AK Reader: “Tempest Over A Tea Pot” (2002)

I had nearly forgotten this incident until just now, when I read the story over again. It illustrates, so precisely, how astrological configurations can, if we are not aware, parallel (and trigger) emotional dramas. First published as one of my 20 years worth of columns for SageWoman magazine, I offer it here as an adjunct to the post on WAR from this morning. For not only must we change the way our (left brain) minds work in order to avoid war, we must also move into a much deeper awareness of our own emotional reactiveness, and how dramas in the outside world tend to mirror old dramas from our past; how in order to clear the past, we must work with the present moment deeply enough so that the entire timeline that led up to it dissolves.

It’s either that or expect new triggers — the next time the Moon, or Mars, reaches that same painful spot!

The point is: we think we have “free choice.” On the contrary. Free choice must be earned. Until then, we are mechanical, repeating ourselves ad nauseam, until we finally stop, notice what we are doing, and, finally, learn. Learn from our mistakes. Learn the lesson that looms, like an obstacle obstructing a clear view of the future, growing like a cancer, eating us alive.  Sometimes the learning takes years, sometimes decades, even lifetimes. But the key is, we DO learn, eventually, sooner or later. So we might as well make it sooner, eh?

If you’re like me, then once you notice that you are becoming   BORED with your own self-justifying bullshit, then you finally “take the bull by the horns” and learn. That nauseatingly linear chain of cause and effect is broken. Life opens.

 

Tempest Over a Tea Pot (2002)

by Ann Kreilkamp

The first time I met Kate (not her real name),  I was her astrologer. I noticed that her 23° Moon/Mars in Scorpio was exactly opposite my own Moon, at 23° Taurus. Since Moon symbolizes memory, the past, one’s ancestry, that particular astrological aspect pattern between us confirmed my initial intuitive hit that I had known her before. She was a person with whom I have continuing karma. Indeed, I felt immediately drawn to her, and wanted to spend time together.

That was probably ten years ago.

Finally, she and I did begin to spend time together, both traveling internationally and on daily walks and other exercise. After a few years, she started telling me that she considers me one of her best friends. I, on the other hand, felt a certain reserve. While I deeply value her intuitive and spontaneous awareness, and the two of us do well moving through space together, I noticed that I steer clear of any situation where we might need to process through emotional trauma. Somehow, on an instinctive (Moon) level, I didn’t really trust her. Was afraid of her Moon/Mars in Scorpio.

Scorpio is a deeply feeling sign, and Moon/Mars there packs a terrific punch. Someone with this signature would have to be acutely self-aware of the power of her own emotional energy to be able to work with it in a healthy manner. I’ve talked with my husband Jeff about this, as it bothers me, and keeps me from feeling close to Kate.

Over the past few years Jeff and I have also spent a number of evenings with Kate and her partner, Bill. We both enjoy Bill very much, and as couples we are very much at ease.

Last week she invited us to dinner, along with another couple whom we do not know well.

We were sitting at the kitchen table in their tiny, cozy house eating fresh organic turkey with all the trimmings. The evening was flowing smoothly, fueled by wine, our conversation and laughter easy and wholehearted. As dinner was ending, thinking not to bother the hostess, I got up, walked to the counter, found the tea pot, filled it with water, and put in on the stove to heat.

I had been sitting down again for a few minutes when suddenly the room began to fill with smoke and an acrid burning odor. Pandemonium ensued. Host and hostess simultaneously lunged for the tea pot, grabbing it from the stove. Kate went ballistic, yelling at me, furious, “that was my favorite tea pot! You’ll have to replace it! It’s very expensive!”

I of course, was as stunned as anyone else by the sudden eruption of smoke and fury into our relaxed cozy evening. I was even more stunned by her reaction. I still didn’t know what I had done! I couldn’t understand what was going on! Gradually, it became clear. This tea pot was not supposed to be heated on the stove. It came with its own heating pad! In fact, if you put it on the stove, the bottom melts.

The thick poisonous smoke drove us out of the kitchen, out of the house, into the cold, starry, snowy Teton night.

Everyone was extremely upset; over and over again, Kate was obsessively repeating how that had been her favorite teapot and that I would have to replace it.

I felt like a small child, downcast, face burning, being shamed by my father in front of my younger brothers and sisters. Wrongly shamed, for something I had done with all good intent, and which, it turns out, was the wrong thing to do. I had never seen a teapot of this type before, and had no reason to suspect that it needed to be treated differently.

As the endless minutes wore on, smoke continued to pour through the open door. I was aware of the embarrassment of the others; to me they felt like siblings who both felt sorry for me and treated me like an untouchable, grateful they weren’t the ones in the hot seat.

Kate disappeared for awhile, as the rest of us stood there in the cold, feeling awkward and sheepish. Then she came back, cell phone in hand. She had gone to call the woman who had given the teapot to her. This woman, Kate said, told her the teapot could be found on the Internet and that it cost $100.

This tempest over a tea pot had started a slow boil inside me. The fire on the stove had transferred from my face into my belly. In the midst of the confusion and shame and embarrassment for being treated in this way, I was recognizing her behavior as utterly inappropriate. Because she had instantly yelled that I would have to replace the teapot, because she had not been gracious enough to allow me to offer to replace the teapot, I was being treated as a terrible offender, someone who needed to be punished for ruining it. Because of her attitude, it was difficult for me to even choke out an “I’m sorry,” though I did, of course, as the occasion did call for it; and though her reactive rage had burst through the rules of politeness and manners, I was trying like hell to bring the situation back into some kind of normalcy.

Had the couple we do not know well not been there, I might have shot through that social veneer myself and yelled at Kate with equal force to STOP! Or I might have slugged her! That’s how angry I was. But my Moon is in Taurus. Taurus can hold anger a long time before exploding. Furthermore, I didn’t want to embarrass her in a social situation. That’s how well I have been trained by my mother (Moon).

The six of us gamely went on to eat dessert, pretending that everything was okay, that this emotional explosion had never taken place.

Afterward, in the car on the way home, I let out my rage on Jeff. Poor Jeff! I didn’t know how furious I really was until I found myself going over and over the situation obsessively, all my Sagittarian righteousness having been called to battle in furious judgment of Kate’s behavior.

The next day I looked up the astrology for that infamous evening. And was amazed to discover that warlike Mars was transiting over 23° Aquarius, exactly conjunct the current position of  (explosive) Uranus, and “square” (90° away from) both my 23° Taurus Moon and her 23° Scorpio Moon/Mars. This explosion was meant to happen.

Later that day, she called, and for the first time in our entire relationship together, I was able to move into a vulnerable (Moon) space with Kate. I told her how much her reaction to the teapot burning on the stove had hurt me. How furious it made me that instead of being a gracious hostess, allowing me to offer to replace the teapot, she insisted immediately that I replace it. That instead of giving me the space to apologize, she had shamed me.

For the first time in our relationship, I could feel Kate taking in what I was saying and copping to it. She agreed that her explosive reaction was completely inappropriate, and apologized.

Then, as she told me how it felt from her point of view, I realized that it was important for me to learn from this not to take her reaction personally. It was not her intent to shame me; she reacted strongly because this teapot was extremely important to her, and she had to have another one. She told me how over and over again she has burned teapots by letting them boil dry on the stove while she was busy in the next room, that this was the first teapot she had ever owned which turned off when it started boiling.

I looked again at her astrology, and noticed that not only was Moon/Mars in Scorpio at that 23rd degree, but she had Pluto in Leo and Mercury in Aquarius in a T-cross formation with that intensely explosive Moon/Mars combination, and that this T-cross fed into Taurus, where my Moon was located.

Crisscrossing tensions in T-crosses seek their outlets through the unoccupied sign, in this case, Taurus. Taurus symbolizes material reality, the world of things — like teapots! Her emotional need (Moon) for that teapot, though obsessive (Scorpio) and explosive (Mars), had nothing to do with me.

Her explosion had triggered my own emotional (Moon) stuff of being shamed by early childhood situations in which my explosive father blamed me for something which I hadn’t realized I had done. The flames of her passion for this thing, the teapot, had, once again, rudely excavated my old pain of being wrongly blamed.

The Russian philosopher and wise man Gurdjieff said that we humans are “food for the Moon,” that we need to create a magnetic center inside ourselves so that we are no long subject to the reactive emotional storms of lunar tides and phases.

I have long thought about his statement. And over and over again, through personal experience, I have learned from it.

In the end, I am grateful for this drama between Kate and me. Now that I know we can work through emotional situations, my Moon can begin to entertain the possibility of trusting her Moon/Mars. Our conflict, at first so destructive, in the end proved creative.

Imagine all of humanity learning to work with the childlike vulnerability of our Moons, learning to recognize where present situations trigger old emotional patterns, learning to move through those patterns with awareness.

Imagine the results for life on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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