The Lunar Nodes – An Introduction
The Lunar Nodes are the point in our chart that show a journey towards our aspiration (North Node) balanced with our innate strengths and habitual responses (South Node)
The North Node pulls us towards a different way of doing things, whereas the South Node is our modus operandi and being aware of how this axis operates in our charts can show us where we can make different choices giving us the opportunity to challenge our approaches.
dorothy: now which way do we go?
scarecrow: pardon me, this way is a very nice way.
dorothy: who said that?
[toto barks at scarecrow]
dorothy: don’t be silly, toto. scarecrows don’t talk.
scarecrow: [points other way] it’s pleasant down that way, too.
dorothy: that’s funny. wasn’t he pointing the other way?
scarecrow: [points both ways] of course, some people do go both ways.;”
(From the Wizard of Oz)
If we use a chart as the map, then the Lunar Nodes act like a compass that point to an intersection and present us with a choice. The aim is to find the balance between the two without veering too much towards one node or the other. If we find the tipping point between the two nodes we have in some way fulfilled the task of acknowledging and incorporating our nodes. We usually find if we are tapping into the North Node’s aspirations, we reach a state of equilibrium. At the same time if we try too hard to ‘force’ our North Node qualities in a bid to activate them, we risk becoming unbalanced. At some point in our lives – and by varying degrees, we may veer towards either node, but the overall objective is to find the integration point.
What are the nodes – the Astronomy
The Lunar Nodes are the point where the orbit of the Moon crosses the Ecliptic. The Ecliptic is the line that shows the suns apparent movement as it moves against the celestial sphere as the Earth moves round the Sun. We say it is the ‘apparent’ motion as we are given the impression that the Sun moves at a particular pace as the Earth turns from an Earth centred perspective (geocentric). The Ascending Node is where the Moon crosses the South of the Ecliptic (North Node) and the Descending Node is where it crosses North of the Ecliptic (South Node).
So if we think about it, the Moon’s Nodes have a solar quality to them because the gravity of the Sun impacts on the orbital plane of the Moon. From an astrological perspective, the two luminaries are important in our charts and show our core (Sun) and our inner world and emotions (Moon) The Nodes in our natal charts reflect a combination of who we are, the internal and external forces that move us from the past to the present and what we are being driven towards.
The meaning of the North Node and South Node in Astrology
The South Node
The South Node in our charts shows where we have come from. If we take time as being non linear, this could mean where we are at the moment or where we have been. The South Node is also linked to Karma and whether we want to trace this back to a past life inheritance or specific experiences of our present lives and past circumstances, the South Node is a residue – something left over that we can use, but not necessarily lean on.
The South Node also shows our default mode, our purpose in the past and the strengths we rely upon and fall back on. This could manifest as something that we find easy or that we have a talent.
For example, South Node in Scorpio in the 11th house may show an ability and preference to be part of organisations and groups that have a transformative, secretive element or are operating on the fringes of society. The individual focus may be on these types or groups and friendships and they may find it comfortable and easy to operate within these particular gatherings. The 5th house North Node in Taurus would possibly show where that individual could head towards developing and grounding their own creativity, defining their creative values separate from the group ideology.
The North Node
How easy or difficult we find maintaining the balance of our nodes can depend on the contacts the nodes make with other planets in our charts and our overall chart configuration. There are charts that support the development of the North Mode allowing us easy access and a clear path to an alternative approach. There are also more challenging configurations where finding this outlet can be a complicated process due to other factors and placements in the chart.
A basic example would be a natal South Node located in the third house in Gemini with a stellium including the Sun located in the same house. This individual’s core function would be linked to communicating and distributing information and there may also be a focus on relationships with siblings.
The South Node here would indicate that there are talents in this area and this would perhaps come quite easy to the individual, however with the north node in Sagittarius the aim would be to gain a higher vision, perhaps through travel, cross cultural experiences and higher learning in order to balance the South Nodes function in Gemini. The stellium’s positioning near the South Node makes it all the easier for the individual to pull on the south node traits, perhaps ignoring the necessity in seeking a broader perspective, but a conscious effort and understanding of the balance needed to integrate the two would give this person the potential of finding the nodal tipping point.
Here are some thoughts about how we can balance and integrate the natal nodes in our charts.
- Become aware of patterns we exhibit through our South Node tendencies (look at the sign, house and position of the South Node/North Node axis and connections to planets and angles);
- Gain an understanding of tendencies that potentially hinder our development and progress;
- Try to avoid pushing too hard in one direction (even when we become aware of a deficit in one area trying too hard to make up for it another can be counter productive) but look for opportunities to bring out any dormant North Node qualities;
- Look at the sign and house position of the nodes and think about areas of the chart that support finding a balance, equally look at any tense and challenging aspects and see if there is a route to the north node through these tensions;
- Talk to friends and family and ask them about their impressions of you. Do they tend to view you through your South Node or your North Node?
- Look at areas in life that you feel you are lacking, look to see which node you a currently in tune with and make any adjustments that could assist you in tapping into your potential.
Somewhere over the rainbow
The Lunar Nodes are not necessarily about reaching a particular destination point, but reflect a continual balancing act. Going back to the quote from the Wizard of Oz at the beginning of this article- the scarecrow points both ways towards both destinations and this is the essence of the Lunar Nodes. By looking at where those destinations may lead, we are able to get some idea about the paths we are on giving us a little clarity and guidance as we begin an integration process of our strengths and our potentials.