In this blog I’d like to briefly review an article about the moon’s nodes, written by Spanish astrologer Pepa Sanchis and published on 29 July 2018 on the site http://primaluce.es. My approach will be to summarize and paraphrase her ideas and to add some of my own. Sanchis begins by summarizing the modern view of the lunar nodes as indicators of our path in life, that is, the lessons we need to learn based on our karma from past lives — an untestable hypothesis which she says was first introduced into Western astrology by Dane Rudhyar but which is absent from the astrology of cultures in which the idea of karma plays a major role, such as India and Tibet.
Sanchis rejects this karmic formulation of Rudhyar and instead adopts the stance of French astrologer Denis Labouré who maintains that the moon’s nodes have nothing to do with karma. Labouré, whom I have not read, apparently bases his ideas about the lunar nodes in Vedic astrology and on the astronomical fact that the nodes of the moon are points on the sun’s path where eclipses take place and thus have a symbolic analogy with the manifestations of the blockage and restoration of light during eclipses in astrological chart.
North Lunar Node Keywords (Head of the Dragon)
Thus, rather than being interpreted in terms of past lives and karma, the lunar nodes have specific concrete significations which are testable in this lifetime in our horoscopes. Sanchis suggests that the North Node is the more comfortable of the pair and has connotations of exaggeration, excess, overestimation, grandness, brightness, illumination, speediness, excitement, good quality, forms of energy, augmentation and sometimes suggests matters being overblown or taken out of proportion, potentially indicating a lack of objectivity and realistic grounding. In horary charts, for example, the North Node can indicate a belief that we know more than we really do about the matter, but in reality we are lacking important information or it is being withheld from us. Lilly likened the North Node to expansive Jupiter and fun-loving Venus, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing; in this view, the North Lunar Node gives, and the South Lunar Node takes away. I often think of the North Node as the Head of the Dragon whose mouth is nibbling on “the good things in life.”
South Lunar Node Keywords (Tail of the Dragon)
The South Node is the more difficult of the two and has significations of loss, weakness, decrease, reduction, poor quality, darkness or dark places, blockage, restriction, sluggishness, lack of effort, depletion of energy, illness, subtraction, deception (both deceiving and being deceived), criticism, and even a bit of insanity. She also links the South Node to magic, places of worship, peculiar or enclosed locations, spirituality and spiritual development, diverse energies, a critical or detached nature, gaffes, faux pas, etc. The South Node, says Sanchis, can concretely indicate illness, infections, wounds, hernias, sickness, toxins, poisoning, decline, frailty, dementia, death and various forms of suffering. William Lilly likened the South Node to restrictive Saturn and aggressive Mars, the two traditional malefics of the zodiac. Lilly was aware of a tradition that the South Node could decrease the harm of a malefic, but in his practice he found that the South Node tended to double or triple the evil nature of malefic planets. I often think of the South Node as the Tail of the Dragon under which lies its anus which is expelling bits of excrement which are an essential part of life that we often, to our spiritual disadvantage, prefer to avoid.
Sanchis gives several detailed case examples to illustrate her argument. These include:
- In a horary chart a grand colorful house signified by Jupiter conjunct Venus in Leo is surrounded by a high wall which blocks much of the sunlight from illuminating the structure — the restrictive and darkening Moon’s South Node is also part of the Jupiter/Venus conjunction.
- When Saturn by primary direction conjoins the South Node in a natal chart, the person signified by Saturn dies.
- When the ruler of the 4th house (fathers) conjoins the South Node by primary direction, the client’s father develops dementia.
- When the ruler of the 7th (partners) conjoins the South Node by secondary progression, the client’s spouse becomes seriously ill.
- When the Moon (a natural signifier of one of the eyes) conjoined the South Node by primary direction, the client needed eye surgery by laser, but there was a complication which left the clients’ eyes bandaged, thus blocking (eclipsing) her vision and leaving her in darkness.
I recommend this article because it offers testable keywords for the lunar nodes, which will allow us to decide whether to use these ideas in our astrological practice.
To illustrate the ideas of Labouré and Sanchis about the lunar nodes, let’s look at a classic horary: Bonatti’s interpretation of a chart for the Besieging of the Luccans (Dykes translation, pages 515-516) in which the Count asks Bonatti whether he and his soldiers would be able to occupy a castle of the Luccans. Here is the chart.
Bonatti did not analyze the chart in the following way, but my point here is to illustrate the significance of the Moon’s Nodes in this chart by way of this alternate analysis.
It is notable that the South Node almost exactly conjoins Mars in detriment in Libra the 10th. Mars and the South Node are closely configured to the Ascendant by sextile but in signs of long ascension, which according to Lilly diminishes the positive nature of the sextile and gives it some properties of a square. This is a day chart, and Mars (the malefic of the nocturnal sect) is its most troublesome planet.
If we take the 10th to represent the Count’s success or victory in seizing the castle and Mars to signify his army (Mars is a natural signifier of soldiers), then we see his soldiers being blocked or diminished by the South Node in their efforts to seize the castle. Mars in Libra (its detriment) describes the soldiers as fun-loving goof-offs; they’d rather be gambling and visiting the local brothel than fighting a war.
The ruler of the 10th is Mercury, which conjoins the 12th cusp of undoing. Mars rules the unfortunate 12th (self-sabotage) and occupies the 10th of success. Thus, we might conclude that his army is so inept that the Count’s own soldiers are his worst enemy and he will never take the castle. To describe the soldiers Bonatti uses words like sluggishmess, baseness, tardiness, weakness, low quality, not applying themselves, and happy to be going home with having engaged in battle.
Bonatti writes (p. 516 of Dykes translation) of the Count’s soldiers (for reasons other than Mars conjunct the South Node) that “their low quality seemed to me to be so great, that the castle would more likely stand than be taken. In the end, they behaved so basely and so weakly, that in no way did they carry out any of those things which they had readied for …”
As least in this example from Bonatti, Pepa Sanchis’s formulation of the moon’s nodes has much merit and contributes to the accurate interpretation of the chart.