The North and South Nodes
Notes from an Astrologer's Personal Handbook
The North and South nodes are important to the analysis of the natal birth chart. They will give the astrologer and lay person an overview of what the life focus is and where it needs to go. It is important to remember that astrology is a symbolic science and craft.
There many aspects of astrology that are both symbolic and scientific. Take for example the planets, which are part of the foundation of the science of astrology. Each planet has an astronomical value of size, density, and orbital velocity. This is its scientific aspect, and yet there is a symbolic side, which gives each of these planets a psychological meaning for each individual.
The North and South nodes in the birth chart also have both a scientific and symbolic function. Scientifically, the nodes are the points where the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic, or the visible, apparent path of the Sun across the sky. Symbolically, the nodes create an axis (North and South) in opposition to each other. This axis, along with the signs the nodes are in, can give the astrologer an overall picture of the behavior patterns individuals have developed in the past, and of the behavior patterns they should try to develop to reach their full potential in the future.
The South node represents the past - whether you choose to look at it from the point of view of a previous lifetime or as the childhood and adolescence of this lifetime. Either way, the South node in the natal birth chart, calculated for the month, day, and year of birth, gives the astrologer information about previous behavior patterns. This is important because it reveals what the individual is bringing from the past. The South node indicates the talents and abilities developed in the past, and the sign the South node is in shows the kinds of problems the individual has experienced.
The North node represents the future, what we are all working towards. Information about the North node assists us in charting our individual course to fulfill our own destiny. It helps us see how to maximize our potential and prepare for the experiences that lie ahead of us.
Understanding the influence of the North and South nodes is somewhat complicated, and many books have been written on this subject. A skilled and experienced astrologer can help create a clear picture that makes sense for each individual by putting all the many scattered "pieces" of the human condition together in a viable and logical manner.
Loda Shaw Jr., Astrologer