THE GARDENER: A Venus Retrograde Story  

by Lady Deane

As so often happens when Venus retrogrades (and Neptune rises), last night I had a most peculiar dream. I dreamed of a grand and stately old home, seated high on a rocky cliff, overlooking a vast ocean. My trip there was no accident, as I had been sent to interview its famous but somewhat illusive owner. Knowing his reputation, I worried about what sort of reception I might be in for.

Yet from the very moment I arrived–from knocking on the massive and somewhat intimidating front door to the moment I left a completely changed person–all secrets were revealed to me, and all barriers whisked away like cobwebs from an old statue, revealing the beauty within. From the instant my foot crossed over the threshold it was as if I were being received not by the owner, but by the house itself…by the land beneath it, and by the gardens and ocean surrounding it…as its most honored guest. For the truth is, I was at home from the moment I entered, and I felt this instantly. As though I had always belonged there and had just stepped out for the briefest of moments to explore a few other lives; knowing the entire time that I would return home eventually. For where else but home does one go when one’s journey has ended? It was truly an odd sensation and one that stayed with me long after I had completed my assignment, long after I left the house, and long after I awoke from the “dream.”

In the dream, the owner himself answered the door. Not the usual routine (he assured me), as he generally employed a staff for such mundane events. But as it happens, he was giving a garden party that day and thought I was a friend whose arrival he had been eagerly anticipating. I quickly explained my presence and offered to come back at a more convenient time. Whereupon he seemed to surprise even himself by smiling graciously and then saying: “No, no, come in, come in. No time like the present, as they say!” For a moment I thought he was joking, but then realized that he, too, must have felt the house welcome me. And he simply followed suit.

So I was treated to a “Royal” tour of the place, complete with fascinating histories, wildly entertaining stories and personal anecdotes. And it was really amazing. Not only because he was uncharacteristically opening up to me, and not even because the article was practically writing itself. It was amazing because during the entire tour I knew everything about the place before he told me. It was as if he had been merely “squatting” in the place all these years, waiting for the true owners to return. It was an odd feeling, though certainly not unpleasant. But as it turned out, the best part was yet to come.

The best part was the garden. Or should I say “gardens” for surely no one garden could have contained such an amazing array and variety of flowers, plants, herbs, trees and shrubbery. The colors alone were amazing! The gardens actually sort of started indoors in an aviary type room with tall ceilings and lots of glass, and then just moved very naturally and organically out into the sunlight and fresh air through glass walls that themselves opened onto an overflowing, perpetually-blooming, terrace. The floors and stone half-walls seemed alive with living things. And the whole amazing panorama overlooked a powerful and majestic ocean. And smack in the middle of all this blooming splendor, standing next to a fountain, which housed a statue of Poseidon no less, I came at last upon the Gardener.

She was tending to some plants as I approached her: pruning the leaves on this one, giving extra water to that one, nurturing and cooing to them the entire time as though speaking to a favorite and most beloved child. Watching her was fascinating. She knew instantly what each plant most needed and responded immediately, moving easily between pots of brightly colored flowers to mixed green beds, to lush bushes and tall trees. The plants actually seemed to turn their faces to her, their leaves and petals fluttering eagerly in her direction, anticipating her loving and healing touch.

The famous owner had, meanwhile, corralled an employee and soon busied himself with specific (and complicated-sounding) orders for wines and champagnes and hors d'oeuvres for his gala; so it gave me some time to follow the Gardener on her rounds.

“So,” I said, somewhat in awe, “You created all this splendor!”

“Oh no,” she laughed, good-naturedly, “One never actually creates life. One need only step aside and allow life to be what it was meant to be.”


“In other words,” she said, looking at me over her horn-rimmed glasses with a twinkle in her eye, “One need only to give up trying to control it all.”

I looked at her in utter disbelief. “But, really, what’s your secret?”

“Well,” she said, as she paused to contemplate, “I suppose it does help just a bit if you let yourself love it all.”

She peered over at me. I gave her a quizzical look. Her next answer surprised me a bit, but I knew it was true.

“You know it can’t last.” She continued. “Most of them are here for a season or two, then they’re gone. And you can’t hold too tightly to them, not if you want them to grow. But you love them all anyway. Unreservedly. With all your heart.”

Our eyes met then, and I understood. Because I instantly knew that no matter how much love she had given away here, that she would always have more, and that her heart would always be full.

At that, the owner returned, seeming much more distracted now. He apologized, but as the party was about to begin, he had no more time to spare. I thanked him for everything and assured him I would see myself out. As I exited the beautiful home and made my way back down the lane, I was surprised to see the Gardener waiting for me by my car. In her arms she held the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. Now, I’m no expert, but in the mix I thought I saw Roses, Zinnias, Pansies, and some Honeysuckle all surrounded by a bit of Rosemary. She handed them to me and I was so delighted I actually laughed.

“For me??? They are so beautiful! Thank you!”

In that moment I wished I could say I would visit her beautiful gardens again, but I pretty much figured that my tour that day was a lucky fluke….a one-night-only performance by its somewhat mercurial owner. The Gardener seemed to read my thoughts.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be back.”  She smiled as she saw my skepticism. “Owners may come and go my dear. They can even be useful if they’re not too much underfoot. But it’s the Caretakers who bring a place to life. If you belong here, the place will know; and you’ll always find a welcome.”

In that moment I realized that the Gardener was the true Caretaker here. For what is a Caretaker but someone who cares?


And then I woke up.

I thought about what the Gardener had said for a long, long while. The dream still haunts me. I can still smell the flowers and feel the spray of the Ocean off the terrace. Could she have been right? After all, when considered from within the grand scheme of time, one may own a place but for a brief period. But if one loves a place!  Well, then. Love leaves a bit of itself behind, and we become a part of everything, every place, and everyone we’ve ever cared for. Love’s energy is timeless and remains after all else has passed away. Ownership requires paperwork. But love requires sacrifice. Owners may invest, but love is invested. Love is a Caretaker. It infuses the place (and the people) with something incandescent, and forever colors it with an indescribable sense of something so much more than an address.

Ownership is temporary. Love is eternal. This is the real message of Venus.

From March 4th through April 15th Venus will retrograde through Aries and Pisces. Venus, like all other retrograding planets, carries energy that calls us inward during this time. So is it any wonder then, that understanding Venus might require personal stories?  Because knowing the interior of anything….person, place, or thing…is a complex journey at best. One that favors the introspective; one that takes time and patience; one that requires participation of a very personal nature. And perhaps, one that might even require dreams.

Venus, being Venusian and all (ie: the consummate hostess), is the very soul of etiquette. Venus is not Mars, never will be. She never forces, only entices. So we are gracefully invited at this time to participate in our very own private lives and personal stories. And though we have free will, this is an invitation we can just barely resist. But why would you? For she calls to us as a Siren in the night, whispering sweetly of our greatest desires and our most heartfelt longings. And besides, it is unbearably, heartbreakingly beautiful.

Do you hear her calling?