The Nodes of the Moon as Karmic Indicators

By Marguerite Hafeman © 2010

The Moon's Nodes: Technically, the South Node marks the point on the ecliptic where the Moon in orbit around the earth will change in declination from north to south, whereas the North Node marks the shift from south to north. The Nodes of the Moon are always located exactly opposite to one another in the natal horoscope; together they constitute an axis of polarity in status quo, relationship and activity that needs to be synthesized into a workable continuum by the individual. The particular houses and signs in which the Nodes are located also provide important information about certain arenas of action, behavioral patterns and challenges associated with them that will be emphasized for better or for worse over the duration of the life. As astrologer Martin Schuliman noted, the Nodes represent the cause and effect relationships by which we lead our life. The natural polarities can be summed up briefly as follows:

Aries-Libra or First House-Seventh House: The axis of self versus the other. The willful, self-directed, drive of exploration and risk versus cultivation of cooperative or hierarchal relations with others. The need to maintain freedom and self-sufficiency, versus the need to synthesize innovation and experience within life led in cooperation with others. Mercenary or sacred warrior versus diplomat or merciless judge.

Taurus-Scorpio or Second House-Eighth House: The axis of sex, death and resurrection. Growth and stability versus destruction and transformation. Control versus surrender, intimacy versus alienation. Internal peace and vulnerability versus exercise of external power. Survival challenges in the most primal and immediate sense. The need to generate an authentic set of consistent values by which to abide; or the need to understand, honor and integrate the values of other people.

Gemini-Sagittarius or Third House-Eighth House: The axis of personal attitude, lifestyle and practical, vocational education versus human social conventions, institutional jurisdiction, ideology and higher learning. Discrimination and parity versus adventure and opportunism. Honesty, integrity and intimacy versus dishonesty, hypocrisy and the partial truth. Personal ethics and how one uses or abuses these values in society.

Cancer-Capricorn or Fourth House-Tenth House: The parental axis of Father and Mother; public life and career versus private life and home affairs. Nurturing, compassion and the inner child versus adult maturity, authority and resource management. Relations of inner authority with outer authority figures. In Cancer, the process of individuation away from the herd state; in Capricorn synthesizing individuality with social necessity.

Leo-Aquarius or Fifth House-Eleventh House: The axis of love given versus love received; conditional energy exchange versus unconditional giving, also the power struggles in relationship that arise out of giving or taking too much. Dreams and fantasies versus concrete manifestation. The king versus his people. The individual realized through egoic power and ability, versus the needs and social parity of the group.

Virgo-Pisces or Sixth House-Twelfth House: The karmic axis of debt and service owed to holistic synthesis of self versus debt and service owed to spiritual self, the collective or universal consciousness. Domesticated, human definitions of order versus the holistic, cyclic rhythms of nature. Dominance versus submission in relationship; sadism versus victimhood. Exoteric faith versus esoteric union with the Godhead. Separation, organization, definition, details and administration versus yielding, union and dissolution within the web of life.

In considering nodal influences, examine both the signs and the houses the natal nodes are in; thus gaining two sets of information which both apply to the karmic design. For example, an individual with South Node in Taurus, North Node in Scorpio, nodes located in the sixth and twelfth houses would function within the framework of polarity issues associated with the Virgo-Pisces axis also.

In western astrology, the South Node () symbolizes past lives, ancestral beliefs, acquired skills and ingrained behavioral habits. The North Node () shows the soul's path of growth for the future; it represents a key developmental theme the individual should be striving towards in this lifetime. In the west the North Node is considered generally benefic, but an excess of North Nodal focus can translate into a preoccupation with materialism, ambition in overdrive or extreme selfishness. Correspondingly, Vedic astrologers favor the South Node as it can symbolize experience already accumulated; also opportunities to pursue the spiritual life, therefore set aside the materialistic desires that keep us bound to the wheel of reincarnation.

The South Node tends to get bad press in the west, as it is generally viewed as the familiar refuge towards which we tend to slide, a zone of operation in which we feel most safe and comfortable. Someone living strongly out of their South Node would tend to avoid certain challenging circumstances that would otherwise lead to growth and soul liberation. However some individuals do seem destined to re-experience past life circumstances, either as a means for finally learning a lesson long time avoided, or to reap the benefit of genius cultivated over many prior lifetimes.

Look for any natal planets in major aspect to the Nodes. Conjunctions are the most powerful; in relation to the North Node they can represent forces, circumstances or persons who blocked the native's development before and may do so again in this life. Conjunctions to the South Node can stand for positive skills or habits that one may use to advantage, or skills unlearned that still require mastery. Often they represent issues brought forward into this life as karmic baggage that still requires resolution or where one owes service karmic to others.

Either Node can be strongly afflicted when the aspecting planet is the Moon (mother, security needs, and emotions) Mars (aggression, violence, ambition) or Saturn (father, karmic debt, loss). Breaking from parental patterns is essentially considered taboo by the conditioned personality, therefore can be physically, mentally and spiritually difficult to overcome. Engaging in a sado-masochistic dance with the dark side of Martian energy can also be very seductive and give the person a false sense of power or superiority over others. If excuses, habits and behaviors of negative Nodal association worked so well before, even if only to maintain a familiar hell, why change now?

If Pluto is the planet in conjunction, there is no choice; one will either be forced to re-experience difficult past life events (South Node) as a means of making sure the soul has learned the attendant lesson; or the individual is more or less forced to grow and develop (North Node) in a manner described by the planet ruling the Node and the house positions of this planet, the Node and any other planets in aspect to either. Square aspects by any planets to the Nodes tend to block progress in working on the path of growth, generally acting as a distraction and sidetracking attention from the nodal themes; the Sun as a potential center of identity can be especially tiresome in this position, as it favors a compulsive Me First orientation. Planets in sextile or trine can work in harmony with Nodal issues but may also help the native retreat into past-life safety zones, denial or unconscious projection behaviors-especially when a planet is trine the South Node.

The Moon's Nodes placed natally within intercepted signs indicate that the native likely has an extremely challenging life, to the point of choosing at some point whether to go on living or not. The individual must develop a strong will and choose to fully ensoul the body. Problems with Kundalini flow may translate into sexual difficulties at maturity. Planets located along with Nodes and within intercepted signs are also under extra developmental tension. Consecutive houses having the same sign repeated on the cusp due to intercepted signs elsewhere shows the major lesson focus for the current lifetime.

Where the nodes are also indicates the individual's status quo and relationships with others. Think about it, no one is ever left entirely to their own devices. Our time here on earth is marked as a series of relationships with others-including partners, lovers, authority figures, parents, children, friends, animals, plants and the very earth we depend on for survival. So natal node placement in the houses and planetary aspects made to them give potent information as to how we have conducted our relationship affairs in the past and karmic challenges we face in this life time, working within the relative framework we have so far created. We are also given information as to the path of relationship development the soul would be wise to pursue on into the future.

If interested in dancing consciously and constructively with these patterns, being strong enough to stay awake and witness them in motion is a very productive first step; many of us prefer to lie, deny or more innocently dial in the autopilot, as it is painful at first to actually witness certain aspects of self. A useful second step is to realize the One you thought you were is composed of many, some of which are authentic and many more not so much. How many of these are simply routines of response developed from conditioning pressure? The third step is to refrain from negative judgement or impulsive reaction relative to emotional overflow or habitual response. Practice feeding less energy of belief and identification into mechanical habits once they start up, especially those triggered by pride or defensiveness.

If one is completely in the present moment for example, it is impossible for negativity or compulsive reaction to continue at the same rate of intensity. One may be literally speechless at first, as the brain may shut down in momentary shock at being required to choose another path of response, or not. The fourth step can be to locate one's own magnetic center through practices such as meditation, trance work or yoga; when active and open this center can be used to cool and manage powerful passions, and habitual negative identification or relating patterns; once again the best first response is often choose to do nothing, say nothing, just stay present until the high tide flows down enough to use clarity to disarm the compulsion and/or pick another path of responce if one is needed.

Once witnessed, heavy baggage becomes easier to work on later, when ready to transmute, overwrite or bid farewell to it. As noted in the Gospels, once awakened it is impossible to fall back into blindness. The higher emotional center and visualization ability can be used to package up pain and flow it away, cleanse chakras and body integrities that are otherwise routinely clogged with mind junk. The silence and space one is left with is the sacred ground for conscious ensoulment and the building of authentic self. If very much used to building self out of what others tell one to believe or do, this is quite awkward and scary indeed. Here the pithy injunction that "wisdom and true character is built one f---up at a time," can be used to grant oneself permission to make the necessary mistakes.

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