The Lunar Nodes in Astrology
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
The planets represent energy in the chart. Each planet is indicative of a quality and impetus that helps describe our motivations and impulses in this lifetime. The lunar nodes are points and they too are active and energetic influences. They are the points where the Moon and the Earth’s orbits intersect and they are directly opposite each other (180° apart).
The Nodes and Eclipses
There are thirteen New Moons each year. New Moons occur when the Sun and Moon share the same zodiacal degree. At least two of them are solar eclipses and these occur when the Sun, Moon and Nodes are aligned so that the Moon blocks the Sun (either partially or completely).
A total solar eclipse happens when the Luminaries and a Node occupy the same zodiacal plane within a 9 degree orb.
Lunar eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon are opposite one another in zodiacal longitude but one of the Luminaries is within a 3 degree orb for a total lunar eclipse and a 6 degree orb for a partial lunar eclipse.
In Vedic astrology, the nodes are related to karma and reincarnation. In Western astrology we tend to look at the nodes like compass points. The North Node is our True North; pointing to what is possible for us and what is the best route through this lifetime while the South Node shows the territory that has already been explored.
To better understand how the nodes work let's look at the origin story from the Sanskrit Puranas.
A long long time ago, the Devas (benevolent Gods) came together to churn the ocean to make amrita which is the sacred nectar that grants immortality. The Asuras (demons) on seeing this wanted to get in on the action because they too wanted immortality. But even though many tried, only the demon Svarbhanu managed to get in line by disguising himself as a deity. The Sun and the Moon noticed the deception and tattled to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took out his sword and cut the dragon-like demon in half but the demon had already taken a sip of amrita and was now immortal and couldn’t be killed. The head part became known as Rahu and the tail part became Ketu. RahuKetu swore they would have vengeance on the Sun and Moon and to this day they chase the Sun and Moon and get to occasionally “swallow them up”.
Understanding the Nodes
One node is not “better” than the other. Rahu is often associated with what we take in, what is absorbed and how we nourish ourselves (dragon’s mouth) while Ketu is where we eliminate things (dragon’s tail). However Ketu represents the “body” and is grounded in the material world and represents how we make things manifest.
Ketu helps us embody the highest expression of the sign it is placed in. It is by using these qualities that we achieve Rahu’s goals.
Rahu/ North Node
What you may be…
What you already know...
If you identify too strongly with your South Node placement by sign and house you stay stuck in a holding pattern of familiarity. You prefer to exist in a bubble of safety and your main priority is comfort.
But if you take the challenge of the North Node, you welcome opportunities for growth and develop new skills and insights through responding well to change.
North Node: What you crave
The North node by sign and house reveals what you crave and what your soul most desires for your development in this lifetime. Rahu in the 1st house reveals a craving for fulfillment and self-understanding, in the 2nd house, greater sense of worth (deservedness) and stability. Rahu in the 3rd house, greater kinship/connection to community. In the 4th house, Rahu craves a home, a sense of belonging. Rahu in the 5th house, craves freedom to create. In the 6th house, Rahu craves order and service to others. Rahu in the 7th house desires relationship with others. In the 8th, Rahu craves power. In the 9th house, Rahu craves wisdom and in the 10th, independence and public recognition. In the 11th house Rahu craves friendship and solidarity and in the 12th, union with Mystery and spiritual enlightenment.
These cravings are more often than not accompanied by resistance because growth takes place when there is discomfort.