bringing astrology back to our bodies
This newsletter is part of a series on the magical-creative properties of the planets, as well as how to begin embodying them yourself.
So much of astrological study nowadays is confined to book learning but my understanding of the planets improved dramatically when I began engaging them directly. By doing this, I could conjure feelings, deeply-impressed images and great meaning behind the words I used.
This newsletter offers you a portal to have your own connection to Venus. It’s one thing to say Venus is about love or beauty but it’s another to be in the midst of a luxe dinner party or wearing your favorite perfume and think “Venus would like this too”.
If you want help connecting to your unique Venus, and the rest of yourself through the stars, my books are currently open! My readings are meant to lift you up, to secure you against difficulty and remind you that there is always space, creativity, play. Book now to remember your place in the cosmos.
This writing is intentionally not technical and meant to be understood even by those who have not studied astrology but want to connect more deeply to their world and themselves. Remember: these planets all describe fundamental parts of us. Whether you try to or not, you embody Venus everyday. By learning what functions and activities with which Venus corresponds, you learn more about yourself and your life, with nothing added but attention.
By reaching this felt understanding of Venyus (and the other planets), I believe we are also able to be better magicians and artists— two categories whose differences are slowly shrinking in my eyes. Do we not need the same centeredness and momentum to create a piece of art as we do to create a spell or gaze into the future? Aren’t we vessels for something beyond our small self in both? This essay also delves into where in your creative-spiritual practice a dose of Mercury could serve you well.
To read Part I, on the Moon, click here, Part I on the Sun, click here and Part I on Mercury click here.
“That is why beauty and reality are identical. That is why joy and the sense of reality are identical.”
For millennia, Venus has been called the “lesser benefic”. This word “benefic,” which we see applied to Venus and Jupiter (who we will explore in a later essay), comes from the Latin bene ("well") and facere ("to do"), meaning “to do well”.1 Benefics bring feelings, people, things, events that we experience as subjectively pleasant and life-giving. Abu Ma’har tells us Venus "represents those things that are conducive to joy and life".2 We see that the "benefic" designation is not just indicative of pleasure but the very force which brings us to life. These two elements will be recurring Venusian themes.
The qualifier of “lesser” does not negate or lessen Venus’s impact but qualifies it. Compared to Jupiter, the Greater Benefic, Venus is a much smaller planet with a much shorter orbit. While it takes Jupiter roughly one year to traverse one sign of the zodiac, Venus spends about a month in each sign and usually cycles through the whole zodiac in one calendar year. Accordingly, Venus’s pleasures are more intimate, perhaps more fleeting, and local: a really good meal; the kiss from a lover; the feeling in your body when you stop and witness a rose.
Marsilio Ficino tells us we align ourselves with Venus “by gaiety and music and festivity”.3 Abu Ma'shar lists such things as "board games, chess, backgammon while reclining, sweetness, sugar, honey, wine, shopping and enjoying shopping" as under Venus's purview.4 In the more recent era, Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro in "On the Heavenly Spheres," tells us "[Venus's] expression is pleasant, composed and joyful, although not given to work or effort".5 It is clear that Venus enjoys the good life. The intimate relationship between one of our divine emissaries and pleasure also demonstrates the spiritual importance of feeling good. In a world that so often forgoes pleasure for labor, it is quite revolutionary to remember that sweetness is not some extra but crucial for a fulfilling, spiritually whole life.
One could even say Venus is busy even at rest. In his Three Books Occult Philosophy, Agrippa calls Venus “safeguarder of the human species, allowing no moment of time pass empty of beneficence nor idle”.6 Even moments of repose have significance, movement. It reminds me of a quote often misattributed to John Lennon, a Libra: "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time". When you go beyond the mind and its ideas of utility to truly enter the present moment, what else is there? Where else does benefit lie?
an activity: The next time you have the chance to experience a moment of pleasure— your first sip of coffee of the day, embracing a loved one, listening to your favorite song— give it your undivided attention. Simply sit with the sensations it brings in your body, shooing away any thought trying to analyze or understand it. Let the feeling in itself be the point. Stay with the feelings until they pass. Now, when another pleasure comes your way, do it again. See what changes in its own mysterious way.
“The most beautiful music in the world is the interstellar silence.”
Another common, linked, theme of Venus is beauty. Don’t we often find pleasure from what we find pleasing to behold? Abu Ma’shar attributes the following things to Venus:
'“clothing, adornments of gold and silver and jewels…beautiful appearances, beautiful clothes, art, beautiful works [gardens and fountains], decorating of living rooms, adornment of flowers, gems, jeweled crowns, necklaces, dyed clothes, dyes, dyers”7
This list includes both beautiful appearances and objects as well as the things — jewelry, dye, flowers, etc— that are conducive to beauty. Anytime you come across someone or something that makes your heart stir, be sure Venus is close by. But in his podcast on the Lesser Benefic, Dr. Ali Olomi reminds us to expand our idea of the beautiful. In Medieval times, “Math was beautiful [because] wisdom was beautiful. Youth was beautiful but so too was old age. Gardens were beautiful. But so were ruins”.8 One reason Venus is said to exalt in Pisces, the sign of oceanic compassion and spiritual oneness, is that in its realms, Venus is able to see the beauty in everything, even in what may seem ugly or unremarkable at first glance.
Dr. Olomi also points out that one of the reasons justice is considered a Venusian concept was because it was also a beautiful thing.9 It demonstrates a certain cosmic
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