Future Desires

Journal Date: Friday, December 11, 2020

I’m thinking about my desires for the next 1-2 years.

Every day I’m getting more clear about what I want to do and how I will use this time.

I’ve been trying to get rid of clutter and all the things I don’t need anymore, so I can focus on what I do want to grow.

And I can feel things shifting even more.

Every day, I feel just a little bit better.

I’m so happy and grateful to know that healing is happening.

It’s my mission to actively continue this healing process intensively for the next year and a half (or at least 16 months, which is what’s left of my graduate program).

It will also mark the end of a 2 year period of Uranus transits that have been quite revolutionary for me (Uranus opposite Pluto and Uranus conjunct Moon). 

It’ll also be when two other transits end (Saturn square Pluto and Saturn square Moon), which will be starting for me in 2-3 months.

And I also anticipate that it will be around then that this pandemic will finally reach its conclusion, and when I’ll be able to return to normal life.

I’m not going back to “normal,” though. 

I’ve changed so much already, even now, and I know that 16 months from now, the difference will be even more pronounced.

I also feel that at this point on my path, I have mostly found all of the resources (both internal and external) that I need to fully heal… I’m not rushing around anymore, reading a thousand different things that I haphazardly just stumbled upon. 

I’m not so confused now, and I know enough from the many years of reading and research to be able to evaluate what I need next.

Some of the most important keys I already have are: 

–continued therapy with Daren

–continued practice of Somatic Experiencing exercises

–the resources in Pete Walker’s CPTSD book

–meditation

–my spiritual practice

I’m going to devote myself to this full time for the next 16 months (along with school and my writing).

I’m confident that I’ll be where I want to be by the end of that time period.

I’m looking forward to what the future will hold.

When We Dead Awaken: Part 3

If I’m ever going to create my future, I’m going to have to come to terms with my past.

I’ve been trying to avoid it, deny it, explain it away, make excuses for it, compensate for it, erase it, and so much more.

I’ve struggled to accept that this is the truth of my life. That this isn’t “just a phase.” It isn’t just going to disappear one day like it never happened.

I think I may have (unconsciously) thought that if I worked hard enough I would be “cured,” I’d become 100% “better”, and it would all be as if nothing had ever happened. That there would be some kind of “redemption” where I would be saved from my own damn self.

In practice what this meant was that I was working toward a model, a “goal” identity, that was completely inappropriate for me.

I wanted so badly to be normal. I would have done anything to not be so “complicated.”

The ideal future self I had in mind was so boring, so basic. So unthreatening. She was some happy, carefree, extraverted, easy going, and very chill girl (that’s why they said they wanted from me, right?).

I thought I could nip and tuck and edit away all of my humanity, become acceptable to the greater mass of society, and call it a success. 

I would know I had “made it” when I was deemed normal by everyone and no one ever said anything bad about me ever again.

That was my vision for health: to completely erase myself, and finally just be what everyone else wanted me to be. 


My vision now is this: I will not deny my past, I will not erase this self. I will not even try to compensate for the suffering I’ve had with some grandiose and misguided attempt to “make it all worth it.”

I will integrate my past. I will honor myself.

I will acknowledge all of the places and the people I have been, regardless of how strange or scary others find them to be.

I will speak to the truth of who I was, and how it was that I became who I am today.

Rubedo: the Red Phase of Alchemy

After the whitening of the albedo comes the last phase of the Great Work: the red phase, or reddening.

The white phase consisted of an intense process of purification, in which all the rotting decayed matter that had died during the nigredo was thoroughly cleansed of impurities. What was left was then considered clean but also very sterile, incapable of producing new life and lacking animation.

The purpose of the red phase was to make the matter come alive again. This process was initiated with the completion of the last phase of the albedo, conjunction, which was known to alchemists as “the marriage of the sun and moon.”

The rubedo continues this work of uniting opposite energies or elements until the Great Work has been completed.

The first process in the red phase of alchemy is known as fermentation, where the alchemist receives visions and other types of inspiration that will ultimately guide them to the end of the Great Work.

This is followed by a long process known as distillation, in which the alchemist is tasked with separating “the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross.”

The final phase, coagulation, marks the completion of the Great Work and the creation of the Philosopher’s stone.

When We Dead Awaken: Part 1

Journal Date: November 28, 2020

I wanted to pick up where I left off before, writing in response to what I had learned from my B.O.T.A. lessons the night before.

There was one idea in particular that captured my attention, and I think it is worth repeating here:

“So long as we ascribe power, wisdom, supply or anything else of worth to external conditions, just so long we are dreaming. The sources of life and power are within us. Human personality is like a projection machine. Human environment is like a screen. Our mental imagery (inside us) makes the pictures, and the words of our mouths incite the reactions we experience. But the light which projects the pictures is an inner light… the light of the One Self.

When we awake we come to ourselves as did the Prodigal. We stop dreaming. We are freed from the nightmare terrors besetting those who dwell in dust. Then we find the Creative Word in our mouths and in our hearts. We learn that our “speech,” that is, our mental definitions of ourselves and our relations to our circumstances, never return to us void. If our definitions be wrong, because we are deluded by appearances, the appearances grow worse and worse. When we awake and come to ourselves, a new set of pictures is projected on the screen of our environment.”

–TF 36, “The Tower”

Before I get too far into the details, I wanted to mention this little synchronicity: I read a very similar concept earlier in the afternoon yesterday, only in my psychology textbook.

The chapter was about worry and anxiety, and how these mental and emotional conditions can lead directly to physical health problems.

It basically described the Law of Attraction, only in the book they called it “the Law of Expectation,” and they had a very different explanation for how it all worked than B.O.T.A. It was rooted in physical causation, in contrast to B.O.T.A.’s assertion of spiritual/energetic causes, but the process was essentially the same. 

They cautioned against worrying (as it “creates stress”, “rehearses failure”, releases harmful biochemicals, etc.), promoted the practice of visualization for success, and even suggested a focus on the sense of touch being included in visualization practices (just like B.O.T.A. did).

They described essentially the same tools, the same processes, the only difference being the causal mechanisms attributed to each.

I thought this was an interesting coincidence (or synchronicity). I was impressed to see the same content and concepts appearing in these two different areas of life at exactly the same time.

I feel that now I’m on the right track. Clearly, there’s something to all of this.

And this is just one of many little meaningful coincidences that have cropped up repeatedly over the past week or so… 

I like where I’m heading.

Mars Retrograde 2020

Journal Date: November 14, 2020

Mars finally stationed direct yesterday, after spending over two months retrograde.

“Mars is abrasive, courageous, alarming, bold, inciting, aggravating, confident, heated, and action-oriented. When retrograde, Mars makes us review our leadership style, our relationship to our agency, and our ability to carve our way into the world.

The weeks of Mars retrograde offered us lessons on how to turn towards our anger. Fuel for our engines when worked with consciously, rage is a righteous reaction to injustice–it’s just not a place where we can build a home. Tempers teach us what upsets us and why, when our boundaries have been crossed and how, what to demand and when.” –Chani Nicholas

All of this is true. I feel like I have learned more about these various Mars-related themes in the past two months than maybe ever before in my life up until now.

I spent almost all of the Mars retrograde period FURIOUS (and I’m actually not mad about that).

It was time for me to feel it. I was late to the game here. I had a lifetime’s worth of rage I was suppressing, and it was destroying me.

There were a million things that I should have been mad about, but couldn’t even see. I couldn’t allow myself to do so. I wasn’t “allowed” to be mad, ever.

I’m still not “allowed,” but fuck it, I’m going to go ahead and be mad, anyway.

My anger was the missing key. My rightful rage granted me access to everything else. It opened the doors to clear knowing in a way that nothing ever has before.

It’s been uncomfortable as hell, but still, I am grateful for it. I have seen more and grown more in the past two months that I would have imagined was possible for me.

In Search of Lost Time

I forget exactly what prompted my first inquiry into my past lives, but I think I was reading something about energy healing and how some of the traumas of a past life may carry over into the next one.

I was skeptical, but curious, and I remember thinking, “Hm… If I’d had a past life like this, I wonder what it would have been like?”

And immediately, an image flashed into my awareness.

I saw “past me,” at the moment when I knew I would not be able to escape and where I knew I was going to die.

The woman I saw looked kind of similar to the way I do now, but there were some subtle differences.

She had black hair, blue eyes, an attractive face. She was shorter than I am, had a fuller body type, and was wearing an expensive looking dress, which seemed to be in a late medieval/early renaissance style. I had the feeling that I was deeply involved in spiritual or religious life or was somehow involved with the church.

In the brief image that I had access to then, I saw myself underground, in a dimly lit stone tunnel or passageway.

I was running from people who wanted to trap me and hurt me. I tried to see more into the reasons why. All I got was the feeling that it was motivated by hatred, by envy or jealousy. There seemed to be people who were upset at how well-liked I was, or how “good” I may have appeared in the eyes of others, or even my success or esteem in a certain area.

There was also a man involved who seemed to be older than me, but I couldn’t really determine what his role was or the nature of his relationship to me. I just knew he had something to do with the situation I found myself in at the moment I saw myself in that brief vision.

I wasn’t able to see any more then, but very soon after, I had an intuition that this was related to a couple of things corresponding to my natal chart.

The first was the three planets I have in the twelfth house: Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. This may be why I have felt compelled to hide so much of what I feel are the good things about myself. 

This could very well be where my shyness and insecurity around my intelligence (Mercury), issues surrounding my perceived beauty and value and shame about being a woman (Venus), and my lack of belief in a right to expand, grow, take up space and achieve success (Jupiter) come from. 

The last thing that appeared related to this scene was my placement of Saturn on the Descendent/7th house cusp.

This can mean restrictions in how you relate to or access the outside world, as well as how you interact with and have relationships with others.

I’m not sure exactly how this past life influenced these placements in my chart, but I very much had the feeling that the two were connected.

Healing Injured Instinct

“Trauma is about thwarted instincts. Instincts, by definition, are always in the present. When we allow them their rightful domain, we surrender to the ‘eternal now.’ With the full presence of mind and body, we can gain access to the source of our own energy and enthusiasm.

“As we resolve our traumas, we discover missing parts of our beings, those that make us feel whole and complete. Our instincts house the simple but vital knowledge that ‘I am I’ and ‘I am here.’ Without this sense of belonging in the world, we are lost, disconnected from life. If we learn how to surrender to our inborn knowledge, it can lead us on a healing journey that will bring us face to face with our natural spirituality, our God-given connection to life.” —Peter Levine

I feel that this is starting to happen for me.

In some ways, I’m starting to feel more alive than I have in many years. More myself, more centered and calm than probably ever before.

After all the sadness and regret at my pain, and the grief over the loss of “what could have been,” I am finding that there is still much left that remains.

One thing I’m finding strength in is knowing how resilient I am.

I had always bought into other people’s perception that I was weak, “too sensitive,” incapable and insufficient on my own.

Now I see how different the truth is.

I am strong.

I have been through so much, yet here I am—I survived.

Injured Instinct

Journal Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2020

“I think you can see that a dilemma of profound consequences is set up if the people who are supposed to love and protect us are also the ones that hurt, humiliate and violate us. This sets up a double bind that undermines people’s basic sense of self and trust in their own instincts. Our sense of safety and stability in the world and our interpersonal relationships become undermined by childhood abuse because we carry these early thwarted—that is, deeply conflicted—survival pattern into adulthood.” —Peter Levine

I’ve hated myself ever since then. I’ve been disgusted by myself. And have believed that my mom must have been right. That I’m worthless, and a lost cause, and don’t deserve to be here. 

That I should hide, or even die, because to show my face in polite society is an insult to all those good people I’m trying to fool.

This is what I have believed, and eventually, have gotten oh-so-good at creating as my actual life experience.

Deep down, I was so invested in believing this about myself, that I forced it upon myself, even in circumstances where there were people who wanted to like me.

I’m thinking of all the times when there have been people who have liked me, respected me, admired me, and even wanted to try to love me.

I just couldn’t handle it. 

It was too much for me. I didn’t understand it. Couldn’t trust it.

It gave me the deepest, most terrifying sense of anxiety and dread.

I had to “fix” it immediately. I couldn’t keep up “the lies.” I was terrified of what would happen when they discovered the “truth” about me.

So I was compelled to show them.

[insert horrible betrayal here]

Look at me. “This is who I am.”

Do you love me now?

That’s right. 

I DIDN’T THINK SO.

And over time, I got so much better at showing people “who I was” up front.

It took a while, but soon enough there was not even a chance for them to try and love me; I did my best to make it obvious how much I hated myself (and how much they should too) right from the very beginning.

Amazingly enough, some people still tried!

It was always such a shock to me. It was what I said I wanted, but I could never tolerate it for long.

I was obsessed with my compulsion to “tell the truth” about what I was, and to prove how unworthy of love, respect, or even common human decency I was. 


What a crazy, stupid, unnecessarily painful life this has been.

None of this was necessary.

None of this was even really about me, at the end of the day.

Back then, I was just doing my best to be a good girl. So I just kept carrying all the crazy projections my family sent my way, no matter how painful or detached from reality they were.

God, it makes me sad to look back on my life and see the truth of what has been.

How easily it could have been another way.

This pain, this shame—it was never mine to carry.

I don’t want to keep holding onto it anymore.

I’m ready to be free, and just live as my own self.

I don’t need to do this anymore.

I’m ready to be free.

Bain Marie

One method that can be utilized in the process of Dissolution is known as the “Bain Marie.” The name essentially means “Mary’s bath,” and is a reference to the woman who invented the process, Maria Prophetissa, a Jewish alchemist who is said to have lived sometime around 100 B.C.E.

She invented the “Bain Marie” for use in laboratory alchemy, where it was intended to wash the burned material left over from the Calcination phase. The basic concept is that of something like a double boiler, where the water in the central vessel is kept at a constant temperature through being submerged in another container of boiling water.

It is the larger, outside container which is subjected to the direct heat, allowing a more gentle, stable process to occur in the container in which the actual contents being washed are held.

The Bain Marie is also useful in psycho-spiritual alchemy, and in this instance, refers to a cleansing and calming meditation we can use after experiencing the difficult emotions associated with personal calcination.

How to practice

We begin by calming ourselves with several deep inhalations and exhalations of our breath. Then we can start to imagine ourselves in the warm, soothing waters of the Bain Marie. 

We may also choose to imagine ourselves in a warm ocean, held by the waters of the all-loving, compassionate Divine Mother.

As you breath in, imagine the warm water permeating your energy body that need to be cleansed, gently soothing difficulties as it washes away all impurities. 

As you exhale, you can imagine all of the pain and hardness inside of you melting away. 

You can repeat this process as many times as you need to until you feel yourself cleansed and soothed by the element of water.

You may decide to draw yourself a warm bath and perform this meditation while submerged in the water. You can also add salt to the bath, which is known to be both physically and energetically cleansing.

As you finish your meditation, you can imagine that all difficulties or negative energies have been captured in the water, and watch as it flows down the drain and out of your life forever.

Descansos

Journal Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020

I just finished an exercise Estés suggested we do in this chapter on rage in Women who Run with the Wolves. It’s called “Descansos,” and here we are to mark all the little (and large) deaths of our lives.

Descansos are symbols that mark a death. Right there, right on that spot, someone’s journey in life halted unexpectedly. To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chiquitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place.”

Estés encourages us to make our own descansos, to sit down and examine our lives, our losses, all the places which must be remembered and at the same time, put to rest.


I had a lot of crosses to mark.

My life has been filled with losses. One right after another, with little chance to recover in between.

At this point, I have between 25-30 crosses marked down to represent what I have lost.

Descansos

It’s a lot, but somehow it still doesn’t feel like enough.

I don’t even think my greatest losses are even on here.

My deepest pain comes from having missed something more intangible than a job or a boyfriend or anything I listed here before.

Maybe my greatest loss is actually me. My own self.

To have grown up never knowing (not to mention never liking) myself.

To never have felt at home. Not even in my own body. 

Especially not in my own body. This was a source of shame, and where I could locate all of my pain. Better just to not be here. To escape, by whatever means necessary.

And not just my body. I was estranged from all of me.

Always looking outside of myself for the “right” answer. 

The “right” way to look, think, feel, act, be.

I didn’t even know what I was looking for.

I just knew that I was doing it wrong.

I was just wrong, period.

I never belonged to myself. 

That’s the worst part.

I was in such a rush to give myself away. I would sell myself off to the lowest bidder. I was constantly in a rush to find the quickest way to betray myself next.

It’s very sad.

Looking back on all of this, I feel so tired. 

Exhausted. 

What was the meaning behind all of this?

It’s hard to understand.

But I’m starting to feel ready to grieve my losses. To grieve, and to let go.


“Remember in ‘The Crescent Moon Bear’ the woman said a prayer and laid the wandering orphaned dead to rest. That is what one does in descansos. Descansos is a conscious practice that takes pity on and gives honor to the orphaned dead of your psyche, laying them to rest at last.

“Be gentle with yourself and make the descansos, the resting places for the aspects of yourself that were on their way to somewhere, but never arrived. Descansos mark the death sites, the dark times, but they are also love notes to your suffering. They are transformative. There is a lot to be said for pinning things to the earth so they don’t follow us around. There is a lot to be said for laying them to rest.”