Venus Complications: 'What's the Catch?'


For the next couple weeks, don't count on gracious lady-luck Venus to ease you into uncomplicatedly cinching what you want.

It's not that we're hopelessly doomed to come up short in our pursuits of desire… only that the rewards will likely come at a price, whether or not that fact's made explicitly clear in advance.

Venus is never totally comfortable in her current placement of Scorpio, the sign of her detriment, where she struggles to attain simple connectedness—without, that is, worrying about unseen motives and future ramifications. She elicits passion and intensity in her relationships by flirting with danger or destruction, tempting us to dip further in than can be verified as 'safe', with the promise of deeper intimacies which are only reachable by living on the edge.

Venus in Scorpio draws us all the way in, as if we're under the enchantment of a magical spell. Once we're in, though, it's never very simple to find our way back out. We may have to give something up, admit an unpleasant truth, contend with shame, or literally fight off the near-irresistible undertow that wants to keep us helplessly swirling around in a vortex of powerful emotion. But this is part of the bargain: We risk more by contributing more of ourselves; we gain more when it goes well, but we lose more when it blows up.

While these 'complications' brought by Venus in Scorpio are sometimes merely a natural outgrowth of following the irrational pull of passion, at other times, they are a direct result of a person's intentional manipulations. And of this, we want to remain acutely aware. If we don't remain attentive to the psychological undertones of our interpersonal encounters, we might miss others' moves to gain an advantage over us. Maybe they're sneakily trying to get us to give something up. Maybe they're slyly pulling the truth out of us. Maybe they want us to feel stuck or shame-filled, so we hand the reins over, leaving them in control… and us uncannily titillated (though perhaps also conflicted) by our loss of control.

I see this possibility of folks attempting to 'work' each other, using seductive relational strategies to their own self-serving benefit, amplifying over the coming week as a result of Venus moving into a square with Mars in Leo (exact on Thu Nov 19). As I described a few weeks back, Mars in Leo is anything but shy about going after what he wants. He is confident and grand, proud of his ability to seize the day and acquire whatever goodies he decides are required to fulfill his vision... though not so good, it turns out, at concealing his motivations.

As a result, this Venus-Mars square also has the potential to accentuate those instances in which we're relying on our interpersonal skills to get something from someone. Because she's being disposited (or 'influenced through rulership') by Mars in Leo, the current Venus in Scorpio won't be nearly as sly as she'd like. Her attempts to manipulatively gain control will be more obvious. And along with it, the tension between (1) sincerely participating in the give-and-take of relationship and (2) looking out for one's own position first and foremost will be much closer to the surface.

What might otherwise play out as a subtle under-the-surface power struggle could, in this current astro-context, manifest as full-on conflict. The question that'll keep everyone honest: What is each of us ultimately trying to secure for ourselves, and what's the catch?

Venus-Mars squares are not just instigators of relational conflict, however. That same friction they generate can also increase the romantic or sexual charge between individuals. Schoolyard kids often mercilessly tease the ones they like the most, after all, conflating immature attraction with the drive to single out and taunt. There's a fine line here between tensions of different persuasions, though, in a certain way, all attention is still attention. In those situations where undercurrents of unexplored attraction (i.e., love/hate fascinations, obsessions, suspicious antagonisms) lurk, this Venus-Mars square dares it to materialize—especially in Leo and Scorpio, two bold signs that invest a lot of oomph in their interests. Under such an influence, it's fairly futile to pretend our lusts (for people or things) don't exist. They'll pop, regardless of whether we want them to.

As Venus passes out of the Mars square, she forms more squares to the still-conjunct Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron in Aquarius (exact Mon Nov 23-Thu Nov 26). While these squares may be less frictional, they still bear the ability to entwine us in complicated relationship situations. This outer-planet triple-conjunction (more here and here) is full of hope that we can all support each other, with a mind toward systemwide solutions and a willingness to fulfill whatever role we're called to by the collective's needs. Yet, whether such 'hope' is saddled with delusional erasure of those animalistic instincts in us, which prioritize selfish survivalism over groupthink cooperation, remains to be seen.

With Venus's squares to Jupiter and Neptune, there's the likelihood of our agreeing to participate in scenarios purported to benefit all parties… when, in the end, one party may well be taking home the lion's share of the prize. Venus-Jupiter and Venus-Neptune squares always possess a flavor of potential overidealism, making us too quick to gloss over our suspicions with the desire to be of assistance.

Hopefully, the prior Venus-Mars square will have already tuned us into others' blaring agendas, since these subsequent aspects lack the quality to so blatantly expose what's underlying. If anything, they're likelier to mask 'em beneath the rhetoric of 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours'—and leave a certain person doing a lot more of the 'scratching'. If one week's clash appears to evolve into the next week's suddenly-perfect bridging of all differences, perhaps you ought not take the quick turnaround purely at face value.

Venus issues will become much clearer once Venus moves into Sagittarius (on Dec 1), where she can't help but make her preferences unequivocally known.