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The Lunar Nodes, Destiny & Purpose Explained

What are Lunar Nodes? Nodes aren’t objects in space, but figurative nexus points, like directions on the cosmic compass, indicating where we’ve come from and where we’re headed. The nodes move retrograde, or backwards, through the signs, completing a revolution over about 18.5 years. They spend about a year and a half in directly opposing signs. In July 2023, the north node retrograde into Aries, with the south entering Libra, where they’ll remain until January 2025, when Pisces and Virgo get their turn.

The north and south nodes, known often as the head and tail of the dragon, respectively, act as karmic gates. The north node directs us forward, towards the challenges, intersections, or doors which further our evolution. The south node, meanwhile, is the crossing which got us here, either from previous incarnations or old modes of being.

The south node “carries the essence of prior-life karma that has ripened for you in this present lifetime.” It represents that which is prime for processing, integration, and release. The north node, meanwhile, delivers new crises and gifts, meant to lead us where we’re going. Collectively, then, the placement of the transiting nodes reveals what ideologies, systems of belief and cultural attitudes must be released and where new points of view are called forward.

South Node

Your South Node represents the lessons, wisdom, and baggage you were already born with. Many astrologers believe that your South Node reflects your past life: Who you were, what you learned, and where your soul left off. We’re often “experts” at our South Node — it exposes themes that are familiar, accessible, and easily achievable. In many ways, the South Node signifies our spiritual comfort zone.

North node

Your North Node symbolizes where you’re going in this lifetime. It reveals the energy you need to harness in order to fulfill your soul’s mission. The North Node offers insight into the passions, talents, and growth you need to access in order to reach your fullest potential. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these qualities are often far from innate: The North Node is what we strive to bring into our lives, it’s what we must learn in order to live the life our soul aspires to experience.

Because the Nodes take 18 years to make that full “lunar orbit,” it takes 18 years for the nodes to return to the spot they were in the sky at the exact moment and location you were born. Accordingly, these points on our birth charts get activated in a major way every, you guessed it, 18 years! We experience major breakthroughs relating to fate, destiny, and life purpose.

Once you’ve figured out your natal-chart placements, find them in the below list of keywords associated with each of the zodiac configurations to start deciphering your future (and your past and your present):

North Node Aries / South Node Libra: Autonomy, agency, independence

North Node Taurus / South Node Scorpio: Embodiment, financial independence, comforts

North Node Gemini / South Node Sagittarius: Friendship, belonging, communication

North Node Cancer / South Node Capricorn: Nurture, self-love, emotional support

North Node Leo / South Node Aquarius: Visibility, creativity, leadership

North Node Virgo / South Node Pisces: Healing, boundaries, service

North Node Libra / South Node Aries: Partnership, collaboration, balance

North Node Scorpio / South Node Taurus: Intuition, tenacity, shared responsibilities

North Node Sagittarius / South Node Gemini: Travel, expansion, trust

North Node Capricorn / South Node Cancer: Legacy, reputation, success

North Node Aquarius / South Node Leo: Humanitarianism, progress, nonconformism

North Node Pisces / South Node Virgo: Spirituality, artistry, compassion

Consciously working on these “life lessons” can bring us to increased happiness and fulfillment.

~Ori Alchemy

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