You could say that the promise of romance keeps astrologers in work. Getting your love right — and that might mean lifelong celibacy, a series of mad flings or a nice, cosy 40-year marriage — is one of the cornerstones of living the “good” life. And creating that good life is the reason we study astrology.
I was reminded of this when reading Jessica Shepherd’s books Karmic Mates and Venus Signs, both of which are essential reading for the love-struck, the love-ravaged or the lovelorn.
If you have a strong Venus in your chart, you really do need to let her strut her stuff in order to feel whole, and live your chart fully. But in fact, Venus is a key planet in the pursuit of happiness for all of us. If your Venus is not satisfied, you won’t be. However, whether you’re a man or a woman, allowing your Venus full expression can be pretty tough in a world where the feminine is so often denigrated.
Venus Signs is about how to awaken that inner love goddess. Although it’s aimed at the astrological novice, it’s a useful reminder that learning how to give and receive love can be the closest to the divine that we ever come in this life-time. Shepherd writes engagingly and peppers her book with tales of unexpected romance. She’s a very good astrologer, so it’s not just the usual Venus compatibility mash up, but orderly, clear and cheerful. (Venus would like that.) Here’s what she said about compatibility in an interview:
“My husband and I have classically incompatible Venus signs. To name a few…I like new wave music and he likes 70’s disco, we have totally different ideas about social protocols (Ms. Manners would have a field day with us!). It’s no big deal to change the station, but put this in a bigger context and the issue of what to compromise on becomes crucial to a couple’s happiness. You need to find a way to honor both of your desires, needs and wants. For instance, if I love travel, you’re a homebody, and we’re heading into our retirement years with different expectations… that can be a sticking point.”
She is particularly good on the darker, needy side of the Venusian archetype. The greedy, materialistic streak that can never be satisfied or the jealous drama queen who has to be worshipped.
“The evil queen looks outside of herself, to others, for approval. She wants everyone to like her and manipulates situations to her advantage. Rather than asking for what she wants, she makes demands and punishes others when she doesn’t get her way, as if expecting others to read her mind and know what she desires. The evil queen projects her beauty and power onto others, coveting these qualities; I call this “Venus envy.”
Karmic Mates is an exploration of the 5th House in its role as the house of love affairs and hidden karma. It is a must read if you have any planets in the 5th because Shepherd unpicks something that’s not much discussed. This sentence from Isabel Hickey’s book Astrology, A Cosmic Science, is one of her starting points: “This is a house of hidden karma; hidden karma specifically involving how we’ve misused our will and the love principle.”
You can tell when an astrologer has a real affinity for a particular subject, and it’s clear that Shepherd has thought hard about the erotic and romantic meanings of this house. I suspect she may have a planet or two there herself, because she seems to write about it with inside knowledge.
You don’t have to literally believe in reincarnation to know that some relationships are karmic. They are fated, and as Shepherd points out that certainly does not mean that a life-long commitment is in the offing. Actually, you a karmic relationship may be quite brief. “Karmic partners have an expiration date.”
Jessica sent me these two books to review ages ago, but what with one thing and another I didn’t get round to reading them — until this Mercury shadow. I’m so glad I did. They’ve cheered me up a lot, reminding me that astrology is about opening up your life to passion, joy and possibility.