Sunday, January 4, 2009

Astrological lessons for the New Year

Yesterday, standing in my neighbour’s kitchen, I idly picked up a copy of Jan Spiller’s Astrology for the Soul. This is the kind of book that I find myself compulsively (if furtively) devouring, much like the women’s magazines in the doctor’s waiting room that somehow find me leaving my much more worthy novel abandoned in my bag.

It is a book not about star signs but about the ‘North Node’, a point formed by the Moon’s orbit around the Earth intersecting with the Earth’s path around the sun (I can hardly believe I’m explaining this). Anyway, the Nodes (there is also a South Node) influence a much greater time span than the astrological houses, i.e. star/sun signs. The North Node seems to relate to finding our life’s purpose and identifying what gets in the way of this. (Apologies to any astrologers out there that have already picked flaws in my explanation.) Whatever you think of astrology, it can provide interesting food for thought.

My North Node is in Capricorn (hello, all those born April 29, 1972—October 27, 1973), and straight away I read something that was a little too close for comfort:

Even in close relationships, these natives are better off maintaining a sense of their own authority—not compromising themselves to appease their partner. For example, I had a client with this nodal position who had tremendous creative energy and a real talent for writing—she was published nationally while still in college. When she married she stopped writing, putting all her energy into emotionally supporting her husband and children.

… Twenty years passed. When her children left home she was filled with resentment toward her husband, blaming him because she hadn’t pursued her writing career. Her husband had actually encouraged her writing, but she projected that her success would have upset him emotionally even though he encouraged her verbally. I had occasion to speak with her husband, and he truly did want her to pursue her career! It even would have helped financially. This story does not have a happy ending: The wife chose to continue blaming others for her sense of failure, which prevented her from actively taking charge of her own life.

... Capricorn North Node people too easily take on an exaggerated “mother” role in personal relationships. … In fact, no one requires the amount of “presence” that these folks tend to provide.

Ouch! That last line particularly spoke to me. Think that might be my first lesson for 2009. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to pulling back from my family and commanding space for my own interests, and as this suggests it is a tendency that risks breeding resentment of the most damaging kind.

Hence, my 5.30 mornings. Yep, three days in and I already love the expansiveness of these quiet mornings that I am carving out for writing, unswamped by other tasks. My darling friend Clare and I have a pact, taking turns to text each other on the dot, so there is no getting out of it. The only challenge is getting to bed early enough the night before (she says as it nears 11pm)…

Happy New Year!


katiecrackernuts said...

Ouch indeed. Yes, that early morning is bliss if you can get up for it. My alarm went off at 5.30am today. I must reset it for 5.45am. It's been that for ever and I changed it for the extra 15mins, but it's killing me. I love when Daylight Slaving ends and it's actually rining at the real 5.45am - not the 4.45am I know it is now.

Rachel Power said...

Talking of ouch--yes, 4.45am sounds a killer, though the summer makes up for it a bit. How I will fare waking so early in the dead of winter I'm yet to find out... Hope your year's looking promising so far.

Damon said...

I just loathe astrology.

I feel like it's impinging on my ambiguous, unwritten self-definition; my intimate freedom.

But, of course I'd say that: I'm a Leo.

Rachel Power said...

Yes, I grew up in a house full of Leos and the would all say the same thing.

little red hen said...

I'm a leo and I quite like astrology! However there is no way in the world I would be able to function let alone feel happy to be up at 5;30 I am much better off staying up later which I do I usually go to bed around 12 or 1am (or when I am in the mood, much, much later) in order to get in the time I need to create.

62cherry said...

just found your site via claire
love to chat with you about a possible interview for our zine mixtape? justine

Rachel Power said...

Of course, Justine. Sounds great. Email me:

And I'm curious, Damon--do you also feel this way about therapy?

Damon said...

Good question.

It depends on the therapy. Existentialist therapy, no. Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis, sometimes.

I certainly find the 'archetypes' theory frustrating, for the same reasons (e.g. universal a priori and innate types).

It doesn't seem to do justice to human freedom and creativity.

Anonymous said...

"I certainly find the 'archetypes' theory frustrating...
It doesn't seem to do justice to human freedom and creativity."

Its interesting, though, that its these same archetypes that creativity often returns to, especially in terms of the narrative.

Damon said...

Human creativity returns to common aspects of experience, interpreted in diverse ways, in different societies and individuals.

Jung's archetypes aren't this - they're fixed structures, which are unconscious, innate and universal.

Put simply: common creative images are forged, whereas the archetypes are simply found.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I see. Jung's archetypes are fixed and a product of their time.

I think that this has helped coin a direction I've been looking to define in a few areas of my own work.
Thanks Damon.

Thanks Rachel for the post that sparked this thread.

Rachel Power said...

But surely we only know the archetypes through images, which are forged through creativity? I mean, they can't have originally just been 'found' so much as observed as commonalities. But then are they innate? As you say, Damon, Jung assumes they are. But it's a bit liking asking if there's a God, isn't it?

Damon said...

There's a bit of mutual causation going on.

We experience the vital, crucial parts of life: parents, children, life, death, sex, home, sun, sky, stories of departure and arrival, conquest and humiliation, and so on.

These are shared by almost everyone, because they're part and parcel of existence.

But they also become part of our stories, artworks, songs; they become icons, symbols, signs. They then enter back into our experience - the stories and images themselves become part of our common stock. We begin to experience life itself, in part, through them.

They're then reworked, refined, rearticulated, as we respond creatively to life, and the process begins again.

In short: it's an ongoing, reciprocal process of creativity, by individuals and communities, interacting with one another, with their shared traditions, and with the futures they project.

There are no innate archetypes here: just humans experiencing a variegated but common world, and responding to it with ingenuity and wonder.

Anonymous said...

life experiences such as birth, coming of age and death are experienced by everyone. Symbols and images describe these events in our animal life-cycle in the form of stories, art, mythology etc to reconcile them with the human self.

As these experiences are, essentially, innate doesn't that make certain archetypes innate, as there are recognisable symbols across cultures throughout the world just as there are recognisable human experiences. Why would labeling such experiences as archetypes diminish the ambiguity of self definition?

Damon said...

In my view, humans create these images, find them again, recreate them, and so on; in Jung's view, we already have these images hard-wired - no creativity is involved in forging them.

This lack of creativity is what, in my view, diminishes ambiguous self-definition. It says these symbols, images, icons are just there, in our biological make-up (very Platonic).

Anonymous said...

"This lack of creativity is what, in my view, diminishes ambiguous self-definition."

Ah, I Grok!
Thank you.
This is a topic I love. I could discuss it forever (not here, though, as I've probably already outstayed my welcome)

Rachel Power said...

You'll never outstay your welcome here!!

Anonymous said...