It is a pleasure to write a review of this book, which is fine enough to rate as one of the most important astrological studies of recent years. That may sound an extravagant claim, but not enough astrologers engage with the great planetary cycles or investigate the larger ideas which inform the practice of astrology, much less seek to make them comprehensible to as wide an audience as possible.
In this thoroughly researched, well drafted and well presented text, Michele Finey has managed the balancing act required to write about often complex topics whilst keeping the information easy to understand and engaging. In the process she has produced both a book which all serious astrologers should be adding to their libraries, and a book which is accessible to people with little knowledge of astrological concepts and jargon who nevertheless want to understand better what Venus and Mars mean.
Venus and Mars are familiar, fundamental symbols to all astrologers, and both are vital factors to consider when assessing the astrology of human relationships, especially those relationships with any kind of erotic dimension. Some astrologers will be aware of the Venus-Earth cycle, which has been studied more than once, but the special point to this book is the way Michele has examined the long dance, over many centuries, between Venus and Mars, and how she has looked at this both as an influence on the individual horoscope and on much larger movements of consciousness and relationship on a collective level. Nobody has done this before - which is why this book is so important and so valuable. Groundbreaking texts like this are rare, and are to be treasured as a result.
But this book is much more than a high-minded text examining the long cycles of Venus and Mars. This is a wide ranging discussion of what Venus and Mars mean, fundamentally, as symbols, and how they work their magic. Michele includes a careful examination of them as morning and evening `stars', and helpful chapters discussing the `phases' they are in at the times people are born. You don't have to puzzle out what phase you were born under: There is a useful guide in the book's appendix. People are sure to find these chapters very illuminating, giving new insight into how the planet of love and pleasure - Venus - and the planet of action and assertion - Mars - work their influences on our hearts and minds and lives. Many chart examples of famous people are offered to illustrate and explain these factors.
There is something here for everyone, and richly nourishing food for thought for all serious astrologers who want to deepen their understanding of the dynamics of desire and action, enhancing their astrological craft and practice in the process. Michele presented some of the material offered here at the Federation of Australian Astrologers' international conference in Brisbane in 2010. I was in the audience at her talk, and was immediately excited by the work she was doing, its quality and significance. This book, the fruits of all her labors, has exceeded my hopes for it and I cannot recommend it too highly. `The Sacred Dance of Venus and Mars' is, quite simply, a must-have!