Dane Rudhyar


The nodal axis relating the plane of the Moon's orbit to that of the Earth has been symbolized as a Dragon. The north node was called Dragon's head; the south node, Dragon's tail. The reason for such a symbolism had presumably to do with the fact that eclipses occur when New Moons and Full Moons occur near the lunar nodes. The celestial Dragon was thought to swallow the eclipsed body. There are, however deeper meanings to the allegory, meanings referring to the undulating motion of life-energies, particularly the of late much publicized Kundalini power, but also to the relative function of the two nodes. The north node, I repeat, is the point of intake; the south node, the point of release or evacuation. In animal organisms the biological functions can be shown to operate alongside of an alimentary tube; food is absorbed at one end, waste products excreted at the other end - "north" and "south."


This is the process called "metabolism." If food is not properly metabolized - and symbolically this would refer to the passage of the Moon in north latitude, from north to south node ­then there may be problems of evacuation. As a result, traditional astrology has thought of the north node as a positive factor implying personal effort (the act of chewing food) but also Providential help; the south node as a symbol of behavior leading to automatism and/or "self­undoing."


What apparently has not been realized is that the region including the south end of this process in animal organisms is also that in which the release of seed takes place. Such a release is also, in a sense, spontaneously instinctive and nearly automatic: the sperm and ovum are periodically ejected from the male and female organisms and often this release of seed cause many problems and is related to a great deal of self-undoing; but not necessarily so. The release of seed-material may never produce procreative results; unfecundated ova are periodically rejected by the female organism, and the menstruation process may cause discomfort or even severe cramps. One could even say that the sexual orgasm is a release of accumulated and unusable nervous energy; but according to all occult and esoteric traditions, this energy can be "sublimated" and used to build a "spiritual body" - or it may be re-channeled into mental and creative (instead of procreative) developments.


The French composer, Saint-Saens, was fond of saying: "I compose just like an apple tree produces apples." The true creative artist releases almost automatically art products which his psycho-mental organism produces spontaneously and of which, in a sense, he has to get rid. He acts in relation to his culture, or to a special group of individuals constituting his potential public, as a male fecundating a female. And in peaceful times in an open society this creative fecundation should be harmonious and fulfilling, without frustration or undue excitement. It should be performed as a ritual.


From the preceding it should be clear that the nodes' meaning can be applied at all levels of a human life. The north node refers to whatever builds the personality, bringing to it new material. This material should not only be absorbed, but metabolized - and this refers to reading books and absorbing new ideas as well as to the intake of anything which can become assimilated by the consciousness of the individual person. The south node refers to any material whatsoever (physical, emotional-psychic, mental) which the organism no longer needs, whether it be that the substance cannot be used and is in a decaying or poisonous condition, or that it is the positive and creative expression of the natural function of the body-mind organism.


The absolutely basic fact which no astrologer should ever forget is that the nodes are the two ends of an axis; one end cannot be understood without the other. Marc Jones has spoken of the nodal line as the "axis of fate." It refers to two basic approaches to existence, both of which should be included in the harmonious life of man. Yet the position of the north node in a natal house and zodiacal sign essentially indicates where the positive focus of conscious existence should be established, i.e., where the "will" should find its field of most constructive action. Normally it is the field in which, through intense exertion, maximum spiritual returns to the person as an individual self can be expected.


However, because the south node should not be thought of always or entirely as a negative factor, the house and sign in which it is located are not at all necessarily fields of "self-undoing"; or else one has to realize that what is meant most significantly by "sacrifice" represent, in a sense an "undoing" of the individual person. At the south node one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal. There are many ways of speaking of sacrifice, some quite meaningless, even actually egocentric or masochistic. But the true meaning of sacrifice is "making sacred"; and this implies a complete dedication of one's thoughts and actions to what one may call either God or mankind - or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will.


In the deepest sense of the term, "destiny" may be accomplished symbolically where the south node is placed in one's birth-chart. Something greater than oneself may be fulfilled there - one's basic function in society or in the universe. And such a fulfillment may indeed mean relatively at least, paying little attention to the building and harmonious development of one's individual personality. "Individuality" and "destiny" can indeed be considered, at least in many instances, as polar opposites, if by destiny is meant one's essential relationship to what is greater than your personal self.


The position of the north node in a particular zodiacal sign will show which basic type or mode of life-energy can be most fruitfully used in building one's personality - what kind of "food" at any level is most conducive to personal growth provided this food is chewed well and absorbed with a conscious effort at utilizing only what is needed and can be wholesomely assimilated.


The position of the south node in a zodiacal sign above all warns you of the danger inherent in using indiscriminately and automatically (or under the pressure of an unconscious complex) the negative implication of the sign. For instance, in the preceding essay we find that both Nietzsche and Sri Aurobindo have their lunar north node in Gemini, and therefore the south node in Sagittarius. In order to fulfill their personal work they had to absorb a great deal of Gemini-type of mental substance - in German and in English schools. But their destinies were to pour upon mankind ideas and visions filled with a metaphysical and prophetic Sagittarian spirit. In many ways both went to extremes in presenting their views, and their works radiated a power which drew many people into definite­groups of followers. Unfortunately for Nietzsche the closeness of his natal Moon to its south node produced in him a definite anima-complex (to use Carl Jung's term), and other factors, like the squaring of the nodes and the Moon by Venus, and his several oppositions, presented problems of integration which finally tore him apart.


In President Franklin D. Roosevelt's chart the nodal situation is reversed, with the north node in Sagittarius and presumably close to the natal meridian. President Kennedy had a Capricorn north node, but also not far from the meridian and in his third House. Their south nodes near the Mid Heaven may be seen as an indication of "sacrifice" to a public destiny. In both cases the Moon had also south latitude.


It seems to me, however, that the position of the lunar nodes - and especially of the planetary nodes - in the Houses is usually more significant than their positions in the zodiacal signs. It may be because the Houses are to be considered definitely in terms of axes (i.e., Ascendant­Descendant, Zenith-Nadir) even more so than the signs. It may be mainly because the Houses represent basic fields of experiences, and that it is in terms of concrete life-experiences that the operation of the north-south nodes polarity is most recognizable.


The House in which the Moon's north node is located at birth usually represents the type of experiences involving the greatest amount of personal exertion, but also normally producing the most valuable results in terms of the person's capacity to adjust to his environment and the challenges it poses.


The House in which the south node is placed refers to a type of experience which one can easily take for granted; that is, one tends to allow the experiences to control the consciousness, instead of the conscious mind controlling the experiences. One is naturally good at meeting such experiences and therefore they represent the line of least resistance and thus of least exertion. Because of this, one tends to repeat and indulge in them. Yet in some instances these experiences may refer to a gift or faculty acquired in "past lives" (or genetically inherited from one's parents), and this may be the field in which one can express some sort of "genius." It may be also the place in which one will be called upon to "sacrifice" one's deeply cherished ego and emerge as a "representative man," a symbol of some notable achievement to one's community or to mankind as a whole.


The following is an attempt to indicate briefly the general trend associated in most instances with the position of the nodal axis in the natal Houses. I t should be clear that these are only general indications and that the factors in a personal life which the Moon's node may reveal are most of the time not obvious - for the same reason that a man displaying blatant aggressiveness may do so in order to compensate for a deep-seated sense of inferiority, the typical case being that of Benito Mussolini.


Moon's north node in the First House


The important thing for the individual is to learn from experiences in which he takes a personal stand. This may lead in some cases to a tendency to showmanship, but also to originality. As the result of such an approach to circumstances, some valuable results may be gained in terms of partnership, marriage or any intimate association (south node in the seventh House). The danger is to indulge in all kinds of relationships and become so involved that the self becomes the slave of a yearning for losing oneself in others. A good example is the chart of Franz Liszt, the prototype of the great virtuoso who, though wasting far too much energy in the by-products of fame and adulation, nevertheless, through the sheer power of his personality, transformed the social position of the artist in nineteenth century Europe.


Moon's north node in the Second House


The Second House is not only the realm of "money and possessions" but it refers to inherited tendencies, physical abilities and mental faculties - the first possessions of the incarnating self. The basic issue for the individual is how to man­age what he owns, i.e., the proper use of his powers. If he does so successfully he will receive good rewards from partnerships (south node in eighth House). Yet he may bank too much on interpersonal or group relationships, and find these deceiving. He should stress his own tradition and background, rather than trust others too implicitly. Example: General, and especially President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Also apparent­ly Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science (eighth House south node?).


Moon's north node in the Third House  


The strength of the personal development of a solid foundation life and the in the world will depend mainly on a keen ability to think concretely and evaluate whole situations - and also on the capacity to formulate clearly principles of action and methods of establishing relationships between facts. The line of least resistance, however, may be a tendency to escape into vast ninth House concepts and theories, or to follow metaphysical, religious or social ideologies. The lure of the mystical or exotic should be balanced by a keen intellectual grasp of what is actually involved in the great flights of the imagination. Yet such a person may find it his destiny to be a leader in such ninth-House fields, from philosophy and religion to social-political concerns. The Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Kennedy had third House north nodes; also, the great philosopher-occultist-educator-artist Rudolph Steiner.


Moon's north node in the Fourth House


The building of a deep foundation for the personal life is the essential task, unless a strong drive for a public and professional life results from a compulsion of destiny. We see such a drive operating in the case of Richard Wagner, whose personality was neither too pleasant or harmonious, yet whose great creative gifts used as a foundation the ancestral images and myths of his culture. He drew everything and everyone to him as "food," which he then released as great music and dramatic concepts. The Hindu mystic, Ramakrishna, had this same north node position, with an also extremely full first House.


Moon's north node in the Fifth House


The need for self-expression and creative emotional intensity - or for a progeny to project oneself into - is basic as a means to develop one's personality. If constructively satisfied it should lead to a social-cultural fruition, to friends and an easy participation in group-activity. But the south node in the eleventh House may indicate a trend toward mere dreams or escapism in utopian ideals. The dream should be integrated with an effectual work in terms of education, creative art-works or various forms of leadership. Personal frustration in emotional self-expression could produce unwholesome reactions in the eleventh House field, particularly with regards to friendships and social interplay. As example, I might give the intensely creative French poet, Victor Hugo, who also espoused a social-political Cause in his opposition to the Third Empire. He also lived an intensely emotional life.


Moon's north node in the Sixth House


Hard work, the mastery of technique, the experiences related to personal crises or illness, and perhaps devotion to an embodied spiritual Teacher should bring great rewards, if the will and endurance are adequate. Compulsive introspection and too much passivity to the influence of social-religious institutions or collective moods may be a line of least resistance (twelfth House south node). Yet the pull toward an inner life of meditation, or a fateful involvement in social Causes may produce great results if the "Soul" is ready for these things, or if a heavy Karma has to be fulfilled. The great Persian prophets, founders of the Bahai Movement, the Bab and Baha'u'llah, had their north nodes at the end of the sixth House. Their followers consider them Divine Manifestations; one may think of them as "sacrifices" to mankind. The martyred Bab had a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the sixth House in square to a conjunction of Uranus and Neptune (October 20, 1819).


Moon's north node in the Seventh House


This House refers to those experiences which a person obtains through close relationships with other persons - relationships which, theoretically at least, carry the seed-potentiality of participation in a community, or in some kind of larger whole to which the related individuals feel they belong. The House does not merely deal with close contacts between two isolated individuals, even if the relationship were to be permanent. What makes the relationship a seventh House matter is the fact that it occurs within, and in function of a particular society and culture to which the relationship will bring a certain kind of fruition. This is what marriage or business partnership means. In the seventh House the individual realizes, through his relationship with another person, his most basic possibility of fulfilling a definite place and function within his society - or, in a still broader sense, within the whole planet, Earth, and the universe. The challenge which such a realization implies can be difficult; it may lead to the "death" of the individual ego, in the eighth House. The north node in the seventh House reveals the basic importance of interpersonal relationships to the individual person. He may have to work hard at assimilating in his consciousness the lessons of relationship. He may escape into a negative kind of first House south node experience; or he may become a personalized manifestation of love. A typical example is the chart of the Romantic French poet, Alfred de Musset, whose loves were tumultuous and led him to heavy drinking. As a contemporary case we may mention James Roosevelt, eldest son of F.D.R.


Moon's north node in the Eighth House


In this House, the partners discover what is available to them in giving concrete substance to the partnership and how they have to manage their affairs and individual possessions. This is the House of business, as all business is based on transactions; but it refers also to personal experiences which result from the interactions between the partners - and this may mean the experience of surrendering one's dear ego to the larger unit. It is also the House of occultism and ceremonial magic, in the sense that these areas of experience deal with the results of group activity and of relationship to invisible entities. A second House south node may lead to financial difficulties or scandals, but also theoretically to great wealth in the case of individuals able to use relatively hidden forces. The well-known occultist, Cheiro, who became famous by his studies of the hands of kings and aristocrats, and by his various predictions, had the north node in his natal eighth House. Albert Einstein's north node was also there in early Aquarius. His formulas certainly dealt with hidden forces.


Moon's north node in the Ninth House


Men with the north node in this House should be driven to expand, whether physically through travel or foreign adventures, or mentally and spiritually. They may tend to absorb and assimilate what is beyond man's normal reach. This can mean imperialism - and as examples, we have Hitler and the international banker J. P. Morgan, the elder. The leader of the Chinese revolution, Sun Yat Sen, Mahatma Gandhi, who did so much to liberate India through a spiritually­oriented crusade, and General Marshall (of the Marshall Plan after World War II) are other examples. The south node in the third House may refer to the negative effect of the great adventures to the close environment, but also to a remarkable capacity for planning strategy.


Moon's north node in the Tenth House


This position may be found in the charts of powerful or ambitious men who gained and sustained social and political power through great exertion. We can give as examples Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, and in the cultural world, Arnold Schoenberg who gained fame after many years of struggle. The balance between a public and a private life is all-important; the more successful the former, the more empty or disturbing the latter may be in some instances. Much depends on the situation affecting the first and seventh Houses, for what takes place at the Mid Heaven is basically the result of the possibilities revealed by the Ascendant. These possibilities come positively or negatively to a head in the tenth House.


Moon's north node in the Elevent House


Astrological tradition speaks of this House as that of hopes and wishes, and of friends; but it deals more basically with the result of the public life and professional experiences. If the latter are normally successful they may lead to satisfying friendships and the fulfillments of hopes; but they may also drive a man to want to change or at least improve "the system." It may mean hard north-node work, but also Providential help if the time for change has come. This nodal position is characteristically found in Pope John XXIII's chart, with the Sun at the cusp of the House; also in Swami Vivekananda's chart ­ two powerful and significant charts. In some cases the fifth House south node may produce involvement in personal emotional desires and even in gambling.


Moon's north node in the Twelfth House


While the sixth House refers especially to personal crises of readjustment or reorientation, the twelfth House indicates a type of experience which related either to social and institutional issues in time of transition or crises, or else to the pressure exerted upon the individual by past Karma and a desire for transcendence and rebirth. This may lead to introversion and the sixth House south node to illness or over-concern with health. The millionaire Howard Hughes is an instance of the recluse spirit, but also of the ability to make huge profits from social crises. The mystic composer, Skryabin, had also such a nodal position, dying young of cancer.


A special importance should be attributed to situations in which the nodal axis is identical in longitude with either the natal horizon or the meridian, and especially the former. Then the basic structure of the individual selfhood is affected by the nodes. The situation is different from the one in which the Moon would be found just rising or culminating at the Mid-Heaven. The lunar influence in the first case is more profound and more instinctive, because what is symbolically acting upon the person is the lunar orbit instead of the Moon as a planetary body.


When we consider the Moon, or in general any planet, as a celestial body in constant motion, we are dealing with a particular type of functional activity in only one of its many modes of expression; but the orbit of the Moon refers to the whole gamut of lunar characteristics, to the essential "lunarity" of the Moon factor. When we consider the relationship between the lunar orbit and the Earth orbit, we are dealing with the very structure of the Earth-Moon system; and this structure passes through a complete series of modifications in 18 years and seven months (the Moon's nodes cycle). The moments, every day, when the nodal axis is identical to the horizon and the meridian of a locality on the Earth have a special importance, because they focus the structural character of the Moon-Earth relationship, respectively, on the consciousness and identity (Ascendant factor) and the capacity for personal and public integration (meridian factor) of a human being born at that time. The effect may not be superficially expressed and as evident to the consciousness; but it is more profound, or one might say more "fateful" than what can be deduced from a rising or culminating Moon.


The same situation exists with reference to the nodes of the planets. If, for instance, the nodal axis of Uranus coincides with the natal horizon of a person, this person's life will be more deeply affected by the characteristic quality of Uranus than if the planet, Uranus, was rising. An individual with his natal horizon coinciding with the line of Uranus' nodes will in most cases be almost irresistibly impregnated with the cosmic, essential character of Uranian activity. He is, in a very real sense, fated to act as an agent of this impersonal Uranus power. He tends to be overshadowed by it. His very presence induces changes in those who relate to him. His destiny is to act as a transforming, perhaps revolutionary, force in his environment; even though he may not want to do so, or is not really aware of the pro­found challenge he brings to others.


When astrologers claim that the planet Uranus should logically be rising in the U.S. national chart (Gemini 8° Ascendant), they forget, among many other things, that the chart with Sagittarius 13° has the Uranus line of nodes practically identical with its horizon. Uranus' south node is at the Ascendant and it is the compulsion to act in the world as a transforming agent (and what is more, a self-righteously Sagittarian agent) which characterizes the deepest aspect of the "American" prototype. In that chart the planet Uranus is where it should most logically be, i.e., in the sixth House - the House of labor and of health, and also of personal crises; for indeed America has utterly trans­formed the condition of work (assembly line and mass production) and of the workers. It has seen a mushrooming of new medical techniques, and a constant occupation with health, self­improvement and with psychological problems unknown in other countries. It has given to the national Services a rather different character, and produced such weapons as the atom bomb.


What has just been said of the Uranus nodes applies to the nodal axes of other planets; but it IS more relevant in the cases of the more remote planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto; for the planets close to the Earth show a great difference between the geocentric and the heliocentric positions of their nodes - and here I have only considered the heliocentric nodes. The closest planets deal with the more personal aspects of the human being, and their essential nature - i.e., the places they occupy in the solar system - is affected by the geocentric point of view just as a person's natural character is most of the time distorted by the pressures of their family and socio-cultural environment.


These "distortions" are very real, of course, from the existential point of view; they occupy the attention, and fill the bank accounts of psychiatrists, educators, and medical men. They refer to the "outer man" living in society under great pressures of which he may not even be aware and to the "ego" which controls normally the relationship of the individual to his society. But a time should come in man's evolution when he is able to identify himself not merely with conditions at one particular locality on the surface of the Earth-globe, but with the essential character and destiny of Man - a character and destiny symbolized by the entire orbit of the Earth.


This is what is really or "hiddenly" implied in statements to the effect that man is "the whole zodiac" because the zodiac IS the orbit of the Earth - and thus the sum-total of the possible modes of relationship of his organism to the source of all life, the Sun. Man as the zodiac relates himself to the planets of the solar system in a new way - an "orbital" way, a structural, cosmic way. Then the planetary nodes assume their full meaning; and so also the Moon's nodes, for the Moon, as it revolves around the Earth, plays a most significant role in relating what is outside the Earth's orbit to what is inside of it.




Person-Centered Astrology