The dogma of compassion

Not many would deny that compassion is a virtue. Some would even say it is the opposite of dogma. On a fundamental level, that is true. Yet it is possible for compassion to become dogmatic when it is defined too narrowly, and begins to take on a form of brutal piety.

I had this bizarre exchange with a friend recently. Here’s how it went. The details have been altered slightly but the form is essentially the same.

Friend: Hi, how’re you?

Me: Not too good. I’ve just had some bad news… [I was about to explain that someone I was close to had died, so I was feeling particularly fragile.]

Friend: Hey, you know, my bunions are giving me trouble again. I could barely do my shopping at the supermarket. I was hobbling as I pushed the cart. Even the old ladies were giving me funny looks. [The said bunions had been the topic of many a dreary conversation for several months.]

Me: I’m sorry, but I can’t really talk about your feet today.

Friend (defensive and irate): Don’t you care about my health!? Where’s your compassion?

Me: Urrr…?

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Hostage to emotion

My natal Moon in Capricorn wants to rant.

Every now and then I get sick of being told how closed off to emotion I am, and I accuse all those astrology textbooks describing people with Cap Moons as cold, brittle, harsh, and ambitious as being part of the conspiracy!

Speaking for my own Cap Moon, it frequently feels under siege by more feeling types who privilege the immediacy of their intuition and sensory knowledge over those of us who take longer to get there. It has become politically incorrect to make quick judgements about people who are slow with reading and writing; but it seems perfectly acceptable still to consider people slower to access their emotions as having none.

I’m sick of it.

Just because I don’t always express my emotions clearly doesn’t mean I don’t have them. It doesn’t mean anyone has the right to hurt me by insinuating I’m incomplete, damaged, or worst of all, dishonest. Sometimes it takes me two days before I even realise I’ve been hurt, and then they think I’m crazy for bringing it up two days after the event. I’m sick of it!

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Safe space, open space

Neeti Ray‘s comment about my use of the analogy of the front porch below got me thinking about how we create psychic spaces safely for others to enter, and how we behave when we are invited into another’s.

The 100-Acre Wood

The 100-Acre Wood, illustrated by E. H. Shepard

Children’s literature is full of these spaces: Winnie-the-Pooh’s 100 Acre Wood is one, Narnia is another. These are not hermetically-sealed spaces; dangers sometimes lurk, but are, in the realm of the psyche, ultimately contained. Like a playground where children learn to rough and tumble, to fight as well as get along.

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Pruning

749392_pruned_willow_tree

After some mulling (but not too much!), I have slashed my Facebook ‘Friends’ list down from over 120 to 99. All my mercurial planets insist that communications count (Sun, Merc in Gemini in 6th house), and count seriously (Saturn in Gemini conjunct Sun and Merc, and Pluto in Virgo).

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Projection: Who I’m not

snow white mirror In a moment of synchronicity, I read Julie Demboski’s take on ‘Receiving Venus’ very shortly after having one of my impossible conversations with the Mercury in Virgo person (hereafter known as ‘MV’) in my life, though I didn’t allow it to escalate this time.

His Venus falls in my 7th house (as does mine, so the propensity for double projection is definitely there) and here’s what Demboski writes of receiving someone else’s Venus in one’s 7th house, the house of partnerships and projection:

Someone else’s Venus falling in your 7th House gives an interesting effect: there is a kind of projection, where you are drawn to the Venus person, and they to you, and it becomes difficult to tell who is the ‘instigator’ of the energy. Because of this ‘is it you, or is it me?’ exchange, the relationship can devolve into a mutual admiration society that eventually just fizzles away. You’d think it would create a strong attraction, a bond of love and natural assumption that this could be the mate, and sometimes it does, usually when everyone’s owning their own energies and projection and dissociation aren’t issues.

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Retrieving lost parts of myself and keeping them

This happens to me from time to time. I think I’m whole. I share what I think is my whole self. It gets accepted for a time, then rejected in stages, and then (what feels like) it gets thrown back at me broken fragment after broken fragment, from which I have to find and fit the pieces back again, hoping I get the combination right the next time.

972812_mosaic

Today, after some help, I see I’ve got the metaphor wrong. The mosaic is what it is — a whole made up of fragments. What I can share are the different shapes and textures, the colours and the combinations, but the whole of fragments is mine and mine alone.

When I enter relationships, part of me dissolves, but I don’t notice it dissolving at first. (In fact, it is good to know that I’m not alone in this respect, but it is the form it takes in me that I want to explore.) I feel it a strengthening, like growing a new limb. What I don’t realise is actually part of my boundary collapses, like a broken levee, whether to let more of the other in, or more of me out, I don’t know. What I do know is the other spots the crack like a beacon, and then I’m chucked, for having lost the integrity of the shape they were originally drawn to.

As Venus continues her retrograde through Aries, highlighting the need to have healthier relationships with ourselves, I’m writing this just to bring it to my consciousness, to retrieve and keep parts of myself that I’ve lost, and to say thank you to the experience, and the people involved therewith, for the lesson I hope never to forget thereafter.

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