A Review of Venus in Aries: Avant-Garde Art

This post is a compilation of a number of things I wanted to share earlier. It’s mostly about Venus in Aries. And yes, Venus is now in Taurus. I had meant to post this earlier while Venus was actually in Aries, but I didn’t get it finished in time. I could have kept it in the drafts till next year… but hey, it’s Mercury Retrograde and it seems fitting to post out of alignment with the sky’s current transits.

In addition to being associated with romantic love, pleasure, money, self-worth and one’s values, Venus is also the planet of aesthetics, beauty and art.

Aries is not the most comfortable sign for Venus to inhabit. Venus is said to be in her detriment in Aries. Aries is ruled by Mars, which represents opposing principles to that of Venus. As I have said before, Mars is the principle of separation while Venus is the principle of connection and unity. If Mars is the scissors, Venus is the sticky tape.

Therefore, in Aries, Venus is influenced by the bold traits of self-assertion, of pioneering individuality, of courageous independent action. Venus in Aries thrives on conflict and competition… while simultaneously trying to fulfill her innate need to connect within interdependent relationships.

While this may be a tricky balancing act in the relational realm, how does Venus in Aries express through art? That question is the focus of this post.

A fascinating case example of someone with Venus in Aries, is Alexander McQueen; a fashion designer who, according to one of his biographers Judith Watt, was “the fashion world’s most visionary designer… who reinvented modern fashion”.

“Avant-garde” has been a phrase frequently used to describe his designs.

Born with a Pisces Sun on March 17th, 1969, McQueen sadly died by suicide on February 11th, 2010 at age 40. The legacy of his clothing creations speak to his artistic brilliance – as does his natal chart.

 

 

His Scorpio rising is unmistakable in his physical presence and appearance. The rising sign in a chart is the  membrane, filter, or interface between us and our immediate environment. Therefore, someone’s rising sign is often recognizable in their physical appearance.

Scorpio rising gives him an intensity, a piercing gaze, and a shrewd, suspicious guardedness. This is someone who’s x-ray vision perceives the darkness beneath every facade.

Mars, being the traditional ruler of his rising sign, is also his chart ruler. The chart ruler is a very powerful indicator of the direction in which a person’s life will be oriented and the type of life journey they will experience.

You look to the chart ruler to answer big-picture questions such as: What will this person be most known for? What overall direction will their life take? What motivating force will sustain them throughout their lifespan? What factors in their life will most contribute to the person they are in “the process of becoming”? What will be the most defining traits of their identity development process throughout their life?

Some will even link the chart ruler with the person’s “destiny”.

Mars, the chart ruler, is in Sagittarius in the 2nd house in McQueen’s chart. This means his Scorpio rising traits will be channeled through his 2nd House Mars in Sagittarius. Therefore, we could say that his deep insight into human nature and his intense fascination with death and the grotesque, are expressed through his visionary ambition, his boundless motivation to push the envelope beyond the ordinary, and his never-ending search for a higher truth – traits that will be directly linked to his 2nd House income-earning pursuits.

It is very, very common for someone with a 2nd House emphasis (or sometimes a predominant Taurus emphasis in their chart) to create a label or a brand name that will represent their work. In this case, the powerful brand “Alexander McQueen” has outlived the artist’s demise.

Mars is not in its own sign here, which means we can take the chart ruler placement further and get more specific by looking at its dispositor. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. Where’s Jupiter? In Libra, in the 11th House, tightly conjunct the rebellious, innovative Uranus, while also sharing the 11th House with Pluto.

Libra is a sign strongly associated with beauty and appearance – and fashion, in particular. The 11th House carries with it some Aquarian themes and has to do with one’s goal-oriented activities within a larger group – or society as a whole. Jupiter is capable of bringing success and fame in the 11th House, and when combined with Uranus, this person will attract widespread attention and acclaim by being rebellious, unconventional, and defiantly original. With Pluto as well in the 11th House, this is a person who will feel at odds with society and the groups they are a part of – but one who nevertheless has the capacity to deeply transform those around them by challenging status quo.

With a chart like this, we can expect to see someone who: earns their income by propelling their fearless fascination with death and the dark side of humanity – using their visionary and tireless motivation and ambition – into the realm of beauty and fashion, in a way that acquires significant attention; makes a cultural, political and social statement; boldly and provocatively challenges the norms within their field; and leaves a powerful impact within their creative domain that will far outlive them.

Does this sound like Alexander McQueen?

And I haven’t even talked about Venus in Aries yet!!

Venus (in Aries) is stationary in his chart, which means that Venus was in the process of slowing down and turning around when he was born. This is relatively rare to see in a chart, since a planet is considered stationary for a very brief period of time. The symbolism of a stationary planet in someone’s natal chart is amplified and strengthened. With a stationary Venus, we might expect to see someone with special artistic interest and talent.

A stationary Venus in Aries in the 6th House of daily work and employment seems to cement his capacity to be a talented artist and designer – one who is not afraid to piss people off in order to pioneer a new (avant-garde) approach within their creative field.

Furthermore, Venus is conjunct Saturn. This can be a really tough placement to work with, romantically and artistically, in the way that one can often feel like a slave to unreachable high standards and struggle with insecurities related to their attractiveness and relationship potential. However, it also indicates a person with inner fortitude, resilience, and fierce (especially in Aries) work ethic and determination, which can then be applied to their artistic endeavors, often producing great achievements.

McQueen’s fashion designs and his runway shows/performances were often frightening, intense, stunning, daring, and intimidating. He has been quoted as saying: “I’ve seen a woman get nearly beaten to death by her husband. I know what misogyny is… I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.

The woman he spoke of, was his sister.

Saturn rules his third house (siblings) and fourth house (home, family). Symbolically, Venus is an expression of the feminine, whereas Saturn can express as both a harsh and cold presence (perhaps mirroring the impact of what he witnessed), and as a protective and defensive energy.

With Saturn conjunct Venus, in the sign of the fierce warrior, one might say that the aggressive form and style of his creative work could have been partially influenced by his early childhood trauma and his desire to protect and defend his sister? His sister herself, believes this may have been a contributing factor. It has been noted that the women in McQueen’s runway shows often looked like they were “equipped for war” (~Joshua Barajas).

Finally, of course, there is his Pisces Sun and balsamic Moon in the 5th House of creative self-expression. Beneath a guarded exterior, was one incredibly sensitive and intuitive individual. The imaginative capacity of Pisces can also be clearly seen in his work.

And yet, directly across from his Pisces Sun and Moon, is Pluto in Virgo in the 11th House (opposing his Moon to the exact degree). A Pluto opposition suggests someone whose life is heavily influenced by their struggles with their inner demons, deep fears, and buried secrets. Self-destruction tendencies are a risk with this combination. The Moon often symbolizes our relationship with our mother, and unfortunately, it was only a few days after McQueen’s beloved mother died, that he took his own life.

Below are some quotes from McQueen that reflect his natal chart and speak to his ground-breaking, avant-garde artistic talent and personality.

 

 

For more about the astrology of Alexander McQueen, you can check out an article by the Oxford Astrologer, which first alerted me to his Venus placement.

I am definitely not a fashion designer genius, but I share a Venus in Aries placement with McQueen.

It was also my birthday last March. If you have been reading me regularly, you may recall that I previously posed the question: How does one “celebrate” their birthday in the 8th House? 

I wrote:

“At the time of your Solar Return (i.e. your birthday – when the Sun returns to the same place in your natal chart where it was when you were born), as it is with all transits, all aspects and house and sign themes that involve your Sun will be activated (or “triggered”) at that time. This unfortunately means, that if your Sun is challenged with a number of tense and difficult astro characteristics, unless there are other compensatory transits occurring simultaneously, you may find yourself struggling to “celebrate” your birthday in good cheer.”

As I have previously described, the 8th House is not an easy place to have your Sun (which is also the ruler of my chart). As a more introspective placement, it is not really conducive to “parties”. After designing my birthday “celebration” to match my Sun placement, I thought I’d provide an update…

For my birthday I booked two nights for myself and my dog, at a place by the ocean (of course, since I’m a Pisces). I got some strange looks from my host when I mentioned that I was there to spend my birthday alone, but meh. It was perfect, and a lovely time for “just being” and reflecting.

I later shared cake with family, I watched The Departure (a beautiful documentary about suicide prevention), like I said I would, and I went to see the amazing Body Worlds exhibit with a good friend. Body Worlds is an educational art exhibit of “real human bodies preserved through Plastination”.

All this got me thinking about Venus in Aries and my taste in art. This reflection is what led me to McQueen’s natal chart.

Here’s the break-down of my Venus placement…

 

I can remember, even when I was much younger, dragging my poor friends to see unconventional performance art that scared or offended them. Unintentionally, of course!

In reflecting on this Venus in Aries placement, I made sense of my life-long love of mosaics – Mars-ruled Aries is strongly associated with cutting, separating and breaking. When I make mosaics I’m doing a lot of smashing and cracking of tiles!

I will seek to draw inspiration from other Venus in Aries types, as I continue to try and express this placement more fully in my life.

My solar return chart this year, holds a Pisces new moon (in my 10th House of career, public status). The last time I had a new moon in my chart was when I was age 13 (in the 6th house of daily work, structure and routine).

During that year I read a book called: “How to quit school and get a real life and education”, which was described as promoting “pure teenage anarchy”. I find the title hilarious now, with its brazenly rebellious connotations.

I wasn’t in school to begin with, but the book revolutionalized my schooling and I took over my education completely in a way that embraced a lack of structure and supported a liberated love of learning (I also have Uranus squaring my Mercury).

So as I launch into this year, guided by another new moon, here’s to fiery new beginnings and finding the Aries-like courage to brave the risksand the opportunities – involved in stepping out of the spaces that keep me safe, but small.

 

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