The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
Here's a smorgasbord of art, music and poetry sparked by the transit of Venus, which occurred this past Tuesday and Wednesday. The passing of Venus in front of the sun, which happens twice in 8 years and then not again for 130 more, had interest not only to scientists but also to those who are tuned into the meaning of astrological signs.

The planet Venus, named after the Greek Goddess, is a symbol of love, harmony and peace. Gustav Holst, in his orchestral work, "The Planets" entitles one of his sections, "Venus, the bringer of peace." (You can hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Holst at the bottom of the blog.) It was the desire for more peace, more harmony in the world, the longing for and yearning to partner with an outpouring of love which caused groups all over the world to stop and mark this event.

Love, harmony and peace are gifts that are eternally important. They make us human, and more than human. Mystics from many traditions find that the underlying energies of the world are love. Those who have near death experiences often describe a sense of peace and unity with a powerful love. But the discordant noise that makes up much of our days, our busyness and worry, wars against our living out of these gifts of grace. It is true that we catch glimpses of it in our interactions, but many times the most sure way to connect with this deep reality is to head into nature itself.

This is the path that Wendell Berry, the renowned writer, poet and essayist describes in his poem below. Throughout his life, Berry has been encouraging living in harmony with nature, including deep connections with the land, local sustainable farming, and intentional community. In this poem, he offers his personal remedy for those times he is caught in despair. Leaving his anxious thoughts, he wraps himself in the beauty of nature, comes into the peace of wild things, receives the light from the day-blind stars, and rests in the grace of the world.

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the  least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

6/11/2012 12:25:54 am

i love this poem and this line: "I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief". Like Mary Oliver's poems it reminds me at once how important our connection to nature is and how disconnected i am to nature in so many ways... maybe it's just urban life....

What does "day-blind stars" mean?

I shared this poem on Robin's page "Beagle Music Or Something by April Bernard and it speaks to what you write about here, sometimes the most sure way to connect with the grace of the universe is through nature. Here are some lines from the poem:

it was the tree that caused an uproar,
it was the tree that shook and shed,
aureate as a shaken soul, I remembered
I was supposed to have one—for convenience

I placed it in my chest, the heart being away,
and now it seems the soul has lodged there, shaking,
golden-orange, half-spent but clanging
truer than Beagle music or my forehead pressed
hard on the steering wheel in petition for release."

6/11/2012 01:01:11 am

06/11/2012 07:39

Hi Farida, Thanks for posting. I think that day-blind stars just means that we can't see them in the daytime, but that doesn't mean their energy isn't able to connect with us. In that sense the stars are always with us, and we can receive from them as well as the rest of nature.

I love the poem - especially the line

I remembered
I was supposed to have one--

I think this is what nature does. It reminds us that we have souls, that we are more than our busy lives, there is something deeper. And also the comfort that we are connected, and not alone.

The grounding experience of the shaking heart reminds me of the poem I posted last week, The Waking, where Roethke says about his awareness of death, "this shaking keeps me steady." It seems that in both situations to be truly alive requires being awake to death, pain and regret as well as joy, love and hope.

6/13/2012 05:44:59 am

Thank you Sue!
I kind of thought that's what "day-blind" meant but sometimes words and letters come together in such a way that I can't get my head around the construct. I was writing something and I realised just now that I need to look up "unfathom, fathom, unfathomable etc! It has always made sense and suddnely now it doesn't...:)..kind of self reflexive....although I think I may need to look that up as well....


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