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I’m starting to teach an online astrology course about love and attraction during this current Venus Retrograde, and what factors in the birth chart can enhance that. I already had the whole course outlined out in my head a while ago, and yet as I was just about to sit down and commence, I realized that the most important question from all needed to be asked: what is Love?

I believe this demonstrates that love, even from a theoretical angle, can be full of surprises.

I think that part of the reason so many poets in the English language have been so gainfully employed writing about love is that we ourselves haven’t defined it properly. The ancient Greek language had no less than four words for different varieties of love, and I don’t believe this is because of the same reason the Inuit allegedly have 50 different words for different kinds of snow. I don’t know that the ancient Greeks were any better or worse of the relationship than we are.

So I think that anyone embarking on the study of love and astrology, whether through an online course or some other means, should really sit down and asked that first question first. What are we talking about anyway? What is Love?

One useful way to break it down might be looking at the ancient Greek vocabulary for love. Each of these words translate into love in English, but they are obviously very different things.

Agápe: This has been described variously as “brotherly love” or “how God loves us” or “how we are supposed to love God.” Astrologically, this sounds to me like a Jupiter kind of love — one born part of feelings and one of philosophy.

Éros: This is the more traditional sexual love. I’d look at Mars for this sort of thing in a birth chart. But as forms of “love” go, this one can at times be, um, not so loving, really (*cough* Bill Cosby *cough*).

Philia: This is more sort of a friendship kind of love, like you feel for your buddies and your famility and such. If I had to pin this on one planet in the birth chart, I’d probably go with The Moon.

Storge: This is a sort of parental/empathetic love. Moon, maybe? Sun? Rulers of the 4th and 10th Houses?

You’ll notice that all the fancy talk about Ancient Greek hasn’t clarified my initial question all that clearly: what is love? When it comes to my practice as a counseling astrologer, a lot of people are concerned about the state of their love life, or how they can find love. But obviously we need to clarify things.

Or put another way – and if I may quote the wisdom of another completely different language – the Klingon language has no word for “hello.” Traditionally Klingons greet each other with nuqneH… Which means “what do you want?”

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It’s pronounced like it’s spelled!

So by all means: if you need some help with the state of your love life, whatever it may be, contact me. But be prepared to answer the first and most important of all questions: what do you want?

My answer, personally? It boils down to something like this. Yours may be different.

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Whatever your answer might be… may we all find it in time.

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