Astrology’s Secret Weapon to Understanding Your Romantic Relationships

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Between retrogrades and compatibility, Venus is one of the most popular characters in astrology … but what is the planet named after the Roman goddess of romance, beauty, fertility, and abundance, really about? And what does Venus mean for you, individually? Let’s take a closer look at this iconic celestial body.

What does Venus symbolize in astrology?

Thanks to Venus’ incredible radiance (it’s the third brightest celestial body in the sky after the Sun and Moon), humans have been tracking this planet’s motion for a while (read: centuries) now. From our vantage, Venus looks like a glowing oasis — but in reality, Venus is one of the hottest and most inhospitable planets on our side of the solar system. Sort of ironic for a planet that, in astrology, represents idealization, no? But the juxtaposition between the physical planet and the symbolic interpretation is a handy reminder that perfection is truly an unattainable concept — even if Venus makes you think otherwise.

Astrologically, Venus reveals our romanticized fantasies of love, values, pleasure, and attraction. Venus doesn’t represent what we need; Venus reveals what we want. Which is why the image of the Venus archetype is perfect: She wants to be fanned with palms, fed delectable aesthetic pastries, and left alone for three to six hours to bathe in an oil-filled soaking tub, please and thank you. Venus is focused on luxury and desire and, likewise, is an essential archetype in harnessing our own values and self-worth.

Unlike the outer planets in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), Venus is considered a “personal planet,” meaning it impacts our life on a daily basis. And this planet’s influence is indeed palpable: Based on the zodiac sign Venus is occupying in the sky, we will — collectively — move through different phases of Venusian expressions, switching up our stylistic choices (Venus also governs fashion), relationship dynamics, and personal confidence based on Venus’ influence.

It takes Venus approximately 225 days to cross the entire zodiac, which means we go through a full Venus journey on an annual basis. However, every other year (technically every 18 months), Venus goes retrograde for 40 days and 40 nights. Sound familiar? Yep, this seemingly backward spin has been mirrored in religious and mythical allegories for thousands of years: Venus retrograde always begins with tests and trials and concludes with renewal and revitalization. Similarly, we’re invited to go through our own metamorphosis during this time, reassessing our standards and expectations.

What does Venus mean for you?

Your Venus placement — exactly where Venus was located at the exact date, time and location of your birth — reveals the way you love, what you value, and the type of indulgence you crave.

The first step to understanding your Venus is identifying which zodiac sign it occupies in your birth chart, also known as your natal chart. (The planets tell a story, and as you keep diving into your personal map of the sky on the date, time, and location you were born, tracking each planet’s positions, signs, and how they relate to each other, you unlock your very own cosmic narrative.) The sign that Venus illuminates in your birth chart will reveal how you approach dating and romance, pleasure, and what you find attractive. For example, if your Venus is in Leo, you may seek relationships that are fun, vibrant, and filled with larger-than-life expressions of adoration. Alternatively, if your Venus is in Capricorn, you likely crave a dynamic that’s stable, secure, and — in many ways — feels like a professional partnership, where you’re each actively maintaining a set of responsibilities.

Here are some key things to know about Venus through the different zodiac signs:

  • Venus in Aries: Assertive, playful, competitive
  • Venus in Taurus: Sensual, romantic, indulgent
  • Venus in Gemini: Curious, experimental, flirtatious
  • Venus in Cancer: Nurturing, sensitive, protective
  • Venus in Leo: Bold, creative, dramatic
  • Venus in Virgo: Gentle, grounded, perfectionistic
  • Venus in Libra: Balanced, aesthetic, superficial
  • Venus in Scorpio: Intimate, private, intense
  • Venus in Sagittarius: Adventurous, exploratory, volatile
  • Venus in Capricorn: Responsible, steady, stoic
  • Venus in Aquarius: Innovative, revolutionary, eccentric
  • Venus in Pisces: Dreamy, poetic, escapist

Once you’ve pinned down which zodiac sign Venus is occupying, the next move is to see how it’s pairing with other planets in your birth chart — in astrology, these connections are called “aspects.” For example, if Venus is hanging out alongside Mercury in your chart, communication is a big deal in your relationships. Or if Venus is sidled up to Saturn, Venus’ pleasure-seeking nature may be curtailed by Saturn’s signature stoicism. Use the list below to find out what it means for Venus to link up with the other planets:

  • Aspects to the Sun: Values linked to ego, identity, personality
  • Aspects to the Moon: Values linked to emotions, sensitives, safety
  • Aspects to Mercury: Values linked to communication, expression, mental processings
  • Aspects to Mars: Values linked to action, motivation, physical desire
  • Aspects to Jupiter: Values linked to fortune, abundance, opportunities
  • Aspects to Saturn: Values linked to responsibilities, maturity, duties
  • Aspects to Uranus: Values linked to progress, unconventional systems, independence
  • Aspects to Neptune: Values linked to spirituality, creativity, mysticism
  • Aspects to Pluto: Values linked to transformation, healing, intimacy

Finally, Venus is also activated by the astrological House it occupies in your birth chart. Quick refresher: Your birth chart is sliced into twelve parts, each representing a different area of life. Locating the House where Venus dwells will reveal where you can expect to see this planet’s influence in your life. Find out what it means for you using the below keywords:

  • Venus in the 1st House: Identity, presence, sense-of-self
  • Venus in the 2nd House: Money, material possessions, self-worth
  • Venus in the 3rd House: Communication, peers, local connections
  • Venus in the 4th House: Home, family, origin story
  • Venus in the 5th House: Creativity, pleasure, joy
  • Venus in the 6th House: Routines, wellness, daily experiences
  • Venus in the 7th House: Partnerships, contracts, external dynamics
  • Venus in the 8th House: Depth, memories, psychology
  • Venus in the 9th House: Discovery, exploration, expansion
  • Venus in the 10th House: Legacy, reputation, fortune
  • Venus in the 11th House: Communities, friendship, humanitarianism
  • Venus in the 12th House: Intuition, healing, karmic bonds

In short, Venus is about way more than just a scary retrograde that may or may not be responsible for Breakup Season — it’s a crucial component of your celestial fingerprint. Think of the glowy planet as a gentle reminder that you deserve to live a beautiful life, and the pursuit of desires is an integral part of your cosmic DNA.

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Astrology’s Key to Understanding Your Romantic Relationships