Venus in Santa Fe

“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

Francis Donald Grabau


      Appearances are important for those of us who ‘visualize’ things like world peace or whirled peas on our bumper stickers, and bumper stickers are plentiful in Santa Fe, a place celebrated as an alternative healing center, a city full of psychic channelers, meditators, and visionaries. In such a place we can expect to find appearances assuming an important role since what you ‘visualize’ is what you ‘manifest’ and what you manifest is what you get.

Getting, seeing, and visualizing ‘abundance’ is very much the fashion in this most fashionable of places that sees itself (quite ironically) as ‘the city different’. So, of course, the planet Venus occupies a prominent place in the Birthchart of Santa Fe, for Venus is the planetary symbol of beauty, aesthetic form, physical love, money and appearances.

Venus in Santa Fe appears in the city’s 11th house of social life, socialites, and public self-image; and she expresses thru the zodiacal sign of Leo.
Leo, we are told, is the sign of the Lion, the ‘King’ of the Forest whose resplendant golden hair surrounds his head the way its own astronomical corona surrounds the Sun.  Astrologers say the Sun is the ‘ruler’ of Leo, but when Venus displays herself there she assumes his mantle of golden light and shows herself to be a Queen!

Recall the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, standing in her oval of golden light and you see a true image of Venus in Leo.

But consult the Birthchart of the city again, and you will observe that Venus walks hand-in hand with Mars therein, for they are united (‘conjunct’ as the astrolgers say), and the Lady Venus is joined with the God of Fighting and War. (Alas, the shade of Los Alamos!

Accordingly, you can read the account of the final battle in which the city was reclaimed by the Spanish who carried their image of La Conquistadora onto the Land.
The Sacred Kiva was replaced by the Holy Bank.

The mysteries of Mother Earth became the business of Arrogant Men. 

The Queen of Love assumes a much more energetic posture when she must appear in the Marketplace with the God of Action, but even the richly bejeweled image of the Aristocratic La Conquistadora can’t communicate the fiery intensity of Venus conjunct Mars in Leo. It’s the stuff of drama, theatre, and opera.

Put all these images together in your mind’s eye and you have the spectacle of the Virgin of Guadalupe assuming the mantle of La Conquistadora whose feet begin to beat to the Spanish drums of war.

With her newfound staccato rhythm she merges rapidly into the figure of Maria Benitez stamping to the pulse of flamenco duende until, in a burst of triumphant energy, she throws her mantle to the crowds, kicks off her shoes, and gyrates before us in the guise of Tina Turner.
Now you’re talking Mars and Venus conjoined in Leo!

But in the language of astrology Venus is merely the ‘lower octave’ of love, concerned as she is with her display of beauty, art, and refinement. And we’ve seen how she picks up a rather unrefined, rougher, and cruder edge to her demeanor when coupled with Mars.

Consider the gaudy lights of the Santa Fe Opera House as they scream intrusively against the dark night sky. The very stars blush and fade away from the Earth in their vicarious experience of shame for such a vulgar display of bad taste!

No, Venus is not the final astrological word for love, let alone beauty and refinement. To enter that realm we must approach her ‘better-half’, her ‘higher octave’: Neptune.


The love symbolized by Venus is human and personal by definition, and it always has about it the quality of wanting, possessing, and displaying itself; but the love of Neptune is utterly transpersonal, it is felt by the trees, the oceans, the air itself. Humans who approach this realm of love often call it the Divine.

The purest form of Venus love is expressed in the quality we humans call aesthetic beauty, while the purest form of Neptune love calls us beyond our own exclusively human notions of beauty and love to feel empathic oneness with all beings in an experience we call ‘enlightenment’ or ‘ecstasy’.


Natal Chart
Santa Fe, New Mexico

      In the Birthchart of Santa Fe these two levels of love appear in a stressful relationship to each other which astrologers call a ‘quincunx’ aspect indicating a lack of balance between them which is in need of continuous adjustment. What is out of balance in this chart, what needs continuous adjustment on the part of the citizens of Santa Fe is the regal Venusian display of aesthetics, wealth, and personal physical beauty as that display contrasts with the Neptunian need for total feeling attunement to all living beings.

Such feeling attunement is inclusive of far more than the merely human notions of beauty and love. These notions are often only humanly egocentric displays of self-congratulatory species fixation.  O Art!  O Beauty! 
O, get a life!

We are the creatures who would rather own the painting of a landscape than go barefooted outside and nakedly meet the Land.

Neptune appears in Pisces, the sign of its greatest strength, and in the 6th house of the birthchart of the city. This is the house of service, the house of the common worker, and it is in this area of her public life that Santa Fe needs to express and focus her unconditional Neptunian love as distinct from her outer display of Venusian ‘love’ of wealth so prominently and publicly focused in the ‘plaza’ of her 11th house as self-congratulatory display.

The infamous Santa Fe ‘Style’ is an obvious show of Venus in Santa Fe

But the ‘Spirit’ of Santa Fe can best be seen in the hidden, Piscean quality of her 6th house workers who go about their tasks in a service-oriented and often anonymous way calling very little attention to themselves.

Ironically, these workers are subject to daily exploitation by those who are most socially vocal about the Santa Fe ‘Style’ and can afford to display it in Leonine fashion about their persons and in their homes and possessions. Just ask any gardener or waitress, or a Spanish ‘native’ in one of the few remaining barrios, or ask a Pueblo Indian and she will tell you all about the kind of continuous adjustment needed in Santa Fe.

The stressful relationship between the working poor and the wealthy socialites in Santa Fe echoes the need for continuous adjustment between Venus and Neptune, between two very different kinds of love.

The love of Venus concerns itself with physical appearances, etiquette, comfort, and issues like financial security; it’s the kind of love that attracts or magnetizes all that it wants toward itself. But the love of Neptune concerns itself with the realm of subtle, even invisible appearances, and seeks to join the whirling dance of physical substance into pure energy by way of a movement of spirit resulting in a realization of faith. A childlike Trust and openness to Life.

Neptune is the unseen presence of Spirit in the Rainbow, Venus is its colorful display of aesthetic form.

Venus rules the ephemeral Santa Fe ‘Style’, but Neptune rules the true Spirit of Santa Fe. And that Spirit is the Piscean Spirit, the simple unadorned way of the common folks, of Saint Francis and his Holy Faith. Recall that Santa Fe is officially named La Villa Real de San Francisco de Santa Fe. 

Francis of Assisi is one of the world’s best known and widely celebrated lovers. Love was his holy faith; and he loved with a love that was more than Venus love. He loved everything and everybody unconditionally. He listened and talked to the birds, the flowers and stars. He sang his heart out to Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

But his greatest love was for his ‘Lady’, -not Saint Claire but Lady Poverty: “O my most sweet Lord…have pity on me and on my Lady Poverty for I burn with love of her, and without her I cannot rest.” 

Would the current ‘consciousness’ groups so deeply ensconced in Santa Fe accuse this man of what they seem to see as the worst of crimes: ‘Poverty Consciousness’ ?

After all, this fellow literally begged in the streets of Europe, gave up his ‘rightful’ family inheritance as the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, fell in love with his Lady Poverty and lived a poor man’s difficult life. Was he an escapist ‘puer’ unable to adjust to normal, secure, mature and prosperous social life ?

Did he fail to ‘visualize’ what is called ‘abundance’ ?

One wonders what kind of reception this man would receive today in the 'City of the Holy Faith': would he be wined and dined at The Inn Of The Anasazi, would he be treated to a game of golf at Las Campanas, or asked to autograph limited editions of his own self-image as statues affixed to fake adobe bird baths ? Would he become a franchise owned and operated by ‘the city different’ ?

Francesco Bernardone was not always known as Saint Francis.

He was involved, like Santa Fe, in the need for continuous adjustment between the love of Venus and the love of Neptune
. In his youth he was a Troubador, a wandering minstrel riding about on a well-equipped horse singing songs of courtly love, -a kind of Medieval Low Rider cruising the Alamedas of his day.

So full was he of the glamorous confusion between Venus and Neptune that he even joined the Crusades to conquer and reclaim the ‘Holy Land’. Almost, ironically, imitating the Spanish Conquistadores who stole this city of Santa Fe as well as most of the surrounding Land.

But, like many a Native American Holy Man he fell ill and had a Vision, and after that he gave up his horses, his fine clothes, poetry and genteel courtly manners to become a beggar in persuit of his love for "Lady Poverty".

He chose a simple life in harmony and balance with
Mother Earth celebrating the presence of Spirit in all her glories of birds, trees, fire, wind and wolves. He found the invisible Neptune Spirit of Love and transformed his Venus pleasures into the far more passionate pleasures of his invisible Lady Poverty exclaiming: "O my Lord, who caused me to be enamored of her, you know she is sitting in sadness, rejected by all;

the mistress of nations is become a widow, vile and contemptible;
the Queen of Virtues, seated on a dunghill, complains
that all her friends have despised her."

Despising the spirit of simplicity is a common fault of Venus in the sign of Leo. It looks like menial poverty to her. She shames it with scorn. Thinks it lacks initiative and ambition. Venus in Leo wants fame, success, "prosperity".

Making a ‘Holy Faith’ out of ‘Prosperity Consciousness’ is a special problem of Venus in Santa Fe. Here "spirituality" has become a bloated and selfishly indifferent Art of thinly veiled Narcissism. A craving for personally satisfying and socially prosperous forms of "Higher Consciousness". The curse of Puritain Calvanism couched in quartz crystals burning store-bought Sage. Venus wallowing in privileged furs. Wearing chunks of polished turquoise. Drinking liquid silver and eating only Organic Gold.

Here she hides from herself the simple 6th house workers and even accusses them of ‘exploitation’ when they seek a just and living wage. The last 50 years of population growth in Santa Fe has seen a great influx of people who want the appearance of a simple lifestyle. The emphasis, of course, is on appearance and style!

These are the forever restless folk jumping into and out from expensive 4-wheel-drive vehicles called ‘Broncos’ and ‘Rangers’ and ‘Rovers’. These are the people babelizing over cellular phones, running from fax machines to computers to hot tubs and massages: people who pay for admittance to sweat lodge ceremonials, consult psychics, aura balancers, astrologers, and healers on a round-the-clock basis in order to feel ‘holy’ and ‘high’. These folk make of life a constant round of wheeling and dealing in the Art of Venus Business so that they can ‘manifest’ what they call their ‘prosperity consciousness’.

This bizarre phenomenon can be traced back to the out-of-balance condition between Venus in the 11th house of wealthy socialites and Neptune in the 6th house of exploited workers found in the birthchart of Santa Fe.

Just as the so-called ‘Franciscans’ (O, vergogna!) who came here with the Conquistadores to rob, rape, steal, and "pray" upon both the Land and its People were NOT the men who loved the way of Saint Francis, so too those of us who dwell in Santa Fe in order to profit materially by selling away her water, her air, and her gift of faith in holy simplicity are NOT true and honest dwellers in this Land of Enchantment!


The Pueblo People from whom this Land was stolen were already living the simple life of Saint Francis before they were invaded and they virtually embodied the Spirit he expressed in his famous ‘Canticle Of Brother Sun’:

“Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Mother Earth, Who sustains and governs us, And who gives us fruits with colorful leaves and flowers…” 

It is from the Pueblo People and their culture that modern day Santa Feans inherit the image-motifs of Nature that have become the root of ‘Santa Fe Style’: the lightning-serpent, Awanyu; Kokopelli, with his flute and spiral; and poor Coyote who is almost too embarassed these days to howl at the Moon (who knows when some fool ‘Santa Fean’ will come along to tie a showy bandanna around his trickster neck)

All these Beings have had their rights violated and their images stolen by people who would rather market a lifestyle than live it. 

To truly live in Santa Fe is to learn to love a sparse land where heat, wind, and rain
conspire together to reveal a simple way of holy faith, a way of sacred trust
in a semi-desert climate.

To love Santa Fe is to have faith in the Spirit of the Land,
to make-do with as little as possible
in the form of machines and goods,
to find abundance not in
‘manifesting’ money
but in feeling

the mystery of the earth, the common chamisa bush, cherishing and taking to heart
the dry song of the rattler, the bare song of the desert, the song of the
Pueblo Ancestors so like Saint Francis and his
Lady Poverty

“O who would not love the Lady Poverty above all!
I beseech you to grant me this priveledge:
I beg to be enriched with this
much-desired Treasure.

And that, good folks, is what Love’s got to do with it!