lunar nodes

Called to Meet the Past: The Nodal Axis Enters Cancer/Capricorn

This article originally appeared in the OPA journal

On November 15, 2018 the mean nodal axis shifts into Cancer/Capricorn ( November 7 for the True Node). These signs invite us to consider the past; they call us back to ancient events, both collective and personal. Even more significantly, as the nodal axis shifts into Cancer/ Capricorn it will move backwards into connection with Pluto, then with Saturn. The old authoritarian temptation is heightened by the south Node’s entry into Capricorn, the desire to find a ‘’big Daddy’ who will decide for everyone, and ‘take responsibility”

The ancestors call to us to step up and finish what they could not, to repair an error, to pay a debt. Sometimes we are pulled into circumstances reminiscent of another era, another time. The Nodes here ask us how to honour the past without being caught up in it.

Since April 2017, the South Node has been in Aquarius. One of the most striking tendencies during this period has been a powerful connection to ‘groupthink’. Whether on the ‘fake news’ side of the equation or classically liberal, many of us have been pushed into stronger identification with those who think the same way. A few rare individuals have taken a stand, breaking with their cohort, to call out for truth. The North Node in Leo asks for this kind of individual courage, invites individuals to speak out against a powerful tide of group mind. The recent death of John McCain highlights this polarity and is seen in the outpouring of admiration and tribute to his courage and strength of conviction. It is fascinating that this man, once honoured and admired, an incontestable hero, had begun to lose support, as chanted slogans replace thought. An us-versus-them mentality can be seen as a degraded expression of the Aquarian impulse to find like-minded souls.

In Cancer and Capricorn the nodes speak even more powerfully to what has come before, they speak to the history of humanity. In many ways the power of the past may be stronger during these passages. We must remember that the nodes, unlike other astrological factors, moved backwards in the sky. As the Nodes move backwards through the signs, they describe an involutionary spiral, like the unwinding of a spool of thread. This backward movement is a recapitulation of what humanity and individuals have already experienced, an activation of patterning. It may seem as though the past rises to meet us, bringing history back to life, sometimes in unwelcome forms. We have unfinished business.

The North node in Cancer asks us to protect the vulnerable, to make things safe for those who cannot protect themselves. It calls us to the inner life, and harnesses the power of imagination. Externally, it may also correspond to a wave of women in power. Evolutionary astrologers talk about the connection between these nodal signs and the passage from matriarchy to patriarchal society, and we may see an echo here. Other traditions refer to the Cancer/Capricorn axis as the gateway of the soul.

Has the pressure of the world pulled us out of alignment with the soul’s purpose?

Capricorn is often the builder and lawgiver. Together these two signs hold the world in place, they give rise to the external and internal structures that support our development. However, when unconscious, Capricorn’s structural gifts can take the form of over-control. Authoritarianism, top-down decision making, and a paternalistic hierarchy can all grow stronger. At its most extreme the tyrant is constellated. Given the passage of Pluto in Capricorn since 2008, these tendencies are already quite perceptible, in the world at large with powerful personalities like Erdogan, Putin, Orban, and Mohammed Bin Salman, to mention just a few of those who have risen to power. The authoritarian temptation will be strongest as the Nodes interface this potent planet, and continue to move through tropical Cancer/Capricorn. This also happens to correspond to the incoming Saturn Pluto conjunction. So many planets in Capricorn, especially these planets, argue for a strong redirection of the world. We are watching political lines being redrawn and continents change shape. Values are shifting, and the new technologies that came in under the Neptune Uranus conjunction in the same sign have now revealed their potential as subtle mechanisms of control.

Most often the Node’s passage through the signs bring powerful inward events while the eclipses that punctuate them every six months, reveal these processes in the outer world. This time, Pluto will also be conjunct its own South Node at 21° of Capricorn, compounding, and intensifying the evolutionary process. Pluto’s crossings with its South Node happen only at 87 and 161 year intervals, a result of its highly elliptical orbit. The first crossing of this cycle occurred in July of 2018. Until then, the last time a crossing took place, in 1930, Pluto was discovered. It reveals itself to us at the nodal crossing. Individuals who are born during this time will have great power to bring about deep transformation, or destruction. They will crave intensity, and carry the seeds for potent reform.

For further research, here is a link which calculates planetary nodes

Pluto will next cross its node January 5 2019. Pluto will be conjunct the Moon’s mean Node on March 28th 2019. And the Moon’s node will align with Saturn on May 20th 2019.

Image Credit: Anne Verbiscer. Illustration NASA

When we look at previous times in history where the Moon’s nodes and Pluto conjunct in Capricorn, two dates rise up. One is 1517, when the omnipotent Catholic Church was profoundly challenged for its own internal corruption. There was a call for reform, for complete restructuring of a corrupt system. It is not surprising to see Saturn coming into a conjunction with Pluto, though still in Sagittarius, at the time Pluto conjuncted the Moon’s node. The Church hierarchy chose to suppress the movement rather than listen to its cries for change, and a hundred year dismantling began. Communities were torn asunder, entire populations went into exile, political alliances changed. The core concept of this revolution was a call to inner spiritual authority, to an inner relationship to truth rather then a docile acceptation of external proclamations. There was a realignment with spirit and the establishment of an individual relationship withdivine authority.Where authority is corrupt, where it leaves no room for a true connection, where it enslaves rather than frees, this crossing of the Moon’s nodes and Pluto’s nodes has a potent effect for reform, for redirection. Pluto crossed its Planetary node, a dozen or so years after the Reformation began. The Reformation itself came less than a century after the new technology of the printing press changed access to ideas. We find ourselves a Saturn cycle on from the profound changes created by time-warping personal computers and the internet. We are in it without understanding it.

The second date is 1777 when an all out war was taking place between the American colonists and their ruler, Britain. Again the notion of corrupt control lies at the heart of the upheaval. Some colonies, like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, had been founded under an impulse for religious freedom, others had economic prosperity as a core motive. When the ‘mother country’ began to impose excessive control over both of these, the colonists felt their ‘contract’ had been broken and the system came down under the strain. Again the issue was external control and individual servitude, the lack of a voice, or vote, in decision making, and the imposition of an imperious top-heavy authority. Rights granted in England were not transferred to the colonists, and this became unacceptable. The nodal cycle through these signs may give of us a preview of the United States Pluto Return in 2022.

The North Node calls us home, away from outer authority to a relationship with our inner voice. With so many ‘heavyweight’ planets on the side the South Node, the power of that outer world, its constructs, limits and laws, may feel more oppressive. There is no guarantee that this cycle will bring us out of oppression, it may take us even deeper into that direction. The 16th century brought religious restructuring to Europe, but it also initiated Europe’s use of African slaves in the new World, beginning a cycle of immense cruelty and dominance. These past cycles give us both hope and caution. The toxic underpinnings of our world will come to light, and we can hope this will bring a major redirection of consciousness.

For individuals, Cancer and Capricorn light up a particular set of concerns. Issues of dependency and control, of responsibility and care, in alignment with the house positions of these signs in our birth charts, will call to each of us. Some will withdraw into a deeply private space, others will feel impelled to act for the vulnerable. It will be an excellent time to reckon with the ghosts of the ancestors, alive or dead, the emotional patterning that has invisibly bound us. We have debts to them, and these can come due now. Above all, we are called to care for our own integrity, to pay attention to the imperatives of soul. It is a potent time ahead.