Shukra is the most vibrant and unique graha of our solar system. Shukra aka Venus is called the morning/evening star. It is the brightest planet in the sky (that shines like a star) which always precedes or follows the Sun (Surya) due to its close proximity with the Sun (degreewise). It is our closest neighbour and reflects about 70 percent of the sunlight due to the chemical composition in its atmosphere, hence the brightest. Shukra is the only graha in our solar system which rotates in a clockwise direction.
The name Shukra comes from Lord Shukracharya, the creator of this graha according to puranas. Shukracharya studied from Brihaspati (Devaguru) before becoming the Guru of the Asuras (Asuraguru). His wisdom is so much that he’s as equally powerful and competitive as Brihaspati. That's one of the reasons for him to become the Asuraguru. He saw the asuras left with no one to guide and he hated the devas. So he took the role of guiding them because asuras also play a vital role in running the lokas.
This is the image of Lord Shukracharya riding a horse.
Shukracharya is a fun loving personality, a pleasure seeker who can be funny even at the time of hardship. He loves everyone (esp. unprivileged). He drinks a lot. He's an ardent devotee of God Shiva who bestowed the boon of Sanjeevani Mantra (brings a dead person back to life) to Shukracharya which even Brihaspati didn't know. Shukracharya was a fast learner, acquired many skills and boons more than what he was taught. It is said that he was born out of God Shiva’s semen. He lost an eye during a conflict with Lord Vamana, avatar of God Vishnu.
He even bestows his devotees faster than other Gods. Thus a benefic.
Even in western context, the planet Venus was named after the Roman Goddess of love & beauty.
Shukra represents love, beauty, romance, marriage, partnership, fertility, female sex drive, water, arable lands, arts, performing arts, fashion, comedy, happiness, fun, party, sensual pleasures, wealth (esp. liquid cash), sweets (esp. liquid), exotic foods, devotion, spirituality as intangible significations. Females in general, wife, feminine nature, designers, artists, female friends as tangible significations. Shukracharya shares some similarities and differences with Brihaspati. They both are same and opposite at the same time. Thus Venus is the counterpart of Jupiter in marriage synastry. Venus brings life and Jupiter nurtures it.
Lord Shukracharya is a male but Shukra graha represents female due to Shukracharya's ability to bring back life, love, help, nourish and cherish, be creative, artistic, poetic, funny, dramatic etc. Shukra also represents water and arable lands, the backbone of our civilization. If you look carefully, you may understand that even water and arable lands have many qualities of Shukracharya like nourishment, growth, fertility etc.
Strong Shukra (Venus) makes one physically attractive (esp. woman), full of life, loving, creative, funny, artistic, devoted, heavy drinker or a person of substance abuse etc. Venus people are the energy bringers that liven up the moment like Sanjeevani mantra. They're the risk takers for joy, pleasures. Always remember that Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. Your creativity, pleasures, fun and joy everything lies at the placement of Venus. That's where you're most devoted to.
Shukra matures at the 25th year. It’s when you understand life and find more ways to enjoy it. Number 6 and 30 are more important.
1. Exalted in Pisces and debilitated in Virgo
2. Ruling signs are Taurus and Libra
3. Gets direction strength (digbala) in the South (4th house)
4. Ruling direction is South-East
7. Associated colour is white (secondary colours are pink and purple)
8. Rajassic graha
9. Ruling deity is Indrani/Lakshmi
10. Shukra represents jala (water) and the body part is mouth
Exaltation and Debilitation
Shukra attains exaltation in the sign of Pisces. It is the only place it feels most powerful (naturally).
To better understand this let's imagine Shukra (Venus) as a living entity and think of her requirements.
"Venus wants to experience maximum fun and joy. She’s full of love, joy, passion, devotion and artistic abilities. She is inspirational and wants her presence to liven up everything. She loves the deep sensual pleasures which cannot be described by words. She loves unionship especially between a man and a woman. She’s highly intuitive and emotional rather than logical. She doesn’t want to lead or teach like Surya or Guru, rather wants to inspire everyone to find their own path (creative fire). She wants society to creatively innovate and evolve constantly. All these are fulfilled by Pisces." Pisces is the natural 12th house of dreams, imaginations and bed pleasures (experienced through deep sensual pleasures). It is also the most intuitive and emotional sign. This is enough to say that it's Venus’s favourite domain. Her presence brings life (2nd house Aries, the beginning of life). She loves unionship (4th house Gemini represented by a male and female). Her obligation to society is to constantly motivate and develop it to greater heights (10th house Sagittarius, purifying fire). She even inspires her enemies to be creative (6th house Leo, creative fire). More can be said but i believe you got the point.
On the other hand, Virgo is the debilitation sign of Venus. Virgo is the natural 6th sign of logic, meticulousness and counterintuition. Venus has to perform her duty with utmost precision carefully and seriously instead of her affiliation towards fun and joy. Virgo is so dry (strong barren sign) that her dreams, imaginations and sensual pleasures are limited. For ex. her dreams will have logical boundaries. She’ll also become emotionless and detached due to the same reason. She cannot inspire anyone to be creative (12th house Leo). She may become blank that her efforts towards inspiration and creation may not give desired results (8th house Scorpio). She'll unite with others only to perform a task and not for love (10th house Gemini).
So this is how Virgo deprives Venus of its requirements.
Note: I've written this exaltation/debilitation concept after years of observational research and contemplation.
Why Venus and not Jupiter
Both Shukracharya and Brihaspati are Gurus. Both are enlightened with many powers, both are benefics, caring with nourishing tendency. But why the planet Venus is feminine and Jupiter is masculine. It's because Shukracharya simply wants to love and spread love emotionally much like a woman whereas Brihaspati's love has a logical touch, he does the same to even Indradev, the King of Devas. Shukracharya is more emotional (per puranas) hence he jumped in to saving the asuras as their Guru. He knew about their asuric tendencies but his love for saving the underdogs were so high that it left him blind sided. If it was Brihaspati, he may have felt pity for asuras but won't support them, he will think about their asuric tendencies and move on. That's the difference between Shukracharya and Brihaspati.
"Shukracharya blesses his devotees faster than other grahas for the same reason"
That's why Shukra is love and marriage. The term "love is blind" came from the fact that when people are in love they don't care about anything else but love. Even Shukracharya, the lord of love is half blind.
Venus, love, sex and moksha
Venus lets you experience the maximum sensory pleasure aka sex. Sexual intercourse fulfils the pleasure senses of all five sense organs at the same time, thus maximum sensual pleasure. But Shaiva Siddhantam and Yoga Sutras call it small/simple pleasure aka eroticism (சிற்றின்பம்). Its temporary pleasure involves two individuals (even though it pleases all five senses), the giver and receiver whose physical attraction may fade away with time. The big/true pleasure aka bliss (பேரின்பம்) should be permanent and timeless. So they found out the activation of Kundalini where the seminal fluid mixes with the cerebrospinal fluid. In this, the giver and receiver is the same individual so the physical attraction doesn't come into play, hence its permanent. It pleases all five sensory organs alongwith the sixth one, the mind, so they call it bliss. Experience this pleasure once and you may never stop wanting it again, because you will start looking at other pleasures as temporary and pointless. So you'll stop performing your karma and delve deep into the ocean of bliss forever. It means you get out of this worldly attachments (temporary) and escape from karmic birth and death cycle in other words you attain moksha. This is the true reason why Venus is exalted in Pisces. Venus is pleasure and Pisces is moksha. Your search for pleasures (happiness & sadness both) leads you to reach that final stage.
Shaiva Siddhantam also says that love and sex are the basis to understand devotion and liberation. That's why the sages also bestowed us "tantra vidya". It lets you experience the deep sensual pleasure through devotion and commitment towards your partner.
Good Venus means good senses, pleasures (incl. sex), creativity, devotion and even moksha.