Once I realized that I no longer believed in reincarnation, I had to disentangle for myself how much of the idea is woven into modern astrological lore and books. In fact, clients and other astrologers just take it for granted that I believe in reincarnation and seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that I don’t. For some, it seems tantamount to being an atheist at your evangelical family’s reunion. One of those cherished chestnuts of astrological lore and reincarnation are the lunar nodes. This is why I want to share my revamped notion of what the lunar nodes are about. Perhaps in another post, I’ll discuss in detail why I no longer believe in reincarnation. However, for now, I can say better what I believe rather than detailing on why I don’t believe.
I believe when we die, we’re absorbed into the only being that’s alive, the One. You can call that God, Allah, Being, the Cosmos, the Source, or whatever you wish. The names don’t matter to me. Our resistance to that return to the Source is what we experience as hell when we die. It’s the purification and agony of a soul that has confused its life as a drop for the ocean itself. Our notion of heaven is what happens when that drop becomes part of the ocean again. Although this is similar to what’s said about going through multiple lifetimes until one achieves enlightenment and work off one’s karma, I’m just not subscribing to the multiple lifetimes part of it all. The only life lived is the life lived by the One, and so that’s the only being, in my understanding, that incarnates. “I” will not reincarnate beyond this mortal coil.
I’ve found many parallels in other forms of thought to this, whether it’s Sufi thinking, Advaita Vedanta from the Hindu tradition or Roman Stoicism. (I’m probably more of a Muslim Stoic with Sufi flourishes than anything else.) I’m well aware that my view of the afterlife contradicts much of what’s explained formally by Islam, but I can only approach the world from what seems to make sense to me. Considering I’ve spent the better half of 20 years not believing in an afterlife at all, I guess I’m making progress. Again, I have my reasons for why I believe as I do, but I won’t bore you with those reasons now.
This post is both a brief introduction into what the nodes are generally about and a new way to see them without the theory or principle of reincarnation.
What are the Lunar Nodes?
The Lunar North & South Nodes are not physical, like planets; but mathematical calculations based on the intersection of the moon’s orbit around the Earth with the apparent orbit of the Sun around the Earth. If you look at this image below, you can see how the Nodes are the intersection points.
Where the Moon’s node rises above the Sun’s orbit, toward the Earth’s North Pole, is what we call the North Node. However, where it descends, toward the South Pole, is the South Node.
Can we see the Nodes?
We can’t see the nodes; but when a new or full moon happens within 17 degrees of the position of the Nodes, there is a Solar or Lunar eclipse, respectively.
What’s generally said about the Nodes and reincarnation?
Karma is a key principle in understanding the general association of karma with reincarnation. As I talk about in my article on mysign.com, karma refers to some kind of spiritual debt based on actions you’ve performed. In this way, it’s kind of like a student loan: It’s a balance we accumulate by educating ourselves, and it’s something we must try to pay off over the course of our lives. However, in order to get in the black, we have first to discover exactly what kind of karma we’ve taken on. That’s where the astrology comes in.
According to many spiritual teachings, you are born into a life at a time when the planets are aligned in a way that best reflects your karma. In this sense, your birth chart is like your own personal “school” transcript, revealing what you’ve learned from your past lives and what you still need to learn.
The South Node is often described historically in Vedic astrology and now much of modern Western astrology as highlighting the karma from your past, including your “past” lives. This node shows the character traits, talents and gifts that you’ve developed—or even overdeveloped—that you must now learn to lean on less. The sign and planetary ruler of that sign illustrate what specific skills and traits you’ve capped with in terms of a certain level of growth. The South Node is like a resource that you’ve nearly exhausted in a supposed previous lifetime. In your “current” lifetime, it’s time to cultivate other sources of “funding” and ways of being. That’s when we’re to learn from our North Node.
From the sign opposite to the South Node, the North Node paves the way for new patterns of action and thought that help us get out of karmic debt. These are the traits and talents you must acquire in order to grow as a person. In contrast to the South Node, each time you enact your North Node teachings you’re building enough spiritual capital to pay off any outstanding karmic debts you have.
What’s a different way to understand the nodes without reincarnation or karma?
Rather than focus on a past that extends beyond this life, we can say, like the old Prego commercial, the “soup” of the past is in your consciousness now and the raw fodder for your future. This past could include your actual past or even an ancestral memory in your body. Nevertheless, it’s connected to everything that’s in this life. I mean, if you’re an emanation of the One Life, then you’re also the culmination of all there is anyway and the “past” associated with all of that. (You’re the future as well, but we’ll also save that for a different post.) When we start from that position, your nodes can become a couple of other manifestations.
Since you have a whole Cosmos within you, including your “past,” we can substitute a discussion on karma for one on character. Character is the deep-seated impression of who you are and the virtues or vices that inspire your behavior. With this in mind, I define the lunar nodal axis of as the way we build character through restoring or preserving particular habits and associations. The signs of the nodal axis tell us which particular habits & associations to restore or preserve to build the character we need to grow and enjoy life.
Although restoration and preservation may sound similar, they have very different meanings. Restoration is an act to renew or repair something that’s been damaged or fallen into disrepair. On the other hand, preservation is an act to maintain or safeguard against damage or disrepair. Within you, you have access to all the traits you need to build your character; but some traits are to be restored, others are to be preserved. Your North Node highlights those traits you must work to restore in you that have been damaged. Your South Node highlights those traits you must work to preserve in you that are good and perhaps developed, but could suffer from overuse.
I can use an analogy to illustrate how to look at this different view. Let’s say you inherit two antique chairs. One is in bad shape, but could be beautiful if you do the work to RESTORE it. These are like the traits of your North Node. The other antique chair is in great shape, but will get worn down if you don’t act to PRESERVE it. These are like the traits of your South Node. You generally have to work much harder to restore than to preserve. However, if you work to restore what you should preserve instead, you could damage your “chair.” Similarly, if you preserve what you should restore, you won’t improve the value or condition of your “chair.” You and your life are the “chair.” You are attempting to balance everything out.
This last point is vital because often the South Node is perceived as something from which you must completely distance yourself or avoid. It’s just the opposite. In fact, you have to be extra careful that you’re not caught disavowing or neglecting well-developed traits within you. The balance comes from building up both our strengths and weaknesses, in how we both preserve and restore.
There are impediments to how we can keep our nodes balanced, though. Remember your nodes are not actual physical bodies, like planets, so they tend to respond to the “weight” or influence of other bodies, like planets. For instance, it becomes easier to restore the traits of your North Node when you have planets in the same sign. It becomes harder to do when you have planets in the same sign of your South Node. You may feel compelled to direct too much attention to the South Node traits. Perseveration could easily become restoration. So, the primary body for what impacts how the nodes will be used is your own consciousness—both attention and intention.
Another understanding of the nodes I take from the Symmetrical astrology school of thought. For this school of thought, formerly called the Uranian or Cosmobiology form of astrology, the nodes represent our associations or how those intersection points manifest with how we intersect with each other people. We’ve made clear that both nodes deal with character building, but you don’t build your character in a vacuum. You learn with others to preserve or restore key aspects of your character in what we could call a cohort or class. So node contact in the current night sky to planets you had a birth to planets could also indicate changes and shifts in how you connect with others to advance your character development.
From embracing the Lunar Nodes as a total unit for character restoration and preservation, I’ve come to see them as a circuit. I’ve given names for each of the circuits below. I know it’s become more the fashion in many good astrology books on the nodes to look at each node by sign or house in isolation, emphasizing the relationship that each would have to releasing or acquiring karma. The problem with this model is that ignores how we can slide up, down and around the axis of the nodes to emphasize or de-emphasize traits to our advancement or detriment.
For instance, I have a colleague who was born along the Circuit of Interdependence for Aries-Libra. Her North Node is in Libra and her South Node is in Aries, directly opposite. However, she’s felt that she’s lived much of her life focused on supporting other people, not doing as much on her own or being fully independent, as her South Node in Aries would suggest she’s done in “past lifetimes.” This is a clear example of where someone has not preserved what she has in her consciousness as a soul with a South Node in Aries and has now restored her North Node in Libra well enough.
The key is temperance, and the nodes show where we can do the extra work to achieve that balance in our character. If you want to find out more about the circuit (or axis) of your Lunar Nodes, you can book a session with me or find out for free at www.astro.com or here.