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Venus return


I remember hearing Venus return when I first heard ‘venous return’.


My unconscious mind likes these kinds of free associations, and I’m always thankful for those apparent mistakes because they open the door to blessed imaginal places.


Blood Flow


The complex circular dependability of blood flowing to and from the heart is such an amazing Love story.


The formation of the heart around week three of our embryonic life is so wonderfully fascinating.


We place the heart at the centre of love with good reason for it is the middle of our tiny form when the pericardium (the fascial sheath of the heart) begins to take shape thanks to the pulsing movements of blood, like clockwork, going up and down the primal streak, the primeval midline of an up to then bilaminar (two-layered) embryoblast delicately connected to a trophoblast (our future placenta), a ravenous body of multiplying cells implanting in our mother’s womb.


Our embryonic blood spiralling through tiny capillaries around this connective stalk feeds our unfettered desire for internality, for a third dimension, for volume, rhythm and breath.

This blood orchestrates the making of our heart to the tune of stem cells becoming instruments. 


The thought of this rhythmic flow of vital blood, this connective tissue reaching and leaving the future heart to nourish it like a loving mother, also feeds my whole being right now, as I write, because it is still happening, every second of every day.


From the moment our hearts ignite, all that wishes to sing of our aliveness in us thickens, sculpts, and swirls at an incredible pace and with mesmerising, remarkable precision and knowing. 


Call it magical if you wish, I also call it pure unadulterated drive. 


Not only does Love power this drive, I feel it could be the force itself.


The magnitude and quality of this knowing, moving Intelligence is what biodynamic craniosacral therapists name potency.


I keep returning to this primeval rhythm because it is where lies our original “commonage consciousness” as Irish philosopher John Moriarty termed it. All that sings in the natural world play in unison to pulse and rhythm, whether they beat a physiological heart or not, be they rivers, mountains, heather, foxes, or fungi. Comings and goings, expansions and contractions, inhalations and exhalations animate the whole constantly.


Venous return, the gently determined de-oxygenated blood coming back to our lungs and heart to enrich itself with oxygen and gush back out into our arteries, is also Venus return, especially at this time of year, the time of Brigid in the Irish Celtic tradition, when Love stirs all back to life, with an igniting inhalation.



Credit: Woman Rising by Christian Schloe


I return to this original flow of blood creating our heart as moments we all shared no matter where, what social class, colour, creed, gender…This circular flow of blood around our hearts underlies our aliveness and connects us all to this unknowable drive, this formidable Intelligence that loves life so much everywhere on Earth. 


I return to it each time I hold a body in a craniosacral session, and I breathe with relief and awe at the sheer creative determination of this universal indomitable force manifesting a unique healing expression within every one of us. 


I return to it when, in tragic times of disconnection, division, destruction, and wars, I despair and wonder: how can we re-orient to this hyphen-like life that unites us all? How can we re-humanise ourselves immersed in the sacredness of other lives? How can we tend to all that makes us marvellously more than human, this ‘commonage consciousness’?





John Moriarty tells a story (1) of a shepherd in Britain quietly knitting himself a scarf when he sees a hare and then another. As he stands up to get a better view, his ball of thread falls off his lap and rolls down the hill. He follows it to an opening in the rock wall he had never noticed before. He enters and “finds himself in a huge grotto. It is like a hollow mountain”. There is a bed at the end of it and he recognises King Arthur asleep. Beside the king lie a great horn and a sword on an oak table. The shepherd pulls the sword and “crashes it down” on the table stirring King Arthur awake: “Had you blown the horn I would have come back among my people to restore the Arthurian world”. Instead, King Arthur returns to sleep for thousands of years, and the shepherd steps back out never to find the door in the rock wall again.


John then asks how can we blow that horn and awaken King Arthur in us, “the genius of the universe in us”, so that we would have “new minds and new eyes for the universe, and be in it in a new way”.


In an interview in Celtic Threads John exclaims, “We must be originally creative.”


This story points me to our hearts with our veins like this ball of thread returning to what can bring us back to life, to original enchantment (literally meaning sing us alive), what can awaken the “genius of the universe in us”, this primeval Love infusing us all.


In Dreamtime John despairs that we are, “fugitives from our own natures, refugees who take refuge from awareness of self in the self forgetfulness of objective preoccupation”.


Severed from our connective stalks to earth and her rich metabolism at a young age in the modern western world, we're in exile from our home, from what sustains us. “We have lost the metabolic literacies necessary to notice and sense how we are entangled with everything else.” (Machado de Oliveira, 2021)


Stemming from the trophoblast, the three-week embryo with its budding spine and ‘spiralling’ heart resembles a mushroom.


Mytho-poetic storyteller and author Martin Shaw said: “At the end of my forties, I visited a forest for 101 days. I needed to stop talking. I was bushed. Every day I lay a gift down at the roots of a hazel bush. At the end of this extended spiritual pummelling, 

I was given just nine words:

Inhabit the time and genesis of your original home.”


What if a process of ‘walking into oneself’, of re-enchanting “our original home” could bring us back to connection with the land, could 'blow the horn' and spin those umbilical cords back into metabolic magicians, back to sing in unison with the wild?


I hold the land of bodies for a living and from the windows on this first floor I see the branches of trees like extended blood vessels reaching up, down, and through. My hands listen to connective tissues gently loosen, flow and breathe while leaves slowly massage the air in the still morning. 


(1) Celtic Spirituality, John Moriarty, Cd 1 track 1 and 2




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