Happy New Year Everyone!
I hope you all had a festive holiday period. Mine was a quiet one, at home with my family; a welcome break from all the activity of the preceding months of work. My daughter was not old enough to understand the meaning of Christmas but she was the perfect age to embody it. Hanging out with her, chasing her away from frequent attempts to depopulate the bauble population on the Christmas tree was a sheer delight!
In the last days of the decade I began to write on the Lunar Nodes. Now, at the end of the first week of the new decade I have completed a draft of chapter 1 and the initial section of chapter 2 in what will become a 4 chapter book. The Destiny Line will explore the nodal axis of the Moon as a dynamic system: like two poles that contain the flow of an electrical current, the nodes of the Moon together hold the charge of meaning for the individual life. The book will expand on my prior writing (the second chapter of Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes) and teaching (an extensive series of webinars for the Astrology University) on the nodes of the Moon to present a technically simple but psychologically profound template for the interpretive power of the natal chart.
This coming spring will see the publication of my book on the Planetary Nodes. This book is the culmination of years of research into the nodes of Jupiter outwards and their impact on individual and collective evolution. The book will include extensive historical research on the origins of religion, the nature of warfare and some of the individuals who most shaped history, as well as an extensive analysis of the origins of psychology and the history of science. All this research was interesting in and of itself but when it is used to delineate the impact of the planetary nodes it truly shows how astrology can come alive.
In his late work, Dane Rudhyar began to see the lunar and planetary nodes as the most important factors in chart analysis because they symbolize the orbital motion of the planetary body that forms them. So within the two dimensions of the natal chart the nodes add the third dimension of space (the orbital path) and the fourth dimension of time (the implied past movement within that orbital path). The natal chart is a single frame; a snapshot. When you look through the portal of the nodes you are presented with a moving image: you see the whole dance of which the single shot is just a part.
I would like to share a section from the introduction in which I am talking about the need in astrological textbooks to share all the information on every placement and how this is often called cookbook astrology:
“When we are studying astrology we quite naturally want to learn things. We are attracted to cookbook style books that express tangible possibilities of the various aspects within the natal chart. This is all well and good. This book will have sections that explain various possibilities inherent within the astrological signatures – in order to help students grow. Yet this book is written by an astrologer who has fundamentally understood the way that life is more complex and infinitely more subtle than a simple ‘cookbook’ vision of astrology can easily describe.
In Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes I used a quote from P.D. Ouspensky to illustrate the importance of context in astrology (and indeed life) in determining the expression of content: I am sharing part of that quote as well as my commentary here,
“A poet understands… the difference between a stone from a wall of a church and a stone from the wall of a prison… He hears the voice of the silence, understands the psychological difference of silence, realizes that silence may be different.” – Peter D. Ouspensky, Tertium Organum[i]
In this rather mysterious and yet beautiful passage, P. D. Ouspensky (the Russian mathematician, explorer of the fourth dimension and renowned disseminator of the trickster Gurdjieff’s ideas) sets out to show us that no two objects are the same and that context always supplies additional meaning. The stone in a church is different in quality than the stone of a prison wall though they both might be made of limestone, and have the same shape and weight. The context of any given object, symbol or event is just as important as the content.”
In practical terms this means that although two charts have south node in Libra in the 8th house, the way that those two charts express that potential may be very different. This difference might be shown through the ruler of that node, Venus, being in Aries in one chart and in Cancer in the other. Even if both these charts had Venus in Aries, in one chart Venus might be conjunct Saturn and not in the other, so again the context changes the meaning of the content.
It is this principle that I called the Poet’s Cookbook that shapes the way I explore the nodal axis of the Moon in this book. In the Poet’s Cookbook we understand that every ingredient (even if identical) is transformed by the overall meal into which it is placed.”
It is this central idea – of the power of context to shape the meaning and function of content that I believe may be the single most important technical principle to grasp if we want our astrological studies to begin to produce satisfying results. We learn the different components of the astrological system, and we learn them carefully and well, in order ultimately to transcend what we have learned, or at the very least to ceaselessly adapt it to the seemingly endless subtlety of life. The myriad ways that reality itself surprises us must be factored into our astrological vision. The paradox of the desire of most students to be able to completely understand astrology is that this would actually be a turn-off; it would represent too simple a world. The world is a great mystery, the natal chart and the individual human life a small mystery within the great mystery. Let’s enjoy it!