No, The Planets Don’t Have a Gender: What Venus and Mars Are Really About

by Karina Lafayette – February 2022

“Venus is the type of woman a man is attracted to, and Mars is the type of man a woman is attracted to.”

“Venus is how a woman behaves in a relationship. Mars is how a man behaves in a relationship.”

Those statements sound harmless, right? I mean, to an extent, it makes sense, if you’re into a traditional relationship. If you consider yourself as a feminine woman, you might be more likely to want someone who identifies with your Mars, and the same might be true if you’re a masculine man.

Note the emphasis on “might”.

I use that word because even with experience, there are a multitude of ways the planets can manifest in a person’s birth chart. As a woman with Mars in Aries, over the years I’ve read all kinds of things about women with this placement, and few of them are pleasant, let alone really get to the depth of it. I personally love having this placement because despite being introverted and a pretty calm person, it allows me to stand up for myself. But I wasn’t always like that. I was actually taught that raising your voice wasn’t very ladylike, that you should be softer to get people to listen. Once I started learning about this side of myself in astrology, the same sexist sentiments were echoed.

According to many sources, women with Mars in Aries are aggressive, bossy, and domineering. There’s an array of memes available that even go so far as to say we’re too overtly masculine, and enjoy dominating our partners. We tend to make guys feel “whipped” and scare everyone away. On the flip side, you have traditionalists who insist the opposite is true, that if you’re a woman with Mars in Aries, Leo or Sagittarius, you’re supposed to want someone who’s more dominant.

In some ways, it’s true that I like to be in charge, but I don’t want to control anyone. I also don’t like the idea of being controlled by someone else. The only time that type of energy is welcomed is in the bedroom, and even at that, it depends how far along we are in the relationship and something called consent. And who’s to say I’ll be submitting? Before I began integrating my Mars, I often came across men who would get aggravated when they learned they couldn’t just have their way with me. Anytime they were rude, I answered back. Anytime they told me to wear less makeup or do less of this, that and something else, I’d do more. Often they were the old school partners who needed to lead, make all the money, and demanded validation for their masculinity. Personally, I don’t think either partner should lead in a relationship and the more controlling someone is, the more I resist them. Still, I thought I was supposed to be attracted to this Mars person, so I continued being unhappy in love.

Till eventually I found the piece that’s often missing from interpretations of Venus and Mars. You see, it’s much deeper than that. Venus is actually the planet of romance, beauty, and money, and it shows your connection to femininity. With Venus, you get an understanding of your love languages and what makes you feel close to somebody. Meanwhile, Mars is the planet of action, sexuality, and conflict, and it shows your connection to masculinity. To put it plainly, Venus is what helps you find love, and Mars gets you laid. The idea that a woman is attracted to a man who’s like her Mars, and a man preferring his Venus, is like saying that women only want love and men only want sex. It reflects outdated gender roles and distances the planet from the chart holder. It also implies that a woman never get angry, and if she does, there’s something wrong with her. These types of interpretations are harmful, because they cause us to project onto other people, when in reality, your whole natal chart is you.

Projection in relationships is already an issue in itself. There’s a weird idea when it comes to love; only another person can do certain things for us, and while partners can fulfill our needs, they aren’t available 24/7. In a lot of relationships, I often feel like I’ve been expected to play a character, and anytime I diverted from that, the relationship was over. On my side, I also wanted a partner who was very ambitious and successful, but that was only because I didn’t believe the same could happen for me. Despite being very ambitious, success felt unobtainable, so I projected this onto men, and what happened? Well, I would meet love interests who came across as very ambitious, but after getting to know them, they turned out to be unmotivated, lazy, and entitled. I knew, in a way, their lack of action reflected my need for action, and where do you get that action in your chart? Mars, of course. At some point, I understood that being assertive and taking charge didn’t hinder my womanhood. All it taught me was how to be a better, more integrated person.

After this happened, I started to realize that I’m actually more romantically compatible with people who relate to a mix of both my Venus and Mars.This is where the concept of the Anima and Animus, a theory developed by Carl Jung, comes into play.

I’ve already mentioned Carl Jung in a few pieces, but that’s because he was a super revolutionary dude. He wasn’t only a psychologist. He had a fascination with the occult, and that includes astrology. From Jung’s perspective, the Anima is the inner feminine that men suppress and project onto women, while the Animus is the inner masculine that women suppress and project onto men. Sounds a lot like traditional interpretations we hear about Venus and Mars, but he took it a step further. He stated that as long as we refuse to integrate the Anima/Animus, we’ll always be miserable in relationships. Why? Because when a man rejects his inner feminine (Anima), he sees women as caricatures, and vice versa. In his eyes, a woman is only a nurturer, partner or someone he has sex with. He’ll also have issues expressing his feelings and feel “nagged” by a partner who needs him to open up. He doesn’t see her as a person, and it’s the same with a woman who rejects her inner masculine (Animus). She only sees men as protectors, heroes, or providers, and expects others to make decisions for her. The Anima/Animus are also an important part of shadow work, something I write about here.

Now, if we were to replace the words “Anima” and “Animus” with “Venus” and “Mars”, it would give a better understanding of those placements in our birth chart. Already, implying that people only want their Venus or Mars assumes that everyone is straight. Worse enough, in gay and lesbian relationships, people still want to know “who wears the pants” and insist that same gender relationships still involve opposite polarities. It’s almost like no matter who you fall in love with, an equal partnership can’t exist, because romance is still rooted in the idea of owner and caretaker. Maybe opposites do attract, but it’s impossible to have a good relationship with someone if you can never agree on anything. It gets worse if you look into the twin flame community, where some teachers insist women can only find love when they become completely subservient and wait for the man to take action. ‘Cause you know, asking for what you want supposedly tells the universe you’re behaving like a man, or something. It’s especially ironic when you realize that the purpose of being a twin flame is to find inner union, and has nothing to do with finding your better half.

Also, where do bi people fit in all this? Do we just, like, flip flop through wanting our Venus and wanting our Mars? Am I supposed to only love women and only want to sleep with men?

Yeah, that’s not how bisexuals work, or people in general.

It’s the houses, on the other hand, that really reflect others, as well as where we meet them. The third house is your neighbors and classmates growing up. The fourth is your family. The fifth house is your crushes and potential children. The sixth is coworkers. The seventh is partners and open enemies. The ninth is who we meet during travel and teachers. The eleventh is our friends and grandchildren. The twelfth is our hidden enemies.

With all that said, if you want an even deeper look into the feminine and masculine, I also suggest researching your Black Moon Lilith and Chiron placements. Lilith was said to be the first wife of Adam, who left the Garden of Eden after not wanting to submit to him, and shows the part of our inner feminine that feels rejected by society. Sexual kinks can sometimes be associated with Lilith. Chiron on the other hand, is the Wounded Healer, and manifests as some type of trauma in childhood, usually related to the rejected masculine. It’s an area of life where we tend to struggle with initiative. In synastry, any contacts with someone’s Lilith can create an intense attraction to the point of being self-destructive, depending on how mature both people are. With Chiron, there can be a trauma bond or something about the relationship that triggers healing.

When doing a love reading for someone, I avoid mentioning their “future man” or “future woman”, because it’s not fair to assume who people are attracted to unless they already said it before. It would be pretty awkward to do a reading that talks about their future wife, only to learn the person is actually attracted to men.

Needless to say, the more I learn about Venus and Mars, the more I feel traditional interpretations reflect a time when it wasn’t okay to be anything else than what was expected. Now, the world isn’t so black or white, and for astrology to work, it needs to reflect the times. We’re starting to understand that personalities are complex. So wherever you are on the spectrum, everyone has a bit of masculine and feminine, and to deny that prevents people the right to be everything they are.

Karina xo

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like Chiron in the Natal Chart: Show Me Where It Hurts

This article was originally published on Medium.

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