04. Venus versus Mars in Love
We are naturally attracted by our affinities, yet also by desirable characteristics which are to some degree lacking in ourselves. A potent sexual attraction plugs in to these features, in an energy exchange that is both stimulating and compelling. This exchange seems designed to develop the generation of new life and the ultimate continuance of all life on earth.
Women today (at least in the West) have the sexual freedoms once the prerogative of men. Reliable birth control and technologically mediated voyeurism – even virtual sex – have become a reality, so people of both sexes (and those somewhere in between) can freely express their sexuality over the full potential for actualisation.
This is a new development, not seen since primitive times before the establishment of the patriarchial hegemony. In those ancient days, sexuality was a sacrament, child raising was a communal responsibility, and property rights (such as they were!) carried through the female line, for the concept of fatherhood had not yet been developed. Mars and Venus had a field day!
Aspects to Venus and Mars in the birth chart and how these planets are placed by sign, dignity and elevation, can be clear indicators of sexual behaviour. Venus in Scorpio, for example, is considered weak, especially if further debilitated by aspect. It can express intense, even compulsive or deviant sexual behaviour. The polarity of this position means some individuals may drop sex altogether and focus on spiritual goals, or even other all-consuming activities such as art or charitable works.
Do you ever wonder why the person you’re attracted to isn’t reciprocating your feelings? Or why the person who you couldn’t care less about keeps following you around like a lost puppy? We can look to the placements of our Venus and Mars for answers to these (and other) questions. Which sign Venus is in tells us our ideal of love, how we attract (and express) love, and how we want to receive love. The sign in which Mars falls tells us how we exert our energy to attain what attracts us.
Note: In a woman’s chart, her Venus sign represents her love style, while her Mars sign represents the type of man that makes her feel … lusty. In a man’s chart, his Venus sign represents the woman in his fantasies, while his Mars sign represents how he tries to persuade a woman to choose him (for sex, love, whatever).
There are infinite complexities in relationships. Astrological analysis at this level gives us a rule of thumb, not an absolute. Venus and Mars have other symbolic levels of meaning, whilst the Sun represents the husband in a woman’s chart and the Moon represents the wife in the chart of a man (the Sun also stands for the father and the Moon for the mother in anyone’s chart, for astrological symbolism works at many levels).
The Planet Venus
Ancient mythology associated the Roman godess Venus and the Greek godess Aphrodite with femininity, love and beauty, receptivity and relatedness, affection and sensual pleasures. In modern astrology the planet named after Venus is associated with…
LOVE…the ability to EXPRESS LOVE to others, the way one SHOWS LOVE and loving-kindness to others, how one prefers to RECEIVE LOVE and affection from others.
ATTRACTION…the ability to ATTRACT LOVE and AFFECTION, the way one attracts friends & lovers, how one flirts.
RELATING…the ability to form RELATIONSHIPS in general, the type of relationship one seeks and enjoys, how one behaves in ONE-on-ONE relationships and partnerships.
CREATIVITY…the ability to create BEAUTY and/or HARMONY, the way one seeks to express the beauty inside them, the way one brings harmony & balance into their world.
THE FEMININE IDEAL…the image of the ideal female in terms of beauty and ATTRACTIVENESS as a LOVER, how a woman expects to be, or how a man likes a woman to be.
VENUS in LOVE
The planet Venus in a woman’s birth chart indicates how she acts TO ATTRACT LOVE. In any person’s horoscope, Venus will be in one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, but it cannot be more than two signs away from the Sign of the Sun in their birth chart. Venus takes an average of one month to travel through a Sign, so all persons born in that one-month period will have Venus in the same Sign.
The VENUS SIGN shows the STRATEGY she prefers to use to attract love or affection or friends or lovers. You might call this her “womanly wiles” or simply her “LOVE STYLE” for VENUS.
Each VENUS SIGN has a separate strategy, which can come into play quite unconsciously sometimes; such as when a woman is in the presence of attractive males or something she wants to have. She may flirt in a certain way which uses the strategies of the Sign, or act in a certain way to GET her way. For flirting or for finagling, she’ll use the same set of strategies. And so will a man, unless he chooses to go with a more aggressive Mars energy to attain his desires.
The page titled “LOVE STYLES: VENUS” (or “Flirting by Sign”) details the 12 basic strategies of the 12 VENUS SIGNS, and their “acts”.
Rob Tillett presents a short description of the astrological meaning of Venus, the great queen of love, desire, relationships, taste, musical and artistic expression and the priciples of harmony, justice and equilibrium…
Venus, the goddess of love, represents female relationships and social interactions at every level. She rules our social attitudes and behaviour, along with our aesthetic tastes and inclinations. Venus, queen of taste and of the arts, represents the principles of harmony, justice and equilibrium.
Venus shows where our values lie and how we set our priorities. She governs our desires. Her placement in the horoscope describes our inclinations with regard to romance, marriage and other partnerships, our capacity for humour and the pursuit of pleasure in all its forms.
Known as the Morning Star and also as the Evening Star, Venus, the second planet from the Sun, is pretty much a sister planet to the Earth, although the Shining Planet currently has no moon. Brighter than any star in the sky, Venus is almost the same size as Earth, though scientists tell us the planet is somewhat less dense and has a day that lasts more than a year! Curiously, the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East on Venus, due to her unusual retrograde rotation. The Love Goddess spends around four weeks on average in each sign, taking a little under one year to complete her journey through all twelve signs. Venus turns retrograde only once every eighteen months, for around 42 days, being stationary for some 11 days.
From a romantic point of view, Venus in a man’s chart shows the kinds of women he desires instinctively, whilst the placement of Venus in a woman’s chart indicates the ways in which she is likely to present herself in order to attract the interest of romantic partners.
Now Venus also rules desire in all its forms. The word “venereal” refers to diseases of Venus. So she is strongly focused on sexual interactions, but since she can be rather avaricious, Venus also governs the flow of money and the financial conditions in our lives.
Venus is the traditional planetary ruler of Libra (relationships; harmony), her Day Sign, and Taurus (security; material pleasures), her Night Sign. Venus is exalted in Pisces (sensitivity; self-sacrifice). People with these signs prominent in their charts are said to be ruled by Venus.
In ancient mythology, Venus, the beautiful love goddess, was always getting up to something with Mars, the fierce god of war. None of the other gods could ever work out what the lovely Venus saw in the headstrong, arrogant Mars, but she certainly fancied him, no matter what anyone else said or thought.
The Planet Mars
Ancient mythology associated the Roman god Mars and the Greek god Ares with masculinity, courage and will, assertiveness and intiative, anger and lust. In modern astrology the planet named after Mars is associated with…
LUST…the ability to DESIRE sexual union, the sex drive, the way one’s sex drive is aroused.
ASSERTION…the ability to ACT TO ACQUIRE what one desires, the way one acts to satisfy one’s lust or desires.
INITIATIVE…the ability to ACT INDEPENDENTLY, the way one goes about getting or ATTAINING that which he desires.
COURAGE…the ability to ACT IN SPITE OF FEAR and RISK, the way one is challenged to learn courage, or shows courage.
THE MASCULINE IDEAL…the image of the IDEAL MALE in terms of machismo and DESIRABILITY as a LOVER, how a man expects to act, or how a woman likes a man to act.
MARS in LUST
The planet Mars in a man’s birth chart indicates HOW HE ACTS TO ATTAIN (or attack) THE OBJECT OF HIS DESIRE. In any person’s horoscope, Mars can be in any one of the twelve Signs; but since it travels through a Sign in about two months, all persons born in the same two-month period will have Mars in the same Sign. (During occasional periods of retrograde motion, Mars may spend more than two months in a particular Sign.)
The MARS SIGN shows the STRATEGY he prefers to use to satisfy his lust, or to act to acquire what he desires. Call it his “action plan” or his “LOVE STYLE” for MARS.
Each MARS SIGN has a separate strategy, one which comes into play quite unconsciously when he is sexually aroused, or sees someone or something he DESIRES. He may flirt in a certain way, or make overt moves to gain the object of his desire. Watching the MARS ACTION and the VENUS ATTRACTION in operation together is a fascinating pastime! Many movies and TV soaps have been produced and become popular by portraying this VENUS/MARS dynamic. Witness the relationship of the characters Sam Malone and Diane Chambers in re-runs of the long-running TV sitcom, “Cheers”. The styles of these characters exhibit in their game of mutual seduction seem similar to the styles of Libra (Diane) and Leo (Sam).
The page titled “LOVE STYLES: MARS” (or “Making It With MARS”) details the 12 basic strategies of the 12 MARS SIGNS and their various “acts”.
Rob Tillett presents a short description of the astrological meaning of Mars, the passionate warrior, lord of war, destruction, conquest, energy, will-power and renewal…
Mars, the ancient god of warriors, rules physical energy and efforts. His placement in the horoscope expresses the strength and direction of the physical force that drives our ego. Mars fires our emotions, but also powers our mental endeavours and communicative skills. The red planet governs energy, strength, courage, life-force and expansion.
A masculine planet of instinctive, primeval drives, Mars describes male relationships and associations, risk-taking inclinations, and the physical challenges you are likely to encounter. Although traditionally classed as a malefic (evil-doer), Mars when well-placed endows powerful energy and an indomitable will to succeed, but when poorly-placed can signal accidents, injuries, anger, rage, warfare or other forms of violence, according to the inclinations of the sign and house concerned. A force of fertility and reproduction, as well as destruction, Mars shows that sometimes it is necessary to destroy in order to create, to tear down in order to build anew.
From a romantic point of view, Mars in a woman’s chart shows the most desired kinds of men, whilst his placement in a man’s chart indicates the activities or mode of action undertaken in pursuit of romantic inclinations and desires. Passionate Mars is not a conscious force, but a subliminal drive, the urge to reproduce, to bring forth fruit. Though he powers the mental effort, in himself he is instinctive, not intelligent. What is it they say about the military mind…?
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. Around half the size of the Earth, Mars has two small moons: Phobos (“fear”) and Deimos (“dread”), though these have no known astrological effect. Fear and loathing in the solar system perhaps..? The mighty Warrior spends around eight weeks on average in each sign, taking a little under two years to complete his journey through all twelve signs. Mars turns retrograde only once every two years and two months, for around 80 days, being stationary for some 20 days.
Mars is the traditional planetary ruler of Aries (leadership; drive), his Day Sign, and Scorpio (intensity; sexuality), his Night Sign. Mars is exalted in Capricorn (ambition; loyalty). People with these signs prominent in their charts are said to be ruled by Mars. The colour of Mars is red, his metal is iron and his gem is the red coral.
In ancient mythology, Venus, the beautiful love goddess, was constantly getting up to something with handsome Mars, the fierce god of war. The other Olympians could never work out what the lovely Venus saw in the headstrong, arrogant Mars, but she certainly fancied him, no matter what anyone else said or thought. Desire meets action – cosmic polarity in motion!
Polarity, the balance between two extremes
As the force expresses itself in the world, we observe its passage through varying degrees of polarity:feminine/masculine
and so on.
Each astrological sign reveals degrees of polarity. For instance, Aries is hot and dry, positive, masculine and diurnal (light). It’s pretty full-on! Pisces, on the other hand, is cool and moist, feminine and nocturnal (dark). It’s much more laid back.
Of course, not all Ariens are frenetic over-achievers, nor are all Pisceans dreamy idealists. Each human being is a balancing act, involving many often contrary astrological phenomena. This balancing of polarities generates the marvellous breadth and depth of human character, creating a world of unique individuals, each living and breathing at the centre of a vibrant web of interaction.
Human beings, men, women and children, all display polarity according to sex, sign and factors such as ruling planet, planetary aspect and house position. The keys to sexuality in the horoscope, however, are Venus and Mars, or desire and action. Here is polarity in action: Venus is the emblem of the feminine side, while Mars is the opposite, polar emblem of masculinity. The interpretation of the horoscope is fundamental to a true understanding of our sexual polarities.
Venus and Mars
In the horoscope of a man venus shows what kind of partner he thinks is attractive, with other words, how his ideal image of the female looks like. In the horoscope of a female the venus shows how she presents her feminine side. In both genders venus shows the capacity for intimacy. In a woman, mars shows what she attracted to in a man, whether she likes macho guys or gentle men, whether she likes a confronting way of being approached or a rather subtle way. In a man, mars shows how he will approach the female.
Put simply, in a man’s horoscope, Venus represents the sorts of women to whom he is attracted, whilst Mars indicates the kinds of actions he will take in order to achieve his desires. In a woman’s horoscope, the placement of Mars represents the types of men she is interested in, whilst Venus represents the ways in which she will present herself, in order to attract them. At least, this is the traditional view. In charts of relationships, the aspects and mutual aspects to Venus and Mars are significant in establishing the sexual components of the relationship itself.
The life force flows along subtle channels, or pathways between people. When you plug in to that special person, the experience can be electifying! But relationships work on many levels other than the physical/emotional conduits of the force.
The Venus / Mars Dynamic
In our present culture there are no longer the extremes of Warrior vs Woman, or Knight vs Maiden, or Brave vs Squaw. We all contain a masculine and a feminine part in our make-up, and it is culturally acceptable for men to express their feminine side and women to express their masculine side. So in modern astrology we look at both the Venus and Mars function in any one individual. Both are a part of him or her.
Here are several ways of EXPRESSING the Venus vs Mars dynamic…
VENUS is, MARS does.
VENUS attracts, MARS attacks.
VENUS beckons, MARS comes.
VENUS is a tease, MARS is a tiger.
VENUS is a beauty, MARS is a beast.
VENUS is a flower, MARS is a bee.
VENUS lures, MARS bites.
VENUS is bait, MARS takes the bait.
VENUS waits, MARS approaches.
VENUS is a seductive Siren, MARS is a sailor seduced.
“I am Woman, hear me roar!”
This declaration from an old hit song by Helen Reddy illustrates the modern-day Venus/Mars dynamic operating in one empowered individual. Women do not have to be full-time maidens or wives, nor do they have to be receptive, passive, and purely feminine all the time. They can express their masculine Mars energy when it suits them. A woman can roar, and a man can cry; and still they are who they are… a woman expressing some masculine energy, and a man expressing some feminine energy. Yin and Yang. Passive and Active. We all have both polarities operating in our psyches.
Thus women can use their Mars energy and men can use their Venus energy. When a woman feels like being assertive, or sees a man she wants, she does not have to stick with her Venus strategy and put on the “attraction act”. She can also initiate an “assertive act” to pursue her prey or gain her goal by using her masculine energy in a style which fits her Mars strategy.
In any male/female relationship or encounter, BOTH the Venus and Mars energies will be active in their own ways, and in both persons. So read the LOVE STYLE for BOTH your Venus and Mars!
LOVE STYLES of Venus and Mars according to ELEMENT and SIGN
The following pages list the “LOVE STYLES” for people who have Venus and Mars located in various Signs in their birthchart. If you read the appropriate sections which describe your personal “LOVE STYLE” when acting TO ATTRACT LOVE (indicated by your Venus Sign), and when acting TO ATTAIN LOVE (see your Mars Sign), you will probably notice that many, if not all, of the traits are apparent in your style to a GREATER degree than the other traits listed under other Signs.
Venus or Mars in Signs of the same ELEMENT, such as the “FIRE Signs” of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, will SHARE several similar traits from the list at the beginning of the “FIRE Signs” section. But the individual Venus Signs or Mars Signs will also have DIFFERENT traits which seem STRONGER than those of persons with Venus or Mars in the other Signs of the same Element.
If a person has Venus in a Sign of one Element, and Mars in a Sign of a different Element, then it can be more difficult to identify certain traits as part of the Venus style of ATTRACTING compared to the Mars Style of ATTAINING. Both styles, though quite DIFFERENT in operation, may be operating at the SAME time. While a person is acting to ATTRACT in, say, a quiet, nurturing Venus-in-Cancer style, he or she may also be acting to ATTAIN in a more assertive and dramatic Mars-in-Leo style. He may quietly ATTRACT at one time and then act more assertively to ATTAIN at another time.
When trying to determine whether the indicated Venus style or Mars style is really apparent in a person’s Love Style (or when judging the validity of these descriptions by examining your OWN Love Style), try to keep in mind that:
(1) Venus and Mars in the SAME SIGNS or Signs of the SAME ELEMENT indicate a Love Style which is consistent and very easily integrated. WHAT YOU “ADVERTISE” FOR IS SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU WANT TO “DELIVER”. Venus in Aries acts like it wants action and adventure, and it may attract a Mars in Aries or Leo or Sagittarius person who actually IS active and adventurous.
(2) Venus and Mars in Signs of DIFFERENT BUT COMPATIBLE ELEMENTS (e.g. Fire/Air or Earth/Water) indicate a Love Style which is fairly consistent and fairly easily integrated. WHAT YOU WILL “ADVERTISE” IS NOT EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO “DELIVER”, BUT IT CAN STILL SATISFY BOTH PARTIES. Venus in Sagittarius acts like it wants companionship and philosophical talks. It may attract a Mars in Gemini/Libra/Aquarius person who really IS gregarious and likes to talk about ideas or ideals.
(3) Venus and Mars in Signs of DIFFERENT AND INCOMPATIBLE ELEMENTS (e.g. Fire/Earth, Fire/Water, Air/Earth, or Air/Water) indicate a Love Style which is NOT CONSISTENT and not easily integrated. WHAT YOU “ADVERTISE” IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO DELIVER, AND IT COULD CONFUSE BOTH PARTIES. Venus in Leo acts like it wants to show off and spend money lavishly. Mars in Virgo or Capricorn doesn’t like show-offs and doesn’t like to spend money frivolously. That Venus-in-Leo person may attract a Mars-in-Leo lover whose flamboyant style seems attractive; but when the impulsive and attention-seeking Mars-in-Leo lover encounters the cautious and critical Mars-in-Virgo that lives with Venus-in-Leo in that person’s horoscope chart, there can be difficulties.
Since most people don’t have Venus and Mars in the same sign, I’ll give an example of a mix-and-match Venus and Mars “team.” A man with Venus in Libra and Mars in Virgo would most likely be attracted to a beautiful woman with social graces. So far, his Venus & Mars would work well together in that regard, because both Libra and Virgo value keeping up good appearances and following proper etiquette. However, he might experience indecision over whether to woo her by planning their first date down to the tiniest detail (Virgo Mars) or let her make the plans because he really wants her to have a good time on their date (Libra Venus).