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Mapping the Psyche Vol. II

An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin

Volume II: The Planetary Aspects and the Houses of the Horoscope

The nodal axis in the houses

Let's look at some examples of the nodal axis in the houses.

Nodal axis in the 1st and 7th houses

Vicky Chart

Vicky: I have my north Node in Leo in the 1st house, and Saturn conjunct my south Node in Aquarius in the 7th house, and it doesn't feel that good.

Clare: Let's look first of all at the meaning of the Leo-Aquarius axis. Collectively, this has to do with finding a conscious relationship between the individual and the collective, between doing our own thing and contributing to group or community efforts and causes. Specifically, this has to do with discovering your unique and individual gifts and talents, and offering them to the world. Because this axis falls across your 1st and 7th houses, we know that it will be through personal relationships that you meet and grapple with these themes. With Saturn there as well, partnerships will be of particular significance in your life, involving difficult but valuable lessons to be learnt.

Audience: Is Vicky looking for a father figure, with Saturn in Aquarius in the 7th house?

Clare: That could certainly be the case and, because the nodal axis is here as well, then it is likely that Vicky will find herself in relationships which force her to develop genuine self-respect and personal authority, and to gain the support, respect and friendship of her partner. This is a parent-child axis, with the Leo end representing creative, spontaneous self-expression and the Aquarius end representing the adult qualities of detachment and objectivity. Leo without Aquarius can be fairly demanding and childish, and it seems that Vicky's eventual fulfilment is to learn to value and take responsibility for herself as an adult.

Vicky: I do have a real fear of being judged, and I hate to be criticised. I don't like anyone who challenges me.

Clare: If you find yourself polarising on the Leo end of this axis, you may feel more and more isolated and unappreciated, and afraid of the criticisms and judgements of others. But Saturn may eventually turn out to be your greatest friend, and there is much of real value for you to learn about yourself from others.

Nodal axis in the 2nd and 8th houses

The 2nd/8th house issues revolve around the theme of personal security and sharing our material and emotional resources with others. Life circumstances will force us to find the balance between developing our own values and learning to trust ourselves, and putting our trust in others without depending solely upon them.

Jane: I have the south Node in Aries in the 2nd house, and north Node in Libra in the 8th house.


Clare: The Aries/Libra polarity concerns the relationship between independence and compromise. In the 2nd and 8th houses, the question is how you can learn to trust and share yourself with others, and yet not lose your autonomy and personal security in the process.

Jane: I kill myself trying to compromise, but it never seems to work. I find it fascinating to watch how other people manage their relationships as if they were easy things to do. My sister is a good example - she just met a guy, got together with him, got married, and now she has two kids. And I find myself thinking: 'How on earth do you do that?' The most scary thing in my mind is the thought of getting married.

Clare: Do you remember the Julia Roberts' film, Runaway Bride? That is a good example of the Aries/Libra dilemma.

Jane: That's right, I really get that. Give me the horse and get me out of here. But do you think that something just happens and you get helped along? I am fed up with trying and failing with relationships.

Clare: With the nodal axis there, yes, I do. It sounds as if you are trying to force yourself into a relationship because you feel it is expected of you. But perhaps your gift is that you are independent and focused and goal-oriented. I think your task is to enjoy this gift and give it full rein, knowing all along that, when the time comes, events and circumstances and other people will no doubt come along and open up whole new areas of your life which you never thought were going to be possible. It is not about applying the will, but about keeping your eyes and ears open for clues. I think this is something that will happen anyway, since it is already built into your chart and because Venus is square to your nodal axis, in Cancer in the 5th house, which indicates your desire for children.

Audience: So if we ignore either Node, then somebody or something will come along which will make sure we pay attention.
Clare: Yes, and that is the nature of the fated quality this axis seems to have.

Audience: This all sounds a bit like the outer planets. If we ignore them, then they will get us anyway.

Clare: Exactly.

Jane: So I shouldn't be trying so hard, but I should have more faith in the area of relationships?

Clare: That's right. I think the solution is just as likely to emerge from meeting people who constellate your south Node in Aries in the 2nd house - people who have, for example, emerged strong and independent and personally secure after a marriage breakdown or the collapse of a longstanding relationship, and who can say, 'I'm glad that marriage is over'. That could give you the confidence and faith to trust in life a bit more, knowing that if things don't work out it won't be the end of the world, because nobody has the power to take your sense of self away. That might be a great help, rather than standing on the brink, being terrified to plunge into a relationship.

Jane: That's very interesting, because when I was going through a difficult relationship a few years ago, I did meet a number of women who were just fine on their own.

Clare: There you are. And they demonstrated to you that relationships and marriage are not, in fact, the end of the world, or irretrievable in any way. Perhaps these women were performing the function of guides and mentors, who may not have been in your life for long, but who showed you the way forwards and taught you to have faith.

Audience: Is it true that the south Node is like a comfort blanket?
Clare: Not necessarily. It all depends on the house and the aspects made to it. If, for example, we have Saturn on the south Node, as Vicky does, then it can be a very uncomfortable place indeed - our so-called comfort blanket can be made of barbed wire. We may well feel utterly alone in the world, unsupported, cast out and abandoned, but our task with Saturn on the south Node appears to be to develop inner resources and personal mastery, and to learn to stand on our own feet. Our lives are a constant dance between opposites, so it is a question of finding a way to navigate the entire spectrum without either end taking over.

Audience: I have always found my south Node to be very powerful, so it is a relief to hear that I don't have to fight against it.

Nodal axis in the 3rd and 9th houses

Paul: What about the south Node in Leo in the 3rd house opposite the north Node in Aquarius in the 9th house?

Audience: Would that be about collecting information for teaching?

Clare: Yes, and we need to look at all the layers here. The Leo/Aquarius axis is the relationship between the individual and the group. And the 3rd/9th house axis concerns learning and teaching, so the theme here is the relationship between your personal ideas on the one hand, and collective beliefs on the other hand. And because the nodal axis is here as well, then we know these issues will be highly charged. We would also anticipate that your teachers, and your brothers and sisters and fellow students, are going to be especially important figures in your life.

Paul: What are the myths associated with the 3rd/9th houses?

Clare: This axis describes the powerful archetypal relationship that exists between the student and the teacher. It is about absorbing the essence of the teacher, incorporating what we have been taught, and passing on our knowledge to others. It is both our apprenticeship and our vocation.

Paul chart

Paul: Could it also be writing about what you've learned?

Clare: Absolutely, because the writing process itself is about analysing and trying to understand your own relationship to the greater picture.

Nodal axis in the 4th and 10th houses

With the nodal axis in the 4th and 10th houses, it is likely that our parents, family, and ancestors may be our greatest teachers, mentors and guides. Or we may have a boss who sees our potential and who encourages us to develop it. We may have a particular function to play in the world, as well as a strong connection to family traditions and to history.

Lillian: What if you have the south Node in Sagittarius in the 4th house? Does that show what I will be moving away from?

Clare: Well, this means that you have the Nodes in Gemini and Sagittarius across your 10th and 4th houses, and the north Node in Gemini in the 10th house. Does anyone want to have a go at that?

Audience: This means that Lillian's vocation has to do with learning and teaching, and that she may be encouraged to do this by her family or by her boss.

Clare: We will find out more if we know where Jupiter is, as the ruler of that south Node.

Lillian: Jupiter is in the 9th house, in Taurus.

Clare: Well, in that case I think it may well be that you have inherited a particular belief system, religion or philosophy from your family, which sustains and supports you. It could also indicate that your family originated from another country.

Lillian: My parents came originally from Jamaica and settled in England. And it is true that I am interested in Jamaican culture and in the history of slavery.


Clare: Can anyone suggest what Lillian's north Node in the 10th house in Gemini might be about? The ruler is Mercury in Aquarius in the 5th house.

Audience: Struggling to be a writer?
Lillian: I keep hearing that - writing or teaching. But it doesn't register at all.

Clare: Would you like to be a writer or a teacher?

Lillian: I wish I could be - that would be great.

Clare: But it is very hard?

Lillian: Yes.

Clare: Well, we could say that this is your vocation, although it does look challenging because the planetary rulers of your Nodes are in square aspect to each other. But no doubt you will find yourself doing work or constantly running into people or circumstances that point you in this direction, no matter how difficult you feel this to be. It is also perfectly possible that the Gemini north Node in the 10th house indicates some kind of public communication or public speaking or teaching.

Lillian: That's all very well, but I am always asking myself what I am meant to be speaking about.

Clare: It may be that you are taking a rational or intellectual approach, since Mercury in Aquarius can be rather detached and objective. I suspect that it is through the Sagittarian end of this axis that you may discover what you are really passionate about, and what carries deep meaning for you. And since Jupiter is in Taurus, this could well have something to do with the land of your ancestors. Once you have allowed yourself to trust the vision and faith of the south Node, which will come from deep within you, and from your family or background inheritance, I suspect you will know what you need to speak about. I think this is about learning to trust that you will be given your direction and your voice.

Nodal axis in the 5th and 11th houses

When we are considering the 5th/11th house nodal axis, we are going to start thinking about the Leo/Aquarius themes of the individual and the collective, the heart and the head. Since the nodal axis always has a powerful charge, we know that life will present us with this dichotomy. This axis can also mean that our children and our work colleagues and friends may play a particularly important role in our lives, acting as our guides and mentors and teachers. We will feel ourselves equally pulled towards contributing to group situations and playing a part within a larger community, and yet finding enough time for ourselves to have fun, to do our own thing, and to enjoy the pleasures of life. It seems, in the end, that our function is to make some kind of unique contribution to the group, and we may well feel compelled to do so. We can get more information about the kind of personal contribution we need to make by looking at the sign and house positions of the planets which rule each of the Nodes, and also if there are any planets conjunct or square to the nodal axis.

Audience: But apart from that, we have to stay on the see-saw?

Clare: Yes. That is the whole point of all axes, and the nodal axis is no exception.

Nodal axis in the 6th and 12th houses

Penny: What about the north Node in Pisces in the 12th house? I also have Pisces on the Ascendant, but they are about 9° apart.

Clare: In the 6th/12th houses, the nodal axis will describe the tension between engaging with, and wishing to retire from, the world. There is also likely to be a struggle to find a balance between needing to be in control and longing to surrender control. Because the nodal axis is here, these themes will be particularly highly charged.

Chart Penny

In the 12th house, there is likely to be a strong desire to retreat from the world, to avoid having to define oneself or be held accountable or responsible for one's actions. In the 6th house, there is an equally strong desire to develop practical skills and areas of personal expertise that can be put to use. The challenge of this axis is to dedicate our practical skills and talents in the service of something greater than ourselves - to construct a container or a vehicle for that which we serve, so that it can be made manifest in this world. It is like sweeping the steps of the temple, practical service as ritual through which we express our devotion. Without the content, we end up with empty jars.
This was once explained to me by a woman whose husband decided that it was time she got someone in to do the ironing, to relieve her of the drudgery. Her husband saw the ironing only as a meaningless chore, and my client was extremely upset about this because, for her, it was a practical expression of her love and care for her family, something she realised her husband did not appreciate. On the other hand, as a thing-in-itself, cut off from the Pisces end of the spectrum, having to do the ironing could well have made her feel resentful, put upon and not sufficiently appreciated, which can easily slip into a feeling of martyrdom. So this is a very subtle axis and quite hard to understand, certainly from the outside. With the nodal axis across the 6th and 12th houses, we will be called to find a way to serve both areas of life. And it is often very helpful to look at the position of the planets which rule both Nodes, which in your case would be Jupiter and Mercury, with Neptune also there on a collective level. Have you always worked?

Penny: Yes, I took six months off once and I was miserable. As soon as I started working again, just a few hours a week, I felt better.

Clare: It certainly seems to be true that a Virgo without something useful and practical to do is an unhappy Virgo. But that is not the whole picture, of course. There must be something calling to you from the Piscean 12th house north Node.

Penny: Yes, it is the longing to stop working!

Clare: Yes, what calls you is the desire to escape from the routine and all the demands of daily life. But, as you know from your own experience, giving up work is not the solution and doesn't solve the problem. Perhaps this indicates that you need to work at something you find really meaningful.

Penny: I think Vicky, my fellow student over there, was right when she said the reason I was doing this course was to become more of a Piscean. It has opened up a whole new spiritual realm for me. I do find it hard, but I am determined to do it. It is terribly important to get away from my everyday work and do something of this nature. This is a very big issue on my mind at the moment.

  1. Hillman, James, The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling (London: Bantam Books, 1996), p. 3.
  2. Campbell, Joseph, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1986).
  3. Image reproduced from West, John Anthony, Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt (New York, NY: Julian Press/Crown Publishing Group, 1987), p. 70.
  4. Idemon, Richard, The Magic Thread: Astrological Chart Interpretation Using Depth Psychology (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1996) [hereafter Idemon, The Magic Thread], p. 105.
  5. Wills, Christopher, 'Exons, introns and talking genes', in Narby, Jeremy, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (Phoenix, AR: Orion Publishing Group, 1998).
  6. Baring and Cashford, p. 681.
  7. Raine, Kathleen and George Harper (eds), Thomas Taylor the Platonist: Selected Writings, quoted in Harpur, Patrick, Daimonic Reality, A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Enumclaw, WA: Pine Winds Press, 1992) [hereafter Harpur, Daimonic Reality], p. 49.
  8. Ebertin, Reinhold, The Combination of Stellar Influences, trans. Alfred G. Roosedale (Aalen: Ebertin Verlag, 1940 [1960]).
  9. Hillman, The Soul's Code.
  10. Yeats, W. B., Mythologies, quoted in Harpur, Daimonic Reality, p. 40.

nach oben

The Book "Mapping the Psyche, Volume 2"

First published 2007 by the CPA Press, BCM Box 1815, London WC1N 3XX, Copyright © 2007 by Clare Martin.
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