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What are Lunar Nodes?


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What are Lunar Nodes? What will the North Node's Transit mean for us? What is all the fuss about the North Node moving into a New Sign?MS

Lunar nodes are points in the sky that are (almost) always moving retrograde. The points are fairly slow moving; about 18 months per sign. When I use the word "points," I do not mean that they are planets, asteroids or even stars. They are mathematical locations that are calculated based on the amount of time and space between Eclipses along with the placements of those Eclipses. As explained by Bernadette Brady, Predictive Astrology (1999), the Nodes are established at the two points where "two circles intersect." The Earth's circle (or path) around the Sun and the Moon's circle around the Earth are known as ecliptics. While there are a number of other factors to consider, the most basic explanation is that when the two ecliptics (circles) cross paths, then the two points for the Lunar Nodes are established.

Suffice it to say, you will always find the Lunar and Solar Eclipses occur very close to the placement of the North or South Node. This is not a coincidence. This is because of the calculations used in order to establish the North Node and South Node paths as a result of those Eclipses. The calculations are not a new feature of astronomy, but originated hundreds of years ago when "science" was still in its infancy. Astrologers were able to determine the dates and times of future eclipses by using the calculations for Lunar Nodes.

Some astrologers referred to the Lunar Nodes as the Dragon's Head (North Node) and the Dragon's Tail (South Node). I assume the reference was that the Dragon's Head was controllable -- the Tail was not. It was and still is believed, in many cultures, that the Ecliptic events carry karmic significance and can portend great changes in society, especially if the event of an eclipse results in the total obscuration of the other planet. Because of this, it is believed that the placement of the North and South Nodes within an individual's chart also carries significant importance in the individuals' "fate" in life. This may be carrying it a bit far, considering that, in today's concepts of life, the majority of the industrialized cultures believe that human beings have free-will to choose their paths in life. Hence, Karma becomes more of a "choice" rather than a destiny.

There are not very many quality interpretative manuals available concerning the Nodes written in modern terms. In fact, the popularity of using Nodes in charts by modern-day western astrologers is quite low. Many of the Vedic astrologers will translate the Nodes. The Vedic chart will use the Mean Nodes, while this article is addressing the True Nodes. And, as you can see, this starts to become very complex, very quickly. This leads me to believe that, in a sense, the Nodes may not be so easy to interpret because there are no "established" interpretations or consistent rules to start from. The book Measuring The Night (2000) by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green does attempt to explain some of the reason for the mystery and the confusion. Additionally, the authors believe that Karma may not be the overpowering negative force as has been expressed by the old style Hindu and Vedic astrologers.

Forrest and Green describe Karma to be more like a "habit" (2000). It is described as an activity or behavior that we do to excess, a repetitive behavior, and that we are not learning/gaining from it. This would also include ingrained activities that are detrimental to us. To move beyond the "habit" we need to push to the North Node's energies. The effort of redirecting our energies to the North Node helps us to gain new insight and feel improved self-worth, fulfillment or, generally, a sense of growth. Additionally, Forrest and Green believe that we can "over do" the North Node energies. So we could assume that, with the polarity of the North Node and the South Node, balanced activity is the key.

On a societal level, balancing the Dragon's Head with the Dragon's Tail is simply not practical. What typically happens is that there will be a sudden awareness of activity in one direction (usually the South Node energy as a deviant or detrimental activity) with a flurry of reactive attention that sparks alarm. The impulse is to look for other situations to confirm that things are out of control. Then groups of people will push back in an attempt to bring in some sense of balance and common sense (logic). Sometimes the attempt to "correct the problem" gets pushed too far with extreme measures, rules, and sanctions. We all see this effect, time and again, and we typically describe it as the "swing of the pendulum."

In our own personal lives, we can work toward finding the balance between the two sides. As a whole, our own personal values need balancing in order for us to feel a sense of satisfaction. We might ask ourselves, "Is this a 'Want' or is this a 'Need'?" Where is the balance if we are only choosing wants over needs or only choosing needs over wants? Finding ways of giving to others, receiving from others, and being willing to share without depleting all our personal resources helps us to meet those obligations. The resources do not necessarily need to be "physical" resources, since shared knowledge can also help others to build up their own personal worth. The energies of Taurus can seem so simple and basic. Perhaps that is what makes it so difficult to accomplish in real life.

In the individual's chart, the transiting North Node will move over all the natal astrological placements during an 18 year period. See the Table below to get a sense of how those transits can impact the individual.
Transiting Lunar Nodes
Natal PlacementNorth Node Conjunction
Take note of the house that the Planet is in for additional insight.
South Node Conjunction
Pushing towards the North Node energies can help to lighten up the situation. Take note of the house that the Planet is in for additional insight.
SunAn awakening of the Ego. Generally a time of increased success based on the house that the Sun occupies in the individual's chart.A feeling of despair. May feel as though you are unable to get a handle on current events, particularly in areas related to the house that the Sun occupies.
MoonEmotions become the focus of awareness. Connections with women may increase. Check the house placement for the area that the attention will be most likely noticed.There is the likelihood of depression or feelings of isolation at this time. The reason for blocked emotions may not be clear. There may be problems in the areas of fertility, whether physical, imaginative, or creative. Health issues should be addressed.
MercurySudden and unexpected changes are likely to occur. There may also be more nervous energy than normal. You may not feel like talking too much, simply because your brain is working overtime.Feelings of ineffective communication or unfocused thinking patterns. Feeling unable to cope with sudden changes in your environment.
VenusRomantic or financial situations may be sent into a cooling off period. This is not a negative factor. It simply implies that reassessment of the situation is in order.Karmic based relationships could end suddenly or develop suddenly. Can be a time when you suddenly lose money or financial resources. Misguided energies concerning finances or one-to-one relationships may push you off-course.
MarsPhysical activities are inclined to expand. Taking on too much or pushing too hard is a possibility. Feeling cantankerous because of all the activity is another possibility.Watch for health issues. Physical blockages tend to increase during this time causing you to feel weak. Accidents may also increase. Be willing to use more caution.
JupiterPonderings of philosophical or religious beliefs could be activated now. Watch how and where you spend your money. You are likely to learn more about your spending habits at this time.Belief systems are likely to be tested. Financial resources may increase easily at this time. Watch to ensure that others are not being harmed as a result of it.
SaturnLearning more about the changes in the rules that you may have missed in the past. Look to older and wiser individuals in your life to help you gain added insight.Significant environmental changes will probably occur. Shifting circumstances are likely due to a "death." Death does not need to be physical, it can be an emotional or psychological transition. The emotional upheaval of leaving something behind that you consider to be important is like the transition to a death.
AscendantOthers may notice a subtle change in your personality, but you may not notice this transit at all. It could draw new people into your life.An internal transition that may not be obvious to others, but is very obvious to you. You may shy away from others during this time.
North NodeA karmic transition period.
18 years = Growth through past lessons learned.
36 years = Comprehension of balance between self-ego and relationships.
54 years = New period of identity growth, similar to 18 years but grounded with more wisdom.
72 years = Comprehension of sharing wisdom with others.
90 years = Coming to terms with the life cycle based on self-earned wisdom.
Remember that the Transiting South Node is also Conjunct to the natal South Node. This can draw the energy away from growth if the individual chooses to go in the South Node direction.
Read North Node Conjunction to South Node.
South NodeA development period.
9 years = The beginning of emotional growth as an independent being.
27 years= Awareness involving the significance of relationships.
45 years = Reformation of self through others.
63 years = Redefining personal priorities.
81 years = Re-evaluation of life based on lessons learned.
Read North Node Conjunction to North Node

© J McCaul / Lunar Living Astrology, 2003

My thanks to Beth Guy of Signs of Intelligence for her shared wisdom on this piece.Thank yous also go out to Skye, MM, and my other buddies who helped me to nail down this piece.


Brady, B. (1992) "Eclipses and the Saros Cycle: The Nodes." Predictive Astrology, Samuel Weiser, Inc, Maine. pp 213-215

Forrest, S. & Green, J.W. (2000) "Chapter Six: The Nodes of the Moon." Measuring the Night, Vol 1. , Seven Paws Press, North Carolina and Daemon Press, Colorado. pp 169 - 212.

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All planetary information on Lunar Living is based on Tropical computations (aka Western Astrology).

Last Updated On April 1 2024