Dancing to the Muse of TimeAugust 28, 2011
The bodies of traumatized people portray “snapshots” of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. ~ Peter A. Levine from Memory, Trauma & Loss [read full article]
The process of SoulCollage™ as developed by Seena Frost is a form of somatic healing. Through the deceptively simple act of cutting and pasting images, your mindbody subconscious develops the negatives of the “snapshots” of repressed trauma memories. The psyche is more delicate than we know and the vicissitudes of life take their toll in ways we are dimly aware of. We develop a carapace from the conditioning and enculturation into our society. We form defence mechanisms that serve to protect us, yet over time become security jackets of subtle and not-so-subtle physical, mental and emotional discordances.
Last year I made this card from a collection of images that appealed to me. As I was pondering over what this card had to say to me, I was swiftly drawn back to a memory of when I was 12 years old. My parents and I were sitting in the loungeroom when a butterfly flew in through an open window. I started to chase it and as it fluttered up high, began leaping up to catch it. My mother had been sewing the previous day and had dropped a pin on the carpet. Of course, I jumped right on it, driving it deep into the soft flesh between the big and second toes of my right foot. I crumpled up on the floor in a ball of agony. The force had broken the pin and considering the length of the shard, my parents felt there was no reason to take me to hospital. My mother prepared compresses and applied them to the angry red swelling.
Three days later as I was still hobbling about and in pain, my mother took me to the local GP, who poked and prodded around. My foot was very painful and I was a little scared of what was going to happen if he said there was a fragment of pin still embedded in my foot. However, the GP declared that he didn’t think there was any pin fragment embedded in my foot and administered a tetanus needle. Which I was worried he was going to do!
The diary I still have from 1973, records that I hobbled around in pain for a good month. I can recall playing “chasey” at school and not being able to run as fast as I used to, and I was sucking up the pain. One day at home, sitting cross-legged on the floor inspecting my foot, I could see a black dot ~it was the pin fragment working itself out. (The rest of the pin that the GP said wasn’t there!) My father, sitting in his chair and smoking his pipe behind me, saw what I was doing and told me to come over so he could have a look at my foot. He then asked my mother to fetch a pair of pliers and when I twigged that he intended to remove the pin fragment himself with the pliers, I made a bee-line for the door. Anticipating my response, my father already had a firm grip on my leg. I struggled harder ~ fought ~ until he manouevered me into some wrestling hold he must have seen on TV, jammed his knee into my stomach, twisted my leg up behind me like a pretzel, told me to “effing stay still” and then proceed to remove the pin with the pliers as I howled and carried on like I was being murderated.
Of course, I survived. In fact, after a day or two, my foot was fine and I had forgotten all about it. Business as normal with school and playing. My mother was so proud of how brave I had been, that she took the 3/4″ long pin fragment, threaded it through a piece of paper, and placed it on the mantle-piece over the fire. Where it stayed for the next 15 years. A monument to her carelessness. I never walked around barefoot if my mother had been sewing after the butterfly incident. (I haven’t tried to catch butterflies since either)
And I had forgotten all about this……until I made this card and it asked me a question. How come your father didn’t make the effort to drive you the 10 minutes to hospital to have the pin removed with the benefit of pain relief? Why did he treat you like an animal?
An answer lay within a traumatic experience my father had when he was 11-years-old, a boy in the north of England. His older brother, Walter, had been given a bicycle for his 14th birthday yet was forbidden to ride it until their father came home from work. The story goes that Walter “mithered” their mother, until she relented and let him take his bright shiny new first bicycle for a ride. He rode down a hill and collided with a tram ~ broke his leg. Taken to hospital, Walter was treated for the broken leg and everything was fine. That is until he developed septacemia and died. Blood poisoning. This tragic event tore my father’s happy family apart. His father, inconsolable and crazy with grief, blamed the mother, eventually driving her out of the home and forbidding her from seeing her surviving children again; my father and his younger sister. None of the family know what ever happened to my grandmother. Her story is a mystery that may never be solved this side of the veil.
My father was a very fear-filled man. Naturally, I was never allowed to have a bicycle. Which as a kid living in a suburb that was on the frontier of 1960s Melbourne, was fairly restricting in terms of what I could do and how I would get there. Plus I was the odd one out; all the other kids had bicycles and I was left out of a lot of social things that involved riding bikes. (I learned to ride when I was 27).
The textures of the floor-coverings in the image I used for this card, speak to the many textures of meaning, pain, grief & loss this Soulcollage™ card holds for me. Not just my pain, but that of my father who never spoke at all about anything. He had amputated his feelings. In December 1983, my father died from a dissecting aneurysm of the aorta. As his death was sudden and unexpected at the age of 63, he became enshrined in my memory as a Protector ~ that is until I made this card and began to clear the fantasy.
Tearing down that shrine revealed that I had absorbed my father’s irrational fears and anxieties. I am a natural empath and as a child I exhibited all the symptoms of separation anxiety. When my mother suggested to him, when I was about 5 or 6, that I be taken to see a child pyschologist, he shut my mother down: “There’s nothing wrong with her!” He felt I would grow out of whatever it was that my mother was concerned about.
Well, I grew into IT! Now I know the origins of my Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia.
Since making this card, I have entered into a deeper relationship with my bodymind and soul. Removing the layers of “daddy’s little girl” and understanding the archetype of the Ambivalent Caretaker up close and personal. The emotional healing that cascaded down from this one card involved the retrieving of my Feminine Self and shifting the residue of my father’s energetic imprint out of my chakra system. Plus there was some righteous feminist rage swirling around. With a Chiron Return, this card was a great opener for a can of worms I didn’t even know was hidden in my psyche. The issues were personal, collective, geographical and historical.
When I first made this card I entitled it “Dancing on the edge of the precipice”. It’s all about balance. Collages of memory define us, especially the memories that are not shared. My father was a stoic and silent man. His heart issue was silent……….and deadly. Of course, he never went to a doctor to be checked out. He did have a premonition that he was going to die two months before he did. We had one last family holiday together and one day, he asked me to drive. I glanced in the rearvision mirror and noticed him rubbing his left arm. “You’re going to have a heart attack” I thought. I didn’t share my concern, it felt silly; he was always a robust man, rarely ill. I didn’t know then that I had just received a clear intuitive hit. Other people were psychic, not me.
The ruins at the base of this card are of the Oracle at Delphi.
This card reminds me of what I am. A medical intuitive………. and how well my father taught me to stay silent. Do I regret not speaking up that day? Do I regret not persuading my father to go see a doctor to get checked out? Would he have listened to me? Would he have gone? Or would he have been overwhelmed by the knowledge that he had a life-threatening condition which needed imminent surgery? That is- if his condition was deemed operable in the first place and it very well may not have been. My father believed, as far as death went, that when your time is up, it’s up. A fatalist yet underneath his stoic exterior lived a scared 11-year-old lad. It is that little boy I have compassion for.
I share this healing story to illuminate the process of SoulCollage™ as a gentle tool for shamanic retrieval of misremembered selves. Not lost, misremembered. Our stories are interwoven and intrinsically connected. In working with this card, I resolved the ” karmic” energetic family inheritence from my paternal side. I healed a time-line.
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.” ~ Norman Maclean.