“An invisible magnetic field warps the natal chart. This field is the karmic past life story which is embedded within the chart, in the “chart behind the chart.” The North and South Nodes tell the story of our karmic past, but we can choose not to be bound by it and not to let our default patterns continue to cause us suffering.”
The North Node:
Your Soul Messenger
“The North Node is the single most important point in the chart…it describes what your Soul wants to learn and experience in this life. It is a Soul Messenger.”
Have you ever wondered what life-lessons and experiences your Soul wants to have in this life? Do you know what you truly yearn for? Unique insights into these questions are found by using the ancient astrological technique of examining the North and South Nodes of your natal astrological chart.
Soul purpose and life direction questions are profoundly significant, and the Nodes in your chart address those questions from the perspective of your Soul—instead of your rational mind and ego.
The re-incarnational theory behind this is simply that your Soul chose to be born at a certain time and place so that it would carry over the gifts and challenges from previous lives, and that your chart reflects the original Soul intention on coming into this world. The great psychologist, Carl Jung, believed that the time of birth was not a coincidence but was a mysterious synchronicity that reveals a great deal. He used astrology in his practice with his clients, and found that it simply worked. So what may seem unimportant to you–your birthday, time, and place is actually a profound tool; an ‘oracle.’ And what may look like a mystery to you, is not a mystery to the astrologer who can read the meaning contained in the chart.
Let’s see how this works. There are three pivotal key-points in solving the mystery: the Sun, the North Node, and the South Node. . When an astrologer looks at your chart, these points–these clues–are described in some detail by their sign, house and aspect positions. But we don’t need to get complicated–let’s look at it briefly–
Your Sun sign, reads like a personality description presenting all the positive and negative ways you can “play out” your Sun sign. For example, as a Gemini Sun, you can play out the flirty, fickle, uncommitted aspects of the sign or you can use your great breath of knowledge to live a very full life in which you make wise and helpful decisions. You are the communicator of the zodiac. From the Soul’s perspective you chose to be born a Gemini in order to play out the highest octave of the sign. That’s the first clue to the mystery: look to the highest possible use and talents in your Sun sign. Almost any astrology book can help you with this.
The second clue is the North Node. Many astrologers today believe it is the single most important point in the chart. It is unique to each person and describes what your Soul wants to learn and experience in this life. It is a Soul Messenger, describing the evolutionary needs of your Soul. When we act out the qualities of this Node we heal and nurture ourselves. It tells us in what area of life we need to bring emphasis, and some of the ways to do it. The North Node has a sign, a house position, and aspects, and is an excellent suggestion—similar to the idea of a personal guiding North Star.
By contrast, the South Node describes the qualities brought over from our previous life, and describes how we lived when we were young. Our deeply habitual ways of being and thinking are shown here, and as we mature we tend to act out the qualities of our South Node less. It shows both the unhelpful and negative qualities that our Soul wishes to move away from, as well as containing what Carl Jung talked about as the “gold in the shadow”. This gold is the unconscious unrecognized talents and abilities that we bring over from a former life or that are simply latent or repressed qualities. It is wise to uncover and use the gold in the South Node, while leaving the negative old patterns behind, and to move in the direction of the North Node.
Most astrologers would agree that the South Node reflects karmic qualities of our previous life, describing the unfinished business and things that we didn’t ‘get quite right.’ Although there are gifts and talents shown there, it is the North Node that points to the qualities our Soul wants to use and acquire in this life. So when you have a chart reading, take a long look at what your North Node tells you, even if it feels a little unfamiliar and challenging. It offers a potent suggestion.
So how does this all work together in a chart? Let’s look at my chart as an example. My Sun is in Libra, North Node in Taurus in the 2nd house, and South Node in Scorpio in the 8th house. “Houses” are the areas of life where things get acted out, and the Nodes are each in different houses. In many ways I acted out my South Node till my Saturn Return at age 28. I have tended to learn things the hard way, to be ungrounded and to go to excesses when I was young. It has taken me a long time to live into my true profession as an astrologer. I married late, and after 20 years of marriage was divorced for five years, and then I remarried my first husband. We’ve been married now since 2001, and continue to do the wonderful/horrible work that soul mates do with each other—we help each other grow. His independence and my desire ‘to merge’ are not comfortable together, yet I can see how he naturally pushes me to live out the independence and grounded values of my Taurus North Node. I encourage and stimulate the curiosity and expansiveness of his North Node in Gemini. There’s grace and grit here; a true marriage.
My South Node in Scorpio suggests that my Soul purpose is, in part, to move away from hurtful melodramas and to ground myself in my own talents and resources. It speaks of the desire for serenity and to move away from the dramatic reactivity and the excesses of my earlier years and former life. I’ve needed to take on the qualities of loyalty and persistence of the Taurus North Node and to find the sacred in the commonplace, which is a beautiful quality of that sign. The “gold” in my Scorpio shadow-South Node is my intuitive ability and emotional intensity.
One could speculate that with my South Node in Scorpio (conjuncting Jupiter, the planet of expansion and privilege) I may have been the ‘power behind the throne’ to someone of importance, and was used to enjoying the largesse of another person and a more dramatic life. That is not the case in this life–I need to use my own resources and power based on that grounded Taurus in the 2nd house of personal values and resources. The Universe gives me strong hints whenever I move into territory that is not my own to claim anymore.
My Sun sign in Libra wants serenity, harmony and beauty. Yet it thinks in terms of opposing ideas, and about the paradoxical nature of life. I can get easily stressed, yet look poised. The North Node points to the necessity of creating calmness and living off my own values and resources. It’s also significant that I have no earth signs in my chart—except the North Node in Taurus, and yet I was unconsciously drawn to compensate for that (the pull of the North Node) as I make pottery as well as do astrology. For many years I lived in a stone house, and married an earth sign, Virgo. Jungian psychologists would call this the unconscious compensation of my inferior function; the sensate.
An astrologer sees a chart like my mine and says this is an air and fire sign personality, whereas a Jungian therapist would say I was an intuitive-thinking type. This is labeling, and just the beginning of a deeper discussion, but it’s still useful.
The movement towards the North Node is a continuous process, not just one decision you make. For me, I needed to get lost, and found, many times— I divorced and remarried the same man. I write and do astrological counseling, which is my true vocation, but I have ‘followed several gods home’. I continually need to recommit to ever deeper levels of grounding and persistence in my work and life. Serenity and home life is very important. I know I survived a difficult family karmic inheritance, yet I strive to act out the highest octave of the Libra Sun which pulls me towards tactfulness and deep thinking. And that South Node in Scorpio still tries to seduce me in every way you can imagine.
So, I come back to the chart and to the astrological work again and again as a spiritual practice. It helps me remember my commitment to the work of being a healer; an intuitive astrologer who is grounded and practical. Astrology reflects the internal dialog between the different parts of oneself, but at least now I know who to listen to and why. I am grateful to have this divinatory tool that helps make conscious what is unconscious in the psyche, and I delight in sharing the gifts of this Soul Messenger to whoever asks.
Elizabeth Spring, MA, is a counseling astrologer and therapist who has studied astrology and the psychology of Carl Jung since 1969. She has studied and taught in England, Switzerland, and California, and has been a professional astrologer since 1992. She specializes in relationship, career, and soul direction and life purpose issues. Consultations are done by phone or at her office in Wickford, RI. Other articles can be read on www.elizabethspring.com
You can contact Elizabeth Spring at email@example.com