How To Recognize & Heal From PTSD
With all this Cancer energy currently stirring the Great Subconsious of us all, I’ve been reminded of many things that have yet to heal from my past. One of these is the lingering effects of PTSD, even though this is not something that I identify with on a regular basis, as I stopped identifying with labels for diseases and disorders years ago. For the purpose of shedding light on this debilitating condition, in hopes that more will understand and heal from it I will briefly overview its symptoms, astrological correlations and some of the solutions.
PTSD is a serious mental health condition that occurs as a result of a traumatic event, whether witnessed or experienced firsthand. Many of those who suffer from it were war veterans, victims of rape, murder, torture, and other violent crimes or misfortunes. Just about anyone who experiences violence is traumatized although not always to the same degree. Just how bad it develops relates to the severity of the violence as well as other predispositions that a person has. The situation that causes this can be anything that arouses such an extreme state of shock and horror that the person does not have the ability to assimilate or cope with the aftermath. Any number of symptoms unrelated to the event may develop later, as a result of constantly running stress hormones, which create a breakdown in the bodies overall structure and immunity.
Physically a person with PTSD begins to overproduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which normally our bodies produce in acute situations. The flight or fight response becomes near constant, and the person loses control over how intensely it occurs and effects their life. Flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, hyper-vigilance, and hallucinations may also torment the person, along with repeats of physical sensations that occurred at the time of the trauma. They may become numb and withdrawn, unable to relate with society or others as they did before.
Because PTSD raises cortisol levels so high and left untreated can eventually degenerate into adrenal exhaustion, many doctors don’t have a clue as to how to recognize let alone treat PTSD. I was one of those unfortunate patients who went through several ER visits before collapsing into a total breakdown of both physical and mental health at the age of 18. After that point, I gradually waned from visiting the hospital at all, partially because insurance had run out, and partially because the hospital had become yet another source of trauma. This is not to tell my life story, but for those wondering, my PTSD came as a result of multiple childhood traumas relative to family, neighborhood and school violence.
Over time in my studies of astrology, there are a few astrological signatures of PTSD I’ve come to notice in both birth charts and in transits. They are the following:
PTSD & Medical Astrological Factors
Hard aspects involving the Moon our satellite, the planets Uranus and especially Pluto, and the comet Chiron.
The Moon is the most instinctual part of our nature, and is the most susceptible to wounds, and the holding of these wounds deep in our subconscious. The Moon moves our fluids as well the ocean waves, and in her fullness she sometimes makes us mad. When a person has hard aspects and transits to the Moon they are feeling it so deep it’s almost in their bones. While what they feel is not necessarily rational it is very real and dominating on some level, and is often based on things that happened in childhood or when they were very vulnerable and defenseless. Such aspects may reflect situations or patterns involving abuse, violence or negligence, particularly the type that leave one lost and bewildered, or in a state of “lunacy”. Hard Moon aspects can be difficult to treat, but pearls and the gem elixir of pearl can be helpful in some cases.
Uranus aspects and transits can come as shockers, but the shocks and surprises aren’t always bad. In some cases, hard Uranian aspects such as the one we’ve collectively been experiencing for the past couple of years with Pluto and Saturn can set all kinds of hell and chaos loose. It’s obvious that many people and even entire nations have been traumatized by senseless violence during this time.
Pluto the great transformer, known also as the Hand of God, can drag us through the depths of hell before we can even remember that a heaven might possibly exist. Hard aspects with this “little” fireball is undoubtedly one of the most telltale signs that there has been or will potentially be danger, anger, violence, and trauma before a transformation occurs. The influence of Pluto is also larger than most people can grasp from their single-pointed views, as it sweeps across cities, corporations, continents, and the Earth population as a whole.
Chiron, named after the centaur in Greek mythology is a comet that is often in hard aspect during the time of traumatic events. This comet reflects wounds from the past that are extremely difficult to shake off. This Wounded Healer may also indicate where something is literally broken and may require a cast or even a limb replacement. Hard aspects with Chiron can also relate to wounds and traumas around sexual organs and abuse. Years after it happened, and when I had begun to study astrology I realized that Chiron was making a transit to my 4th house Sun, Pluto, and North Node when my health broke down at age 18, also squaring my Mars in Cancer AC and trining my Moon in the 12th house. I developed agorophobia at that time.
Hard aspects involving the signs Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, and Pisces.
The commonalites between these signs is that three of them comprise the water signs and three of them comprise three of the mutable signs. This listing is not based on fact, just my own observance. The water signs tend to retain things – memory, impression, feeling, and two of them – Cancer and Scorpio can have some of the greatest difficulties in letting go. The mutable signs (although Sagittarius is one of them I didn’t include this simply because most of the Sags I know have the intestinal fortitude and fire that seem to help them recover more quickly than some of the other signs) are often sensitive and can be quite impressionable, which creates a deeper traumatic impact for many of the people who have these signs in prominence.
That being said, anyone born under any sign can be traumatized, under such conditions described above. My great-grandmother who was an astrologer, healer and born Aquarius had escaped from the massacres of the Armenian genocide and reached America by the age of 16. She was a tough cookie, but from stories I’ve heard, she not surprisingly also experienced her share of PTSD.
The Pros & Cons of Not Being Taken Seriously
Perhaps you or someone you know who has suffered from PTSD has either never been diagnosed or never been taken seriously for your condition. Of course the first step is to seek diagnosis and treatment immediately, but in the event that you have already done this and nothing yet has solved your dilemma, there is always hope.
Not having a label for the traumatization and discomfort that you are experiencing means it’s great that you don’t identify yourself with this disease or condition. It can also possibly alienate you further from others, intensify and prolong your suffering state. It can make it difficult to find or maintain jobs and relationships or anything that’s considered “normal” or remotely enjoyable. Do not be a silent sufferer!
I wasn’t taken seriously for my illness and while that traumatized me further at the time, it made me a stronger seeker – what didn’t kill me indeed made me stronger. But that did not happen overnight. It took years and many invisible helpers.
Often, those who are suffering from PTSD might “look fine” on the surface but their life feels like a living nightmare that they cannot seem to wake from. It is very difficult for them to describe what they experienced without actually reliving so usually they become very detached from relating to people in intimate or vulnerable ways.
Here are a few things that have inspired and assisted me in the search for healing from trauma:
- The book Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine
- Herbs: American Ginseng, Ashwaghanda, Astragalus, Licorice Root
- Supplements: B-12, Vit C, L-theanine ~ The most effective treatment I have ever taken for the kind of anxiety that I used to suffer from due to over production of cortisol was L-theanine. This is an amino acid naturally occurring in some Green Teas that lowers stress levels almost immediately without inducing sleepiness. For therapeutic effects it is best to take it as a supplement. The sublingual form was my personal choice, as it absorbs easily without having to swallow a pill.
- Crystals for adrenals & nerves: Aventurine to support overall healing, Kyanite to move stuck energy, Mochi or Shaman stones (high iron content) to calm nerves and relieve pain, Rose Quartzes for soothing the heart and nerves, Smokey Quartz for calming, Turquoise and/or Chrysocolla to deflect negativity and support overall healing
- Flower essences (the vibrational aspect of flowers): Echinacea, Morning Glory, Oak, Olive, Rescue Remedy, White Chestnut, Yarrow, Yerba Santa
- The movie Fearless, featuring Jeff Bridges
- Cleaning – When all else fails (including chocolate) I’ve found that many types of cleaning & organizing can be very therapeutic for many of the debilitating symptoms associated with chronic fatigue, adrenal and other high stress issues. When there is not enough energy to physically clean I do what the monks do…get to work on clearing the junk in my mind. That, more than anything else is what has enabled me to get the most amount of things done.
In our modern society we’re not supported in spending quality time in maintaining our energetic hygiene. We’re told what’s wrong with us and then sold a bunch of products that are supposed to do the work for us. I think sometimes, maybe we develop illnesses such as PTSD and/or chronic fatigue to push us toward doing deeper soul work, and whether or not the world condemns or rewards us for that is irrelevant. It pushes us back to the roots of beingness, beyond class, career, relationship status, before department stores, ID cards and automobiles existed. It can be its own kind of medicine, just like Mercury Retrograde and all sorts of other unfoldments of Nature that we spend so much time and energy in dreading and resisting. Whatever we experience, we always have some degree of choice in how to perceive it, and how to respond.
How can we recover when there is always violence, always a trigger, always war? At this moment wars are both being executed as future ones are planned. When we seek to solve our problems not through fear and revenge but through compassion and love – including with ourselves, we see that we are truly One in the goulash of perceived experience that we call life. We sing about love, dream about it, and think we know, or try to figure out what it means and what it can do for us. The highest and strongest love is not an emotion, whim or based on desire. Real love, cultivated within is power. This power can heal anything.