Today we’ll talk about love, the Sleeping Venus and the feminine mysteries of the remembering.
Because sometimes love is the slow steps on the sidewalks.
Because sometimes love is the quietness of dreams.
A major part of the feminine mysteries is the remembering. It is a quietness, a listening to the voice from a time before time beyond time. It is a re-connection. It is a willingness, an allowing for love to return us to love.
To speak about love, we need to first understand that as all else in life, there are two aspects of it: the masculine and the feminine.
The masculine aspect of love is the yang, the sun, the fiery sword that becomes the action, the seed, the word. He is the prayer. He is the decision, the initiatory power that initiates with clarity and intention. He is the truth and the integrity. He is the speaking and the doing aspect of love. He is the one who knows that to love a woman means to not be afraid of death. He says, “I love you. I want you. I need you.”
The feminine aspect of love is the yin, the mystic, the healer, the pulling you in. She is a quietness, a listening, an opportunity for a deepening. She is the voice from a time before time beyond time. She is the moon, the darkness, the wetness. She is the yearning, the longing, the moist soil, the bottom of the wells, the wombed room, the cup to be filled, the tides pulling in towards herself. She is the desire, the dreaming, the longing that shifts your eyes towards the horizons of the I don’t know what yet. She is memory, she is the remembering. She whispers in a voice only the soul of her beloved understands, “I am waiting for you. I am longing for you. I desire only you.”
She is nature itself. She is the good mud, the back legs of the fox at night and the fertile soil of earth. And he is the hands that dig in searching for her, tirelessly, without expectation, without hesitation, and sometimes without even the hope of ever finding her – but he digs in, searching, because he knows no other way than the need to find her and awaken his own self into the remembering.
He has hands and skin of prayer, and she is his church. And so he digs in, searching.
Until he finds her, in the fired earth.
And then two worlds touch, they kiss, bodies awaken, and we find that love is not only felt in the hearts, it is known by our hands also.
The Sleeping Venus by Giorgione, 1508-1510
The Sleeping Venus
The deep esoteric wisdom of the remembering is beautifully portrayed in myth and tales throughout cultures and history through the symbolism of the sleeping queens. Snow White, Alice in her garden before she falls in Wonderland, and perhaps more famously than all else, The Sleeping Beauty, who contrary to popular belief is not a passive character, and this is one of the most beautiful tales portraying the sacred union between the masculine and the feminine aspects of love. We also have the Goddess of love herself Venus falling asleep in her lush garden of eternal spring, also known as the Sleeping Venus, where she sleeps and dreams of love, symbolizing her power not only as the act of love but as the recollection of it.
There is something gentle, delicate and powerful in Venus’ sleep, similar to the image of Sleeping Beauty. The pose of the Goddess of love is one described as “pudica” showing a sense of modesty in her classical sleeping recline. She sleeps alone, and is not part of a discovery scene. Throughout history, many representations of a sleeping woman, such as sleeping nymphs, were in a sexual context, where other people and men would surround them to look at them. Not Venus. Even in her sleep, she is not under the power of anyone else. She is not only beautiful, she is beauty itself. Instead of sexual beauty, despite her nakedness of skin, she is a symbolic representation of the powerful spiritual love that is embodied in sleep also.
In Venetian culture which was the time period of Giorgione, sleep represented that idea of vacatio, a space in which one comes into an awakening, inner integration, connection to heart and a receiving of messages from the divine. The painting shows the beautiful harmony between Venus’ inner and outer peace and a love marriage that is one based on a pure spiritual love. The Sleeping Venus is essentially a representation of a sacred marriage – within and without; because sleep is esoterically about awakening.
Following the symbolism from the Sleeping Venus, I often describe Venus as a body in a dream state – which is gently and continuously moving to put itself into balance. In other words, she is the energy that puts into balance all that which is not currently in balance and in harmony. This reminds us that balance is not static, it is dynamic and ever moving, to adjust – it is not extreme, it is the meeting place of trust and faith, it is the point of time of both sunrise and sunset, when the sun kisses the arms of dawn and the moon kisses the arms of dusk. Love too is a continuous flowing and moving.
There is a gentleness to Venus, a grace and kindness of rhythm, a sacredness of her vulnerability and tenderness that our world has forgotten. Because it is precisely through her vulnerability and in her sensitivity, where true power lives and thrives; and breathes us into life and deeper love.
In all the myths and tales mentioned above, a time comes when the heroine falls asleep. These tales also held a deeper secret from the feminine mysteries: that there will always come a time in humanity when the divine feminine will come to a temporary close, a resting phase, a quietness, a sleeping – and humanity will have to live from what was already established from her divine love.
And then, she awakens. By a kiss. By a true love’s kiss. This kiss is the breath of life, the union – it is the divine masculine force activating her, so that her love is carried forward again, into a new state of evolution.
A lot of female initiates and priestesses throughout history, and still today, are guided by their higher masculine influences – while the males are closely guided by their higher female aspects of themselves. There is always a pull towards union. In practical terms, women are guided to reconcile with their fathers or father figures, while men – with their mothers or mother figures; this is what creates inner balance, harmony and speeds up the individual’s spiritual growth. And in mysticism, you will often see female initiates devoting towards a male deity or God – and for all women actually, it is always best to choose to marry a man who they respect, trust with their life, and can look up to for guidance. This is why in astrology, Jupiter is the man you should marry. As for men, think of history and the sacred mystical texts: Templars and the knights of high honour always worshiped a Goddess such as Venus or Aphrodite – they devoted their life at her feet.
In other words – they both activate one another. This is the beautiful eternal dance of the lovers, the yin and yang, the seed and the womb, the surrender and repulsion, the marriage made in the heavens long before the human word.
So when the feminine falls asleep – it is not inaction, it is not passivity – it is a needed phase of reintegration, of resting, of relaxing, before the next initiation takes place towards a higher soul evolution, on both the individual and collection level.
It is a remembering.
Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton: This painting beautifully shows the union of water, air, fire and earth to come into full balance and harmony, within and without. Water meets air the background, fire envelops her in a dress, and the brown cloth on which she sleep represents the element of earth to ground it all in stability.
Sleep is about remembering, awakening, illuminating, forgetting of the intellect, and learning the importance of the immaterial and the unspoken. Just as there are also sometimes secrets shared yet never to be spoken of between lovers.
Within the word remembering is the concept of time. In some form and way, much of life can be explained through the simple esoteric philosophy of the three fires of time: the wood, fire and smoke.
Smoke is the song of marriage between wood and fire. The light of fire is the knower; and the wood is that one that seeks and longs to be known. In the union of these, as fire kisses the wood, there is a release, a surrender, a transformation, an alchemy like love – for love too is the song of alchemy – and wood finds its life in the smoke. Whatever fragrance was within the wood, the fire will reveal it as it rises it upward.
In this way, we approach the path of self-realization – of that which illuminates us from within. We touch the vast expansions and contractions in the oceans of time.
Love too is the song of alchemy; it is a desire to know and to be known.
The three fires of time also symbolize the weaving of consciousness, willingness and unfolding; of past, present and future ever weaving in, out and of themselves.
Through the light of our awareness, and the willingness to peel the layers of our bark and outer skins or false identities, that we come into deeper intimacy – and our true essence, our natural aroma come through. This then transforms everything, and of this, all else is born.
Venus gets her full realization in formlessness, in the complete dissolution of everything – to show us that true beauty is the internal beauty, that true wealth is the wealth of devotion, and that once the inner wild lands are in harmony all else external inevitably will be also.
Often times in our life, the highest knowledge is learned in silence not in books. It is in our tending, caring, nurturing. Like the way we tenderly care for another person, or to grow a rose in our garden. Devotion is the veil through which awareness shows its beautiful face.
Our entire experience is constructed by the dance of the eternal lovers – the opposites – the yin and yang. Without the kiss of him, we’ll stay in our forever sleep. So it is precisely the lover’s dance between the masculine and the feminine that becomes us – that whispers us into life and allows us to understand to experience ourselves more deeply.
The feminine is the keeper of secrets and mystical wisdom, and with that always come a responsibility – a woman needs to know herself. In mystical schools, the first thing that a priestess would always have to do is spend years to know thyself and know the earth. Only then would she be initiated into higher knowledge and become a high priestess. Unfortunately in our world today many women just don’t know themselves truly, and they just don’t have the tools or support to do so. The entire brand of “empowerment” has actually become something that further separates, disconnects, and exploits women.
The sleeping is where we currently are in our world and evolution of human consciousness. It is now time for all us, men, women and all, to look within ourselves, devote to self-knowledge, connect to our roots and higher values, connect to our heart, and rely on the love we have inside of us. It is no longer the path forward to seek external knowledge, gurus, and want someone else to lead us. There is a lot of things out there, but we have fallen deep into the Wonderland of creatures, and not all who sparkle are gold and true. We need to awaken ourselves through self-efforts, and we need the wisdom and discernment of the high heart in order to navigate through these lands.
We need to remember what love exists in all of its shapes and forms, speeds and movements. Sometimes it is fast and joyful and loud; sometimes it is quiet, slow unfolding and given to us through the hands of forgiveness, patience and unknowing. Always, it is trust. We must learn to contain love, build love, emit love. This is the only way forward. Have the discernment and courage that an awakened heart gives you; and remember that heaven is within, in our hearts. Remember that love is a seed of God, and when we build a church within us, all else and everyone else is sheltered in warmth beside the hearts of our ever burning flames. This is how real change is made.
For more of my writings, browse through my Art of Love.
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Cover photography by Maxime Simoncelli.