The Lunar Nodes

In Volume I, Lesson 3 — Planets, we supplied you with a brief description of the Nodes of the Moon. We explained that they are not planets but instead planes in celestial longitude where the Moon crosses over the path of the Sun (the ecliptic). We told you that the North Node (also called the Dragon's Head) is considered to be a place of gain, increase and added confidence — the point where you take in or are given to, the location in your horoscope where you should strive to find fulfillment. The South Node (or Dragon's Tail) is a point of release or letting go; it is there you must give or are taken from, and its placement in the horoscope is where you may take the easy way out.

Since we use the Moon's Nodes in our beginning teaching and basic delineation, we would like to present a few more key phrases to help you understand the nature of these sensitive points in a chart.

If you visualize a dragon, you can understand that at the head he starts to take in or consume. As he eats, the food is taken in through the mouth which is located in the head. This is how the North Node works; it is the point where you take in new knowledge, new ideas and ideals, everything that is new to you — therefore, it is the point of gain or increase. As you gain in knowledge, you automatically acquire confidence; as you acquire confidence, you find inner security and eventually reach the highest point of inner peace or fulfillment that your horoscope promises.

If the North Node, or Dragon's Head, is the point of taking in then obviously the South Node, or Dragon's Tail, is the point of giving out or egesting. But we are not egesting the knowledge gained through the North Node. Instead, we are giving out that which is already within, the knowledge, ideas, attitudes, morals that are already a part of us, based upon our past, our memories, our childhood, or (if you wish to use the esoteric approach) on our past throughout the ages.

Being taken from or having to give may not sound like points we flee to or where we take the easy way out, but think about this. Don't most of us prefer to stay with what we know or are familiar with, rather than reaching out toward the new and therefore unknown? Don't we hang on to that old comfortable pair of shoes as long as possible before we buy a new pair which may pinch or squeeze our feet? That's one part of the problem. The other one is based on the fact that most people find it easier to give graciously than to receive gracefully. To accept without feeling a sense of obligation seems harder than to give, which makes us feel good and important. If you keep these points in mind, you will understand why we tend to flee into the South Node, rather than using the North Node to grow or evolve.

In the ephemeris you may encounter two kinds of Nodes. All American ephemerides carry what is commonly referred to as the True Nodes. These Nodes move forward and backward alternately. They can move backwards as little as 2 minutes in one month or as much as 2V2 degrees. But over the years their motion is always backwards. Most other ephemerides carry the Mean Nodes. These Nodes always move backwards and always at a mean motion of approximately 3 V3 minutes per day or 10 minutes every three days.

Neither Node is "truer" than the other. As the Moon orbits around the Earth, it doesn't do so in a smooth motion, but with wobbles called perturbations. The Mean Nodes are figured as though there were no perturbations, evening out the orbit by taking a "mean" average. The True Nodes are refigured every time there is a wobble in the orbit by calculating a new orbit for each perturbation. Neil Michelsen who produced the American Ephemerides, preferred the "True Node" because he wouldn't think of using the "Mean" Node position, though it is much easier to calculate.

The difference can be a few degrees from one ephemeris to the other. Herman Hesse's Mean North Node is 4° Pisces 18' his True North Node is 2° Pisces 50'. Farrah Fawcett's Mean North Node is 8° Gemini 27', her True Node is 9° Gemini 46'.

Since in our delineation of the Nodes we stress house position more than aspects, we feel that either system is fine.

As you become more proficient in astrology, you might wish to read some very interesting books written on the Nodes of the Moon based on a more esoteric or karmic interpretation.

We don't feel that any of this is necessary in basic beginning delineation. In fact, it might put too much weight on something that should only be interpreted as a sensitive point or area in the chart until you are ready to go into a much deeper delineation.

We do feel that you should look at the positions of the Nodes and put your main emphasis on the houses they are in, then look at the .sign to interpret how they might express.

To illustrate: Hermann Hesse's South Node is at 2° Virgo 50' in his 9th house. His North Node at 2° Pisces 50' in his 3rd house. His early and rather automatic response therefore was to express through the 9th house (the higher mind, his philosophies and beliefs) but he would do it in a Virgo way, being rather critical of himself and others, analyzing and taking everything apart. Eventually though, to reach his highest potential, he has to use the North Node and communicate (verbally, in writing or painting) his feelings, emotions, and spirituality. In his case it should have been easier, because Saturn and the Moon in Pisces are the arm or focal points of his T-square (Lesson 6).

Farrah Fawcett has the North Node in the 12th house at 9° Gemini 44'. She expresses herself through her work in the 6th house where she has the South Node in Sagittarius. Her eventual fulfillment though will be found by reaching for, or tuning in, on her 12th house North Node. The 12th house when interpreting any sensitive point has to be seen as the subconscious, often the inner, hidden self. When Farrah really looks within in a Gemini (intellectual, detached, mental) way, she will find peace of mind and true inner security.

The nodal axis as it falls across each pair of houses seems to give some indication of family interaction. Here are some examples:

Nodal Axis in the 1st and 7th houses: The person has visible character, personality or appearance traits in common with one of the parents or grandparents.

Nodal Axis in the 2nd and 8th houses: The individual's value system is similar to that of one or both of the parents. They often earn their income in the same field as a parent.

Nodal Axis in the 3rd and 9th houses: Here one shares a religious or philosophical outlook with a parent and the lines of communication with this parent are open and operative.

Nodal Axis in the 4th and 10th houses: This individual often follows in one of the parent's footsteps in a career. Also the parental ties are very strong.

Nodal Axis in the 5th and 11th houses: Here we find someone who socializes with the family, particularly their own children, often to the exclusion of others.

Nodal Axis in the 6th and 12th houses: This placement may indicate a hereditary tendency to illness, both the individual and a parent showing the same symptoms. It can also indicate a strong intuitive bond with one of the parents.

In some astrological books you will find the Nodes interpreted as social relationships or involvement; how the individual relates to society as a whole or social mores, morals, and attitudes. We have not observed this to be as relevant as the interpretation we use, except in progressed aspects, which we will cover in another book.

Review Question: Delineate the Moon's Nodes in the horoscope of Joan Sutherland (chart on page 250). For our delineation, refer to the Appendix, page 262.

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