However if you’re looking to find the answer to the Greek axiom: “Know Thyself” then you'll want to know what the Nodes are all about—the often unrecognized gifts in the North Node, and the shadowy karmic tendencies of the South Node.
Simply put, the North Node is where our Soul is yearning to go towards in this life, and the South Node is where we are growing away from—it shows the qualities that would be best to left behind. South Node "habits" are what we acted out either earlier in this life or in a former life. Whether we believe in reincarnation or not, the South Node still describes what we are familiar with; our world view and our habitual way of responding. And the lower reactive expression of this South Node carries with it “shadow” or unconscious material. The South Node is the area we’ve been mired in before, and failed at to some extent. The North Node is fresh—it’s new territory, and is like our personal "North Star." It’s a call to try something new.
However, as an astrologer and therapist, I find most people simply don’t “hear” what their North Node is suggesting. It’s like a blind spot. They’re more likely to recognize their South Node because it’s their default pattern and represents both the gifts and liabilities they came into this life with. We know our gifts---and even most of our sins and failings, even if we don’t want to admit it. We know our South Node. But when confronted with the North Node sign and house and aspect patterns, there’s usually a silence in the conversation. The information is trying to settle in, but it feels unfamiliar, and almost---wrong. “No, that isn’t me,” I can almost hear my clients saying.
But it is. It’s the qualities, traits and areas of life that we are most unfamiliar with, and it’s the particular arenas of life we try to avoid. “ Must I really go there?” we ask. “Do I really need to be more that way?” they respond with a slight look of distaste. We have an innate antipathy to this region of life. Yet if we are to be truly whole and healthy, we would be wise to do as Carl Jung suggested: integrate the shadow---integrate the North Node and the whole Nodal story.
How does this fit in with the rest of the chart? Well, if you were to ask: Who am I?---and then describe yourself in terms of your Sun sign, in most cases—not all—you would be recognizable in the traits of your “sign.” But people are paradoxical and complex, and a description of your obvious personality traits alone does not define you.
How do you perceive the world? What’s your style? How were you seen as a child, and what’s your persona or mask? This is your rising sign, or ascendant. It’s also a hint of what you might look like—Virgo rising? You look younger than your age. Aries rising? Do you have something red in your appearance—a face mole or a red undercolor in your hair? Do you wear red a lot? The ascendant is about how we appear, and how we present ourselves.
The Moon gives us hints as to what makes you happy and sad. Do you love a challenge? Do you love to be a little feisty and dare to “feel the fear and do it anyway”? That could be an Aries Moon. Or would you describe yourself as being both introverted and extroverted? Are you happy cleaning out your closets one moment and then ready to dance by the light of the moon on the beach the next day? This could be a Cancer moon….especially if you were to tell me how much what your mother did and didn’t do for you while growing up affected you. So, the Moon represents our emotional nature.
Each sign describes another part of us. We are complex creatures, and the astrological chart tries to describe so many things--- how we respond to authority and discipline (Saturn), how we are rebellious or not (Uranus), how we feel about spirituality, getting high and boundaries (Neptune), where we are lucky and gifted (Jupiter), and even how we experience and handle life’s toughest moments (Pluto).
The chart is a fascinating yet inexact map of the territory of our lives. The wild card is that we have free will to play out the signs and aspects. We can bring consciousness and energy to them, or we can play on our strengths and go for an easy ride. We inherit a family karmic inheritance that predisposes us to certain ways of behaving that are not as easy to change as our hair color. And at every moment of our lives we have an assortment of different challenges and moods--- what astrologers call “transits and progressions.” A good astrologer can trace the pattern of particular challenges and opportunities and help you prepare for and accept the stage of life you’re in at the moment.
The most important point to ask any astrologer about is the Nodes: the North Node representing what our Soul longs for in this life, and the South Node representing the liabilities we’ve come into this life with--- especially what we haven’t handled skillfully. The South Node speaks in terms of both our personal and family karmic inheritance. It’s useful to know. However, we can only look so long at what we didn’t get right. The North Node is a fresh breath of divine wind: why not breathe it in---try it out? You might be very pleased indeed.
© Elizabeth Spring www.elizabethspring.com
Or maybe you disagree—maybe you think you’d like to know everything about yourself—or maybe you think you already know everything there is to know. Perhaps you’re curious to see what others know about you and you don’t? We often think we want to know all about ourselves, but I think most of us are reluctant to know what we’re lacking or don’t see, or what the Jungian psychologists call the “inferior function.”