Venus conjoins Jupiter and then retrogrades in the sign of courage and pride – Leo.
More than any planet, the archetype of Venus is bound to one particular image – the painting of a young beautiful blond goddess emerging from the ocean on a half conch shell courtesy of Sandro Botticelli (1444 – 1510) from the Neo-classic craze at the dawning of the Renaissance. That iconic image is set into the mind as we study our astrology books and look at that little glyph in the chart. The many versions of the Hellenistic Myth have her born out of the sea. So, she is like an adopted daughter of Neptune, but actually the daughter of Uranus, Father of the Titans and sister of Saturn, the youngest Titan who slew his father and cast his genitals into the ocean. The sea is where Venus came from – Neptune’s realm. He essentially adopted her and then rescued her from banishment from the abode of the gods after her affair with Mars (for pleasure – Taurus) estranged her from her enraged husband Vulcan, a workaholic with self-esteem issues (relationship issue – Libra). So, Neptune adopts her, rescues her, and exalts her (in Pisces). Within this, the feminine role of Venus takes many shifting forms, but always as the beautiful young woman.
When talking of Venus, we speak of ideal femininity, grace, beauty and seduction. There are two problems with this: 1. We use a gender specific language that engenders female bias to all interpretations of Venus in the charts of males and females alike, and 2. It only represents a small amount of history of one culture among many in the history of Venus related myths. The variance between these myths is great. Settling on just one Neo-Hellenistic model has limited the possibilities of the breadth and depth where there might be the secrets of a more inclusive and productive understanding of Venus’ influence in the chart. The answer to the first one leads right into the second. Venus was not represented by a female archetype in all cultures. Some had male entities, and very fierce ones at that. Even some of the female entitles representing the Venus energies were fierce or war like. Echoes of these have come through to us in the depiction of Venus the Morning Star as the Goddess of War, while Venus the Evening Star is the Goddess of Love. But first let us explore these other cultures, beginning with Egypt the predecessor of Greece at the beginning of western civilization.
Other cultures and researchers
Seeking among the variation of historical mythology for Venus of many cultures is a re-education process in itself, but highly recommended for all planets if we are to keep our language fresh and our understanding open to the wisdom of her/his ways when looking at the chart. We need both more depth and breadth in our perspective, including the research from other disciplines. The Hellenistic traditions have served us well in the Humanist education of the Medieval and Classical traditions of astrological writings and academics in Europe. Indian and Arabic traditions are clearly interwoven in the mix as well, however, as seen when we study their influences and correspondences. Egypt and Sumeria (an inseparable mix of cultures in the same region) were far older up to and through the Greek conquest and occupation of Northeast Africa as the Ptolemaic dynasties. China and India were in corresponding development, as were the North, Middle and South American civilizations. They all were under and watching the sky. All cultures were anthropomorphizing the wandering planets and connecting their movements with the cycles of nature here on earth. The planet and “celestial deity” Venus was a prominent player in all of these long before the Greeks coalesced their own pantheon of deities.
Ancient Egypt had cosmology and wisdom about all aspects and details of living. A lot of conflicting, fragmentary, and often fascinating but superficial dribs and drabs have been put forth as “the wisdom teaching” and “astrology” of Egypt. According to astrologer and Egyptologist, Rosemary Clark, important keys to a systematic unlocking of the sacred tradition in ancient Egypt is found in their knowledge of the solar cycle, lunar cycle and Sothic cycle – their cosmology – coded within the designs and dimensions of their art and architecture, and their words and rituals about transformation. (1) It calls for study of the whole and fully developed mastery they had for living in nature, rather than looking for rudimentary and primitive toddler steps toward the wonderful astrology we practice.
The truth is perhaps more in reverse. The ancient Greeks actually rejected and condemned the Egyptian view of almost everything until, preceded by Persians, Alexander the Great came to Egypt as military conqueror, only to be conquered himself by their “mystery school” temple teachings. During this period “Great Greeks” came to Egypt’s temples for their higher education and taught us the ancient secrets of philosophy (including the Seven Liberal Arts which Plato taught as “virtues”), geometry, medicine, cosmology and architecture among many other things, presenting it as their own. (2) The Library of Alexandria was not built in Athens for a reason. Its destruction closed the door to its light until translations of the sacred hieroglyphic language could start the long reclamation process. Expectations of Post-Hellenistic astrologers to find or retrofit specific natal chart interpretation and forecasting techniques from ancient Egypt do not work. We are coming from a view of “fate” and “forecasting” that they simply did not have in their “weltenschaung” (world view). What is known is that they used auspicious days based on their calendars, decans and decan rulers (gods, goddesses and star deities of which each precinct had their own favorites) to elect events such as temple openings and closings, as well as rituals and Pharaonic ceremonies. And from their pantheons of “neters” (archetypes represented the transforming energies in nature), there is much to learn.
In ancient Egypt, the corresponding archetype for Neo-Hellenistic Venus fits most closely with Hathor, consort to Horus, the offspring of Isis and Osiris. The Greeks associated Hathor to their Venus; she is the goddess of women, love and joy, sexual pleasure, childbirth, music, dance, celebration and beauty. She protects women and is present whenever they beautify themselves. One researcher among many, Egyptologist Antoine Gigal, recently in 2012, verified the ancient Venus as Hathor or the “House of Hor, the House of Horus, the golden Horus.” To the ancient Egyptian “Neb Heru” or Nebheru was House of Horus or Venus said to have had different places in the solar system before stabilizing into its pristinely perfected five-pointed orbital star in a 5 year 8 year synodic cycle. (3)
Synodic cycle rose mandala of Earth and Venus orbits
Hathor (Venus) was the wanderer planet that created panic and devastations to the humans on earth at certain times. Immanuel Velikovsky wrote of this and was topping the bestseller lists with “Worlds in Collision” when the scientific establishment convinced a major publishing house, Macmillan, to cease publishing his works to save its “reputation.” It was an unprecedented show of science’s controling intellectualism in a country with the First Amendment. It demonstrated that modern science had become a belief system with dogma and doctrines dedicated to stamping out heresies. In the book, Velikovsky research into early mythologies around the world postulated that around the 15th Century BCE Venus was a comet-like object that sprang from Jupiter, passing near Earth changing its orbit and axis and causing the terrestrial catastrophes recorded in earliest writings. (4) The power of Venus involving change and destruction evokes a picture of fearful command of natural forces throughout ancient cosmologies and mythologies. Even some Greeks acknowledged Venus as a shape shifter. “Sea gods and goddesses are usually shape-shifter, like old Proteus in the Odyssey, and in Sparta the goddess of love as called Aphrodite Morpho, ‘she of the various shapes.’” (5) As shape-shifter, Venus significantly shows up in other forms, some male, in a sampling of other ancient cultures and mythologies:
• Sekhmet (Egyptian): In addition to Hathor, the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet, created from the eye of Ra that he ripped out in rage, was both a powerful healer and the fierce and blood-thirsty avenger for Amun Ra against humanity. (6) A statue of her in the small chapel of Ptah (whose consort she was) at Karnak, has a sky light above her. It is said that if you look upon the face of Sekmet and see a smile, you are safe, but if you see her anger, be afraid. Venus in Leo. . . Roar!
• Innana (Sumaria) “Queen of Heaven” was the daughter of the Moon and the forerunner to Ishtar. She shares many legends with the Greek’s Venus as well as Persephone, going to the underworld to learn the mysteries of death and rebirth.
• Ishtar (Babylonia) Ishtar was a double phased goddess believed at first to be represented by two separate planets. In Mesopotamia, they saw the first appearance as Morning Star to be a dangerous time and a call to war; whereas, the Evening Star was a call to lovemaking.
• Quetzalcoatl (Mesoamerica) a male entity appearing as a feathered serpent, who was linked to the morning phase of the planet Venus as one of their major gods. It was believed that this was a time when leaders are struck down and natural disasters occur. In Mayan culture, Kukalkán was the bright planet considered the sun’s twin and a war god. Mayan leaders used the changing position of Venus to plan appropriate times for raids and battles.
• Shukra (Hindu) is the son of the great seer Shrigu, an astrologer who taught his son all the sciences and scriptures. He is seen as the enemy of Brahaspati (Jupiter). Shukra in Sanskrit means “semen.”
• Great White Metal (Chinese) Chinese astrologers associate the same celestial body with a different energy altogether. As a white metal planet, its energies are not associated with love, but war and military affairs instead. The color white is also associated with death. The Metal Planet is associated with the Western direction. Reflecting on these archetypes from mythologies may enrich our understanding of Venus as a major player in the chart not bound by gender stereotypes. In the time of global citizenship, we understand ourselves more holistically as we come to appreciate the various deep traditions from which the whole family of man has evolved.
Venus as Mind
The glyph for Venus is mind (the circle) over the cross of matter. The glyph differs from that of Mercury only by the crescent atop the circle and that depicts the mind in communication and messaging. The mind cannot see itself but only in reflection. Andrew Olendzki, scholar of Buddhist philosophy and author of Mind Unlimited, in his PDF manuscript, “Mind Like a Mirror” explains it.
Glyph as mirror and ankh – Venus rules mirrors.
“Mind is not the source of light, like a shining sun, nor is it the reflected light of something greater, like the moon, but a shimmering pool of contingent potential, (Venus from the Sea) capable of reflecting sun, moon, and any other object that happens to dance upon its surface. Its function is more important than its essence, and is influenced significantly by the nature of what gets stirred into its pristine waters.” (7)
Furthermore, the mind of Venus is not the mind of thinking, talking, doing and writing as observable by the synapses that leap the neurons of the brain, but the major non-neuronal cell type found in the brain. Glial cells function as support cells to help maintain the signaling abilities of neurons; they do not participate directly in electrical signals. They encircle, enfold and nourish the neurons in the brain and, in fact, also companion every other cell in the body. This mind of nature in our bodies implies a lot about Venus as the “values” and self-image in which we hold ourselves as receivers of all that we desire and need. The Secret is a book about establishing your mind-set with rituals, images, creative objects and affirmations to be the attractive force that brings to you what you want. Indeed, if you set your mind on lacking and being undeserving of those things in life that you really want most of all, there is a hard path to manifest any of it. That “attraction” of the mind is . . . Venus. It is the ethics by which you hold everything within Nature, including, and especially yourself, for good or ill, to love or destroy.
The mythologies in which we find that kind of nature mind are those of indigenous people from all over the world, who were stewards of their lands in coordination with the cycles of nature before the burdens of literacy shifted the power balance. These were people not of letters, writing, or educated intellect, but of intuition and orally shared stories and teachings of the nature spirits among which they lived in reflection and communion. The Native American peoples were pre-literacy agrarians and in their traditions we find Venus ethics – the Venus mind. Each of these quotations reflect the rulerships and exaltation of Venus in the positive expression of ethics:
Venus in Taurus – “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” – Ancient Native Proverb
Venus in Libra – “Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer….” – Lakota Sioux
Venus in Pisces – “The Great Spirit is in all things.” – Wabanaki Algonquin
Morning and Evening Star
In each culture where cosmologists were adept at watching and measuring Venus in time in correspondence with earthbound cycles of behavior and nature, the Morning and Evening Venus had much to tell. Looking at which kind we have, a Venus that precedes the Sun at sunrise (morning) or follows the Sun at sunset (evening) or somewhere in between tells us something about the mind of the individual. From Dane Rudhyar, the qualities of Morning and Evening star Venus were described specifically.
He said that:
• People born with Venus as a morning star (before the Sun in the zodiac – Lucifer) are socially impulsive; they rush into life and love, acting before thinking.
• People born with Venus as an evening star (after the Sun in the zodiac – Hesperus) tend to reflect before acting and they are more able to identify with society’s rules. (8)
The Elongation of Venus
Ivy Goldstein Jacobson – her writings are a treasure trove if ever there was one – in The Way of Astrology described how the distance from the Sun, before and after, will color the Venus experience in terms of the Earth signs and substance houses: Taurus/2nd, Virgo/6th, and Capricorn/10th. See if it works for you.
0 – 16 Degrees before or after the Sun
Works like a conjunction along Taurus lines, making for a possessive or sometimes jealous tendency in marriage. This Taurus I HAVE distance reflects 2nd house security, assuring the native more possessions and freedom from want in life than are otherwise warranted.
16 – 32 Degrees before or after the Sun
Is like a sextile, giving great opportunity to rise in life by exercising the Virgo I ANALYSE talent for appraisal and discrimination in which the native operates for his own best interests, this being the self-nourishment Virgo and 6th House attribute. Values recognition in life and possesses the self-application to earn it.
32 – 48 Degrees before or after the Sun
Reflects Capricorn’s I UTILIZE vibration specializing along serious occupational 10th House lines, taking over the management of and responsibility for matters and persons ruled by the house Venus is in, providing for their present gain and future security, establishing something that also enhances position. (9)
Venus in the charts of Scientists
It may be expected that other planets but Venus would show strength in the charts of scientists; maybe Mercury, or Saturn, or Uranus. These do happen, yet I found more than expected amount of known scientists to have Venus as a strong and/or ruling planet in the chart. Perhaps, because they were known scientists, the Venus factor would naturally make them more accessible through more highly developed social sensibilities and skills, that is not necessarily so. Certainly it would be true of popular scientist of mind studies, Michio Kaku, born January 24, 1947, at 11:00 PM in San Jose, CA. His ruling planet is Venus with his Ascendant in Libra, and is more potent than Mercury, while his Neptune enjoys a strong influence for his visionary research and writings on the powers of the mind. Though he does not have the placement of Venus in Pisces, his chart has the signatures of a Neptunian individual who exalts the mind (Venus).
An example of a rather less socially skilled scientist would by that of Nicola Tesla with a Taurus Ascendant, born on July 10, 1856, at 12 AM, in Smiljan, Croatia. His Taurus ascendant at 20º59’ is ruled by Venus closely conjoining the Sun in Cancer just ahead of the Sun by 3 degrees at 14º50’ in the 3rd house. Venus trines Neptune and is the focal planet of a T-square to the opposition of Jupiter in Aries to Moon and Mars in Libra. In a 1926 interview for Collier’s Magazine, Tesla said, “Through countless generations, from the very beginning, the social subservience of women resulted naturally in the partial atrophy or at least the hereditary suspension of mental qualities which we now know the female sex to be endowed with no less than men. But the female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose. Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.” (10)
Other scientists with strong or ruling Venus include: Carl Sagan (Taurus rising), Neal deGrass Tyson (time unknown but strong Libra placements, including Venus conjunct the Sun), Jacques Cousteau (Strong Jupiter with Libra rising and Venus in Taurus) and Steven Weinberg, Nobel winning theoretical physicist (time unknown, but Sun and Venus in Taurus). Interestingly, it is more difficult to find women scientists with Venus as the most prominent planet, as they tend to have strong Sun, Moon, Jupiter or Saturn. Venus is adequate, but notably, Mercury is not dominant. Marie Curie – Chemistry (Sun, Saturn), Jane Goodall – Zoology (Moon, Jupiter), Rachel Carson – marine biology (Jupiter, Saturn), Margaret Mead – anthropology (Saturn), Shirley Ann Jackson – Physics (Sun) Margaret J. Geller – astronomer (Jupiter), and Rozalind Franklin – molecular biology (Sun).
The most iconic example of a positive Venus dominated chart of a scientist comes from the beginning of science as we know it today (see chart at top of next column.) Interestingly, this individual embodies the qualities of the 5th Ray soul as described in esoteric astrology. The 5th Ray is the Ray of Concrete Science and Knowledge and is related to the planet Venus. The concept of the 5th Ray sounds like the glyph for Venus – The vehicle of expression for the Ideas in the Mind of God; the urge to reveal Law through intellect; the power to express divinity through deep penetration into matter – the mind over matter. The key qualities are: knowledge-seeking, methodical, analytical truth tangibly manifested, formal, mentally detached, traditional in thought, researching, scientific impulse, observant, reverence for laws of nature, disseminator of knowledge, mathematical, total belief in matter, common sense, fact loving, patient, striving for accuracy, predominantly mental, persevering, fruitful, in pursuit of discovery, understanding will liberate you, and special method of mental usefulness. (11)
This individual exhibiting these soul qualities was born on Sunday, January 4, 1643 at 1:38 AM in Woolsthorpe, England. His intellectual and intuitive powers in dedication to science made him known as the “Father of Modern Science.” He also delved deeply into alchemy and metaphysical studies before taking on a prominent role in public life at the Royal Academy after publication of Principia on the philosophy of mathematics made him an international figure. He never married because of his relationship to science was a total commitment.
He is Isaac Newton. His Libra ascendant makes his ruling planet Venus of highest degree well placed in the 4th trine the Moon in the 9th. Perhaps his Venusian nature is best expressed by this famous quote from his letters, which actually evokes the image of Aphrodite’s birth by Botticelli.
Reflect on your own Venus during this time of retrograde and open up to all the possibilities of how its best ethic in the sign, house and aspect delineations can be the secret to your greater happiness and satisfaction. It is your “mind” and your “ethic” about everything in your life, not limited to your money, your stuff, your appearance and where to find someone to love. It is about your love or your lack of love for Nature, for Life itself. In each sign and house, Venus can have a beautiful ethic, an ugly one, or something in between. What it attracts to you is “the secret.” Where you are with your ethic, your mind, can be changed, inside. Transformation is what’s in.
1. Clark, Rosemary. “Preface.” Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt. Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury, Minnesota. 2012. p. xix.
2. James, George G.M. “The curriculum of the Egyptian Mystery System” Stolen Legacy: The Egyptian Origins of Western Philosophy. A Traffic Output Publication. Lexington, KY. 1995. p. 131. Origins of western thought had to be credited to Europe rather than Africa, favoring Greece. Still, these same Greeks, with these principles, inspired the Humanistic education in universities of Europe; thus, igniting the engine of the Reformation/Renaissance. But, origin matters.
3. Gigal, Antoine. Hathor and Nebheru.
4. Velikovsky, Immanuel. Worlds in Collision.
5. Guttman, Ariel & Kenneth Johnson. Mythic Astrology: Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope. p. 42, quoting Kerenyi, Karl. The Gods of the Greeks. p. 80.
6. Took, Thalia. “World Goddess Oracle: Sekhmet.” A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery. In a reading, “Sekhmet is a warning not to get carried away, but go easy, and that old grudges and patterns are getting in the way of needed change. Forgive old hurts and heal the anger to experience joy.”
7. Olendzki, Andrew. Mind like a mirror.
8. Rudhyar, Dane. “Chapter 11, Venus in the Natal Chart” An Astrological Study of Psychological Complexes.
9. Jacobson, Ivy Goldstein. “Venus’ elongation.” The Way of Astrology. 1967. pp. 41-43.
10. Popova, Maria. “When woman is boss: Nikola Telsa on gender equality and how technology will unleash women’s true potential.”
11. “Ray Five – Concrete Knowledge/Science” Esoteric Astrology with Mermaid. (Though the author is only known as “Mermaid” she or he has acknowledged the Ray material comes from Alice Bailey, Alan Oken’s Soul Centered Astrology, and Mae R. Wilson-Ludham.)
Victoria F. Naumann Smoot is the editor-in -chief of ISAR’s journal, The International Astrologer, since 2010 when she joined ISAR and earned her ISAR, CAP certification. She is also a certified professional with OPA, and is a trainer or consulting skills with ISAR. She has studied and practiced astrology since the early 1970s combining this with language teaching, writing, design, event planning, publicity and museum curating. She is the co-author with Dr. Mark Bassett of Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School. Victoria’s interests include history, archetypes and symbolism, particularly of ancient Egypt, and the many arts and belief systems of the world. Contact her at [email protected], or message her personally on her Facebook under: Victoria Naumann Smoot.