The Nodes have also struck me as having strong connections, in the clustering effect I talked about, with conception, beginnings and endings, of either a literal or more often a symbolic kind.
I found it intriguing, for example, that in the two of Marc’s Turning Points which concerned the beginning of the two key relationships with women which would most powerfully affect his life, the charts for the conception points of the relationships were more powerful than those for the actual start of Marc going out with Beatrice (first wife) and then Caitlin (his long-term partner).
In Mary Shelley’s case, the chart for the waking dream in which she could have been said to have conceived the idea which led to ‘Frankenstein’, was very powerful.
All of the key moments in all the case material concern conception, beginnings and endings: in the case of Princess Diana, her physical death. Andrew’s Nodal moment concerned the dramatic end of a relationship, but also of certain pathological ties to his family past, leading to the beginning of an altogether more positive stage of his life.
Anna’s Nodal moment represented the beginning of a whole new cycle of her life; the date of the interview whose successful outcome would see her re-locate to another continent, 11 October, was also the anniversary of both her mother’s and her sister’s death. John Glenn’s Nodal moment concerned his rebirth as an astronaut in October 1998 at the age of 76 – the second Nodal Return from his original space voyage in February 1962. He returned to Earth safely, complete with his record of being the oldest person to venture into space.
Marc’s first Turning Point represented the end of his youthful image of himself as an intellectual achiever, and a very painful initiation into experiencing the more brutal aspects of life as a necessary part of his life path. The election of Margaret Thatcher as UK Conservative Prime Minister in 1979 , when he was 33, represented another major Turning Point: the end of his political hopes for Scottish Independence at that time – he had been a Scottish Nationalist all his adult life. The whole period since then for him has been a long struggle, for a man who needs the inspiration of belief to guide and focus his considerable energies and gifts.
In my own case, as described in the preface to the research, critical endings on the first and second Nodal returns bracketed a long journey from spiritual alienation to deeper connection with a sense of meaning and purpose. I had needed to find this spiritual connectedness in order to become all I could be in the next stage of my vocational life .
My research confirmed both the traditional view of the Nodes’ connection with with conception, beginnings and endings and my own impressions gained over many years’ practice.
References and Notes
(1) Headline quotation is from East Coker, No. 2 of ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S.Eliot
I am thus assuming at least a beginner’s familiarity with the astronomical and symbolic significance of the Moon’s Nodal axis, and its 18.6 year retrograde cycle through the Zodiac with the accompanying twice-yearly eclipse seasons.
Before setting out my conclusions, it might be useful in context-setting to offer a brief description of the content of the 50,000 word research study upon which these findings are based:
1) Preface, in which I outlined my personal reasons for becoming fascinated by the Nodal axis and bringing it increasingly into my teaching. 2) Introduction, in which I set out my reasons for embarking on the research. 3) Chapter One: Astronomy and Symbolism of the Nodes. 4) Chapter Two: Case Study One: Mary Shelley, ‘Frankenstein’ and a sheep called Dolly. 5) Chapter Three: Case Study Two: ‘Marc’ (age 51) : a life through the Nodal Lens. 6) Chapter Four: Case Study Three: Four “Nodal Moments” – key turning points analysed in the lives of two men and two women, two famous (Princess Diana and astronaut John Glenn) and two unknown, Anna (age 44) and Andrew (age 34). 7) Conclusions. Finally…. Bibliography, References and Notes, Charts used and their provenance.
My main research questions were these: How significant is the Nodal axis? Are astrologers missing something really important by not delineating it in their readings, both natally and in terms of its transiting cycle? Does it say something specific? Or does it act as a reinforcer for information about a person’s life pattern which can be derived from other chart factors?
1. ‘ Major’ and ‘ minor ‘ Nodal activity
Transits and progressions weave in and out of life – there may be years for example which are dominated by Pluto, others by Neptune, or very heavily Saturnian years. There are the few occasions eg where a planet changes sign by progression, or the MC progresses over Uranus, or the Moon.
But there is Nodal activity of some kind going on all the time, as the Nodal axis regresses through the horoscope, transits come to the Natal or progressed Nodes, and progressions touch off the natal Nodal pattern. The Nodes appear to me to function both as witnesses (the Sun) and midwives (the Moon), symbolic translators of the archetypal energies of the planets into the medium of Life as it is lived in the Sun/Moon/Earth system.
Where, then, does this leave the contention that Nodal times have a particularily powerful, fateful “charge” to them? That can’t be true of every year in life, surely? If it were, the intensity of it would pretty quickly reduce people to cinders! What, therefore, distinguishes those special moments or turning points in life where either at the time, or later, we realise we have crossed an important threshold?
From the research done on Marc’s life in particular, I have concluded that there are two kinds of Nodal activity : major and minor, as it were. As already discussed, there is always some “minor” Nodal activity going on.
The really powerful “major” times on the other hand, which are few in any lifetime, are characterised by not just one or two, but a cluster of transits and/or progressions involving the natal, and/or progressed, and/or transitting Nodes. The outer planets, especially Pluto with its strong “fated” feel, stand out. This was an impression I had already formed after 15 years of chart reading – but I’d never tested it out in formal research before.
Pre-natal eclipses are very much part of the weave, as can be seen from the case study material. The most striking example is seen in Mary Shelley’s horoscope where the pre-natal solar and lunar eclipse degrees appear as the actual Ascendant and South Node degrees in her horoscope,and the charts of all the key people and events in her life with reference to her authorship of ‘Frankenstein’. (Mary will be getting a post all to herself, complete with horoscope, as part of this series! Maybe my obsession isn’t quite burnt out, after all these years….)
I’m quite clear now, as the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, that the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of the person’s life in preparation to receive major change.
An image comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point in the person’s life appears. (i)
References and Notes
(i)A very clear example comes to mind from my own life, linked to the Virgo/Pisces eclipse season of Spring 1997-Autumn 1998. In the Spring of 1997 I decided to hire an office out of my home to create space, mainly to write this thesis. My Asc/Desc axis is 9 degrees Virgo/Pisces.
The Virgo/Pisces eclipse season started on 9 March 1997 with a total solar eclipse at 18.5 Pisces, opposite the asteroid Urania at 19 Pisces in my First House, clsely linking in Mary Shelley’s and Marc’s North Nodes at 19 and 21 Gemini respectively. It was at this time that I chose Marc as a main case study subject along with Mary Shelley.
On Friday 7 March I saw the office I decided on 10 March to rent, paying for it for a year from an insurance policy I had taken out 18 years previously. At that time, I had a feeling I might need money for a future adventure of some kind – long before I knew anything about either astrology or the 18- year Nodal cycle. My bank manager, of course, thought I was mad….
The middle period of that eclipse season saw me well settled into the writing as the 9 Virgo eclipse fell exactly on my Ascendant in the Autumn of 1997. The following year, the day before the total solar eclipse (7 deg 55 min Pisces) of February 26 1998 fell on the Sixth House side of my Descendant, I had a call from my landlords saying they needed to know by the next day whether I was going to renew my lease, which ran out on 9 May 1998, since the building was being sold. I decided to renew for 6 months and sent my rent cheque off just before the lunar eclipse on 13 March 1998 at 22 Virgo.
The lease ran out on 7 November 1998: the day I graduated with my Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology!