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

To inquire about readings or for more articles on the North/South Nodes, go to:

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Can You Expect from an Astrology Reading?

What Can You Expect from An Astrology Reading?

“You can make astrology prove anything,” she said to me with a malicious little grin. “It’s like the Bible—just pick the right verse and chapter, and you can make a case for God’s approval or disapproval on almost anything—astrology included.” My friend had been studying astrology just long enough to get both confused and excited, and I could feel the tense undertones of emotion mixed in with the pleasantries of our after dinner conversation. “Look at the choices,” she went on, “mid-points, solar arcs, transits, fixed Stars, secondary progressions—just pick a time and you can back up anything you want to say with some aspect.” She had a point there, but she was missing the larger picture of how astrologers work with the increasingly growing tool-box of choices we have at our disposal. And beyond that, she was missing something even harder to explain. But I wanted to try.

I understood her complaint about all the astrological systems: Vedic, Sidereal, Placidus, Koch….evolutionary, medieval, psychological …..can it really all be true and ‘under one sky’? And if so, how are we to know what works best? And what should we expect from an astrologer when we have a “reading?”

As astrologers, we quickly learn that there is an almost overwhelming smorgasbord of choices to make, both in how “to do” the reading, and which techniques to use. I take a strong hint from the ancient alchemists. The alchemists understood the process of things—you take things apart, separate them, let them “cook,” and then put them back together into a whole—a new synthesis. The Nodes are like the flask or cauldron that contains the heady mixture of astrological elements. In a reading you don’t have time to truly let all the elements fully cook, but you, or the client can do that after the session….or in a particularly good session, you may get a strong “whiff” of the heady stew, and see the gold that is beginning to emerge.

As a counseling astrologer, I have a Master’s degree in counseling psychology with an emphasis in the work of Carl Jung. I’ve had teachers who used the tropical Placidus house system, and who viewed the planets as mythological archetypes within the spiritual mandala of the birth chart. I believe in the priorities that most of my teachers believed—that the nuts and bolts of a good astrology reading depend on: a) a good understanding of the natal birth chart, b) the outer planet transits, and c) the inner planet progressions. I now feel that the North and South Nodes synthesize the message of the entire chart reading, so they are the gold.

Of course there has to be a solid understanding of the Sun sign, Moon sign, Rising sign and all the planets in the natal chart. The North Node and South Node, and the transits and progressions make a reading complete, and without them all I feel it’s inaccurate. I think that not to include all of these in one session is wrong-- separating the birth chart from the crucial transit “forecasting” feels like cheating—if the client is having a major life changing transit and the astrologer is only talking about the birth chart, how inaccurate is that! Or even the other way is wrong—to only look at the transits/progressions while not checking back to the birth chart can be hugely inaccurate.

For example, if the transits show a potential for being very accident prone at a certain time—say, some Mercury/Uranus/ Mars aspect is peaking, and the astrologer doesn’t look to the birth chart to see if the person shows a vulnerability in their birth chart to being “accident prone,” then it would be wrong to counsel them to avoid travel at that time. The astrologer could mention it, but not over-emphasize it, because the birth chart doesn’t substantiate the claim. And the other techniques, such as solar returns, relocation charts, etc. are good too, but I only add them to the stew when necessary. Prioritizing is key.

My bias is that my best “readings” are not the ones in which I rely heavily on technique and prediction but simply when the metaphors I use allow the client to see deeply into their life. I know this is happening when they start looking at the question behind the question that they presented initially. And when the particulars of the client’s experience match strongly with the symbolic description of the transits and progressions and the Nodal story, then there’s a feeling of rightness and resonance. And then the technique becomes secondary to the quality of the moment of insight.

In every astrology reading, I suspect that no matter what techniques are used, the hope is that there will be a synchronistic moment of “ah-hah” when there’s been an accurate mirroring of that which is above, to that which is below. Isn’t that what we long for---when some piece of the client’s truth and the astrologer’s technique rise up to a little epiphany together! Ahh…. then there is that felt moment of meaningfulness that makes all considerations of proof of technique secondary.

And so I offer you the idea that the technique that brings this about is already embedded in most systems: the idea of silence and reflection. Perhaps that is our only safeguard in truth-seeking; not forcing a prediction, symbolism or bias on our client, but honoring instead the idea that we are acting as instruments of the Divine. We can present whatever combinations of symbolism we think will be most evocative, but then, let’s allow them a moment to swallow, to digest, and to truly look at their chart. I believe they will take what they need when we make it simple, clear, and in a language they understand. And in that moment of silence we give a chance for the Spirit to enter; for what the Jungians call the numinous moment, when you or your client looks at the chart and see the “answers” projected there---upon the clear sky of the heavens above and the gods within. ~
Elizabeth Spring © Comments?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reversed Nodes in Signs and Houses

Reversed Nodes in Signs and Houses

How do you understand your Nodes when the direction they are pointing to by SIGN, is the opposite of the direction they’re pointing to by HOUSE? Good question! The short answer is that the SIGN describes the kind of behavior and attitude that is optimal to use, and the HOUSE describes the particular area of life—of “where”—this behavior and attitude is going to find its greatest impact. And, it’s important to realize that the Nodes are always on a polar axis with the signs and houses always opposite each other—so when there's a sign/house reversal, it calls for a more subtle understanding of the dynamic. People and charts are complex, and sometimes paradoxical!

I wrote a post on North Node Capricorn and here’s someone who replied to having a reversal in their chart—he has the North Node in Capricorn but in the 4th house, Capricorn’s opposite sign naturally, with the South Node in the 10th house, which normally rules its opposite sign---as he says:

“This is all fine and good, but what happens when you have this placement with a North Node Capricorn!!!! It turns everything inside out. What do I do?” (He has the South Node in the 10th house, North Node in 4th house.)

So with a North Node Capricorn he is called to act on all the high Saturnian qualities of good integrity, and patient, step by step, goal oriented behavior. He’s called to move away from the “lower octave” description of his South Node in Cancer---i.e. moving away from fluctuating, moody and fearful Cancerian qualities:(“nobody cares to understand me and I think I’m running out of money.”) It’s a call to accessing the highest qualities of the SIGN—in this case, Capricorn—but in the realm of the 4th HOUSE of life: which is the family of origin, the way we see and frame the story of our life (our personal mythology), and all that has to do with the 3 H’s: home, heart, and hearth. So somewhere in that area of his life, he’s called upon to be a guiding person of integrity; the one who sets the goals and integrity of the home, who moves patiently to set realistic goals within the family for himself and others…..and the one who can frame his life story in terms of what was actually done, in spite of difficulties and outcome.

We know that following the description of the North Node sign is good medicine, and a great idea for all of us. When we succeed at “doing our North Node” it’s the kind of thing we remember on our deathbed. In this case we have this confusion: the sign is descriptive of what we’re talking about, and the house describes where in life the dynamic is likely to happen. Always we look to the SIGN first as being the most important thing to consider, and the HOUSE placement next, because the house system is the weak link in astrology. We may have our birth time inaccurate (which sets the houses) or we may use different house systems according to our astrological beliefs. So trust the SIGN first!

(c) Elizabeth Spring Check out website for readings and more articles:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Karma and free will

Understanding Karma and Free Will through the Astrological South Node

Karma is about the law of cause and effect and reaping the consequences of what we have sown. It’s also simply “habit” and all the default, comfortable, knee-jerk patterns in our lives. We can read about that karma in our South Node, for it is here that we see the blockages, the unresolved wounds and all the self-limiting ideas we hold. We see the description of that karma in the South Node as well as in the karmic placements of all the planets in our chart.

However, it can look confusing if we forget that all the signs and planets can be read both positively and negatively. They can all play out in our lives on a high octave or a low octave, and it’s especially important to be aware of this polarity when trying to understand the karmic message of the North and South Node. We have free will to bring insight and consciousness to our reactive South Node patterns or not—

So in every karmic Node, and in fact, in every planet, there is a “story” there that reflects an ambivalence or polarity that exists within us. The Nodes in particular need to be understood as both problem and solution to problem…as the disease and the medicine to cure the disease! The Nodes are a statement about your Soul’s evolutionary situation either in a former life, or earlier in this one—and a formula or good suggestion for how to advance beyond it. Viva La Difference!

Here’s a letter that expands on that, and brings in a curious situation:

Dear Elizabeth:

Your writings on the north nodes are the best I've found, thank you! My question is this:My North Node is in Gemini, 4th house; South Node in Sag. in 10th house.My Midheaven (MC) is in Sag. 10th house.... so if my South Node representsthings to move away from, but my MC is in the same sign as my South Node,which is my "careerpath," how do you recommend managing both?I feel torn-- how can I consciously move away from South Node tendenciesthat are outworn, yet still play up my midheaven potential?Thanks so much, Ashley

This question is important and similar to the questions: “If my Sun sign and South Node sign is in the same sign, or if my Sun is conjunct the South Node, how can I understand this?” The key here is to see the difference between a high expression of a planet’s energies and a lower reactive expression of the negative aspects of the sign. In fact, all these situations underline the importance of making conscious efforts to reach for the highest expression of the sign. So, with Sagittarius for example, you want to keep the free spirited, optimistic, communicative ability of that sign, but you’ll want to move away from its tendency to speak before it thinks (foot in mouth disease!), dogmatic thinking (disguised in a jovial manner), and a tendency to not seeing the multiplicity of Truth and different points of view. Sag loves to talk, teach, and travel; it needs to keep it’s humility in the process as well. And as always, be aware of not overdoing with all Sag placements. Hope this helps clarify. ~Elizabeth Spring

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama's Astrological Chart; Jung's Astrological Chart

Last week-end I taught a class at the Boston Jung Institute and while preparing for it I noticed something quite amazing! I was looking at Carl Jung’s chart when I had a moment of deja-vu—hadn’t I just recently seen this chart? I had been looking at charts all week, but this chart looked strangely familiar, because it had a striking similarity to Barack Obama’s astrological chart!

Obama and Jung both have the Sun in Leo in the 6th house of work, near the descendant, and in a wide conjunction to Uranus. Many psychotherapists have significant planets near the descendant or ascendant axis, indicative of their intense working with others in the “I-Thou relationship.” And Leos are often top leaders in their careers partly because of an inner need for self-expression.

Both Obama’s and Jung’s Uranus reflect a willingness to be independent, to think differently and freely, and are highly “individuated” as the Jungians would say. They both have Aquarius rising, reflecting their cool and level-headed personas---a way of being in the world which tends to think “outside the box” and is indicative of a tendency to retreat into their minds as a defensive strategy. They also both have Venus in Cancer, suggesting a desire to nurture and be nurtured, and both have Mercury, the planet of communication, strongly placed in the 6th house of daily work and discipline.

Yet perhaps the most fascinating aspects were the ones that spoke about their families of origin. Both have Sun square Neptune, reflecting a missing/ineffectual or “weak” father presence in their lives—Obama’s father simply wasn’t there most of the time, and Jung’s father was an uninspiring minister who didn’t quite believe in the God he preached about. Both men have a Moon/Pluto aspect suggesting the deeply powerful, complex, and mysterious or unconscious relationship with their mother. Obama’s moon is in Gemini reflecting the mental curiosity and communicative ability that is part of his maternal family inheritance, and Jung’s Moon in Taurus conjunct Pluto, reflects something of the earthy, dark feminine nature of his maternal legacy. Jung admitted to never truly understanding her, and in part, the feminine as well.

With Moon connected to Pluto, a true understanding of the mother and/or the feminine instinctual life is sometimes wounded or missing, and the mother herself may “not be there” in some fashion. Many people with this aspect often compensate for this by being emotionally powerful people. The role and importance of the mother is pronounced in their lives. Obama was tutored and trained by his mother in so many ways to be all he could be, yet died too early, and Jung delved deep into the psyche to understand the nature of the unconscious, and perhaps to understand the true nature of his own dark feminine.
~Elizabeth Spring

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Question: Where is my North Node? Where's my South Node?

North Node Chart: Find your birthday below to find the sign of your North Node based on your birth day and year. Your South Node, automatically and always, is
the sign directly opposite it in the zodiac
--180 degrees away.

June 7, 1913-Dec. 3, 1914: Pisces
Dec. 4, 1914-May 31, 1916: Aquarius
June 1, 1916-Feb. 13, 1918: Capricorn
Feb. 14, 1918-Aug. 15, 1919: Sagittarius
Aug. 16, 1919-Feb. 7, 1921: Scorpio
Feb. 8, 1921-Aug. 23, 1922: Libra
Aug. 24, 1922-Apr.23, 1924: Virgo
April 24, 1924-Oct. 26,1925: Leo
Oct. 27, 1925-Apr.16,1927: Cancer
Apr.17,1927-Dec.28,1928: Gemini
Dec.29,1928-July 7,1930: Taurus
July 8,1930-Dec.28,1931: Aries
Dec.29,1931-June 24, 1933: Pisces
June 25, 1933-Mar.8,1935: Aquarius
Mar 9, 1935-Sept. 14, 1936: Capricorn
Sept. 15, 1936-Mar. 3, 1938: Sagittarius
Mar. 4, 1938-Sept. 12, 1939: Scorpio
Sept. 13, 1939-May 24, 1941: Libra
May 25, 1941-Nov. 21,1942: Virgo
Nov. 22, 1942-May 11, 1944: Leo
May 12, 1944-Dec. 13, 1945: Cancer
Dec. 14,1945-Aug. 2, 1947: Gemini
Aug. 3, 1947-Jan. 26,1949: Taurus
Jan. 27,1949-Jul 26,1950: Aries
Jul 27, 1950-Mar.28,1952: Pisces
Mar.29, 1952-Oct. 9, 1953:Aquarius
Oct.10,1953-Apr.2, 1955: Capricorn
Apr 3,1955-Oct.4,1956: Sagittarius
Oct.5,1956-June 16,1958: Scorpio
Jun. 17,1958-Dec.15,1959: Libra
Dec.16,1959-Jun 10,1961: Virgo
June 11,1961-Dec.23,1962: Leo
Dec.24,1962-Aug.25,1964: Cancer
Aug.26,1964-Feb.19,1966: Gemini
Feb.20,1966-AQug.19,1967: Taurus
Aug.20,1967-Apr.19,1969: Aries
Apr.20,1969-Nov.2,1970: Pisces
Nov.3,1970-Apr.27,1972: Aquarius
Apr.28,1972-Oct.27,1973: Capricorn
Oct.28,1973-Jul 10,1975: Sagittarius
Jul 11, 1975-Jan. 7, 1977: Scorpio
Jan. 8, 1977-Jul 5,1978: Libra
Jul 6 1978-Jan.12,1980: Virgo
Jan.13,1980-Sept.24,1981: Leo
Sept.25,1981-Mar.16,1983: Cancer
Mar.17.1983-Sept.11,1984: Gemini
Sept.12,1984-Apr.6,1986: Taurus
Apr.7,1986-Dec.2,1987: Aries
Dec.3,1987-May 22, 1989: Pisces
May 23, 1989-Nov.18,1990: Aquarius
Nov.19,1990-Aug. 1,1992: Capricorn
Aug.2,1992-Feb.1,1994: Sagittarius
Feb.2,1994-Jul 31, 1995: Scorpio
Aug.1,1995-Jan.25,1997: Libra
Jan.26,1997-Oct.20,1998: Virgo
Oct. 21, 1998-Apr.9,2000: Leo
Apr.10,2000-Oct.12,2001: Cancer
Oct.13,2001-Apr.13,2003: Gemini
Apr.14,2003-Dec.25,2004: Taurus
Dec.26,2004-Jun 21, 2006: Aries
Jun 22,2006-Dec.18, 2007: Pisces
Dec. 19, 2007-Aug 22 2009: Aquarius
Artwork by Elizabeth Spring from

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Meatloaf Meltdown; Crisis in Confidence

"The Meatloaf Meltdown;”
Crisis of Confidence

My daughter, Sarah, who has always identified with not being a domestic goddess of any sort—especially in the kitchen--decided to make meatloaf for her husband and baby girl last night. She had found some loose directions from an old recipe, and the Moon that night in Scorpio must have stirred something in her. I thought it was a good omen that my husband had dropped by her house late in the afternoon and had proudly returned home telling me of the good smells coming from Sarah’s kitchen.

Two hours later, she called me back, with both a cry and a laugh in her voice. She was seriously considering that perhaps she could have poisoned her family by undercooking the meatloaf. In fact, she went on to say, she was so upset by this possibility that when she placed the dish before her family she became nauseous just looking at the slightly runny meatloaf. She could barely eat it, and worst of all, she completely ruined the dinner for her husband who thought it was quite a tasty meal, except for the running commentary on it. Or maybe—worst of all she feared, they might now all have to go to the emergency room with food poisoning.

In good grandmotherly style, I proceeded to reassure her (for all the various logical reasons) that she hadn’t done anything deadly to her family, and I went on to ask if she could possibly see the humor in all this—about how hard she tried and yet how poignantly sad and deliciously funny it all was—especially since her husband insisted it was quite yummy and there was no pinkness except for the delicious bits of tomatoes.

Oh, by the way, they’re all fine, but Sarah’s courageous attempts at “domestic goddessing” and her second guessing of these efforts, struck a chord with me. How often do I set myself up for a challenge, do it, and then criticize myself for the flaws? Where is this nasty genetic or astrological gene that wracks us with our lack of perfection? I don’t think it’s worthy of a full astrological analysis, but it could have deep roots in our maternal legacy. But that’s another story.

Today, Sarah and I are affectionately calling this crisis of confidence, a “meatloaf meltdown.” There are no specific astrological correlates for this, although perhaps she was reaching for her North Node in Virgo, (with its down side of perfectionism) and the Moon that night in Scorpio might have whipped up her worse fears. However, since all you good readers of the Nodes are scrutinizing your lives in terms of the life direction and soul purpose, I would plead with you to be compassionate with yourself and all your attempts at living towards your North Node. We all have “meatloaf meltdowns” but they can quickly pass into sweet words and moments of humor and empathy for ourselves and others. ~elizabeth spring from: