Venus Love Conquers

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Whether it appears as the Morning Star or the Evening Star, Venus, the second planet from the Sun, outshines almost every object in the sky.

Astronomers say that Venus is a hothouse hell, its fractured plains and ancient volcanoes smothered beneath thick blankets of poisonous clouds. With a surface temperature of 900° Fahrenheit, a totally toxic atmosphere, and a surface pressure 100 times higher than that on Earth, it's uninhabitable, as unlovely a place as you can imagine.

The Greeks and the Romans saw it differently. In classical mythology, Venus (Aphrodite to the Greeks) was the goddess of love and beauty. She was the lover of Adonis (and others), the constant companion of the winged god Eros, and the unfaithful wife of the god Vulcan, who caught her in bed with her favorite paramour, Mars, the god of war.

Astrologers associate Venus with love, flirtation, seduction, beauty, art, luxury, harmony, and pleasure. Venus rules the force of attraction, sexual and otherwise. It describes the quality of your interactions with others, the way you express your affections, your artistic impulses, and, strangely enough, the way you deal with money.

Viewed from Earth, Venus can never be more than 48° from the Sun. That translates to a maximum distance of two signs between Venus and the Sun. To discover the position of Venus in your chart, turn to the Appendix.

The symbol for Venus includes two components from the Metaphysical tradition: the cross of earth and the circle of spirit. Most people today associate it with the biological symbol for woman.

Venus represents your romantic tendencies, values, and response to beauty, art, money, and possessions. To discover the way you express that side of your personality, look up the location of Venus in the Appendix, and then read the appropriate paragraph from the following list:

1 Venus in Aries: Excitable, enthusiastic, and impulsive, you like to think of yourself as a romantic adventurer. You fall in love impetuously and at first sight — and fall out equally fast. More demanding than you realize (and more self-centered), you're affectionate, ardent, and easily aroused. Even though you ultimately require mental compatibility, what gets you going in the first place is physical appearance.

1 Venus in Taurus: As the ruler of Taurus, Venus is completely at home here, making you affectionate, charming, artistic, and sensual in the extreme. All the comforts of life appeal to you, starting with rich food and ending with long, luscious sexual encounters, preferably with the same person every time. You value consistency, and though you're capable of fooling around, it's not your natural mode. You require security, comfort, cuddling, beautiful objects, an occasional push to get you moving, a committed partner, and a healthy bank account. Not to mention roses, pastry, and sheets with as high a thread count as you can possibly afford.

1 Venus in Gemini: The planet of love in the sign of the inconstant mind produces witty banter, many happy hours of conversation and bookstore browsing, lots of light-hearted flirtation, and an irresistible attraction to people who are smart and quick. Your affections are easily swayed, and you're more than capable of carrying on a love affair entirely on the Internet. The challenge is to distinguish between what ought to be a fine romance (it sounds like a fabulous idea) and actual love.

1 Venus in Cancer: A natural nester, you find your deepest pleasures in home and family. You're kind, sympathetic, sentimental, loyal, devoted, popular, and a terrific cook (or you'd like to be anyway). You may appear to be the epitome of self-confidence. Yet you require more than a little psychological support. Your fear of rejection, however you try to disguise it, may cause you to hold on too long to both lovers and friends. You don't mean to cling. It's just that when you love someone, you want it to last forever.

1 Venus in Leo: Warm, outgoing, loyal, and luxury-loving, you're creative, self-dramatizing, and in love with love. You feel passionately and express yourself flamboyantly. Love is an essential part of your nature, and you tend to define yourself through it. You also love the arts. That doesn't mean you're about to run away with an unpublished poet — not unless said artiste has a trust fund. You're happiest when the cash flows freely.

1 Venus in Virgo: When you're in love, you pay full attention, analyzing every interaction, rereading every e-mail, and listening to your voice mail repeatedly to make sure you've gotten every nuance. You'll do anything for your lover . . . including pointing out his flaws. You can be critical and controlling and full of opinions about how other people ought to behave. Some people with this placement have flashy personalities (those with the Sun in Leo, for instance). Most people with Venus in Virgo are modest, inhibited, and a little shy between the sheets.

1 Venus in Libra: You're affectionate, gentle, warm, and willing to please. A true romantic, you idealize love and often have trouble adapting to the rough spots of a real relationship. When disappointment sets in, you take it hard for a while, and then you get moving. You're highly attractive to other people, and there's usually someone who's circling around you. This position also brings a strong aesthetic sensibility.

1 Venus in Scorpio: Thanks to Scorpio's infamous sexiness, this placement sounds like a ticket to ecstasy. And sometimes it is. You get aroused in the presence of mystery, intensity, and even a subtle hint of darkness. Proud, passionate, and seductive, you're prone to deep longing, both sexual and emotional, and your love life tends to be stormy. At your best, you're deeply devoted and profoundly intimate. At your worst, you can be jealous and vengeful. You're also capable of pulling back from social interaction and isolating yourself behind an invisible shield.

1 Venus in Sagittarius: Demonstrative, ardent, direct, and excitable, you see love as an adventure — not as a way to nail down a secure future. You value your freedom, and your ideal lover is someone who helps you see more of the world and experience more of life — not someone who constricts your activities. You have noble ideals and are drawn to people who are highly committed. You're also intrigued by people who come from backgrounds entirely different from your own. You don't mind shocking the folks.

i Venus in Capricorn: You're sensual in your sexual liaisons, constant in your affections, and cautious about revealing your emotions. You value stability, propriety, and rectitude. The messiness of emotional free-for-alls terrifies you, so you keep your feelings under wraps. Serious and sophisticated, you admire anything classic. In art, as in love, you understand the need for control. Sometimes you're accused of privileging status over more exalted ideals. And what's wrong with that? You're a realist, and you know that in the real world, status matters.

i Venus in Aquarius: Open-minded, friendly, and idealistic, you're drawn to mavericks and rebels, and you have a multitude of friends — which is exactly how you like it. You aren't the most passionate person on the planet, and you tend to enjoy a stimulating intellectual companionship more than a romantic one. You also need a certain amount of solitude. Ideas and causes appeal to you. Passionate displays do not. Ultimately, you're an independent sort, and your heart is difficult to capture.

i Venus in Pisces: You're sentimental, artistic, devoted, and willing to do anything for your beloved. You idealize your lovers and truly seek union with them, but you have no idea what's reasonable and what's not. Other people find it easy to abuse you, in part because you shrug your shoulders helplessly and gratefully accept crumbs. Eventually, that makes you angry, which is why you may become emotionally abusive, often in a passive-aggressive way. You truly know how to love. That's not the problem. The problem is that you're sometimes too willing to sacrifice your own needs to those of others.

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