The story of Venus as an Astrological archetype and deity is one of the most ancient and fascinating. This planet, the second one from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days, is named after the Roman Goddess of Love, beauty and sexuality, but the origins of her divine personality can be traced way back in time. The Greek counterpart of Roman Venus herself, Aphrodite, is a product of the assimilation of outer influences. As historian Simon Price pointed out in his book Religions of the Ancient Greeks, the parallelism between Aphrodite and Sumerian Goddess Inanna, Semitic Ištar and Phoenician Astarte, suggest that the Greeks’ conception of Aphrodite was based on these Oriental divinities.
Inanna was the most important deity of ancient Mesopotamia, worshipped in the Eanna temple of the city of Uruk, around 3000 – 2100 BC. Back then, she was already associated with planet Venus, and there are hymns to the goddess as her astral manifestation. Like Ištar and Astarte, her traits and personality are strongly connected to fertility and mating: Inanna, Ištar and Astarte are earthy, sensuous deities, and it’s this facet of the Goddess archetype that is preserved in Taurus, one of the two signs nowadays thought of as being ruled by Venus in modern Western Astrology alongside Libra. Similarly to what I pointed out about Mercury’s dual rulership over Virgo and Gemini, in the case of Venus we have Fixed, feminine Taurus as the earliest manifestation of Venusian Energy through the Zodiac cycle, and Cardinal, Masculine Libra as its civilized, intellectualized evolution.
This means that Venus is associated with both principles of harmony, beauty, affections and those of pleasure, hedonism, comfort. As a more conscious principle than the Moon, but a less individualistic than the Sun, Venus manifests and operates through interconnection, and governs the realm of relationships and arts. She describes our tastes, values and ideals, our aesthetic sense, our appreciation of what we find valuable or pleasing.
Venus in our Chart shows how we approach interaction and interpersonal relationships, and how we tend to express Love and affection (and why). Placement by Sign and House sheds light on the kind of context in which significant romantic connections are most likely to happen, and also in which setting the aforementioned aptitudes of expression can work best. Venus tells us who and what we find attractive and in what kind of situation we feel at ease with ourselves and others. It’s how we Love, it’s what we like, the kind of attention we approve. In matters of friendships, this planet shows the kind of people we like to be around and our way of staying in touch with them; if our affection is stable and solid, or fleeing and disengaged.
On a more metaphysical level, she’s thought of as the “principle of attraction” as the vibrational frequency of our Venus is what is sent out as a “signal” to attract compatible individuals and experiences.
Being an inferior planet from Earth, Venus never ventures too far from the Sun, her elongation reaching a maximum of 47 degrees. So on most Charts, she’s within 30° from the Sun; you either find her in the same sign as your Sun, or in the sign before, or after (very rarely one sign apart). This means that this principle of attraction is usually in relative harmony to the Light of our Inner Self, and dissonant/challenging aspects between the Sun and Venus are impossible to find in a Birth Chart.