Holst House

My dears, I have had a dream.

It started with Inspector Lewis.  My roommate and I were binge-watching the first series or three, and came to the episode “Dark Matter.”  Among other things, it features forensic pathologist Laura Hobson playing clarinet in a university orchestra performance of Holst’s “The Planets.”

This percolated in the back of my mind, emerging as a pun: “If I ever got into hotel management, you can bet your bottom dollar there’d be a really dramatic room option called the Planets Suite.”

When Em responded “I want the Jupiter room!” it spawned all manner of thoughts.  Mainly: what if, instead of a hotel suite, this were a house Imagine a house featuring:

Mars, Bringer of War – Entryway / bathroom / bedroom closet – It’s where you suit up for the day and prepare to go out and take on the world.  Hidden speakers blare forth the exhortation of drums and trumpets.  Featuring red colors, iron hooks or handles or accents, and a coat of arms on the foyer wall.  Be sure to get some coffee before you start a war.
Mars bathtub Mars Foyer Stairwell

Venus, Bringer of Peace – Kitchen / bedroom – Bringing peace can be done by foodstuffs…or by sleep et cetera.  Copper accents, a Botticelli print or two, windowboxes of plants, maybe green paint or flowered wallpaper.
Venus kitchen fresh pale Venus kitchen green cabinets Venus kitchen pale greenVenus kitchen wheat

Venus green country Venus Mint Bedroom

Mercury, the Winged Messenger – Living Room – Here, like quicksilver, we meet and we part.  Here, we practice the counterpoint of the mind, and words fly about like birds.  This is the place to sit and talk, read, or perhaps go online to read or write.  There should be a lot of words or stories within arm’s reach.  Mirrors, corresponding colors, and symmetry in the decoration would be appropriate; these echo the same-but-sundered nature of mercury.

Beach Style with accents birds and fluff pillows mercuryyyyy

Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity – Dining room – For those of us without a throne room, the dining room is probably the next best place to sit in tranquility and resplendence (though a den or family room may also suit).  Here may we sit and let our hearts be eased after the weary winter of our work.  Let the room be well-lit, the chairs comfortable, and fear not if anyone happens to spill a bit of wine, for it is but the wound of King Pelles.  Oak furniture, emblems of eagles or lions, ruddy walls or fabric are all appropriate here.

dining room with wine cabinet Dining room golden lit dining area green but good

Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age – Office / study / library – Traditionally, Saturn is associated with philosophy and other such weighty matters.  Here you can also keep your tax returns filed, plan for retirement, and prepare your last will and testament.  It’s the place for any globes, maps, and hourglasses.  Lead-colored walls with a stripey accent.
Saturn Home Library Saturn home office

Uranus, the Magician – Basement or garage workroom / Craft room – Astrologically, Uranus is associated with ingenuity, invention, and radical new ideas.  So this is where some kind of magic is worked, be it ever so tangible in nature.  Blue-gray walls.

Uranus Workshop Uranus Craft Room Uranus sewing room Uranus workroom

Neptune, the Mystic – Garden / in-house chapel / attic – I don’t know where you keep your mystics and mysticism, but if you don’t have a handy tower, hermitage, or folly…I…guess the attic is the place?  I don’t know, I’m picturing Trelawney and her room full of poufs and tea cups.  Or, at the least, blue walls and wind-chimes hung out the window.

Hermit caveIn home chapelIcons in home attic


Thursday Dances: World-Weaving

So there was this time when Melpomene plotted out some memes, and I looked them over and thought “Hmmm, that is a fair helping of romance-themed sorts of whatnot. I hope I don’t talk about the same book over again. …whaaat. Best Setting? Mneeeeeeeeeeep!”

Not, you understand, because I hate settings (that would be nonsense), but because whenever the setting forces me to think about it, it has, in some wise or other, failed at its job. Like a cosmetologist whose work is not subtle enough to pass for natural beauty. Like the mood music in a coffee shop that’s so loud, you can’t hear your compatriots and your mood sours. Like some other similes piled in a row like an unending line of train cars.

Anyway. That was a lengthy excuse as to why I don’t normally ponder settings. I declaimed to Thalia about How Difficult It All Was, and then kept rambling: “Settings are not a thing I generally give much thought to; I loathe it when a storyline is so dependent on Where They’re Going and What Is In the Way that I need to get out a physical map to understand the plot (yes, Tolkien, I’m looking at you in all your splendid, meticulous, cumbersome plans). Perhaps the best setting would achieve that goal set by Lewis in Of Other Worlds: to catch the feeling of a place, like an exotic bird in an invisible net, like sand which melts through our fingers when we try to grasp it.”

Narnia, for example, said I; why, Dr. Ward did a marvelous job of laying out his claim (and the supporting evidence as well) that each book is built up around a particular sphere of the heavens: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe around the festal pomp of Jupiter; Prince Caspian around the militant aspect of Mars; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader around the golden fortune of the Sun; The Horse and His Boy around the bright alacrity of Mercury; The Silver Chair around the watery mutability of the Moon; The Magician’s Nephew around the beauty and vitality of Venus; The Last Battle around the ponderous, sorrowful weight of Saturn.

The qualities ascribed to each sphere, the metals associated with them, the colors and sounds – these details are woven into the very fabric of Lewis’s narrative. So each book has a distinct flavor, down to the exclamations the characters use and the verbs describing their action. It is marvelous how those aspects of the story, not typically used for setting the story in a world, do so in Lewis’s hands.

Whereupon Thalia very reasonably pointed out that perhaps the Narniad had won that particular prize where my head was concerned. So there you have it.

For I wanted not the momentary suspense but that whole world to which it belonged – the snow and the snow-shoes, beavers and canoes, war-paths and wigwams, and Hiawatha names…