Lynn Asks:

“If the Moon’s Nodes are calculated points in a chart, how can they be retrograde, and what does it mean when they are?”

Ingrid Asks:

“Could you please explain to me the meaning in my chart when it says I have my Mean Node in the 7th House in Libra (1°31) and my True Node in the 8th house in Libra (3°16)? What is the difference between the Mean and True Node in my chart? Is the True Node the North Node?”

Kevin Answers:

Lynn and Ingrid,

Retrograde and direct are simply descriptive terms defining direction around the circle of the ecliptic. They work the same way as “clockwise” and “counterclockwise” do. It has nothing to do with whether the object in question is physical or a mathematically calculated point.) The Moon’s Nodes, as you’ll remember are the points where the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersects with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (the ecliptic). The Moon’s Nodes move backwards around the ecliptic an average of 3 minutes of arc per day, and up until 1975, that was how Astrologers calculated the Nodes.

The thing is that the Moon’s orbital plane has a wobble to it, and while over time the Moon’s Nodes travel backwards 3 minutes of arc each day, in the short run, they don’t always do this. In fact, in the short run, the Moon’s Nodes can even be direct in motion. In 1975, Digicomp Research Corporation published an ephemeris called True Lunar Nodes 1850–2000. (Thanks to Rob Hand and Horoscope Symbols for this information!). So now one can look at the Mean Node (the averaged position) of the Moon’s Nodes, or the True Node (the actual position) of the Moon’s Nodes, and there can be as much as a 1°45’ difference between the two. The Mean (average) Nodes are always retrograde.

So, to answer Ingrid’s question, they both show the position of your North Node. Your South Node, of course, would be the point exactly opposite the North Node (some charts leave out the South Node, assuming you can find it yourself).

Personally, I work with the True Node, because I believe that the direction of the Nodes is, indeed, significant.

I haven’t fully developed my theories on this, but I’ll share some of my thoughts. I believe that we work with two different cycles: growth and evolution. Growth cycles are connected with the direct (forward) motion through the signs, and can be completed during the course of one lifetime. Evolution cycles, on the other hand, represent significant developments and changes on all levels, and require more than one lifetime to complete. The Great Ages of Man, delineated through the precession of the equinoxes are an example of evolutionary cycles.

If this is the case, than planets in retrograde motion are working on an evolutionary lesson; we’re getting a brief glimpse of something bigger than our daily perceptions and experiences. The Moon’s Nodes certainly relate to our evolutionary lessons because they connect us with the continuing journey of our soul, and generally move in retrograde motion. However, what does it mean when the Moon’s Nodes are in direct motion and therefore involved in a growth cycle? I don’t know. I periodically toy with the idea that individuals born with the Nodes in direct motion may be able to find more specific applications of the lessons of their Nodal Axis in this lifetime. It’s not the kind of thing that one can really verify, though.

Again, I’m just sharing some initial thoughts that I’m exploring, which also illustrate why I work with the True Node and not the Mean Nodes.

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