Book Review: Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes, by Mark Jones

I am recommending Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes to my readers as a book worth reading.  Mark Jones is a British evolutionary astrologer and student of Jeffrey Green.  In Healing the Soul, Jones expands on the work of Jeffrey Green with respect to Pluto and the Nodes and adds a further dimension in the evolutionary exploration of the natal chart by incorporating Uranus as a trauma signature (an approach for which Jones credits the seeding to Green's earlier work, Uranus: Freedom from the Known)Besides Green, Jones also draws upon the works of astrologer and cultural historian, Richard Tarnas, Italian transpersonal psychotherapist and astrologer, Roberto Assagioli, and pioneering transpersonal psychotherapist, Stanislav Grof.  Jones, himself, is a psychotherapist with an active private practice, into which he incorporates astrology, hypnotherapy and psychosynthesis. 

One of the many things that impressed me about Jones' writing is his open approach to exploring the meaning of the astrological symbol sets he discusses.  Jones recognizes that each symbol is a portal to a continuum and mandala of meaning and interpretation.  He actively encourages his readers to take his own interpretations as jumping off points to explore how these symbols may interact with your own experience of their manifestation in your and your clients' charts.  Although, being a psychotherapist and astrological counselor, much of Jones' approach is directed to the astrologer working with their clients, you don't have to be a practicing astrologer to gain value from his book, as there is much that can be applied to one's personal chart.

Another characteristic of Jones' writing that impressed me is the unabashedly spiritual orientation from which his perspective is derived and presented.  Although, as in my own work, belief in the Divine Oneness, or in karma and reincarnation, is not required in order to derive benefit from Jones' theories and interpretations, this is the underlying basis for his thought.  It is this realization of perennial mystic Truth that enriches his work and sharpens his insight into the depth of meaning of the astrological symbols with which he deals in this book.

The book is divided into four parts.  The first three parts explore the symbology of Pluto, the Moon's Nodes and Uranus in the natal chart.  In the final portion of the book, Jones presents case studies to illustrate the application of his approach.  I will point out that, unlike my own work which is entirely based on a combination of intuition and analytic/synthetic thought against the background of the transpersonal astrological insights of those who have gone before, Jones' work is informed by hundreds if not thousands of his own clinical observations confirming the evolutionary astrological theories which ground his work.

Jones follows Green's lead with respect to the importance of Pluto and the Moon's Nodes as keys to reading the astrological chart and to interpreting the chart to gain insight into the individual soul's evolutionary journey.  He then introduces his own theory on the importance of Uranus in taking an evolutionary astrology approach to the natal chart.  Briefly encapsulating Jones' discussion of the evolutionary meaning of each planet, Pluto's placement indicates the primary soul-lesson/subconscious driving challenge for this life and its psychological origins; the Moon's Nodes indicate the pattern of past-life experience/development and evolutionary direction; and Uranus indicates past-life/present-life trauma events that have shaped and continue to shape the soul's evolutionary tendencies.

In each of the first three parts, Jones presents interpretations of the planetary placements.  He does this for signs and houses combined citing their linked qualities.  Thus Pluto in Aries is viewed as essentially equivalent to Pluto in the first house.  He also briefly discusses the affect of major aspects on these planets, with the discussion of aspects to the Nodes, however, being more developed.  I, again, want to emphasize and applaud that these interpretations are not cookbook prescriptions so much as suggested possibilities deriving from the flavor of the symbolic interaction.  In fact, Jones describes these interpretations as a "poet's cookbook."

I would be remiss to myself if I did not caveat that my wholehearted endorsement of this book does not necessarily indicate my subscription to the underlying principles of evolutionary astrology.  (For anyone interested in my own views on the soul, karma and reincarnation, click here.)   In tune with my remarks above, one does not have to be an evolutionary astrologer to gain insight and value from the observations made by Mark Jones in this work.  In fact, I have recently found Jones' insights to be very illuminating and dead on in the interpretation of a chart of someone I know well.  That said, the broad continuum of meaning employed to each astrological symbol, combined with the varying degrees of sensitivity to the vibrations of the outer planets that I believe exists among the population, will mean that the principles and interpretations provided in this work may not be universally applicable to all charts, although they may still contain insights and jumping-off points from which applicable interpretations may be derived.  - Gargatholil                                                          
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