Transformation through our encounters with Narcissism

Persephone2

The myth of Persephone has a lot to offer us as it is a myth about the transformative power of cycles of creation and destruction.  The myth of Persephone is a myth of spiritual maturation through separation and an encounter with the dark or the underworld.

Persephone is captured from the upperworld and taken into the underworld by the God Pluto who rapes her.  Whilst in the Underworld Persephone eats of the fruit of the pomegranate which binds her to the underground realm of the unconscious, symbolising the power of dark experiences to change us irrevocably. 

The bond with her Mother, is severed through the shattering of her virginal innocence that comes with Pluto’s capture.  The rage of Demeter at the loss of her daughter causes her to set up a pestulance on the earth, which results in the killing of all crops and life forms. the God Zeus appeased Demeter offering a solution from which the cycle of the seasons takes its inception, for half of the year during autumn and winter Persephone will remain in the realm of Pluto or Hades.  For the other half, during the months of spring and autumn she will be allowed to join her mother in the Upper world.

The myth of Persephone is a myth for those of us upon whom a wound has been enacted, for those of us who have lost through suffering and for those of us whose innocent youth has been ruptured by a violent intrusion of the darker face of love and encounter with the harsher facts of life.  Persephone’s rape speaks of a powerful penetration by an underground force…(which) effects a maturing against her will. 

Often life takes us somewhere we don’t want to go.  Perhaps this is not the journey for all of us, but for many of us what we choose often doesn’t end up the way we imagined.  The people we entrust our hearts to, don’t always care for them or treat them kindly and perhaps we too at times hurt others or our journey or way of being interferes with others ideas and plans for their own lives forcing them to another place they would rather not visit.  In many ways when we undergo these kinds of experiences we are undergoing the mythological journey of Persephone and Demeter.

I have been considering this mythology today after being approached by someone who has written a book which involves her story of narcissistic abuse and trauma seeking permission to use a poem I wrote at the height of my own relationship with a narcissist. The book is soon to be published and will be called Rise From the Ashes.  I haven’t read the book but I thought how appropriate the title was with its Plutonian theme of being burned in the ashes of a painful relationship, undergoing a transformative experience which forever changes us and due to this I have felt the urge to write this blog..

As someone who has always been interested in mythological symbolism and most especially as it relates to astrological archetypes we meet and embody on our journey through life, I thought of how the relationship with a narcissist is a lot like the journey of Persephone, which astrologically and mythologically is related to the planetary archetypes of Pluto and Plutonian experiences in psychological astrology.

An innocent naïve young woman when she starts out on her journey, while walking in the field one day with her mother, Persephone stoops to pick a narcissus flower and a huge tear appears in the ground of the earth as Persephone is taken captive by the Underworld God, Pluto or Hades.

This could be a symbolic expression of what happens for those of us who get ‘captured’ by someone’s narcissism.  By relationship our own narcissistic wounds are the magnet, or it could just be our innocent naivete or trust in a world where things are as they seem at first sight, rather than the complicated tangle of confusion and pain that unfolds as we experience our journey with the narcissist who strips us away from all known reference points, calling into question our own reality and sense of self.

Our vulnerability or innocent trust is sensed by the narcissist energetically and we may be more vulnerable to them after we come out of experiences which left us alone and isolated longing for love and connection that at first seems to be offered by the narcissist.  The kind of rape that happens for us is of a psychological nature in that our boundaries are often invaded against our will and conscious awareness and our journey of discovery in the aftermath will involve learning more about healthy psychological boundaries about our own wounds, vulnerabilities and psychological deficits.  It will be an experience of deep pain that leads to a psychological maturing, often undertaken entirely against our will.

I remember when I met my last partner who was a narcissist.  The first things he told me were about his traumatic childhood and of the last love affair with a woman who had psychotic episodes during their relationship.  These stories of his suffering pierced my compassionate side although in time I heard warning bells.

Later it was clear that these episodes had been triggered in some way by him, as an encounter with one of his ex partner (first wife) and her second husband revealed a few years down the track that he spread lies about this ex wife, including that she had hidden lesbian tendencies.  This was revealed as an out and out fabrication by her second husband who I became close to after the narcissist discarded me and left me traumatised and emotionally broken down.

When my ex narcissist sensed my vulnerability early on in the relationship he told me his instinct was to withdraw.  “You are too vulnerable, I could destroy you”, he said to me.  This occurred some hours after I had fallen over and he picked me up and said “I will always take care of you, I’ll never leave you”???

A few years later a therapist reminded me that the capacity to be vulnerable with someone is part of emotional intimacy, but not for a narcissist who fears exposing a vulnerability which due to past intensely painful experiences had to be defended against and masked at any cost.

Like Persephone our early encounters with the narcissist entrap us in their domain. Their early attention and overpowering of us may tap into a wound we carried from childhood in being emotionally unseen and longing for attention.  As the relationship progresses and they begin to devalue us and withdraw, old childhood patterns of deep abandonment trauma and pain may be tapped which reflect the narcissists own deeply unconscious painful emotional abandonment history.

In many ways those of us attracted to these kind of relationships are shadow figures for the narcissist.  We carry the shadow of their wounded vulnerability which is then projected.  Idealised at the outset, later on in the relationship we are demeaned and discarded for the very things that attracted the narcissist in the first place.  This is a call to awaken our own repressed healthy narcissism and strength.

If our ego is not strong (one of the painful legacies of a difficulty childhood) we don’t have a lot of protection or resistance to projections that can be placed on us.  If we were the family scapegoat we may have been used to being dismissed or demeaned for “over-sensitivity” or expressing emotions not allowed in the family home.

The relationship with the narcissist sets us upon a painful journey to understand how we are vulnerable to projection, where we loose our power, where our weaker ego allows us to be undermined or heaped with critical judgements.  It is a painful call to mature and shatters our former innocence and trust.  In many cases it can and does end in massive disorientation and often launches us on a healing quest which takes us into the personal unconscious, our own personal Underworld.

On this journey we are like Persephone dragged away to a place filled with emotional turmoil that no one would consciously choose to visit and yet this experience when fully navigated and integrated leads to transformation, a burning clean in fires of suffering and emotional pain which have important lessons for us.

It seems that at this time, many of us are going on that journey of transformation.  We are learning that our suffering is not only personal but collective. We can share about our experiences with others and find those who resonate deeply with that underworld experience.  Our visit to the Underworld transforms us and we can return with experiences to share which connect us with others and others with us, in a way we could never have hoped to connect with the narcissist.

In time Persephone returns to normal life.  In mythology she still spends part of the year in that Underworld kingdom.  For those of us marked by narcissistic injuries in time we do heal and transform but a little of the fruit we taste through that bitter experience (it is due to eating of the fruit of the Underworld, that Persephone is unable to return to the upper world for some time) remains with us. The pomegranate is a fruit with many seeds, in reflecting on the symbolism of this last night it occurred to me these are the painful seeds which we can transform through paying psychic attention and learning lessons of relationships, boundaries, narcissistic vulnerability and investigating wounds that may have left us vulnerable to psychological invasion.

Through undertaking our own journey we learn too essential lessons of empathy we may not have learned had we not gone through the experience of being demeaned or invalidated by the narcissist.

Owning our power is part of the transformation that takes place through being burned to ashes on a metaphorical level.  We may have lessons to learn about self love with require some kind of painful separation in order that we can work on ourselves.

In contemplating the myth this morning it occurred to me that both Persephone and Demeter are two parts of us in this experience.  Demeter remains above ground and grieves for her daughter while her daughter undergoes capture.  She is the mother part of us that we must develop within ourselves in order to psychologically mature.  It is through feeling our grief that we transform and become stronger.  It is in letting go of outmoded ways of being that we grow and rise from the ashes.

 

Feeling my darkness – longing for light

Vulnerability is the birth place of all we hunger for

joy creativity faith and love

and there is none of this without risking failure

Be open enough to take the risk to fail.

Brene Brown

Ever since beginning this breast cancer journey I have been more and more aware of the degree of pain and suffering of my life, I notice also that a lot of my focus at times is on the pain and suffering.  It seemed from adolescence onward so many difficult experiences transpired, things that isolated me and took me away from others that it was almost as if I was captured by the darkness.  I now see however I wish to reach for light, for joy, for happiness but could it be that not being too familiar with these things at times I get stuck in a darkness rut?

Lately I am also realising that because my own relationship with my mother was not easy (there were already many hurts in place by adolescence) my ability to connect deeply with girlfriends was damaged to a degree.  I found it difficult to reach out and trust.  To open my heart to connection again.  I can see all of this now in hindsight and because of the amount of work I have done in therapy.  There were always reasons for what happened and life was really a healing journey in which pain would be a very powerful teacher.

In early recovery from addiction I was already very interested in astrology and archetypes, those eternal patterns of human psychological process, understanding and symbology, myths and stories which give meaning to the profound passages we humans go through on the soul’s journey.

When I came across Roger Woodger’s book on the Goddess archetypes and read about Persephone who in astrology and mythology is the feminine aspect of the archetype and planet Pluto I became aware of the underworld themes of my own life reflected in her story.  I became aware that I was a Persephone woman myself.

Persephone is a goddess who lived in the underworld, she has a strong connection to the underground psyche, the great unconscious both personal and collective.  She underwent painful profound passages of loss and stripping away which marked her for this kind of knowing of cycles of birth, loss, death and transformation.  Persephone women are no strangers to suffering, the may have gone through abuse which leads them to become addicts.  They may have had to relegate huge parts of themselves to the Underground.  They may not have been fully accepted by family or culture and this may have sent them out on a journey where they had to be alone and in knowing aloneness they came to know their own soul well and through this understanding of human pain and vulnerability they end up developing insight into others too.

As I am writing this it has occurred to me that understanding and acceptance of this life journey, painful as it can be at times enriches us.  I also means we can be more accepting of our need for alone time to reconnect with the self and don’t have to struggle as hard to be liked or be one of the crowd.

As a young person feeling different this was not how I felt.  I longed to belong to the crowd, to be attractive, easy to get along with and popular but now I see that if I had been these things I would not have been totally me.  Also due to my own negative self concept I may have also judged myself to be less liked or loved than circumstances are now revealing to me that I am.  I also misunderstood that standing on the sidelines and observing did not necessarily mean I was disconnected,  in a way I was more connected to insights and impressions.

My recent hospital stay has brought up for me so many aspects of my damaged past.  The scary near death motor crash of 1979, the three months of hospitalisation pinned to a bed where I could not leave and my range of motion was restricted.  The months of isolation from friends and school, my tentative return and then very close to the coming out of hospital my sister’s cerebral bleed which over the next two years fractured our family relationships and in four years led to my father’s death.  My trip over to the other side of the world where more difficult relationships ensued as I struggled to live and connect.  The four painful abandonments by partners who in leaving blamed me, after treating me cruelly.  My loss of belief in myself and descent into addiction and then my painful realisation that I needed to enter recovery.  The attempt to turn my life around over the next 10 years, the ending of my marriage, entry into a narcissistic relationship and two other accidents.  My entry into therapy and struggle to find the right help.  My sister’s suicide attempt, mother’s illness following major surgery, my older sister’s death and my recent diagnosis with breast cancer.  Phew, that is an enormous amount of suffering and difficulty.

As I write all of this down today I am filled with awe in a way that something in me that is strong has survived and lived through all of this and today I am reminded too that in time all of these conditions passed.  I do believe that despite the dark I have known I can still find the light on many  days.  Indeed it seems the reward for being in the dark and passing through painful feelings or allowing them to pass through and transform me I find the light.  And this is one of the functions of Persephone/Pluto.  We are transformed by opening up to vulnerability and pain and allowing ourselves to be transformed by the darkness which can scare others.

Deep in my soul I know that due to my own Pluto Moon in true mythological Plutonian fashion I am the one whose path has led into the burning flames many times and that after time I do come out transformed, even if black at times and covered in soot and dismissed, disregarded and rejected by those who never knew the full extent of my journey.   And in this I am most certainly not alone as there are so many of you out there enduring your own dark passages and living to tell the tale, with learnings to speak of and share.  I read about all of your journeys here.  It truly is a long and winding road.

Many times over the past few days in hospital the words of that Beatles song have come to me:

Many times I’ve been alone

And many times I’ve cried

Anyway you’ll never know

The many ways I’ve tried

But still they lead me back

To the long winding road

I am still walking the road, even if at the moment following my time in hospital I am resting more.  In some miraculous way in my hour of greatest need people I have felt abandoned by or who did not understand have showed up to support me.  I don’t know if even a year ago I could have opened my heart to allow in this support and love of me in.  I don’t know if I would have felt worthy enough or had healed enough of my own co-dependence.

A few years ago I could not have reached out and expressed my sadness and need at not receiving help, nor given people a chance to know how I was truly feeling.  Its been scary at times to unmask this vulnerability and need and to tell the truth of my story.

I lately often get told by one family member that I am lucky but the truth is I think I have expressed myself more than this person and asked for help.  I have shown that I am vulnerable in a way they have not and it feels a bit invalidating to be told I am lucky when in fact I have taken steps even on the darkest days to reach in some way for the light.

Through blogging, through trips to the park with my dog, through making phone calls to connect with others by life has expanded a little more towards happiness and joy.   By leaving my prison of isolation and pain which at times seemed too large and by taking risks to be truthful and express the dark even though my fear was I would be judged and rejected I have found support and love.

My Leo North Node lesson in any case is all about this.  Its about developing a voice and a will and a power of self expression that is assertive rather than aggressive.  When I started my recent chiropractic treatment which involves breathing and connecting into the navel, heart and throat centres it was my throat centre that was still more blocked than the other two.  I was taught to connect to my gut and tapping it a few times to “speak up”.  My mother’s generation’s pain (1920-1930) was silenced. They could not speak up. They had to endure.  Later generations are turning this around.  Deep inside me there was so much pain it was hard to vocalise or ‘cough up’.

The reward over the last few weeks for opening up my throat and asking and expressing has been love.  I have never felt more surrounded with love and for this I feel so grateful.

At times when I blog I still criticise and judge my own darkness.  When I publish some raw pieces and I don’t get many likes part of me feels I should change my expression, not be so raw.  But I know that this would not be right because I need to be authentic and my value does not rest on anyone else’s opinion.  Learning and living that truth is part of co-dependence recovery.

I feel the journey that we take into the dark is the journey to rescue ourselves.  In the end no one else can do it.  We have to face the fear of the dark and embrace it anyway and we have to be honest, even if our vision is dark and challenges other people. They have a right to their vision, we have a right to ours.  Once we take self responsibility others seem to be more willing to show up.  At least that is my experience.

Opening up and asking has meant having to feel a lot of fear.  One of my deepest fears has been that if I asked for help I would be overpowered.  I now know that was an old fear.  I have the boundaries to say something now if my boundaries are transgressed.

In a moment of synchronicity while writing this I checked my Reader in WordPress and following a shame link came across the Soul Sunday video interviews between Oprah Winfrey and shame researcher Brene Brown.  In one video Brene spoke about our cultures fear of vulnerability and the dark she also spoke about how it is the birthplace of all that we hunger for.  Some of her words headlined this piece I was writing this afternoon.

Today after four or so dark days the light is returning for me.  It feels as though Persephone is coming up for air on one of her upper world visits just in time for the Pisces New Moon tomorrow that falls not very far away from opposition with my natal Pluto in the first house.  So I guess this blog is right on time.  And the day ends with me feeling so much stronger  and lighter than I was this time yesterday, aware of so much more, grateful too for so much.

Waiting

Waiting

this will be my place of waiting

as the caterpillar waits

in its submission

upon an inner alchemy

the inward transformation

of pain and difficulties

Does the caterpillar rebel?

Does it twist and turn

as it dissolves and burns

clean of its old form

growing gossamer wings

here in the darkness?

Does it fight the darkness

or use it

submitting itself fully

to its transforming power?

Does it not rise again

from this cocoon

on wings to fly skyward?

Let me remember this

as I wait

and hold through

in the midst of difficulties

struggle and pain

that these experiences

have an inner power

are working their alchemy

upon my own soul

Let me also remember

that death is not only an ending

but has hidden within it

the seeds of a new beginning

of new life and wisdom.

Growing Inside

Wisdom comes with the ability to be still.

Just look and just listen,

No more is needed.

Being still, looking, and listening

activates the non conceptual wisdom

within you.

Let stillness direct

your thoughts and actions.

Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes when I am growing inside, life doesn’t feel very comfortable.  New knowledge and insights may be coming to me about my life, places of darkness or feelings that in the past I have buried and not been fully able to recognise.  There is a part of me that can tend to resist change when this happening.  There is a part of me that wants things to always be in balance, that wants things to stay the same but life is not like that.  It keeps throwing me curve balls and showing me things I didn’t see or know before.  This is part of what recovery is for me.  There is a part of me that can judge things as bad that push me out of my comfort zone.  It is only lately that I am beginning to see that this part of me holds me back from life and growth or has in the past.

Today after a long walk with Jasper I came back to the house and went into the garden.   Over the past months things have been bursting into life, Plants that were previously dormant now are fully in bloom and starting to go over.  There is a lot of work today and I quickly become overwhelmed.

When I purchased this house just under four years ago I was pushed into it at the auction.  I made the mistake of taking my mother along and she egged me on when the price went over my budget, offering to lend me the money.  I tried to stand firm on my boundary but at the last moment I collapsed it and was pushed forward. It is a beautiful house but I now feel it was a bit insane to have committed to a house this size for just one person.  At times I can almost feel that the house is eating me alive in that there is so much to do and due to my isolation and PTSD I have brought too many things at times in the absence of finding other ways of connecting and expressing my energies.  I am seeing this about me at the moment and a little while ago I had to sit still with myself and just let myself cry.

I would have preferred to have been given my parent’s support than to have been given money or pushed forward in ways that I didn’t feel were right for me, in terms of my values and overextension.  These realisations fill me with sadness, but within that I have to accept it and see it before I can make a change.  I am seeing my own tendency to overextend, to need to be overly busy and stressed instead of just being able to rest in the moment with peace.

I’ve had my moment of meltdown now.  It passed rather quickly.  I know these outer circumstances of my life are just window dressing, in my soul I am not really imprisoned by these things, for at any moment things could change, I could make the decision to let it all go, life is not static, though sometimes I wish that it was.  Perhaps it is a reaction to having a lot of change forced on you, going through loss, learning the impermanence of life that makes the wish to hold on more pervasive.  I see at times how I have struggled with things and how I may have looked for someone or something to blame.

Sometimes people were doing their best and it hurt me, it probably wasn’t their intention but for what ever reason they could not always see my need, at other times they could and perhaps tried to force changes on me that I was not quiet ready for. In many ways I feel this happened four years ago when I bought this house.  Was it right or was it wrong?  Perhaps it was neither and perhaps it was both.  Perhaps things are not always simple, but complex too.

With a lot of planets in my seventh house ruled by Aquarius on a personal level but on an archetypal level by Libra, I tend to look at situations from at least two different perspectives. I am always open to the idea that there may be a different way of seeing things, my perspective is only mine and no one else’s though certain others may share it.  And just sometimes the perspective of others that I resist has lessons for me  Lately as hard as I try I just cannot see things from a black and white perspective.

As I sat with myself today and just experienced feeling overwhelmed and helpless, curiously things shifted for me.  I am only just beginning to see the power of my own mind to project and colour things with filters.  I am learning to remind myself to stay open to new ways of seeing and to open too to the possibility that what I think of others may not always be true.

When I am growing inside like this it isn’t always comfortable for me or easy, and nevertheless I am beginning to feel grateful even for all the difficult experiences of my life, times when not getting what I thought I needed led me along a different path of growth and times when getting what I didn’t really want forced me forward in other new ways and helped me to see tendencies of myself I had not seen before.

It seems to be that as long as I can be still at these moments when I am feeling the discomfort of the inner and outer impinging upon me and within me I will find a way through.  I wont freak out as much or whip myself into more distress than is necessary.  There is a growing witness inside me that can listen to all the different voices and perspectives and sort out the ones that relax me rather than stress me.  This witness supports me and holds my hand at the times I would have previously freaked out, it helps me to self soothe and to calm and for that change and growth, I am enormously grateful.

Suddenly… an infinite wilderness

Infinite wilderness

Suddenly an infinite wilderness

opens up

beyond my earthly woes

concerns and heartbreaks

smaller concerns

of a broken self

are revealed as phantoms

that arose out of

a certain incompleteness

we are all still in formation

evolving

morphing

into new forms

new realisations

through this pain

that seems so personal

 but is not

a new way

will be born

caught up in my pain

I forget your pain

for a time

the infinite wilderness

reminds me of how deep it is

how far back it reaches

it is for me to find

love out of this awakening

of a deep deep sorrow

far too vast to name

 to set it free

dissolve it

in a sea of becoming

as I open my soul

to the heart’s wide ocean

An Inner Alchemy

Moon Voodoo

Following on from the post I wrote yesterday and having read a comment made by Ursula I am prompted to write this blog.

Yesterday, partly as a response to reading Therese Borchard’s blog : Dear Friend, This Is Depression, and partly as an instinctive response to sadness bubbling up from deep inside, I wrote a blog that mentioned my own death thoughts and the feelings I struggle with in a family and culture where it has been hard to find acceptance of deeper, darker feelings.

The Jungian therapist, James Hillman, has spoken about what he sees as our culture’s manic defence against depression. It helped me to understand this many years ago when I began to face my own grief swallowed down following years of addiction.

A lot of people just don’t want to be faced with the idea of death, of loss, of endings, with things that confront them with their powerlessness (even if only for a time).  Maybe they have endured these and found the pain a little too hard to face.

I can also understand that in facing death, depression, illness and loss some people make a commitment to enter more fully into life, others can wallow around in the muck and get some kind of negative pleasure from it.   And it can be very difficult to judge, especially when you meet someone who is defended against deep feeling, they may judge you for wallowing when in fact you are just deep in process and it may be a process that does not suit their timing. At other times we may be faced with a martyr energy that is deriving some kind of negative pleasure from the dark.

Sadness can have a gravitational pull.  Maybe those of us with a strong Saturn Pluto energy are more subject to this pull.  Having the door shut on you, because you are too angry or sad for someone hurts a lot.  Often we just need acceptance and validation for our feelings. Often its a reality that we just cannot hope for it from certain people.

In my own experience is its miraculous and amazing to watch darker feelings transform when they are bathed in the calm light of acceptance.  This is the practice of mindfulness but sometimes mindfulness practiced alone does not heal as much as the calm and open acceptance of someone who is willing to just be with us and sit with us in our darkness, sadness and depression until it transforms.

I used to find it very interesting when I would visit my sister in the care home and when she was crying or raging a lot of the staff would look for something to put down her throat.  I would just rub her back or hold her hand.  There were really no words to say that met her in the place she needed to be met.  Often if you used words with her in this situation she would just go silent or scream even louder.  She was screaming in anguish at not being met, at not finding presence.

I’m remembering this now as I face the first Christmas without her.  I must be honest, many of those visits were very painful, often I left crying but following the shedding of my tears a lightness would come.  I guess each time I met my sister there I entered a little into death, it was a brief visitation that then made appreciation of life and light so much more precious.  And I understood her dark feelings a lot more after two relationships ended and that pain triggered earlier pain.

Today when I listened to a song that reminds me so much of her and the burden of pain she carried I felt the conflicting pull of sadness of death/past and life/present vying with my soul. I know both have their place are maybe hidden in each other.

For me, I am grateful for those who are willing to allow a place for the dark, for deep feelings of sadness, who give me permission through their calm acceptance of what is, rather than a rigid, manic defensiveness, rejection or leave taking.  I will and have survived being left alone with pain, but it is comfort to receive, understanding, affirmation, support.

The other day I came across a beautiful piece of writing from Henri Nouwen.  Henri was no stranger to breakdown, depression and suffering so he wrote this from his own experience.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our own powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Sometimes we need to die and go through periods of facing death in order that we can, through this deep alchemical process shed the skin that has grown too tight, or transform the dark matter of suffering into something new.  This is a process that can take years and whose schedule is not really under our conscious control, though we are able to assist it by surrendering.  In her blog the other day Therese used the metaphor of depression as a firing process whereby clay was transformed into porcelain. That was a powerful alchemical image that spoke to me.

With strong Saturn I relate to the nigredo which is the dark depression that is one phase along a spiritual path through which suffering is transformed into gold.  Its fucking hard and painful, we do not enter it willingly, in a way it is a tearing away of all that was comfortable, stable, predictable and known.  We are being subjected to forces acting on us that we must endure while we hold still.  We need trust, which is hard when we have been betrayed but I guess even trust isn’t essential.

We do the best we can even when it feels like the very worst.  Sometimes we just have to wait, not knowing, not hoping even, until the darkness becomes light and the stillness, the dancing.  Then and only then is our dark black star transformed into one of burnished light or tarnished gold.