Anne Nordhaus-Bike: Discovering ‘Who Am I?’ Through Art, Astrology, Mysticism
CHICAGO – September 2015 – My soul incarnated into a female body in late September, when the Sun was moving through the astrological sign Libra. My mother died during the birth, and three days after my arrival on planet Earth, the new Moon eclipsed the Sun. This early drama left me with deep-seated grief at being abandoned as well as a deep sense of destiny: the eclipse’s timing meant that in my birth chart the Moon’s North Node, symbol of destiny and soul purpose, was placed alongside my Sun in artistic Libra.
My early interest in art reflected these placements, giving me a Libran love of beauty, refinement, and harmony. The artistic subjects that preoccupied me during the first 25 years of my life also reflected my Sun sign (See Figures 1 and 2):
* Skies, especially in autumn, as Libra is an air sign that comes at the start of fall
* Sunsets, because Libra symbolizes the daily shift to night, through its association with the seventh house and the northern hemisphere’s autumn equinox, when nature shifts from longer days to longer nights
* The night sky, and particularly the full Moon through leafless trees in fall, which also reflects not only the lunar Node conjunct my Sun but the Moon’s placement in my first house of identity and personality
Progressed Sun Enters Scorpio: New Artistic Depth, Breadth, And Intensity
In 1984, my progressed Sun left Libra for Scorpio. The progressed Sun offers an astrological technique for charting a person’s evolving purpose and identity. It uses a “day for a year” approach to provide a symbolic interpretation of astrological energies over time. For example, during the year of my birth, the Sun left Libra for Scorpio on the 25th day of my life, and with a single day being equal to an entire year of life, it took until my 25th year for the Sun to “progress” (to shift, symbolically) from Libra to Scorpio.
This development brought significant change to every aspect of my life, including my artistic expression. From airy, idealistic Libra, my identity plunged into watery, intense Scorpio.
The next 30 years saw me struggle to reconcile Scorpio’s obsessive, demanding, “take no prisoners” energies with Libra’s love of balance, insistence on diplomacy, and focus on relationships. This period saw my return to painting in my mid-30s, after having abandoned it for writing and a corporate career in my 20s. It also saw my return to the mystical influences of my upbringing: astrology, meditation, yoga, symbols, and the mystery schools.
My art became an obsessive, wide-ranging quest to master many media while making the Scorpionic journey deep within to understand “Who am I?” My artistic practice exploded to include oil painting, fiber, poetry, and playwriting. It expanded further with a plunge into technology, allowing me to take on digital photography, video, audio (including music and spoken word), multimedia presentations, and website design.
Scorpio’s intense colors, crimson and black, as well as its mysterious themes of life, death, sexuality, and regeneration, can be seen in my art from this period. Often working in series, my subjects from these years include skulls, bones, X rays, wounds, and bugs; other works reflect mystical symbols and themes, such as mountains and astrological imagery. At the same time, my Libra energies fought to be expressed and can be seen in paintings of doves and frequent use of Libra’s trademark pastel colors. (See Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6.)
At A Crossroads: Progressed Sun Enters Sagittarius
Last summer, my progressed Sun left Scorpio for Sagittarius, where it will remain for 30 years. After the difficult but fruitful darkness of Scorpio, my life has begun to open toward renewed joy.
Sagittarius’s fiery energy harmonizes more easily with my airy Libra nature, and with my launch of a new, self- designed and self-created website in May 2015, the Sagittarian quest to expand, share, and teach can find fulfillment.
Sagittarius also brings a desire to discover the meaning in all my strivings and look at life philosophically. Perhaps now it will be possible for me to put my first several decades into perspective.
Standing on the cusp of my 56th birthday, it feels as if a tremendous yet tiring chapter of my life is drawing to its natural close. Like no other birthday in recent memory, this year feels different: besides being a mysterious multiple of 7 (56 = 7 X 8), it carries a deep sense of ending and a new look at that old question “Who am I?”
One reply to that question always has been the inner self, and particularly the creative, vulnerable inner child (thanks to strong Leo placements, including my rising sign and Moon). (See Figure 7, painted in the 2000s.) Yet my first inkling of the new adventure that lies before me can be seen in a recent self-portrait (Figure 8), which indicates a return to watercolor and the pastel stillness of my Libra Sun. Here’s to the future, filled with potential and reflecting all the layers of my evolving self…