Venus, archetype of love, beauty and relationship, has a dual nature: one side of her is the sultry sensualist (hedonistic and self-indulgent at the worst) and the other side is the cool, unapproachable beauty (or ice princess at the worst). How can one archetype have two such different sides?
Every sign of the zodiac has a planet that rules it. But there are twelve signs and only ten planets,* so that two of those planets have rulership over two signs each. Venus is one that has two signs, those being Libra and Taurus.
These two signs aptly illustrate the two sides of Venus’ personality. Libra is more intellectual and distant, the cool, remote beauty, the lovely statue on the pedestal, the unattainable ideal. Libra is also highly sensitive to beauty, but as an air sign, Libra is more interested in the abstract than the actual; to the Libran mind, a pure, beautiful, balanced idea is a perfect idea. It doesn’t matter whether the idea can ever manifest in a real, physical form—Libra treasures the idea itself.
Taurus on the other hand, represents the earthier and more sensual side of Venus’ nature. Taurus is the part of us that lives in the realm of the senses that takes pleasure in hedonistic desire that magnetizes our desire to us. Taurus is drawn toward objects of beauty, toward fine, well-made objects, and wishes to possess them. Taurus luxuriates in all things beautiful and delicious.
Libra is also the sign associated with agreements, promises and contracts. Libra appreciates the rules of a relationship, whereas Taurus appreciates the sensations of being in contact with another person. Taurus loves physical affection and comfort.
Both signs have their negative side: Taurus overindulges, becoming a hedonist or gourmand, while Libra becomes a temptress: cold and unapproachable, standoffish and teasing. At Libra’s worst, there is the promise of love with no satisfaction; at Taurus’ worst, there is consumption with no satisfaction. Libra can be the siren, luring sailors to their deaths, while Taurus can be like Tantalus, with the grapes forever dangling above his mouth, perpetually unable to reach them.
A Venusian “type” (someone whose chart shows a strong, centrally placed Venus) may identify with both sides of Venus over time. This is so whether the native is a woman or a man. Such a person will struggle with overindulgence as they embrace embodied experience and may at times fall in love with the idea of love. But the Venusians among us also live lives rich in relationship, both to others, and to themselves.
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* Holding all arguments about Pluto’s status as a planet aside, that is. Astrologers have not abandoned Pluto just because it’s been demoted by astronomy. Pluto may be small, but its effects are potent.