Many people look to astrology for clues about their life purpose or destiny. While I don’t use astrology for predictions, a natal chart can offer rich clues about possible karmic lessons and ways to come more into alignment with your life path. One such place to look is the North, sometimes considered “True Node,” and South Lunar Nodes. These karmic points in an astrological natal chart are the moon’s orbit intersecting with the Earth’s path around the sun. In Vedic astrology the nodes are called Rahu and Ketu and sometimes referred to as the dragon’s head and tail.
The lunar nodes represent a basic idea of where you have been versus where you are headed in your soul’s evolution. The South Node indicates our comfort zone, past, and underlying assumptions of the way we interact with the world, while our North Node shows us the skills and ways of being that bring us closer to our evolutionary potential and future self. I don’t think of them as a life purpose, but more a polarity of experience that can bring us into equilibrium and learn some great lessons along the way. When we use the skills of our North Node our lives tend to come into balance or get back on track. In this way they act as unifiers for coming back into alignment and bringing us back to ourselves when we may get off track.
Some people describe the South Node as tendencies to get rid of all together, though I disagree and instead like to think of them as tools that come naturally for us to bring into service of our North Node. The issue being that we tend to over identify with our South Node, where we are more comfortable we can become stagnant and stuck in old ways of being.
An example would be my North Node in Cancer and South Node in Capricorn, I used to strive for jobs and career success that make sense and were “socially acceptable” as I felt more comfortable in the “real” world of Saturn/Capricorn. Since learning about my North Node, I’ve worked to balance my desire for admiration with focusing more on my own rhythms and intuition. I even do my best to spend two days a week at home nurturing my Cancer energy by cooking and mothering myself.
To find the location of your nodes, you can search for a free online chart or an ephemeris (a fancy astro term for a schedule of planetary locations). The nodes create a complete circle through the 12 signs every 18 years, though it isn’t consistent how long they stay in each. In this way people born within a few years of each other may have the same lunar node placement. I also find that the South Node placement is usually unconsciously identified with during the first 30 years of one’s life up until the Saturn Return, which often serves as a karmic turning point for many major life lessons and a coming to terms with the past. Case in point, I first learned about the Nodes almost seven years ago as I was starting my Saturn Return and it certainly helped understand more of how to bring myself into balance during such a transitional time.
When looking at the nodes there are a few things to look at: 1) the signs in which they fall are the most important, 2) the house (link to house article?) where the energies of the nodes are most likely to occur, and need our attention 3) the relationships between the nodes and any planets for extra understanding of possible challenges in the areas of life that hold a lot of learning.
Here are some basic themes of each North and South Node and the houses according to Jan Spiller’s “Astrology of the Soul”—my favorite book about the mystical nodes:
• Aries North Node and Libra South Node (1st House)
o Focus more on: independence, trusting impulses, courage, constructive self-interest
o Focus less on: selflessness, being too nice, attachment to fairness/justice, co-dependence attached to harmony, tit for tat mentality
• Taurus North Node and Scorpio South Node (2nd House):
o Focus more on: loyalty, patience, one step at a time, sense of self-worth, awareness of personal values, gratitude
o Focus less on: impatience, attraction to crisis situations, inappropriate intensity, judgement, obsessive-compulsive tendencies
• Gemini North Node and Sagittarius South Node (3rd House):
o Focus more on: curiosity, seeing both sides of a situation, logic, tact, purposely cheering others up, listening, openness to new ideas
o Focus less on: self-righteousness, aloofness, needing to be right, careless spontaneity, judging situations based on past experience, taking shortcuts
• Cancer North Node and Capricorn South Node (4th House):
o Focus more on: validating feelings, empathy, nurturing and supporting others, building one’s own foundation and security, honest disclosure of feelings and insecurities, humility
o Focus less on: needing to control everything, compulsion to take charge, focusing on goal and ignoring process, hiding feelings and fears in intimate relationships, doing things to gain respect from others
• Leo North Node and Aquarius South Node (5th House):
o Focus more on: individuality, willingness to take center stage, enthusiasm, self-confidence, taking risks, enjoying life, having fun, follow one’s heart’s desires, strengthening one’s willpower
o Focus less on: detaching from emotional situations, aloofness, excessive daydreaming, running away from confrontations, waiting for other’s to prompt one’s own action
• Virgo North Node and Pisces South Node (6th House):
o Focus more on: participation, bringing order to chaos, routines, being of service to others, focusing on here and now, analyzing and categorizing, moderation, taking risks in spite of fear
o Focus less on: being a victim, confusion and disorientation, avoidance of planning, escapism/addictions, oversensitivity, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, withdrawal
• Libra North Node and Aries South Node (7th House):
o Focus more on: cooperation, diplomacy and tact, increasing awareness of others’ needs, creating win/win situations, sharing, seeing through another’s eyes, giving support without expecting reciprocity
o Focus less on: impulsiveness, thoughtless self-assertion, self-centeredness, selfishness, expecting others to be like oneself, indifference to how one is seen by others, over concern with survival
• Scorpio North Node and Taurus South Node (8th House):
o Focus more on: self-discipline, choosing constructive change, releasing whatever causes stagnation and low energy, eliminating non-useful possessions, enjoying things without having to own them
o Focus less on: attachment to comfort and status quo, possessiveness, over concern with accumulation and ownership, stubbornness, getting bogged down with sensual appetites, resistance to change and others’ input
• Sagittarius North Node and Gemini South Node (9th House):
o Focus more on: direct communication without censorship, spontaneity, sense of adventure and freedom, trusting oneself, spending time alone in nature, intuitive listening
o Focus less on: second-guessing what others are thinking, indecisiveness, seeking more information, saying what others want to hear, gossiping, impatience for answers
• Capricorn North Node and Cancer South Node (10th House):
o Focus more on: self-control, self-respect, staying goal oriented, sensible approaches to problem solving, letting go of the past, self-care, taking responsibility for successes
o Focus less on: dependence, moodiness, insecurity leading to inaction, using past to avoid present, lack of self-respect, isolation, avoidance of personal risk
• Aquarius North Node and Leo South Node (11th House):
o Focus more on: desire for friendship, willingness to share unconventional ideas, active participation in groups, awareness of equality, making decisions for group’s best interest
o Focus less on: insistence on getting one’s way, making changes to exercise authority, attachment to need for approval, melodramatic tendencies, unawareness of others’ importance
• Pisces North Node and Virgo South Node (12th House):
o Focus more on: being non-judgmental, compassion, surrendering to Higher Power, freeing mind through meditation and self-reflection, focusing on spiritual pathway, trusting positive outcomes
o Focus less on: over analysis, obsessive worry, critical first reactions, fault findings, excessive anxiety over making mistakes, being Mr. or Ms. Perfect, staying in unpleasant situations, inflexibility
Looking over the descriptions it is easy to notice these same descriptions with our sun and moon signs. Every planet and sign has a spectrum of expression that ranges from more positive to what may be considered more detrimental. If you have a Pisces sun and notice the Pisces South Node tendencies they are also something you may express when in a more shadow element of your Pisces nature such as addiction or confusion. Whereas when you are in the more elevated expression of your sun and feeling shiny you may possess the Pisces North Node qualities such as compassion and optimism. The main difference when looking at our Sun sign (what energizes us and personality we shine into the world) and our Moon sign (our emotional tendencies and needs) versus the Nodes is that the nodes are a combination of both. They are places where the sun and moon meet and therefore offer a balance of both energies.
The nodes offer us recurring karmic lessons inviting us into our future selves and leaving behind what no longer serves us this lifetime. North Nodes therefore don’t tell us our life purpose, but instead give us an access point for getting back on track when we may have strayed from our soul’s calling.