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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Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Breaks the Heart? What Gladdens the Heart? What Happens When You Mix the Passion of the Poet, Rumi, wtih the Alchemy of Carl Jung?

The book: “North Node Astrology” starts out with the quote:
“Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” Frederick Buechner spoke those words years ago, which I now juxtapose with a quote by author/mystic, Andrew Harvey: “Be thankful that you live in a time so terrible, it will lead you to your authentic Self.”

The holding of this kind of terrible opposition is the “tension of opposites” that Carl Jung spoke about when he spoke of God, or the “transcendent function.” He once said that God is beyond ideas of good and evil, and is more than the “coincidentia oppositorum”—he felt that it was in the holding of such oppositions as great despair and great hope that we create the spaciousness for the alchemy of our transformation. In the holding of the opposites, we make room for God or the transcendent function in the Soul, the psyche.

It is here in the holding of such opposites, such as where your heart breaks and where your heart finds joy—here is where “the numinous third” can arise – the midpoint between the two opposing positions. Jung tended to counsel “waiting” and a patient holding of the opposites in the crucible of our psyche. When we hold our love and pain together, what can arise is a gift of grace: the point which is the center of the mandala. This is what Jung saw as the third unseen possibility/option which is unfelt at first. Like a gift of grace, it arises of its own accord.

And yet does this create a“passivity” within us? I suspect it could, except in these days when our culture leans towards acting out. Perhaps the “third” that arises is a summons towards compassionate action. We hear that expressed in the Sufi poet, Rumi—as Andrew Harvey expresses it so well: “Rumi is a lion of passion trying to teach a humanity of depressed sheep how to roar…to roar with divine love.” Rumi would have us crawl out from under the dirty blanket of denial to ignite the passion—a passion that has the intensity to birth something truly new.

So isn’t Rumi really asking us to rise to another level of intensity—of radical commitment to ourselves and to our values? Reading his poetry he begs and cajoles us to act on our beliefs and loves—but eventually the only respite that came to him from his painful yearning for his beloved, was to become the Beloved. He held the tension of the opposites within himself, until like Jung believed, the opposites yielded a third: he eventually found within himself the union of opposites. ~ Elizabeth Spring


  1. Our culture seems bent on ugly words that create divisions - just take a look at the response to our health care bill. Are we going back to earlier times like the Civil War and the violence of the sixties?

    Ah, holding the tensions of the opposites. We need this maturity and wisdom vs. the acting out and bad-mouthing that is rampant.

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