The signs and houses of the Lunar Nodes provide the meat of our story, but we need more. It’s impossible to tell our story without the actors. A lot of nodal interpretation is going on these days that takes just house and sign into consideration. But without the nodal rulers, without the detail, we really won’t have a clue about where we’ve come from or where we’re going. It’s like being told that Hamlet is about a guy in Denmark who hates his uncle. The nodal rulers are the ones who carry the detail and the deeper meaning of the story the Nodes are trying to tell, and give us a more accurate interpretation of just what it is we’re here to do.
Technically, the planet that represents the sign of the Node is not the ‘ruler’ of that Node, but I like the term ‘nodal ruler’ because it accurately conveys the type of power and influence that these planets have. When these planets are touched, either by progression or transit, the energy they convey is like an electric current that jolts our spiritual growth. Our nodal issues are newly awakened, and we deal with yet a new crisis or adjustment that causes us to face what we need to face, either through revisiting an issue that needs correction (South Node) or by manipulating us into new territory and revealing to us where our blind spots are regarding our own way forward (North Node).
Let’s take an example, simplifying the signs and houses for clarity’s sake. Say someone has an Aries South Node in the first house. Right off the top, we know that the conscious orientation of this person comes from a focus on Self. The conscious orientation of this individual is on his or her own wants, needs, desires. This is not considered, but is a direct and immediate response to stimuli—Aries can be as innocent as a child, just reacting to the environment in a direct manner, without considering the consequences. The honesty, directness and spontaneity of Aries is an admirable quality. Their leadership ability can be unsurpassed; they can be fearless. Also, we admire their impulsive generosity (once they get their own needs met) and sense of adventure and fun. However, the positioning of Mars will do a lot to define which issues surrounding this Aries South Node need to be corrected. It will also indicate where the South Node gifts might be. The South Node behaviours will generally fall into the house where the ruler (or rulers, if we are looking at old rulerships—and I consider both) lie.
A first house Aries South Node with Mars in the first house will probably knock you over with their Aries energy, even if Pisces is on the Ascendant. They have the ability to lead, whether they know it or not. (Aries leadership is more about the avant-guard, in literal terms the first ones over the line, more than it’s about the considered leadership of Leo.) Even if they seem like a dreamy Pisces, they will get what they want (perhaps by nefarious means, depending on how healthy Neptune is in the chart). They may look like they have their head in the clouds, and come off as gentle, artistic or spiritual, but they will be all about fulfilling the needs of the ‘I’. Moving away from this inner-oriented consciousness will be very difficult.
Most of us, to a certain extent, have some relationship with our North Nodes. Even though it’s unconscious, (whereas the South Node orientation is conscious and easier to grasp and relate to our individual lives) we have some instinct of what’s missing. If you completely identify with one polarity, the other, as well, will make itself known in some way, shape or form. Ultimately, our relationship with our South Nodes will begin to feel incomplete. We will sense that we are hollow in that area, that there is some degree of emptiness and lack of fulfilment, even if we can’t point out what it is. This is, ultimately, what drives us to our North Nodes.
But what takes us there? The incidents, experiences and house orientation relative to our South Nodes. Ultimately, for the first house Mars with the South Node in the first, the “I” will prove unfulfilled. We will wonder why our relationships keep failing. And perhaps, because of the ‘innocence’ of the Aries orientation, we won’t have a clue why. If Mars is in Aries in the first, the whole question of “me, me, me first” will be an issue. It’s also about taking unconsidered action. (I have a niece with Mars in the last degree of Aries. When she was small, she kept stealing knives out of the drawer in the kitchen and declaring, “Fix it, cut it”—or in her vernacular, “Ficshit, cull it.” She’d run around the house carving up stuff the minute anyone’s back was turned.) The emptiness at the heart of “I, alone” will eventually reach the Aries South Node and cause them to alter their behaviour towards partnerships of all kinds; in particular, romantic relationships will be a crucible and a testing ground that will ultimately alter not only behaviour, but to cause the Aries South Node to relate to the world at large in an utterly new way.
But compare this to another Mars position. If the Aries South Node is in the first house, and Mars is in the fourth house, what does that tell me? The “I” orientation is still the issue, and the inability to partner with any kind of equality that brings forward the issues of the Libra North Node in the 7th. Rather than Mars reinforcing the Aries self-orientation, Mars is now focused on the issues of the fourth. Here, the Aries South Node tells us a different story. Continuing the easy house positions, lets say that Mars is in the fourth house in Cancer. Rather than the “I” orientation being the sui-generis of the double Aries factor in the first house (rather like a ‘new moon’ type), we see that the “I” orientation has different roots. In this nodal ‘story,’ the “I” orientation is the result of the fourth house—conflicts, arguments, aggression and possibly violence (depending on aspects to Mars and the Nodes) stemming from the family relationships, possibly with the mother or other dominant home figure. This is very different from the first case. The selfishness and leadership inherent in this signature is a direct result of having to stand up for one’s self in a difficult family environment. (Alternately, Aries South Node can be the cause of the disturbance. The rest of the chart will tell you which is which.) There will, therefore, be inherent wounds stemming from the family situation which will have to be healed before the 7th house North Node will be able to be accessed. Aspects to Mars will only add more details to the story of “where have I come from?”
You can see how different the two are from a counseling point of view. The first needs growth from a basic consciousness that feels that everything is not only about me, but IS me. The second has had its relations with the world altered by a threatening domestic environment—so much so that our conscious interaction with the world is defined by this threat. Each needs a different path to guide them to a new way of negotiating with the world, with is what the North Nodes are teaching us. Both will have their interactions with the world altered through their partnerships, but the change will come by different means. It will also come at different times, via progression and transit. Good aspects to Mars will mitigate the difficulties. Stress aspects to Mars will accentuate them.
We could go on taking Mars through the houses, but I think the point is clear. The condition of the South Node ruler gives you the details of why we relate to the world the way we do via the South Node. You can take this, through aspects, as deeply as you want to go– you can have an anecdote or a short story or a novel. But without taking this in to consideration, you really won’t understand why the Nodes are so influential. Because they deal with our entire conscious orientation to life, (sometimes we call this a ‘mindset’) we can’t properly interpret transits or progressions or anything else in the chart without them.
The North Node works in a slightly different way, which we’ll discuss next week in Part Five.