A few weeks ago I attended a seminar here in Oxford which included a discussion of the Vedic (or Indian) interpretation of the North and South Nodes by Adam Smith. The Vedic view turns out to be rather different from the widely held Western interpretation of the Nodes of the Moon as karmic — ironically.
So I was fascinated by the Vedic personifications of the North and South Nodes of the Moon. Known as the “shadow planets”, they are considered as important as the seven traditional heavenly bodies. You’ll find flower-bedecked icons of these nine astrological “grahas” outside most Hindu temples.
The North Node — or Dragon’s Head — is personified as a coarse, vulgar, materialist, a plutocratic, money-grubber; amoral, charismatic; an unpredictable maverick; loud — and hungry. A strong North Node is excellent for businesspeople or politicians. Donald Trump is a clear example of a Rahu type person, and indeed his Sun is tightly conjunct Rahu, by just over a degree.
The South Node — or Dragon’s Tail — is an ascetic, a dreamer, a “loser”, adrift in the spiritual world, disconnected from reality, possibly lost in alcohol or drugs; an introvert and dreamer, a victim, a sacrifice. A strong South Node is good for poets and artists, healers and psychics — and priests. I thought at first that Pope Francis might be an example of a Ketu person — and yet his Sun is even more tightly conjunct Rahu than the Donald’s!
You can see how these two ends of dragon personify two opposing approaches to the world. Most of us need to find a path somewhere in between, no wonder the tension between the Nodes in our charts is so important and so defining. What’s more these interpretations are quite similar in feel to Pluto and Neptune. which are. of course, not used traditionally in India. Ketu has a 12-housey feel — self-undoing…
I think these ideas about the Nodes are useful — and could be applied readily to the round art of the West. But Vedic astrology uses a Zodiac that is 23° different from ours, so most points will be in different signs and houses, and the way of counting aspects is different too, so you can’t translate the concept wholesale.
If you are familiar with Vedic astrology, you will know that the interpretations of the meanings of the planets and lights are much the same as ours. But Vedic astrology is full of strictures and warnings, and actions to take to alleviate problems. In other words, it’s extremely practical in application, Saturnian, rather negative — and leaves little room for us to control our own destinies except with the use of mantras, gemstones and the usual Vedic remedies, such as making offerings to the correct gods.
I returned to my two examples to think about how these very different, very powerful men were using Rahu (or Rahu was using them). I came back to the idea of hunger (which is one I often use myself when thinking of the North Node). Trump’s Node in the 10th, quite simply makes him hungry for status and acclaim. The Pope is hungry for service with his Node in the 6th. For both of them Rahu is about earthly power — a prince of the Church and a prince of Capitalism.
It’s said that you can never satisfy Rahu’s hunger…
So what about Ketu then. I looked up the tightest Ketu conjunctions to the Sun and was amazed to find that three out the top five hits for closest Sun-Ketu are downhill skiers— mind you I hadn’t actually heard of any of them. I guess skiing fantastically well, means being able to abandon everything and just go DOWN.
There are quite a few comedians too, including Eddie Izzard, another job that requires letting go. Listen to Tyler Perry talk about his “God Voice” — that’s Ketu.
Considering how much time she spent pretending to be in a parallel world where monsters roam, maybe it’s no surprise that Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years with such intensity and vigour, also has this signature. Then there are the actors Sigourney Weaver, who fought the Alien in outer space, and Elijah Wood, who fought goblins in Middle Earth. (I think we might associate the South Node with the collective unconscious here.) The photographer Diane Arbus sought out misfits and “monsters” in real life, also has a tight Sun-Ketu. One of Weaver’s roles was opposite Ghostbuster Bill Murray — who, yes, has Ketu conjunct the Sun within a degree. His beautiful co-star in Groundhog Day, Andie MacDowell, also has this same signature. She has Ketu on her Ascendant too (all in Taurus). I’m not sure what to make of that, except that there is something magical about her screen presence. Another mesmerising screen siren has this too, Scarlett Johansson. She is a triple Sag, appropriately for a Scarlett.
And it’s interesting that Helen Keller, born deaf and blind, also has South Node-Sun in tight conjunction. A couple of great opera stars popped up too: Dame Janet Baker and Jose Carreras. Both are noted for their uncanny ability to bring the past to life.
As you can see from the captions, dicing with death seems to be more of a theme. Formula One hero, Aryton Senna, who died in a blaze on the track, also had this signature — although a 5° orb. Punk heroin casualty, Sid Vicious, certainly had self-undoing tendency, and so did actor River Phoenix. Both had Suns very tight to Ketu.
I did not find any preponderance of especially spiritual people with Sun-Ketu, but then is the Sun the planet to look at in this regard? The Dalai Lama has Pluto-Ketu conjunction in the first house, which is an interesting contrast in meanings — but it may symbolise his status as an exiled prince of the golden robes.
I’ve written a 12-page supplement on the Nodes shift from Leo to Aquarius, available to horoscope subscribers. To pick up your copy, click this button. Download