by Jessica, Murray
Soul-Sick Nation is a truly remarkable book which will reward any reader who takes the time to read (and reread) it; in this process they will learn far more than they ever expected.
My first view of Soul-Sick Nation was that it a description of the forces that have lead America to the excesses of power associated with President George W Bush; the secret prison camps, the iconic photographs from Abu Ghraib, the bombing of Fallujah, the 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, the way in which America has withdrawn from the Geneva Convention, and discarded habeas corpus (a right that ultimately derives from the English Magna Charter of 1215).
I initially wondered why Jessica had chosen to only deal with America, as the world is influenced by a number of large countries, including China, India and Russia. It seemed a typically American inward focus. However once you have read Soul-Sick Nation it is clear that at this time the world needs to understand America’s problems, because, although it is a country in political decline, it will have the power to adversely affect the rest of the world for many years to come, it’s decline is also systematic of the changes that will affect the whole planet. In a sense America is today showing the world why we all need to change, that is its contemporary gift to humanity, to expose the workings of the old and now rotten system. In the climate change-caused disaster of New Orleans America points to the possible future of cities like Shanghai and Lagos, and the drowning of Cairo and Amsterdam. Jessica says, “It is clearer than ever that the USA’s problems are the world’s problems.”
The title of Soul-Sick Nation refers to Jessica’s belief that, “America is gravely and epically ill,” and the only treatment is a shift in consciousness. She says that “America lacks maturity of mind and soul”, and suffers from a deadening superficiality. Jessica argues that in the American national consciousness Pluto is distorted, and in the American mass mind, “the sharing of resources [with the rest of the world] is a strained and tortured concept.” She adds that, “A second-house Pluto that is kept at a crude level of awareness will embark upon a laser-like trajectory to dominate whatever resources are there to be possessed,” and adds that “the dominance America seeks has less to do with governments per se [i.e. “democracy”] than it has to do with the control of resources.”
Soul-Sick Nation also considers the effect of planetary opposition, notably Pluto’s opposition to Mercury in the American chart. She sees this as a confrontation between the planet of power and the planet of communication, and says that, “In the US chart, Pluto has overpowered Mercury, crippling its capacity for curiosity.” But, like a Russian doll, this book contains hidden layers, and at its heart it is a guide-book to contemporary, or humanistic, astrology. It is a guide to the way in which we can all become more aware, and thereby raise our levels of consciousness; as Jessica says, “Reality exists only as relative to the observer ….; and the more fully the observer can take responsibility for the dramas in his [or her] life, the faster his [her] consciousness can change.” Jessica points out that cause-and-effect thinking is no use if we want to understand how astrology works, that the planets are like the hands of a clock, markers showing us a pattern of connections with fundamental cosmic principles. In the light of her deep understanding the reader glimpses the reality of archetypes and metaphors, and the essence of the universal system of which we are a part. With her guidance we see past the veil.
I also learn much about the influence of Pluto and Saturn, and how to benefit from the lessons that Saturn can teach us, how to walk towards our fears, not away from them, and to take responsibility for our lives and for the societies in which we live. It’s easy to write these words, but difficult to understand what this insight really means, Soul-Sick Nation is a guide-book to understanding our own path; the stupidity and the banality of evil is never just something external to us, it is something that we have to face within us. If we ignore it we also empower it and give it strength, when we face it, name it as Jessica says, we destroy its power, both inside ourselves and in the world.
We live in a time of great trials, but this is also a gift, because by overcoming these trials we open the path to higher consciousness, to awareness and understanding. See the obvious madness of the world as the coming into sight of things that were hidden from us, things that can no longer be denied, things that are being forced into the light so that we can deal with them. This is a lesson for all humanity, not only for that 4.5% of the human race who call themselves Americans, but we can all learn from America’s crisis of identity. Jessica writes, “Plato’s presence in the opposition tells us that America’s new vision of adulthood would have to include the awareness of the deep collective shadow. The nation was being dared to face the darkness within itself without looking away: this is the ultimate task of all entities that take up the challenge of Pluto. And then, to be grown-up enough to do something about it: this is the real meaning of Saturnine responsibility.”
On a more mundane level I learnt a lot from Jessica’s explanation of the role of Pluto in the American chart, where it is in the 2nd house, and the American need to establish global dominance, or hegemony. I loved this book, if you are interested in American culture, its politics and in astrology buy this book, you will not be disappointed.
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