Twenty Degrees

Twenty degrees


by Maryna Jeanette Johl 

Twenty degrees Capricorn – that’s my moon sign. 
Today amongst other, 
Pluto is exact my moon at 
Twenty degrees. 

The first degree started pre-conception, 
When roughly I was catapulted 
Into existence, 
Evidently without consent. 

Was this the birth of my “consent” activism – 
Before I even had words? 
Consciousness floating in silence, screaming and crying –
Awareness without bliss. 

Next, second degree trauma from my parents’ divorce – 
Caught in the bitter snare 
That births singularity of 
Relationship’s fray….

Twenty Serpentine Rd. 
Mercurial scintillating swirl that 
Swept me mercilessly 
Into Orpheus’ terrain. 

Third Degree happened at five years old, 
When Grandpa died 
(another of my Free Mason Fathers) –
Underworld experience.  

Persephone snatched: 
The seeds spread… 
Bleeding pomegranate juice, 
Oozing ever outward;

And so she became an Orphan Child,
By virtue of her Silence. 
Gretel wandering the forest alone, 
At first accompanied by her brother. 

Round one, they had collected stones – 
and this could lead them home. 
Round two, only breadcrumbs,
an inadequate supply. 

The cake house beckoned beguilingly
Belying the savage inside:
Appearance distorted Reality, 
Rearing demonic heads. 

Ensnared in the witch’s cage,
A prison hold ongoing –
Bone thin fingers claw at bars, 
Til Hansel disappears. 

Left alone amid the darkness,
Imprisoned Spirit set in stone…
Cascading light streams always inward, 
Unfurling colours that Save her Soul. 

Little Tinder Girl arises – Kindling for sale, 
Offering her matches –
Lighting hopes on fire,
Lightening her lucid eyes…

And so the degrees melt 
Into each other,
As time passes 
(Fast or Slow?)

The Moon Tide of illusion 
Ebbs and flows forthwith
As Appearance versus Reality 
Become Related by Comparison.  


A man pushing me into the ocean, way beyond my depth – 
Reaching my arms toward the horizon, 
I stretch and reach safe haven ironically
Through my step-father sailing past…

Next, The Good Doctor fails me – 
Intruding so Deep 
I cannot find Ground Ever Again 
(Only Depths). 

Then, A Friend I thought I trusted
Does the unimaginable: annihilation
And That Is That. 
I’m Twenty Degrees Old. 

Twenty years and still I’m Counting…
Is this the Story of my Life?
Incessant karmic circles
Twisting and twirling my Vulnerable Fate. 

Grand Cross, 
Kite and trines;
Squares and opposition, 
Sextile or conjunct;  

Every year, 
The ceaseless nightmares 
Every day, 
The desperate crawl. 

My life’s a climb up Great Mount Everest – 
Yet, trying to peak with no gas or air?
Avalanches daily mask the crying, as 
Freezing rain solders every tear. 

Every night, 
Beyond comprehension 
I navigate my Dreams
As best I can. 

Having left South Africa 
For traveling elsewhere,
Caught off guard one night,
Shreds my life. 

Whole chunks of me are catapulted 
To different venues seeking help, 
Medical intervention needed – 
I’m raw and in pain, but also crushed

The doctors in France are so rude I swear profusely;
They laugh. Then, laugh and laugh some more. 
I guess they don’t know what to say either, 
This stranger shaped as woman wounded – 

Yet kicking them away. 
David calls through the door,
Desperate to help, angry with those doctors shrinking from my pain – 
I don’t want him there or anywhere –

As I push away 
The helpless Hansel, 
I’m thrust into space 
Yet reeling still –

Traveling brings a familiar comfort,
Although exhausting,
There’s relief in
Moving On….

Burning my papers outside Hitler’s encampment,
Visiting the aged Black Madonna’s Face
Throwing Bluebeard’s Watch inherited
Far, far, far away in Lake Geneva. 

May She Rest In Peace

Back in South Africa. 
I’m met by a man 
Who dreamed of me,
He says. 

Vision Quest T-shirt, an Alien
His head shaven, harsh: 
But his eyes appear kind –
And so I trust him. 

(And So It Begins…)

A whole other cycle 
Of violence, and trauma, and 

Birthing babies through this portal
Can only be a bad idea 
(What was I thinking? 
Clearly not thinking, yet)

As years liquify my embodied form
And sap collects from tearing trees
Sticky with residue
(I Behold The Stain)

I reach for my husband 
Who’s lost again. 
In our shattered mirror,
All hell breaks loose. 

Kids crying and the house burnt down,
Death wishes with D. Day “divorce” –
Coupled clearly within  
The Abyss. 

Degree after degree
The clock ticks closer
To the bone in my wrist,
All veins pulsing life force…

Alive inside, but screaming still
Blood curdling sounds of
Silence, sex and suffocation 
Attempting to breathe (life goal)

Freedom eludes me
Yet I’m here on 
The Wheel of Fortune, 
Doing Time. 

(Not doing Well yet, 
In case you wondered, 
But still treading water 
Keeps my head afloat). 

Twenty degrees Capricorn,
Pluto conjunct my moon. 
Today is an anomaly 
As words embark the page. 

Hansel has reappeared now,
In form of a different guise:
My soul guide and Dream Diviner,
Magician near my heart. 

Hermes and his Caduceus 
Can have my soul tonight
Over-lighting Presence
Means I will be alright. 

The stone trail once laid bare, 
Now softens in sea shell trails 
Awaiting interpretation (lifelines)
Revealing what must be Known. 

Begin, my transformation
Set sail, unleash my Self –
Journey on, intrepid Traveler –
I’m home, within myself. 

{And, Breathe}





​Note: references to Ophelia
1. Millais, Pre-Raphaelite era painting, entitled Ophelia: image above. 
2. Natalie Merchant song, Ophelia..