Past Lives-Future Path
The Moon in astrology is associated with feelings, instinct and the mother-child relationship, the subconscious and memory.
It also represents the past and the nurturing principle, therefore is also symbolic of our security
needs. Its placement can therefore describe old domestication programs that might have served us well
in childhood but now can block us from making accurate perceptions and choices as an adult.
Long ago in astrology the Moon's Nodes became linked with where we came from, even before the current
life; they also can indicate a path of growth for the the individual to follow, both in this
lifetime and future lives to come.
The sign the South Node occupies at birth and any major planetary aspects made to it can give information about behaviors, skills and traits we already have; especially old habits that come easy, therefore are especially difficult to stop, change or do better. Some features can express positively as talents that improve life or are of benefit to others, such as artistic, learning, athletic or psychic abilities. Negative behaviors that we might have gotten "too good at doing" could include being out of step with the times, self-isolation, sexual hangups, extreme efficiency at extracting blood from turnips, making a career as a chronic lier or indulging in chronic emotional turmoil with loved ones.
The sign the North Node occupies at birth signifies an area in life where we are striving for mastery. The extent to which one is comfortable with North Node proddings depends on how much work has been done towards owning the potentials and problems symbolized by the Node and any planets aspecting it, especially those located right next door. Some of us have no problem in reaching for new frontiers in life; others very much want to participate, however have no idea how to access and express the qualities represented by the North Node on a practical level. Still others are so at home in their South Node sphere of activity (what was good enough for my folks is good enough for me) that the growth potential represented by the North Node is feared and repressed; the inclination is to live in the past, clinging to the same old, comfortable habits.
Whether or not one gets to stay in the past depends on how far along they are in a cycle of lives working on a theme of mastery. People born at the quarter, full and balsamic Moon phases seem to have major crises served up more often, for example. If the planet Pluto makes major aspects to the Nodes, one is more or less forced towards major growth in the course of a lifetime; even more so if other planets also make major aspects to the Nodes and/or the planets that rule the sign that the Nodes occupy are very active.
In mundane life this phenomena translates a couple of ways; sometimes one must re-live traumas of the past as a prelude to being allowed to move forward. Sometimes one has developed talents in past lives that now come forward for a final full fruition in the current life. Sometimes one hasn't a clue, can't retreat into what is familiar but must move forward into the unknown and unmastered. Sometimes one simply continues working with projects begun before. In every case fate and destiny may certainly be involved in what happens, but we are given the faculty of choice, to choose differently when the same old problems or new opportunities come around for resolution.
The modern, evolutionary school of Nodal interpretation as originally presented by astrologer Jeff Greene, 1 and 2 promotes an acceptance of reincarnation as a means of understanding both tradition-bound habits and new exploratory trends that can find expression in an individual. Creating a story framed around past life themes can serve as a metaphorical basis for understanding what sort of lifestyles, traumas or past survival challenges could have contributed to certain repetitious and debilitating limitations we may face in the current life. One can then more easily develop a core of detached self-awareness from which to tolerate overwhelming feelings or take in uncomfortable information. Most importantly, one can find compassion for self and others who were involved in the personal comedy or tragedy of life. The story line can be used to arrange the data in such a way that the reasoning mind can work with emotionally-loaded triggers and mental hardwiring, get past the barrier of denial. Granting space for one's own clumsiness becomes easier; one can learn to move in spite of and with the fear that always comes with breaking into new territory.
If not comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, consider the possibility of traumas and ingrained beliefs formed in early childhood and/or inherited from family ancestors down through several generations, which are stored in the body at mental, instinctive and cellular levels of being. These patterns continue to be triggered reactively at the unconscious or subconscious level in response to various emotional or environmental cues, whether they are good for us or not. This mechanism is the foundation for the ego and its preference for running on autopilot, even while we declare ourselves to be "I".
Sometimes the inheritance involves a psychic sensitivity which, unless managed consciously will tend to soak up the collective pain and anger out there like a sponge; we may be trying to heal issues that actually belong to someone else, something that also commonly occurs between parents and children. It is also so much easier to pay attention to someone else's problems rather than take on your own. All such negative habits persist so, mainly because they represent familiar territory with known limitations. Next time a sudden bout of anger arises for no reason, stop to notice if the sensation really belongs to you, or not. As a species we often seem to prefer a known hell to the risk of stepping out past the fences.
Developing a sense for themes continuing over a span of several lifetimes can help us make sense of the lessons our soul chooses to pursue and get a grip on what it wants to actualize in the real world. Placing oneself on spiral path through time can show us where we need to balance desires with the limitations present in this life. We are given a handy tool of metaphor with which to disable excuses and design learning experiences that will further our goal for the future. Whichever way we choose to handle the proposition of past life knowledge, healing and cultivating deep personal insight starts with first with complete (not edited) self understanding, than giving ourselves permission to be disloyal to past conditioning and a one size fits all social mandate. No more running on mental autopilot like gerbils on a wheel.
If one has experienced patterns of negative experience that happen over and over, this is a clear signal that there is an autopilot in the first place. We can learn to quiet the mind, pay close attention to what is really happening both outside and within, without benefit of egoic filters or blinders. In the beginning this can be very hard to do, first because the modern world offers so many ways to distract you from your self and from what is really happening. After that, one will be faced with numbness or with uncomfortable feelings and frustrated dreams never fully processed that flood forth from the memory banks. Much pain and rage can be stored in the cells of the body; when true communion of mind, body, soul and spirit is sought, often the first experience can be months of illness and peculiar bodily mis-alignments, as toxins release out into the blood stream for elimination. When fully awake, the whole repertoire of beloved survival myth created during childhood and any self-destructive, self disempowering habituation comes up for constant respooling and review; uncomfortable sensations that the ego creates to justify one's continued participation in the romper-room of the mind can arise to stop the process.
One may even find that natural, healthy instincts as felt through body sensation have been sabotaged by mind. Suppose the body tells you that a certain silver-tongued devil over there across the room at the party clearly is wrong for you; but the mind concludes that since the body feels bad that person must be your passionate destiny-because a religious, school or parent-based instruction from childhood said all body sensations are of "lower animal function", therefore not to be trusted. The subconscious notes: Instinct=primal=of nature=animal=stupid, evil or even treacherous. Actually, animals do not display any of these qualities, unless they have been brutalized by humans. Strange how domesticated humans can and do program their sex drives towards some variation on the theme of dominance or submission, love as pain or simply doing without.
We can be quite skilled at the art of judging self negatively as prelude to masochistic punishment-pleasure; we can take pride in penitence through sacrificial acts that often turn out to be useless expending of energy, especially if co-dependance is involved. We can play the helpless victim of circumstance. All such exercises grant us permission to do nothing, due to feeling lousy from being abused or neglected. The real beast requiring exorcism is never brought forward for clear inspection, as it is commonly found stabled under the category of Sacred Cows. Especially those who answer to the name of tradition, reason, logic, rules and regs.
Responding to life experience by being a rebel, reacting against what is established or escaping into addiction does not lead towards true revelation of self either. Progress is made the moment one realizes that a constant fixation on either past or future is not a true placement of self in the present life; and fire the judge, it is corrupt. Forgive yourself, for much of the baggage that must be opened and put away has been handed down for generations through the family and even through the community. When you begin the work of redeeming yourself, you are also redeeming the ancestors.
An intuitive glimpse into the nature of past life traumas and karmic experiences that shape the current life path helps to cultivate compassion for ourselves and honesty in acknowledging what needs to be changed. Many of the difficult, so-called karmic challenges undergone during life are not necessarily meant to be punishments for dastardly past deeds. Rather, they are loving opportunities, designed to help us learn lessons we are slow to accept because the ego wants to define the world through its own images, separate from Divine Intelligence.
It is true, however that as one claims personal responsibility, karmic business will immediately appear for resolution. Exterior challenges will come forward that pertain directly to the inner falsities that fueled the dysfunction in the first place. For example, a man healing from a history of abusive relationships will be presented with ample opportunity to cohabit yet again with another abuser. He may have to stand the test of choosing loneliness for awhile over giving body, time, energy and money away. Note also, that we tend to choose people to relate with that will confirm the old belief; especially in relationships the last thing many want is someone who is good enough for them, because then they will have to (a) show up and (b) realize their full potential.
Secondly,the time gap between when one acts in disharmony with authentic self and when just desserts are served up gets shorter and shorter, even unto complete disruption of everyday life. Eventually one must completely honor a spirit-based lifestyle of healthy choices and natural boundaries, or the price of existence becomes very costly. Paradoxically, this is why so many of us slow our progress towards growth of the soul in the first place; so many elements of life in the social jungle do not support the proposition.
(1) Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, by Jeff Green, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 1996.
(2) Pluto: The Soul's Evolution Through Relationships, by Jeffrey Wolf Green, Llwewllyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 1997.