Are men and women really all that different? It does often seem that men's and women's behaviors and actions are so opposite that they appear to come from very different planets, indeed! Much has been made of the idea that women come from Venus and men come from Mars, but how did that notion arise, and what does it mean?
In astrology, Venus is known as the planet of love and beauty. Named after a Roman goddess who emerged from the froth of the ocean and was known as Neptune's daughter, this infamous planet has a complicated reputation. The type of feminine energy associated with Venus can indeed be a bit tricky, as it has a mysterious quality that is hard to pin down and understand clearly.
Venus is known to be a receptive planet whose dominating principle is the ability to attract what she needs and desires through her gift at charming and pleasing those around her.
Because women generally are taught to get what they want by being alluring and receptive, they are generally considered to be more skilled at utilizing Venusian energies. Yet, paradoxically, as the pure energy of love, Venus loves for the sake of loving, rather than because she expects anything in return.
In a women's chart, the sign Venus gives clues as to how she uses her feminine energy and describes her style of loving. In a man's chart, the sign Venus also tells about his style of loving, and it describes what type of feminine energy he is drawn to in a woman.
Mars is the planet of action, lust, and will. Named after the Roman god of war and strife, Mars represents the energy of anger and conflict. This planet's job is to get things done, to protect and defend boundaries, and to generate action. In relationship to men, Mars evokes the archetype of the warrior. This is the part of the male principle that is singularly focused outward on a goal. Mars is the sheer energy and vitality that is needed to move forward in the direction of one's needs and desires.
In a man's chart, the sign Mars is in describes his particular masculine style. Mars' sign also gives clues as to how anger, lust, and will are expressed. In a women's chart, Mars' sign tells about the type of masculine energy she is drawn to in a man and describes her typical approach to anger, lust, and will as well.
Every person, regardless of gender, has both Venus and Mars in their chart, so we all have a relationship with both our masculine and our inner feminine qualities. For the most part, however, women are socialized to relate more to their feminine, or Venus, selves and men are socialized to relate more to their masculine, or Mars, selves. Because of this, women (in general) seem to be more comfortable with Venusian qualities and men with Martian qualities.
Knowing what sign (and which of the twelve houses for more advanced study) your Venus and Mars are in can give you a greater understanding of how to best utilize your own masculine and feminine qualities in relationships and life in general. As you learn more about how your own particular style, you can better use these to your advantage as you relate to others.