mentioning briefly before we move on. Is there anything that stands out to you? I mean, we’ve got all sorts of arts and artists, music making even. Yeah. Is there anything else that either makes sense or anything that stands out that’s odd in Valens compared to other things?
BT: As you just brought up, focusing on the arts especially on music, pleasant sounds as opposed to say loud sounds, which we could think of as being more Martian, sweet singing, the use of the word sweet to not just in terms of singing but how much sweet can be applied to a lot of different elements related to Venus.
CB: Right. Harmonious is a really good Venus term, especially when contrasted with its opposite which is something that’s unharmonious or disharmonious. Is that the correct opposite to harmonious?
BT: Yeah, disharmony or discordant.
CB: Discordant, that’s a really good term.
BT: Yeah. So, that stood out. And also just noting some of the body parts mentioned as well. I mean, of course, it makes sense that Venus would rule the parts of the body related to intercourse, but also just like the face, the neck, the face, the lips, the nose. I mean, many of those parts of the body are ones that particularly women, but that human beings adorn, adorning the face, the lips, even adornment in the form of like, piercings, for example, or jewelry in that way. And then I did think it was interesting the whole front part of the body from foot to head, that Venus oversees all of that. What do you feel about the lungs? That one stood out to me as interesting.
CB: Yeah, I don’t actually know. I was thinking about that as well because I know Mercury is usually like the mouth and the hands and things like that and sometimes things that come in pairs, but I did think lung association in Venus in Valens was interesting, but I’m not sure symbolically why they went for that versus something else.
BT: Yeah. I know I want to run with it of like, okay, well, the breath is moving through the lungs, the breath is obviously life giving and that at that time breath would have been associated with spirit. And actually, okay, now I’m really going to run metaphorically. With the lungs being where the breath comes in which is the spirit which is the wind, we see translations of the same words kind of meaning the same thing there, both in Greek and in Latin like spiritus or anima. But that there’s this mention in Valens, she makes priesthoods and that there’s this connection to religion. And that if we think of the breath as the spirit as the divine and the priesthood is overseeing the divine, overseeing the relationship to the divine, mediating between that and being in the role of devotion, which is one of love as well. I’m kind of running metaphorically with this, but I can see how the lungs might symbolically connect to that, that kind devotion to spirit which we actually experience with every single breath into the lungs like that love of the gift of life really that comes in through each breath.
CB: Yeah, totally. He talks a lot about receiving and I can think also about the idea of how you breathe in like take a deep breath and you sort of receive the air very deeply into your body and then that process of exhaling. And there’s something maybe tied in there as well in terms of this notion of inhale versus exhale and receiving versus giving that’s tied in with some of the dynamic of Venus.
BT: That’s beautiful. I love that. That totally makes sense with the receiving and the giving. And even what I’m noticing, we’re talking about breath, so of course I’m breathing a little more deeply and consciously and how it calms us and that it brings us more into a place of harmony and one of ease and relaxation and therefore a pleasant experience when we feel more calm through that breath in the lungs.
CB: Right. Like the calming breath, I like that or even the quickening breath of desire and other things associated with Venus and the way that breath is intimately tied in with that as well.
BT: She took my breath away, that kind of experience. Like oh, there goes the breath in the lungs.
CB: Yeah, or breathtaking saying that somebody is breathtaking or something like that?
BT: Yeah, yeah. And Venus, whether we’re speaking of the goddess where the planet is definitely breathtaking.
CB: Yeah. And so, I mentioned very quickly before we move on, just to touch on because you already mentioned the other goddesses, but it’s like we have Aphrodite but then Aphrodite was tied in with some earlier goddesses for Mesopotamia which were Ishtar and Inanna and some of the mythology associated with them, which is interesting if you trace it far back and in terms of not just things that are associated with but also the major religious component of some of these very important and like widespread cults in the ancient world and that maybe where some of the religious portion is coming from in ancient authors like Valens that might be more prominent than compared to some later authors in modern times.
BT: That makes a lot of sense. Would you want to explore it all a little, the relationship between the myth of Inanna, her descent into the underworld and how it maps on to Venus’s synodic cycle?
CB: Sure, that would be a great segue for showing the synodic cycle diagram and just talking about that, so yeah. Should we start with the diagram or start with the myth?
BT: Let’s start with the myth first then we can illustrate it with the diagram. So, I learned this from a few different sources. My first deep exposure to the myth of Inanna was through an amazing psychological book called Descent to the Goddess by Sylvia Brinton Pereira. And then with the connection to Venus, I actually learned a lot of this from a really excellent lecture by the astrologer Shu Yap, and she gave a talk at the Astrology of Awakening conference in April about this. So, I want to credit her for really teaching me about this. But in the Sumerian tradition, the synodic cycle of Venus maps exactly onto the myth of Inanna’s descent into the underworld, and it’s a long myth, so we don’t have to tell all of it. But she makes the decision to enter into the underworld to meet her dark sister, Ereshkigal, and Ereshkigal’s husband has recently passed away so this is why she’s making this descent. And Inanna, who is known as the Queen of Heaven, sometimes she’s called the Queen of Heaven and Earth, she comes to the entrance to the underworld adorned in her seven powers, which are symbolized by seven pieces of clothing, one crown and a number of other, a robe and so on and those seven pieces of clothing also correlate with the seven chakras. And in her descent into the underworld at each gate, there’s seven gates, the guardian of that gate has been given the instruction that she has to remove one of these items, therefore giving up this particular power of hers, whether it’s her authority or with the third eye, her sight all the way down to the root. And so each of these gates she’s stripped down until she arrives naked and alone in the underworld. And here she encounters a panel of judges as well as Ereshkigal, her sister, and they deem her to be guilty and her punishment for this guilt is to be killed and hung on a meat hook, a visceral. And so, she left instructions in the upper world if she didn’t come back within a certain period of time for one of her servants to come look for her, and so the servant goes seeking help from the other deities, for a long time can’t find anyone to help, finally turns to Enki who is Inanna’s grandfather who offers help giving a resurrecting potion to two little insects who are small enough to enter into the underworld unseen and there’s a whole connection with the underworld and of course, the invisible phase of Venus. And so, they come down and when they arrive in the underworld, Ereshkigal is in labor pains. And in these pains, there’s no one with her and so these two little beings sit with her and they hold space for her until she has given birth and moved through this pain. And she’s so touched by their attention and their care that she says, “What can I do? What can I offer in return?” She’s never been cared for in this way. And they say, “We’re actually here for Inanna. Can we take her back up?” And so, Ereshkigal agrees, and so they give her drops of this potion one for each of the days that she is in the underworld or in her invisible phase and she’s reborn. And that rebirth, that moment aligns with when Venus is exactly conjunct the Sun at that Cazimi point and so then she’s reborn and she’s able to return. But there’s an agreement that she makes with Ereshkigal that she has to send someone in her place. And so, when she comes home, she’s feeling this weight and responsibility, who am I going to send down into the underworld in my place? And when she comes home, she sees her husband and her husband has not been mourning her absence, missing her. He’s off having affairs and flirtations and she’s like, “Him, he’s the one going down into the underworld in my place.” And yet another pairing of Venus and Mars, her husband is Mars, and so now it’s time for his descent into the underworld to take her place. And so, the phases how they align when Venus is in the morning star phase, that is the period of Inanna’s descent into the underworld and each conjunction of Venus to the waning crescent Moon in the morning sky, each conjunction is one of those seven gates leading down into the underworld where she’s stripping off her powers and her adornments. And then the superior conjunction I believe is the phase when she spends 50 days in the underworld or 50 days behind the Sun or hidden, invisible. And then once she comes out of the underworld, she’s reborn at the exact conjunction and then her ascent out of the underworld is when she becomes the evening star. And so each of those conjunctions now to the waxing Moon is her gaining back each of her adornments or each of her powers. Those again, the Moon, Venus conjunction symbolizes the gates. Again, I just really want to give credit to Shu Yap for that story and that mapping because her research on that is highly invaluable and I just found that story to be so compelling and how it’s a myth, but it also really allows you to remember how these patterns work, these celestial patterns work and how all the alignments are timed.
CB: Yeah, it’s really amazing how some of the ancient myths were tied in to astronomical properties of different planets and were set up to evoke or to carry some of that knowledge and to pass it on in different ways. In this instance, really talking about the astronomical phases of Venus and how due to its relationship with the Sun, it does have these different phases where either it emerges when it gets enough distance from the Sun in the morning and you see it as a bright little twinkling star that rises an hour or two before the Sun does during different parts of the year. Or alternatively, Venus in its evening star phase appears just after sunset and appears as this bright little white twinkling star for like an hour or two just after the Sun goes down.
BT: Yeah. And that whole cycle, by the way, the synodic cycle is 584 days. And so Venus spends 263 days or nine months in the morning star phase and then 50 days invisible in one of those conjunctions, I think it’s the superior conjunction. That makes sense because Venus would be passing behind the Sun, and then 263 days or nine months as the evening star before the inferior conjunction, which is very short. It’s only eight days. And that’s the full cycle.
CB: Right. What was the full number of days? And that’s from one conjunction with the Sun to another, that’s the synodic cycle. How many days is that?
BT: 584 is the full cycle, yeah.
CB: Okay, got it. After it’s like in terms of the swift moving planets, we have the Moon that’s extremely fast and it only goes around the entire zodiac in like a month, and then we have Mercury is the next fastest planet and then after that we have Venus.
BT: Yes. And I should differentiate. Venus’s orbit around the Sun is 225 days, but the synodic cycle is 584 because that’s taking into account our relative position on the earth in relationship to the Sun and Venus and so that 584 days I guess that would be from superior conjunction to superior conjunction so there’s actually the inferior conjunction in between.
CB: Got it, right. Because due to what side of Venus that we’re on since Venus is the last inner planet, their conjunction with the Sun can take place either on the closer side of the Sun from us or it can take place on the further side of the Sun from us. Actually, let me show a diagram that will do a better job of illustrating that just because of the sequence of the planets where you have the Sun at the center of the solar system, and then you have Mercury, and then you have Venus, and then you have earth. A conjunction between the Sun and Venus from our perspective on earth can either take place on the closer side to earth or it can take place on the opposite side of the Sun, basically.
BT: Yeah. And when it’s on the opposite side of the Sun, that superior conjunction that mythically is when Inanna is in the underworld for those 50 days. And so that’s really the core part of the myth and this diagram or this image is really helpful too because we can picture ourselves there on the Earth that Mercury and Venus from our perspective are never going to get that far from the Sun and so you’re never going to get a Sun-Venus opposition or a Sun-Mercury square or something like that. They can’t get out that far from our perspective.
CB: Right. Venus actually never gets more than 48° away from the Sun in the zodiac before it turns retrograde or direct?
BT: Right, yeah. And therefore, we see that in relationship to Mercury and Venus as well, they’re never going to get more than a sextile apart. They’re always going to be in a harmonious relationship. They can’t be at a hard angle to each other.
CB: Right. Yeah, there’s a lot of interesting implications and, of course, that’s partially where the domiciles scheme comes from where the domiciles of Venus and Mercury basically are adjacent to the Sun and the Moon, basically. All right. Good. Well, I think we’re getting a lot of good basics and there’s some other stuff we’re mentioning in passing about synodic cycles, but maybe we can save that for later in terms of like the eight-year cycle and the pentagram of Venus that it makes around the zodiac during the course of those successive cycles.
BT: Sounds good. Yeah, we can come back to them.
CB: Okay, cool. Well, let me pull up our next passage then which we’re going to jump forward from Valens several centuries to the ninth century astrologer Abu Ma’shar and his Great Introduction to Astrology that was written in Arabic probably in Baghdad sometime around the middle of the ninth century, so around let’s say like 850 CE or something like that. This comes from the new translation that just came out in the past year from Benjamin Dykes who retranslated the text from Arabic. It’s titled Abu Ma’shar: The Great Introduction to the Science of the Judgments of the Stars. Here’s a little passage. I’m going to read from Ben’s translation. Or actually, do you want to read it? I mean, we should trade off. Can you see it clearly?
BT: Sure. I think I can unless it just goes on to the next page a little bit. Okay.
CB: Yeah. It’s just the left side and then just the top paragraph in the right page.
BT: Perfect. All right. As for Venus, her nature is cooling, wet, phlegmatic, temperate, a fortune. She indicates women, the mother, younger sisters, cleanliness, clothing, ornaments, gold and silver, graciousness towards close friends, conceit, vanity, haughtiness, boasting, the love of wealth and entertainment, laughter, adornment, joy, delight, dancing, playing horns, plucking the strings of the oud, weddings, perfume and good smelling things, the gentleness in composing melodies, playing backgammon and chess, idleness, casting of restraint, going too far in what is bad, buffoonery, occupying oneself with men and children in fornication and every male or female fornication or male and female singer or one playing types of instruments, and much swearing of oaths and lying, wine, honey, drinking sweet intoxicants, having sex in various ways as well as intercourse in the rear and lesbianism. And she indicates a love for children and a love of people and showing love towards them, tranquility towards everyone, tolerance, generosity, kindliness, liberality, freedom, a good character, beauty and handsomeness, ingratiation, reception, brightness, splendor, pleasantness of speech, the feminine, flirtation, passion, ridicule, wishing good health, strength of the body but weakness of the soul, much flesh in bodies, an abundance of craving for everything, joy in everything, making demands for everything, being eager for it. And she indicates different types of clean admirable crafts and works, stringing garlands and decorating them, wearing crowns, dyes and dyers, sewing, houses of worship, virtue, adhering to religion, performing devotions, justice, fairness, scales and measuring, a love of markets and being in them, business and selling good smelling things. That’s fantastic.
CB: Yeah. So, that is our friend Abu Ma’shar from the ninth century. And now, all of a sudden, we’re talking about a much different cultural context for astrology where we’ve jumped from second century Greco-Roman society where Venus is Aphrodite and now, we’re in the middle of the ninth century in the heart of Baghdad in the newly established Islamic empire. And Abu Ma’shar himself I think was originally like a religious scholar who got into a debate with a philosopher Al-Kindi who he was attacking for believing in astrology, and Al-Kindi somehow was successful in getting him to look into it himself and then Abu Ma’shar became one of the most famous astrologers of the medieval and subsequent periods. But you do see some of that coming through I think a little bit in the text in terms of different cultural perspectives and in terms of some of the ways that Venus is described astrologically both in terms of some positive things and what is viewed as positive in ninth century Islamic or Arabic society versus some of the things that are viewed as negative. And that’s actually an interesting component that comes through a little bit more in this text than I think compared to Valens is that Abu Ma’shar does mention some things that he associates or are like negative things that he’s associating with Venus.
BT: Right, there’s much more of a sense of this is a good expression, this is a negative expression. You do get a little bit of a sense of there’s a judgement about this, there’s a judgement about that. Sometimes they’re right next to each other though, so you’re like, “Wait, do you think that’s a bad thing or do you think that’s a good thing?” And what would we think now about that as being a good thing or being a problem?
CB: Right. And then sometimes it’s like good things contrast with bad things so it’s like graciousness, close friends, then it’s like conceit, vanity, haughtiness, boasting, the love of wealth, but also of entertainment, and then it switches to positive things again, it starts saying laughter, adornment, joy. It’s almost a little bit more nuanced here than it was in Valens because it is acknowledging some of the potentially the downsides of Venus when certain things that maybe in a certain context are positive but could turn negative. For example, vanity or conceit, so let’s say Venus does represent beauty and things related to beauty and that can be fine in it of itself. But then in a certain context, it could be negative if it turns into vanity or conceit or something like that.
BT: Definitely, yeah. I love what you said that it is a bit more of a nuanced perspective and there’s more just detail in it too, whereas in Valens we have marriage, here we have all kinds of sexual acts and dynamics and it’s a recognition that Venus rules all of these things. And so, whatever the cultural perspective on that might have been just a recognition of Venus is here, Venus is present in all of this.
CB: Yeah. And I think that’s important because one of the things I was noticing when I was reading the Wikipedia entry for even Aphrodite where there were some things that Valens left out that were associated with the goddess, so it’s like saying Aphrodite is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love, beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation, so it’s like some of those things are in Venus but it also mentions at one point it says she was also the patron goddess of prostitutes and that’s something that comes through in some of the mythology that isn’t as clear in Valens but some of the things that related to like Venus was connected with sex and sexuality and all different manifestations of that in many different ways including sex workers or other people that were connected with different manifestations of that.
BT: Yeah, now that makes a lot of sense and it is so much clear coming through in Abu Ma’shar’s writing that… Again, if we look back at Valens, so much gets wrapped up in just saying Venus is marriage and all kinds of things can unfold in a marriage but that particular connection to the sexual, to bodily pleasure and so on. I thought it was interesting this strength of the body, but weakness of the soul. That was an interesting dichotomy that’s brought up there just in what context I guess strength of the body would be in a good placement of Venus but weakness of the soul could be present in that.
CB: Yeah. There’s a whole tension in ancient astrology that…. I’m working on an episode on Hermeticism that I’ve been wanting to do for a while and I’ll probably do it in the next month or two, but one of the great tensions in Hermetic texts and Gnostic texts in the ancient world was this tension between the body versus the spirit and viewing the body and the physical incarnation as something that’s fundamentally negative and dark and that our spirit is trapped here in the physical body and our spirit is something from somewhere else that wants to escape back into the non-earthly realms. And this sometimes comes through I think in some traditional astrological texts as associating and acknowledging Venus’s association with the body and physical things and physical pleasures and that being a property of life that sometimes from a religious or theological standpoint that’s viewed negatively because being attached to physical pleasures is something they would view it as like distract you either from your religious practices or from intellectual pursuits or what have you.
BT: In this same passage, it’s interesting then that there can be that strength of the body but weakness of the soul. But then there’s this other connection to adhering to religion, for example, performing devotions and that comes back to what we were talking about before too like performing devotions. Even the word devotion really carries that element of love, the heart and so on, but it’s a devotion to the gods or to God or the divine or the sacred.
CB: Yeah, it’s almost similar to the distinction between devotion to one’s partner, one’s spouse versus the opposite and I wonder if that’s part of the connection there when it’s talking about devotion and things like fidelity, for example.
BT: Right. And just all the ways that we can see Venus expressed and maybe this is the participatory element or how do we choose to engage with how Venus is coming through in our lives? Is it going to go in this devotional direction or is it going to go more in like a faithless or lost without love direction and the more problematic sides of that when it comes to manipulation or lying which are different things that were mentioned in that passage.
CB: Right, yeah. Let’s see. What else? Fairness, justice, some of that is interesting, especially in terms of it mentions those actually in a line just after performing devotion so it’s like performing devotions, justice, fairness, skills and measuring, a love of markets and being in them, and I thought that was interesting in terms of Venus’s association with Libra, which is literally the sign of the scales and perhaps some connection there.
BT: Definitely, which is informing which first, you know? Is it Venus’s relationship to justice, fairness or is it Libra’s relationship to that? And it makes sense that Venus would be the ruler.
CB: Right. All right, let’s see. What else do we have? Generosity is a good one. It mentions beauty and handsomeness. One of the interesting things, Venus is said to signify beauty. One of the ways that that sometimes gets applied going back to very basically traditional texts and delineations is they would say that sometimes the placement of Venus in a birth chart is where a person will find beauty in some way or encounter the concept of beauty in their life in some way. And I think that’s what’s underlying some of the delineations, for example, that I think Ptolemy gives of Venus in the first house which is said to signify a person’s physical body and appearance, they would sometimes delineate that as what the person then will be physically beautiful or physically attractive or striking in some way if they have Venus on the Ascendant or something like that.
BT: Definitely. Something I’ve actually noticed with people who have Venus on the Ascendant is that their beauty, their illusion way of being is the first thing that people often notice about them, which very much fits the Ascendant. But it even can obscure seeing other parts of who they are. And it’s similar to when the Sun is rising, all we can see is the Sun on the horizon or with our discussion of Venus earlier, when you see Venus there on the horizon and it’s dark out, everything else fades away and that quality I have noticed with individuals who have Venus at the Ascendant, you’re like just wow, here’s Venus. Venus has walked into the room. And I think this can be a painful side of that for individuals who have that placement is sometimes the rest of their chart or the rest of who they are doesn’t get seen as much and they’re like, “Wait, I’m all these other things too,” and that can be applied to any planet on the Ascendant, which is thinking of it particularly with Venus where someone’s beauty might obscure their intelligence or their kindness or their interest in horseback riding or archery or whatever it is, that the wholeness of who they are isn’t always seen.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense especially in terms of the common idea that the Ascendant is what a person sees in their first appearance of you or what first appearances are versus let’s say somebody’s Sun sign or Moon sign representing more of who they are internally or emotionally or their Mercury placement and how they communicate and think and things like that, but sometimes things can get wrapped up especially in terms of superficial relationships with just first appearances.
BT: Definitely, yeah. And also with this discussion of Venus and beauty, one thing that I really find interesting when it comes to looking at planetary aspects and so alignments of other planets with Venus is what individuals find beautiful and how they carry or express their individual beauty depending on whether they have Venus in alignment with Saturn or Uranus or Neptune or how much that changes the aesthetic, stylistic taste and expression both physically but also in terms of adornment.
CB: Yeah, like what are the aesthetic because it’s such a subjective thing like what a person finds beauty in or what a person finds to be aesthetically appealing like different artists or artwork as a observer, where you might go to like a museum and you might really like a certain artist’s style of painting versus you might not like another artist style of painting and so it comes down to that subjective notion of what a person finds appealing and that’s very much tied in with I think position of a person’s Venus in their birth chart in different ways in terms of describing what appeals to them in some broader sense.
BT: Absolutely. I mean, I’m certainly guilty of that where I’ll find something beautiful or be drawn to a particular art form or style if it reflects more of what my Venus aspects are. And so, as someone who has Venus-Neptune, I’m really drawn to a more of a ethereal aesthetic or something that like Art Nouveau. But then as a Venus-Saturn person, I also really appreciate more classical form, simplicity, the pared down aesthetic, but then that’s also contradicted because Venus with Uranus and that’s like the unusual or the unexpected or what some might find eccentric or unique and just being able to see those different kinds of aesthetic expressions in others is so fascinating to me.
CB: Right, for sure as well as in terms of both what people like and also sometimes even just studying the charts of different artists and seeing how their Venus placements might describe in different ways their art styles and what they end up creating or the way in which they manifest and bring concepts of beauty into the world in terms of what their subjective conceptualization of beauty is.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah, I find this really fascinating when it comes to music, I mean, all of the arts, but music is great for teaching because you can play a song and someone can immediately get an archetypal essence. And there are so many extraordinary songs about heartbreak and most people I think go through heartbreak in some time of life or other, but there’s a very special connection between Venus-Saturn and the heartbreak or the heartache and the bitter sweetness of that and I think of a song like by Adele, for example, who’s born with Venus-Saturn, her song Someone Like You which she wrote right after a breakup. If you listen to that song, every single line is just resonating with Venus-Saturn archetypal qualities and all the negation, Saturnian negations in it, but there’s this line, sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead, and how much that’s the Venus-Saturn experience. Or another heartbreak if we think of Janis Joplin’s Take Another Little Piece of my Heart. Now she’s born with Venus-Pluto and so there’s more of that raw visceral intensity to that kind of pain and heartbreak where she’s saying, “Take a piece of my heart.” And then compare that to Joni Mitchell or Jeff Buckley, both born with Venus-Neptune and how they both have these just exquisite angelic voices and you can hear it in any of Joni Mitchell songs where it’s like an angel singing or Jeff Buckley, especially his cover of Hallelujah, which he’s singing to God, to the divine, to the sacred in this angelic voice, and the person who wrote that song Leonard Cohen was born with Venus-Neptune also. Anyway, I could keep going down that path, but thinking about those different combinations with Venus and how it gets expressed through music, through lyrics, through vocal tone and musical quality and style, it’s all there, but what’s at the core? Venus.
CB: Right, definitely. Somebody I sometimes think about when it comes to this topic is Yoko Ono, who has a like a Venus-Saturn conjunction and Aquarius in the fifth house as the ruler of her Ascendant actually in a night chart, and just the way that she expresses her artistic tastes in a way that it’s almost like to some people is discordant or in a way that’s just very different compared to what the standard assumptions of beauty or harmony are supposed to be.
BT: I think of that iconic image of her with John Lennon where he’s curved around her in the fetal position naked and she’s dressed all in black and how the Venus-Saturn dressing all in black. That’s something that I’ve sometimes seen with Venus-Saturn, where it can be dressed in all black or gray or very simple pared down colors, yeah, how she would often be dressed in black.
CB: Totally. And that brings up another thing in addition to appearance and aesthetic and beauty but also just Venus as a general significator of relationships and sometimes the way that either a person approaches relationships or sometimes some of the experiences that they have at different points in relationships. for her, of course, a very important characteristic thing in her life was that she lost the love of her life at one point when he was murdered by like a crazy fan and having that Venus-Saturn conjunction so close there in her birth chart and just having that experience obviously there’s other stuff going on in her chart as well, but that’s a whole topic in and of itself in terms of the experience of relationships in partnership and sometimes marriage based on the situation and condition of Venus in the birth chart as well as other placements like the seventh house or the ruler of the seventh house.
BT: Yeah. And I feel like I should say too for those born with Venus-Saturn, that well a correlation can be the death of the beloved which very much fits Venus-Saturn, but obviously does not have to play out that way. It can also be the long-lasting enduring relationship or it can be the love that comes in late in life after waiting a long time. That’s another way that I’ve seen that come through. So, while there is the heartbreak that ending the loss could sometimes quite literally the death of the beloved, there can also be that long-term enduring commitment that’s present with Venus-Saturn as well. It doesn’t always have to go that way.
CB: Yeah, good point. And also, sometimes working together or finding pleasure in work with one’s partner could be a very good Venus-Saturn combination as well.
BT: Absolutely. And creating like a solid container for the relationship too, I feel like that can really meet some of those Venus-Saturn needs of where Saturn instead of being the barrier or the boundary between, you can see Venus-Saturn in long distance relationships, but it can also be that solid container around a relationship that can hold it, that can be relied upon like a foundation in the relationship. The marriage vow until death do us part is a great Venus-Saturn statement, really.
CB: Right. Yeah. And that reminds me that Saturn is exalted in Libra and has its exaltation in Libra and that Venus in some way is able to refine and get rid of some of the less negative or the rough around the edge’s components of Saturn. And I think that’s one of the reasons why Saturn is thought to be exalted in Libra and the two sometimes in their highest expressions can do very well together by creating a bond that is very long lasting and permanent.
BT: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense in terms of that exaltation and how they really can work so beautifully together even if they seem to be contradictory.
CB: Right. Let’s see. So, Saturn can sometimes indicate delays, sometimes it can end things that are long lasting. Sometimes Venus-Saturn combination can indicate like a delay in relationships or delay in finding the one in some sense because Saturn has to do with like time and age and one of the other funny and often mentioned Venus-Saturn combination components is sometimes like age disparities and relationships, which is a very common and interesting manifestation to see when Venus-Saturn is prominent in a birth chart.
BT: Definitely, yeah. It’s often the love of the older partner being a consistent expression there or whether it’s waiting a long time to find a partner or falling in love with someone and waiting a long time to even be with them. I’ve seen that play out whether it’s six years or 10 or 30 in one case, and yet being able to see those relationships manifest in the fullness of time and being all the richer for the maturity in a Saturn relating to maturity that is brought to the relationship then.
CB: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. And a lot of the ancient texts also I think there’s just something about Venus-Saturn combinations where it’s sometimes viewed as something that’s challenging or difficult or what would be challenging compared to a conventional relationship, especially in the traditional texts because they didn’t have Uranus, so sometimes Saturn would almost act as a stand in for Uranus as that which is unconventional in some way or that would create a complication that’s an obstacle but sometimes it’s a surmountable difficulty of some sort. So like age disparity, for example, can sometimes be viewed as something that can be like a problem or an area where people are coming at a relationship from very different perspectives if they’re like, I don’t know, more than let’s say Venus cycle of eight years apart or something like that, but it’s something that when they work towards perhaps it’s something that can be overcome. Or some of the ancient texts also mentioned being in a relationship with somebody who had a disability or something like that is a very common Venus-Saturn delineation in ancient texts for different reasons, which I always thought was interesting from a cultural standpoint just in terms of why they were mentioning that delineation so regularly.
BT: Yeah, yeah, that just makes a lot of sense in that particular context as well where there would be that caretaking or nurturing element in that relational dynamic.
CB: Right, yeah. All right. We’ve gotten into talking about planetary combinations which I think is a really good thing and good idea and we focused on Venus-Saturn, Mercury-Venus I talked a little bit about in the last episode on Mercury where it has to do with ways in which one could articulate beauty which is Venus through like a Mercurial component which is usually things like communication. And so, I cited, for example, different poets that have Venus-Mercury conjunctions and express language or communicate in an artistic or aesthetically appealing fashion.
BT: Yeah, when I was looking into different Mercury-Venus figures, coming across different poets makes sense, you know? It’s the word as art form, the use of language in a beautiful way. I thought it was interesting that if the birth data that we have for Shakespeare is correct, that Shakespeare would have had a Mercury-Venus sextile and then Venus in hard aspect to all three of the outer planets, so a conjunction with Neptune and opposition to Uranus and a T-square with Pluto. And so, you have the Mercury-Venus, it’s the poet’s aspect. But then with all three of the outer planets, you just see the breadth and depth and complexity in heights and complexities of Shakespeare’s plays coming in such an extraordinary artist who’s been so celebrated, of course, you would have to have a complex Venus to go along with that.
CB: Yeah, for sure. Or I think the one I often cite is TS Eliot who had a Venus-Mercury conjunction in Libra right on the Ascendant in their birth chart. All right. That’s pretty straightforward I think in terms of Venus-Mercury combinations. What are some other combinations of planets that would be good ones to just touch on really quickly?
BT: Well, I mean if we look at the Sun and the Moon, if we dip back to our luminaries, I was looking into a number of different figures just in my archives who have Sun-Venus conjunctions and noticed certain themes around people who just radiate that sense of either love or beauty. Like Oprah has Sun-Venus. Jane Fonda has Sun-Venus. Leonardo DiCaprio has Sun-Venus and Whitney Houston, Coco Chanel. I mean, I’m just pulling some random samples that jumped out to me. But something with the Sun is one of the expressions of the Sun is what we not just identify as, but what we name ourselves, what we call ourselves. And so, Venus Williams is Sun-Venus. That’s so fitting that her actual name solar identity is Venus and she has a Sun-Venus conjunction. It’s just like Freddie Mercury has a Sun-Mercury conjunction and how that comes directly into the name. And then in terms of Moon-Venus, the archetypal expression of Moon-Venus really tends to have, we’re talking about sweetness earlier, Moon-Venus might be the sweetest of all aspects that the expression of love and connection is coming through the emotions in a really nurturing, connecting, caretaking way and some of the figures who have Moon-Venus that I was thinking about like Mister Rogers has Moon-Venus. He actually has Moon-Venus-Mercury. It’s a triple conjunction and so that sweetness in relation to children, the Moon being a symbol of children about like love of children. But then with Mercury in there, there’s the educational piece as well, really loving communication. Oh, great, perfect.
CB: It’s all in Pisces, that’s great.
BT: Yeah. It’s all in Pisces, right. Now we can bring in the exaltation too of Venus.
CB: And he actually has Taurus rising, so Venus is the ruler of the Ascendant.
BT: Beautiful. Yeah, and the Sun there in Pisces, too. He was one person I thought of that really carries that Moon-Venus sweetness and nurturance and care. I also thought of Paul McCartney who has so many very sweet, almost innocent love songs, I Want to Hold Your Hand, silly little love songs, so many of the extraordinary lyrics in the Beatles catalog. Michelle Obama was someone else who came to mind with Moon-Venus and her focus as well on children that her time as First Lady in the White House, that a lot of her campaigns focused on children and on food and that’s bringing in the lunar, but in relation to Venus. It’s like expressions of love as well.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good one, Moon in Venus and her focus was on what you eat and especially what we were feeding children in public schools and improving the nutritional value of public school meals and that’s a great Moon-Venus manifestation just in terms of Venus is nurturing and also the moon is like the body and questions of what is nurturing or what is healthy and what is going to nurture and help a person grow over the course of their early life.
BT: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Those are some of the figures I thought of with Moon-Venus and also coming back to what we were talking about before with gender, Mister Rogers is a really great example of like a lunar and Venusian man who’s expressing that nurturance and care for children in a way that it’s both maternal and masculine at the same time if that makes sense. Yeah. I just thought he was a great example of that.
CB: Yeah, I like that Mercury-Venus conjunction in Pisces in his chart because he was very soft spoken, just the speaking style was very soft but also just encouraging and helpful and that’s a very good example to use of I guess partially a Pisces stellium, but also just Mercury-Venus not just being something that’s aesthetically appealing, but that’s also soft in some way and can be helpful or supportive or nourishing.
BT: Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s see. Then we have Venus with Mars and we obviously discussed that polarity at length. I mean, often charts that I’ll see that expressed in is where Venus as art form is brought into motion or into action or to life through Mars. And so whether that’s like dancers or singers, musicians, performers, graceful athletes as well in terms of musicians, Bruce Springsteen is a great example. Someone who really has that Martian edge, but it’s coming through his music, his art form or Neil Young. One of my favorite examples of this is if you’re familiar at all with the Broadway singer Idina Menzel. She’s probably best known for being the voice of Elsa in Frozen. But she has such a powerful voice and how Mars can give that loudness to the voice. We saw in one of the description, I think it was Abu Ma’shar talking about sweet singing, but with Venus-Mars, it’s like loud, powerful, forceful singing that really carries with strength. Yeah, she was someone who came to mind. On the athletic side, Billie Jean King the tennis player, the woman who I’m forgetting the name of the man she beat in a match in the ‘70s, but it was like this really breakthrough feminist moment. She has Venus-Mars and she was known to grunt on the tennis court, I almost said the battlefield, with each time she would hit the ball. And there was a film made a few years ago with Emma Stone playing her called Battle of the Sexes. And even in the title of that, they show like the Venus-Mars symbols of the Battle of the Sexes on this war between men and women playing out on the tennis court and how she was such a breakthrough feminist symbol in that time and that she has the Venus-Mars alignment, which I’m sure no one making the film knew. Yeah, she’s another example I thought of with that dynamic.
CB: And I forgot we hadn’t mentioned that but for the symbols of Venus and Mars and that those became like in the 20th century, the generic symbols for men and women like Venus for women and Mars for men which somebody pointed out that that association was relatively recent on Twitter recently, although it is interesting that I’m not sure how recent it is necessarily because Venus traditionally would have been associated with women or femininity versus Mars being associated sometimes with men or with whatever was conceptualized as masculinity.
BT: Right. It’s interesting to hear that not as a planetary glyph but just as a symbol for like a bathroom sign or something that they would be used and now we’re in a moment where that’s breaking down again. We can put Venus on all bathroom doors and we can put Mars on all bathroom doors.
CB: Yeah. It’s interesting that that’s one of the ways that astrology permeates our culture still in different ways and it has influenced it sometimes in ways that you don’t initially realize are imperceptible until you start studying astrology and realizing where some of these things come from.
BT: Yeah, absolutely. Something’s lept the walls you could say.
CB: Yeah, exactly. And really quickly before I forget, there’s also associations with the days of the week and Venus is associated with Friday and I meant to mention that because you mentioned one of the gods associated with Venus and that’s where we get the name Friday from, right?
BT: Yes, Freyja, Friday. And actually, there are two Norse goddesses who both seem to carry elements of Venus. Freyja is the one that I’ve most associated because she is the goddess of love and war and she rides a chariot pulled by two cats. Inanna, by the way, her steed, her mount is a lion, which I thought was great. But the other one in the North is Frigga. And the Fri of Friday, I’m actually not even sure if it’s from Freyja or from Frigga. But Frigga is like the queen of the gods and so would be very different character but would be somewhat comparable to Hera or Juno in the Greco-Roman pantheon.
CB: Okay, awesome. Here’s a little diagram that just shows the seven-day week which is the traditional week of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and this seven-day week actually comes from or the reason we have a seven-day week is because each of the days was originally associated with each of the planets and there’s a whole interesting story there in terms of where that comes from in Greco-Roman society and things like that. But for those that are not familiar with that just for the purpose of this, Venus is the planet that’s associated with Friday.
BT: I always like to think what do you think the first Monday was like? We are implementing this now. First Monday or the first Friday to unfold.
CB: Yeah, I often wonder when the counting started because it’s been going on for so long now. This is something that’s been in place for over 2,000 years and it’s wild to think about something that can be passed down that consistently for over 2,000 years now.
BT: Absolutely. And even though the names of the days of the week as we have them translated into English I should say, that we have multiple pantheons coming together, some are speaking to the Greek and some to the Norse. Yeah, it’s just amazing how all these different cultural threads came together.
CB: Yeah. And some of them are still clear like the Sun and Sunday of course or Saturn and Saturday, but others have been lost or are a little bit more obscure at least in English.
BT: Yeah, yeah. Moon Monday, that one’s a clear one, too.
CB: Yeah. All right. So back to our discussion. Oh, right, we were going through planetary combinations. Maybe we should finish that and then move on to our next astrologer, next excerpt.
BT: Perfect. Well, if we leave Venus with Mars, then I guess we’re going to look at Venus with Jupiter, and I did find that a lot of the qualities that I would associate with a Venus-Jupiter combination, a lot of those both felt present in these descriptions of Venus. Maybe that’s just the marriage of two benefics and how two energies come together where it’s very luxurious and indulgent and the focus on the finer things in life, the opulence. The astrologer Matthew Stelzner, I’ve heard him call Venus-Jupiter the weekend in Paris aspect, and I think that’s such a great description where it’s a beautiful hotel room and the bouquet of bright beautiful huge flowers and fine art and good food and good wine and creamy sauces and rich desserts and lovely company and so on. So that’s my feeling around Venus-Jupiter.
CB: Yeah. And I think you mentioned like Beyonce as somebody with a Venus-Jupiter conjunction although it’s tied in with like a wider stellium in the sign of Libra.
BT: Yes, she has such a powerful chart and the Venus-Pluto is tighter. I mean, she is really a Venus. Yeah, the whole stellium Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Pluto at the Ascendant. But there’s a quality with Venus-Jupiter where someone glows, they radiate this golden element to the beauty and I feel like she’s a figure that really carries that in an extraordinary way. She’s got the Plutonic power as well very much in the mix with the Venus-Jupiter. I mean, Jupiter-Pluto that combination with Venus, it’s such an elevated power. And the way that she carries that being the queen of R&B like her song Brown Skin Girl which is such a celebration of beauty and of the beauty of dark skin. If you watch the music video for that song, you just see her Jupiter celebration and every single image in that music video is a celebration of beauty. You can see that throughout her catalog. But that’s a particular favorite of mine because there is this really centering of a beauty that has been, here’s where the Plutonic element comes in, a beauty that has been culturally oppressed and denigrated and the song is instead celebrating that and she’s singing about her daughter’s nappy curls and that our skin is like pearls and just the Venus-Jupiter element there is just elevating that beauty to such an extraordinary height. And so, I think that’s what Venus-Jupiter is so capable of. It’s the grandeur of beauty, art, of love as well. Speaking more generally, I mean Venus-Jupiter is the open heart and it’s the kind of generosity of love that is present there. Another figure I think of with Venus-Jupiter is if you’re familiar with the song Higher Love that was originally written by Steve Winwood, he’s Moon-Venus with Jupiter and Neptune, and that idea of higher love like searching for a higher love you get the transcendence of the Venus-Neptune but you also get that expansion, a different kind of Higher Love with the Venus-Jupiter and he has both. And the song was, we want to dip into some Venus-Neptune here too, the song was covered by Whitney Houston who is a Sun-Venus figure, but she’s also Venus-Neptune. And so, she sings her version of Higher Love which has a different quality to it for sure than the original by Steve Winwood, but you see in both that they are carrying this Venus-Neptune, this sense of a transcendence or sacred or divine love in their portrayals of the song. And just to take it one layer further, there is a remix version that came out in 2019 remixed by the house DJ Kygo who has Venus-Jupiter, and you hear the Venus-Jupiter in a lot of his music. He’s also Uranus-Neptune so there’s that dazzling element there. But there’s a very uplifting quality to how he creates his music and I think that fits the Venus-Jupiter as well. Like you feel happy, you feel joyful, it’s upbeat. So he does this great remix of Whitney Houston singing Higher Love. And so, putting it all together, her voice is carrying the Venus-Neptune, his remix is carrying the Venus-Jupiter and that all adds back up to Steve Winwood’s natal of Venus-Jupiter-Neptune, who originally wrote the song. I just loved seeing that chain of archetypal patterns around that one song. I also just really love that one song.
CB: Yeah. I wish in episodes like this, I could play like an excerpt from it because that would be nice to hear it sometimes and I know sometimes that’s a good way to connect with some of these things in terms of music is to actually hear it and have that visceral experience.
BT: Well, maybe we can recommend the different songs that have been mentioned unless I can send the listeners and the viewers off to watch or listen to these various songs after to get a more encompassing musical visual experience, whether it’s the Beyonce song or this remix of Higher Love or some of the others that we mentioned in Venus-Saturn or Venus-Pluto.
CB: Yeah. In Venus-Jupiter, the two benefics is traditionally viewed as like a positive or a lucky aspect, lucky in different ways. One of the ways that that’s sometimes been reinterpreted or pointed out in modern times just thinking back to your first example of that about like the hotel room, one of the downsides can be like overindulgence is sometimes stated to be a potential downfall with Venus or a potential challenging point where it can have negative manifestations and that was one of the things that we started to see I think a little bit of in Abu Ma’shar.
BT: Absolutely. Overindulgence, I’m spending too much money can definitely be an issue there or coveting things that you can’t maybe afford or don’t really need where that Jupiterian side becomes too much. Whenever either I have a personal transit of Venus-Jupiter or it’s in the world transits, I always find that I’m like, “Oh, how did I just spend all that money? All right. There’s that alignment.”
CB: Right. Or that makes me think also of being overly generous, for example, let’s say.
BT: Yeah, yeah, that’s another good example. Overly generous and then suddenly you realize you can’t sustain that, the bubble bursts.
CB: Okay, so that’s Venus-Jupiter, Venus-Saturn we’ve talked about and that’s an interesting contrast, of course, because Saturn is the opposite of Jupiter in many ways and so that could be the other side of that which would be like being overly, let’s say, stingy could be like a Venus-Saturn downfall type component.
BT: Certainly, yeah, yeah, where it’s like the scrooge figure of withholding the gift or withholding the money owed or something like that.
CB: Right. Whereas maybe the positive manifestation or more constructive would be getting the thing after you’ve completed the task or something like that.
BT: Totally. Or something of value because Venus relates to what we value, something of value that endures through time. I’ve seen Venus-Saturn individuals will be drawn toward beautiful things that are old like antiques or family heirlooms, something that’s been passed down, maybe not having very much in the home. The Marie Kondo is a great example of Venus-Saturn stripping things away so you only have what gives you joy.
CB: Yeah, so aesthetic beauty through simplicity or through taking things down to just the bare essentials.
BT: And then really taking care of those essentials or really making sure those essentials are beautiful and practical. That feels like a very Venus-Saturn dynamic, too.
CB: Yeah, so form and function as to components. I was thinking about that also when you’re mentioning Mars because you were talking about how does it look, but also what does it do and that notion of doing is more of a Mars thing.
BT: Right, absolutely. How do you put that into action? How do you put that into motion? For sure.
CB: Right. Okay. We’re getting to some really good Venus-Saturn stuff. I’m not sure if there’s anything else to mention there before we move on to the next combinations.
BT: Well, I think because we naturally dove into this by talking about Venus-Saturn, maybe it is Saturn’s nature, isn’t it? To either be cut off short or to go on way too long about it taking too much time.
CB: Okay. Let’s see, so Venus-Uranus combinations you mentioned in passing but sometimes Uranus can be like that which is unique or sort of eccentric or avant-garde. So Venus-Uranus combinations can relate to that in terms of a person’s aesthetic interests.
BT: Absolutely. In terms of contemporary artists or musicians, someone who comes to mind for me is Lady Gaga and how much she has really experimented with her clothing, with her style and that she takes eccentric to the edge of unusual, and whether it’s showing up in a meat dress or in just something… Venus-Uranus is an expression of beauty or style or taste that has leaped beyond what you could even conceive of someone would create or do. There can be this kind of dazzling side of it as well with Venus-Uranus where it’s unexpected or sudden. Katy Perry’s another example of a Venus-Uranus person who’s brought like a lot of unusual style into her performances or into her videos, even like her song Firework, which came out about 10 years ago. Then she performed again at the US inauguration this year, where the firework is this kind of Uranian bursting, but it’s beautiful. It is an art form and her song, in the original video of it, there’s actually fireworks bursting forth from the heart. There’s something orgasmic about it as well, which I think fits the Venusian piece here, too. Yeah, she’s another one with an extraordinary stellium.
CB: Yeah. Well, Katy Perry is my time twin cause she was born like a week before me.
BT: Oh, wow.
CB: So yeah, in another life I always joke I could have been Katy Perry and it’s like a recurring joke on the podcast. We’ll see what happens in the next life, but it’s also interesting like her first song, I remember when she first got really big just in terms of that Venus-Uranus conjunction. But it was for that song, it was like 2008 or something like that, but it was for the song, I kissed a girl and I liked it, which at the time was kind of somewhat edgy, especially cause she was coming from being a Christian singer and it was like 2008. Even presidents like Obama and Biden at the time in the 2008 election were officially against same sex marriage and would only change their minds publicly four years later during the 2012 election. So it’s interesting seeing somebody like her initially become very well-known through expressing a different take on relationships that let’s say went against the grain in what was the established norm up to that point.
BT: Yeah. Wow, we really have come far in the Uranus-Pluto era, haven’t we? What a accelerated human evolution has taken place, it’s amazing.
CB: Well, and that’s actually an issue even when it comes to some astrological texts that are a few decades old, is that sometimes there’s a whole discussion I think I had with Christopher Renstrom in very early episode of The Astrology Podcast, which is that some astrological texts from the ’60s and ’70s associated Uranus and like a Venus-Uranus aspects with same sex relationships. But we had a whole discussion about whether that was like an inherent property or if it was just because Venus-Uranus aspects are supposed to represent something that’s different compared to whatever the cultural norm is at the time and whether that would continue to be true, that that would be true or whether that would only be true contextually like 40 or 50 years ago or something like that, but that it sort of ceases to be as relevant as society sort of grows and changes.
BT: I mean, that’s so relevant to Uranus placements in general because they seem to express through whatever is going to be cutting edge for the culture at that time. So yeah, I can see how that would be valid in that time but no longer necessarily being applicable. Now Venus-Uranus, the baby born now with Venus-Uranus, that’s going to be expressed totally differently. But I’m sure they will find how to love in a way that nobody expected or how to express their beauty or their style in a way that is different than ever came through before.
CB: Right, or uniqueness is like another good term for Uranus and Venus-Uranus aspects and there’s something being unique in some way about not just the aesthetics but also relationships in a person’s life.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah.
CB: Uranus also speeds things up and it can be sometimes very quick and very unstable. I think Uranus sometimes has a reputation for, and sometimes I know Venus-Uranus combinations in modern astrology can have a reputation for things that spring up very quickly. But sometimes don’t have as much long-term staying power as let’s say like a Venus-Saturn aspect.
BT: Right. Yeah, with Venus-Uranus and relationship you know, if someone is in a long-term committed relationship and has Venus-Uranus, there can often be the need for just new kinds of experiences or excitement to be shared within the relationship so that things don’t get stale. Routine within relationship can be very dull or very boring for the Venus-Uranus person. So being able to adventure together, being able to do different things and try new things, whether that’s sexually or creatively or in terms of travel or having more independence, more freedom within the relationship whether that’s from the relationship or within the relationship obviously is going to depend on that particular person and their relational dynamics. But yeah, really recognizing that that’s an aspect that doesn’t necessarily want to be confined or isn’t comfortable with that in a relationship.
CB: Yeah. That’s a great the desire for freedom and freedom of movement in relationships, whatever that means is relative to that person or societal norms or whatever that means for that person that just being sort of tantamount to them is just the notion of freedom in their relationships.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense.
CB: Okay, great. All right, I think that’s good for Venus-Uranus. Venus-Neptune, I know you mentioned briefly in passing already.
BT: Yeah, Venus-Neptune that aesthetic or way of relating, it is very much the romantic idealist and that there’s a sacredness, I think that can be brought in to an understanding of love or an understanding of romance. It’s like a longing for the fairy tale romance or the idealized lover beloved. And with that, some of the shadow side of Neptune can be illusion or delusion, confusion, where you can project an ideal, where you can project your own soul or the divine onto the beloved which can sometimes be devastating, shattering for the Venus-Neptune person going through that experience.
CB: Right, so idealizing a person, but maybe prematurely and not seeing them for what they are and then when that illusion is shattered, there being a sense of not taking it very well.
BT: Yes, exactly like having to see the human flaws of the beloved. I think it can go the other way too, where the Venus-Neptune person might be more likely to merge or flow into being the ideal of the person they’re with and so then they’re not seeing either necessarily. Then there’s this recognition of maybe having diluted themselves or diluted the other in order to fit this perfect exquisite angelic image. That’s kind of jumping in with some of the shadow side, but I mean, it also can be a kind of love that we’re speaking about with a song like a higher love, a transcendent love, bringing in the sacred, the religious, the spiritual into relationship and seeing that as kind of its highest value aesthetically. I mean, this really can come through in terms of ethereal or other worldly or transcendent quality. One of my favorite examples of a Venus-Neptune person as J.R.R. Tolkien the Lord of the Rings and you can see the Venus-Neptune expressed in in the elves, for example. He has it in this beautiful grand trine with the Neptune-Pluto conjunction at the top, that very rare conjunction, and then grand trine to Saturn. He was someone being a Saturn who waited agonizingly for the woman that he loved and then they were together up until her death and he passed just two years later. But he had this very mythic view of her, which is more of the Venus-Neptune and you see that in the romances in his stories, which interestingly for a Venus-Pluto person, they’re not very visceral or he’s kind of known for not having sex or anything like that in his stories. But you get more of the Venus-Neptune kind of transcendent love, sacred love expressed in his stories, but very much that aesthetic too, anyone who’s connected to the world of middle earth. And especially the Elven Realms, that’s Venus-Neptune, or a fairy tale aesthetic where it’s like fairies, mermaids, sylphs, nymphs, butterflies, that all kind of carries that Venus-Neptune element, I think.
CB: Yeah. So Venus-Neptune has more of an idealistic or sometimes spiritual or transcendent quality. That’s really funny point cause he has a very close Venus-Neptune trine in this chart between Venus at nine, Aquarius versus Neptune at six, Gemini. But that’s a really funny contrast cause that is commented on a lot recently, especially in contrast with more recent fantasy writers like George Martin and the Game of Thrones and being very much more focused on more, let’s say Venus-Mars type writing of sex and sexuality and that being much more front and center for the focus versus Venus-Neptune, which is much more the transcendent non-material quality.
BT: They’re really opposites there where Tolkien has the grand trine with Venus-Saturn. Saturn also kind of more the conservative view on it, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto there as well. He certainly brings the plutonic in just in other forms throughout the Lord of the Rings, where it’s very much showing up in terms of the mythic expression of the dark lord and all of that. Could talk forever about that since that’s my area of expertise, but contrasting Tolkien to Martin who has a Venus, Mars, Pluto T-square, I believe.
CB: Yes. So it’s like he’s actually Taurus rising, so Venus is actually really in the Ascendant, but it’s conjunct Pluto and it’s a very closely square Mars in Scorpio, which is at 11 degrees of Scorpio squaring Venus at 12 Leo.
BT: So, not a T-square, but yeah, Venus-Pluto conjunction square Mars, totally see that in his style of writing. And then of course the films or the series that was made based on that, quite a contrast for sure.
CB: Yeah, all right. So let’s see. So that’s Venus-Neptune, and also just Venus-Neptune is being a tremendous wealth of creativity and the ability to create entire worlds. Yeah, I think that’s another good manifestation of Venus-Neptune and to bring something other worldly or transcendent into this world through creative and artistic expression as a really core Venus-Neptune concept.
BT: Absolutely. I mean, Neptune as imagination itself or the idea of an imaginal realm as a kind of intermediate or transcendent realm that we can experience not physically, not in a tangible way, but through meditative practices or through spiritual or religious practices that can take us to those places. And then art Venus as art being the translator of those visions, those dreams, those fantasies into this realm in an exquisite form. Another example of a Venus-Neptune person, actually, this kind of covers several of our different combinations is the romantic poet, John Keats. He has a stellium of Sun, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and he said in one of his letters, there’s holiness to the heart’s affections and that is Venus-Neptune. There’s the holiness to the heart’s affections. And also on his tombstone it was written the words, “Here lies one whose name is as writ in water, and you can see the Sun, the reference to the name again Mercury that writ, but as in water that the Neptunian ephemeral just passes by, fades back into the all, the everything, the oneness that Neptune is.
CB: I love that. All right and the very last combination that we haven’t touched on is Venus-Pluto combinations.
BT: Probably my favorite example of, I mentioned Janis Joplin, you know, take another little piece of my heart. That song, by the way, she didn’t write that was written by Erma Franklin, the older sister of Aretha Franklin. Erma Franklin also has Venus-Pluto. So the writer of the song and then the most famous singer of the song both have Venus-Pluto.
CB: Wait, Aretha does?
BT: Erma Franklin, her older sister, has Venus-Pluto, and she wrote that song which Janis Joplin sang. But probably my favorite example of Venus-Pluto is Frida Kahlo. And she has Venus-Pluto square to Saturn. And seeing it through her art which… Venus-Pluto, it’s intense, it’s extreme, it’s raw, it’s visceral, but it’s also beautiful. It’s also artistic. Like Venus with Mars, Venus with Pluto I think really carries that deeply erotic expression. She had such an intense dynamic relationship with Diego Rivera and both artists, both heartbreakers and both having relationships, affairs outside their marriage deeply intense dynamics, I think really fits the Venus-Pluto element. And then how she painted her pain and experience, this speaks to the Venus-Saturn as well, you know, physical pain that she was in kind of being confined into her body after the bus accident she was in as a young woman. But yeah, I mean, just when we sit and look at her artwork, which is often so just exposing and raw and visceral, there’s one painting of her… She painted a number of paintings around her miscarriage, and I think there’s one also, if I’m remembering correctly for birthing herself and just that the experience of birth, the cycles of birth, sex, and death, the death rebirth mystery. These are all expressions of Pluto and putting that into art finding the beauty of that even when that beauty is raw and messy and sometimes even like disgusting biological, that’s very much I think a Venus-Pluto expression. But it’s so deep, it’s so kind of primal love that cuts to the core.
CB: Yeah. And just intensity and Venus already being about desire and attraction and Pluto just taking whatever it touches to the utmost extreme, which can be like in, well, let’s say, positive manifestation in like literature could be like Romeo and Juliet type situation where you’re just like willing to die for a person in, let’s say, a romantic sense of just being willing to take things to that extreme. But then also the negative manifestation can sometimes be something similar in terms of taking things too extreme or the obsessive or sort of compulsive component, which can sometimes manifest in relationships in a more let’s say negative way of being overly obsessed or unwilling to let go in some way.
BT: Yeah. Absolutely. The possessive element that Pluto could bring in, or that as you said, obsessive expression as well definitely, there can certainly be problematic sides of Venus-Pluto. And there can be such deep, extraordinary transformative sides when it’s held in a container, that mutual transformation through love, that impulse to go really deep with another person.
CB: Right, perfect. All right, so let’s go ahead and jump into our next set of passages and our next excerpt. The last one was from the ninth century astrologer Abu Ma’shar, but now we’re going to jump forward several centuries to the first major textbook on astrology that was written in English in England in the year 1647. And that’s William Lily’s book, Christian Astrology. So in book one, he has some basics on the significations of the planets. And interestingly, it’s structured a little bit better because he talks about the general nature of Venus, but then also talks about people signified and what Venus indicates when it’s well-placed in the chart versus what it indicates when it’s poorly placed. So we start to get even more nuances than some of the previous texts introduced. All right, so let me share the passage and do you want to go ahead and read this one?
BT: Gladly. All right, so Venus nature, feminine, nocturnal, temperately cold and moist, the lesser fortune, author of mirth and jollity, people signified are musicians, gamestars, silk men, mercers, linen drapers, painters, jewelers, players, lapidaries, embroiderers, women tailors, wives, mothers, virgins, choristers, fiddlers, pipers. When joined with the Moon, singers, perfumers, seamesters, picture drawers, gravers, upholsters, limners, glovers, all as sell those commodities which adorn women either in body as clothes or in face as complexion waters, manners when well dignified. Venus signifies a quiet man, not given to law, quarrel or wrangling, not a vitious, pleasant, neat and spruce, loving mirth in his words and actions, clean in apparel, rather drinking much than gluttonous, prone to venery, often entangled in love matters, zealous in their affections, musical, delighting in baths and all honest merry meetings or masks and stage plays, easy of belief and not given to labor or taking any pains, a company keeper, cheerful, nothing mistrustful, a right virtuous man or woman often had in some jealousy yet no cause for it. Manners when badly placed, when Venus is ill placed, then the man is riotous, expensive, wholly given to looseness and lewd companies of women, not regarding his reputation, coveting unlawful beds, incestuous, an adulterer, fanatical, a mere skipjack of no faith, no repute, no credit, spending his means in ill houses, taverns and amongst scandalous loose people, a mean lazy companion, not careful of the things of this life or anything religious, a mere atheist and natural man.
CB: Nice. I love it. So that is–
BT: It’s great.
CB: We are now firmly in like 17th century England at this point.
BT: That’s fantastic. I learned a lot of words from these passages.
CB: Okay. Well, please inform me because I am not… What is a limner? Do you have any idea?
BT: A limner is someone who-
CB: Google this?
BT: I looked this up the other day.
CB: So it’s a painter, especially of portraits or miniatures.
BT: Yes. Yeah, so that one definitely surprised me. The lapidary, lap comes from lapis meaning if you think of like the lapis philosophorum, the philosopher’s stone is someone who works with stones or gems, carving them. Let’s see.
CB: Yeah. I hesitate to like Google all of these live. I don’t know what a skipjack is, for example.
BT: I think a skipjack is just someone who can’t be relied on. They skip out on being there.
CB: Okay, that makes sense.
BT: Let’s see, mercer, it’s between silk men and linen drapers. It’s someone who sells fabrics. Let’s see what else we have. Chorister, someone who sings or leads a choir and a seamster is just simply an archaic form of seamster.
CB: Oh yeah, like a seamstress.
BT: Exactly. A graver, I figured it was like an engraver, but I actually didn’t look that one up.
CB: Yeah, probably engraver because it’s right in between it’s like seamstress, picture drawers, gravers and then upholsters.
BT: Right. Glover, I mean, that makes sense, someone who’s making gloves. And let’s see, the manners when well dignified saying not vitious, meaning they’re not cruel or it’s similar to vicious, but I guess it’s actually a different word, probably is what gave birth to our word vicious.
CB: Okay. Something like that. [inaudible 2.26.51] oh, not vicious. Okay. It’s a fancy spelling of vicious. So it’s just the opposite of opposite of being vicious. Yeah.
CB: Got it, that makes sense cause it’s in between like pleasant and neat and spruce.
BT: Right, and then I thought that was so interesting, rather drinking much than glutinous, which made me wonder if that would be contrasted with Jupiter where the gluttonous might be more of a Jupiterian fault where drinking too much is more of a neuson fault.
CB: And that last one actually going back, I was just thinking of a good term. One of the things that he’s saying here is that Venus, one of the things that does actually come up is that Venus is polite and Venus would be like a person with a prominent Venus where politeness or let’s say decorum would be sort of important to them or would be more front and center, as opposed to the opposite. If you think of somebody, let’s say, it’s like a prominent Mars or something, then politeness is usually like one of the last things that they’re sort of thinking about or sometimes like the impolite person says the first thing that comes to mind, even if it’s not a nice thing to say or something like that.
BT: Right. Yes. Now that makes perfect sense. You know, we can think of it like with Mercury-Venus, for example, can be the honeyed tongue or the silver tongue depending on whether you’re just kind of being kind or sweet to someone or the silver tongue being more maybe manipulative in relationship to someone like, “Oh, we can be very harmonious and pleasant,” but maybe it’s actually not to the best interest of the person you’re talking to.
CB: Right. Or a Mercury-Venus can also be like clever or have a way with words, whereas a Mercury-Mars might be a different type of humor could be crudeness like saying something crude would be more of a Mars type approach aesthetically.
BT: Totally. Yeah. That makes sense.
CB: All right. Let’s see back to this. So I mean, one of the things that’s interesting here, of course, that maybe Lily is spelling out a little bit more that might’ve been a little bit more implicit is he’s making a distinction instead of just putting them all together in a single paragraph of when Venus is, he says, well dignified, which could mean a number of different things. But let’s just say generically well-placed or prominent in some way versus when the planet is badly placed or is afflicted in some way in terms of how the expression of the planet is sort of experienced or how it manifests in a person’s life. This just going back to the notion that different Venus placements, depending on the condition of Venus in the chart are going to manifest in different ways different parts of the archetype.
BT: Yeah, absolutely. I really appreciate the kind of separating out that he’s done here in the manners when badly placed are definitely amusing, I guess you could say to read.
CB: Yeah. One of the things that’s funny is that the religious component, I didn’t realize the religious component kind of carried through a little bit, all the way into 17th century astrology in Lily, because he contrasts, in the negative ones, he starts talking about when Venus is poorly placed the person being an atheist or being not religious in some way.
BT: Yeah. It is really interesting how that keeps being a consistent theme and how maybe in connecting it to some of these really core themes of Venus, like love or devotion as we’ve been talking about that that’s where religious expression is such a… It is an expression of love, a love for God or a love of the divine. And so not having that would lead one then to be an atheist or a natural man, as said here.
CB: Yeah. And it’s interesting, at least in modern Astrology, I think we tend to associate Jupiter more with religion and one’s religious belief or philosophy and it’s interesting just seeing more of the religious component in some of the older traditional texts with Venus.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah. That was an eye-opening one for me definitely.
CB: Let’s see the right or virtuous man or woman and that issue. That’s really interesting and tricky component of some of the traditional taxes, the notion of virtue and that which is virtuous and whatever societaly counts for virtuous conduct as opposed to essentially the opposite.
BT: Well, here we’re getting into one of the Socratic dialogues that Plato wrote out where, you know, how do you identify virtue? What is virtue? What is a virtuous person? So it’s a conversation that’s been had for a long time.
CB: Right. All right. Let’s see. Is there anything else that’s new or worth dwelling on before we move on to some more recent or more modern astrological authors? [2.32.20]
BT: Well, I do find interesting the masks and stage plays. It’s another art form or performance being brought in here that we’ve seen a lot of emphasis on music and painting. And of course, clothing, so much of a focus on clothing and the people signified silk men, mercers, linen drapers, but I thought that was interesting with masks and stage plays players in the people signified players then would have referred to what we would call as actors now. And so the performative element of Venus, yeah, I find that quite interesting.
CB: Yeah, definitely. And one other mentions perfumers, which I thought was interesting, cause that came up in the last two, the notion of that which smells good or like good smelling things. And that being contrast of course with the opposite, which is like bad smelling things. And again, just benefic, malefic contrast of like Venus being good smelling things in perfumes versus Mars or Saturn indicating bad smelling things.
BT: Perfume, it’s the original love potion. So it makes sense in this placement and also that mention later on delighting and baths and how that connected to cleanliness and the other ones.
CB: Right. Yeah. All right, I like that. All right, I think then we are now going to transition into 20th century astrologers. One of the earliest of which that I wanted to mention that I’ve been using for this entire series, cuz I’ve just been using the same authors for the entire series is Reinhold Ebertin and his book The Combination of Stellar Influences, which was published in 1940 in German originally. But this is from a English translation published by the AFA that ended up being very influential and influenced a number of later 20th century authors. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to mention it.
BT: It was one of my first astrological texts that I had.
CB: Nice. When did you start with it?
BT: I started with it in 2010 was the beginning of my seriously getting into astrology. And my dad was the one who turned me toward it and so this was one of his big texts that influenced him. And so it was on the, you must have this list.
CB: Yeah. Ebertin was hugely influential, especially for a number of like English or English speaking authors in the second half of the 20th century. And I know both your father, as well as Rob Hand and a number of other astrologers who were very influenced by it.
BT: It’s so concise. You just pop it in your pocket, you’re set
CB: Yeah, exactly. You really can’t beat that, it is not wordy. I think definitely that’s a pro of this book. So he breaks it into different categories. There’s four different categories. One of them at the start, it just says the principle of Venus is love and art. For psychological correspondences, positive ones, which are physical attraction, feeling, a sense of harmony, beauty and art, a positive outlook or attitude towards life. Then the negative psychological correspondences are sexual aberration, sentimentality, a want of taste, heedlessness and vice. Then biological correspondence are glanular products, kidneys, and veins, and then sociological correspondence intellectual, a young girl or maiden. Actually, I wonder if that’s a typo, but that’s a typo.
BT: It’s maybe handover for Mercury.
CB: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Sociological correspondence, a young girl or maiden sweetheart, or mistress, people who are connected with centers of art or centers of entertainment. So that is definitely more concise than our last three authors.
BT: You could just take all of upper teams categories and then take all of the previous authors and divide up what they’ve said and just put them into all of his categories, very neatly. And with the principal just love and art, it really does in some ways kind of boil down to that love and art or love and beauty. Yeah, it’s so wonderfully clear.
CB: Yeah, definitely. I thought it was funny, interesting. Sentimentality is a negative one, like being overly sentimental is kind of interesting to think about as a negative trait.
BT: Yeah, absolutely. There’s like a saccharin quality that could be a negative Venus expression. Like we’ve been talking about sweetness, but when sweet becomes a little too much and like, what is that?
CB: Right or like movies where they’re trying too hard to pull on some sort of sentimentality or something like that, but it’s not really working or they’re not doing it very well and not like a genuine way.
BT: Absolutely. You know, in films where it’s the, as we call it, the fairytale ending where you’re like okay, well, what happens after the kiss or after the wedding? Well, then there’s the rest of life. That’s why we need a whole pantheon of archetypes to help us understand them.
CB: Yeah, and I like the next one as well, a want of taste. So tastelessness or saying like the other side we hadn’t necessarily talked about because it’s a little tricky because obviously that’s very subjective, but what is tasteful versus what is tasteless. And if you can create a category like that you know, positive versus negative manifestations of taste.
BT: Yeah. I mean, it’s as subjective as what do we each find beautiful or what do we each find attractive. Taste is subjective.
CB: Right. And then finally vice which nicely kind of summarizes a bunch of the individual significations and some of the number of the other earlier traditional authors were mentioning. But again, coming down to two issues or questions of like, what is a vice or what are vices or like indulgences and what is overindulgence in something versus what is an appropriate level of indulgence?
BT: Yeah, absolutely [inaudible] really fitting.
CB: Yeah. All right. Well actually, let me mention something really quickly in connection with that, which would be gambling, for example. So let’s say there’s a positive, let’s say just hypothetically manifestation of gambling occasionally or something like that. As let’s say a game and something done for enjoyment versus let’s say there’s unhealthy addiction to gambling where it’s something that’s taking over, like ruining a person’s life or something like that. As a modern day, let’s say, example of a vice, where there’s not too much of a judgment call that’s being put on that, but it’s more just something that’s either done for enjoyment or something that’s done in a way that the person doesn’t even enjoy it anymore, but they’re just doing it almost, let’s say compulsively.
BT: Definitely. That makes me think of the contrast you brought in going back to William Lily, where one of the people signified the second one listed after musicians as gamesters and gamesters are those who will make money at playing games. So, as you’re saying, it could go either way, whether it’s a vice or I guess, a pleasure or even a gift. I’m thinking of, I got really into watching the show, The Queen’s Gambit, if you’ve seen it. I ended up watching it twice and reading the book as well. She is a great example of both simultaneously extraordinary chess player and therefore kind of a gamester, as we’re talking about someone who makes money from the skill of playing chess, but then her vice is addiction to alcohol, to pills. So she’s kind of holding both simultaneously.
CB: That’s actually a good sort of transition, but one of my favorite examples, here’s a good one. Chess player, Garry Kasparov, who actually has Sagittarius rising and has Jupiter in the fifth whole sign house which is actually two things we haven’t mentioned so far. One, traditionally the fifth house being the house associated with Venus and that is said to be the joy of Venus. So there’s a lot of interaction and interchange and traditional texts between things that are signified by Venus and things that are signified by the fifth house. But one of them that comes off or rubs off from Venus onto the fifth house is like games and things that are done for enjoyment.
CB: And Garry Kasparov, of course, is the world’s famous and was at one time the top chess player in the world at one point.
BT: Yeah. That’s a great example for sure. I’m glad you mentioned that Venus’ joys in the fifth house and also tying in a number of the passages we read that with the connection to mothers that were, you know, love making makes children, makes mothers, parents, and the fifth house being the house of children as well, but also in procreation, you need Venus there to make that happen.
CB: Yeah, and really a lot of significations of the fifth house in traditional texts really emanate from that association with a Venus. The longer and longer that association is around, it’s sort of the fifth house just keeps getting more Venus significations basically.
BT: Yeah, makes sense.
CB: Venus, or the fifth house, it was called the place of good fortune and it was associated with the concept of fortune and with physical incarnation, because it’s one of the houses that are below the horizon in the sphere of the earth, which gives it more of a physical component compared to the houses that are above the horizon, which were associated with the realm of spirits and the intellect and the mind. So that’s another sort of fifth house component.
BT: There we are back with the strength of the body, weakness of the soul dichotomy as well.
CB: The whole spirit matter or spirit, body distinction that was so strong in ancient astrology.
CB: All right. So let’s see, going back to that, now we’re going to get to some more recent authors. The next one is Steven Forrest and his book, The Inner Sky, which was published in 1988. I think I’ve only used this in the past one episode, but it’s also a pretty good summary of like late 20th century views on astrology and where things started going. I think, is it your turn? Do you want to go?
CB: Actually, I think I should do this one because then you can read the next passage.
CB: Last author.
CB: Okay. All right. So Steven Forrest, he breaks it into three categories. The first one is the function of Venus. He says, there is restoration of equilibrium to the shattered sensitivity, the stabilization of a network of supportive emotional bonds, the development of the capacity to make an aesthetic response. The dysfunction of Venus is indolence, manipulativeness, vanity, spinelessness, chronic abandonment to sensuality. Finally, the key question of Venus is, how can I calm down? What do I need in a partner? What can I bring to a relationship? So we see at this point that we’ve taken a pretty major shift more towards psychological and sort of character orientation in terms of Venus, in terms of the way that it’s being described and talked about and especially, in terms of the questions about what the person needs in their life and in terms of relationships.
BT: Yeah. It feels like this one really stands on a lot of what we’ve already read. It’s almost assuming behind it, the understanding of love and relationship and attraction and sexuality and so on. And yeah, those key questions are quite interesting that the second two make a lot of sense, what do I need in a partner is a really important Venusian question, and what can I bring to a relationship? So it’s looking at your side of the equation and how one needs to be met in relationality. I find the first question quite interesting, how can I calm down? Actually, I brought all the way back to that to the lungs in Valens of that deep breathing that calms us. But how can I calm down coming more into a harmonious, easeful, relaxed, pleasurable state as opposed to being agitated or something like that, which would, I guess, be more motion.
CB: Yeah. What can I do to relax and sort of which can see them to be like your past times, the things you do outside of work.
BT: Right, absolutely.
CB: So one of the shifts at this point is that it’s interesting when it talks about what do I need in a partner and what can I bring to a relationship? Some of the things that came up in late 20th century astrology about it not necessarily being the placement in the chart and indication of that, which will happen, but instead, sometimes more of an active process of what you’re putting out into the world. And sometimes what you’re attracting to you in some sense, which in some instances can be taken too far into an extreme of let’s say, like the secret or something like that. And the belief that you can sort of manifest anything you want in your life just by desiring or just by wanting it, or focusing your thoughts on it. But there can also be a more positive component or limited component to that of just recognizing maybe let’s say the type of people you attract in relationships, if there are sort of repeated versions of like the same thing, and maybe it’s not always a component of those people picking you, but sometimes what you’re actively attracting to you somehow, even if subconsciously.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I feel like that is really such a helpful place of when we can turn to astrology, when we can turn to our Venus placements, if we find ourselves caught in particular repetitive relational patterns of okay, how do I break this pattern and getting to know what the placements are that stand behind those patterns. Then asking ourselves, how can I redirect that same energy, but towards something that’s more life enhancing or that feels healthier, that feels more balanced. So it’s kind of like a relationship diagnosis or something like that to help us for see the pattern and then break it. Yeah.
CB: Yeah. And not that, I don’t know, not that if a person does sort of attract certain types of relationships, not that that’s necessarily always a person’s fault because it may very well not be, but it’s interesting thinking about one of the things that’s interesting is sometimes, especially in younger people’s charts, the Venus placements sometimes describing something that they don’t want or identify with initially, but at different points in a person’s life. A person might identify with their Venus placement more strongly, or there might be aspects of a person’s Venus placement and what they want or need in relationships being different at different points in their life. And sometimes that can be through just different variations of the same archetypes being activated at different points in time.
BT: Absolutely. I mean, I can certainly attest to that personally, just seeing my own Venus placements and how they came through earlier in my life and it totally fit with those placements and then realizing that those expressions might not have been working and then seeking something else out that also happens to fit those same placements, but creatively turns them in a really different orientation. I’m sure, that will continue to grow and evolve. I think we’re meant to grow with our charts throughout our whole lives. We don’t ever arrive. The seed keeps growing.
CB: Yeah. It keeps growing and developing and there’s different branches that like sprout off or shoot off in different directions than you might’ve anticipated initially and a lot of that is just different. It’s both maturing sort of in growing as an individual and having one’s Venus placement mature, but also having things like the transits and experiencing different transits to Venus where you might have, let’s say a Jupiter transit one year, or you might have a Saturn transit another year, or even a Uranus transit that comes in and shakes things up with one’s a Venus placement. But then also secondary progressions and sometimes Venus can station retrograde or station direct at different points in a person’s life showing important turning point, for example.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s really interesting if someone is born with a Venus either retrograde or stationed, and especially if it’s early in a sign, how it can be in that sign for so long throughout their life, and then at some moment, maybe quite late in life, when it changes signs. There’s suddenly this whole other opening up in terms of relationships or in terms of how one loves or how one expresses themselves aesthetically and so on.
CB: Yeah, for sure. Different phases and different chapters in a person’s life with respect to relationships or even secondary progressed Venus making aspects to other planets describing different periods or different episodes in a person’s life with respect to relationships that may be notable in some way.
BT: Yeah, absolutely.
CB: Yeah. All right, so let’s move on to our last one. So this is from the last one I’ve been using this. I didn’t just like pull this quote out for hearsay, but I’ve been using this just because I thought it was a very good Richard Tarnas Cosmos and Psyche, which was published in 2006 was kind of a good summation of a lot of the astrological tradition when it came to describing the significations of the planets in one of the first chapters of the book. Although one of the things I noticed I thought was interesting and I don’t know necessarily what to make of it, but that the passage on Venus is actually shorter than any of the other passages for other planets, which I thought was interesting.
BT: Yeah, it is curious, especially because he is known for long languorous sentences and paragraphs and books and Mercury-Jupiter will do that. Mercury, Venus, Jupiter will do that.
CB: Right. Yeah. It is not a short book and the passage on Mercury I think is like super long. But this is Venus and I think part of it is just being able to summarize, as we were saying, some of those core principles in some way, in a way that’s maybe easier to summarize than some of the other planets, perhaps.
BT: Absolutely. Well, should read it?
BT: Okay. The principle of desire, love, beauty, value, the impulse and capacity to attract and be attracted to love and be loved, to seek and create beauty and harmony, to engage in social and romantic relations, sensuous pleasure, artistic and aesthetic experience, the principle of arrows and the beautiful aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, really it’s concise. It’s very much to the point.
CB: Yeah. I mean that pretty much sums up most of what we’ve just spent the past three hours talking about pretty well. I almost wish we had run through and just done the passages really quickly at the beginning, because that would have been a great starting point, but instead we’ve sort of come full circle at this point back to where we started in some ways.
BT: Absolutely. And just on a personal note, this is where I started too. This was my first understanding of what Venus is, and so each of these words, as descriptors of Venus is just deeply familiar. And I think as you say, coming full circle can be seen and everything we’ve talked about or everything I’ve contributed has very much influenced my view and understanding of Venus.
CB: Yeah, and I think we can see how this has remained remarkably consistent actually throughout the astrological tradition going. You know, we started in the second century CE and now we’ve come all the way up until the year 2006. And yet astrologers have been saying some very similar things at this point for about 2000 years now.
BT: Yeah. It’s like, if you took everything we read and you boiled it down to reduction, like a culinary reduction and here it is [laughs] cooked down to the essence.
CB: Yeah. Is there anything here we haven’t touched on or dwelt on at this point or anything that’s different or, I mean, I guess this really is more just summarizing where we’ve come to at this point?
BT: You know, the one thing that I will just mention is that the word social, because we’ve been focusing a lot on the romantic, we have talked about friendship and companionship, but how social really encompasses all of that social relations and that Venus does have that connection to our social relations and that it isn’t maybe just a heart connection, but those we keep harmony with, those we keep companionship with. So I think maybe that’s the one word [laughs]that we hadn’t said thus far.
CB: Yeah, that’s great. And that also caught my eye as well, because we’ve all, or in some ways over the past year, since the pandemic, we’ve all had a crash course in the thing that people always said, but it became much more clear last year, which is that idea that humans are social creatures and that social interactions are actually a very important part of having a healthy life. And the deprive, being deprived of social connections with other human beings is actually something that’s often experienced as painful or harmful or just not pleasant for humans in general. And of course, obviously there’s ways in which that can be inverted and people can feel awkward in social situations or not have a good time in social situations, let’s say, but for the most part having some sort of social interaction with other humans is something that’s like a core need for everybody on some level.
BT: Yeah. We need each other. I’m thinking of the Beatles song, like All You Need is Love and well, I think we do need more than just love. We absolutely need love and therefore we absolutely need Venus in our lives in whatever particular form Venus takes for each of us. That, that is a fundamental need, to be loved, to be connected, to be able to commune through the heart is essential.
CB: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense and yeah, and there’s many different ways in which a person can find that either in terms of love or in terms of relationships. Relationship being a very broad category and also being something connected to the seventh house as well, but there’s certainly overlaps there between Venus and the seventh house and where we meet the other in our life and how that’s contrasted with the self and the ways in which sometimes one only finds oneself through the other.
BT: Absolutely. Yeah. Venus really reflects that to us and yeah, that mirroring.
CB: All right. Well, I’m wondering if that’s a pretty perfect stopping point. So I’m trying to think if there’s anything else we should mention or that we’re going to regret not mentioning. I think you did write a passage related to Venus that’s connected to something you wrote that’s like a homage to the planets, right?
BT: Yeah. And this is even briefer than the last piece that we read. This comes out of a longer kind of poetic homage that I wrote coming out of a very profound kind of experiential encounter. This was at the very beginning of my astrological journey and it was a kind of meeting of the planets, like this is who we are. I’ve never been able to see the world without them since, you know, being able to kind of see through that astrological lens. And so this is just the line on Venus and you can see tingings of my own biased perspective here as a Venus-Neptune person, for example, and a couple other things. But this is how I–
CB: Did we mention anything about your chart at this point? Because that was actually part of why we did this episode because you fit in with part of my attempt to have some continuity in this episode of people that match the rising sign of the planet we were talking about.
BT: We hadn’t mentioned that. Yes, I have Taurus rising in my chart.
CB: That is your credentials that we should have mentioned as your street cred for the beginning of this episode primarily.
BT: Perfect. Yes, I have Taurus rising and have a lot of Venus aspects in my chart too, just planetary aspects. So Venus is part of a stellium with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and then that’s trine to Jupiter and it’s sextile to Mars as well.
CB: Do you want to show it? I give everyone the option. You don’t have to, but it’s up to you if you’re just describing it.
BT: Sure. I mean, we don’t need to take up too much time with it, but I don’t mind showing it.
CB: Okay. Let me see if I can pull it up. Okay. So, and this is an accurate birth time?
BT: 4:17 PM?
CB: Are you sure? Is there any questionability about whether it could be ambiguous birth time?
BT: There is absolutely no question whatsoever. It’s on the birth certificate, my mother likes to tell the story about how she looked at me, looked at the clock, looked back at me. And so she knew exactly I’m sure my dad was looking exactly at that as well. We’re timed down to the second in my family.
CB: Nice. That is one of the great advantages of having astrologer or astrology adjacent parents is having an accurate birth time.
BT: Yes, it is. I actually shared this story very briefly on Twitter a few months ago that when my dad drew up my chart for the first time, which was probably within the first 24 to 48 hours of my existence, he’s drawing it up and my mom was there and he just says, “Uh-oh,” and she’s like, “What? Why are you saying uh-oh?” And he says, “She has an aspected Sun.” And my mom was just like, “Aspect it to something.” Then from there, my dad had to go on to learn about midpoints because I have a lot of midpoints to my Sun even though it doesn’t make a major aspect to any other planets.
CB: Okay. I’m going to put together a list, but that’s going to be in the top 10 things like not to say after you’ve looked at somebody’s chart is uh-oh, it’s going to be in like the top three I’m want to say.
BT: Yes, especially when it’s your newborn daughter.
CB: Right. We’ll have to do a separate episode on like chart reading etiquette.
BT: That’s actually a really important episode.
CB: Yeah. Actually, no, no, I think about that. That was just a joke, but that would actually be a good episode.
BT: Absolutely, etiquette and ethics in astrology.
CB: Definitely. All right, so back to the chart, just describing it for the audio listeners, you have 24 Taurus rising. So Venus is the ruler of the Ascendant and it’s located at 28 degrees of Sagittarius in the eighth whole sign house. I’m not sure what house it’s in quadrant-wise. Do you know? Of course you know.
BT: It’s still in the Eighth house. Yeah.
CB: Okay. Let’s see, it’s conjunct to Uranus at 25 Sag and Saturn at 21 Sag and as part of a broader Sag stellium with the Sun earlier in the sign at four degrees of Sagittarius. So that is the notorious unaspected Sun?
BT: That is the notorious unaspected Sun, it does make it 10 degrees off of the Descendant and then it’s at a bunch of midpoints. Some are more exact than others. The Mars-Neptune midpoint is exact to the minute actually, and then it’s at the midpoint of Venus with Pluto, Uranus with Pluto, and then a little more broadly the Mercury-Saturn midpoint.
CB: Yeah. Well, and it’s like almost exactly sextile the Midheaven, which actually in like ancient astrology was a major mitigating factor for planets that are in more challenging houses as Paulus Alexandrinus I think mentioned in like the fourth or fifth century, that an aspect within three degrees to the Midheaven can counteract and can help improve planets in any sort of houses by making them more active or busy. So you know, it’s not aspecting other planets per se, but it is aspecting an angle pretty strongly.
BT: Leisa was actually the first person to point that out to me.
CB: Okay. That’s funny.
BT: Yeah. So now you’re the second. So I really appreciate that. Yes. It’s aspected to something.
BT: But in terms of Venus and our themes here that it is part of that Saturn, Uranus, Neptune stellium and sextile to Mars. It’s part of some of those midpoints too, like the Sun at the midpoint of Venus and Pluto. Before I ever knew anything about astrology and although, you know, was in the milieu of it of course, but you know grew up around a lot of myth telling in my schooling and just as my own interests and I was always drawn to the Venusian figures. I always wanted to be them and whether it was in a school play or just in my own imagination, wanting to be Freyja, wanting to be Aphrodite. And yeah, I remember when I first started studying my chart being kind of disappointed that I wasn’t Sun-Venus because of that impulse to be Venus but then I learned about the Ascendant.
CB: Right, as the ruler of the Ascendant. I mean, if it’s any consolation, a Valens or any astrologer they use this whole sign aspect would consider that to be like a really loose conjunction or co-presence between the Sun and Venus for whatever that’s worth.
BT: I will take it and my six-year-old self will really take it.
CB: Right, all right. Awesome. And all of that, the stellium is trining Jupiter pretty closely which is over 20 Aries. So that’s a nice trine as well.
BT: Yes. Yeah. In terms of the refractions of Venus, I guess I’ve had my different experiences of that variety of ways it comes through.
CB: Right. Awesome. All right, and going back to… Did we just like interrupt reading the passage?
BT: Well, I think that probably introduced maybe some of how my own perception of Venus would come through. So, and the whole poem, I have various recordings of it out there. If anyone’s interested, I have the full one that I put out last year. So, these lines from the homage to the planets. Venus, a verdant green of flowering beauty, vines growing in curls that turn into exquisite art, the silver sparkling of dew under leaves mirroring a reciprocity of love and heartwarming presence, the shiver of pleasure and desire. And that was my best way of translating into words just a kind of fully embodied experience of what Venus was and these images coming up of like the silver sparkling of dew under leaves. A line that didn’t make it in there was Venus as fairy’s laughter. And that’s kind of some of my Venus-Neptune probably, but I was struck by the laughter throughout the older descriptions of Venus to laughter, joy and so on.
CB: Yeah, and a like also use the word reciprocity because that’s something that was kind of implicit, I think, in a lot of the earlier texts, but was never, I don’t think it’s stated explicitly, but that’s a very Venusian concept as well.
BT: Definitely. Yeah. The reciprocity, whether it’s to love and be loved as in Rick’s description or to give or receive in all of its senses. Yeah.
CB: Yeah. Give and take is a great core Venus principle it seems like.
CB: Brilliant. All right. Well, I think that’s it for our deep dive into the significations and the meanings of the planet Venus. Thanks a lot for joining me today to do this. Is there anything else that we need to mention that we didn’t mention that you can think of?
BT: I think that’s all, I think we’ve really thoroughly explored Venus and if we missed anything, it was meant to be missed to be discovered at another time.
CB: Okay. Yes, part of the great mysteries of astrology and the lifelong study of astrology. Well, hopefully we’ve given people some insight into the planet. Where can people find out more information about you and about your work?
BT: The central hub to get all that information is my website. It’s just beccatarnas.com and that will actually lead to my consulting site as well. I give readings and I can also be found on the various social media platforms also under my name, just @BeccaTarnas on Instagram and on Twitter.
CB: Awesome. Do you have anything coming up in terms of lectures or classes or teachings in the near future?
BT: I do actually have a couple of things. I a couple of months ago released an evergreen course that’s an introduction to archetypal astrology. So, it’s really just covering the basics for someone that’s new to astrology or wants to deepen in but through kind of introductory lens and really defining what an archetype is and how it relates to astrology. So, that’s available, can be found through my website. I offered it through the Academy of Oracle Arts, which is based in the area of Northern California where I live. I also have my third time teaching my Lord of the Rings course coming up this autumn. It’s a kind of guided read through of the Lord of the Rings for those who’ve explored it many times and those who’ve never explored it. I love teaching this class, it’s my third year doing it. I get a number of repeat students who want to read it again in community. So very simple class, it’s just reading the one book and kind of having your handheld through the experience. And I just bring different things that I know about Tolkien and his writing process and imagination and myth into it. And then I think the last thing I would mention is I have the honor of being one of the keynote speakers at a online conference on astrological magic, Astro Magia is the name of the conference. Austin Coppock is one of the speakers there too and that will be happening the weekend of September 17th through 19th. And it’s just Nina Gryphon is also speaking, really amazing lineup of speakers and I’m kind of amazed and awed that I get to be part of it. So anyone interested in astrological magic, it’s going to be a beautiful weekend.
CB: Nice. That’s sounds amazing. Actually I saw the lineup for that just the other day and it looks really good.
BT: Yeah. I’m so excited. I’m going to try and attend every single talk if I can. There’s so much I want to learn.
CB: Awesome. Cool. Well, thanks a lot for joining me for this today. I really appreciate it, and yeah, thank you.
BT: Oh, thank you as well. It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you for letting me explore Venus with you.
CB: Awesome. All right. Thanks everyone for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast, I guess that’s it for this episode. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you again next time. Special thanks to all the patrons that supported the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, thanks to all the patrons on our producer’s tier including Nate Craddock, Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Sumo Coppock, Issa Sabah, Jake Otero, Morgan MacKenzie, Kristin Otero and Sanjay Sreehari. For more information about how to become a patron and get access to bonus content such as early access to new episodes or private subscriber-only podcast episodes, go to patreon.com/astrologypodcast. Special thanks also to our sponsors, including The Mountain Astrologer magazine available at mountainastrologer.com. The Honeycomb Collective Personal Astrological Almanacs available at honeycomb.co. Astro Gold Astrology Software for the Mac operating system which is available at astrogold.io. And you can use the promo code ASTROPODCAST15 for a 15% discount. The Portland School of Astrology available at portlandastrology.org, Astro Gold Astrology app for iPhone and Android which is also available at astrogold.io. And finally, the Solar Fire Astrology software program for Windows which you can get from alabe.com, and you can use the promo code AP15 for a 15% discount.