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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Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Jungian Psychology and Astrology Meet: "Surrendering to the Gods"

Where Jungian Psychology and Astrology Meet: “Surrendering to the Gods”

I’m just finishing writing “North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose.” It’s been much more work than I originally thought, and so lately 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. Bloggers and readers. You and Me. I like to bridge the gap.

I love to hear from readers, yet sometimes I’m too blood-shot in the eyes to respond. So many hours on the computer—but what would I rather do? I love to write my thoughts and hear yours…

I also fear that we sometimes are afraid to speak to each other; bloggers, for example, mostly respond with “Anonymous.” So much for the personal response! And, there’s a gap between the two worlds I hold so dear to my heart: the Jungians and Astrologers.

The Jungians often view popular predictive astrology with distain, yet quietly study astrology and talk about it with their friends or their astrologer. They tend not to write about it in their professional journals.

The Astrologers hear the reserve in their attitude, but often don’t know what the Jungians are really talking about! To those astrologers who focus on pragmatic approaches, the oohing and aahing of the Jungians and their general quacking over the “obvious” may make them seem like odd ducks. And to what use? These astrologers will help their clients, like coaches, find their jobs or careers, but forget that the word “vocation” has its roots in the ability “to listen” to our deep selves. How do we get to that place of deep listening to the Self?

The Astrologer can sit with someone once, for a couple of hours, and talk with them about “their map of the psyche” and how they can use it best. 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. It’s powerful!
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 Jung. 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… Elizabeth Spring

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pluto and Polarity: the Yin-Yang Symbol

Pluto, Pain, and Polarities: the Yin/ Yang Symbol

Most of us die with unresolved issues. Most of us die with a few regrets and unanswered questions. We have held grief, and know of the illusions, betrayals, and expectations of ourselves and others that weren’t met. Most astrologers look to the planet Pluto to tell more of the Soul-story about this aspect of life, as Pluto carries the archetype of the deep wound. When we feel our emotional body to be heavy with grief, when we feel anger, abuse or fear the potential of power and power struggles, then we know Pluto.

The South Node holds the history of Pluto through many unresolved past lives. So much of what we carry within us unconsciously is buried here. The personal unconscious, as well as the family unconscious, carries an “imprint” from these lives, as well as from our early childhood. Here are the blockages, the complexes, the issues of betrayal and lack of trust; here are the psychological distortions some of us call evil.

Perhaps it is within the archetype of Saturn that we are truly invited us to do the work to find new endings to old stories, and to release and heal whatever is still undigested by the heart. Not an easy thing to do! The good news is that deep in our psyche is also a remembrance of inner truths, talents, and inclinations that only we can intuit. Some astrologers look to archetype of Jupiter for the story of this. Look to the sign and house position of Jupiter when you need to see more closely where you are graced.
But it is within the North and South Node that we hold the full duality of promise and pain. Just like the wound of Pluto, and grace and gift of Jupiter, each holds a part of the other within it. The symbol of the Yin/Yang with the circular dot in the center of each side, embodies the relationship of the Nodes what I call the “gold in the shadow.” The curving symbol of the yin/yang with the complementary dots in each side, suggest the interconnection between the two.

We understand the Yin/Yang symbol as reflecting the intricate balance and connection between these two polarities: the progressive/light/ positive qualities and regressive/dark/ negative qualities. The Yin/Yang symbol shows the potential for the highest and lowest expression in each choice we make, just as each Node speaks to both what is unresolved and undigested within us, as well as being the “medicine” that will bring us greatest relief. The North Node can be seen as where we are open to an “inflow” and where we nourish our Souls. However, there’s something unfamiliar about the North Node, and like tasting a new food, we often don’t know what to think about it. Do we really like it? Are we open to it? If we can take it in, it’s our best cure; it’s the vitamin that we’re deficient in. We feed ourselves here.

In contrast, the South Node, in its highest expression, is where we can feed the world; it’s our gift—it’s something we innately understand and can give to others. The power of Pluto past and present, resides here. The South Node, in its lower expression, is like the tail of the dragon—it’s where we release the bitter undigested parts—dare we say it’s “where we shit.” And, where we spread our un-healing pain into the world.
The polarities and paradoxes of the Nodes are not truly opposite—in fact, because every astrological opposition carries within it the seed of its opposite, like the yin-yang symbol, each side holds a piece of the other contained in it. So it’s not all about just reaching for the highest expression of the North Node and struggling against the lower expression of the South Node—what is truly expressed in this symbol is the very human, imperfect movement between the two—a give and take: a dance. When we are able to hold the balance, what “shows up” within us is an energetic re-engagement with life, an inspiration, and a growing re-enchantment with the process of our life. Ah…here is where we extend ourselves past our comfort zones—when we reach into that place where we can love more and truly give of ourselves. The surprise is that in the giving we are able to receive more, and because of the receiving, we are able to give more. (c) elizabeth spring

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Planets conjunct the Nodes

What about planets aspecting the Nodes by conjunction, trine or opposition? Attempting to understand the basics of the Nodal story is an act of imagination, and it lends itself to error if taken too literally. We are looking for emotional truth here, not literal facts. So when we look at what are the rulers and the aspects to the Nodes I think any extrapolations need to be “seconded” by the rest of the chart.

It’s key to remind yourself too that when you are looking at planets aspecting the South Node you are looking into your prior life nature. Planets that are closely conjunct the South Node are like a planet conjunct the Sun, except we are talking about in a prior life. This planet is a good description of how you were in a former life, if you chose to believe in reincarnation. The bizarre thing here is that past life aspects and situations tend to repeat themselves in this life until we bring consciousness to these patterns, and accept or reject parts of them. That’s why we can often interchange “past life” with “early childhood and young adult life.”

A planet conjunct the North Node is that North Node Medicine I’ve talked about before—there’s something about what this planet embodies that you need to bring into your life more. It operates in as a compensatory function, and it is this way because the theory postulates that you were in opposition to this planetary energy in a former life. It opposed you as a person, or a “the brick wall of reality” that you couldn’t get around. Now you can use it.

For example if you have Venus in Cancer conjuncting your North Node, you’ll know that something about the nurturing nature of love in relationship is good for you now, and is what you didn’t quite get right in a former life or earlier in this one. Then, you check on which house it’s in to tell another piece of the story.

In looking at the planets aspecting the Nodes, this is where you don’t need a cookbook answer. Just treat it for what the planet and aspect means—ie if a planet is conjuncting, or opposing, or making a trine to your Nodes, think of it “classically” the same way as you would a planet doing that to your Sun. It simply is amplifying and describing more of what that Node is about—except that because we are looking at Nodal information, the important point is the aspects to the South Node hint of your past life patterns. You probably lived that planet out quite thoroughly in a former life.

A planet tightly aspecting your South Node describes you in a former life, and like looking through a piece of stained glass, it also colors your current life today. Read it for what it is! Moon conjunct the South Node? Put the puzzle together: Moon: mother, mothering, feelings, reactivity. What sign is it in? You have Moon in Sagittarius? Is Sag concerned with the balance of freedom and issues of communication? Is it expansive and over-bearing at times in its enthusiasm? Is this Moon/South Node in the house of close committed friendships and marriage, or is it in the house of career? Where then might you be acting out these South Node tendencies?

This kind of Nodal expansiveness in a reading stretches the imagination to play out a few variations on a theme—why not? You never know what you might find. (c) Elizabeth Spring
*** Because I'm finishing writing my book on the Nodes this month (!) I'm not having time to respond to comments personally. However, I do appreciate them, and when possible I respond to them in the next posted article.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Near Death Experience; Retrieving the Gold in the Shadow of the South Node

The Near Death Experience, and Retrieving the “gold in the shadow” of the South Node

We retrieve the “gold in the shadow” of the South Node, of our past, when we’ve done the work of the North Node. Here’s the theory: we grow up repeating the patterns of the South Node, and we use the “vehicle” of the astrological Sun to create an ego with which to live in the world—until the time of our first Saturn return at approximately the age of twenty nine. Somewhere in that “awakening Saturnian time” we truly begin reaching for those qualities embedded in the North Node, and in so doing, compensate for the excesses and woundedness of our past. We begin to come home to our Self.

When we’ve done this long enough to sustain a workable life—that is, when we’ve worked to use both the positive qualities of each Node so that we create a balance in our lives—it is then that we are ready to begin the process of retrieving the “gold in the shadow” of the South Node. It is then that we can safely approach what the Jungians call the shadow and extract something that is not simply a default pattern.

If we think of the Nodes as being like the yin/yang symbol, we could visualize the gold to be the circular dot that is embedded within the space of each opposite. This astrological gold is a gift of grace that is available for all of us—and in my experience it tends to come around the time of the Uranus Opposition: somewhere between the ages of 38 and 41. It is at this point that the psyche intensely feels the anxiety and necessity for change—it must retrieve what it has not lived out to this time. And in so doing, people change. It is now that one sees people at this age doing all those things they’ve put off—moving cross country, divorcing, marrying, having a baby, leaving their job, finding their true vocation. They are now on a new journey.

The exciting thing about this is that we can now “take” and handle the goodness in our family karmic inheritance, and reap the rewards of latent talents. We can also take something from a past life experience that we’ve “earned” but perhaps not used skillfully in the past.

When I think of this, I remember the Near Death Experience I had around the age of twenty-one. After experiencing some of the classic luminosity of it, I also received a message—a message received through “automatic writing” saying that I would be wise to ground myself in the world in a very tangible way, and not come back to explore these “other worlds” until I had my feet firmly planted in this reality.

I took the message to heart, and became a potter for the first part of my life, married a Virgo, and had a child. It wasn’t until my forties that I returned to school to get my graduate degree in counseling and became a full time astrological counselor and writer. My North Node is in Taurus in the second house; my South Node in Scorpio in the eighth. I see this movement from South Node to North Node and back to the gold in the South Node with clients. The Nodes feel, not only like a directional pointer, but also like a tool of the psyche/Soul to create balance, and I believe we move between the two in ways that are both mysterious and yet somewhat calculable.
Elizabeth Spring © art: kerstin zettmar