Is everyone here on earth as conscious as I am that I live between two worlds? I was once told by a therapist that I “lived very close to the collective unconscious”. In any case we are always all of us living between two worlds, some of us have most of ourselves firmly planted in this present moment, this waking reality. Others of us, most especially those of us who have suffered the impact of traumas which have impaired or fractured our development on some level, live at times pulled on or pulled back to the past and most curiously pulled upon by sensations, intimations, feelings which have occurred in the past, which were difficult to fully process and integrate. The power of the unconscious is very real and strong for us and since the unconscious is often buried in our bodies, which is the container for it, we can suffer from curious symptoms and experiences which are beyond conscious control and difficult to understand
Those of us who suffer in this way or carry this burden are not going to be easily understood by others who have never endured the weight of this heavy burden which can drag us down. It is our burden to understand it and work as much as we can not to be fully drowned by it.
In my own life, some days I lived in the very dark world of the past, which contains so many memories. As I age these memories or intimations of past events and experiences will rise up in me from out of no where. Each morning as I wake I am aware of how I am suspended between this primal soup of many memories and bodily impacts and the present moment of waking reality which calls to me to live this day and move forward. It has taken me ten long years of work to even understand this for myself. So I now know what that therapist was trying to tell me all those years ago, as it often seems when I am having a bad day or feeling a heavy burden something heavy or difficult is going on for those to who I am connected on a cellular level, too, as well as my own past pain I am sensing collective pain. This may sound “far out” to some of you, but I know it to be true.
In astrological parlance this world of the murky and soup like past on both personal and collective levels is indicated by the planet Neptune. In my case Neptune is placed in the third house of mind, communication, daily movement and siblings and it squares all of my personal planets Mars, Moon, Sun, Venus and Mercury as well as what are called the bridging planets between personal and collective, Jupiter and Saturn.
From all I have read, heard and understood this Neptunian influence has shown that from a young age I absorbed a lot of different things, feelings, effects and impressions that have affected me, of which I have not been fully conscious. I was asked at an astrological seminar by the Astrologer Liz Greene many years ago what sadness or early loss I suffered as a baby. It was the loss of my mother’s much loved Step Father, Poppa Lester, who was also much loved by my far older siblings and family. Poppa brought love and connection into the difficult life of my Mum and Nana after 7 years of struggling following my father’s death when she was only 7, I do not remember him consciously but apparently when he was dying in the hospital I was placed in my basinet on his bed. I can feel the weeping and grief that went on when we lost him. When the masculine again was gone from us, a pattern that was to repeat so often in my own life, the unconscious past, perhaps being played out by me unconsciously?
Add to this astrological influence that of my Saturn Moon which shows a child who carried a heavy weight of seriousness and burden around her, was raised in a family short on emotional expression and high on duty, politeness, working hard and “doing the right thing”, and I am aware too of the blocking influences which have dogged me at times and kept me trapped in a world of self doubt, suffering feelings of being lacking on some level having to work hard to be loved, accepted noticed. And yet this placement too gives me gifts. It helps me to see beneath the superficial, to know that there are depths of which others do not always speak but which can be sensed when I listen to my intuition. It gives me the strength to find resources hidden even in stony ground.
Since I have been undergoing my body work with a Body Harmony practitioner over the past 5 months I have become more and more aware of the two worlds that I can inhabit. That the world of the past and most especially the world of the damaged family which I entered can surround me at times and sometimes becomes like a heavy story (sic that was a typo I meant to write stormy) sea which can threaten to drown me.
Last week I went to pick up my mother who is now in her 90s to go with her to collect my sister from the hospital. She was coming home following her surgery for breast cancer. I sat on the toilet before leaving my mothers unit and I was conscious of a vortex above me that was swirling. In it, above my head, I saw an ocean that contained my ancestors all swimming, some drowning, some in a panic swimming like mad to reach the shore. Some grasping at flotsam and jetsum that could act as a raft to keep them afloat. I felt the swirling nausea that is inside me at times that I have often associate with what Peter Levine calls the Trauma Vortex.
As I became conscious of this, the dizziness within me and the sense of overwhelm abated. We arrived at the hospital to find my sister dozing in a chair and carried her things to the car. I was in the present moment but aware of the weight of the collective story of trauma that has been playing out of the past four years here since I returned to my home town. The psychiatric commitments, the shock treatment, my mother’s complicated surgery for a knee replacement gone wrong, an angiogram gone wrong, four more hospitalisations for my sister for her depression, my mother’s fall down stairs earlier in the year leading to a fractured pelvis. My older sister’s death, my own struggle to be there for them and also to take care of myself, my house, my dog, my soul.
I was aware of being a witness who stood on the edges and tried to help. I was aware of my own hard won sobriety and journey to understand the personal and collective elements of both my personal and familial trauma history and the impact on by body which is at times spun out, pulled and pushed this way and that, struggling to understand, to love and yet not be undone by love, to retain a sense of self when that self has been negated or is under attack.
And as I write this I am aware of a book which outlines the Labours of Hercules of which there are twelve, one associated with each zodiac sign. With seven planets in Aquarius the labour for that sign occurred to me it is the task of cleaning out the Augean Stables, which are full of manure. The labour is completed by the use of a flood of water which washes everything clean. How many tears I have I cried through this process, the answer is an ocean. Neptune is the ocean I am part of that ocean and yet I am also the Sun that sets and rises, sometimes appearing to disappear and be swallowed up by that ocean but never the less arising the next day for a time before descending again.
The two worlds I inhabit are not only conscious and unconscious but day and night, dark and light, depression and hope, suicidal feelings and the burning desire to live, to love, to hope, to dream, to dance, to connect, They oscillate and I move between them. In the twisting, in the spinning in the dance between these two worlds I am weaving a new tapestry shot through with treads of the old, making sense of the past to be free of it, to understand and not be unravelled by it.
Without a doubt it is when I fully surrender to my past, to my feelings of despair, shame and vulnerability, when in despair I surrender to the belief that there is no meaning that I find the strength to live another day, to reach for more and to understand that these too, are only partial knowings, dualistic, separatist, untrue.
In the words of one of my most favourite songs by the Script
Sometimes tears say all there is to say
It’s the end where I begin
It’s the end where I begin