Welcome to Venus Gays 💐
Rocket no. 9, take off to the planet, to the planet...Venus!
We’re calling it: Today, March 1, is one of the loveliest days of 2023. And nope, it’s not because of the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Aries. It’s because we — Sam Manzella and Sterling Bowen, your astrologers — are coming in hot with the launch of an exciting new collaboration.
We’d like to officially welcome you to our newsletter Venus Gays, a biweekly source of astrology musings and cute shit courtesy of Sam & Sterling.
As astrologers ourselves, we wanted a space to analyze our niche interests through the lens of the cosmos in a way that would resonate with other enthusiasts. You can expect astrology-themed essays, explainers, and interviews in your inbox every other Friday (aka Venus Day, aka the pre-weekend). Lovely, right? 💖
Our first ~actual~ newsletter will go out next Friday, March 10, so hit that subscribe button. In the meantime, here’s what we each had to say about what Venus means to us, and some insight into our natal Venus placements.
Sam: I won’t lie. When I first began to study astrology, I was terrified of my natal Venus placement. Mine is tucked away in Gemini in my 12th House — in an out-of-sign conjunction to my Ascendant, sure, but mostly unable to “help out” my relationships and artistic endeavors the way benefics are supposed to. (Try Googling “Venus in the 12H,” I dare you. The results are not cute, people!)
But the more I learn about astrology, the more insight I uncover that complicates this initial assessment (#GeminiLife). For instance, my Venus is in mutual reception with my Taurus Mercury, blessing the way I ingest and communicate information — which tracks, considering I’m a multimedia journalist by trade. It also forms a sign-based sextile to my Moon in Leo, deepening my emotional intelligence in relationships.
And therein lies the magic of astrology. No planet (or placement, for that matter) exists in a silo. In fact, it is the relationships between different planets and the houses they rule that offer the richest insight. Learning to view astrology — and its mirror image, our world — as inherently relational has changed my life for the better. I credit Venus for this revelation, and I seek to honor her in my astrological practice by centering compassion, community, and collective liberation. Along the way, I hope to help my fellow non-Venusians find comfort and empowerment in the darkest corners of their chart. There’s beauty in the shadows, too.
Sterling: Looking back at my childhood, my exalted Pisces Venus was the heaviest influence on my perspective of the world. Everything was an adventure to be had, another story to unfold. Everything was magical and full of potential. While adulthood may have taken away some of the shimmer of childhood, Venus remains as the greatest buffer against a world that would grind me down, and I’m forever grateful that my heavily bonified Venus has the power to soothe the influence of my exceptionally prominent Saturn placement. (Don’t know what that means? If you subscribe, you’ll probably find out 😉.)
Of course, I wouldn’t have this perspective of my life if I hadn’t taken the time to further understand my personal astrology. I wouldn’t know that Venus is empowered in almost every way in my chart, and acts as the single most autonomous placement in the snapshot of the heavens known as “Sterling,” if I hadn’t taken the time to learn about the traditional art of assessing planetary condition (thanks, G.O.A.T. Demetra). The more I uncover about my own astrology, as well as the astrology of the world around me, the more motivated I am to dive deeper into the cosmic pool.
Read on for our full bios!
Gemini ☀️, Leo 🌕, Cancer ⬆️
Sam (she/they) is a Brooklyn-based writer, digital producer, and astrologer. A true 12th House Gemini Sun and Venus, Sam believes in the power of storytelling for social change. She’s interviewed all of your faves, from Chani Nicholas to MUNA, and has been recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards and Shorty Social Impact Awards. Sam also writes about astrology for publications like Cosmopolitan, Apartment Therapy, SheKnows, and PRIDE.com. You can keep up with her latest shenanigans, astrological or otherwise, on Instagram (@_sammanzella).
Sam is a lifelong astrology enthusiast, but she began to study the tradition in earnest in early 2020. She practices traditional astrology with an emphasis on queer inclusion and accessibility. She has studied under Kirah Tabourn via The Eleventh House and is highly influenced by the books, lectures, and podcasts of Chani Nicholas, Chris Brennan, Austin Coppock, and Pallas K. Augustine.
Aquarius ☀️, Aries 🌕, Virgo ⬆️
Sterling (he/they) is a Brooklyn-based writer, content creator, and astrologer. A star at heart but an Aquarius 6th Houser in practice, the bulk of his work is hidden behind the scenes of some brands you may recognize. You may be one of the 1.6 million viewers who reads his work on Sanctuary’s Instagram page. You may be one of the folks who bought the best-selling astrology guide What’s Your Sign. Or you may be one of the unlucky few who gets to see his chaotic musings on his social media profiles, all under the handle @mxsterlingbowen.
Sterling has been studying astrology independently since 2016. His approach is influenced by the centuries of research and practice that has gifted us “traditional astrology,” as well as more modern approaches, such as psychological astrology & planetary cycles throughout history. He puts value in the phrase “it takes a village” when it comes to learning and growing in this cosmic tradition, and takes major influence from writers such as Demetra George, Chris Brennan, and Chani Nicolas just to name a few.
Thanks for reading! Subscribe for free to receive updates.