I long while ago I wrote post on the issue of Neptune and the myth of Orpheus and the subject of looking back.
As many of you may know in myth Orpheus loses his love Eurydice to death but he gets a chance to have her back which means he has to visit the Underworld and the one condition of the rebirth is that he does not look back. As we know he fails in this task, turning around at the last minute and being turned to pillar of salt.
I am not sure where I come out on looking back at the past lately. I know it can continue to exert a powerful hold and the best thing I ever read on the issue comes from the Al Anon daily reader Courage To Change which advises we look back on our past in order to learn about ourselves from it, but without staring and getting fixated there which can happen to many of us who haven’t made the best go of things. We can also tend to end up blaming ourselves for things that we probably were not fully conscious of yet and Neptune comes to mind here as Neptunian issues are deep and confusing and blurry at times, not immediately accessible to conscious awareness. When I write these very words I cannot help but think of the description of alcoholism from the Big Book of AA… “cunning, baffling and powerful.. without help it is too much for us.”
My family was impacted my multigenerational issues of addiction which only came to light when I was about 10 years sober. The roots lay back in Mum’s pass with a great grandfather who turned to drink after emigrating to New Zealand from Cornwall where he had lost his mother at age 12 and then lost two baby girls after arriving in his new home. From the little I know he worked at a brewery and used to terrorise the family when he came home drunk and it was bad enough for my great great grandmother then to leave him when they had given birth to 16 other children.
Eventually my great grandmother who was about the 12th child (and the namesake of the two other girl babies who died as youngsters) moved to Australia with my grandmother and then my grandmother moved to Canberra from Victoria some time in the early 1920s with my grandfather who was gassed during the war. He died when my Mum was only 7 and my Mum and Nana were left to fend alone with no family at all here, my mother was sent to Victoria a lot as a child when her mother could not cope and she was left alone a lot as a youngster and Nana had to leave Mum alone every morning and afternoon as she got no war pension and had to work cleaning offices.
Long story short, after Mum married my Dad and gave birth to 4 children it was my older sister who became the alcoholic and it was she who taught me to drink as a way to escape and ‘have fun’. As I see it alcoholism in away is a reaction to the rigid Protestant Work Ethic which meant you worked hard and then played harder on the weekends often seeking oblivion or a form of forced ecstasy denied from a rigid work schedule.
My own family used alcohol as a way to unwind and our upbringing was very stoic and rigid and stringent, little emotion was expressed or shown but my older sister was very expressive and she liked to have fun but sadly alcohol and other drugs entered the picture and then she overworked and had a cerebral bleed at age 34.
My sister was eventually abandoned my her husband who returned her to us after which she tried to commit suicide when I was 20 years old. She lost contact with her four young boys who were like brothers to me growing up. Neptune sits in my third house of siblings and I have never really been able to sustain heaps of close loving relationships as the one sibling I got on well with drank too much and fell apart and the two others I didn’t really relate to all that well. On top of all of that was the loss of connection withy my nephews who were a lot like brothers to me (due to being closer in age than my own sibligns). We didn’t see them for many years and when they came back into my life about 20 years ago I was newly sober myself having found sobriety in 1993.
A lot of my recovery has involved looking back. I was also set up to care a lot for my older sister who I felt was abandoned and after my father died and it was my mother who had to take care of her it was hard for my ex husband and I to stay overseas and live our own lives. I made the decision to come back in 2001 but I wasn’t completely at peace with it. I then made two more attempts to break away but the second one in 2005 saw me sustain a very major head injury which has affected me to this day. Last night I was awake on fire with head pain and traumatic recall still as the brain injury I sustained at the time left me with nausea running all through my gut and nervous system. People who don’t suffer PTSD may not understand these types of injuries don’t just ‘go away’ the vibrational imprints are there. To this day 13 years later I still take an hour to get to sleep and can spend anything from 1 to 2 hours awake in the middle of the night and then it takes me 2 hours to get up and I can get spins in my body up to 3 times a day where I am down on the floor twisting this way and that. If you have seen footage of World War I survivors all contorted and writhing on the floor you may have some small idea of what I go through for up to 1 – 2 hours at a time up to 3 times on the bad days.
Despite all of this I still blame myself for not being further along but the fact is my family refused to acknowledge how hard it was and were always pushing me to be independent and that is all I know which is why now when I have a chance for depending on someone I am running scared again and finding it hard to accept this support. And I am not even clear here (Neptune again) if I am being too hard on them and they wanted to support but just did not know how, or if it was I who was run, run, running out of fear.
Anyway my natal Neptune squares the Sun Mercury Venus Jupiter and the Nodes in my chart which means my thinking can get confused. I can read things into things that aren’t there sometimes but sometimes I do sense things unspoken that are really there so its not easy. Also with my condition its better for me not spend too much time ‘in my head’. The kind of trauma I had means I was fixed in place or stuck and so I easy go into freeze states where its hard to get moving and I get focused on thoughts revolving around and around in my head. Trauma survivors do tend to get stuck in the past if we don’t get any help resolving it.. so being told to forget it or that we need ‘to get over it’ without offering support or validation is to my mind callous, insensitive and downright emotionally cruel (mind you to lessen the charge of that we need to bear in mind such ideas come out of ignorance and misunderstanding – pure and simple.) That said if we stay fixated on the past we will crash (see previous post.)
Anyway understanding my Natal Neptune means I need to stop blaming myself for the alcoholism and anxious past I grew out of, while taking responsibility for creating a better present. Growing up it was difficult to relax and I was injured badly several time, suffering third degree burns on a foot from one of Mum’s cleaning sprees, a fishhook stuck through the webbing of my toes due to Dad’s carelessness in leaving it lying around, a cut wrist from a broken pane of glass I hit in frustration after being left locked out of the house after school one day and other injuries. I know these are all in the past but I have to remember if I am feeling anxiety now there is a reason and I must try every way I can to find self soothing for my nervous system. A good walk, watching comedy on tele, listening to music are all ways I can relax as are talking to my uncalm self in a more loving way instead of traumatising it all over again with tongue lashings and an ongoing barrage of shame and blame from the inner critic. Its just not fair to be so hard on myself after all I have been through.
I am looking forward this afternoon to continuing to read my new book Calming The Emotional Storm which arrived on Friday. The blow up with my cousin on Wednesday afternoon showed me I need to find new ways to react instead of screaming or blowing up…. Its natural I did as she would not respect my boundary but it left me with a lot of head pain afterwards and also some guilt, which also probably isn’t necessary as I really didn’t do anything wrong.