At the ending… is a new beginning : reflections on bearing with and growing through pain

Ever feel like you have reached the end of a huge journey?  One that seemed to take ages and took you down so many twisted, convoluted, difficult pathways at times you felt like you would never find home or find yourself on solid ground again?

Ever felt like an avalanche had fallen on you very soul, that you were weighted down with the burden of so much painful “stuff” that you could never rise again?   It seems difficult to breathe with all that is pressing down and you are fighting to stay alive but the fighting is at the same time about bearing with the burden of all that is coming down, that must be felt, accepted, surrendered to and through the surrendering, shed?

Ever felt like it would never end in the depths of the darkest night that it was all too painful and hopeless to bear?

And then have you ever woken to find the landscape cleared by the avalanche, your toes touching fresh soil and the view you have is vast, but it was a vastness that came out of a heap of pain finally accepted.

Addicts like to run from pain.  We don’t want to have to face the tough stuff.  Its not only that its that when we were young containers that would help us to contain, soothe and make sense of our painful feelings were absent.  Or we were loaded with the painful unresolved stuff of others who could not bear their own darkness, insecurity and confusion so dumped it into us without us knowing.

We go forward into life longing for an Eden where these inner feelings of confusion and pain will disappear, we may actively seek it through a host of addictions, not even knowing what the pain is about our what we are doing, just acting out the wound unconsciously, until some kind of turning point comes, a rock bottom where we are not able to run and hide any longer but must start to face up to the part we have played in perpetrating our own pain, due to our unconsciousness and launch on a path to recognising how we got set up to play the game in the first place.

Certain deep revelations have been being integrated by me over the past weeks.  Its no mistake that Saturn has been stationing to move forward over the past few weeks. For me it will soon pass out of the third house for the final time, crossing the IC of the chart which has to do with birth, psychic foundations and the inward basis of security that we need to find in order to begin a time of building towards a form of self expression which honours the unique fate and karma of our past, without being trapped in it by a victim consciousness.

At the moment Saturn is transiting in waxing square to my natal Uranus in the first soon it will repeat the waning square aspect to Chiron in the seventh and the waxing square to natal Pluto in my first.  It seems on the weekend I entered a very dark space of understanding the full impact of all the Uranian shocks, separations and dramatic tearing apart events that I experienced from the time of Uranus moving towards the waxing square with its natal position (the degrees of where Saturn is now transiting, it is giving me a deeper insight into my dharma/karma as one born with Uranus in the first.

I am never going to have been a person with a normal kind of history.  I will have an inherent tendency to be a bit of a loner (most especially with Pluto in the first two).  Part of my identity will be tied up with being a shock force in others lives at times and I wont find it easy to fit in or just go with the normal flow of things.  I will often feel separate or apart.  Its not just about my history, I am now beginning to see, this position is tied up with needed to be a revolutionary in some small way, most especially I hope it will and does involved being a revolutionary to my past conditioning, understanding it, gaining intuitive insight and being reborn on some level.  At the ending is the new beginning.  Shattering happens for a purpose.

Ever noticed when you are on the brink of change that things begin to break?  I remember when my marriage was ending my partner threw a glass across the room and it shattered into fragments.  This was my Uranus opposition to natal Uranus and the Furies were being unleashed as I was taking some time out for me.  He didn’t like it and was justifiably mad.  If I chose not to make the break for a time the Furies would probably have been unleashed inside me.  Its not easy to change.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs, so the saying goes.

In the end the Furies were sent back to me when my partner walked out, 11 years ago tomorrow.  We were married 11 years in all so perhaps there is now an end to the grief that was felt in that ending, an ending whose pain evoked the pain of so many other endings, so many losses never fully grieved.

There is a wonderful book by the Jungian therapist, Murray Stein that I read many years ago called In Midlife.  In that book Murray talks of the midlife passage being a time when we bury the corpse of ourselves, of the conditioned self, of all the losses large and small that have made up the first half (hopefully) of our lives, all the wrong turnings that led to pain, all the sadness of not living as our true selves (if over years we only lived out of the false self).

In this prolonged journey that may take many years we are undergoing a psychic death rebirth experience that we can choose or not choose to consciously participate in.  While it is happening this dark night may just consume us totally.  We may find ourselves crippled by a terrible depression and yet hiding in the shadows of that dark place are so many things we need to feel and release and grieve.  The experience of that grief will be the necessary cost of our new life emerging, a sacrifice of old hopes, dreams and ideals.  Much of this is not fully conscious when it is happening, only made obvious once we are to some degree on our way out of the dark woods, Dante spoke of.

I guess this is what I am feeling today, this sense of emerging from the dark wood.  I am aware the transiting Sun is just following Mercury out of the 12th house of my chart today.  Mars is about half a sign behind it, still buried deep in the middle of the 12th house (but soon to be leaving the sign Cancer of deep memory and feelings).  Today I am feeling the warmth of some of the Sun’s rays emerging over the horizon. There is a dim light at this stage and it is not as dark and cold as it was.  I am getting insights into so much.

I had a huge outburst a few weeks ago with my family.  I unleashed the Furies on them over a lot of stuff I had been internalising (in true Mars Saturn Moon in the 6th fashion) over many years.  At the time the Furies were mirrored back to me in a sense of outrage and yet the relationship survived the unleashing of it.   Getting it out of my system has helped me.  The two people involved have Saturn square to my Moon, Mars, Sun, Venus and Mercury and smack bang on my natal Neptune.  Where I want to go deep, there I hit a wall.  It is a necessary wall.  It is a wall that will help me to mature,  it is a wall that will make my unruly idealistic self righteous Uranus in the first come to grips with some painful realities that don’t live up to my Promethian ideal.

Last week I re read the book The Scapegoat Complex by Sylvia Bretton Perrera and saw my journey on many pages.  I came across the following that seemed to sum up where I am at the moment:

She …(began) to sacrifice her demand for a perfect mirroring from her therapist and her family as she began to sacrifice the demand for a lost paradise state and to accept the true burden that was her life.

The burden in my case is the burden of a childhood in which insufficient mirroring and bonding was given to help me deal with painful feelings and develop a healthy relationship with them, my body, my true feelings and self, with my insides.  This burden led me to addiction and to much damage the full pain of which had to be felt, the true anger of which borne with and transformed, integrated over time.  In her book Perrera associates the Scapegoated Individual as the one who is marked out as the shit eater.  In myth there is a figure who takes the shadow stuff of the family, into its mouth, all the poisons and transforms them.  This she has seen is often the role of someone in the family who has to carry the burden of rejected qualities and feelings.

One of the complex and thorny problems of having suffered and failed to develop a healthy narcissism in childhood relates to our tendency to identify with the victim role and with suffering as a lifestyle.  Our inverted healthy narcissism fallen into the shadows acts as a magnet to attract us to overt narcissists who cannot honor us, as we cannot honor ourselves.  The pain of this sets us on a journey to heal.  Suffering is the price of our release.

Learning new ways to be with and contain intense and painful feelings and understand the message they have for us, brings an end to unnecessary suffering.  Letting go of the victim/scapegoat role, frees those of us who have suffered under it for a new life, one in which we love even our most vulnerable feeling self without apology or shame and in and through loving it mature, learning to make less impossible, unrealistic demands.  In the ending of that old pattern, lies our new beginning.  We can let pain go and recognise it as our necessary teacher.

Its a fine line this, feeling our pain to contain, transform and release it without  being trapped by it, weighed under buried or drowned.  Maybe for a time we do drown but if we can keep with it we will surface again.  Pain will leave its scars on us, through these we will become human, humble, both small and large, but not in a grandiose but rather a majestic way.  One that lets us be a light and recognise ourselves as part of a greater light, one we can share and spread and use to warm our souls and the souls of others following behind on the same path out of the dark night, into the light.

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