When the Moon Nodes turn direct

Alternating retrograde and direct movement of the Moon Nodes reveals polarity of the flow of time. Symbolism behind the transiting nodes. Interpreting direct lunar nodes in natal astrological charts.

The true nodes of the Moon naturally travel in a retrograde (clockwise) direction along the Zodiac. At times the nodes change their movement from retrograde to direct. Each month usually sees at least one direct phase of the lunar nodes.

The lunar nodes is a pair of mathematically calculated sensitive points of intersection of the orbits of the Moon and the Sun.

The North Node, also known as the ascending node or Rahu or Dragon’s Head is the part of the ecliptic where the Moon passes out of south into north latitude – the upward movement.

The South Node, also known as the descending node or Ketu or Dragon’s Tail is 180º opposite of the North Node, the point where the Moon passes out of north into south latitude – the downward movement.

For an earlier discussion about the nodes, refer to the article “The Moon Nodes and the Force of Destiny”.

This article explores the astrological symbolism behind the nodal movement.

The nodes move slowly

The nodes take 18 years, 7 months and 9 days (~18.6 years) to make one complete revolution.

Each Zodiac sign transit takes about 18.6 months (~1.6 years).

Rudolf Steiner has spoken about the “cosmic breathing” – a rhythmic time cycle of 18.6 years that expresses itself via the lunar nodes movement.

Nodes symbolise the flow of time

The North Node (ascending node) is pointing towards the future and is of Jupiter nature.

The South Node (descending node) stands for the past and has a character of Saturn.

The moon nodes and their Jupiter and Saturn character

This symbolism makes sense since Saturn rules over what has been done, structured and ultimately resulted in a karmic outcome, which can be either “credit” or “debt”.

Jupiter rules over expansion and is the inherent force of optimism that inspires the future looking consciousness.

Using the North–South Nodes correspondence with Jupiter–Saturn helps astrologers to conceptualise the movement of the nodes and their alternation between retrograde and direct phases.

Rotation of the nodes, the North Node returns

Human life can be divided into a sequence of full rotations of the nodes, 18.6 years each. Each North Node return – or simply its transit of the natal North Node – heralds an advent of a new phase of life.

At 0 years — birth into the world

A human leaves the safety of the mother’s womb and begins exploration of the physical world, the immediate vicinity, parents and siblings. The natal chart is the snapshot of that moment with its ascending lunar node describing the vector of current incarnation.

At 18 years, 7 months and 9 days — gaining independence

The first nodal return takes place at 18 years, 7 months and 9 days. The human being is ready to step outside of the family circle and cast away perceived (or real) chains of parental authority. Hence begins the rebellion for independence. Building one’s home, the place of dwelling.

At 37 years, 2 months and 20 days — broadening

The second nodal return takes place at 37 years, 2 months and 20 days. By then it has become obvious that the parental role has been taken by the society that imposed its own rules and laws. Time to reevaluate, refine and relieve oneself from no longer relevant dependencies. The larger circle of relatives, friends, neighbours and peers has left the person wondering “what’s next in my life”?

At 55 years, 10 months and 28 days — reorienting

The third nodal return takes place at 55 years, 10 months and 28 days. The career has passed its culmination. Some may want to retire from the world, others seek to redefine themselves. In either case it’s a renewed search for the soul and its place in a larger picture.

Last two nodal returns — embracing heaven

The fourth nodal return happens at 74 years and 5 months. The fifth is at 92 years, 1 month and 9 days. Both bring the feeling of the sky-heaven closer to the individual consciousness, the vicinity of the spiritual home is becoming more real and may even become attractive. The eternal pull upwards is here to stay.

Transiting South Node

Each South Node transit of the natal North Node marks halfway distance between adjacent North Node returns. The transits happen during the years of 9, 27, 46, 64 and 83. They mark an important period of reintegration of key life learnings that happened during the first half of the North Node phase. Time for reconciliation and adjustment of one’s approach to life. Correct to evolve.

Moon Nodes direct phases

Now that the bigger picture has been painted, one can intuit the role of the direct phases of the lunar nodes.

Human life develops in a to and fro manner, it consists of larger and shorter cycles. The nodes direct phases have a character of the South Node transiting the natal North Node during which the predominant Jupiter–Saturn polarity of the nodes becomes inverted to Saturn–Jupiter dominance.

This Saturnian flavour heralds the phase of retrospection, debt handling and solidification. One can’t meaningfully advance without reconciling their past.

Relatively short phases of the nodes direct movement offer time window during which a certain slowing down can be felt. The direct phase brings the flavour of reassessment and internalisation, one is invited to remember what they have achieved of failed to achieve during the previous nodal phase — and make corrections if deemed necessary.

Direct Moon Nodes in a natal chart

Natal charts that have the nodes in their direct phase may point at a life during which the person should be paying attention to their past.

Astrological chart with the Moon nodes in direct movement phase
This simplified chart shows the Sun–Moon related points with the lunar nodes in a direct phase as marked by a short line outside the North/South Node pictograms. The Black Moon is in the Cancer sign.

Karmic balance, either negative or positive, will play an active role in the current incarnation. It is a good idea to periodically do some kind of regression work re-establishing connections to one’s past lives. The South Node transits of the natal North Node will offer auspicious time windows for such exploration.

Another possible scenario, is the “going against the grain of time” type of personality. A number of scenarios is possible. The person can be past-oriented, rejecting modernity in favour of classicism, whatever that means to them. The person may have a strong interest in history, displaying an innate ability to embrace and integrate deep learnings of the humanity as a whole, the analytical side of Saturn. Another possibility is an affinity with institutions that deal with all kinds of time-related matters.

In any case, having direct nodes in the natal chart isn’t a curse of any kind. Rather it’s an invitation for deeper self-understanding and acceptance of oneself as something much bigger than a “snapshot” of a single life time. Perceiving oneself as a cosmic river with its natural ebbs and flows, the sense of cosmic breathing.

Direction of the Nodes reveals the polarity of time

As the Moon Nodes travel along the Zodiac in a non-constant manner, they reveal the notion of polarity of time.

During their natural clockwise retrograde phase, the emphasis is on the future and the nodal axis is ruled by the forces of the nature of Jupiterexpansion.

During their alternative counter-clockwise direct phase, the axis is influenced by the forces of the nature of Saturnkarma, introspection and reintegration becomes the dominant flavour of that time segment.

The Moon nodes movement direction calculator

Introducing Time Nomad add-on: Moon Nodes Direction

The Moon Nodes Direction add-on for Time Nomad astrology app allows for further exploration of direct and retrograde phases of the Moon nodes as well as the nodes movement through the Zodiac. The add-on fully integrates with all relevant charts and astrological reports.