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Western Astrology Articles by Julene Packer-Louis

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Astrolonomical Diagram of the Nodes
by Julene Packer-Louis

The Lunar Nodes are points in space. They are not physical bodies like planets. The Nodes are formed by the intersection of the Moon's orbit around Earth with the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Since we don't perceive our orbit around the Sun, it appears that the Sun is moving. The apparent path of the Sun, which takes Earth's orbit into account is the Ecliptic Plane. The Ecliptic Plane is the path all planets follow in our sky. In the sky this observable path is marked by the Zodiac Constellations. On our chart it is maked by the outer wheel marked by the Zodiac Signs. Zodiac degrees are measured along the Ecliptic.

The Moon's orbit is tilted 5 degrees from the Ecliptic, causing both planes to intersect in two points 180 degrees from each other. The Nodes are formed at these intersections. The zodiac signs and degree of those signs where the intersection occurs yeilds the position of the North Node and South Node in a chart. They will always be the same degree of the opposing zodiac sign (exactly 180 degrees away from each other).

The North Node is also called the Ascending Node - the Node moving above the Ecliptic Plane.
The South Node is also called the Descending Node - the Node moving below the Ecliptic Plane.

The Nodes move backwards through the zodiac. It takes 18 years for the Nodes to make a complete circle around the zodiac. Therefore the Nodes have an 18 year cycle.

[Side Note: All planets have Nodes where there orbit intersects the ecliptic as well. Since the Moon is our sattelite, astrologers are most concerned with the Lunar Nodes.]

© Julene Packer-Louis, 2013