The nodes of the Moon hold deep meaning to our life's purpose and provide insight and understanding of our growth and stagnation points. Astrologically they are indicators of where we need to weed, and feed, in our lives.
Knowing which sign the nodes of the Moon sit in can provide specific information on past life experiences and present life learning goals. We can use this information to guide us in our conscious evolution.
What Is a Lunar Node?
While the Earth circles the Sun, the Moon orbits the Earth. At times the Moon appears to be in front or on top of the Earth, and at times it appears to be behind or under it. The front node is the north node, and the back node is the south node. Technically mathematical points, they sit opposite one another on a chart with a 180-degree separation and describe the relationship of the Moon relative to the Earth and the Sun at the time of birth.
Astronomically, the north node is ahead of the Earth, charting new territory and leading the way. The south node lies in our wake in the past, territory that has already been explored.
Astrologically, the nodes are associated with spiritual evolution. The south node represents "where we've come from"—our strengths, abilities, skills, and propensities from previous lives. The north node represents "where we need to go"—the cutting edge or learning curve we need to engage in to evolve in this life.
Together, the north and south nodes signify our personal karmic imbalance. Knowledge of natal nodal placement can enable consciousness of life lessons that, when tackled, will eventually cultivate our shift to karmic balance. The nodes represent over-developed and underdeveloped parts of us that we need to consciously weed and feed, respectively, to create balance.
The south node represents areas that tend to be well developed and that we fall back on in times of stress. This is our comfort zone, and includes things we are good at and feel confident doing. But, like our parental home, the south node is a safe place we need to leave in order to grow, learn, and have adventures.
The north node represents what we need to explore in order to evolve, grow, and develop. It's where we're going and what we are growing into. It is our learning curve, what we came to accomplish, and what will help us evolve. If you believe that the meaning of life is to evolve spiritually, then the north node speaks to the meaning or purpose of life. Its sign placement indicates where we need to grow and expand in order to accomplish what we have come here to learn.
It's not necessary to deny our karmic past represented by the south node, but to consciously evolve into the divine intention of the north node placement. When we make choices honoring the north node, we consciously aid our evolution. The north node is our life's mission, and the sooner one consciously chooses to master what is required, the sooner life will become more "higher-purpose-driven."
Alternately, if we rely on our south node skills, abilities, and ways, we'll be mired in the past and fail to evolve. If we see someone has been "stuck" their whole life, it is worthwhile looking at their south node placement. Often they stay stuck because they're choosing to repeat the same lessons from their karmic past over and over again.
To determine where the lunar nodes are in a natal chart, use one of the many free online resources, such as Astrodienst, Astrolabe, or CafeAstrology. Enter birth data (date, time, and location of birth) and a natal chart will be generated, showing the lunar nodes and what signs they sit in. Then consult below for the meaning of each astrological sign pair.
Because north and south node always sit 180 degrees apart, they can be discussed in pairs. In gardening terms, they identify what to weed out (old energy—south node placement) and what to seed, water, and cultivate so that it may bear fruit (new energy—north node placement).
- Aries and Libra
- Aries south node—weed out the "me first" attitude and let go of self-centered thinking, aggression, conflict, and oppositional energy. Perhaps you were previously self-reliant, pushy, and hot-headed. Your acquired skills may include independence, self-sufficiency, and the ability to take on conflict. It is time to let these go.
- Libra north node—cultivate balance and the power of partnerships. Learn to compromise and commit, collaborate, and cooperate. Coming to a win-win agreement benefits everyone. Learn how to ask for help, rely on others, compromise, find balance and cultivate peace.
- Libra south node—weed out peacekeeping and continual compromise. In your past life you maintained peace and were gentle, loving, and conciliatory. You have strengths in collaboration and partnership and coming to agreements. You are being asked to let these go. Release the need to put others first and let go of unhealthy relationships and passive-aggressive behavior.
- Aries north node—cultivate leadership skills. Learn to stand alone and take care of yourself. Be self-sufficient and cultivate autonomy. Develop your inner warrior and fight for your rights; lead campaigns, resist conformity, and stand on your own two feet and express your anger clearly.
- Taurus and Scorpio
- Scorpio south node—weed out the need to "use" other people. Let go of manipulation, seduction, and relying on others to support you. Stop using sex to hold power over someone or secrets to manipulate.
- Taurus north node—practice being grounded physically. Cultivate habits and routines that support you and enable you to be more fully connected to the people around you. Make your own money, and engage in sex as an honest expression of attraction and care. Be honest, tell it like it is, don't fabricate. Be fully present to who and what is in front of you.
- Taurus south node—weed out over-indulgence. Let go of excessive appetites, binge eating or drinking, excessive sweets, and overly fatty foods. Release attachment to luxury items and the idea that you should have something better. Let go of always providing for others.
- Scorpio north node—feed your divine self through prayer, meditation, and simple living. Cultivate a connection to the divine and life's mysteries. Welcome gifts and financial support from others, benefit from joint financial ventures, and cultivate sources of passive income.
- Gemini and Sagittarius
- Sagittarius south node—weed out intellectual superiority, shooting your mouth off without accurate facts, being too theoretical or philosophical, or acting arrogantly. Release close-mindedness, zealotry, and feelings of being better than, and let go of greed, pickiness, and being pompous.
- Gemini north node—focus on being present, cultivating mindfulness and awareness, and connection to what's happening around you. Engage deeply with others in partnerships, clubs, teams, and community, and stay deeply focused on one thing at at time. Have reverence for people and listen deeply to them.
- Gemini south node—weed out two-faced lying, false pretence, and deception. Avoid gossip, saying mean things, or making up stories. Root out your desire to be more important socially, and fixating on small (insignificant) details. Release busyness and multitasking. Let go of being spread too thin.
- Sagittarius north node—cultivate big-picture thinking, lofty ideas, higher education, international allies, and friends from various cultures. Seek to learn new things, and sow the seeds for adventure, travel, and long-distance exploration.
- Cancer and Capricorn
- Capricorn south node—weed out materialism and status seeking, consumption, consumerism, and defining yourself by your possessions. Let go of competition, social climbing, a hunger for power, and workaholism. Root out sexism and patriarchy. Don't value thoughts over feelings, or head over heart.
- Cancer north node—nurture your emotional self and relationships, soften and develop compassion, self-care, self-esteem, and deep love for others. Connect emotionally with people and let your heart rule, and allow yourself to express care through gentle nurturing and compassionate acts. Create a safe home environment that nurtures your need for safety and belonging.
- Cancer south node—weed out a fear of abandonment, let go of being overly emotional, and release meekness. Release the need to hide in relationships and resist being overly feminine.
- Capricorn north node—cultivate your public life, be strong, dynamic and forceful, and speak with authority. Grow your leadership and professional skills to excel in the business realm, and learn to manage others, empowering them to succeed under your leadership. Cultivate the masculine traits of public confidence and strong self image.
- Leo and Aquarius
- Aquarius south node—weed out trying to make people like you. Let go of hiding your feelings. Release being rootless, unattached, and alone. Release your lack of emotion.
- Leo north node—cultivate creativity and shining public performances. Collaborate and bring great things to light. Grow your ability to follow your heart, treat yourself and others to good things, and display your affection openly. Treat yourself well, and develop deep and abiding self-esteem.
- Leo south node—let go of making everything all about you. Stop performing to win approval. Release your focus on external approval and attention seeking. Give up needing to be at the center of everything, so let go of drama and taking everything personally. Release your need to control people, and stop overreacting.
- Aquarius north node—seek out opportunities to collaborate and develop a deep sense of community with other individualistic people. Find ways to live sustainably, detached from drama, chaos, and manipulation, and become very practical and rational in your approach to living.
- Virgo and Pisces
- Pisces south node—release your need to be a victim. Let go of self-pity and making excuses, and stop allowing others to bully you. You have made too many sacrifices and now you can let go of denial and deception.
- Virgo north node—embrace fact finding, data, and research. Let results guide your decisions. Seed routines and rituals to accomplish the tasks of daily living easily, and use structures to support your creative output. Being personally responsible enables you to set clear boundaries, stand up for yourself, and get a lot done.
- Virgo south node—let go of the need to control everything. Let go of rote, monotonous routine, and the need to be perfect. No one is. Release the need to self-medicate or escape reality through drug or alcohol use. Release your reliance on facts and data. Stop asking for proof.
- Pisces north node—trust your instincts, use your imagination and intuition, and believe in the divine. Develop your psychic powers, your relationship with a higher power, and connect to the wide-reaching divine energy. Cultivate the ability to process your emotions, using therapy and creativity to heal yourself and recover from addiction.
Armed now with the knowledge of the nodes of the Moon, consciously tend to your garden, carefully weeding and feeding.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2018 Moon Sign Book. Click here for current-year calendars, almanacs, and datebooks.