Venus as Goddess of Love and War

We would not traditionally think of the planet Venus as a Goddess of War, when everything seems to associate the planet and archetypal energy of Venus with love and relationships, but what happens to our love in the face of enormous frustrations and thwarting and obstacles, what does it turn into and how does the soul cope without destroying itself?  Burning itself up in the fires of its own frustrated desires?  Do we just drop the desire and resign ourselves to the fact that what we longed for ‘was never meant to be?’ and give up or judge ourselves for trying and/or desiring?    Or do we keep holding on and persevering (recognising life and love are never purely ideal or romantic at times) and dig even deeper for love within?

It was actually the Mesoamericans (Aztec and Maya) who understood the dual aspect of this Goddess/archetype and recognised that during the retrograde movement of Venus (which occurs once every two years in different zodiac signs) Venus is swallowed by the Sun when it becomes evening star during the first three weeks of the retrograde.  Three weeks into the retrograde Venus then appears from the Underworld at its heliacal rising (when Venus moves back to meet the Sun in conjunction at a certain degree – this occurs today in the current retrograde) appearing in the psyche potentially as the Goddess of War not love after its summoning up of underworld ghosts or memories or energies.

The Aztecs and Maya made sacrifices at the heliacal rising  and they believed vindictiveness was generated from the underground sojourn, so it is that critical events can occur at the time of the inferior conjunction which show us how the shadow of love and relationship patterns may haunt us still in current times, at least this has been my experience most particularly in this last retrograde conjunction which squares exactly my natal Saturn.

In Erin Sullivan’s own word during the entire retrograde

it is a time to contemplate what one’s deepest, most personal, creative needs are and from what wellspring those needs originate.  It is a time to explore one’s own needs for love and nourishment and to examine one’s capacity to receive both of those life sustaining forces.

The mysterious ideal can interrupt and tear apart what one has found to be loving and nurturing – flaws and faults in others can become enhanced, and one might see all the dangers of intimacy, rather than the supportive aspects of it.  The call to war after the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun might bring forth the dead, and one may be recalled to times in the past when rejection and emotional pain conspired to erect an emotional fortress which for current circumstances might be quite inappropriate.  Ultimately, it will depend upon the degree of responsibility that one assumes for one’s own lovingness and the capacity for commitment that will correct the situation, allowing for necessary changes.

Astrologer Melanie Reinhardt has expressed it another way. During the later part of Venus retrograde we are challenged to, in her words, “keep our heart open in hell!”  Are we prepared to allow love to be the final answer, even when frustration or thwarting or rejection reminds us of all the other times where love was taken from us, or we were challenged or disappointed or hurt deeply in some way?   And can we go through the devastating grief process that may be reawakened at the inferior conjunction and dig deep enough to sit with our own wounded self, summoning up the Goddess of Love from deep within our souls, even if from a supra personal force in the collective unconscious?

Today I woke up with the realisation that love, at least to my mind, is state of being.  It is not something we acquire from out there, if only others would love us enough, – at least later in life.   (That said in childhood having empathy, encouragement, emotional support and kindness as well as mirroring shown to us does help us to know and love ourselves more and when such things are missing its a long journey of trying to understand or repair or compensate in some way for what was originally lost the way to.)

But in the end (if many outside sources betray us) it is ultimately our inner self who can offer the missing love to this wounded self first, and then seek for those also capable of this kind of love.  Whether or not we find it out there (and yes, it is going to hurt like hell when we don’t) the least we can do is show kindness to the wound even if we initially are taken down to levels of anger and rage at the missing of what was so longed for or needed.  In the end the existance of love depends upon the attitude we take to our sojourn and return from a personal Underworld.

It was not our time

Lovers

I am opening to receive you

though many places within me

are bound so tightly

from thwarted wanting

together

we are reaching for heaven

we find it

for a moment

it holds us close

in the embrace

of peace

as night pulls us under

the dawn of the new day

tears us apart

my body aches

with the leave taking

lonely here now

old memories evoked

anxious for your return

I loose the focus on

what I need for me

there is much to navigate

before this heart

can give

freed of past pain

it was not the right time

there was another journey to take

one that could only be taken alone

forgive me

I see it now

it was not our time

we longed for so much

but we were not ready

first

there was an ocean to cross

alone

Reflections on Connection and Love

Another blog I wrote in October last year, being set free from drafts. 

I do feel the astro energy shift throughout the year, and when we move from a time of air (Libra) to a time of water (Scorpio) and deep dark water at that, my soul feels it and resonates at some level, today I have been feeling deeply emotional.

Both signs are about relationships but I’ve been thinking about Scorpio today, of the slow, quiet intensity of longing for connection and love, of the earliest attachments which give us or don’t give us a sense of this love and connection or alternatively leave us with  a sense of being lost and longing for a place to be, to rest, to find comfort and connection.

Today I connected with my lovely nephew. He is the third son of my oldest sister who died last year and who I miss so much, as we shared that kind of deep connection where it is enough just to be in each company and no words are necessary to be spoken because there is an understanding and love that reaches beyond what words can convey.  I must say I don’t really have this feeling with any other member of my family and I do feel a deep connection to this particular son of my sister.  He has a wide open heart.  In his company it is possible to be and to feel.

I was sharing in a blog last week about the fear I have at times around connecting, knowing that when I do connect the essence of my sister who lives in her sons will be touched and bring me to tears, but the tears remind me of how precious love was, how important my sister was to me and how hard it was to watch her suffer.  That love will never die.  What she gave to me lives inside of my heart like a gift.  I can draw on it in my sad moments.

I needed this calm, kind presence and acceptance today which I found with my nephew.  I was really struggling and I spoke to the Body Harmony therapist when overwhelmed and the outcome was a huge discussion about the repetitive nature of trauma which she witnesses occurring as a story is told over and over.  I’ve shared about it in another blog and I don’t quite get it, I must say, though my mind is open to her views, but I wasn’t really up for an intellectual discussion about the semantics of trauma.

My nephew and I weren’t sharing any ‘stories’ as such but we did share some feelings about my sister which was more of a comfort and  felt so healing for me as part of what the therapist had asked me was what I might like to say to my other family about the grief I struggle with, what I might need from them.

At first it was hard to articulate but then it came to me I would like us to be able to sit together and share our feelings. The truth is that with some members of my family this is difficult, they would rather keep them private.  So I am lucky to have this relationship with my nephew.

I guess its enough to say that just acknowledging this need at the time was enough for me.  Presently the Body Harmony therapist is trying to get me to shift my focus onto what comes next outside and beyond my trauma, my other therapist (who takes a different view) has pointed out the Body therapist’s anxiousness to move me forward.  She hasn’t said if it is wrong or right because she is a different person altogether, one who is more comfortable with depth.  I understand the wisdom of what the Body therapist is saying, I just wonder how realistic it is.  I have lots of good days which she doesn’t witness.  I came away from the conversation feeling a bit of a failure.

In short I’ve had a bit of a negative reaction to the BH therapist today.  I was trying to share with her something and she cut me off in the middle with a misplaced observation, when I gently confronted her she thanked me and I think she felt surprised.  I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t feel better in my own skin when I am not working on my trauma too much, just finding myself in a place of calm acceptance and surrender.

What also helped me was opening up an anthology of poems, one of which I have also posted today.  This poem put me in touch with my heart.  It was a poem about meeting and greeting yourself with love.

Lately I have been playing myself love songs too.  One of my favourites is The Way You Look Tonight. One of my favourite lines in the song is.   “You’re lovely, never, never change.”  This is the exact opposite of what other people who have not truly loved me have told me over the years.  I was sharing about it with my nephew today who has found a warm, true, deep love of his own.   He told me how he is loved in and through, even his most challenging issues and traumas he developed from loosing his Mum for a nine year period when he was small.

I am so very glad he has found this love but it does bring home what is missing in my own life and what has wounded me too.  And yet, as I consider it, I have to ask myself the question.  “Isn’t it enough for me to find and express self love in this life?”, for without it I am truly lost.  It would be lovely to share my life with someone who could just love me for me, but in the absence of this can I love myself enough?   The thwarted longing for connection can throw me back on myself and there will be times when the longing like an accurate arrow will find and lodge in its target.  But I will always be returned to me, to the gift of my own company.  The deeper question is this, Can I love and accept what I find there? Can it be enough?

I’m beginning to see how much I push myself forward on some days.  When my father died I was pushed to go overseas alone, it wasn’t a good time to be travelling alone.  That pattern has repeated resulting in me moving away when what I most needed was a cocoon, comfort, acceptance, tenderness and safety.

After the last painful relationship in which I sacrificed my needs to follow his, I finally found and began to build my own refuge.  Maybe its time to realise that all I really need to heal is here.  That what went down though so painful had a core lesson embedded deeply within it.

There seem to be so many voices around us in society telling us we need more than we have.  The truth is there is abundance we can find when we find ourselves present and awaken in a precious moment where we experience that we are and have enough.

Free of this place of suffering

This is a piece I wrote a while ago for my sister who has just undergone surgery for breast cancer.

I want to fly free of this place of suffering and pain where joy is not allowed where a happy smile is crushed under the weight of doom prediction stealing all happiness.

When did it become so difficult to dance, to see the light and funny side of life, even in all its darkness. What pleasure is there in a prison of solitude built brick by brick by fear, suspicion, mistrust and doubt?   I no longer want to live there. I long for open space, for the sun, for empathy, for the release of happiness and dancing that does not deny tears and pain but finds meaning in it and through this process transforms rain into sunshine and flowers.

I am not naïve I know that flowers fade and fall to ground, the petals leeched of colours but in these are still the memory of how sweet a rose smelt at the height of late spring.   I know darkness is a precursor to the dawn and dawn will bring in time the day which has sewn in its last embers the dusk of approaching night and still I want to love and keep the faith through all of this.

I hear such pain in your voice when we speak, I know the suffering you feel. You say you are waiting for someone to come and wave a magic wand, and make it all okay, but life isn’t like that. It is part of growing up and so I wish you would stop swallowing the drugs and trust your guts because it’s lonely here having no one to talk to about what really happened.

I was with you in those years and I saw how hard you fought for your sanity only to be labelled mad. I was never seen, being unseen and alone I saw everything and my body knows how it felt to duck and dive and be on hyper alert for the explosion of anger and what toll this took.

We are no longer so young, no longer prisoners of childhood but finding our freedom means that the adult in us must take our frightened children by the hand and lead them away to a safer happier place and bear witness to the truth, give her a place where she can be heard and comforted and re-parented.

It will be a bitter pill but the realisation will come that with the pain we swallowed we also swallowed so much joy, and in feeling and releasing the pain from our wounded tissues we will find joy and redemption.

I want to dance, I want to sing, I no longer want to be caged. I want to fly out on wings of flame that I built through every passage of knowing who and what I am, what it was I suffered and what it is I long for, that food that can only feed my soul, while feeling the pain of what was denied and of all the mistakes I made to get to here and out of that finding the true core of what I need to truly live my authentic happiness.

I cannot stay in this place of endless suffering.

An end of running

I think for so many years, I ran

because deep inside it felt as though

there was nowhere to be held

no where to feel safe

a safe harbour

from the tumultuous churning seas

around me

so often I see there has been

only this restless running

today when I sat with you

while they gave you the diagnosis

with deep compassion in their eyes

nodula carcinoma

I realise there is nowhere to run to

and neither do I want to

I only want to be here

close by your side

I want to love you and give you all that I have

in my heart

no more defences

we need a place to rest

I know how tired you are

so how will you cope

with this cutting

you have already been told to swallow poison

hoping it will cure

an invisible malaise

they don’t truly understand

is this your body’s silent rebellion?

I sense my powerlessness

and your fear for a time

becomes my fear

this is not happening to me

so why do I feel it so deeply?

It was hard to leave you this afternoon

it felt as if there was only peace and safety

in this togetherness

and out there a raging sea

that might swallow me whole

tears fall as I leave

and I drive the short distance home

where my puppy’s soft downy fur

is my first greeting

the soothing he gives

worth more than any other gift

there is here

the falling leaves

the gentle breeze

afternoon’s soft light

and peace

beyond all the thoughts and fears

and I realise I have found

my safe harbour

 built over these long and painful years

of feeing my true feelings

and now

there can be an end of running

I won’t fear love

What happens to someone when they are not allowed to feel what they feel, when they are having an intense reaction to something and that reaction is then judged as ‘mad’ and steps are taken to shut them down and invalidate the person’s reality?   Really the person was deeply outraged and angry about something that was legitimately hurtful and abusive (perhaps having triggered a complex web of other feelings, issues complexes reaching deep down and far back), but their reaction is judged (often by the abuser, but often also others the abuser has co-opted in to validate their own rejected and repressed betrayal, for example).   Those people bring in a psychiatrist and a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder is made, it is recommended the person is placed on something “to calm them down”.

This type of scenario is unwinding in a novel I am reading at present. The themes explored in the novel are cutting to the heart of similar issues in my own family. The central character in this book is called Grace. When the book opens she has been in a relationship with a narcissist where she walked on eggshells for many years always fearing when the next outburst or angry tirade will be expressed.

As her history is explored in the first half of the book it is revealed that she was raised by a mother who was not only emotionally unavailable to Grace for long periods but prone herself to rash outbursts of anger and strange behaviour that were frightening for her daughter. It is not made clear in the novel what happened to the mother that caused her behaviour but eventually she is diagnosed with “bi-polar” disorder.

The shadow imprints of this painful relationship rears its head when Grace hits midlife. Its nature shows why Grace would have been attracted to a narcissist. Her own emotional needs were never met. She learns to bury her needs and soothe or avoid her husband. Eventually the stress of trying to appease her husband’s endless needs leads Grace to hire an assistant who subtly begins to undermine Grace.

Grace’s behaviour starts to change in response to the mixed messages in the environment, (the not at this stage overt deception going on).  She becomes prone to sleeplessness and then bursts of energy which are nothing more than reactions to stress and buried feelings she has not really been able to articulate over years. Her husband starts to question her behaviour and label it erratic (a huge irony here in that his own behaviour has been even more outlandish). He convinces Grace to see a psychiatrist who diagnoses her with a mild form of bi polar disorder. The diagnosis sits badly with Grace, and yet she questions herself. This guy has a degree from a famous university, he has written chapters in the DSM her own mother was bi polar, has she inherited the bi polar curse? Who is she to question anyway?

Grace reluctantly takes the drugs prescribed which make her hungry, lethargic, sleep 12 hours or more a day and even more depressed. She gains weight and her self esteem plummets. When her closest friend find out what has happened she is outraged. She sees no evidence for the diagnosis. Grace struggles on, being undermined at times by both husband and his new assistant.

Then one day she finds them together having sex, as any normal person would do she flies into a rage attacking the woman who in partnership with her husband then arrange to have her taken to a psychiatric facility. At this part in the story I was hyperventilating. It was so similar to my oldest sister’s story, of which the full details have never been clear, only that her own husband had an affair with a women they were both involved with in and through the business my sister started, either before or after my sister had a cerebral haemorraghe in 1980.

A year later her husband took them and their four children away to New Zealand  (the mistress had gone forward a short while before). I believe on Jude’s arrival in New Zealand she may then have had to witness her husband and his mistress together. She had a series of so called “psychotic” breaks and was admitted to an asylum. She was then sent home home to us with a one way ticket. with one suitcase of clothes, she then tried to take her life.

In the novel Grace is luckier than my sister. She has manages to escape from the influence of the psychiatrist who was loading her with a number of different medications which basically numbed her so that she was only a zombie, less than even a shadow of her former self. My sister was never that lucky. When she came home and tried to cry her eyes out she was stopped from going there. Dumbed down with more meds, as with Grace with the numbing came a loss of all her creative ability, her joy, her zest, her sadness all palled under the greyness of a lifeless “blah” induced by the medications she was fed.

Her authentic liveliness and joy was squashed and little help was given, until later years to help her work through the painful mix of feelings. In the end there were only screaming rages with long crying spells, many of which I sat through in the course of her last years, holding her hand.

I am still in the middle of processing all the feelings that have been coming up for me in reading Grace’s story. I am reminded of the difficult journey we have on earth in coming to terms with our feelings, with their impact on others, with the impact of other’s feelings on us and even of our own feelings impact on us, of the long search to find a place where our feelings can be expressed in a way in which it is helpful and we can move forward rather than be paralysed or trapped by them.

I guess in the end it all has a lot to do with fear. There is a wonderful book out there on this subject it is called When Love Meets Fear and is written by David Richo   I read a quote recently from it which I can now not find but said something like this :  many people will be frightened by expression of your lively energy especially if it rocks their boat or confronts them with a part of themselves they would rather not see, your life task is to be and express this lively energy even in the face of others fear of all the tactics and machinations they use to try and undermine your true authentic expression.

I had a big “ah ha” moment when I read that paragraph. How often as a child was I shamed by the Nuns or even my parents when I expressed something they did not want me to express. This also happened to my older sister mentioned above who it said in later life “was just a little too big for her boots”, a bit too open, too lively, too “over the top”, a “naughty” girl. Witness the jaw drop as she speaks an outlandish truth to someone confronting them with something they are ashamed about or trying to hide. It’s just “not nice”! More outraged expressions and pursed lips.

I am not implying that we should have no restraint, no empathy for or sensitivity towards others feelings but we do need to have the courage to express what is true for us even if at times it makes us seem like an inconvenience for others who would rather we shut it up or dumbed it down a bit.

Interesting that just last month the Sun in Libra faced off with/opposed Uranus in Aries. Uranus has been passing through my eighth house of shadow energies over the past few years. My own Mars is conjunct Saturn which lends a fair bit of repression, duty boundness and doing the right thing to Mars lively assertive joy in self expression and movement. I have struggled with bound up/caged Mars energy for most of my life late childhood onwards.   Luckily I haven’t been medicated through any of the lows which were often descents in which feelings had to be negotiated, painful as they were and interspersed with periods of debilitating depression.

Lately  I am getting lots of hints about where repression due to displaced and projected fears occurs for myself and others and I am grateful for a therapist who allows me to express my own genuine feelings without being scared by them or having any controlling reaction. Being able to get my intense feelings out in a place where I can makes sense of them is what has helped me most.  Being able to own the fact I feel scared and acknowledge while holding my own hand and figuring out ways to act despite the fear has also helped.

There is a powerful line in a song I have been listening to lately by Sarah McLaughlin :

 “ If I feel a rage I won’t deny it, I won’t fear love.”

There are people who are going to tell us that our rage makes us madwoman but it doesn’t.  My rage shows me where love and respect for me isn’t being shown and life and love for myself and others asks me to see and own that rage and takes steps to empower a self that in being repressed or denied for too long is now rattling the cage from which I must liberate myself in order to express and fight for what I most need to live, to love, to express, to breathe, to survive and to thrive in my deepest authenticity.

Those who love me will validate my feelings, they will see the sense in them, they will not make me bad or wrong for having them. And it is the adult in me who must help me to hold those feelings, to process them, to make sense of them and then express them in ways which help me to become empowered and strong. When I feel a rage I won’t deny it. I won’t fear love.  For in feeling the rage, in allowing it to move me to authentic assertive (rather than aggressive) action  I demonstrate love, power and authenticity for myself, for you, for my sister and for the journey which in, at times, leading us to the darkest depths and deepest night eventually brings light and the dawning of a new day filled with understanding, compassion and hope.

When Love meets Fear

How comfortable is it for you when someone looks deeply into your eyes? This blog which I wrote a few days ago was prompted by a comment received on a recent blog The Loving Gaze from myblackspotblog. I have often felt uncomfortable when being looked at deeply. I can at times feel the shutters of my soul wanting to close, and a similar feeling was expressed in myblackspot’s comment. This got me to thinking and wondering if, when being looked at, old fear, pain or experiences of being seen into and misunderstood are evoked when we are being looked at, and whether also there is a fear of being invaded or invalidated due to that having happened to us in the past.

Or is it something deeper, something to do with a deeply private interior part of us that is not always so comfortable with being seen and needs to keep a place of separation or sanctity where we can just feel free to be, safe from scrutiny?

I am aware of something within me, that I experience a great fear of being shamed, of not getting something right and perhaps then of being rejected. In my last relationship as we began to connect more deeply, or try to, a lot of painful feelings arose for me, feelings that were not that comfortable for my partner and which he could not validate. This echoed old experiences of difficulties with mirroring.

What occurs for the child who is not mirrored or is told to feel differently or that what they feel is wrong is that we begin to adopt a false self or a mask as we begin to hide who we really are, how we truly feel. For the narcissist, as I understand it, the vulnerable self having been in childhood so rejected and exposed to punishment, invalidation and shame goes so deeply into hiding and his or her pain then becomes inaccessible or buried, often it will be projected on others.

The projected self that had to be discarded and judged as too bad, vulnerable, wrong or painful to face then becomes rejected in the other.  The fully blown narcissist is not aware of any painful or difficult aspects of the self, these all belong to others. It’s a very difficult situation to be on the receiving end of and it is one we need to be very aware of as we begin to heal early childhood trauma and experiences of being shamed, abandoned, punished or humiliated in unloving ways for just being a very human self with very human emotions parents may not have been able to deal with.

I am currently reading a book which deals with experiences in childhood that lead to borderline personality disorder. It speaks of the difficulty certain children face at the time they go through the beginning of the separation/ individuation process with mother. The psychological health of the child is dependent very much upon the mother’s ability to deal with frustration, anger, sadness and other responses which are evoked in the child as a response to steps toward connection and separation, dependency and independence.  A healthy mother can tolerate these powerful emotions without humiliating the child.

This process is very difficult for the mother if she never received containment of painful emotions herself as a child and as a result learned to distance and distrust her own painful emotions. The borderline personality disorder that can develop out of such painful interactions with Mum leads to a difficulty with accepting painful emotions in the self.

With such experiences of early wounding we seek to find ways to numb, suppress, cover over or project the painful feelings we are feeling. Since we have never learned how to be with the difficult feelings and found healthy ways to regulate and self soothe we seek this through less effective ways and often learn to keep our painful emotions under wraps, tending then to explode when the pressure builds too much.

In addition if we were looked on harshly when we were suffering or angry, or scared or sad, or even excited or extremely happy we may begin to feel an internalised shame for feeling such feelings which then become bound in shame. Later in life when we encounter these difficult states and even if we ae being looked on with love, this may feel very threatening to our soul.  We may unconsciously feel deep shame and fear or even terror.

I well remember the first time I had to stand up in front of a crowd at an AA meeting and expose my own true self who lived behind the mask of the false self.  I was both frightened  and ashamed.  Luckily I found the strength to be real. I remember how free I felt after enduring this fear and unmasking.

After posting my recent blog I received a comment from telllingheavysecrets saying how important she has found it to her recovery to look upon herself with the love she sought from others. THS expressed how she realised that for most of her life she had been looking everywhere for that loving gaze.

The truth is we cannot fully heal in isolation, especially if we have developed shame and frozen emotions due to an invalidating and traumatising past.  It is going to take some help from healthy individuals who can gaze on us in love, even when we are in painful and difficult states of mind and emotion if we have learned to despise or distrust these ourselves.

I remember a little way along in my relationship with my last partner who had narcissistic injuries expressing empathy for his kindness in some matter and he hit the roof. I had the audacity to imply that he was human and vulnerable in some way. How dare I? At the time the power of his rage scared me. He took himself off into the backyard and started hammering something ferociously. At that point I had really seen into him, and he did not like it. I got an angry roar. It has taken me some healing myself to understand why.

Today I am glad that for me my ability to take in the loving gaze from someone is increasing. What is even more important for me to learn to look on myself with the eyes of compassion when I am in a trauma invoked state. I take on board very deeply the advice of the Buddhist monk Thich Knat Hahn who advises to treat oneself and one’s pain as tenderly as one would a little child.

The loving parent we needed to look on us with love may have been very absent or non existent for us growing up, but that does not mean we cannot find that force of love within our hearts and minds now. It takes courage too, to open up to the love that may want to come our way from others, when past experiences of being rejected or shamed have led us to feel terrified of being truly seen.

In the case of the borderline a torrent of fear may come our way when we try to truly love, as it did with my ex partner but it may not be so obvious that it is fear that we are truly dealing with.   For myself I know that when I am in a fearful state I most need to understand and accept that feeling. I don’t have to like it, but if I can own it there is just a chance that I may be able to no longer be held as deeply captive by that fear. For a second I can choose love for myself and I have found along the way to be true these very important words from the bible. Perfect love casts out fear.

The loving gaze that meets and finds our fear may help the fear to dissolve if we can in tolerating and accepting the fear develop a relationship with what may have in the past been pushed away.  In looking upon ourselves and others in this way just maybe we can allow the love in that at times our fear and shame tries to keep us separate from.

The loving gaze

I wrote this post earlier in the week.

As a child we need the loving eyes of the mother to connect with, to mirror us. I had a powerful experience in today’s body work session as my therapist was working with my spine.  I was standing upright and she was touching me gently around the heart, one hand on the front and the other behind.

As usually happens, she was reminding me to breathe. At that moment I had trouble breathing and then I was pulled deeply into a past traumatic time/memory  :  I am in the car with my lungs crushed by the steering wheel and my teeth broken, legs cut with car pieces inside them, searing pain although me, struggling to breathe as my lung is pierced by a rip and fluid flows inward, paramedics behind me with a mask trying to put it over my face which I wanted to fight and twist to push off.

My therapist kept her gaze on mine and I felt anxious at connecting to her gaze being so powerfully drawn in by the trauma and in the session, her gaze became for me an anchor to connect me with present time. My tendency is to dissociate back into the trauma which obviously still lives for me on a body level.

As she was looking into my eyes with love and telling me I was safe a huge well of emotion rose up. Trauma takes you into a lonely place where it seems no one else can accompany you. It is about a split or a removal from a place of connectedness and love where you are flooded with pain and no one can help you or reach you. You feel yourself to be so alone.

On the day of my accident all those years ago I was conscious enough to be able to give the paramedics my mother and father’s telephone number. Mum came to the site of the accident and rode with me in the ambulance. I was lucky to be found. At the time I was so caught up in my own experience I had not consciousness of its impact on others.

I have relived this event in another cranio-sacral session many years ago after which I had a bike accident and the pattern was repeated, except this time I was on the other side of the world with no support, only my ex husband and his mother who didn’t want to have to really be bothered with me. It was a dark and lonely time.

Glimpses of light came. The beautiful girl from my Dad’s home down in Holland who came to help me with my shopping and be a companion when I needed it. I don’t know how I would have survived without her.

And yet then again the family I was with were unable to cope and I made the decision to take myself to Glastonbury and an ashram away from the support of my friend.  This is a pattern for me.  Uranus and Pluto in the first house.

There are imprints and echoes for me at this time of year which represents the time I was in hospital in 1979 in the final term of school unable to attend my graduation and of that journey to the underworld over in England later in 2005.

It takes time to integrate the overwhelming nature of trauma. I am still deep in process. I seem to be making progress.

Last week was hard. I had four days where the trauma pulled me in, what pulls me out each time is talking to someone, my best friend, my Mum or the Lifeline counsellor on the days no one else is answering the phone call.

Without love and connection there is nothing to form  a link into the traumatised reality and the fact it scares others, since we are undergoing enormous fear means we can be abandoned again. As a trauma sufferer who has often lashed out I am grateful for those who understand and don’t abandon me. I think of the times I was alone as a child and there was no set of eyes to see me. To hold me in a loving gaze.

It is something my recently deceased sister used to give me, in the absence of my Mum’s care she was there, until she married and went overseas. In later life in the care home she would often gaze on me with love. She too was traumatised, she was stuck, it’s a family pattern.

I am not entirely sure where this blog has gone. I just came home from the dog park where I have not been able to connect with the group I usually connect to. They are caught up in an easy banter and joking that on some days I just cannot participate in.

I need to just play with my dog and have some simple time together where we are not frozen in place by conversation but are free to move about the park. I am aware today how important movement is for me.

The longing for the loving gaze from the wrong quartes is not as strong now I have the therapeutic support. Being seen, held and understood makes it easier to do this for myself.

For now I want to write about the experience as it so important that those living within a traumatised reality are understood and attempts made to connect with them.

You do not know what even a kindly smile can do for a person who may not have seen or been able to connect with anyone else all day. In the end its love that heals, its non judgemental awareness and presence which makes trauma bearable for us.  Even if you cannot understand, even it scares you, please try.  And if you cannot, please try to be kind.  Do not devastate us more with your misunderstanding, fear and judgement.

Feeling my heart : Reflections on Venus

Certain sadnesses will always be with me, that is my thought for today.

In our modern way, so ignorant of the true nature of feelings and a heart centred way of being we sometimes talk a lot about resolution and closure. I think these are a myth at times. In some cases we resolve feelings and issues that were painful or sad but those deeply painful sad things that happen to us and because of us we are powerless over and can’t change, those experiences or loves that really, truly and deeply hurt or scarred us remain and we will revisit them from time to time the sadness will rise up like a flood on some days and drown the landscape of our souls for a period.

It is like that for me today. I had a resistance today towards seeing my counsellor, I am beginning to realise that great as it is to talk through issues for a time in order to gain understanding and insight, at times I just need to be able to feel my way into my heart, dancing helps me, writing sometimes, most especially listening to music.

I was feeling deeply centred in my heart today as I did a whirling dervish Sufi dance around my house in the sunlight this morning to my favourite song about longing and heartache.  I felt my heart alive in my chest buzzing with all the feelings, sad as it was, it was also kind of delicious.

There were no ideas in my head, I was having a fully lived body experience that was so real and it time these feelings passed, as they do.

In the midst of this I was then led to an insight, it was about feelings and the heart.  I wondered if it is the shutting off from our hearts and taking refuge in our heads that leads us into so much difficulty on this planet at times.

Ideas are surely wonderful things, nothing would probably have been created if it did not start out as an idea in someone’s head. And ideas can really turn me on and interest me, engaging my full attention.  Nevertheless the true, fleshy, delightful experience of being alive is for me filled with sensation and is about feelings : how we express and relate to them.

It is interesting to me as I write that this is really the domain of Venus (thinking and feeling with the heart). I was reading a blog recently where someone was speaking about Venus being the indicator of someone’s relationship style. My understanding is a bit different. I believe Venus has to do with how our very body and instincts and feelings were handled in childhood, the mirror we met and in which we tried to see our true reflection.

Ever noticed that the symbol for Venus is actually like that of a hand mirror? Our Venus position and aspects may indicate if we were we touched with hands and hearts of understanding, empathy and love? Or did we met minds that felt our expression to be too much, something to be defended against? Did we get a chance to feel our feelings with someone who could help us to make sense of them, or did we instead find someone who found our feelings, confusing themselves, to be something of an inconvenience?

And when we looked at those people, did our sensitive all seeing eye confront them with something they did not want to look at?   Did we scare them with how we were or with what we saw? Did it evoke something for them they had to bury so very long ago?

It is interesting I started writing this blog feeling still deep sadness for the ending of my marriage, 11 years ago today. I felt for the innocent heart of my partner who met and fell in love with me. I felt for my own innocent, confused and hungering heart, as it was when I met him just over 22 years ago. I felt for the loveliness of the journey we went on for some years, but also for the pain that came when I started to explore my past and my own heart wounds, something that caused him pain and which confronted him with some of his own.

I felt most especially today that on some level I broke his heart when I went down a different path to the one he wanted to travel. And in the midst of my own heartbreak emerging I had a great heartbreak to undergo in having to let him go and the next relationship too, when it appeared I was not the happy person they were both seeking.

A lot of sadness, a lot of pain, a lot of grief and a lot of guilt on my own part too, sadly. In both those relationships I could not be mirrored, empathised with, nor be deeply understood, accepted and loved and my own self preoccupation was probably difficult for them to understand. I don’t feel I was selfish, but sometimes when we need to heal it seems that way.

It can be a lonely journey and others tell us we are wrong, bad, hurtful and selfish, but to truly live with some kind of peace I feel if we weren’t given that gift of knowing ourselves truly and being truly know we must go on the journey to find who we are truly, what we really feel, so that we can well and truly be capable of loving and being someone who can love and be loved.

I have the natal Venus Neptune square and that definitely comes across in this blog (Venus in Aquarius in the seventh house squares Neptune in Scorpio in the third house). Transiting Venus has just stationed retrograde at 00 Virgo in opposition to my natal Chiron at 4 Pisces and will soon move back over my natal Uranus in the first house (very much a go it alone, adventurer, pioneer of the self placement). Over the next few weeks it will move backwards to 15 degrees of Leo just inside the last degree of my 12th house and it will square during this time my natal Neptune in Scorpio in the 3rd house as it opposes South Node, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and the Sun all square to that natal Neptune.

I have had a good look at all of this stuff for quite a few years now. I have been working through the issues, invalidation abuse, a sense of loss, absence of a strong inner masculine and feminine principle that was nurturing and understanding and supportive of myself. Much loss and confusion too.

In the end I have had to face and struggle what in AA are called my “defects of character”, really just inner resources not developed very skilfully and with wounds there to heal.

I feel all of this deeply in my heart today as I feel old grief and heartache, as the price of my suffering on this journey to healing. Becoming whole.  But in the writing out of it in the dancing I feel a deep sense of rightness and beauty here amongst the wreckage at times of my truly human self.