Channeling Pain, Torment, Anquish

The_Anguish_of_Love_Lost_LBA few weeks ago, I was hit hard by something that left me reeling on many levels. I’ve not yet been able to transcend the loss or recover from it.

While I have had periods like this in my life, I don’t think it’s the norm for me. I’ve processed so much trauma in my life, I’ve got “stop, drop, roll and recover,” down to a science. I have a ridiculous number of tricks and ways of getting out of tight places at my disposal. They’re all failing me now.

All this means is that I have to keep knocking at the door until I can get through it.

I’ve considered this along the lines of transcendence, but not broken through: How To Solve All Problems – The 12th House

Seven years ago, I posed the question – Does Pining Fuel Art?  I am thinking about this as well.  Do I make art of my anguish, in order to reach the point of transcendence?

I thought it might be helpful to me and to others if I ask all of you:

How do you channel or process or transcend the pain that is part of life?


Channeling Pain, Torment, Anquish — 44 Comments

  1. I hit a wall last year with the saturn transit to my early scorp stellium in 12th…I went through a nervous breakdown…the moment I gained a little control of my body/mind, I started going out with a camera filming…filming art and beauty in everyday life…it gave me respite, it gave me intense pleasure to see shots working on camera screen while I filmed and things working together when I edited..It was also a great escape from my mental agony as I had to concentrate and be in those moments to capture anything properly on camera…so yes, I would say art helps to channel, to process…to heal

  2. I write and I play music. Recently I found that writing down my family history has had a strong healing effect when it comes to painful issues in the present. And with this kind of writing I sometimes check out the astrology to get a more complex picture of a specific person, moment, historical time.

    • Cool project. I hope to get to geneology eventually. And with the astrology, awesome study. I met a woman who traced her roots back to 1600s england. Wherever does one start??? It’s a journey I could easily get obsessed with.

  3. (((Elsa))) Sorry to hear what you’re going through.

    When I was in considerable emotional anguish in 2004, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote my feelings…and then within a few months, I was able to produce interesting written works. When I started writing, my main source of inspiration was my emotional world, but then later on, I focused on the idiosyncrasies of people in my life, and turned them into fictional characters.

    Oh and when I look at the work of the music group the Dresden Dolls, I feel like the singer Amanda Palmer used music to release her intense anguish. Nowadays her songs are jollier, but I have a feeling her starting point was coming from a miserable place.

    The masters of expressing personal anguish were 19th century Romantic writers though, especially poets such as Baudelaire.

    I have an extensive coping set that helps me deal better with the trials and tribulations of life (mainly physical exercise, writing, talking to supportive friends and positive affirmations) but the next step is learning how to support myself emotionally independently, which I think will be a particularly important theme when Saturn will reach Sagittarius.

  4. One line from a sitcom has always stuck with me: Pain is good for art.

    The character keeps muttering this to himself as the pianos fall from the sky.

    I tell stories and jokes. Lots of jokes. Engage in Chironic behaviors. Let myself feel. Hug my creatures. Watch old movies. Feel the big ugly compassion for my fellow creatures.

    Eat spaghetti and drink wine.

    Hang out with people who would tell me I look cute in my jammie pants or no one at all.

    Put one foot in front of the other. Bitch and moan.

  5. Absolutely. In the throes of pining after the death of my husband I picked up my guitar again after a 20 year break and started writing songs that are helping me heal. Many of the words feel more like messages from him to me. Recently performed some of them at my very first open mic. Music has become my healer and it’s a lot cheaper than a therapist.

    • That is beautiful to hear. I hope that others find solace in your music also. I think that music as a healing art helps so many.

  6. I work with clay, cob, or mud. Which means throw a pot, build an oven, and/or weed the garden.

    No cheating by wearing gloves. Earth is grounding but it’s also the thing that will take your pain endlessly but it also gives energy back. Personal preference for dealing with stuff.

  7. Sorry Elsa. I don’t know. I am a Taurus – so I hold things – but I have Pluto on the north node and a Scorpio process going. Lately (I am sure you have already said this somewhere many times) I have been understanding how connected Scorpio is to Virgo. My north node is in Virgo, Saturn is over there in Scorpio giving it a friendly hello. I try to get over there to my North Node in times like this (easier said than done) – South Node is in Pisces in the 8th house conjunct Chiron. I have been realizing that Virgo is about getting pragmatically clear on what really “IS” and cleaning up the messes, and Scorpio is about eliminating on the deepest of levels and getting “rid of old shit” and “Taking out the trash”. Not that any of this helps, but symbolically it is a huge life lesson for me, and there it is in the chart, and I look at it and thank God for this wonderful symbolic system that helps. Then that Scorpio part of me starts digging, and I try to understand on the deepest of all levels what is really going on (the investigators aspect – Mercury square Pluto)… I have a native mistrust of people. I think people can be trusted up to their personal limits. I am always trying to gauge their limits. (Sounds incredibly cynical doesn’t it? Not as bad as it sounds – I am so friendly – you would never know I am doing it). Rare for me to ever ever trust someone completely -. I also go hang out with the Jungian’s (a group of Therapist) – who spend a lot of time talking about symbolic systems and what lies beneath the surface. So, I try to get over to my north node, and I try to learn the lesson my guiding star is teaching me, and it is not always pleasant but it is what it is. Not sure if this helps – but my Pisces south node in the eighth house can cry an ocean, and drown in tears. I had to learn something. Usually when you see me put on my frownie face and set my jaw – it usually means I am moving forward again.

  8. I wait it out. Patience. Nothing remains the same for long. Sometimes this can go on for months, or years. But it will shift. That it hasn’t shifted means you are being asked to sit with it for longer; you are asked to go deeper. You actually have very little to do at this point. You’re up, as the saying goes.

  9. My strategies:
    Get outdoors. I co-sign with the “earthing” peeps. Barefoot in the grass. Go bicycling in the countryside. I’ve never been able to cry for long while sitting under a blazing sun. If this is not possible (sometimes it’s not, depending on location), I try to exercise with loud, strong music in my iPod.
    In years past, I would try a form of escapism. Fantasies of a better life and time. Another avenue – not quite escapist, but more transcendent – was to get lost in books, movies, tales from another land. The best were those that made me more generally philosophical about life. Understanding the macro to put my micro in perspective.
    I agree with chrispito about patience. Sometimes just knowing things will not last forever helps.
    If I had some creativity about me, I would definitely use it in rough times. Wasn’t blessed with that artistic streak though.

  10. Process would be the correct term for me. There is no transendence or channeling for me it seems (scorpio sun). I wallow lol. Seriously.. I call it my “well” I go down there, and stay down there as long as I need to. I feel it all… cry.. yell.. get mad.. go back to crying etc whatever feelings I have I just.. have them. Its brutal but its like draining poison from my system. When its gone, Im done and I find I can come back up from my “well” and at least function.

  11. In my own case I have found that channeling my pain via art only really works in a specific case/scenario: when I can’t intellectually find or figure out the root of the problem or part that is troubling me. Sometimes there is a lot of psychological resistance to seeing a situation as it is or identifying the root of the pain, and that resistance keeps the wound open and prevents healing, because I just keep going over the pain, like ‘why why why why’…. in these situations, the ‘flow’/meditation state that I enter when I focus wholly on the creation process within making art allows me to approach the root of the pain from a place of detachment, subconsciously. Eventually I reach a point where the root has been dredged up enough that I can really look at it consciously, identify my problem, and then begin healing.

    It doesn’t have to be making art for me, though; anything that allows me to get into the flow state will enable me to do it. Heavy, consistent workouts, for example, have been invaluable during some periods of my life. Anything that shuts of the ‘why why why why’ wailing internally long enough for me to approach the pain from a place of detachment. The nice thing about reaching that place via art is you have a physical record of your process; you can examine it later and see where you were trying to reach the root of the pain before you got there. The bad thing about it is you have that physical record of your pain. I’ve actually destroyed pieces after I’ve recovered because of that – I simply couldn’t look at them without being taken back to that place of pain and suffering, and no amount of appreciation from others could have made me see them in any other way. So, pluses and minuses.

  12. Very timely. It comes and it goes. I consciously limit the grievin time. I have to take some time to acknowlege the blow, but I can’t let myself get hung up there. It has become way too easy for me to get sucked in. I do journal but it ain’t art, that’s for sure. I’m not sure I have a channel for it so I suppose that is why I have to change the station.

    Overall, I’d say some outdoor time in nature will cure any ill I have. And I do think my camera really helped me get through the big unending yuck I was stuck in. Taking photos of what I found beautiful and interesting reminded me of what is good in life. Armed with camera, I began searching out what is good and that set a new pattern for me.

  13. (((Elsa))) What is working for me is burying myself in learning something new. I finally decided to immerse myself in something I’ve been contemplating for 15 years. It is mentally challenging and I can’t brood and focus on studying at the same time. I’m finding that the pain seems to be receding and transforming because I’m not focused on it. Hope this helps.

  14. Yes pain can be a door to art and spirituality – but of course it can also make some people go “down” into the darkness and madness.

  15. I think my need to transcend pain did route me to my majoring in art history, sure. I concentrated on the artists of modern Europe who had served during war, particularly Otto Dix. Grisly stuff, but it touched something in me, and it helped me realize I’m not the only one who has suffered in this manner. It was tremendously comforting, and I believe it helped me transcend.

  16. Hi Elsa recently I have had some very painful things happen in my life as well. I lost a job that I liked very much but really to be honest I was headed no where with. And my mom who has cancer has been given a prognosis of a year or less and she lives very far away from me so I can’t see her unless I fly to take a trip. One of my biggest outlets is to to sing karaoke. I love singing. I guess that would definitely be art in motion. I remember stepping up to the stage after having heard the news and gone through all that I had this week and every ounce of stress seeped out of my body just for those few minutes. Music is the language of the heart for me.

  17. My first instinctual reponse is to try to “fix” the situtation somehow. In the aftermath of a busted 30yr friendship, I kept replaying the the lead up to the blow up, trying to scope out a way to repair it, wondering why it happened etc.

    Every time I told the story to my partner (and I re-told & retold endlessly as I recalled more details) I thought I was cathartically releasing it. But I wasn’t. I was only re-attaching to the pain. I kept digging the grooves deeper and deeper.

    I’m Scorpionic and Scorpio likes to ruminate and obsess. And to believe in her powers to “control” a situation. But guess what ? I don’t get to control how other people view me.

    Finally one friend said something along the lines, “You have to deal with this.” Not fix it, not change it, just deal with it. It took almost a year for me to get to place where I could take that advice in and try to deflect it with a “yes, but…..’ or a “you don’t understand.”

    But once I got to that place of total surrender and acceptance, I started to heal. Too bad I had to go through all the other stages leading up to that, but like I said, I really am Scorpionic.

    I remember you once wrote about how prominent Jupiter is in your chart. How it causes you bubble back up to surface after defeats. After you stop & drop, then comes the roll and the recover.

  18. There’s a paradox where the energy has to move but I have to fully be with it to enable that to happen. I too tend to gnaw at thngs like a dog with a bone trying to look for causes. My head does not really help. I can analyse forever but at a heart level, just being with the pain like the earth can release a lot. In whatever way it releases.
    Doing something with my hands; sculpting, gardening, making something – it connects to the emotional/sensory experience and expresses something of the pain without me ‘thinking’ about it.
    Be with animals; serve them. They teach me how love is the most radical force there is.
    Be with nature. Stare out at the ocean and feel myself expand out over it, including all the pain I’m feeling. Sit in a garden and look at the flowers, look at their beauty and feel their life force and joy, feel how they just are, without reason.
    Dance for hours and hours.
    Talk to friends. Clean compulsively. Run.
    I learnt a surrender exercise. When I feel panicked by the pain and the repetitiveness of it and my inability to change it, this can help if I can be with myself long enough to do it. I lie on my back and put both hands on my heart. Breathe slowly and steadily and imagine the breath going into my heart. While I’m doing this, say to myself; ‘Right now I’m helpless’. ‘Nothing works at this time.’ Be with the breath going into the heart. Do this 3 or 4 times or until I feel done with it.

  19. If you can, work with a good massage person, Swedish or TCM and drink enough water. Sleep when you need to. Do walking meditations, walk the dog a lot, run with dog. Mastery of any art form (anything can be an art form). Precision, repetition, deep concentration on something beautiful (there is always beauty). When I’m freaking out I find there seems to be someone in my circle who is in even worse shape and if I focus on helping them, it helps me get my head together. People will show up at strange times, friends you thought would be there might duck out and strangers might be saviors for the moment.

  20. I like what Virginia said haha cause I just told my friend the same thing and we agree, that art is in any form… Art is seeing the beauty in whatever you do. Art transcends pain/ugliness/bitterness/negativity.
    I like my music too but I also pray… One blessed morning I woke up early I had to go someplace on the bus, it was a nice neighborhood I was walking through (sun wasnt out as much) and I was praying thanking God for the day and asking Him to walk with me, protect me and loved ones etc . I was singing along to music while doing this and I felt at peace. I wondered if people thought I was crazy oblivious. But its that Neptune part of us that helps us. I dreamt I landed on Neptune once and a water being asked me to make a question but I said no I am a Christian etc. I was freaked out but that was one of the most awesome dream experiences. Yeah it sucks I didn’t wish for anything 🙁 I could use a wish.
    These things help me they can help you:
    -POSITIVE thinking, only allow good thoughts to take hold
    -Read the Bible (I gravitate to Proverbs/Wisdom/Psalms/Jesus’ words
    -Go for early morning walks and meditate on the Word while walking
    -Do a hobby you can do already, taking up one while in pain just would
    be another kind of pain.
    -Read a good book
    -Prayer of course and meditation
    -Listening to good music , there are all kinds I feel Enya is relaxing
    yet depends on what song and U2 is uplifting
    I do these things on a daily basis I need to do it or I will feel grumpy
    pissed or upset.. And I don’t want to let that Mars in Scorpio volcano
    out 😉

    • I have Sun Conjunct Venus so trust me you gotta see the beauty in people or things you do otherwise you have a negative eye AKA the evil eye (some dumb myth about giving negative energy out through your eyes to people you dislike, its true but the term sounds scary)..
      Last I had really bad pain was in jail really. I prayed and even tried helping a girl to not fight with the guards, I thought she would get in worse shape if she did. I literally prayed every minute, I used my imagination and wrote songs. This helped me get through it. I didn’t dwell on the fact I was there through christmas and new year’s. I got out and am doing fine. This happened years ago. God is good! Not to mention we are his children he wants to help us so I prayed for a early termination and I got it bc I prayed consistently and had faith. my horrible prosecutor didn’t come to the next meeting she was bad I mean good at her job but merciless so another replaced her and I had a compassionate judge. .. If ur wondering I didnt do anything criminal blah blah blah it was a crazy thing, like mentally….
      Case in point, be positive despite gloomy circumstances comes from the soul deep down inside you bring it forth through prayer in a good God/Jesus.

  21. I turn inward AND I turn outward but I go deep. by turning inward, I allow myself to feel whatever bubbles up from the depths of my despair. sometimes I sing, write a tune for it, eventually maybe lyrics. then all the sudden my focus is not on the pain but on the fascination I have with solving a puzzle through composition.

    right now I’m really in a deep hole, I’m quiet not so much music-making. I might take writing as my creative challenge and outlet. I wrote short stories and poetry through my childhood depression.

    by going outward, yet deep, I indulge in the music, movies, people who really resonate with me. they inspire me, make me feel less lonely.

    still times are rough but as I get older I’ve learned not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. no matter how bad it gets, at some point you have to believe your suffering doesn’t negate all meaning. you still have the power to find meaning. by going deeper you’re finding themeaning that will last a lifetime, that will sustain your heart as the rest of your life decays(because it will. death and DECAY are tthe flip of life and growth).

  22. I am going through a situation like this right now as well, and am also searching for ways to help get through it, if not over it.
    I’ve been praying, asking God to help me find the resources needed to keep going, financial, emotional, spiritual.
    My time-honoured way of dealing with pain is to write (Moon in Gemini, Venus in 3rd) and I’m also trying to arrange for counselling in order to have someone to talk to about my situation.
    Someone else mentioned Mercury sq Pluto as the investigator’s aspect. I have this as well and am trying to put it to use in digging up information that might help my case and help me win my lawsuit.
    I haven’t found music to help at this time, but used to listen to a lot of it and sing my heart out as a way of recharging — can’t very well do that in an apartment, though.

  23. Ohhhh, I think what I am getting from all the comments is that easing the pain takes the fixation off of it and opens space to re-focus. That seems like a neptune dissolving function.

  24. A few days ago, I was looking up a song called, “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic. Besides being catchy, it’s apparently about the days when the artist was worried about money at night and wishes instead of counting money at night, there would be a day where he could have time to count the stars instead (and not be worried about money anymore).

    The artist Ryan Tedder is a Cancer who grew up around faith. He has encountered setbacks on his difficult path, and I assume he has channeled his set backs into his art, and you know what? He provides a service through his music. People resonate, are entertained, are lifted, transcend, or etc.

    So I started thinking about this.

    What about stories? Doesn’t some of our pain make good material? Can it not help people? Even if we’re writing it into fiction or it’s fiction. J.K. Rowling went through a lot of pain while she was writing Harry Potter. Loss of her mother, depression, failed marriage, and more. Can’t even fictional stories help people transcend?

    I used to draw to channel my painful emotions into art. I had to get the feelings out. I was driven to express it and would be relieved once the angst was out. I had a lot of day dreams and some pain. I haven’t drawn in awhile. I’m happiest whenever I have to draw or make something for a project. It’s peaceful and calming. I transcend and get to spend some time in my imagination. I try to get back into it. I’d like to provide a service via my creative abilities. Entertain, help, etc. Not necessarily as a job or career, but as a contribution in the way others’ art, humor, or creative abilities have helped me.

    I also have tricks to bring myself back up. There’s also tv, books, games, music, and (humorous and other) youtube videos.

  25. The only thing that has ever eased my pain no matter what that pain is, broken heart, emotional, physical, is time. Time has to pass. I have to stay very busy. Exercise, listen to music, walk the legs off myself and the dog and let time pass. I was in so much pain when I lost my dog last year. This may be trivial to a lot of people but for me it was very hard. Its a year later and I am still very tender and can hardly talk about it without crying.

    I have been betrayed. Too many times to count. But, this causes a different kind of pain for me…its pain mixed with anger. And anger is the first emotion. Well I have to buckle that down. Scorpio always wants to even the score even years later. I have learned to harness that nonsense. Jerks that cause me pain get amputated. That is the only way I can get past this kind of thing. Then time has to pass. And when I am feeling like I have been kicked in the gut I remember that until some time passes its going to be there like a nagging open sore. These things affect me physically. They upset my digestion, my sleep. But again only time can get me past the pain. I have to feel it until time takes over and lends me some ease. If its bad, well this can take a lot of time and I can almost tell you by the *thing* that happened how much time it will take. I usually lose weight, and sleep and feel it deeply.

  26. Elsa, I am deeply sorry for your pain. I hate when pain happens. You are probably in the healing process right now. All of the ideas and suggestions here are awesome. I have copious amounts to say about this subject, but here is just some of it. Wish you and I could sit together for awhile over coffee, tea or a healing green smoothie.

    I have written poetry. Taking hurts that were trapped and imprisoned in my heart, I wrote a poem about each one. The words came spilling out, big time, like a tsunami. As my “poems of pain” progressed, I began writing poems about light, cheerful subjects such as Face Creams and Animals etc. I knew then that it was a sign I was healing! I formally typed up each poem, encased each in a plastic sleeve and put them all into a ringed binder notebook. These poems are my babies! To touch and view them now brings me deep peace and joy. These poems are a tribute to and celebration of the pain I have been able to move away from to a better place. It’s about evolving, creating, transmutation, transformation and birthing a new part of myself and dealing with a part of me that died.

    After that, I reinvented myself. Lost 30 pounds, transformed my diet into mostly all plants, donated all my clothes, got all new ones in totally different styles, got a fresh professional haircut. The whole theme of my life was Pluto transformation. (I love the color black!)

    To be more explicit, Pluto has just finished making himself at home in my 12th house for the past 10 years and is just now strolling past my Moon, Ascendant, Grand Cross and Moon Yod! Wow! And Wow again!

    Hugs to you Elsa and all of the other Dear people that are hurting. Please find comfort in this awesome post and read closely the experiences of others who have come through it and out the other side.

  27. I agree that time is a great healer. I wish it could fully remedy the pain. It only promises that someday it will not hurt the same or maybe as much. The loss is always there. Letting go transcends but it feels like part of you is dying – pure agony. So sorry for your troubles, Elsa.

  28. I had a lot of those experiences that leave you reeling in late 2011/early 2012. Pluto/Uranus and Neptune were all in on it, for sure.
    I’m not sure I handled it well at first. I cried my eyes out and avoided anything but wallowing.
    Then I got to work helping someone else who badly needed it. I think that may have healed me a little bit.

  29. When we have been kicked in the stomach and are reeling with pain, we attempt to calm the swirling tornadic pain that pummeled our soul. We desperately try to seek some kind of understanding as to why it happened. We question ourselves, everything and everyone. It feels as if something inside of us has died. We could have a personal funeral for it, make peace with it, lulling it into dormancy with time because our focus steadfastly moves forward.

    Then….we practice intense, deep self-love and nurturing. We could develop our own personal Spa where everything we do, eat and think is healthy, positive and loving. We try not to stuff the pain down so that it becomes trapped and festers in our Heart. We must hold that pain in our compassionate, nurturing hands as if it were a wounded broken-winged bird. We transform and heal the hurt by a significant and meaningful creation or experience. Something that makes our Heart Sing! We need to stoke a burning fire within us (light a candle) that is brand new and makes us feel freshly alive and reborn. It could be creating a work of art, practicing Yoga, communing with nature or being close to animals. What we choose to do is different for each one of us, as the proper soothing balm is special and individual for each and every Heart/Soul. The pain is not gone or forgotten, but calmed and diminished. We have soothed our Soul and found Peace, emotional poise and the compassionate depth to comfort others in pain. Comfort has flown in on Angel Wings and we are finally at Peace……

  30. Saturn began transiting my first house in 1998-it’s been bad since then. I hit a wall in May 2009 with a sun square Pluto/Saturn of some kind, with my fantastical mountain bike accident and anger. Now I’m hitting a different wall, having been unable to get a job even after finishing school and it’s depression. I thought at some point my life would get better but now I just don’t feel that anymore.

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