Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I wrote this letter a week ago in response to an article in a full moon newsletter by Dianne Eppler Adams, and rather than send it, I saved it and waited until my current crisis had a bit of time to work itself out without my "running to someone" to help me with my emotions once again. I am getting pretty good at riding the waves out and wanted to see if I could do it this time, having been prepared to send it if things didn't settle down. It helps to have a connection when things get rough, and I told myself I would make it if I felt I needed it, even though it might be an imposition on someone else's time or energy.

Seems like I'm overly sensitive to imposing on someone else, even though I might do so without much apparent sensitivity, so this attempt to ride the wave out was also an attempt to go easy on myself in that regard, and see if it would work. Sometimes, pushing oneself doesn't work the way therapists and others want you to believe. If you're used to being a little aggressive, or doing the hard thing, letting up actually works better, even when it feels like the "weaker" response. This is especially true if you're a person who isn't sure his issue is worth the bother, despite the agony involved.

I've let this grow into a big story once again, but, I'm a good writer, and I'm getting a story out pretty succinctly that once seemed infinite and untellable, so I'm going to present it as is and let it become another blog post.

The back story is that over the past three or four months I have been adjusting to the upsetting reality that I really was not going to be able to stay in my childhood home much longer, the one I have lived in, on my own, over the last four years, with my cat, while transforming both the living space and myself. The house is owned by my father and I work about twenty hours a month here, cleaning it out, maintaining it, and improving it all in exchange for a stipend equivalent to the rent I pay him each month.

We didn't have this arrangement at first. I was "helping them out," he told people gladly. This seems to be his perspective on many things in life, which tends to run a bit past the rose-colored end of some amorphous spectrum and sounds a lot like Bil Tierney's description of a characteristic grand trine. My father has a Moon-Jupiter-Uranus grand trine in the earth signs, which conjuncts a Sun/Ceres combustion in Capricorn. He doesn't get off easy, because there are also two big T-squares - the first involving a first house always-equivocating Libra Mars t-squaring a Pluto-Mercury opposition on the MC-IC axis and a ninth house Chiron in Gemini T-squaring a Saturn and Neptune opposition. He perceives many communication challenges and seems to wonder and wander a lot, without finding any solid answers to things, but the Mars T-square is domineering and sometimes frightening - hard to refuse, though I usually have.

Something someone said to me one day while I was working out in the yard gave me the idea of drawing up a contract to get some boundaries around this arrangement, which sort of helped, though it didn't seem to change to change his perspective much. For myself, it gave me a more disciplined approach, a task-oriented perspective, which became a valuable skill applicable in other endeavors, though my gaze too was clouded by wishes and denials and more than a little hanging onto the past and wanting him to respect what I was doing. In the end, he was right, I needed to move on, but he wasn't one for giving me the precise kind of push I needed in that direction - one that combined firmness with reason and a sense of nurturing interest in what I was doing. I seemed to become obsessed with pointing this out more than actually getting the support I needed to get on my own.

There was a good reason I was hanging onto the past, and it wasn't just that that's what my parents did. No, it was that the future was also unknown, and the communities and friends that would support me in my independent endeavors were still vague shapes on the horizon, though, there, too, I had drawn up a plan and was, in many ways, working quite diligently on it, though the money was slow to materialize. There wasn't enough motivation because my father, despite frequent angry whines and criticisms, generally gave me what I asked for, and then, exasperated, asked when I would be through with this phase of my life.

Eventually, an arrangement with a trust company was mysteriously manifested to manage the transfers of money, though, as I had to figure out on my own three months into the deal, my father was still in charge of okaying purchases and paying for extra expenses. Apparently, he thought he was giving them that job, and appeared to relish the thought of them telling me "no."

It was a wake-up call enough for me, and after a few angry letters, detailing my feelings and emotions and why what they were asking me to do seemed like a bit too much, I found the place in my brain that said, this really was the way forward and would be supportive rather than detract from my life, so I secured it there as best I could (it got lost a few times along the way) and began moving on, earning the extra I needed each month, with great complaint and insecurity at first, and then, a little more easily and successfully, until, in November, I began working a small part-time job, so I wouldn't have to continually think about earning all of the extra money on my own.

Uranus was squaring my natal sixth house Vesta in Cancer at the time - it provided the shock that shattered my remaining home-bound ways and told me it was time to get to work, to find a way to put all those skills I had mastered (or at least gained an initial familiarity with) - things like plumbing, painting, cleaning, organizing, and gardening - to use in the paying world. And that is, to a large extent, what I've done, and it's been greatly appreciated by those whom I've worked for.

The second part of the process involved putting the house on the market. After a few months of finding ways to earn the extra money I needed, I was faced with this additional hurdle - and the necessity of finding a place for myself which could cost a lot more, since I was paying a very low rent and getting utilities paid for by the trust company. I had found many ways to cut costs in the last few years, but this, I feared, was stepping it up a level I was not ready to handle. To this day, I don't think my father grasps the concept of nurturing independence - to him, it was just, we are going to move you out of this house so we can sell it. It was a fun project to him, and he was happy to start loading boxes. Linking that to my feeling confident about my ability to support myself didn't seem to cross his mind, which still mildly infuriates and frustrates me and boggles my mind in a kind of self-righteous, self-serving way that I really need to move on from.

In any case, having his real estate appraiser show up with him one day in September and go through the house, sizing it up and tallying figures, hit me emotionally in a way I've not really experienced many times before in my life. I've Chiron conjunct Saturn in Pisces opposite Uranus and Pluto (both retrograde) in Virgo in the second and eighth houses respectively. These square Jupiter retrograde in Gemini, in the fifth. It felt like all of these challenging aspects were firing on high that week. My voice trembled and my arms shook as I told my story to the people I knit with. They have seen me struggle at times over the last few years, but I really needed their support and suggestions to calm me down that night and I was grateful for it.

As I've said, I've gained a lot of practical experience and skills and learned much about process and values while creating my own environment here. Every scrap of paper, old art project, toy, and photograph has been gone through, organized and boxed, reflected on, written about, photographed, or sent on to another destination in one manner or another (trash, recycling, yard sales, donations, gifts, etc). I've created multiple native plant retreats around the house and cleaned up many areas that seemed neglected for years, another process that helped me discover values through learning what kind of work nurtured me and how to "tune in" while doing it. It was always a house in good shape, but many things had just been left where they were, like the emotional issues they represented, perhaps. My father is set on putting the house on the market by spring of next year as part of his plan to pay for his future at the retirement community to which he and my mother moved after I returned in 2007. This is also being done to fund my mother's expected future care, who is experiencing profound transformations associated with Alzheimer's.

I have often rejected but also, I realize now, deeply despaired, of ever getting my point of view across to my parents (Nessus in Gemini in the fourth and a twelfth house Mercury perhaps?). Getting through with what I considered reasonable, never seemed to happen. Well, my father has a grand trine in the earth signs with his Moon, Jupiter conjunct Sun/Ceres, and Uranus, and I have Jupiter square Uranus, Moon sesquisquare Sun, and Mars/Venus semi-square Ceres. It frustrated me to no end and at some point I just locked in a great despair and bitterness because I felt unheard and powerless to get my view across. In the last few years, I have given it a try again, using many different approaches to see if something would work for me, including open verbal conflict, which was something we always seemed to avoid while I was growing up. Exchanges then were often not pleasant, usually critical (there were three Virgo moons in the house) but seldom confrontive nor illuminating.

On the day when Saturn was squaring my Sun and transiting his Ascendant in mid-October, we "happened" to have an appointment with a psychologist for one of our occasional discussions together, and we talked about my conviction that he wasn't sensitive to my values and need for process in relation to this moving on from the house and the belongings I have gone through while living there. It didn't feel like a very productive session, and we both seemed very set in our attitudes and decisions. But we had lunch afterward and then I called him that evening and we talked. At some point in that discussion, while I was sharing my reactions and fears of not being heard, I felt like there was an understanding that happened. And when he came in to the house the following week, he actually followed up on a suggestion that psychologist had that he said he liked, by playing the role of "me" in the house and then he had me do the same for him. He proceeded to pretty much perfectly convey and act out my perspective, and I have to say he put in a more honest effort than I could do for him. He hasn't followed up things he said he liked since then, which is typical, but when pressure builds up and we have the difficult conversations now, we do more often than not have that little breakthrough in understanding that heretofore has been absent in our relationship. It comes when I stop holding back what I want to share, positive or negative, because I don't think he's capable of hearing it, or whatever the reason, and when I at least listen to what he has say, regardless of how I feel about it.

The last bit of the back story is that I depend on him largely for financial support. This is a problem that he was in with his mother-in-law for the last thirty years of her long life, and this situation has been equally immune to the frequent complaints and argumentative reasoning that we frequently have engaged in. I think it has something to do with asteroid Lilith in Cancer opposite my Sun and the largely unaspected Mars-retrograde Venus conjunction in Aquarius.

It's clearly crazy, the kinds of rationalizations I pass off on him as my need to stay dependent, but they, I now realize, they get mixed up with real needs for emotional support and a deep desire to have someone close to me recognize my values, separate from their own, and say they're legitimate. Once I could finally begin seeing the dynamics more clearly, and I had had time to experiment with my values and living situation to create a space and a lifestyle that reflected them, and I began to earn some money doing things I had set up and could succeed at, then I began feeling more responsible for myself, self-respectful, and confident about what I could do. My father's criticisms can still have a devastating impact on me emotionally, on the occasions that I feel powerless to avoid them. And then, I needed a little bit of a nudge from the trust company folks before I could work through the grief stages that came up with accept the new demands for more of my own money and find a new place to live, all within about six months. It seemed unfair when I was feeling stretched to my emotional and physical limits to expect one thing and then just add another on top of it. At times, I still it was, but another part of me recognizes it is for the better, and it will work out if I can find the pieces to put into place. When I don't have them is when it gets real rocky, really quick.

I reached this place a couple weeks ago when I suddenly felt like my position which I was excelling at wonderfully at work was in jeopardy. I kind have always had this expectation of people treating me like a superstar (and I'm very competitive about it) - probably my Sag south node in the tenth and the fifth house Jupiter quincunx to the tenth house Neptune, with that first house Mars in Aquarius thrown in to boot. It's been a hard one to work through while I try to get up the motivation to do well at something honestly and simply adequately. This got piled on top of a recent, fearful thought while apartment hunting that I would not be able to move my precious things into a big enough space to feel comfortable in. And I don't have many belongings compared to most people. These added to the underlying feeling that I would be once again be taking a risk that I would be stretched beyond my ability to support the costs involved with moving into an apartment, and this more than anything else precipitates emotional anxiety crises in me, occasionally leading to sweaty, sleepless nights of elevated heart rates punctuated with terrifying thoughts trapped in my tense, tired body and followed by days that feel like twilight zones.

So, here now is the letter I wrote as I was working my way out of one of these episodes during that recent Gemini full moon:

I always find your messages, or those you share, bring an insight or affirms something of value. This lunar eclipse is affecting me as well, as it creates a mutable grand cross with my opposition of Chiron in the second to Pluto in the eighth (conjunct to Uranus). At the beginning of last year's MAC conference, there was a solar eclipse in Gemini and journaling revealed that the frustration I experience fell in area of mind and communication. Understanding this, getting to that place, digging those words out and putting them on the page - it gave me something to work with and I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the conference.
Now I feel the insecurities coming to a head again in the area of money and the ability to create a comfortable home environment. I realize that means both physical and emotional spaces to me. The physical aspect is outside of my control (though not my ability to communicate about it) and changing sometime in the near future. These have combined with the challenges of communicating in what is for me at least a difficult situation, such as the part-time work I am trying to incorporate into my life to build some of that security.
While I was feeling pretty good for a while, and Pluto was trining my natal Moon, at this eclipse I find myself in the process of fall your guest contributor describes, and it is something I could feel coming and knew I would have to deal with. Honestly, I don't like these situations, and yet I know they are valuable because I can get to a truth and ground more firmly in it.
I am trying to find the perspective that says, it is okay to let go of control, to not be the one who can figure it out on his own and arrive at the answer all by himself, to trust what is around them to be enough. Yet I also want to feel comforted, affirmed, and just plain more comfortable than I do, physically and emotionally, and, above all, I guess, know that that counts for something. Feeling that I do communicate effectively with others is a central part of that process and yet it is also one fraught with the perils of neediness and being overly intellectual, full of the books I have read and the information I have forged into workable sentences and paragraphs.
Somehow it has to be simpler, I think, it has to just flow spontaneously. I do have a North Node in fourth Gemini and a mercury in twelfth Capricorn, so I know, as someone who has learned a fair deal of astrology, that my wrestling with these kinds of issues, working them out, is on track...but how to let go while retaining some necessary comforts, positive affirmations, and when to know that I've done enough...that still feels overwhelmingly difficult at times.
I notice that Saturn is coming close to a trine with Neptune and I think I will just review the notes from the Saturn-Neptune lecture you presented at MAC two years ago.
Paul Kelley

The story since I wrote this letter is that I worked and "cared" my way out of this panic within a few days. I didn't avoid planned activities that I thought were important to me (even after two days without any significant sleep), and I tried to be reasonably sociable when I sought out supportive connections with friends and family members, rather than dumping my needs on them, and this seemed to help. Even despairing to the point of panic when I thought about it, I went into work on Tuesday holding onto the attitude that I would just focus on my job for this one day, and not do more than I was asked to or could reasonably ask of myself to do, and then deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Well, last week, work was lighter than it has been and I was able to stay on track, feeling quieter, calmer, and more stable than I have in a while. In fact, for a few days it was almost as if an outside force or spirit were keeping my head on straight and my feet on the ground. I began really feeling like I understood what another astrologer-blogger whom I sometimes correspond with meant, when she explained to me how difficult it can be for a person with a Jupiter-Uranus interaction to stay on the ground. How difficult to know what grounding energy in your body might feel like when you never seem to experience it! This time, I felt like perhaps I was grounded.

In the housing area, too, I experienced a breakthrough. For a few days, I felt too fragile to take on the internet search of ads I had been plowing through with fortitude, but, as the weekend neared, I logged on, almost on a whim, and found an ad that was either new or which I had overlooked before. It was in an area I was considering and seemed very reasonable in price. Most importantly, there was an outdoor area, which is absolutely essential for me. I called the number and another one - only the second and third contacts I made, and this one was the first that responded. It was the first I visited, which was on Monday afternoon. It seemed very small inside, but everything else was so right. The other apartment was usefully spacious and nicely cleaned up, like the ad said, but everything around it - asphalt, telephone lines, junkyards, and traffic noise - was so wrong for me. Last night I took my tape measure on a tour of my things and this time I wasn't despairing about, how could I get into a big enough space for them and find a way to earn more money so I could afford it while settling for something that made me unhappy? I was on a really focused mission to clear books off of shelves and set aside any piece of furniture I really could do without (but still including what I really wanted). I measured everything, recorded it in a notebook, then did some more shelf-clearing. On Tuesday after work I called again to let him know I was really interested, and drove over with my tape measure and a check book. When I walked in and the owner turned on the lights, it seemed the place expanded or my vision seemed not so limited as it had the previous day, when things looked dingier and tinier. No, this was roomy enough for my things, and nice enough for my Aquarian sense of aesthetics to work with! I gave the owner a deposit and set a move in date for January 21.

When I got home and fed my cat, I sat down by the computer to do a chart, and what an interesting and significant chart it is, with a Saturn-Neptune trine in the transits and all sorts of Lilith connections and other things! I posted a picture of the house it's in on facebook, too, and a friend mentioned "house-warming party?" in the comments. Of course, with my twelfth house Sun, retrograde Venus, and second house Saturn, and so on, I never assumed anyone would want to come to warm up a house that I lived in! It hadn't even occurred to me to consider something like that.

But after a moment's thought, a memory came of writing in a journal during an exercise led by the writer Christina Baldwin at Macalester College. This was shortly after I graduated from in 1988, and there wasn't a lot promising going on in my life. Still, it was a nice, comfortable, successful vision that I wrote about and shared with the group. There was a deck filled with merry friends, overlooking a lake in a woods. Well, the deck and friends were there, but come to think of it, the reservoir is also just right up the road (in an otherwise lake-bereft area of the country) and two arboretums and a state park are within a few minutes drive. Now, I'm not as wealthy as the people in the Michelob ad from the 1980s that my dreamy wish seemed to be based on, but it's eerily close.

I remember Christina's one comment at the time: "Money. That costs money, and where are you going to get it?" "Bah" was my reaction. It didn't seem fair that I would have to consider that. Why not just let me dream and let someone else pay for things like they always had. (I have that second house Chiron in Pisces trined to Neptune in my chart, and a trine from an eighth house Pluto to my Sun that might help). It was about the same reaction as the one I had when my dad announced I would be getting a summer job that one time during my early teenage years. About the same reaction as the one I had a few years ago, when he exclaimed "well, some day the money just isn't going to be there!" as I asked for extra to pay down yet a few more little credit card debts a couple years ago. Well, okay, there was less bravado and more resentment by that time, and the despair was a lot closer to the surface. Yes, I've been trying to find the way to earn money and yet also manifest that vision for over twenty years. It seems I'm turning the corner on that at last.

Finally, I want to mention another promising and turn of events that backs up this sense of impending arrival. A couple of weeks ago, I submitted a scholarship application to AFAN. It was for an astrology conference, and it was done minutes after taking a risk to submit a last minute membership. It paid off when I was awarded enough money to take care of my registration and workshops. This was not the big news for me, though. I'm used to getting scholarships for myself instead of earning money. What was rewarding was that I had earned the money for the registration first, and had just sent it to Donna when news of the scholarship came through. How sweet to do the real Saturn work, feel satisfyingly accomplished, and then be rewarded again with a scholarship.

1 comment:

  1. I have found repeatedly that Saturn will reward the hard work, once it's been done! Great post and congratulations on a new place. Jeanne P.