An Astral Traveler in the Centaur’s Realm: Carl Jung

jung in space

In the later part of his life, depth psychologist Carl Jung slipped through Chariklo’s veil during a Near Death Experience. After a heart attack, and following a fall that required hospitalization, he drifted into a coma (February 21, 1944) in which he astral-traveled into space, looked down at the earth, and found his way to a dream-asteroid which housed a temple meant entirely for his spiritual enlightenment.

Carl Jung’s NDE took place against the backdrop of a deeply evolutionary world transit: Pluto retrograde crossed the North Node of the Moon. This key transit was exact throughout the month of Jung’s ordeal. Transiting Pluto at the North Node would have made death the topic du jour. For Dr. Jung, Pluto-Node aligned within a few degrees of his natal Sun (born July 26, 1875), so the collective trend became personal as he experienced a classic Near Death Experience.

Now we can see how the event was completely Centauric, both archetypally and astrologically. The Centaur’s realm includes NDE phenomena like this one. Hooves on the Earth, head in the clouds of Olympus, the Centaur’s existence is half-in/half-out. This is the primal ‘wound’ the Centaur heals: learning to enjoy complete embodiment on Earth in alignment with one’s highest spiritual principles.

Astrologically, the evolutionary dyad of Pluto-Node joined in a precise opposition to transiting Centaur Okyrhoe: visions (Okyrhoe) of near-death (Pluto) experience (Node). Yet even more to the point, Pluto and the Node were found exactly at the future discovery degree of Chiron’s partner (and Okyrhoe’s mother) Chariklo. The astrological functions of Chariklo, according to Philip Sedgwick, include ‘boundaries’ and ‘energy healing’. I gloss these as the ‘energy body’, the subtle body that is the site of healing.

Seen in the life of Jung, this planetary formation gives new meaning to the Pleiadian symbol of Chariklo’s discovery degree, “A man’s astral body travels into the sky to see the stars more closely.” We can see how evocative this symbol becomes in light of Jung’s report when he awoke: “It seems to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light.” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

(Here is also a fine example of how the Sabian symbols’ often bare descriptions can become more specifically meaningful after receiving further Pleiadian detail. Compare Sabian Leo 7: “The constellations in the sky” with Pleiadian, “A man’s astral body travels into the sky to see the stars more closely.”) Thanks to John Sandbach, channeler of the Pleiadian Degree Symbols.

From this degree of shamanic Chariklo, the Node of the Moon (and Pluto) reigned over Carl Jung’s transformative NDE. The astral body, as the form of subtle body that leaves the physical boundary of flesh, was the vehicle for Jung’s spiritual adventure. Chariklo embodies this archetype in both her astral activity and discovery degree symbolism. In his brilliant retelling of the NDE vision, Jung recalls:

“As I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing.”

Could we hope to read a more clear description of the astrological North Node than this? The natal North Node is considered by evolutionary astrologers to hold the key to fulfilling one’s destiny or purpose. Carl Jung’s Node at 11 Aries, symbolized as “A flickering fire creates the illusion of laughter as it reflects off a golden effigy.” The astral traveller came to visit a large stone asteroid which was the site of his spiritual inheritance, and sure fits this description: He saw a

“Hindu… in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames.”

In my research of well over one hundred visionary and mystical experiences, I have found a simple method to chart these peak events in relation to the people who undergo them. In Jung’s case, this method again highlights the role of Chariklo as the centaur of energy bodies. In the style of Davison’s Relationship Charts, we can check the mid-point in time and space between the visionary’s birth and major life event. This chart is a kind of Centauric Progression, the half-time date between birth and peak. To continue with the Jung example, which has already shown so much resonance with the Lady Centaurs: we find mid-life point Chariklo exactly at 25° 00’ Pisces. This is the degree at which (in 1998) Okyrhoe, oracular daughter of Chiron and Chariklo, was discovered.

To recap: transiting Okyrhoe was exactly opposite Chariklo’s discovery degree, and “Centaur-progressed” Chariklo was exactly at Okyrhoe’s discovery degree. Yet of course, neither of these planets had even been discovered yet when this event transpired. Could it be that Jung’s life story itself fits into our history as an archetypal case of the Chariklo-Okyrhoe experience?

In his Hymns to the Ancient Gods Michael Harding suggests that by imagining some kind of a primal zodiac, “we could visualize that on this collective chart is described the psychic history of our planet.” Actually, Harding’s purpose in that book is to interrogate some of Carl Jung’s most famous ideas.

To Harding, what Jung called archetypes are actually just the planets, encoded in memory on a ‘primal zodiac’. His argument suggests that as astrologers, there is no need for us to draw on some difficult-to-define collective unconscious: such a thing exists, in real space and time, in our experience of the planets traversing the zodiac. A primal zodiac could make sense in light of this kind of investigation into discovery degrees. We can see how this kind of cosmic background could serve as “an image of an infinite synastry with our total history.” (Hymns to the Ancient Gods)

It is fitting that the person who gave us the terms ‘collective unconscious’ and  ‘archetypes’ serves by example of his life story to ground our application of the astrological planets in the place of these concepts. As Harding concluded,

“Such a collective zodiac, on which we originally might draw all our initial energies and to which our subsequent expression of their principles ultimately returns, presents a psychic equivalent to the genetic pool in which we might create our collective and individual destinies.” (Hymns 106)


Isaac Newton believed the stars were delineated into distinct constellations by the sage Chiron. Now that we have discovered planets the dominion of which we grant to Chiron and kin, we are able to track such movements  against a map of Chiron’s own devising, the signs of the zodiac.

A putative primal zodiac does not need to exist anywhere in reality for it to have symbolic power. And it is not made of the stars that have shifted from their once-aligned geocentric view (via precession). After all, whether wrought by God or by diverse human imaginations, constellations are shapes we impute from our perspective in space and time. The energy fields of the zodiac of signs exist as the psychic reality that relates the spiritual world with our embodied experience of life on planet Earth. Although the zodiac abides nowhere really, the real planets reveal its meaning.


Jung’s own chart finds synastry with the discovery degrees, past and future, of four additional new planets:

  • Natal Venus at 18 Cancer (Discovery of Pluto)
  • Saturn at 25 Aquarius (conjunct Neptune) (~Saturn Return of Neptune discovery)
  • Neptune at 4 Taurus (Chiron)
  • Pluto at 24 Taurus (Ceres)

If we view the discovery degree as a planet’s holographic point of zodiacal potency, conjunctions to these show affinity not unlike conjunction to the actual planet in a chart. At least it imbues some of the discovered planet’s flavor to the natal planet. Maybe it remembers, or predicts, how the natal planet will act in the life of the native.

In the example of Jung’s birth, the conjunction of Neptune to Chiron’s future place of discovery can indicate how his own spiritual ideals intuitively connected him to the role of healing mentor; or, at another Chiron-level, indicating his own unconscious (Neptune) wounds (Chiron).

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