Astrologer Laura Craig

The Lunar Nodes

Walter Crane “Prince Cheri and the Dragon”

I practice astrology with the operative belief that the soul travels through many incarnations, and that its unfinished business is the substrate upon which the life story grows, develops and takes shape. But to find spiritual wholeness, that old framework needs to be healed, corrected, balanced or moved beyond. We have no memory, or even awareness, of this need on a conscious level, but the unconscious remembers. And it continues to operate behind the scenes unless we take steps to understand it. This story is embedded archetypally in the natal chart, woven into all of your unique planetary configurations. But it is transmitted primarily through the mystical dance between the Sun and the Moon in the year of your birth, represented in the chart by two points that are not planets or stars, but that tell more about your karmic lessons than almost anything else: the lunar nodes.

The north and south nodes of the moon are astronomical points that tell us when solar and lunar eclipses will take place in a given year. Eclipses are another story for another day, but they have long been associated mythologically with dragons, the north node also being known as the Dragon’s Head, and the south node, the Dragon’s Tail. The nodes always fall within an axis of a pair of signs, and every 1.5 years (plus some change), they move backward through the zodiac, taking 18.6 years to complete a full cycle. In the chart, the north node is symbolized by a horseshoe-shaped glyph with loops on both ends. The south node is the same, but points downward. 

Astrological opinions differ widely on the interpretation of the nodes, but the evolutionary model is the one I use and is as follows. The sign and house placement of the south node in your birth chart are the starting points for painting the karmic picture. Your south node describes a habitual circumstance, mindset or pattern that informs your perception and expectations of life. It has either gone wrong before, or become worn out. It can keep us stuck or get us into trouble. The north node, then, is the spiritual antidote, the experience that is needed, to break out of the old mode, though it may feel unfamiliar and take more conscious work to integrate. Getting to know your nodal story means getting to know your particular dragon: finding it, facing it, and, for some, slaying it; for others, learning to coexist peacefully with it. Dragon work requires deep introspection, self-awareness, non-judgment, patience, guidance, and readiness. 

The nodes have been traveling through Cancer and Capricorn since November 2018, and will move into Gemini and Sagittarius on May 5, ushering in a whole new set of lessons for us to integrate on both a personal and collective level. I’ll take a closer look at what those themes might look like in my next post. If, after reading this, you are interested in uncovering the nodal story in your birth chart, send me a message to set up a consultation. While the world waits in limbo, there is rich and fertile psychic soil to be tilled. 

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