by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Enter the Nodes: Trying Anew - and the Utterly and Truly New


As of March 3rd, the Lunar Nodes will shift from a North Node in Capricorn and South Node in Cancer to the North Node transiting Sagittarius with the South Node transiting Gemini.

What exactly are the Lunar Nodes and why do we think they are what astrologers say they are?

Well, look at it this way…the Earth orbits around the Sun. Metaphorically, that’s the path of life – of all of life, which on a human level we think of as ‘the world.’

The Moon meanwhile, orbits around the Earth. Where the Sun is more global, the Moon is our feelings and memories and resources – it’s connected to all things personal…mostly because we react on a personal level to things around us!

Anyway…think of the Moon as orbiting around Earth – and as it does so, it crosses that (imagined) orbital path of the Earth around the Sun.

The two points of crossing would thus be where our personal life intersects life in the world around us…which is why we think of the Lunar Nodes as all those places we intersect with the world or society. Nodes are often involved (by transit) with getting a job. Or zeroing in on how to get people to respond to you. After all, the Nodes represent not just the intersecting for you, but where the You of life is able to intersect with society. 

So what’s the rub here?

Yes, there is always a challenge! (big sigh…)

Going back to that idea of the Moon orbiting Earth, crossing Earth’s path around the Sun at two spots, one of those crossing points would be as the Moon is moving ‘up’ through Earth’s path – which is known astronomically as the plane of the ecliptic. This is known (trumpets, please…) as the Ascending Node. 

And once I tell you that, it doesn’t take a genius to realize the other Node will be the Descending Node. 

The Ascending Node would require (like anything else uphill-ish) more effort. Think of pushing a bike up a hill. But once you get to the top? Wheeeeee! It’s a fun ride down the mountain! We know how to do that part, right? We like doing that part!

Yup, that’s the Descending Node.

The Ascending Node is the North Node. And while we could wax all philosophic here about phrases like ‘going south’ and such, the reason for this is more realistically that this is about the Moon rising up through the plane of the ecliptic, heading for Earth’s northern pole.

The Descending Node is the South Node – for reasons which are just as evidently obvious.

And our response to the Nodes? They’re very much exactamundo in keeping with the bicycle image: we don’t much like being made to push that bike up the hill and we all love coasting back down.

For those into the concept of past lives, the South Node represents what’s ‘easy’ for you, considering you learned it in a past life. For the rest of us, it’s just easy because it’s easier to do than tackling all that drudgery and trudgery going up the hill. As an astrologer, if you name a novice or newbee’s North Node task you can expect to get at least a groan, and sometimes a wholesale flack attack!

(Yes, sometimes being an astrologer requires flame proof armor.)

Because the Nodes have an 18.6 year cycle, they change signs about every 2.5 years. And yes, that 18.6 year cycle does relate to why so many societies think of childhood as lasting until we’re 18. And why at that point we’re fit for college and the military and such. Not that we’re really grown up or anything – neurology types now put the age of full brain maturation at around age 26.

But maybe there’s a benefit to inducting us into hard core life choices before our brain has a chance to fully develop a sense of consequence – as medicine now projects to be around age 21?

That’s a whole other blog. This one continues on by pointing out that the Nodes changing signs about every 2.5 years means that the last time this happened was back in August 2009, when Pluto had just committed to its transit of Capricorn – the sign the North Node was moving into at that time.

Because the Nodes (like the Astrological Ages) move backwards, this means Pluto was at the beginning of Capricorn as the Nodes hit the end of Capricorn.

Think ‘pincer movement’ – society got caught between these opposing forces. And as the Nodes counted down (backwards) they rather swiftly (in astrological/cosmic terms) arrived at the wee degrees of Capricorn (North) and Cancer (South) with Pluto still in Capricorn’s first decanate.

A pause here to contemplate how those things which move backwards….the Nodes, the Ages…they all have to do with the big shifts of society…time unfolding, unfurling and marching by…

Why would that be? Maybe they’re not ‘going backward’ so much as they’re ‘coming towards us’ where “normal” motion has to do with our efforts to move forward in our lives?

As the Nodes moved into and through Capricorn’s last (lowest) degrees, things became very personal, very vital, entirely physical – on a societal basis. There was a shooting in Arizona where a member of the US Congress (government/Capricorn) and by-standing members of the public (citizenry/Cancer) were killed. Across the Middle East, citizens (Cancer) rose up against their (Capricorn) governments and “ruling classes.”

Eighteen years ago (back in 1993), the Nodes were in this same zodiacal region. Did we see such things back then? No. But then, Pluto wasn’t in Capricorn at the time.

Signal combinations add meaning, yes. That’s why simple, computerized astrology generally doesn’t work. Yes, computers can tell you where celestial positions are, just like computers can now analyze blood tests. But when it comes to putting together a stellium of symptoms, you need a doctor – or in the case of a stellium of astronomical positions you want to interpret on the metaphysical level, an astrologer.

(Someone hand me my lab coat, please…)

Anyway…getting back to that moving backward thing, what this means is that when the Nodes change signs, they enter the next set of signs at 29 degrees, the last degree of any given sign. You’ve heard me talk about 29 degrees as a ‘critical’ degree, though ‘intense’ or ‘fervent’ may be a better sort of term. Twenty-nine is where the sign is at it’s maximal pronouncement – for better or worse, pro and con. It’s as if it’s on a deadline, racing around trying to get everything done before the due date.

Some of us work well under pressure. Astrological symbols…? Sometimes yes, but often not so much!

But since the work symbolized by the Nodes is to bring society, opportunities and social forces home to us…(hoping we’ll do a little North Node thing and improve life!) in Nodal terms, the ‘extreme’ is when they reach zero – the Nodal “end of the line” signifying its maximal effort in any given sign.

So as the Nodes move into 29 Sagittarius and Gemini as of March 3rd at 12:38 (UT/+0) should we expect much intensity but not the flat out affect we saw when the Nodes were in the 0, 1, 2, 3 of Capricorn/Cancer?

Well, sort of. And to understand my hedging, we have to consider the signs. Capricorn is an earth sign. It’s pragmatic. Cancer is a water sign. It’s emotional. As an axis and polarity, Capricorn/Cancer is all about how life works…and of course that ever popular adjunct, life sucks! and this isn’t working for me or anyone else! 

Considering that, it’s not shocking that around the world, as the Nodes backed through Capricorn and Cancer, lifestyles were on the line and governments (and business, seeing that Capricorn is ‘commerce’ or ‘the business of business’) …governments and business got yelled at a lot.

Not to mention all the yelling which went on inside governments, business and so on!

Sagittarius/Gemini is a whole other thing. Sagittarius is a fire sign. Fire equals imagination and the idea of it. The positive of Sagittarius is that it forces us to put things out there and in the works in order to find the hidden glitches which only show up when things exit the drawing board and meet up with real life. Sagittarius is all about learning better and finding the flaws in order to correct them and by correcting them, come to be able to reach your goals.

Gemini, on the other hand, is an idea and concept driven air sign. In Gemini, it’s a lot easier to talk about it than get to the task of doing it. Planning is fun, assembly not so fun. The popular notion of Gemini as being all about ‘many’ is valid in that we should see what the choices are…but in the end, Gemini asks that we make a choice and follow it through far enough that it can get put out there in the Sagittarian polarity and we can see what the flaws may be, correct them, and get somewhere in life.

The optimal thing would be to use the whole of this polarity in an integrated manner, looking through our choices and choosing something (Gemini) which we then follow through on, learning from the doing, from the effort, from the little - even substantial problems along the way (Sagittarius).

However...with a South Node in Gemini, we’re far more likely to hear a lot of talk and not as much choosing. If 'broken' apart from the North Node in Sagittarius, things which should be renovated, corrected, worked through or replaced will get debated and if they fail, critiqued.

North Node in Sagittarius asks us to critique usefully – to find the flaw and fix it. But it doesn’t suggest we should set ourselves up as judge and jury on others! Far from it – North Node in Sagittarius asks us to grow. It asks us to learn what ‘just’ really is by opening both our hearts and our minds. Like as not, it will be useful if we do. Even profitable. Even necessary. North Node in Sagittarius asks us to expand our personal world and grow the greater body of world knowledge. It asks us to try something new and accept things which seem odd to us. We may not love them...but maybe there's a reason they exist? That which is new and unfamiliar, the "road less traveled" is where opportunities may well lie. Do we want to capitalize on new ideas? Or just cling to the known?

As the South Node enters Gemini, its within zodiacal ‘spitting distance’ of fixed star Betelgeuse (at 28 Gemini), a star all about ‘ease of accomplishment.’ For some of us, this will herald a time when what we have been working for becomes easier to achieve while for others, taking that ‘easy way out’ becomes more of an allure than ever.

Moving quickly, the South Node conjuncts Betelgeuse during early March and moves on, entering the 5 degrees of orb inside at the very end of Marsh, after which we can expect a tinge of 'affect' representing fixed star Bellatrix (at 21 Gemini).

Bellatrix is pretty much the opposition dynamic to Betelgeuse, challenging us to get our ideas out there against objections, hassles and – like as not – people so in love with their own point of view that they’d rather see something useful or good go down in flames than let go.

The symbols here: Agamemnon (strength), Psyche (the mind), Medea (self-defeating love) which by the time the Nodes get into the Bellatrix district will be hanging out at 20, 21 and 22 Gemini.

Medea - a poster for Sarah Bernhardt's
theater production by Alfons Mucha (1898)

And considering that about this time Atropos (endings) will be coloring the North Node, there is an ending coming. What that ending is…that’s up for grabs, except that we know Medea is sitting with the South Node.

We also know that as of 10:14 am (UT/+0)...a little over two hours before the Nodes shift signs...Medusa, Ye Olde Asteroid named for She Who Symbolizes Frightening Knowledge moves into Gemini.

The former note tells us that if what you are doing is actually about doing the right thing (as simply opposed to something which will work well for you) you will in time, win through. 

But yes, you  have to first get there. And if what you are doing isn't right, you can face the music now...or be faced down by fearful truths soon enough.

And yet there is that odd little quirk about Medusa - namely that when you reflect on what you learn which seems so frightening, you can actually deal with. You can 'slay the gorgon,' as it were.

(Don't know Medusa's story? CLICK HERE.)

With all this in mind, we do know that in moving forward into this new Nodal 'slice-of-life,' there is some benefit in taking some cherished 'something’ out there. How do we know that? We know that because as the North Node enters Sagittarius in conjunction with asteroid Child. So what is “your baby”? If it fits the Sagittarian criteria of being something new, useful, mind expanding, philosophical, correcting of flaws…(etc.)…then this is your time to give your baby project or idea a public whirl.

Just don’t expect things to be simple, easy, or without a lot of uphill bike-pushing.

The South Node will reach Bellatrix by mid-August, 2011. But seeing as we will have an eclipse in Gemini as June arrives, dynamics will be changing long before the South Node rock meets up with the Bellatrix hard place.

And lets not forget...Bellatrix and Betelgeuse are stars which are part of Orion, the archer and hunter.

 A diagram of Orion the hunter by Mysid

And Sagittarius? That is also the sign of the hunter.

So this period is all about hunting what we need and want in life...which does require (North Node) efforts! 

But maybe for now, the best place to start with is recognizing the difference in social mindset. Much of life has been focused on ‘hard facts’ (Capricorn/Cancer) during these past couple of years. And maybe the lesson is that we really need to recognize the problems in order to now grasp that it’s a time to choose (Gemini) to fix (Sagittarius) things, in our life, and in the world which supports that life.

This March's aura of the Nodes moving into the third decanate of Sagittarius/Gemini may remind us of times in mid-late 2009 when we saw everything going on and going wrong in our world. That was North Node in Capricorn’s 3rd decan, South Node in Cancer’s 3rd decan. Most people pulled back and got protective about their power, their positions and what they were wanting to achieve.

That was very Capricorn/Cancer. The considerations then were very tangible and they felt pragmatic. Now the considerations will be more of a 'thought reaction' and seem less about need than 'what's right' ...and maybe 'what's right for me.'

 Sagittarius the Archer as illustrated in
an old English manuscript

We can hope we won't just feel self-protective, as we did when the South Node was in Cancer. But can we get past our instinct to just talk about it and want to know more and procrastinate and find someone to ask and, and, and, and...

That remains for us to see. The Nodes will be in the 3rd decanates of Sagittarius and Gemini until mid-August 2011. This will seem the time when we have less of a 'handle' on things.

From there they move into the 2nd and emotional decanate (think: evocation of emotions...) until late in February 2012. It can be a joyously exciting, or a seriously over-stimulating time.

In late February, 2012...then the Nodes move on into the physical and 'real life' portion of Sagittarius and Gemini until the very end of August 2012. That's when we'll see whether we acted with sufficient alacrity - or whether we babbled while we painted, ending up in our own corner.

But the totality of this...does that strike you as 2.5 years? From March 2011 through August 2012 doesn't register with me as being anything close to 2.5 years!

And that would be....why?

The 'why' there is about the fact that just like all other celestial cycles, the Lunar Nodes have 'short' and 'long' passages. This next one is a short one. That may mean we can get our work done quickly. That may also mean we need to have life 'compact' a lot into a little temporal space in order to get us what, make the Gemini choice or to venture away from what tend to be our Sagittarius assumptions of life should be?

Whatever happens is up to us. And though we do need to obviously think about what to choose to do, we also need to get on with the doing.

Sounds like a busy year or so to come...with much to be realized and discovered, if we will only require that we give ourselves a chance to grow!

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