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by Gary Brand - written November 10, 2007,
published in the December 2007 edition of Echo* newspaper

Three-dimensional view of three impact craters on an area of Venus called Lavinia Planitia Radar and altimetry data obtained by the Magellan spacecraft were used to create this three-dimensional view of three impact craters on Venus.  Howe Crater is center foreground and measures 23 miles across.  There are few such craters on Venus because its thick atmosphere shields it from all but the largest meteorites.  Those that reach the surface probably break up on their way, as may have happened here millions of years ago.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

A sixteenth-century print showing the goddess Venus and
the pleasurable pursuits she governs A Renaissance, sixteenth-century print showing the goddess Venus and the pleasurable pursuits she governs.

This is a 1491 woodcut of the personification of Venus
riding a chariot drawn by two doves. This is a 1491 woodcut of the personification of Venus riding a chariot pulled by birds, probably doves.  The goddess is shown with wings sprouting from her head and holding a large arrow in her right hand, used to instill love in human hearts.  Eros (the Greek name for Cupid), one of Aphrodite's (the Greek name for Venus) companions, is depicted as a winged, blindfolded, naked child with a bow and arrows, the sting of which ignited the flames of passion in those they struck.  Taurus, the principle sign ruled by Venus, is depicted by the front half of a bull in the front wheel of the chariot.  Libra, the secondary sign ruled by Venus, is depicted by the scales or balance in the back wheel of the chariot.  From the 1491 edition of Bonatti (G.B. (c. 1282/1491)).
his article is one of a series about the metaphysical and esoteric meanings of the planets that focuses on the metaphysics of Venus in our birth chart.  Venus, in Greek and Roman mythology, was the goddess of love and beauty.  She is the primary symbol of celebration (the theme of this edition of Echo* newspaper) and her placement in a birth chart epitomizes our individual ability to celebrate love and, more profoundly, to celebrate life.  The word “celebrate” has several meanings, most of which pertain to observing and performing rites, and to festivities or ceremonies, or to commemorating an event.  This was particularly true of devotions to the gods and goddesses in the temples of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

Venus has a unique and significant relationship with the 5th house.  Traditional astrologers from the Hellenistic Greeks through the European Renaissance recognized that Venus “rejoices” in the 5th house.  Medieval astrologer Bonatti said that Venus rejoices in the 5th house because it is the "house of joy, delight and dance" (G.B.II, p. 100 (c. 1282/1994)).  The two benefic planets, Jupiter and Venus, rejoice in opposing houses and these houses are considered the most financially fortunate in a chart, even by modern astrologers.  People fortunate enough to be born with Venus in the 5th house are naturally joyous souls who take delight in the many pleasures that life in a body has to offer.  Venus is also the cosignificator of the 5th house, after the planet that rules the sign at the beginning of that house in a birth chart.  For all the rest of us, we can look to the sign and house where Venus resides in our birth chart to determine what we enjoy the most.

The term “Venusian” is derived from Venus and means of or pertaining to the planet and is often applied when describing something or someone beautiful, easy-going, or pleasure-seeking.  The word “venerate” (and its synonym revere) is also derived from Venus and means to revere or solicit the good will of a god/goddess but in its original sense it meant to desire, a Venus keyword.  “Aphrodisiac” is derived from Aphrodite, the Greek name for Venus, which means arousing sexual desire.  When Venus is emphasized in a human birth chart, the person is alluring, charismatic and has sex appeal.  The elemental metal Copper is “ruled” or governed by Venus and many Copper compounds are a beautiful (Venus) blue or green color.

Brightness is an important factor to traditional astrologers in determining how beneficial a planet is and Venus is the third brightest object in the sky, bright enough to be visible at times during the day.  Pythagoras and his followers revered Venus because it is the only planet bright enough to cast a faint shadow on moonless nights (M.P.H., p. LXVIII).  Jupiter is the next brightest planet and, together with Venus (because of their brightness), these planets are the two most beneficial influences among the seven planets of antiquity.  Both Venus and Jupiter govern laughter, humor and pleasure.  It is no coincidence that Venus rules Friday (by virtue of the fact that she rules the first hour of that day).  Friday is the last day of the traditional workweek and this is the reason that more socializing than work is done on Fridays than other days of the workweek (unless the work is fun, social or artistic anyway).

The most popular cosmogony myth (F.G., p. 88 (1968)) says that the Greek goddess Aphrodite was born out of foam formed when Saturn threw the genitals that he severed from his emasculated father Uranus into the sea (few preferred the contrasting Homeric cosmogony that Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione).  The popular myth of her birth is rich in symbolism:  the goddess most closely associated with sexual desire and procreation is born out of impotent, male genitals (emblematic of her sexual and procreative nature).  However, the brutal act of emasculation resulting in her birth was bourn of necessity (by Saturn) because Uranus was preventing the birth his children, the Titans (emblematic of Aphrodite as progenitor).  She also rose out of the sea, progenitor of life on Mother Earth (Gaea).  As Marine Aphrodite, she was worshipped as goddess of seafaring, prosperous voyages, and good weather (Id., p. 130).  She was also venerated as Aphrodite Genetrix, protector and procurer of marriage, which usually resulted in procreation (Id.).  As Aphrodite Porne, she was goddess of lust, sexual passion, and patroness of prostitutes (Id.).  But as Aphrodite Urania (her celestial aspect), she was goddess of ideal or pure love (Id.).  Her symbol of power was her magic girdle containing every seduction imaginable and capable of smiting the hearts of humans and gods with love or passionate desire (Id., p. 131).

In addition to the irony of her birth, there is the irony of her marriage to Hephaestus (Vulcan was his Roman name) – the most beautiful goddess married to a homely god, deformed from birth, and addicted to all pleasures (Id.).  Surely, this is the archetypical arranged marriage – Hephaestus demanded marriage to the most beautiful of the goddesses as the price for freeing Hera from the golden throne he had cunningly fashioned so that when she sat in it, she couldn’t get up until he released her!  This marriage is also symbolic of balance and equality (or equalization) – the essence of Venus.  Although Hephaestus was justified in his anger with Aphrodite’s continuous infidelity with Ares (Mars), she was just equalizing the infidelities of Hephaestus, who had affairs with Cabeiro and Etna, and he attempted to rape Athene (Id., p. 128).

Venus rising brightly in the east before the Sun (especially near and after greatest western elongation when she is trailing the Sun in zodiacal order) signifies her masculine strength and her position in the Sun’s semicircle of the rulership pattern (Taurus precedes Leo), defiant of the power of the Sun (but overpowered by his light after sunrise).  Venus setting after the Sun (eastern elongation but preceding the Sun in zodiacal order) is her more conventional, submissive, feminine placement.  Venus’ minimum planetary period is eight years because every eight years she returns to the same zodiacal position on the same date (less two days) but her greatest period is 1,151 years!

Reference Citations.

See related articles Metaphysical Taurus and Metaphysical Libra.

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

© copyright 2007-2013 Gary Brand.  All Rights Reserved.