So, what do you make of the lunar nodes? Do you emphasize the North or South Node? Do you see transits of the South Node over a point in your chart as positive or negative? Is it good in synastry to have someone’s Sun on your North Node? I have been in a muddle over these questions for a long time and so turned to The Lunar Nodes: Your Key to Excellent Chart Interpretation by Judith Hill for some answers. Adam Elenbaas had recommended this book as a resource which brings clarity to the topic, and I found the author more than delivered on Adam’s recommendation.

Judith Hill first explains that the Lunar Nodes are not specific objects in the sky, but are points in the ecliptic where the Moon crosses as it moves from south to north, the North Node, and from north to south, the South Node. The North Node represents an upward, increasing energy, and the South Node indicates a downward, or decreasing, energy. Is increase by its nature good, and decrease bad? Hill explains that the interpretation is with the beholder. In Western cultures, to have more, to rise high in ambition, to excel in worldly matter is considered the highest good. In Eastern cultures, non-attachment is aspired to, and being caught up in worldly ambition is thought to drain us and steer us away from our true path of enlightenment. So you can see that how you view a Mars conjoined with the North Node would depend on where you were born.

When you put these perspectives together, Hill demonstrates that we need to move beyond labeling either node as good or bad and realize that each point has its strengths and weaknesses. Elvis Presley, for example, was born with Venus conjunct the North Node. His talent and ability to move the masses with his music and his phenomenal fame and earnings are indicated by this placement, but so, too, are his destructive appetites – who could forget those friend peanut butter and banana sandwiches – which eventually led to his untimely death. Increasing the power of his Venus was both positive and negative.

Hill suggests that it is best to connect certain key words to the Nodes in order to achieve a balanced interpretation:

North Node: power surge, towards the world, entrance, present time, striving, gain, greed, physically strong, materialistic, the door into this world, successful, ambitious, energetic, selfish.

South Node: power outage, towards the eternal, exit, past time, memory, loss, generosity, physically weak, wise, deep, insightful, the door into the eternal, anonymous, invisible, retiring, tired, selfless.

Another helpful way to consider the Nodes, Hill tells us, is that a tide is coming in around the North Node, and the tide is going out at the South Node. This is particularly true of the affairs of the house where the Nodes are transiting.

This book is an excellent “cookbook” reference of natal planets in aspect to the Nodes, transiting Nodes in aspect to the planets, and the Nodes through the signs and houses. Judith Hill uses many example charts from her extensive astrology practice which bring her descriptions to life. She has created a very open and accessible doorway for astrologers into these rich and complex symbols.