The Nodes are defined by the intersections of the Moon's orbit with the Earth's orbit. The North Node's position is based on the Moon moving into north declination (above the celestial equator) while the South Node's position is based on the Moon moving into south declination (below the celestial equator).
The two Nodes are always directly opposite one another (180 degrees apart) across the zodiac. As such, they define important polarities in our lives: present lives and past lives. Relating back to the Moon, the Nodes symbolize strong emotions. They are keys particularly to emotional residues which we have carried forward from past lifetimes. They point to ingrained patterns that we tend to repeat over and over again. Old insecurities are depicted here -- ways in which we seek safety and try to protect ourselves and others. Relationship issues are often prominent. People who "push our emotional buttons" often have Nodal connections between our horoscope and theirs. (Once integrated, the Nodes show potential sustenance and support-what "feeds" us.)
There are three major paths people take in coping with the emotional residues of the Nodes. Most of us try the first two paths before discovering the third.
Path One: Some people experience the Nodes as a seesaw: They swing from one extreme to the other. For example, with the Nodes across Aries/Libra (or 1st house/7th house), some people vacillate between being alone and being together. They get lonely, want a relationship and get involved. Once they're involved, they start to feel trapped, hemmed in and eventually leave. Then they start to get lonely again and repeat the cycle. Typically, people with each Nodal polarity have had some past lifetimes living out one extreme and other lifetimes living out the opposite extreme.
Path Two: Some people identify with one Node and "project" the other Node. That is, they are unconsciously attracted to people who will live out the qualities symbolized by that opposite Node. The problem is, if we express only one side of a polarity, the people we attract are likely to express the opposite in excess. They will overdo it! With the Aries/Libra example, if an individual identifies with the Libra end ("I want a relationship"), they may repeatedly attract "free souls" who won't commit, married people who aren't available or self-centered individuals unwilling to make the compromises necessary in a healthy relationship. One person is overdoing the Libra need to merge with another; the other person is overdoing the Aries need for self-assertion and personal freedom. Conversely, the individual who identifies only with the Aries Node wants to live life on their own terms and be independent, and keeps on attracting people who want to marry, settle down, be together and share everything (overdoing the Libra).
Path Three: People find the happy medium between the Nodal polarities. They realize that life is an "and," not an "or," and fit the drives of both Nodes into their lives. They turn potential enemies into allies by not going to either extreme. They face their inner insecurities (including those from experiences in past lifetimes) and muster the emotional courage to reach a constructive balance point. By bringing together the best of both sides, they are more effective and more emotionally poised. A positive equilibrium is reached.
Some authors interpret the Nodes as "where we've been" and "where we should be going." This can be misleading. The Nodes are primarily an opposition! The goal of any opposition is synthesis -- to turn the enemies into allies, to combine the best of both into a golden mean. Talking about one Node as your "future" and the other as your "past" encourages people to fall into polarization and projection -- exactly the problems to which the Nodes are susceptible! Both Nodes relate to past lives and polarities we are striving to balance. Both Nodes relate to the future which can be bright when we achieve a pleasing synthesis!
The ancient tradition was that the North/South Node was more like Jupiter (in the sense of being easier to handle, more subjectively comfortable) and the South Node was more like Saturn (in the sense of feeling more stressful or demanding). In my experience, that is generally true but with individual exceptions. People with the South Node in the 1st house, for example, are usually prey to self-criticism and inhibiting tendencies similar to Saturn in the 1st, and more so than people with North/South Node in the 1st. One must, however, consider all factors. (North/South Node in Capricorn, in the 10th house or conjunct Saturn will obviously carry a great deal of karmic pressure.)
Because both Nodes relate back to the Moon, either can be a point of insecurity (where we feel needy, whiny, vulnerable, infantile) or a point of emotional sustenance and support (where we've laid a good foundation, can trust, give and receive nurturing to and with other people).
Conjunctions to the Nodes
Any conjunction to a Node will, first and foremost, emphasize the polarity involved. Secondly, the nature of the planet making the conjunction becomes more tied into that polarity. Continuing with the 1st/7th (or Aries/Libra) polarity, if the Sun is making a conjunction, the polarization between Self and Other will revolve much around issues of ego, self-esteem and who gets center stage. If Saturn is making the conjunction, the push/pull of assertion versus accommodation will center on professional questions; issues of who gets to call the shots, dictator tendencies and criticism may be used to push the other person away. Power issues are significant in relationships.
Following are some brief notes on planetary conjunctions.
Sun conjunct North Node: Ego and pride are tied to security needs. This person may feel safest when on stage or otherwise at the center of attention. Nurturing becomes connected with praise and admiration (both in terms of what person wants from and gives to others). Close, intimate connections are expected to stroke one's ego. Creative urges are strengthened within family contexts or close ties.
Sun conjunct South Node: A degree of insecurity is likely. This individual may fear the limelight -- or have problems ever getting off the stage. Negative feedback is likely to be extra tough on this person. They may feel creatively blocked or have fears or phobias connected to children, childbearing, love affairs, romance, men, leadership, etc. They can gain sustenance through expressing themselves and receiving positive regard.
Moon conjunct North Node: The need for home, family and emotional security is extra strong. Issues revolving around dependency and nurturing are highlighted. The mother figure (and the nurturing role) have a strong impact on this person's sense of safety. Food may be their security blanket. They're vulnerable to the moods of people in their environment. They may strive to protect themselves or others, and are working on the balance between the two.
Moon conjunct South Node: Emotional vulnerability is accented in this person. They may be too protective, overly needy, very susceptible to the emotions of a mother figure or other family members. They may feel lacking in unconditional love. They may fear family, dependency, parenthood, roots or emotional connections. They find more safety and sustenance by establishing strong ties, getting and giving trust to others.
Mercury conjunct North Node: Emotional security is tied to this person's mind. If healthy, this individual finds sustenance and support through reading, learning, discussing and exercising their brainpower. If unhealthy they may be afraid to talk, write or learn -- or afraid to stop talking or exercising intellectual skills. Their verbal expression may be an indicator of their sense of safety. They could articulate their emotions well.
Mercury conjunct South Node: This person may be intellectually insecure (this can manifest itself if the individual feels stupid, has phone phobia, is blocked in terms of reading or other mental arenas) or they might trust only in rationality and logic. They may be fearful or phobic in school, regarding siblings, transportation, media, commerce, etc. Their challenge is to gain security through exercising mental skills and to learn that knowledge can be a bulwark.
Venus conjunct North Node: Love or money is connected to security needs. This individual may hang on to relationships or cling to possessions. They may turn their partner or bank account into their security blanket. They may find safety through involvement with beauty, counseling or peer relationships. They may nurture or be nurtured in partnerships.
Venus conjunct South Node: This person may be fearful about relationships or financial matters. They could feel unloved, poor or blocked in regards to pleasure. They might overdo or underdo (or swing between those extremes) material indulgence and sensuality. Learning to protect and be protected within interpersonal exchanges is key for this individual.
Mars conjunct North Node: This person's safety is tied to action and independence. They reassure themselves by seeking the liberty to do their own thing. They may be a pioneer in emotional matters. Ambivalence between freedom and closeness is likely. Learning to balance personal desires and caretaking duties and create their own personal emotional foundation is key.
Mars conjunct South Node: This individual may be fearful or phobic about ever taking the initiative. They could be overly self-critical. Issues are possible surrounding health (especially relating to repression), violence or assertiveness. They may go to extremes (too much or too little) in regards to personal action or physicality. Learning how to care for themselves and others is key.
Jupiter conjunct North Node: Faith becomes tied to this individual's emotional security. Their beliefs and values will either provide a firm foundation or add to their insecurity and anxiety. They may feel safest when doing something bigger and better or when wheeling and dealing. They could feel torn between establishing roots and having adventure in their lives. Spirituality can be a source of emotional strength.
Jupiter Conjunct South Node: This person has a karmic lesson to learn regarding faith, trust, beliefs and values. They may have too much faith or too little, or put trust in the wrong place (areas of life that are not infinite) or the wrong people. They could feel phobic or fearful about travel, foreigners, religion, education or expansion and growth. Learning to extend unconditional love, to trust in God, nature and the parts of life that are infinite is key for them.
Saturn conjunct North Node: Safety urges are tied to executive instincts, professional ambitions and pragmatism. This individual probably feels most secure when they're working, achieving tangible results or wielding authority. They may be torn between dominance and dependence or their home or family and their career. They may overdo conservatism and self-preservation. They do well in solid, established, enduring relationships.
Saturn conjunct South Node: This individual faces a karmic challenge surrounding power, authority and control; this is often connected to a father figure or other intimate authority. They may be dictatorial and overbearing, or fearful of taking charge. They might be insecure regarding their profession or contribution to society. Learning to trust their own strength and to take appropriate responsibility is key to their development.
Uranus conjunct North Node: This person probably feels most secure when they're involved with transpersonal issues or when they can do their own thing. They could be inventive in regards to emotional matters and their close, caring connections. Unusual associations are quite possible for them. They might nurture humanity or turn their friends into family. They can be quite emotionally tolerant.
Uranus conjunct South Node: This individual is likely to feel threatened in regards to their own originality or individuality. They may squelch their rebellious urges or overdo them. They experience a push and pull between dependency and independence, between home and the wider world or between family and friends. Learning to have emotional ties without possessiveness and to make open-ended commitments is key to this person's development.
Neptune conjunct North Node: This person reassures themselves through contact with nature, beauty and other inspirational pursuits. Spiritual connections can be a source of security for them. They may overidealize others in their relationships, or expect too much in nurturing contexts. They feel safest in their own imagination and transcendent talents. They want a magical home life.
Neptune conjunct South Node: This individual may feel phobic about beauty, imagination or their rescuing instincts. They could yearn for the unattainable dream. They tend to overdo visualization and fantasy. A savior-victim association could develop. Learning to find the common ground between human love and a love of God is key to this individual, who is very sensitive to cosmic nurturing.
Pluto conjunct North Node: This person finds security in understanding the depths of their own psyche and other people's. They may be intensely committed to establishing safe emotional foundations. They tend to hang on in relationships, sometimes for too long. Issues of safety and protection may take on life-and-death proportions. Feelings of blame and shame may be connected to nurturing. Sex could be used as a security blanket. Their protective instincts seek psychological understanding. Looking deeper into psyches (their own and others') provides security for this individual.
Pluto conjunct South Node: This position denotes karmic challenges regarding intimacy, self-mastery, addiction or compulsivity. This person might be lacking in self-control or tends toward obsession. Issues surrounding power and shared possessions are highlighted in their close associations. This person tends to learn about themselves through the mirror of other people. They develop intense emotional connections. The development of self-mastery and deep psychological insights is accentuated in their personal relationships.
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