It's difficult to begin to process the whole of this mess, let alone measure its costs to me in terms of available cash, emotional and physical tolls, and what it's done to the deeper structures of Self-- what we call the Spirit-- as I am still deeply mired in the heft of this ongoing cascade of misfortunes. It's uncanny how much has been thrown at me-- from the journey's outset, and before, frankly. I tell myself the slew of hardships began when I left Wisconsin and first began to have engine trouble on the road to Loganville August 31-- this after I had the dealership check the Trailblazer head to toe, inside and out, and was given a clear and clean bill of health. It's more fair to say it all began before, although when-- July, April, January, May of 2015-- is an undecided matter.
Devotees of Tarot (for good reason, in my case), on January 1 of every year, my ex-husband, John, and I each pull a card whose image and meaning indicate whatever our prevailing archetypal path will be in the coming year. This year, we both drew the Moon (XVIII). The statistical probability of us both pulling the same card from two different shuffled decks, then-separated by more than 2,000 miles, on the same day is beyond ken.
This ominous card implies a deep, frightening, and uncertain (and often painful) journey through the passages of the unconscious self and its buried motives, traumas, and secrets. The light of the moon, also, casts erie spells upon the phenomena it uncovers, awakening them to uncertain and unusual expressions of their natures-- truths become perplexing and vexing, jumbled mythopoetic distortions that tease us but ultimately without revelation. What we buried because of its unendurable pain becomes exhumed under cold, icy light that exaggerates dimensions of that long-festering pain whose acuity is startling and leveling, for example, yet we can derive no comprehensible understanding from the experience. It is not an understatement that this card is not without profound and exactingly painful consequence-- although it's necessity is not always clear, certain, or even affirmed/confirmed.
There are cards in the deck that bode negatively-- not Death (XIII) as you might expect, which is one of the most favorable, but the Devil (XV) and the Tower (XVII) are certainly unpleasant ones in terms of our unpredictable animal carnality and the uncertain certainty of external malady. The Moon is one of these, indicative of deep inner turmoil that must be passed through, unconvered and yielded to, and ultimately healed or destroyed by such passage. I've rationally understood when I've been dealt it prior that its tolls are perhaps the greatest in the Majors; now my suspicion seems confirmed by a bitter and unrelenting onslaught whose toll was painfully enough felt externally, but the inner torments I have faced-- the blame, bitterness, hatred, vertiginous panic, terrorized doubt, and a poisonous bile-black debilitated rage of a kind I have never imagined that acidly burns right through the bone and into the Soul-- have nearly killed me more than once, and broken me more times than I realized I could endure. And still more comes. At least now, resting outside Palm Springs on desert's edge, I have something of a reprieve.
In the Chinese annular Zodiac, this year bodes poorly for us all: Year of the Monkey, the trickster gleefully and wantonly wrecking havoc and upheaval in all visible and invisible spheres of action and emotion, within and without, turning the entire enterprise of Being upside down, smashing and scattering all its pieces and parts painfully and bewilderingly. And so I am beset, within and -out, by chaoses cosmically necessary but necessarily uncertain in their course, progress, and duration. For an ego-bound primate pain-body, the insult of uncertain and incurable torments of unknown origin and unspecified purpose only magnifies the drama of their seeming-undeserved endured/experience, and the exacerbates the insults suffered for paid each pound of flesh gouged out as payment.
The benefits of these dark signs are in the success of their passages-- whether you through the archetype or the archetype through you is not yours to decide. As in all things, it is a dynamic mutuality.
For the Tower, release into freedom and fresh possibility lay in the detritus of the Tower's extensive but limited destruction-- the shattering of our human constructs, of all that we value, which in fact had stymied and constrained us in ways we'd been blind to. The Monkey proffers the same, albeit void the Tower's inherent malice. Facing the Devil doesn't necessarily release one from base carnalility it essays (fucking/getting fucked up/fucking others up), but it hieghtens our awareness of those appetites and of our capacity to hold and know them in Awakened Awareness itself, and impels us morally and out of rational self-interest to master them lest they drag us and those near us into depravity and its inevitable spiritual poverty and disease.
Successful passage through the Moon, however, presents a more uncertain outcome-- one that is neither positive nor negative-- as the Moon's tidal gravity's impact on the unseen seems most governed by quantum errata; hence, its outcomes as well.
Basically with the Moon, you suffer its darkness and uncertainty with no map, no course, and no choice, and you do not escape its influence nor transcend it through any acts of deliberated Will or Action; you finish your journey through the Moon's realm when the Moon is done with you, and since the Moon is a permanent fixture on this Earth, it's influence persists after its grasp seems released as well. You don't escape it-- you simply are granted reprieve from its tides for a duration just as uncertain as the period of its painful passage. And its lessons aren't comprehendable, they're only apprehendable, and the unfortunate truth is that apprehension's wisdoms cannot be gained and integrated while in the Moon's umbra nor while in its erie light, and it's well after the Sun's light clears its chill antilight/darkness and its wild tidal heavings and swirling away that the body relaxes enough to simply accept the apprehension's cast-scars upon the Self and its components for what they are-- too exhausted to bother with interpretation.
You do not willfully experience and integrate the Moon; the Moon experiences you, and you are merely subject to its uncertain power, as the tides, the winds, the cleansing flow of blood from uterine tissues not impregnated-- and whether you like it or not and regardless of what you chose, it marks you indelibly and, near as I can tell after dwelling almost 12 months in its tidal forces, yields little treasure in return for the tolls it extracts. That is not to say it is a journey without benefit; it's just to say I've been too lowed by its power to dare to suppose a benefit.
To have such a card cast for the year's archetype... Fuck. I figured with mistaken confidence when I drew it that it was symbolic only of an inner journey, and after my nervous breakdown on my 40th birthday and the extraordinary ontological and epistemological journey I engaged in following it, I was certain I could handle any unconscious trials the Moon could throw at me.
I realize now the Moon's first lesson: Don't presume you have any fucking clue what lesson the Moon has in store for you. Lesson two: The Moon never has just one lesson for you. My cockiness has been more than adequately corrected by the truths of the moon's queer light and shadow, and knocked flat by its quaking tidal gravity.
Prior to August, I faced some pretty extraordary crises that would qualify as betrayals if I could have honestly said that I didn't know better as I entered each scenario. In truth, I knew precisely what to expect in each, but I chose my habitual and foolish "hoping for the best" when disengagement and disavowal was warranted. Was I a victim of fraud, of confidence scams? Certainly on the surface it did seem so, and so far as advancing Ego's necessary narrative, embracing victimhood and spitefully blaming my supposed-antagonists is more convenient by far than facing my own culpability in simply inviting these circustances. Such claims require naïveté on my part and calculated malice on my tormentors', and neither conditions were true. So far as my supposed-antagonists were concerned, they were, like all of us, doing their best, and like all of us, they made mistakes-- some paid more for theirs than I, others paid less. And there were no plots, which betrayals and cons necessitate-- shit just happened, blooming in the uncertainty of the moment. In the wake of these personal calamities, I've forgiven more of the folks I've blamed for hurting me than I haven't, and I trust in time I'll forgive even those that remain. So far as I'm concerned, as I've already established, I fucking knew better.
In truth, I was scarred as fuck and damaged existentially by the long, painful, and scarring, hapless and inexorable unwinding of my marriage; by the professional decay I suffered chained stagnant to a career I strayed in 8 years longer than I promised myself I would when I started in 1999; and by the crushing defeat and loneliness I felt in a city whose claimed-authenticity and tolerance were masks for a righteous and indignant, ugly elitism whose caustic dimensions I seemed especially allergic to and wholly unable to cope with as the years bore on. In literary terms, I guess when it came it Portland I couldn't grow out of being Holden Caulfied-- the city's cancer of prancing phoney show ponies was nothing I could tolerate, let alone escape unscathed nor unscarred. I retreated to the Midwest raw, vulnerable, and tender, and I made the same fucking mistakes I've always made in similar states: I showed my belly, my tenderest and most bloody self, to people I loved and asked them to be kind with these vulnerabilities.
I've since learned what I probably should've learned decades earlier, and it's a two-fold lesson: Don't share your tenderness to just everyone because they're a hellavua lot more likely to fuck you there than they otherwise would've been//don't make people responsible for the tenderest and most fragile part of yourself when they haven't invited the responsibility. Tt isn't fair to expect people, either way, to handle-with-care what you yourself should be doing exactly that with. It's incompassionate of them when what I most craved was compassion from them-- and offering it unsolicited to both sets all parties up to fail.
That was, in fact, one of the main objectives of my voyage-- now realized to be a Moon-cursed/-blessed ordeal: to learn to guard and care for the tenderest parts of myself by myself. This I have succeeded in doing-- although I'm now forced to confess I spent four nights in a Best Western in Butte, Montana, at the end of September so terrorized by fate's cruelties and so existentially broken by the poison of blame I held toward people in my life and by my own failings as a person I could find no rational argument to support living further. The calamities and maladies of the journey, none of which could remotely be claimed self-inflicted, far exceeded in number and degree anything I'd endured at my own hand previously. The material tolls at that point were bad enough; but the inner torments boiling within me were eating me alive even more violently and surely. By the time I'd reached Butte, I told myself I could go no further-- there was rationally, I argued, no fucking point. The moments I wasn't drinking and drawing in the hotel casino, I spent sobbing in my hotel room with a knife to my throat. Max and Sarah did their best to console me, and both begged me to let them love and care for me. Both begged me not to die. But the battle then was inside, and they were unable to penetrate it. My ex-husband saved my life (after many long, miserable calls and a call to the Butte, MT, police on my behalf), but suicide's shadow still haunts even now that I've found seeming shelter in Palm Springs.
As far as protecting and caring for that tenderest part of myself through the Moon's painful and uncertain, volatile passage is concerned, I've learned some painful but true lessons.
First, the tender part bleeds profusely and painfully and from any and many wounds, but it never stops bleeding because doesn't die unless you do. Indeed, it seems the function of the tenderest part of the Self may in fact be to bleed-- perhaps like the uterus its bleeding's purpose is some kind of cleansing? I cannot say for certain at this point. Perhaps, should this harrowing ordeal pass, I will in time understand better.
Second, that bleeding cannot be stemmed quickly; only slow, deliberate care affects healing to each wound, and it never heals without a scar to remind you ever of that pain.
Third, you can tend only one wound at a time.
And fourth, you can't tend any of them when fate's onslaught levies blow after stabbing blow against it day after day-- and, when it's most cruelly relentless as has been in my case, night after night also.
However, I have also learned that because of the first lesson, the most important thing that can be done is to carry that gushing bloody mess regardless of tormets' ceaselessness, shelter it further from blows as best I can, as I travel the Moon's cursed course, and do what I can not to panic and erupt into emotional chaos after the shock of one too many traumas has unmoored any purchase on stable ground-- as panic and anxiety drive the tender part wild, and the sight of all that blood gushing and spraying all around it only exacerbates its panic, and so it follows increases the spurtings and sprayings and their vigor, volume, and pain.
So it has been that, after a certain point, I've just had to hold the fuck on and endure-- endure not for any compelling reason, virtue, or cause; not for any higher purpose my Ego narcissistically supposes for itself; nor for any hope for light at the end of this miserable fucking tunnel. No, I hold on simply out of the relentless habit of living-- a sheer stubborn fucking refusal to give in and die until the body can cling to the cycle of beat and breath no longer.
I have no fucking idea where this leads; indeed, I'm beginning to suspect that a fabric of undulating daily and nightly existential malady may simply be the new norm. I'd pray this shit would fade at the end of the year, that something new will begin when I draw next year's card, but again I've learned it's folly to presume to know the Moon's course and duration, and pridefully standing against it is even more fruitless and, I intuit superstitiously, invites even more torment by virtue of its insulting pretension against one so great, so incrutible, as the Moon. It will release its hold when it releases its hold, and not a moment sooner, and I cannot claim to know when nor how that release will happen. Any supposition or prayer only guarantees I torment myself while she torments me, so out of mercy to myself and humbled by her power, I simply surrender and accept her blows-- nor do I even presume they might also be blessings. I endure-- that is all.
I've suffered shit I simply can't believe. A nightmare of personal violation at customs in Sarnia that had me, among other things, give Canadian authorities all my bank accounts' and emails' user IDs and passwords. Costly accidents with camping equipment. Waking, night after night, to the searing stench of a sick dog's shit smeared everywhere. And, more than once, calamities of illness most don't expect when I explain my immune system is so strong I suffer no symptoms until it's far too late: I blacked out in the parking lot of Theodore Roosevelt National Park-- the result of a rampant strep infection I felt absolutely no symptoms of-- and now a mystery malady of fever, delirium, fatigue, and monstrous full body pain that has driven me to the ER twice this week and that medical professionals, as wise as low resolution analysts can be, suspect may be, among other alarming things, Lyme. Thankfully I managed to force a stubborn bureacracy of my former employer to award me my COBRA; I'd be destitute under the financial tolls of these health crises otherwise.
And all of this and I just want to bloody get behind a bar and work for a spell, relax, regroup and make money, meet people, get ground under my feet. Relief and a path to restitution appear so tantalizingly close at hand...
Know a few things about my state and outlook. First, this is reportage, not whining. At this point, I've endured hells I'd never imagined with a grit I didn't know I had, whose ineluctable and quiet stubbornness I don't understand and claim no control over, but am wholly grateful for-- one which I'm too humbled by to allow prideful Ego to accept responsibility for. Now, at least, I'm confident that despite urgent, anxious Ego I can manage.
Second, I've made some excellent choices through it all to keep me afloat, including reconnecting with my ex. He saved my ass in Butte, and despite the tragic persistence of the vicious dysfunctions that have plagued and stained us through the years and ultimately drove me to divorce less than two years after we were married before our friends in the backyard of a home someone else now owns, he's always been my champion when the chips are down and cards are called. It's no understatement to say that he's offered me necessary encouragement strength and support when its been most needed (just not before 10am).
And third: I don't want or need anyone's fucking sympathy now or ever again. Even if the Moon's passage fucking kills this primate meat bag encapsulated ego dead and shoves it to rot forgotten deep in the bitter ground, so long as I draw breath I've fucking got this.
What I would pray for at this point if prayer were an applicable supplication before one such as the Moon is space and quiet to do what Awakening has taught me to do with anguish and awe both: turn into/in-to them, which remains transcendence's most valuable lesson.
As primates, we flinch from where we're hurt, we turn-away-from pain and even the threat of pain, we look away from the horror of human Being in its uncertain and volatile incarnation at all costs. Hence, construction sites and military installations and dumps post signs that read: "Warning: Keep Out" so we see not the horrors that lie beyond those signs and grasp the implications they have on ourselves. This is a fundamental tenant of the human condition: when we say we cannot face ourselves, it is not precisely that we cannot tolerate facing the truth of our Ego's reflection but that we cannot tolerate the basic fabric of accident and injury and bleeding pain of the tenderest part that lies behind that reflection. And we cannot tolerate it, so far as I can tell, because we fear that facing it will in some way overwhelm us and eradicate us entirely.
But Evolution is Creation's song, sung through the entirety of its fabric, and the Evolution's agents at every level of Being, especially the Soul's, are only Anguish and Awe.
Put simply, evolution doesn't happen when organisms are comfortably homeostatic in their external and internal environments; it also doesn't happen when we suffer or experience fear; nor does it come anywhere near to happening when we enjoy narcotic joys. Evolution is prompted by two experiences only that cut to the bone of existence itself: Anguish and Awe.
Awe compels transformation in embrace of its celebratory transcendent virtue; however, in a world so stricken inside and out as ours, opportunities for awe are few, and as corporations and their ensnared monkeymen agent-cells defile what remains of Nature, those opportunities are drying up rapidly.
What makes the deeper mark, and what is fortunately (I guess) more abundant now, is Anguish, and that is in no small part because Anguish signals existential systemic failure. Anguish's message requires response, and it's message is ever the same: evolve or die. In most organisms and people, any adaptive response to anguish is instinctual, unconscious, and, we suppose, accidental. Hence, the model of Darwinian evolution is built on a supposition of chance mutation; it mistakenly excludes that these mutations are responses to environment strain's anguishes.
In the case of my Awakening, which I intuit aligns my incarnate primate pain-body and Ego uniformly with my incarnating Soul, I have learned that I can be intentional about evolution and purposeful in my adaptation if I follow one path again and again through anguish. That invaluable pith lesson: Turn into/in-to anguish. (This is equally valid of Awe, though hasn't seemed as necessary as Awe's evolutions are far more inviting and their paths much lower in terms of resistance.)
For Anguish is not merely an evasive response to existential crisis; it contains the precise instructions necessary to successfully adapt to each specific existential crisis; each instance of anguish contains the keys necessary for its release. The only way through that is to accept that the Mind and its comprehensive faculties alone cannot read, let alone process, these lessons-- we cannot reason our way through anguish's lessons and out of its crises. The whole of our bodies and the entirety of our Selves must be brought to bare. We must go beyond the cephalic-brain biases of Western Civlization and know via apprehension anguish fully through those other important perceptual centers-- the coronary-brain and the enteric-brain.
What is required, then, is to locate the furious, boiling emotional center of that anguish, the tenderest part of our Selves spraying and spurting its blood in painful, desperate horror, the thing we always turn away from, we always ask others to care for, and go directly there by ourselves. To turn in-to means to go straight into the gushing pain, the horror, and reside within it as long as it takes, and not merely to go into its center, it's supposed source/cause, but to more consequently go straight into the raw textures of its experience of itself. To turn into means, explicitly, to become, to truly embody the entire experience of the anguish itself, no matter how harrowing, no matter how certain our primate flesh is that the experience will overwhelm and consume us completely. Actually, the primate flesh is precisely right-- that is a exactly what will happen, and exactly what must if we are to adapt successfully to its necessary evolution, and so transcend.
In the case of passive, spontaneous evolutions in response to Anguish, I believe that the Self is ultimately overwhelmed by the Anguish, regardless of whether it is turned into/in-to, and compelled to change as it has no other choice.
In my Awakened case, intentional evolution is possible as an act of curious, determined penetration into the heart of that Anguish as it resides in the tenderest part of myself. The blessing of this voyage/ordeal, if it is not prideful of me to claim it a blessing, is that is has offered a steady and plentiful flow of anguishes. The curse is a matter of unpracticed practice: I Awakened just eleven months ago, and I haven't had anywhere near enough time to practice this technique; I require space and time, shelter and quiet calm to even begin the process of turning into/in-to-- it has yet to become muscle memory; and the sequence of ordeals afflicting me has yet to let up enough for me to engage this still deliberate vital function.
And no amount of personal force has yet to affect such space, such comfort to allow the necessary inquiry/becoming. And so I wait and endure, patiently and penitently as I can-- certainly whining, complaining, and even raging when its symptoms overwhelm me-- I'm no fucking Buddhist, but this is Enlightenment-- not remotely confident that my time will come, but... sure as I can be that whatever happens, whether a matter of gaining sufficient space to evolve intentionally or simply being so overwhelmed by the mounting pile of anguishes that I will inexorably evolve, or die, as is Anguish's fundamental instruction. And as the Death card (XIII) makes abundantly clear: Death itself is the very crux of every evolution.
Either way, evolution is underway. To what end, I cannot say nor dare claim to know.
I can say the price I pay is very, very heavy-- far, far greater than a mere pound or two of flesh. What I pay for-- whether past karmic debts or future karmic successes, or somethings else entirely, I can't, nor, out of humility before the Moon, won't say. I do not endure pridefully. I do not endure spitefully. I refuse alignment of Self with the any notion of victimhood, nor claim the falsely presumed moral purity our culture rewards victims with. I endure for no purpose other than habit-- the body's refusal to fucking die until it absolutely must. I'm not sure this is a virtue.
What comes will come, and will come in its own time. Any space I gain to make a the process intention is a blessing only insofar as it satisfies my Ego and its illusory need to control. Regardless, transformation is imminent.
It's been a bumpy ride. I'm not letting go.