Projection, Energy, and “Manhood”
Mars is the god of war. Unsurprisingly, the planet Mars is Ruler of Aries (which is the Greek name for the same entity), and is very similar to the Sun Sign. Mars is the male counterpart to the feminine Venus, and represents male sexuality and the “ideal” of manhood, whatever it may be (as with womanhood, there are many different kinds). Traditionally, Mars has been associated with Western perceptions of the ideal man, particularly as the warrior.
Mars is then associated with the warrior, but not necessarily the warlike or conflicting aspects of the warrior; certainly, an excess of Mars’ energy can lead to this, but the principles most associated with Mars are the activity and projection of the warrior. By “projection,” I mean the ability of someone to assert himself, get his point across, get things done, and generally influence other people. Unlike the passive Yin/Femininity/Passivity of Venus, Mars is a Yang planet, associated with masculinity and activity. In the same vein of projection, Mars is associated with male sexuality – the desire to spread and “project” one’s seed outside oneself, into Venus, who can then nurture it and give it life.
Mars and Venus are intertwined, and both are needed in equal amounts for balance. Too much Mars leads to war and violence, and too much Venus leads to too little getting done and a lack of progress. Mars has a great deal of energy – certainly much more forceful than that of Venus – and restraining that energy and directing it towards a purpose is a skill that comes in handy, and one that Venus excels at.
Attraction, Beauty, and “Womanhood”
Venus is sometimes called the goddess of love, but is really more accurately termed the goddess of sex, and especially female sexuality. Venus is often seen in mythologies (as Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar, and other equivalents) as a dangerous figure, which tells us how the male-dominated culture feared the sexual power they believed women to have. Venus is one of the feminine planets, and represents female vitality and passion, in opposition to her counterpart Mars. She also represents beauty and grace, as well as attraction.
In the astrological tradition, she loses much of her fearsome sexual appetite and has come to represent the forces of attraction that allow us to find and keep the people and things that have meaning to us. She does also represent the vital feminine, and she is the spirit of female energy, who can create and maintain life. She is associated, then, with creation, and especially beautiful creation, for Venus is associated with beauty. Those who express themselves through graceful and pleasing to experience works of creativity owe Venus their thanks. In this way, she represents also an aspect of the Sun Sign Leo.
However, she is not the Ruler of Leo; the Sun is. She is the Ruler of Taurus and of Libra. The first association is clearer than the latter; Taurus is a feminine Sun Sign associated with fertility and the earth, and is greatly helped by Venus’ ability to find those things needed to make oneself happy. Venus is also associated with Libra, as Libra is the Sun Sign of diplomacy and balance between forces and individuals; Venus is the attraction that can provide that balance. Venus is also associated with the ideal woman, and represents the pinnacle of “womanhood,” whatever that may be (for this definition can vary wildly, and depends upon one’s own beliefs, culture, and opinions). In traditional readings, she is often associated with the idealized Western woman.