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What are we here for?

I don't always like to use this kind of question--we don't need to earn life by being useful. So many people have a nagging feeling that something is wrong with them, and hope to get rid of that feeling by getting busy, or by being useful. What are we here for? Perhaps, if we can go beyond the purposes that human mind's can devise, we may talk about a way of being here that is fulfilling. A calling that is challenging. A challenge that is fruitful. A fruitfulness that brings all our latent gifts into life, that brings us here. But I find that most of us avoid this kind of soul challenge that takes us beyond conventional ideas of meaning and purpose. We need either really good, patient and persistent friends or disastrous situations, or both, to wake us up. If only we could find a way to read our inner calling.

Photo by Kagaya Y. in Ibaraki, Japan

In Alignments: How to Life in Harmony with the Universe, psychologist Donna Spencer and Laurence Hillman (son of eminent psychologist James Hillman) write about a life's "calling or theme" and how to figure out what it is. Their work has encouraged me finally to share a way that I like and trust to get more clear on what is that fruitful challenge or calling in one's life. They found that, buried in the thinking of Carl Jung and many other well-respected names in psychology, was a deep interest in astrology. "However, Jung was also very pragmatic. He wanted his theories to make sense to the public. Therefore, even though it is clear in his writings that he understood and was interested in astrology, he never made it a direct cornerstone of his work. "Instead, Jung made the concept of synchronicity pivotal in his theory. Synchronicity is defined as those strong parallels between interior and exterior events that are emphatically endowed with meaning.... "When synchronicities appear, it is a sign that the psyche, the soul, the deepest part of us, is being awakened to its alignment or misalignment with the universe....Jung would say that a synchronicity is a marker that indicates that the conscious mind is being given the opportunity to deal with some deep unconscious material."

This sense of acausal yet meaningful synchronicity is how I also understand astrology as a helpful description of people and events. The pattern of the stars when each of us happened in synchronicity with our first breath. (There are also, by the way, astrological charts for each birthday (solar return) or other events less momentous than birth.) Spencer and Hillman collaborated in therapy for decades with astrological readings especially of an aspect of the natal astrological chart called "the north node." They write:

"We can sense the calling by following our heart, paying attention to the lessons learned through calamities, or by being aware of our astrological natal chart." So... here you go. Step by step, here is one way you can find out about your north node: what astrological sign it is in, and which "house" it is in, in your natal chart wheel.

1) Go to and sign up for a free membership. You will need to enter your birth data: date, time and place. Make sure that your name is chosen where it says "Horoscope for" in case you have also entered anyone else's birth info.

2) Click on "Free horoscopes" and you will get a large drop-down menu.

3) Under the heading of "Drawings and calculations" you can click on "Extended chart selection"

4) Make sure once again that your name is in the "Horoscope for" line--it doesn't matter whose name, if any, is in the line for "Partner" because you will now ask only for a "Natal chart wheel" under "Methods"/"Circular charts"/"Chart types." (It also doesn't matter what date is in the next section, unless you know how to read and ask for transits and progressions.)

5) Under "Additional objects" at the bottom of the page, check the box next to "True node," which is first on the list under "Objects."

6) Under "Aspects," you might as well put a check mark in the box next to "to lunar node and eclipses."

7) Click on "Click here to show the chart" at the very bottom of the page. 8) Look for the symbol that looks like little headphones with a T in the middle: that is your north node. 9) There are 12 "houses" in the wheel, which are the pieces of pie that the circle is cut into. The 1st house is at around 8-9:00. The 2nd house is at 7-8:00. The 3rd house is at 6-7:00. Etc. 11) Then you can read a bit about what astrology says about having your north node in that sign and that house.

10) To figure out the signs, you may need to look online somewhere.

11) Then you can read a bit about what astrology says about having your north node in that sign and that house. Molly Gauthier has some clear information Elizabeth Springer says, "The North Node is the single most important point in the chart."

Please let me know what you learn, and where you find yourself leaning into the challenge that is fulfilling.

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