By Vanessa Couto
The Roman goddess Venus, or Aphrodite according to Greek mythology, is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure — and envy.
Normally we only pledge our desires at her altar when we want her to help us achieve our desires: usually in the realm of love. In our world, she is often reduced to a Playboy Mansion Bunny with superpowers of love and seduction. No wonder she isn’t happy in our culture.
For instance, take all the dysfunctions, illnesses and troubles we collectively face around relationships, love, and wealth. It’s either too much, or not enough. It’s as if Venus is running amok, trying to engage us beyond our vision of her as just a relationship sexy bunny.
From Venus, we also receive the gift of beauty. She awakens our desires, captures and holds our attention to all that she touches. She helps us see the world as both beautiful and desirable. She is the spirit of beauty in nature, but also fertility, abundance and prosperity.
She is often accompanied by Eros (Love): the great magnet and motivator. She also has another in her entourage: Longing (Himeros), which is that unquenchable thirst that propels one onward towards their desires.
In other words, Venus gets us going through awakening our desires.
But she too has a shadow: envy.
In many of her stories, she is competitive and doesn’t take kindly when women were compared to her, and god forbid, be considered as beautiful or more even than Venus herself.
Comparisons triggered her darker motives, and poor was the soul of the mortal woman who was thrown under this mythological bus. Venus would unleash her wrath, and make sure that the life of this mere mortal would be hellish.
Venus not only stirs our emotions, but she also intensifies them – internally and towards others.
So what happens when we feel envy?
How could envy be of any use to us, considering that it’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins?
In my podcast: Snow White and The Alchemy of Envy I talk about envy as an awakener for our true desires.
That’s what Venus wants us to tap into: the true nature of our desires.
Remember that the etymology of DESIRE means: from the stars.
So in many ways, our desires have their origins in our stars, no wonder there’s often a deep sense of validation when we learn about our own birth chart, and what it says about our psyche’s make up. Because in knowing our stars (the planets were considered by the ancients as wandering stars) we feel connected to what is natural and beautiful to us.
Remember too, that the word “cosmos” means beauty, the inherent beauty and order of the Universe. Again beauty and harmonious order are all under the tutelage of Venus.
I was exposed to this idea that envy could be an ally, rather than something to just push aside for being sinful, through the work of Lindsay Pera from The Mystics Society. In her way of explaining the life cycle of envy, I could see a deep connection of how we can also work with our own Venus in our birth charts.
Envy awakens us to a way that our desires are being manifested in the world.
Remember that Venus intensifies whatever feelings that come up, so in envy, we feel the jolt of our desires as we see it in physical form. It could be the dress that we wanted being worn by a co-worker. It’s our neighbour’s lucky job promotion, or our best friend’s engagement to the man of her dreams.
Envy doesn’t discriminate.
You may be the most powerful man/woman in the world, and envy may still grab you by your heartstrings. Even the Queen is envious. (Snow White’s Queen was the epitome of envy.)
The difference is on what we do next.
Use envy as a springboard to engage with the image that has caused it to show up in your life.
Do your due diligence, your research on what it is revealing about your own life. Then look at how that image that has caused you to turn green with envy differs from what you actually desire.
Look to the ways that it actually points to this realization: like that, but my way.
So your neighbor got an awesome promotion? Perhaps it’s to a more gruelling department, more hours of work, and stress. Perhaps it’s to another city or country you wouldn’t even want to visit. Perhaps dig deep and see how in dancing with this envy you are actually learning more details about what you really want.
Also, and this is the hardest: be grateful that it has shown up in your life. If good things are happening to those close to you, it could also mean that you are now sitting close to the very thing that you want. Look at it as a sign of movement from the Universe, Providence or your Higher Self.
If things are stirring in your world; Venus is announcing herself.
How can you honour her presence?
We know she hates “hubris” (excessive self-confidence and pride), so don’t even go there. Ask for her help by doing what gives you pleasure!
I’ll venture to say that we all, at least culturally, don’t know how to really honour our Venus. We have this collectively assumption that “follow your bliss” (wise words from Joseph Campbell) is for hippies, or at least a luxury until the bills are due. Thankfully things are changing, albeit slowly.
Still, we have Venus in a certain place in our birth charts.
The sign that she is, the house she finds herself in our charts illuminates what is our bliss. As we are able to do more of what we love, gives us pleasure and helps us have a sense of bliss, even if for just a few minutes, it goes a long way in helping us feel less gripped by the hand of envy.
I feel that envy runs amok when we are not doing what we love and when our self-worth is lacking.
Self-worth is another realm that falls under Venus.
Pleasure leads to confidence which leads to self-worth, which leads to increased attractiveness and ability to bring forth prosperity.
All realms of Venus.
Look to an area of your life that you experience envy.
Sit with that for sometime. It’s uncomfortable, but like Venus who often is portrayed looking at herself in the mirror, don’t blink at this starring game. Look at whatever else comes forth from this envy.
Follow the hints that point towards what is really at the bottom of it all. It’s probably the honest truth of a deeper desire that you have that hasn’t yet been acknowledged.
Try it out and report back your insights.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.