Cancer New Moon : Reflections on Ancestors, Family and the 12th House

I am entering a kind of inward dreaming of hosts of associations and tendrils at the moment as the Sun and Moon approach a conjunction in the 12th house of my chart ruled by the sign of the Great Mother, home, family, roots and maternal ancestral connections, Cancer.  Mercury and Mars are following close behind, as is usual with these transits I want to write, dream, eat soup, get cosy, read poetry, write blogs and explore the entire cycle of my life, drawing the whole host of interconnected resonances through my maternal history and DNA.  With Saturn Moon I have always felt a deep connection with the past on my mother’s side.

At age 31 when I entered recovery for addiction it slowly became clear to me that there was a deep wound to the feminine and to the family I was born into.  There had been a lot of separations over generations, stories of ancestors leaving their homeland to settle or pioneer in foreign lands far from family. Lots of father absence and father loss too.  Just recently after connecting with some relatives of my ancestral Great, Great, Grandmother I was shown a letter my Great, Great, Great Grandfather wrote to this son.  It was heartbreaking and sad, sent all the way to New Zealand from Cornwall in the midst of a harsh and bitter winter spent in poverty he was missing his son and knowing he would not see him again.

My maternal Great Grandmother left her own father behind in New Zealand to come to Australia early in the 20th century, he was suffering from addiction problems himself.  She was one of 18 children two of which also called Eliza Jane had died in childbirth.  Two other brothers came here too but I did not know that until this year, however they settled in the north while my Great Grandmother settled in Victoria.

She gave birth to three children and it was my Grandmother who moved to the town where I now live, alone with her husband who had suffered during the First World War.  He came here to build houses, but was also a bookmaker.  He died when my own mother was seven from war injuries, he had been gassed.  My second sister carries a congenital lung weakness.

The ancestral pattern repeated in that when my mother married she remained in the place of her birth but met and married my father who was from Holland. He left his homeland finally for the Dutch East Indies just on the eve of the Second World War prior to German invasion. He met my mother while seconded to Australia by the Air Force to collect B52 bombers which did not show up on time.  They married and after some years in Indonesia following the ending of World War Two decided to settle here.  They gave birth two four children.

The second child was my sister Judith a Sun sign Capricorn who had Mars and Saturn in Cancer very close to today’s New Moon in Cancer at 23 degrees.  My sister died on 20 April last year after a long and tragic life that was mired by a cerebral bleed, abandonment and betrayal, just as Pluto was transiting her Sun.

It was Jude whose chart interconnected so strongly to our maternal Great, Great, Grandfather Thomas Watts Trudgeon, (my mother’s Great Grandfather) and it was Jude who met and married a New Zealander and returned to live there two times, the first when I was only three.  The second time she was taken there by her husband following the cerebral bleed after which she developed psychotic symptoms together with her four children, so far from us. About a year later though the details are sketchy (it was an experience too painful fr her to talk of) he had her committed to an institution he had been having an affair with a woman who had gone over earlier to set up, they needed my sister out of the way.  She was very unwell, that is true, but no contact was made with my family and that family perhaps would have been of little help.  Two years later my sister was sent back to Australia with a one way ticket while her then husband disappeared abandoning her without telling her it was only a one way ticket.

In 1982 on hearing the news she tried to take her life.  She did not see her two youngest children for over 10 years they were 2 and 4 at the time her husband returned her to us. I, the youngest was back at home and I witnessed her attempt.  A bottle of pills downed and after which she lay down clutching a photograph of them to her chest.  I cannot remember what time of year this occurred but I do have a strong feeling it was winter.  I remember it being cold and such a very dark, dark, dark time.

I was 20 at the time and had began to drink a lot.  My father had forced me to give up uni studies and undertake a secretarial diploma.  I was also taking drugs and acting out within a silent internal rebellion.  Just a few days ago I woke up after a dream in which I was singing Billy Idol’s song Rebel Yell feeling deep in my psyche the rumbling giant of feeling that got buried for so many years, of thwarted development without masculine guidance.  Within three years my father was dead from stomach cancer and I like a lost boat was cast adrift overseas and into a succession of painful relationships driven by a deep father hunger but also a magnetic lure to those who could not truly appreciate my soul suffering but wanted to smelt it under the fire of their rigid imposed judgements.  While writing this I also cannot fall into the narcissistic trap of not admitting how hard it would have been for others to deal with someone suffering so many silent wounds that were carried deep within.  I had a way further to go along the unconscious pathway.

In an earlier poem posted here Emerging Through the Dark Night which was a piece of  stream of consciousness writing when I was deep in 12th house retreat (Saturn in transiting the 12th and 1st) I wrote the lines :

somewhere from deep with your belly

I hear a child is crying

longing for her pain and loneliness to be heard

After the suicide attempt the pain of that child within my sister got buried and she struggled with it for the rest of her life and with the separation from her children and the man she had loved with all her being.  All deeply Mars Saturn Cancerian experiences and Pluto in Libra was transiting over important planets in her chart too.

Blogs tend to assume a life of their own and so it is with this one.  But it is no surprise to me that today deep in dark moon time prior to this new one which  squares Uranus (planet of awakening and separation) and opposes Pluto (ruler of the subterranean wells of feeling carried over generations, buried, repressed or burning for liberation and transformation) consideration of these experiences is with me and I am feeling drawn to bring them out of darkness into the light.

Tomorrow, at midday after over more than a year, we will finally be laying my sister’s ashes to rest.  Is this writing for you, my beautiful sister Jude both memorial and remembrance?  You are not forgotten.  If it is true that her soul lives on most especially in all of these memories and associations so the transits to her chart are still in place as Pluto passes over her Venus and as Mars and Mercury oppose it.

Somewhere deep within I feel the need to give this a voice, today.  I think also of my own deep connection to  own mother and her repressed psychic life which became such an important preoccupation after I got sober over 20 years ago  I think of my own tangled journey with love, intimacy and relationships and of the twin pulls of both the call to individuation (my North Node in Leo in the first house widely conjunct Uranus) and of familial inter-relationship or the longing for such (a tight stellium of Sun, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, South Node in the seventh) both square Neptune in Scorpio on the third.

And I see that the journey of the Nodes is not an either/or dichotomy but more in the nature of a infinity symbol, figure 8 pattern of journeying between the opposites in a circuitous and meandering way.  It takes an enlarged consciousness to see this and a long journey wandering or pulled backwards and forwards between both polarities that then perform an alchemy on the soul.

Last night after an inward day of blogging it occurred to me that in esoteric rulership the sign Cancer is ruled not by the Moon but by Neptune.   I was blogging about Orpheus and the relationship of this myth to Neptune.  There was a deeper issue or subtext to that blog around the issue of letting go of and making peace with the past, of the need to regress to move forward but also I guess of loss and longing and their impact upon us.

The Crab which symbolises Cancer has a soft inward centre protected by a hard shell.  The mother must be intensely protective and the Crab claws can grab on and have a difficult time letting go but surely the square to Uranus of this New Moon and its opposition to Pluto demands it of us, either a letting go or a transformation of the ways in which we hold onto relationships through memory, thoughts and perceptions and our tangled association to past connections, pains, wounding and intimacies.

It seems to me that as I write ideas or intimations from my soul emerge in a way that would not have occurred had I not set fingers dancing on the key of my lap top keyboard.  Deep within the 12th house I find my home at present and wait patiently for Mercury and Mars to enter.  It seems that it may be even more difficult to get out my PJ’s for the next four weeks or so.

At this moment glint of sunlight peeping out from behind stormy clouds that have gathered on this cold winter day.  I feel the pull to get out of my PJ’s and walk lovely Jasper along the bush pathway by the lake.  To feel the buffeting wind and bracing cold, to know that I have the precious gift of life, despite and even within all the painful memories of Cancer time.  I remember the saying : light is never more visible than in darkness.

(Note: sadly my technical ability on WordPress and recent upgrades to my computer have made it hard to load up from my picture library so I am sorely limited so at this stage and unable to link to images or images of charts on my blog which would make this much clearer)

Orpheus : Reflections on Looking Back

I go through a huge tug of war in my mind at times, on this long and complicated, twisted, winding road of healing engaged deeply as I am, not only with memories of the past that haunt and echo along a chamber of years, but pulled in and dragged deeply down by underground emotions never completely integrated that lie subterranean like vast underground reservoirs.

One reservoir contains grief, another anger and yet another confusion, loneliness, self doubt, thwarted development and questioning. And yet there is another powerful place that I visit, one that contains joy, celebration, wonder, happiness and awe, one that is filled with longings and desires that have no thwarted hurt contained within them.  This is the place I am longing to live but I know its existence depends upon the truth of the other world too being felt and understood.

The conflict I have been experiencing at present is with questioning the need and desire to look back and dive down deep into those older pools of suffering which I KNOW have been essential to navigate, when I feel the greater peace experienced in the light filled world.  And so today after reading another writers blog on Orpheus I have been prompted to write this blog.

In the mythic tale of Orpheus, we meet someone who has endured a great loss in the realm of love.  The love of Orpheus, Eurydice has died and been taken to the Underworld.  Orpheus pines and longs for his lost love, he courts the favour of the Gods who strike a bargain with Orpheus, they allow him to visit the Underworld and reclaim Eurydice on one condition : that he does not look back.

Orpheus travels to the Underworld to be reunited with Eurydice but as they are leaving Orpheus is prompted by either fear or mistrust to look back where in Eurydice is taken once again.  I should imagine that now Orpheus has undergone twin losses, the initial painful loss of his love and the second missed opportunity made more tormenting due to his so called mistake or error.

Astrologers Liz Green and Juliet Sharman Burke associated Orpheus and his myth with the planetary energy of Neptune.  And  I resonate strongly with the story of Orpheus, I have strong Neptune and Neptune rules my Chiron in Pisces in the seventh house or relationships.

There was a time fourteen years ago when I had the chance to move forward in my own personal life and make a break from a complex family history of tragedy to the other side of the world.  I took steps in my new life to move towards healing and understanding,  I was in therapy and moving towards a course of study in Psychological Astrology.  And at this time Saturn was passing through my 9th house of overseas journeys, higher learning and just crossing the midheaven into the 10th house of career.

At this time as psychic forces were building within me to make the break I had a powerful dream.  In the dream I was ascending a spiral staircase and on the stair case as I was climbing the stairs with my husband coming down the stairs was another couple.

Next in the dream on there was a powerful explosion of energy it was not only on the stair it was deep within my spine (in the dream the staircase a powerful metaphor for my spine?).  Then I was in a room and the walls were closing in on me.  It was as though I was trying to be born and reach through to the new life but I was being squeezed.

At this time there was a powerful pull deep within my psyche to return to Australia.  My mother had fallen my sister who has recently died was undergoing difficulties our house lease ended with no possibility of extending.  And so my husband and I returned.  Within three years my marriage was ended.  I was alone in the underworld in a deep dark place.  I had looked back and lost, captured and trapped.

Its interesting to me to consider as I write that Saturn is now opposite the position it was in when I had the spiral staircase dream and so much came to pass that brought me back.  It was as if Saturn had to travel back down from its elevated view in order for me to renegotiate essential experiences of my development which could only be understood by returning and loosing everything, thus launching me on the interior journey but that underground journey came at a terrible price.  I was consenting on some level to being buried for some years deep in the dark night.

As Saturn crossed my ascendant some seven years later I had another relationship which challenged the path I was on of healing and negotiating the past.  The entire first house transit of Saturn engaged me on a push pull dynamic of self and other. In the end the urge for self became too strong and the relationship shattered when he wanted me to be a satellite of his self.  When Saturn went into the second house of self value the conflict of his extraverted narcissism rubbing against my own buried introverted narcissism caused a rupture and I was drawn on the path of reclaiming my own sense of self love and self value.

Looking back, experiencing the entire reservoir of feeling left behind and buried in the deep underworld of myself has been essential and yet there have been so many challenges to this journey from others who saw it as a kind of indulgence.  And at the moment this blog is not even making sense and yet I must persist after having written it once and having lost entirely that first draft, since on the second writing it is morphing less into a meditation on Orpheus and looking back and more into an exploration of Saturn as it has passed through the eastern hemisphere of my chart since 2001.

The spiral staircase in my dream has also for me the resonance image of the journey of growth in consciousness of our deeper soul self as we travel through life, a journey I see as spiral in nature in that we seem to go through cycles and repetitions as we travel which enable us both to dig deep and get at an under standing (seeing underneath what happened of which we were not conscious before) and get a broader view from above.

To expand on some themes of the dream maybe in the dream travelling as I was up the stairs I thought that on some level that by going overseas and getting away from the family I could gain freedom and perspective and yet in the dream while travelling in this direction I met a couple travelling back down (down under to Australia the land of my birth) and the explosion happened. I was pulled back to experience the tragedy and trauma here first hand with all others stripped away for a time.

And so I find myself here today, on the 15th of July remembering deeply after yesterday diving into one of the deep underground reservoirs the time in July 2004 when my husband returned and packed all his things to leave me alone on the 4th of August just as the Sun crossed my ascendant.  I was looked down on by he and his family, misjudged, discarded for being too sad, for not being the happier person he needed me to be.  And so,  I was launched onto my own healing journey and the remembering of all the other losses evoked by that leaving cycling and cycling around the history over 11 more revolutions, Eurydice in my own Underworld and only partly at home here longing for Orpheus to return as he longed and grieved for me.

Am I Orpheus or Eurydice?  I am both.  I am both he who travels down into that place and she who is there.  I am also the one who returns to the Upper world informed by the suffering of the Underworld, carrying that suffering and all those powerful memories of loss of so called “mistakes” which were really just deeper learnings forward, translating it all into a longing for life, real deep, true authentic soul life in which there is a part for everything, loss, grief, longing, desire, love and ultimately joy.

This joy is not happiness it is a joy that rests not on the absence of consciousness of suffering and its fruit but is joy that is all more valuable, powerful and poignant for having been informed by the agony and ecstasy of darker experiences and emotions not negated but endured, alchemised.

Out of the Ashes

Fire

you warm me

with your amber kisses

glow of remembrance

heat

of love and desire

which burned too brightly

then was gone

leaving only ashes.

Tears

you are the heart’s silent rain

that fall

over so many years

as I sit alone

in the dark pit

grown cold now

only memories

to keep me warm.

Tears

as you fall

you turn the ash to clay

and this substance

becomes workable over time

turning and turning

on the wheel of the year

navigating

all the backwards and forwards

of longing

desire

heartache.

Empathy and understanding

are the water

that forms this dark sludge

into something

awesome

terrible

Yet beautiful.

I contemplate

the surface of this vessel

I made

cracked and crazed in places

with the deeply etched scar marks

of tempered pain

desire and love

the fire

that alchemises

and transforms

this suffering

into a vessel

which contains

and in containing

heals

The painful journey home

You came to my door

With hungry eyes

And stories of sorrow

Of love gone wrong

She did me wrong

I felt the pain

When you spoke of her psychosis

I just did not know then

The part you played

You wanted a place

To cast the blame

Outside yourself

While I was more interested

In asking the question

Why?

For you this was an affront

To your sense of being right

The heater exploded

In the middle of our kiss

A storm started to brew

That flung us wide apart

When I felt something

Dark and hard in your heart

I had the urge

While on that beach

To run so far away

To swim quickly out of the realm

Of your fisher’s hook

You sucked the goodness out of her

Then hung her out to dry

I sensed it

Why didn’t I keep running?

I should have listened to my gut

But my longing was stronger

Swirling with the

As yet

Unknown knowing

I fell and hit my head

The first of many falls

It took me years to know

What from my history

Made this imprinted lure

So magnetic

I had my own longing

My own deeply

Unresolved hunger

Ours was a journey I had to travel

Every step of the way

Over the broken eggshells

Of your projected pain

In order to learn

Essential lessons of self love

Loneliness has taught me

That even though painful

The price of being myself

Is not too much to pay

Feeling safe to be me

Even in all the dark melancholy

Is the cosiest place

One I could never find

The way back to

Through centuries of wandering

The truth is

The deeper I go

Into the grief

You so despised

The more fully

I come home to myself

And feel the beauty

And integrity

And love of this place

That no one

Can ever take away again

You’ll “get over it”. Really?

Some people may not realise that attachments endure and that some losses are so big and so painful that one can never get to a place where grief has ended.  The pressure for people to get over grief seems to be based on a very simple view of what loss is.

Rosenblatt

I was lucky enough to come across the following quote in a lovely thesis on sibling loss that was given to me by a counsellor last year, following the loss of my eldest sister Judith.

I am encouraged to share it today as I had an encounter with my mother where I was trying to address old hurts and losses over grief that could not be expressed only to be told.  “For God’s sake aren’t you over that by now.  Do you think you are the only one that suffers? I can tell you I have been through so many painful things and I just had to “get over it”.”  That is pretty much verbatim.

I won’t write here what I kindly tried to say to my Mum.  Not having a grief acknowledged or feeling there was a place of safety to feel it has been a recurring theme for me and hurt me so many times that to be honest I am beginning to feel a bit stupid for not getting the message sooner.

Its not that I want to stay mired in the muck of past injuries.  But at times I feel we just need to be told “ouch, that must have really hurt”, when our pain is acknowledged and accepted the pain is soothed, not amplified more.

In fact in the last post I was sharing some insights from a book on the emotionally absent mother into the functions of a good mother.  This mother shows a sad face when the child is sad, if this happens often the child will move through the feeling and it will pass.  They wont have to stay stuck in it endlessly repeating it over and over.

This probably applies to certain injuries that are minor.  In the case of larger losses we are in different territory.

Some losses are very big.  I know some of those losses, there are some injuries and losses that are so deep they never get fully repaired and they will leave wounds and scars.  That is a deep emotional truth, but not one my mother can acknowledge.

One thing I will share, when I challenged my Mum this afternoon about the moving on and letting go refrain she cried very deeply.  I could feel like an ogre for trying to burst her bubble.  It may be a bubble she is very comfortable living inside.  It may have been best not to even try to argue.  But such a thing doesn’t come naturally to me with Uranus and Pluto in my first house.

It seems essential to our mental and emotional health that we find a way to acknowledge the truth of what our soul suffers.  Too much madness seems to result from denial of the reality.

There is a beautiful book by the Vietnamese monk Thich Knat Hahn on healing anger in which he shows a method of cooling the burning sting of hurt and anger through acknowledging the suffering of other and showing our compassion toward it.

This reminds me of the Enkies in Babylonian mythology, those little mourners who the Queen of the upper world, Innana sends down to comfort her sister Erishkegal who suffers from deeply dark and painful emotions of grief and loss in the underworld.  These sufferings are so strong they impale Innana to the wall when she goes down to visit a sister who grows angrier at not having the truth of her suffering acknowleged.  The Enkies are the mourners who Innana asks to come to her aid if she gone more than three days.  They sit with the suffering queen Erishkegal and help her to move through her loss.  In this way Innana is freed from being impaled on a peg on the wall.   Frozen grief can solidify in the body and damn up parts of our anatomy, that is my experience and what current neurobiology shows.  Such trauma or pain is not easily got over.  Suggesting it is, is doubly traumatising.

There is something deeply transformative about deep losses we are allowed to express.  They take us into territory which sears our soul and brands it with a new scar which is both wound and blessing.  The measure of our grief is the measure of our loss, of our attachment.  We would not willingly have chosen this kind of burning and yet we must suffer it, in order to enlarge and deepen our understanding.

I know my Mum has known much suffering in her life.  Maybe its she who is needing validation at the moment.  Maybe she needs a visit by the Enkies, too.

For now I’m letting go of my frustrations around the “get over it” comment of my Mum.  Its just her opinion.  I had hoped to mourn so much together.  To have a place to share the pain.  That hope must die now and I need to acknowledge that hurts.  As it leaves me alone, it returns me to me.  And pushes me towards others who do understand that some losses and events are so huge that they forever brand our souls.  Deeply and profoundly.

Reflections on Saturn Moon

imagesCACDHBJA

Lately I have been reflecting on my Saturn Moon and trying to get a deeper understanding of my defence mechanisms. In reality my moon placement has other contacts, too.  But the Saturn Moon side of me, as I age is throwing up information, particularly at this time of year.

If the Moon in our chart represents the mother she is our earliest experience of containment, nurture and home. But we are born in to a family, too.  In my case the family was already well established, my parents had me late in life, both had Sun Saturn Mercury conjunctions.  So I have been reflecting that perhaps our sense of the Moon contains all the individual members or our home as well, and the emotional sub tone of our relationships with them, too.

When I was born my eldest brother was 17, and my eldest sister 16. In fact in the surrounding neighbourhood there was a fair bit of talking going on. As my sister used to wheel me around in the pram people would throw questioning glances at her, was I her child?

This morning I went to buy some Christmas gifts and got chatting to the sales assistant she has a child of 18 and another child of aged one year.  I told her of my elder sibling being around the same age distance from me. “How was it for you?” She asked. ” It was complicated”, I said, in some ways like being an only child and having a number of people play a parenting role.

I was very young when my eldest sister left home, only 3 and I missed her a lot.  When my brother married and left home I was 7.  We don’t really know each other very well.  I have some difficulties as our lives have followed very different directions and to be honest as upset as I have been, at times in not getting much from him emotionally, lately I feel he has tried to reach out.  I probably hasn’t been easy for him either, with the variations in ages.   However we have things in common.  We both came from a family short on emotional nurture, so lately I am questioning how realistic it is, to have certain expectations of him, expectations that have often led to disappointment. Might it not be a little self centred?

My brother is highly successful but a quiet achiever. He is understated and thoughtful, at least that is what I am learning of him now (probably a lot like my father who was also Virgo with Mercury and Saturn in conjunction there). Both individuals found it difficult to know how to respond emotionally and to express themselves. There were no spontaneous displays of feeling or embraces.

I am beginning to realise it isn’t that my brother is unfeeling and doesn’t care, it is just that he holds his feelings quiet close to his chest and finds it hard to communicate.  Also his life is about work, achievement and business, though in later years I have noticed he has began to change.  My father was very similar (he had Sun Mercury and Saturn conjunct in Virgo which speaks of a serious internal disposition).

This Saturn Moon legacy of mine speaks of a family where duty and hard work came before emotional expression and connection.

In the book Saturn : A New Look At An Old Devil, astrologer Liz Greene expresses it thus:

In the Saturn Moon childhood “there has been rather a lot of emphasis on duty and the appropriate forms of behaviour. Sometimes Saturn Moon contacts are concurrent with a childhood that is difficult because of financial reasons; sometimes there is an abundance of material comfort but little warmth or spontenaeity of emotional expression. The mother is frequently undemonstrative or a disappointment in some way”

in addition

there is “a well defined stamp of emotional close fistedness which infers a long past of learning to control the feelings beginning at an age where feelings, freely expressed, are the only outlet a child possesses for communication. There is often a brooding loneliness about this contact….an aloofness and isolation that is not easily broken.”  

I must be honest. It’s painful to even read those lines, let alone share them in a blog! I am becoming all too aware of my tendency to brood but I do question if all of this brooding is negative or whether it leads to a capacity for introspection and depth that has gifts.

I notice the held back tendency of mine, especially around my beautiful dog Jasper, who is full of bounding enthusiasm. At times I feel he represents for me the child in me, that I try to reign in, in the way I was reigned in by my Mum. (She used to put me in a harness when I was young, like a dog on a lead) and was always unsettle by my (to her) “overly dramatic” nature.

I have been considering these influences lately, especially around Christmas when the tendency I experience to withdraw and isolate is conflicting with deeper longings to be a part of things.   I hope it’s not boring to say again (am I brooding?). My father was diagnosed with cancer and died quickly following an operation around Christmas in 1984.

At the moment I am in the midst of watching the HBO series In Treatment which focuses on the life of a psychotherapist, Paul (played by Gabriel Byrne) and his patients.  Paul is treating a couple Jake and Amy who are having problems connecting.  Amy’s  father died in childhood. The shadow of this death is reverberating in Amy’s life and affecting the way Amy is erecting defences by pushing away tenderness from her husband which threatens to awaken the pain over the loss of her Dad.

Amy suffers guilt surrounding her father’s death, she had left him sitting outside on the kerb to go into the shop and get a second ice cream and while she was in the shop her father is hit by a runaway car and dies.  In the  episode I watched last night both Amy and Jake begin to be aware of the ghost of this unconscious influence over their struggle to love, connect and find intimacy.

I have digressed a little here but I did feel an echo when watching this episode of the series last night, of how a death can lead us to withdraw and put up protective defences around closeness.   I am considering this in relation to my behaviour around my brother, the part I play in maintaining a distance from a person on whom I project some of my own fears.

I shared in another blog posted last week, that I had resistance to connecting with my brother at Christmas. He always spends Christmas overseas in America. We usually connect in the few weeks before. I often leave these sessions holding back tears which I don’t feel safe enough to share.  Inside I wonder why he always goes so far away around the anniversary of Dad’s death.

I shared in a post how I struggled with the thought of meeting  on Tuesday night.  Initially I said I would not go, then I changed my mind, only to have an attack that made it impossible to get out of the house.

The following night my brother called to say goodbye, he expressed his disappointment. It has been hard for me to feel my brother’s love. I could not hold back the tears.  I shared some of my grief over Dad, over my own lack of family.  He didn’t say much but he was kind and I was aware of seeing things from his side:  he lost his father too, they were close for many years, working side by side.  He never mentions Dad much, but I am sure he feels the loss too, he doesn’t have many places to share it. His wife is rather critical of feelings and harsh, not a nurturer.

The following morning I spoke to my mother. She told me how disappointed my brother had been that I could not make the dinner. He had come over to see her and for the first time picked up a photograph of my father taken when he was ill from the table. My mother was crying as she told me this.

I shared with my mother that I was beginning to realise that my brother grew up at a time in which Mum and Dad were struggling to build a new life. He lived through the painful and traumatic years which involved time as a very young child living with my parents while Dad was stationed in the Dutch East Indies during the early 1950s during the time that a precarious fight for independence from Dutch colonisation was underway and made conditions dangerous. He shared the early years of their return to Australia where they had no money much.

My father struggled to earn a living, as a returned Dutch serviceman his qualifications as an engineer, which were considerable, were not recognised by the Australian Government. Despite the fact the Dutch East Indies forces played a huge part in the protection of Australia from enemy attack by the Japanese, no recognition in the form of financial support was ever received.

As a young adult my brother worked in the family businesses of which there were three, very long hours. Together he and Dad worked to build an empire. There was a lot of work, work, work, not any time to just play, laugh, goof off and relax. Illness took my father in the mid 1980’s. For over six years, prior to his illness Dad was under both enormous financial and emotional stress, my eldest sister had a breakdown and had been abandoned by her husband, my brother was overextending the company he and my father ran through borrowing money offshore at a time of economic collapse.

One thing that occurred during this time was that my eldest sister, who died this year, became psychotic. During the psychosis she rang my brother and accused him of devil worship. The devil : Money. In truth she had fallen foul of trying to live up the family ethos of overwork with little emotional nurture.

Over the next four years things fell apart for my mother and father.   Following my father’s death my mother lost her mother, my sister who had had a stroke and had lost her husband and four children struggled and Mum struggled to support her.  She then ran into a new relationship out of loneliness and in a flight from grief.  My brother went on from strength to strength, in time amassing a large fortune from his development activities.

For me the loss of my father at 22 led to a time of travel and then a move to a new city where I could be far away from the family and their businesses. I wanted so much more than this, at a time when I did not know what I had really been through growing up in such a family, I also did not truly know the wounds I carried and what my soul was longing for.

Being pushed into a solitary path of travel after my father died, I took to addiction and hid the scars deep inside. I partied and tried to forget, I struggled a lot in relationships to connect and experienced several painful endings before getting sober in 1993 when transiting Chiron passed over my natal Pluto in the first house.

By the late 1999’s my husband and I tried to make an overseas break but the truth is, where ever we go with our particular legacy we still carry it. In the end it asks to be dealt with and so, in time, after two years of therapy and the opening to my deep feelings we returned, and in time that marriage went into the fire.

It has taken me about 14 years to come to more awareness around my Saturn Moon issues, from the time I started therapy to understand my own issues as well as my struggle to individuate in the midst of all of these familial forces understanding and insight has grown. The journey is ongoing. In the absence of therapy, at present, this blog and my journaling takes its place.

This morning I got a greater insight into my brother. I saw how my own disappointment and frustration at him was really something that needed to be accepted and how much of my resentment and anger came out of an ignorant or childlike place. In the end my expectations have been unrealistic, they may also have been a bit self centred and narcissistic.

Maintaining a distance is, perhaps, something I have chosen to get a better perspective and to protect against a sensitivity to hurt, it may also be an attempt of a growing part of myself to achieve separation and growth (and yet, and yet I long so much to connect deeply and share emotional intimacy). There were times a while back I really opened my emotions to my brother and I got stung by him. It was enough to make me clam and up and be fearful of opening my heart again.

It really has only been following my older sister’s funeral that I feel my brother has shown me much in the way of respect.   When I gave a eulogy for her, I spoke to the heart of what I saw as my sister’s struggle, probably with a depth that my brother was not capable of. I know he felt it.

On Wednesday I let my pain out. I bore with the struggle that was taking place. The longing to connect (so often thwarted and ending in misunderstanding and rejection) and the desire to protect and keep myself whole, safe, intact and emotionally real was bringing about a deep inner struggle which in true Saturn Moon fashion manifested psychosomatically.

This morning as I spoke to my Mum I felt into the heart of her suffering and loss, as well as that of my brother. I thought about how the loss that occurred happened for all of us and affected us all in different ways. I felt some of the pain and sting receding and compassion and insight dawning.

As I write this blog over the days of Uranus station direct in my 8th house, I reflect on the legacy of my Saturn Moon which has Pluto thrown into the mix. I think of the very dark places I went when my buried emotional hunger and need, the longing of the small child to be held and to connect deeply went astray over long years. I think of the hopes I had in five relationships that turned to ashes and dust, returning me to new pain which contained echoes of old. I see that, hard as it has been at times, in some way I found the capacity to bear it.

Perhaps I may always feel a little imprisoned in my ability to connect, trust, reach out and bond emotionally due to my history. I notice when the desire to do so comes, simultaneously an inner voice sends up all the doubts and reservations. I feel the Dweller on the Threshold, at times barring my way from connection and movement forward towards connection, happiness, lightness, joy and hope.

At times I feel like a deeply introspective watcher whose way is barred, the exile who only witnesses others receive these kind of gifts. I acknowledge the reality of that, and just for now I breathe through it. I know I am not the only one to feel this way.   In so many ways I am blessed because there is love around me and there are other sunnier influences in my chart too.  Sometimes love doesn’t come in a form we recognise or fully understand and yet, it is there.

Even in my very painful past relationship there were moments when we connected. In the end the way into each other’s hearts was lost and the barricades came down, from the other side .  One of my ex partners even said I had shown him more capacity for love than anyone he had med, but he was not in a place to receive it.  My last partner  decided to project a lot of his own shadow onto me, he was not ready to engage with the pain and deeper work that was needed to bring us through to connection. I had to make the journey alone, was sent back to myself for the fifth time.

In her writing about Saturn Moon Liz Greene expresses the view that for the Saturn Moon person the way to love and peace comes through the giving up of the longing for the security and warmth of familial love and leads us towards a certain kind of independence, perhaps not asked of others without this kind of contact.

She writes

Saturn’s gift of independence usually follows on the heels of failure or disappointment because only failure appears to be sufficient to cause a person to question himself or develop the necessary wisdom and strength. The security of family ties is an illusory one, and it is often very dangerous to assume that one has the right, because of blood ties, to command emotional support from others. …. As (the Saturn Moon person) builds his own inner stability and taps the resources of his creative and intuitive side, he generally finds that he does not have to demand the affection of others. This is offered to him freely, because he has something to offer – a whole person.

I take comfort from those words on some level and feel them to be deeply true. A lot of growth has taken place in this direction during the past 14 years as Saturn as travelled around my chart and is now close to squaring natal Pluto in the first house which speaks deeply of the importance of my struggle for differentiation and individuation.

It seems to me that Saturn then, offers us through the hard experiences a way forward that can be lonely and tough but on some level has great gifts nevertheless.

As I face Christmas in my own orbit with little Jasper by my side, I feel grateful for this astrological knowledge, which in some way gives me the ability to make gold from what could be seen as darkness.   This knowledge gives me a way to find the light hidden in the shadow of the darkness of Saturn’s influence which falls across my heart at times like a ghost, a dark angel or spectre.

Inside my little house I will turn my energy back towards comfort, centring and emotional nurture.  I will distil the wisdom of Liz Greene’s words and  fall back on my own gifts whilst also reaching out to family with a more complete understanding of the very real necessity and reason for their limitations, asking nothing of them and finding a way to give love.

Last night I had dinner with my Mum and sister and towards the end of the night we which lifted the lid off some painful issues.  Mum and I were able to share our grief and speak  and be listened to with love and respect.  We both cried, I opened my heart.  Mum wrapped her arms around me and told me how much she loves me, how much she sees me struggling with my self esteem, how much she longs for my happiness. It was a precious moment. I shared with her that I feel quite deficient at times emotionally with this Saturn Moon legacy, at times I don’t see my true heart clearly.  But I do know it is a heart full of love, that is what gives me he capacity to be with sadness and pain.

Maybe one of the legacies of my Saturn Moon tends toward the negative, which makes me sad. (Reading that back I see it still contains a judgement for Saturn Moon sees into the dark heart of truth, maybe it just doesn’t need to make a permanent residence there).

I don’t only have the Saturn Moon I have a lovely Sun Mercury Venus Jupiter too and a warm ascendant and North Node in Leo.   I feel how much these parts of me want to love and embrace life, I am just not always that sure how to go about it. I seem to have deep fears. Maybe the acknowledgement of all of these is important.

Maybe Saturn is, at present, asking me to give it a voice to show my weakness to expose my deeper vulnerability at a time when I am sure others are feeling vulnerable too. To put it out there. And for today that is what I will do. To find out how others struggle and feel similar too.

Visitation by a Dark Angel

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What is this dark angel that hovers over me, laying to waste all happiness, entering me into some deep dark mystical sadness that is like an ocean that threatens to drown me, that pulls on me with its restless tide that comes unbidden from an unknown place?

I have no power over the times of its coming and going and then I question do I create its visitations with my resistance to the world I see that seems barren of feeling and leaves no place for a deeper darker vision of events which have fallen below consciousness.

I remember asking my first therapist. “Do you think I am a borderline personality?” To which she replied, “No, Deborah I believe you are someone who lives very close to the collective unconscious.”

Carl Jung was such a person. His sun in Leo opposes mine in Aquarius and he had the Sun Neptune square.   Just prior to the outbreak of World War I Jung had dark visions of Europe bathed in blood. He had broken with Freud due to their dispute over the unconscious.   During this time his deep interior journey and dreams led him to develop the concept of the shadow, that dark twin of ours which we can enter into a relationship with at midlife.

Jung also developed a relationship with the inner child at midlife, he learned to play, to build castles of sand. I feel a resonance.

This darkness around me others don’t often understand.

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My brother just called, disappointed I could not make dinner last night. All that came out from me “sorry” and a flood of grief. He has not often seen this side of me. I’ll probably be judged as bi polar now by his entire family. They keep their distance as if I am infected by something they don’t want to catch.

He wasn’t nasty or uncaring, just mystified and perplexed.  He did listen. Now he has seen my dark side. I am relieved in a way as often I feel there is some kind of pretence and I have to present a bright face so not to be rejected.

Today I read a blog by Therese Borchard who struggles with depression and death thoughts. It was a letter she wrote in response to a friend who was disturbed by her death thoughts. Therese could not deny them.  In the writing of the letter she spoke for her right to give voice to sadness and darkness that society labels as an illness.

I am not so sure if it is an illness or just a shadow aspect of modern life. Maybe certain experiences mark us out for this type of encounter and surely there is a temperamental aspect to it. It is a deeply Plutonian energy.

Only in astrology have I found a real understanding of how we get marked by archetypal experiences, (indicated by planetary influences) those common to people of all ages and times. In this modern society with its emphasis on happiness we melacholics and depressives are seen as somehow sick, but might there not be some value too in a dark vision?  We cannot just erase one side of the yin and yang of existence. And the truth is that sometimes the descent to the darkest place represents a turning toward the light.

At this time of the in the Southern Hemisphere we are reaching the time of maximum light, while overseas the Northern Hemisphere turns toward Winter Solstice, that time when the Sun has gone as far down and light will begin to return.   People there are experiencing the time of maximum darkness.

Certainly here though at this time of year we are in the time of most light, I do go into the dark as the sun inches its way through the nadir or lowest point of my chart, which has familial and ancestral themes.

I was trying to explain this to my brother how this time of year holds great grief. It is not something I feel I will “get over”. The dark angel makes her visitations at certain times, it is something that is part of living having gone through experiences where death came close and I saw the threat of light extinguished for a time.

I think we need voices such as mine and Therese’s who give exposure to this side of life. Suicidal thoughts come to me too, I had some yesterday.   As Therese noted in her blog today, they do pass in time. It’s a matter of holding through the most painful dark times, until the light begins to dawn again.

There is a saying I first heard in early sobriety. “This too shall pass” and so it will. Everything in nature is subject to death phases. It is one of the reasons my higher power in sobriety was a massive tree. Trees shed leaves at certain times, are in death but death is not an ending : there is a force slumbering there even when no life shows on the surface.

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The world turns and life turns again to show its other face. In astrology January is associated with the god Janus who has two faces, one looks back to the old year passing out, the other towards the new year. In the past is sadness, and maybe in the future the possibility of returning light. But it seems to me that all of life in some way reflects doubling, polarity and paradox, which only our modern society tries to erase in its naive quest for an eternal summer.

I have watched two partners walk away from our relationship because they struggled seeing me embraced by the dark. Therese’s partner stands by her and supports her through her dark phases. At this time of year I am aware who walked away, of those who turned their back on me or took a wide berth. I finally have acceptance rather than anger around it   Those who choose to leave must go and I understand why.   Living with sadness is not easy for some, especially those who had to eradicate it because it was just too much of a burden or too difficult to face.

I know that the clouds that accompany this latest visitation by the dark angel will lift in time, there is even some kind of deep beauty and comfort in being able to cry and feel sad, for at least when this happens energy is moving and I don’t feel as though I am drowning or strangling.

But one thing I question. Is it my protective resistance to further hurt and misunderstanding that holds me back from being with those who are challenged by my vulnerability? I am not sure. In the end it made me sad to not see my brother and yet I felt better and more true to myself for not subjecting myself to what may have been too much for me to bear, at least last night.

On the phone this evening I was genuine and real, I spoke to my limitations and feelings and held nothing back and I felt love in my heart even though I have struggled for years with my brother’s lack of understanding. Maybe it is even more poignant due to the close relationship he had with my Dad, now dead, with whom I never had the opportunity to establish an adult to adult relationship.

For now, even though I feel sad, I am also feeling a kind of peace. There is comfort in the encroaching dusk and the shadows that play across the screen as I write. In giving voice to all of this, I am returned to my deepest self and send this message out into the ether along with the love I feel in my heart informed by and tinged with the deep  sadness I feel at present, hoping it will speak to someone.

Broken Winged Angel

images (20)On Tuesday I explored an old journal.  In it I found the following poem which I have re-edited.  I also came across some writing about grief and its impact on the sufferer and those around them taken from a book by Virginia Ironside called “You’ll Get Over It.” 

This poem is for my sister who died earlier this year, for the impact of what she suffered on those of us who loved her and for those who are suffering grief and depression due to invisible heartbreak or loss:

Broken winged angel

I saw your reflection

On the breast of a robin

Grown cold now

Surprised on our return

She took flight

Captured here

By a framed ceiling

She flew too high

Struggling to be free

Death

Brought her down

At nightfall we return

I carry her lifeless body

To the garden to bury it

Silent and empty

Her spirit has flown

Vacating its earthly shell

Today you tell me

My heart is empty

I feel vacant

Nothing to say

I can not connect

When an empty shell

Is all that is left

Vacant eyes

Stare through an open window

Enfolded wings

Wrapped tightly around

An imprisoned soul

Trapped in a straightjacket

The drugs they gave you

Erased and dismissed

The reality of your deep suffering

Grown mute

A hollowed out shell

Is all that remains

My most vivid memory

Of your darkest hour

There is nothing left

Only empty space

Where a beating heart once lived

You empty out all my sorrow

I traded my true identity

So that I would remain here

A victim trapped

Trying to atone

With non existence 

For the pain of your existence

The penance for

A painful aborted life

The hands of the clock

Revolved in slow motion

Over those wilderness years

Everything was erased

I entered the void of grief

And how my body ached

Over those long years

A voice deep within

Tells me it wasn’t for nothing

But there are no words

That can express

What I saw there

I don’t belong in your world

Let me rest quietly

Free of your demands

For me to be another way

Let me free to soar

Across darkened skies

With white wings

Tasting the flavour of the breeze

There is only this moment of flight

Over distant shores

Which I cover with a shadow

That in time

Will disappear and leave no trace

Yonder I flew

To the land of our ancestors

Carried only by the promise of God

Into a destiny

That will prove

A disappointment to its promise

And leave me questioning and questing

After so many years

Long years hence

The early morning claimed you

The ancestors

Called your spirit home

The weight of your damaged body

Too heavy any more

For the soul to bear

The broken winged angel

Has found her home now

On my bedside table

Overlooked by an angel of light

With both wings in tact

Tenderly holding a lamb

Was I just the witness

To a crime

To one else could bear to name

Witnessing it nearly broke me

For a time look everything

Hollowed me out

For a new beginning

What  broke you

Was the silence

Too much silence

They turned a blind eye

Your grief was heavy

Who else could bear it

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This morning I read these words

Fear may make some people stay away from a bereaved person, fear of emotion but also fear of anger and rage, or worse, fear of longing, the utter craven helplessness of a bereaved person.

The absolute abandonment happens twice:  First with the loss; second with the impact of that loss or losses on the person that drives people away.  Thus is sorrow driven deep within into a place of inexplicable expression, symptom, illness, cancer or the death mute catatonia of profound depression that has no words but can only be recognised by those who have understood that darkness through resonance.  We must not quit from trying to find a way, to not turn our backs on those whose grief has lost its words and longs so mutely for our understanding,  love, tenderness and containment perhaps expressed less in words and more in the comforting touch of a hand or a soft look of empathetic mirroring.

 

Rage and grief : Letting Go Into Healing

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I’ve been wondering a lot lately about the connection between rage and grief.   Following an outburst several months ago at my support group where a lot of anger came up about being the end in line and there being no time to share because others had not considered the time and other people’s need, a week in which I had faced reading about my mother’s reactions to me as a small child that showed a theme of misunderstanding and rejection a friend in group told me that her sponsor had said to her of her own healing process. “Follow the anger and there you will find the grief.”

Lately, following a foot injury that came on the back of some very hurtful stuff said about me to someone by my sister, I’ve been feeling a lot of hurt amidst the gratitude for other positive gifts in my life.

Today as I sat on the floor in the kitchen crying with my dog Jasper sitting very close and protectively holding the space for me, the thought came to me as a voice in my head “at the moment you need to let yourself mourn”.

There is a lot to mourn, and in this I don’t want to seem like I am turning a blind eye to the many things I have to be grateful for, but there have also been many things to grieve.  I had a conversation with my nephew who is also struggling with issues of rage which he has connected to deep grief around his relationship with my older sister who died this year.

In the middle of the night this week I had an urge to do a google search on the connection between rage and grief. What came up was an excellent talk by the writer Judith Butler where she explores the connection between the two. She expresses many deep psychological truths so eloquently in this talk and she speaks of the letting go process which I guess to me relates to the letting go of that which is outside of our power to control in life : death, endings, betrayals, lack of affirmation all fall under this umbrella.

What we do have the power over is to allow ourselves to let go into the process of mourning, rather than resist and deny. I don’t think it is very easy in our culture to do this, but I think so many of us want and need to do it. Where we get stuck in the anger and rage (which is a natural phase of the process of facing grief and change) we may hold on too tightly to that rage as a way of maintaining control but then the process of deeper transformation can be aborted and we can end up more wounded

In a way held anger that isn’t resolved is like a saying to life that difficult, people, things and circumstances should not be. The truth is that when painful things happen to us it hurts. We don’t like being hurt and so we rage, but what if we felt the hurt and allowed ourselves to enter the heart of it, not by holding on but by letting go into it, allowing it to work its way out and lead us in the direction we need to go? That is perhaps a direction which would not have occurred without enduring that loss or painful experience.

In her talk, Judith Butler talks about mourning and grieving as being a process of undoing, a transformative journey which every fibre of our being can resist and yet into the heart of this transformation is the very place we need to go. So much of grief is out of our control, loss takes us to a space and place where the world we knew is irrevocably changed. And by that change, we too, are irrevocably changed.

The letting go into grief for me at the moment feels like an acceptance of the pain and through this acceptance is a letting be so the feelings can work through. For me, it is a saying NO to certain involvements around this time of year. For me I am feeling at this time a real need to be in the centre of my own life, for it is here that I am connected to my own heart and healing. I need the silence and stillness of this place to hear my own song, to see how it differs from the songs of others and yet also connects me to humanity.

When I touch this place where everything is allowed to exist and to BE I am no longer caught up in the doing, much of which I am now seeing is a distraction from the place of stillness and wholeness which feeds me at a very deep level.

I am aware of the damaging voices of the collective which try to tell us there is something wrong with being alone,   “be careful you aren’t isolating”, that who we are only depends on what we possess, our relationships, outer circumstances. Why can’t we see that in being alone we are not really alone but rather at home with ourselves; that in choosing to be we are not contracting but expanding into something infinite and large. We aren’t shutting out the world in defence, just seeking a place of quiet, solace and sanctuary within which we can know our true home and experience our deeper selves.

Need for quiet time, is for me one of the most essential of needs. Quiet time leads me home and refreshes me and makes the next involvement possible.

The retreat within to feel the truth of sadness and grief as well as the joy and peace that are the outgrowth of acceptance of things as they are enables life to move forward. It is not a deathly retreat but a retreat or regression for the purpose of moving forward.

It is where I am choosing to live now especially as my wounded ankle tries to heal and I feel the reverberations of that experience that have run like a thread not only through my life, but through the lives of others.  Today I am feeling such gratitude for this place of sanctuary and feeling the love that comes with the process of allowing and letting be.

Further travels with pain and trauma : bringing light into the dark

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I just spent some hours writing the following blog.  As I read it back it struck me I am just really struggling with loss and feelings.  The inner censor is making some comments. But after a few corrections to typos I putting it out there anyway.  🙂

Last week was really painful and tough. I wish I knew the reason why, then I could make the change to make it better and to feel more of the strength and positivity in the good feelings which are there on many days.  But sometimes, there is a tide that is pulling me back into the darkness and pain especially surrounding the burden of my family history.  With one sister recently passed away and the other struggling with depression, I too, struggle in maintaining a sense of separation from other people’s pain and feelings.  Most  especially I struggle to maintain a sense of happiness and hope for a better future in the face of that darkness.  And I do know that on any day there are a number of choices I can make in placing my energy and time in nurturing, rather than depleting directions.

I have been very aware of being there to support my mother in the face of the difficulties surrounding both siblings.  In the wake of my sister’s death there are the tasks that follow the ending of a life, administrative things to do with death certificates that need to be witnessed  and the issue of the collection and handling of my sister’s ashes.   In this task there is only my mother and me present   None of my sister’s children live close.  Separated from her by the circumstance of her own trauma and their father’s struggle to survive and cope all fours sons live quiet far away.  It was great to have them with us in the time leading up to and just following her death, but now with these other issues to deal with,  it is  quiet a lonely task.  I am grateful in one way to be able to front up ad be there but at other times I am conscious of a deep emptiness that stretches back in our family, so much separation and emotional absence, over many generations which I am trying in some small way to redress.

At times the entire task seems too big and I feel like I am drowning or, at least, struggling to live and breathe and maintain a sense of self and boundaries within it..  I am trying to remember to breathe, move, not to clamp down, not to struggle so much and yet there is so much banked up feeling.

My body suffers a lot on some days.   Its a struggle to get moving and I have body spasms and twists, especially at night.  There is a suck in, push and pull out  out dynamic that happens.  Over the past three years there have been at least seven different hospitalisations of three family members and I have been the one in the middle going backwards and forwards, trying to be supporting, living on my nerves, trying at the same time to support my own life and care of my home and dog, is it any wonder, at the moment that I am feeling so exhausted and longing for some one to care for me.  Oh the joy of Saturn transits!!!   Transiting Saturn is moving back towards natal Neptune and will be squaring Sun, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and the South and North Nodes over the next four months.

I continue to put my hand up for tasks that are often not my responsibility due to the fact others cant, or wont front up.   It my first instinctive response, one that comes naturally to me.  Only after I have volunteered do I realise that I have overcommitted myself and energy not allowing enough time for my own tasks that need attention and yet, if I don’t give love in this situation the emptiness will go on with no light in the darkness at all.

Today I am still in my pyjamas at 2 pm.  We are moving into winter and had a lovely fall of rain last night and throughout the morning it could have been a peaceful morning but  marring the day I had a major cuffufle with my mother this morning.     I wasn’t really aware that the lingering resentment around her own emotional absence over earlier years which lies dormant (and I thought I had dealt with) was about to rear its ugly head  today.  We ended up having one of our painful tussles and I said somethings which hurt her and were probably best left unsaid.  The conversation left us both in tears and with my insides feeling like they had been scoured out with a huge wad of steel wool.

“Maybe its best if we don’t have as much to do with each other for a while” she said. This is her default setting for not dealing with conflict and issues which cut a bit too close to the bone.   I know she is struggling with a lot of painful feelings herself and most of the time I try to go gently on her. But  today I guess I was just feeling angry, sore and raw and a trifle put upon having spent the day yesterday nurturing my sister, driving her back and forward from hospital on a weekend where she is totally institutionalised and sees no one much.  My mother’s comment really hurt.  In the process of grieving my sister’s loss I have very few places to go to share the sadness, as usual it was all about my Mum’s wounded ego.    Earlier she had tried pulling out the guilt card.  “I don’t have much longer left on this earth”.  I called her on it.  This is another one of her tactics for trying to  making me feel bad for addressing painful feelings which she would really rather deny.  “For God’s sake isn’t it time you put it to rest?”.  Most of the time I do and I wish I remembered this one fact :  its not possible to deal with these feelings with my Mum and deep down I am angry at having tried to deal with a challenging situation which has endured over so many bloody years.

We two and do at times  get into some terrible tangles.  They say oil and water don’t mix but sometimes air and water have a lot of trouble too.  Sometimes it really sucks having a parent whose Sun Mercury Saturn hits all of your personal planets, especially the Moon and Venus,  planets of closeness and relationship.  These interconnections can be cutting at times and its not always easy to get a deeper connection and understanding.   And maybe its not even her job  Maybe that responsibility is mine now.  It  was her responsibility at one point and she failed pretty miserably at it and that has left a painful legacy for all three of her daughters, something I am not even going to try and point out.  She couldn’t give what she never got from her own mother in the first place and she has tried, over the past years to make some kind of amends.  After our terminated call I was left questioning myself a lot.  Did I place too much of a burden of expectation upon a parent who is now struggling herself?   Not an easy feeling.

I was lucky enough following my upsetting phone call with my mum to call a very kind and gentle friend. ! Maybe these feelings you are having towards your Mum you can put in a letter”, she said.  “And if you would like to read it to me I would be happy to listen”. This friend has the same name as my sister Judy.  I could always go to Jude with Mum issues and she would understand.  Now I no longer have that older sister to go to who understands but maybe my Higher Power did provide someone else.  I was very grateful for her attempt try to understand where I was coming from and show empathy.

I must say its a huge relief just to be on my own today.  To be in the quiet and peace of home without any obligations or responsibilities pulling on me.  Jasper is sleeping quietly and doesn’t seem to perturbed by having missed his usual morning play in the park.  In a moment I think I will light the fire and read a book.

I’m praying this week will be a little easier than last.  I wonder if its the pain body that has been giving me trouble last week. This is a term Eckhardt Tolle uses to describe the entity that can live inside of us and rear up from time to time.  My own pain body is pretty large.  I have had three major physical traumas, the last two following the painful separation that attended the ending of my marriage.  Its taken me some time to be able to feel deeply into the pain body and the traumatic footprint left by physical and emotional trauma that is more active at night….To find ways to be with it while breathing in the pain instead of reacting to it.  Its taken some years but bearing with this process I have found is beginning to bear fruit.  When I can be with the pain without magnifying the pain the pain does lessen and dissolve and usually if I just concentrate on the breath or a lovely song in my head, I manage to fall asleep.

No one will ever know how hard some day are for me with my Post Traumatic Stress.  Its not something you can see and its not always there.  At times pain that is submerged, emerges as tides of consciousness recede as I attempt to let go and slip away into sleep.  On some days my body contorts a lot in a way that I have seen in images of shell shock victims following war.  I read somewhere in book on Buddhism that traumas cause a twisted “tsa” or energy.  At times I feel that twisting is trying to find a way to unravel.  It is not ever present, it comes and goes.

I’m making an effort to try and find words for my experience because at times its lonely.  In the end its my responsibility to deal with it.  There really isn’t anyone else.  I have tried a lot of therapy and was once told by the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt that my kind of trauma is often not helped my most therapists.  Instead I try to find ways of dealing with it alone having gone through repeated let downs and frustrations with therapists.   Maybe this is my Saturn Moon Mars legacy.   In the end it is what I must carry because I can’t check out with any kind of pain relief due to my sobriety.  In any case this kind of legacy is beyond pain relief of the pharmaceutical kind.

Instead I look to life  I look to the breathe.  I cuddle little Jasper and feel the healing of his soft tummy lying close to my sore tummy  And I continue to commit to seeking the light and to remembering that although the darkness does exist there are still tools available to build a fire, to bring light, warmth, energy and healing to the dark places.

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Better to Light a Candle, than to Curse the Darkness