by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our 12th House Self (2nd Post)

 A field of dandelions
(photo credit: Jerry MagnuM Porsbjer, June 2007)

A client of mine wrote me over the weekend, saying how she felt she had to control her feelings.

Her words...

‘I'm very aware of Jungian concepts of the 'shadow' and its projection of inner archetypes onto outer persons or situations…I find it difficult to suppress or tame the fury of emancipated emotional awareness into positive channels of thought and ultimately action…I would like to help others navigate their way through life.’

When I wrote back, I reminded her that there’s a difference between emotionality and feelings. That difference is all about control.

Control is an 8th house and Scorpio concept. The best parallels I can give here are two-fold, with the first being a ‘known’ image for Scorpio – and its native 8th house: a swamp.

 Lutt-Witt Moor in Henstedt-Utzburg, Germany
(photo credit Jan Van der Crabben, August 2005)

Yes, I have talked about this before. Most of us don’t realize that swamps are one of the most fertile environments on Earth – but only when the water which provides that ‘breath of life’ doesn’t become stagnant.
In human terms, we need change. We need to grow. Famously put in the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ …we ‘get busy living or get busy dying.’

That is the 8th house/Scorpio mantra. We need nourishment. We need to grow – continuously. So there is no ‘being set for life.’ There is no ‘I can give up now.’ 

When we get to such a place, we either realize the fallacy of having thought having ‘enough’ money would eliminate all care, or we start feeling less in our own eyes.

Remember, Scorpio and the 8th is – in the end – only where we test out our Taurus/2nd house self worth. That if we stop learning (i.e., metaphysically venturing into the Sagittarian 9th) we begin feeling less than our friends, irritable, unsatisfied…that’s simply about us.

We were born to grow. The ‘control’ we therefore seek is not to contain the water or to hold onto the young things and small ideas which grow to adulthood and maturation amidst the fertility of all. To do that is to doom our fertile environment – to condemn ourselves and our power (and Taurean self-worth) to stagnation and metaphysical deprivation of life’s vital nutrients and oxygen – the ‘breath of life’ metaphysically carried in this image.

The swamp needs protection from too much water. But it cannot do without water flowing steadily through it. 

Thus ‘control’ in the Scorpionic 8th is about the measure and rate of all we do.

All this is set into place by my client’s words ‘I find it difficult to suppress or tame the fury of emancipated emotional awareness into positive channels of thought and ultimately action…’ to which I responded as follows:

One of the greatest lessons astrology has to teach is how and humans are afraid of their own emotions – and how necessary it is to accept that we have a full breadth of emotions.

Emotions are – at some level - merely symptoms. The question is why do they exist? The emotion tells us that something matters. And once we understand why it matters, he unbridled nature of the emotion dissipates, leaving the ‘feeling’ intact.

Good things, bad things, they can all evoke emotions – strong emotions. And yes, people love feeling, though most hate feeling emotional.

Question: what’s the difference?

Answer: control. We want control. And yet, when we achieve it, we end up hurting ourselves and harming our chance to live a complete and feeling life. But many will choose that rather than to think they don’t have control. This is the precept (and test) of the sign of Pisces and the horoscope’s 12th house.

And yet, the 12th house is the house of faith. People think of that as spirituality - but it’s as much faith in Self as anything else.

Positivity alone doesn’t create positive circumstances. Accepting the truth and the facts and  (as has been said,) the difference between what I can and cannot change – that’s what creates serenity.

We’re not supposed to suppress fury. We’re supposed to understand why it exists and deal with those causal dynamics.

 A swamp in the Matra Mountains of Hungary
(photo credit: Susulyka, May 2005)

Being brave enough to feel our feelings, that’s the 12th house, and Pisces – wherever Pisces falls in your chart. Rather ‘notoriously’ known as the sign and house of the Jungian ‘shadow’ Pisces as the ‘natural’ sign of the 12th is also where we meet up with the collective unconscious.

In other words, all that connects us to one another. All that we truly have in common as people, just because we’re human. It is thus through our vulnerabilities, not our strengths – our humanness, not our mask, our dignity of integrity, not our status or ‘place in life’ …it’s who we are when we are required to risk or experience the consequences (real or possible) which others harken to. Which they will respect us for being willing to confront. Which they will love us for enduring and learning through the pitfalls and stubbed toes of.

People talk a lot about ‘sunshiny days’ and ‘living in the light.’ They forget that though it’s the energy and powerful brilliance of the Sun which fuels and spurs life to growth, that when we stare directly at the Sun, we become blinded.

To see all light is – in essence – to see nothing. It is shadow which gives our world its shape, it’s depth, its perspective. Without shadow all color would be flat, life would have no hue, no richness.

So it is with us. Our sorrows, our fears, they are what propel us to learn. Reactive though we may be about them throughout our lives, they also remind us of our mortal nature and the opportunity to care, to love, to risk feeling.

I was born a Pisces Sun / Scorpio Moon person. I have felt lots of pain - physical, mental, spiritual and emotional - and yet I also understand it’s exactly that pain, that recognition of my own human shadow and the shadows cast by tsunamis of emotionality which have ended up enriching my life.

I probably wouldn't even be writing you if not for all those struggles!
Yet over these past few months, I also feel I’ve lost a good deal. I’ve only ever truly loved and trusted one person in my life. No, it wasn’t my parents. It isn’t even a lover. It’s someone I met through professional contacts who went on to become someone I literally trusted with my life.

Trust at that level is hard for all of us. But we got there. Then, for reasons I don’t understand, this friend went and spilled my very deepest secrets out to people I don't like...people who have (frankly) demonstrated they don't care about me or my life - not worth cupcakes.

My friend was sworn to secrecy. What he knows about are things (terrible things) which happened to me a long time ago.
Finding out that he didn't honor his promise to peep not about any of it, he did. That hurt. Every day I wish it hadn't happened, though I have to think it's good that I found out. I'd like to see about working things out. At least talking things through. But though I sent a message, I haven't even gotten a phone call.

In this instance, silence is his attempt to control. I get it. I don't like it, but I get it.

And yet...I'm human too. We've all been there. You know...where a lack of communication makes you feel helpless?

Yet I believe in humanity. And humanness. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. I think I know him well enough to understand he’s probably having trouble in recognizing what he did. Plus, considering how hard anger is for him, whatever occurs in that bright mind of his will probably manifest as some sort of valiant denial edged with just a touch of distant dismissiveness.

That's common with 8th house (and Scorpio) negativity. 

(And yes, that fits. Trust me, I have his chart.)

What he probably doesn’t understand is that we could meet in the park and talk things out over a dandelion. He probably doesn’t realize that anything he does to try to control the situation through silence or dismissal or denying any confrontation with anything which might actually cause him to feel his feelings...I'll hazard a guess that he has no idea that's exactly what causes all to fester. 

 A dandelion
(photo credit: Greg Hume, April 2006)

It’s easy to see the outline of a situation when its put like that, isn’t it? The metaphysics are clear…how the energy we don’t feel (anger at ourselves for doing something we shouldn’t have done) gets projected.

Am I angry? Of course! But if I could see him own his own disappointment in himself, if I could see him take responsibility for what he’s done, that would be the lifting of the dam. That would be letting water back into a currently fetid and rather swampy situation.

When we deny our own feelings, we deny others. And as we do, we harm them. I am consigned to feel his anger because he won’t. I feel sad because he doesn’t. It’s as simple as that. This is why communication in any kind of a relationship is so incredibly important. This guy I speak of tries to control his communication with other people all the time. And he wonders why his relationships are faulty or he doesn’t feel satisfied beyond the surface things? Why life keeps making life itself harder for him?

When we build walls, life will bring whatever force is sufficient to break through those walls not because life is cruel, but because walling ourselves off is to restrict our growth. We cannot grow beyond our current limits if we’ve created a hard shell. When we link, when we connect to others, we connect within our Self too.

That’s the process of accepting our humanity…and finding out that being human is not only acceptable, but lovable. 

Our so mortal self – that is our Pisces Self. We all have one. It expresses in you differently than it expresses in me, but for each and every one of us there is that moment of looking at the sky just as rainclouds begin to part. The glory of nature – and human nature – is in seeing our emotional seasons change.

That we are afraid to be who we are to whatever degree in whatever way, in whatever moment? That’s our 12th house Self.

We want to be free. And when we let ourselves set ourselves free, then comes a moment of fresh breath and exhilaration.

And in such a moment, friends can watch the seeds of the dandelion fly free for one...for relating to each other.

 Dandelion seeds scattering on the breeze
(photo credit: Alex Valavanis, April 2011)

Starting anew is always about seeing that which is old and spent fall away. That’s the 8th house/Scorpio energetic we call 'transformation.' It's a renewal, a rehabilitation, a rebuilding, a healing. No, we don’t control where the dandelion seeds land, we merely laugh and accept the way of life because we know the flight of those seeds is a guarantee of renewal yet to come.

I would share a dandelion with him.

That may happen - it may not. Maybe it will just take time. Sometimes a great storm of emotions must pass before we can shake off the rain and tears and feel revived enough to reach out.

To recommence growing

In the meantime, while I may not be happy with everything which has happened, I'm aware that everything happens for a reason. I don't reject the hurt, I'm willing to feel the indignity and I'm obviously not only willing to accept that I feel resentful about my friendship being treated with less than splendid loyalty - I'm willing to own it.

Writing this post isn't comfortable, no. But then, the process of facing our own feelings - the disquieting ones - that isn't about personal comfort. It's about learning about what it means to be human.

I'm not even convinced life is supposed to be happy! If it was, why would bad things happen? Especially to decent and good people. And there are a lot of them in our world.

As my favorite bumper sticker of all time read: Silt Happens. (It was made by the geology department at a university. Truly excellent, that...!)

And silt does indeed happen. I suspect we're all getting a bit of silty right now. It's sort of like sand in your sandwich at the beach - and who likes that?

For me...I don't like my loyalty, my friendship, my feelings being marginalized, no. But I do realize that in the process of wading through this emotional mire, I've learned I do have personal standards. I do know where the 'me' ends and the other person's life begins. I recognize that in the end, so long as I can respect what I have done and who I'm being in the course of things that that's what really counts.

The part of me which really recognizes all that...? That part of me feels sort of sorry for this fellow whose human walls are so permeable. Who for whatever reason is able to fall so short of a really important personal value.

And maybe that's why I'd like to sit with him in the park and share a dandelion. As I learn more about being me, I should be able to share more with him, with you, with others...

...and I am. It still hurts, but that's the good news.

Maybe the best news of all.

This blog has taken a re-write and a re-post to get even mostly right. But that's rather like life too. Life is not all bulls-eyes. Life is not all home runs or holes-in-one.

In fact, life is not a game. It's the ultimate 'real deal.' And because of that, sometimes it's try, try again. That's human, too. Through our errors, through whatever it takes to break through our inner walls to where we feel ourselves and accept our feelings, that's what allows us to be close to anyone else...even if inevitably, even in the best of relationships, the silt will yet wash across our path again. At some point, somewhere along the road we will again hit a silty patch.

And so we'll learn more then.

In the meantime, may you find your own dandelions. May you share some with others - and at least a few with yourself as you learn to appreciate life's somber hues and shaping shadows as much as sunny brilliance and the brightness of the standing in life's light.


  1. Being human it is our business to create bonds. Communication whether tranquil or turbulent which binds us together is the "stuff of immortality."
    Whatever or whoever breaks the fragile bonds of trust will result in decay, it is a form of self-annihilation.
    By severing the delicate flower of love is cutting ones self from the source of life itself. And life feeds on life, decay is the dissolution of one form into another, it is the fabric of life and were it not all of creation would unravel.
    Failure to rise to the call of life should not surprise us any more than death should grieve us. "Loss is not the deprivation of hope but lack of perspective."
    By speaking of love and trust is to enter the arena of extreme vulnerability and is a courageous response to life, by the revelation of such tender vulnerability others are enriched. It speaks the language of compassion, to express the unspoken which reverberates through the veil of words and causes every other loving heart to throb.
    Thank-you for this beautiful and enriching post.

  2. So beautiful and revelatory (sic)!! thank you.

  3. Thank you, Miss Nomer...I agree entirely with your statement that breaking a bond of trust is a form of self-annihilation. I've felt for some time that the person in question is mightily unhappy in his life, though when I've asked, he shrugs and says everything's fine.

    In his heart, I know him to be a kind and affectionate person; to have become harsh, dismissive and uncaring is the sure symptom of conflict within. Unfortunately, I can't help him...and at this point, considering all, I have to prioritize standing up for myself. But at some level it's still honestly beyond me to 'unlove' him. Real love for another doesn't die, though it may be required to be held in an inactive or non-participatory state.

  4. this touched me greatly as I am going through very much the same thing. The man I love and thought would be with me through this life, moved out angrily and has not spoken to me since. He responded dispassionately a few times to my pleas of talking but refuses to have anything more to do with me. The fight we had was about his inability to communicate his feelings. :) He has a stellium of Sun, Uranus and Pluto in his 8th house Virgo. I, have a stellium of Moon, Venus and Mercury in Pisces. What a trip. Thank you for helping me move through the pain.

  5. When you write a blog like this one, Lux - one which is in essence highly technical - it seems odd to invest yourself in the conversation. Or maybe that's just me...?

    Suffice it to say though, I am taking your compliment to heart. I will do my best to find moments in which to be more 'first-person-present' in the blog. So long as doing so can illuminate the greater conversation, that probably is - as you suggest - an actual plus.

    We do need to know we're all human...'tis true!

    Thanks again!

  6. Oh Tony...! I'm so sorry! In some ways it must be worse if it's an intimate relationship, though personally I have a huge appreciation of friendship (that would be my Neptune, not yours!).

    Your comments on placements - your stellium in Pisces, his in Virgo - I'm not sure if you've realized it, but that would say that the upcoming Venus retrograde in Gemini is formulating a synastry t-square between you. Gemini being communication, this unfortunately fits with his not wanting to talk.

    You cannot 'make up' for his feelings. You are a naturally passionately feeling person and like many air sign Suns, he may be clinging to the concept that he doesn't 'have' to feel. Or that it's easier not to. Venus retrograde will be a process for all of us...and not easy for anyone. Hopefully you can focus on thinking through what life is trying to teach you, with or without him.

    There will be a post on Venus retrograde going up on the blog over the weekend. I will hope it will give you additional insight, not that anything can soothe the source of your tears. I'm with you in spirit, trust me!