What is this dark angel that hovers over me, laying to waste all happiness, entering me into some deep dark mystical sadness that is like an ocean that threatens to drown me, that pulls on me with its restless tide that comes unbidden from an unknown place?
I have no power over the times of its coming and going and then I question do I create its visitations with my resistance to the world I see that seems barren of feeling and leaves no place for a deeper darker vision of events which have fallen below consciousness.
I remember asking my first therapist. “Do you think I am a borderline personality?” To which she replied, “No, Deborah I believe you are someone who lives very close to the collective unconscious.”
Carl Jung was such a person. His sun in Leo opposes mine in Aquarius and he had the Sun Neptune square. Just prior to the outbreak of World War I Jung had dark visions of Europe bathed in blood. He had broken with Freud due to their dispute over the unconscious. During this time his deep interior journey and dreams led him to develop the concept of the shadow, that dark twin of ours which we can enter into a relationship with at midlife.
Jung also developed a relationship with the inner child at midlife, he learned to play, to build castles of sand. I feel a resonance.
This darkness around me others don’t often understand.
My brother just called, disappointed I could not make dinner last night. All that came out from me “sorry” and a flood of grief. He has not often seen this side of me. I’ll probably be judged as bi polar now by his entire family. They keep their distance as if I am infected by something they don’t want to catch.
He wasn’t nasty or uncaring, just mystified and perplexed. He did listen. Now he has seen my dark side. I am relieved in a way as often I feel there is some kind of pretence and I have to present a bright face so not to be rejected.
Today I read a blog by Therese Borchard who struggles with depression and death thoughts. It was a letter she wrote in response to a friend who was disturbed by her death thoughts. Therese could not deny them. In the writing of the letter she spoke for her right to give voice to sadness and darkness that society labels as an illness.
I am not so sure if it is an illness or just a shadow aspect of modern life. Maybe certain experiences mark us out for this type of encounter and surely there is a temperamental aspect to it. It is a deeply Plutonian energy.
Only in astrology have I found a real understanding of how we get marked by archetypal experiences, (indicated by planetary influences) those common to people of all ages and times. In this modern society with its emphasis on happiness we melacholics and depressives are seen as somehow sick, but might there not be some value too in a dark vision? We cannot just erase one side of the yin and yang of existence. And the truth is that sometimes the descent to the darkest place represents a turning toward the light.
At this time of the in the Southern Hemisphere we are reaching the time of maximum light, while overseas the Northern Hemisphere turns toward Winter Solstice, that time when the Sun has gone as far down and light will begin to return. People there are experiencing the time of maximum darkness.
Certainly here though at this time of year we are in the time of most light, I do go into the dark as the sun inches its way through the nadir or lowest point of my chart, which has familial and ancestral themes.
I was trying to explain this to my brother how this time of year holds great grief. It is not something I feel I will “get over”. The dark angel makes her visitations at certain times, it is something that is part of living having gone through experiences where death came close and I saw the threat of light extinguished for a time.
I think we need voices such as mine and Therese’s who give exposure to this side of life. Suicidal thoughts come to me too, I had some yesterday. As Therese noted in her blog today, they do pass in time. It’s a matter of holding through the most painful dark times, until the light begins to dawn again.
There is a saying I first heard in early sobriety. “This too shall pass” and so it will. Everything in nature is subject to death phases. It is one of the reasons my higher power in sobriety was a massive tree. Trees shed leaves at certain times, are in death but death is not an ending : there is a force slumbering there even when no life shows on the surface.
The world turns and life turns again to show its other face. In astrology January is associated with the god Janus who has two faces, one looks back to the old year passing out, the other towards the new year. In the past is sadness, and maybe in the future the possibility of returning light. But it seems to me that all of life in some way reflects doubling, polarity and paradox, which only our modern society tries to erase in its naive quest for an eternal summer.
I have watched two partners walk away from our relationship because they struggled seeing me embraced by the dark. Therese’s partner stands by her and supports her through her dark phases. At this time of year I am aware who walked away, of those who turned their back on me or took a wide berth. I finally have acceptance rather than anger around it Those who choose to leave must go and I understand why. Living with sadness is not easy for some, especially those who had to eradicate it because it was just too much of a burden or too difficult to face.
I know that the clouds that accompany this latest visitation by the dark angel will lift in time, there is even some kind of deep beauty and comfort in being able to cry and feel sad, for at least when this happens energy is moving and I don’t feel as though I am drowning or strangling.
But one thing I question. Is it my protective resistance to further hurt and misunderstanding that holds me back from being with those who are challenged by my vulnerability? I am not sure. In the end it made me sad to not see my brother and yet I felt better and more true to myself for not subjecting myself to what may have been too much for me to bear, at least last night.
On the phone this evening I was genuine and real, I spoke to my limitations and feelings and held nothing back and I felt love in my heart even though I have struggled for years with my brother’s lack of understanding. Maybe it is even more poignant due to the close relationship he had with my Dad, now dead, with whom I never had the opportunity to establish an adult to adult relationship.
For now, even though I feel sad, I am also feeling a kind of peace. There is comfort in the encroaching dusk and the shadows that play across the screen as I write. In giving voice to all of this, I am returned to my deepest self and send this message out into the ether along with the love I feel in my heart informed by and tinged with the deep sadness I feel at present, hoping it will speak to someone.