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The Past Lives of Lewis Carroll

I’ve just finished the edits on Down the Treacle Well, which will be released this fall. Reflecting on the book, I was reminded that its first glimmers had their start in reading a biography about Lewis Carroll. I was intrigued by the real history behind Alice in Wonderland. It wasn’t until after I read the biography below that I read through Carroll’s works.

So I came to Wonderland as it were through the writer, finding him more engaging than the Victorian tale— at least, initially. I’ve also been doing more evolutionary astrology and it seemed natural now to combine the two.

Why not look at the Rev. Charles L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) through the lens of evolutionary astrology to get an even more personal understanding of the author who so inspired my new book!

First a little about the man born as Charles Dodgson in 1832. Dodgson was born into a line of English military officers and clergymen. His father was gifted in mathematics as was he. While the father found a home in the high Anglican Church, the son spent most of his life teaching at Oxford. The world would also come to know the son as the writer of one of the most recognized English language works of all time. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865. Through the Looking Glass followed a few years later. Adopting the pen name Lewis Carroll, Dodgson became famous for his fantasy works and a category of writing known as literary nonsense (Jabberwocky, The Hunting of the Snark).    

What can evolutionary astrology tell us about Dodgson’s past lives? Evolutionary astrology begins with the premise that we all have lived many lifetimes and that we evolve spiritually through the many lessons we encounter along the way. To understand the themes associated with anyone’s past lives, we must look to the south node in the birth chart. Carroll’s south node is in Aquarius (2nd House). Let’s begin there because it reveals much about him.

The Aquarian South Node:

With the south node in Aquarius, his past life experience was one where he was an outsider, a rule breaker. Aquarius’ modern ruler is Uranus, known for lightning-fast change and rebellion. It rocks the predominant paradigm to bring about the future. He was part of that energy of evolution or revolution. In some sense, he would have challenged conventional reality and its power structure with new ideas and new ways of doing things, perhaps just by being himself. Being different often threatens the existing power structure. He may have often felt lonely and as if the world was against him. The Aquarian south node has strong themes of individualism and thinking for oneself. He would have questioned what other people easily accepted at face value. His chosen path would have formed by deep questioning and a reliance on individual expression. He would have sought and found his own truth. Guided by this, Carroll in his past lives found the courage to define his own story. He may very well have found himself at home in subcultures unfamiliar to the general public.

The danger in this nodal pattern is that the rebel lifestyle with its outsider association can become an identity that outlives its utility. Did he continue to identify with the ideas and causes that labelled him a rebel? Even if that wasn’t a problem, there was a risk in him becoming so caught up in ideas that he became too far removed from other people and life.

Human societies do not tolerate differences well. Sometimes, an Aquarian-type individual can exist within the establishment and adjust enough to get along. However, there are many times when society imposes conformity in all sorts of ways. Past lives where the soul retains memories of persecution, confinement, or torture may lead an individual to dissociate from feelings. There can be a preference for thinking over feeling. The disconnect from feeling can create a wedge in relating to others.

How does this connect to the life of Lewis Carroll?

In anyone’s chart, the south node is our comfort zone. It is what we know and what we are most familiar with. Generally, we tend to stay fixed in this energy and repeat these patterns over and over.

With Carroll’s life, many of the Aquarian markers were present. He has a brilliant mind and loved to engage in fantasy writing, word play, mathematical puzzles and games of all kinds. He lived alone and never married. While he had wide social circles, he spent considerable amounts of time by himself—often walking alone miles and miles every day. Carroll identified as a Christian and rose as a high as a deacon in the church but never assumed the role of clergyman. To this day, no one knows why he refused to take his final ordination. It should have cost him his position at the university and yet he alone was allowed to stay on having refused the requirement. Choosing an academic life, he rejected his father’s path of parson by remaining a bachelor teaching don in residence at a college. Although this arrangement was typical for the time for academics, we might view this as a subculture of society because most of Victorian society did not eschew marriage and family. Lewis Carroll also went on to produce a highly distinctive and individual body of literary writing. So unique was his work that it continues to influence our culture today. His writings are still widely read in their original form. Lewis Carroll societies exist around the world. Not as well known, but certainly Aquarian, are the many inventions he created over his lifetime. He created several practical devices, ciphers, games, and even proposed alternative forms of parliamentarian representation.     

The South Node in the Second House:

Recall from above that Lewis Carroll’s south node was located in the second house of his chart. That gives us insight to the kinds of life experiences he had in his past lives. The second house is generally associated with money, self-worth, and values. It is the house that indicates how resources are made available to us in life. Was a person wealthy or poor? Prone to sudden reversals of fortune? All of those are second house concerns. In Carroll’s chart, Uranus (the planet of surprise or sudden upset) is conjunct his south node. This indicates that his resources were vulnerable to unexpected changes. We can easily imagine that challenges to physical or spiritual survival affect the soul. Especially where the repeat of such stress shows itself many times. This is when the soul can become fearful—full of self-doubt and insecurity.  

Situations of having to fight for daily survival focuses our attention on the basics of life. Dreams and aspirations go by the wayside. Life becomes a compromise where existence is the only goal.  The soul becomes weary feeling cheated out of life. Human dignity is degraded in this experience. Doubt in our own abilities and in the world’s ability to provide reigns. Failure can feel fated if all we know is deprivation.       

How does this connect to Carroll’s life?

The Rev. Charles Dodgson was living a quiet academic life when he happened to meet a neighbor of his. That neighbor was the college dean’s wife, and they became good friends. Oftentimes, he and another college friend took the Dean’s children out for the day. On one of these occasions, Dodgson crafted a particularly enchanting tale that one of the children, Alice, begged to have written done. Eventually, Dodgson complied. He also went on to share the story with another friend who encouraged him to seek publication because his own children became very fond of the tale. The publisher immediately liked the book and once it went to print, it became an immediate success. Dodgson became Lewis Carroll. He didn’t spend years as a frustrated, unpublished author. He became an overnight success such that Queen Victoria became aware of who he was and wanted his next book dedicated to her. The money flowed as well. His fan mail quickly overtook his ability to reply. Uranus had touched him, and a series of events led to a complete reversal of his fame and fortune. For a generally shy and reserved man, this probably came as quite a shock and brought its own struggles. Wealth or poverty brings countless changes.     

What we have examined briefly here are the way patterns of past lives tend to repeat in one’s current life. That was certainly the case with Lewis Carroll. His soul’s challenge was to move toward the opposite energy of Leo (8th House). To move away from patterning and familiarity takes an enormous amount of insight, dedication, and hard work. However, that was the task set for that incarnation. This is just a brief glimpse into evolutionary astrology. A complete analysis of relevant aspects would give us far more detail into the situational and personal dynamics of his previous lives. However, this gives a taste of the kind of information that can be gleaned quickly from a chart.   

If you are interested in what your own chart might reveal, contact me below. Clients continue to report surprising correlations between evolutionary astrology reports and their current life experiences. This is going to be a highly transformative time as we enter the summer. Several key astrological aspects are happening bringing in fast change. Understanding the full context of these changes in light of one’s own personal karmic history is often beneficial.

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