All posts here are from sections of the books: "North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose" and "Saturn Returns~The Private Papers of A Reluctant Astrologer" Available only on

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

North Node Medicine-- Jungian "Compensation"

North Node Medicine is about making conscious what is unconscious, and using that to heal yourself. Carl Jung wrote that the psyche has a natural balancing mechanism that "compensates" for itself unconsciously. However this compensation can often feel quite uncomfortable--showing up as an aching back, insomnia and difficulties in relationships. What is out of balance wants to get back in balance--but first let's look at what North Node Medicine is all about.

At the first reading of your North Node Sign you may be nodding your head in agreement, and then thinking: Well, isn’t that true for everyone? Yes, if something is deeply true, then it is true for everyone. However, each sign has a particular truth that rings truer for it than for the others. All the North Node “Medicines” have a “particularity” to that sign and house position, and a potency that is activated by that particular polar dynamic. The prescription, like a vitamin, might be good for anyone to take, but it’s really only necessary and highly effective if you have the symptoms and the chemistry particular to your own Nodal nature.

Here’s an example: Let’s compare 2 sign/house placements: the sign of Leo which naturally rules the 5th house, and Pisces which rules the 12th house.

I think of Leo and the 5th house as “the house that Joseph Campbell built.” Why? Because he popularized the phrase: Follow your own bliss. This is good medicine for those who have their North Nodes in Leo or the 5th house because it’s all about joyous self-expression, and all the life, goodness and creativity that comes when we become as little children again and just play. North Node Leos, with their South Node past in Aquarius, have had childhoods or past lifetimes when they were separated from this particular kind of creative, loose, joyful play—they could have been exiled, persecuted, a genius, a role-model (one who had to be a good example!) or one who didn’t quite fit in for some reason—they could have been ill or restrained in some way, or they may have placed duty above personal expression and joy. They come into this life having forgotten what playing and self-expression can do! Whether it be through love relationships, children, artwork, or just having a good time, there’s a need for this Soul to come into the group, take the lead, and simply follow their own bliss.

Let’s compare that with the “House that Carl Jung built”—the 12th house and Pisces. If you have a North Node in Pisces or in the 12th house, you are being summoned to explore the world of the “collective” and the unconscious. But how can consciousness enter into unconsciousness? It certainly cannot do it directly, but we can enter that world through dreams, divination, active imagination, and by noticing moments of synchronicity between what we’re feeling on the inside and what’s happening on the outside. This is Jungian territory. We are called here to go beyond traditional boundaries into the Neptunian worlds where the mind and the heart join, and where mysticism and psychology meet.

This is not for everyone. But if your North Node is in Pisces or located in the 12th house, then there is something for you to gain in exploring these worlds. There is healing medicine for you deep in your psyche, and you have been given “cosmic permission” to seek Oneness with this world. This is an area where we are not duty-bound, not having to be “right”, and not having to march to anyone else’s drummer. You are simply and quite mysteriously being called to become aware and conscious! Some might say you are called to be enlightened. Some might say you are called to peak into the” in-between lands” where fate, destiny and character all conspire to make a life.

In ancient times, the 12th house was sometimes called the house of suffering, or the “call to the monastery.” Today we could say that having an astrological 12th house emphasis calls you to serve the collective spiritually or psychologically; and that not being conscious of that world might cause you suffering.

So, North Node medicine is about many things, including the psychological law of compensation. It’s a way of describing the particular “vitamin” or anti-biotic that is just right for you in this life now. It’s the particular area to which you need to bring some compensatory behavior, for example, too much righteousness? The medicine would be a little naughtiness. Too much seriousness? A little humor is called for.

Because the Nodes are a polarity, it’s important to remember that polarization calls for balance and integration. The compensating medicine always calls you to become more whole, not good. We need the highest expression of both Nodes, but we need the North a little bit more because of its compensating effects.
The Vedic Indian tradition describes it by saying that we feed ourselves through our North Node and we can feed others through our South Node. Westerners, such as Carl Jung, talked about it in terms of compensation, and said that compensation was the truest natural law in the psyche! Meaning that all nature seeks balance, and that if we don’t do it consciously, the unconscious will do it for us. Neurosis, and distorted or repressed behaviors, will tend to leak out of us if when we are not maintaining a natural balance within. So…the right medicine at the right time is what we are seeking!
elizabeth spring (c)