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The Gates of Destiny: Lunar Nodes Enter Aries and Libra

We’re gearing up for a lot of celestial shifts this month: some sweet, some productive, some more than a little spicy.

As seasoned supplicants of the stars we know that when something changes signs, it changes energy. The size and scope of these shifts can vary from subtle to seismic depending on the configurations made to one’s natal chart. This said, as the lunar nodes slide into Aries and Libra, all of us are bound to feel something profound.

In July, the lunar nodes leave Taurus and Scorpio; they’ve been transiting this axis since January 2022. Depending on whether you use the Mean Node or True Node, the exact date of the axial shift differs. The Mean Node is derived from a mathematical calculation of the North Node’s varying dance, while the True Node is exactly what it sounds like — the precise position of the North Node at any given time. If you use the Mean Node, expect the North Node to shift into Aries around July 12; if you prefer the True Node, then the move happens seven days later.

While Hellenistic astrologers share much in common with their Vedic counterparts where interpretations of the nodes are concerned, in considering the impact of this shift, I’m admittedly drawn to the philosophical approaches favoured by Evolutionary and Humanistic astrologers, where the nodes become turbocharged with the unfolding of our character development and individual destiny.

The twentieth-century Humanistic astrologer Dane Rudhyar argued that the nodes belong to “orbital astrology” — not necessarily a discipline writ large, but an approach which focuses on the cyclical nature and “‘secular’ variations” of planetary orbits. At its core, Rudhyar believed that astrology was less about the planet as a “material mass” and more about “the space which its movements define.” This is a rather profound thought when you consider its implications. Pluto in itself is nothing more than a suite of archetypal significations. Pluto in Aquarius, however, changes how those significations express themselves through space and time. The quality of that expression is coloured by the astrological sign — its modality, polarity, and element — as well as the aspects that Pluto forms to other planets.

The lunar nodes can be considered in a similar fashion. They occupy a certain space and their movements sync up with other planets, influencing the quality of time and the unfolding of events according to the planets that they come in contact with through various mathematical configurations. In keeping with Rudhyar’s philosophic interpretation, the nodes represent two gates: the North Node is the gate of absorption and assimilation and the South Node is the gate of extrusion. Put another way, the North Node consumes— it expands and grows and not always positively — whereas the South Node releases that which consumes our energy, but also that which we seek to purge.

The End of the Taurus-Scorpio Cycle

I never worked with the lunar nodes in any serious capacity until my own nodal return. The storyline of the North and South Nodes’ cyclical traversing of my own personal zodiacal placements practically leapt off the page as I was confronted with a seeming re-do of a life path I’d wound up abandoning nineteen-and-a-half years after the North Node was last in the same house.

The irony of coming home to the nodes was not lost on me — after all, my first astrology book was Jan Spiller’s Astrology for the Soul. In it, Spiller noted that in astrological consultations she almost exclusively zeroed in on a client’s nodes by sign and house placement. Taken together with the aspects the nodes formed to other planets in a client’s chart, Spiller wrote, “I can understand the individual challenges this person has, and the qualities of character that need to be developed for success and fulfillment in this lifetime.” To me, this resembles Rudhyar’s description of the lunar nodes as gates, which, I'm beginning to believe, are truly “gates of destiny.”

If we consider the story the transiting nodes tell as a story of challenge and growth, then for many of us, the last few years likely presented some unexpected shifts in our personal trajectory. If we take the pandemic as a historic watershed that changed the collective zeitgeist, then those fated days in March 2020 when lockdowns began around the globe roughly coincided with the tail end of the nodal transit through Cancer and Capricorn — an axis that we can broadly take to represent the themes of home, family, safety, security, work, authority, organizations, governments and even austerity. As the nodes shifted into Gemini and Sagittarius by May of that year, we were likely beginning to contemplate a different life: how would we redefine ourselves if we were lucky enough to make it out on the others side alive?

In mid-January 2022, the nodes shifted again, entering the Taurus-Scorpio axis — an axis concerned with different sides of safety and security. The emphasis turned to material, monetary, food and residential safety in the face of rocketing prices and occasional shortages. We likely began questioning what we value, where we place import, what we might edit out of our lives, and what we aim to keep. This axis may have also emphasized a continuing contemplation around the way that income is earned and whether that aligns with our deepest desires and quest for fulfillment in this lifetime. The corresponding eclipse cycle across this axis may have brought dramatic changes: new chapters, fated endings, and potential reversals of previous pathways.

North Node in Aries, South Node in Libra: The Polarity of One and Done?

Spiller wrote that the North Node in Aries teaches us to “develop a new sense of self-identity…through becoming aware of the identity of others.” As we work with those around us, supporting them in the realization of their goals and aiding them in defining their identities, we reveal our own. This is an unexpected twist to the usual primacy of the Aries ego; this is the location of the self within the constellation of one’s own microcosm.

For some, this characterization may feel oddly disempowering; after all, if we help others — and perhaps that’s all we seem to do — who, in turn, will help us? With Saturn in Pisces, this may amplify the conundrum: questions of boundaries may seem fluid, while our faith in karmic balance, universal order, or whatever higher force we believe in could be tested. Do we have it in us to give and give and give knowing that there is no reciprocal guarantee? This may seem especially troubling if you’ve delayed your dreams or shelved your hopes until a better time presented itself. Now isn’t the moment to give up, but to recognize that, in the pursuit of our highest actualization, helping hands are essential and we often reap what we sow in the Universe.

The very gifts that Aries imparts, including courage, passion and independence, are the traits that we need to rely on in this upcoming energetic shift. We need to believe in ourselves and to have the courage to go it alone when necessary, but recognize the vital need for cooperation with others. With Chiron turning retrograde in Aries in late July, this nodal shift comes with an essential mission: to heal the way that we think about ourselves and our capacity for independence in opposition to, and in concert with, our closest relationships.

Spiller wrote that the Achilles’ heel of people who have the North Node in Aries natally is a preoccupation with fairness, justice and an unending quest for the ideal partnership. This may have larger implications in terms of what we need to face in this upcoming nodal shift: namely, that fairness might currently be anathema to prevailing global forces, but that as long as we have a strong and unwavering moral compass, we’re best served in moving in the direction of our dreams.

Feeling Our Way Through

In an obscure volume titled, Lunar Nodes: Key to Emotion and Life Experience, Diane Ronngren directed her readers to envision their natal Moon in their birth chart, including its house position, sign, and the planetary aspects before considering the position of the lunar nodes. The Moon, she wrote, is sometimes thought of as the “energy that nurtures personal growth and provides us with a feeling of confidence that we can survive and thrive in life,” while the nodes are the conduits for transmitting information received about the external world. In short, our natal nodes and Moon hardwire us to explore the world and to metabolize our experiences.

Between now and the first weeks of January 2025, the way that experience and metabolize the world will be through our Aries intake valve. Consider where this transit is taking place in your own chart and the relationship that your personal identity has to the topics represented by the chart with Aries on the house cusp. This not only signals where you are bound to grow and process experiences through the lens of character-building courage and individual expression, but it’s also where you’re being asked to heal old hurts that have held you back.

The sector of your chart that has Libra on the cusp represents the opposite end of that nodal polarity — it’s the point where we must interface with others. Currently, the asteroid Ceres is transiting Libra until mid-September. It’s interesting to think about its lunar correspondences, particularly as Virgil, in his agricultural poem, Georgics, named Ceres as one of the most brilliant luminaries of the firmament. The lunar analogy seems apt because it’s a point of pleasure, nurturing, comfort, and safety. In Libra, where Manilius tells us the Sun’s entry brings the vintage, we have an unmistakable symbolic confluence of reaping what is sown at the start of the cycle — at the Aries point. This seems to pattern what Spiller wrote: that our gains will come in the form of service to others and through helping them find their way. Ultimately, it is through our relationships — what we stand for and how we define ourselves in relation to others —  that holds the key to our destiny for the next nineteen months.

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