Friday, 3 July 2009

The Queen of Grass


In a few hours time, we will know whether Andy Murray will have become the first British finalist at Wimbledon in... a long time; or whether the predictions of The Great Clairvoyant have once again been found wanting. One prediction I didn't make, however, partly because it seemed too obvious, was that Venus Williams was very likely to progress to the final, and probably to win. Wimbledon has always been considered the premium tennis tournament in the world, partly because it is the oldest; but also, in my opinion, because it conveys a clear- but silent- message of the Divine Feminine to the Dreaming Mind. With a name like Venus, the 'harmonic resonance' which draws like to like would will always ensure that the elder Williams thrives here, in the Venusian enclave of SW17. (Very close to where I used to live.)

Wimbledon, from memory, is in the Taurean segment of the land zodiac centred on Kingston, discovered by Mary Cain in the 1990s. Taurus, of course, is ruled by Venus; and Cancer by the feminine moon, under whose rulership Wimbledon is always held. The tournament's colours- defining its global 'brand'- are amongst those most closely associated with the Divine Feminine: purple and green; and it is still, of course, well-known for its unique insistence that its athletes all wear white. (The White Goddess.) (Andre Agassi was one of the rebels to buck the trend; but quickly learned that nobody can hold out against the wishes of maman very long. He caved in, respectfully.) It is also the venue for a mild case of annual (or anal) hysteria, centred specifically on the pert bottoms of young women players, usually of Slavic or Nordic extraction. The hind, of course, is a profound symbol of the May Queen; one of the reasons that pornography- for all its faults- may represent a form of sublimated goddess worship. Is that a hind on that intriguing Slazenger sigil I see featured so prominently all over Centre and Court Number One?

The full name of the club which hosts the tournament is The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club: the game much loved by that icon of the faerie faith, Alice Liddell. But it is in the name and design of the women's trophy that 'harmonic resonance' is at its most obvious. Having now been held aloft by Williams on three occasions, and by her sister by a further two, I suspect even she might be willing to attribute something to the correspondence. (Her superb athleticism notwithstanding.) Its full name, this famous silver platter, is the Venus Rosewater Dish; and its design- which, at 18.75 inches in diameter, is considerably larger and aesthetically far superior to the trophy awarded to the men- draws not on sport for its decorative motifs, but mythology.

At its centre, sits the figure of Sophrosyne (the god of temperance and moderation), with a lamp in her right hand and a jug in her left. Around her are placed her elements: a sickle, fork and caduceus. Around this centre four classical gods are depicted, each with their elements; and presiding over the whole, is Minerva, shown in conjunction with her seven Liberal Arts (which include astrology.) Interestingly, Sophrosyne means 'moral sanity'; and encapsulates a philosophical ideal of attaining happiness through living in harmony with yourself and with nature. A Classical equivalent, perhaps, to the 'focus' and 'positivity' of tennis stars, Williams the Elder is one in whom the 'sophrosynic' injunctions seem deeply embedded. 'So long as I'm playing great tennis... Just goin' out there and bein' the best I can be... I'm happy,' is an almost Delphic utterance, highly characteristic of her media style.

The full name of the Black Madonna I imagine will lift this platter for a fourth time tomorrow... is Venus Ebony Starr. (Informing the name of her interior design company, V Starr Interiors, based in Jupiter, Florida.) As a devout Jehovah's Witness- according to some reports- Venus's personal life has been somewhat less colourful than her lapsed younger sister. And in the Christian tradition, the word sophrosyne has come to mean purity, integrity and virginity.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Sad to see the Brit not make it, I was rooting for him from this side of the Atlantic. I see we have a Venus-Serena rematch. Thanks for the esoteric Wimbledon primer.