Dark Night : reflections on a dream, a fated meeting, and the leaving that sent me home

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Dark night you came down on my soul.  I was taken to a place beyond words, a living experience of experiences past all jumbled up into an inner soup of mixed up hurting and longing, no longer knowing where to turn but within, only feeling deep pain and at times not even that : just a bloody field of wreckage in which dead carcasses of cows littering ancestral fields haunted the landscape of my soul.

When I reflect on that, which was a pure dream image summoned from my inner depths at the time just days before we both embarked for the land of our ancestors and as I look back now on the experiences we had there with your own family pain I see a deep message from the collective unconscious.  Cow = Taurus = Self worth, inner feminine, mother and feeling values, nature and contentment all shattered on a collective battle field of suffering our ancestors grew out of.

I think of your father suffering through a life in which he could not live his true dream living with a woman who seemed so bitter and angry until the cancer laid claim to his insides.  Exactly what miracle of destiny was it that led me on a cold winter night on the way home with an inner message to go back to a certain hotel?  It was there that I met you and not many hours later after that first meeting we would discover that we both lost our fathers to cancer within a year.   You were one year younger and your partner abandoned you then also and you too went travelling, feeling so bereft and alone.  We were both only 23 and that was 8 years before our meeting.  My heart aches.  We were only meant to travel so far down the road, together.  I am sorry. It wasn’t our fault!

Slaughtered cows lying on ancestral field, bleeding spent life blood, love and self value onto green fields, a metaphor for so many things : for how it felt for you to be dragged back to the place where you struggled to birth your own sense of power and potency out of the wreckage of a wounded father and mother, a country trying to tell you that as a humble gardener you were not worth much.  And it occurs to me too in the editing that your father’s brother was the golden child, your Dad only got the scraps.

Here in Australia you were valued, but something inside the partner you chose was pulling you back to face something deeply unresolved.   There in England my grief broke open after 7 years of sobriety.  Your family didn’t like it, you wanted back ‘the happy girl you married’ but I had such a long journey to take back to her.   In the end we were torn apart.  Dark night, how you descended with his leaving, deep soul ache of remembering how many leavings and deaths there were in relationship with men for me but the first leaving was my sister who carried so much of the light in our dark, duty bound family where so little joy could live.

I remember today the blue tin box you gave me at the airport as you bid me goodbye, with enough money for a horse ride on the beach I never took.   I know you loved me so much you had to let me go, how our souls were aching.  I am so sorry, but it had to be, it really did and I miss you but we were a dream and I had to find my deeper reality that led over  a long road littered with boulders and stones shown in another dream just days before you told me you were leaving and no longer loved this sad me.

The ways of the soul are so mysterious, fate plays out and you don’t know where it is taking you.  You make your choices without all the information and the cards fall where they will.  You play your hand as best you can and sometimes you have to give up the game, throwing in your hand and turning up your palms to heaven waiting for something new to birth deep within what feels like a deeply barren place.

When all seems most lost then perhaps you stand with one foot poised on the edge of a most massive discovery. Its truth may be hard to swallow but nevertheless you drink it down over years, it scalds your insides.  But one day it has passed through, your scarred insides have healed and a bright day dawns on which your remember it all with awe in a state of surrender seeing so much more clearly how and why it all turned out as it did, knowing there was such innocent young hope of love beating in both hearts then, but knowing also how much a true deep love really costs and how much that price can only be paid by a consciousness that has been strong and patient enough to endure the fire and weather the storm to birth realisations that could have never come without the necessary losses and the necessary suffering that the reaching for love and understanding of love’s tangled ways birth over years of long journeying and heartbreak/soul ache.

Bright day, you stream your love though my window filtered through golden rose leaves of pom pom tree reminding me of how gorgeous nature is, how my love of it was what drew me to you and to England in the first place.  Wrapped in a cosy blanket I shed such deep tears for all that was lost while a wiser part of me sees through all the illusion involved in the feeling that something true was really lost.  For what is most true can never be lost.  And it is often in the depths of our very real suffering that real truth and wisdom is born.  Our individuated self is created through forming a body of substance which over years has the capacity to bear with, contain and bear witness to painful truths that reveal at depth a far more profound reality than innocent young souls could ever know.

And love goes on, is what in the end has the capacity to endure and to say an unconditional “yes” to it all, to this at times mixed up complicated experience that is life.  And it occurs to me that love is the witness, it is the writer, it is the one who has the capacity to observe it from a distance bearing witness to what the soul and consciousness shapes out of life giving it form, shaping it into a vessel of expression.

 

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.