The tree stood alone, just to the side of the small parking space near Monk’s Mound. A couple small, concrete benches made it a perfect picnic spot.
Wendy and I walked to the tree, having decided to have a bit of lunch before climbing the 98-foot tall earth mound built centuries before, basket of earth by basket of earth, by the Native Americans who called Cahokia Mounds home hundreds of years ago.
She noticed before I did that the tree was covered with ripe, black-purple berries. I thought they were mulberries. She thought they were loganberries. We both thought they were delicious, and thanked the tree for them.
And we both noticed that the tree radiated joy and gratitude at having its gifts so gratefully received. “It was like, ‘Finally!’” Wendy noted.
I think we all know a little about how that tree felt. Who among us hasn’t felt that we’re just standing alone, holding out what is ours to give, and not a soul is noticing? I know I have. I also know I’ve let the fear of that kind of rejection keep me from offering anything at all.
Which a tree would never do. I’ve never known a tree to refuse to fruit out just because so many of its offerings dropped to the earth uneaten the previous season.
I was reminded of all this Tuesday morning, when I drew Gifu as my daily rune.
What a perfect rune for June 5, 2012, the day Venus danced across the sun. Venus rules my chart thanks to my Libra ascendant. And my patron goddess, Inanna, is intimately linked with that planet and its astrological gifts.Gifu holds within it the responsibility of action. A lovely voice is not a gift if the singer is silent. It’s not a gift if you write, but don’t publish. It’s only a gift if it is shared.
Sharing our gifts is hard. I think sharing our greatest gifts may be hardest of all, because they are the ones closest to our hearts. I know that is true for me.
Astrologically, Venus rules relationships. Not just the relationships between people, but the relationships between words, colors, forms, sounds. Love, the arts, money, justice—all the gifts of the shining planet that serves as both our Morning and Evening star.
I read a lot about this transit of Venus, a rare eclipse of the sun. They happen usually in pairs, sometimes singly, in cycles of 100 to 200 years. Some astrologers noted that past transits seemed to kick off revolutions in science, exploration, spirituality, or governments. Others focused on the personal aspects, and called for us to meditate on which gifts of Venus we would like to manifest in our lives.
I thought about my own gifts, which I’ve not shared well in the past year. I took a break from public blogging for a lot of reasons, most of them personal. None of them seem very important right now.
Wendy Rule could have passed through St. Louis silently, visiting Cahokia Mounds, catching up with her on-line students, soaking in her host family’s hot tub, resting up for her next appearance at Kansas City’s Heartland Pagan Festival. Traveling musicians get little enough time off.
About two dozen of us were glad that she made a different choice. She set up in a suburban living room and sang for us. It was a gift, sweet and generous as the berries, dark and beautiful and glorious as Venus crossing the sun.
That’s what I wish for myself and for all of us as we go into this new, 117-year Venus cycle. That we may leave behind fear, and embrace generosity and love. That we may freely accept and generously offer the gifts of our hearts, the abundance that Venus brings us all.