There is always some madness in love.
But there is also always some reason in madness.
~Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)
The Astrology of Love
by Michelle Gregg, Counseling Astrologer
In the English language the word love describes a cornucopia of emotions and includes a vast range of expressions. Because it’s February, the month of red lace hearts, cinnamon hearts, and kid’s conversation hearts, let’s explore this word for a moment. You can fall in love with your philosophy professor in your freshman year, your next door neighbor’s puppy, a beautiful painting, and your life’s calling while walking along the Seine on a windy Parisian day. You can love your spouse, your child, your best friend’s spouse (!), chocolate, The Simpson’s, religions of the world, your favorite jeans and Al Gore, all at the same time. The English love is broad and general, especially out of context of an expressive warm body within our range of sensory apprehension. In the world of astrology, it is the combination of planetary symbolism shown in the birthchart that describes how any certain someone loves different people and different things in different ways. Our topic here is in the modern vernacular of the realm of St. Valentine – love and lovers, as seen through the birthchart.
The combination of planets in any given birthchart express many different energies simultaneously, and sometimes dichotomously – so that when we come up with something like “The Astrology of Love”, the source from which it is drawn is a deep well indeed. Astrologically, LOVE is symbolized through the intertwining energies and the hot mingling breaths of the inner planets Venus, Mars, and the Moon, with the coursing blood of the Sun and Mercury as a pulse. Yet, the expression of love as described by the planets doesn’t stop at Mars. Love expresses its many different faces through the circuitous avenues of connection (or disconnection!) between those inner planets with the more distant planets as well: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. (Yes. Still Pluto. Fodder for another discussion.) For instance, Jupiter itself doesn’t describe love as does Venus. However, if we find a sweet connection between Jupiter to Venus in someone’s birthchart, well – now we know something about how this particular person loves. In love, this human soul will express herself expansively, tolerantly, broad-mindedly, optimistically, and will probably fall in love with foreigners and foreign places (or at least crave that opportunity) with the intention of pushing her boundaries ever broader and farther. She may crave luxury, drawing it to her through her relationships, spending her love and money shamelessly on what she finds beautiful in a big, unapologetic way. And she may love many, not just a few, and perhaps indiscriminately. In other words, she loves (Venus) in a Jupiter fashion. That was a big example, but, that’s Jupiter! The way we love then, encompasses a menagerie of planetary influences, and the way in which these planets exchange energy within the psyche of any given individual, can be seen through the patterns within which the planets were arranged at birth.
When we talk of love, astrologically speaking, we first enter the atmosphere of Venus, named for the Roman Goddess. Perhaps this brightest of all planets was named for the most beautiful of female deities because of her own glowing beauty. Venus is, without the slightest competition, the most visible of all the planets, being our planetary twin in size and distance from the Sun. She is covered by a veil of yellow-white clouds that reflect an amazing 80% of the Sun’s rays, giving her the quality of being very easily seen, but never easily known, ensuring that feminine quality of mystery and perfection. Venus literally wears a halo of shimmering light that is mirrored directly back into space, announcing her beauty to all who behold her, while hiding her actual physical contours. We could expect nothing less from the sky goddess whose pure symbolism describes love, balance, harmony, compromise, aesthetics, art, luxury, and all that we value most dearly. Venus represents that which we find beautiful, that which stirs us to love; planting the desire for relationship with whatever is our perception of gorgeous and harmonious. Steven Forrest, astrologer extraordinaire, says of Venus in the The Inner Sky, “Venus gives birth to our aesthetic perceptions. It is she who puts the tear in our eye as we watch the sun set over that snowy field.”
Wherever Venus falls in your birthchart, and whatever planets she makes connections with, will describe what you desire in relationship, what you value, how easily you draw those values (including money and resources) into your realm, what you find beautiful, and how you seek (or don’t seek) communion and balance with The Other.
This brings us to the world of Mars. Mars describes what excites us, what energizes us, and how we act on those energies. For thousands of years, this planet has been associated with the heat of passion, sex, and the instinctive urge to survive at whatever the cost, regardless of risk. In a word – testosterone. Conquer. Kill. Make mine. Astronomically and metaphorically, the color of Mars is red. Red for anger, for blood, for war. The red coloration of Mars is actually due to the frozen desert dunes vividly colored in hues of red, yellow and brown, and the fine, rusty dust that the constant swirling winds rage through its tight-spaced frigid atmosphere. And though no hugely muscled war god actually lives in the northern plains or the unbelievably steep southern alps of this stormy world of sub-zero temperatures, the symbolism has always been, and remains, that of aggression, and often heedless action. To again quote Steven Forrest, “This is the planet of enthusiasm. It is the planet that puts the gleam in old men’s eyes and the spice in the spirits of old women. It is Mars that enables the marathon runner to sprint that last half mile. It is Mars that explodes in the violinist as she plays those lightning-quick passages out of Paganini. It is Mars that sustains the human will at Dachau, at Wounded Knee, on the streets of Calcutta.” Get the picture?
Wherever Mars roars and beats his instinctive chest in your birth chart, is where you seek action, sexuality, adventure and to be number one. Mars represents what turns you on, what gets your juices flowing, and what you’ll fight for. If your Mars is in Aries and the first house, beware! This is energy wild and unleashed; someone whose life intention has to do with facing the bears, living with stress, and learning the true meaning of courage. Fortunately, there are almost no pure energies in any birth chart. In this case, better hope that Saturn makes a strong connection to your red planet to offer grounding and a sense of restraint. If Neptune is in aspect to this Mars, expect aggression in the realms of art, glamour and romance; a rock star, sports hero, or super-model type.
Now that we’ve met what we’re attracted to in Venus, and what turns us on in Mars, we round out the picture by finding out what feeds us emotionally by looking at the Moon, that
satellite of silvery reflection of the solar force. Through Venus we understand what we love; through Mars we understand how we get what we love (or not); now we must discover how we FEEL about it all. Where moonlight is reflected in our birth charts illuminates that answer. That luminous and changeable orb with which the Earth is in an eternal dance gives us the clues to our most instinctive selves. As the Moon drives the tides of the oceans, ceaselessly pulling and releasing, so does she drive our emotions. The Moon means mother, nurture, family, history, roots, dark fertile and feral places. If Venus is the beauty of Woman, then the Moon is her Soul.
Man or woman, boy or girl, the way you nurture and give of yourself to others is clearly defined by where the Moon is placed in your birthchart and is delineated by the connections she makes to the other planets. If your Moon is in Gemini, or making a strong connection to Mercury, you are a “heady feeler”, meaning that your emotions live in your head, being analyzed and run through the gears of your mind. Unless that same Moon makes some sort of connection to Venus, Neptune, or Pluto, those emotions might never feel as though they make it farther south than your mouth, which will be very comfortable spouting all that your mind has just been thinking. Your heart, however, may feel like an alien in a strange land, never being tapped for the soul food residing there that will nourish your being. With this kind of Moon, you think and talk about your emotions, but might be uncomfortable allowing yourself to really FEEL them. Wherever your Moon then, and however it is aspected, describes your emotional life, and the ways in which you respond to the emotions of others.
Now we know how the planets and the ways they interact show what an individual needs and wants in order to feel loved, how they give and receive love, and what excites them within relationship. This same interaction occurs between people as well. When the energies present in one persons chart connect with the energies in another person’s chart through Venus, Mars, and the Moon, then voila! We have a love connection. In whatever ways and places the planets of two people meet or disconnect, we can see through astrology the nature of that relationship. Ever wonder why some people meet, fall in love, get together, and then break up, only to get back together again and again? We can see this pattern between lovers, and many other patterns as well, through the lens of birth and composite charts, and through using a technique called synnastry.
Our encounter here has brought us through the 3 planets of Love whether for an individual or between lovers. Venus shows us who and what we love and find beautiful; Mars describes our sexuality and how we get out there and get it; and the Moon lights the way to our feelings. Other considerations are the Sun, who describes our identity and ego structure. He shines forth from our birthcharts directing us to the best version of who we really want to be. If your Chosen One doesn’t get you on that identity level, it’s likely that in the end he or she won’t get you! And then there’s Mercury. Without a Mercury connection between lovers, there cannot be any true communication. Your hearts may synchronize beautifully as in a Moon/Venus connection. And you both may have the same need for adventure, if there’s a strong Mars/Jupiter relationship. With Mars/Venus/Pluto lending strong support, expect great sex. But if you don’t get the way your lover communicates, or vice/versa, something will be lacking and is potentially problematic in the world of understanding what the other is actually saying, how they’re saying it, and how you’re receiving those signals.
And then there’s Neptune, which is an entire conversation in itself. Suffice to say here, that Neptune between lovers throws a veil of romance and candlelight over them, shrouding them from the harsh realities of the world and sometimes from the harsh realities of each other! The perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day! Neptune in love can create a situation of idealization of The Other that no mere mortal can live up to. In this astrological phenomenon, enjoy the romance, but beware the illusion! If you’ve set your lover upon a Neptunian pedestal of unrealistic and idolatrous height, do yourself a favor. Extend your hand, and gently help them down from that place of your idealistic delusion. There’s always a real person inside. Get to know them instead of your own ideals and projections.
There are endless connections that can be made between the planets of lovers, and hopeful loves. We can’t go over all of them now; that’s an entire book. But it’s a great idea, especially during this month of fluttering hearts, flirtations, and romantic evenings for two, to really get to know the person on the other side of that white draped table dressed for romance. Also, and perhaps especially, in our life-long partnerships, even if we’ve been on the other side of that bed for 20 years, it’s still a great idea to re-connect with the one you love and have promised to journey through life with. Gaining insight into the heart and mind of your lover through the wisdom and understanding that astrology offers, whether you’re on the breathtaking threshold of a new love, or one bearing the marks of time, brings optimism and freshness into your relationship, perhaps rekindling the romance and excitement with which you first began together. Gives new and heartfelt meaning to the words “star gazing” doesn’t it?
© Copyright 2009-2017 Michelle Gregg