Forecasting With Lunar Nodes
In a recent blog post, I looked at timing using a technique called Firdaria. This technique breaks the life of a person into planetary periods. Each planet rules for a certain amount of time, and becomes more sensitized during that period.
Included in that schema are the North and South Nodes of the Moon, which we’ll look at a bit more now. First of all, let’s get clear on what Nodes are. It’s a fairly simple concept, but one that isn’t always clear to folks. Each planet has an orbit around the Sun; from our perspective, it looks as if it goes around the Earth. That orbit crosses the path of the Sun somewhere in the circle, twice, in two spots directly opposite each other. The word “node” is the same as “knot” or “nodule,” meaning a place where two (or more) things come together and are tied or somehow linked.
The Lunar Nodes
The intersection of the orbit where the planet (or the Moon) would be crossing the Sun’s own path on its way north of that same path is called the North Node. Likewise, the intersection opposite that, where the Moon or planet crosses the Sun’s path and head South of the Sun is called the South Node.
Imagine two hula hoops crossing each other. They will touch in two places. These are like the two nodes. Now if you hold those hula hoops up so that they are horizontal and line them up almost exactly, they will approximate the orbits of two planets crossing one another.
Here’s a screenshot of the North Node. The Sun’s orbit is seen here in yellow, with the Sun heading down in the West. The Moon’s orbit is seen in red, with the waxing Moon chasing the Sun. The North Node is the point where those two paths cross, shown on the upper left.
Each planet has its own node where its orbital path crosses the ecliptic — the path of the Sun. But we focus mostly on the nodes of the Moon in astrology.
Before we go on to interpreting the lunar nodes, let’s pause for just a moment to think about the difference between a “normal” New or Full Moon, and an Eclipse New or Full Moon.
As I said, the Sun has its path through the sky, which we call the Ecliptic. In the images in this post, that path is represented by the gold line. The Moon’s path is a few degrees off that of the Sun’s, and is represented by the red line in all these images. Each of their orbits makes a circle in the sky, and where the paths intersect are the nodes. So far, so good.
Compare the two images below, one of the New Moon in March, 2020, where the Moon’s path passes just below the Sun’s path. The two are “lined up” vertically. (OK, they’re almost lined up vertically because this image is from just shortly after the New Moon, because I didn’t want to mess with the software any more.) But the Moon is not in front of the Sun. So there’s no Solar Eclipse.
The second image is of the December 26, 2019 eclipse, as seen from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where it was directly overhead near midday. You can see that at the very moment that the Moon (here the little black dot at the heart of the Sun) passes the Sun, their paths cross as well. So the Moon crosses directly in front of the Sun, and we have an Eclipse. This is why we call the path of the Sun the ecliptic.
Whenever the Sun and Moon are both within a few degrees of the Nodes, an eclipse will occur. If they are both near the same node (either the North or South Node), the eclipse will be a Solar Eclipse, as the Moon will be right in front of the Sun. If they are each near an opposite node, then there will be a Lunar Eclipse, since the Earth will stand directly between the two and block the Sun’s light from the Moon’s surface.
The Meaning of the Lunar Nodes
Much ink and many pixels have been spent writing about the lunar nodes and what they mean. The modern take is that they are about karma, fate, and whether a person is making evolutionary progress or continues to be stuck in old habits. I’ll refrain from much comment right now except to say that, in my opinion, it’s nigh impossible to prove anything astrologically about the likelihood that past lives are real. It’s even more tenuous to think that we can make specific statements about those past lives. Moving on.
But the lunar nodes do seem to be connected to a person’s role in society somehow. Lee Lehman has an excellent chapter in her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living (CAML), in which she anchors some delineations of the nodes in traditional astrology, while allowing for the possibility that modern interpretations may in fact be inspired by it.
In Western Astrology, the North Node was traditionally called the Dragon’s Head (Caput Draconis), and the South Node was called the Dragon’s Tail (Cauda Draconis). This gives a bit of an idea of their general meaning. The North Node is about increase or taking in, while the South Node is about decrease or letting go. A quick rule of thumb is that whatever the North Node touches increases (for good or ill), and whatever the South Node touches decreases.
Another quick way of looking at this is that the North Node represents good luck while the South Node, bad luck. But that approach can backfire if taken too superficially.
As mentioned above, the North and South Lunar Nodes are opposite one another. The points 90º away from these are known as the “bendings” and together with the nodes, they form a cross. When the Moon herself or other planets are conjunct the nodes or the bendings, they indicate a particular role that the person plays within society.
There are two principle roles. The first is spearheading or being a hero of some major issue of their day (for good or bad); in other words, being more active and perhaps creating the crisis of the day. This is often the lot of a person who has a planet at the North Bending. The other is being a scapegoat of the age, or an agent of the energy of the age. This is associated with having a planet at the South Bending.
I encourage you to read Lee Lehman’s chapter for some excellent examples. But for now I want to focus on just one, given the current state of affairs: the chart of Donald Trump. Going back to the idea of planetary periods, he is in his South Node period. So we should look and see what that might mean for him during this time.
Leaders’ Charts Affect Their Countries
An important thing to remember is that the chart of a president, prime minister, or monarch will essentially become a subsidiary chart for the country, at least temporarily. Each country will have multiple astrology charts that might need to be considered at a given time. The chart for the country’s founding, civil or revolutionary war, constitution (and some countries have had multiple ones), annexation or independence, etc. But often, as goes the leader, so goes the country. So regardless of one’s opinion of the current leader at any moment, we will all be affected by their charts to some degree.
As I explained in my post on Firdaria (planetary periods), each traditional planet (the ones through Saturn, which can be seen unaided by the human eye), along with the North and South Nodes rules a number of years in the life of a person. The order of these is always the same: Saturn (11 years), Jupiter (12), Mars (7), North Node (3), South Node (2), Sun (10), Venus (8), Mercury (13), Moon (9). There are reasons for the numbers of years, but I won’t go into that now.
A person born in the daytime starts this cycle with the Sun’s period, and a person born at night starts with the Moon’s period. That means for a daytime birth, the North and South Node take over as period rulers from age 70-75. The North Node rules for the first three of those years, and the South Node for two. A person born at night will experience the nodal periods in their forties.
Here we can see Donald Trump’s natal chart. Experienced astrologers will note that he has 29º Leo 55′ rising. This means that in less than half a minute on the clock, Virgo will be rising. However, this chart is fairly well verified, so I have no reason to question its authenticity or usefulness.
The first thing we notice is that he was born right at a Lunar Eclipse. The Sun is only two degrees from the North Node, and the Moon is only a half a degree from the South Node. Since the Moon moves approximately one degree every two hours, and it’s about a degree and a half from the Sun, we know right away that in about three hours after his birth, there was a total lunar eclipse.
Increase vs. Decrease
Remember that whatever the North Node touches increases, while whatever the South Node touches decreases. In Trump’s chart, the North Node is right with the Sun, increasing issues like fame, honor, glory, reputation, etc., in his life. Since the Sun rules the sign Leo, and he has Leo rising, this will be very personal for him. And the Sun/North Node are in the 11th house of his chart, so this will affect things like social groups and organizations in his life.
The Moon is right at the South Node, which will decrease what the Moon represents for him: women, emotions, care-giving, etc. The Moon rules his 12th house of isolation and enemies; this may help explain why, despite questionable business practices and a tendency to default on loans, no one has been able to really do him in, business-wise. The Moon/South Node are in the 5th house of fun, children, drinking, sex, romance, etc. Now, evidence of his fooling-around aside, Trump is known to be a teetotaler, so this fits nicely. Also, while he has five children, all evidence is that he has been a hands-off parent, at least until the children get older.
One other thing worth noting here is that Uranus is pretty closely conjunct the Sun/No. Node, which gives a strong element of reversals, surprises, out-of-the-blue, impulsiveness, etc., to his Sun.
Moon in the South Node Phase
The Nodes are at 20º of the mutable signs Gemini and Sagittarius. There are no planets at the bendings (20º of Virgo and Pisces). But we see that the Moon has just passed the South Node. Lee Lehman says of this:
In this phase of the South Moon, going South, there are several models. The first is the sex god(dess). The projections of others make these people seem bigger than life. Here we see Caruso, Valentino, Zelda Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Neil Armstrong. These people achieved fame-and legend-not through any personal merit or talent, but because of the public’s ability to identify with, empathize, or simply mythologize.CAML, p. 212.
While I’m a bit hesitant to refer to Trump as a “sex god,” he is certainly an icon of glamour. And I would argue that his ultimate fame, both as a television celebrity and as a politician, is due to people’s mythologizing him and his lifestyle. His whole 2016 presidential campaign was predicated on the idea that he could identify with the people in American society who had been disenfranchised. In fact, he is one of the main causes of such disenfranchisement. But people so often tend to look less at the facts and go with the mythology. Sort of like Trump himself.
Lehman points out that a number of famous South Node people “acted as agents of their age/society/nation/party.” (CAML, p. 208) Whereas the North Node can indicate more ambition and direct action, the South Node can show that the Native becomes a vessel through which pass the hopes, dreams, ideals, and values of the current culture. It’s pretty clear that even opponents of Trump don’t believe that he’s an anomaly, but in fact is the culmination and embodiment of what has been taking place in certain segments of American politics for decades.
Now that we have a decent idea of what the Lunar Nodes represent, both in general and in Donald Trump’s chart, let’s look at some timing.
There are many ways to include planets and nodes in timing, but I am going to focus here on one: firdaria. To repeat, the nodes rule ages 70-75 for people born during the day. That means that for Donald Trump, the North Node was the ruler from June 13, 2016, until June 14, 2019; and the South Node rules from then until June 13, 2021.
Remember that we said that the North Node is a place of increase. During the 2016 campaign, especially the later part, and the election, Trump was ruled by the North Node. In his 11th house of the “good spirit” traditionally, conjunct his Sun, which rules his Ascendant, and with the influence of Uranus (surprises, upsets, reversals), he defied nearly everyone’s expectations (even, apparently his own) and won the presidency.
In June 2019, the South Node took over for two years of rulership. A month later, Trump made calls to the leader of Ukraine and others that ultimately ended in his impeachment, though he was not removed from office.
The 2020 election falls during this period also. One of the frustrating features of the nodes in the firdaria system is that unlike the planets, they don’t have sub-periods. So it’s “all North Node” for three years and “all South Node” for two more. We don’t have the usual number of “layers” of information that we have in other periods. But it may be safe to say that this period of South Node “bad luck” or decrease will continue until after the election. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Trump in a hugely negative way. This may be more South Node manifestation.
Normally when considering firdaria, the planetary rulers (both major and minor periods) become activated or sensitized. That means that those planets are more sensitive in a person’s chart to receiving transits. In other words, planets today contacting those points in the birth chart will have a greater impact than normally.
We can surmise that during a nodal firdar, the nodes in the natal chart will be more sensitive to transits. Coincidence or not, on October 29, 2020, just a few days before the election, Trump will undergo a nodal return. That is, the nodes will be in exactly the same place as the moment he was born. This happens once every 19 years.
In addition to that, the Moon on election day will cross his natal Uranus (upsets, reversals, surprises) and his natal North Node and Sun (which rules his Ascendant). In mundane astrology (world events), the Moon represents the populace in general. So the citizenry may turn on the president at the ballot box.
There are many other elements that we could analyze to understand the astrology of Donald Trump’s 2020. But I wanted to limit myself here to focusing on one element: the Lunar Nodes. I will have more to say about other techniques in the days to come.