My father was pronounced dead at 7:10 pm on December 1, 1967. He was 38 years old and had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage the day before, resulting in immediate and total loss of brain function. He was at the accounting office where he worked at the time, preparing to leave for the day, when he suddenly raised his hands to his head, gasped, “Please don’t let me die, I have five kids to support,” and collapsed to the floor, never to regain consciousness.
Those were the last words my father ever “spoke,” or at least that’s what I had always thought, until recently when I began to consider the possibility that those who are crossing over may get one final opportunity, through the medium of Astrology, to communicate with us while in the midst of the dying process. What I’m suggesting is that people typically choose their time of death with great care and intentionality, in part, in order to send a message through their death charts to loved ones left behind. Unfortunately, the message is almost never received and decoded because the practice of Astrological Mediumship has been virtually nonexistent, at least until now.
My mother played a key role in determining my father’s time of death, or so it seemed at the time, since she insisted, with uncharacteristic conviction and courage, not to mention a great sense of urgency, that the doctors “unplug those f***ing machines and let him die with dignity.” I’ve always marveled at her ability to be so decisive under very trying circumstances, especially considering that she had never asserted herself in any remarkable way prior to that day and consulted no one before making such a momentous decision. The weight fell entirely on her shoulders, yet she never hesitated nor expressed a moment of self-doubt.
In retrospect, I now think it’s entirely probably my mother was acting as an open channel for my father, who, no doubt, understood the futility of his situation very well and was determined not to languish in the liminal space between this world and the next, brain dead and on life support indefinitely.
It’s been forty-six years since my father’s “untimely” passing and the person I have become in the interim has been shaped in large part by that ground zero experience. For the first ten years after his death, I was in a state of major existential angst, acutely aware that there was no real security to be found anywhere in the world “of birth and death,” yet unable to adequately grieve and, consequently, to access the spiritual dimension where I might have found real relief. I was functionally an atheist during the decade from age thirteen to twenty-three, though still too young and lacking in self-awareness to articulate the inner workings of my world at the time.
Finally, I bottomed out from that untenable situation in my early twenties when the pain became so unbearable that I sought relief in a radical form of healing known as Primal Therapy. In the wake of six months of non-stop, hard-core grieving, for the loss of my father and my childhood innocence, as well as the collective suffering I perceived at the time as part and parcel of the basic, human predicament, I had a spontaneous mystical awakening, during which I came to know first-hand that everything in the universe, myself included, was nothing other than luminous, blissful energy, vibrating at various frequencies and patterns of resonance. Furthermore, I understood that death and separation were, ultimately, illusions caused by the limitations of our human sense perceptions.
For the next decade, my father came to visit me periodically through the medium of my dreams. A typical dream/visitation went like this: There’s a knock at the door. I open it. My handsome father is standing there, looking like a cross between Gregory Peck in the prime of his life and Jesus Christ after the resurrection. Shocked, but delighted, I say, “What are you doing here? You’re dead.” He says, matter of factly, “I know. I came to take you out to dinner.” Over dinner, we communicate telepathically, downloading massive amounts of information back and forth directly through our third eyes. My father lovingly tells me that he sees all of me and is proud of the woman I have become. I know, without a doubt, that this is true.
In recent years, my siblings and I had begun to speculate that our father’s death was not a random event; that, perhaps, prior to taking birth in this lifetime, we had all agreed to experience what initially felt like such a meaningless tragedy, in order to dramatically accelerate our evolution. Perhaps, his death had propelled us each, in turn, down the Yellow Brick Road of our respective Heroes’ Journeys, to the only place where true security lies: deep within the cavern of the Soul where nothing ever truly dies and separation is an energetic impossibility.
In my own case, in my mid-twenties, I gravitated toward the mystical teachings and practices at the core of the world’s religious traditions, especially those having to do with the dying process and the continuity of consciousness after death. Much to my surprise and initial embarrassment, this lead to my becoming a Religious Studies major at the University of Oregon, including a year of foreign study in Japan as an undergrad, followed by masters and doctorate degrees in Comparative Religion and Women’s Studies, at the U of O and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, respectively. On a parallel track with my academic pursuits, I have spent the past thirty-five years engaged in various spiritual practices, including meditation, and also spent several years living and working at Buddhist retreat centers in the US and Ireland.
With all this in mind, it finally occurred to me the other day, after the sudden, shocking death of a family friend, to investigate whether the medium of Astrology might shed light of matters of loss. After receiving a deeply meaningful message regarding my friend’s passing, I decided to see what I might see concerning my father’s death. Again, I was not disappointed.
In order to unpack the message I believe my father has been waiting all these years to deliver in this way, I need to first provide some background on the centerpiece of my natal chart: a sacred geometrical formation known as the Finger of Destiny, which has been likened to a jackhammer of very focused intensity and intentionality. Over the years, I have come to understand the Finger of Destiny in a more feminine way, however, as a kind of cosmic birth canal, intent upon giving birth to some quality or offering that has been predetermined, prior to conception, by the person in whose chart it appears.
The Finger of Destiny formation in my chart has been a major guiding force in my life since my mid-twenties, in the aftermath of the mystical experience I alluded to earlier, when I initially became aware of it and had my first faint inklings of its possible meaning. In my case, the Finger of Destiny involves my Sun (higher Self/Spirit/divine masculine) and Moon (Soul/divine feminine), with my ruling planet Venus (romantic love/divine union) at the activation point, exactly conjunct my South Node (past-life influences) and the fixed star Sirius, while pointing directly at my North Node (destiny).
In Astrocartography terms, my Venus and South Node/North Node axis lines run directly through the middle of Tibet, which explains why I have come to understand the Venusian energy at the apex of my chart as representative of the Buddha Tara, have felt a deep, Soul affinity with the core teachings and practices of Tibetan Buddhism throughout my adult life, and even felt inspired to change my name to Tara in my early 40s.
In this context, I recently created a synastry chart overlaying my natal chart with my father’s death chart and was astonished and profoundly moved to see that my father’s Ascendant, representing his moment of death, was exactly conjunct the Venus (divine union), South Node (past-life influences) and Sirius activation point in my Finger of Destiny, while exactly opposing my North Node (destiny point). What this suggests, in no uncertain terms, is that the two of us most likely did have a very profound meeting of souls in at least one previous lifetime, perhaps as romantic/tantric partners in Tibet (and before that on the star Sirius?), during which time we set the wheels in motion that eventually resulted in my father’s shocking death in this lifetime, in order to provide the catalyst that would accelerate my evolutionary trajectory and help us both fulfill our destinies. It also suggests that when my father left this earthly realm, he may have returned to Sirius, which, may, in fact, be our shared galactic home.
These insights helped explain why, at approximately the age of seven, I had such an overwhelming feeling of being in love with my father, which was much stronger than can be explained by the typical Electra Complex scenario. In retrospect, it felt like a déjà vu, karmic bleed-through experience from other times and places.
At around that same pivotal age, I was haunted by a powerful sense of destiny (though I had no word for it at the time), coupled with what can only be described as a sense of foreboding. It was as if I was bracing myself for something that was about to happen and was trying to remember what it was. For several months in a row, I had a recurring, prophetic nightmare in which my father abandoned the family, at which point I, the oldest child, set off on a long, lonely journey in search of my true home, protected by a ring of luminous angels. In the dream, I was reassured by the voice of my future Self that I would forget who I was for a while, in order to survive the challenges ahead of me, but would eventually remember and reclaim my true Self.
From my current vantage point, I marvel at the courage and strength of the Soul on its path to wholeness. I marvel at how truly heroic the Hero’s Journey can be for those of us who choose to take birth here on earth in human form. Looking back at all that I have experienced in this lifetime, I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel only gratitude for the role my father played in my life, and especially for the challenge his death provided, to take what was surely a heart-breaking tragedy and find a way to compost it into fertile soil that would eventually provide the conditions necessary to grow something akin to a lotus flower. Out of the muck came something strong and beautiful. I see now that this is precisely what was intended all along.