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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Archetypal Processes V: Venus – CREDO CI

If Mercury’s process is communication, that of Venus is relating. As a planet, it is the second one between us and the Sun, and her partner Mars is the first one to orbit it after our Earth.

As a goddess, which concretizes the process, Venus rules Love but also War! This demonstrates the two extremes of relationship. When I would teach a group about this process, I would have a woman and a man stand in the middle of our group and act out the many ways they could relate: shaking hands, dancing, scolding, turning their backs to each other, hugging, kissing, slapping, punching, etc. It was always a fun class, believe me, but it proved the point.

The Sun and Moon form the highest pair, but Venus and Mars are the mortal heroine and hero. Their relationship is the next level of opposites, the level of eros rather than agape, so sexual expression is included and necessary for human reproduction!

The positive archetypal process is that of beauty and so Venus is associated with all the arts, and where there is beauty there is also harmony; and where there is harmony in relationships, there is justice, so Venus also rules Law. The sculptural icon of the blindfolded woman holding the scales is Venus in her role of balance. So in astrology, she rules the sign of Libra, the Scales, and the opposite sign to Aries, whose ruler is Mars. In society, therefore diplomacy and legal affairs are expressions of seeking a just balance in social relationships.

Children, as such, are ruled by Mercury until puberty separates them, and emotions take on a new dimension.

In Jungian psychology, Venus is expressed as a man’s inner feminine – his anima – and Mars in a woman is her internalized masculine animus. We can recognize this in Lucy in the “Peanuts” cartoons! You may have observed at a party where sufficient alcohol is consumed, some men become very sentimental and women quite intellectually strident. Some of you may be familiar with Jung’s close friend Toni Wolff’s brilliant short work The Archetypal Structure of the Feminine. I will give a very brief summary of the work in her terms and then a more graphic interpretation. She proposes a quaternity thus:



[seductress]        [priestess]

*Note that the two on the left need a man to define them; those on the right do not!
You can also break these down into the following, including my version of the negatives

   Moon       Moon + animus
  -Witch      - Ballbuster


Venus: Geisha Girl   Venus: Virgin, Nun, Inspiratrice,
               Wise Old Woman
  - bitch        - Sorceress

* I have written at far greater length about these archetypes in my book Jungian Symbolism In Astrology. The interesting thing is that men project their anima onto one or the other but most often get split, as did Jung himself, between the two on the left. He has the wife for permanent family security and helps himself to the hetaira on the side. The news is chock full of this predicament at the moment. In Europe this is more accepted as normal, but in the USA women have a great deal of anguish, thinking themselves a failure and projecting envy on whichever they are not! One has to pity the hetaira as she ages!

It is also quite interesting to note the collective impact. My generation was supposed to be content with the Wife/Mother role but we went to workshops and moved over to the independence of the Amazon. Then came the angry young women in the ’80s who started out as Amazons and filled my office later as their childbearing years were closing in.

Some of the most amusing words Jung ever wrote concern the quaternity of many marriages: the relationship of husband and wife and their contra-sexual anima and animus!

The Jungian analyst Jane Wheelwright wrote a wonderful work on the choices of elderly women, For Women Growing Older – the Animus. Either they introvert their animus and become family matriarchs or extravert their animus and serve the collective, which I suppose is what I am trying to do!


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