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The Lunar Nodes

authenticsignThe nodes, or lunar nodes as they are called, are an area of astrology often discounted in both chart interpretation and in understanding planetary transits in Western Tropical Astrology. But their energy is better observed and not overlooked. Vedic Astrology gives more credence to these shadowy points in space.

So, what exactly are the lunar nodes? They are the points in space that cause eclipses. They are always directly opposite each other, and for the most part, with the exception of the random day here and there, they always move in retrograde motion. They are referred to separately as the North Node and the South Node, and in Vedic Astrology as Rahu and Ketu, but they are also known as the Dragon’s Head and the Dragon’s Tail respectively. These last two names are quite helpful in understanding the energy that is associated with the nodes.

In Western Tropical Astrology, the nodes are related to the interplay of karma. The South Node is connected to lessons of the past that we have hopefully integrated well, and in the process cultivated the proper sense of detachment that enables us to avoid having to repeat the associated challenges. The North Node represents the approach that we take to our present karma, or life challenges.

In order to truly understand, and integrate knowledge to the extent that it becomes wisdom, a subjective approach becomes necessary. We must have an experience. We take something in to the extent that it almost becomes a part of us. Where there is the Dragon’s Head, or North Node, there is the faculty of the senses, but no heart from which one can feel, and no digestive system through which one can digest, or fully process what one is taking in. So, the lesson of the North Node is one of awareness, perspective, feeling and assimilation. If one does not apply conscious attention, then one can fall prone to making the same mistakes repetitively. The North Node, in some manners represents logic and objectivity without subjectivity. Its energy can be somewhat illusionary as a result.

Where there is the South Node, there is the Dragon’s Tail. Separated from the Head, the Tail is divorced from reason. In the spiritual sense, this can be positive, as it provides detachment. But, the South Node can often have the power to create chaos in the areas that it impacts, either in the natal chart by its inherent placement, or by transit. It also has the power to strongly unleash the energy of other planets that it comes into contact with. Separated from the Head, the South Node’s lessons are of conscious objectivity, and common sense, without which we could not bear witness in calmness to the energies present in our lives. We could not see, or think properly about our experiences. We would become subject to the realm of feeling only, without the sensibility to sort though our experiences.

Returning to the concept of chart interpretation, there is a cycle that occurs every nine years roughly, commencing from birth, where the nodes cross the position that they occupy in the birth chart. The first passing is one of the South Node over the North, and the North over the South. This happens for the first time at around the age of nine, and would then repeat every 18 years, as the next cycle would be one of the North Node transiting the North and the South Node transiting the South.

With the first cycle, which we will refer to for convenience sake as the opposing nodal crossing, it is often the case that certain life events, that happened with the previous cycles, will repeat so that one can discern how deeply they have learned any associated lessons. Often times, the individual will face similar circumstances, but make a different decision.

With the second cycle, which happens for the first time at the age of eighteen, and involves a transit of the North Node over the North and the South Node over the South, large shifts in awareness and consciousness usually occur. For example, at the age of eighteen, one is usually separating oneself from parental influence. Another individual, at his second of these cycles at the age of thirty six decided to more strongly pursue self employment.

Both of these cycles, the opposing nodal crossing and the second which we will refer to as the similar nodal crossing mark a karmic crossroads. If you wish to understand more deeply the power and impact of the nodes, reflect back on these times in your life, and make note of any patterns that you may have noticed. Chances are that you will notice times of intense focus, deep integration and the profound release of energies which no longer have an appropriate place in your life. This is the energy of the nodes at work.

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