surfing on through the skies
The technical stuff
The North and South Nodes in astrology are *points” in space. Because Western astrology is geocentric, or based on how things look from earth, it “appears” that the Sun makes a big circle around earth. This is called the ecliptic. As the moon orbits the earth, its pathway is tilted, so that on its journey its pathway spends half the time above the plane of the ecliptic and half below. Where the moon crosses the pathway of the ecliptic heading *up* is the location of the North Node, and where it crosses the ecliptic heading down is the South Node.
Here is a diagram to help understand the geometric bits:
The moons nodes gradually “slide backwards” over time. Therefore they mostly move in retrograde motion. Every 18 years and a half years – actually about every 18 years and 7 months, they complete a circle around the zodiac. So they spend approximately 18 months in each sign of the zodiac.
The astrological stuff
In astrological terms the nodes represent our evolutionary path, depending on where they fall in our birth chart.
The South Node indicates the place in our evolution that we came into our lives with – for those who are inclined to explore past lives, the South Node describes these. The placement of the South Node in the birth chart can also describe our “family systems” – how we are influenced from inter-generational legacies. The South Node can describe our early childhood. The South Node can signal inborn gifts, challenges, patterns of behaviour and to some extent where we feel “comfortable”. However, where we feel comfortable is not necessarily serving our higher purpose in this life. This is not to say we need to abandon the South Node in our charts, but to learn to feel safe enough to explore other territory (our North Node).
The North Node is like a beacon in the distance of our journey in this life, lighting up that which we need to develop in this life. Wherever the North Node is located in your birth chart by sign and house indicates our potential for development. Journeying towards our North Node can feel alien, challenging, sometimes scary and lonely. As individual souls we all enter and leave the world alone. But as we move towards the potential in our North Node we start to fulfil our “karmic” destiny, learn new skills, have new experiences and *do* what we came here to do.
A few other points on the Nodes and what they mean in our charts
Every 18 years and 7 months, or thereabouts, we experience our Nodal Return, when the nodes return to the place of our birth. This marks a change in perception, our direction and our plans for the future. Opportunities open up. The ages this happens to everyone are: 18, 37, 55, 74, 92
Every alternate 9 years (to the nodal return ), we experience our Nodal Opposition. This is when the Nodes line up with each other but are opposite to their placement in our birth chart. These years are important because they point to periods when we gain greater understanding of our purpose and we express these through external changes. The ages this happens to everyone are: 9, 27, 46, 65, 83
The Nodal axis when triggered by transits, or other predicative elements (lunar and solar returns, progressed charts etc) can indicate “fated” meetings or events. Note: My mothers house was once struck by lightening when her North Node in the 4th house was hit by a full moon, at the same time Uranus was transiting this point.
In relationship astrology – relationships of all types – links between the nodes in people’s charts can indicate powerful connections, shared journeys and lessons between them. Sometimes we are not comfortable with someone who has a planet like Mars or Saturn on our North Node!