Here's how to interpret your Venus sign, which speaks to your love language, personal style, and values.

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Whether you feel like you can totally relate to memes about being a sentimental, caregiving — and okay, sometimes, tearful — Cancer or you feel nothing like a supposedly stoic, workaholic Capricorn, the most basic info most people know about astrology is their sun sign, based entirely on their birth month and day. The big, bright, warm celestial body — aka luminary — spends roughly four weeks in each of the 12 signs, and wherever it was on the day you were born offers valuable intel on your core identity, confidence, self-esteem, self-image, sense of self, and life path.

But it's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your whole, unique astrological picture, aka your natal (birth) chart. Your chart is a snapshot of the sun, sure, but also the moon and all of the planets, captured at the moment you were born. and takes your birth location into consideration too. And we pro astrologers can tell you what all of these placements — and how they mix and match with one another — say about your personality, your strengths, challenges, your relationships, and more.

And while it's best to get that big picture overview at some point, there's also a lot to learn from each building block of the chart, like, say, your Venus sign.

Venus' Meaning In Your Birth Chart

Every celestial body speaks to a particular aspect of your personality and wiring as you move through your life. For example, the glimmery, romantic moon informs how you feel and intuit. It's your inner emotional compass, which also influences the experiences, people, and material items in life that offer you a sense of security. And it plays a part in how you connect emotionally with others — specifically, how you nurture and want to be nurtured. (More here: What Your Moon Sign Means About Your Personality and Life Path)

On the other hand, the placement of Venus, the planet of love, beauty, and money, in your chart speaks to how you relate to others, how you express yourself romantically (aka how you flirt) and artistically, how you experience pleasure, and what you value and see as aesthetically-pleasing.

That said, understanding your Venus sign and its meaning can help you better understand what you'll find most satisfying in love and other relationships, your sense of style, and how you can attract and generate income.

How to Figure Out Your Venus Sign

As Venus moves through the signs, it covers roughly one degree per day. That means it spends about a month in a sign. It also goes retrograde every 18 months. For that reason, the best way to pinpoint your natal Venus is to look at your natal chart or use an online Venus sign calculator to identify where it was at the time of your birth.

Your Venus Return

Okay, say you've figured out that your Venus is in Leo. (Roar — more on that in a bit.) And your partner's Venus is in Leo, too. But there's yet another layer to consider here. As planets move through signs, they traverse 30 degrees of that sign. (Imagine a highway that has 30 different exits all in the same city.) So, when you were born, Venus was in one of the 12 signs as well as a degree of that sign. For example, Jennifer Aniston's Venus is at 9 degrees of Aries. Meanwhile, Poet Amanda Gorman's is at 2 degrees of Aquarius.

About once a year, Venus spends time in the exact spot where it was in when you were born, which is referred to as your Venus return. If you can pinpoint this period of time and tune in to how you're feeling and what you're experiencing at the moment, it could offer clues on your relationships, self-expression, and earning in the year ahead.

A Bit About Venus Compatibility

Venus is a key player when looking at zodiac sign compatibility. Exploring how it interacts with another person's sun, moon, and Mars can offer helpful intel on whether you'll hit it off or struggle to connect.  

  • Sun: If your Venus conjunct (aka the same sign) or trine (in the same element — earth, fire, air, water) as their sun (or vice versa), you can expect admiration and romance to flourish between you two. 
  • Moon: If your Venus sign is positively connecting with your partner's moon — or vice versa — chances are you'll be in sync in terms of what you value and find brings you a sense of security. 
  • Mars: If your Venus is conjunct or trine your S.O.'s Mars (or vice versa), sexy chemistry abounds. 

Venus Signs, Explained

Once you pinpoint your natal Venus (aka your Venus sign), read on for the basic traits you might identify with, depending on which of the 12 signs it fell in at the time of your birth. And if you want to astro-nerd out further, think about the degrees of your Venus sign, which could further influence its expression. For instance, if your Venus occurs at 0 degrees, there's a sense of curiosity and desire to learn in order to grow into the characteristics of your Venus sign. If it falls in the middle degrees (14 to 16), you'll feel very much in tune and entrenched with the vibe and purpose of your Venus sign. And if it is in the final degree (29), you might feel like a seasoned veteran in your ability to harness the strengths and embrace the weaknesses of your natal Venus. (Related: The Complete Guide to Astrological Sister Signs)

Aries Venus

If your Venus falls in dynamic fire sign Aries, you tend to hit the gas as soon as you're interested in someone romantically. You're impulsive, spirited, playful, competitive (you see trivia night or playing a sport as a hot date), and will treat a fiery debate as a fantastic form of foreplay. On a bad day, because Aries is the first sign of the zodiac — and might exhibit childish, immature, and self-centric behavior — your instinct could be to put "me" above "we."

Taurus Venus

The sign of the Bull is one of two signs Venus rules (the other being Libra), so it's super comfortable here, and therefore, you probably are also very centered in all things Venusian: love, beauty, money. Your love language might be physical touch, and you take your time in bed, adoring any opportunity to infuse intimate experiences with luxury and sensuality. The potential negative side of this placement is that you could be possessive, materialistic, stubborn, and suffer from black-and-white thinking.

Gemini Venus

If you were born with Venus in the loquacious air sign Gemini, you tap into your adoration of language and mental stimulation in a major way when connecting with others. Word play, dirty talk, and flirtatious, witty banter over text are all your terrain. But because you're a bit cerebral, you might intellectualize romance, which can keep you in your head and a bit distanced from your heart. You'll come off as lighthearted but also noncommittal. The cons of having Venus in Gemini: You might be fickle, flitting from one object of affection to another, and zeroed in on superficial, surface-level matters in love.

Cancer Venus

If you were born with Venus in mushy water sign Cancer, you show someone you love them by taking care of them. You'll bake cookies for your friend who just had her appendix out, help your S.O. do laundry when they're short on time, and make sure that the home you share with anyone — a partner, a roomie, family — feels tranquil, cozy, and secure. You're endlessly sentimental, mooning over photos from months ago and reminiscing about all the details of a magical first date. The drawbacks of this placement: You can get cranky (cough, crabby) — especially if you feel like you've been giving more than your loved one — withdrawing into your shell and snapping if you're pushed beyond your comfort zone in a sensitive moment.

Leo Venus

If Venus was in the charismatic, driven fire sign Leo at the time of your birth, you're extremely aware of what you want in love — and that's basically the style of romance other signs might only expect to see on the big screen. You're sunny, loyal, generous, demonstrative, and might enjoy showering the people you adore in lavish gifts. You crave attention and the spotlight, but you also offer the same to someone you're head over heels for. The cons of this placement: You might exaggerate how you feel — possibly even to yourself — because you want that cinematic-level love, and because are apt to be self-focused, you might need to remind yourself to make space for a partner's needs and desires as well as your own.

Virgo Venus

Being born with Venus in the analytical, supercommunicator earth sign Virgo means wanting to be of service to those you care about. Usefulness is love, and you often try to help others by tapping into your attention to detail. You'll offer to organize your friend's closet for them, intensely research the best Thai restaurants in town to be sure your date is getting the ultimate pad see ew, or create spreadsheets to support your sibling through a big life decision. You want to be appreciated for all the minutiae, tasks, and chores you take on — feeling seen is the fast track to your heart. On a bad day, you can be nitpicky, fussy, anxious, worrisome, and suffer from overthinking.

Libra Venus

Libra is one of two signs Venus rules (Taurus is the other), so the planet of love is comfy in it, and therefore, you're also innately centered when it comes to Venusian themes. You want to be swept off your feet à la a Jane Austen novel. You prioritize partnership and want all the trappings of your love life to look Instagram perfect, to be social, and to feel balanced, harmonious, and ideally free of conflict. In fact, there's really nothing you abhor more than conflict and injustice, and to prove it, you're generally open to hearing both sides of every argument. The negative side of this placement: You can be passive-aggressive, wishy-washy, and overly concerned with appearances.

Scorpio Venus

Born with Venus in the fixed water sign Scorpio? You're intense, magnetic, sensual, and looking for transformative, intimate, deep, meaningful bonds. When you fall for someone, it can be tough for you to be light and airy. Instead, you'll be reserved, mysterious, and aloof until you know they're on the same page, and then you're all in. Commitment is absolutely your jam — as is expressing how you feel through highly emotional, body-and-soul sex play. The drawbacks of Venus in Scorpio: You can be controlling, manipulative, and struggle to go with the flow.

Sagittarius Venus

If you were born when Venus was in the adventurous fire sign Sagittarius, you're free-spirited, entertaining, and believe bigger is better. You want to experience life — and love — in a bold, no-holds-barred way, which often means traveling to distant locations or learning a new language or style of meditation or how to cook exotic dishes. Being fenced in or held back in any way is a major turn-off, given your independent spirit. You also love to pontificate, philosophize, and occasionally get on a soap box to share your grandiose ideas and opinions. On the negative side, your unfiltered, "sorry not sorry" vibe can be harsh or hurtful to loved ones, and you might ditch an otherwise fulfilling relationship for not being exciting enough.

Capricorn Venus

If you were born when Venus was in industrious earth sign Capricorn, you're wired to take slow, steady, pragmatic steps toward building lasting bonds — with a love match, a friend, or a business partner. You tend to think very rationally and somewhat traditionally when it comes to romance. Roses, candelit dinners, a timeline for DTR-ing, monogamy, engagement, tying the knot — you likely want that whole classic picture, and you'll put your nose to the grindstone to get it. You aim to attract people by showing them that you're in control, goal-oriented, serious, and responsible. The drawback of this placement: You can be reserved, frugal, aloof — all of which might be challenging for someone who's a fan of more demonstrative or lavish displays of affection.

Aquarius Venus

If you were born with Venus in the futuristic air sign Aquarius, your romantic personality can best be described as platonic, offbeat, and humanitarian. You want to talk to your date about how they think we ought to tackle climate change or address a local political issue, gush to your BFF about the latest Apple Watch, and plan group dates with your diverse friend group. You beeline for friends-with-benefits situationships or other unconventional arrangements, because anything mainstream often doesn't sit right with you. You also prefer to bond with people over ideals, visions, and intellectual thoughts. The negative side of Venus in Aquarius? You can be cold and require a lot of distance, space, independence, all of which can be problematic if a partner is looking for something steamier, committed, intimate, and formal.

Pisces Venus

If Venus was in the romantic water sign Pisces when you were born, you're sensitive, empathic, and slightly psychic when it comes to matters of the heart. You might find it challenging to not take on other people's pain as your own — especially when you're in an intimate relationship with them. You consider it your mission to experience love in a dreamy, spiritual way, to heal others, and to express your most deeply felt emotions through an artistic outlet. You're loving, compassionate, and intuitive. On a bad day, though, Venus in Pisces can give way to escapist tendencies and delusion. You'll likely work on standing in your sense of self and finding a way to get grounded in love.

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.