Care of the soul…appreciates the mystery of human suffering
and does not offer the illusion of a problem-free life.
It sees every fall into ignorance and confusion
as an opportunity to discover
that the beast residing at the centre of the labyrinth
is also an angel.
Has anyone else out there been subtly aware of Mar’s shift into the sign of Sagittarius over the past few days? I had not been watching the planetary positions in detail, but have been aware during the passage of the planet of action, assertion, activating, boundaries and self protection through the Pluto ruled sign of Scorpio that deep issues of power, insight and control as well as intense emotions left unprocessed or simmering from the past had been percolating and erupting, especially in the small hours of the morning in response or reaction to certain dealings or triggers in the day.
Things became especially intense for me last week following the Sun’s passage over my Pluto in the week prior to that. Early September marks the anniversary of my motor vehicle accident, the major trauma that punctured my life at 17. At that time in 1979 a number of outer planets were sitting smack bang on 17 degrees of the signs, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius (strong linkages here to ancestral charts on both the maternal and paternal side). So September is an especially sensitive time for me anyway. And in my reading and experience traumatic imprints can be reawakened on anniversaries.
As an astrologer, watching my own cycles over years as well as those of others I see this all the time. Add to the mix that during its passage through Scorpio over the past month or so, the planet Mars has been squaring seven planets in my seventh house, together with the Nodal axis between the first and the seventh.
This past week I have strongly felt the challenges inherent in the transit of Mars in Scorpio squaring my natal Uranus at 29 degrees Leo in the first house. Some major conflicts and boundary challenge have presented themselves in significant relationships and yesterday I noticed that Mars has shifted into Sagittarius which means Mars will be squaring Chiron and Pluto in the seventh and first houses respectively, bringing up the need to separate and bring consciousness to certain habitual ways of relating to others which may have reached their use by date.
Scorpio and Pluto together with Mars bring up issues of inter personal power, transference and empowerment. From my experience, the planet Mars acts as a trigger planet, especially to other outer planet transits. When it hits key points in the natal and transiting chart issues seem to be activated at a deep level to promote consciousness and healing. We may have intense encounters or clashes with others, which can active a powerful regression to former incidents left unprocessed.
Where the sign Scorpio and the planet of transformation and deep psychological work, Pluto is involved then we are dealing with shadow issues, issues that may promote discomfort for those not so willing to look at the dark side.
While it is necessary to take action during Mars transits, it is my experience that due to the spontaneity and explosiveness of Mars energies battles can occur and the depth of these are indicated by Mars passage through the sign of Scorpio. Over the past week exactly this has occurred, and over the past few days I found it necessary to take some distance from several significant relationships so I can process what has actually been occurred around issues of intimacy, power exchange, emotional expression and repression.
Mars transits mark a time when we need to work to separate and reclaim our power, power that early relationship traumas steal from us, setting us up for unequal emotionally damaging relationships, all Plutonian issues. Whilst editing this blog I came across the following notes from the Joy2 Me website on healing co-dependency.
“Co-dependence is an emotional and behavioral defence system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met – our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs. Co-dependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Co-dependence is a defence system that causes us to wound ourselves.
Last week as Mars squared Uranus in my first house, I had the second lot of major dental treatment, a deep root canal to clear up infection from a former treatment which was, due to a neglect of care, left incomplete by a previous dentist, without my knowledge.
The first treatment to repair this problem took place two weeks ago while Mars was squaring my personal planets. The first part went on for over 2 hours and left me quite disoriented due to the impact of being held captive in the chair with dental paraphernalia clamping my jaw in place and being taken on and off over five times.
Certainly during this treatment I faired better than I did two years ago and I was able to use mindfulness during the treatment to lesson tension in my body. Never the less it was traumatizing. The second treatment which took place last Wednesday was supposed to be easier, but my lip swelled a few hours following the end of the treatment and over the next three days developed an infection. But I feel there may have been a deeper cause to this.
Prior to the root canal I had booked a treatment with my cranio sacral therapist on the following day. I was in two minds as to whether or not to attend the session. I had hoped it would help to calm my nervous system, but on reflection I was feeling very tired and wish I had not gone. And yet, if I had not, would I have learned what I did later in the week?
When I arrived at the session on Thursday something triggered me and I blew a gasket. Looking back I can see it was the unleashing of repressed feelings that had accumulated over the past two years and even further back: the pain of the 1979 accident, the major head trauma of 2005, as well as a painful (and I now believe unnecessary) sinus operation of last year. I had felt I would be safe enough there to give it a voice. That was a mistake.
My therapist reacted to the outburst by trying to forcibly shut my anger down, grabbing me about the wrists and saying. “This is not okay.” I realise I had scared her however I was only expressing the repressed pain and anguish of so many hurts. After grabbing my wrists she yelled . “Look at me, look at me” with a hard cold look on her face. (I will add here that she now appears to me to have certain traits in common with one of my more challenging judgemental sisters.)
In our disease defence system we build up huge walls to protect ourselves and then – as soon as we meet someone who will help us to repeat our patterns of abuse, abandonment, betrayal, and/or deprivation – we lower the drawbridge and invite them in. We, in our co-dependence, have radar systems which cause us to be attracted to, and attract to us, the people, who for us personally, are exactly the most untrustworthy (or unavailable or smothering or abusive or whatever we need to repeat our patterns) individuals – exactly the ones who will “push our buttons.” This happens because those people feel familiar. Unfortunately in childhood the people whom we trusted the most – were the most familiar – hurt us the most. So the effect is that we keep repeating our patterns…
I asked her to unhand me and moved my gaze within. I had felt violated in some way and there were so many echoes within this of other times, with other therapists. Why the hell wasn’t my anger being validated or empathised with?. All this was going on inside me as I averted my gaze within in an attempt to stop her stealing my power away.
Eventually after some time of my sitting with my eyes closed she directed me onto the table and tears came. By the end I of the treatment I was left feeling dizzy, disoriented and spun around. I expressed feelings of suicidal pain. She looked at me with one of those degrading, therapisty looks. “As your therapist those suicidal feelings concern me greatly”, she said. “Maybe you should consider seeing your doctor and going on anti depressant medication.”
I am a recovering alcoholic, I don’t follow the mood altering pathway with any substance (except perhaps food), over many years of recovery I have tried to deal with my feelings, not very effectively at times, but without putting on bandaids.
I have experienced suicidal feelings many times before, often in response to similar invalidations. The feelings have always passed when I have been able to process, work through and validate the reason for the feelings in the first place. Before paying her and leaving (?”£$uurrgh) I expressed to her the view that suicidal feelings are a natural reaction to feeling angry and not being able to express and release that anger, feeling trapped, disregarded and invalidated.
Despite standing strong on one level I still walked away from the session crying and in a very low state with my lip swelling more and more. By Saturday it was infected and I had to go to the doctor for antibiotics. Over the next three nights I was sleeping only two hours awakening with intense anger towards her for what I felt to be her invalidation of my anger and her lack of empathetic response.
Over the same period I had an incident with my sister where she tried to step in and take control when I was not feeling well railroading me on another health issue that she felt I had not been addressing but at a totally inappropriate time.. The following day sent her a text to tell her in no uncertain terms to please show more sensitivity and back off.
In a final repeat yesterday, as Mars passed out of the square to natal Uranus, and began to square my natal Chiron in the seventh another clash took place. In my Monday my support group a woman who sets herself up as arbitrator (not a part of our usual way of sharing) and has a holier than thou attitude, interrupted me mid share to take me to task for using the “F” word whilst trying to debrief from the past week of Mars clashes.
She tried to force me to sensor my expression while the rest of the group watched in horror. I stood calmly and firmly for my right to speak. But I was rattled and quaking inside.
Another member of the group who is also an empath and had experienced something similar was almost shaking with anger, holding her throat and in deep distress as this clash took place.
With Uranus and Pluto in the first house, these kind of clashes are not unusual. I’ve experienced them many times before. Last night I was reading an interpretation of Pluto in the first house. It said people will either be strongly attracted to your intense energy or irritated by you.
Steven Forest says of the person with Pluto in the first house that they are the child who is the uncomfortable teller of truths and dark secrets, the one who has the courage to say the emperor has no clothes and then gets in trouble for it. Luckily I am aware of this Plutonian curse now.
Last night it occurred to me to check the daily planetary positions and sure enough yesterday Mars had moved into Sagittarius and was beginning to square my Chiron Pluto opposition.
The clashes of Monday and the later part of last week made sense to me in the light of this. I was starting to feel the effect of being the shadow carrier again, a situation with which I’ve been saddled many times before. Was exile close? Was I going to be sent to my room? These were powerful old feelings and fears I felt yesterday. But quaking inside I stayed in the chair and faced the enemy down.
When I stood up to this woman yesterday I spoke about how important it is for those of us who have been made to feel bad or wrong for feeling and expressing ourselves as we truly are to find ways to protect ourselves and stand for our right to express our truth. It is only when we have a strongly developed Mars that we can do this. As astrologer Liz Greene points out, it is Mars that goes to work for us in the service or our Sun and helps us to fight for what we believe in and helps us to know and take action to go for what we need to be authentic and protect ourselves. This may mean retreating from hurtful situations or confronting them openly and firmly. With my own natal Mars often repressed by Saturn this has never been easy.
On returning home yesterday I was drawn back to a wonderful book by recovering alcoholic, John Lee, called The Anger Solution. In this book John addresses central issues of anger , boundaries and self care that affect us as recovering co-dependents. Using a process called the Anger Detour process he helps us to see what happens when we are triggered to regress to earlier injuries and wounds from childhood or earlier times. I would like to share more about this process in a later blog.
In a very revealing paragraph John writes
“The codependent is one who “is so afraid to tell you what he really thinks, feels, and really needs for fear of what you might feel or think about what they are saying..the fear of what someone might feel is a regressive tendency… you will find more rage and sadness in those who don’t exercise good self care, because they can’t say no, are extremely exhausted, are resentful, are depleted and are depressed.
Co-dependents break their value system constantly, resulting in guilt and low self esteem and thus increasing their tolerance or unacceptable behaviour because they give another person or process power to determine the course of their life, their moods, and their feelings.
They often feel trapped and that they don’t have the power to choose for their own destiny and all of that makes them very angry.”
And often I would add co dependents aren’t even conscious of the way they are feeling, due to a disconnection from and awareness of how they are feeling. In childhood our true feelings and needs, perceptions and values were not respected or validated, thus we lost our way home to ourselves. A sense of deep emptiness and loss is a result. To be armed with this knowledge, even though it hurts, it seems to me, is essential for us to recover and to go into fight for our own self care and protection in loving and assertive ways.
We cannot learn to Love without honouring our Rage!
We cannot allow ourselves to be Truly Intimate with ourselves or anyone else without owning our Grief.
We cannot clearly reconnect with the Light unless we are willing to own and honour our experience of the Darkness.
We cannot fully feel the Joy unless we are willing to feel the Sadness.
Many more feelings were triggered for me over the past week around issues of closeness and freedom in existing interpersonal relationships. Several confrontations and clashes with my mother, in particular, have shown me that empathy and an open willingness to engage with my feelings has been absent for most of my life. Her immediate response to confrontation has been to make me wrong and tell me that if I need to confront an issue she will no longer be a part of my life.
As a child I was often sent to my room and isolated when I was upset. I was rarely talked to or comforted. As I mentioned above, at yesterday’s meeting I had this same feeling that I would be excommunicated and sent away for expressing my feelings. It did not happen as I stood firm, though I was tempted to walk away. But inside I was shaking with fear. The only way through was to experience this fear and make friends with it, realising its reason for existing. I remembered how many times I have been sent away or rejected, simply for being myself.
All of these realisations have come out of the current passage of Mars through Scorpio. I am not out of the woods yet as transiting Mars still has a little way to travel before passing out of the square to natal Chiron and Pluton over the next two weeks. However, armed with the understandings that have come from the past years of recovery I feel in a much stronger place than ever before. Some of the twisting and uncoiling seems to be working its way out of my system, together with the shock of having to hold inside so much anger over invalidation and abandonment abuse over so many years.
I am not suicidal this week, and I understand those feelings as a reaction to invalidation and feeling trapped in a situation where I am not seen and heard and validated, or am made to feel crazy by crazymakers such as my therapist, mother and sister. The body knows the truth. It never lies. Its truth may be buried but never the less it is there. It comes through our intuition and through aches and pains. Today I was able to text the cranio sacral therapist to say I was uncomfortable with her treatment and would not be returning. She was happy to let me go and owned no part of the problem I am beginning to trust that inside myself I have enough awareness to move forward alone. My body has a deep integrity. It is always giving me signs and I now know where Mars lives inside my body and how it moves its way around in response to life.
Armed with that understanding I am feeling in a much more powerful place to heal and feel joy and promise in being alive. In her closing words the therapist said “I hope you find a way to move through your pain and find peace.” I texted back to say peace is with me when I am not re-traumatised and invalidated. She had made it clear she had no tolerance for pain and so she was not a safe harbour for me . Maybe that safe harbour now needs to be found within the most important place Deep within my own heart and mind. To be honest I have had enough of therapy I know I have said this before. But this time I really have learned the lesson.
On a final note while editing this blog and posting it this evening I have just been watching an SBS television programme Insight on Post Traumatic Memory. A therapist on this programme has just addressed the issue of how ineffective the majority of therapists are at effectively helping people with Post Traumatic Stress. He claims that their training in no way equips them to enter the reality of the patient, and until they can do this they are not only of not use, but can do further damage. Judith Herman in her brilliant book Trauma and Recovery addresses this same issues, ie of how ineffective and damaging the majority of mental health systems are in understanding and effectively helping people heal, especially from early childhood trauma.
In time I will be posting some of what Judith has to say about damage to those who are traumatised from the medical and psychiatric profession. However the paradox is that we don’t heal in isolation. The key to healing lies in developing a healing relationship with someone. Without this we are up shit creek without a paddle. In my experience it is not the professionals that have been willing to be with me in the truth, but only some friends. Without them I don’t know if I would have made it through. My ex partner nearly destroyed me by his abject rejection of my post traumatic reality. There has been deep anger about this and it has taken some time to move through to acceptance. Hopefully this blog goes someway forward to resolving some of that anger by voicing it and finding a channel of expression. It is my passion to bring healing and understanding to what traumatised people endure. There is so much trauma in our society. It needs to be addressed so that in giving the trauma a place we find a way to honour the integrity of even our most painful experiences, for surely there is deep within the heart of this beast an angel just waiting to be freed to spread its healing wings over our wounded bodies and souls. The beast becomes angel in the healing light of our acceptance and love.