From near the top of Snyder Mountain I’m rejoicing today - the sky is clear again. I can walk outside and let the sun warm my skin. Temperatures have risen to the 30’s (yesterday it was 9 degrees F) and the beautiful, bountiful snow is melting. For one accustomed to Tennessee’s fair autumns, this fall in the Colorado mountains has been a precipitous wintertime.
—Perched in thin air
Like a dreaming hummingbird
I try to defy the four directions —
I’ve been writing clumsy poetry, sometimes becoming song, and taking lots of walks in the woods with my young canine charge (an exuberant Golden Retriever) named Chase. There are moments when the sun shines so brilliantly through the Pines, illuminating every single needle, that I feel that unique, internal happiness I have only known alone in wild places.
—-I wake in the night
A glacial wind caressing my face —
Those transcendental moments of bliss are fleeting, and somehow, always unexpected. The days are short and nights are long already. And for those of us who keep an eye on migrating planets, the fact that Venus has been retrograde since October 5 is no small matter. She will turn “direct” again November 16.
Apparently, of all the planets Venus retrogrades the least. And when the planet of love, beauty, the arts (to name a few) retreats like this, some of us really feel it.
During this current retrograde period, Venus became invisible to the naked eye on October 18th, departing as the night sky’s Evening Star and reemerging as the Morning Star eight days later. From an astrological/symbolic perspective, Venus’ disappearance marked her descent into the Underworld. A prime time to visit with our shadows.
I have read so many great reports around this subject. There’s some fascinating connections to the Sumerian goddess Inanna, considered the most ancient pre-cursor of Venus. Her famous legend recounts an underground descent, subsequent battle and resurrection — a direct analogy to the “star’s” disappearance/reappearance.
Grew up singing underground
Drifting off every night
To those sad, faraway sounds
I spent so much time
I spent so much of my life
Instead of just
feeling it ——
During this time, and the course of my own underworld journey, the lyrics to an old song of mine kept resurfacing. From the album Luminous, “Dark Eyes” (opening lines above) was inspired by a series of dreams I had — in which I was living, struggling, fighting for something important, all in an underground world.
The dream’s subterranean location seemed to be somewhere between the farm where I grew up (on one side of the Holston River) and the older, original farm in our family called “Chesterfield”. Along the winding road to get from one to the other you must cross the river on an old concrete bridge and pass by the Mascot Zinc Mines.
“Mine: an excavation made in the earth for the purpose of extorting ores, coal, precious stones, etc.”
My father’s mother was from the coal mining town of Jellico, on the TN/KY border, and there remain in operation lime and zinc mines all around where I grew up. I’m not certain how these facts influenced my subconscious, but they surely settled in some way.
Dark Eyes, Dark Eyes
Do you still like
what you see?
Dark Eyes, Dark Eyes
will you wait
a little longer
From the distance of more than a decade, I can see now that when I wrote this song I was in some way addressing a part of my fractured self, a stranded self, so far underground we could only communicate in dreams. In song. I think it was just the beginning.
I continue to travel to shadowlands, I continue to reclaim.
Over the eons Venus will continue to disappear. And reappear, renewed. In our own lives, maybe there are always emerging opportunities to make these internal journeys…and the most precious treasure we can ever bring back is our own restored sense of self-worth. Our wholeness.
The reclamation may be never-ending.
But the Morning Star always returns.
In closing I’ll leave you with some old and new…
A link to the recording of “Dark Eyes” —- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7AUbg_lJY
(Also found on this site’s Music page)
And a snippet from a new poem
threatening to become a song:
— And sometimes I was
the speechless swan
Waiting for a resurrection
Black as the sparkling water
Of her pond —
May we all find ways to rediscover, reclaim, and heal — whatever is aching inside of us.