There are countless astronomical factors that guide us as we move with time, and eclipse degrees and nodal connections are often especially vivid markers to help us understand our place in the cycle of time. We are just past two eclipses, and themes and events reflected by the nodes are on my mind. (1)
The nodes form an axis across the birth chart, sometimes pointing to inscrutable experiences or moments of destiny in an unfolding life.
The natal nodal axis is a fascinating, paradoxical, magical portal in any birth chart. I remember an analogy that Jungian astrologer Laurence Hillman wrote about: We might consider ourselves at a train station at any moment in life. He suggested that the North Node shows the destination, where we are headed according to the ticket we have purchased. He spoke of the South Node as the baggage we bring onto the train, what we think we need for the trip, as well as what we are carrying for comfort or out of habit. (2)
This view echoes contemporary astrology, which often considers the North Node as being connected to the future, and the South Node as connected to the past. The idea has some root in the astronomical fact that, every month, the Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic twice: It changes its latitude at the ecliptic and moves into northern declination, and two weeks later, crosses the ecliptic again and heads south.
Alexander Ruperti describes this in his seminal (1978) book: “In astrological symbolism, the northward crossing of the Ecliptic is a movement towards the positive and creative factor of the Spirit, and the southward crossing is a motion away from Spirit and towards the material realm.” He further writes: “This alternating orientation first toward spirit and then toward matter is the key to the meaning of the nodal cycle.” (3)
There is thus a cyclic energy implied at the nodal axis. We speak of the North Node as the Dragon’s Head and the South Node as the Dragon’s Tail. We sense the new and take in life, energy, experience, nourishment through the mouth, the eyes, the nostrils (all in the head), and eliminate, through the tail, that which has been digested and assimilated. The alchemical image of the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, is a depiction of the energetic circuitry inherent across the nodal axis. This oscillating pattern of the nodal axis keeps us in a loop between the two relevant signs and their respective symbolism.
The nodes are enormously important in many astrological techniques. Their use in mundane work (i.e., world events) is well researched and reported on. In the personal horoscope, the nodes can point to compelling connections that move us along on our life path, anywhere from the proverbial “ships passing in the night” (where a nodal tie with someone changes the course of our lives in a very short span of time) to a lifelong “fated” connection. (4)
One of the most mysterious connections is with people born about 9 years apart. The nodes have an 18.6-year cycle, so we all go through the nodal returns at ages 19, 38, 57, and 76. At ages 9, 28, 47, 66, and 85, we are in the half-nodal return – that is, the transiting North Node is conjunct our South Node, and vice versa. We will have this tie with anyone born 9 years apart from us. My client files contain stories of life-altering relationships between two people born at one another’s half-nodal return. The duration of the connection is not as consistent as is the intensity or significance of the meeting. Some pairs with this tie between charts have been intimately in one another’s lives for many years; others have been marked by a momentary rebooting that changed the course of their lives.
This gets me to my real subject matter: the current movie, nominated for many awards, Call Me by Your Name. I won’t spoil the storyline for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but the two main characters are played by actors born on each other’s half-nodal return. Timothee Chalamet, born on December 27, 1995, has the North Node at 23° Libra and the South Node at 23° Aries. (5) Armie Hammer was born on August 28, 1986, with the North Node at 22° Aries and the South Node at 22° Libra. (6)
Bi-wheel: Armie Hammer, inner
Timothee Chalamet, outer
(Remember, these are both solar charts, birth times unknown.)
The story, beautifully realized in these actors’ performances, is a demonstration of the development and expression of a relationship with souls seemingly destined to be like “ships passing in the night.”
(1) For readers who need a quick reminder: The lunar nodes are where the Moon’s orbit around the Earth intersects with Earth’s path around the Sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the New Moon is within 17°25′ of the North or South Node; a lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon is within 11°38′ of the North or South Node.
(2) I am paraphrasing Hillman’s ideas here; I read the book quite a while ago, but his basic image has stayed with me. He refines the analogy in lots of interesting ways, such as rearranging our “stuff” as the journey continues and we stop at different stations and others come and go from the train, etc.
(3) Alexander Rupert, Cycles of Becoming, CRCS Publications, 1978. p. 55.
(4) The idiom is from the poem, “Tales of a Wayside Inn,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice,
then darkness again and a silence.”
(5) Wikipedia: Timothee Chalamet
December 27, 1995; New York, NY, USA
(6) Wikipedia: Armie Hammer
August 28, 1986; Santa Monica, CA, USA