by Jessica Murray
MotherSky Press 2008
Reviewed by Bill Streett of Astro-Noetics.com
Prior to the advent of modern psychology, the physician of the soul was confined to the narrowly defined position it is today. Certainly, shamans, with their ability to retrieve information from the spirit world, were healers that tended to the ills of the soul. Alchemists in the lineage of Paracelsus tended to the soul in ways similar to a contemporary holistic healer. With "Soul-Sick Nation," author Jessica Murray uses astrology as a rightful tool for any physician of the soul, and her patient, in this case, is the nation of the United States.
As a clinician, Murray's current diagnosis of the United States, as one may have suspected, suggests that the nation is ill, and like the sick kid in a classroom full of susceptible classmates, America is largely to blame for infecting other nations, and the world, with soul disease. With penetrating insight, Murray zeroes in on America's most disturbing symptoms: infantilization of its adult community; commodification of any and all resources; an addictive and excessive materialism; a lack of mature leadership; an archaic form of nationalism; a corrupted media.
Many of us walk through the world of 21st century United States with the nebulous and vague sense that something is "off." The size of our cars, the depravity of our diets, the utter vacuity of television and other media, the implicit code of silence around current politics - all are signs of a malnourished national soul. Signs of discontent and awareness around these conditions are not new. From various documentaries to demonstrations, there are murmurings of discontent. However, the ability to make sense of everything is a highly difficult task. As Murray herself points out, "How does a conscientious person approach a state of affairs so immense and complex without being overwhelmed?" One of "Soul-Sick Nation's" great strengths, to match its in-depth insight, is its ability to weave all the various news stories, themes, trajectories, plots, and issues that have arisen over the past decades into an understandable whole. If only for its naked and meaningful analysis of the current state of the United States, "Soul-Sick Nation" is a highly worthwhile read.
But "Soul-Sick Nation" is as much an appraisal of America as it is an astrology book. Using the American birth chart as a starting point, Murray suggests how the symptoms of America's soul sickness coincides with the symbolism in the chart. Another admirable achievement of Murray's writing comes from her introducing of astrological symbolism in a way that a novice can understand while still holding interest of an advanced learner. Perhaps Murray's greatest strength is her ability to expose the multiple levels of how a single symbol can express itself in the national psyche of the United States. Four chapters alone are dedicated to Pluto's various manifestations in America's soul, touching upon the assorted expressions of the symbol: the compulsive obsession around material wealth, the taboo against looking at the problems inherent in capitalism and privatization, the drive toward "powering over" other nations through owning world markets, and the denial over the nation's massive debts. Murray presents a complex portrait of Pluto: it can be a self-destructive archetype as it can be an extraordinary tool of power and healing, but the key seems to in the relationship formed to the symbol.
As a soul physician, Murray's diagnosis is honest and unflinching; her prognosis does not suggest band-aids or easy cures. Rather, the key toward resolving the soul-sickness felt on so many levels is consciousness raising. Murray suggests that the future is wide open, but in order for things to deeply change, America will have to transform herself from a young, adolescent nation, to a mature group of souls. Through looking at upcoming astrology ("macro transits"), Murray believes the time is ripe for a fundamental transmutation of the nation's soul.
Murray certainly possesses a creative gift with words. Her depth of insight along with her verbal dexterity gives her the ability to launch a scathing missive against America, however, she resists this temptation, as her words come from a place of deep wisdom and heart-centeredness. This is one of those rare books that keeps you nodding internally with every page because the level of analysis and astuteness is "spot on," as they say. Whether one wants to get a highly honest appraisal of the current American ethos, or whether one wants to learn of United States' astrology, this book is strongly recommended.
For more information on Soul-Sick Nation, and to purchase, visit www.mothersky.com/book-announcement4.html