The idea of having one destiny seems at once awesome and claustrophobic to me. I’m stoked about the idea that my life (maybe?) has one purpose, but I also want to forge my own path ahead. So when an astrology-minded friend mentioned to me that the north node callout on my birth chart cosmically predicts who I’m destined to become, my interest instantly piqued, and I hopped on board a celestial journey of self-discovery with a fair bit of apprehension.
True to its name, your north node is your true north or your North Star, says intuitive astrologer and healer Rachel Lang. “It’s the point of destiny you continue to follow throughout your life. When you focus your attention on following the path designated by the north node, you feel more fulfilled and more purposeful—but it’s not easy. It’s the point beyond your comfort zone,” she says.
In the sky, this node is the point where the moon’s orbit intersects with the northern ecliptic hemisphere at the time of your birth. “Unlike other astrological points, it’s invisible, but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant,” says Lang. So, for example, my north node sits in my third house—or Gemini—which means my “purpose” in life is teaching, learning, writing, and spreading a certain message.
“When you focus your attention on following the path designated by the north node, you feel more fulfilled and more purposeful.” —Rachel Lang, intuitive astrologer
Of course, though, the jaunt to destiny has to start somewhere—and Lang says that’s where your south node comes in. The south node sits exactly 180 degrees away from the north and represents where your karmic journey begins. “It’s the familiar—where we came from,” says Lang. My south node sits in Saggitarius, so according to the moon, I come from a restless, seeking, and often estranged-feeling place.
“Often, we play a tug-of-war game between the north and south node throughout our lives. During the years when you have a nodal return, which is about every 19 years, you feel a sense of your destiny, and you can have fated events,” Lang says. And that makes sense, right? You have to know where you came from to get where you’re going.
How to identify your own north node (and your south node, too!)
To identify your north and south nodes, you’ll first need to run your birth chart through a free, online service like Astro Seek, or enlist the help of an astrologer. You’ll then be able to identify your north node by a symbol that looks like a pair of headphones. Your south node will be the same shape in reverse, which looks a lot like a horseshoe.
From there, teasing out meaning is simple: Your destiny follows the traits of the house or signs in which it lands, and the same goes for your south node. Here’s a breakdown of what your north and south nodes mean:
Aries north node and Libra south node: If you have this star placement, you’ll need to work on balancing your own self care with caring for others. “When you focus on your self and become more comfortable being independent, you will be following your north node path. You have already mastered relationships; now, you need to master individuation,” says Lang. That doesn’t mean you’re destined to stay single. Rather, it means that your life’s purpose will be rooted in an independent venture that allows you to take the wheel.
Libra north node and Aries south node: “You’re here to learn lessons about commitment, relationships, and partnering. You may have a natural leadership ability and pride yourself on being independent. Yet, you’re here to refine these natural tendencies and be diplomatic in your communication style,” says Lang.
Taurus north node and Scorpio south node: If you find your north and south nodes situated in this part of the zodiac, you’re here to experience the finer things in life. “The Taurus-Scorpio axis line emphasizes financial resources. For Taurus north node people, earning a living, being self-reliant, and making money is a core soul-growth theme. They can have a desire to have an experience of shared resources, through marriage, inheritance, or investments, but their true sense of fulfillment comes from the experience of building wealth for themselves,” says Lang.
Scorpio north node and Taurus south node: This placement has a highly spiritual and metaphysical. “These people may inherit money, marry into wealth, or have experiences of being financially supported in some way. While this seems nice on paper, it’s not easy for Scorpio north node and Taurus south node people—they fear being controlled or stuck. They are here to release attachments to things, to not be too practical, and to have more magical, mystical experiences,” she says.
Gemini north node and Sagittarius south node: “Gemini is the sign of communication, and for a Gemini north node, this is a major theme in life. Whether through writing, speaking, conversation, marketing, reporting, or teaching, a Gemini north node is here to share ideas and knowledge with others,” says Lang. This person’s life is about spreading knowledge and know-how to your community.
Sagittarius north node and Gemini south node: As an adventure-seeker, your life is about escaping your comfort zone, moving away from home, and seeking out wisdom in the many corners of the earth. “Sagittarius is a sign of higher education, and I often see clients with the Sagittarius north node interested in learning. These are the kinds of people who pursue advanced degrees or are somehow associated with academia. You are moving away from some of the more challenging Gemini themes, like gossip, too much attention on the minor details, inability to filter thoughts, and having distracted energy,” says Lang.
Cancer north node and Capricorn south node: “If you have your north node in Cancer, you’ve been going through your nodal axis return for the past year, which means you might have fated, destined encounters and events,” Lang says. “The Cancer north node feels an internal tug-of-war between family and career. They are here to have an experience of nesting, creating a home base for their loved ones. Theirs is a life about family.”
Capricorn north node and Cancer south node: You live for the good-job-esque affirmations—and Lang says you’re poised to get plenty of them. “Capricorn north node people are here to achieve and to be recognized for what they do. However, with the south node in Cancer, they may feel more inclined to prioritize taking care of others. They are here to establish goals and work toward them, as well as to achieve a work-life balance,” she says.
Leo north node and Aquarius south node: “A Leo north node is made to shine in the spotlight. This is a lifetime for creative expression, and a Leo north node can make a name for themselves. This can be uncomfortable for them, though, as often, they prefer to align with groups and be a part of a team,” says Lang. Don’t be afraid to step into the spotlight; it’s where you belong.
Aquarius north node and Leo south node: You’re the socially conscious activist who wants to leave the world better than you found it—and with this alignment—you’re set to do just that. “You are a humanitarian, and the more you focus on ways to make a contribution, the more aligned you’ll be with your destiny,” says Lang.
You can get on-demand astrology readings on your phone—here’s what it’s like. And if you’re brand new to this whole cosmos thing, here’s the A-to-Z guide you need for understanding all the celestial terms.
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