Why This Book Was Written
My first encounter with the lunar nodes was in a textbook. “The lunar nodes are very important,”
I read. Why, they didn’t say. References were made to luck, evolution and karma but concrete definitions were sadly lacking.
Intrigued, I began searching through other texts to find meaningful interpretations of the nodes. Some of what I found seemed to be mere whimsy. Some interpretations sounded logical but didn’t work in practice. A few books – particularly Bernice Gerber’s Lunar Nodes- New Concepts struck a responsive chord, making me believe that the nodes were indeed “Very important”. I began at this point to pay close attention to the nodal positions in the charts I did and as a result I began to formulate some theories of my own, which I initially kept to myself.
However, in teaching beginners, I found that they too found the present literature on the nodes to be lacking. They demanded more than what the books gave them. At this point I offered my own findings which my students found useful and accurate.
I hope that you, like my students, will find this material useful. I don’t claim that the material presented here is the ultimate in knowledge on lunar nodes, nor do I claim that my theories are the only right ones. What works for me, what works for my students, may not work for you. Since I’m a practicing astrologer rather than a researcher I readily admit that in my enthusiasm to find something that works I may have overlooked information that was for one reason or another unavailable to me.
Use this information, but don’t take it as absolute for this book is merely a starting point. If it’s enhances your understanding of the nodes, great. If it encourages you to formulate your own theories, so much the better. But don’t let it be “enough”. We have much to learn yet.
What are the Moon’s Nodes?
The Moon’s nodes are imaginary points that mark off a sort of celestial equator. They’re used by astronomers in the calculation of astronomical distances, eclipses and other important data.
Since the Moon’s nodes aren’t planets, it may seem hard to believe that they have any place in the horoscope. But they have as much place as the Part of Fortune or the ascendant, neither or which are planets. Like these points, the nodes are measures of the relationship between time and space. In other words, they show where you’re at as of your birth time.
Although I’ve read nothing about how the nodes came to be used by astrologers, it seems likely that they were used in calculating the timing of eclipse has traditionally been thought to herald momentous change on both mundane and personal levels.
Traditionally, the nodes were referred to as the Dragon’s Head (south node) and the Dragon’s Tail (south node), with the north node representing nourishment and the south node representing excrement. The nodes are symbolized thusly: (north node) (south node) maybe representing a dragon’s head and tail. Personally, I find the symbols confusing and have chosen to designate them with a simple NN and SN. If you find the intrinsic meditational value of the traditional symbols worthwhile, there’s no reason for you to adopt the simpler notation. On the other hand, if you get confused by them, there’s no need to run the risk of getting them mixed up with each other.
Calculation of nodal positions is a simple process. All decent ephemedides list their daily positions, which can then be adjusted by using diurnals or logs in the same way you adjust other planetary positions for the correct birth time. Some ephemeredes give positions for both the mean (estimated) position and true position. You might want to experiment with both positions and see what differences show up.
Ephemeredes list only the position for the north node. That’s because the south node is always directly opposite the north node. The nodes are always in exact opposition. Here we have our first clue to the interpretations of the nodes. The opposition is the proverbial “tug-of-war” aspect. In opposition, two conflicting factors are tugging at you, demanding your attention.
There are several ways you can resolve the conflict. You can sacrifice one factor al another’s expense. You can let the stronger factor prevail until the weaker factor develops strength enough to cause you to switch alliances. You can try to effect some sort of compromise, or you can hang in there and let the two factors pull you to bits. This last solution seems a bit self-defeating but judging from the number of people who suffer from stress-related diseases, mental breakdown, various types of addiction, etc., it’s one that many people consciously or unconsciously choose.
The opposition transcends the vertical and horizontal axes of the horoscope. Therefore, the conflict of the nodes takes on tones of me vs. us, independence vs. dependence, fulfilling your own needs in your own way vs. fulfilling your needs in a publicly acceptable but possibly less satisfying way. Your solution to the conflict will depend then on your psychological make-up (as shown by your chart), your conditioning (parents, peers, schools etc.), and your level or self-awareness (how well you know your needs).
I you look through your ephemeris, you’ll notice that the nodes are moving almost constantly in a retrograde motion. Now retrograde implies two things. First of all it’s synonymous with inner or subconscious energies, which means that if you’re not in touch with your gut-level responses to things you can have difficulty understanding the source of your conflict. Secondly, retrogrades frequently symbolize events that occur before you have the maturity to understand them. Childhood traumas or various types are good examples. These needn’t be major traumas like being abused. In fact, just as often they involve rather trivial but still threatening experiences-having to do with not having what “everybody else” has, for example, even if that particular thin happens to be useless or downright harmful. So quite often, badly-balanced nodes give a feeling that something’s wrong or lacking or just a little weird, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is or why it’s a problem.
It should be mentioned that there are instances when the nodes are direct and instances when they’re also stationary. It’s interesting to speculate on how this affects interpretation. Would they, like direct planets, work more overly when direct? Or, since retrogression is the rule rather than the exception, would this create further difficulties? My own limited research in this area is too sketchy to draw from but perhaps some other dedicated student will explore this area.
Some Theories on Nodal Meanings
As in many other areas of astrology, astrologers have differing opinions as to the values and meanings of the nodes. Before dismissing them, we should touch on these theories and try to determine what value they might have.
1. The nodes are just more meaningless clutter.
The main proponents of this theory seem to fall into two categories-disgruntled students and purists. The students have generally adopted this theory after failing to find any value in available interpretations. Sometimes they change opinions after coming into contact with new literature.
The purists are a little harder to peg. Many astrologers of this type are ultra-conservative. They eschew not only the nodes but also midpoints, Arabian Parts, and hypothetical planets. Their reasoning is that if astrology is ever to be accepted by the scientific community, it has to be on the basis of proven data, rather than coincidence. Thus work solely with planetary influences and ignore anything that’s not a planes, angle or sign.
Although it’s true that any hypothetical planet or point should be viewed with healthy skepticism, I think that the fact that the nodes have been in use since antiquity makes them deserving of al leas a little attention. It’s also interesting to note that Hindu astrologers-many of whom are so conservative that they still don’t use the discovered outer planets in their work-unfailingly use the nodes. Granted, that doesn’t prove anything, but it should al least make you wonder why.
2. The nodes show past and future karma.
This theory states that the south node represents karma from past lives while the north node represents dharma, or future karma. Another offshoot of this theory is one that states that the north node represents those qualities which you’ve neglected to develop while the south node represents what you’ve developed instead. There’s probably a grain of truth in this-especially in the latter statement.
However, it’s been my experience to find that anything that’s no clearly understood quite often gets neatly filed away under the karmic catchall, the of life experiences on this plane we wouldn’t have to be here. Result: Karma becomes a neat crutch for what we can’t or won’t understand about ourselves and our lives.
Before you decide than I’m spiritual or obviously unevolved, let me state here and now that I definitely believe there’s purpose for our being here and that many of us have lived before and some will live again. But the theory of karma can be a dangerous one if it’s accompanied by a lack of common sense or a lack of solid understanding of metaphysical principles. I’ve heard students say things like. “I can’t help being bossy, it’s because I was bossed around so much in my past life.” I have also heard clients say, “Madame Oldsoul says my health problems are karmic retribution for vanity in a past life.” Now maybe Student was really a slave in a past life and maybe Client was Snow White’s wicked stepmother. In any case, it’s over and done with and justifying rudeness or accepting suffering unquestionably isn’t going to do anything to improve the quality of your present life. To me, karma isn’t an evolutionary tic-tac-toe game. Nor is it an enforced life sentence of suffering. Karma is a promise to pay for what you get. It’s responsibility for your actions. An excuse for reprehensible behavior it’s not; nor is it an excuse to neglect your physical, material or emotional well-being. So if you’re looking at this theory to explain why you’re compulsive eater, or on welfare, or stuck in a miserable marriage you’re probably not looking closely enough or deeply enough al the real significance of the nodes. The Moon’s nodes may have something to do with where you’re at right now. If you don’t want to be where you are, you owe it to yourself to change your situation instead of making yourself and those around you miserable.
3. The nodes show you relate to your environment.
Probably they will. Many astrologers say that north nodes show where you’re in tune with current trends and the south node shows where you’re in tune with current trends and the south node shows where you’re out of step. Thus they have some influence on both popularity and ability to take advantage of opportunities. I’ve found cases where this is very valid.
4. The nodes represent points of good luck and bad luck
In this theory, the north node becomes a good luck charm and the south node becomes a sort of perpetual jinx. This theory can work, but it often works in reverse and sometimes doesn’t work al all. Personally, I think it’s a bit oversimplified, for reasons I’ll explain later.
So how do you go about interpreting the nodes? Well, firs you consider the material we covered in Chapter 2.Next you come to terms with what the nodes represent. To me, the north node is a point of growth, a point of growth, a point of untapped potential. This potential is invariably very positive, yet the north node is seldom what you’d instantly recognize as an area where fate smiles on you. Good luck implies having things come easily to you. This isn’t usually the case with the north node. To get at this potential you have to work darned hard. If you do this you may eventually discover yourself having very nice things happen to you. But it’s not merely luck-you’ve worded to earn them, whether consciously or unconsciously.
In contrast to the north node, the south node represents a point of stagnation. Here we find the potentials that keep you from growing. This is where you do what comes naturally where you take the line of least resistance. Now the qualities the south node represents may no actually be vices, but chances are that you’ve over-exploited them at the expense of your north node potentials.
Let’s take an example. Suppose you have south node in Libra. This means that you could very well find it easier to grin and bear things you don’t like instead of standing up and stating your feelings. What’s the problem? You’re too agreeable. Chances are that nobody’s going to fault you for trying to get along with those you come in contact with, but chances are also good that there’ll be people who impose upon your amiability. Sure, they’ve got problems or they wouldn’t do it. But if you don’t stick up for yourself, you’re going to have problems. So what do you do? You tap your Aries north node assertiveness potential. Initially, no doubt, you’ll feel like a real meanie refusing to let all those so-called friends step on you. And you may occasionally overcompensate for your past easy-goingness by getting quite aggressively vehement. But eventually you’ll get your nodes balanced and will find your problems either greatly alleviated or totally solved.
On the other hand, you can decide that assertiveness isn’t something you want to develop. In that case, the north node potential remains untapped, and you’re forced to exploit your south node. The more you do this, the more likely it is that you’ll experience a kind of vague dissatisfaction with your lot in life. Why? Because subconsciously you know something’s missing.
The following chapters are designed to help you determine how well you’ve balanced your nodes and how to find that missing part and develop it if necessary, or how to keep your nodes balanced if you’ve been successful so far
Nodal Signs and the Yeah-But Dialogues
No doubt you’ve had the misfortune to be ensnared al least once by a practitioner of the art of yeah-butting. This person is one of the ultimate time wasters, a royal pain guaranteed to cast a shadow on even the most optimistic outlook. His or her usual modus operandi is to approach you with a problem, seemingly seeking your advice. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Yeah-But: I’m having a real problem losing weight. Tell me, how do you manage to stay so slim?
You : I watch what I eat and I exercise.
Yeah-But: Exercise? What sort of exercise?
You : Mainly walking.
Yeah-But: Really? I love walking. I walk all the time, but it doesn’t seem to help.
You : That’s too bad.
Yeah-But: Yeah, I wish there was something else I could do.
You : Well, there’s the Yoga class at the Y…
Yeah-But: Forget that-I just can’t hack all those pseudo-spiritual types.
You : Well, there’s a lot of other things-bicycling, dancing, swimming.
Yeah-But: Yeah, but I can’t afford a Bicycle right now and I’m so fat that I feel out of place at the
discos. And swimming is out- I never learned how. I’ve got a terrible fear of the water
You : Maybe you should try a diet. Weight Watchers is good.
Yeah-But: Yeah, but they meet on Mondays and I’d have to give up my bridge club. I couldn’t
Desert them now-they’d be short a person.
You : Maybe you should get a doctor to put you on a diet then.
Yeah-But: May be…But I don’t think a diet is the answer. I have to eat out a lot and you just
I can’t refuse things when people go to all the trouble of cooking them for you.
You : Why not? Real friends would understand. I bet they’d even go out of their way to
Yeah-But: Yeah, but…Hey, look at the time. If I don’t hurry I won’t have time for supper before
The movie tonight…Say, could you call me a cab?
As Yeah-But plunks himself or herself into a cab for the two-block journey home, you may feel anything from disappointment to frustration to anger. Yeah-But has just successfully wasted your time and made you feel like an idiots. By negating your every suggestion, he or she has subtly suggested that your opinions are really not worth much. Further more, in trying to help; you’ve been tricked into giving Yeah-But an opportunity to “prove” that he or she is really concerned about self-improvement tub is “trapped” by a set of inextricable circumstances. And you wonder why you feel blah? Wonder no more-just don’t get conned again!
Nobody enjoys a Yeah-But. Yet we are all Yeah-Buts at one time or another, consciously or unconsciously. And our most likely sources of Yeah-But dialogues are frequently found by taking a look at our nodes. In these astrological Yeah-But dialogues, the north node generally offers you advice of some sort or tells you something you must do to become happier, healthier or more alive. The advice or statement is valid but threatening-either because it sounds like too much work for uncertain results or because it reminds you consciously or unconsciously of past failures or traumas.
Following are some typical manifestation of the Yeah-But syndrome, along with possible causes and possible solutions. I’ve also included typical manifestations of what I call unbalanced nodes. Of course there are other ways these imbalances can work out, and if you have basic working knowledge of the sign polarities, you should have no trouble adding several of your own observations to each of mine.
A word should be said about the solutions given. These, from my experiences as an astrologer seem to be the most frequently chosen methods of coping in each case. I have listed them impartially. Some will make sense to you; others won’t. For every problem, there’s a good solution and a bad one. For someone else.
Aries North Node
You need to learn to do things for yourself.
Libra South Node
Yeah, but it’s much easier to let others do things for me. Every time I try to do my own thing either somebody takes advantage of me or I wind up getting somebody mad at me.
You’re not rational when it comes to relationships.
You have such a hang-up about being fair to everybody that you bend over backwards for others al the sake or your own individuality. You’ve stifled your leadership abilities because using them led to friction or discord. You’re unable to get started on things without help due to lack of ambition or self-motivation. Life experiences have over-emphasized the value of leaning on other and encouraged passivity as a means of gaining acceptance.
Force yourself to undertake leadership roles. Dare to be enthusiastic about your beliefs and interests. Cultivate spontaneity. Do things on your own once in a while. Find a guru to follow. Find a big strong man (or good woman) to lean on.
With Libra south node, decision-making is often a problem. This is because with Libra south node, there’s a tendency to overdevelop logic to the point that it smothers the Aries feeling and acting functions. However, feelings can’t be totally ignored. They have a way of coming out and moving you in certain directions whether you choose to be aware of them or not. If they’re denied positive expression through individuality and assertiveness, they’ll be forced to take a negative route through insincerity, meddling or dependence. With Libra south node, rationalization can lead to irrationality, since feeling get lost in the shuffle. Usually, this dependency on passive intellectualizing is the result of some traumatic experience where feelings have let the individual down. Often he or she has been ridiculed or rejected for reasons that were never clearly understood and from that point on has decided that feelings can’t be trusted. So figuring out strategies replaces feelings. The Libran south noder takes great pains to be sure that all decisions about marriage, job and life style in general are formulated logically and planned thoroughly. The trouble is that logic without feeling leads to marriage without love, prestige without satisfaction, and existence without living. Eventually depression sets in and logic ceases to function. At that point, Libra south node is forced to get in touch with his or her feelings and take appropriate action, thus attaining a nodal balance between Aries and Libra.
In my experience, the person with an over-developed Libra south node:
- Dislikes being alone
- Asks for help and advice but then seems almost resentful of it
- Spends a great deal of time and money on grooming, cosmetics, clothing, etc.
- Speaks in a monotone or a very tiny voice.
- Is indecisive
- Is extremely cooperative to the point of being a door mat
- Has an inferiority complex
- Is a gracious host or hostess whose door is invariably open to everyone at all times
- Works hard at romance
- Feels sorry for single people, regardless of their circumstances
Gemini North Node
You need to share your awareness with others.
Sagittarius South Node
Yeah, but I don’t want to stick around explaining things. I can’t learn anything that way
An obsession with learning but no interest in using your knowledge in any practical way. Difficulty establishing lasting relationships leads to over-valuation of books, classes and other intellectual activities that provide indirect communication.
A need for long-term concentration on study or some sort of cultural, ethnic or religious difference has interfered with the formation of relationships. A speech impediment has caused you to turn to books instead of people. A literary career limits people contact. Dependency on reading as an escape from a boring routine. Poor judgment about people has caused you to place your trust only in “proven” sources of information. S lack of concentration has led to communication problems and misunderstandings. A need to conquer an ingrained feeling of stupidity or inferiority.
Develop your latent communication skills. Channel your intellect instead of being a slave to it. Share your knowledge with other so they can learn. Become a professional trivia, con artist, or perpetual student.
Gemini north node can be a good talker, but he or she is often a poor communicator. He or she is good al tossing out facts, lecturing, impressing others with long streams of beautiful words or technical jargon and so on. But he or she quite often talks al others rather than to them. The Gemini north node tends to quote books verbatim, drop names, quibble over semantics. He or she talks skillfully about facts and theories but generally is at a loss when it comes to applying them or sharing his or her feelings about them. In fact, this person generally avois sharing any facet of his or her personality beyond the intellectual side. This is a shame since north node in Gemini invariably holds great potential for perception. Development of this potential brings a deepening of the intellect so that ideas can be used for the practical betterment of his or her day-to-day relationships and living conditions.
Signs of an over-developed Sagittarius south node are:
*A tendency to flirt, flatter and charm but reveal nothing.
*An expectation that others will hinder his or her freedom.
*A tendency to ridicule others
*Generally on his or her way somewhere – “only has a minute”
*First instinct is to take off when pressured
*A tendency to promise more than he or she can deliver
*A distrust of security and routine
*Others accuse him or her of being unreliable; he or she feels that it’s others who are unreliable
*Enormous faith in the published word
*Uncomfortable with peers in general
Cancer North Node
You need to develop your domestic and nurturing abilities.
Capricorn South Node
Yeah, but I can’t take time out from my career.
You tend to try to fulfill your need for public acclaim without relating it to your inner needs.
You have developed your logic at the expense of your emotions. You lacked sympathy, nurturing or material security as a child or had these things taken away from you at a crucial time in your life. An ingrained philosophy of “look out for yourself first” has encouraged a misguided ort of selfishness. Lack of recognition as a child has led to an”I’ll show them” attitude. An overpowering need to dominate at all costs.
Learn to view emotional needs as keys to increased self-esteem. Learn to adapt your wants to your needs. Have a nervous breakdown. Develop an ulcer. Blame your parents for your hang-ups.
Cancer north node seems to often coincide with institutionalization in childhood. Sometimes this means an orphanage or hospital has played a major role in the development. Other times it indicates a long stint in a boarding school. Sometimes there’s a very regimented home life for one reason or another. Or the parents have been cold and strict. Occasionally the Cancer north noder has had uncaring or unfit parents and consequently became a ward of the court. But more often the parents were merely more concerned with the Cancer north noder as a status symbol then as an emotional being. Usually the parents were very judgmental and placed a heavy emphasis on doing the right thing in terms of living up to other people’s expectations. Thus the Cancer north noder is conditioned to view the game of life materially. But regardless of his or her successes or failures, he or she often feels a great sense of something missing until the Cancer potential for emotional self-preservation and caring is tapped
Signs of an over-developed Capricorn south node are:
- Dislike of domesticity.
- A stubbornly narrow outlook.
- Tendency to constantly test others in some way.
- Dislike of new or different ideas.
- A desire for respect and honor at any cost.
- A tendency to curry favors or social-climb.
Leo North Node
You need to learn to love deeply.
Aquarius South Node
Who me? Whaddaya mean? I love absolutely every-body. Except for my ex-best-friend and my ex-lover, and that snooty sales clerk who implied I had no taste…
You’re looking for utopia. Your ideals have frustrated your needs for love and companionship.
You’re inclined to be lazy about developing your creativity, preferring to idealize others’ accomplishments at the expense of your own. You spend most of your time serving others’ causes at the expense of fulfilling your own goals. Traumatic experiences have caused you to retreat from the world to some extent. Ingrained snobbishness hinders the formation of relationships. A subconscious superiority complex.
Get in touch with your need for dignity and channel it properly. Discover and use your fertile imagination. Learn to lie skillfully. Have a lot of lovers. Devote yourself totally to a humanitarian organization, cause, or activity.
North node in Leo almost always has some degree of untapped creativity. Sometimes shyness keeps it untapped. The shyness is in itself a manifestation of the untapped Leo north node potentials, since Leo is the sign of confidence. South node in Aquarius encourages the individual to lose himself or herself in a whirl of friendships and acquaintance-making or in some vast utopian ideal. In either case, the motivation is to avoid having to come to terms with his or her own individuality. These people are seldom recognized as shy because their shyness manifest on a personal rather than a public level.
Another manifestation of Leo north node-Aquarius south node imbalance is seen in the person who leaves more prosaic creativities untapped while he or she searches for that great talent that will make a contribution to the world. The Leo north noder isn’t content to enjoy developing his or her creativity unless he or she can make a great artistic, dramatic or social contribution to posterity.
In my experience, people with an over-developed Aquarius south node are generally:
- Kept busy dealing with other people’s problems.
- Wanting to be in the spotlight but often find their contributions get obscured.
- Egotistical in an unusual way. They emphasize equality and refuse to acknowledge that some people have more potential than others. In other words, you can’t do any more than they can.
- Intellectual at the expense of their emotions.
- Fond of shocking others
- Extremist in their work for change.
- Contradictory. The brain doesn’t know what the heart wants.
- Averse to traditional marriage. Women are often militantly liberated to the point where they resent or dislike men in general.
- Believe everything you tell them about themselves as long as it’s flattering.
Virgo North Node
You need to learn to work.
Pisces South Node
Yeah, but that means giving up my privacy.
Inability to analyze feelings.
Excessive tolerance of unacceptable behavior from others. Faulty reasoning. A tendency to gloss over flaws. A tendency to help other while letting your own life disintegrate. Escapist tendencies. Early upbringing has led to a “you owe me” attitude. Your senses are over-active, overwhelming your logic.
Channel your fantasies into creative work-poetry, fiction, psychology, etc. Learn to rule your senses instead of letting them rule you. Learn to lie skillfully. Shun human contact as much as possible. Over-eat, drink too much, get stoned
Health problems are a frequent manifestation of the Virgo north node. Pisces south node imbalance. These may be physical or mental, real or imagined. Both fear of people and excessive dependency are common-sometimes simultaneously. Compulsive over-eating or an obsession with thinness can be a manifestation. Occasionally I’ve seen this position in what I call the spiritual or psychological hypochondriac who drifts from guru to soothsayer to therapist looking for someone capable of solving his or her problems for him or her. Invariably, there’s a craving for happiness; however, the client can’t generally define what this happiness would entail, except to say there would be “no more problems”. Well-being improves when the Virgo north node’s potential for objectivity and practicality is channeled into some sort of meaningful work.
Some signs of an over-developed Pisces south node are:
- Excessive daydreaming.
- Constant requests for help
- A “too sweet for word” façade
- Strange attitudes toward work
- Little control over emotions
- Masochistic or morbid tendencies Overall discontentment with his or her lot in life
- Shallowness or game-playing.
- A tendency to attract chaotic conditions and disorganized people.
You might think that the other six nodal positions would be exactly opposite to those described. While they can be, there are often variations on the themes already presented, as you will see.