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 Amazon.com

To inquire about readings or for more articles on the North/South Nodes, go to: http://www.elizabethspring.com


Monday, March 31, 2008

Existential Astrology (Part 2)


I was born in 1947 and will be turning sixty this year. I was born towards the beginning of this generation of “boomers” and grew up in the 60’s when astrology was beginning to have a renaissance, and in the ‘70’s when books such as Gail Sheehy’s: Passages was making the best seller’s list. Many of us in this generation visited Paris and sat in the cafes where the existentialists such as Sartre and Camus debated existentialism, and where women philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, and journalist, Anais Nin, sought to have a voice. We sat there, drinking our espressos for the first time, searching for our own words and true voices, and writing in our journals. We were often desperate in both our need for relationship and in our over-idealism about what relationships and life owed us. We wondered what would hold us spiritually in the years ahead, for many of us were just rational enough to have tossed off the religion of our fathers. Yet for so many baby boomers, we got off the flight from Paris and from existential freedom and got tossed right back into a less than heady stew here in the US. It was a lot less about philosophy and more about finding a job. But even back then, we thirsted for a guide for conscious living through the turbulent uncharted waters.

These posts are a beginning of a possible guide for living, and though some of it will be framed by the astrological language of mid-life transits, it will also be ‘informed’ as we like to say, by insights from the first guru of aging: Carl Jung, and by a few of the great existential writers and philosophers who have gone before us. You don’t need to believe in astrology, existentialism, or Jungian theory to ponder the theories presented here. But I offer them to you simply as mid-life experiments and I encourage you not to take them on face value but to test this new slant on these ideas in your own life. My hope is that you take what works for you and leave the rest.

We’ve all been exposed to the same kinds of current events and cultural trends, yet what I’d like to give you, the reader, is a way to see three of the large ideas of our time in simple terms, and to see how they are can be used in your life to nourish you. Perhaps I’m writing this---the book I’d like to read--- in hopes that it will make me think deeper and connect the dots of half-forgotten truths. The large dots—the concepts of existentialism, astrology, and Jungian psychology, can be broken down into some very essential and basic ideas that are useful and soul nourishing. And hopefully I can offer you, the reader, a new perspective as to how they are intimately connected and supportive of each other.

Because I am a professional astrologer, the astrological world-view will be a theme as it gives us a structural pattern for what to expect at the turning points on our mid-life journey. The existential world view provides another base with its motivating impulse for making meaning out of even our littlest actions, and the Jungian world view pulls it all together by drawing our attention to the numinous Self—what some would call God—and shows how what is unconscious must be made conscious, lest we act out our unacknowledged fears and compulsions.

Essentially, I’m challenging you to become a ‘meaning-maker’ by seeing how these particular ideas weave together into an invitation to create and live in a meaningful world. It’s likely that you have some “pre-judices” about these ideas---ie: that “woo-woo vibrations” from planets don’t effect us at all---you’re right! That those French philosophers were pedantic and a little arrogant---you’re right! And that Carl Jung was a rich man who slipped into womanizing and anti-Semitic thinking at times---you’re right! But there is a way to see each of these traditions differently, and to see how their gifts to us now far out-weigh misunderstandings and occasional human mis-behavior.

I believe we live in a time when one of the greatest dangers is not only global warming but global cooling; the idea that we are becoming numb and cool to the sweet vulnerability of human life. I fear that we are losing our ability to see the meaningfulness within and around us, and that this de-sensitization of ourselves and the demonizing of the “Other” is dangerous. Violent acts of entertainment and reactionary aggression threatens our ability to ‘grow our Souls’. The despair and polarization that we immerse ourselves in through entertainment and religious dogmatism is filtering down to our children, and causes despair. It flies in the face of the new paradigms we’ve been discussing. Let me tell you why I believe this to be true…

This spring, my friend Henry jumped off the city bridge. His suicide was a shock to our community as he was not only a well respected professional man, but a father of three, and someone who seemed to really enjoy his motorcycle, his guitar playing, and his friends. Henry was a good looking man and admired for his gentle and humorous ways. What some of us didn’t know was what lay below the surface of his life that erupted that particular day last spring when he took his life.

The minister at his Memorial service was wise enough to say that Henry didn’t take his life; his sickness took his life. True. Henry hid a lifetime of dealing with intense inner struggle and anger mixed with vulnerability---those qualities we label as anxiety and depression. Was his death simply a medical casualty based primarily on his biology? What other factors were happening?

If Henry had come to me as an astrologer, I would have said that he was in the particular life passage called the Second Saturn Return and would have talked to him about the challenges of this frequently ‘melancholy’ time. Yet because I see astrology as "the meaningful contemplation of change"--a phrase my friend and fellow astrologer Greg Bogart has used to describe astrology--well, I would have looked at Henry's birth chart, and looked for the highest expression of this Saturn Return in his life. And I would have looked at the evolutionary journey of his Soul in terms of not only his age, but what I call the “family karmic inheritance” and asked if he had considered his current anxiety in terms of his parental inheritance and expectations. I would have looked at the North and South Nodes on chart and attempted to describe the metaphorical parable of the gifts and challenges that he was bringing over from his past lives, and looked to see how this might have contributed to an “emotional hangover” from unresolved Soul-issues. Most of all, I hope that I would have stressed the temporary nature of this passage, and that no matter how hard it was for him to feel good right now, that there would be many more chances to make it right and feel better.

Henry’s situation was undoubtedly more complicated than I know, and I don’t think a few sessions with an astrologer/counselor would have made a huge difference. We don't know. I’m sure his friends tried to help him many times and in many ways. Yet still, if I had a chance for a time together with him, I would have encouraged him to read about the psychologist Carl Jung’s nervous breakdown and what Jung did to come out of it. We might have talked about how unconscious separation anxiety and rage can act out in destructive ways, and if there were any ways that following “doctor’s orders” sounded too close to following “father’s orders”? We might have talked about what Henry truly valued in his life and if there were ways he could make his ‘existence’ more meaningful by being more present both to himself and others. Did he feel responsible for anyone or anything? What would it take for him to be responsive to his deepest needs? These are the kinds of questions that would have woven together the astrological, the existential, and the Jungian language into a meaningful conversation. I never did have a chance to have this conversation with him.

However, no matter how well intentioned I might have been, the biological effect of accumulated stress and anxiety does not easily respond to ‘talk therapy’ of any kind unless it is consistent and accompanied by a change in life style and medication. Having experienced stress induced anxiety and depression myself, I have great empathy for Henry’s struggle, as well as the similar struggles of Vincent Van Gogh, William Styron, Hemingway, and many others. It doesn’t seem to matter if we are prolific and unseen in our creativity—such as Vincent Van Gogh, or prolific and acknowledged---like Hemingway. Perhaps what matters most is that we attempt, like the writer William Styron, to wrest meaning out of our experience, rather than grasping for quick and literal solutions to unconscious problems of meaning and psychological pain. For many of us, we simply use distraction, addiction and rage to make our way through hard times. We get divorced, start a fight, drive too fast, buy more ‘toys’ or worse. This writing is an exploration of other ways to approach all this. It is an attempt to entice people like Henry into “tasting” other ways of creating meaning, and reminding ourselves that we have innumerable chances to reach for meaning and joy in our lives. ~elizabeth spring www.elizabethspring.com

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Existential Astrology


In the next few posts—maybe longer—I’m going to diverge a bit before moving deeper into the evolutionary Nodal story. What I’ll be writing about will circle back to the Nodes, but not before bringing in some other ideas.

Baby boomers---those born between 1946 and 1964---are attempting to do something that previous generations did not do the same way. We are trying to age well---that is, we’re attempting to do “conscious mid-life-ing.” It’s not just about staying healthy, looking good and staying connected. We’ve been told that it needs to be an ‘inside job’ as well, and yet we often feel at a disadvantage without the familiar grounding of traditional religion, unconflicted patriotism, and family rootedness that our elders had.
We still look to the trio of God, country and family to help us, but the assault of the evening news continually shocks us into a belief that we live in a meaningless world in which random acts of violence and catastrophe can happen daily.

At the same time, many of us are seeing something new and unusual happening. Some people call it “the New Paradigm” but it’s not just one theory or idea--- for there are many new paradigms, but what they all share is the willingness to look at things differently and to make connections between things that were previously seen as separate. In this paradigm that I’m inviting you to explore with me, it’s about saying yes to explore a mélange of ideas that strike at the heart of our creative and spiritual lives.

I’m challenging you to pause…. to look at the intuitive art of re-incarnational, or evolutionary astrology combined with the spiritual-symbolic psychology of Carl Jung, and the world view of some of the Existentialist philosophers. This Existential viewpoint, used by many creativity coaches today, seeks to inspire us to wrestle meaningfulness out of a world in which the presence or absence of a God doesn’t matter as much as the need to make authentic and creative choices.
The evolutionary time table of the Soul in evolutionary astrology can serve as a powerful guide as we move into aging through the deeper and deeper levels of individuation and authenticity as Elders. This paradigm stirs them all together in what looks like a heady stew with challenging chunks, but really is quite a tasty new recipe that I believe can nourish you in a surprising ways. It's not complicated or difficult to digest-- I have been circling around these ideas for a lifetime, and I love how the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke put it when he said:

“I live my life in growing orbits
Which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
But that will be my attempt.
I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
And I have been circling for a thousand years,
And I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm
Or a great song.”

In this case, the invitation is to circle around the musings of this new paradigm—of how three subtly interconnected world views—that of existentialism, Jungian psychology, and the astrological re-incarnational view of the Soul’s journey through time. It is more a poetic language of the Soul than a true synthesis or science. But perhaps that is what a language of the Soul must be---not a dogma but more a compelling metaphor---a suggestion! And if we become familiar with a language that speaks to our deepest needs and longings, I believe we will then have a guide to navigating the murky waters of meaninglessness that often accompany aging.

In astrology, we are star-gazing in the sense of being in awe of the patterns and scaffolding that frame a life and connects one to the larger cosmos. And there’s a hidden promise there that there’s something deep and mysterious that can hold us as we look into that ‘quantum’ area where physics meets metaphysics, where astronomy meets astrology, and into that luminous nebulae where the artists, philosophers, scientists and astrologers are subtly pointing us to...and it looks less like a black hole and more like a new space where the infinite cosmos meets the individual psyche. And it is at this point that something rather magical can happen....
...to be continued.....~elizabeth

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pisces North Node






Pisces North Node, South Node Virgo



Having been the one who was duty-bound and played according to the ‘Rules’ in a former life (or earlier in this one) you now have the chance to relax your linear mind and move towards your heart’s true desires. What is it you truly long for now? Is it love, beauty, imaginative creativity? Or is it simply the chance to relax your guard and take in the view from the mountaintop? In the past you may have felt that you were the person who always had to do the right thing. You were being observed, and you had high expectations of yourself and others did too. You may have been a doctor, priest, or skilled craftsperson in a previous life—someone who was expected to be precise and perfect.


But now you have the chance to relax, to not be perfect and to unite the impulses of your heart with those of your head. You can dare to be gentle with yourself now, and dare to make mistakes, to let some details go, and to be as compassionate and forgiving with yourself as you are with others. It’s a good idea to practice getting out of unpleasant situations gracefully rather than being duty-bound or judgmental. You don’t “have to be right” now or confrontational, and you can dare to use your intuition and take action even when you don’t have all the answers. You don’t have to over-analyze things any more. Part of your soul-yearning in this life is to learn to trust in the process of life and to surrender your anxieties to a higher power. You are more loved than you realize.


Pisces North Nodes often find that having two or more jobs or roles is more pleasurable than just one---you can be an artist as well as a parent, or an accountant by day and a musician by evening. And at times you will benefit from swimming against the prevailing social currents of your time and swimming upstream like the Piscean symbol of the two fishes. At times you may find yourself struggling with issues around fear and faith, spirituality vs. religion or independence vs. dependence or addiction. You will find that beauty in all its forms nurtures you and helps you to access your higher power. Like the salmon that make their way home against all odds, you have the inner strength and the homing radar that can lead you to your spiritual home.


As a Pisces North Node person, you are the compassionate visionaries who light the way for the rest of us. And no matter what career path you choose, it’s going to be your inner compassion and intuition that brings you success and satisfaction. As you reach for the gold in the shadow of your South Node Virgo you’ll still enjoy analyzing, yet you’ll be able to soften in your position—and sometimes just simply doing what needs to be done with an accepting attitude. There’s a purity of heart in the Virgo ways that is released by the hopes, yearnings, and struggles of your Pisces North Node…..and remember…. that which you are reaching for, is already deep in your Soul.

Soul Purpose: Transcending boundaries by bringing compassionate and imaginative awareness into everything you do. You are meant to become an explorer of the deep psyche; the unconscious in all its manifestations, and to know that you are loved unconditionally. Let go of the idea that life “is a struggle” and embrace the idea that a pleasurable life is a good life, and that you deserve the “magic of a creative life” in which your head and heart, body and soul, work as one. The phrase “Be good to yourself” is meant for you.

Shadow: Do you still feel yourself struggling, self-doubting, and stressing about the little things in life? Lack of self-confidence, and issues around duty, guilt and shame need to be released. You are your worst enemy at those times when you buy into self-limiting beliefs about yourself.



The “anti-guru Guru” J. Krishnamurti, had these Pisces/Virgo Nodes. He was raised by New Age Theosophists in the early 1900’s to become a great spiritual leader, and he had enormous expectations put on him to “be right and almost beyond human” in all he did. In fact, he was expected to move into the role of becoming a World Teacher, if not “the second coming of Christ.”


The pressured discipline inherent in his South Node Virgo played itself out in his early life, and ultimately brought him to a nervous breakdown/enlightenment in his late twenties. Taken out of India as a child, he was educated in England, and it wasn’t until he was past his first Saturn Return in his thirties that he truly came into his self-confidence in himself as a person. At a huge assembly in Belgium, Krishnamurti stood up in front of thousands of people and declared that he was not the Messiah they were hoping for. He released himself from expectations and roles, and insisted that the only thing he could teach was how to be free. However he spoke with so much charisma, and experience bred from his personal struggles, that he created followers even in his rebellion.


Krishnamurti insisted that the only thing he could teach was about the nature of the mind itself and the way to freedom—a way that was without dogma or guidelines. He distained spiritual gurus and religions of any kind, and essentially had the heart of a mystic which shines through in his poetry. Ironically he ended up becoming just what the Theosophists predicted—a great spiritual teacher, yet what he taught was radically different than expected.


Freedom is the foundation for the Pisces North Node. Krishnamurti suffered in order to be free from limiting expectations, and he is best known for his teachings around the philosophy that: “Truth is a pathless land.” The use of “spiritual imagination” is another cornerstone for Pisces, and Krishnamurti evolved into becoming a cognitive mystic who dialogued constantly about moving beyond the realms of duality that most of us live in. His teachings influenced millions of people, including metaphysicians such as David Bohm.


The Pisces North Node urges us to bring the head and the heart together, and to find ways to transcend traditional boundaries and even to flow into altered states of consciousness. Meditation, in all its forms, is one of the most time honored ways to do this, and Krishnamurti spoke endlessly about meditation —here are a few of his quotes on the subject:



"Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life-perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody, that is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy-if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation."



“Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will, and the urge for achievement, and imply conflict and a struggle to arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the limits of a conditioned mind, and in this there is no freedom. All effort to meditate is the denial of meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that there is a different dimension which is beyond time.”


© Elizabeth Spring For more: http://www.elizabethspring.com/

Saturday, March 15, 2008

North Node Leo


North Node Leo


It's time to take center stage! Have you been waiting for the support of friends or colleagues, or even for "more information" before stepping up to the plate in your life? Your Soul yearns to come forward now, to take chances, to see life as a game worth playing—simply because it's fun and a challenge. Somewhere in your past you may have lost a joyful sense of play and spontaneity and now it's time to recover your exuberant self-confidence again, and to share it.

Either earlier in this life or in a former life, you were living on the sidelines watching others interact on center stage. You felt exiled, even if you weren’t. Now its time to engage yourself actively--be creative with a paintbrush, your children, or simply how you live each day. Color outside the lines of your everyday life and rejoice at the results. “Follow your bliss” the mythologist Joseph Campbell was fond of saying, and as the Persian poet Rumi once said: “Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” Following your passion and bliss is good North Node medicine for you. If you don’t know what it is, you are called to listen to yourself more—ask yourself: what makes you laugh, cry, rage?

When a person holds the energies of the rebel, the genius and the outsider, we see Aquarius strong in the chart—often with a South Node in Aquarius. There’s an unconscious soul conditioning to think differently, and therefore you may be aware of not being really heard. You may speak your Truth in a way that doesn’t understand how it’s being received—so learning to communicate well, and with empathic feeling is important for you. Aquarius can tend to be so objective, or so focused in one direction, that it loses touch with the feeling-based world it lives in.

Why is this? In re-incarnationally based evolutionary astrology. it could be said that you may have soul-memories of persecution or even torture, so there can be a tendency to dissociate at times—a reflex defense that “gets you away emotionally”. And why not, if you might have suffered as an exiled heretic before? Now, you are moving away from that lonely position of being the outsider to the savvy position of being effective in the world—and feeling connected to others. You are learning to love and to express yourself with others who might have burned you at the stake in a former life for the beliefs you held. Whew—evolutionary re-incarnational theory can get intense at times.
So… whether married or single, don't detach yourself from emotional situations, but engage yourself fully and find ways to keep all your relationships fresh and alive. But this is not a license for irresponsibility, in fact, you may be surprised by how upset people can get with you when you act carelessly around issues of trust or with changing plans--people can get quite attached to you and take your actions too personally. It is also through the interrelationship with others that you'll find the high energy and passion that feeds you.

In this life it's healing for you to leave behind an overly balanced sense of objectivity, seriousness, and perhaps aloofness as well. You are meant to open your generous heart to everyone this time around and to let your true light shine. Be real and unique, for you have the soul of a performer, the touch of the aristocrat, and the charm of a child. You've come into this life to be seen and accepted and to feel the joy of knowing love. Dare to give your talents and gifts to the world. Don't wait for others to ask you--take the initiative yourself.
As you turn on your path and retrieve the gold in the shadow of your South Node of Aquarius, you may find that you have a talent for discovering fresh ideas, new inventions, and innovative ways of being in the world. However be mindful of what groups and friends you choose to affiliate yourself with. There is a tendency for some N. Node Leos to get into groups they don't have a natural affinity with. When you act from your own passions, values, and priorities you'll naturally find the people who are right for you. Don't sacrifice who you really are for the appearance of popularity or for the sake of duty. Instead, keep your mind on your intuitive promptings and proceed step by step to making your dreams a reality...and in the process you'll find your true friends as well.

Soul Purpose: Loving connections with others healing the sense of being the outsider or the persecuted one. By leaving behind harsh judgments of self or others, the idea now is to “Come in from the cold and become one of us.” Join with the family of man, and make your presence felt. Be effective and compelling rather than “being right” and alone and different.

Shadow: A deeply entrenched unconscious fear can entice you to be controlling, inflexible or stubborn especially in the little things of life. Practice forgiveness and letting your funny bone out. You could be a good comedian! Humor acknowledges the dark side of life with a detached and ironic perspective, and a heartfelt humor that knows the pain of life yet accepts the full drama of it as well.
***
Folk/rock singer songwriter Joni Mitchell has this Nodal combination. Writer of songs such as “Woodstock” and “Both Sides Now” Joni has had great professional and personal success in her life. As a child, Joni moved around Canada quite a bit with her parents, but discovered her passion and joy at an early age: At the age of nine, Mitchell contracted polio during a Canadian epidemic, but she recovered after a stay in hospital. It was during this time that she first became interested in singing. She describes her first experience singing while in hospital during the winter in the following way: "They said I might not walk again, and that I would not be able to go home for Christmas. I wouldn't go for it. So I started to sing Christmas carols and I used to sing them real loud...The boy in the bed next to me, used to complain. And I discovered I was a ham." In later life, Joni was also able to happily reunite with her daughter whom she had given up for adoption earlier in life. Her early life feelings of social disconnection (past life?) could be described in an interview she gave to the The New York Times in which she said that her memoirs were "in the works", and that the first line would be "I was the only black man at the party"[



Elizabeth Spring (c) For more insight into the meanings of the nodes or to find out about a Nodal reading: http://www.elizabethspring.com/

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Transitions, more thoughts on Uranus sq Uranus


Elizabeth graciously asked me to do a guest post for her blog and I decided to add more thoughts on the cyclical transit I'm undergoing of Uranus squaring my natal Uranus. As I am now in my early sixties, this will be the last Uranus to Uranus transit before my Uranus Return (if I live that long . . .) :-D
I don’t whether it’s the waxing transit of Uranus squaring my natal Uranus or Pluto having moved into Capricorn but I’m finding myself thinking about the aging process and what it means here recently. The USA is not the best place to be to grow old gracefully with the emphasis placed on youthfulness. We are deluged with advertisements for products designed to preserve an appearance of youth . . . and after we pass 60 that’s so not happening! I’m not entirely sure whether my first house Venus could resist having a little something “done” if I could afford it though I’d like to think so, after all I’ve spent most of my life bucking the current fashion trends. ::grin::

Having successfully negotiated my second Saturn Return a couple of years ago, this final Uranus sq Uranus transit marks the next step in the maturation cycle and it’s feeling like it will be liberating. All Uranus transits encourage us to express our uniqueness and this one is no exception. With my natal Uranus inconjunct Mars/Mercury/Ascendant my expression of individuality is going to be a very public one and most likely out of sync with my peer group as usual. The Uranus in Aries generation who are now in their seventies opted for what I call the “country club/golfer” look – short dyed hair, aggressively tanned with lots of plastic surgery if they could afford it. Yuck! No way!

Playing peek-a-boo with my granddaughter last weekend, I also realized the affinity of those in their first childhood with those of us moving into our second. We both have strong Uranus/Mercury aspects in our charts – her Mercury is conjunct Uranus & mine is inconjunct. We were both giggling like maniacs being happy sillies, playing on the living room floor. Uranus has no concern what so ever for what others think unlike Saturn. And my little Pisces sweetheart is completely oblivious to gramma’s wrinkles – just responds to my joy in her.

What I’m suggesting is why not be comfortable with the natural cycles and rhythms of life. Why push childbearing years past our thirties and compete with our daughters in the sex appeal department? There is great value in sharing experiential knowledge and allowing our bodies to rest in the crone phase instead of pushing hormones on it in pursuit of youth. Pluto is phasing into Capricorn now and providing an opportunity to gain understanding of what it means to be mature in the best sense. Pluto also rules Scorpio and the 8th House where we learn about death and re-birth and what happens when we attempt to fool Mother Nature. Seems to me there is a very good lesson to be learned from the rise in cancers and the use of HRT therapy . . .

As Uranus continues to encourage me to be my most individual self and embrace the present, enjoying what is rather than attempting to be something I’m not, I will also do my best to remember what it took to get here. Due have been paid.

Post by Neith