Venus as Goddess of Love and War

We would not traditionally think of the planet Venus as a Goddess of War, when everything seems to associate the planet and archetypal energy of Venus with love and relationships, but what happens to our love in the face of enormous frustrations and thwarting and obstacles, what does it turn into and how does the soul cope without destroying itself?  Burning itself up in the fires of its own frustrated desires?  Do we just drop the desire and resign ourselves to the fact that what we longed for ‘was never meant to be?’ and give up or judge ourselves for trying and/or desiring?    Or do we keep holding on and persevering (recognising life and love are never purely ideal or romantic at times) and dig even deeper for love within?

It was actually the Mesoamericans (Aztec and Maya) who understood the dual aspect of this Goddess/archetype and recognised that during the retrograde movement of Venus (which occurs once every two years in different zodiac signs) Venus is swallowed by the Sun when it becomes evening star during the first three weeks of the retrograde.  Three weeks into the retrograde Venus then appears from the Underworld at its heliacal rising (when Venus moves back to meet the Sun in conjunction at a certain degree – this occurs today in the current retrograde) appearing in the psyche potentially as the Goddess of War not love after its summoning up of underworld ghosts or memories or energies.

The Aztecs and Maya made sacrifices at the heliacal rising  and they believed vindictiveness was generated from the underground sojourn, so it is that critical events can occur at the time of the inferior conjunction which show us how the shadow of love and relationship patterns may haunt us still in current times, at least this has been my experience most particularly in this last retrograde conjunction which squares exactly my natal Saturn.

In Erin Sullivan’s own word during the entire retrograde

it is a time to contemplate what one’s deepest, most personal, creative needs are and from what wellspring those needs originate.  It is a time to explore one’s own needs for love and nourishment and to examine one’s capacity to receive both of those life sustaining forces.

The mysterious ideal can interrupt and tear apart what one has found to be loving and nurturing – flaws and faults in others can become enhanced, and one might see all the dangers of intimacy, rather than the supportive aspects of it.  The call to war after the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun might bring forth the dead, and one may be recalled to times in the past when rejection and emotional pain conspired to erect an emotional fortress which for current circumstances might be quite inappropriate.  Ultimately, it will depend upon the degree of responsibility that one assumes for one’s own lovingness and the capacity for commitment that will correct the situation, allowing for necessary changes.

Astrologer Melanie Reinhardt has expressed it another way. During the later part of Venus retrograde we are challenged to, in her words, “keep our heart open in hell!”  Are we prepared to allow love to be the final answer, even when frustration or thwarting or rejection reminds us of all the other times where love was taken from us, or we were challenged or disappointed or hurt deeply in some way?   And can we go through the devastating grief process that may be reawakened at the inferior conjunction and dig deep enough to sit with our own wounded self, summoning up the Goddess of Love from deep within our souls, even if from a supra personal force in the collective unconscious?

Today I woke up with the realisation that love, at least to my mind, is state of being.  It is not something we acquire from out there, if only others would love us enough, – at least later in life.   (That said in childhood having empathy, encouragement, emotional support and kindness as well as mirroring shown to us does help us to know and love ourselves more and when such things are missing its a long journey of trying to understand or repair or compensate in some way for what was originally lost the way to.)

But in the end (if many outside sources betray us) it is ultimately our inner self who can offer the missing love to this wounded self first, and then seek for those also capable of this kind of love.  Whether or not we find it out there (and yes, it is going to hurt like hell when we don’t) the least we can do is show kindness to the wound even if we initially are taken down to levels of anger and rage at the missing of what was so longed for or needed.  In the end the existance of love depends upon the attitude we take to our sojourn and return from a personal Underworld.

If Venus is the god of love what part does suffering for our art/love play?


Do you know the mythic story of the birth of Venus?  You may have seen the Botticelli painting of Venus that shows her emerging from a shell on the ocean waves but did you know that quiet a violent act gave birth to the so called ‘Goddess of Love’?  You see it was the mythic archetypal God energy of limits, severing and manifestation. Saturn cutting off the genitals of his father the mythic archetypal God energy of boundless freedom and creativity, Uranus and casting that spawn onto the ocean that gave birth to Venus and so on an inner level beauty, connection, harmony and love could be seen to be manifested or born when we allow our creative freedom to be restricted or channelled in some way and allow also that inherent alchemical creative tension of two forces or substances rubbing on each other to give birth to something cherished and valued, valued perhaps because of the sacrifice and labour, effort and suffering required.

Creating anything is not easy, its about reaching a hand down into the vast ocean of creative thought forms, experience, imaging and yes pain and suffering and pulling up  this creative energy, tossing it around internally, chewing on it, breaking it apart, mixing it with metaphoric saliva and digesting it deeply within psychological intestines to (excuse the crude term) shit out piece of lively, messy, pooh!  which is what our creative endeavours can appear to us at times…. “This is just a piece of shit” we say and then we see a like appear and think well maybe not????

I am just allowing myself to go along with a stream of consciousness at the moment.  But the idea I started with came from a dawning realisation with the planet Venus now moving backwards, that has been birthing in me of how struggle is so much part of the creative process of living, shaping our lives into new forms.

Its sad to think that often we can be judged for struggling, for ‘having issues’, for not being yet fully formed but instead a squirming worm trapped in a painful messy chrysallis of becoming.  “Why aren’t you born yet?”, others scream. “Why are you like this and not that?”  “You shouldn’t be so angry/bitter/sad/confused etc!” But the truth is that as humans we need to struggle, at times, we have to wrestle, we have to tussle with those things that want to bind us and trap us and imprison us, with those things that confuses us, hurt us or shamed us.  We need to get down in the mud and dirt with our messy, chaotic, raw emotions and reactions to work our way through to creative solutions or resolutions which are re-imagined solutions that we have had to turn this way and that like a prism of light refracting and reflecting many shades in order to see a light that we could not see before in darkness.

My own experience is in wisdom born through struggle and pain.  Through enduring the dark night of the soul we make creative discoveries.  Some of us are lucky enough to be able in that dark place to finally say an unconditional and creative ‘yes’ to that which has been buried and is trying with all its effort to work its way through a crust of repression into the warm light of day in our conscious awareness, emerging in time as a flower, just a Venus rose from the waves on her sea shell in Botticelli’s painting.

Society may tell you its not okay to be angry, to struggle to question, it wasn’t okay for you to be a victim, to suffer or be negative.  People may try to project a persona from which all anger, struggle, questioning, doubt and pain has been erased, but don’t allow yourself to be fooled for the truly loving creative person within and without is the one who will embrace you in that place, knowing it to be a birthplace.  Its only when we get stuck there that is gets problematic, so keep moving, keep growing, keep expressing until the tender new shoot within you finally emerges and gives birth to a beautiful flower. And during this retrograde Venus time if you find yourself struggling with feelings of low self esteem with deep old feelings of pain in relationships rearing their heads have the courage to work with the pain to find the self – love within it that is waiting to be born in you in this process.

Shelter From The Storm

I wrote the following poem in 2009 during a retrograde transit of Venus.  And its a strange piece of synchronicity that we are now in another Venus Retrograde period.

The astrologer Melanie Reinhardt in one of her lectures said that this is a time to keep one’s heart open as a lot of wounds in relationships can become conscious.  And the love we are looking for can be in short supply.  In any case we will be challenged to understand what our deepest values are. In the mythologies of more ancient cultures Venus was not always a Goddess of love, she was also a Goddess of war. At times we may need to go to war in a discriminating way in order to stand true to our deeper values.

Venus retrograde periods may bring these kind of challenges and during them we may experience necessary separations or difficulties in relationships as we begin to wield the sword in a metaphoric way to cut away from what no longer serves our emerging values and growth. (Hope I haven’t confused that with the current transiting square to my natal Venus from Saturn, though as that has a similar theme and the Venus Retrograde deepens those other transits and the need to dig down deep to explore what we want and need in relationship, in an adult way.)

I’m not really sure how this relates to this poem which could have been a presentient piece about the ending of my then relationship.  It does contain themes of deep loneliness I have suffered in experiences of significant abandonment and betrayal or misunderstandings in relationships due to a lack of mirroring and empathy.

However in those really painful times I began to sense a deeper source or energy of affirmation and love that spoke to me and was holding me or willing to give me comfort.  That voice was reminding me to seek for the source of affirmation and support deep within myself and to recognise that all of these experiences were part of the path of growth.  Some of it may be a bit grandiose but the words just flowed out of me.

So here it is:

When everyone is gone

And the space is so empty

Become full in me

I will be your comfort

Your shelter from the storm

No matter where you are

In the so called “real world”

There is a hollow emptiness

At the heart of it

But if you have the courage

To dive down so deep

To enter that deep lonely place

The loneliest of lonely

You will find at the heart

A vast cavern of love

My arms are there to hold you

My fingers will dry your tears

I will be the hollow vessel

To receive all of your pain

When every human being deserts you

As they inevitably will

I will be your comfort

Your shelter from the storm

For a time will come

When winds and storms

Fire, flood and tempest

Will rattle and shake

And tear the earth about

And having found the deep place

You will go there in retreat

Keep your heart open

And trust

As the storms around you rage

Tearing everything

And everyone apart

Know and feel the truth

That your essence

Can never die

And only the superfluous will end

Many will argue and panic

And scramble to fix

The gaping wound

Hollow at the centre

That cannot be fixed

But must be entered

In tender openness

Naked courage

And complete surrender

Suffered through to resolution

And completion

There I will meet you

There will I comfort you

In the midst of the fire and the flood

Those who I call

Who do not find the courage

To fully enter this space

May survive outwardly

But inwardly they will perish

Their souls as hollow and barren

As the empty idols they pursue

Will not be renewed

In the tempering fires

That you have known and suffered

You know this place

So very well

It is home to you now

Though at times it has been

A hell of agony and torment

In it and through it

You have been torn wide open

To embrace the polarity

That ends

With two opposites reconciled

In indivisible totality

Masculine and feminine

Venus and Mars

Become complete

As they shift and oscillate

And coalesceInto a new unity

Through this process

You are refashioned, remade

So the world can be refashioned, remade

Through you

Mercury unites the twin poles

Along the caduceus

As your being is pierced by Mars

As the Sun breaks through the clouds

In in the depths of your heart

You find Oneness




The flowering of new consciousness

Bursting forth

There is an inescapable truth

Through having the courage

To feel and face and integrate your pain

You are purified and burned clean

Your soul released and healed

But who wants to hear

And embrace the truth of this message?

Its painful

But so real

And yet when you speak of it

Scared souls turn away

Buffeted by confusion

Don’t worry

Let the truth sound out

Don’t silence yourself any longer

Don’t allow the truth to be pushed back inside

Have the courage to walk way

From those who will not hear you

Even though you leave

With the heaviest of hearts

In time the burden will heal

Nothing lasts for ever

All things pass away

And in time that pain

That once seemed so heavy

Becomes lighter

And easier to bear

As you find the strength

And the courage

To release

What no longer serves your growth

Know you will be freed


I am there

Deep in the silence

And my arms

Long to bring you

Comfort from the storm

I will dry your tears

Without asking for explanations

Knowing there is no need for words

When there is love and understanding

And the truth is only found in silence

Where two souls resonate as one

And in the tearing

Of the entire being

In the fiery crucible

Of love’s vast benediction

There you will awaken

As I give you shelter from the Storm