My sleep cycle has been all over the place for years. It started to be really affected during my Uranus opposition to its natal place in the first house around the time I hit 40. There was a huge amount going on inwardly. I had moved to the UK and really started to ground towards my soul path, starting Jungian therapy and then the psychological astrology course in London.
In June of that year (2001) I had a huge pivotal dream which energetically sent a bolt of energy up my spine and then I experienced the Saturnian block on my Moon. There was a huge pull away from the UK back to my home and the years of trauma that lay in my past like a huge undigested lump of food rattling around deep within me, though I was not fully aware of this at the time.
All this was evoked by my therapist taking one months leave and leaving me with no support at all. It didn’t take long before all my deep fears were triggered, there were many other combined stresses, we had to move house, I had to travel back and forward to London on weekends after working and my husband went on holiday without me. Things started to blow apart and I pulled the pin on everything, feeling it was all too much to hold. At that stage I had only a very superficial insight into my deeper self and the forces that were driving me. That could only emerge out of the complex struggle of the next 14 years (and this relates to the breaking apart and building insights of Saturn which grow from opposition to conjunction.)
I now realise it was really all to be expected, the entire world was in the midst of the Saturn opposition to transiting Pluto at that time. It affects some of us with Saturn Pluto aspects to the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury or Venus more powerfully. Here is where we meet our fear of death and fear of change, where the forces of deep change hit the resistance of entrenched systems, ways of viewing reality and psychological defences. Huge forces were breaking open in the collective sphere with 9/11 around this time and undergoing a face off.
For me Pluto was transiting the Fourth House where Saturn in Sagittarius is transiting now and transiting Saturn in Gemini was close to my midheaven and opposing the fourth house cusp which has a lot to do with the ancestral legacy. Ours involved migrations back and forward between the UK, New Zealand and Australia, but I was not to know that then. This would all come to light over the next four to five years.
My husband and I returned to Oz and then my sleep cycle started to go out. It was not long before I was back on a plane to the UK but that visit only lasted 6 months. Entrenched forces in me and in my family and in my husband were coming to logger heads. In a few years we had separated, he had returned to the UK leaving me alone with a big house to sell and pack up at the South Coast in Australia. I was truly in the midlife wilderness, like Dante I found myself at the age of 42 in a deep dark wood surrounded by brambles and thickets.
I made another attempt to go back to the UK six months later but following a cranio sacral session to deal with an accident trauma in which I nearly lost my life at age 17 the entire subconscious was evoked and I awoke to find myself flat on my back in an ambulance with a paramedic looking down on me. Chiron was on my Mars Saturn Moon. I had gone over the handle bars of my bike and hit my head on an iron foundary in the Mill Road and had cut my head open.
The injuries I had sustained were not a serious as the ones which left me hospitalised for 3 months in 1979 but traumatic never the less. I was boarding with a family who didn’t really want a damaged person around and I started to experience very severe PTSD symptoms, dissociation, feelings of splitting between waking and reality, intense anxiety and fear and lots of anger spurts associated with complex grieving and Complex PTSD. I was grieving for my lost marriage and for all the losses that as an active alcoholic I could not feel or express until I got sober, the loss of the father who was never really there emotionally for me, the loss of my sister to a cerebral stroke, the loss of my chance to pursue my true path, so many losses I was not even fully aware of and which became even harder to negotiate on the back of yet another major trauma.
When we are in trauma, we don’t really know we are in trauma (on one level we do) but our old way of being has been overpowered by far larger forces with which we now wrestle. I was reflecting upon it this morning when I was in the liminal phase between conscious awareness and the subconscious dreaming or paralysis of sleep. In trauma it is as though the tectonic plates of being split apart and a fissure opens up. The two plates have a different rhythm and force, they rub up against each other and at times move in different directions. Often they create a huge tear in our consciousness which sucks us down into depression, we are pulled on by all kinds of imprints lodged in our cell tissues.
Upon waking (especially if our trauma involved a loss of consciousness – and often we black out on some level before or after accidents or trauma) the subconscious containing the trauma imprints is always hovering at the edges and setting up a magnetic charge pulling us in to unconsciousness, dreaming and the electric buzz/hum of trauma sensation/symptom which is very complex and difficult to explain in words. And then we have the waking world that we wish we could participate in but we often cannot, especially if we are grieving. For our preoccupation with what we have lost and the sadness we need to feel and release is a real pull too, that demands our psychic and emotional attention. And then we meet ourselves hard up against misunderstanding and the entrenched bias of a world that lacks the depth of insight and often demands we change back or block the very intense emotions associated with trauma. And healing does involve at some point a stepping away from these intense states, but that stepping away or letting go is actually a process of experiencing, attending to and releasing that cannot be fully addressed by self will. Trauma has its own process. Our body will not be forced or lied to.
Trauma takes us into the world of the inbetween.
Talking about it with my therapist yesterday she reminded me that it is the shaman who bridges this world and lives in the gaps. His or her work is helping us travel between and negotiate both worlds.
With Mercury retrograde now (and I have this aspect in my natal chart too) I cant help but think of the shaman as a mercurial figure. He or she crosses between the outer world and inner or underworld and is tasked with job of bearing witness to suffering and providing a place within which it can be heard, expressed, honoured, contained and eventually released. She or he has the empathy and insight to hear the distress of the captured soul that is stolen or removed from the person when they undergo any kind of deeply Plutonian experience, loss, trauma, abuse, betrayal, deaths, accidents, anything that tears apart and fractures our world. I would like to share about a potent myth in another blog which speaks of this process : the myth of the twin sisters Innana and Erishkegal. This myth speaks about the shaman’s capacity to bear witness. Some of us have this understanding, this gift.
I had a soul retrieval done around the time my husband and I separated. I remember as it was being done remotely (the shaman was in America) I had a dream that I was travelling over a very harsh and rocky landscape, something pulled me up and away from the bumpy road for a time. This dream was so prophetic and so true. I had huge speed bumps to hit on the path and I am still travelling over that bumpy road, the only difference now is that I am with a very good therapist and I have done so much inner work that the two worlds are starting to knit back together for me and the bumps are much easier to negotiate.
But there are times (and most potently during the Mercury retrograde transits) that I am pulled inwards more dramatically and the split between mind and body becomes more apparent to me. There is an opening to and bleeding through of dream images which speak of very real lived psychological, emotional, bodily and spiritual realities, different phases of being and experience that intermesh.
In trauma we often get split off or dissociated from the body. This occurs as sensation becomes too painful for us to cope with. We pull back as the observer and this is good on one level as it will be this observer self in the end who will help us heal trauma, hopefully in time. Healing and renegotiating with trauma involves befriending and learning to develop a tolerance for extreme sensation, a willingness to be with our pain for in doing so gently, consistently we are calling the soul back home to the body.
But we also need to make a lot of time to be loving with our body and make sure we provide a healing antidote to the horrific trauma of painful sensation by providing or body with lots of experiences of love, attention and connection. We can speak kindly to our pain. We can listen to our body. We can soothe it in some way. Give our body a massage. Take an aromatherapy bath. We can take our body away from stressful situations into nature. We can be with animals who live closer to the instinctual realm. We can care for and nurture our body through and pendulate or move between the intense painful states and the soothing ones.
There is so much more I wanted to say in this blog today. And I am aware it has gone all over the place and as I have read it back I see it has different blogs within one. My judging analytical minds has kicked in and my body is setting up a pull and screaming. Feed Me!! Writing helps me negotiate the two worlds but there also comes a time when I need to leave the keyboard for a time to touch base with my body in nature.
Due to what I have lived am always aware of the challenging dichotomy between heart and head, being and doing, body and mind. The trick in healing for me and during this current Mercury retrograde taking place in a sign that has much to do with the body, mothering and nurture/nature – Virgo is to realise that it is trying to hold onto a relationship with both polarities, finding ways to connect, balance and interweave them that I find some kind of wholeness, healing and resolution.
The symbol of the cadeucus has been very much on my mind over the past week. I see it as a mercurial symbol. Doctors use it . I have the sense of the serpentine energy which links different streams of being and dimensions of experiences around a central pole of Self. Our mercurial journey involves circumnavigation of our senses, emotions, past, presents, hates, loves, angsts, joys, of all our rich experiences painful and pleasant. We cover the ground again and again and with each perambulation we are weaving and interweaving the disparate and torn apart thread of our lives and traumas into a new pattern a new weave, a new warp and weft. This to me seems a fitting image to end this blog on. It is the shaman’s journey that we who are cursed and blessed by trauma must traverse.