Gaining Authority Via Experience Far Outside The Norm

granddad tells a story

I covered this topic in 2014. I’ve learned a lot since then. I now understand how my unusual life experience has set me up as an authority on a number of fronts.  I’m not sure I’d have caught on, had I not met the man featured in this post.

I bet there is something odd about you, so when you read this, you might want to think about your own authority, derived from your own unique experience

Here’s the original post:

I admire a person who can walk on a stage and immediately take command. I’m talking about a Mick Jagger or master stand-up comic. There’s no warm up. It does not take time for the person to grow on you. They have your rapt attention within ten seconds.

It helps if the audience is already enamored with the entertainer, but what if they are not already sold? And what if the person is not an entertainer? Is it still possible to do this? I found that it is.

I went to a talk once, not knowing what to expect. But I certainly didn’t expect a plain man in plain clothes to take the microphone and announce this highly personal fact: once upon a time, two teenage cousins had sex. He was the product of that union!

I was dumbstruck. Did he just say that two cousins had sex and that he was their baby?  He did say that.

He explained he was from a country where abortion was illegal at the time. So he was born, though no one wanted him.

After he was born, he was not treated well by his family. His very existence reminded them of the bad thing that happened, that had shamed the family, profoundly and permanently.

He went on with his story, but my focus in writing this is to look at how a person gains authority by surviving horrible experiences. This is particularly true if the experiences are far outside the realm of anything normal. But only if they take it in that direction. Had the man got up in front of the group and whined, he would not have been near as compelling. But he stood up to offer something. Everyone was curious what that was going to be.

I learned that people want to be taught by someone who has been put their paces and come out in good enough shape, they can stand in front of a room with three hundred strangers and speak to them.

It was a big story from a humble person. Saturn in Sagittarius – I sure liked his approach.

“This is who I am, and this is what I’ve learned…”

Who are you? What have you learned?

43 thoughts on “Gaining Authority Via Experience Far Outside The Norm”

  1. I just thought it was so interesting…on every level. Imagine being the shadow, to this degree, when in utero! You’re going to be born with cloud of scorn and rage, surrounding you and what are you? A newborn! It’s amazing to think about. He turns, 3, 4, 5, 6…at what point does he find out what’s going on around him?

    1. My Mother lived this. Her mother HATED her from the moment she knew she was pregnant, because my Mother embarrassed HER by being born illegitimate. She expressed that hate to my Mother her entire life, even SUED her.

  2. Oh, I like this. I think any successful teacher has to put something of their own story in their work.The focus has to stay on the “lesson” though and not be an opportunity for the teacher to enjoy an opportunity to simply display their own wounds and look for sympathy. (I think that’s why your blog is so successful, Elsa. You’ve got that right.) A friend of mine used to say that she could meet someone, usually a woman, and tell immediately if they had had their Inanna experience in their life. It’s true. When you’ve lost everything, what comes back is authentic.

        1. I googled too. I got some info about the myth and kind of deduced what an innana experience might be. Interesting.

          1. Innana was a sumerian goddess and her story is said to be the oldest in the world. A powerful story of betrayal, friendship and the meeting of the shadow. The losing of everything one holds dear, death and rebirth. The origins of the religious myths we tell today.

            1. Innana is said to be linked to Venus cycle- when retrograde she disappears and reappears as the morning star. Or something like that

            2. if you want to know more about Inanna’s story, i HIGHLY recommend “Descent to the Goddess” by Jungian writer extraordinaire Sylvia Brinton Perera. it’s just 112 pages, and practically every sentence is a universe of wisdom unto itself.

  3. Very interesting. I think I have to potential to integrate this kind of authority. I have sun pluto and Saturn in the 10th and Capricorn rising. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what has happened to me and how it has shaped me. I do know that there is wisdom and ultimately happiness to be had from going through extreme circumstances. There’s some song lyrics that kind of remind me of this.

    I stood on the edge
    And looked down to see
    The light of a new life
    Shining up on me

    I’ve long felt that going to the edge of experience while simultaneously being fully present and in myself is the place to be.

  4. The ironic part of his story is that genetically/physically there’s little danger in cousins procreating, as far as the child’s health/condition goes. Although if it’s repeated too often that isn’t the case, thus the taboo I suspect. This is what I have read at least.

    1. I don’t know the truth of this, but sitting there, the first thing I did when he made the statement, was register how no one would ever guess in a million years. Which was probably one of the reasons I was so immediately engaged. I was learning something, that instant. Namely, that no one knows, if you don’t tell them. It was riveting.

      Also, if you do tell them, it’s not the kind of thing that can be rolled back and no longer known.

      I’m not sure how accessible this might be to someone reading. Because I heard more of the story. But the whole time, I was thinking about how this might affect a person on a cellular level.

      I also left out this part – I saw the man interacting with the audience before the talk started. He was very warm, grinning and such. A happy person with a sparkle to them. I saw Bo Diddly once, at a small concert outdoors and he did the same thing. He was walking around before the show, with his red guitar, chatting with the people who’d come to see him.

      And of both men, I thought of how likable they were. So you can imagine how stunned everyone was, when he stood and came out with this in the first sentence or two of his talk.

      And there’s more! He was not even the main person giving the talk. He was an extra. Like a person in training. It was masterfully done, I’ll say that. And I think all involved are smart enough, it was planned, rather than accidental.

      I am not a public speaker, but if I ever do get up in front of a crowd, I will emulate this guy for sure. I could do what he did, I just never thought of it. So that impacted me as well.

  5. I seen my story in this man, something horrible happened to in my parents life,especially to my mom, it’s hard to not be loved by your Mom, I’ll pass away not having to experience a mother/nurturing. It has help me to become a mothering person, everything happens for a good reason.

  6. Interesting story. Love Dangerfield.
    Jupiter conjunct Neptune? Does that mean someone has the ability to attract listeners?
    I have that conjunction in early degrees of Capricorn. I’m told I should do comedy, and have been doing open poetry readings and have gained a few fans only after reading once.
    This is really funny because it’s made me realize some things: when working as an in-class Tutor, new students who entered the classroom thought I was the Teacher.

    1. Obama was elected (the first time) under a Jupiter Neptune conjunction. I wrote a lot about it at the time. You can search. 🙂

  7. To go back to the cousins marrying question….. It’s illegal in the majority of US states. It’s legal in the UK but not Ireland. It would seem that the percentage of birth defects in children born to these unions is about the same figure as babies born to older mothers. On a personal note, I do remember years ago (UK) one of my cousins starting to show a romantic interest in his first cousin. This was closed down immediately by the family, especially the girl’s side.

    1. its legal in Uk because of the influence of the monarchy. They intermarry a lot to maintain a tight family lineage.(its said to be why they are all a bit mad lol)

    1. I… Am someone who has learned most everything you need to know, with still more to go, and still learning.
      If I get to live to old age, I might very well harbor all important knowledge within my one mind.
      Beautiful, brilliant. Talented, skilled.
      Envied. Attacked. Hated.
      What have I better to do than to write? If I can buckle down, and decide the story to which I will commit.
      Big stories…? I can do that. I created entire universes, and series within my mind prior these harsh transits impairing my writing, and I can definitely deliver something big if I can get down to the work on it, and keep at it until the end.

      Saturn will be dancing for a long time in my Saturn Return.

      After it leaves.
      It’s apparently going to go back into it.
      I didn’t even check yet to make sure it won’t do that multiple times. I was kind of tired.
      If I could bring myself to do the work, and commit to one story, or maybe two at most, I could be an author.
      The problem is that a career isn’t what I’m looking for.
      And, all of my old must be recycled, because I’ve grown up, and I’ve learned a lot. The originals are not satisfaction. I can do better.

  8. Personally I would like the hero if one’s own life to come back. It seems devaluing a person’s worth to one’s self is everywhere. Mind over matter(or circumstance) as Woody Guthrie said in his autobiography. Thanks for sharing…:)

    1. It’s just so intense to imagine this man’s circumstance. It’s probably easier to do if you have some awareness or understanding of both his era (1970’s) and the culture he was speaking of (Brazil). SHADOW through and through…but he became a light in exact proportion.

  9. I have Saturn in Sagittarius opposing Sun in the house natal. I pretty much wear my trauma on my face and body language with Chiron conjunct the Midheaven from the 9th.

    People are always surprised by the life experiences I’ve had

  10. Story of my life, I was an unwanted pregnancy, my Mom was 38 years old when she had me in 1986, we almost died during labor, then there was the constant panic and worry from my father that I was born with Down Syndrome,
    Chiron and the Sun in House 12 and Saturn in Sagittarius in House 6

  11. oh I think I know what it is that gives that authority. First, that Saturn has to have both creepy/icky aspect or by placement so as to give you substance to share – perhaps some tragic pluto/scorpio. Secondly, it has to have an outlet, say sextile for instance, natal but maybe also by transit, or be placed in a communication house, say realms of mercury and sag, even neptune for mesmerizing effect?

  12. Interesting, and inspiring and encouraging for me. Born with Saturn in Sag 17* and Sun 25*, in the 3rd. Unwanted child but a great story unfolded after my birth. I was raised, for 3 years, by two mothers. What they did and how they did it was out unknown of, at the time, in this place. They did it anyway. I do have this unusual life story of which my birth is just the beginning.

    If I tell it, people are genuinely fascinated. I’ve often been told to write it down. I did, in my native language. It’s a book and it’s on some hard drive ever since.

    Jupiter and Neptune are 8* apart, out of sign. I think it’s my intensely private Moon and Mars in Scorpio that are resistant to sharing my story with random people. But if I narrate it in an environment that feels safe, people are captivated and want to hear more.

    Thank you for this post. I found it via the Saturn in Sagittarius tag.

  13. It’s so powerful when one has survived something out of the ordinary and lived to share their experience . These people are so rich in substance, and often confidence/courage. They certainly grab my attention and respect.

  14. How does this align with the idea of a scapegoat? Can it be a subset? A Venn diagram? Or is that simply how one would view themselves or others in a circumstance such as this (gaining the authority)? Or are they two entirely different things?

    This is a great story and your perspective is fascinating!

  15. So, I was think a lot since I responded. For me, I would point to a couple of things in my life that are not as dramatic but they affected me in a way that a certain type of foundation exists under your feet.

    I was born in the midst of some marital strife and that was a type of cloud or vapor that my mother seemed to need to put on me. Not on purpose. Not because she was mean or abusive. I think she just needed to use the situation (me) as a way to assert her independence and her unwillingness to feel subjugated by the patriarchy (and I rarely use all that terminology, I don’t throw that around, but I’m trying to explain how she sees it). I was told things when I was young. Also, from my perspective, she seemed to be making more out of it, out of what the relatives were still thinking and saying (they weren’t, I’m sure, decades later because people move on to the next thing). But she has a Cancer moon, so she won’t ever forget that stuff and it affected her. Anyway, it’s tiresome to always have this cast around you and when I was young I saw both its folly but also I had this feeling of responsibility: don’t be a burden.

    Fast forward some years later when I was in my teens and being a rebel or brat or whatever, and I’d done something like date a kid they didn’t like or stay out late or got drunk at my friend’s house for the first time, and my mother was stressed and fed up and yelling at me. I was probably just stone faced, which she hated because she liked to spar and I didn’t. She said something awful: I should have aborted you.

    (Parents are always human first, even when they love their kids and make mistakes)

    I remember standing there and thinking, lol, well it’s too late now, isn’t it? I’m here now.

    I wasn’t mad. I felt defiant. Like, well fuck you. (lol I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything.)

    So, maybe I do carry some of this like a chip in my shoulder even though I rarely see bring it up. I have never told my husband or friends. Because why? But I think I use both these stories to square my footing even more. To know that a person can call me anything and yes, I may get mad, but I know what I am. So call me the c-word or say I should perish…well, lol that doesn’t even come close to hurting me.

    idk, this blog just made me think of those things.

    1. Sorry, I also want to add that I don’t bring these things up and my feelings, to my husband and friends, because they like my mother and I don’t think it’s pertinent to tell them these things. There’s no real point in appearing to trash her to people who would see her. I’m saying it here because we do get deeper with these subjects. I love my mother. I hope I’m making sense.

      1. I think it’s good to unearth this stuff. I was just out messing with my daylilies, breaking up the clumps, and just improving them. Your process sounds similar! 🙂

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