We will now take up more than one planet per issue in our ongoing astrology series. By doing so, we shall begin to see the relationships the planets have for each other, thus giving us the sense as to how an astrology chart consisting of close to a dozen planetary placements can be comprehended holistically rather than in separate parts.
We turn to Venus and Mars, a natural pair for many reasons. In Greek mythology, Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) had an attraction for one another which resulted in an offspring named Eros; the ancient Greeks understood sexual drive as a combination of masculine and feminine forces, a mix of aggressive and receptive behaviors.
In astrology, the fact that every individual has a Venus' and Mars' placement somewhere in their chart leads one to the understanding that every person has both masculine and feminine energies within themselves. Modern psychology, specifically that of C. G. Jung and his followers, has made popular this concept which for many centuries was only understood by students of esoteric knowledge. Jung called the masculine aspect of the psyche the animus and the feminine aspect the anima.
Through therapy work with his patients, Jung concluded that many of the psychological problems were rooted in an imbalance between anima/animus, due in large part to cultural forms that created totally masculine men and totally feminine women. Jung advocated, as had many esoteric traditions before him, the absolute necessity for every human to attain psychological balance in order to lead sane and healthy lives. With that in mind, a study of one's placements of Venus and Mars in an astrology chart will give clear indications of the expression of one's natural anima/animus tendencies.
Venus is the Roman name for the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. The only planet in our solar system named after a goddess, Venus automatically qualifies as the astrological symbol for all things feminine. Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty. Venus is popularly conceived as determining our nature as a lover and, in general, ruling our love life. However, astrologers sometimes overlook her rule over beauty, which gives her domain a much wider scope than merely our love lives. As beauty is the expression of perfection, she truly influences all of our ideals. Therefore, our highest ideals, as well as our anima nature, are determined by where Venus is located in our astrology chart.
Mars is the Roman version of the Greek god, Ares; for both civilizations, he was the god of war. In astrology, he is given command over our aggressive, competitive energies, which make him well suited to be the planetary aspect ruling our masculine, animus nature. So, we may look at the Venus/Mars combination in our astrology charts as indicating what are our ideals and how we struggle to attain them as well as our anima/animus expression.
In order to determine the meaning of each of these planets throughout the astrology signs, it is recommended you refer to issue #2 on the Sun, where you will find qualitative descriptions for each of the twelve signs.
As both these planets are our nearest neighbors in the solar system, their relatively close orbits to that of Earth's give them another astrological bond. Unlike all other planets, which retrograde at least once a year, both only retrograde, on average, every two to three years. Therefore, retrograde motion by either of them is a significant time. If you wish to know more on retrogrades, please refer to issue #3, Mercury.
If one's Venus and Mars placements are known, one will have a trusty guide to what areas of life one optimally expresses one's masculine and feminine natures. Also, how well one can expect to harmonize these complimentary halves may also be determined by astrology. The angle of difference between any two planets, known as a planetary aspect, has traditional interpretations. If Mars and Venus are in opposing signs, one might expect some ongoing effort in maintaining gender balance, yet there is a fairly good chance of attaining a complementary harmony. If the two planets are five signs apart, the potential for harmonization is good, yet not quite as favorable as four signs apart. Planets three signs apart are the most challenging aspect, indicating the greatest effort for gender balancing. Planets two and one sign apart are both beneficial, the two sign difference more so than one. If you are fortunate enough to have both Venus and Mars in the same sign, then the potential for gender balance within oneself approaches the perfectly natural requiring hardly any effort at all.
In closing, it is worth noting that Venus and Mars, like all astrological bodies presented so far in this series, are influences which may be possibly outgrown by an individual. When one makes a concerted effort to evolve spiritually, holistic approaches, such as conscious gender balancing, allow the individual to transcend the specific traits of the Sun's daily ego activities, the Moon's emotional types, Mercury's mental processes, Venus' ideals, or Mars' aggressions. Becoming a complete human being puts one above mundane differences and into a sphere of reality governed by the great planet/deities we will meet in future issues.