The Nodes of the Moon are not planets – they are purely mathematical points that show where the path of the Moon crosses the path of the Sun (called the “ecliptic”). The North, or ascending, node acts as a signpost to take us into the future – it points the way for our soul’s evolutionary growth. The South, or descending, node is a signpost from the past. Through the South Node we release people, places and things which we carry with us that are no longer needed.
The North and South Nodes are always in opposite signs, reflecting the polarity of the astrological pantheon, and they change signs approximately every eighteen months or so. On March 23 the mean calculation for the North Node will move from Scorpio into Libra. Some astrologers use the “true node” which will change signs on February 19th.
One of many things astrologers argue over is whether to use the “mean node” or the “true node.” Steven Forrest has written a perfect article on the nodes which I can’t improve upon. Steven says:
[T]he actual moment-to-moment position of the lunar nodes is quite twitchy. Essentially that is how the true node is calculated—although in reality most astrological computer do not take all of these effects fully into account. Even the “true” node is not really true. The bottom line is the calculated true node’s motion is eccentric. It can even sometimes go briefly Direct.
The mean node assumes the simpler view: that the Moon orbits the center of the Earth. The effect is to smooth everything out a bit.
In any case, when the lunar nodes change signs there is a shift in focus on a global level. Over the past eighteen months the North Node has been in Scorpio while the South Node has been in Taurus, where the need is to move from a focus on comfort and stability (Taurus) to a more fully engaged and passionately involved position in the world (Scorpio). The focus will change over the next six weeks or so to the Libra/Aries polarity in which the Libra North Node urges us to find the commonality between us all so that harmony can be achieved and to begin to leave the more self-directed aspect of our nature behind (the Aries south node) for the time being.
I have seen with clients that transits of the nodes often correspond with significant events in their life that may not be immediately recognizable but which later can be seen as significant turning points. The North Node pulls us forward, the South Node pulls us back which is why Vedic astrologers often consider the South Node (Ketu) as being malific. But from a more modern perspective, just as with Mercury and other retrogrades this turning back to the past in order to heal and release and move more effectively towards the future is an important part of the soul’s work – I believe it is one of the most important aspects of healing and evolution.
The houses in your astrological chart in which the nodes are retrograding through (because they always travel retrograde) will be impacted to some degree. The South Node traveling through a house will bring up issues from the past surrounding the domain of that house; the North Node will introduce you to people and situations that will help you to progress in your life in the area of importance to that house. For example:
- The nodes transiting the first/seventh houses bring up issues surrounding the Self (first house) vs the Other (seventh house).
- The Libra North Node in the first house will encourage you to perfect your sense of your own identity (first house) through your relationships with others, and the Aries South Node in the seventh house will remind you that at the core of your relationships is your own individuality and urge you to shed partnerships that no longer serve you.
- The Libra North Node in the seventh house will forge strong relationships and partnerships of like-minded souls; the Aries South Node in the first house will encourage a strong self-image and project a more powerful persona.
- The nodes transiting through the second/eighth houses bring up issues surrounding your personal values and resources (second house) relative to shared resources and experiences including sexuality and death (eighth house).
- The Libra North Node in the second house emphasizes beauty and harmony in possessions and a balance in economic goals; the Aries South Node in the eighth house could bring up concerns around sexual needs and shared financial burdens.
- In the eighth house the Libra North Node raises the importance of sexuality in our relationships and urges equal distribution of shared resources while the Aries South Node brings up past issues of financial fairness and insecurity.
- The nodes transiting through the third/ninth houses emphasize communication.
- The Libra North Node in the third house hungers for knowledge that enhances a fair and balanced view of the world while the Aries South Node in the ninth house illuminates areas in which you are overly judgmental and where you must let go of your own ideas in order to find true wisdom.
- In the ninth house the Libra North Node helps to expand your horizons through learning about other cultures and ways of thinking, while the Aries South Node encourages the letting go of personal prejudices and small ways of thinking.
- The fourth/tenth houses represent the polarity between our inner world and home (fourth house) with the outer world and vocation (tenth house).
- The Libra North Node in the fourth house draws our attention inside where the roots of our psychological inheritance lay and encourages us to find beauty and peace within, while the Aries South Node in the tenth house calls our attention to the limitation of life lived strictly in the outer world and encourages us to let go of workaholic tendencies.
- In the tenth house the Libra North Node encourages collaboration in the workplace which balances against the Aries South Node in the fourth house which inspires us to surrender our ideas about our family role and our own individual story.
- The fifth/eleventh houses take us from individual self-expression (fifth house) to the shared experiences of the eleventh house.
- The Libra North Node in the fifth house is focused on creating beautiful means of self-expression, while the Aries South Node in the eleventh house is forced to surrender ideas of running the show when working in groups.
- In the eleventh house the Libra North Node opens doorways to effective group dynamics, while the Aries South Node in the fifth house discovers that focusing on the expression of the individual self has lost some of its lustre and requires more heart and less ego.
- The sixth/twelfth houses balance the needs of life in a body (sixth house) with the soul’s longing for transcendence (twelfth house).
- The Libra North Node in the sixth house celebrates the body as a temple of the soul and creates rituals of beauty to enhance the work environment and daily living, while the Aries South Node in the twelfth finds it necessary to dissolve the ego and self-centered focus in order to find peace.
- In the twelfth house the Libra North Node brings a desire for partnership along the spiritual path and experiences of bliss, while the Aries South Node in the sixth house requires detachment from the body and day-to-day routines.
We often live our lives believing we have no direction or no map, when there are signposts all along the way of our journey. The lunar nodes can help us find our way when we are lost, and provide guidance when we seek it. (If you don’t already have a copy of your natal chart you can print one for free at astro.com).