All posts here are from sections of the books: "North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose" and "Lifting the Veil; Becoming Your Own Best Astrologer" and "Astrology for the Third Act of Life" and finally "Saturn Returns~The Private Papers of A Reluctant Astrologer" All available in paperback, Kindle and Audible on

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

North Node Medicine-- Jungian "Compensation"

North Node Medicine is about making conscious what is unconscious, and using that to heal yourself. Carl Jung wrote that the psyche has a natural balancing mechanism that "compensates" for itself unconsciously. However this compensation can often feel quite uncomfortable--showing up as an aching back, insomnia and difficulties in relationships. What is out of balance wants to get back in balance--but first let's look at what North Node Medicine is all about.

At the first reading of your North Node Sign you may be nodding your head in agreement, and then thinking: Well, isn’t that true for everyone? Yes, if something is deeply true, then it is true for everyone. However, each sign has a particular truth that rings truer for it than for the others. All the North Node “Medicines” have a “particularity” to that sign and house position, and a potency that is activated by that particular polar dynamic. The prescription, like a vitamin, might be good for anyone to take, but it’s really only necessary and highly effective if you have the symptoms and the chemistry particular to your own Nodal nature.

Here’s an example: Let’s compare 2 sign/house placements: the sign of Leo which naturally rules the 5th house, and Pisces which rules the 12th house.

I think of Leo and the 5th house as “the house that Joseph Campbell built.” Why? Because he popularized the phrase: Follow your own bliss. This is good medicine for those who have their North Nodes in Leo or the 5th house because it’s all about joyous self-expression, and all the life, goodness and creativity that comes when we become as little children again and just play. North Node Leos, with their South Node past in Aquarius, have had childhoods or past lifetimes when they were separated from this particular kind of creative, loose, joyful play—they could have been exiled, persecuted, a genius, a role-model (one who had to be a good example!) or one who didn’t quite fit in for some reason—they could have been ill or restrained in some way, or they may have placed duty above personal expression and joy. They come into this life having forgotten what playing and self-expression can do! Whether it be through love relationships, children, artwork, or just having a good time, there’s a need for this Soul to come into the group, take the lead, and simply follow their own bliss.

Let’s compare that with the “House that Carl Jung built”—the 12th house and Pisces. If you have a North Node in Pisces or in the 12th house, you are being summoned to explore the world of the “collective” and the unconscious. But how can consciousness enter into unconsciousness? It certainly cannot do it directly, but we can enter that world through dreams, divination, active imagination, and by noticing moments of synchronicity between what we’re feeling on the inside and what’s happening on the outside. This is Jungian territory. We are called here to go beyond traditional boundaries into the Neptunian worlds where the mind and the heart join, and where mysticism and psychology meet.

This is not for everyone. But if your North Node is in Pisces or located in the 12th house, then there is something for you to gain in exploring these worlds. There is healing medicine for you deep in your psyche, and you have been given “cosmic permission” to seek Oneness with this world. This is an area where we are not duty-bound, not having to be “right”, and not having to march to anyone else’s drummer. You are simply and quite mysteriously being called to become aware and conscious! Some might say you are called to be enlightened. Some might say you are called to peak into the” in-between lands” where fate, destiny and character all conspire to make a life.

In ancient times, the 12th house was sometimes called the house of suffering, or the “call to the monastery.” Today we could say that having an astrological 12th house emphasis calls you to serve the collective spiritually or psychologically; and that not being conscious of that world might cause you suffering.

So, North Node medicine is about many things, including the psychological law of compensation. It’s a way of describing the particular “vitamin” or anti-biotic that is just right for you in this life now. It’s the particular area to which you need to bring some compensatory behavior, for example, too much righteousness? The medicine would be a little naughtiness. Too much seriousness? A little humor is called for.

Because the Nodes are a polarity, it’s important to remember that polarization calls for balance and integration. The compensating medicine always calls you to become more whole, not good. We need the highest expression of both Nodes, but we need the North a little bit more because of its compensating effects.
The Vedic Indian tradition describes it by saying that we feed ourselves through our North Node and we can feed others through our South Node. Westerners, such as Carl Jung, talked about it in terms of compensation, and said that compensation was the truest natural law in the psyche! Meaning that all nature seeks balance, and that if we don’t do it consciously, the unconscious will do it for us. Neurosis, and distorted or repressed behaviors, will tend to leak out of us if when we are not maintaining a natural balance within. So…the right medicine at the right time is what we are seeking!
elizabeth spring (c)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Question of Priorities: How Do I "Read" the North and South Nodes?

A Question of Priorities: How do I “read” the North and South Nodes? Pulling It All Together Astrologically…

When you care enough to go deeper into understanding the North and South Nodes in your birth chart, it can get very confusing indeed! With so many things to consider, it’s hard to know what is important and what isn’t. There’s not much written about how to tweak and modify a good reading of the Nodes. As we all know, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but we all have to start at the basic understanding of the signs and houses, and work up from there. So synthesizing the various elements and “pulling it all together” by prioritizing is a crucial part of the process.

The first step is to read about the SIGN of your North and South Node, and then to read about the section of the chart, the HOUSE, that they each fall in. This tells you a lot, and is enough for many people. It’s also worth remembering that the Nodes are always directly opposite each other on a polar axis that is 180 degrees apart.

If however, you want to delve deeper and begin to unravel the details in order to more fully understand your past life karmic inheritance, or “parable,” you need to go farther. The next step to consider is what PLANET rules your South Node? What PLANET rules your North Node? And where is that planet located in your birth chart and what is it doing in terms of aspects and houses? Following this trail begins an intuitive journey….

Besides looking at the Ruling PLANETS of the Nodes, it is significant if you have a planet conjuncting the Nodes, that is, within about 8 degrees of either Node in your birth chart. If you have a planet conjuncting the South Node, then this planet describes something about who you were either in a former life or earlier in this life. For example: Do you have Mars next to your South Node? This Mars conjuncting the South Node brings an Aries survivor, pioneering, warrior, and entrepreneurial nature to who you once were. Any planet conjuncting a Node modifies the description of it.

Now if a planet is conjuncting the North Node instead of the South, then it describes two things---one is that it’s good North Node Medicine for you to integrate and embody these qualities into your life now, and, it also suggests that in the past you were UP AGAINST someone or something that opposed you in a way described by that planet. You came up against a brick wall of reality that you had trouble getting around—and it had the quality of that planet. It may indeed have been a person, and in the case of Mars, it would have a lot to do with “showing up and having courage.”

The last part of the Nodal story that is fascinating to look at revolves around the aspects to the Nodes. The aspects describe something more about the story or plot of your “past life parable.” A square to the Nodes is a possible skipped step, as Steven Forrest describes it, and describes the unfinished business or skipped/ resisted/denied thing that we need to do (or be!) in order to reach our North Node potential.

This is what Evolutionary Astrology does—it’s not a simple process, and in a post like this, there isn’t room for more examples. Perhaps in my next post I will flesh this out more—and please forgive me if I’ve missed answering some of your questions. If I can’t do it personally, I’ll try to at least address them on this blog. Elizabeth Spring ©

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Attending to the Soul"

Who doesn’t ask themselves occasionally: “Who am I beneath this story of my life?” Or, like in the myth of the Holy Grail, we may ask ourselves: “Who is it that I truly Serve?” The gods of family, finance, freedom and romance are still there, but may not need our attending to as much in the second half of life. Who is this Self that still holds a glimmer of numinosity, like a vague memory of a half-forgotten dream?

Rediscovering life direction and soul purpose may become stronger at mid-life, as many of us begin spending more time questioning what it means to “attend to the Soul.” In Greek, the word “psychotherapy” actually means attending to the Soul. In mid-journey in our life, we are perhaps more hungry for Spirit and thirsty for meaning than ever before. Our egos may be stronger now, our children grown, our career secure, non-existent, or retired from, but still the Self remains and asks questions of us.

Who are we now? The Self, rather than the ego, wants to be attended to, and yes, psychotherapy might be a way to nurture this--as might many other possibilities. In essence, it seems as if our Soul has an increased yearning to be met by another “consciousness” in a space of freedom and possibility…and in this space to see itself more clearly.

We may have many names for this “Self” I’m speaking of. Some may think of it as Atman/Brahman; the connection between the God within and the God Out There. Others may see this Self as simply the unique individual they have grown into becoming. But some of us may still be pulled by diversions and distractions and ailments that pull us away from this part of who we are. And as Christians, Jews and Muslims know, it may take some new effort “to not put any other gods before Me.”

My sense is that the call to reconnect with a guiding vision, or deep wellspring, grows more subtly intense as we age. We want to rediscover our life direction and soul purpose. Many of us look to find ways to live a deeper life more connected to Source, and reject easy answers and old solutions to this quest. Astrology and depth psychology, yoga and meditation may intrigue us. We may want to travel down and in now, rather than wide and far. Our imagination is re-ignited to new possibilities where we don’t have to go farther than our living rooms…or the library or the internet. We take up a playing the harp or reading Rumi or decide to learn Reiki. This desire to re-discover, re-connect, and replenish this wellspring always seems to rise again….how do you do it?

Want to share your ideas or comments??? Elizabeth Spring

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And how do I understand what houses my Nodes are in?

The Houses

To understand the houses, or "sections" of the birthchart, you’ll need to have your birth chart in hand, and look at which one of the 12 sections of the chart your Nodes fall in—remembering that the North Node looks like a set of head-phones, and the South Node looks like its reversed image: a horseshoe. If you don’t have your chart, there are numerous sites on the internet which will show you your chart, for free, in minutes.

If however, you don’t have your birth time—which many people don’t have—the house information won’t be accurate, because it’s based on the time of your birth.

The house description of the Nodes always tells us in what area of our life things are happening, and where attention is needed to be paid. We are advised to move towards the area of life ruled by the house of the North Node, and away from the limitations of the house that holds the South Node.

However, remember that it is a polar axis we’re describing, and the opposing houses always have elements in common with each other. If you use the high expression of the South Node house, almost as a natural talent, you are doing well. And when you reach for the high expression of the North Node house, you are stretching beyond your comfort zone to maximize all you can be.

It is good to remember with both the sign and house description of the South Node, that there is an emotional memory here—unconscious, but similar to a dream that we can’t quite remember—the South reminds us of what we didn’t get right earlier in this life or in a former life. So be gentle with yourself in this area of life ruled by the South Node, as this is where you’ve experienced wounding before. Whether we did it, or it was done to us, the “emotional hangover” may feel somewhat similar. Elizabeth Spring

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Squares to the Nodes: the "Skipped Step"

Squares to the Nodes—Your Karmic “Skipped Step”

How do you get to your North Node? How do you know how best to prioritize things? What has been left unresolved karmically from past lives? At this point, you understand the idea of the Nodes: the North Node is the direction your Soul longs to go towards in this life, and the South Node is the direction you need to move away from—your default patterns that you may have “brought over” from another life. But how do you get to what the North Node is all about? You’ve read the description of the North Node sign and house placement, and you’ve read the description of the South Node sign and house, but still you have questions. Good questions.

One of the hints the chart gives us to look at is the aspects to the Nodes—especially if you have squares to the Nodes. Many people have this aspect, which is called: the skipped step. To understand it you need to let your imagination roam around the meaning of the planet that is squared. Again, what sign is it in? What house? There is something in the nature of this placement that is telling you what you need to do as part of your process of getting to the North Node. You need to pick up the unfinished business here—there is something about what that skipped step is about that remains as a complex or as a forgotten way of thinking that needs to be addressed and brought into your life now. You can understand that skipped step as being a karmic “bad habit” from a former life, or simply a blind spot in your psyche.

Blind spot? The skipped step is often what we don’t want to look at or deal with—it’s the missing piece of the puzzle, the dropped stitch, the piece that needs the most priority in your life now, and often receives the least.

For example: today I did a reading for a woman who had so many skills and abilities, yet she was feeling quite stuck for a number of reasons. We touched on what those issues were about, but I was left with the feeling that if she would take care of her body/health, then the rest would fall into place rather easily. She needed to address the square to her Nodes, which pointed to the 6th house of health. And, at this point in her life I felt there was a certain urgency to it.

Jeffrey Green and Steven Forrest were the first I know of to call this aspect the skipped step. The blockages and distortions that are symbolized by the planet and house that is square to the Nodes is a critical piece to consider when looking at a chart. Yet nothing is ever truly skipped or lost—it’s just put away till another time, or done unconsciously. But for those who want more direct answers to life direction and soul purpose questions, these aspects are a wealth of information. Ironically, as easy as they are to see, they’re never easy to understand. Elizabeth Spring

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Understanding the Polarity of the North and South Nodes

Our emotional bodies are heavy with the many unresolved past lives we carry within us unconsciously. The personal unconscious, as well as the family unconscious, seems to carry an “imprint” from these lives, as well as from our early childhood. It invites us to try again and again 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 some very deep inner truths and inclinations/talents/wisdom that we intuit within ourselves.

The North and South Nodes reflect this duality in many ways. Each Node contains a polarity within it, describing a potential for its highest and lowest expression which we express in each choice we make. So each Node speaks to both what is unresolved and undigested within us, as well as being the “medicine” that will bring us greatest relief, and help us evolve into all that we can be.

The North Node can be seen as the area in our life 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 nourish 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 polarities and paradoxes of the Nodes are not truly opposite—in fact, every astrological opposition carries within it the seed of its opposite, or 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 called for is a balance and a movement between the wholeness of the two—a give and take: a dance.

When we are able to do this, what “shows up” within us is an energetic re-engagement with life, inspiration, and a growing re-enchantment with the process of our life. Ah… when we extend ourselves past our comfort zones—that’s the North Node! We reach into that place where we can love more and truly give of ourselves. The surprise is, of course, that in the giving we receive more than we expected, and nourish ourselves.

© Elizabeth Spring More information on:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Venus,Neptune Astrological Aspects: "Dropped Stitiches" of Illusion and Disillusion

Dropped Stitches;
The Illusions of
Venus and

Following threads
Of chosen words
One crafts a quilt
As one “pieces” a life—
Following threads
Of small acts of courage and choice—
Raveling and unraveling
The particulars of a life…
Following the story-line home.

Catching hold of a purple thread of sorrow
A yellow line of joy
I needle through the cloth
Buttoning together the places of the heart
Knurly and knotted,
Piecing and stringing such fragile threads—
I hide the back from view.
“Such a beautiful piece” they’ll say
Yet I know how I suffer the broken threads
The illusions, false engagements, subtle betrayals--
Such paradox and possibility—
At times, the fabric barely holds.

For far too long, I’ve sewed through button-eyes
Unknotted—they released themselves
As I sought to make connections
That were not mine to make.

But now the needle moves rhythmically
Through the holy quartet of a single button.
I see how singular threads
Need to be knotted and stitched—
Buttoned with the belief
That there are patterns
In this life of sixty-one years.
The stitches are beginning to hold
The torn places are mending.

But still the heart cries out—
The dropped stitches persist—
But what needs to attach, attaches—
And what needs to detach, detaches—
As I’ve become a keeper of buttons. ~
(This photo is one I took of an ancient astrolabe, and will be used on the cover of my new book: Astrological Gold; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

North Node 12th House, Pisces North Node, Virgo South Node

Is your North Node in the 12th house? Then it has an undertone of Pisces, and your South Node automatically falls into the 6th house, which has a Virgo undertone. Add the description of the sign of your North Node to this house position to deepen your understanding of your Nodal axis...and, you can deepen your understanding of North Node in Pisces, no matter what house it falls in your chart.

With a North Node in the 12th house we are deep in the “house that Carl Jung built.” This is the area of the deep psyche, the unconscious, and with a North Node here we are wise to explore beneath the surface of life to the unconscious subtle realms of the heart as expressed in music, art, poetry and painting. We are called to “the monastery” here in the sense that it is a non-verbal, solitary, spiritual call towards Self awareness. The 12th house has sometimes been called the house of troubles, because it can’t be dealt with logically and pragmatically, and to do so doesn’t benefit the person with a North Node in this house. However, the key to this house placement is that there is no longer any need for troubles, duties, obligations, humility and service! All those are embodied in the opposite 6th house. As a 12th house North Node person you have earned the right to take the deep pleasures of the unconscious: gifts of magic, insight and deep peace.

The karmic pull of your past with the South Node in the 6th house will be one that tries to pull you back to be of help to others, with an emphasis on the skillful use of the mind and duty, rather than the promptings of the heart. The default tendency here will be about thinking rather than feeling, working rather than playing, honoring logic more than intuition. The North Node goal is a move away from the particular and detailed attention that the 6th house requires, to the spiritual meaning-making, and only partially “conscious” quality of the 12th house. This evolutionary pull towards the 12th house, which is ruled by Pisces, will be to balance and correct that tendency with a more imaginative and universal type of thinking in which the goal is to create more compassion in our lives by simply loving ourselves and others more. We’ve earned a degree of rest and release from duty.

This placement is sometimes, paradoxically, not an easy one because it’s not easily accessible by rational thought and direct approaches. It almost sneeks up on us, like pleasure does sometimes. So we approach 12th house activities with our hearts, with the arts, with feelings, and obliquely through dreams and divination. There are often issues around trust and faith, when Neptunian confusion fogs the clarity that can be attained with this placement. True enlightenment and clarity are real possibilities for people with the North Node in the 12th, however “getting it” for you may often be as simple as just softening and accepting into the process of living and loving.

The high road for North Node 12th house folks is a fascinating journey into the worlds where not everything is obvious or as it appears to be. It’s a world where even limitations can be a profound gift. Who has not enjoyed the occasional “mental health day” when we’ve stayed in bed or in our pajamas without leaving the house? In the 12th house, what is buried in the unconscious is begging for conscious understanding and acceptance. Jungian psychology and counseling, with its emphasis on creative expression of non-verbal dreams and images, and its encouragement towards unique individuality rather than collective moralities, can be very nurturing and deepening for 12th house people. ~elizabeth Spring More at: