Horary: Where am I? A tale of the Moon’s Nodes


I had an interesting horary experience today. A colleague and I had agreed to meet in Skype at 10 AM to discuss some charts. She lives in Argentina and was surprised to find that I was not online when she tried to call. Since I am usually very punctual, she became concerned and cast a horary chart to find out what happened and if something was the matter with me. The reality was that I was fine, but the United States had switched from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time last weekend and there had been no time change in Argentina, so I was inadvertently an hour late to our session.  Here is the chart she cast to see what had happened to me.

Aquarius rises, which seems fitting for two astrologers meeting online to discuss charts. The querent’s ruler is thus Saturn in Sagittarius in the 11th house of friends. She is asking about me, her partner in this endeavor, so my significator is the Sun, ruler of the Leo 7th house. The querent’s ruler Saturn is mutually applying to Uranus, which lies at the end of the 3rd house of communications, suggesting some type of disruption.

The 12th-part of the Ascendant lies in Taurus, which is the querent’s 4th house. She is at home, calling me, and wondering why I am not answering. The ruler of Taurus is Venus in the 10th house (my turned 4th), and I am at home reading in another room and not noticing that she is calling on my computer. Her ruler (Saturn) and my ruler (Sun) are in aversion.  I am not seeing that she is calling, and we are not connecting.

The Sun lies in Scorpio in the radical 10th house, which is my 4th house. This makes sense because I am at home but in another room and away from the computer. The Sun conjoins the Part of Fortune and occupies the same sign and house as both benefics, Venus and Jupiter. Neither Saturn nor Mars, the two malefics, afflict the Sun, so I am in fairly good shape. The Sun is disposed by Mars, which is in mutual reception with benfic and angular Venus, so again there is nothing to worry about.

The Sun is essentially void of course in this chart.  It’s next applying aspect occurs after it leaves Scorpio and enters Sagittarius, where it will conjoin Mercury, which rules the 9th house of long-distance communication. My guess is that the void-of-course Sun represents the fact that I am in another room, reading and making some notes in preparation for the online meeting which I mistakenly think is an hour away. The eventual conjunction with Mercury must signify my finally making contact with my colleague in Argentina after the void-of-course period.

A striking feature of this chart is the almost exact square of the Sun (me) to the Moon’s Nodes which straddle the 1st and 7th houses. A modern convention is to refer to the Sun square the Nodes as the Sun being “at the bendings” of the Nodes, that is, at the points on the moon’s orbit where it switches from north to south, or vice versa. These often represent some sort of crisis period.

Kevin Burk in his Complete Node Book writes on page 212: “In classical astrology, a planet that was square the nodes was said to be ‘at the bendings,’ and this planet would become a focal point of change and crisis for the individual.” Burk adds that in natal charts “a planet that is ‘at the bendings’ must be given careful consideration, because that planet and the issues associated with it, will tend to take center stage repeatedly in the individual’s life.”

Note that the “bends” or “bendings” in the Moon’s orbit are those point which are furthest north or south of the Sun’s path (ecliptic) at which the direction of motion reverses itself. The “bendings” of the Moon are analogous to the solstices of the Sun at which the Sun appears to stop and change direction from north to south, and vice versa. We on Earth experience the solstices as the longest and the shortest days of the year.

One experienced astrologer (Astrojin at Skyscript.co, 5 Nov 2011, 5:42 AM) delineates a planet square the Moon’s node in a horary chart as follows: “When a planet is conjoined to the lunar bendings (squares the nodes), it can mean crisis due to unwelcome change or [that] things will bend in the direction that is away from that which is proper.” I would add that the change may not necessarily be “unwelcome” or “improper” but may simply be something that is unexpected, not customary, or different from the habitual way things have been happening up to that point.

In Western astrology the Moon’s Nodes are often referred to as the Head and Tail of the Dragon. The North Node (Head) is supposedly expansive and of the nature of Jupiter. The South Node, in contrast, is supposedly constricting and of the nature of Saturn. The astrologer  al-Biruni in his Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (1027 CE) wrote that the Head of the Dragon is “hot, auspicious, and indicates increase (of property, etc.). The Tail is cold, brings misfortune, and indicates diminution (of wealth, etc.).” William Lilly followed this tradition in his practice of horary astrology.

Olivia Barclay called the Nodes degrees of fatality, which may have been her understanding of Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson’s description of the Nodes as fateful degrees, in the sense that fate or destiny intervenes so that the querent has no say or control over what happens. Apparently this “fatedness” spreads to the degree of the Nodes in all twelve signs of the zodiac.  Ivy went a bit overboard in her description, stating: “Any planet or angle in the same degree as the Nodes points to a catastrophe, casualty, fatality or tragedy in a horary or natal chart, the more far-reaching when a malefic is involved.”

The Vedic tradition treats the Nodes somewhat differently. The North Node, Rahu, swallows the sun and causes eclipses. The time of day governed by Rahu is inauspicious rather than favorable.  The South Node, Ketu, on the other hand, carries with it the idea of spiritual progress, wisdom and non-attachment that results from undergoing suffering and loss. Thus, Ketu is Mars-like and is associated with broken relationships which cause sorrow but bring about release and transformation.

In this horary chart the Sun (my signifier) is applying to a superior square with the South Node, Ketu, in the 1st house (the querent), suggesting some kind of crisis or break in the relationship. Something happens that is unusual or different from what has been the norm. Because the square occurs in the degrees of the Moon’s Nodes, fate or destiny may also be involved, perhaps referring to the time change from DST to EST over which neither the querent nor I had any control. Fortunately we weathered our crisis and managed to speak an hour later than originally planned.  Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson’s warning did not apply; we did not suffer a “catastrophe, casualty, fatality or tragedy” — which goes to show that you need to take what you read in astrology texts with a large grain of salt.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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