Love 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.
The heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.
nakedness of woman is the work of God.
–William Blake, The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Love and harmony combine,
our souls intwine.
Beauty 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
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.”
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
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.
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.”
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 contextual harmonies).
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
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 by Jupiter.
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
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).
Improper 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 of form.3
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.
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.
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.
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 diffusion.”
such 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.
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, soul-enriching experiences.
Personalities with Primary Transcendental
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 Moby Dick–occurred 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 in art.
•The goddess as symbolizing love, art,
balance, charm, charisma, proportion, perspective, and feeling-toned evaluation.
•Maintaining symmetry, balance, and grace with the intimate “other.”
•The divine as experienced through beauty. Artistic beauty: belles lettres; beaux arts
•Sophisticated craftsmanship; knowledge
of the symmetry of forms.
•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.
as a mode of evaluation. Judgments arrived at through the careful weighing of
•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, p. 93.
by harmony of tensions,
like the lyre and bow.
is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.