Hope for the flowers!


a post from the Candylwood store blog… on the Venus transit (part 2)

Why Retrograde?
In the second episode of the Venus / Sun saga, I search for the relevance of Venus in retrograde whilst she crosses the disc of the Sun. The mere reputation of a retrograde planet can provoke mild panic as things are known to break down or go wrong. So why is Venus retrograde during the rare and exciting alignment, this moment of pure love and opportunity to create all things wonderful?
     A retrograde phase of any of the planets is not only to cause breakdowns or to retrace our steps through past choices, decisions and experiences; it is also a time to turn inwards, to look inside. It is a time to pause, not only to reflect but to be completely still, to hibernate and to wait, it offers relief from the ever-pressing, onward push to action, the almost desperate need to do, to make, to solve, to act, to go, to build, in the constant striving for achievement.    
     Many years ago I had a very bad motor car accident, one that forever changed my life. Hospital was my home, a wheel chair my mode of transport and paralysis my way of life for months on end. A dear and wise friend gave me a book that would alter my thinking and give me hope for a life beyond my wheelchair. Hope for the Flowers, written and illustrated by Trina Paulus, is a tale, partly about life, partly about revolution and lots about hope. This story stayed with me all the years after the accident and this week as I scratched my head in search of the significance of retrograde Venus, Hope for the Flowers once again jumped off my bookshelf.
     This lovely story perfectly portrays the meaning for which I was searching and I hope the telling of it throws more light on this ‘once in a century’ alignment. It is about a caterpillar called Stripe who lived in the tree in which he was born, munching happily on leaves. Stripe soon became bored, so climbed down the tree and went in search of more than a life of leaf-munching. He came upon some caterpillars who were hurrying along at great speed. Stripe felt a surge of excitement and joined them. They soon arrived at a tall pillar of caterpillars all frantically trying to reach the top. Stripe believed that the ‘something’ he was looking for was at the top of the caterpillar pillar, so he began the long climb. It soon was evident that unless he was as ruthless as all the other caterpillars he would not make it, but being a kind-hearted chap, he tentatively stepped over fellow caterpillars but when this did not get him very far, he turned a blind eye and kicked one in the face and booted another in the stomach in the push to the top.
     When he was about half-way, Stripe began to question whether in fact, there was anything at the top. It was at this point that he met a little yellow caterpillar. They made friends and tried for a while to climb together but their hearts were just not in it so they stopped, held tightly onto one another as the others trampled all over them. They did nothing for some time and soon were back on the ground.
     Stripe and Yellow made home in a beautiful meadow, they played and ate and loved each other – life was great. But after a while Stripe grew restless, the secret at the top of the pillar was too irresistible so he left a very sad Yellow in the meadow and once again joined the other manic caterpillars in the pile.
    Yellow was desolate without Stripe and crawled to the bottom of the caterpillar pillar every day in the hope that Stripe would come back down but each day she walked away in sadness. She knew there was more to life but she also knew it was not to be found by kicking and trampling others in the pile.
     One day Yellow stumbled upon another caterpillar  spinning a cocoon and after much discussion she learned about butterflies. She took a leap of faith and began to spin her own cocoon. She was not without fear and anguish that she would lose Stripe forever and argued back and forth but in the end she decided to take the risk and become a butterfly.
     All the while Stripe climbed the caterpillar pillar. This time he made no eye contact and climbed with focus and determination and when he was one layer from the top he looked around. There was nothing up there, no magic secret to life, no discovery, no indication of his life purpose, no achievement at all. And then a beautiful yellow butterfly flew by. It hovered in front of him and when he looked into her eyes he could hardly bear the love.
    Stripe turned and climbed back down the pillar. He tried to tell others there was absolutely nothing at the top, but no one believed him, shrugging it off as sour grapes. He returned to the meadow where he had lived with Yellow but she had gone and he slumped down in exhaustion and fell asleep. He awoke to the soft flutter of the yellow butterfly. She gestured for him to follow her and showed him the cocoon. It was the love in her eyes that made him follow. He watched as she climbed in and out of her old cocoon and slowly he began to understand. He knew what he had to do …. and Yellow waited.
     Hope for the Flowers is about a whole range of life experiences and when it fell off my book shelf, I just knew it held the clue to the mystery of Venus in retrograde. I am certain that in years gone by, like Stripe we have gone in search of more, chased an elusive dream and climbed a few caterpillar pillars ourselves. They too led to dissapointing dead-ends and we then had to retrograde back down the pillar and back-track though choices and decisions before trying a new path to a destiny more aligned with personal truth.
     An even more profound metaphor for Venus retrograde is the cocoon stage of Stripe and Yellow’s journey to becoming butterfliies. Whilst curled up in golden silk thread, theCreative Lifeforce and Venus Love will flow into our hearts and into our beings. In the same way that the lifeforce makes trees grow, hearts beat and turns a caterpillar into a butterfly, so will the flood of love and creative energy change the frequency of our feelings, thoughts and physical bodies.
     It is by turning inwards, it is in the patient stillness of the cocoon that the gush of love will work its magic. My search for the relevance of Venus in retrograde during her ‘once in a century’ cosmic event ended in the cocoon, that still place between the in-breath and the out-breath, that place from which life is birthed and butterflies emerge.

With love and hope for an earth full of flowers,

PS: After once again being inspired by Hope for the Flowers, I contacted the publishers in the States and ordered soft and hardcover books for the Candylwood Store. It is a story that uplifts, instills hope and has profound meaning even after 28 years. Should you want to purchase a copy, go tohttp://www.candylwood.co.za/store



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