I’ve recently finished writing "North Node Astrology" and I’m so aware of how it was much more work than I originally thought it would be. And so I’ve been wondering, why did I write this book? And then I remember—I love making connections—to people and ideas. And I crave the sense “of belonging to the world” and of making heartfelt and thoughtful connections with others--people who playfully and seriously like to entertain these ideas. Jungians and Astrologers. Writers and readers. You and Me. I like to bridge gaps.
I sometimes sense that there’s a gap between these two worlds that I hold so dear to my heart: the Jungians and Astrologers. The Jungians often view popular predictive astrology with distain, yet quietly study archetypal astrology and talk about it with their friends (or their astrologer.) They tend not to write about it in their professional journals.
And the Astrologers hear the reserve in their attitude, and often wonder if these Jungians have delved into the differences between predictive/pop astrology and archetypal astrology. Archetypal Astrologers who focus both on mythological and pragmatic approaches to the spiritual mandala of the chart, sometimes question the "oohing and aahing" of the Jungians and their general quacking over what seems to be the “obvious.” The languages, or jargon of each, is different yet similar. Each can sound simplistic to the other if not read deeply.
These same Astrologers might be wise to listen deeply, as Jungians do, remembering that the word “vocation” has its roots in the ability “to listen” to our deep selves. Astrologers can sit with someone once, for a couple of hours talking with them about “their map of the psyche” and the astrologer will help their client with insights by translating the archetypal patterns in a way that might have taken months with more traditional therapists. A Jungian will sit with someone, for hours over many years helping their client listen to the various inner voices in order to discover who they essentially are. They give time for the inner work and the “alchemical process” to truly evolve and they support the client in the process. A sense of safety and love develops. Each approach works, for as Jung once said: There are three aspects to help create change in therapy: insight, courage, and endurance. The astrologer and the analyst can help with each.
Both astrologers and Jungians honor the complexity of the Self, and the variety of our inner personalities—call it what you will: voices, archetypes, planets. Both know that we need to understand the “gold” and the “shadow” parts of ourselves. We need to understand the unique gold of Jupiter and the North Node, and the shadowy wounding of Pluto and the South Node. We need to bring responsibility into our lives—Saturn, and yet dare to take our freedom—Uranus.
Different words, same ideas. Dreams or divination? Both Astrologers and Jungians would agree that we project ourselves out into life and yet swim in the deep wine-dark sea of the unconscious. There are reasons beneath reasons why we do what we do, and our outer choices and inner revelations echo each other. The outer pragmatic solutions of the coach or astrologer will reverberate with the inner “Jungian” nourishing and unfolding process of the Self, and it will reverberate with life in the outer world. Neither better—both needed.
Carl Jung was a trickster, a shaman, and a scholar as well as a spiritual man. His psychology came out of his life; he broke some rules, he kept to some. As John Perry, a Jungian scholar and friend of Jung once said: “There was always a little something magical about the way Jung’s mind worked. He said that he felt himself to be more shaman than psychiatrist.” And Jung studied and practiced astrology and alchemy. He was a bridge maker.
I do not aspire to be a "Jungian". But I have “an inner Jung” within me that desires to make connections and bridge gaps. I want to keep encouraging all the ways we can “attend to our inner life”. We come into this life bringing woundedness and a sense of wonder and possibility. It’s a great thing if we can stay aware of both, and how they continue to play out in our lives. And so then we ask….can I accept my fate and live it out well? Can I work within the limits that I have, and yet stretch to be all I can be? Yes, I think yes….we can all do that. And make bridges…
Jim Hollis, in “Enterviews with Jungian Analysts” says: “The greatest gifts of Jungian psychology are found in recovering for us a sense of participation in an ancient drama…and in a mindfulness regarding the profound sea of soul in which we swim at all times. When most modern psychologies serve the ego fantasy of control, Jungian psychology affirms a more sober appreciation of the summons to surrender to the gods, to what wishes to live through us into this world.”
I love that last phrase! It hints of a knowing that something is calling to come through us, and that we are able to discipline ourselves—we can be a disciple to that which is calling us, but that we are also summoned to surrender ourselves to that which we must do. Jung spoke about this as “doing gladly that which I must do.”
Sometimes it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. If you’ve had a stroke, that is a huge effort! If you are caring for a baby, that is a huge effort! So the summons and the calling may sound soulfully glamorous at times, but as Jim Hollis is also suggesting here “Jungian psychology affirms a more sober appreciation of the summons.” For everyone and anyone who has worked long hours at a task, we can appreciate that soberness also has its high moments.
(c) Elizabeth Spring http://www.elizabethspring.com/