Venus had a reputation among the gods as being the most beautiful of all and possessing the secret to love and fulfillment. She ruled over the arts and sciences as well as war and conquest. Sumerian priests composed hymns in her honor. The ancient Mayans aligned doorways and windows of their buildings to capture her vibrations. Julius Caesar even dedicated a magnificent temple to her patronage. Who could resist her? And why would you want to, anyway.
In the earlier writings, the image of Venus was associated with dire portents and tales of apocalyptic disaster. She was about power and control as well as love and intimacy. Following her legacy can shed light on her nature, both as the goddess of beauty and as the guardian of great power and influence.
Modern day Venuses appear everywhere on the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, not to mention the issues of Women’s Heath, Self, and Fitness. In her modern incarnation, Venus never looked so good. And if these women are not full-blown goddesses, who cares? Besides being physically beautiful, they are smart, sophisticated, and eager to take the leadership role in many corporations and in businesses of their own. In the past 15 years, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 54%; there are now 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States alone.
And yet, Venus, mistress of the heart, has always eluded our best efforts to capture her essence. Renaissance painters and pre-Raphaelite masters alike have tied to portray her in vain. Most people you meet have at least one story about how some tragic love affair practically put them over the edge. Sour grapes about not getting what we want go back to Adam and Eve. The feminine mystique still remains alive and unattainable, perhaps by design.
Everyone has Venus in their astrological makeup. It’s where we yearn to love and be loved, and feel beautiful and fulfilled. Regardless of how many billions of dollars people spend on fashion or real estate, the bottom line is this: Unless you believe in your heart you’re truly wonderful, all the props in the world cannot help you. Venus is our sense of what we feel we deserve, plain and simple.
We all start off knowing the assurance and warmth of caring parents and family. But by the time we become adults, all that gets replaced by the dreadful realization we don’t have the right body type, know the right people, or are on the fast track to the top. For the 99.9% of us that fall into this category, Venus can seem like a cruel joke. And yet, somewhere in our heart of hearts, we know we’ve been duped, but didn’t quite fall for it. Life is not contained by money, sex and approval, at least not in the long run. It’s all about that spark of feeling special, despite that string of unhappy love affairs and failed businesses. It’s about knowing that our love is still the real thing.
Here’s How it Works
Venus takes 19 months to orbit the sun, spending about 9 months as the morning star before the dawn and another nine as the evening star. The ancients referred to her appearance before dawn as the “Bearer of Light.” Her twilight name was Hesperos. These two faces of Venus are clues to her changing role over time. When Venus rises before the Sun, she is inspirational, youthful and concerned about manifesting herself successfully on the physical plane. When she rises after the Sun, she is wise and qualified, and her intuition understands the language of emotion and the human heart. We’re all born with Venus in our natal charts as either Morning or Evening Star. Other systems exist which further break this down into more detailed phases. 
The art of relationships has gone through a lot of changes over the centuries. At the bottom of it all lies the issue of involvement and power. This translates into establishing some sort of value system on our lives and a corresponding system of transferring “the goods” from one person to another. Very Venusian stuff. Marriage was the principle means of formalizing the connection between men and women, but there were many others, such as the head of the tribe or local community and even the pact that existed between the gods and the rest of us, otherwise known as religion. This all fell under the spell of Venus, who delicately rules the affairs of our hearts. Everyone was expected to do well and avoid evil to keep these relationships on the up and up. And yes, there were consequences for people who became enticed by one vice or another. Economists are quick to tell you 90% of the law is about ownership. In the first part of her cycle, Venus develops an increasing stronger grasp on her own power and worth, and is willing to pit herself against anyone who would deny her connection with the solar force. Even native-born Thomas Jefferson would allude to the “unalienable Rights” that lie at the heart of our American dream.
As Venus forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun, the value system that is created is most pliable and subject to the influence of the Sun’s incredible power. This usually produces people who adhere to what the people in charge espoused, a sort of doing the right thing because it’s so overwhelming compelling to do so. However, Venus brings a new dimension into the blind self-assurance of the Sun. She is the key to opening the heart to the Solar force and personalizing it. She knows perfectly well that we want to feel special and emotionally fulfilled. But, although having a rock-solid solar belief in yourself makes for great leaders, it does so only because there’s so little second-guessing. Venus looks closer, to the physical world she must inhabit on the way. She takes the Sun’s grandeur and shows us how to integrate it in our worldly and personal affairs. If Mercury is the messenger, she is the ambassador, and she is tasked with making our experience meaningful and enlightening. She’s all about incarnation and being conscious of the physical reality we have to contend with. At the end of the day, she’s points us to the best life has to offer, steering us away from cheap values and addictions that could otherwise ruin everything.
Over the next 9 months after inferior conjunction, Venus struggles with finding her place in the world until she starts to question whether those values that meant so much in the beginning were relevant in the first place. We start to see the fly in the ointment, the flaws in the plan, and the wrinkles in our partner’s face. The heart knows. Something has got to give. It’s time to redefine and work on perspective.
That’s what happens at superior conjunction. Venus lines up with the Sun again, only this time on the other side of the earth. Now we feel lost, disconnected, betrayed. Like the prodigal son, we’ve bought into something, but discovered we can’t live with it. It’s exactly at that time that Venus gives us a clue to her cosmic wisdom: Attaching yourself to the passing parade is madness. Like Buddha would say: “Attachment to possessions is the root of unhappiness.” The values we should pay attention to are formless and eternal. Like love. Like beauty and honor. Forget about thinking you can remain youthful forever or surround yourself with yes-men to ease the pain. The cat’s out of the bag, and that’s just not going to do it anymore.
On the second part of her journey, Venus picks up understanding and wisdom. At the beginning, she is a bit unsure and so will mature over those nine months, learning what’s worth fighting for and what can be ignored. By the time she’s ready to come back to the rough and tumble of the next cycle, she is the wise woman or sage, totally conscious of what’s going on, but able to avoid being sucked into life’s vanities and rabbit-holes. She is the voice of experience and compassion, savoring the impetuous love of her youth but in touch with her heart, without needing anyone’s permission or approval. She has come to know the world and the world her. She will enter into the Sun’s embrace once more, to experience the next step in her amazing journey. A bit wiser perhaps, but altogether lovable, and able to inspire the best from us.
 The Light of Venus. Adam Gainsburg. Soulsign Publishing ISBN:0978853555
 The Politics of Relationship. Bob Makransky.
 Venus Morning Star, Evening Star. Michael R. Meyer.
Venus – Her Cycles, Symbols and Myths. Anne Masset. Llewellyn ISBN:0738709913
The Many Faces of Venus. Ev Cochrane. Aeon Publishing ISBN:0965622909
Jack Hopkins was last seen having altogether too much fun exploring his passionate interest in alternative divisions of the Zodiac. He has worked in the IT field for over 30 years and is author of several astrology programs which utilize his research on harmonics and degree areas. He is author of several Astrological videos, the most recent of which was presented at the Spring 2013 Retreat. Find him on the web here.