Which Way Forward? The Nodes, part two

In our last article on the nodes, The Hungry Moon, we learned that we have to analyze the state of the evolving consciousness (the Moon, its positioning, and aspects, plus dispositors, and its phasal relationship to the Sun) before we begin to understand the meaning of the nodes.

The Sun creates and integrates the new experiences that will alter the ingrained consciousness, and its sign and house position describes the type of energy that we will use in this life to process and create experience. For this reason, the Sun’s energy is an important mediating factor between the South and North Nodes. The experiences created by the Sun (through the rest of the chart) will serve to alter and balance the energies of the South and North Nodes. The new awareness is then absorbed by the Moon and further develops the lunar consciousness. In this way both the Sun’s expression and the Moon conscious awareness develop throughout our lives. When the Sun touches the nodes in any form, it is a direct line to nodal growth. When the Moon affects the nodes, patterns of the past rise up in full colour, and we must attain growth by sorting out our gifts from our bad habits. Aspects to the nodes from any of the planets will facilitate growth experiences, but none so potent as Sun and Moon.

The Moon contains all that we have brought to this life from past experience. The Moon itself reveals our inner being, our emotional expression of that inner being, our emotional needs and general orientation to life. The Moon is all about our awareness of ourselves. The nodes have a different agenda–they illustrate the way that this inner being, represented by the Moon, interacts with the world (and people) around us. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. The nodal mindset is also emotional, but has more to do with our external orientation, our emotional reactions not just to society, but our interactions with the people in it. The Nodes represent our very personal take on how we relate to whole idea of who and what is ‘out there’ and how it reflects on and through our developing consciousness. They parallel the relationship between the reactive past consciousness of the Moon and the dynamic, integrating consciousness of the Sun.

Both the North and the South Nodes are highly sensitive, receptive points. They are also highly personal, as appropriate to the symbol of the interaction between the two most important entities in the chart. We often don’t recognize or ‘get’ the symbolism of our nodes because they are so much a part of our consciousness that we don’t have an objective grasp on them. They are also elusive, because, unlike planets, they have no active qualities of their own. With Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, we know what to expect, there are keywords and archetypes and mythology to rely on. Unlike the angles, which show us the path of our development as individuals within the material world, the nodes deal with something greater, less defined, something beyond the “I.” The nodes can be elusive, because they can’t merely be interpreted by sign and house. (Or they can, but that will give us only the roughest sketch of their meaning.) But the nodes are very good at telling a story, the story of where the soul has been and how it’s meant to move forward. And it’s through this nodal ‘story’ that we sense our purpose. We come to understand why we’ve come into this life and what we need to work out for ourselves. The nodes, properly interpreted, are the ‘bottom line’ of our spiritual direction.

There is a general thought in astrological circles that the South Node represents the past and the North Node represents the way forward. Some go so far as to say we need to move away from our South Nodes and focus exclusively on our North Nodes. I don’t agree. The South Node, in general, isn’t some kind of bad karma that we’re trying to dump or run away from. It isn’t about getting rid of the ‘bad’ or old in us to pursue the good and the new. This kind of thinking is very dualistic and is, in fact, highly insulting to the lunar consciousness, which has worked hard (over lifetimes) to integrate and refine the South Node qualities. It is true that we need to put our conscious awareness on our North Nodes, because the North Node integration is one that is unfamiliar to us, where our South Node patterns come naturally (perhaps too naturally). I’ve had a number of cases of clients who have been too wrapped up in the South Node to see the path of the North Node, too caught up in old patterns to be able to change them. It has never happened the other way around, with someone so focused on the North Node that they bypass the South, even with large stelliums on the North Node. What we’re looking for in the Nodes, as in all things, is balance and integration.

The South Node represents our gifts and our habits and patterns, both positive and negative. We are meant to sort these out, recognize them and face them courageously, using our gifts to the best of our ability and ridding ourselves of unwelcome behaviours. Planets on the South Node will help us do that, either by drawing us in to the old patterns so that we recognize them, or by helping us to see our patterns and gifts. When other people’s planets fall on our South Node, they will help us understand where we are coming from, either in a positive or negative light. (We will delve more into the Nodes in synastry later in the series.) The South Node represents the way we are used to orienting ourselves to the world.

The North Node is the next step in our spiritual evolution. It is never an easy step. Before we can truly understand the North Node’s role, we have to spend some time understanding the role the South Node plays in our lives. The Nodes have to be understood as a partnership, and behave much the way both ends of an angle behave. Aspects to one end of the nodal partnership will aspect and affect the other end. (We will discuss the way aspects to the Nodes behave in the New Year, after discussion of the nodal rulers.) Planets on the North Node, or aspects to its ruler, can either help or hinder the nodal development. Saturn there, for example, may delay the nodal journey until later in life, causing the node person to slowly realize, through experience, what the node is asking of them. With Uranus there, nodal understanding may come in flashes, or through unusual experiences, or by having something or someone removed from our life. No matter how it comes, nodal development is always a life-long process. We are never ‘finished’ with understanding the role the nodes play in our lives.

More than behaving as a single point or angle in the chart, the Nodes, like the Sun and the Moon, effect our entire consciousness, and therefore can’t be compartmentalized. They have impact on the entire chart, how we use our consciousness in the world, and to what ends. They are more of an orientation to life than a definition of behaviour. Folks who have heavy nodal aspects, or who have the nodes involved with the Sun or the Moon, feel this most keenly. It’s as though their lives are being directed by a force that they can feel, but not quite see or understand. This is true, in a lesser extent, for all of us, and is the result of the nodal pull of Sun and Moon and the dynamic interaction of past, present and future.

Over the next few weeks we will examine the roles the nodal rulers play in telling us the nodal ‘story,’ and we’ll take a new look at aspects to the nodes and the effect that they have in determining past patterns.

For Part Three of this series, click here.