What are the Nodes of the Moon and Why Care?
Firstly, what the Nodes are not: the Nodes of the Moon are not heavenly bodies. You can’t look up at the sky and see the Nodes. The Nodes are mathematical points showing intersections between orbits.
An astrology charts put the Earth in the center and the planets, including the Sun, moving around. The ecliptic is the path of the Sun around the Earth. The Nodes are the intersection where the Moon’s orbit crosses the plane of the ecliptic.
The term Plane of the Ecliptic refers to where eclipses occur, which is where the Moon gets in between Sun and Earth or behind Earth, in its shadow. The Moon between Earth and Sun is a solar eclipse. Earth between Sun and Moon causes a lunar eclipse like we just saw on November 19th.
The Moon can be close to the Sun, that’s a New Moon. Or it can be opposite, that’s a full Moon. It’s when the orbits intersect and get between one another and the Sun that we have an eclipse.
OK, let’s not go too deep or make this too painful! There are 2 Nodes, a North and a South. They are always opposed each other. Therefore they travel in 2 signs of the zodiac that are opposite each other but of the same modality, called the nodal axis. Their cycle through each sign is 1 1/2 years. And one last thing: the Nodes move retrograde, so they are going backwards through the zodiac. And (last thing, I promise) the Nodes do not make aspects to the planets. They signal new cycles and deliver lessons, working together.
The Nodes in Astrology
Nodes and Karma
The Nodes interest astrologers because they relate to Karma and by extension Dharma. What we owe and are owed. Astrologer Jessica Adams suggest we look back 18-19 years, to the last time the nodes were in this placement.
The South Node, by its sign and house, is what you enter this life possessing, in terms of knowledge and ability. Some will say it’s your gifts. If you believe in past lives it is knowledge and experience accrued from other incarnations. If you don’t, think of it as innate knowing, what comes easily for you. Either way, we all have abilities, ways of being that are natural and others that are challenging. The South Node brings the tools we need for this lifetime. The South Node travels light and won’t bring what isn’t needed. It won’t make you guess. You will not need what you have not got, to paraphrase Sinead O’Connor.
The North node is about learning, growing, using what we know, to evolve. There’s an element of mastery here. Think of a movie where the student is taught by a master, then must go out on a quest. He struggles and wonders if what he’s learned is enough. Between what he knows and the challenges of the quest he evolves to be a master himself. Usually the ultimate master and legend in his own time.
The trap of the North Node it to forget what we know and try new ways randomly, hoping we’ll hit on something. The trap of the South Node is to remain in what comes easily and not leaving the comfort zone. The South Node is a spiritual, soul knowledge. The North Node often brings challenges and lessons in the physical realm. Because we live in a physical world.
How It Comes Together
If the axis is well understood, we can see how to use what we have to get where we must go. Like the hero on the quest, when the chips are down and he looks inside himself (cue sleep state where his master speaks to him in a dream or from beyond the grave) and finds his answers and resolve to continue, usually evolving to be even better than before. He bridges the gap to a higher state.
Let’s take the Gemini-Sagittarius Nodal Axis, because it’s the one we’re in now and it ends on January 19th 2022, as the Nodes move into Taurus-Scorpio, North and South respectively. Remember the eclipses follow the nodal signs and come in pairs. So they will be in Taurus-Scorpio in April and May 2022 and then November and December 2022. There was also a full Moon eclipse in Taurus on November 19th. this was out of sign, but a precursor of where the energy will shift in 2022. Personally, I found the energy heavy and difficult.
Gemini and Sagittarius are both mutable signs and oppose each other. They are very flexible and adaptable. Gemini is all about communication and information. Gemini is curious and cumulates and compares information. Geminis can discuss easily on a variety of topics. If they don’t know, they’ll want to find out. Sagittarius is also a seeking sign, but Sag looks for the ultimate truth and a spiritual path. There’s an idealism to Sagittarius, a desire to synthesize all that information into one coherent theme.
How do we balance that? What is the challenge? South Node in Sagittarius gives us the ability to develop a strong spiritual core and beliefs. ‘I hold these truths to be self-evident.’ North Node in Gemini is to explore other options and compare.
The challenge is twofold: release the downside of Sag, which is being self-righteous, thinking your way is the only way. But at the same time keep that knowledge of questing for our truth and soul path and evolving to something new using Gemini’s curiosity. The South Node trap is staying in our beliefs when they may be outdated or no longer serving us. If we abandon all and plunge into Gemini North Node, we are cumulating ideas and beliefs, but not putting them together in a system that feeds our soul. Remember, the house this takes place in, according to your chart will show what area of life this may be more apparent.
On a collective scale think of the clash of ideas and ideals we’ve witnessed. Ideals are based on beliefs. How deeply have different groups believed what they considered truth? No one wants to bend: that’s sticking to the South Node Sagittarius. Then there’s the abundance of ‘facts’.Gemini is information and communication. So much information being thrown at us. What’s true? How do the narratives compare? At the risk of being permanently in a quest, we must use out South Node knowledge. This is the challenge of Gemini North Node: go explore all that, then synthesize it into what you believe true and in line with your soul.
Like so many other things in astrology this has to do with a cycle within a cycle within a cycle. A complete nodal cycle is 18 1/2-19 years. This is when your North Node returns to the place it was at birth, and, inevitably, same for the South Node. Every 9 1/2 years approximately you have a nodal opposition, so South Node is conjunct your natal North Node and North Node is conjunct your Natal South Node.
While a Nodal return signals the start of a new cycle of learning, a nodal opposition, halfway through the return cycle, is going to be a check-in. If you’re on track, it’ll be pretty smooth. If not, you’ll be confronted with outdated, old thought patterns that you keep applying to situations that require new thinking. North Node thinking. Like the return, the nodal opposition is every 18-19 years: ages of 8, 27-28, 45, 64 and 82 (just before your Uranus return, oy vey!)
Finally, every 1 1/2 years, the nodes change signs. So there is a shift in where this Karma-Dharma plays out. On a personal level, the lessons will continue along the same axis but perhaps come up in different areas of your life.
Why are Astrologers Talking More about this now?
So, every year and a half the nodes change signs. On January 19th of 2022, the North Node will move into Taurus and the South Node into Scorpio. Taurus is a fixed sign evolving on the earthly plane. It is the sign of the senses and the tangible. Astrologer Georgia Nicols says Taureans like good food, good wine, good sex in a nice place to live. Taurus also rules currency, as it is related to the second house of our revenues. That is money and, in the larger sense, our valuables or what we value in the physical dimension. Think back to when people traded goods and objects.
Scorpio is about intense one-on-one relationships. Scorpio evolves on an emotional plane but shares the fixed quality of Taurus. Scorpios want to get to the heart of feelings, they want intense emotional connection. Scorpio is related to the 8th house of money that comes through others: a partner, a loan, a mortgage. It also rules death and moneys related to that: wills, testaments, legacies. Taurus wants physical comfort and to accumulate wealth, whatever that looks like for you. Taurus is the farmer of the zodiac and will take the time and let the seeds grow and reap the harvest. No sign is more fixed, has more stamina or can play the long game better than a Taurus.
South Node Scorpio brings the ability to look deep and transform. Scorpios tend to hangout in the backdrop, observing. But when they change it up, it’s drastic. The downside is a tendency to be dark and brooding and prone to negativity. All signs have a downside. Our natal South Node give us the gifts of that sign, its abilities and at the same time wants us to release the bad habits of that sign.
North Node Taurus wants us to use that ability to sow, wait and reap. We must release the subconscious world and enter the physical, into our immediate environment. To take what we’ve learned and where we’ve evolved and to make things happen in a tangible way. To build security and abundance. This energy wants us to release the desire to look inside and to operate only on ourselves. North Node in Taurus wants us to use our self-knowledge to create tangible gains. To not revert to going within and changing but to hold things steady and wait for the harvest.
Astrology Book Recs
The information on the Nodes is based on my CAAE training and also Kevin Burk’s excellent book Understanding the Birth Chart by Kevin Burk It’s easy to understand and will allow you to learn more about what your chart means. The writing style is engaging and humorous. No dry textbook here. Jessica Adams, whose site I consult daily, has 2 excellent books. If you like working with your chart 2020 Astrology: Your 5 Year Personal Horoscope Guide is great. If you’re more into astrology 200 Astrology Secrets will add to your astrology tool box. If you just want to know about you and your future, try Georgia Nicol’s aptly named, You and Your Future. Georgia takes her forecasts to 2025 for all signs. She also has a great sense of humor. Finally there’s the classic: Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. She takes us through all 12 signs and who they are as a man, woman, a boss or a child.
Update March 2023: The Nodes will move to the Aries-Libra axis in July of 2023 with a first eclipse (solar) on April 20 in Aries.