Restless Venus: Lyrics and Notes

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Here are the lyrics, with a few annotations (signified by ^, ^^ and ^^^) to dress them up a bit:

Restless Venus
won’t you please settle down
and just try staying
with me in this town
It’s hard to love you
when you’re wandering around
O, my Restless Venus^
please settle down

[verse 1]
I could say I need a miracle
to follow after your plane
cause I know even if I found you
you’d go flying off somewhere again

I’m not the kind to try and keep you
to make your mother set you free^^
but that don’t mean that I don’t want you
to take your rest upon me


[verse 2]
I never wanted to be another man
vainly chasing beauty
But it please the fool who thinks he understands
too much to let a passion be^^^

If these were hands enough to hold you
then these same hands can let you free
and my heart remember how it told you
what my mind still cannot believe


The Notes

^I’ve always had the sense that my Restless Venus in part referred to what we might call the Venus-function of myself. I think this function is also referred to as the psyche.

It was either Meister Eckhart or Rumi, or both, who said “copper must undergo many transformations before it becomes gold.” Copper is the metal anciently associated with Venus. In alchemy, Gold is symbolic of the stabilized self-realization. True Love achieved. So, to say “copper must undergo many transformations before it becomes gold” is to say that many passions must be passed through before a true passion might be found. Or as Rumi elsewhere puts it: you can’t play the game of love with just one head. We can think of this, or witness this, within individual lives and also consider it as happening throughout lifetimes.

So, the plea in this song to my Restless Venus, is ultimately to my own psyche, to finally reach the end of this process of evolution through repeated passions and deaths. More prosaically, I wish that I could just be happy living here in this town, with someone, rather than always having this feeling that I can’t quite be here because I’m meant to end up somewhere else. I feel quite exhausted, sometimes, at going through relationship after relationship, even though it’s clear that this is the form of my deepest education.

^^ This is a reference to the myth of Hades and Persephone, according to which Hades, the god of the underworld, abducts the beautiful daughter of the goddess Demeter, and takes her to be his wife in his domain.

You may recall our running joke about your abduction.

It’s worth also saying that by saying “I’m not like that” I am lying somewhat, or dissociating. Except I prefer Socrates’ version of Hades, whom he calls Pluton, which means (according to Socrates, at least) “wealth.” The God of the Underworld is also the God of vast and hidden riches; but in Socrates’ view, these riches are not material, but spiritual. The true wealth of Pluton is wisdom. That, according to Socrates, is why souls after death speed to the Underworld. Being freed from the illusions created by the sensual body, they are drawn to their true love, Wisdom, which is nothing other than awareness of the Real.

So, in those last two lines of the first verse I’m saying, in effect, I’m not the kind of man who would forcibly abduct you, but I wish I were so wise as to be irresistibly attractive to your soul.

This gets to the final note

^^^ about “the fool who thinks he understands too much.” Meaning, believing too much in the potency of my own wisdom (“and I could be so insane, to think she came just for me”) I was content to let my attraction for you be, and in so doing, to become “another man vainly chasing beauty.”

And this, you might already see, leads to that other song I haven’t adequately recorded yet.

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