It’s worth reviewing why the Nodes themselves are so important—and so effective by transit, both in describing the developmental growth within the natal chart and in terms of external ‘events.’ The Nodes represent the point where the Moon, representing the entire repository of our past experience in the material world (in many lifetimes, if belief accepts it) crosses the ecliptic, or path, of the Sun in relation to the earth. It is, in essence, the conjoining of two pathways, the material (represented by the Moon) and the spiritual (represented by the Sun). The Nodes represent where the experience of life crosses with the infinite potential of the life path.
As this occurs in orbital movement, the conjoining happens at opposite ends of a circle. The South Node of the Moon represents where we have been, and, across the circle, the North Node represents where we are going. The South Node is the more lunar end; it defines a familiar way of behavior, a familiar way of defining and reacting to the world. In most cases we are naturally oriented towards our South Node, particularly during our early years. It represents our comfortable and typical behavior, the way we relate to our life experience. We approach the world through the lens of that South Node, and it is difficult for us to put it down. When we move away from the realm of the South Node, the world is not what we thought it was, or what we have assumed it would be. Development of the North Node causes us to be removed, sometimes harshly, from this familiar version of reality.
In analyzing the Nodes within a natal chart, there is a tendency for students to rush to the North Node to see where we’re going next. I suppose this is understandable, but, in spiritual terms, we can’t know where you’re going until we see where we have been, and the condition of the South Node, including house, sign, Nodal ruler (and it’s house, sign and position to other planets) needs to be understood before we know what we are moving away from. Also, it’s very important to remember that many people don’t move into their North Node, if they do so at all, until they have crossed the great chasm of growth that begins at age 36 and ends in the mid-forties, leading on to age 50 and the Chiron return. Someone with the South Node heavily emphasized will have a difficult time drawing the balancing energies of the North Node. If you have Sag on the South Node, and Jupiter is either the chart ruler or the dispositor of the Sun, or is angular and attached to personal planets, there will be a great deal of resistance to the shift to Mercury and Gemini. The perspective and detachment that the Gemini North Node calls for may be difficult to come by, unless Mercury is also prominently placed. Planets on the South Node will always reinforce South Node behavior. In some cases, they represent talents, abilities and behavior which we can use in this life to integrate our Nodes. In other cases, they may represent behavior that is deeply engrained and which must be revisited, repaired or restructured in some way. If the aspects to these planets are challenging (or the dispositors of these planets are having a difficult time of it) we know that something in the psyche needs alteration. Our relational patterns need changing.
All magnetic pull to the North Node via the planets will cause us to go through a crisis of the new and unfamiliar. If, in a previous life, we have already been attempting the integration of the North Node, we may have planets conjunct our North Node to assist us. Often these planets are helpful, but they also represent energies that are getting in the way of our fully accepting the North Node perspective. Saturn, for example, can cause us to be fearful of the new, but also give us the relentless drive to move forward. Jupiter can make us lazy, but also insists that we garner the wisdom of our experiences. With Mars, we may have been too hotheaded and insistent, which caused us to attempt to fly before we could leap. In any case, in this lifetime, we must learn to use planets conjunct the North Node in their best and most balanced way, so that they are the shining example of their energy within their sign, lit behind by the creative force of the Sun.
The North Node is the more solar of the two, and asks us to use its creative juices to learn to be more and truly ourselves, and not a product of past conditioning. The North Node wants us to act from the pure center of our being, where we are not influenced by the fears and constrictions of the material world. To say that the North Node is ‘good’ and the South Node ‘bad’ is simply wrong, however, because we need the strength and the wisdom of our material experience in order fully act out the solar, North Node tasks. In this way our new solar perspective sheds light on the past, and liberates us from it. The South Node uses this liberating energy in a more creative way; released from old patterns, it finds new ways to express itself and finds an expanding perspective to experiment with. This allows us, in the pattern of a widening spire, to create new experiences via the North Node which will advance our evolutionary growth. One of the most common experiences of intense Nodal development is the sense that we have been ‘kicked up the ladder’ a few rungs on our spiritual understanding , and while it may feel precarious to be all the way up there it also can be intensely inspiring.
The balancing of the Nodes is our ultimate goal, and we must learn to use each end of the Nodal axis in its best expression. We often call the angles the ‘spine’ of the chart, the energetic tent pole on which the rest of our existence depends. However, in spiritual terms, in terms of our evolution and the soul’s awareness, the Nodes, representing the interaction and integration of the Sun and the Moon, are the spiritual spine. The Nodal movement (both by transit and progression) indicates our own particular crisis of becoming.
In Part Two we will begin discussing the movement of the Nodal axis in relation to itself.