PROCESSES IN GESTALT THERAPY AND THEIR APPLICATION TO ASTROLOGYAstrological Chart

by Gwynne Mayer

This was written in the 80’s to augment my classes in Gestant and Astrology. Thought you might see some applications you might use.

 

PROJECTION —  a trait, attitude, feeling, or bit of behavior which actually belongs to your own personality but is not experienced as such; instead it is attributed to objects or persons in the environment and then experienced as directed toward you by them instead of the other way around.  We all project in many areas of our life.  Hopefully, we can be more aware when accuse, blame or criticize others and start to see what part of ourselves we are accusing, blaming, or criticizing.  To “own” a projection is a goal we should strive for.  This means that we must look at both sides of the projection and carefully examine the polarities.  Astrologically, the areas of projection…are all 180 degree oppositions to your signs and houses and planetary positions, 7th house planets emphasized, oppositions are all very important, also opposite points from stelliums.

 

CONFLUENCE –The area of sympathy in our lives where we are like the other person; when we have no discrimination between boundaries.  This state of being is manifested by crying, illness, exaggerated sympathetic reaction, total involvement with the person.  Areas in Astrology in which this occurs are conjunctions with your planets of Neptune, Venus, and Piscean influence.

 

INTROJECTION — some judgment or saying that you have swallowed whole without comprehension, analyzation, or discrimination.  This usually comes in the form of beliefs or judgments that you accepted, without questioning, from your primary caretakers.  These are manifested now by you when you hear yourself repeating the same judgments or beliefs either about yourself or to your children, as if it were TRUE, which usually it is not.  We need to examine these areas carefully to see if they are truly acceptable to you or if you are ruled by old BELIEF SYSTEMS OF WHICH YOU ARE UNCONSCIOUS…

The introjections can cause many problems unless we become conscious of them.  Some problems are manifested outwardly because of this; obesity, castration complexes, impotence, diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, colitis, stomach cramps, arthritis, etc.

Astrological counterparts would be 4th and 10th house emphasis, afflictions to Saturn or the Moon, afflictions in the signs of Cancer or Capricorn.

 

RETROFLECTION — when a person does to himself what originally he did or tried to do to other persons or objects.  He stops directing energy outward; instead he redirects activity inward and substitutes himself in place of the environment as the target of behavior.  This response or lack of response is usually due to something we have been punished for earlier in life.  The martian energy in a chart may be turned inward. such a Mars/Mercury conjunct, squared, or opposed Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto…and also the Moon can play a big part in this as can the Sun…

 

 

LAYERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS —–GESTALT MOMENTS OF PERSONAL CONSCIOUSNESSS.

 

Imagine an HOUR GLASS and at the top of the hour glass we have THE ROLES

WE PLAY (as if/sympathetic/clichés/manipulation)…The games we play

within those roles are: helpless, keeper, good boy, stroker, ego ideal,

persona, self systems.  The way to get out of those roles is to:  1. Give

up selling yourself, 2. Give up your self ego, 3.  What would happen if I

stop pretending?

 

As we move down the hour glass, before we land in the middle, we come to

the PHOBIC STAGE… (Fear of pain, interruption, confusion compulsive

repetition)…In this space we are AFRAID TO BE WHAT WE ARE…It is where

our addictions, attitudes, dread, unwilling to go through pain,

maintaining the status quo… The way out is:  1. Develop discipline, 2.

Be willing to suffer pain, 3.  Encounter unpleasantness, 4.  Discover

what you don’t to do…WHAT DO YOU WANT?  Astrologically look for Pluto

Squares. and Shadow figures in the chart… (mostly in 12th house or

rulerships therein…but can be found in almost any polarity…)

 

In the center, you are in the IMPASSE, (stuck, emptiness– loss) You are

at CENTER OF THE NEUROSIS (Blue baby, not willing to see fantasy based

distortion)  The way out of this is: 1. Make existential leap, 2.

Rebirth, 3.  Here and Now with experiences, 4. Jump into the void (not

the void dance), 4.  Give up the fantasy of being stuck.

Astrologically these areas are found in Saturnian’s and Neptunian

involvements primarily of aspects to the Sun and Moon.

 

The next step is IMPLOSION (frozen, contraction, compressed) This is a

place experienced as autistic (catatonic–nothingness, convoluted

impatience, potential violence, double bind.  The way out is 1.  Reinvest

vital energy, 2.  Come to your senses, 3.  Become response able, 4. Use

your own resources, 5.  Rekindle primary vibrancy. This most often

happens with several of the outer planets making aspects to the angles…

or luminaries…will cause people to seek out help because it hurts too

much to not seek help…Neptune..Mars, Saturn, Mercury….

 

The Final Step is EXPLOSION (Authenticity) …the way we see this acted

out is a Real Person, being mobilized, spontaneous, truthful, adapting to

life. and alive with energy.  The way we maintain that state of being is

1.  I am what I am, 2.  Give yourself grace, 3.  Call on creative

transformation, 4.  Will yourself out of existence, 5.  Thy will be done.

Sun, Moon, Mercury…Uranus..transits…Moon progressed…Pluto

transits..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projection —– Reverse of introjection.

 

As introjection is the tendency to make the self responsible for what actually is part of the environment, so projection is the tendency to make the environment responsible for what originates in the self.   Clinically, we recognize that the disease of paranoia, which is characterized by the development of highly organized system of delusions, is the extreme case of projection…..that is not what we are talking about. here…this is the projections of which we are all guilty, like the highly aggressive personality who, unable to bear the responsibility for his own wishes, feelings, and desires, attaches them to objects or people in the environment who will hold the projection and fit the pattern beautifully.  A person who feels he is being persecuted unfairly, in fact may be making the statement that he would like to persecute others.  That which you have tremendous energy to unload on others, is often very true of SELF….In projection, then, we shift the BOUNDARY between ourselves and the rest of the world a little too much in our own favor—in a manner that makes it possible for us to disavow and disown those aspects of our personalities which we find difficult or offensive or unattractive.  And this is very important….IT IS OUR INTROJECTS THAT LEAD US TO THE FEELINGS OF SELF-CONTEMPT AND SELF-ALIENATION THAT PRODUCE PROJECION.   The over-wary, over-cautious person, who tells you he wants friends and wants to be loved, but who tells you at the same time that “you can’t trust anyone, they’re all out for what they can get,” is a projector par excellence.

 

Projection is an expressive function and has the flavor of first/seventh house axis.  People who are projective most always have a predominant Mars, Aries, Libra, ….much of the energy is squared to Saturn, Uranus, Pluto…..again, this is not set in stone…When working with people listen to how many times they talk ABOUT someone else, either positive or negative, (positive projections are as important to OWN, as are negative ones), they will use You…much of the time, second person in their verbalizations.  GOSSIP is something that Fritz Perls never allowed in the Gestalt Community…as it was about someone to someone else..instead of face to face,  projections run rampant in gossip.  There are several signs that are noted for participating in gossip and will often disown their projections,  Gemini, Sagittarius and Virgo have a tendency to talk ABOUT..rather than first person and directly to the person on whom the projection falls.

 

Gestalt work is a very hard-nosed therapy, but, it really stresses HONESTY WITH SELF. If we clean up our own psychology, then, it makes the world a better and more ethical place to be, because we are essentially not going around messing on other people with our projections.  Ask yourself before you are making a judgment of another, are you sure that it is not YOU, THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT?

 

Peeling the Onion or Delineating a Chart….ALL THE SAME…

 

 

In Gestalt therapy…we call the awareness continuum..”peeling the onion”….when doing a chart, reading tarot, working with any divination…one is always concerned about the awareness of the here and now…or at least should be…Much of our awareness, is at first, surlimited to external sensory impressions…later it boadens to include many other factors, internal as well as external.  Simply becoming aware that you are aware increases your potential for greater consciousness.  You are bringing to consciousness the different layers(dimension) of your process as you are delineating.  Staying in the present is very important for the client and the facilitator/astrologer, it gives a wider orientation and greater freedom of choice and action.  You are teaching and learning how to work with your environment through more awareness to it…Many are boxed in by the lack of awareness both of self and external situations and have little room by which to maneuver.  As soon as the awareness increases, orientation and maneuverability also increase.  At this point we make better contact with our charts, its cycles..and the messages that come with the aspects, planets, and placements.

As a gestalt counselor…we ask always  the following:..(Fritz says that they are essentially three questions reformulated into a statement….it is an absolute “no no”..to ask questions in training…because the belief is that in order to formulate the question, the answer has to be in the unconscious or just below the awareness level)..”Now I am aware” are: “What are you doing?”  “What do you feel?”  “What do you want?”  We could increase the number by two, and include these questions:  “What do you avoid?”  “What do you expect?”  All five of these supportive questions can be answered only to the degree that the client/our own awareness makes possible.  But at the same time, they help us become more aware, more responsible for mustering our own forces and increase our means of self-support..which is the whole point of  counseling using gestalt techniques…

 

 

 

 

RETROFLECTION—– the last of the Gestalt defense mechanisms…we use to set boundaries…

 

Retroflection, literally means “turning back sharply against.”  The retroflector knows how to draw a boundary line between himself and the environment,  and he draws a neat and clean one right down the middle–but he draws it down the middle of himself.  THE INTROJECTOR DOES AS OTHERS WOULD LIKE HIM TO DO, THE PROJECTOR DOES UNTO OTHERS WHAT HE ACCUSES THEM OF DOING TO HIM, THE CONFLUENT PERSON DOESN’T KNOW WHO IS DOING WHAT TO WHOM, AND THE RETROFLECTOR DOES TO HIMSELF WHAT HE WOULD LIKE TO DO TO OTHERS.  When a person retroflects behavior, he treats himself as he originally wanted to treat other persons or objects.  He stops directing his energies outward in attempts to manipulate and bring about changes in the environment that will satisfy his needs; instead, he redirects his activity inwards and substitutes himself in place of the environment as the target for behavior.  To the extent that he does this, he splits his personality into doer and done to.  He literally becomes his own worse energy.

Again the grammatical usage of the client can reveal which of the processes is working at any given moment…As introjection displays itself in the use of the pronoun “I” when the real meaning is “they;” as projection displays itself in the use of the pronouns,  “you”, “it”, or “they,”  when the real meaning is “I”  as confluence displays itself in the use of the pronoun “we” when the real meaning is in question;  so retroflection displays itself in the use of the reflective, “myself”…The retroflector says, “I am ashamed of myself,” or “I have to force myself to do this job.”   He makes an almost endless series of statements of this sort, all of them based on the surprising conception that he and himself are two different people.

 

Astrological formations which indicate retroflection, but not always, are Mars/Saturn, Mars/Uranus, Mars/Pluto, Mars/Neptune…and Mars/Mercury  conflicts…Another area is to look closely at bodily retroflections which occur…this can be seen in the above, or 6th, 12th, and ascendant influences.  I will go into greater depth on how to read the body and look at the significators, as I go on with this strand.. more about medical astrology.

 

Peeling the Onion  — Image result for Fritz Perls picThe Process of Becoming

(After many years of training under Leland Johnson Ph.D. a Fritz Perls and Ida Rolf trained Psychologist, I learned to adapt my own thinking and Jungian work with Gestalt methodology and Inner Dialogues.  I, more recently, include these ideas in my work with Intentional Coaching.)

In Gestalt therapy…we call the awareness continuum or “peeling the onion”….when doing a chart, reading tarot, working with any divination…one is always concerned about the awareness of the here and now…or at least should be…Much of our awareness, is at first, limited to external sensory impressions…later it broadens to include many other factors, internal as well as external.  Simply becoming aware that you are aware increases your potential for greater consciousness.  You are bringing to consciousness the different layers (dimension) of your process as you are delineating.  Staying in the present is very important for the client and the facilitator; it gives a wider orientation and greater freedom of choice and action.  You are teaching and learning how to work with your environment through more awareness to it…Many are boxed in by the lack of awareness both of self and external situations and have little room by which to maneuver.  As soon as the awareness increases, orientation and maneuverability also increase.

As a gestalt counselor…we ask always the following:..(Fritz says that they are essentially three questions reformulated into a statement….it is an absolute “no no”..to ask questions in training…because the belief is that in order to formulate the question, the answer has to be in the unconscious or just below the awareness level)..”Now I am aware” are: “What are you doing?”  “What do you feel?(senses) ”  “What do you want?(NOW)”  We could increase the number by two, and include these questions:  “What do you avoid?”  “What do you expect?”  All five of these supportive questions can be answered only to the degree that the client/our own awareness makes possible.  But at the same time, they help us become more aware, more responsible for mustering our own forces and increase our means of self-support, which is the whole point of counseling using gestalt techniques...

 

Gestalt Pillow Talk   — An Innovative Way to the Hot Seat

Dr. Leland Johnson, Ph.D. and Maryann Merksamer - early 1970s

The Gestalt Pillow Talk, an exercise guide for personal transformation, is from The Gestalt Adventure, copyrighted in 1978 by Leland Johnson, Ph.D.  and Mary Ann Merksamer, M.A., who were my mentors and family for 7 years.   My intention is to reproduce the most original print pamphlet verbatim with some corrections for errors in spelling or typography.

For more about Leland Edward Johnson, Ph. D., visit LelandJohnson.info.

Polarities – Dialogue

The most original publication of Gestalt Pillow Talk

(I trained with Leland Johnson from 1974 -1981 and consider it the most important and formative years of my education.)

The notion of dualistic polarity is as old as mans ability to conceptualize the night-day, life-death, yes-no range of possibilities and of choices.  Western thought has been dominated by an attempt to conquer nature by developing a fragmented split between man and nature, good and bad, right and wrong.  The frozen polarities which we have created in our rigid mind-body categories have all but crippled our capacity to appreciate ourselves as a part of nature and nature as a part of us.  With the recognition of self comes the awareness of “not self.  “With the appreciation of beauty comes the knowledge of ugliness.  With the realization of pleasure comes a taste of pain.  With the yin comes the yang.  When we can flow with the changing figure-ground balance of our shifting gestalts, then we can regain our “identity.”  What is in the background of awareness comes to the foreground as the figure.  We can learn to see who we are, not as something separate from the rest of the world or from ourselves but as a continuous synthesis of all the parts of us and others, with all of everyone and everything being the unitary whole.  Dualistic rigidity occurs when we are unable to allow figure and ground to emerge spontaneously, unwilling to experience the permeability of our contact boundaries, and incapable of owning all parts of ourselves.
Seven Arrows by Hymeyohsts Storm

“Yes,” Yellow Robe agreed, “This is part of the teaching.   One half of you loves, and the other half of you, at times, hates.  This is the Forked Medicine Pole of Man.   The clever thing the Medicine has taught us here is this.  One Half of you must understand the Other Half or you will tear yourself apart…  But remember, Both Halves must try to understand.   Even within yourself it is hard to know which of the Forks is which.” – From Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm

Using the methods of gestalt, as conceived by Fritz Peris, we are able to facilitate a new integration with an appreciation for our shifting polarities and an experience of wonder, affection and joy.  It is possible for us to get in touch with and bring harmony to those conflicted, fragmented parts of ourselves which drain our strengths and stifle our resources.  With gestalt we can increase our awareness of what is in the now.  We explore our dreams, visions, and hopes in the enactment of our ongoing dialogues between our polarities.  In our gestalt dialectics we become fully aware of our total being: our bodies, gestures and feelings, as well as our intellects and fantasies.

Polarities merge, fragments blend, choices crystallize and awareness extends into our own personal gestalt.  As the fragments of our dialogue become obvious, self discovery evolves out of choosing to be ourselves and touching the excitement and hope of responsibility.  What is emerges out of what we are …  alive, strong, creative, real and all here.

Tao Te Ching by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other
Long and short contrast each other
High and low rest upon each other
Voice and sound harmonize each other
Front and back follow one another.
– Tao Te Ching by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

Road Map to Polarities

When people start working in gestalt, it is often difficult for them to find any polarities.  To work in gestalt means to find some way to own parts of you.  That is the beginning of gestalt.  To own and take responsibility for all the parts of you.

The Map for Pillow Talk

Experience – Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk exercize drawing

Paul Reps recalls in “Square Sun, Square Moon” a school in the Orient which teaches a game called “Pillow Talk” to groups of children ten to twelve years old.

On a piece of blank paper, draw a square in the middle.  Number each side, following the drawing.  Give yourself room to write around it.

What you do is write down position one, position two, position three, position four and then the fifth position in the center.  One is your present place, two is the opposite place, three is the merging of one plus two, four is a place of transcendence, and five is integration.

This road map comes from an oriental way of looking at the world which is very much like the concept of merging polarities in gestalt, and it illustrates the way gestalt blends with Oriental thinking.

First Position – Placing Yourself

First Position - Placing Yourself
A.  NOW—sense, think, feel…  (e.g., hard, flat, happy .  ..)
Place yourself in three ways in the first position when you come to your gestalt.

The first level is the now in which you are sensing, thinking, feeling.  Your senses are on a purely physical plane.  Perhaps you are hard-soft, hot-cold, light-heavy, up-down, smooth-jagged, etc.  If you are thinking, then you might be analyzing, judging, remembering, expecting, projecting, etc.  Your feelings might be sad-happy/mad-glad.  This aspect of your consciousness is the external now which means, of course, that even as you write down what you sense, think, or feel, then you will have changed.  Nevertheless, you can give yourself some indication of your present awareness in the now level of your existence.

B.  TRAITS—unique qualities (e.g., dependent, loving,…) The second level of your ongoing place are those “traits” which make up your person, the unique qualities which are yours in special_combination.  This aspect of your consciousness deals with the underlying attitudes you have toward yourself and the implicit or explicit judgements, positive or negative, that you have made about yourself.  The way you see yourself could be as dependent, loving, controlling, allowing, intellectual, impulsive, demanding, depressed, elated, etc.  Also write down those traits which you possess that may not be obvious to others.  Note both the public and private qualities of your “selves” that you have acknowledged and taken responsibility for.
C.  UNFINISHED—I will/won’t let go of my ____) The third level of the first place has to do with unfinished business.  The life decisions which face all of us are, if left undecided, part of the baggage that we carry around with us.  Much of our work in gestalt begins with the yes-no polarity of loose ends in our life.  This business that we have left hanging creates the melodrama which occupies much of our energy.  The chatter in our heads rings of the “I will” and “I won’ts.” “I will/won’t get married, go back to school, get a divorce, have an affair, leave my mother, quit my job, buy a new car, etc.” These are the daily decisions which we take very seriously.  The tragedy, comedy, and heroics of our life are often tied up with “I will/won’t take a stand.” “I will/won’t allow myself to be close to others.” “1 will/won’t let go of my greed, sadness, anger, fear,etc.” These unfinished scripts have an either/or aspect to them.  Much of our being undecided in our life story has lo do with keeping ourselves in the middle with our “maybes” and our “1 don’t (won’t) know.”

As you write down your unfinished’ business, give yourself the luxury of deciding, if only for a brief moment, one way or the other on the important issues in your life.  This is where you come right up to the edge of making a decision, and then you will or won’t.

Second Position: The Opposite Pole

The polarity on point two is the opposite of the place you choose for yourself at point one.  If at point one you were feeling happy, on the other side of that coin could be sadness.  If at point one f you are feeling expectant, on the other side you might be bored.  Think of all the other polarities that are especially important to you and of concern to you at this point in your life.  If at point one you are definite, then at point two you could be confused.  Write down the opposite for each word listed in the first position.  Do this for three levels.  The opposite is whatever fits for you.  Usually the opposite of happy is sad, but for some the opposite of happy might be lonely. Second Position
So at one you have placed yourself, and at two you have made some indication, at least to yourself, that there is part of you that is at another extreme, on the other side of the coin.  It is very important in a gestalt when you are owning or taking responsibility for the different parts of yourself that you temporarily suspend judgements.  This is going to be hard for you to do.  You are going to make judgements; such as the “dependent side of me is obviously inferior to my independent self…  it gets me in all kinds of trouble and that independent self is the one that I side with.” Try not to make that kind of judgement about which of the polarities is “best.” If you have difficulty suspending judgements, then you might have to start on your polarity work as the “judge.” If you don’t choose sides between one or the other polarities, then you can form strong identifications with both of your polarities, just let yourself experience the two-sided coin of the polarity. A.  NOW—sense, think, feel…  (e.g., soft, round, sad …)

B.  TRAITS—what you see in you…  (e.g., independent, angry …)

C.  UNFINISHED—I won’t/will..” (e.g., let go of my ___.”

Tao Te Ching by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

“What one says is wrong, the other says is right; and what one says is right, the other says is wrong.  If the one is right while the other is wrong, and the other is right while the one is wrong, then the best thing to do is to look beyond the right and wrong.”

“Chuang Tsu”, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

Dialogue

Merging of first and second positions

Now let these two fragmented parts of you blend into an ongoing here and now dialogue.  Recreate the polarity that seems to be the most important—Look through the list of your polarities right now and take the one that seems to be giving you the most visible sign of discomfort.  This polarity is the one that seems hard to assimilate.  You wonder, “How did I get into this ridiculous dialogue?”

Just circle the polarity on your road map that you feel is the most significant polarity to you at the moment, at this place.  Write down a few of the sentences that characterize the feelings and attitudes of your polarity as they develop the dialogue with each other.  This will be the polarity that is absorbing a lot of your mental and physical energy in your day-to-day existence.  You might even have a sense of futile despair about ever resolving the problems created by this polarized aspect of your life.  This is the emerging gestalt which spontaneously arises as the most obvious right now, even if you feel frustration and think “there’s no way to win.”

This conversation between your polarities of positions one and two will be written down now as an “I and You” talk between the two selves.  Perhaps it would help you to recreate the conversation if you will give each part a name such as “Harried Harry” hassles “Calm Charlie,” or “Silly Sally” nags “Serious Charlotte.” Before you can experience yourself as whole or complete, you sometimes have to allow yourself to become the separated parts of yourself.  The dialogue usually follows four levels: Accusation; Identification; Clarification; Negotiation.

The dialogue this person chose was the loving-indifferent polarity.  As the intra personal encounter begins, the polarities are often locked in the deadly combat of ruthless accusations and defensive counter accusations.  Each side blames the other for the pain that you feel.  The next level of this back-and-forth conversation consists of a stubborn and sometimes energetic identification of the dissimilarities between the polarities.  At this layer, the dialogue is characterized by an increasing disparity and a seemingly irresolvable stalemate.  As the identifications crystallize, the gap between our selves becomes wider.

The third clarification layer of the dialogue slowly emerges as the tape loop in your head becomes recreated on the hot seat.  The ping-pong game of self torture loses some of its zing when you force yourself to listen to the harangue out loud.  Gradually the endless treadmill of building yourself up or tearing yourself down moves away from nagging to mutual understanding and trust where both “sides” begin to see and hear each other.

The following dialogue illustrates one person’s gestalt moving through the four layers of the dialogue on the way to negotiation and closure.


LOVING… INDIFFERENT…

ACCUSATION…

Let loose and let yourself feel.

I don’t feel anything.

You’re afraid to feel.

I’m not afraid.  I just don’t want to put out the effort.

IDENTIFICATION…

You want to be a vegetable.

NO.  No—1 don’t want to be like that.

Now you’re beginning to feel.

Yes—1 feel resentful toward you.

That’s better than no feeling.

You’re right.  .  .  I feel now.

CLARIFICATION…

Go on, feel.

I feel hopeful.

NEGOTIATION…

I’m glad you’re feeling hopeful.

I want something from you.

O.K.  ask.

I want you to practice feeling frequently beginning now.

Right now.  I feel silly.

Great!

I will do what you’re asking and I’m not minding the effort.

Will you give any effort to being with people?

Yes, I’ll make the effort to give more openly and freely of my loving and caring as long as you stay off my back when I need to be quiet and indifferent.

CLOSURE…

O.K., I will give you that.

Whew.  I feel lighter.


The conversation leaves our person feeling hopeful and peaceful.

Third Position: Merging of One and Two

Now imagine that you move yourself into position three where the two parts of you merge.  It is as though you are the apex of a triangle where the other two points of the triangle are the two opposing polarity points at one and two.  And here you are in the middle with those two polarities merged.

Close your eyes if you want to and visualize yourself at the apex of a triangle.  Have your two polarities slide into you and merge to see what you feel when that happens.  Imagine yourself as one polarity, see yourself as the other polarity, and let them both slide in on you, stay with your feeling long enough to be able to give your experience a word.  You could be horrified or relieved or frustrated.  Once you find your word, write it down at point three.

The third position requires that you look in as an audience on your own script from a position which will find you in one of three attitudes: Arbitrating; Judging; Watching.  You can begin to move back step by step from your script.


A.  ARBITRATE—frustrated, hopeless, tired, relieved, compromise… As an arbitrator you will attempt to reach a compromise between your polarities.  Out of frustration, hopelessness or fatigue you may try to get the polarities to listen to each other.  Or you may even feel relieved that they are finally talking to each other and with this encouragement you go on to arbitrate a further reconciliation.
B.  JUDGE—top dog/underdog On the other hand, you may be taking sides when you hear your conversation out loud for the first time.  As the judge you will render a decision as to which side of you is right, and in this mode you will probably punish the wayward, erring side of your polarity, judgmental self-righteousness will characterize your position.  Or perhaps you will be the benevolent patriarch who offers an edict for resolution.
C.  WATCH—LET YOURSELF ALONE—no self help, no resolutions, no intervention, no buildup, no tear down. The final attitude at the third position involves letting yourself alone as the witness.  You avoid intervention in the process of you observing yourselves.  You are not necessarily detached from yourself.  You never stop being yourself.  You are not, however, striving for a solution to your conflicts.  You are not tearing yourself down or building yourself up.  You are, in the way of the Indian, able to see Yourself as you are.

“No.  my son, there is no such thing as good and bad.  This is only used by the white men to create fear among themselves…  the answer to this conflict is the Give-Away.  Whenever one gives from his heart, he also receives.” From Seven Arrowsby Hyemeyohsts Storm

As you witness yourself without needing to change or manipulate yourself, then you have come to the “Give-Away” and you can receive yourself in your heart.  You can give yourself grace to be yourself.  You are in the present to simply experience yourself as you are, not as you should be or have to be.  You are moving toward Transcendence.

Fourth Position: Transcendence

Stay with the notion of the triangle, and instead of being a part of the triangle, just come up above the triangle and look down.  See your polarities, and see yourself merging from a point of transcendence.

Look down on yourself from way above.  Pictorially, just draw a triangle on the page and stand over yourself and see what happens.

A.  REMEMBER—your calm center

B.  SYMBOLIZE—sign, word, sound…

C.  RECOGNIZE

Ask yourself, “Do I feel sad or happy, relieved to be out of it, a little scared to be away from myself that much?”

Write down whatever you feel when you get up above that triangle and look down.  Give your transcendent place a word.  Allow yourself to transcend above the chaos of your polarities.  Move into the possibility of yourself merging to go above yourself.

This experience can strike you as being very silly, absurd, tragic, heroic, or joyful.  When you transcend yourself, where do you go? Give your feeling a word; with one word, describe your whole state of being.

When you have found the word to describe your experience, close your eyes and withdraw into yourself.  Repeat your word and be aware of your body so that your body can tell you where your transcendence lives within you.  When you have located the part of your body and have stayed long enough in your awareness to get familiar with this place, open your eyes.

Transcendence is a place of the heart, a place of peace much like the heart chakra.

Transcendence at place four is not the opposite of place three at the combined merger of the triangle.  Four is the state you are in after you look back over your shoulder at yourself.  This is the dance you do after you come out of your trance.  This transcendence is the fruit of your self-conscious awareness in the now.

Up to now this exercise might have been, for you, essentially an intellectual experience.  You are forming the beginning of your work in gestalt.  You will be able to use gestalt technique with all of your polarities as you emerge in your relationships, your visions, your dreams, your total experience. This dialogue will go on for the rest of your life.

“…the sage does not bother with these distinctions but seeks enlightenment from heaven.  So he sees “this”, but “this” is also “that”, and “that” is also “this”.  “That” has elements of right and wrong, and “this” has elements of right and wrong.  Does he still distinguish between “this” and “that”, or doesn’t he? When there is no more separation between “this” and “that”, it is called the still-point of Tao.  At the still-point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.”
“Chuang Tsu” Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

Don’t get discouraged.  So you don’t have one merged polarity and think “No more gestalt, I’ve had my medicine for this lifetime.” Gestalt is not necessarily designed to make you feel better right off the bat.  A lot of times it is valuable to stay with your hopelessness or your confusion or your ambivalence or whatever.  Stay with yourself until you work all the way through it.  On the way to transcendence you may have to go through the void, through the impasse.

“That is why it is said in Islam, ‘Die before you die.’ We have to learn to die to each moment; and as we die in love so we are reformed in love.”

“It needs great courage to die each moment.  But until you can truly surrender you are not yet a salik, a traveller on the way.  A salik is one who has found himself.  And when he knows himself he knows the truth, and knows what needs to be done.”
Hamid in “The last Barrier” by Reshad Field

Love yourself and remember that you are perfect.  That allows you to say “I don’t have to be perfect.  I am perfectly human, humanly perfect.” Then you are able to recognize others…  love everything and everyone—sharing.

Many times the spot you pick as a place of transcendence will correspond to the chakra points.  These points are centers where the nerve plexi enervate emotional responsiveness.  “Where did you find your spot of transcendence?”, we ask our students, who answer, “In my belly, abdomen, forehead, wrist, genitals, top of my head, back of my spine, etc.  etc.” Once you have identified the physical spot within you where you feel transcendent, then you know that you can always find yourself.  Whenever you feel off balance, you can return to your center.

Fifth Position: Integration

Now, can you come back out of your thinking for a minute and experience your physical body, your sensations and your feelings.  The work of gestalt is much more than the intellectual understanding.  With this exploratory experience of the pillow talk you are able to place yourself in perspective, to see, taste, touch and smell some of the polarities you might be working on.  The work of gestalt starts now.
The Map for Pillow Talk
Go to one, and if you want to, close your eyes.  What are the lines that you want to say at point one? “When I am a coward…,” if that is one your polarities …”I am a …  I see myself trembling, I experience myself as not wanting to take very many risks.  I feel anxious a lot of the time, I keep myself withdrawn from experiences of others”—Write this down—a little bit of your script in the here and now.  Use the first person.  “I, I’m, I feel, I think, I want—I’m a coward.  I feel nervous, worried.  I think that nothing is ever going to work out, and I want to curl up and go to sleep” is an example of the script that you might use as a coward.  It will help if you could just write down “I think, I feel, I want”, and your script to complete these sentences

“Having transcended all life, he began to achieve the clear vision of dawn.   Having achieved the clear vision of dawn, he began to see the One.  Having seen the One, he began to transcend the distinction of past and present, he began to enter the land where there is no life or death, where killing does not take away life and giving birth does not add to it.  He would reject nothing, welcomed all things, negated all things, and affirmed all things.  This is called tranquillity in struggle, meaning perfection is the result of struggle.” – “Chuang Tsu” Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

At this place of closure and integration everything you are is operating spontaneously.  There are no stops and no starts.  No trouble shifting gears.  Put down a few words to describe how you feel this place- You are taking time to write, and this is a good device for getting clear with yourself.  Your polarities will emerge if you have got your script sketched, and then you will move into a spontaneous experience as the dialogue within you unfolds.

Now move over to the opposite of the polarity, to the other side of the coin.  And when you are at point two in that polarity, what is your script over there? “I think, I feel, I want.” This is the I-You dialogue and the sentences run on.  You are now into a dialogue which begins with you, all of you.  The process of merging the two polarities comes from the dialogue you have between the two of them.  Do you have a feeling for yourself?

Move to three with your script and end at four.
What was your word at point four?
Who are you?
Give yourself freedom to be you.

The Paradox of Being: In and Out of Your Selves

In gestalt we are creating a situation in which the person is able to explore the split within himself.  This dialogue of division can also be experienced in your body as a right-left split or top-bottom half conflict.  As each polarity speaks its piece, the possibility for resolution is increased.  As the internal mental and physical dialogues are re-enacted, then we are able to let go of the unfinished business of unfulfilled daydreams and futile speculations.  We are able to recognize that we have created frozen polarities as a way of maintaining the status quo of what we think “should” happen.  As we are able to identify with both “Sides” of our self, then we come to see the absurdity of splitting ourselves.  The polarity dialogue helps us realize that our ego is not a separate entity maintained by one-sided judgements (e.g., it’s better to be loving than impatient) and at the expense of our unified self (capable of both love and impatience).

The gestalt dialogue with the empty pillow/chair is much like Plato’s idea of the cave and the shadow.  We all cast ourselves on the wall from the fire in the middle of our ego.  Moreno, Berne and Peris have all adapted the notion of the empty chair to be used in the therapeutic quest.  We can hope to balance ourselves only when we are able to bring our full awareness to the shadows we cast on the wall and the one-sided images we have created with our one-sided view of the rightness and wrongness of our personality traits.

The organic process of self discovery comes only when we can live freely with the paradox of determinism and free will.  The business of gestalt is to use the awareness of self in the service of letting go of the need for your selves as separate from you.  You can learn to shuttle in between yourself and out of yourself with ease by using the two empty pillows as a mirror for each other. As your reflections across the pillows become complementary instead of antagonistic, then you can more easily appreciate the unity of the first and second positions of the road map.  If you doggedly cling to one side or the other and deny that you have a choice, then you cling to determinism.  If you exercise your moment to moment choices to move freely from one to two to three, four or five and back again, then you affirm free will.  One important step to gestalt work is to work through the paradox of being both parts of yourself simultaneously but separately, (e.g., at your work you are loving, but at home you are impatient).  This juggling game is the source of much discomfort to many people.  This is called “living with” inconsistent nature.  As a temporary measure it is necessary to give equal time to the loving side and the impatient side, but this is not the end of the work.  As you move into the fifth position on the gestalt road map, you are able to render the paradox of dualities meaningless by being both loving and impatient.  Later on, you are just loving or just impatient as you can be in this process of paradoxical resolutions.

The Five Stages of Resolving Paradoxical Duality

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

DENY Who, me impatient? No, I’m always loving.
SHUTTLE I can be loving at work and impatient at home.
SIMULTANEOUS I can be both.  Like a game.
BOTH HERE AND THERE I am both
There is just loving and just impatience.
Later on as we do more of our gestalt dialogues, we can allow more room for just living our lives instead of trying to program the resolution of dualities.  Later on, you can let go of watching yourself, let go and realize you simply are.  Here, there and everywhere.

A genuine contract between the opposing polarities will usually result in a lessening of crippling indecision, righteous prejudice, and internal struggles.  The person whose dialogues have begun to merge can experience seemingly incompatible qualities such as love, impatience, fear and joy, all at the same time or in the same situation without being “stuck” at any one point.  (The love within a person can be in the foreground as figure, and impatience can be as ground all at the same time.) The synthesis of these polarities will result in a profound sense of being whole.

Experiences in this Section

You begin to remember your wholeness with:

  • 1.  Pillow Talk Polarities
  • 2.  Dialogue Four Levels
  • 3.  Merging Three Levels
  • 4.  Transcendence
  • 5.  Integration

 

 

 

 

Gestalt Processes Simplified  gestfritz

Introjection,  Projection, Confluence and Retroflection.

 

 

An individual must learn to balance and adjust to fitting his/her boundaries into a socially acceptable gestalt.  Many

med1disturbances in individuals arise from the inability to find and maintain the proper balance between self and the rest of the world, boundaries are the way in which discernment is allowed to protect him/her against the threat of being overcrowded with unnecessary stimulation from the rest of the world.  We have a great need to form these boundaries and a structure.  Many side effects occur when improper boundaries are not set:  addictions, disease, aches and pains, antisocial behaviors, codependency, and many more which I am sure you can identify without my help.

 

 

 

INTROJECTION—-Introjections are undigested attitudes, ways of acting, feeling and evaluating,  that we swallowed whole, usually from our primary caretakers, however anyone who was a main character in our early lives would be a person to whom we looked as a “rule giver”.  Introjects are undiscerned pieces of the whole which we  never analyzed before we took them into our psychological system; they often form the SHOULDS and OUGHT TO’s in our make-up.  To be REAL and in touch with our own integrity and morality we must digest and master what is truly our own, truly a part of the personality.  Bit if we simply accept these rules and beliefs whole-hog and gestparentuncritically, on someone else’s say so, or because they are fashionable or safe or traditional or unfashionable or dangerous or revolutionary—they lie heavily on us—introjects become undigested materials. They are still foreign bodies even though they may have taken up residence in our minds.  Many times, one can see blocks of energy around the stomach area (unusual protection of the undigested material).  The dangers of introjections are two fold; first of all, the man who introjects never gets a chance to develop his own personality, because he is so busy holding down the foreign bodies he has swallowed whole.  The more introjects he has saddled himself with, the less room there is for him to express or even discover what he himself is.  And in the second place, introjections contributes concepts, you may find yourself torn to bits in the process of trying to reconcile them.  And this is a fairly common experience today.  We end up incorporating into ourselves standards, attitudes, ways of acting and thinking, possibly coming from mother and father, which are not truly ours.  Introjection moves the boundary between ourselves and the rest of the world so far inside ourselves that there is almost nothing of us left.  I look at clients whose  language reflects many shoulds, trying to get permission, etc.  Or one who is very angry and does not have anyway of expressing that anger, so it lies in the stomach area.  Women introject many shoulds around how you are suppose to be a mother/wife…SHOULD, SHOULD,. Until they have had all they can take and develop a physical ailment in the female parts of the body, breasts, uterus, etc.  The extrication of these introjects and the examining and discernment process need to take place in order for healing to occur.  Identifying the Shoulds, and Ought to Bee’s in our lives is one great step to solving the extrication.

 

 

Projection —– Reverse of introjection.

 

As introjection is the tendency to make the self responsible for what actually is part of the environment, so projection is the tendency to make the environment responsible for what originates in the self.  Clinically, we recognize that the disease of paranoia, which is characterized by the development of highly organized system of delusions, is the extreme case of projection…..that is not what we are talking about. Here…this is the projections of which we are all guilty, like the highly aggressive personality who, unable to bear the responsibility for his own wishes, feelings, and gestprojdesires, attaches them to objects or people in the environment who will hold the projection and fit the pattern beautifully.  A person who feels he is being persecuted unfairly, in fact may be making the statement that he would like to persecute others.  That which you have tremendous energy to unload on others, is often very true of SELF….In projection, then, we shift the BOUNDARY between ourselves and the rest of the world a little too much in our own favor—in a manner that makes it possible for us to disavow and disown those aspects of our personalities which we find difficult or offensive or unattractive.  And this is very important….IT IS OUR INTROJECTS THAT LEAD US TO THE FEELINGS OF SELF-CONTEMPT AND SELF-ALIENATION THAT PRODUCE PROJECION.   The over-wary, over-cautious person, who tells you he wants friends and wants to be loved, but who tells you at the same time that “you can’t trust anyone, they’re all out for what they can get,” is a projector par excellence.

 

When working with people listen to how many times they talk about someone else, either positive or negative, (positive projections are as important to own, as are negative ones), they will use You…much of the time, second person in their verbalizations.  Gossip is something that Fritz Perls never allowed in the Gestalt Community…as it was about someone to someone else. instead of face to face,  projections run rampant in gossip.

 

Gestalt work is a very hard-nosed therapy, but, it really stresses honesty with self . If we clean up our own psychology, then, it makes the world a better and more ethical place to be, because we are essentially not going around messing on other people with our projections.  Ask yourself before you are making a judgment of another, are you sure that it is not you, you are talking about?

 

CONFLUENCE….

 

Boundaries are very diffused when we are confluent, as confluence indicates that the individual feels no boundary at all between himself and his environment, when he feels that he and it are one…he is in CONFLUENCE…Parts and whole are indistinguishable from one another…..The person in whom confluence is a severe state cannot tell what he gestboundariess or feels and cannot tell what other people are or feel….He feels all of the feelings and all of the emotions and identity, without boundaries.  As he is unaware of the boundary between himself and others, he cannot make good contact with them.  Nor can he withdraw from them.  Indeed, he cannot even make contact with himself….This has serious social consequences too.  In confluence, ONE DEMANDS LIKENESS AND REFUSES TO TOLERATE ANY DIFFERENCES. We find this in parents whose children become merely extensions of themselves.  Such parents lack the appreciation that their children are bound to be unlike them in at least some respects.  Grammatically, you can pick up confluence to a degree, by the person’s over usage of the word  “we”, speaking for all instead of speaking for SELF.  When one is counseling or listening to another, often there are tears on both sides…or even when tears flow, it is a state of confluence.  Confluence is necessary for a counselor to feel compassion, but also the counselor must have the ability to attach.  The healer can feel and see into the body…but, must become removed from the body to objectify the knowledge. and do what is necessary to heal…

 

 

 

 

 

RETROFLECTION   the last of the Gestalt defense mechanisms…we use to set boundaries…

 

Retroflection, literally means “turning back sharply against.”  The retroflection knows how to draw a boundary line between him and the environment,  and he draws a neat and clean one right down the middle–but he draws it down the middle of himself.  THE INTROJECTOR DOES AS OTHERS WOULD LIKE HIM TO DO, THE PROJECTOR DOES UNTO OTHERS WHAT HE ACCUSES THEM OF DOING TO HIM, THE CONFLUENT PERSON DOESN’T gestaltretrofKNOW WHO IS DOING WHAT TO WHOM, AND THE RETROFLECTOR DOES TO HIMSELF WHAT HE WOULD LIKE TO DO TO OTHERS. When a person retroflex behavior, he treats himself as he originally wanted to treat other persons or objects.  He stops directing his energies outward in attempts to manipulate and bring about changes in the environment that will satisfy his needs; instead, he redirects his activity inwards and substitutes himself in place of the environment as the target for behavior.  To the extent that he does this, he splits his personality into doer and done to.  He literally becomes his own worse energy.

 

 

Again the grammatical usage of the client can reveal which of the processes is working at any given moment…As introjection displays itself in the use of the pronoun “I” when the real meaning is “they;” as projection displays itself in the use of the pronouns,  “you”, “it”, or “they,”  when the real meaning is “I”  as confluence displays itself in the use of the pronoun “we” when the real meaning is in question;  so retroflection displays itself in the use of the reflective, “myself”. The retroflection says, “I am ashamed of myself,” or “I have to force myself to do this job.”   He makes an almost endless series of statements of this sort, all of them based on the surprising conception that he and himself are two different people.

 

 

 

 

 

By Kenan Branam

Image result for gestalt pictures(For many years, I worked with Kenan Branam and we were soul companions, briefly married, but remained friends.  This article was written during that time and is an intelligent discussion of how Gestalt fits into Astrology. We often wrote off of each other and these could just have easily been my words. He died recently and this is my tribute to him.  Thank you Ken for all of your hard work and dedicated service to mankind.)

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”

Shakespeare said something like that. He offered a paradigm of reality seeing life as a dramatic play in which we are all compelled to “read our lines” and meet our inevitable end. This fatalistic view of reality was not original to Shakespeare. History credits Greek Tragedy with an earlier version.

In more modern times, Constantin Stanislavski, Russian stage actor/director, and teacher developed a method of “being” not just acting that would foster individual spiritual growth. (Read more about it – The Transpersonal Actor) He had a more optimistic paradigm of reality. He prophesied that we, as individuals, could create our own lives through self expression, reaching deep into our psychic resources. Perhaps he understood Shakespeare’s other wisdom, “The play’s the thing, to catch the consciousness of the King.”

Stanislavski recognized that these resources were both personal and universal. Tapping into the same pool of intuition, Carl Jung charted these deep waters and named it the “collective unconscious”. His identification of “archetypes” became a “cast of characters ” or “roles” that each of us access unconsciously to play out our personal life scripts.

Fritz Perls, the Father of Gestalt Therapy, brought the “play” to group work and individual personal growth with the “hot seat” dialogue. He facilitated both the verbal scripts and the intuitive experience to guide the client toward greater self awareness and intentional integration.

How I learned Astrology

I had been practicing Gestalt in group and individual session for several years when I became curious about esoteric subjects like astrology and tarot. I had practiced dialogues with imaginary people (my father, mother, significant others), empty chairs and pillows, trees, animals, and of course, the “world” as I saw it. When I recognized astrology as archetypal, I included its symbols in my personal work. I would say, in a Gestalt session, “I am Mars!”, and then experienced the back flow of my declaration. Feelings of fear, anger, challenge, excitement, images of war and violence, even physical responses such as deeper breaths, flushed skin, spontaneous flexing of muscles in my arms and thighs, energy coalescing into images of ancient Roman warriors. “I am a Warrior!” I would say as I “owned” and accepted the warrior in myself (filtered through Carlos Castaneda’s “Warrior”.)

“I am Scorpio!” I felt a rush of sexual feelings and images with a sudden need to hide them from the group. Alas, I didn’t know it then, but I was beginning to tune into and integrate my Mars in the 10th house in Scorpio with the subtleties of its oppositions, conjunctions and square to Pluto…my T-Square, my ongoing process, my Gestalt.

With psychodrama, pillow talk dialogue, and time to meditate, I began to realize that Something powerful flowed through me on it’s way through animals and plants and planets. To me, Mars is not just a small red dot in the sky, an intellectual concept, nor just a thing…. it’s Me. I give “My Mars” more of it’s share of my life and value it as a unique part of myself… and part of the Universe at the same time. With this spiritual connection, I began to feel a little bit more at home in Universe.

With only street knowledge of astrological symbolism, I built a base of personal knowledge and experience that I later discovered corresponded to “key words and phrases” in the cookbooks of Astrology. Astrology has become a part of me. And I’m a part of Astrology!

“Astrology is not something to BELIEVE in… It’s something to KNOW about.”- Noel Tyl

The Gestalt Approach to Reading a Chart

Fritz Perls’ definition of the Gestalt process comes from objectively watching the natural way that living beings deal with life’s essential needs such as hunger, aggression, mating, etc. Simply speaking, we all follow a similar process of becoming aware of what we want or need, focusing on a method of satisfying the need, acting out the plan, and reaching completion and integration. We’re hungry, we find food, eat it, digest it, assimilate it, become satisfied and, hopefully, move on to the next gestalt. We move from general awareness to specific back to general … with some growth happening in the process. The process is cyclic and never ending just as we must continue to breath in and out to stay alive.

The Gestalt approach to Astrology, from the “reader’s” point of view, is about looking at the Natal Condition from a process perspective. Seasoned professional Astrologers have learned various ways to “see” a chart from a process point of view. As they say, “I get a picture of who the person is.” Then they work toward communicating their vision to the client with greater or lesser degree of success.

From the broadest perspective, everyone’s natal chart has a unique visual configuration that forms an harmonious circle. After all, the solar system is always in harmony, so it’s important that we, as Astrologers, recognize that harmony and the potential for integration inherent in every client’s chart.

Then as we begin to notice groupings of the planets in quadrants: above and below or Eastern and Western. We assign meaning to these patterns representing the native’s propensity to certain psychological states such as introvert/extrovert or inner/outer. We might also identify karmic conditions that influence the native’s life mission and how it will likely be “acted out”.

Next we can focus on specific groups of planets in signs and house and what angles they make to each other. We can assign meaning to such patterns as Grand Squares, Mystic Rectangles, or “buckets”, etc.

At some point in our process of attention, we move from a broad perspective to a more analytical perspective, perhaps, to delineation. Finally, we return to “the big picture” through such techniques as Maritha Pottenger’s number system or Joan Negus’ “three times is the charm”. One might say we switch from right-brain to left-brain, from a Pisces to a Virgo perspective, or harmonize some personal opposition or square in our own chart. The process of awareness that we use to read the client’s chart is our own version of the gestalt process. It is HOW we deal with the world. It is how we ARE in the world.

When we, as Astrologers, look at another person’s natal chart from a gestalt perspective, we can sometimes relate to their primary processes of awareness and assume we can discriminate between our own propensities and our client’s.

The Experiential Gestalt Astrology Session

The Mandala work is a facilitated exercise performed by the Native (you) in a group or private session. It is an empowering opportunity for you as a client to participate and contribute.

A 12′ astrological natal chart is drawn on the floor. Spheres as symbols of the planets signs are placed on the grid corresponding to their positions in your natal chart. After you have had a few moments of sitting in the middle of the Mandala, having a physical experience of the colors, symbols, and their spatial relationships, you then begin a conversation with planets representing aspects of yourself: your present conflicts, dilemmas, “other” people in you life, even memories, dreams, and reflections.

Intellectual concepts and symbols are “fleshed out” with the drama of your life scripts, enabling meaning and purpose. Conflicting internal dialogues from opposing planets negotiate new contracts for more integrated behavior. Trine and sextile planets become consciously supportive. Unconscious planets join the team and show up with greater resources.

Everything that is important to you in your life is reflected in your natal chart and emphasized by current transiting planets. As you interact with your natal chart and the symbols of planets, signs, modalities, and elements, you develop an intuitive understanding of astrological energies and processes.

The Role of the Gestalt Astrology Facilitator

Being a Gestalt Facilitator is a way of relating to another person in a consulting or teaching role that requires quite different objectives and procedures than would an astrologer or psychoanalyst, for that matter. More emphasis is placed on empowering the “client” to experience his/her own processes and integrate new awareness’ into her/his life skills. The Gestalt Facilitator primarily acts as a “clear” mirror to reflect the client’s behavior back to their own awareness.

The Astrological Natal Chart is an objective mirror in the form of a visual symbol. While it is very focused and detailed, its archetypal principles provide unlimited depth of meaning. When we, as Astrologers, “read” a chart for a client, the benefits we offer are limited to our specific knowledge of astrology, our communication skills, the client’s ability or state of mind to listen, and the time/space limits of our session. With a gestalt approach, we can open the door, the natal chart, to greater possibilities of experience and understanding for the client. The potential of the client’s awareness is invited and, providing that the Facilitator is skillful and clear, even enhanced, allowing the client to leave a session with, not only greater knowledge but with greater self awareness of personal power.

Gestalt as a psychological approach is a cognitive modality that facilitates integration of body, emotions, mind, and spirit, enabling an experience of essential being, clarity, self-support, and personal empowerment. When applied to Astrology, the Gestalt experiential process provides an opportunity to transform the Ancient Wisdom of Astrology into a personal, existential experience of our Natal Integrity.

…and God divided the light from the darkness…The Gestalt Perspective

Gateways to Shadow Work Image result for carl jung pictures

As we move toward change and complete our own personal ascension into the Soul and Spirit that we are, understanding the nature of the ‘work’ that must be done to make that leap,  we must come to terms with the unknowns, the ‘shadows’ that live in our personal unconscious.  These are parts of the self that are seen only briefly with full emotional output, as a projection toward others, judgments, emotional angst, incomplete parts of our own darkness, all of which reveals itself only in the periphery of our reflection toward self.  If these shadows are not seen for what they are, they move into a more global and collective shadow which is then manifested by larger areas of the population.  How many of you have watched the news, seen hate crimes, terrorists, destruction and wondered how this could happen?  It happens when we no longer are compassionate, spiritual beings, understanding the nature of things we repress and living them out response ably.

“We carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis, we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow. And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.” Carl Jung: CW:11, p. 12

The old beliefs, the old lies, the old rigidity reeks havoc on our bodies. By taking inventory on these bodily manifestations, we might be able to build a new and more open body for our soul’s infusion into self. We come to this planet through an intense energy of light vibration and as we incarnate and get closer to the earth, the magnetic field gets dense; the thought forms manifest. Lo and behold! we land on this earth in physical form, taking on, within our bodies all the beliefs and grounded interactions that are on this planet; all the paradigms, the belief systems, the families, the personalities, the governmental and cultural structures, the place which houses our bodies…we take all of it into our body ..and then we begin processing this persona in this life. Our body holds all of what we are and what we are to become, and reveals itself by our own relationship to it. This body awareness is essential in understanding the nature of things we need to change as we enter the Gateways of 2012.

We are always in a state of learning, feeling, sensing, intuiting, that which our body is telling us. What is your body telling you? In our work with others, therapeutically, we develop dialogues within the body, which, eventually will be exemplified on this site, but until then, let’s look at the psychological processes by which we learn more about our shadows as they are reflected in our bodies, the buried periphery in our personal unconscious.

We are going to go over some general meanings regarding body armor and body shadow energy. The SHADOW is that part of you which is reflected in your relationships, projections, high energy involvements, and seems to always slip past your energy boundaries into your body when not processed. The body creates the actual MIRROR of your body as a temple of worship so that you have to pay attention and maintain some vigilant disciplines about the care and nurturing of your own body. After we go through these general meanings of character armor, much of which we learned through the study of Wilhelm Reich, Fritz Perls, and Alexander Lowen, but mostly just through my psychic intuition, and a alchemical approach to all of the leading psychologies, we will see how relevant this is to the changes that need to be made at a personal and highly intimate level. We manifest in our bodies the following symptoms so that we can learn how to deal with this dense planet and get past the process in order to become more aware and conscious, as well as ‘response able’ to our authenticity.

The head is the part of us that is caught up in logos, thinking, intellect, analyzing and many of us operate totally from our heads trying to make sense of all that comes to us and from us. Even as I am writing this, my head is using up all its oxygenation and I am not focusing on breathing into my head to prevent headaches…too much energy focused in one area for any length of time, will create stagnation in that area, due to no oxygen. Headaches and more head injuries create a need to get out of our minds and into our bodies..

The speech mechanisms in the throat and all around the chest area can create such blocks as laryngitis, polyps, our children who have speech defects because we have not learned to communicate our truths. Yes, even our children manifest our ‘denial of body’. Sometimes the lessons have to be given with a 2 X 4 over the head in the form of our progeny.

Our hearts get blocked, big time, due to our inability to love self, others, without limitation, judgment, and willingness to receive love and nurturance. Many people think that it is a matter of action of loving. I see it as a shutting down to receiving love unconditionally. Our inability to receive touch, care, love….all of this shuts the heart down to a screeching halt. This is reflected in pains on the left side of the body as well as the lack of circulation and mobility at that level.

Our stomachs are loaded with the unexpressed anger; the abandonment of the mother or the unavailability of the mother/nurturance. There is lactose intolerance, because we were fed with attachment and with the toxicity of the mother’s attachment or abandoning, both creating the same polarity. The over mothering is just as abandoning of the child as the mother who leaves her child on the doorstep of the ‘other’.

Our pelvises and sexual chakras are the seat of kundalini, and shock us into action through frustration, through charisma, through magnetic chemistry between us and others. The planet is going through major shifts of sexual energy and how we use it. This energy is pristine and we put thoughts/feelings/emotional dramas on this energy so that we can source our more intense selves. We refuse to own our male/female in an authentic manner. We don’t want to look in the face of our husbands, wives, and lovers, and say… He/She is ME ..we are  having a sexual relationship with ourselves,  so we manifest all kinds of problems in our genitalia.

We have mentioned a few of the areas that hold our shadows, parts of self that we project on others ‘to hold’ until such time as we can hold the energy as self, consciously and fully, becoming healthy physically so that we can live longer more fulfilled lives.

Becoming fully conscious of our shadows requires other disciplines that are necessary so that we don’t bury ourselves in our own conscious self. Jung once warned:

 “If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in the “House of the Gathering.” Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.” Carl Jung, CW11: p. 140.

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