is a nail driven into the spirit animus (fixus animus clavo cupidinis).
–Titus Maccius Plautus (245-184 B.C.), as cited in R.B. Onians,
The Origins of European Thought.
heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
–William Blake, The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Love and harmony combine,
And around our souls intwine.
–Blake, Poetical Sketches.
as we see it is something indescribable: What it is or what it means
can never be said.
continuing the development of the receptive yin consciousness, Venus
acts on the personal soul (Moon) and deepens and refines its capacity
for feeling-toned experience. With Venus, we have the personification
of the soul, either as the beloved who captures our heart in the
outer world1 or as the internal soul-image, the anima,
who serves as a guide to the collective unconscious, thereby humanizing
an otherwise cold, inhuman, and even terrifying experience of the
archetypal mystery. This maturation of the soul through its personification
marks a crucial developmental stage, surpassing the merely personal
soul experience (Moon) and anticipating the social-collective soul
(Jupiter) and the transpersonal soul (symbolized by the ultimate
yin planet, Neptune: the world soul or anima
As discussed in
the essay “Transcendental Moon,” while the Moon and
Venus are not traditionally thought of as energizing catalysts in
astrology (as are the Sun and Mars), in fact, they do trigger various
aspects of yin consciousness and energy: in particular, the ability
to harmonize, to balance, to value. Through her personification,
Venus lures the emotions into deeper and more sophisticated levels,
often by dramatization of the soul as “lover.”
One of the primary
functions of Venus is the creation of meaningful intimate relationship.
While the Moon symbolizes a feeling of connectedness to the “Primal
Round,” the “Great Mother,” and the soul’s
“absorption” of her lunar reflection (generating feelings
of security, stability, and interior depth), Venus further refines
the soul through intimate interpersonal relationship. Through Venus,
soul union is extended through romance or through creative exteriorizations
of the soul in artistic craftsmanship and the expression of aesthetic
balance, harmony, beauty etc.2
While Sun and Moon
correspond respectively to the “individual spirit” and
“individual soul,” with Mars and Venus (the next stage
of yang / yin development) we have the spirit forcefully interacting
with others (Mars) and the soul intimately uniting with others (Venus).
(Again, intimacy has its own quality of energetic force: one often
ignored in descriptions of the “passive” qualities associated
with Venus.) While the Moon’s energy or “moonlight”
is diffuse and representative of a general emanation of emotion
into the environment, with Venus we have an additional focus, as
Venus challenges the soul to enact its destiny on the interpersonal
stage through the vehicle of romantic love. By this we do not mean
the unrealistic fantasy of projecting one’s internal qualities
outwardly, onto another person, but rather the maturation of the
soul through realistic expressions of union. While Mars actualizes
the self by counterpointing it against the surrounding physical
and psychological environment (in order to realize, through separation
and discrimination, one’s distinctive self-borders), Venus
is expressed through actions that engender interpersonal harmony.
Symbols of romance
that express love, respect, and devotion are all included in the
Venusian rulership. Through love, a sense of meaningless separation
(produced as a result of “separating from the primal oneness”
and “creating a self-identity” [Sun / Mars]) is replaced
by the experience of the self as a complementary unit of balance
with the “other.”
Just as Mars symbolizes
an aggressive interaction with the immediate environment, with Venus,
the romanticized soul will create unions of previously separate
elements (not only in romance but, for example, in creative or artistic
expressions of harmony). Unlike Uranus, which, through invention,
unites seemingly disparate elements in order to achieve a new order
or avant-garde dynamic, with Venus the creation of outer harmony
resonates internally with core aspects of the psyche. An example:
an artist who communicates his experience through harmonious arrangements
of elements (soulful unions), which, in turn, evoke an inner harmony
in the viewer (through the medium of color, form, and spatial and
For a variety of
historical reasons, Venus has traditionally been associated with
women’s psychology or manner of experience while Mars has
been associated with men. But the Mars / Venus energies are consciously
experienced by both sexes in varying degrees. Although the determinants
of gender-based behavior probably lie somewhere in between the
forces of biology and culture, astrologically speaking, Mars and
Venus operate in each of us.
To the extent that
the Venus principle is consciously integrated in either a man or
a woman (e.g., the ability to be emotionally receptive to others;
to express intimacy; to express oneself creatively), there will
be less of a need for Venus to find cryptic expression through psychological
projection or through the (unconscious) acting out of dramatic situations.
Indeed, as the “goddess of love,” Venus may appear in
a variety of guises. She may be projected upon a woman to whom the
native feels unaccountably drawn, particularly a woman who seems
to reflect soulful qualities (qualities that may or may not exist
within such a “woman of mystery”). When someone embodies
a characteristic that evokes such a classic Venusian trait–personifying
divine beauty or the alluring and mysterious object of desire (the
soul) and triggering, through her presence, inspiration (the femme
inspiratrice) or feelings of romantic intimacy–then we
may speak of someone who personifies the anima
or soul, i.e., Venus as the so-called goddess, seemingly embodied
in human, incarnate form.
Through all such
projective expressions, the Venus energy is attempting to lure the
soul to broader levels of receptivity and (yin) awareness. The soul
is harmonized through its encounter with the “beauty of the
forms”; it is sacralized through “love”; it is
further refined through an expression of “artistic creation”;
it attains its final goal when, through the “personification
and incarnation of the feminine,” it is delivered to the next
level of yin development: sagacity or higher wisdom, symbolized
It was in this sense
that Goethe spoke of the eternal feminine leading us “forever
onward, forever upward.” Venus as anima
incarnates in forms such as Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom;
Shakti, the Indian goddess; the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon;3
or in a form composed of purely personal symbolism (e.g., a feminine
dream figure). These symbols have at their core an eternal archetype:
one generating a highly refined soulful energy. Just as the persona
(social mask) provides us with a means of interacting with the world-at-large,
the anima as personified
soul image assists the solar consciousness in navigating the
inner realm (e.g., Beatrice leading Dante through the soulful depths
of The Divine Comedy.)
In whatever cultural
guise she assumes, through her intervention we emerge from the primal
yin darkness, as the personified soul lures the “lover”
onto the next stage of development: encountering the “collective
soul wisdom of the ages” (Jupiter: the collectively codified
body of philosophy, religious doctrine, art, ethics, myth, and culture,
preserved through social and philanthropic institutions).
manifestation of the energy:
possibility of meaningful interpersonal union will be problematic
in unintegrated Venus natives. Relationships may be based merely
on utilitarian expressions of Venus, especially in her rather base
and primitive forms (e.g., “commercial” beauty or the
“beauty queen,” instead of the more individually tailored
expression of the soul). In her negative manifestation, Venus will
appear as threatening or monstrous, because instead of being understood
(integrated) she is feared. Therefore, the essence of the soul remains
incomprehensible and is “darkly” (unconsciously) imagined.
For example, Venus may be personified as the séductrice
or femme fatale, threatening
the solar ego with tempting offers of sensuality–enticements
that bear such a dark intensity that they may overwhelm and destroy
the light of consciousness. Here, the native’s inability to
integrate Venus will lead to fears that she will drain the solar
form of consciousness (e.g., a fear of losing the energetic “edge”
embodied in the Martian principle of separateness; a fear of the
solar ego being eclipsed because of the attention craved by the
“significant other”). Or, an encounter with the beauty
of Venus may prove to be too powerful an enticement to integrate
safely or properly. An example of this is found in Homer’s
when Odysseus orders his men to bind him to the mast of his ship
so that he may listen to the entrancing song of the Sirens without
being endangered by their overwhelming–and ultimately debilitating–beauty
Often, Venus incarnates
in the form of a romantic partner who mirrors one’s own level
of emotional development. Rather than learning to nurture one’s
feelings and to refine one’s inadequately developed emotions,
these inadequacies of soul may be perceived only in a projected
form–as the perceived inadequacies of the romantic partner.
This may lead to leveling criticism against the soul mate or to
emotional or physical abuse. Instead of serving Venus by developing
one’s feelings, an attempt is made to punish, discipline,
imprison, or entrap the emotions: to contain the “irrational”
sphere of life and, thereby, remove its “threat” (e.g.,
the threat of forcing a fundamental transformation in the solar
ego). Threatening to “fix” or “kill” the
soul mate is simply a symbolic way of saying that one’s potential
for development is destroyed. As a result, Venus remains personified
only in her “darker” form: the experience of “abysmal”
emotions and tragic relationships. Such phenomena are typical of
the depressed anima. The suppression of the creative soul
and a subsequent personal depression occur, instead of the soul
elevation signified by properly expressed yin consciousness.
When one is overidentified
or inflated with Venus, this results in excessive yin behavior that
denies expression to the other planetary forms. The personified
soul (the keynote Venus equation) may take the form of a person
who has a tendency to allure or magnetize others into their field
and to entice them to serve and worship the so-called goddess, who
is now impersonated rather
than appropriately personified
(e.g., an anima woman; a “female impersonator”).
Here the native is possessed by the goddess image, rather than working
to consciously integrate her. Such improper soul expressions may
also take the form of epicurean pleasures that trigger a false sense
of interpersonal intimacy and harmony. The “orgy” of
physical pleasures is a classic form of such hyperidentified Venusian
behavior. This foreshadows the next stage of inflated or hyperidentified
yin behavior: that of the Jupiter-identified native. A personal
identification with the Jupiter principle may result in the abuse
of larger social roles (e.g., a judge who is identified with his
role of personifying the ethical soul of a society). Such abuse
usually involves issues of personal gain and egoistic gratification.
enhanced through relocation, Venus promotes a union between the
inner and outer expressions of harmony, whether such harmonies are
expressed through interactions with others or through the harmonious
play of elements within the immediate environment (e.g., aesthetic
interaction in the “landscape” of one’s surroundings).
For example, the need to live in aesthetically pleasing surroundings
is something that makes no “rational” sense, yet it
is a fundamental yin reality that affects everyone in a direct,
immediate manner. Surroundings perceived as “ugly”
may provoke emotional discomfort or discord, while an aesthetically
harmonious environment will enhance the expansion of soul.
For many artists,
the presence of soul is indeed palpable. It may be experienced
through an internal muse whose cooperation will either guarantee
or forbid inspiration in the formal expression of artistic values.
Her abiding and willful manner (a decidedly yin will, expressed
through an autonomous and magnetic lure) is experienced as a relentless
need to lend creative form to an invisible, intangible, nearly inexpressible
dimension of soul.
The expansion of
this higher yin awareness into a realm of transpersonal imagery
finds its final expression in the Neptune complex, which symbolizes
the union of the personal soul (anima)
with the anima mundi or world soul. The lure of this final union (one often
experienced by artistic personalities) spans the entire yin spectrum
of symbolism, progressing from Venusian “soul harmony”
through Jupiterian “soul expansion” to Neptunian “soul
a full spectrum of yin consciousness is not available to everyone.
Unless one has experienced the soul as a creative force that lures
the ego to a higher expansion (Jupiter) and a final dissolution
(Neptune; a dissolution of constricting socially-condoned beliefs
and values (Saturn) that stress interpersonal aggression and separateness
[Mars]), the anima-less
or soulless universe is experienced as a terrifying, nameless (i.e.,
not personified) void through which no soul orientation or -perspective
may be felt.5 Examples of this include Existentialism or the ultimate
nihilistic condition (e.g., Sartre’s
A positive Venus
experience is crucial for those with a poorly integrated Venus,
as the foundation for soul-personification and -incarnation (especially
concerning the exchange of intimacy) may be lacking. The inability
to express one’s personal feelings (Moon) in a more intimate
fashion (Venus) will lead to dangerous levels of alienation and
to an inner stagnation and dissociation.
Relocation to the
Transcendental Venus region may enhance the keynote Venus effects,
such as soulful intimacy with others; environmental harmony triggering
and reflecting internal psychic harmony; and the personified soul
“leading” or “luring” the solar consciousness
to deeper levels of feeling. Venus awakens the soul through encounters
with those who personify her most positive aspects, especially her
potential for interpersonal meaning
and union. She provides
a means of extending the soul into the fabric of the surrounding
environment, ultimately blurring distinctions of inner and outer
through the unifying power of love. Such things are the sin
qua non of soul development; without them, the soul cannot fully
incarnate or consciously realize itself. Oddly enough, even a basic
belief in the reality of soul has been lost on many of those living
in the modern era. Relocating to the Transcendental Venus region
may help to engender such an understanding and to trigger vitalizing,
with Primary Transcendental Venus:
Baez (“pacifist” and “creative” performer
who worked for “world peace” and established the Institute
for “Nonviolence”); Marlon Brando (talented “artist”
and “charismatic” actor whose work displayed a “sophisticated
level of craftsmanship” and a mastery of “feeling-toned
expression”; relocated to Tahiti under his Primary Venus /
Secondary Mercury Transcendental Midpoint-Field); Sir Richard Burton
(with John Speke, the first European to discover Lake Tanganyika,
which lies directly under Burton’s Primary Venus line; renowned
for his attempts to introduce ancient Eastern “erotic arts”
to the West, even risking arrest and imprisonment for his translation
and printing of the Kama Sutra);
T. S. Eliot (poet whose “artistry” was expressed through
“creative” writing [with Secondary Transcendental Mercury]);
Peggy Fleming ([with Mercury]; winner of an Olympic gold medal for
ice figure-skating; widely acclaimed for her “skillful / grace”
and “personification of beauty / in motion” [Venus /
Mercury]); Ernest Hemingway (renowned for the “craftsmanship”
in his “creative” writing); Robert F. Kennedy (“handsome
and charismatic” politician who used his “charm”
as a political asset); Herman Melville (“creative” writer
whose South Seas adventures–fictionalized in books such as
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian
Life; Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas; and
directly under his Primary Venus / Secondary Mercury Transcendental
Midpoint-Field, in the Pacific South Seas); Michelangelo (master
of the “beaux arts,”
born near his Primary Venus line); Ringo Starr (musician whose “grace,
charm, and diplomacy” proved an asset in his lifelong “creative”
phrases for Venus:
“feminine” or yin energy expressed in human form, especially
through intimate, interpersonal union.
•The anima, personified as soul mate, lover, inspiratrice.
•Romance and the interpersonal aspect of the Romantic Movement
•The goddess as symbolizing love, art, balance, charm, charisma,
proportion, perspective, and feeling-toned evaluation.
•Maintaining symmetry, balance, and grace with the intimate
•The divine as experienced through beauty. Artistic beauty: belles lettres; beaux arts
•Sophisticated craftsmanship; knowledge of the symmetry of
•Personification of the feminine principle, e.g., the goddess.
Woman experienced as a divine form, in a divine light.
•The Eros principle in its refined human form.
•The further evolution of the Moon’s emotive realm.
The development of sophisticated levels of feeling. The harmonious
play of emotion in romantic expressions of love.
•Feeling as a mode of evaluation. Judgments arrived at through
the careful weighing of feeling.
•The secondary manifestation of yin consciousness (following
the Moon) in the symbolic solar system.
•In Indian astrology, Venus corresponds to “one’s
capacity for giving and receiving love.”6
•Yin expressed as intimate union and the romantic soul.
Just as Mars propels the yang consciousness through its forceful
interaction and interplay with others, the yin consciousness is
enhanced by Venus through intimate interaction with others. But
here the goal is interpersonal harmony and union,
rather than an interactive Martian experience of separately focused
energies working in relative isolation from each other.
2. “Venus is the daughter of the Moon and is symbolic of the
many forms which issue forth from the Great Mother.” “Just
as Venus ... represents the active female life, Mars, as son of
the Sun, is the active male force.” Oken, As
Above, So Below, p. 273.
3. Marie-Louise von Franz, “The Process of Individuation,”
in Jung (ed.), Man and His
Symbols, pp. 185-188.
4. The “dark” or destructive aspect of the yin energy
is qualitatively different from the shattering, explosive quality
of the yang force. Yet the overwhelmingly blissful allure of the
eternal–the mysterium fascinans–may just as thoroughly destroy through a
delightful yet dangerous sense of merging (Moon); harmonizing (Venus);
expanding (Jupiter); and dissolving (Neptune) the ego-complex past
the point of no return.
5. “Absence of anima
opens one to the soul’s immeasurable depths ... revealing
those depths as an abyss. Not only is the guide and the bridge gone,
but so too is the possibility of a personal connection through personified
representations ... Without her the depths become a void, as the
existentialist von Gebsattel says. This happens because the anima
who ‘personifies the collective unconscious’ [Jung]
... is not there to mediate the depths in personified images with
personal intentions.” James Hillman, Anima:
An Anatomy of a Personified Notion, p. 109. See also my essay,
“Jungian Social Neglect,” in Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, 1988.
6. Dreyer, Indian Astrology,
by harmony of tensions,
like the lyre and bow.
is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.