Wednesday, November 11, 2009

South Node Libra

In Evolutionary astrology we look at the South Node with eyes that are biased to see what unfinished business, what blockage, what challenge was not met—either earlier in this life or in a former life. So, we read the South Node negatively. To read the “Venus ruled” Libra negatively can be hard, because there is so much charm and personality there. It’s similar to saying “that nice person at the party/the job/the meeting wasn’t really so nice after all.” Too much niceness, too much ‘trying to make the peace at any price’, too much caring what the other person thinks and feels, can make a person appear like a chameleon. Why is there such a desire to please? What woundedness is under that need?

Enmeshment, co-dependence, and a subtle kind of opportunism and neediness are the worse traits of Libra; no matter if it be the Sun, Moon or South Node. In the South Node position, the emotional nature “remembers” on a cellular level an original closeness and unity that is hoped for now, if not expected. Venus wants good relationships, harmony and beauty. Nothing wrong with that. Justice too, and credit for doing a good job. He/she wants to come up smelling like roses, and sometimes Venus bends the truth or takes radical risks to make their dreams come true.

So what is needed here? A healthy dose of its opposite: Mars. Venus needs the independent, assertiveness of its North Node of Aries to create the balance. When you have the South Node  in Libra, there’s too much of a default pattern here of the illusive or manipulative feminine—whether you are male or female, we all have our counter-sexual parts within us, and with Libra, you are going to have to assert, fight, survive, and carry the weight of the paradoxes of life on your shoulders. You need to get assertive. Your soul survival may depend on you not depending too much on other people.

As always there’s a delicate crucial balance needed between the opposites. This is the Libra/Aries, “I-Thou axis”-- the relationship balancing “see-saw” between me and you. There’s great gold or goodness embedded in the South Node Libra, but if you’re going to learn from this, take a look at how you “act-out” your relationships in your life, and how you respond to beauty. Are you nourishing yourself with “random acts of beauty” and loving kindness? Good, that’s high Libra. Are you finding new ways to nourish your need for true relationships, or are you distracting or deceiving yourself and others? Libra likes the illusions and beauty of Neptunian fantasies, which are fine, but remember to honor the need for confrontation and assertion in your life. Venus needs Mars. The female and male parts of you are all there inside of you, just asking permission to express itself. “Androgyny” can be seen as a kind of wholeness.
© Elizabeth Spring

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

South Node Taurus

The South Node represents what we’ve come into this life with---the gifts, the wounds, the challenges. On the most basic level, the South Node is where we are comfortable because we are familiar with the territory, and with the South Node in Taurus, we know the delights of being comfortable, being sensual and sexual, having a sense of financial and emotional security, and enjoying the things in life that make it worth living. Venus rules Taurus, and this is the part of us that values the ground we stand on, our relationships, beauty, good food and drink, and loyal friends. Nothing wrong with that! And we fear not having enough of those things.

Venus is exalted in Taurus, meaning that the planetary archetype of Venus naturally and comfortably expresses itself through the lens of Taurus, and that “she” expresses a type of “life philosophy” that is rooted in a pragmatic and sensual understanding of life.

That is unless you’ve taken it too far. And this may be the case if your South Node is in Taurus. The South Node always represents the area that we didn’t get quite right in a former life, or earlier in this one, so we are called now to release the down side of these habits and traits. Too much emphasis on Venusian security, sensuality and relationships can hint of a touch of laziness or materiality that doesn’t leave room for the depth, painful truth, or edginess that Soul Work sometimes requires.

Have you been living in a world of denial or attempting a false security that isn’t rooted in deep truth? The South Node in Taurus speaks to the need to move away from the over-dependence on personal resources (“He who dies with the most money wins”) or continual security seeking (“This is my house and I don’t ever want to consider moving for any reason.”)

Too great a concern for the comfortable desires of Venus tends towards materialism, if not laziness, and the antidote is to move towards your Scorpio North Node. This is about a willingness to risk one’s present level of security for a deeper, truer level of security and integrity. This is where the balance is brought in by the Scorpio North Node, which continually wants to know “what’s the emotional bottom line truth here? And what do I need to do about it?”

Elizabeth Spring

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bitterness; The Silent Disease

"Bitterness: The Silent Disease of the South Node"
"Anger is a short madness." Horace 65 BC

Anger is a short madness, but bitterness is anger that has been boiled, simmered, and then found so unpalatable that it has been thrown into the deep freeze of our unconscious psyches. Recently the “Los Angeles Times” printed an article called: “Bitterness as mental illness?” It stated that:
“Bitter behavior is so common and deeply destructive that some psychiatrists are urging it be identified as a mental illness under the name post-traumatic embitterment disorder.”

How many of us have a touch of this disease? How many people do we know that have it? And towhat degree? Anger is what we feel first in the face of injustice, and repeated anger becomes deep-seated resentment at whoever and whatever is upsetting us. It turns cold and bitter. And the worse part is that it can turn us bitter even when we think we’ve hidden it so well! It can show on our faces, in our expressions, in our tone of voice. It gives us indigestion, insomnia, back pain, and unexplained headaches. We want so much for it not to de-freeze-- we want so much to forgive and forget, but proper disposal of toxic pain isn’t easy. Most of us need help with it.

Bitterness is a crusty disease that grows on unprocessed anger. It is particularly dangerous for us as we age, because many therapists, including myself, believe that it plays a part in heart disease as well. The heart is both a physical and emotional organ that reflects how we treat it. Most of us are trying to exercise away the excesses that have deposited themselves as fat—but what are we doing with all that un-dealt with pain in our hearts? With the years of frozen anger?

First of all, it needs to be acknowledged. Yes, it’s there. Maybe you call it disillusionment with your career, or maybe you say it’s how your sister cheated you out of part of your inheritance, or maybe it’s that romantic love never quite came through for you. You may have the regret of the ‘enabler’ or the one who had to sacrifice a large part of her life for another. Maybe you blame someone or blame yourself. What matters most though, is the story we tell ourselves about it.

We may think that we have done our ‘anger management’ by cooling and repressing our anger, but in most cases, it’s still alive and not well. It needs to be thawed, re-heated, and disposed of properly. Refrigeration doesn’t work well, as cooled anger turns to resentment and bitterness. It has an annoying tendency to leak out at inappropriate times-- upsetting good relationships, disturbing our dreams, and filling us with a vague discontent.

This story needs to be re-told and re-framed. If you will investigate, research, and delve deeper into the place where you hold this bitterness and pain, you can gain a wider perspective and a deeper understanding of the whole picture. You need to have someone who can deeply listen to your story, and whose opinions you trust. Allow them to help you understand it from a variety of different perspectives. Allow them to help you put it into a story that makes some sense (not easy!)

The psychologist, Carl Jung, once wrote that all adult neuroses could only be healed by a spiritual perspective. Perhaps you can find a way to infuse the story with love towards yourself and others. The last step will be to tell the ‘deep freezer of your subconscious’ the new story of how and why it all happened, and how you see it now.

As a psychotherapist and astrological counselor, I often look at what I call the family karmic inheritance. This is the legacy of inherited sins and blessings that get handed down the generations, and I believe it’s responsible for more psychic distress than we realize.

You may notice that you have our mother’s eyes, but have you noticed that you have some of her passive aggressive traits as well? Do you know what she was holding her anger about? Can you discover how far back it goes? Could you be overly sensitive to authoritarian figures like your grandfather, or experiencing a similar conflict between the demands of creativity and family that he once did? How bad did it get? Once you know the nature of the inheritance you can look at it how it’s showing up in your life. Old, long, and difficult inheritances can be particularly insidious. When you become conscious of the “sins of the father’s” you not only begin a healing process for yourself, but you stop the inheritance from infecting your children.

Generations of maternal and paternal legacies influence us in subtle and not so subtle ways. In some families (such as the presidential Kennedy’s) there has been mention of a family ‘curse’. Although that is an exaggeration for most of us, almost everyone inherits a mixture of psycho-spiritual legacies that need to be sorted through. We need to pull out all the stories we can from the family deep freezer.

You can’t be fueled by bitterness, but you can be fueled by anger. Bitterness eats you up, whereas anger can fuel you to do the emotional detective work that heals. It can help you find your voice and your courage. If you are feeling depressed, stuck, or cynical its time to do the psychic de-freezing. This is the time to act, not to “depress.” You may have to admit that your attempts to sublimate and distract yourself from your difficult moods aren’t working any more. This is a good thing, because it means the time is right for you to make a positive and perhaps radical change.

As an astrologer and counselor, I find that there is a grace and energy that shows up when we do things at the right time. If you have no family members who are alive, or who won’t tell you true stories; you can find powerful hints as to this inheritance on your astrological chart. And when you allow yourself to feel strongly about your feelings, rather than freezing them, you allow an opening for grace and serendipity. Call it what you will: God or chance or synchronicity, but whenever you decide to melt the frozen chunks of bitter memories with the healing warmth of tears and heartfelt stories, you invite in powers and graces beyond your rational mind. I believe we ‘summon the Gods’ with our open hearts, and that the Soul is ruthless in finding its way home.

Elizabeth Spring, MA, has a new book out on called: “North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose.” She can be contacted through her website:
Mandala by Carl Jung, from "The Red Book"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Virgo South Node

South Node in Virgo, holds the emotional memories from your childhood and from the forgotten “emotional memories” of past lives. From the re-incarnational perspective, the South Node show the particular emotional “hangover” that’s most impacting you in this life now. We don’t usually clearly remember “facts” from very early in life, nor do we usually remember our past lives. What we feel instead is an emotional undertone—a lunar feeling—and perhaps a sense that something in our past is unresolved and still needing healing…and loving.

So the South Node holds the forgotten memory and feels a bit like waking from a dream but not remembering the storyline. By describing some of this South Node and lunar “story” we bring it into consciousness, thereby allowing our present life story to change. We may recognize something of the old patterns and emotions that no longer serve us now. We can learn to love and be loved differently.

In the past you may have felt that you were the person who always had to do the right thing, and because you were being observed, you had high expectations of yourself and others did too. You may have been a doctor, priest, or skilled craftsperson in a previous life—someone who was expected to be precise and perfect. You may have had competitive siblings or demanding parents…or you may have been under the strict eye of someone older and more controlling--- or even a cultural system (Puritanism or Nazi-ism) that disempowered you in setting strict standards of behavior.

In a former life, or in some ways in this life, there may be a tendency to still want to continue to do things “just right.” And this perfectionism is a harsh standard to live up to it—in attempting to be perfect you inevitably fail; and thereby internalize a feeling of inadequacy or shame….this could also have come from the results of living under the ego-shattering impact of discipleship under an exacting master, guru, or person who had “power over you” (even sexual abuse).Having been the one who was duty-bound and played according to the ‘Rules’ in a former life (or earlier in this one) you now have the chance to relax your linear mind and move towards your heart’s true desires. What is it you truly long for now? Is it love, beauty, imaginative creativity? Or is it simply the chance to relax your guard and take in the view from the mountaintop? Now you have the chance to unite the impulses of your head with those of your heart. You can dare to be gentle with yourself now, and dare to make mistakes, to be imperfect and to let some details go; being compassionate and forgiving with yourself as well as with others.

It’s a good idea to practice getting out of unpleasant situations gracefully rather than being duty-bound or judgmental. You don’t “have to be right” now or confrontational, and you can dare to use your intuition and take action even when you don’t have all the answers. You don’t have to over-analyze things any more. You don’t have to struggle so much now to survive or evolve—instead you are called to move beyond “scarcity mentality” and a self-limiting place of “humble exactitude”. Part of your soul-yearning in this life is to learn to simply trust in the process of life and to surrender your anxieties to a higher power. You are more loved than you realize.

So in love relationships, you will find “soul medicine” in the soft edges and accepting ways of your Pisces North Node. Compassionate, imaginative, inclusive, and—even boundary-less at times, this Pisces/Virgo axis calls for rounding the edges of your psyche so that you are neither critical of yourself or others.

Neptune rules Pisces, so all Neptunian activities are good for you…whether it be walking along the beach by the ocean, meditating, having a glass of wine, or playing imaginatively like a child. Love relationships are healing when they move away from the humble, disciplined and earth bound nature of Virgo to the realms where the head and the heart unite in the less discriminating waters of Pisces. (c) Elizabeth Spring Http://

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Scorpio South Node

The South Node in Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, “Lord of the Underworld” and is the archetypal symbol of death and rebirth. Scorpio in this context has struggled to transform and be re-born like the phoenix, and somewhere in all that struggling has come an exhaustion and weariness of the spirit. Pluto is a planet ruling an intensely passionate sign, and the Scorpio storyline is often about the price it costs to come into one’s own power. Having your South Node here suggests that you can heal and regenerate yourself—and others—more skillfully than any other sign, but you can also be secretive, reflective, mysterious and sometimes revengeful or jealous. So this “South Node Scorpio often reflect the journey of coming into one’s own power the hard way.
South Node in Scorpio know the dark side of life; the areas that are taboo, and the horrific tragedies that befall humans. Tragedies leave scars in their wake, and though you’ve had great courage to look and survive these times, there’s a heaviness of spirit that often remains, as well as a suspiciousness and fear. This life is now one where you are being called to rethink your values, your priorities, and to allow the old ways of loving and being loved to “die and be reborn.”

There’s great gold in Scorpio’s shadowy inheritance---it has a hard won wisdom and occult knowledge that can serve you well when used right. But as always with Scorpio, there can be a tendency to see the “glass as half empty rather than half full” because of an intuitive awareness of what wasn’t “right” earlier in this life or in a former life. You may have paid too much attention to other people’s business rather than our own. You were—or are--the power behind the throne, or the one who “borrowed” another’s values, glory, money or husband. Your own yearning may have brought on drama and melodrama.

Now there’s a call to love and be loved from a different perspective. No more tragic love stories, no more battles for power, struggles for revenge, hidden agendas and all the stuff of great novels. Just peace. Negotiation. Serenity. That’s the movement that is called for with a Scorpio Moon or South Node. Your Soul needs a rest from trauma and melodrama—and you deserve it. There’s no need to sabotage or save in the realm of love, but instead to find ways that life can be sweeter and easier with those you love, and that comfort itself and the simple joys in life are often what makes life worth living.

 South Node in Scorpio holds the emotional memories from your childhood and from the forgotten “emotional memories” of past lives. From the reincarnational perspective, both these points show the particular emotional “hangover” that is most impacting you in this life now. We don’t usually remember “facts” from very early in life, nor do we usually remember our past lives. What we feel instead is an emotional undertone—a lunar feeling—that something in our Soul hurts—and that something in our past is unresolved. It’s like waking from an uncomfortable dream but not remembering the storyline—and this is the unresolved issue that the South Node in our birth chart describes. By describing some of this lunar story, we bring it into consciousness, and then we can move into changing our present life story, by recognizing the old patterns and emotions that no longer serve us now. We can learn to love and be loved differently.
~Elizabeth Spring

Monday, August 31, 2009

South Node Aries

The South Node hold the emotional memories from our childhood and from the forgotten “emotional memory” of a past life. From the reincarnational perspective, these points show the particular emotional “hangover” from a previous life that is most impacting you in this life now. We do not usually remember facts from very early in life, nor do most of us remember our past lives, but what we do feel is an emotional tone—a lunar feeling—that something in our past is unresolved, like waking from an uncomfortable dream but not remembering the facts—and this is the unresolved issue that the South Node and the Moon in our birth chart describes. By bringing this to consciousness we can move into deepening and enriching our present story, by releasing these old patterns that no longer serve us now.

With your South Node in Aries, you’ve sharpened your reflexes for survival, and you know the rush of adrenaline as you begin a new project, speak your truth, or rise in the middle of the night to soothe a crying baby. In this life, as in a previous one, you’ve made yourself rise to the occasion when the need to act arises, as you’ve come to know the path of the warrior, the survivor, and the passionate pilgrim. You’ve had to go it alone many times, and courage has been instilled into you as you’ve “felt the fear, and did it anyway.”

Aries gives us the fuel to act and it arises out of many things: out of fear, anger, necessity, or simply for the experience of knowing “I did it myself.” We have seen the dragon, and we have lifted our sword….we won and lost many a battle, and it is the way we have survived.

In this life now, from the point of view of reincarnational/evolutionary astrology, it is time to look to the larger story—how does the attitude of survival and spiritual warriorship impact others? Sometimes it saves lives! Yes, but as a default pattern in this lifetime it also has been an overused pattern for you. Now it’s time to bring in the significant Others…to say, how can we do this together—without fighting or over-working? Can we bring in more Venus from the opposite sign of Libra? Can we relax a little of the Mars energy that fueled us before? Now you can ask yourself: Do I need to act first, and think later, or might I reflect more, and look elsewhere for a softer, more “Venus” response? Because Mars is the ruler of Aries, we look to the Venus response as the balancing factor. When we honor and balance the assertive with the receptive, we win.

How does this relate to Love? Aries Moon and Aries South Node know the world of passion, but love itself is bigger than passion, and sometimes less exciting. Love sabotages us when we act out of a passion that is overly dramatic and that has you as the only hero/heroine on stage. Love saves and heals when we call on the wisdom of our Aries courageousness and do what must be done without the competitive or adrenaline-laced attitude of an unhealed Aries attitude. Aries may be fueled by necessity, but the Aries Moon/South Node vision can be larger than the “every man for himself” attitude that is the low road for Arians.

The “emotional memory of love” for Aries South Node has a tinge of solitariness to it. Can it trust? Who will help it survive? At times, the Soul may have died alone—the family wasn’t gathered around the bedside, but you may have died on the battlefield or in the hospital bed waiting for the nurse that didn’t arrive in time. You know instinctively that you had to be quick and self-watchful to survive in the past—but now, with this in your past, you are called to develop the trust in others as well as trust in yourself. If you can pause in your reactivity long enough in this life (slow down that response to “fight of flight”!) you may find that loneliness turns into soul-nourishing solitude, and instead of dying, you find that the numinous “Other” was there all along.
Elizabeth Spring

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Let's Talk!" Interview

“Let’s Talk!”

Question: Elizabeth, what’s been the most challenging parts of writing your new book: “North Node Astrology”?

E: Well, first I had to create a website and blog to see if people were interested enough in the subject! So for several years I wrote this blog on North Node Astrology, and from this and the articles on my website ( I formed the book. The learning curve in creating the website myself and learning blogging was a tough beginning! Whew! That continues to be an exciting challenge because I work by myself, and it’s intense trying to balance the time it takes to do personal readings with the time it takes to blog…and write a book. “North Node Astrology” was compiled from 3 years of blog posts, and from articles I published in various magazines--- and some of those articles go back ten years or so…

Question: --so would you say there’s a good reception to the idea of the North and South Node?

E: Yes, there’s been an excellent response. The book is doing great on (it’s been in their top ten in astrology books lately) and I have about 400 readers a day that stop by the blog. So that feels like a real interest.

Question: So it sounds like it’s a full time day job for you?

E: Absolutely. And more…..! Last winter on a few gray Sundays I decided to do a couple of book trailors, you-tube videos, to spread content about the new book and I’m hoping to figure out podcasts soon for the new blogsite, South Node Astrology. And eventually, there will be a book made from that site….

Question: ….and what’s the name of the new book?

Elizabeth: Right now I’m calling it: “South Node Astrology; How Love Sabotages and Saves Our Lives” It’s the working title at the moment.

Question: Sabotage is a pretty strong word, what do you mean by that?

Elizabeth: Love itself never sabotages, but our ideas about what love is supposed “to look and feel like” do get distorted or contaminated by our ideas, expectations, and assumptions about how love is supposed to look and feel-- and of course all this is influenced by our past life/early life default patterns. We hold the emotional memory of love from life to life, and this is seen astrologically in the story the South Node holds.

Question: So will the new blog and book be about these sabotaging and saving ways of thinking and feeling that the South Node describes?

Elizabeth: Yes, but that will only be a part of it, as I also want to write about the importance of how two kinds of love: human love as described by Venus in the birth chart, and divine/compassionate love as shown by Neptune in the birth chart. They are two very different ways of loving….and of course Venus love is messy and imperfect, whereas Neptune love is the Ideal and perfect. Our culture, especially in music and movies, combines these two into one in which we think that “romantic love” is going to save us….but I don’t think this is the most helpful way to think about what love is. I tend to think of loving as a verb for one thing. Our culture tends to put too much weight on our lover or partner to “love us.” Whereas we are all personally summoned to do the loving and spiritual work ourselves. So, I guess you could say I’m advocating more self-love that overflows into love of others.

Question: Interesting! Carl Jung wrote about the illusory and confusing part of love when he talked about the anima and the animus projections. Other people like John Welwood and Harville Hendricks also remind us that our psyches may have a very different agenda in relationships…..

Elizabeth: Yes! And there’s always a mixture of “grace and grit” in relationships especially when the honeymoon period wears off and the more unconscious dynamics start moving in….that’s what we don’t hear about in the songs, or in the romantic movies. I believe we need other ideas and expectations about mature love, and especially love in the second half of life. I don’t mean that relationships can’t be romantic, but it’s going to take more than romance to keep two people together.

Question: You were married for 20 years, divorced for 5 years, and then remarried the same man. Did you think you learned much from that?

Elizabeth: I hope so! In those five years of my divorce I had a lot of despair as well as having lots of “adventures in dating.” And I became engaged to another man as well, but I broke it off even though consciously there was a lot of goodness in that relationship. However the power, control and expectations were not matched well, and our projections on each other were getting seriously “tarnished.”

Question: So why did you remarry your first husband?

Elizabeth: We remarried after five years, because we still loved each other and felt our story wasn’t finished yet. It’s not always an easy relationship because we’re quite different, but it’s got a good “growing edge” to it, and we communicate better than before. We’re happy we’re continuing our story…

Question: Does this tie in with the South Nodes, Venus and Neptune in your birth charts?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. And that’s a long story…you’ll have to read the new book! It will all be there, although the long chapter on relationships in “North Node Astrology” is autobiographical for the most part.

Question: Sounds like “South Node Astrology” will be a great complement to “North Node Astrology.” So, the career/life direction aspects and soul purpose is the focus in the North Node book and the relationship aspects more in the South Node book…sounds like you’ve got something here.

Elizabeth: I think so…thanks so much. And as I mentioned, the North Node book has a long chapter on the alchemy of relationships as well, so it’s not totally divided. They work as a pair, the Nodes and the books. This work ties in with what Steven Forrest and Jan Spiller and others have done in the field, but it has a different slant—I draw a lot on the psychology and inspiration of Carl Jung and James Hollis, and try to create a blend of the psychological and astrological with personal stories….so we’ll see how people relate to this. I’m hoping readers will comment on the new blog: South Node Astrology, so that I’ll get some feedback on all this.

Question: I’m sure you will. Thanks, Elizabeth.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Addicted to Anguish" by guest blogger Donna Cunningham

Addicted to Anguish—
a Sketch of one Neptunian Type
©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Every planet in the birth chart and every trait associated with that planet exists along a scale of one to ten, with one being miniscule to ten being way over the top. People with Neptune, Pisces, or the 12th house strong in their charts are often compassionate, with great empathy and a willingness to help those who are suffering. When you shoot past seven on the scale for compassion, it begins to morph into something else—occasionally sainthood, but more often into being a sucker or rescuer.

If you’re familiar with addiction/codependency literature, rescuers (a.k.a. enablers) get enmeshed with people they’re trying to save in ways that are toxic for both. Over time, codependency becomes a full-blown addiction of its own. It eats up more and more of the rescuer’s life force and attention, leaving no room for growth or fulfillment. Worse, the addicted or otherwise dysfunctional person doesn’t get any better, because the rescuer protects them from consequences of the addiction. Enough—read the literature or go to the groups if you think this might apply to you.

What I want to talk about here are the high sixes and sevens on the compassion scale. It’s a sliding scale with adjustable costs depending on your available resources. It’s a case of pay as you go, and then keep on paying, because enough is never enough, not for the rescuer and not for the rescued.

I have a friend who’s at least a seven on the compassion scale, though she can slide to an eight at a moment’s notice. She’s got a great heart and is forever befriending those who are ill or down and out. The scruffiest, most bedraggled animals and humans we encounter on the street engage her sympathy immediately. Though a city-dweller in her mid-60s, she remains na├»ve, seldom recognizing signals that the individual is playing her.

She’s a loving person, and I admire her for her great empathy with the suffering souls of the world. A recovering New Yorker, I feel hard-hearted next to her. I recognize that she’s a far, far better person than I am. But, really, it’s sometimes a bit much. We went out for breakfast this weekend, and I caught a glimpse of a nine on the scale. I grasped for the first time the not so saintly underpinnings of her need to be needed. I saw why certain Neptunians live to suffer, to be martyred. I got that she is addicted to anguish.

So that you understand the foundation of these observations, I should mention that I earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1967 and have been observing human behavior intently through more than 40 years of astrology and psychotherapy consultations. I’m not just some cynic.

Still, I don’t know how to describe her demeanor in a way that doesn’t make me look like a hard case. She….okay, wallowed sounds bad, I know. But she appeared to thrive on the welling up of empathy…to get enmeshed in the angst. That morning I could see that it’s a bit of living vicariously through other people’s sorrows. Most of us, when we live vicariously, love to partake of others’ joys or successes. As a people, we’re fascinated with the lives of the rich and famous, drinking in every detail.

As I tried to console her, I could sense a strange sort of excitement about being in that state, an almost sensual immersion in anguish. There was a glow about her that doesn’t usually exist, a tinge of ecstasy.

Experts in psychotherapy write that people who engage in self-inflicted pain—like compulsively cutting themselves with razor blades—tend to do so when they feel deadened, numb, and need intense stimulation to feel alive. On the emotional level, martyrdom—another Neptunian quality—can serve much the same purpose.

I spent time later that day trying to sort out what was going on—reflecting on my friend’s history and what’s been going on in her life the past several years. I came to the conclusion that feeling for others with the intensity she does may start out as compassion, and Lord knows she does a lot of good in our world. But part of the payoff is that when she merges with their pain, she no longer feels dead inside.

I’d guess we all feel deadened at times, and we all have our ways of coping. Neptune rules addictions, and addictions are one way, whether they be to substances, exercise, retail therapy, the various ISMs, dysfunctional relationships, or some combination of the above. My friend’s way of coping with numbness is probably better than most, and in the long run, makes the world a kinder place. It is not to be confused with saintliness, though Neptunians are often confused on that score. ~
Donna Cunningham is an internationally-respected author of books, articles, and columns about astrology, flower essences and other metaphysical topics. Her insights reflect her dual background in astrology and psychotherapy. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and over 40 years of experience in working with people. Her ebooks can be found at Moon Maven Publications ( Visit her blog at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

North Node Astrology Book Review

“The question after all is said and done is just how accurate and satisfying is the North Node section of the book…when I finally read my own North Node analysis, I was happily impressed by the accuracy of its description. For me, it was a true mirror of my past and current life and spoke to me of the transition I find myself in now. I actually brought the book in to discuss with my therapist.”

(Wow…thanks Jeff…I’m impressed by your personal self-disclosure there!)

He goes on to say: “The author studied astrology for the past 40 years but only in the past 15 became fascinated with the North and South Nodes. For her they have provided a reminder of the negative core beliefs that had previously kept her out of alignment, disembodied and not authentically herself. Each of us is a wounded healer, a “Chiron” that knows the best medicine that cures. She calls it the North Node.”

(That’s true. There’s a lot of my self-disclosure and a bit of raw edginess that permeates the book. The next book—South Node Astrology-- and the new blog-ing posts will focus on the South Node, because the Nodes are on an axis that truly can’t be separated. The South Node will bring up the huge importance of how our “emotional memory” of love --both from this life and previous lives as shown on the birth chart-- both saves and ‘sabotages’ us.)

He continues to say: “Looking at life symbolically invites magic and synchronicity, disturbs the status quo, and renews a sense of faith and trust because you begin to see how your personal life story synchronizes with patterns that are larger than you and touch your connectedness to the whole of life. Meaning underlies apparent chaos. So to answer my initial question, can this book be of value, I would now answer a resounding yes. It combines the wisdom of a visionary psychologist with the synchronicity that astrology and particularly “North Node” astrology offers.”

Again…thanks Jeff! The full review can be found on Jeff Hutner’s site: And book is available to buy on: or

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fool's Gold; the Slippery Slope of the South Node

As I wrote in my first post below, I'm just beginning my second book, a sequel to "North Node Astrology; Redisovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose", and this new book, "South Node Astrology; How Love Sabotages and Saves Us" will focus on relationships and how the emotional memory contained in the South Node influences how we love, and don't love in this life. I know that "Sabotage" is a jolting word to use, and that "Love" itself doesn't sabotage, but the distortions and povery of love do. I will also be delving--in this blog and the new book--into what Venus and Neptune in your birth chart have to say about how you love, and how it's expressed in your life. So what is this South Node?

From the point of view of evolutionary astrology, the sign of your South Node describes your default pattern in life. It describes a way of being in the world which doesn't work well for you anymore. It represents something you are comfortable with, because earlier in this life or in a previous life (if you believe in reincarnation) it was your habitual pattern and where you failed to live up to all you could be. So now, the Soul longs to move away from this and towards the potential and possibilities of your North Node.

The South Node represents an easy way out for us---our addictive tendencies, our unresolved conflicts and negative personality traits, and the limitations and failures from the past which can interfere with our ability to be all we can be. In looking at the sign of the South Node, one needs to look at what the lower octave, or less pleasant side of the sign and house position is all about. Because the South Node represents what we didn't get right, or was troublesome either earlier in this life or in a former life, then we really understand quite a lot about ourselves if we can understand what this is all about.

It’s important to remember the paradoxical nature of the signs and planets, and to keep reaching for the highest expression of them. All these signs can be played out in a higher, or wiser way, and a lower, or less conscious way. And although we don't want to keep falling back on what we know or what our default pattern is, it's helpful to remember that Carl Jung always said to watch for the "gold in the shadow." That shadow is the South Node!
We would be wise to think of the South Node territory as a potentially slippery slope. We need to be fully grounded before digging for the gold there--or what we may find could be just fool's gold. Illusion and disillusion dwell there, and it takes discernment to know what is real and what isn't real. Or, as the painting above depicts, we may be dealing with the illusory qualities of the mythological Neptune, God of the Sea. Inspiration and spirituality is the high road for Neptune--it's the true gold, but so often we get swept away by the illusion of what we want, rather than what is real. (c)~elizabeth spring Artwork: Kerstin Zettmar: Portrait of Neptune. and

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"South Node Astrology: How Love Sabotages and Saves our Lives": A Beginning...

Sabotage? My hope is that the word “sabotage” in the title gave you a little jolt! Yes, “love” itself doesn’t sabotage, but the distortions and poverty of love (such as when we didn’t get “good enough parenting”) and our interpretation of what love is and isn’t— are the areas where “love” sabotages us. Every romantic movie and love song reminds us of how love “saves” us, but it’s in the therapist’s office that one hears the story of how love sabotages us. So the focus here will be in looking at our unique styles of loving—loving both ourselves, others and God. These were the first commandments we were given, and they certainly seem worth considering.

One of my hopes for this blog and new book is to explore how reframing our understanding of love and relationship can help us bring in more of its saving quality and less of its sabotaging—and ultimately to explore how it’s truly an “inside job” which is much less dependent on others than we may realize. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and certainly don’t have perfect relationships, but I’m moved to delve into this territory. Want to come along? I welcome your thoughts on this….

So how does this fit with astrology? In exploring relationship patterns in astrology we look at the South Node, the Moon and to the planets Venus and Neptune. What happens when we have Venus and Pluto (God of the Underworld) in aspect in our charts? What happens when the Moon or Venus is squared by Mars? What happens when we keep repeating the mistakes of our South Node patterns, and keep coming up with the same unfulfilling patterns of “unlove” and bad relationships?

Love itself may be perfect—as the high expression of Neptune itself is perfect mystical love. But humans live primarily “Venus” love or “Moon” love—and it’s messy, confusing and imperfect. I believe it’s imprinted with the past life patterns of the South Node, in a similar way to how DNA is imprinted.

The strongest pattern to understand then may be the South Node in your birth chart. In Evolutionary Astrology, one is advised to “read” the South Node negatively; that is to understand it primarily as what we didn’t get right in the past. This past could be earlier in this life, or in former lives, or even what we didn’t get right yesterday.

It is the “Moon’s memory” not the Mercurial/linear memory, that is carried over from life to life. It is this memory that does not concern itself with facts, or details or stories, but holds simply the emotional impact—the drama and trauma of the Soul. We forget the stories of past lives, but something remains like a forgotten dream—and this “emotional hangover” is called the South Node of the Moon.

As you may know, the Nodes are mathematical points rather than planets, and are calculated by the intersecting orbits between the Earth, Sun, and Moon. Throughout the history of astrology these points have pointed to our re-incarnational history, for they describe where we’ve been (South Node) and where we’re going (North Node.) Like the compass that points North, or the astrolabe with the arrow shooting through the globe, these Nodes hold the “emotional memory” and trajectory of our lives.

As in dreams, and in all unconscious content, there is “gold” in these South Node patterns as well, and we carry over positive attributes, talents and inclinations as well as our default reactive patterns. It’s also been said in Vedic astrology that we give to others from the South Node what we know innately in our bones and psyche, and yet we feed and nurture ourselves from the soul wisdom of the North Node. This was the content of my first book, “North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose.”

This second book, of which this blog is the raw material of—concerns the nature of the emotional memory of the South Node. What do we remember emotionally? I believe it’s mostly about love and the presence or absence of Love. Relationships—and the burden we put on our relationships through our expectations and “styles of loving”.

In this blog and book, I’ll be delving into the changing nature of relationships (with a little more focus on what love is after the hormones/honeymoon/anima projections have worn a little thinner) and to ponder “styles of loving” with a minimum of astrological jargon. I’d like it to contain enough astrology so that you can look at your chart, and say “Ah-hah!” but not so much astrology that you get lost in technicalities. I’ll attempt to interweave the psychological and the astrological, the personal and the interpersonal, the theories with the messy “particulars” of our lives.

It’s a big subject. We live and love among many “layers of feelings”—why do we dislike someone’s style or persona and yet “love” the person they truly are underneath all that? We divorce, dismiss, and lose people in our lives, sometimes like so many scraps of paper thrown away, yet these people continue to remain in our psyche nevertheless.

But….we can choose to live between the layers of feeling, not discarding or despairing or thinking in black/white polarities, and still honoring all the layers of loving, liking, disliking, and the mystery of love which sits in our hearts.

Here’s what the poet, Stanley Kunitz, had to say about this in his poem, “The Layers.” He wrote this in reflection, towards the end of his life. (This blogging program is printing it as prose--how interesting!--so I will leave it that way in a stream of consciousness style. Forgive me, you readers who are poets!)

"I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray. When I look behind, as I am compelled to look before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey, I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites, over which scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings. Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections, and my tribe is scattered! How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses? In a rising wind the manic dust of my friends, those who fell along the way, bitterly stings my face. Yet I turn, I turn, exulting somewhat, with my will intact to go wherever I need to go, and every stone on the road precious to me.
In my darkest night, when the moon was covered and I roamed through wreckage, a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: "Live in the layers, not on the litter." Though I lack the art to decipher it, no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes."
~elizabeth spring Artwork: John Waterhouse

Sunday, August 9, 2009

South Node Astrology; How Love Sabotages and Saves Our Lives

I’m just beginning my second book, a sequel to "North Node Astrology"—this one with the emphasis on the South Node in astrology and the ways that love, and expectations around love, both saves and sabotages us. "North Node Astrology" focused more on life direction and soul purpose from the point of view of who and what we are doing in the world, and this new book will focus on how our emotional memories of love, and lack of love, shape our lives. It will also look at how we can reframe our past with more compassion and make current choices with more insight.

It’s a huge subject—love and loving is intricately bound up with our early attachment experiences with our parents and, in my opinion, from past life re-incarnational experiences. And as we age we develop attitudes, expectations and assumptions about how love operates in our lives. I believe quite simply that the more conscious awareness and insight we bring to this subject, the better our choices will be, and the happier our lives will be.

These two books, on the North and South Nodes, are intimately connected, because how we feel about ourselves and whether we have a sense of life direction and soul purpose, is related to our capacity to give and receive love from others. These North and South Nodes speak to those issues in our charts and they are the two of main issues clients want to know about in astrological counseling. Who doesn’t want to know: “How can I best fulfill my soul’s work and agenda, and how and when will I experience the sweetness of love—that which makes life worth living?”

There are so many types of “love.” Our culture is permeated with the ideal of romantic love as the saving grace--in music and movies we hear about the romantic “falling in love” and what the psychologists, the Jungians, call “anima/animus soul projections” wherein we lose our sense of Self/Soul by giving it (projecting it) onto the other person…the beloved. Ah…such a painful ecstasy. And there’s the soothing yet more sober love that can come at mid-age, with its loyalty, dependability, and willingness to work on the issues that inevitably arise in close one-one relationships. And then there’s the compassionate love that we feel towards others we don’t even know—those people who we may be sitting with us in the emergency room in the hospital when our hearts are open, and our mutual needs felt deeply.

In the astrological chart we look at how love plays out in our lives by looking at it through the lens of Venus and Neptune and all that they represent both in our personal lives and in myth. These two archetypes give us insight into this intense play of love and illusion in our lives. The planetary archetype of Neptune runs this gamut from illusion to disillusionment, escapism, co-dependency, addiction, and being “swept away” or being deceived and sabotaged up to the highest forms of compassion, inspiration, and divine love. It’s all in how we play it out.

Venus is a more “grounded planetary goddess” in that she represents human love in all its sensuality and messiness, and intertwined with all the dramas of relationship. Interesting too, how Venus in astrology relates to money! As a symbol of money, it reflects something of our power or lack of power to attract to us what we think we want or need…..for what we buy and identify with in the material world is a big part of how we define and judge ourselves and others.

So both Venusian love and Neptunian love help give us a sense of identity and purpose in our lives. In this new book, "South Node Astrology" we’ll look at how they show up for you as principal players in your life story. The current book on North Node Astrology also delves into this realm, especially in the long chapters: “What’s Venus Got to Do With It? The Alchemy of Desire: Healing the Wounded Heart” and in the chapter devoted to Neptune. Both books are truly part of a whole.

This blog and "South Node Astrology" will acknowledge the importance of both our early life attachments to our parents as well as our past life default patterns of behavior. These two contribute heavily to how we think and feel and act on love in our life right now. But always the good news is that we can choose to continue to reframe our stories with understanding and compassion. We can make new choices based on new insights.

I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts about this…..although I’d ask you to distill the details of your stories to what you’ve learned and what insights you could share on this with the rest of us. You can respond personally at or leave a short pithy insight or suggestion below in the comments section.