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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Monday, November 15, 2010

Meeting Alistair. Reading A Chart for the First Time.

“The birth chart is like a conference table, and the planets circling around it are like the different parts of your Self sitting around the table. The Sun is the chairperson and represents your basic identity, the Moon reflects your emotional nature, the Ascendant is your style of “moving” in the world, and the Nodes are about your life direction and soul purpose. The aspect lines cris-crossing in the center of the chart connect all this—all these voices in our psyche—showing where the conversation is divided and aligned, where it’s tense and where it’s flowing…. ” (excerpt from book: "North Node Astrology: Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose")

My voice trailed off as I looked up at Alistair. I wanted to see if he understood this and if he was receiving or resisting this information. It’s not hard to see most things, as our emotions are more obviously written on our face than we’d like to think. Most people have no idea how transparent we are, nor do we want to admit that everything about us speaks to who we are—not just our clothes, or our tone of voice, but even the way we look at each other, or don’t look, and the little twitches and hand movements that reveal almost as much as the astrological chart.

I was touched by the gracious formality of Alistair’s handshake when he walked in the door. I knew he was thirty years old yet something made him look older than his years. Thick dark hair, pale white skin and near-black eyes, framed an impeccable face hinting of some purity of heart. He was a Virgo with a Pisces Moon; strong and kind, with Aries rising.

The flesh and blood reality of a client always shocks me at first, because after spending several hours analyzing their charts, I think I know them, and I don’t. Clients never seem to look as I would imagine them, and it’s humbling to be so often wrong and then to hear how courageously they’ve survived even with the most “challenging” of charts. Alistair was a survivor, and had somehow learned to thrive despite living under what the ancient astrologers used to call ‘”malefic” aspects. Of course, I never use those words, malefic or auspicious, but I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of wounding this man had survived. His chart was challenging, yet his eyes were kind.

Most of us don’t like to feel too vulnerable, and though we don’t want to admit it, I think there’s a mutual resonance that happens when we like or dislike another person or situation, it’s almost instantaneous. We want to feel more in control as we pretend to ourselves that our words, explanations, and sometimes false optimism can present things differently. Yet I could see that Alistair was not only allowing himself to have a reading, but he was willing to “let me in” as well.

“Is this your first reading?” I asked.

“It is…and what a lovely place you have here! Is that a Goddess’s face carved into that fireplace mantel?”

“It is” I answered, while motioning him to the green rocking chair, hoping he was approving of the setting for his reading. This Victorian office had high ceilings and dark wood walls where the lights could cast shadows and allow nuances of mood. The black wrought iron fireplace was carved into with the face of the Goddess, and I hoped that the numinous face would bring the spirit of the feminine into the little consulting room. Her downward looking eyes seemed to know how to keep a secret.

“So have you been doing this long? It’s my first time—you know---I don’t even come to this part of town much. But I read your book! Though I’m not much of a believer in anything….hope that’s OK, just to try—“

“Of course it’s fine! Let’s just see what we can find here that could be helpful to you.” I splayed the charts in my hand like a card deck. “I don’t predict death by execution or anything like that—but who knows what we’ll see….we’ll just read what’s here.” I pointed to the two chairs on either side of the amber stained glass lamp. It was so quiet for a moment I could hear the motions of the antique clock on the mantel, and I wondered if I had remembered to clear the dirty coffee cups off the desk. He looked instead at the bookshelf which covered one wall.

“Lovely,” he whispered, as we sat down, and I admired the pristine clarity of his English accent.

It seemed from his voice that he was a warm but skeptical sort of man, and a tired one at that. He said on the phone that he was coming to me because he liked the tiny advertisement for my services in “Newport This Week” which noted my background in psychology—specifically, the psychology of the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung who was noted for his work with the unconscious and synchronicity.

“You know, I can see that you take this seriously, you’re not just a—what do you call them—a ‘sun-sign’ astrologer or a sketchy fortune teller. I like that…”

I nodded, and thought: here was a gentle man who had come to yet another turning point in his life, and who simply needed a little psychic cheerleading. I knew he was a potter and shopkeeper down on the wharf. Here was someone who wanted me reaffirm for him what he already knew to be true---that his first marriage was over, and that the chance for love was still on the horizon. Of course he didn’t say that. What he did say, at the end of our session, was that he’d be back.

What he didn’t know about me was that I’m a bit of a reluctant astrologer. It’s not about believing or not believing in astrology, because astrology is a language of the soul that exists, and to say that you don’t believe in it, sometimes sounds to me like saying you don’t believe in “Spanish” or “French”—it’s a language that conveys meaning in a very particular way. I believe deeply in this language, and yet it’s like a finger that points at the moon. It doesn’t get you there. It describes the journey.

Maybe Alistair did know, but he never let on that I had hinted at that “reluctance” in my book. He didn’t let on right away everything he was feeling, nor did I…but maybe we knew.

And how surprised I was that those opportunities for love I saw in his chart that day would be directed at me—and I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me we would be married within six months. How shocked I would have been if someone told me the story of how sweet our love was, how lovely our daughter would be, and how difficult the marriage would be as it “raveled and unraveled” and then….but instead of me analyzing it, let me just tell you the story instead. ~ ©elizabeth spring

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