A bit lost? : a meandering journey through family karma

I had a retrogressive day yesterday.  I was back in the hard to get dressed and out of the house deep introspective mode yesterday after talk in therapy on Tuesday I shared about yesterday around how my needs were not met.  And yet when I come to think of it its the same burden both my parents carried and was generational.  I seem to be carrying the end of the line abandonment trauma that goes generations back and all my siblings are carrying their own version of it.  I havent passed it on to any children as I decided not to have them and have chosen to do my inner work.  So why beat myself up like I did yesterday?

I think what triggered me was that I had once again tried to heal the pain in my Mum’s heart or at least soothe it in some way.  She shared that on Saturday she stayed in bed, a family friend tried to visit to give her flowers and she slept through their buzzing at the door, the friend called my sister who let her in and they were sitting on the edge of the bed when she woke up.  May I say this friend has so many abandonment issues herself which have manifested in schizophrenia in her daughter.   It reminds me that our wounds are not just ours and we are all reflectors, or birds of a feather flocking together.  Anyway the movie Shall We Dance was on television her on Friday night and Mum was sharing how she loves the scene where Richard Gere comes up the elevator with a rose for his wife and that made me realise how much Mum was missing Dad who loved to dance too and so I went out on Sunday to buy her the movie which I dropped around after therapy on Tuesday.

Mum kept up her front until just before I left when she broke down in tears about the pre dinner nausea she suffers sharing with me she dry retched before each dinner.  She has been on pain meds for over a year now and they are taking her toll.  I wish she had fucking therapy so she could cry the pain out of her body or body therapy where they could hold her as she has had to hold it all inside. That is the time of day she was left alone after her father died when she was 7 and Nana had to leave her to go out to work.  It breaks my heart but I didn’t cause it cannot control it and there is no way I can cure her soul burdens and losses for her,  I am just a witness and the carrier and I also suffer at that time of day.  As Kat and I discussed on Tuesday the inner child in me with her magical thinking cannot quite get it that she can’t help or fix any of this, she so desperately feels all that pain and tries to something, anything to help.

Anyway yesterday after phoning her to find a friend was taking her out I just started crying.  It’s such a burden for me to carry all this.  They were going to the Botanic Garden to have lunch on what is an elevated platform only later did it occur to me that just prior to this I had awoke from a dream in which I joined her and her best friend on a roof top looking out over a city.  Was I picking up psychically on this? As an empathic intuitive it seems my soul psyche is picking up all kinds of energy in the ether.

As an astrological aside both women are Scorpios, we are still in Scorpio time and that is death time and about deeper emotional wounds that go underground, both lost partners, both have schisms with family members.   I struggled with all of this yesterday and with my understanding of how I am some kind of conduit on some level.  Mum asked me to lunch with her and her friend but I couldn’t go.  Maybe if I had my day would have been better but I am still trying to find my independent life.  On some days I wonder if that is an illusion and if my karmic destiny isn’t in some way related to this, to bringing forward deeper understandings about an ancestral past that is trying to find resolution in me? I don’t yet know the answer,  I just have a lot of intuitions and questions.

Other heart concerns of yesterday : my oldest nephew`s wife has been trying to fall pregnant for over 10 years.  They had their final try two weeks ago with implanted embryos and it failed again (this is about their 10th or more attempt of some kind).  This is the wife of the oldest son of my sister who died.  He was the one who found her collapsed on the carpet after her bleed.  He was the one who took himself off to live miles away overseas.  He has achieved a lot but he goes through such a struggle every time he comes back here to visit trying to reconnect.  He carries the knowledge of how his father abandoned my sister and of how his father then bankrupted his own mother and father, I cannot help but feel this struggle to have kids is all tied up with ancestral karma and burdens.  They now live in the UK very close to the place my step grandfather was born and grew up and UK is the land of our ancestors.

Then I go online to Facebook to see another of the skulls his younger brother paints with floral designs staring out and I cannot help but feel the God Pluto looking at me from the spaces in the skull that eyes should inhabit.  This beautiful boy at the age of 6 stood behind the curtain watching as his Dad put my broken sister into the car to take her to the airport for a journey she would never return from.  I believe he told the boys she has chosen to leave, they never saw her for 8 or more years and when they walked off that bus they did not know who she was.  The truth was their father was, with that decision, abandoning their mother to live with another woman who made them all sleep in the garage for years.  They were then sent to boarding school.

I have not yet made it north to visit my nephews.  I need to do it but I am scared to.  I carry the memory of all of this from the outside, what happens if I go up and collapse under the weight of it?  It isn’t mine to fix I was only a bystander but I still want (no need) to give them love, comfort, understanding.   Its such a tear on my heart but maintaining my Aquarian distance isn`t helping, is it?

I am aware that Saturn Lord of Karma is ending its long cycle through my fourth house of family, roots and karmic inheritance sometime in December or January.  We are in the final stages of that year long cycle which begins when the Sun and Saturn meet to cast light on family karma.  Reconciling or breaking the powerful unconscious hold of karma occurs as it transits the fourth house.  These are truths I know deep inside.  In the words of Mark Woitiz, It Didn’t Start With Me but I hope it ends here.  I want us connected, not separated or divided but sometimes it seems I forget or don’t know exactly what role I am meant to play or whether I am supposed to be here or walk away or if I can really help in that task with my own small will.  I don`t want to walk away, that is an old family pattern and where ever we go we take our karma with us until we reconcile the ill matched threads of our fate.  Maybe on some level I am now making my peace with it.

Separating : birthing : integrating

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Its such a tough journey to finally get to the point where we have to let our families go in order to birth the true life and connections that exist outside of its circumscribed limits.  Therapy and emotional healing is a process of both coming to terms with and integrating all of the formative experiences of our past, as well as the deeper hurts and injuries that happened to us in our family of origin.   Many of us battle for a long time against accepting harsh realties most especially if we were wounded or suffered developmental arrests and lost access to our True Self within over many years.  Abandonment gives us no way of accessing the truth of the lost self except through pain which is challenging to feel and integrate, especially in a society where pain is seen as a pathology or illness to be medicated instead of mined for wisdom, growth, connection and meaning.

In my own case a developmental arrest occurred at 17 when I should have been on the brink of opening up and launching.  I was cut down by an accident and then in the 6 years that followed the following traumas occurred : the cerebral bleed, coma and eventual psychosis of my older sister, her eventual abandonment and suicide attempt, two terminations of pregnancy and then my father’s death from cancer.  After my boyfriend broke the relationship off with me just a few weeks after my father died and cancelled our plans to meet abroad, something I had been working and saving towards for over 18 months my mother then decided it was best to push me overseas all alone.

How I was meant to cope with everything I had suffered to that point God only knows. And the truth is its deeper suffering was not even begun to be felt by me for about 14 more years.  I call those the years of unconscious descent, as 7 of them involved active addiction and the next 7 were just spent in AA meetings where it was really not possible to address the extent of my damage.   In 1999 I made my first attempt at therapy and here it is 18 years later and I only feel that I have now done the majority of my conscious descent, which had involved a lot of therapy and broken therapies in order to find the right help.

I only now feel that I am beginning to separate from my family emotionally.  The paradox is that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the suffering fully, in fact I feel it means I feel it at the deepest level as I have chosen not to self medicate as much as possible.  At times I have been very close to suicide, most especially in the past 6 years spent back here in my home town.  I beat myself up all the time about how I didn’t have the courage to move away and deal with it from a distance.  Maybe it was partly the illusion of the inner child pulling me back making me believe that in some way I would get what I wanted emotionally or at least be able to address the pain with family.  That illusion has caused me a lot of emotional suffering and has cost me years and the pain over all that lost life honestly on some days nearly drives me to want to take my life.  It is taking a long time for adult me to emerge and front up, and face the death of those old longings which I see now are not realistic and never were really.  There is a lot of grieving to be done in the shedding and the letting go and fear I am becoming aware does accompany the conscious descent that is asked of us.  In fact I read many years ago that poet Robert Bly spoke of how depression is a refusal on some level often to surrender to deeper grief work.  Only through it do we reunite with the lost child in side who holds so much of our power and inner gold, although often when we find him or her, he or she is most often covered in soot and ashes, this unparented one who is often also a part of our parents’ unconscious.

Anyway I am certainly not alone in facing this kind of pain in midlife.  My journey is made more complex due to two near death traumas which pulled me back when I was on the brink of what should have been a blossoming and emerging or burgeoning time.  My studies suffered in the years following my first accident as I also struggled with the terrible impact of witnessing what my older sister went through.  I was forced by my father at that point into a career I hated and it wasn’t until just before I got sober that I tried to break out of that but addiction wouldn’t let me move too far forward and at that time even more traumas and losses had piled on top of the original ones.

I eventually did manage to do some training in wholistic therapies and managed to secure myself a few jobs in an industry that was more to my liking but I hadn’t yet done my inner work, instead I chose to escape into marriage.   In those years I got sober and started then to really explore my interest in astrology and in 2001 managed to achieve a dream to study at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London which I aborted when my older sister who was now in a care home hit the wall. I also started serious therapy in 1999 in the UK but mid way through I had a powerful dream that an dark African woman had given birth to a baby who died just after its first birthday.  About a year and a half into therapy I aborted to come back home.  In the dream the deep sad eyes of the woman shone as she told me it was a necessary death.

And so it has been.  Death and more death followed.  The ending of marriage, another accident and then another, another relationship and the failing of that and my eventual return to the roots of my home and then a new start in therapy, the suicide attempt of my other sister, five hospitalisations for her for depression which I tried to give emotional support through and then the death of my older sister in 2014 and reconnection with my nephews her sons who were like my long lost brothers.

Wiser energy comes now on a spring afternoon where shadows begin to fall telling me it was all a part of the journey. Why beat myself up?  Will I ever fully leave my family behind?  They were the womb I was born out of but not the place that I am meant to end up but individuation is a journey and its not an easy birth to go through it all and in so many ways my own life is both a continuation of my ancestors life as well as a working out of issues and burdens and tasks they perhaps never got to complete fully which call to me from deep within intercellular tissue, at least that is how it feels for me. Even the ones I never met call to me and I feel their pain and deeper longing to be known and recognised, no longer so lost, exiled or forgotten, fallen deep down into the collective unconscious ocean like stones.  Possibly all configured by my natal Neptune in the third trine to Chiron in Pisces in the seventh more than I could ever fully express in words here.

So much to navigate and not all of it artificial imagining I am sure.  So I continue on some days weighed down so deep by a burden I never chose, but then on other days rising again with a new energy and power that has come from facing and surrendering myself body and soul to the deepest darkness.  So much is a mystery that is all I know.  So many unseen forces play out for us and we can never fully hope to solve the puzzle with our minds but if we still enough at times we hear the inner voice or call telling us things.  Our personal and ancestral soul trying so hard to make its authentic individual voice and inner purpose known.

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An instrument of awakening

I have some powerful moments of realisation at times.  You know the feeling where a new vista opens up on past issues and you suddenly see things from a new and different perspective?  Often it occurs after a long, long period of suffering and questioning.  You descend to the depths in order to see things at a more profound level, so that in some mysterious way the deeper you go the higher your view.

Today I had the thought about my brother in law, the one who caused so much pain and fracturing for our family, or rather was the instigator of a lot of it, what if he was just an instrument of awakening and what also if he carried some of the family shadow?   My Dad for most of his later life was preoccupied with financial success.  Deep down he was a soft man, but born to harsh conditions in 1920 in Holland.  He was also born in a patriarchal world.

I had a counsellor for a while, who was herself Dutch about 4 years ago and when I explained how my father treated his daughters and displayed little affection physically, she told me that was usual for Dutch fathers of his age.  He also did not believe that women should pursue further education to advance a career.  In my case I was forced to go to secretarial college, which I hated and my older sister who had the stroke became a nurse when she would rather have gone to Uni.

Anyway to cut a long story short, my father was responsible and strove and did well, but my brother in law ended up falling short, getting into debt, absconding with the family then sending some of the boys back when things got too hard after he abandoned my sister.  I don’t know the full story, in the end he hurt my sister deeply but she always forgave because that is the kind of heart that she had.  Perhaps she understood more of how hard she pushed to try and move them forward in a way to which he may not have been suited.

The entire result was devastating in every way.  It has marred so many lives including my own.  But today when I rose a little while ago to see the Sun shining I felt a kind of awakening.  What if all of these trials were for a larger purpose of awakening?  What about if our family had to go through all of this separation and disconnection so that in the end it could come back together in a healthier or different way?  What if we could make gold out of this blackness and see how old patterns were actually trying to be arrested?  And what if love was the answer?  Loving something even though it contained such pain?

I also awoke today thinking a lot about alchemy and containment.  For the purposes of maturing we need to contain our impulses and emotions in a healthy way.  We should not repress what we feel but we do need to make a relationship with feelings, most importantly with our reactions to difficult events.  Things not going our own way is challenging for sure.  Having to face frustration of our needs and impulses is so challenging, deeply painful but also essential and important. In order to be emotionally and physically healthy in our world we need the drive and ability and power to express our spirit in some way, rather than have it blocked.  At the same time it seems to me that containing and working through our frustrations, losses and thwartings and handling the associated feelings involves a kind of alchemy.  We have to digest our experiences often over a long period.

This is where the sign of Virgo comes in that we in now.  Mercury is retrograde in Virgo at the moment. It has been for some weeks.  For me it hit the deepest part of my chart when it stationed backward a few weeks ago.  It hit my Pluto.  We had the lunar and solar eclipses during this time.  Personally I have felt so much going on in my physical and emotional digestive system.  The sign of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and I was thinking today that we actually have two brains in our system.  There is the brain in our head as well as the brain in our gut.  I read in a book by trauma specialist, Peter Levine a few years ago that for every nerve fibre travelling from the brain to the gut we have 10 more travelling in the other direction.

Our deepest emotions live in our gut. This too, is where the inner child lives (in esoteric astrology the sign of Virgo is ruled not only by Mercury but by the Moon which relates to emotions and our inner child).  The gut is where we digest things and experiences and process them to then make sense of them in our brains. What is processed here is also passed onto other organs such as the kidneys and liver.  Add to this that we have a heart too that is ruled by the Sun and fiery Leo where we feel the will to both love and expression.

When that fire goes out our vital spirit feels almost dead. It is hard to eat and even to breathe as our heart connects so closely to the lungs (ruled by Gemini and Mercury too).  We have to process things.  We have to contain them.  We have to chew the raw food of experience over and over in order to gain the right understanding and nutrition, wisdom, intelligence and insight.

And I guess that during this current Mercury retrograde period that is what has been happening for me.  I have began to make sense of the fact that perhaps every thing that happened to my sister via my brother in law was really the working out of something deeper, some thing that had lessons for all of us.

It seems to me that often when we blame circumstances in some way we miss the deeper understandings that can come.  You see it all the time when tragedy strikes, people quickly rush to blame or seek the person or person’s responsible and punish them.  And most certainly people should be held to account.  But what if when tragedy strikes really there is deeper work than this to be done?   If we don’t stop and grieve and allow our pain to go deeper and teach us important things or birth deeper realisations it seems to me that we can often miss the deeper truth or meaning or purpose of the experience.

In my own case I am seeing now how much fear I have carried in my own life.  I was scared of my brother in law in many ways.  I linked that fear to fear of being close to my nephews in some way in therapy yesterday.  I both longed for connection and feared it.  Would they be safe? Would they end up hurting or abandoning me in the way their father did my sister?  Is it any wonder I felt so much fear?  That in the years following my sister’s abandonment and suicide attempt that I had 6 terminations of pregnancy and untold difficulties in getting close to any man in a deeply intimate way?   That I myself, came to fear life and love and risk as well as full embodiment?

The answer is NO its obvious that is how it would have affected most of us!  In the end I would rather this experience never had to befall any of us in my family, but the truth is that it did.  And now our task or my task is to live in the best way with the result and after examining the forces and impact make new choices for happiness or at least gain deeper insight into my fears.

I spoke in an earlier post about the wave I felt pass over me last week and weekend with my nephew’s visit.  I thought a lot yesterday about how much I can actually fear my own feelings and fear having them in relationship.  I intellectualise a lot because I was left alone for most of my life trying to make sense of deeply painful and confusing experiences in the adult world that befell both me and others.   I learned often to take myself off alone.  I learned to knee jerk react and act without containing often as a reaction to over whelming stress and then I hit walls with accidents which pulled me up short, but maybe for a reason, so that I could internalise to then be able to make a more conscious step forward, one that was not so dictated by trauma but informed by it, if that makes sense.

Today that is the realisation and reckoning I am arriving at.  Mercury moves back into the final degrees of Leo in a few days where it slows to station forward.  As it does it hits the degree of the Solar Eclipse of 21-22 August.  That is right on natal Uranus in the first house which is all about individuation, shock, disconnection, severing, enlightenment and awakening.  Oh and freedom!  But its also about turning away at times from the instinctual world of feeling to a realm of intellectual understanding which at times can be a divorced or disconnected from earthly containment and emotional realities.  In the best sense enlightenment brings light to those deeper darker Plutonian experiences and emotions we all go through.  Hopefully in the end deeper understanding when digested helps us and will help me embody more and no longer split.  Maybe it will help me to ground, turn back, embody and make peace with the earthly shackles of a far from perfect or ideal life and experiences which were so often so far beyond my own control.

Mum, I feel your pain

As a highly sensitive person were you attuned to pick up on one of your parent’s pain?  It is something I have been thinking about a lot more after a dinner out last night with my Mum, older brother and sister.  We very rarely get together and what I noticed is how shut down both my siblings are to my mother on an emotional inner child level.

I have a deep feeling that my 8 year older sister has a lot of unresolved anger to my Mum.  It used to come out in harsh criticism and I am sure there a lot of things she has to be angry about.  My Mum often tends to compete with her and they are so alike that often when they go out they turn up dressed the same without knowing before what the other one was going to wear.  When my sister was struggling with so called ‘bi polar disorder’ I witnessed several arguments in which my Mum tried to undermine my sister.  Last week I had one of the most honest conversations I have ever had with my sister.  “Mum never made it easy for us to separate from her emotionally”, she said.  Wow!

I watched the whole thing play out.  How my sister was forceably hospitalised by her sons, how my Mum struggled to accept her part in the way she had shaped my sister in terms of taking responsibility and then how she called my brother in to put out the fire.  Being in recovery I sat on the sidelines and tried my best not to get too swept up in it all, I was struggling at the time following my own divorce.

Anyway I got a bit off track there.  I am aware that as the ‘baby’ of the family I have absorbed and replayed a lot of my Mum’s inner child abandonment issues.  When I first got sober back in 1993 Mum made a very interesting comment to me. She said “Each of my children has absorbed something from me.”  “What have I absorbed”, I asked.  “You have absorbed all my insecurity.”  Wow thanks for that Mum, I got to be left alone a lot and then tried to become a satellite in order to be seen but was so rarely seen.

Such a pattern has often attracted strong older sister or mother types into my life who seem to hold a lot of power but also exist behind solid defences.  I am presently learning to hold onto my own sense of self in such relationships and remain the adult rather than repay an old adult/child pattern.   As a perceptive person I pick up a lot, most especially of others suffering and I have in sobriety spent so many times listening to my Mum’s history, learning things none of my siblings even know since I guess they are not on any kind of emotional recovery journey.  My older sister died and my other sister has chosen medication and sport as a way to deal with her own challenges.  I don’t put myself above her as I often feel I should exercise more and it is one way of throwing off other people’s stuff but as someone in recovery I am also aware of how exercise can be used as an emotional escape if the inner work on feelings is not being done.

Anyway last night I was very conscious of sitting with my Mum and listening to the pain of her past, and of the sadness she held inside when she spoke of how no one seemed interested in the family to ask her anything about her childhood or even very key critical events in the history of her early life with my father.   I don’t take it on as a burden for understanding my Mum and Dad’s history, especially their inner child history and bonding history has been important to understand my own attachment issues. But I do have to be aware that my Mum’s pain is not mine to fix or heal in any way.

As an empath I can bear witness and sometimes I wish I could be as hard and defended as my brother and sister seem to be towards my Mum’s sadness.  Maybe as the older ones they see things I don’t see.  And I am not really close enough to them to ask certain questions, as I don’t know how much I could trust their answers.  I am also aware of the astrological synastry which involves interconnection between parent and child and shows which traits we pick up and which we defend against.  In my own case my Neptune in Scorpio that is attuned to deep watery realms of feeling and inner sense on the deeper personal and collective unconscious level is smack bang on three Scorpio planets of my Mum.  While my sister has Saturn in Scorpio which related to fear of feeling deep emotions and subsequently erecting powerful defences.  I feel lucky to have that kind of knowledge which helps me make sense of why I pick up and attune to so much.

A voracious inner critic : some reflections on self judgement

I seem to have a very tenacious and resilient inner judge living deep inside my psyche.  When I personify this force it becomes a ‘he’ though I am sure the things that judge or Mr A as I used to like to call him says are actually an amalgam of things said to me in childhood more by the nuns at my Catholic school than my parents alone.  The nuns were actually female, but come to think of it most of them were squashed in their true deep vibrant sexually alive feminine, really.

I was discussing this in therapy with Katina yesterday.   Mr A runs an ongoing commentary on everything I do, casting his wet blanket on it.   For example, last night after a very emotional session with Katina where I read her a blog I wrote on Monday about memories and deep emotions that were coming up for me this week over the loss of my life in England many years ago I wrote a poem Goodbye to the Meadows.  Immediately after I published it the criticism from Mr A rained down.    “Do you think you are going to get any likes on that poem which is full of sentimental nostalgia for things long gone by, things lost that you can never have again?”  “And in any case don’t you think you are romanticising everything?” “For God’s sake the past is gone, you will never get it back!”  Thanks Mr A for your compassionate support and I am grateful for your healthy dash of realism, but!

Surprise, surprise.  After walking back to the shopping centre after dropping my car off for a service I opened my email to find 8 likes on my post which I read back and just seemed to be a very heartfelt expression of the sadness I felt yesterday and the tears of longing and love shed for our narrow long backyard with a Walnut tree at the end which looked over fields and was home to various wildlife, including squirrels and robins, all gorgeous little creatures we don’t see much in Australia.  Why did the inner critic have to give me such a hard time?

Come to think of it, though I am only one of the millions or others who probably suffer at the hands of these kind of inner voices.   I am not entirely sure but I feel that on some level this voracious inner critic tries to keep us safe in some sad or deeply confused way. If he can beat us up before others do maybe we won’t hurt so much if we get outside criticism.

One of his favourite things to say is this:  “Just you watch out that you don’t get too big for your boots, young missy.”   As a dramatic and open child who was very expressive and loving I didn’t really meet much support of those kind of qualities in my own family.  And at our dour Catholic school you were more than likely to get a harsh rap over the knuckles if you let yourself get carried away or showed too much initiative.  I remember once getting a bollocking from Sister Rita for daring to go to the cupboard and open a new box of tissues.  With a face red from hyperventilating she screamed at me.  “You are bold as brass, Miss Willemsen, bold as brass!”  As a youngster her reaction surely showed I was a sinner who must work hard to erase such behaviour.  She struck the fear of God into me and I learned to try to hide my initiative and motive pretty much from there on in.

A key dream that I had just before my ex husband and I decided to return to Australia from the UK in late 2001, after my older sister came to grief and my mother had a bad fall fracturing her wrist was one in which I found myself outside a classroom being asked to rescue a class of children who were being held in stocks by a huge old nun with a big bunch of keys hanging off the belt on her skirt.  In the dream my fear got the better of me and the dream ended before I could make the necessary rescue.  We went back to Oz, even though by then I was truly regretting my decision to return.  I am still in Australia after two attempts to get back to the UK, the last of which ended in a massive head injury.

Planet of communications Mercury is apparently currently in a long drawn out conjunction with the planet of individuation and liberation from repression Uranus at present and I have noticed a distinct elevation of my mood and thoughts over this past week.  I seem not to be as stuck in things.  It’s no wonder all of these issues are coming up at present for me.  My psyche is trying to break out of something and I am being shown the path of the past 16 years since (can it really be that long) where I was led on what seems often to me to be like a massive regression.

Carl Jung often talked of the regression which serves the needs of the deeper Self whose needs and agenda lie far beyond or beneath our conscious will and ego objectives.   And it appears to me that in some way I am being asked to rephrase things and find deeper meanings than the inner critic can provide.  The critic thinks its keeping us safe but really its perspective can be deeply limited at times.  At other times it may give us really valid and useful information.  However it is also so important that we allow a voice to the inner nurturer who can provide us with essential qualities of self compassion and acceptance and counter the destructive voice of the critic that wants to shame us and lay everything to waste, most especially joy!

For me I wish the critic would get off my back and l will continue to fight to free my self expressive voice.  The Moon’s nodes are moving back into Leo and Aquarius.  With the North Node in Leo we are being called to embrace and express our deep inner creative self outside restrictive more’s of societal convention.  We need our wild voice and our sad voice and our guilty voice and our triumphant voice.   We need to embrace all of our disparate parts and give birth to the witness who in standing firmly at the inner centre of our Self can embrace all, express all, contain all and transform all with a radiant love that allows our unique being to coalesce into a rich multifaceted prism : a kaleidoscopic lens through which we can transform and re-envision our lives and world.

 

The hardest time of day

I am becoming more aware lately of how this time of day, 5pm to 7pm is often the hardest time of day for me.  I was born at 7:10 pm and I am not entirely sure how that is related only to say I can get a tightness in my chest and start to feel deep, deep loneliness and sadness at this time of day.  Leading up to this over the past four or so months I became aware that at this time of day I tend to stuff my face with some kind of snack.  Lately I have been trying to make it a healthy snack but eating in a compulsive way, even if what you are eating is good for you is not the best idea.  Today after a tough day where I finally got out to the park around 3 pm and didn’t eat much more than an apple to clear my system out I went to the fruit and veg markets.  I needed some Brazil Nuts and I slowly and very mindfully at 3 of them remembering to breathe.  I then got home and swept up some of the autumn leaves but a lot was going on inwardly within, memories of how the trees shed in this way in the days leading up to my sister’s funeral in 2014.  Deeper memories are there of how my life also began to fall apart in 1990 towards the tail end of my days of active addiction when I woke with stomach pains in the middle of the night and being unable to rouse my them partner drove myself to emergency,  I had an ectopic pregnancy which had to be aborted and the trauma tore my relationship apart.  Within a few weeks I was out of the group house I shared and back with my godparents and then later in a new unit and my relationship briefly resumed only to hit the wall and then I gave up my job and the darkest years of my addiction followed.

I am very aware that I am not there now.  But I will always have a life that has been marked by trauma.  I had at that time already been through three terminations of pregnancy.  In the early years of recovery and sobriety when I undertook my first therapy I wrote a letter to each child that never got to live and named them.  I asked their forgiveness for not being able to bring them into the world and explained why.  I grieved them over years and have acceptance now over my choices. But as autumn draws in darker memories are near and this afternoon I am making the conscious choice to keep my ‘eating’ to a minimum and wait for an early dinner.  I am also choosing to blog about it more for myself, for I am sure it will be boring to some readers or they may even judge, nevertheless I make the intention in this blog to be as honest as I really can about what I am going through.

I am in the cosy living room now.  Jasper has just had a bone and its time to get us both dinner.  I haven’t had a panic attack yet and I usually get them religiously between 5 and 7.  Today I also chose to politely end the conversation with my Mum when she told me I was being ‘ridiculous’ for being traumatised by the events of the past my brother brought up yesterday, she also would not give me further information about something that would have helped me put more pieces in place and I am learning that everyone in the family has their own take on things and Mum is invested in not really owning up to all of her shortcomings.  That is her business, not mine.  I just need to detach otherwise it really hurts too much.

I have written a fair few posts today.  I have needed to.  Mars planet of action moved into Gemini planet of siblings and communication a day or so ago.  Its hitting my Chiron and it explains how what my brother bought up yesterday triggered essential placements of Mars planets in my Mum and sister and dead father’s charts.  I don’t know how astrology works only that when something get triggers I see it in the charts and Mars being in Gemini would suggest its good to communicate about it and get it out in the open which is not something my Mum or sister really want to do.  That much I realised last night when I got no support from my sister to understand things and anyway I was defending Mum at the time which was not right.

I have to keep reminding myself it is okay to reach for understanding of my family, the past and family dynamics.  I was very young when so much went down and had not a lot of way to make sense of it.  I can shame and judge myself for my struggle to make sense and there are some things I will never know.  But in expressing I get to contain my feelings to a degree and make sense of them, which helps me be not as unconsciously overwhelmed as I can be at times. I feel less sad now simply for writing this post at this time of day.  If I can bring my patterns to better consciousness and not over eat at this time my panic attacks may just stop, so this process is, in the end, essentially for me.

Lessons in Empathy : Reflections on Neptune and Saturn

Whale

Another post from a few years back.  I use a lot of astrology in this one as a way of grappling with certain experiences around empathy.  My sister is now in a stronger space,  her struggle with mental illness and emotional pain mirrored my own and at this time we were both in deep water which is how I would see a strong Neptune influence around us both : deep feelings gone unconscious:

Maybe one of the gifts of having suffered loss and depression is that you come to know the territory very well.  There is more to be learned through the actual suffering of and living through certain states of being because its only then that you can know how it feels for you to be in a place where you feel you have been pressed down by a huge weight or are drowning under a wall of water that rolls you round and round in a deep swell, then tosses you over and over and over in such a way that you no longer have control.

People who haven’t been through it just don’t seem to get it, you can use words to try describe the experience but they are always going to fall short.  Images or sounds, including music or dance would be more evocative mediums, I guess.  Still my form of expression is, for the time writing so I will struggle on with this.

We cannot explain or make sense of the inexplicable, but never the less we try.  A great wall can separate us from others when we are suffering in this way and their agenda may come out of the difficulty they are having in being powerless in a situation watching someone they love suffering and knowing much as they love them, there is so little they can do to change what is going on.

I’m finding myself in this situation with my sister at the moment after undergoing a similar theme with my older sister for over 20 years.   Neptune is natally positioned in my third house of siblings and transiting Neptune is, at present, transiting over my Chiron and in opposition to natal Pluto at the moment.  At the same time it is hitting my sister’s Sun and Venus square to Mars.

In short, my Chiron is smack bang on her natal Sun Venus and squared by her Mars.  I feel a sadness and pain, knowing she is in pain, then also a kind of powerlessness and wordlessness surrounding how to be with her and in it.  I can recognise it but when I try to make any kind of contact I am hitting a brick wall and then the words run short and there is nothing I can do but hang up the phone or leave and then the avalanche of grief breaks open.

The way I am dealing with this at the moment is in reaching out to my recovering friends.  For me these are just the one’s who will allow my feelings to flow and recognise the place I am in without trying to change it.   They don’t give me any advice but allow me to feel my way through it and process until it has shifted   For me that is what is needed for it to pass.

I am deep in Neptune territory at the moment and there are three planetary stations at the moment which means there is a psychic shift.   Saturn is one of the astrological heavy weights which will be driving home its essential message over the next 4 and a half months,  as it back tracks over the zone 23-16 degrees Scorpio it will square my seventh house Aquarian stellium and oppose the North Node in Leo while moving back into a wide conjunction with natal Neptune in the third.

Saturn speaks to me of boundaries, limits and discipline, it also is associated to gravitas, depression, a falling back to the earth of reality and a pruning or limiting of ego ideals and plans to deal with the oceanic theme of that 3rd house Neptune which must in some way relate back to my Mum’s sadness and longing around having no other siblings and a father who died when she was very young.

Synchronistically, I recently re read a dream I had many years ago  My sister and I were walking by the ocean and as we did we came across a whale that had beached itself.  My sister looked me in the eyes and said “the whales are such sad creatures”.  I felt the deepest most unescapable karmic sadness in the dream.

Metaphorical associations :  to me whales inhabit the ancestral deep, that they are beached means that some deep ancestral issue has emerged and become stranded and the deep pain around it is recognised by my sister and by myself.  There is a profound element around Piscean placements to me and it relates to our ancestral connection we both have been abandoned by our partners and our maternal great, great, grandfather too, was left and ended his days in an asylum.

Maybe our planets give us this innate sensitivity in a soul to the totality of collective suffering and experience, most especially on an emotional level.  This degree of psychic sensitivity gives a load of empathy but also a difficulty with differentiating boundaries.  Chaos is one’s nature state, rationality and logic are experienced as straight jackets, there is a longing too for dissolution that will melt the walls of division which keep us separate but the problem may be that the sought dissolution ends up destroying the essence of the sensitive.

Too much Neptune, not enough Saturn we become a psychic sponge absorbing pain of others that we relate to but is not ours.  We need a secure space where we can retreat in order to return to us, if we are too strongly drawn in by others who have powerful psychic defences we can become a garbage dump for their projected and rejected psychic “stuff”.

A year on re-editing this post and reflecting on the image of the beached whale more deeply and seeing the journey my only living sister has undergone I see the emergence of this Piscean part of herself, how it has affected me.  Together on the beach we recognise the whale and it cant be spoken of : the suffering we both know is a soul level experience.

Sometimes it appears to me a conundrum to have both strong Saturnian and Neptunian emphasis in my psyche but I am beginning to see that both are essential states of being.   The deep solitude of my Saturn Moon helps me when I get into Venus square Sun/Venus/Mercury/Jupiter/South Node overload.  It returns me home often with a sharp slap.

Solitude gives me an alembic,  a soul container for the tears both of myself and of others, of the collective culture.  It gives me nurture for in the solitude of Saturn I find the understanding of my strong Neptune which is often subjected to misinterpretation by more pragmatic, less mystical folk.

Its taken me many years to understand this.  My empathetic Neptunian self feels others pain but Saturn teaches me I have to respect their journey and right to choose different ways of dealing with and understanding it.  My Chiron in the Seventh which is ruled by Neptune (placed as it is in the sign of Pisces) can be a dumping ground for the projections of others and needs the backbone of Saturnian recognition to deal with it and sort out what is projected and what I own.

Today I read an excellent blog about Empathetic muscle.  It described the difficulty empaths have with absorbing and becoming a psychic sponge for others.  Ideally empathy should give us the ability to feel others pain and yet not get lost in it.  It seems to me that this has been the deep Saturnian work of the past few years for me.  This blog was written last year and it has taken this time to complete.  Its being released as Saturn trines the Sun prior to its forward movement soon.

On Death : And Endings

Nighmare

I have stared death in the face many times.  Then reading those words it occurs to me that really I have faced it and felt it put is dark fingers around me also.  There was the accident when all the life was pushed out of me, I was flung forward, lost consciousness and then just awoke with pain struggling to breathe and part of me was asking to die.  There was the loss of my father that was never fully real as the last time I saw him he was in a kind of coma and then the call came at work one morning to say he was gone, no way to say goodbye.  This time several years ago I did not know that I had only a month or so left to visit my sister before she passed.  I was able to visit with her in the final two days of her life before we as a family had to make the decision to take her off life support and set her free.

In a movie I was watching last night one of the older characters said to a younger man, that true love is about letting people go even if that hurts you, if it is best for them.  After spending time silently with her holding her hand and saying “don’t leave me Jude” to my sister, I then said “but if it is your time to go, you must.”

I am very, very conscious today of these deaths and endings as the final throws of summer retreat and we feel the autumnal change stealing in.  After a week of refreshing rain the formerly dusty dry garden has sprung up and wet leaves are littering my back deck.  I look around the place conscious that around the corner a new place beckons to me as a still available possibility.   A part of me tells me its time to put this place to death and let it go because the lunation that we are now in the final week which began with a Solar Eclipse was in contact with Pluto planet of death, impermanence, change and transformation was opposite my first house of new beginnings and conjunct Chiron in Pisces in my seventh which concerns to me all the broken attachments of my past.  Also, I recently read a post by Leah Whitehorse which showed the Autumn Equinox (Spring really if you are in the Northern Hemisphere as herein Oz everything is reversed)has a strong Pluto energy and she explained that the Equinox Chart shows the energy for the new astrological year. We wont have the New Moon in Aries though for a few days.

I just read a post about the void written by a fellow blogger and it really got me to thinking of Pluto which often rules the void, but then so can Neptune which is more a place where we dissolve all the past attachments and can be very, very frightening to face.  Here we face confusion, realise how little we can really hold onto, how impermanent life is and are perhaps reminded painfully of all the times we were so alone or stared death in the face in some form (that’s more Pluto, though). Its deeply painful territory and its hard for our mind to help us through it.  I am not surprised others are feeling that black hole a lot at present as there is apparently too a galactic point of the deep dark hole that sucks everything in and then transforms it. It would be associated to the Goddess energy of Kali in the Hindu tradition, an energy that is so often exiled from our modern consciousness so based in heroic ego ideals of achievement, success and conquest.

Many of us who struggle with depression have to make friends with this darker side of life and its energy.  We don’t get a lot of help with this.  Instead we are made to feel that we are just ‘not normal’.  But we are marked in a way not to really be able to live in ‘normal life’ so easily, most especially if as youngsters we felt ourselves to be unrecognised.

Now it seems we need to find ways and means to recognise ourselves as adults with a very wise inner child, but sometimes just at the moment we reach out or find we need some help with this process we find the help, support, affirmation or validation just isn’t there.  We find ourselves alone again in the deep dark void with no anchor and no solid ground under our feet and feel our deepest existential human dilemma that others less sensitive, less attuned, less porous are insulated from.

I can only say I don’t live in that deep ,dark, void place any more as much as I used to. But I still visit the realms of questioning and uncertainty and I struggle with what to hold onto and what to let go of.  Do I let go of the known loved thing and risk the pain of loss?  Do I convince myself it wont hurt?  Do I feel that perhaps hurt is a necessary stage of a Plutonian life full of many deaths and many endings?  Do I feel this way because its what I knew in the past and is realising this a sign that from a Plutonian level that old pattern needs to be put to death?

There are no easy answers but all I can say is (and what Pluto has taught me) that things do change form, if we can just hold on and hold through it is my experience that light does return again in the void.  But I also know that others don’t survive it and it takes them out.  I only trust and pray that if that is their decision they find the light on the other side.  For dark only seems to fully erase light for a time  and both opposites oscillate as polarities.  All of life universally is about the oscillation of opposites and polarities and this is the paradox, pain and ambiguity we are asked to embrace often on our human spiritual journey of life and death.

If Venus is the god of love what part does suffering for our art/love play?

Venus.jpg

Do you know the mythic story of the birth of Venus?  You may have seen the Botticelli painting of Venus that shows her emerging from a shell on the ocean waves but did you know that quiet a violent act gave birth to the so called ‘Goddess of Love’?  You see it was the mythic archetypal God energy of limits, severing and manifestation. Saturn cutting off the genitals of his father the mythic archetypal God energy of boundless freedom and creativity, Uranus and casting that spawn onto the ocean that gave birth to Venus and so on an inner level beauty, connection, harmony and love could be seen to be manifested or born when we allow our creative freedom to be restricted or channelled in some way and allow also that inherent alchemical creative tension of two forces or substances rubbing on each other to give birth to something cherished and valued, valued perhaps because of the sacrifice and labour, effort and suffering required.

Creating anything is not easy, its about reaching a hand down into the vast ocean of creative thought forms, experience, imaging and yes pain and suffering and pulling up  this creative energy, tossing it around internally, chewing on it, breaking it apart, mixing it with metaphoric saliva and digesting it deeply within psychological intestines to (excuse the crude term) shit out piece of lively, messy, pooh!  which is what our creative endeavours can appear to us at times…. “This is just a piece of shit” we say and then we see a like appear and think well maybe not????

I am just allowing myself to go along with a stream of consciousness at the moment.  But the idea I started with came from a dawning realisation with the planet Venus now moving backwards, that has been birthing in me of how struggle is so much part of the creative process of living, shaping our lives into new forms.

Its sad to think that often we can be judged for struggling, for ‘having issues’, for not being yet fully formed but instead a squirming worm trapped in a painful messy chrysallis of becoming.  “Why aren’t you born yet?”, others scream. “Why are you like this and not that?”  “You shouldn’t be so angry/bitter/sad/confused etc!” But the truth is that as humans we need to struggle, at times, we have to wrestle, we have to tussle with those things that want to bind us and trap us and imprison us, with those things that confuses us, hurt us or shamed us.  We need to get down in the mud and dirt with our messy, chaotic, raw emotions and reactions to work our way through to creative solutions or resolutions which are re-imagined solutions that we have had to turn this way and that like a prism of light refracting and reflecting many shades in order to see a light that we could not see before in darkness.

My own experience is in wisdom born through struggle and pain.  Through enduring the dark night of the soul we make creative discoveries.  Some of us are lucky enough to be able in that dark place to finally say an unconditional and creative ‘yes’ to that which has been buried and is trying with all its effort to work its way through a crust of repression into the warm light of day in our conscious awareness, emerging in time as a flower, just a Venus rose from the waves on her sea shell in Botticelli’s painting.

Society may tell you its not okay to be angry, to struggle to question, it wasn’t okay for you to be a victim, to suffer or be negative.  People may try to project a persona from which all anger, struggle, questioning, doubt and pain has been erased, but don’t allow yourself to be fooled for the truly loving creative person within and without is the one who will embrace you in that place, knowing it to be a birthplace.  Its only when we get stuck there that is gets problematic, so keep moving, keep growing, keep expressing until the tender new shoot within you finally emerges and gives birth to a beautiful flower. And during this retrograde Venus time if you find yourself struggling with feelings of low self esteem with deep old feelings of pain in relationships rearing their heads have the courage to work with the pain to find the self – love within it that is waiting to be born in you in this process.

Introspection on my inner world and the Leo Lunar Eclipse

Life constantly brings change, yet eclipses always demarcate a period of accelerated change with synchronous endings and beginnings.  New relationships, attractions, experiences, and work opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere with full force of manifestation, surprising us with their dramatic entrance into our surface reality.  Eclipses are also mysterious portals that hold profound shifts in the enfoldment of our destiny, as many of the changes signified by an eclipse are happening under the surface and not immediately observable in the surrounding period of the lunation.  We stand at the crossroads during eclipses bidding farewell to aspects of identity that can require grieving, while simultaneously welcoming exciting new experiences and relationships that need to be integrated into one’s life.

Any kind of interpersonal conflict tends to make me introspective.  I have become more aware lately of how my amygdala or emotional brain so quickly kicks into gear at certain events and I am highly reactive, most often in an intensely emotional way.  I was reading today how we can carry a balloon of traumatic life events which tends to blow out at times making rude noises and getting out of control.   The writer was saying how therapy helps us to let some air out of the balloon gently and slowly.  This really struck me.   I seem to get triggered in a big way and then I see later once the dust has settled I may have not seen the other person clearly, nor understood the emotional nuances.  This is where a 11th step inventory or introspection can help which works as well as or in tandem with therapy or feedback from objective sources outside the conflict.  Still it is left to me to try to dig deeply and examine my own as well as the other’s part in the conflict.

At the same time when people say negative things about me its hard to brush it off.  They tend to lodge deep in my heart,  I have no filters at all.  I turn into a crying mess.  Apparently according to someone that makes me pathetic.  Maybe.  Not according to my therapist today who has tried to remind me that not every female relationship ends in tears or badly, that in fact lately over past months many of my female friendships have become more deeply empathetic and supportive.  I need to hold on to that today as I began to feel so low down on myself after yesterday’s events and explosive comments.

I am a believer in the transformative energies around eclipses and lunar eclipses apparently raise up shadow issues to clear the way for a new beginning at the following New Moon two weeks later and this one will fall smack bang on my natal planet of wounding and healing in relationships, Chiron so this makes so much sense of how emotional I have been feeling lately.

In some way yesterday anger got sparked as I felt I had been invaded by someone actually trying to be kind.  I was not comfortable with it.  It reminds me of other times people trying to offer me help has ended badly.  Communications got confused and everything ended up pear shaped.  Originally I just expressed discomfort and when the other person was obviously distressed I had been uncomfortable and not said anything she felt angry when that got me upset and I posted a blog and it all snowballed!

Anyway today, in the cool of the local library I am contemplating the part I play in things, how I can be more aware, of what the person pointed out that I did not address and accused me therefore of passive aggression for.  I see where she was coming from but she didn’t live the week I lived last week where time to take anything deep on board was severely compromised.  I then got an email saying how I was missed from her blog when I would have loved to have visited had I more time on my hands.

One of the problems of the blogging and internet world is we don’t get to see the other person’s life and what they truly live outside writing.  Lets all show compassion please.

Today I feel that some things about myself I didn’t clearly see before have come to my awareness. I see where the other person, feeling unjustly treated and misunderstood got upset and used unkind words.  I don’t believe I am a jealous person as accused but only I can know that and if others think it or deduce it, I guess they are entitled to their opinion.

Today from a calm introspective place I am reminding myself to answer attack with love. I am reminded that in the heat of the moment when emotions rule I don’t always see things clearly and dispassionately but that too is understandable.   Its something to become more aware of and work on.

These words from Gray Crawford speak clearly to me today.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Solar Eclipse coming on February 26 are the final two eclipses to occur with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  As a result there will be an immense bursting of collective illusions forcing humanity to become wide awake to the discrepancy between fantasy and bare boned reality. ……

The North Node of the Moon in Virgo continues to call us to embrace the moment with full awareness of everything occurring, whether we feel attraction or repulsion, and to discern choices that will bring greater fulfillment through service to the greater good.

Mars rules the third face of Leo, and Mars is extremely strong at the eclipse in its own sign of Aries…..the overused adage of fighting fire with fire brings the question of how much conflict and destruction are worth inflicting over the issues we feel enlivened to defend and battle over.  While the power of our animated heart can lead us to resiliently contend and combat threatening forces beyond the point of exhaustion, it will also be worthwhile to discern our bodily limits and when rest and caregiving of our incarnated form is necessary.  The many fiery collective conflicts that will arise in 2017 are heralded by this first Lunar Eclipse in Leo, so gaining clarity over what is worth fighting for as well as how to best nourish and sustain our inner fire and fleshy form will be essential.

I am so grateful to Gray for sharing this wisdom and I have lessons to learn about how I use my own Mars/assertive energy and how others use theirs.