That Fixed Venus-Mars Square


A square—the aspect formed between two planets at a 90-degree angle to each other—doesn't always create as horrific a situation as its bad reputation implies.

But of course I think that: A big part of my approach to astrology involves detangling the interpretation of planetary happenings from the reductive judgments 'good' and 'bad'.

Just because squares insist we address an overt friction between planets which are at zodiacal cross-purposes, that doesn't mean we'd be any better off without such friction. We actually need such tense rubs to generate the energetic dynamism required for getting us going. In fact, individuals born with many traditionally 'hard' aspects such as squares often go on to accomplish great things, due to having been pressed to actualize themselves in order to overcome difficult circumstances. (Those with lots of 'easy' aspects, meanwhile, often end up becoming rather lazy or apathetic; their lives typically flow just smoothly enough that they need never push themselves to develop past their comfort-zone.)

From this perspective, a square can be seen as an engine which drives our continuing advancement… activating an urgency that forces us to figure out some way to deal with two conflicting energies which both demand their fair expression. From the friction emerges a creative heating-up.

Case in point: the now-building square between Venus and Mars (exact this Saturday Sep 28). As the quintessential yin/yang coupling, Venus and Mars serve complementary functions which are each quite instrumental to the creative process. Venus attracts to us those people, encounters and inspirations which allow us to relationally define and refine our preferences through enjoying what we enjoy. Mars rouses us to assert our preferences outwardly, to proclaim our singularity through our actions. Working together, this pair ask us to keep our interactive attitude toward the world as balanced as we can, so we're neither too passively responsive to circumstances we let others control (Venus) nor too boorishly dominant in clutching control for ourselves (Mars).

In traditional (i.e., heteronormative) astrology, Venus and Mars serve as the archetypal masculine and feminine which come together in fertile union to birth the 'next-generation' of experiences. (That's where all the gender-essentialist 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' bullshit comes from.) As such, interactions between this pair are typically seen as a critical element of interpersonal-relationship interpretations in astrology. While my personal stance presumes no particular standard to which anyone's chosen relationships ought to conform, I cannot deny there's a certain energetic charge that occurs when an aspect forms between Venus and Mars (regardless of the genders of the individuals involved). They are the planetary groove-and-prong, the vessel-and-projectile.

This current Venus-Mars square, then, does produce an energetic tension which could cause some relational bumps… though, just as likely, this 'tension' can play out as a creatively fertile, even sexual one. After all, our interpersonal passions are often heightened by some sort of difference or discord between ourselves and another person. Remember the old 'opposites attract' cliché? Ever enjoyed the cathartic pleasure of transforming a nasty fight into nastier 'make-up sex'? This square generates the sort of fruitful friction that can add interest and excitement to our relationship life, even if we never quite resolve whether we want to strangle the other person or jump their bones. Two sides of the same coin, perhaps?

With both Venus and Mars presently in fixed signs (which I described in my last article), the stubbornness factor is definitely operating at high-intensity… revealing our personality differences with starker obviousness, and possibly exacerbating how firmly we might each dig in our own heels to defend our territory. Mars in Leo emboldens us to be that much more demonstratively expressive about what we want. Showboat-y as he is, he's rarely shy in making his presence known. Venus in Scorpio, always excessively aware of the implicit tradeoffs required in any relationship, dickers with Mars while deciding which behaviors she will accept from him—and what she might use against him later, as a bargaining chip, to ensure he fulfills her desires, too. Venus intends to maintain the upper hand by slyly staying a couple steps ahead, while Mars can't help but just put it all out there. Neither is weak-willed; both strive for the full experience.

At moments when the tension between these two threatens to manifest in less appealing ways, we must remember that the most beautiful lesson inherent to all our interpersonal dealings is to always appreciate our differences: We learn most about ourselves, our unconscious beliefs and behaviors, through the contrast with how other people 'do' themselves.

Under this Venus-Mars square, those qualities in another person which drive us crazy are liable to drive us even crazier. Of course, when we're wildly turned on by someone, we also refer to them as 'driving us crazy'. Is this a mere linguistic coincidence? I think not.