The North and South Nodes, also known as the Lunar Nodes, are celestial points that not only reveal your purpose in this lifetime but also the forces driving you toward it: The North Node is where you’re going, and the South Node is where you came from. These powerful and highly spiritual astrological placements offer extraordinary insight into your greatest strengths, weaknesses, and unbridled potential. Suddenly desperate to discover more? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the North and South Nodes.
What are the North and South Nodes?
It’s worth noting that the Lunar Nodes are not physical objects like planets or asteroids; they’re coordinates, like Black Moon Lilith. The North and South Nodes are geographic points, calculated based on the orbits and locations of actual celestial bodies. To fully understand these placements, let’s quickly review — take a deep breath — some light astronomy.
The Moon spins around the Earth like a dreidel, with a slight wobble, where one side tilts up where the other tilts down at an approximately five-degree angle. And, due to the lunar orbit’s slant, the Moon crosses paths with Earth’s orbit around the Sun at both its highest (North Node) and lowest (South Node) points — which means, yes, from our perspective on Earth, eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon intersect the Lunar Nodes. Makes sense, right? Right!
Now, another thing to know is that it takes the Moon 18 years (and 11 days and eight hours, to be exact) to complete a full “nodal orbit” — i.e., a full cycle of its own wobbling, which is different from its 28-day orbit of Earth. To visualize this, recall the dreidel again, with one side tilted up and one side tilted down: The “top” and “bottom” of these two points — the North and South Node — make a full rotation approximately every 18 years, which means the Nodes stay in the same zodiac sign for approximately 1.5 years before switching zodiac signs.
What do the North and South Nodes symbolize?
Collectively, the Lunar Nodes symbolize fate, destiny, path, and purpose, but they illuminate different dimensions of this powerful spiritual narrative. Because the North and South Nodes are mirror images at exactly 180 degrees on the map of the sky, they’ll always occupy opposite zodiac signs and astrological houses. For instance, if your South Node is in Libra, the North Node will be in Aries, and themes in your life will relate to collaboration (Libra) and independence (Aries) — which means you’re most likely working on overcoming your natural people-pleasing tendencies right this second to advocate for what you really want. In this sense, these two placements are always two sides of the same coin.
Your South Node represents the lessons, wisdom, and baggage you were already born with. Many astrologers believe that your South Node reflects your past life: Who you were, what you learned, and where your soul left off. We’re often “experts” at our South Node — it exposes themes that are familiar, accessible, and easily achievable. In many ways, the South Node signifies our spiritual comfort zone.
Your North Node symbolizes where you’re going in this lifetime. It reveals the energy you need to harness in order to fulfill your soul’s mission. The North Node offers insight into the passions, talents, and growth you need to access in order to reach your fullest potential. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these qualities are often far from innate: The North Node is what we strive to bring into our lives — it’s what we must learn in order to live the life our soul aspires to experience.
And what do the North and South Nodes mean for me?
Everyone has the Lunar Nodes in their complete astrological profile, otherwise known as the birth (or natal) chart. (Plug your information into an astrology software, such as TimePassages or Astro.com, if you haven’t yet.) Look for the two symbols on your chart that look like horseshoes, that’s them.
Because the Nodes take 18 years to make that full “lunar orbit,” it takes 18 years for the nodes to return to the spot they were in the sky at the exact moment and location you were born. Accordingly, these points on our birth charts get activated in a major way every, you guessed it, 18 years. We experience major breakthroughs relating to fate, destiny, and life purpose at the ages of 18, 36, 54, and so on and so forth. And, because the Nodes are always in opposite signs, the halfway marks are also notable. The ages 9, 27, 45, 63, and so on also serve powerful “checkpoints,” where we’re invited to take a closer look at how the themes of our Nodes are manifesting in our IRL lives.
Et voilà! Your own personal (and free!) crystal ball. Sort of.
Once you’ve figured out your natal-chart placements, find them in the below list of keywords associated with each of the zodiac configurations to start deciphering your future (and your past and your present):
- North Node Aries / South Node Libra: Autonomy, agency, independence
- North Node Taurus / South Node Scorpio: Embodiment, financial independence, comforts
- North Node Gemini / South Node Sagittarius: Friendship, belonging, communication
- North Node Cancer / South Node Capricorn: Nurture, self-love, emotional support
- North Node Leo / South Node Aquarius: Visibility, creativity, leadership
- North Node Virgo / South Node Pisces: Healing, boundaries, service
- North Node Libra / South Node Aries: Partnership, collaboration, balance
- North Node Scorpio / South Node Taurus: Intuition, tenacity, shared responsibilities
- North Node Sagittarius / South Node Gemini: Travel, expansion, trust
- North Node Capricorn / South Node Cancer: Legacy, reputation, success
- North Node Aquarius / South Node Leo: Humanitarianism, progress, nonconformism
- North Node Pisces / South Node Virgo: Spirituality, artistry, compassion
More Astrology 101
- Make Plans to Chill During This Weekend’s Lunar Eclipse
- This Weekend’s Solar Eclipse Might Transform You
- How Astrologers Track Planets to Explain Pretty Much Anything