“And yesterday I saw you kissing tiny flowers, but all that lives is born to die. And so I say to you that nothing really matters and all you do is stand and cry.1”
This little bit of poetry is both brought to you by Venus and inspired by Venus. “The poetic ability of Venus…is the ability for insight, to see meaning where there is none…2” Where the person crying sees beauty and purpose in each aspect of creation, believing that everything matters, the other person has difficulty detecting and acknowledging the subtler aspects of nature. The person crying likely would have a Venus with a high Shadbala, while the other probably has a very weak Venus. Shadbala as a whole is a general indication of a planet’s potency.
Venus itself deals with subtle energies – things like pleasure, love, art, beauty, potency, rejuvenation, procreation, fair trade and balance. When Venus has challenges, problems of over-indulgence and laziness usually manifest. Naturally ruling the second and seventh maraka houses, “killer” houses as it is commonly translated, Venus kills through exchange and the natural flow of resources –usually to get something new and to make room for it in our lives, something else must be forgone. We see this in nature everywhere but the pruning of a plant is perhaps the most telling example – the best fruit and growth comes from a plant that is properly and frequently pruned. Allowing the plant to grow unencumbered often results in a less than optimal life in terms of product quality and life span. This can also apply to the indulgences of humans.
Perhaps the most important of these resources, Shukra or life-generating fluid, is controlled by Venus and by ruling those maraka houses, Venus also controls the trade of that resource. A lot of precious life force is traded in pursuit of passions and desires of the worldly realm, and Venus will show how effectively we use this life energy. Here it is also possible to see the link to Saturn and the role of Venus as a natural friend to Saturn who is the karaka, or indicator of longevity. By maturely balancing the conservation and use of Shukra, spending it only on worthwhile pursuits, longevity is strengthened. Venus can help bring appreciation and love to the routine toil of Saturn. Saturn is exalted in the Venus sign of Libra, a sign dealing with exchange and transformation. The purging and death associated with Saturn finds its balance through the procreation and rejuvenation of Venus.
Shadbala, or “six strengths,” gives an astrologer information about how effectively a person might use the intrinsic abilities of a given planet. Each planet will work through an individual to achieve its karmic agenda; Shadbala shows how strongly that might come through an individual.
Of the six strengths, Dig Bala or directional strength is most closely associated with Venus. Perhaps this has to do with the role of Venus as Guru to the Asuras, or worldly beings. An often overlooked aspect of Venus is his link to the Caste of Priest/Councilor. Venus is the teacher and leader of these worldly beings, attempting to entice them towards Divine Ego through pleasure3 and then teach the mature use of natural worldly impulses towards something wholesome…direction…
The physical placement of the planet in a particular direction of the birth chart helps to demonstrate directional strength. Here the cardinal directions (i.e. North, South, East, West) can offer insights into the strength of a planet to express its agenda. In a birth chart, the ascendant, or first house is East; across from this is the seventh house, West. The 10th house is South in the birth chart and the 4th house is North. The North is associated with heaven, happiness, contentment and moksha and when Venus is placed in this part of the chart it has the most Dig Bala.
The Dig Bala of Venus directs us emotionally towards the happiness that comes through fulfillment and contentment. A potent Venus (high Dig Bala) will allow us to make choices and take actions that lead to this fulfillment. A low Dig Bala Venus will not necessarily hear the subtle calls to take proper action in a particular direction and with this lack of action, life-size regrets often manifest long-term. In this case, a person wishing to develop the potency of their Venus should seek practices to calm the mind and begin to trust their inner instructions, even if it feels strange at first. After some time of noting inspirations and then following them, it becomes more natural and the person will begin to get a sense of which ones worked out better than others, learning to distinguish impulses and cravings from natural, healthy desires.
Another of the six strengths, Chesta Bala, indicates motional strength or how a person moves through the world with that planet. The slower a planet moves, the more powerful a planet becomes and it appears brighter. The brightness of the planet serves as a good way to remember what this Bala indicates – the brighter or more brilliant a planet, the better its results, allowing innate qualities to be expressed in their most confident form.
Confidence is pivotal in any endeavor. Without the confidence to try something, and keep trying if necessary, nothing could ever be accomplished. Generally when people have planets with low Chesta Bala, the person feels a sense of failure before initiating any activity and won’t even try to accomplish anything related to that area of life.
Applying this concept to the intrinsic qualities of Venus, a high Chesta Bala allows a person to be true to their own path, regardless of whatever that individual path may be. Venus is the gatekeeper of satisfaction and can bring a sense of pride to someone that is not boastful, but genuine and secure in a job well-aligned with one’s path. Again the theme of conserving Shukra manifests in this Bala in that a low Chesta Bala for Venus will perhaps end in a sense of having wasted one’s time in pursuit of something that turned out to be useless to them. The balancing, diplomatic functions of Venus are hampered and the person cannot tell for what they should trade their life-force.
Within each Bala, there is a minimum number of required points that a planet must have to be considered strong. With anything less, the planet is not strong enough to assert its agenda on its own. Fortunately each planet works within a group of planets and a strong planet can make up for a weak planet within his particular group. Venus is in a group with the Moon because they both deal with similar life energies. For instance, in the case of a weak Bala for Venus, generally the person will be unable to effectively evaluate what is best for him; in place of this, the Moon can “hear” in the heart what doesn’t feel right and move towards satisfaction via the emotional responses to the situation.
It should also be noted that the ShadBala minimum point requirements for Venus and Moon are generally very high. It is uncommon for people to have these planets strong in more than one or two of the Balas. Consistent with this, many people have difficulty hearing that inner guidance and then trusting that guidance enough to follow it into action. Even more people seem to have difficulty conserving their energy for honest pursuits that aren’t fueled by worldly, external compulsions and desires.
ShadBala also contains Ayana Bala as a component and this Bala deals with the distance of the Sun from the Earth, the time of year, as seen through the seasons and cycles here on Earth. With regard to the planets and how this is calculated, one method uses the Tropical Zodiac to link a planet’s location within a particular rasi. While Moon and Saturn do better in the South, and Mercury can be happy anywhere, Venus and the remaining planets are more comfortable in the North. I find this point particularly interesting – as the Guru of the worldly beings that dwell in the South, I had expected Venus to also obtain strength in the South. However, Venus in the South is perhaps too concerned with worldly matters and without the Northern ideals to inspire his action, Venus can make a person prone to selfishness and manipulation, losings its power to act as diplomat. The person will be unable to see whether or not negotiation leads to a better outcome overall, even if they don’t get all that they wanted.
Within ancient myth, the Northern realm of the celestial beings and the Southern realm of the worldly creatures were constantly warring, one side never able to fully defeat the other. Ayana Bala can be viewed as a metaphor for conflict within our lives and the strength of the person to move through the conflict. With regard to Venus, a high Ayana Bala allows a person to see when a war or conflict is worth it and allows for cooperation to a successful end for all parties.
The subtly of Venus energies and the fact that most people won’t have Venus with high Shadbala make it very likely that most people could use some strengthening of their Venus. A mentor is usually a good recommendation for developing any planet – finding a person who has successfully changed their life or who is naturally strong in that planet’s qualities; specifically for Venus, finding a mentor who is able to hear and trust intuition and inner guidance. This can be tricky because asking someone how to go about hearing and trusting their inner guidance is a lot like asking someone how to fall in love. It is something that comes naturally and there is not really anything that can be done to force it. The best we can do is positively support and encourage the person to trust their gut, leaving them open to the beauty and peace that Venus can facilitate. Venus doesn’t force a change or need a particular outcome. Instead, this great diplomat wants all of us, even the Asuras among us, to experience liberation, allowing our minds to rest4 and intuiting meaning in it all, even when there is none.
1 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, That’s the Way, Atlantic, 1970.
2 Ernst Wilhelm, Graha Sutras, Kala Occult Publishers, 2006. Emphasis mine.
3 Eve Mendoza with Dr. Arjun Pai, Mysteries of Guru Shukracharya: Secrets of Shukra Graha, published on YouTube April 1, 2017.
4 Ryan Kurczak, The Myth and Magick of Vedic Astrology 13 Hour Audio Course, https://ashevillevedicastrology.wordpress.com/asheville-vedic-astrology-academy/