In case you are not yet aware, I am teaching a series of classes under the heading of Trauma-Informed Astrology. The first course is Fundamentals One starting in February 2021 (a month and a half away). This class is more for beginners and those who dabble in astrology. However, people with a solid astrological background will still get a lot out of taking this initial course.
With that said, I am also planning to teach a Fundamentals Three course starting in March, which will be for serious amateur and professional astrologers. Go back and read through my recent posts for more info. Also click here: https://www.mkirbymoore.com/classes.html
What is the mission statement guiding my vision? It is my intention, soon, to have a few dedicated assistants and possibly even some co-teachers. And if we lose focus or doubt the direction Trauma-Informed Astrology should take, we can always come back to this overarching intention.
Mission: To bring Trauma-Informed Education into the field of Western Astrology.
And as a secondary mission, “To nurture resilience in anyone wanting to heal and repair their nervous system.”
To expand this mission statement, we need to define Trauma-Informed Education. What does it mean to be Trauma-Informed?
In chatting with several colleagues who have been offering Trauma Informed Education for years, the theme I come away with is: We are not our trauma. There is an “essential self,” our “blue print” as it were, the Health Which Is Never Lost that is always inherent in each and every one of us. One of the goals of Trauma-Informed Education is to turn the ship from being oriented to threat (oriented to trauma reactions) toward an orientation to resource, to this essential self, orienting to the Health Which Is Never Lost.
We have to begin orienting to slowing down. Slowing down and being quiet are challenging for some people. There are gentle somatic exercises which make it more comfortable to slow down. Only when we are quieter can we have some introspective awareness. If we are moving at 90 miles an hour, our raw spots and triggers will remain unconscious or we will be stretched-too-thin to really tackle them. Only when we bring awareness to our process can true healing and repair begin. (And it is a long process, so please do be gentle… be kind… we must gradually build in compassion for ourselves and others.)
Also I love what Nkem Ndofu says about what it means to be Trauma-Informed: (I am adding a lot of paraphrasing and commentary)
First, do no harm – in other words, try hard not to re-traumatize people. This makes sense – especially in a culture where violence and tense drama is the norm in the media. We have to nurture a safe, stable container in which it feels safe to heal and repair and release old patterns and reactions. Isn’t it amazing how one of the first questions we want to ask when we hear about a potentially traumatizing event is some form of, “What happened?” When this recapitulation without containment is exactly NOT what a traumatized person needs… And if we do trigger or overwhelm someone, then we want to pause and make repair as soon as possible.
Second, we must recognize the impact of trauma and recovery. This means sharing knowledge about trauma and recovery – what does it look like to stabilize the nervous system? Trauma reactions color so much of the suffering we see in the world – environmental problems, racial injustice, socioeconomic inequality, etc. The Adverse Childhood Experience studies have basically shown that trauma alone is causing billions (if not trillions) of dollars worth of downline health problems. Read that last sentence again after taking a few deep breaths… and know that we are not our trauma. There is Health in each and every one of us (and we can strengthen it).
Once we begin to understand the full implications of having trauma responses locked in the nervous system, then we can take steps to heal, repair and liberate frozen or stuck energy / emotions. This takes time. So we have to understand this is a long-haul process. It requires patience and persistence and a competent, skillful mentor / coach / practitioner. It requires a yearning to do our own inner work.
Next we have to integrate trauma information and recovery tools into policies, procedures and practices. The system must change to be considered truly Trauma Informed. This is a big deal. Therefore, for an organization to be considered entirely Trauma Informed, they must go through many steps. (Fortunately for me, my organization is quite small – me and several grounded assistants.)
Ndofu also mentions that a Trauma-Informed organization aligns with a beautiful set of humane values: (again, followed by my commentary)
- Safety – nurturing a safe, accepting container is vital. Without which, there can be no settling in the nervous system.
- Trust and transparency – leaders of these organizations must do their best to walk their talk, to make repair when a mistake is made, and be willing to own their stuff.
- Collaboration and mutuality – I love this one in particular (of course they are all important!). Coming together with the intention of mutual well-wishing, mutual support and a mutual desire to support the embodiment process is very rare and difficult to find.
- Peer support – support must be available for participants, leaders, practitioners – everyone involved in the organization. Working with trauma is difficult work. We must practice self-care and we must lean into support. We all have raw spots and occasionally get triggered. Only with objective, compassionate support can we work through these old patterns and responses.
- Voice, choice and self-agency – everyone involved in a Trauma-Informed organization must feel seen and heard. If there is a concern, there must be a place for it to be voiced and heard. Language is more invitational, which fosters collaboration. By giving people choices, they can listen to their authentic selves and feel a sense of sovereignty.
- Cultural humility – so important! We must approach everything we do with a sense of humility and modesty. I don’t know all the answers. The way I learned something may not, in fact, be the most effective method. I am open and curious to learn about other cultures, other ways of doing things, other philosophies. This means we all grow by learning about each others’ culture and uniqueness.
This concept of Trauma-Informed is profound. It is my intention to stick to as many of the above intentions as possible – and to invite assistants and support from those who are in alignment with the above descriptions. It is my intention to bring benefit to as many people as possible. And I also know this is a learning process, there will be bumps in the road. I pray that I will have the humility to own my stuff and therefore, to repair any mistakes I make.
Thank you for joining me on this journey!