I have recently found cause to apply my thoughts to the phenomenon of Pluto’s application to Venus, not least because of the usual slew of relationship difficulties it causes for my clients, but also because the focus of attention about the combination of these powers falls on those of female gender. Ironically, it is the same for those with Mars and Pluto similarly entwined. A Mars-Pluto woman often has that uncomfortable (for men) habit of being one of the boys, for not being overly respectful of a man’s personal space; essentially for being too much like a man in a man’s world. Very little is written about the conduct of men with hard Venus-Pluto conditions, because by a cunning sleight of the entwined hands of astrology and misogyny, women get to carry the can for that too. Invariably. A woman with a surfeit of Venus-Pluto is too often identified as no good, because she does not emanate the purity and chastity which men demand she display publicly, but so very often remonstrate against behind closed doors. After all, the ideal woman should be, as Jerry Hall who has Saturn square Pluto and therefore knows a thing or two about the Patriarchy, put it, a “maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom.” The Venus-Pluto man wants it all, wants his contradictions to be conveniently at hand and gets to destroy his woman’s self-esteem for failing to live up to his impossible expectations. Once he’s broken her, he is then able to discard her with impunity. Men really do have it all their own way sometimes.
Any woman in a state of intimacy with a Venus-Pluto man, knows very quickly what she is up against. At least she senses it, deep down, and the first stirrings of existential anxiety take root: miniscule and filament like at first, but destined, without keen examination, to grow formidable in no time at all. The typical dynamic is the whirlwind romance with a man who is charming, intriguing and who holds a kind of simmering promise. Then a long siege against the woman’s boundaries. If he succeeds, she feels worthless, if she prevails, he feels cheated. The outward signs are harder to spot, but usually, the Venus-Pluto man has a series of failed, often rather brief relationships and appears to be more concerned with outward appearances than with inner meaning. His partners lack confidence and seem to be walking on eggshells around him. When the relationship breaks down, she is labelled crazy, uptight and impossible to please.
This is a worst-case scenario, and we should not use astrology to support stereotypes. Every human has their cross to bear and their own unique method of carrying it, but it might serve us to look at an example. On the surface of things then, actor Sean Bean, whose Venus squares his Pluto by somewhere between a half a degree and two degrees (dependent on his time of birth, which is unknown) offers us a good possible study of the broad style of Venus-Pluto in hard aspect in a male chart.
In Bean’s case, Venus opposes Jupiter in his own domain, forming a tee-square to Pluto, this ‘expands’ the Venus-Pluto dynamic and gives a roving quality to the love-life, which is exacerbated by the multitudinous propensity of Venus in the sign of Gemini. So, all the red flags are there, and certainly his chart holds the potential for being a VP poster child. Note for instance, how he attains the ideal of feminine appeal by ensuring his partners are always around age 30, and swapping them for a new 30 year old after about 10 years. What is clear from the bare facts alone, is that Bean struggles with long-term commitment. Currently on his 5th wife, with rumours of affairs a-plenty, the bare facts suggest that he has not found what he is searching for.
And this is the true dynamic of Venus – Pluto in the male chart, because the problem lies on the inside, while the Venus-Pluto man comes to believe that the problem is out there, usually in the form of the current partner. This projection dynamic is extremely common, and fundamental to the understanding of masculine and feminine powers. A woman tends to project her Sun and Saturn onto the men in her life, until she reaches a particular stage of maturity and owns these archetypes. Men have the same tendency with Moon and Venus.
In a male chart, the Venus Pluto dynamic manifests as a covert dissatisfaction, mostly, but not exclusively in the bedroom. He might for example complain that she is not ladylike enough. Or that she keeps a slovenly house. Or her cooking is sub-par. Pluto darkens and very subtly begins to debase Venus’ natural tendency to femininity and especially chasteness. This is not doom, not inevitable, but perhaps more common than might be expected. It is a topic rarely broached because it is so intensely private, and the responsibility is often subtly misplaced. There are men who have learned to put in place protections against the Plutonic poisoning of their own souls, who are on the path to transforming the energy, but this is uncommon, especially in the young. This lack of maturity is key. Any mature, loving man understands that for a woman to be sexually engaged, she must first and foremost feel secure. If she is not offered meaningful love and devotion then (quite understandably) when she gives in to his demands, she will feel demeaned and her self-worth will collapse. An immature man does not understand this. He is attracted to the risk of sexual abandon but is unable to offer the safe relationship boundaries that are required for such freedom. He pressures the woman to engage in behaviour that excites him but is unable to provide the solid foundation of love and acceptance that allows the woman to feel that what she does is part of a liberated, expressive and mature relationship between two committed and devoted adults. It is rare that a woman will be secure enough to express her full love nature because the men that are involved in the situation are rarely able to reciprocate. They are boys playing at being men, so they have no depth to reciprocate with. This is psychologically devastating for the woman, who actually would do pretty much anything to please her man if she felt that she was the centre of his world and the love of his life and had his absolute respect. Instead, pleasing him becomes an act of self-sacrifice, and is dangerous to her mental and emotional health. She cannot be the sexually liberated and adventurous woman he craves because she does not feel safe, and he cannot be the protective, fiercely loving man she needs to become the kind of woman he fantasises about. You can see how it is a circular situation that can only be resolved when the boy becomes a man. Only a mature man can coexist with a mature woman, otherwise she just becomes his unhappy replacement mother.
Over time, as the woman, fearing for the relationship, finds herself with two choices. She can either give way to his fantasies and lose his respect or resist them and lose his interest. Usually, in typically Venusian fashion, she tries to balance the two, giving way just enough to keep him on the hook, whilst retaining most of her self-respect. If she is strong and he is authentic enough, she will make it, and he will gradually mature and begin the deep work of Pluto around midlife and eventually they will emerge, purified and free.
But this promise of eventual salvation is what too often keeps a decent girl in a bad situation long past her ability to endure it without considerable psychic damage. The arc of Pluto is entirely predictable. Transformed it gives depth, magnetism and power for wholesome human qualities. Venus-Pluto transformed is compassionate, committed and unconditionally loving. It is also as rare as hen’s teeth. Untransformed, and to one degree or another, it has a hollowing out effect. Very often, the partner of the Venus-Pluto man will say that she feels like a shadow of her former self. She has no centre. She is holding it together. But usually she is holding out for the hen’s teeth. The tragedy is that long before he gets there, he discards her, disappointed, if not disgusted at what she has become. Then, while he is onto his next project, she is contemplating, with genuine trepidation, the prospect of another relationship as ‘damaged goods’, with her ability to form healthy attachments in future significantly compromised.
So, what is the solution for the Venus-Pluto man in relationship? Step one is to shine a light on what Pluto wants. He will struggle to articulate it because it is laced with shame. It will always go back to the parents who were unable to offer approval without requisite performance. He learned that love was only given when he did what the parent wanted. So, he brings that dynamic into his relationship. I can control this person by withholding my approval. One of the most demanding performance arenas in intimate relationships, especially for a young man, is of course, intimacy. So, it’s no surprise that he brings this unconsciously learned behaviour to bear in this important area of his life to try and have his desires satisfied. The woman, if she gives in, teaches him that coercion works, and the poison seed of Pluto takes root. The answer therefore is to not give in to coercion. If the aura of the interaction is Plutonic (edgy, uncomfortable, dirty, weird) then step away.
At the same time as this poor guy needs to learn that you are not his child and his parents’ tactics won’t work, he needs to appreciate even more urgently that love works without extra leverage. He actually doesn’t know how to be loved for himself, so he believes that incentives are required. That’s a long and difficult road of unlearning. So, the most cogent advice is to make sure that you really love this guy, because it’s going to take a lot of work, and it isn’t truly your responsibility to do it. But if he understands the problem, and he’s prepared to do the work, then maybe you can help him to make the transformation and live happily ever after.