I love making valentines. I usually start thinking about them just after New Year's day. Every year I ask myself, what is Love currently teaching me? My valentines are born when one answer becomes more important than the others.
Last Sunday night I was meditating on a few current themes in my life. On Monday morning I woke to three words, the exact sentiment of my Valentine this year: "[Love] requires context." I also woke up knowing I needed to use famous context to convey the message.
I wanted to use images of Venus and Mars for very microcosmic reasons. For the nearly 23 years of love I have known with Cody, we have fought "great battles" together. I am rising while he regroups, or he is rising while I regroup, or we are both fighting together---and through all of it we are always side-by-side. To this point it has been very rare when both of us are "resting". Sometimes it hurts to feel/hear the judgment of others...but that only smarts when my eyes move off of us and who we were created to be and what we are co-creating.
On a macrocosmic level this theme of inconsideration without context is everywhere I look. As an empath, I have always felt my way into consideration for others. It is almost impossible to have the unique lens of being a therapist and NOT consider context...but when it comes to the activation of my own basic human emotion, even I fail to consider what I might not know. I think about my clients who were on the news this past year...and how emotion causes others to speak and judge without context...and how sad it is for those of us who know there's more to the story.
So this year I took Venus and Mars completely out of context. In the absence of surrounding visual cue, the viewer is met with disorienting, mystifying and hypnotic *imagery which force projection and judgment and ultimately curiosity.
On the cover of the valentine, beautiful Venus stands exposed in the middle of Times Square. Knowing she is a fish out of water does not stop her from posing for the obligatory when-in-NY photo. She lovingly expresses a longing for her own "home" (as opposed to I *heart* NY) while her quiet, confident, presence transfixes the tourist, the valentine.
On the inside of the valentine, Venus confirms that even her own love requires context...or more importantly an awareness of the lack thereof.
On the signature side of the valentine, Botticelli's "winds" blow for change.
Humans are relational creatures. We are so threatened by our differences when we can not/do not understand each other. This reality does not have to push us apart. Let us wake up! Let us dialogue. Let us seek first to understand then to be understood. Let us seek context and create a relational benefit-of-the-doubt, thereby cultivating a world in which it is possible to give and receive love.
*Special thanks to Steve Cloud for the awesome find.