Let’s start with a question. Does the soul have a gender? The evidence of those who have recollection of other lives suggests that we have incarnations as either sex. So, we can assume that the soul is androgynous, containing the potential of both sexes.
But bodies are normally either male or female (sure, there are rare exceptions …). If I am male, my body has external sexual organs and develops the other secondary sexual characteristics typical of the adult male. But my soul, that which inhabits this body is both male and female.
The male aspect of my soul can be expressed relatively easily in a male body and in this society that has certain expectations of the male – to be outgoing, dominant, take the initiative in sex etc. But what about the female aspect of my soul nature? The caring, the nurturing, the sensuous, the yielding. These are less easy for an adult male to express socially and so often remain unexpressed and unconscious. In the case of some societies, they are totally suppressed. There are things that a male just doesn’t do.
But the unconscious feminine side of the male, which Jung termed the anima, needs to come out somewhere. Sometimes it comes out in its negative form as moodiness, obsession or megalomania. Often it is projected onto women, sometimes women in general, sometimes just the beloved, and women are seen either as nurturing, motherly figures or as irrational and erotic. But when the man accepts his feminine nature and integrates his anima, he is a truly creative being, calling on the deep wells of the feminine within himself and bringing them to the surface to the benefit of all.
Similarly. the unconscious masculine side of the female (in Jungian parlance, the animus) which in its positive expression is clear, rational and analytical, has been suppressed by society, appearing typically in its negative form as aggressive, hypercritical and manipulative. This is often projected on men who are seen as domineering bullies. But when a woman integrates her masculine side, she is brilliant, combining the breadth of her feminine perception with the reasoned acuity of masculine insight. A gem!
Unfortunately, however, for many male-female relationships, she is living out her unconscious male side through him and he is living out his unconscious female side through her. A soap opera!
But in order to become a whole person one needs to accept and integrate the gender opposite within oneself. The man who has integrated his feminine side is whole. Similarly, the woman who has integrated her masculine side is whole. This process is a step in the process of individuation, a key principle which involves becoming aware of and integrating the opposite.
Mars and Venus
In classical astrology, Mars as the god of war indicated the aggressive, combative side of the personality, associated with the male. Venus on the other hand as the goddess of love, was concerned with attraction and the culture of beauty.
But having said that, both men and women had both Mars and Venus in the sky when they were born and therefore in their birth-charts. So, both males and females have the qualities associated with the opposite sex. The difference is how these may be expressed socially.
A chart may have a prominent Venus suggesting a nature that is sensual, attractive, concerned with beauty in an artistic sense. If the Venus is in Gemini, it suggests a flirtatiousness, in Scorpio, a passionate nature, in Aries someone given to impulsive attractions etc. But this could be either a male or a female. If it turns out to be in a male chart, the man will need to find somewhere in his life to express the feminine side of himself, maybe through artistic pursuits, developing his intuition or through the type of women he relates to.
If a birth-chart has a strong Mars, it suggests an individual who is determined, has leadership qualities, takes risks, takes the initiative and needs to express their will through physical activity. If the Mars is in Taurus for example, it suggests a stubborn determination. In Cancer it suggests a nature that is motivated by the need to protect. In Aquarius it suggests an attitude that is experimental and inventive, always looking for new ways to do things. If this is the chart of a woman, she will need to find a place to express the male side of herself, an activity or career, or through the type of men she relates to.
Looking at a birth chart an astrologer can get an idea of the balance of masculine and feminine qualities in an individual. It is, however, impossible for an astrologer to tell merely by looking at a birth-chart whether the native is male or female.