The Lessons of the Nodes of the Moon

An astrology chart is a two-dimensional representation of the solar system when you took your first breath.  Points in the chart include both astronomical bodies, like the Sun, Moon, and Mercury, as well as calculated points, like the angles (Ascendant, Imum Coeli, Medium, and Descendant) and the Nodes of the Moon.

Each point represents an aspect of human personality.  The Sun is the primary drive, while Saturn represents our patterns and how we make or respond to rules.  This article will look at the Nodes of the Moon, one North, the other South.  These two points represent the spiritual goal we work towards (North Node) and the spiritual lesson we must learn to release or overcome (South Node).

The Calculation

A lunar node is either of the two orbital nodes of the Moon, that is, the two points at which the orbit of the Moon intersects the ecliptic. The ascending (or north) node is where the Moon moves into the northern ecliptic hemisphere, while the descending (or south) node is where the Moon enters the southern ecliptic hemisphere”.

Meanings in Astrology

South Node

south node symbol

Source: Wikimedia

Known as Ketu, or the Dragon’s Tail, in Vedic astrology, the South Node represents both an asset and a limitation in our astrological design.  The South Node is a lesson because it is a comfortable pattern we rely on too easily because it works so well for us, preventing us from growing spiritually.  Like any point in our chart, it needs to be honored properly, which means accepting the gift of the South Node with proper moderation.

The challenge arises because we can “hide out” in our South Node, resisting growth in order to feel safe.  The South Node is a place to retreat to when needed, but it is not the place to stay, energetically speaking.  I have my South Node in Libra, which makes it very easy to relate to others, to see other’s points-of-view, which is a good thing until another’s point-of-view becomes so important that I “lose myself” in the other person.

Karmically speaking, the South Node represents a past life in which the energy of the sign went to the extreme, either by choice or circumstance.  Take my Libra South Node.  At one end is the constant attempt to save others and choosing people who could not be saved, leading to my own destruction, possibly costing me my life.  On the other end, Libra rules law and judgment and can, at the opposite end, disregard people’s feelings entirely to achieve a just outcome, which is appropriate when logic and fairness apply.

However, it is very likely in the extreme shadow experience, an unjust and powerful person used the law against me, and I experienced clear injustice from a hypocritical system.  Choosing this South Node in this lifetime indicates that I want to overcome the extreme shadow experiences of Libra from a past life or a series of past lives.

North Node

north node symbol

Source: Wikimedia

Known as Rahu, the Dragon’s Head, in Vedic astrology, the North Node represents the dharma you need to move towards in this lifetime for spiritual growth.  The placement of the North Node is a learning lesson, which requires effort and discomfort to achieve.  But each time you “move towards” your North Node, you will grow, and experience success.  Activating the North Node is rather like trying a food you think you will not like, tasting it, then realizing your do like it.

You cannot understand one Node fully without understanding the other Node.  In my example above my South Node is Libra, which makes my North Node Aries.  They are exactly opposite to the same degree in your chart.  The Aries North Node aspires to learn and apply Aries energy, which is independent, maverick and focused on survival.  Where Libra chooses to “rely on others”, Aries works to rely on the self.  Keep in mind that Aries can also be a South Node and have its own issues with extremes.

But as the North Node, Aries choices will feel uncomfortable for me, but when I make them, I will see (and have seen), growth, and positive outcomes.  When I get “too cozy” with my South Node, I end up in trouble that requires more work from my North Node to get me out of it.  Most commonly, in my life, it has not been “brushes with the law”, but rather problematic relationships where I have tried to “save my partner” only to make matters worse for them and myself.

Influence from Other Points

The “drag” from your South Node or “pull” towards your North Node gets hindrance or help from points in aspect with the Nodes, especially points conjunct or merged with the Node in the same sign and near the same degree.

Imagine a bell curve or a hill separating one valley from another.  Reading the bell curve from left to right or thinking of going from the valley on the west to the valley on the east, imagine yourself at the top of the curve of the valley.  Being situated right at the top is like having your Nodes without any aspects; the pull or push to go in either direction is equal.

Now, keep in mind, that your spiritual work is to get to the side with the North Node, or to get into the valley of the east.  You do not want to “backtrack” to the South Node; that way trouble lies.  Keep in mind that any aspect to one Node is an aspect to the other Node, but aspecting is not equal.  The only “equal” aspect to the Nodes is the square, which is 90 degrees from both nodes.  In the conjunction/opposition aspect, the conjunction is stronger.  In the trine/sextile aspect, the trine is stronger.

The strength of point and proximity by degree also play a part.  The Sun conjunct a node is more powerful than Mars conjunct a Node.  Also, the nature of a point will interact differently with the nature of a Node.  Saturn conjunct the South Node makes moving away from the South Node karma much more work because it is the nature of Saturn and the South Node to resist change.  The more conjunctions/trines to the South Node, the harder the work to get to the North Node.

Using the valleys and hill metaphor and keeping in mind you want to get to the valley in the east, having conjunctions/trines to the South Node is like starting on the west side of the hill.  How many conjunctions/trines will determine if you are deep in the west valley or somewhere on the west side of the hill, maybe not too far from the top.

Equally, if you have conjunctions/tries to the North Node, it can be like starting out on the downward slope of the east side, making it easier for you to get to the east valley in this lifetime.

Finding the Nodes in your Chart

Getting your chart cast by a professional astrologer or through an online site will include the Nodes of the Moon.  Once you know your Nodes, you will be able to learn one of the great patterns in your life and the constant sources of restriction and growth. 

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com.

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