articlesOur Inner Design

Through my living room window, I can see budding trees and the joyful dance of tulips in a nearby window box, all looking triumphant after a recent winter blast. As an interior designer and an astrologer, I not only watch the changing seasons but I also observe nature’s inherent ability to bring together a perfected palate of both color and form. I marvel at the way each season brings with it a new and elaborate work of art, a feast for our senses, as well as the not-so subtle queues for our own unfolding.

For instance, in his famous “Flower Sermon” Buddha (a Taurus) provided inspiration without speaking a word; he simply held up a single lotus flower. The sermon was about noticing the patterns found within the silent language of flowers and other naturally occurring forms. When we look closely at the design of a spring leaf, a nautilus shell or even a dragonfly; we find proportions that repeat with exactitude and the harmonious relationships between opposites. You might be delighted to know that the flowering buds and leaves of the apple tree (and all other trees that bear fruit), grow in accordance with the pattern of the pentagonal star. When an apple is cut from side to side, the star pattern is revealed, mirroring the seed structure of the original flower.

Whether I consider this from an astrological standpoint or with the eyes of a designer, it’s easy to see the relatedness of all things large and small. Venus, as we know, traces an enormous five-pointed star in the heavens and then cleverly presents herself again in the apple blossom and the in the pear. As astrologers, we are keenly aware of the relationship between cosmos and consciousness but we tend to overlook the beauty of form and function and its ever-present symbolism in our lives.

Recently, while visiting a friend in Florida, I experienced a wonderful illustration of this very concept. It was a stunning spring morning, the kind that tempts Northerners to relocate. The two of us were chatting outside, enjoying a gentle breeze while we sipped our coffee in the sunshine. We were discussing one of my design clients, who requested me to decorate her home within the principles of Feng Shui. I was remarking on how I might combine my two seemingly separate careers into one by integrating more energy work into my interior design, when suddenly; my friend looked skyward and noticed a passing cloud formation. It was the likeness of the most exquisite dragon I have ever seen. There it was, in all its grandeur, more beautiful and detailed than an artist’s rendering and larger than any sculptor could create.

Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement. It is the practice of working with the energy lines, or electromagnetic waves, within a given space to create a more harmonious atmosphere. In Feng Shui terms, these invisible energy lines are eloquently described as the cosmic breath of the “celestial dragon”. Representing prosperity and strength, the dragon is the most important symbol in Feng Shui and represents the east, the place of sunrise, spring and new beginnings. In etymology, it translates as “to see clearly”.

As if there to illustrate our conversation, the Universe expressed the fruits of a conscious, organizing intelligence and proved it can permeate time and space with infinite creativity. Our thoughts floated gently overhead, lingering a moment for realization and then drifted away, taking on new shapes as they traveled. We could have stopped there, thinking we’d seen the totality of the moment, but the dragon wasn’t quite finished with us. A few hours later, my friend’s adult son, who is quite artistic, called from California to announce he had just been tattooed that morning with a Chinese dragon on his arm! Apparently, he wanted to carry this energy with him in his own artistic endeavors and to him, the dragon’s image epitomized his efforts. Mythology and astrology are undoubtedly rich with interpretations of dragon lore, which only serve to add relevance and inspiration to our experience and his, but even in its most simplistic terms, nature speaks volumes. It succinctly mirrored our individual process, like the seeds of the apple mirror the patterns of its blossoms.

As we ease into the relaxed summer months and escape our mind-numbing routines, remember to look “up” while you’re taking in the sun’s brilliant rays. Before you reach the stars, give more than a passing glance to the clouds, the flowers and to the nature of creativity itself. Take a fresh look at your surroundings and notice how your energies have literally taken form all around you. Feel the effects that color, shape and composition have on your psyche and then realize that they are as much a reflection of your “inner design” as any other psychological aspect of your life. The 12 part color wheel, with its oppositions, triads and diads, etc… serves to remind me that our birth charts are simply the color palate we’ve chosen to paint our lives from – and that becoming aware of our innate creativity is the first step in taking responsibility for our own design.

In essence, I believe we are co-creating within the same cycles and rhythms as the universal creator – curving back into ourselves like the serpent, to expand our awareness. Appreciating aesthetics, whether they are found in nature or in our man made works of art, can be far less about superficiality or materialism and much more about honoring the creator within.