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The Mountain Astrologer

Re-Visioning the Lunar Nodes

by Kathy Allan

Dragon1The lunar nodes are invisible points in the sky that form an axis in the horoscope of apparent significance. But what do the nodes really mean in a chart? What is the nature of this beast named after a tricky, cunning demon? Throughout the 20th century, many different and often conflicting explanations have been offered. How do we determine which interpretation is most accurate? There is a way.

Does the interpretation work? Does it reliably and repeatedly yield the result it promises? Astrology is empirical, which means that it is governed by observation, as opposed to theory. To know astrology is to live astrology. It requires a practical experience of the planets in their signs, houses, and aspects in everyday life. The basic principles of astrology are not learned in books but by understanding and recognizing the influence and interaction of the planets in the outer world and within.

Today, astrology has fallen into disrepute, a victim of philosophical misunderstanding and religious persecution. Centuries of astrological knowledge and information have been lost: Books have been burned and texts confiscated. Astrology has suffered from esoteric silence, misinformation, and misinterpretation. Consequently, its practical effectiveness has suffered. To brighten its burnish, we need to return astrology to its empirical base and allow observation to dictate the meaning of the symbolism of the sky.

In practice, what do the lunar nodes really mean? Should the South Node be ignored? Do we attend the North Node, or does the axis need to be balanced? Is the South Node related to the past we have brought with us? And does the North Node show the future and the unknown? Is there output at the North Node, or output at the South Node? Are they both malevolent points, only half bad, or fated points that show our direction in life?

Figure 1: The Lunar Nodes
The Moon's orbit is tilted 5° from the Sun's apparent orbit (the ecliptic), giving rise to two points of intersection: the North Node and the South Node. At the Ascending Node, the Moon travels north of the ecliptic. At the Descending Node, the Moon travels south of the ecliptic.
(Reprinted with permission from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_node)
To arrive at a reasonable understanding of the nodes, it is helpful to review the literature to see what has been previously reported and to discover what others have thought and what they have found. In astronomy, nodes are the points of intersection of two orbital planes. The Moon's nodes are the two points where the lunar orbit intersects the ecliptic, or the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth (see Figure 1). The transiting Moon, when conjunct its own North Node (ascending node), is conjunct the ecliptic and moving from south latitude to north latitude. When the transiting

Moon is conjunct its South Node (descending node), it is also conjunct the ecliptic but moving from north latitude to south latitude.
The transiting lunar nodes point out the location of yearly eclipses. When a New Moon or a Full Moon falls near a node, there is an eclipse, for only at these times are the Moon and Earth aligned together at the ecliptic — and thus with the Sun.

The nodes have been employed in Vedic astrology for thousands of years. The meaning of the nodes was derived from the Hindu eclipse myth. Viewed as two parts of a demon, the nodes are said to be animalistic, instinctive, hedonistic, and to act without directed intelligence (Braha, 1986). The North Node, Rahu, is the part of the beast with the head and, therefore, the brain. Considered to resemble Saturn, it confers "insatiable worldly desire and materialistic compulsion." The South Node, Ketu, the bottom half of the beast, is said to have the qualities of Mars and represents an area of confusion or lack of direction (Braha, 1986). Here, there are addictive, compulsive, or escapist behaviors but also spiritual potential. Ronnie Dreyer (1997) feels that the North Node resembles Pluto — and the South Node, Neptune.

In the West, the nodes have acquired a completely different meaning. In 1963, Charles E. O. Carter suggested that the North Node had the nature of Jupiter and brought honor and success, while the South Node, with the nature of Saturn, conferred downfall and ruin (Carter, 1963).

Zipporah Dobyns, writing on the nodes in 1973, found the North Node an area of intake, where matters flow with ease (where the beast eats). The South Node is a point of release and output (what the beast excretes), often accompanied by "stress, tension and pressure." She believed that the North Node was where we functioned with minimal strain, and it represented matters already learned. At the

South Node, we have to put forth effort to learn a lesson "and then give to the world the fruits of our learning" (Dobyns, 1973). As with any opposition, the challenge was to find the point of balance and integration between the opposing houses and signs.

A few years later, the opposite view was offered by Martin Schulman (1975), who described what is generally accepted today. The North Node points to the future and shows the unfamiliar territory we must work on in this life. The South Node is the past and shows a long history of bad habits, ruts, and negative behaviors that must be transcended in order to move forward. He viewed the South Node as our weakest point, whereas the North Node symbolized the highest area of experience and pointed out our direction in life (Schulman, 1975).

Figure 2: The Declination Cycle
The sine curve shows the movement from A to B of the Sun in declination in a year. At A, the Sun is conjunct the ecliptic at 0° declination and moving north, which corresponds to a longitude of 0° Aries. At maximum north declination, the Sun is at 0° Cancer in longitude. Moving south, the Sun is conjunct the ecliptic at 0° declination, corresponding to 0° Libra in longitude. The Sun reaches maximum south declination at a longitude of 0° Capricorn. The Moon's nodal cycle is shown on the same curve. At 0° declination, the Moon is conjunct its North Node at a point corresponding to 0° Aries. At a maximum distance from the ecliptic in north declination, the Moon is at the North Bending, corresponding to 0° Cancer. Moving south, the Moon is again at 0° on the ecliptic at the South Node, corresponding in longitude to 0° Libra. The maximum distance from the ecliptic in south declination is at the South Bending, which corresponds to 0° Capricorn. While the Moon, like the Sun, moves from A to B, the lunar nodes move retrograde from B to A.
The following year, Dane Rudhyar (1976) offered another take on the nodes that seems all but forgotten. He suggested that the nodal cycle in space was equivalent to the seasonal cycle of the Sun (see Figure 2). On the first day of spring, the Sun is at 0° Aries and 0° declination on the ecliptic. It reaches a maximum north declination of 23°26' on the first day of summer at 0° Cancer. The Sun then heads for the ecliptic and reaches 0° Libra and the autumnal equinox on the first day of fall. Thereafter, the Sun moves in south declination until it reaches 23°26' on the winter solstice at 0° Capricorn. At this time, the Sun changes direction again, gaining declination as it heads toward 0° Aries, the spring equinox, and 0° declination on the ecliptic.

The Moon's nodal cycle follows a similar pattern. By definition, the node of a planet is the intersection of the path of that planet with the ecliptic. Thus, the lunar North Node is the point on the ecliptic that corresponds to 0° Aries, where the Moon travels from south to north latitude (as in Figure 2). The Moon reaches a maximum distance from the ecliptic at a point equivalent to 0° Cancer (the North Bending). From here, the Moon heads for the ecliptic and reaches this point at the South Node, the descending node, equivalent to 0° Libra. Moving south, the Moon reaches the maximum distance from the ecliptic at a point corresponding to 0° Capricorn (the South Bending). After this, the Moon again changes direction and gains latitude as it moves toward the ecliptic, the North Node, and 0° Aries.1

Working with declinations, Leigh Westin (1999) has found that "the effects in North declination tend to be based more on personal effort with greater control than in South declination." The energy in north declination is individualized and can be used and directed by the ego. In contrast, the energy in south declination deals with the collective and brings in other people; as a result, the native is not in absolute control.

While Rudhyar viewed the nodal cycle in terms of phases, it is also possible to look at the equivalent solstice and equinox points themselves. From the perspective of the seasons, the North Node has Aries characteristics. In springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a bursting of life following an inrush of energy, accompanied by a driving need of the ego to take action and make things happen. The energy is under the ego's control, and events manifest. We might expect planets placed here to be animated with incoming energy and expressed outwardly with greater ease.

The South Node is equivalent to Libra, a sign seeking balance, relationship with others, and often requiring compromise and a sacrifice of the self. Since the South Node involves others, as a consequence the ego is beholden to others and not free to act as it might choose. Lee Lehman (1996) writes that the South Node is where "one throws it all away" and "the person is a living sacrifice." South Node activities can result in a loss of standing and a fall from grace. Alternatively, when the South Node is given away in service to "the greater good," what might be seen as a loss for the ego may be a gain for the collective or spiritual self.

This interpretation of the nodes closely resembles that offered by Celeste Teal (2006), who sees the North Node as a point of gain where we are involved in "earthly matters and material acquisition," while the South Node attracts us to "timeless service and things everlasting," where we are called to offer something back, to serve selflessly, and practice compassion. This agrees with Rudhyar's (1976) understanding that "the North Node refers to whatever builds the personality, brings to it new material," whereas at the South Node, "one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal." He added that the word sacrifice means "to make sacred," and "this implies a complete dedication of one's thoughts and actions to what one may call either God or mankind — or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will."

The Bendings

The bendings of the nodes may be the most overlooked feature of the horoscope. The two points square the nodal axis signify the solstice turning points of the Moon in the nodal cycle and have long been considered to be critical, challenging, and dangerous (Lehman, 1996). In practice, however, Carl Payne Tobey (1973) found that they exhibit characteristics similar to their corresponding node. Since the nodes generally move retrograde, going in a clockwise direction from the North Node, the opening square is the South Bending, and the closing square, 270° from the North Node, is the North Bending. As seen in Figure 2 (**), the North Bending is analogous to Cancer, which coincides with the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice, when the Sun is closest to the Earth and the land is burgeoning with solar light and color. It is a time of physical outer flowering. We might expect planets at the North Bending to be easily manifest.

The South Bending corresponds to Capricorn, the cardinal earth sign that demands a disciplined approach and application of personal will for the well-being of the collective. Maurice Lavenant (2008) points out that Capricorn and the winter solstice also correspond to the yin force reaching its maximum and that this is the time of rebirth of the solar gods and "renewal of the relationship with the divine." According to Lehman (1996), the South Bending is a "scapegoat position." It would appear that planets here function best on an inner, subjective level and, if manifest outwardly, do so poorly, unless given away in service. (See the Sidebar, "Nodal Delineation.")

Nodal Delineation

The North Node pertains to the ego and events in the mundane world. There is an inrush of energy, and it is a point of intake and gain. Events and experiences manifest. The energy is under the ego's control.

The North Bending resembles the North Node and is a point of outer manifestation.

The South Node involves others and is best used in service for the collective. It is also where one "throws it all away" or is sacrificed; this can result in loss of public standing and a fall from grace — or spiritual growth.

The South Bending resembles the South Node; planets here have difficulty in outer expression and are best used subjectively, spiritually, or given away to the collective.

The Transiting Nodes

In horary astrology, the direct involvement of either lunar node in the question always influences judgment. Barbara Watters (1973) found that "any planet falling in the exact degree of the nodes, regardless of what sign it is in, is a fateful testimony." According to John Frawley (2005), "a planet conjunct the North Node is helped, strengthened or increased. A planet conjunct the South Node is harmed, weakened or decreased." In mundane astrology, "the South Node is often taken as a malefic point: a planet at the South Node was considered to be destroyed" (Lehman, 1996). This view of the nodes may explain, in part, the effects of eclipses when they fall on personal points in the natal chart. From what we have seen, we might expect a planet in aspect to the transiting North Node or North Bending to become manifest, resulting in gain. In contrast, contact with the transiting South Node or South Bending would result in loss in the outer world (though perhaps a gain in the inner world or in relation to the collective).

The charts themselves will show us how the nodes are working, natally and by transit. Given space constraints, the analysis of the charts presented here is focused primarily on the information given by the lunar nodal axis. Although it is impossible to know the inner worlds of people other than ourselves, the principles of loss and gain are clear enough. The meaning of a planet is restricted to its mundane symbolism. Though the nodal dispositors may be pertinent and revealing, and house rulership is always important, the emphasis here is on planetary symbolism. The nodes used are the Mean nodes, in contrast to the True nodes.2 The orb of planets at the bendings is 3 degrees approaching or separating from the square to the lunar nodal axis.3 The influence of the houses of the nodal axis seems more important than the signs and is given more weight in assessing how the node is expressed (Rudhyar, 1976).4 In progressions and transits, the five major aspects are used, as well as the quincunx. The opposition is taken as the conjunction with the opposing node, and the semi-sextile is taken as the quincunx to the opposite node. Finally, as Rudhyar (1976) cautioned, "one basic point should be stressed. The nodes constitute an axis … and are never to be considered alone … Both nodes form an unbreakable pair."

Talk Therapy

Jung/Freud SplitPsychologist C. G. Jung had a 2nd-house North Node in Aries and an 8th-house South Node in Libra (see Chart 1, inner wheel). His natal Mercury in Cancer stood at the North Bending. Jung devoted his life to the study of the unconscious and developed his theories through one-on-one consultation (Libra) and self-examination of his own shadow. He gave away his 8th house; it was his gift to the world. He had the North Node in Aries in the 2nd, which seems to have taken a backseat to the 8th house, though acquiring money and resources were activities that Jung diligently pursued.

He was born into a poor family, and the drive to "make money" propelled him all his life (Bair, 2003). At age 12, he had a psychotic episode (8th-house experience) and left school for six months after being bullied. He willed himself to be well after he overheard his father despairing about how his son could survive unable to make a living in the world (Bair, 2003).

Jung was 21 and in his second year of university when his father died. The loss of financial support (2nd house) almost forced him to drop out of school. He was expected to leave university, get a job, and make money to support his mother and sister. Instead, Jung got a loan (8th house) and completed his studies (Bair, 2003).

At the age of 28, Jung married into the second wealthiest family in Switzerland. Inherited money freed him from the financial constraints of his profession and enabled him to work independently. When he was 32, he met Sigmund Freud and was immediately anointed the "heir apparent." Initially, Freud and Jung were on the same road leading into the unconscious, but by 1911, Jung's forays into the "Zurich occult" (i.e., astrology) filled Freud with misgivings about the suitability of his protégé. While the two men agreed on the nature of the personal unconscious, Freud would not recognize the validity of the collective unconscious, which to Jung was the home of the archetypes and the wellspring of myth (Jung, 1993).

By early 1913, Jung was ostracized from Freud's inner circle and sank into another "psychotic episode" (Bair, 2003). Outcast from the world of psychoanalysis, Jung embarked upon a time of introversion; this gave him a personal experience of the unconscious that enriched his studies of the psyche for the rest of his life.

Though Jung was married for many years, he was no model husband. He had a serious reputation as a womanizer and was reportedly involved in numerous short-term dalliances, as well as a long-term affair with a former patient who held the status of co-wife (Bair, 2003). On three occasions, Jung's legal wife took steps to leave the marriage, but each time she threatened to go, Jung had psychotic episodes (8th house) that kept her home. She would have taken her fortune with her when she left. In her will, the heiress bequeathed the bulk of her estate to her children, leaving Jung only the minimum amount demanded by law. After she died, Jung thought himself poor and took unnecessary measures to save money and live frugally (Bair, 2003).

C.G. JungWith Mercury in Cancer at the North Bending, we would expect this planet to manifest in Jung's life in an obvious way — and it did. Jung spent his days healing wounded emotions (Cancer) through "talk therapy." However, Mercury in Cancer is not a great placement for bestowing clarity of thought, and Jung was often criticized for a meandering writing style. While the North Bending position facilitates expression, it doesn't necessarily guarantee success. Nonetheless, he left behind a large collection of written words.

In this brief biography, the interplay and emphasis of the nodal axis and Mercury is clear. Jung outwardly directed attention to the 2nd house, but it was the 8th house that possessed him and that he lived to the hilt; this was where he gave himself away, where he sacrificed and also fell from grace. He invented depth psychology, studied the shadow, astrology, and alchemy. He married money, had affairs, a near-death experience, psychotic episodes, and was the first to realize that alcoholism is a disease of spirit. His 8th-house experiences were caught up with other people (Libra) and an attempt to find balance in the inner reaches of the psyche. Where would the world be today if he had been advised to follow his North Node and abandon his South Node? And could he have done it, had he tried?

The nodal axis and the bendings were activated when Jung and Freud officially split on January 6, 1913, after Jung received a letter from Freud with instructions to "take your full freedom and spare me your supposed tokens of friendship," to which Jung replied: "The rest is silence" (Bair, 2003). At this time, Jung had just finished a nodal return, a period (as with any return) when a new cycle has started (see Chart 1, middle wheel). With the progressed Ascendant conjunct the natal North Node, it was time for Jung to step out of the shadows and stand on his own (progressions not shown). But the progressed Midheaven was at 5° Capricorn, the South Bending of the transiting nodes, so there was a loss of social standing; Freud did everything he could to marginalize and sideline Jung (Bair, 2003). The transiting South Node was conjunct the progressed Moon, which was itself approaching a conjunction with the natal and progressed South Node in the 8th house. Thus, it is probable that the next five months, especially, were emotionally devastating. In his own mind, Jung's psychosis lasted three years (Jung, 1993). But he used the time productively as a self-study of the personal unconscious, and he emerged with a new understanding of the psyche as a battleground of the inner gods.

When Jung died, the transiting North Node was widely conjunct transiting Pluto and squaring the natal Midheaven at the North Bending; death became a reality and Jung's public life came into the spotlight (see Chart 1, outer wheel). With the natal IC at the South Bending, there was a loss for the ego at the end of the matter. Transiting Mercury, ruler of the 8th house of death, was squaring the natal nodal axis at the North Bending (repeating the natal aspect) as death manifested. Transiting Neptune was conjunct progressed Jupiter in Scorpio quincunx the progressed North Node in Aries, indicating a physical experience in the manifest world involving Jupiter (long journeys), Neptune (dissolution, God), and death (Scorpio).

FreudFreud, born nearly 20 years before Jung, shared the same nodal sign axis, but Freud had a 12th-house Libra South Node and a 6th-house Aries North Node conjunct Venus. There were no planets at the bendings. For Freud, Venus manifested literally as the flock of women patients who came to him seeking treatment. Trained as a medical doctor (6th-house North Node) and influenced by Darwin, Freud viewed humans as evolved animals.5 He believed that all behavior, including neuroses, originated from the repression of the animalistic drives of sex and aggression, and that personality disorders were rooted in long-forgotten childhood experiences. For women, this involved the early realization that they had no penis and were thus castrated and inferior (Venus in Aries: women wanting to be men). Though he was an atheist, Freud had a 12th-house South Node in Libra and spent his adult life working intimately with patients (Libra), studying the unconscious and dreams. He developed his theories as a result of the self-analysis of his own dreams. He used his South Node in a highly subjective manner and gave the fruits of his study to psychiatry. In his daily work, he was the first (Aries) to forge through the terrain of the personal unconscious in the search for mental health (6th house). The 6th/12th axis and the Aries–Libra polarity were the theme and driving force of Freud's life.

Artistic Failure

van GoghThe prolific and tormented great Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh also had a 12th/6th-house nodal axis (see Chart 3). His Midheaven and Mars stood at the South Bending, while his Moon and Jupiter flanked the South Node. His 12th-house North Node was in Gemini, and Vincent had many 12th-house experiences. He was named after his dead brother (Gemini) and first wished to be a missionary (Lubin, 1996). As a painter, his aim was to "find God in art."6 He suffered from syphilis, partnered with a prostitute, loved absinthe, was "almost an alcoholic," spent a year in an insane asylum, and ultimately took his own life. We might expect the materialistic North Node in the 12th house to be a difficult nodal placement, since the insatiable materialistic drive feeds experiences related to self-undoing — and Vincent was no exception. However, the 12th house can also manifest spiritual connection and great creativity, and these were his gifts as well.

A 6th-house South Node indicates that his point of vulnerability was in day-to-day work. Used well, this placement can give the native the ability to perfect a skill that is given away to others. In Sagittarius, there is a quest to understand the purpose of life, to know the truth, to have a calling. For Vincent, this was amplified by the presence of the Moon and Jupiter conjunct in Sagittarius. This combination suggests a need for religious understanding and a life of meaning. But conjunct the South Node, this pair must be used inwardly or for the collective, not to fulfill the personal goals of the ego.
In his early 20s, Vincent wished to become a pastor, an appropriate calling given his nodal axis and 6th-house placements. After he failed the entrance exam to theology university, he attended ministry school but failed the final exam. Still, he was given a parish where he lived, like his parishioners, in abject poverty. He didn't last long, though, and was soon asked to leave for "undermining the dignity of the priesthood."

At the time of his first Saturn return and following the suggestion of his brother, Vincent took up painting. With a 12th-house North Node, Venus and Mars conjunct in Pisces, and Neptune there as well, Vincent had the aptitude and vision for art. However, the Midheaven stands at the South Bending, suggesting that public recognition would not be achieved — at least, not in his lifetime. Vincent had to create art for art's sake and not for personal glory and achievement. With a 10th-house Sun and Mercury in Aries, this was impossible. He couldn't just be a great artist, he had to be recognized as being great.

Mars, also at the South Bending, only aggravates the conflict. Mars is out for himself, seeking to make his mark, directly applying will for personal gain. In Pisces, there is artistic vision, but in the 10th, the desire for acclaim. Vincent drove himself relentlessly, pushing himself harder and harder, desperate for success and acknowledgment. It was what he lived for and, in the end, what he died for. Vincent took his life during his second nodal return (chart not shown). He was taking stock of himself, seeing the fruits of his materialistic drive, and falling short in his own mind. Because society did not recognize his greatness, he saw himself as a failure and committed suicide. Finally, with the ego out of the way, Vincent found the glory after death that had eluded him in life.

Scientific Success

Kary MullisDr. Kary Mullis, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has a 10th-house South Node in Capricorn and a 4th-house North Node in Cancer (see Chart 4). By the time he was 54, he had been married four times and had three children with two wives (Mullis, 1998). When he accepted his award, he flew his mother, two of his children, his girlfriend of a few weeks, and his ex-wife to Stockholm. The Cancer North Node in the 4th house has actively brought family experiences into his life.

The South Node in the 10th house in Capricorn indicates that, if the profession is directed toward the greater good of the collective, the native can be successful. But if he is seeking prestige or social standing, he will fail. Dr. Mullis, the inventor of PCR (polymerase chain reaction), states in his autobiography the reason for his molecular research: "Children are born with genetic defects, sometimes with tragic consequences like muscles that wither and die. Such things could be predicted and averted if we could read the DNA blueprints" (Mullis, 1998). In his life, Dr. Mullis has integrated the influence of the Cancerian 4th house with a 10th-house Capricorn profession that reached a pinnacle, not only helping children, but also transforming the fields of medicine, molecular biology, and criminology.

Dr. Mullis, however, is not the reverent, conservative, old-school scientist that a Capricorn Sun might suggest. He believes in astrology, studied biochemistry to impress girls, tripped on LSD, had his life saved by an astral traveler, and may have been abducted by aliens (Mullis, 1998). He almost quit science to be a writer, but didn't like waiting tables. Two major journals rejected his paper on PCR that ultimately won him the Nobel Prize. His 10th house is no place of ease. He is an open critic of politically backed scientific institutes and the pharmaceutical industry. He questions whether HIV is actually the cause of AIDS and if AZT (a drug used to treat AIDS) helps anyone but its manufacturer's bottom line. The Capricorn South Node in the 10th is actively exposing the questionable status quo in the scientific establishment. This is not a man who is seeking standing and approval in the eyes of the world.

The transits involving the climax of his PCR work are telling (charts not shown, but data given below). When the idea of PCR first became a reality and Mullis knew that his idea worked, transiting Mars at 16° Libra stood at the degree of the North Bending of his progressed nodal axis in Cancer–Capricorn. He knew the work would make him famous. At the same time, transiting Mercury in Capricorn was coming to conjoin his progressed South Node; he recognized that his mental efforts (Mercury) would transform the medical and molecular fields. He learned that he had won the Nobel Prize for PCR when the transiting Uranus–Neptune conjunction at 18° Capricorn reached his 10th-house natal South Node, and others (South Node) recognized the boon of his scientific (Uranus) vision (Neptune). He received the award when his progressed Midheaven at 3° Pisces stood at the North Bending of the transiting North Node at 2° Sagittarius, and the prize manifested as a personal accomplishment.


ReeveActor Christopher Reeve, who was critically injured in a horse-riding accident, had natal Jupiter at the North Bending (see Chart 5). His South Node in Leo is conjunct Pluto and the Ascendant, and his North Node in Aquarius is on the Descendant. In the first part of his life, he was an actor and gave himself up (South Node conjunct Ascendant) to his profession. He began acting in high school and trained at Julliard. He performed on the stage, in movies, and on television and worked as a director, producer, and writer. He offered (South Node) his life to his craft (Leo rising) and was not motivated by fame, but rather the desire to uplift and captivate his audience (7th-house North Node in Aquarius).7

Then the accident left him paralyzed. The North Bending Jupiter, in the guise of a horse, became real for him. With this Taurus Jupiter involved in a yod with progressed Saturn–Neptune in Libra and natal Mars–progressed Venus in Sagittarius (progressions not shown), Chris was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition. The progressed North Node in Aquarius had also formed a yod with natal Mars–progressed Venus and the progressed Moon–progressed Uranus (in Cancer). After the accident and the loss for the ego (South Node conjunct Ascendant and Pluto) and with the help of his wife (7th-house North Node), Chris became a spokesman for the disabled (North Node in Aquarius), using the accident and his own trials to inspire others.

Moving On

Based on these limited examples, the driving significance of the lunar nodes in the chart and the life of the native is apparent. They may be, as Schulman (1975) suggests, the "first clues as to why the rest of the chart is manifesting the way it is." In practice, the house of the South Node is at least as significant as the house of the North Node. Whereas the North Node is related to the outer realm, the South Node seems related to the inner, subjective, and spiritual realm. Selfless output of the South Node may be our real mission on this planet, what we came here to do and what brings us closer to the source of life and spirit. In Western astrology, the lunar nodes appear, after all, to be similar in meaning to that ascribed to them by Vedic astrologers for thousands of years.

For chart delineation and prediction, to overlook the significance of the lunar nodes and the bendings is to miss critical information in the horoscope. The nodes are active as transits precipitating events and, similarly, active as recipients of transits. Nodal contact makes things happen. The skies speak loudly through the nodes. However, given the historical confusion surrounding the nodes, it is prudent to remember we are dealing with a slippery, shadowy beast that can slip away at any time. To be valid, any hypothesis must hold universally, through cultures and through time. Only by meticulously observing the lunar axis and the bendings in a multitude of charts will we be able to seize this demon and clearly see the meaning of these invisible points.

Chart data and sources:
(in order of appearance)
The author wishes to acknowledge and thank AstroDatabank for its invaluable database.
C. G. Jung, July 26, 1875 NS; 7:32 p.m. LMT; Kesswil, Switzerland (47°N36', 09°E20'); A: Time given by his daughter, Gret Baumann, in the (1988) English edition of Carl Gustav Jung: Leben, Werk, Wirkung, by Gerhard Wehr, 1985, Kosel-Verlag and Co., Munich, Germany, translated in 1987 by Shambhala Publications. (The 7:32 p.m. time is given as LMT, rather than CET to put the Sun on the Descendant.) Jung's split with Freud, January 6, 1913; (noon used); Zurich, Switzerland (47°N23', 08E32'); X: date without time, from Jung: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair. Jung's death, June 6, 1961; 4:30 p.m. CET; Zurich, Switzerland (47°N23', 08°E32'); B: given in Bair, Jung, p. 623.
Sigmund Freud, May 6, 1856 NS; 6:30 p.m. LMT; Frieberg, Czechoslovakia (49°N38', 18°E09'); AA: Philip Lucas quotes a photo of his father's diary where the data was written in Hebrew and German. Ernest Jones gives the same data in The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud, 1953, p. 1.
Vincent van Gogh, March 30, 1853 NS; 11:00 a.m. LMT; Zundert, Netherlands (51°N28', 04°E40'); AA: birth record in hand from Steinbrecher. Van Gogh's death, July 29, 1890 NS; (noon used); Auvers-sur-Oise, France (49°N04', 02°E10'); X: from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh
Kary Mullis, December 28, 1944; 1:58 p.m. EWT; Lenoir, NC, USA (35°N55', 81°W32'); A: from Kary Mullis, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, Vintage Books, 1998, p. 153. Mullis (PCR works first time), December 16, 1983; (noon used); La Jolla, CA, USA (33°N51', 117°W53'); X: from Mullis, Dancing Naked, p. 13. Mullis receives news he won the Nobel Prize, October 13, 1993; 6:15 a.m. PDT; La Jolla, CA, USA (33°N51', 117°W53'); AA: from Mullis, Dancing Naked, p. 19. Mullis is awarded the Nobel Prize, December 10, 1993; (noon used); Stockholm, Sweden (59°N20', 18°E03'); X: from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize_in_Chemistry
Christopher Reeve, September 25, 1952; 3:12 a.m. EDT; Manhattan, NY, USA (40°N46', 73°W59'); A: birth certificate in hand, no time given. Linda Clark quotes a letter from him with this time. Penny Thornton gave 3:14 a.m. from an interview with him, mentioned in her book, Romancing the Stars. Terry Krall had a prior time of 3:30 a.m. from Robert St. Germaine, who quoted him. Autobiography, Still Me, Random House, 1998; Nothing Is Impossible, 2002. Reeve's riding accident, May 27, 1995; (noon used); Charlottesville, VA, USA (38°N02', 78°W29'); X: from http://en.wikipeda.org/wiki/Christopher_Reeve

Bair, D., Jung: A Biography, Back Bay Books, 2003.
Braha, J., Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer, Hermetician Press, 1986, pp. 33–36.
Carter, C.E.O., The Principles of Astrology, Quest Books, 1963, pp. 30–31.
Dobyns, Z., The Node Book, T.I.A. Publications, 1973, p. 20.
Dreyer, R., Vedic Astrology, Weiser Books, 1997, pp. 76–77.
Frawley, John, The Horary Textbook, Apprentice Books, 2005, pp. 63–64.
Hand, R., Horoscope Symbols, Whitford Press, 1981, p. 90.
Jung, C. G., Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Fontana Press, 1993.
Lavenant, M., "Pluto in Capricorn," in The Mountain Astrologer, Feb./March 2008, p. 33.
Lehman, L., Classical Astrology for Modern Living, Whitford Press, 1996, p. 215.
Lubin, A., Stranger on the Earth: A Psychological Biography of Vincent van Gogh, Da Capo Press, 1996.
Mullis, K., Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, Vintage Books, 1998.
Rudhyar, D., Person Centered Astrology, Aurora Press, 1976, pp. 239–293.
Schulman, M., Karmic Astrology: The Moon's Nodes and Reincarnation, Volume 1, Samuel Weiser Inc., 1975.
Teal, C., Eclipses, Llewellyn Publications, 2006, pp. 10–12.
Tobey, Carl Payne, Astrology of Inner Space, Omen Press, 1973, p. 321.
Watters, B., Horary Astrology and the Judgment of Events, Valhalla, 1973, p. 96.
Westin, Leigh, Beyond the Solstice by Declination, distributed by Gheminee, 1999, p. 13.

Notes 1. While the Moon travels in direct motion, the Mean nodes move retrograde through the zodiac at a mean rate of 3 minutes of arc per day, completing one cycle in 18.6 years.
2. The maximum difference between the Mean and True nodes is never more than 1°45' (Hand, 1981). A True nodal ephemeris was not produced until 1975, and for this reason, most astrologers have used the Mean nodes. It's still unclear whether one pair of nodes is more reliable than the other.
3. The orb for transits to progressed and natal points is 3° approaching and separating. Progressed to progressed points and progressed to natal points use an orb of 1° approaching and separating.
4. Many astrologers consider the house of the node to be more important than the sign. This may be because the retrograde movement of the nodal axis is similar to the diurnal rotation that yields the houses. In addition, the house shows circumstances that are outwardly evident.
5. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud.
6. Wikipedia search for Vincent van Gogh.
7. Wikipedia search for Christopher Reeve.

Image sources:
All charts and Figure 2 provided by TMA and author.
Figure 1: By SuperManu [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Dragon 1: By Petrus Apianus (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
C.G. Jung: By unknown, upload by Adrian Michael (Ortsmuseum Zollikon) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Dec09/Jan10

Kathy AllanKathy Allan, is a practicing astrologer certified at the professional level by the American Federation of Astrologers. She has a PhD in Molecular Toxicology and was a postdoctoral research associate in Infectious Immunology. She is the author of When Worlds Collide: Another Look at the Lunar Nodes, and can be reached at http://www.kathyallan.com

© 2009 - Kathy Allan - published by The Mountain Astrologer

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