Venus – the Planet of Love
Astrologers generally consider Venus to be the planet of love. This, however, is somewhat misleading… Venus describes the form in which an individual can recognize love or approval. The sign, house and aspects involving thenatal Venus can describe the ways in which the person gained appreciation within the family structure. So someone with Venus in Capricorn might be appreciated for her sense of discipline, while someone else with Venus inCancer was approved for her sensitive and caring nature. Venus, then, is a highly socialized planet, one whose expression doesn’t necessarily correspond with our deepest needs, but is a learned value.
Venus is a step towards intimacy, it is the sweet attraction that pulls us towards another person (or him/her towards us). Magnetism, though, is not intimacy, it’s not even love. But it is important, vital in fact, if a meaningful relationship is going to develop. However, relationships primarily built on Venus contacts may not last long or go very deep. Venus is a “horizontal” planet. It has to do with how we reach out to another person or object that attracts us. It does not, however, necessarily reflect our deepest needs. These needs, this pathway to intimacy, falls in the domain of the Moon.
The Moon as the Key to Intimacy
The Moon is the primary feminine archetype in astrology. The relationship with mother is the basis for all future relationships. It was one of total dependency, the only physically necessary relationship in life. We can not exist without mother’s presence (at least until birth). Fathers are vital for conception, after that they’re optional, albeit desirable. Closeness, then, comes through the Moon. It comes through connecting with our deepest needs, recognizing them and taking the risk to share them with the person we love. This vulnerability is a key element of intimacy. If we don’t let our partner in we live parallel lives, rather than lives of true intimacy. Now we don’t all have the same needs here.
Someone with the Moon in Cancer is likely to have a very different notion of closeness than someone with the Moon in Aquarius. Each has lunar needs, needs to be fed and to be heard, but the forms can be very different. The Moon in Cancer needs, above all, to belong, to have that watery connection of feeling that you are both in the same circle. The Aquarius Moon, though, needs space and freedom, and can find security within a less tightly bound relationship. In any case, though, the Moon is what allows us to join at a deep emotional level.
When we stay at the level of Venus, however, the need to be liked dominates the need to be heard. Closeness requires a willingness to move past the approval level and touch the soul. When we share our deepest feelings, fears and secrets we can open ourselves. Letting the other in is a challenge, particularly for men or women with strongfire in their charts. Receiving is as much of an art as giving. Working with the Moon means allowing for changes, for inconsistencies. We’re not talking about a fixed model of ideal partnership, we’re seeking a living relationship between growing and changing human beings.
We can understand Venus as describing what we like, sort of what tastes good to us. But like sweet sugar in the mouth, the pleasure it gives is nice, but might not be very fulfilling. The Moon describes what feeds us. Therefore, it is important that we understand the relationship between Venus and the Moon in our natal charts. If the two are in conflict, extra attention may need to be paid to make sure that pleasure feeds us, rather than leaving us undernourished. Someone with Venus in Cancer, for example, might appreciate the cozy and caring aspects of a love affair. But if the Moon is in Aries, space for spontaneity must also be included. This person can be very responsive to the partner much of the time (all other chart factors being equal), but suddenly pull away to reclaim her/his individual space. This can lead to confusion for both partners. It’s really about addressing two very different needs. The difficulty is that Venus and the Moon are close enough in their natures to mislead us into reading one for the other. Liking and needing are not the same thing. The form of love (Venus) and the substance of emotion (the Moon) may or may not be similar for a given individual.