[Note: The current Saturn/Pluto (and soon Jupiter) conjunction in the final third of Capricorn sits in opposition to Cancer, sign of the family. In this post, my own family system looms, front and center.]
For the past several years, I have been periodically engaged in what I call my Recapitulation Project, in which I rummage through all my old written work, especially that stemming from when I finally got a computer, back in early 1985, and so was finally able to type as fast as thoughts flowing through.
My writing life has been my secret life. I have been preoccupied with paying attention to my own experience, and rendering it into language, ever since I woke up when I was 26 years old and began to practice Gurdjieff’s technique for “self-remembering.” From this time on, I have consciously cultivated a second level of awareness, so that I might learn to neutrally witness the contents of my mind and the sensations in my body, both together, as I move through the world — all without identifying with (attaching to) any of it.
Even back then, I knew the Buddha was right:
Life is suffering.
The cause of suffering is attachment.
The cure for suffering is to let go of attachment.
Concurrent with the current 2020 Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn time, I decided to read through old journals, specifically those written during my 40s, which followed the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Libra. Mostly, these 1980s journals are records of my dreams and interpretations, plus the ins and outs of whatever one-to-one male/female (Libra) relationship that obsessively preoccupied me at the time.
In the following photo, the front box holds a few of the precious old journals . . .
It’s obvious to me now, as a 77-year-old crone, that I was a complete “control freak” back then, and really do wonder how anyone stood being with me at all! I was determined to make whoever I was with into the person I wanted him to be. Rather than allow him to be himself, my intense need to reshape the Other guaranteed failure in relationship.
Anytime I tried to read through old journals before this current Saturn/Pluto conjunction time, I could not do so without getting bogged down, and worse, re-experiencing whatever tumultuous pain I had been undergoing back then.
This time is different. It’s as if I am witnessing the growing pains of someone other than myself. For it’s true, I am not that woman anymore. I have changed. Indeed, I have been engaged, for over five decades, in a continuous process of transformation.
How fortunate am I! Both to still be alive to dip into a plethora of memories from long ago, and to have been a person back then who needed to work through her psychological and spiritual issues by writing it all down! For this recapitulation process of re-membering truly does put myself back together again, as ever, in whole, new, transformed manner!
I think back to that youngish woman, sitting hunched over, obsessively writing in her journal in 1985. Who would have imagined that, 35 years later, I would be re-reading that old documentation of her inner process?
This entire Recapitulation Project feels like a great gift. Since I was meticulously keeping track of my day to day experience over the years, I now have this accumulation of archival material to ponder. Documentation of the lived experience of one female human being over the decades.
It’s this kind of enormous time/space arc that interests me most: both who I was then, and who I am now, and the long-term process that mutated “me” from one to the other. Because, unlike many people, I evolved; and I continue to evolve.
Even so, I’m surprised that I now find these old journals so fascinating. And indeed, one day a few weeks ago, sitting there in my chair reading through one of them, I found myself utterly astonished at the wealth gifted me by this personal library I have created over time; not just the journals, but all the other written work as well, published and unpublished. All of it dropping clues as to “who I was then,” and my evolution through time. For example, here’s an entry, from 1/14/85, during which I was attempting to understand my own “family system.” (At that time in my life, I was the family scapegoat. This resolved itself, but not for many years):
Beginning to identify what I call the ‘Kreilkamp family sickness” — more an atmosphere than anything else — of confusion, ambiguity, not knowing what is really going on, but a sickening feeling of being constantly watched and judged. Which turned me into a watcher, judger. If I am to embrace/erase personal history, must get to the root of this, recognize it in all its facets, and root it out of me.
The space of ambiguity — wherein thoughts dreams images emotions all live “objectively,” i.e., exist outside any particular individual, though all of us partake in them. They all stand in a sort of confused, unrelated jumble, down beneath conscious awareness — yet we all tap into it, exist inside it; this space is the air we breathe, the amniotic fluid of this larger family womb.
Ambiguous space allows so much in! — indeed anyone’s feelings, thoughts, moods, can be projected there, and have been for a long long time. How long? 20 years? Or, since I grew up and defied their monolithic [Roman Catholic] world view. Since they are my parents, and parental values are strong, they can’t just disown me, though they’ve tried to, twice; yet, as long as this monolithic world view holds, they cannot allow me to express myself freely either — any attempt at expression which deviates from the monolith is quickly shut down, or, more likely, shunted aside — instead of a space where free expression of all for all is allowed and others listen, really listen — there is this ambiguous space which, paradoxically, both includes all the various views, etc., but attempts to not let them be seen. Because we all live inside this space, we are all confused — and I can recall, often, having lots of ideas running through my head, and yet, really, there is nothing to say, as it will all be taken in, if at all, in a distorted way, and silently judged.
Feel confused, frustrated, even here, trying to describe what is so obvious that I’ve never really noticed it. Must remember, this space, fucked up as it may be, still performs the function of “keeping the family together.” My opting out of it is the first step towards dissolving this particular pattern of order/disorder.
My surviving six siblings and I plan to meet for a five-day reunion this coming May. Will I read this passage to them? Will they comprehend it the way I did back then? Or is this just my experience, my confusion, my ambiguity.
P.S. I just noticed that 51+ years from 1985 coincides with the cycle of Chiron. Chiron, the wounded healer: the wound and the healing of the wound! My natal Chiron occupies the final degree of (self-expressive) Leo, conjunct the North Node (the path), in the (philosophical) 9th house: I was destined to reject the ambiguous family system and come into my own as a philosopher.