I’ve been doing a lot of personal work on my self-confidence and my ability to open up and be vulnerable with other people. Slowly dismantling all those little self-created complexes and bargains I made over my life that hold me back from relationships and intimacy. Working back through all those insecurities and fears that I’ve built up from small events as a child (or as an adult). Acknowledging, accepting and congratulating all those decisions I made that were the best I could do with the knowledge and experience that I had at the time.
I’m closer than I’ve ever been to self-love, self-confidence, and being ready to actually try an intimate relationship with another human being (preferably someone who looks like Henry Cavill).
And now, across the world, people aren’t allowed to touch each other.
Well, FUCK THAT! FUCK THAT SO MUCH!!
Especially because the ruler of my 7th House is in my 12th, which apparently means I’m more likely to hook up with sexy foreign men. (Although, I guess there’s also a case to be made for some kind of quarantine romance—not quite as sexy as a vacation romance in an Italian winery but…)
Obviously I’m not advocating for, or at all planning on, breaking the physical distancing measures. Sick isn’t sexy.
But what I am doing is all Venus, all the time.
She’s the one planet in my natal chart that’s in a good house so I’ve enlisted her help with this area of my life. Inspired in part by Rune Soup’s latest premium member course on wealth, I’ve created a Venus altar.
I chose the statue very deliberately. My Venus doesn’t modestly veil her nudity with hair and hands. My Venus dances naked down the middle of the street, blowing kisses to all the boys. My Venus is confident and proud of her body. My Venus is not afraid to show it all off, to feel sexy. My Venus is open and vulnerable and powerful. My Venus lets people in and loves them all fiercely, careless of whether they might hurt her. My Venus adorns herself with beautiful things, embraces the stares and compliments. My Venus is sensual and loving and joyful.
My Venus is who I want to be.
So, while I can’t go out and meet new people and be with them and touch them, I’m going to soak myself in all things Venus. I’m going to carry her with me wherever I go. I’m going to fill my home with beauty and art and music and light. I’m going to make sure that, by the time this is over, I’m in an even better place than I was before. I am going to burst from my apartment like a goddess from the ocean and bring love and joy to the world.
In my dream I turned off the main road onto the narrow footpath that leads to my street. The end of my street is walled off from the road by a line of fig trees. Their grey-skinned boles are massive—much bigger than I remember. Thick aerial roots brace wide-flung branches, curtaining off the rushing traffic with living wood.
My street was not there.
The asphalt of the dead end had been dug up. A mass of plants and trees grew in a riotous, scrappy, untended mess. I could see the remains of the sidewalks, though they were black instead of pale concrete. I made for the nearest one, picking my way through the jungle of weeds.
The bushes parted and a woman emerged from the tangle. Her black face, haloed by silver and black curls, wrinkled further in a smile. She was wearing a blue dress and sat in a copper, throne-like chair. The chair stepped delicately forward on its four articulated legs. Wide metal wings unfolded from its tall back, feather-like plates spreading and rotating to catch the sunlight. I realised the regal-looking woman could not walk.
She gestured to the pile of vegetables in her lap. “Just grabbing a few things for dinner,” she said.
She was entirely unsurprised to see me. “Can you grab a few of those mangoes?” she asked. “They’ll be good for dessert.”
I looked around. A young tree dangled yellow and orange fruit below thick dark leaves. The scene clicked into place.
This was a garden.
The whole end of the street had been turned into a communal food forest. Herbs and root vegetables hugged the ground under berry bushes. Vines climbed fruit trees. It wasn’t a mess. It was a perfectly ordered natural system.
I picked the mangoes and followed the woman to the black sidewalk. A few chickens strutted calmly out of her way. Bees buzzed, the scent of sun-warmed herbs wafted about me.
As the woman’s walking chair clicked down the path, dozens of shiny beetles flitted up out of the way, filling the air with sparkles.
“They’re our cleaning drones,” she said, noticing my gaze. “The kiddies make them in school and program them to keep the solar panels and water pipes clean. They have competitions over who can build the most efficient or prettiest ones.”
She watched them for a moment. “The little one with the moustache is my favourite.”
I looked closer at the bright blue one she indicated, hovering in the air. Sure enough, it appeared to have a huge bristly moustache, presumably as part of its cleaning function. It made me smile.
The balconies of the houses and apartments lining the street-garden overflowed with more plants and flowers. There were even more varied types, chosen for beauty and reasons other than food. Myriad pipes crisscrossed any available wall space, hugging corners and feeding into larger ones that disappeared underground. It took me a moment to realise that they were collecting every spare drop of water that fell on the buildings. Tall, graceful spiral and whorl structures lined all the roof peaks, rotating in the afternoon breeze.
The buildings were familiar but so different.
We reached the cross-street at the bottom of the slope. A bank had been built across the width of the street, holding back the water of a wide green pond. Big geese clustered on the edge. Beyond it, shaded by trees, a group of nine or ten people were sitting silently on the ground in a circle, as if in meditation.
A bunch of shrieking kids ran up, chasing the buzzing cleaning beetles with small nets, followed by an over-excited terrier.
“Hi Gramma!” screamed a couple of the kids, waving at the woman.
She waved back. “I just saw Mister Whiskers up near the sweet potatoes, if you’re looking for him,” she called back. “How about you all head up there so you don’t disturb the Intenders.”
The kids took off back the way we’d come.
The cross-street had been narrowed considerably to make room for more plantings on the extra-wide footpaths. The clearway was probably only wide enough for one car and was paved with yet more solar panels. Narrow driveways, lined with flowers, led into the old two- and three-story apartment blocks. Only a couple of garages held electric cars. The rest had been converted into various workshops—potteries, smithies, machine shops, CAD printeries. A wide variety of people, young and old, were at work.
The woman turned up the narrow path of an old brick building that overlooked the communal garden. I almost didn’t recognise that it was my building. She wasn’t a new neighbour, was she? Her solar wings tucked in neatly down the back of her chair as she passed under the interlacing branches of a wattle tree and a macadamia tree. A cat lounging on the low garden wall got a brief pat.
I spotted a possum nest in the branches of the wattle tree. Native beehives hung high up the wall of the apartment building. Thick golden spiderwebs, shining in the sun, stretched above our heads along the path.
Everywhere was a feeling of clean, joyful, peaceful life. It was beautiful. Tension I didn’t even know I carried unwound in my heart and belly.
The woman’s walking chair clanked up the stairs. Some kind of gyroscopic arrangement meant that she floated smoothly upwards while the copper limbs danced underneath. Cool ferns and delicate climbing vines draped the rails and landings.
The door to my apartment opened automatically as we approached and the woman went inside. I hurried after her, alarmed that she had access to my home. But the furniture inside was different. Same layout, but not mine. But some of my landscapes still hung on the walls.
The woman piled her vegetables into the kitchen sink and turned to me. I realised that I wasn’t carrying the mangoes anymore. They had vanished. My body was fading, too.
“Well, grandad, what can I do for you today?” she asked.
I stared at her, bewildered and frightened. Her bright green-brown eyes watched me.
Every night as a child, I could tell it was just outside my window, staring in with malevolent intent. The only thing protecting me from it, from its teeth and claws and eyes, was a fragile pane of glass. I wanted to peek through the curtain to see if what I sensed was “actually there”. And I was too terrified to look or even move too close in case it was. The wolf in my window was my greatest childhood terror. I instinctively understood that it was there and not there and that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.
Along with the wolf came the screaming. Unearthly high pitched wails that drifted out of the night, sometimes far off, sometimes far too close. They had a mournful, desperate quality, as though some lonely creature was wandering through the darkness, crying. There was never a physical threat component to these screams, but they terrified me as much as the wolf.
My response was to curl up with the blankets over my head, no matter how hot it was, because I knew that if the bad things couldn’t see me, they couldn’t get me. My doona was a shield against the horrors in the darkness.
The thought occurred to me—what if the wolf one day smashed its way through the window.
Nothing bad was allowed into my house. And yes, that did include the screaming creature roaming the night. And no, preventing that one specifically from coming it did not somehow allow other non-specified bad things in. And no, it didn’t matter if they tried to force their way in through a window or a door. And yes, that did include doors or windows that my parents had left open. No, bad humans were also not allowed in. No. Yes, it did work for that. No. No. Yes. No…
Before I realised what I was doing, I had a nightly shielding ritual prayer designed to protect my house and family. It started out as a series of no’s and yes’s and qualifications as I imagined all the possibilities and tried to cover off on them all. Eventually, it evolved into a more typical prayer to deity, with the same focus and a lot of repetition until I felt comfortable enough to go to sleep.
This was my introduction to magical practice. I performed this prayer ritual every single night of my life, mostly from fear of what might happen if I missed a night. Taking on that kind of bullshit responsibility for all the world’s unfortunate chances wasn’t healthy and it’s taken me a long time to let go of it (still working on it). But it was what I needed to deal with the terrifying things that I was facing as a child and I did the best I could with the information and experience I had. So go me!
I’m just now realising the benefits of this slightly messed up practice.
My magical shielding is stellar. As soon as I extended my sphere of influence in my nightly prayers to the edge of our yard, the wolf at the window vanished. He came back once or twice, but a quick recitation was enough to banish him again. The horrifically screaming thing in the night turned out to be a bush stone curlew. My dad bought a bird book to show me what it looked like and my fear instantly vanished. Interestingly, no curlews ever ventured onto our property.
And the protection has continued. I’ve done it nightly for all the places I’ve lived as well as my childhood home where my parents still live. That house has to be one of the most well-protected places in the world by now after 10,000+ nightly prayers.
I’ve managed to turn a fear-based unhealthy habit into a powerful regular magical practice and I’m actually kind of proud of that.