Venus, the goddess of love, pleasure, and comfort, when afflicted, rules deprivation, poverty, and discomfort. Jupiter handles luck, windfalls, and things that come easy, but Venus is the planet that rules how one attains money and what creature comforts one needs in life. She is the natural ruler of the 2nd house of possessions and the 7th house of partnerships, which are both related to having money. The 2nd house may be obviously connected, but the 7th house shows us that there are riches in relationships. Yet, depending on what is going on with either house, how rich a person will be does actually depend on how they relate to money and whom they choose to partner with.
People who grow up poor are so diverse, and all too often come from places in which many people are poor, that there is no single astrological indicator of poverty. It is entirely possible that a person grows up poor but has either little knowledge or belief that they are poor, or for some other reason, it has been less of a struggle for them. Poverty is relative to the culture and country in which a person lives: a poor person in America can have more than a poor person in Mexico. However, both people have to navigate different cultures and different governments in order to get what they need. It is also possible that a child lives in poverty for any number of reasons, and those reasons can show up in the chart. However, if you take a look at the various charts of siblings who all grew up in the same home in poverty at the same time, there is a diversity in how they relate to or understand their poverty. Some of those kids are more able to overcome the poverty than others. They may find someone outside of the family who takes an interest in them and helps them, or they can get work, or they can do well in school and go on to college. This can be indicated by the condition of the 10th house. More on that later.
Venus can show how a poor person relates to, accepts or denies poverty, and how hard it will be for them to stop being poor, if they get the chance.
A person who has afflictions to the 2nd or 8th houses may grow up poor. This is true if Chiron is present in either house, or the rulers are afflicted, or if there are malefics in these houses. It is also a good idea to check the conditions of the Sun and the Moon, which represent the parents, since children do not and cannot create their own poverty. If either of these are afflicted, or if there are planets in the 4th or 10th houses that indicate a problem with the parents — like Saturn (absent or stingy), Neptune (mental illness, alcoholism, inability to focus and find motivation), Uranus (radical changes in the parents), Mars (making rash but not sound decisions) — then the result may be poverty, if there are afflictions to Venus.
Venus with hard aspects to Saturn indicates some sort of deprivation as a condition of the life born into. This exists either before the child is born, or shortly after. Saturn deprives of Venus things, which include creature comforts and riches. Venus with hard aspects to Uranus can show sudden changes in material fortune, though more usually through partners. A person with hard aspects to Venus from the Sun or Moon may have felt abandoned by the parent representing the planet, which can also be material abandonment. Venus with hard aspects to Mars shows a rashness and foolishness when it comes to money. Spend it before it disappears.
The partner, represented by the 7th house and Venus, can also show how likely one is to be poor after childhood. If a person choose a partner who is likely to keep them or make them poor, through bad choices, refusal to work or be supportive, or through abandonment. For example, person with Saturn in the 7th house may have a stingy partner who abandons them. A person with Uranus in the 7th house may have a partner who up and leaves and comes back through the relationship, or makes sudden decisions in his or her own interest without regard to the partner. Likewise, the native can become this partner, too.
Interestingly, I have found that people with Venus in the 12th house can end up with partners who either make them poor or keep them from rising out of poverty. This person either racks up a lot of credit card debt, or is otherwise unable to or unwilling to support social mobility. I have a chart of a young woman who had Venus, Mars, and Neptune in the 12th house. Her first husband, whom she married while still a teenager, was an illiterate former meth addict who turned hardline born-again Christian and insisted that she didn‘t work and homeschool their child. Of course, not being able to read well, there was little work he could do, and the person who could earn more money had a vagina, so she couldn‘t work. This girl was not from a place in the world where being illiterate or a meth addict was okay; so, why marry him?
Well, the preacher who married them figured it would keep them from having pre-marital sex, so that was a reason. But, one of the interesting things about people with Venus in the 12th house is that there is a tendency to think that a love that is persecuted is the truest, in that if other people are against it, they must strive all the more to keep it. While this can be true for many relationships people find socially inappropriate for whatever reason, there are times in which a relationship that is impractical and possibly destructive (hello, 12th house!) ought not to be set in stone. This is especially so for people with Venus/Neptune conjunctions, as they can confuse love with the wish for love or compassion with love. In the end, it is very hard to stay in love with a person who holds you back, drags you down, or makes life harder and not easier. A person with Venus in say, the 10th house, wouldn‘t dream of dating, much less marrying a meth addict who can‘t read. This is not something they could overlook, but the 12th house Venus is amazing at turning a blind eye to what others find to be glaring.
Last I heard, she left the first husband, was dating a man who was doing well, but the husband wasn‘t allowing the divorce, so she is waiting it out, which means that 12th house Venus is still getting what she wants, which is love against the odds.
Another person, a man in his forties, has Venus intercepted in his 12th house. He was the son of a college professor. He went to a good college and was starting a good career. He married a woman who grew up in a trailer park and had supported herself as a part-time hairdresser. They didn‘t have much in common; she targeted him as the guy who would get her out of the trailer park. Unfortunately, while his career brought prestige, it didn‘t bring with it the money she assumed would inevitably follow. She had actually broke up with a secret boyfriend who was from the same world, and someone she did love, in order to climb the social ladder. Now, the man in question had spent a large part of his childhood in poverty, and his family climbed out of it when he was a teenager. He was a very compassionate person, and there was compassion for the woman who would become his wife, even though there was no friendship, no common interests, and different desires for life. Her hobbies are largely going to the bars and racking up credit card debt; his hobbies, last I knew, were many, but included doing all he could to control his wife. The more he tried to do that, the more she struggled until she asked for a divorce.
The 10th house shows status, reputation, and social class. Some people can start off poor and have a relatively easy time climbing out of that. Others may struggle their entire lives, or may have an ambition that requires working for a long time and not seeing immediate rewards. For example, a person with Capricorn on the 10th house cusp may work for years to become very successful at running their own business instead of taking a path of less resistance and getting a white-collar job that pays decently.
One of the problems of growing up poor is that for most, there are class indicators that cannot be avoided. The clothing, the vernacular, the behavior, the physical health, the teeth, the possessions, the zip codes: even if we are all equal, and a poor person has all the potential in the world, they will have the indicators that we erroneously often associate with social unworthiness. Some people have more or less of these. Some have better teeth than others. Some are more or less prone to acne or weight gain. Some are able to not show poverty as much.
It is more likely for a girl to move up in the world if she is pretty (Venus), and either get a decent job or find a mate of a higher social standing. A boy, on the other hand, has to earn his way up (10th house) through hard work and rejection of his poor background.
Now, a person with Venus in the 10th house is a social climber. You can take this as a good or bad thing, but this is Scarlet standing in the field, crying to the sky that she will never be hungry again. Now, anyone with planets in the 10th house has some drive to be somebody in the world, but someone with Venus in the 10th house, especially if Venus is afflicted, is a person hungry to be something big, and much bigger than their origins indicate. In a way, this can be kind of sad, because initially, they tend to attract a lot of people, but may reject them (if Venus is afflicted by a malefic), if they don‘t seem like the right kind of people. An interesting thing about folks with Venus in the 10th house, especially if conjunct the MC, who grew up in poverty, is that many of them feel like princes and princesses who were somehow born in the wrong place and time, and seek to find their place at the high table again, where they believe they belong. They may have a sense of aristocracy about them from an early age and long for fine things and develop cultural capital as much as they can.
Venus in the 2nd house is not always a person who is born to having a lot of possessions. They may like nice stuff. They may spend a lot of money on fine things; they may have partners who are big spenders. They may have lavish or even garish tastes. They link their self-worth to their possessions.
Venus in the 8th house, however, is someone who tends to rely on others to give them the things they need, or, conversely, finds someone to support. Whereas Venus in the 12th house tends to find hopeless individuals and confuses pity with love, Venus in the 8th house expects something in return, whether that is sex, or status, or increased wealth. This is the house of sugar daddies and sugar babies. This is where I find Cinderella complexes in natal charts, or where the Prince Charming who is going to fix everything shows up. So, put a person in poverty here, and you have a person who either longs to be saved by another person, someone who will see how wonderful they are and just hand them the world on a silver platter, or someone who thinks it is their job to buy the affections of others. Whereas Venus in the 10th house will go about getting what she wants through public display of charms, Venus in the 8th house works behind the scenes. She may not be the prettiest or most charming woman in the room, or may not try to be, but she is the one willing to put out in the back room or at least seems that way, such that her intrigue allows her to get what she wants from her partner and make him or her feel honored to give it. This person also creates intense platonic relationships that allow them to get help when they are in need. Do you know anyone who just manages to get a helping hand from friends or close family all the time, and no one asks why, or if this person will ever not be in need? Probably a Venus in the 8th house type. This works both ways: I have known men with Venus in the 8th house who grew up poor who consistently partner with better-off women who support them, usually because these men are artists who will one day shine their light upon the whole world.
Now, what type of Venus is more likely to climb out of poverty? Tough to say.
Usually, the person who wants wealth (Venus) and doesn‘t have it and is focused on getting it has a prominent Venus that is uncomfortable, by aspect, house, or sign placement. A happy Venus is a lazy Venus. Venus would prefer to not work and to simply enjoy life. Venus is actually not terribly uncomfortable in any particular house, except for maybe the 6th and 8th houses, because she doesn‘t like to work or be hidden. However, she is in detriment in Scorpio and Aries, and in fall in Virgo, and doesn‘t express herself well in Capricorn or Aquarius, which are both ruled by Saturn. Venus in a T-square or Grand Square, or Venus in a very serious opposition with another planet can indicate a person who has a big itch to scratch. Venus shows how we are satisfied, and Venus in an inharmonious aspect is born unsatisfied.
However, if a person is to satisfy an ambition, they need to have other indicators in their chart, as it is not likely that someone will just find a pot of gold in their yard and all their troubles will be over. First, they must obviously have opportunity. Second, they must have an ambition that is attainable, no matter how long it takes. If Venus can sing, then she can become a singer who could be famous for it. If Venus cannot carry a tune, being a famous singer is probably not in the cards for her. Talents are shown as planets in the 5th house, quintiles, sextiles, or trines, and one should have planets in the cardinal signs and houses. They must have a strong Mars and/or Saturn to give them strength and energy to go forth. It is not easy to satisfy an ambition when it is against one‘s birth; not only will their be obstacles, but there will be human obstacles, especially oneself. This person must believe and behave as if overcoming poverty is possible, if they do not have others who think this is so.
One of the problems with poverty is that it becomes an attitude and a lifestyle. When one learns to live poor, they have a frame on mind based on living desperately and on seeing having all one‘s needs met as unattainable. This can be based on community mores, or religion, or simply being yanked back down when one shows promise or desire to rise above. When one does rise above, the group may consider themselves abandoned and discarded; one of the common problems of social mobility, that can be seen in the chart through afflictions to Venus, is that someone or something must be left behind, or the someone or something rejected the Venus native, so lying in the gutter, they looked up at the stars.
Another problem is that one doesn‘t know what they do not know, and there are pitfalls and traps along the way ready to take advantage of the naive who are striving but lack savvy and cultural capital. Consider a corporate diploma mill, one of many in the United States, that got poor students to take out sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans for virtually worthless degrees. There is the knowledge and/or belief that more education means the ability to make more money, and this is known to the poor, but many have taken advantage of the fact that the poor often don‘t actually know what kind of education means someone has the ability to make more money.
When looking at a chart, see what is afflicting Venus. This is often what the person doesn‘t know that they don‘t know. Is Venus in the 9th house afflicted by Jupiter in the 3rd? This person doesn‘t know what they don‘t know about education.
This is in the chart of a person who was the valedictorian in high school, but couldn‘t hack college because she couldn‘t simply memorize her way to good grades, so she dropped out. She thought that if she couldn’t be the best, she was automatically the worst. It was also the first time in her life she spent a lot of time around people who weren‘t poor, so she didn‘t fit in. She got married, stayed home, and had a lot of babies. She went back to school and graduated at 40 from a commuter college, where she could be the best student, and therefore got very high grades. However, she didn‘t go back to work for nearly 15 years after getting her degree, and was genuinely disappointed that they only work she could get was as a part-time clerk at low pay, because she really, truly thought her degree was very valuable. Before she got this job, she had spent something like 25 years out of the workforce, and the information age began between the time she got her degree and went back to work, so she was barely computer literate.
I suggested that she network and look for apply for jobs to move up in the world; she was afraid of angering her boss by seeming disloyal. I told her that that would be against decorum, as one is expected to network and look for opportunities in business, and clerks can be replaced; in fact, if they want to continue to offer low pay, they would rather replace her. She still couldn‘t let go of the idea of loyalty to the boss being more important than finding opportunities, which is very much a sentiment of the working poor than the working middle-class.
I have noticed in a lot of the charts I have that Venus oppositions on the 3rd/9th house axis usually show folks who drop out of college or could go but don‘t; generally, they think they have a wealth of intelligence (Venus) but don‘t want their view of themselves to be challenged.
What about a person with Venus opposing the Moon in the 4th house? Here is a young woman who wanted to go to college and have a career as a biologist, but chose to become a beautician instead, because she was afraid of not being able to afford her own apartment if she went to university; if she went to beauty school, she would be able to get a job to pay for her own apartment. What she didn‘t know was that if she insisted on not living on campus, she could do that, or that if she became a biologist, she would be able to afford her own house someday. Why didn‘t she want to live on campus? Well, what she mostly knew about college she saw on television and in movies, because she would have been the first in her family to go, and if you think college life is what you see in entertainment media, you don‘t know that it isn‘t all beer and sex (some of it is, but that exists in the trailer park too at that age). She grew up with two parents who could barely keep a roof over her head and often borrowed money from family to pay the bills, so having a secure place to live was more important to her, and more of a real need, than having a career that she wanted.
What about Venus opposing an angle, like the ascendant? I have this in the charts of two men. One grew up poor; he was actually the breadwinner in his home as a child, and thus, grew up with the faulty idea that he was a genius, because to his poor, uneducated parents, he was a genius. He was attracted to negative Venus types, and enjoyed having hapless people sponge off of him. Of course, this meant that his close friends and lovers weren‘t allowed to be capable or educated; this was an affront to his ego. Sometime after his Saturn return, he was broke and without anyone to really talk to, since all of his close friends and girlfriends were so expensive (Venus) since he preferred the company of people who relied on him financially, and with parents still looking for regular hand-outs even though he hit the ceiling in his career with no degree or network that can help him get ahead. He finally realized that he wasn‘t a genius at all.
A woman has a Venus/Neptune opposition along the 12th/6th house axis. when she was young, she had few options, so like many poor kids, joined the military (6th house) even though it really wasn‘t for her, but felt she had no choice if she ever wanted to go to college. She did two tours in the War on Terror and has PTSD now.
— One of the most insidious things about the way the American military recruits is that it focuses on poor kids, and recruiters speak to them in such a way as to actively enforce the fallacies that these kids simply have no choice but to join the military if they ever wish to go to college, and that not choosing to enlist is therefore the biggest mistake of their lives, because the only other choice is to live in poverty. The recruiters talk about all the fancy things they eventually bought with their money, like cars, which makes the recruits somehow think that you can gain wealth by joining the military. Recruiters are lifers, and they don‘t say that they had to save up for ten to fifteen years to buy that fancy car, or that in this current job as a recruiter, they live in subsidized housing. What they aso don‘t tell you is that when you get out, unless you have an MOS that translates to a good job in civilian life and got that job because you did well on your ASVAB, is that you may end up poor anyway, and if you can‘t hack college before the military, chances are that you can‘t hack it afterward either.
Venus opposite Uranus on the 4th/10th house axis: This man grew up in poverty in communist Russia. After the fall, he moved to Israel, where he was pressured to go to college, get a good job, then get married, then have a kid, then go to graduate school. However, what he really wanted to be was an artist. What he didn‘t know, however, was that he could have made a living as an artist, so he became an engineer instead. His parents didn‘t know that either; after all, didn‘t doctors and engineers become rich? In his late thirties, he grew tired of his career and embarked on his artistic endeavors, of which his engineering career had a big influence.
Venus opposite Saturn/Uranus on the 2nd/8th house axis: This girl grew up poor and did drugs as a youngster, and then because of this floundered in her first year of college. Her generation was the first to go to college. She went on academic probation, and as such, couldn‘t get government loans. She had no money, but decided she needed to stay in a big university anyway, so she took out a bunch of private loans, some with interest rates up to 25%, from whomever would give her loans, and did so even when she was off of academic probation (and could get government loans with better rates), and even took out private loans for things she didn‘t need, like vacations, a new car, partying, etc. She worked through college as a waitress, which she was absolutely content to do, since she wasn‘t actually intellectual and found that world intimidating anyway. But she felt that she absolutely must have a college degree, and the loans weren‘t real to her until she had to start paying them back. When she left college, she went back to being a waitress, and struggles to pay off her loans.
Venus opposing Pluto/Uranus/Mars/Vertex, all intercepted on the 1st/7th house axis: This man was part of the first generation to go to college and he got an in-demand degree, but cannot network or be promoted to any management position because he simply cannot get along with people in polite ways. He points out flaws in the way people look, makes jokes about them even after he has been asked to stop, and interrupts people to give his off-the-wall advice, even though he thinks that he is helping them or playing with them. He is actually rather a genius of human behavior and interaction; unfortunately, he uses this to get on people‘s nerves. While he tried to escape poverty by getting a degree in something he is good at, he fails to conform to the norms of the white collar world enough to get anyone to put any confidence in him in something other than the specific task at hand.
But not every story I offered has a sad ending; these were just examples of people who didn‘t know what they didn‘t know about climbing out of poverty. Eventually, they did learn, often the hard way, as oppositions usually make people learn the hard way.
* As a side note: Saturn is the natural ruler of bones, teeth and the 10th house. In America, having good teeth is indicative of social class. They don‘t have to be perfect, believe it or not, but they have to be white and straight enough to appear taken care of. Beauty, of the natural type, is associated with wealth, which is ruled by Venus. Being long, tall, and having good teeth and clear skin show a healthy childhood.