This is a reprint from 2009; Bon Appétit!
It’s really important to distinguish between what we want and what we need; often, we see them as one and the same or, much worse, confuse the two, or just plain misunderstand, thinking that what we need is only a desire, and denying it to ourselves out of misplaced frugality. We all have both wants and needs, and they’re shown principally by the Moon (needs) and Venus (wants) in the natal chart.
Noting that Venus has been tagged as representing wants, you may protest with, ‘But don’t we all need love?’ And you’d be right, of course we all need love, it’s just that the love we need must be delivered in the form of the Moon–the love we talk about with Venus carries other baggage: lust, jealousy, envy, greed, carnality, and the trappings of romance and courtship–all are forms of ‘Venus love,’ and not truly love at all, but desire. Love that is pure and untouched by these concepts is Amor, while Venus love that is other-directed and objectified is Eros. It remains to the Moon to show us true need, and the form of love that will nurture, comfort, and fulfill emotionally.
Does this mean we shouldn’t call Venus the planet of Love anymore? No, it just means that when we speak of Venus as representing love, we must remain aware that the love Venus represents is that which is typically found in relationship, shown by its rulership of Libra (with the singular exception of the Moon as it carries the maternal love). Venus can also show something about love of the Self (as indicated by Taurus and natural rulership of the 2nd of Self-worth and assets/ talents)–and yet, again, this suggests an outward component to the love, as this focuses on our perceptions of ourselves via the physical, the abilities, and the possessions, including our relationship to the personal finances. Because we live in a material world (sorry, Madonna) there exists a material level at which we will inevitably assess ourselves–and so we take this into account when thinking of Venus, as well.
Neither the Moon nor Venus promises fulfillment of the spirit, though the functions of each can lead to this (the propensity largely indicated in the natal chart by a relationship of either to Neptune, Chiron, the Sun, and sometimes Jupiter). Spiritual love and ideals are the province of Neptune and the Sun (this latter as it represents the Soul itself), but again, these are not separate so much as facets of the concept of love we all carry.
So when we seek love, talk about love, speak of needing to find another to assuage our loneliness, to give our love to, in my estimation we really need to be looking, not at our Venus, but at our Moon, first. This idea was encapsulated in the pop psychology axiom, ‘You can’t love another until you love yourself,’ and indeed, if we have not found the emotional fulfillment demanded by our Moon, we are, in a psychic sense, unable to look away from our own needs, and thus unable to really see and commune with another.
What about desire? After all, we’re in a way programmed to go after what we desire and there’s nothing wrong with that, except that we go after our desires with the expectation that having them fulfilled will fulfill us, when our desires are more about possession than about completion. Our Moon needs, however, are about completion, in the sense that our psyches cannot function as a healthy whole without the sense of having been nurtured, and emotionally ‘filled up’–and we are back to the idea that we cannot give away what we don’t possess–in this case, the sense of completeness, comfort, and nurture that make up the essence of the love we think of sharing with another person.
See my book on The Astrology of Intimate Relationship for how to read a natal chart, and to compare natal charts, for relationship success and potential compatibility