I had a dream a few weeks ago (I think I made an entry about it) where I walked through an alternate Yeovil- one as it would be if two world wars hadn’t happened- and saw it much more intact, and closer to how John would have remembered it.
The part of the dream that really struck me, though, was when I came to the square where the Yeovil war memorial would be, and in its place was a giant, ancient myrtle tree.
Today in an art history class, we were discussing the Venuses of Titian and Giorgione and it was mentioned that the myrtle is a symbol of Venus.
Suddenly, a possible meaning of the dream clicked. That myrtle was the distinct opposite of what stands there now. Rather than a cold stone in the spirit of Mars, God of War, this was a living thing, ancient and beautiful, in the spirit of Venus, Goddess of Love. I sat in its shade and was very content. If I was aware of this memetic symbolism, it didn’t click consciously.
Another possible meaning for the myrtle comes from the Welsh lyrics most commonly set to the tune “Cwm Rhondda,” which I believe to have been John’s favorite hymn during his adult years in the Welsh Marches. The title of that particular setting is “Wele’n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd” (Lo, between the myrtles standing).* The meaning of the myrtle in Christianity is apparently that of the Gentiles who converted to Christianity, so the symbolism would have a lot of power in Europe.
Now, I could digress into Neoplatonism and try to string the two meanings together, but right now I’m not in a good state for such intellectual gymnastics. And yet, if this is anything but the product of 29 years of absorbing Christian and Greco-Roman religious memes and conflating them through common conventions, it’s tantalizing to think about because it’s the first time I’ve seen any hint of the divine in this.
I would feel very blessed if the Divine Feminine came to me in the guise of Venus in this life. I am waiting for something a little less ambiguous but I’m listening.
* I should note that John was probably more familiar with an English language version of the hymn and though I’ve found evidence of the Harris family in the Welsh Marches going back hundreds of years, I have no reason to believe that he actually spoke Welsh.