I am beginning a new series on my YouTube channel on the lunar north and south nodes through the signs, and just as I did with the lunar progression series, I’ll write a complimentary blog series.
The lunar nodes are not actual celestial bodies, but opposing points of contact between the lunar orbital path and the Sun’s ecliptic. They slowly move backwards through the Zodiac, taking about 1.5 years per sign transit (18 years for the whole Zodiac), and are always 180º apart.
Technical note: There is a difference between what they call “true nodes” and “mean nodes.” True node represents the actual placement and direction (they are naturally retrograde but sometimes go direct) and mean node is an average so it is never direct. They are usually very close regardless, and it is a matter of preference as to which one astrologers use.
The nodes are not as popular as Sun/Moon/Ascendant astrology, yet they are possibly the most significant parts of the entire natal chart, when considering the bigger picture of soul reincarnation. What they represent differs slightly between western and eastern astrology, however we will get to the basic truth.
The NN (north node) is called Rahu in Vedic astrology, the “dragon’s head,” representing consumption. It is earth-oriented, and in the natal chart points to a place where we desire more more more on the material plane. With lack of awareness there will be obsession, materialism, and desire for status/achievement in this area of the chart. The insatiable hunger of the dragon’s head is never fulfilled because it is just a mouth, no body to process anything.
The SN (south node) is called Ketu or the “dragon’s tail,” representing release. It is spirit-oriented, and represents what we reject on the material plane. We are very zoomed out and detached from the world in this area of the chart, and because we could care less about material gain here, it comes easily to our dismay. We don’t desire it because we had more than our fill in a past incarnation and wish to let it go!
In Western astrology the concept of karma and the soul path comes into play with the NN/SN. The NN represents the soul’s journey forward, and the sign/house placement represents things we have not experienced in a previous physical incarnation. So this area of the chart calls to us in a way – like a siren – yet we have a certain amount of trepidation because it is uncomfortable, unknown territory. Once we do take steps in this direction, however, we feel the most fulfillment and alignment.
The SN is our soul’s previous incarnation, so that sign/house placement represents an area we are already an expert in and it comes naturally to us. We hide here and fall back on this comfort zone when we do not want to move forward. This is an area we cannot grow from because there is nothing left to learn or gain…we explored and conquered this land already. It’s a done deal. The more we try to till this barren soil, the more frustrated and useless we become.
We can see how the Vedic and Western interpretations are similar, with some slight variation. Because they are always opposite one another, we can use them to balance each other out. Ketu is our have and Rahu is our have not. This is the polarity of desire/rejection. We wish that we didn’t have Ketu and we had a lot more of Rahu, but like all truths, there is a paradox here. The balance of this pole will dissolve the desire/rejection polarity and allow everything to flow freely.
How do we do this? Through acceptance. We accept what comes to us in the Ketu area, and let go in the Rahu area. This act of surrender neutralizes the polarity. This is when alignment occurs and we begin to exist without struggle; our Rahu and Ketu work as one.
More to come when we get into the series!
EDIT: Please be aware that due to the procession of the equinox, there is going to be a difference between where your Rahu and Ketu are located in your western chart (using tropical zodiac based on seasons) and vedic chart (using sidereal based on actual constellations). So unless your western chart reflects Rahu and Ketu in the first 6º or so of a sign, they will be located in the previous signs in your vedic chart. I grew up using western astrology and now I have found vedic to be more accurate, but that is entirely your call. Keep this in mind!