Truth be told - full disclosure - as I wrote Part 2 here, it turned into a piece about Venus and Beauty, before I ever got back to the Moon. The Moon will be getting her due diligence in an upcoming blog, though, you can be sure. She’ll be the star of a post delving more into Artemis, the Goddess of the Moon. Meanwhile, here is Venus:
If you want the sense that your life has order and an inherent design to it, the sense that things fit together, beauty (Venus) is essential. Yet, in the United States beauty remains fundamentally misunderstood because it’s often considered merely superficial and shallow, and tends to be exploited or promoted for profit. Calling a women’s razor “Venus” is a typical example—being a goddess is only one close shave away! Let’s not confuse the superficiality of a marketing campaign, though, with the fun and fuss and pleasure of attending to appearances. Why do they matter?
Venus is the mediator between us and the world around us, via the five senses. Seeing, smelling, touching, hearing and tasting the world would not be the same without Venus. Perhaps we’d have no way of being in the world at all! And, while Venus’ beauty is the vital force on the sensual surfaces of life—the exterior decorating—genuine beauty reassures us that there is also more going on behind the surface. Beauty reminds us of kosmos, the Greek word meaning “order, good order, orderly arrangement, decoration” as well as “the universe” and “the world.” Beauty reminds us that behind the cosmetics is the cosmos, a design, a glimpse of eternity, something divine. This is likely part of why Venus is considered to be exalted in Pisces, the sign with a particularly strong link to the cosmic backdrop of our lives. Beauty and myth walk hand in hand. Without beauty, we lose the sense of cosmic order; a tightly-tailored suit becomes just a suit, rather than also being the tailoring of a life that truly suits you. This is vital for astrology, because the orderly appearance of the planets in a chart (or in the sky) is backed by the cosmic, mythic, archetypal nature of your life.
How about an example, perhaps even an auspicious one? In astrology, Venus is considered to be in “detriment” in the mysterious sign of Scorpio. Uh-oh! That doesn’t sound good. What does this mean, and why on earth is Venus in detriment in Scorpio?
VENUS IN DETRIMENT IN SCORPIO
Feminist Naomi Wolf was born with Sun and Venus exactly conjunct in Scorpio, to the minute. Wolf made the case in her 1991 best-selling book “The Beauty Myth” that impossible standards of physical beauty have become more and more detrimental to the lives and health of women. A brilliant use of Venus in Scorpio, if there ever was one. A perfect fit, you might say. I will come back to this shortly.
In astrology, Venus is often confined to the realm of relationships and values, and then internalized. In this framework, Venus in Scorpio can be rather difficult. Given Scorpio’s intense desires, erotic passions, obsessive focus, and tendency to go to extremes—not to mention its innate connection with death and haunted pasts—Venus in Scorpio might be one of the reasons “It’s complicated” is an option for Facebook relationship status. Sexy, yes! But obsession? Death? Venus is supposed to take your breath away, but not forever! No question about it: difficult—especially if confined to relationships, and especially if the model for relationships is balance, equality, love, peace and harmony and all that. If we back up and incorporate what I’ve been saying about Venus thus far (Venus from the perspective of beauty rather than relationship), and add some imagination, we have far more wiggle room to play around.
Venus is likely considered in detriment in Scorpio because rather than showing off on the sensual side of life (as she does in Taurus, for example), Venus in Scorpio is resigned to life on the other side, the darker side, six feet under, invisible, underneath and under cover, lurking in the shadows. Instead of being able to show off her beautiful composition, Venus in Scorpio wanders into the world of de-composition and decay—order replaced by disorder—the supernatural realm more of vampires, zombies, ghosts, shades and the walking dead than the natural world she is most suited for. Perhaps the abundance in our culture of movies, television shows and books featuring these alternatively beautiful and disgusting figures shows us exactly what’s going on. From “True Blood," “The Vampire Diaries,” and "Twilight," to "Supernatural," "Ghost Hunters," and "American Horror Story," to "In the Flesh," "World War Z," and “The Walking Dead”—our crisis of beauty imagined as the zombie apocalypse! If we consider a beautiful flower arrangement, though, and go back to that flower arrangement a week later, we can see that death is also just part of the arrangement. It has its place.
We can look to Mary Alice, the deceased narrator of Desperate Housewives, for further guidance. From the other side, she narrates:
“An odd thing happens when we die. Our senses vanish. Touch, taste, smell and sound become a distant memory. But our sight! Ah, our sight expands. And we can suddenly see the world we left behind so clearly. Of course, most of what’s visible to the dead could also be seen by the living, if they only take the time to look.”
Venus in Scorpio takes the time to look. Moreover, Venus enters the realm of memory, or Mnemosyne as I wrote about recently. Venus in Scorpio makes the invisible realm “visible.” Dark fantasy author Clive Barker, a Libra born with Venus in Scorpio, works this way. His stunning “Weaveworld” (described as “an epic adventure of the imagination”) is chock full of beautifully poetic, extremely moving, erotic, wildly sensual and out-of-this-world descriptions of a mysterious and magical-yet-often-horrific land inhabiting an ornate rug. Venus in Scorpio senses the weave of the world. Describing one man’s desire for a close relationship, Barker writes, “He wanted the intimacy of a secret shared.” That’s Venus in Scorpio right there. Barker also wrote the dark epic fantasies “Imajica” and “The Great and Secret Show” (note that the show is “secret”), proving that the darker realms of life can be just as breath-taking and magical as anything.
Agatha Christie was also born with Venus in Scorpio, and she didn’t shy away from mystery, murder and death. We love her for it! We wouldn’t want her any other way! We’ve made Agatha Christie the best-selling author of all time! Not too shabby for a planet in detriment. Again, a perfect fit. What would the world be without Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot? Agatha Christie’s detective eye for death leads us time and time again into treacherous territory, and we still pay her for it. In the 37 years since she died, she has made more money than most people on the planet will make in their entire lives, I'm guessing.
More examples: Better Midler gained her initial fame by singing in the gay bathhouses of New York City. So perfect for her! And perhaps bringing Venus into the gay bathhouses as the modern gay community was beginning to emerge is part of why one of the archetypes associated with the gay community today is Keepers of Beauty.
Anne Hathaway was able to portray the desperate, almost-too-heart-wrenching Fantine in Les Misérables, as she sings “I Dreamed a Dream” and looks back on her lost life. Anne won an Academy Award for her performance. Susan Sarandon also won an Academy Award, for “Dead Man Walking,” in which her character befriended a man on death row. Bette, Anne and Susan—all perfect fits. See, if you imagine into your life as a movie, in what role would you cast yourself? What roles would fit you? Fitness is more than just physical.
Back to Naomi Wolf. Since the publishing of “The Beauty Myth,” standards of beauty have arguably relaxed quite a bit, yet I wonder if the rampant epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and the unprecedentedly long lines in pharmacies today indicate further crises. When we ignore beauty our senses become numb (or, as Mary Alice said, our senses vanish). We become indifferent and complacent, while at the same time jittery and restless, because the lack of beauty is that tangible. Ugliness is uncomfortable. Without the inherent sense of order that accompanies beauty, bodies can break down. Could beauty be an essential component to healing?
If you’re wondering how the United States has come to be so mired in false, flat beauty and turns enormous profit from it, consider this rather astonishing astrological correlation: The first-ever budget of the United States was passed by the Continental Congress back in 1778, when Venus in Scorpio was conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. Almost two centuries later, in 1954, the first televised Miss America pageant was broadcast while Venus in Scorpio was conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. Although she likely didn’t have an astrological perspective to work with (I don’t know), Naomi Wolf instinctively put these pieces together, recognized the detrimental nature of what was going on, and published her case. Venus in Scorpio is currently approaching another conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio (exact on September 18, 2013). Perhaps this time around we can release ourselves from the stereotype once and for all and start once again with the archetype (the original pattern), the actual and essential mythic beauty, Venus.
Of course, once we grasp the nature of the archetype, each person then has a "different" and original Venus (while all thrive within the same original archetype), depending on the sign Venus is in, the house she occupies, the houses she "rules," and the planets in aspect to her. I could write an entire blog about Venus in Capricorn, for example, and include such diversity as Frank Sinatra (who insisted on doing it his way and we love him for it), Dolly Parton (who built Dollywood), and perhaps the 2 drag queens and 1 transsexual who climb to the top of a mountain in "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" in full drag, proclaiming, "Just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock" before heading back down. If you’ve never let the über-endearing “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” color your world, please watch it. As the movie switches back and forth from the playful and made up surfaces of life, to the more in-depth issues that make up our human lives, genuine beauty emerges throughout. The story becomes archetypal, truly beautiful.
In the meantime, let’s keep in mind one last succulent slice of Venus in Scorpio wisdom from Desperate Housewives. As the spirit of Wisteria Lane’s resident Femme Fatale, the late Edie Britt, drifts away into the other world, she speaks her parting words to us
“I’ll tell you something: it’s not hard to die when you know you have lived. And I did—oh, how I lived!”
Beauty wants to live.