The Transiting Nodes: Ghost of a Dog

by | Jan 3, 2011 | Astrology In Daily Life, The Nodes | 16 comments

With South Node conjunct my natal Cancer Sun, the moon’s nodes have always held intrigue so as a professional astrologer I use them often in my work.  Steven Forrest’s epic work Yesterday’s Sky, helped me bring core karmic complexes to life in full cinematic glory, and those elusive mysteries, unraveled. Eclipses are inextricably linked to the nodes, too, as any full or new moon falling within 18 degrees of the nodal axis creates what we call an ‘eclipse’. Eclipses are wicked good at opening and closing mystery doors. Eclipse cycles are retrospectively useful, too, predictively. They’re also reliable in relationship compatibility. I’ve even watched transiting planets trigger the nodes, in a sort of date with destiny way. Yet the transiting nodes have been a mystery to most modern western astrologers. We see a node transiting our natal axis, angles or a planet and stare at each other, mystified. We go to our cookbooks and teachers to try on their theoretical conclusions about karmic reckonings and fated ‘karmic’ meetings, but that’s elusive, too. Frankly, for every time I’ve linked an observable event in my life to the transiting nodes, far more times nothing concrete has happened.

Then, the other night, I was talking with friend Jonathan Pearl, traditional astrologer extraordinaire, who asked how my Pluto transit was going. I gave him a laundry list of general complaints that went like this: unable to get energy going for projects (difficult, I’m all cardinal, baby!), dissipated energy, feeling ‘in the dark’, directionless, losing momentum for projects I start. As a new author, I explained, I should be building my empire. Instead, I find myself undergoing a major loss of direction and purpose.

He said, From everything you just said, Jessica, this doesn’t sound like Pluto- it sounds like the South Node. Further explaining, The South Node is the shadow point of dissipation; when transiting a planet, it drains the archetype of its energy. The Sun being my Will, life force, ego, clarity, purposefulness, no wonder mustering the ambition to act has been an epic battle. Jonathan tells me that the ancients use an 11 degree orb, so the South Node has been transiting my Sun since April. My husband confirmed this, pointing out this time period as very different from my three year ‘Pluto transit’: which I incidentally thought was robbing me of any sense of satisfaction in accomplishment. All this prompted this question: Who is the real culprit, Pluto, or the South Node?

Astronomically, the moon’s nodes are the points of intersection between the Sun and Moon. The South Node, in Hindu Astrology, is called Ketu and like Rahu (the North Node) is considered a ‘shadow planet’. Ketu is to Rahu what the Dalai Lama is to Donald Trump: Rahu thrives on material gain and worldly power while Ketu’s coin is the spiritual realm. Rahu acquires real estate, gets promotions and makes tangible worldly progress, while Ketu practices renunciation, eats bean sprouts and does yoga. Each has light/dark associations and it’s easy to see that each has value, but for obvious reasons, the East places more positive value on the immaterial spiritual Ketu while the West is inclined to focus on the material and ambitious Rahu. Insomuchas the Hindus say Ketu grants good health and spiritual prosperity, traditional western astrology attributes poor health and lack of advancement/material success to the South Node. Modern western astrologers like myself, often interpret the South Node (Ketu) as a point indicating habitual patterns which no longer yield satisfactory fruits (Stephanie Austin taught me that the Node symbolically resembled a set of  ‘upside down headphones’ in one’s birth chart-or an empty vessel). Which is how I’ve felt since the Cancer Node has neared my Sun. Dissipated energy. Empty life force. No new incoming information.

Sure, Pluto has visibly appeared: my interpersonal client work has been wonderfully rich, and with natal Twelfth House Pluto in Libra opposing a Sixth House Mars, as it should be. Pluto affects my relationships, my dream life (Twelfth House) which has been rich. But the other night when a transparent Christ ghost drifted through a dream in which I am also a drifter, and my spiritual companion said, “You’re it. You’re the Node!”, I began to process again how deeply ‘I Am’ solar-identified with the South Node.

This all has me yet again reconsidering the value of ancient traditional astrology and wondering how to get my hands on some more ancient goodies. But as I sometimes ask of the more ‘fated’ traditional astrology, Would knowing this information in advance have been useful to me? Would it have helped me to relax into a way of inward, non-being, at a time when worldly representation is required? How could I frame this in a useful (non-depressive) way? The song Ghost of a Dog by Edie Brickell has been repeating in my head: a ghost dog presence barks in the backyard, a dog that is essentially ‘dead’. Comic-mystic Stuart Wilde says God incarnated as the companionable DOG so the Source could unobtrusively witness how far humanity has grown, a metaphor for the earthly dog and spiritual god. I wonder, if God/Dog are one in the same, why is spiritual growth so hard to value?  Does the transiting South Node indicate a ghostly fallow period for that planet transited? All questions I’m leaning into. Ambition creates large shadows, as we’re all learning with Pluto in Capricorn. Sometimes there’s nothing to do and no one to be. Or so says the South Node.

Have you observed the transiting nodes in action?


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  1. Erin Reese

    Great post that holds the test of time, Jessica. I’ve got South Node transiting my Moon and soon my Ascendant – my health and relations with women/mother figures have been extremely challenging. O Ketu, calling me back to a spiritual existence, it seems…

  2. Krista

    I love your writing! Very interesting. I have recently met a man who has Transiting South node conjunct his natal mars (Taurus) Yes he is very stubborn, I was wondering how this might manifest. If I have read correctly south node could be someone leaving. I have transiting North node (7th house) square my natal Uranus (4th) Yep all angular!

  3. Jessica

    Thank you for writing, Krista. Yes, transiting SN can indicate loss but not always. Be sure and relate the influence of the planet. When the SN joins a planet we’re asked to surrender, let go of, that drive (which feels like a loss)…the planet loses steam for awhile. Mars and Sun lose energy, vitality, motivation. Venus may lose a relationship or have misgivings, etc. Squares from the nodes are different; they often represent a turning point in relation to the planet’s energy.

  4. sara love

    Cancer rising here…any words of wisdom?

  5. KamalPrakash Nair

    It is funny that you should title your article with a reference to dogs, as in Vedic astrology, Ketu is associated with dogs. There are even remedies from the ancient/medival times that asks the querent to pet a dog to ward ofthe evil effects of Ketu.

    That aside, your recount of the experience pertinent this topic is insightfu and quite difderent from the text-book definition based recounts written by most others.

    Ketu is a point that represents saturation or stagnation. Simply put, It can bring aboutthe feeling of being “above and beyond it all” when the “it” depends upon whichpart of the chart the point is currently transiting. While the natal placement of Ketu is suggestive of the attributes one has already mastered (such as talents), I believe that transiting Ketu is indicative of planetary archtypes we have over used or over-pursued. Again, as you said, based on how spiritually tempered the native is, this can be a relief or a painful seperation.

  6. Cypress

    My south node is currently transiting Aries/10th house and conjunct my Eris/10th, and transiting north node is conjunct my 4th house sun. I’ve been looking for a job for a while, but have been turned down for a number of positions for which I’m well qualified. It seems the Universe is telling me to enjoy the brightness and contentment of home for a while. Hubby and I are doing okay financially, but I feel guilty about not contributing hard cash to the running of the household. This transiting north node is also currently trining my natal Saturn/8th/Aquarius and sextiling my natal Mars/2nd/Cancer, which seems to explain, partly, my current drive to learn more about good money management (hubby’s paycheck = 8th house “other peoples money,” 2nd house= money, values). Hubby and I both also have natal north node 2nd house, the karmic drive toward self-sufficiency, both financial and emotional. Gotta love astrology <3.

  7. Angel

    Hi Jessica, i came along searching answers for “bad luck”-periode. i Have all favorite Jupiter transits but my situation is becoming more difficult every day. You Are The only Ressource i could find in Internet to The effect of a transiting South Node to Planet. In my case – Saturn.
    Ps. Your Post was also helpful because my son has natal South Node conjunct sun like You. So thanks for sharing.

  8. cari

    Wow, I got 2 rescue dogs when the south node transit trined my south node! I was not feeling ready or deserving of a new dog after my 18 year old Maltese went to heaven 2 months prior but circumstances were such that I adopted 2 buddies! I am a very nodal person and the current nodal transit is opposite my Jupiter, sun, and midheaven and I am struggling with my career, but am home with my 2 dogs!

  9. Jessica

    So cool, Cari. I’m assuming you read the comment here about dogs being associated with Ketu/South Node in Vedic astrology? With SN conjunct my Sun, maybe that’s why I have a major love affair with my pup. Love the synchronicity. Enjoy your new buddies! xx Jessica

  10. Joyce

    Interesting that you hear a song about dogs. Love the article. The transiting south Node and Moon will conjunct my sun on the 4th house IC and the nodes go direct on the 28 at the same time. I have been having dreams of barking dogs that started last week. I have not found much info on the nodes going direct but they do so for a day or two. My thoughts are it’s a Rx period and perhaps a reconnect with a female or male some say. My sun is Aquarius in mutual rularship with Saturn in opposition in Leo and I have also had dreams of what Obert is researching material on a female Saturn or crone as Saturn is sometimes called. Interesting article. Dogs and crones are in my dreams at night all barking or screaming. Sure is a Halloween event along with the sun and Jupiter conjunction training my moon, I think I should just hide in the closet for a bit. Love your thoughts on a nodal change.

  11. Judy Proctor

    I have the transiting North Node conjunct my first house Mars at Leo 19’ 51 sextile my Sun at Gemini 19’51- do South Node making an opposition and sextile. I can relate to the lack of direction and energy. After a long year of relentless paperwork my Lonarc Foundation was finally granted charitable status in Sept 17. I should have spent the last 6 weeks filling up fundraising application forms.. and I just can’t get motivated.. hopefully it will pass..

  12. K.

    The transiting SN is currently conjunct my 6th house Aquarius moon. I have been thinking about getting a dog so that is a crazy coincidence. I got a cat the last time I had this transit.

  13. Lynne

    Loved this article because that’s what I’m studying again. God anagram of Dog, often thought that, words are just numbers, like astrology. My s.node in 8th Gemini, with Venus, never had an inheritance, ever though. My beloved Gran died with the nodes in Gemini then my Mother died the next time around (Gemini). This year a new moon on my Venus, my Grandfather most beloved died with the nodes in Leo, 1980, my father in law, Nodes Leo 1998 and 2018 my father died aged 85, nodes in Leo. Leo the Sun(men). I will get a very small inheritance from my Dad dying, the new moon June in Gemini on my Venus.? ps. South Node in Cancer often compared to the vampire of family! Always for them not for your N Node in Capricorn, so, Pluto/Saturn coming equals putting your long strategy into the long future, bit by bit, that’s difficult when the family are calling for your equity/savings/time I think. My husband of 20 years has s node in Libra and he dislikes dogs and I assure you they know it, whereas I’m lost without one and dream of 2 Retrievers. One day.

  14. Roberta

    So interesting and seeing it as our spiritual pursuit explains quite a number of things . Too many artist have planets or even stellium close to their south node. Ketu has to be meaningful and not a loss of energy like western astrology affirms…

  15. Treasure

    Ooh my I have this conjunction today!!! Transiting south node right dab on my sun in the first house and I feel exactly how you described. I have no inspiration and lack direction. It scares me because I have always been focused and always have passion for what I do! Thank you for writing this I just hope this ends soon so I can resume. Hope the pause button will click off and I’ll be able to start up again with gusto.

  16. 8th house queen

    So the south node has been orbiting around my sun for a couple months. My libra sun in the 7th house… I’ve been working for two businesses without contracts. They are both unorganized and messy start ups. But they both involve travel, culture, and health which are my greatest passions but seem to be changing. They are sales gigs and I’ve been craving creation and my own business. Sooo I am trying to figure out how to disentangle myself from these obligations I’ve fallen into this spring and summer. All the while im entering a new romance. Which is igniting old fears. Some new, some from recent relationships that went difficult and unloving suddenly. I have a dream of committing to place but I am in the cold where I have never enjoyed. It would make more sense to move to warmer climates but I feel so tired and unmotivated all while falling in love with someone. Am I being codependent? Am I using this romance to distract from my lack of drive towards other things? This morning he said, “I think you’re waiting around to see if there’s someone else you like more.” No it’s more like I am worried I’m falling into a codependent pattern. He is a dream guy in many ways. He is just very young. I’d like to get a regular schedule. The new moon in Virgo was directly conjunct my descendant at 21 degrees. I’d like a normal routine. I’m considering abandoning my new jobs and getting a cafe job where I can work my way into manager and do that until I’m ready to open a kava bar. To be in a space that’s the same every day so I can also focus on my art- writing and performing and music. I told my friend I wanted to keep developing my drive and push myself but she said just go towards peace.

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