Compassion And Confiding In Strangers: “The Sisters Of Mercy, I Hope You Run Into Them Soon…”

mccabe_l.jpgAre you one of those people that other people confide in? I am. I can be in the produce department of a grocery store and have a stranger tell me their deepest and darkest. I have no feeling about this other than I think I am well suited. I was standing behind a bar hearing tales of woe from the time I was 15 years old so what does that tell you? But here’s the phenomena I wanted to discuss:

People tell me secrets or make confessions and I have noticed some want nothing to do with me soon after. These types often say things like, “I probably shouldn’t say this but…”

I don’t say anything but I don’t agree with them. I always think they should say the thing and more. I think they should puke it up all over the place so they’re not carrying it around and generally speaking this is what happens. There is an intense flurry of communication and then a week or month later I realize the person is gone.

3 or 6 months later I realize they are gone for good and my heart goes with them. It just pulls right out of my chest. It is a horrible ache and I leave it that way because I can think of nothing else I should do. That they shared their pain with me is clearly a gift. It is a gift and a curse and this is something I have been aware of for a long time.

I think I was influenced by this song, Leonard Cohen’s, ‘Sisters Of Mercy”, which I used to listen to over and over, obsessively when I was a kid, 15 years old. The song is about a world some of us live in while others seem to know very little about ir.

If you don’t know this movie, “McCabe & Mrs. Miller. That is a whore house in the video. I thought this was an interesting treatment for the song.

As for the astrology, Neptune in Scorpio on the midheaven, what else?

Sisters of Mercy – Leonard Cohen

Do I have any sisters out there?



Compassion And Confiding In Strangers: “The Sisters Of Mercy, I Hope You Run Into Them Soon…” — 67 Comments

  1. Elsa, your energy is a gift to me. And being a person who has confided in you, I can’t say enough how precious it is to not be judged in this life.

    From me to you, across the ether. I hope you have a wonderful time this Christmas with the your family, and the Soldier in your bed and the wacky dogs at your feet.

  2. kashmiri – thanks. And see, I’d forgotten about that (but would have remembered if you reminded me). That’s one of the reasons I am a good choice to talk to. I don’t remember your stuff unless you want me too. Know why? Because I am busy hearing someone else’s stuff. 🙂

    I think this is funny. My ass was on already on the job as a young teen, sort of like Vid meditating the soldier and I when we fight. Damned kid… don’t let ever be said we don’t know who we are or what we can do!

  3. Wow – This is very similar to what happens to me but I’ve never seen it described in print.

    People come in to my life, spill their stuff, I get really close, I usually help by listening, or even making a suggestion but usually just by being there is some consistant way. They can be close for months.

    My heart is open to them and i think they feel that true acceptance so I connect on a profound level and when they are gone, there is alot of pain on my end. I will miss them even though they have probably learned nothing about me.

    I never try to ‘hold on’ to the relationship after its gone. I know when I have served my purpose. I know it when they are done. I sometimes wonder, do they not miss me b/c they sure loved me when they were ‘utilizing ‘ me.

    (I’m talking just human interaction not romantic) From the time I’ve been tiny, people have come in and out really fast and I pine when they go.

    My experience started very young with my BPD grandmother and then my highly disfunction mother imappropriately burdened me with their issues and insanity. I can remember being six years old and my mother showing me a newspaper clipping with her parents divorce. Like didn’t they have any adult friends?

    I don’t confide in many ‘civilians’ I like it like that unless I have a smart partner. I’ve never had anyone to rely on emotionally.

    In my job, i hear everything. I never judge. I wish I could give myself the same break and not judge myself.

    I know if i lost everything and were under the bridge and the entire financial system had collapsed, if it hasn’t already done so, unless i wore dark glasses and a baseball cap, people will be lined up at my shopping cart asking, ‘what should i do’ and I’ll be giving them advice on survivial skills. I’ll probably be pushing my x in that basket too.

    I realized this week that its impossible for me to stay angry with someone that I love.

  4. yeah. also often hear “i never open up to people” or “i don’t know why i’m telling you this”.

    neptune in scorp opposing the midheaven. i assume that’s similar energy?

  5. I hear ya Elsa! I am a hairdresser and I get to know my clients fairly well and they do open up about tons of stuff. I don’t judge them I just like hearing about what is going on in their lives. Sometimes it surpises me but it makes me feel flattered that they trust me enough to open up.

    I have Neptune is Scorpio in my 6th house squaring my moon and midheaven.

  6. I can totally relate to that. I was taking a cab once and the driver ended up confiding that he and the love of his life once considered a double suicide but held back for various reasons, etc.

    Isn’t it usually the cab driver at the end of confessions? 😉

    Also… I often go shopping with friends and they say they don’t want to go shopping with me again because they end up buying more than they wished for. Why? Probably because I just listen to what they want to tell me. I emit no judgment, I just listen, which probably becomes a sounding board.

  7. I can honestly say no. And I’m so glad you can do this, Elsa. As for “what else” – I don’t know a damn thing, but to me this sounds like your packed 8th house to me – or also, the Scorpio. These people are depositing energy with you and obviously taking some energy away.

    I have strong Neptune, I have Pisces on the MC, and I have Moon in 12th, but I do not have the sense that people confess or confide in me in that way. With a lot of people, I feel I already know their secrets. And I don’t have a sense of them leaving. This is truly bizarre to me, but I don’t feel like anyone is gone for good. Maybe that’s Neptune, too.

  8. i’d guess so.
    i can’t see myself very well.
    but i’ve tried… not so much for strangers. feel like i have to try to at least sya something, though, when i see it.
    there’s only so much weight i can carry.
    i have had people in my life who have disappeared like that, when their world began to knit back together.

  9. people can sense a strength in detachment in casual meetings with others. What someone may have to discuss about their life has been brewing for some time and when they suddenly come accross a person who they sense is safe in “strength” and detachment the person off loads. There are other factors other that ‘strength’ perhaps its a nurturing presence? However the person will only off load when they sense the person will not be affected by what they say.

    I have seen this happen over and over with some people and myself. I dont seem to attract that sort of thing out in the streets these days. Perhaps I have a more ‘closed’ body language and save it for the counselling room these days.


  10. I am very detached but strangeley i will miss them when they go. DOn’t know why? Maybe cause I find people fascinating (specimen) – its cold but perhaps like when you finish a book with a fascinating character and you are sorry to put it down.
    I always feel a void.
    I will often think – i wonder what happened to______x

  11. I am usually the confidante for most of my friends. Surprisingly, I rarely share myself that way with people. I can express myself really well in the written form, but face to face I usually only confide in whoever is my long term parter at the time, and so far that’s only been 4 people my entire life.

    Now, when I go out, I get people telling me their life stories ALL the time. I think I have the ability to listen very well, and to be honest, I don’t mind it… I’ve had these type of run-ins with some very interesting people.

    But yeah, I’ve made several friends that way too… starting a conversation with someone at a concert or something like that or on public transportation and exchanging email addresses…

    People trust me fast.

    Neptune in the 8th, mercury in pisces

  12. Hmm, is this a Neptune thing? I get it all the time. But I have Neptune in Sag in the 12th (which I’m never sure of) opposite Mercury in Gemini, quincunx Venus in Cancer in the 7th. I always thought it was the Venus in Cancer…

  13. I think once someone shares their deepest/darkest secrets, the moment they are doing it is cathartic, and then the next morning they are just scared. I am an extremely private person myself, I even finally tried therapy, and I was not even able to let it all out there! The fear I think is that you just handed your power to someone else – guess that is why shows like Dr. Phil where people are airing their dirty laundry for all the world to know make me break out in hives lol.

  14. Trust takes a good amount of time to establish for some people and is the basis for the treatment in therapy.

    In some cases I would agree that Neptune could be involved in that the person who is listening (their prominent neptune) makes it easer for the ‘talker’ to identify underlaying or similar issues. Therefore there is a sense that the other knows what they are experiencing. There is a kind of projective identification in the other with Neptune.


  15. It happens to me too and I used to be kind of sad or upset when I would absorb the pain and then the people would leave….but then I began to see (thanks yet again Elsa) that it was a service, and kind of like a therapist, it is a good thing when they are ready to move on.

  16. This also happens a lot to me, and has from early on. My accounting of this: Scorpio rising projects that I’m interested in talking about real things and will not be shocked or overwhelmed by anything. Neptune in the 1st for a compassionate presence, Venus in Aquarius cares about strangers as well as loved ones, and Jupiter on the desc. for bigger perspective expressed in one-on-one exchanges. And sometimes they leave and sometimes not. I can imagine in the reverse feeling embarrassed afterwards in a ‘too much intimacy’ kind of way.

  17. I used to get a lot of “confessions” when I was younger and more “open” but am finding that it happens less and less as I get older.

    Regarding the people confiding secrets and then running away: It sounds like a Neptune (boundaries) and Pluto (secrets) energy play for sure.

    I admit that I have confided in people and then retreated soon after, afraid (Neptune) of what they might do with the secrets (Pluto) I had shared. Secrets are powerful; when we reveal them we can feel we are giving our power away (Pluto).

    Me: Moon in Pisces square Neptune, Scorp stellium, Sun/Merc in the 12th, Merc square Pluto). Still struggle with trusting people too much (Neptune) or too little (Pluto/Scorp).

  18. People confess to me allll of the time. Its odd though, it seems to be specific things they confess..relationship stuff for the most part. I cant tell you how many people have confessed affairs to me, and not after the fact either! Usually in the middle of one, or right before it turns sexual.

  19. this makes me think of a recent lesson in my life. My extended family has been done in over the years by secrets that are often not secret but the person cowers in fear of being discovered and judged. It’s ironic because everyone KNOWS anyways within the family. I’ve started to try to differentiate between secrets and privacy. That way the junk can be owned by the person it belongs to and they can feel accepted while working through stuff in their own time. I just went through this with an aunt and a cousin who both are having a hard time in their lives and don’t want to go to family gatherings.

  20. Like you, Elsa, I’ve had strangers come up to me and tell me their secrets. This has happened since I was about 12 years old. And like you, I usually never see these strangers again.

    I have a mercury in Pisces. I’m guessing people an communicate such things more easily with me?

  21. I have such similar experiences with people (even strangers) spilling their guts to me, Elsa… We have similar placements, but my Scorpio Neptune is on my AC and yours is on your MC. How do you think this difference would play out? The obvious difference might be that you make a career out of listening to people’s problems… and I may not?

  22. Scorpio Neptune on the AC, as well, Carrie. Just had the strangest experience this weekend; I was sitting at a table in a bar, and my daughter, my boss, my best friend, and, Saturn were all there. Incredible to start with. Each one had his/her own story, and over the course of the night, I got to listen to them all. Just me. Not like they were telling their stuff to everybody at the table. Then, each of them went back and partied. With me, it was Sister Mercy/Mother Confessor. Heavy stuff.

    Then they move on, and although I think I try to be heard, too, I don’t think I am, and I end up on my own while the rest go off to their partnerships. I also don’t lighten up fast after that kind of thing. I’ve ended up in a strange place with all this, and it’s not viable. I’m happy to help, but my life is not well supported, and it’s time I face that set of lessons. I didn’t listen to Leonard Cohen as a kid. I did have that Linda Ronstadt record, though, and I guess I listened to “I Never Will Marry” one too many times… !

  23. ‘The quality of mercy is not strained
    It falls as the gentle rain from heaven
    Unto the place beneath.

    It is twice blessed,
    It blesseth him who gives
    And him who takes….’

  24. Elsa, your physical person, your spirit reminds me very much of my own close sister who passed in 1988.

    I have Neptune in Scorpio, fourth house. It’s not often that people share with me. Perhaps because I’m such a private person. But when I do it is a tremendous gift.

  25. I don’t have any shameful secrets but there are pieces of me that few people know. I have confided in you and stayed around.

    “Do I have any sisters out there?”

    Yes I have long been a safe place for secrets of all sorts. It’s a calling I think. I love this place that is a safe haven for secrets and secret keepers and secret tellers.

  26. I think it’s the same phenomenon that leads people to believe they “know” celebrities. When someone confesses something or exposes themselves, we feel like we know them. But if we don’t confess, too – if it’s not an equal exchange – one side is left naked and and the other standing there clothed. Anyone sane would flee for cover.

    (Scorpio Neptune opposite MC. I’ve learned to confess, too.)

  27. Tinaroma, by that logic Elsa should have run away a long time ago as she is far more exposed than the vast majority of people who read here.

    I think it is her willingness to bare her soul publicly that makes people feel able to confide their own secrets. I think it has more to do with compassion than sanity.

  28. I mean in the kind of one-on-one situations that everyone here has been talking about, which I have also experienced, where people then disappear. There are millions of situations where people put themselves out there for the pure sake of doing so — this blog, for one. Elsa’s confessions make everyone feel at home and feel comfortable confessing confessing themselves. Also actors, musicians, writers, comics, etc. etc. These people and these arts are my world, and I think the worlds of a lot of people here, which is why we feel comfortable on that plane.. And why others sense this and confess. I personally had to learn to confess, too, when it wasn’t in a creative form or with someone I knew especially well. I found that instantly created a balance where people felt comfortable having confessed and stuck around..

  29. Lupa, And, yes, by anyone “sane” I (glibly) meant the sort of person who doesn’t typically dwell on an internal plane, or at least doesn’t explose it. And if you are someone who does, you find out the hard way that that is most of the world.. It’s the last place most of the world wants to go, and when they find that they have, they often bolt the scene..

  30. Hauntingly beautiful post!

    My assistants Neptune in Capricorn is conjunct her Ascendant. She is an incredibly good listener! I will miss her when she returns to University this September.

  31. I think some of us emanate to others that we can be trusted to keep a confidence, without even being asked to. And when someone needs an outlet for pent up feelings and emotions about something, their ‘antennae’ pick up on such a person, and the release begins. Elsa is a national treasure. May she live to a ripe old age. 🙂

  32. Hmmm….. I’m thinking this could something that radiates warmth–compasion–security. Like :
    A). chart weighted in 4+ water & 5+ mutable.
    B). Planets in any water signs near Asc, IC, Dec, Mc…. especially moon or neptune.
    C). 7th House…. especially if Pisces & moon.

    Can’t knock the other examples…. they make alot of sense.

  33. Sun in cancer=very empathetic, caring person, moon in cappy=emotionaly solid, and for those who are close, I’m the one they confide in.

    But for me, my mercury/mars conjunct in the 1st really appreciates Elsa’s way of getting to it/putting things. The moon keeps the sun from getting to put out and to see where to learn and grow from it. Her life of service in this way, is a great example to myself and many others.

    So a big cheers to Elsa!! Many thanks to you!!!

  34. I guess my trouble is i see them as friends, then they move on. I can keep thier troubles out of my own, help them, support them, but I find I rarely have anyone to share my own with.

    Elsa is an inspiration xx

  35. Yes.

    I am.

    Or– at least– up until recently.

    Perhaps a product of Neptune going through the 10th house. A blurring of boundaries at the time.

    But, whatever pain I had been through… I had people come to me on the bus from the airport, strangers, for guidance for how to get to the campus. and they would tell me their story of why they were going there. —Their story was often parallel to the pain I had been through.

    And I just sat their and let them say it, because I knew instinctively at the time that they needed to tell the story. And they needed to say to me, like they were repeating it inside of their hearts.

    At the time yes. I was feeling pretttty exposed at the time ’cause of that transit, but then again, it helped these strangers uncover something, expose a bit of bravery from within.

    This kind of experience makes me appreciate what you do for all of us. Thank you Elsa… =) *hats off*

  36. Toooo weird. I just posted yesterday in the eclipse thread about how I was moved so strongly over a strangers plight and how I had to accept my strong sense of empathy for people, even complete strangers.

    My heart just jumped out of my chest yesterday over their sitch, but the crazy thing is, this person that I helped and was concerned about is now not getting back to me and even acting like they don’t know me.

    I asked if they were on Facebook, got their name, but when I “Friended” them, I got a message from them saying, “How do you know me?” They accepted the request, but no response to my explanation of who I was. And when I later sent a message asking how they were – nothing. Still nothing. No response.

    I’ve been baffled all damn day. I genuinely just want her to be okay. Amazing how you posted this article. You have a brother, Elsa. 😉

    Oh, and I am a Cancer with Pisces rising and my chart ruler – Neptune is in Scorpio in the 7th.

  37. Whatever you want to call this, I must have it.
    Strangers will ask my advice on just about anything, tell me incredibly personal stuff, or we can just start conversing as if we knew each other. They treat me like some sort of authority with this stuff. The strangers usually get a one time hit then go on their merry way. People I know confide whenever anything comes up. Maybe I have a sort of a service placement? I don’t know how to explain it, but my best guesses as to what may cause this:

    10th house Scorpio stellium with Venus and Mercury conjunct MC.

    11th house Neptune in Sag. conjunct Venus, connecting it to the Scorpio stellium.

    Neptune also conj. Jupiter in Sag.

    Or maybe it’s that my Asc. in Capricorn just looks solid to them. Having Pluto and Saturn trining could add to that. Moon and Neptune sextiling probably makes them feel safe. I have a lot of water in my chart too.

  38. “Hmmm….. I’m thinking this could something that radiates warmth–compasion–security. Like :
    A). chart weighted in 4+ water & 5+ mutable.
    B). Planets in any water signs near Asc, IC, Dec, Mc…. especially moon or neptune.
    C). 7th House…. especially if Pisces & moon.

    Can’t knock the other examples…. they make alot of sense.”

    4 Waters.
    6 Mutes.
    7th House Pisces Moon near dc.
    6th House Pisces Jupiter right next to dc.

    I still don’t think it’s the same thing as described by Elsa.

  39. Wow, yeah. I hear so often, “I can’t believe I’m telling you all this.” Haha. 🙂 The thing is, we humans are all so similar. So what they tell me is never really shocking. And I love hearing about it. When people start telling the truth, they’re all so interesting!

    I haven’t noticed them leave. But I move a lot. So I guess I wouldn’t notice it.

    And yes – Neptune in Scorp on the MC.

  40. I have Merc. conj. Nep sitting just outside the 12th house. I have had many people just out of prison talk to me. And I mean JUST out of prison. Once I had a person covered in blood tell me he had just killed a man!!! We were sitting in a bar, of course. Good ol’ Neptune. I carry the thoughts of those. It is not a burden to me. Moon conj. Saturn, I guess.

    Nice thread.

  41. This post is just what I needed this morning. It is very provocative and the comments are amazing too. I miss some of the people that posted here in 2008 and wonder if some of them are writing under a different pseudonym now.

  42. I used to listen to Leonard Cohen a lot too. I had the album that had Sisters of Mercy.

    Are you the Elsa that was on an astrology forum that was Molly Cliborne (sp?) years ago?

  43. People feel exposed and vulnerable after sharing. You (who’ve heard the secrets) are a reminder of their darkness. I’ve always thought this is why sexual predators kill their victims – so there’s no one to bear witness to their darkness.

  44. Neptune in Scorpio conjunct Venus in Scorpio in 2nd house. As a 12th house Virgo and 8th house Taurus Moon, I get this ALL the time. People will just come out and be completely transparent with me. And its a completely open and blunt conversation.
    There’s an old saying “If you are bleeding, look for a person with scars”
    Its a certain aura or a look in the eye that tells you they’ve been deep into the shadows and have come out stronger.
    I always consider them spiritual and emotional hospitals.
    People get sick, check in (most time through the emergency room) and stay a while, get rid of the poisons, then check out never ever wanting to go back as it reminds them of a dark and painful time when they have been vulnerable.
    I always joke that people don’t live in hospitals. That’s why they tend to leave(check out) and I never see them. again…

  45. I can’t remember why I came to this post..I think it was at the bottom of a related more recent one I was reading. I’ve had this happen. Everything from the frazzled hostess/server at Chili’s when I was just going in to pick up a take out lunch order, to an Italian man on a train crying, spilling his guts out, to me and my 3 travelling companions about how he was having an affair with his engaged coworker and was afraid of losing his daughter if his wife found out, to the dancer (stripper) who lived in a tiny rear apartment next to where I once worked, who told me how she had an affair with a man she danced for when he was in town from the Midwest on a convention, got pregnant but had a miscarriage.
    I have Scorpio ascendant, Neptune first house, I saw that mentioned by someone else. It still happens, my neighbor of a year ago spilled his guts to me one random night on the front porch, he moved away soon after and I have not seen him again, and doubt I will. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

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