Once in teaching a class about the planet Venus, I startled my students – and myself too, a little bit. I heard myself say that the main function of Venus lies in rejecting people. That of course is far from how we normally think of Venus! We imagine the “goddess of love” greeting us doe-eyed and misty, with open arms, receiving us into her heart without even a smidgeon of criticism, hesitation, or pre-conditions.
People sometimes spend their lives looking for that kind of perfect love. They are humanity’s tragic romantics. Most of them die lonely. Pete Townshend of The Who released a song forty years ago that seemed to say it all – The Sea Refuses No River. That line, to me, represents one of the high points of rock’n’roll poetry, but it actually has very little to do with Venus. In actuality, his words are purely Neptunian, and not just because of the maritime reference. It is Neptune, not Venus, that loves people unconditionally. As most of us quickly learn, there is a huge difference between the way we imagine that God loves us and the ways our parents or our partners love us. With parents and partners, while there may be sincere hugs and kisses, the package also includes a few eye-rolls and some disapproving looks, along with “helpful” lists of the myriad ways we might improve ourselves.
Venus doesn’t “love everybody” – that’s Neptune’s job. Venus picks and chooses, and that means some element of rejection must always be part of the process. Venusian love is personal. It is “me and you” stuff, not “me and the human race.” Sexually Venus tends to be binary, or at least it aspires to that condition.
How often in a lifetime, for example, are you going to say the words, “will you marry me?”
Gone are the days when the reflexive answer was “only once” – but most of us who do choose to marry try at least to keep the number down to the fingers on one hand. This observation leads us directly to Forrest’s Theorum #376 – most of us kiss a lot more people than we marry. And what’s a kiss but a preliminary investigation of the possibility of deeper intimacy? Even among the most sincere people in the world, those investigations are far more likely to reveal reasons not to be together than reasons to tie a life-long knot.
See? That’s rejection! Saying no to people – with wisdom and discernment – is a fundamental Venusian art.
Among those of us who are inclined to form couples, here’s the basic script underlying our actual experience: not you, not you, not you, not you . . . you? Give me a kiss . . .naw, not you either . . .not you, not you . . . you? Kiss me . . .is it really you? Kiss me again. You! It’s you! I’ve found you!
All this might seem flippant, but run it through your reality-checker. I would be surprised if it failed the test. Underlying everything we are considering here is a pivotal point about the planet Venus. What Venus does is to discern deep, specific complementarity between ourselves and another person. Saying that Venus is about “rejecting people” is accurate enough, although in all honesty that catchy phrasing fails to capture the warm spirit of the planet. Maybe we can “love everybody,” or at least aspire to do that. But can everybody be “your best friend?” Can everybody be your partner? Offering anyone that kind of deeply personal intimacy is a rich gift, and one that we cannot give to too many people. Life is too short, plus we are all too individuated to find that kind of soul-harmony on every street corner.
Love is a slippery word, one with many different legitimate meanings. That’s probably one reason that it is such a popular term with scoundrels. As we have seen, the love you might feel for humanity – the milk of human kindness – is in the boundaryless domain of Neptune. The special, very human, love you feel for a partner or a dear friend is Venusian love. For a person to qualify for receiving it, he or she has to pass a lot of tests – and keep on passing them.
Underlying all of this are six basic truths about the Venusian dimensions of the evolution of the human soul:
- Venus lessons cannot be learned all alone. They are about love and trust, and nobody learns much about those things all by themselves.
- Only certain specific people can help you learn the intimate lessons you are here to learn. Tapping random strangers on the back in the local cafe is not a reliable strategy.
- If you truly tune into your heart, you actually have some pretty good instincts about who can help you – and who cannot.
- Those instincts are encoded astrologically in your natal Venus, which is wired to be attracted to the kinds of people who can actually help you grow – and to reject the ones who cannot.
- Failing to reject those who cannot be of positive help to you is the source of oceans of human suffering.
- Recognizing those who can help you and sharing life with them is perhaps the greatest treasure this world can offer.
This month, Venus will spend time in three different signs. June begins with Venus nearing the end of Gemini. It enters Cancer on the 2nd and then Leo on the 26th. Over those four weeks, kids will be born with very different intimate pathways open to them. Each of these children will naturally be in a unique astrological situation – the question is never as simple as what sign Venus occupies. Houses, aspects, nodal karma – many other astrological dimensions are relevant. But signs are important. Let’s bring all we’ve been exploring here down to earth with a quick look at Venus in Gemini, Venus in Cancer, and Venus in Leo. To do that, I’m going to borrow three lightly edited sections from the second volume in my Elements series, The Book of Earth. In reading these words, you’ll see a message about what people with Venus in each of these signs is learning, who is able to help them with that learning, and what it looks like if they don’t master the twin arts of honest self-knowledge and the discerning rejection of those who are not good for them.
VENUS IN GEMINI
Intimate Evolutionary Agenda: Excellent communication is critical to my experience of intimacy. The clear translation of soul-states into vocabulary and syntax is always challenging; I resolve to master that skill, both in terms of my own emotional self-expression and in terms of my ability to listen deeply to another person without being blinded by my own preconceptions. I do not do well in a relationship when I am bored; I resolve to do my part to keep all my relationships interesting, growing, and changing.
Essential Qualities in a Natural Partner: Open-mindedness. Curiosity. An eagerness for new experiences and for opportunities to learn. Listening skills. Articulateness – or at least willing verbal self-expression. A natural predilection for conversation. A willingness to discuss anything.
Strategy: I commit to two resolutions: to listen to any partner carefully and to respond clearly and forthrightly from my own heart. I do my part in keeping a relationship interesting: I suggest travel, I read books and talk about what I have learned in them, I dynamite deadening intimate routines for the sheer joy of seeing something different. I ask questions and listen to the answers.
Tools: I like to talk and I like to listen, at least in intimate situations with people I love. I am naturally interested in many things. I am genuinely curious about the perspectives of others, especially those with whom I am sharing my life.
Dealing With The Shadow: there are many interesting and attractive people in the world, but once I am committed to a particular relationship, I am careful not to be distracted by other people. I will use language as a way of building bridges to people about whom I care; I will zealously monitor myself regarding my tendency to hide my heart behind words and elaborate rationalizations.
VENUS IN CANCER
Intimate Evolutionary Agenda The formation of strong, long-lasting, committed bonds with other human beings. Stability and longevity in relationships are not the only point – the deeper point is that I aim to create an intimate environment for myself in which the most vulnerable parts of my being feel safe enough to be revealed. At the heart level, I am seeking home, along with a feeling of family in some sense of the word.
Essential Qualities in a Natural Partner: A willingness to be radically committed to me. Faithfulness, reliability, and loyalty. One who is not unduly afraid of a powerful word such as “forever.” An urge to nurture – whether that nurturing is of children, pets, a garden, or the relationship itself.
Strategy: I must maintain a creative tension between, on one hand, my natural caution about getting hurt and, on the other hand, volunteering to take the risk of truly opening my heart. I will not be so cautious as to be unreachable.
Tools: A deep and fundamental capacity to love another human being in a spirit of familial devotion and lifelong commitment. A nearly infinite ability simply to care for another person. A natural internal marriage of my sexuality with emotions of simple affection.
Dealing With The Shadow: I resolve to be aware of my potential for excessive caution and self protection. I will not hide my true feelings or needs behind the “parental” mask of caregiving.
VENUS IN LEO
Intimate Evolutionary Agenda I resolve not to settle for anything less in my intimate life than the feeling of being cherished by someone whom I myself treasure. No one has to be perfect – that is not the point. The agenda here is to be perfectly loving – to celebrate each other, stand up for each other, and to consistently prioritize the wellbeing of the relationship over all other concerns. I need to feel free enough to be vulnerable.
Essential Qualities in a Natural Partner: Expressiveness. An affectionate, demonstrative nature. Supportiveness. The ability to say I love you. Attentiveness and a natural fluency in offering compliments. Self-respect – and respect for me – as demonstrated by a willingness to look and behave his or her best.
Strategy: First and foremost, I resolve never to settle for a partner whom I do not genuinely cherish. I would rather be alone than to abase myself that way. Once having found such a person, I actively commit to an active, lifelong path dedicated to preserving and nurturing the lasting romance of our bond.
Tools: I have a certain flair for style and colorful self-expression. An ability to say what I feel in an impactful way, so it is heard deeply. A degree of healthy pride, self-respect, and dignity – all of which support me in not settling for too little in any of my relationships.
Dealing With The Shadow: I remind myself that no one’s life needs to revolve around mine. In a healthy relationship, we are like a double star orbiting a common center of gravity which we have created together. It is not “all about me.” I express my own needs forthrightly – but I also make space to hear the needs and celebrate the victories of my friends and my partners.
May all the babies born this month find the kind of love that works for them – and may the rest of us find it, preserve it, and treasure it too. May all of us learn to know ourselves and love ourselves enough to walk away from anything less.