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Solar Eclipse, the Shadow & the Glass Castle

Even if you didn’t have numerous articles jamming your newsfeed about the upcoming Solar Eclipse on August 21st, and all the dynamic energy changes erupting en route to this significant event, you would no doubt still be aware of a sense of earth shifting, shaking or shattering around you.

Thanks to the ease of info-sharing on social media, even the non-astrologers among us are aware of the dynamic universal dance happening between the planets over the course of this month, with several (including Uranus and Mercury) going retrograde. We are reminded this is a time of big change and healing. What we need to heal must first be revealed, so these shifts serve us up a big platter of, to quote Rex in the Glass Castle…..”Humble Pie.”

Also known as drama, trauma, loss, grief, and what Jung calls the Shadow part of ourselves.

The stuff we don’t typically share with others because we are too busy trying to hide it from our own consciousness.

The messes we try to brush off to the edges of our perception, hoping they will simply roll off the table of existence so we can go on our merry way, love and light.

The complex, ugly, taboo, improper, “low vibrational” unenlightened, egoistic, primal sides of ourselves that we don’t want to own up to, but recognize all to easily in other people.

Having recently transitioned out of an almost ten year relationship, this eclipse season has brought numerous and continuing opportunities to sit with my Shadow, and it isn’t pretty, because it isn’t meant to be.

So for a nice diversion I went with my mother and aunt to see The Glass Castle yesterday.

What was I thinking?

Having heard the auidobook I knew the story is heartbreaking, intense and very hard to process. Having worked in mental health and addictions as a social worker, there is little that surprises me when it comes to the depths of chaos unleashed by addictions and mental illness. The content of the film was not a surprise, but I did not expect to feel the visceral raw emotions the film evokes.

Please don’t read into this post any discouragement from seeing this film. Sometimes we must face painful things, like dental work.

Or Shadow work.

In fact the heaviness of the film was in the experience it created. One in which I could not breathe while watching some scenes, but also couldn’t look away.

In which I wanted to get up and leave the theater, but knew I needed to keep watching.

In which I wanted to ask the director “what the f**** were you thinking? This isn’t a movie, it’s an assault on one’s senses of empathy, a marathon of child abuse….”

and at the same time wanted to tell the director “thank you for bringing this story to the surface in all its beauty and ugliness because we all need to see this side of reality.”

It also occurred to me that this is the perfect flick for the current dynamic intense eclipse energies because it represents the micro and macrocosm of our energetic challenges and what we have been overlooking on our journey.

Symbolic of, for example, the continued class struggle in America. The disparity between wealth and poverty and while abuse, addiction and mental illness are by no means issues of class, the attitudes toward these issues and their solutions is effected by class culture.

Also symbolic of the current Leo-Aquarius polarity- which trail to blaze? The path benefiting the needs of the individual, or the collective? Be it family, culture, society? Rex expresses a conflicted Leo energy- brilliant, charming, grandiose, creative, but like the Shadow side of the Lion, his addiction hijacks all of this and as a result he walks through the world in chaos, overcompensating for wounds unhealed and using his best gifts haphazardly.

It resonates because on some level, we are all straddling the fine line between denial and creativity, in our personal and family narratives.

What is the story we tell ourselves? That we are victims of circumstance, of fortunate to go the road less traveled?

This is echoed throughout the movie as we are led to see the characters as deeply complex, flawed and still loving, human beings.

Rex is also an embodiment of Aquarian energy- the eccentric, innovative, break all the rules side of ourselves that shatters as many Glass Castles as we try to build.

Or Sand Castles, when we have not been honest with ourselves.

An essential reminder now more than ever, as we are indoctrinated by current culture to push each other into a binary system of judgments.

Liberal.

Conservative.

Trump Supporter.

Snowflake.

Citizen

Illegal

Successful.

Failure.

As our social connections are becoming automated by social media serving us recommendations based on our preferences, we are being led to disregard not only others in our communities who we are told are “outsiders.” The popular current narrative is that a relationship must “serve” the individual or else must be “cut off.”

The Glass Castle is a confrontational reminder of how myopic this view of relationships is, a point driven home by extreme circumstances so that the exception can justify the rule.

Because the really uncomfortable thing about the Glass Castle….

The true power of the film, and the Aquarius-Leo polar energies at play in the universe right now as we approach the eclipse….

Is that there is no way to watch this movie and not recognize the characters from your own life.

And even, if you are really honest, yourself.

If that last statement stopped you in your tracks, and the voice in your head protests loudly, thank you for reading the first 800 or so words, I have taken you as far as you are ready to go for now.

But if you really want to get into some painful Shadow shit, keep reading.

Congratulations.

The real cause of the gut wrenching, heartbreaking, psyche shattering power of this film, what makes it different from other stories featuring tragedy and bad things happening to families and children, is that the director, true to Walls’ memoir, shows us the ugliness without giving us the comfort and satisfaction of having a villain to blame.

We want to love Jeannette’s dad the way she and her family love him.

We want to hate him because he does hateful things.

We want to pity him because he is a wounded person.

We want to celebrate him because sometimes he gets it right.

Welcome to the world of human relationships.

And within each of the characters we recognize someone we know.

After the film, my mom, aunt and I discussed our feelings about what we had just seen. Both my mom and aunt saw people they had known in various characters, although (and one of the points of relief this film brings) with the opportunity to say “but they weren’t that bad.”

Because it is always more comfortable to think that the most extreme example is the lunatic fringe of the bell curve.

And sometimes it is…

But we can see ourselves and our lives in the characters. They are showing us our Shadow.

The parentified children whose unconditional love transcends horrific circumstances.

The mother torn between protecting her children and loving her husband, whose addiction continually places the family in financial and physical danger.

The brilliant man whose wounds cause him to continually sabotage himself and blame other people.

The side of all of us straddling the fine line between accepting the hand we are dealt and dreaming of a better life. That tightrope between reality and delusion in which we engage in wishful thinking as we plan to build our own Glass Castles, and the demons inside that we run from, our own addictions, fed by our own self loathing.

So if you are delving in to the Shadow side of yourself and looking for greater truth and healing during this eclipse time, this film may just be the cathartic aid you need.

In an era of binary thinking, polarity, and over simplified relationship blogs, it is a painful yet refreshing reminder of just how complex we really are.