This is part of an ongoing series on planets in debility. To read the introduction to the series and about the concept of debility, go here.
Something I’ve found about debilitated planets is that often, the planet will manifest itself in ways that cast off some of the layers of meaning built up by the astrological tradition, sometimes bringing up deeper, forgotten, or subversive associations with that planet. Debilitated planets often remind us that while we encounter them within the framework of horoscopic astrology, those stellar objects themselves have far older histories, and the spirits and deities they are associated with are not easily contained within the orderly framework of horoscopic astrology. And when they are in places where their significations within astrology are said to be weakened, it is often there that the long forgotten stories of those planets seep into people’s lives.
For Venus, this is especially true. One of the most striking objects in the sky, Venus in western astrology has been reduced to the role of the wife. While in some parts of the western tradition they are treated better than others, Venus tends to be maligned, associated with things of this body and pleasures that, while nice, are thought of as insignificant or downright corrupting. But if you were to go outside before sunrise on a clear morning and look to the east, you would see Venus rising, wearing the glow of the coming sun. After the sun and the moon they are the brightest of the five visible planets and are brighter than all the stars. Clearly, there is something more to Venus we are often told.
Venus was called the morning and evening star, a reference to their interplay with the sun. Venus can only ever get two signs away from the sun in either direction. When they are earlier in the zodiac then the Sun, they will appear to rise before the Sun. But once they get far enough away from the Sun, they will retrograde, dropping into the heart of the Sun until they disappear and emerge three days later as an evening star, shining on the western horizon after the sun has set. Deities and spirits associated with Venus often share this mythology, falling from heaven, disappearing into the underworld, and reappearing three days later. There are clear parallels between this movement and the story of Jesus in the Christian tradition, and in the book of revelations Jesus in fact refers to himself as the brightest morning star, referencing the planet Venus. And Lucifer, the supposed enemy of God, is also associated with Venus, in his fall from heaven and exile to earth. While not often thought of as a Venusian figure, Lucifer is associated with forbidden knowledge, pleasure, sensuality, and the delights of the earth. And desire is power, wielded both by those who uphold current systems and those who wish to bring them down. Desire can illuminate, and create new realities.
Venus is said to be in detriment in the sign of Aries, mars’ fiery home, and the exaltation of the sun. Venus is supposed to want harmony, money, and for a man to provide. But in Aries, Venus becomes less able to bring about that balance, and quite frankly becomes uninterested in playing nice. Venus says fuck it, and decides to want what they want, consequences be damned. And in the sign of Mars’ domicile and the Sun’s exaltation, Venus has the charisma and force of will to do that.
But desire causes problems. Authentic desire, fully realized, is messy, causing disruptions in relationships, families, religious institutions, and cisheterosexual society itself. Desire creates exiles, the fallen children of Venus. An Aries Venus is often not well received, especially for those who have been told that their desires are deviant, or that they shouldn’t have desire at all. Venus in Aries natives can have a fraught relationship with desire. But often, this is a reflection of the ways that their society attempts to regulate desire, and their attunement to that system. This can cause havoc in their lives, but sometimes a little chaos is a good thing. And when wielded with care, desire can be a powerful illuminating and driving force, destabilizing the structures that aren’t good for anyone. Maybe the garden wasn’t all that great after all.