As we have another eclipse this Sunday, July 11, it seems a good time to consider the Moon's nodes. Astronomically, the nodes are the points where the Moon's orbit around the earth intersects the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun (and planets) around the Earth. Whether it is a north or south node is determined by whether the Moon's orbit is has crossed the ecliptic going toward the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. When this intersection of the Moon's orbit and the apparent path of the Sun and planets occurs during a new or full moon, we have an eclipse.
Astrologically, there are different schools of thought with regard to interpretation of the nodes. In general, traditional astrology treated the South node as malefic and the north node as tentatively benefic. Vedic astrologers in India do not like either one. Here are some early interpretations:
Centiloquium of Hermes Trismegistus (1262):
"The North Node with the infortunes denotes terrible mischiefs, for he increases their malice; but with the fortunes he works good, and augments their benignity. But the significations of the Dragon's tail are to be noted the contrary way."
Guido Bonatti (1296-1300 CE).
“Indeed, the Head of the Dragon is naturally a benefic, and of a masculine nature; but by accident it is sometimes a malefic. For its nature is composed of the nature of Jupiter and of the nature of Venus, and this signifies increase … Indeed its Tail is naturally malefic, and of a feminine nature; but if by accident it sometimes becomes a benefic. And its nature is composed of the nature of Saturn and Mars. And it signifies decrease, namely dejection and a fall and poverty, and the decrease of every good thing and every fortune.”
Later, the concepts of fate, karma and reincarnation became associated with the nodes. In this view, the south node represents the past and the north node represents this life or what the person should be striving toward. On Molly's Astrology Blog is a good example of the karmic interpretation: "In a karmic sense, the Moon’s Nodes represent lessons to be learned in this Earthly incarnation. These lessons almost always have to do with the way we connect with others."
Personally, I seldom use the Nodes in interpretation unless they are within 2 degrees of being conjunct another planet or in a partill aspect. I treat them as a unity, not that you are moving from the South Node to the North node or focusing on one over the other. Always in opposition, they continually present us with the challenge of shining a light on our basic approach to life, our habits and unconscious patterns. How do you use the Nodes? Do you find them useful?