Petite Venus this month – Suzanne’s tortured journey to womanhood!
I’m not the most feminine of women! I was a tomboy when I was growing up. I’m awful with small children and have no maternal instincts. I rarely wear a skirt or make-up. I’m in no way delicate and I’m certainly not graceful!
When Alex and I first trained in gongs we played a number of different types. Saturn, Jupiter, the Sun, Earth…I loved Pluto, that was my gong from the start. But I also loved Mars – generally associated with masculine qualities of war, destruction and force. And then I had to play Venus.
Now Venus is a small gong – just 24 inches. As a rule of thumb it’s much easier to play large gongs – you just have to touch them and they produce the goods. With a smaller gong, you have to play – it requires skill and nuance. Alex went first and played so tenderly he had myself and the trainer tearful. And then it was my turn – the trainer expressed his confidence that I’d do well, all women love Venus.
You can guess how it went. I hated it and the gong hated me. I don’t remember much more about it other than the trainer asked me to stop, saying that’s enough of that. Alex says it wasn’t my finest hour. I swore I’d never touch another one.
Fast forward to another training course a few years later and I found myself sat in front of another Venus gong. I told this trainer my issue and he just laughed. “Then this is the one that you need to master”, he said. At least that time I didn’t embarrass myself with it, but I still wasn’t feeling it.
Earlier this year we paired Pluto with Venus – it was Alex’s idea and it turns out it was quite inspired. Pluto is my natural gong – it’s dark, challenging and deep. After playing that for a while, I turned to Venus and played with the same approach. I dropped all pre-conceived notions of the “feminine” aspect, and played as me. And gradually Venus revealed itself. Wow! For such a small gong, it has range. There are notes in this gong that blow me away. It can hold it’s own against Mjolnir and that’s saying something.
So now I’m addicted to playing Venus with Pluto. Recently I’ve come to see their interaction a bit like the relationship between Hades and Persephone. That’s been especially poignant as Autumn arrives. I often use Venus as a bell, calling out in the darkness to bring people back, or to remind people that the light is always there. A couple of times when I’ve been playing, I have used Venus symbolically, as though I’m trying to encourage women to lead more. And not only women, but also the quieter souls amongst us. Venus has been a journey of discovery for me and an absolute delight.