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A Review of Soul-Sick Nation
By Natori Moore, C.A. NCGR


Soul-Sick Nation, by Jessica Murray, AuthorHouse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403, authorhouse.com, 2006. Paper. 220 pp.

Books come and books go, yet the book that can provide both an intellectual and emotional growth experience is rare. Such a book exists in Jessica Murray's Soul-Sick Nation, a trenchant yet ultimately loving indictment of the United States of America at the beginning of the 21st century.

Murray uses the Sibly Sagittarius rising chart for the U.S. to explain the financial, emotional and spiritual karma of the U.S. and its citizens. She highlights the outer planet placements of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto in the chart to explain why the United States finds itself in its current karmic position. For example, she points to Pluto in the 2nd house as the deep source of the U.S. need to make and control money, and points to the angular Jupiter in the chart in a tense square to Saturn as evidence that Americans favor Jupiter's freedom, adolescent attitude of entitlement and over-consumption rather than Saturn's humility, restraint and right use of resources.

Murray's vivid and precise use of descriptors for planetary archetypes is among the best I've encountered. Beginners and seasoned astrologers alike can thoughtfully select keywords for the archetypes from her text as a source of meditation and contemplation. Consider the following short list, not exhaustive of her explication of Saturn by any means, as a reminder of Saturn's many representations: patience, integrity, maturity, effort, weight, boundaries, responsibility, hierarchy, father hunger, respect, justice, equanimity, rule of law, consistency, preservation. Murray suggests that we each have an inner adult that will emerge given the right encouragement and circumstances, but that U.S. culture at present doesn't do much to promote this emergence. Her prose helps the reader to understand and desire the adult side of Saturn-no easy accomplishment. In her in-depth discussions of Saturn (being a planetary grown up) and Pluto (being an agent of transformation), Murray encourages the reader to assume personal growth, which may be assisted in part by contemplating her unique phrasing and keywords throughout her narrative.

One of Murray's most interesting proposals is her historical continuum of most valued commodities. She suggests that premier symbols of worth through the ages have ranged in recent centuries from spices, to gold, to oil, and soon, she proposes, to water. This elemental meditation on human history is most intriguing, and one wonders, if she is correct, how the valuing of water will play out. Murray clearly keeps her fingers on the pulse of current events and writes intelligently about how to view these events with astrological eyes.

My only criticism of Soul-Sick Nation is it's sometimes hard to determine the book's intended audience. Though a useful appendix helps beginners navigate astrological ideas, the book's concepts can be challenging even for a professional astrologer. Yet for the interested literate citizen of the world, and especially of the United States, who wants to know what he or she can do on a personal level in politically challenging times, Murray offers unique ideas and incentives to examine the self and mature toward one's potential as a way to heal the soul of the nation. Murray is one of the view voices in print encouraging Americans to find an effective integration of Saturn (become their own good father) and an effective integration of Pluto (find the power to examine taboos and transform from within rather than have to face nuclear winter from without). Soul-Sick Nation is both intellectually engaging and a ritualistic tool for transformation. One hopes it will find a large readership so the United States may embrace its challenges and fulfill what Murray believes to be the U.S.A.'s highest calling: the responsible use of power.

© 2007 by Natori Moore
All rights reserved

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