By Amanda Moreno
Today I found myself in a familiar headspace: restless and looking once again at PhD programs at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Attending is a pipe dream, being as I’d likely need to take on more debt than is legally possible as I already have quite a bit from my master’s degree. But still, that school is doing incredible work in the realms of philosophy, cosmology and consciousness studies, among other things. When I began my graduate work, it was with the intention of then going to complete an extended academic career at CIIS, and specifically to work with Richard Tarnas.
Then, in the spring of 2012, I was shown by the powers that be (in the imaginal realms, that is) that at this point in my life that path would be a way of bypassing the emotional body and that I was to do one-on-one ‘healing’ work with people.
I came out of that session feeling completely detached from a dream I had been passionate about for years. Strange, but I accepted it with the understanding that there might still be time for it later.
About an hour after staring at curriculums and tuition costs and fees this morning, I got an email from an astrologer inviting readers to reflect on what’s happened in their lives since the first of the exact Uranus-Pluto squares on June 24, 2012. It occurred to me that the day before that, on June 23, I had been presenting my graduate work to 30 or so people just before my graduation.
My graduate work more or less focused on the Uranus-Pluto square. I’d gone into the program knowing I wanted to use depth psychology and Richard Tarnas’s work with archetypal astrology and collective movements, and emerged with a familiarity with two additional paradigms: evolutionary astrology (including the form of cathartic regression work I practice) and Joanna Macy’s work with The Great Turning; Ms. Macy also happens to be adjunct faculty at CIIS.
Bear with me here.
My thesis, entitled “Astrological Ritual and the Apocalyptic Imagination,” used three main concepts oriented under the umbrella of depth psychology. First was the image of the mushroom cloud as a primary metaphor for our current apocalyptic rite of passage. Second was ritual as a means of creating containers strong enough to hold and transform our grief and despair for what’s happening to the world. Third, it examined astrology as a paradigm that is universal and yet diverse enough to inform those rituals and help each of us navigate our paths meaningfully in an increasingly individualistic culture.
Since then I’ve done so much frickin’ work with my emotional body. The thing has been uncovered and is alive and writhing and there are so many times when I have no idea what to do with it. I’ve begun to build a ‘private’ practice. I’ve been teaching classes that are very much grounded in Joanna Macy’s work and the philosophies of emotional evolution that I associate with evolutionary astrology and depth psychology.
Today, as I once again looked longingly at the curriculum for a CIIS program, I wondered: is it time? Or am I just avoiding? I’ve been getting hints of avoidance lately, but it’s all quite confusing, as I’ve been getting hints of lots of things, actually. I don’t quite know which way is up and so I’m trying to engage the ways forward that are emerging in my client work: Let’s not create new stories just yet; the old ones are still so close and we need some time to just be and finalize the letting-go process.
Now, I’m well aware that the Uranus-Pluto square doesn’t end with that last exact square on March 16. The planets are in orb essentially through the decade, no longer waffling between waxing and waning squares. The effects will take a while to integrate. The lightning bolts have struck, and now we get to catch up. Hopefully that catching up will involve implementing constructive solutions for sustainable change rather than avoidance. The words of Dave Matthews come to mind here: “We gotta do much more than believe if we really want to change things.”
Lately, I’ve felt a new layer of an old wound coming forward. Let’s just say it has to do with that defining moment when one steps away from the herd and accepts the call of the soul. It’s triggering all kinds of things that I honestly thought I’d dealt with. It feels as if I’m saying goodbye in so many ways, although to what specifically I’m not sure. I’ve never really wanted marriage, career, home ownership and children. But right now those things seem so…comfortable. Even if they also reek of soul annihilation.
Let me rephrase that, though — it feels as if I’m being faced with the option to say goodbye. There’s a finality to it. Although I’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time, my heart is full of apprehension and grief, at least I think it would be if I wasn’t avoiding and feeling a sense of aversion.
Am I avoiding because I’ve done so much emotional-body work and need a break? Is it possible to take a break? Am I avoiding because I’m just not cut out for the work of a healer or peacemaker or person who diverges from a horrendously destructive paradigm? Am I avoiding because I don’t know how to reconcile building an alternative lifestyle while paying rent in a city where rent is skyrocketing? Is the idea that the paradigm is destructive just a false construct of my own beliefs? Or is it because I’m actually standing at a precipice…
I don’t know that I can get answers to these questions (at least not before Saturn goes back into Scorpio…urgh), and for once I’m not really seeking outside for answers. It seems I’ve found myself enmeshed in so many alternative lifestyles all at once that finding counsel that I feel can hold all of it is unlikely. Although I’m keeping this process to myself for the most part, I figure these questions are relative to the collective, and so hopefully they’re relevant to you.
Let’s go ahead and bring it to the objective level. We’ve been through so much, not just in the past few years but in our entire history. Ancient wisdom tells us that everything is inherently connected, that we are an interconnected system and that therefore all that revolution, chaos and upheaval is flowing through you and me as much as it is through any being more acutely and directly affected. But then, so are all the love, hope and compassion, even if compassion needs insight in order to prevent burn out.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. One thing feels clear: of all the paradigms I’ve brought together for my own journey during the Uranus-Pluto square, the ideas of Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects are the ones that bring me the deepest sense of being grounded and effective time after time. At the “beginning” of this phase, I was linked into that paradigm, and now I feel like I’m coming home to it once again. Perhaps it’s time to pay attention to that.
I’d like you to know, Amanda, that your sharing here has given me profound insight into the kind of whirlwind someone else is most likely going through. And reminded me of similar processes so many years back now. Genuine empathy and patience have been restored. Just know you’ve brought some healing to this emotional body today. – Rob
Thank you, Rob. Your sharing always brings me healing, too!
It’s all relevant Amanda; it helps me to hear how others are dealing with it all. I went through the wanting to go back to school scenario. But the cost, when I’m still paying off the old student loan – I keep having the growing in strength thought that I have what I need already and to use it the way I already envisioned it. And to find a counselor who I could trust to encompass all these last ten years have wrought and trust them?? I have had to learn so much on my own. Who would understand all the skins I’ve shed and the ones I am trying to grow? While it has that painstaking kind of beauty, I have the stark realization that I am ten years older and heading towards the years when the old school way would have me heading to the country – the funny thing is, it actually sounds good! For me, it seems to be a process of slowing learning how to really follow my heart, and to be brave! Thank you much.
Following the heart and being brave — I think that pretty much encompasses the essence of it. In fact, maybe I’ll write that out and decorate it and put it somewhere prominent… thank you!
Amanda, just reading your piece made me think of my Mum who had 3 miscarriages and just let go of having a child – it just wasn’t going to happen for her, it was too painful to keep hoping and living the disappointments. After some time she was pregnant again and there was a big bush fire and my Dad asked her to help. She said – but I always lose these foetuses at 3 months.
He said I’m sorry but we need your hands to beat (with green branches to keep the fire away from the houses, to turn it etc).
She felt she had to go in the circumstances knowing that this child would probably be lost too.
But no! She formed the theory from that that if something is going to stay it is going to stay. Though it could equally be that when you think of others before yourself that frees up everything.
Thanks for sharing that story! What a great theory, too. Y’all are giving me some great mantras today.
or perhaps that when you do what you can and are ‘called’ to do somehow everything comes though
Also might current transits light up relevant parts of your chart Amanda: the Aries point, Midheaven Twelfth House, or Mercury or Eris, Lilith etc etcxxp
Oh, it’s all kinds of lit up.
Thanks for articulating and making your ongoing decision making process public. Helps me on
the very basic level of another human going through an excruciating decision making process in
I so get where you are at. Saying good-bye and grieving, for I know not what. The feeling that we are really at a threshold and once we cross there is no turning back. New potential doors opening up, but all have their own pros and cons, like Alice down the rabbit hole faced with several magical doors, and having to pick one, while waving good-bye to dear friends behind her.
For those of us that have been attempting to wring as much self-growth and processing out of the past few years as possible, speaking for myself, there is a weariness, a desire to sit down on a wide spot in the road and just take a breather. On the other hand, I fear becoming stagnant and sinking into a comfort zone and missing out on the next part of the journey, especially after coming so far.
Then my breath catches me, brings me back to the present and whispers, patience.
Ah, yes. The sense of urgency mixed with what is becoming an increasingly real need to just retreat for a bit. Patience…and perspective! What’s a week or two of rejuvenating down time (away from the city, please) in the grand scheme of things? Right? Hm.
At the time of that 1st Pluto-Uranus square, a spiritual companionship relationship began, and then within a few months I was “tossed out”, resulting in shock to my entire system. There was SO MUCH contained in it. It took me back to the depths of 3 significant traumas of my early years;—ones I’d believed I’d already dealt with thoroughly. Well, not as deeply as this time!—At the same time, I was hoping to resolve the current-time relationship…If only that could get healed and recommenced, then I felt all would be right in my world.—Then, after crying for 2 yrs, I was led to books that revealed to me that this other person was actually a psychopath; that the intent was to destroy me, and that there’d never be any resolution coming from there. (It’s a complex situation as we still have telepathic communication between our “higher selves”, and that level is peaceful and good—so I’m a bit “confused” about the 2 different manifestations of that one person. Is it real?). Now I’m at the place of recognizing the external companionship would never work out; that it would be “bad news”; that psychopathic personalities don’t change—-and yet, being human, I still want to connect on the external level as human beings with this person I still do care about. It’s been heart-wrenching, although more and more there’s a feeling of detachment from the external person, which is a relief. Now, at this final Pluto-Uranus square, is it that it’s time to stop hoping for something to change?—to give up?–to actually “say good-bye” and be done with all hopes for the situation? More and more there are stretches of time of being fine with that—Then there are other moments—-aaaaargh—-