The Moon’s nodes are highly significant and potent, of that there is no doubt.
Delving into the past and the mythology of the nodes brings depth, richness and insight into their complex and mysterious role in our lives individually and collectively – the origins of, and why the ancients believed they were a celestial dragon.
The Traditional, Modern and Vedic Interpretations of the Moon’s Nodes
In traditional astrology, the Moon’s nodes are called Caput Draconis – “Dragon’s Head” and Cauda Draconis – “Dragon’s Tail” – Traditionally the Dragon’s Head, the north node was seen as benefic (good) and associated with Venus and Jupiter, and the Dragon’s Tail, the south node as malefic (bad) and associated with Mars and Saturn.
These days, in modern western astrology the nodes are viewed and interpreted as karmic, in essence, the south node relates to past lives and the north node is the path to the future. However, this perspective is relatively recent.
In 1936 The Astrology of Personality” by Dane Rudyhar was published, within which Rudyhar put forward his ideas on the nodal axis. The north node is “the work to be done, the new accomplishment” the south node is “the well known, the routine performance.” It’s easy to glimpse, how this could be influential to the current western approach.
In Vedic astrology, the nodes are also seen as a celestial Dragon. Rahu is the head of the Dragon – the north node, Ketu is the body and tail of the Dragon – the south node. In vedic astrology both Rahu and Ketu are malefic, and the whole chart is seen as karmic, not just the nodes.
What ancient wisdom do Dragon’s convey?
What exactly are the Moon’s Nodes?
The nodes are not a planet, nor are they even visible, they are the point where the motion of the Moon intersects the ecliptic – the apparent path of the Sun. The Moon journeys the entire zodiac in 27 and a half days, and crosses the ecliptic twice, once to the north, once to the south. These two points, the north node and the south node, are directly opposite each other by sign and house and are known as the Moon’s nodes.
The two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon are the most visible celestial bodies in the sky. Both are vital and essential to life, and our survival on Earth. They are inextricably linked, their rythmic passage around the zodiac and relationship to the Earth is displayed in the lunation cycle – of new Moon, full Moon and round the zodiac to the next new Moon which takes roughly 29 and a half days.
The Moon’s Nodes and Eclipses
Of supreme importance is the Moon’s nodes presence and involvement in eclipses, they calculate and dictate where eclipses take place. An eclipse occurs on what would already be a new or full Moon, but if both the Sun and Moon are conjunct the nodes a solar eclipse takes place and if the Moon is conjunct the nodes a lunar eclipse takes place.
At a solar eclipse the Moon passes in front of the Sun, cutting off the Sun and all illumination, everything goes dark. At a lunar eclipse the Earth blocks the light of the Sun from reaching the Moon, leaving it dark and veiled. Eclipses obstruct the energies of either the Sun or the Moon. The essence of this, the message, is that the nodes are aligned with or signify a universal, cosmic force more powerful than the Sun or Moon who provide life for all on Earth.
Nowadays although we know what is occuring during eclipses, it doesn’t diminish our awe at experiencing one. Everyday concerns fade on being exposed to the mysterious force and power of nature that an eclipse demonstrates. I think we can only touch on, imagining, the terror and bewilderment the ancients experienced witnessing the Sun disappear in the middle of the day, submerged in darkness, a chill in the air, birds silent, animals behaving peculiarly as day unexpectedly becomes a strange, irregular night.
In ancient times it was believed a huge dragon lived in the sky, who would either eat or hide the Sun and Moon, and this was the cause of eclipses. The origins of this, like western astrology, may lie in Mesopotamia which encompassed Babylon. The Enuma Anu Enhil, a collection of clay tablets, is the earliest astrological document to be discovered and depict Babylonian celestial records and omens including eclipses. Although the tablets themselves are dated from around 650 BCE, some of the omens date back to around 1646 BCE.
Tiamat the Dragon
The Enuma Elish is the Babylonian creation story, recorded on 7 clay tablets. This epic stars the Dragon Tiamat, and Marduk, known to us as Jupiter. The tale begins with absolutely nothing existing, apart from Tiamat, a primordial goddess of salt water, and her lover Apsu, god of fresh water. Together Tiamat and Apsu create other gods, their children.
In time, the new generation of gods began causing strife, and eventually murder Apsu. At which point, the previously loving and caring Tiamat becomes violent, seeks revenge, instigating her transformation into a Dragon. Tiamat makes an army of monsters and prepares to go into battle. Tiamat also held The Tablet of Destinies, a tablet of wisdom and power, used to divine the past, present and future – whoever possesed the tablet controlled the universe. Tiamat bestows the Tablet to Kingu, her son, and gives him command of her army. Marduk agrees to defend the gods and battle Tiamat, on the condition that, if he won, he would be crowned supreme god.
Marduk defeats and kills Tiamat, and claims the Tablet of Destinies. Marduk splits Tiamat’s remains in half, from one he makes the sky, from the other the earth. In the sky, Marduk makes the planets -to be resemblances of the gods, stars creating the constellations, and from them establishes the calender – the days of the year.
Tiamat is the mother of all that exists, she is pure, creative power, she is also chaos.
Constellation Draco, the Dragon
“And some see here the dragon Tiamat,” ~ Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard H. Allen
What is also notable is the connection to the Moon’s Nodes –
“The early astrologers called Draco “The Poisonous Dragon” The constellation is especially hurtful to mineral resources and presages the pollution of rivers and the air. The Moon’s Nodes are named after this constellation. The Dragon’s Head (North Node) and the Dragon’s Tail (South Node) refer to the Moon’s undulating course symbolised by the twisting of the Dragon about the North Pole”
Fixed Stars and Judicial Astrology, George Noonan, page 9
“Thuban was also known as the dragon Tiamat, the ancient Mother Goddess of Sumeria-Babylonia, who was slain by the Sun God Izhdubar or Marduk.” ~ Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Demetra George, page 92
Lying in the constellation Draco, is the star Thuban, also known as the Dragon’s Tail, Thuban is Arabic for Dragon. Thuban was of great significance to the ancients as it was the pole star between about 4000-2000BCE.
The Saros Cycle
Over time, the Babylonians learned how to accurately predict the timing of eclipses and recognised that they occured in series, which today is known as the Saros Cycle. It is incredible, absolutely astonishing, how the Babylonians discovered and verified so much knowledge, without calculators, telescopes – anything!
Although it is hard to be sure, it is very possible they also knew of the Moon’s Nodes, and the affinity between Dragon’s and the Moon’s nodes, stemmed from the Babylonian creation myth. Tiamat is the source, the origin of everything – the entire cosmos. Tiamat is a goddess of creation and chaos, a force that could be thought of as corresponding with eclipses and their consequences.
The Library of Alexandria
Around 331 BCE the City of Alexandria, in Egypt, was founded by Alexander the Great. Of huge significance to the development of astrology, was the Library of Alexandria, home to important documents and texts from throughout the known world. It is here that Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek astral lore merged and united. The astrology we currently use, the meanings of the planets, signs and aspects were established during this time.
The astrology of Persia and India were also part of this amalgamation and transference of knowledge.
Vedic Astrology ~ Rahu and Ketu
In Vedic astrology the nodes are viewed as a vast celestial Dragon, explained in a mythological tale. Rahu is the north node, the Dragon’s head and Ketu is the south node, the tail of the Dragon.
The story of the creation of Rahu and Ketu begins with amirita, the magical nectar that granted immortality to the gods and their enemies, the demons, becoming scarce. Amrita could be found deep within the Cosmic Ocean, but to obtain it the gods and demons had to work together. They used the world mountain to churn the Cosmic Ocean, eventually the amirita appeared.
Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the cosmos, took the form of a beautiful woman called Mohini, who called on the gods and demons to each form a line to recieve the amrita. A dragon like demon, called Svarbhanu, disguised himself and slipped into the line of the gods, between the Sun god, Surya, and the Moon god, Chandra. The Sun and Moon cried out, but Svarbhanu had already sipped some amrita. Mohini vanished, denying all the demons immortality, except Svarbhanu.
Vishnu sliced the demon in half, but as Svarbhanu had already tasted the amirita he could not die, instead becoming two beings Rahu, a Dragon’s head and Ketu, a Dragon’s tail. Of course Rahu and Ketu were both angry with the Sun and Moon, and seeking revenge, eternally chases them through the heavens, occasionally swallowing them.
In Vedic astrology Rahu and Ketu are called “shadowy planets” and given the status of planets, as they have the power to subdue the Sun and Moon. Both Rahu and Ketu are considered malefic.
Rahu is concerned with the material world, and represents cravings and desires for worldly success. These compulsions can overwhelm our essential self. Rahu can bring material wealth and power, but very little happiness or contentment with these gains, due to Rahu being greedy and insatiable in his hungererings. Rahu is only a head, he never becomes full.
Ketu is concerned with the spiritual world. Ketu is the body and tail, he doesn’t have a head – no direction of his own. Ketu is about the unconscious, the otherworldly. Ketu, being the body is able to contain mental disturbances, compulsions, bring illness through mysterious ailments.
But, Ketu can also increase our desire for introspection and spiritual growth, in this way our fears and hang-ups can be transformed, released through the tail, leading to greater wisdom and enlightenment.
Born on the day of an Eclipse
If you are born on the day of an eclipse, the influence of the eclipse is imprinted into your natal chart. Life can feel destined or fated, events and happenings may lead to specific, significant destinations with very little effort.
Donald Trump ~ The current President of America ~was born on June 14th 1946 on a Lunar Eclipse, with a Gemini Sun conjunct the North Node and a Sagittarius Moon conjunct the South Node.
Prince William ~ Second in line to the British throne ~ was born on July 21st 1982 on a Solar Eclipse, with a Cancer Sun and Moon conjunct the North Node.
The Duchess of Cambridge ~ Married to Prince William ~ was born on January 9th 1982 on a Lunar Eclipse, with a Cancer Moon conjunct the North Node and a Capricorn Sun conjunct the South Node.
It certainly induces wonder and awe at the intricacies of the cosmos, that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the future of the British Royal Family are both born on eclipses, the Solar King and Lunar Queen, providing support and balance for each other. The Duchess’ Moon is also conjunct Prince William’s North Node, further enhancing the destined, written in the stars impression of their relationship.
Natal Planets Conjunct the Nodes
Having natal planets conjunct either the North or South Node can evoke a strong influence in the life path encompassing the nature of the planet involved.
NATIVES WITH NODAL CONJUNCTIONS
Madonna ~ born on August 16th 1958, with Jupiter at 26 degrees 23′ Libra conjunct the North Node at 25 degrees 20′ Libra, both on fortunate fixed star Spicia. Jupiter and the North Node are both in Madonna’s 2nd house associated with personal income and how it is attained, Madonna a pop superstar has attained global fame and huge wealth (Jupiter) through her voice (Venus, ruler of 2nd house in Leo the sign of the performer). Madonna has obtained huge success despite, at times, the quality of her voice being questioned and compared to vocal greats.
Boris Johnson ~ The current British Prime Minister ~ born on June 19th 1964, with the Sun and Venus conjunct at 28 degrees Gemini, both conjunct the North Node at 2 degrees 18′ Cancer. Boris’ Sun, Venus and North Node are all in the 9th house associated with politics, the Sun signifies leaders and power. The Sun and Venus are conjunct Betelgeuse ~ which with the Sun brings “honour and preferment ending in final ruin.” ~ Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, by Vivian E. Robson
Additionally, Boris Johnson has a Nodal Return (transit north node conjunct natal north node) coming up in April 2020, and in the recent General Election in the UK on December 12th 2019, Boris won an unexpectedly large, landslide victory to retain his position as Prime Minister.
Nikola Tesla ~ born on June 28th 1856, with Mars at 18 degrees 56′ Libra conjunct the South Node at 20 degrees 3′ Libra. Nikola Tesla inventor and engineer of electrical systems still in use today had the South Node on Spicia associated with success and renown, conjunct Mars who signifies energy.
Charles Darwin ~ born on February 12th 1809, with Uranus at 9 degrees 40′ Scorpio conjunct the North Node at 6 degrees 57 Scorpio. Uranus signifies thinking outside the box and shaking things up, which Charles Darwin certainly did with the publication of his books “Origin of the Species” and “The Descent of Man” about his theories of evolution. Uranus is on the fixed stars Acrux and Mimosa both conveying an”inventive mind, intuition and wisdom” ~ Fixed Stars and their Interpretation, by Elsbeth Ebertin
Diana, Princess of Wales ~ born on July 1st 1961 (chart included below) with Mars at 1 degree 38′ Virgo conjunct the North Node in Leo at 29 degrees 42′ and the Moon at 25 degrees 02′ Aquarius conjunct the South Node. The North Node and Mars are on the fixed star Regulus a star associated with royalty.
Diana’s Moon in Aquarius conjuct the South Node, highlights the humanitarian, caring and nuturing traits she was known and adored for. Mars in Virgo conjunct the North Node illustrates Diana’s need to take action to be helpful and of service to others (including the Royal Family and her country).
The Nodal configuration is square Venus on Algol a star with a fierce reputation, called “the most evil star in the heavens” by Robson. Algol is Medusa’s Head, a powerful, intense star that in both natal and mundane charts without doubt can connect to tragedy.
Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles was not a success and ended in divorce – just days before they were due to marry Diana discovered that Charles was still very much in love with Camilla, an ex-girlfriend of his. The outside view was of a fairy-tale romance, the reality harshly conflicted with this. But, it was far too late to call the wedding off, so Diana had to endure the torture of feeling second choice, and unloved by Charles, alongside being the focus of intense media attention – the public and press loved her.
“The night before the wedding I was very, very calm, deathly calm. I felt I was a lamb to slaughter. I knew it and couldn’t do anything about it.” ~ Princess Diana as told to Andrew Morton
“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” ~ Princess Diana in her BBC Panorama interview in reply to being asked “Do you think Mrs Parker Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?”
My thoughts are (here I should add my Sun is on Algol, and over time I have come to appreciate and value Algol’s influence) whilst Algol certainly puts a focus on dark, traumatic experiences in life, equally Algol can bestow the courage to endure and face up to painful, torturous ordeals and occurrences. Along with an accompanying inclination to untangle thoughts and ideas about circumstances that exposes enlightenment and provides empathy -in such a way that assists to alleviate and soothe torment brought about by misfortune, by looking at heartbreak and adversity in a different light.
“having Algol represented on a chart does not necessarily mean that you will inflict, or be the victim of horror and mayhem…but that you will be aware of the depth of suffering that can occur, whether through human depravity or ‘Acts of God’; and you will not be able to ignore suffering and horror, or brush it aside; your life path will require that you come to terms with that level of experience” ~ Diana K Rosenberg, Medusa’s Head, ye-stars.com
“Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can” ~ Princess Diana ~ (Wikiquote)
Diana used the influence of Algol in a conspicuously, beneficial way. Diana helped to dispel many myths surrounding AIDS and Leprosy, unafraid to visit and hug victims of these diseases that terrified many people, put the spotlight on landmines when she was famously pictured walking through one, as well as youth homelessness and the devastation it causes.
Uranus at 23 degrees 20′ Leo is nearby the North Node, Pluto at 6 degrees 07′ Virgo is conjunct Mars, all placed in the 8th house of death, along with the nature of it – a sudden (Uranus) tragic accident (Mars), a fatal car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.
Diana, The Princess of Wales strikingly had a destined life path illustrated by the Nodes of the Moon. Furthermore, Diana married Prince Charles on July 29th 1981 two days before an eclipse (July 31st), her eldest son Prince William was born on an eclipse, June 21st 1982 and Diana died on August 31st 1997 the day before an eclipse (September 1st).
All Birth Data from Astro-Databank at www.astro.com
Transits to or from the Nodes
The natal nodes can be influenced by the transiting planets, the transiting nodes can aspect natal planets – both can bring the essence and flavour of the planets in question into focus, equally the transiting nodes aspect the natal nodes in a regular cycle. On average the nodes move around the entire chart in about 18.6 years to return to the natal position – a Nodal Return, they will also square themselves – Nodal Square (transit North Node square natal North Node) and make a Reverse Nodal Return (transit North Node conjunct natal South Node).
The first nodal square occurs around the age of 4.5, followed by a reverse nodal return around the age of 9, then another nodal square around the age of 13.5, the first nodal return occurs around the age of 18.5 – this cycle repeats throughout life approximately every 4.5 years.
Any influence to or from the nodes is likely to have a sense or thread of a fated feel surrounding or entwined with happenings, perhaps a turning point or major life event.
The sky, the celestial planets and their movements connect the divine, the universal forces with the material realms – the Nodes whilst not a planet, or even visible, are a highly significant, meaningful part of the puzzle regarding the unfoldment of our individual lives and collective experiences. The Nodes, the head and tail of the dragon are always connected, being each end of a whole Celestial Dragon, and perhaps the ideal, whilst it may be a challenge or struggle – is a balance – to recognise and utilise skills and wisdom already gathered and aim this knowledge in the best direction for talents to blossom and flourish.
Certain things are pre-destined, for instance we are born into a specified family and set of circumstances that potentially leads to a particular path through life – but within the pre-destined boundaries of fate that guide our lives, we can exercise free will.
Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia by Micheal Baigent
Predictive Astrology, The Eagle and the Lark by Bernadette Brady
How To Predict Your Future, Secrets of Eastern and Western Astrology by James Braha
Mythic Astrology by Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson
The Moon’s Nodes and Their Importance in Natal Astrology by George White