The most trouble I have ever been in as an astrologer has been with people whose Nodal axis fell in the 4th and 10th houses, because I didn’t take seriously the strength of their family ties and what that meant to the psyche of the adult.
In my experience, this Nodal axis, more than any other, is psychologically complicated and fraught with sensitive, difficult issues that can be directly traced from the individual’s psyche to the parents and how the parents treated, talked to, and thought of, the child.
Everyone has a family of origin, but not everyone thinks about their family the way 4th/10th house people do. Family ties seem to bind these people more tightly than planets and Nodes posited in other houses. How parents treat you, concern with what your parents think, and putting parents, even when they’re so terrible they don’t deserve it, at the center of your emotional world, persists long past childhood, and therefore, long past the time it’s emotionally healthy to be so concerned with parental ideals of right and wrong.
Although there is a debate about which house belongs to which parent, you’ll find that debate rather thinly cloaks a biased tug-of-war over gender roles. I have found it’s never wise to assume, as an astrologer, that I could possibly know which house ‘should be’ assigned to which parent, since the roles parents play in our lives are usually so intermingled, so complex, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where one parent’s influence begins and the other’s ends.
This is true unless the client says straight out that one parent in particular is or was the problem; but even then, in any parental dyad, both parents interact with each other in an ongoing ‘conversation’, influencing their child or children long into adulthood.
It’s one thing to be a child and feel bound to your family, its heritage, your third cousin once removed, and the duty of visiting relatives, but apparently, 4/10 Nodal axis people live with this reality into adulthood, and so I’ve had to learn to take their family-related problems seriously, and stop telling them to move thousands of miles away or just hang up the phone when their mother is being obstreperous.
That might work for someone for whom the entire idea of family is not so crucial to the development of the path (or soul, or spirit, or whatever you call it), but it won’t work for these people; they have to work through these issues with their family.
It’s a major part of what they’re here to do. Their life experience is dominated by the relationship—’good’ or ‘bad—with their parents; their interpretation, or navigation, of what the parents thought of them, will define what happens to them, more so than for most people (unless you’re looking at someone with strong Cancer/Capricorn, and/or Moon/Saturn placements).
If you also see a strong aspect between Moon/Saturn in the chart of someone with a 4/10 nodal axis, you’re seeing the karma of the chart personified, and it will indicate how intensely the individual is involved in parental rules and ideas about how life ‘ought’ to go. Further, the individual ‘allows’ the parent/s to define him or her, and has a difficult time separating from parental definitions.
If you have a chart with this Nodal axis, take a look at the rest of your planets and houses to see if an overall family-related theme is indicated. This axis is concerned with traditional values, taking care of others, nurturing, making a home, and, of course, family in all its varieties.
If the rest of the chart supports it, you might find it easy to let your 3rd cousin, once-removed, sleep on your floor every time she breaks up with her boyfriend, all the while you listen to your sister complain about her job, or make sure mom and your baby got their vitamins this morning.
A strong Ceres, notable placements in the 10th/4th house axis, and Moon and Saturn aspects, are expected in the life-theme chart of someone who is going to live out the role of the mothering or fathering-style caretaker. As for Ceres functioning in a man’s chart (or Mars functioning in a woman’s), I’d suggest seeing all planets, dwarf or full-sized, as representative of universal themes and energies.
The key is in blending those themes or energies; some you’re going to feel more comfortable with, and it’s my experience that the reason for that level of comfort and/or ability comes down to the rest of the chart. Does your chart support you as a caretaker? Does your chart tell you your role in life is to carry on the traditions of your family, or to revolutionize how your family thinks about tradition?
Wisdom, lore, knowledge, tradition, ritual, and expectation passed from one generation to the next is of tremendous importance to you. These things could be of great importance because you inherently see the value in continuing them, or they could be of great importance because you have a strong reaction against them and want them to change or stop.
You might find, with this Nodal axis, that you are somehow ‘chosen’ in the family to carry on traditions or be encouraged to leave the family in order to be better able to support them financially. Your response to this sense of engrained ‘duty’ might be enthusiastic or not, depending on the rest of the chart and how strongly you believe the messages handed down to you.
First-born sons, for example, with this Nodal axis, make perfect ‘hooks’ for the rest of the family to hang their expectations on regarding being ‘just like dad,’ as do first-born daughters who are turned into ‘mom.’
Occasionally, though, this Nodal axis stands out like a sore thumb in the chart of a wandering, free spirit, and then you expect that fulfilling the path of tradition is going to present some problems, since it won’t come easily or naturally, and you’ll have to expend a lot of energy accepting your role and learning how to take care of others, or pass down traditions. It’s either that or you end up fighting tradition and being a family trailblazer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, it’s unlikely, with this Nodal axis, that you will be neutral on the subject of tradition and traditional roles you’re expected to live out. In my experience, you guys put up with stuff from your families that make the rest of us move halfway across the world to escape.
Aries North Node in the 4th House: I’m not sure if you’re an only child, but maybe you should be, given the fact that you might come to feel like the entire burden of your family rests on your shoulders. The goal here is to make you take on responsibility for others, and that might mean your immediate family or it might mean that over time you come to represent the head of some group that feels like family.
The purpose is to behave like a leader in a family-type situation, but ever since the world morphed into an acceptance of less and less defined categories, where that family is located and what it represents to you will have its own meaning.
The South Node in Libra in the 10th remembers, for those who believe in past lives, what it was like to be in charge of family members and deeply wishes s/he could have that control again, but it’s much harder this time around with Aries North Node, because people expect you to treat them with fairness and kindness; there can be no bullying.
Yet Libra in the South Node might very well have gotten his or her way in the past (in childhood, let’s say) through subtle acts of manipulation. As the child grows, siblings come to resent any special treatment shown to the Libra South Node, who might be highly skilled at wrapping mom and/or dad around their little finger, and so the North Node’s task here is to take any graceful behavior or skills Libra remembers and put them to good use in its expected role of leadership.
The ‘little man’ who is told to ‘watch over the household’ when dad is away is a message that resonates here, or the ‘little wife’ of Louisa May Alcott stories, who takes on family chores early in life to prepare her for her eventual role as someone’s wife and mother, is a role that’s either rebelled against heartily by the Aries North Node, or is embraced as a way of gaining the kind of responsibility that means you can do things the way you want and everyone has to listen to you.
You expect to see a fair amount of “my way or the highway” thinking whenever you encounter Aries on a Node, it’s just that when it’s the North Node, the Libra influence generally makes it easier to convince others that your way really is best. If you’ve got any bullying Aries tendencies, though, continue using your Libra South Node persuasion skills (as long as they don’t include those little white lies Libra uses when they want to squiggle out of something too unpleasant to face).
Then, with any luck, your inherently honest Aries North Node will be compelled to guide the troops with honor. The relationship with the parents will probably be a real challenge for Aries North Node, and it will be this relationship that the individual fights and rebels against until the native figures out that her parents are probably not the enemy (unless there really is something wrong with the parents, in which case, Aries North Node will either struggle at home or will leave home early, unless the South Node is strong or is well-aspected).
I hate to think that these people are most likely to run away, but North Node in Aries always indicates a need to do things your own way; the parents will either support this or will fight it. Relationships with parents are usually fraught with conflict until the parents learn to back down from power struggles, but the child also must learn, over time, to back down from instigating conflict.
On a side note, but as an interesting addendum on the nature of the 4th house itself in its role as ‘the end of the matter’ (representing that which lies beneath us and is therefore out of sight), is the 2:38 a.m. chart for the Titanic sinking, which places the North Node in Aries conjunct Sun and Mercury in the 4th.
Ever since I saw this chart, I’ve thought the sinking of the Titanic represented its purpose at that moment; it was ‘meant’ to sink. Furthermore, it was the first of its type of ship to sink.
The fact that the Titanic was lost on its maiden, or pioneer, voyage, has always seemed to me to be one of those weird symbolic facts that ties so easily into certain pieces of astrology. The 4th house is considered a house of endings, deep places (metaphorical and literal) in the psyche, but also on the earth itself.
What a fitting metaphor for the end of this ship, to lie at the ‘bottom’ of the sea floor, so deep that it can never to be brought to the surface (unlike many other doomed ships).
The wreckage of the Titanic is considered to be the final resting ground, a sacred burial site, of the people who lost their lives that night. This is an appropriate, yet terribly sad message of the North Node in the 4th house of a mundane chart.
Taurus North Node in the 4th House: This combination brings the ‘builder’ of the zodiac to the relationship with parents and the family. Taurus North Node here is learning how to be fully present materially in the support of its family.
If that sounds easy, it’s not, not for a lot of people; think of a Taurus North Node showing up in the chart of a double fire sign or air sign, for example—this combination would pose a real challenge in that case.
So let’s say this North Node exists in a chart supportive of the 4/10 axis, with a strong Moon and/or Saturn influence, perhaps Cancer and Capricorn strong in the chart.
This North Node would, most likely, be willing and able to put in a lot of effort for the sake of the parents and family, and might even be the primary earner for the family.
There are people who make huge sacrifices for their family; South Node Scorpio in the 10th is entirely capable of the kind of self-abnegation (based on spiritual principles) that certain families require. However, with Scorpio South Node in the 10th, it’s also entirely possible your family requires some kind of huge act of self-sacrifice, or is an emotional liability or drain.
One of the parents might have serious issues (not that that isn’t always possible no matter what South Node you have). Yet I’ve worked with South Node in Scorpio people who, more than other sign combinations, are somehow required to be there for their parents.
This necessity is partially what North Node in Taurus is all about, because if you have parents with problems, your life is made that much harder, materially, from an early age.
If anyone is here to learn how to handle material concerns brought about by one’s parents or family situation, it is this combination. Conversely, of course, since it’s Scorpio on the South Node, the potential exists for the parent/s to be a source of strength, courage, wisdom, and be a good example of some sort.
The parents might be spiritual or concerned with higher-order Scorpio issues, but ultimately, the North Node will push you away from the Scorpio closeness (as a water sign, Scorpio families can be intensely close) and out the door.
This might actually be the hardest challenge for North Node in Taurus, who might be so tied up in family that s/he doesn’t want to go out on her own. There are families who are so close, they live down the street from each other, and this might be one of those situations when the emotional needs of a Scorpio South Node bind the individual to the family into perpetuity.
Gemini North Node in the 4th: This Nodal dyad represents the individual who excels at being friends with his or her parents, as long as the parents aren’t those clingy types who need to know everything the kid is doing.
Don’t force this kid to lie to you, because they will, and their life will be so filled with socializing, you’ll regret being dragged into the drama. However, if you sit back and enjoy the entertainment, the Gemini/Sagittarius dyad in these houses can be very interesting and a lot of fun for parents.
None of this is ever true for the parent who has given birth to a child whose Pluto conjuncts its South or North Nodes, however, so take that into account here, since Pluto has been in Sagittarius fairly recently, and your child will now be a teenager. The child with Pluto conjunct one of its nodes walks a unique path, and that requires a very different discussion.
This fun, when it happens, is based on the child’s ability, stemming from the South Node in Sagittarius, to remain detached from his or her more dominant parent. Which parent is more dominant to this child? The one who knows the most on a practical level and gives good advice.
Each child has what they consider to be their more ‘dominant’ parent, and if you look at the South Node placement, you’ll often get the greatest clue to who that parent is, what qualities engage the child’s imagination and support or destroy the kid’s sense of self. With the South Node in Sagittarius, the child is enamored of the parent with the strongest imagination, who is able to paint the world with a broad, colorful brush, and who encourages this kid to dream.
The goal for the Gemini North Node is not to allow the individual to be too attached to either one of its parents, though. The key to this dyad comes down to distance and closeness. Both Sagittarius and Gemini have certain personal characteristics in common, and so both of these signs reinforce each other.
It’s one of the dyads where the energies are very similar, they’re just expressed differently. Gemini is not as much of a dreamer as Sagittarius, though; on the North Node, Gemini’s goal is to engage with the parents intellectually, whereas if Sagittarius gets frustrated, s/he’s more likely to run away. Gemini North Node in the 4th will talk parents to death, but the goal here, under the best of circumstances, is to be understood and taken seriously.
A North Node in Gemini’s goal is to get better at communication; posited in the 4th, the communication style will be modified and modeled on what the parents did or said, so be careful how you communicate to and with these children, because they’re listening and will one day emulate you.
Cancer North Node in the 4th: Here we go. Now we’re talking about family issues. I don’t know how to detach these people from their family drama, and so have stopped trying. Cancer and Capricorn both represent their ‘own’ houses, so look to the Moon and Saturn in the natal chart to see the extent to which the 4/10 theme permeates the life.
Where does one begin to tell the story of how entrenched people can be in maintaining the issues they were raised with? The prototypical 4/10 Cancer on the North Node person is going to, most likely, follow the path laid down for them by their family, or entirely rebel against it (never underestimate the likelihood for Cardinal signs to do their own thing, even though it’s less likely you’ll see Cancer/Capricorn ever entirely breaking the mold they were raised with).
You’d have to see the rest of the chart to know for sure how controlled by the idea of family these people are. You might also find this nodal axis in the chart of someone without immediate family, perhaps an orphan or a child who grew up with no strong relationship to a specific set of parents, who nevertheless has to find a way of integrating these nodes.
Having a strong relationship with parents is not a prerequisite for having this nodal axis, so that means that there are people out there who have to find some other way to express this dyad.
One way to express the energy of this nodal axis without directly involving one’s parents is to become a parent yourself. The push this North Node will have to parent someone or something is part of the expression of what we think of when we think about the idea of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ and then put those ideas into the box that is the house we assign to each idea.
Often, our idea of what ‘mother’ means, or what ‘father’ means, is what we are actually responding to when we live out this axis. Our ideas about what a ‘mother’ or ‘father’ is, including our perceptions of our own parents, involves introjection, a psychological process by which we introject, or ‘absorb’ into our psyche, individualized ideas about someone or something.
With this particular Nodal axis, take into consideration that the native might not have entirely accurate ideas about the parent/s, but instead might have introjected ideas about the parents that aren’t necessarily ‘true,’ but are, in fact, interwoven with ideas about the self. This complicated process is part of why the 4/10 axis is so intricate, particularly for Cancer/Capricorn. Neither sign is uninterested or disinterested in their parents; for both signs, the idea of parents, of paying respect to older people, and to following rules and tradition, means something profound.
Even though all these statements might sound obvious, if you have to live that reality, it can mean you never get a chance to know yourself on your own. In some charts, everything you think you know about yourself is filtered through the South Node in Capricorn, which is decidedly stuck in its ways, resisting change. This might represent the attitude of one or both of the parents, or it might be the response to disruptions brought into your life from outside the self by suspicious others.
Another theme of the South Node in Capricorn comes from any status the family has attained over time. There are families who personify the past through their status. Capricorn on the South Node here in particular will be highly aware of their social role, even if they haven’t directly contributed to its attainment. This kind of family ‘inheritance’ might not be material in nature, but it will nonetheless have a very real and material effect on the life of the native. There is much to be gained, from the perspective of the person who ‘inherits’ this attainment, from maintaining the status quo, therefore.
North Node in Cancer in the 4th has no particular reason to rock the boat, and therefore, supports inertia. This is how traditions, no matter how decayed or antiquated, become the center of one’s life. It will take a chart with a great deal of Uranus and other disruptive, individualistic influences to counteract the inertia of this nodal axis if the native believes the parental messages and lives out the parents’ inner lives, rather than living out his own reality, if this person ever individuates and separates from the parents sufficiently to have what could be called a truly separate identity.
Ultimately, the goal here is to learn that parenting, being a mother or a father, or being parented, being the child, means not only teaching (or learning) rules (the 10th house), but also learning how to show and feel empathy (4th), so that the child can attach emotionally to its parent/s, not just learn how to survive discipline and follow rules.
I think this is what’s so potentially destructive about the South Node in the 10th; the child has learned discipline and the importance of rules, without really learning how to feel connected to the people who disciplined him.
With Leo and Aquarius, the relationship to the idea of 4/10 house issues changes dramatically from that of Cancer/Capricorn, and gives us a springboard into discussing what is possible with the 4/10 axis if you are living with energies that are not wrapped around the past and tradition when that past or tradition doesn’t support who you are now. In any axis, Leo and Aquarius nodes have a different task than the other signs.
With Sun and Uranus influences, the purpose of the life is about finding a unique voice and self-expression beyond any limits the family and its traditions represent. With North Node in Leo, the 10th house South Node message from the family should be ‘be yourself,’ and if it’s not, there will be a battle, since North Node in Leo has no motivation to remain loyal to a system that doesn’t support his unique destiny.
Aquarius South Node has the potential to be a rebel, of course; a lot will depend on the type of family he or she comes from, and whether or not the messages from the parents allow for individuality. It constantly amazes me how many family rules people in general are bound by, and how those rules affect them well into adulthood. True freedom to think and be what you are seems quite rare.
Aquarius South Node in the 10th might be forced to do battle with one or both of the parents if they are not sufficiently open to the lifepath of the North Node in Leo’s quest for self-expression. Aquarius is renowned for being able to break off completely from others, and that might include the parents, if it seems necessary.
Leo North Node here inclines toward ruling the roost somewhere in your life. This person won’t be the easiest to live with, if somehow they subconsciously introjected the family rules so early in life that they live out their parents’ possibly unfulfilled desire for glory. Any node posited in Leo runs the risk of living out the family need for redemption or fame, so if you have a node in Leo, no matter the house, be aware that your family might expect something from you that either is inappropriate or asks too much of you.
Do you get to be yourself this lifetime? To whom do you owe your loyalty? Leo here will learn, over time, to be loyal to herself first, because the family doesn’t own you. I sincerely hope that the Aquarius South Node already knows this, but these houses are so beholden to their parents, I often wonder when freedom begins.
Uranus contacts in the chart will support the idea that the South Node here needs to fight to be itself. If the Sun is square something (in particular, Uranus) pay attention to the message of being yourself; something is being sacrificed here, and it doesn’t have to be your basic need to be heard and appreciated as a unique human being by your parents (and, by extension, the rest of your world).
Virgo North Node in the 4th: This obviously places Pisces South Node in the 10th, an interesting combination. Let’s start with Pisces on the South Node in the 10th. The prior lifetime’s abilities (for those believing in karma) are always fascinating when Pisces is on the South Node.
Consider what one might have learned by being a contessa in a villa in Italy, being one of the few women of the day taught how to read and write six different languages? You’d bring to this lifetime an expectation that one’s parents (probably the father) would encourage artistic and intellectual expression.
And then, bam, you’re hit with the reality of North Node in Virgo, which forces you out of your artistic reverie into the harsh light of mundane reality. I always think of Virgo D. H. Lawrence when I think of the difference between the fantasies Pisces is capable of believing, and its ‘opposite’ energy, expressed by pragmatic Virgo.
Although Lawrence did not have this nodal axis, he wrote about the theme this axis represents, the Virgo/Pisces split between, let’s say, dreams and materiality. Lawrence’s focus was on the bitterness of over-identifying with one parent, specifically, in his case, his mother, but in fact, that over-identification lead to an equally intense hatred for his father.
This kind of split is not uncommon in the 4/10 axis, since when you’re dealing with the Nodal axis, you’re always dealing with a dynamic energy-tension, where one end of the axis affects the other. Lawrence wrote about a father/son relationship in Sons and Lovers complicated by the extremely different worlds each man inhabited.
The father, a coal miner, is dismissive of his son’s very real need for literature and authentic emotional expressiveness. Written while his own mother was dying, Lawrence was apparently inspired to write Son and Lovers because of the bitterness he felt about his mother’s life spent (from Lawrence’s perspective, ‘wasted’) with his coal miner father.
His mother was more educated than her husband, but was forced, by economic circumstances, into abandoning her aspirations to be a teacher. Lawrence believed his mother married ‘beneath her’. The struggle between what could be reduced to a mind/body split occurs in the family when the native has this axis.
The Piscean ‘mind’ is fantastical, mystical, theoretical, and imaginative; the Virgo ‘body’ exists in contradistinction, always forcing the South Node out of the dreams s/he prefers and into ‘reality.’ This might manifest as a struggle between parents who encourage one end of the axis or the other, where ‘higher’ interests, like literature, art, and writing, are personified by one parent, where the other parent represents the gritty reality of working in the material world.
Libra North Node in the 4th: I suspect it’s not well known nowadays that back in the 1950s, movie star Jane Russell, famous for her sense of humor and curves, who starred alongside Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, devoted years of her life to WAIF, a foundation she created to find adoptive parents for orphaned children.
A stellium of planets in the 12th probably also contributed to this particular expression of her North Node in Libra, but the pull towards caring for children is strong in the 4th house North Node. In addition to the location of the North Node in the 4th, supporting factors include 21˚ Cancer Ascendent as well as Sun in 29˚ Gemini, conjunct Mars in Cancer; 9˚ away is Pluto in Cancer. These three are all in the 12th, with Mars most closely opposing Moon in Capricorn at 11˚ in the 6th (although all three planets are in close enough aspect to be considered to oppose her Capricorn Moon).
Mars and Pluto conjunct always indicate a powerful will, and in the 12th, can indicate a concern with the larger issues of humankind. That the focus of this energy took on a dedication to a Cancerian/4th house theme of nurturance, however, is augmented by North Node in the 4th, pulling the individual toward a family-oriented expression of the energy in this chart.
A major piece of information comes from the Arabic Part of Children in her chart, at 28˚ in Cancer, falling in her first house. This indicates that she took the plight of children very personally. In addition, this Part squared both of her Nodes. Squares from the 1st house to the 4/10 axis are perceived by the native to be a personal urge toward some kind of individual need for fulfillment inspired by the parents, even at the same time that the urge interferes with the individual’s perception of self. In general, squares to the 1st house goad the individual into action, possibly in a way, or towards a goal, previously unconsidered.
The 4/10 nodal axis tends toward living out the dreams of one’s parents. It is important to note that Russell ‘took after’ her mother, following in her mother’s footsteps. Russell’s mother was, at one time, a drama student, later becoming an actress in a traveling troupe. Jane originally planned to be a designer, but then her father died, and she had to help her mother make a living (sacrificing a personal dream is a theme of the 6/12 axis, augmented here by Capricorn and Virgo planets). She turned to modeling, and then took drama classes (urged on by her mother).
She was also the oldest child and only daughter of five children. The only information I have about her mother’s chart is that the mother was a solar Capricorn, born January 2, 1891, which puts her Sun at 11˚ Capricorn in what Marina at Darkstar Astrology calls “the most authoritative” decan of Capricorn, decan 2. The mother is not, in any way, inherently ‘bad’; don’t misunderstand my intention here. Just that the ‘dominant’ parent is the one the child listens to and is most influenced by and often emulates, for many reasons.
Russell’s Moon in Capricorn at 11˚ in her natal 6th house was exactly conjunct her mother’s Sun, and this conjunction would be another indication that Russell was living out unfulfilled dreams of her mother’s core self. That her mother’s Sun fell in Russell’s natal sixth house is an indication that Russell introjected her mother’s work ethic, and that having to work hard (with no thought of reward in the 6/12 axis) was a core theme in their family.
With Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Virgo, and both of these trine her Moon in Capricorn, the idea of sacrifice for others’ sake continues. Russell is thought of today as an actress who could have done so much more with her career, but was held back by a number of issues; one of them was how much time she gave to WAIF; another was the binding contract she made with Howard Hughes early in her career.
Founding a charity for children might not seem automatically Libran, but the Libran goal is to bring people together. Jane Russell described the problem her organization faced as one of ‘bridging a gorge’ between thousands of post-WWII orphans and potential parents. This is quintessential Libran thinking, that of finding a way to link or bridge opposites, bringing people who need each other together.
One final note on the South Node in Aries; anything that squares the Nodes make the purpose of the Nodes inescapable. The tighter the square, the more true this will be. In Russell’s case, my suggestion is that the South Node in the 10th house is influenced by the 10th house message, augmented by her Moon-Saturn trine, of working hard for any attainment she was to achieve. That you earn achievement through hard work had been, in my opinion, accepted, learned, or ‘brought with her’ from a previous life, and was liberally applied in this lifetime.
Any inherent selfishness of the South Node in Aries here seems to have been minimized. Although I cannot know without further in-depth research into Russell’s life, it seems as though her South Node in Aries was a pioneer of sorts, as well as a hard worker for her cause. Aries South Node, when not overly concerned with self, can be a tireless proponent of the underdog, bringing all the fervor and fire-energy you’d expect to any task or issue the native is concerned with, but it will still need to bring Libra’s purpose of working with others into the foreground.
Scorpio North Node in the 4th: There is always an inheritance of some kind involved in the 4/10 axis, but it’s not always what we think of as an inheritance; it’s not always made up of material goods. This inheritance is different than that associated with the 8th house, therefore; it has less to do with the material goods of the dead. The inheritance in the 4/10 axis puts the emphasis on a family’s attainment or status, and with Scorpio on the North Node here, the ‘inheritance’ might very well take the form of maintaining the power consolidated in the 10th house Taurus South Node.
It’s with the earth signs on the 10th house south node that you really start to see how traditions take on material form, because traditions aren’t mere ideology; they also have material truths, material outcomes. With Capricorn’s influence here in the 10th house, the status of the individual and his family is paramount, and status on its own has material ramifications (even if you technically cannot eat ‘status’, as many aristocratic families learn, to their detriment).
But with Taurus, the focus is on that which one has built, especially when you’ve built a family tradition based on some founding principle or other that leads not only to social status, but most importantly—to those who possess it—power. To that extent, some families, particularly large ones, are like companies or even corporations, because some families ‘inherit’ what the founding member did, and haven’t let go of the power associated with it. The bonds of tradition have to do with the wealth or empire the earliest members leave to subsequent generations, and what those generations make of what they’ve been given.
Some individuals personify this familial tradition, or somehow resonate with it more than others, who might squander the profits, so to speak, leading to an overall loss of power, something North Node in Scorpio will be concerned with holding on to and capitalizing on, if at all possible.
An example of someone with a Scorpio North Node who continued building on that which was bequeathed him by prior generations was someone you have probably never needed to know about, William Henry Vanderbilt III. “The third” should automatically convey the sense of tradition in the Vanderbilt family.
This particular Vanderbilt, great-great-grandson of the ‘original’ Cornelius Vanderbilt, has rather extraordinary synastry with his forebear. When using a noon chart (all that is available, unfortunately, for Cornelius) great-great-grandfather’s Moon, Saturn and Mercury in Taurus conjunct William’s South Node in Taurus almost exactly. If the noon time is anywhere near correct (pure speculation) then Cornelius’ Moon is exactly conjunct his great-great-grandson’s.
Their Suns were in opposition: Cornelius’ Sun was at 6˚ Gemini, William’s at 2˚ Sagittarius. William followed in his great-great-grandfather’s footsteps by founding a bus company, whereas Cornelius got his start running a ferry at the tender age of 16, after leaving school at age 11 to work with his father. Similarly, William was one of the youngest Americans who volunteered to fight during WWI, dropping out of school to enlist at the age of 15.
In terms of synastry, although there is a prevailing wish or trend to hope to see commonalities run in families, in fact, Cornelius had 13 children, each of whom had various marriages and many, many children of their own, not to mention grandchildren. To have such close synastry with a great-great-grandchild seems almost a miracle within the realm of that which is possible.
William does seem to have behaved more like his great-great-grandfather than most of the other Vanderbilts, many of whom didn’t survive to adulthood, due to early deaths. William’s own father went down on the Lusitania.
With Scorpio on the North Node, the rulers Mars and Pluto become extremely important when interpreting this nodal axis. It is an understatement to say that any Scorpio node, south or north, is capable of all the issues associated with Mars and Pluto, including anger that is somehow kept ‘buried.’
Pluto is rarely comfortable expressing anger directly when associated with Mars, but more importantly, a Scorpio node is one that must be watched, since the urge towards revenge against the family, or some other act of self-destruction regarding 4th house issues, is always possible. Plutonian urges might be expressed toward the family of origin, or they might be expressed toward the immediate family of the individual’s adulthood.
Pluto (and to some extent Mars) provide an urge toward absolutes; Pluto is also an isolating force that seeks separation, similarly to Uranus, but unlike Uranus, enacts this separation from its 4th house surroundings slowly, usually behind the scenes, in silence.
Take a look at how Pluto and Mars are aspected in the chart for more information about how the individual chooses to individuate, because the 4th house North Node’s urge is toward family, but the Scorpio North Node, as always with Scorpio, bases its behavior on emotional needs that are rarely understood consciously until after some profound change, motivated by subconscious needs, have occurred.
Sagittarius North Node in the 4th: Mercury rules the South Node here, and what you tell these children as they are forming their values influences them perhaps more than they let on. “Little pitchers have big ears,” they used to say in my family, a proverb that seems particularly apt whenever Gemini is on a node.
Gemini’s sensitivity to atmosphere is well-known, but it’s not the same kind of sensitivity that a water sign feels. An air sign’s sensitivity isn’t focused on how the words being spoken affect them, as much as it forms and shapes the thinking process. The native hears the tone of voice and psychic vibrations and allows them to permeate his beliefs (although as a child, there’s no way to prevent this process).
This South Node here takes negative messages seriously in a way that others signs are more able to ignore or sublimate (not that sublimation is a productive strategy). If under stress in the natal, or Mercury and Jupiter, the nodal rulers, are under stress, this South Node will interpret early messages as critical and negative, even if that’s not what the parent, or society, intended.
I think you could say that the native doesn’t necessarily hear what was said, they hear what they believe was said, and if the native is negative in outlook as a child, these tenth house messages are going to be construed as critical to the developing self. Negative messages from society also affect ideas of one’s social status here, and have an ultimate effect on how important she believes herself to be in the eyes of society.
It’s a rare 10th house South Node where both parents build up the child’s ego, since the nature of the 10th is, overall, Saturnian. Also, don’t forget to look at the sign actually on the cusp of the 10th house in the natal, to get a better idea of the way this child hears anything you say to him or her.
Gemini’s sensitivity to negativity (unlike Cancer, let’s say, who will experience upset somatically, and then throw up on your car seat) is intellectualized. The child becomes the little professor or a know-it-all; graduates early with honors or drops out early as a form of protest against parental pressures. Society (and societal expectation, relevant to the 10th house) is filtered through the parents; the young child begins to form an idea about the outside world based on what parents (and elders) have to say about it and how they respond to it.
Where does the Sagittarius North Node go after a childhood spent running away from his or her parents and any mental cruelty he was forced to endure? This South Node might perceive the parents as unnecessarily cruel; mental cruelty is more damaging, in so many ways, that physical pain. If the parents do not hurt this child, and aren’t particularly critical or unkind, the North Node in Sagittarius has the chance to expand his or her options and learn how to play at something until they become proficient.
Jackie Robinson, for example, had Sagittarius North Node in the 4th. His childhood and early adulthood was spent hearing racist messages; they existed all around him, and his family had to find some way to cope with those messages. Jackie chose to fight those messages and was encouraged by his family to play sports, something he was good at. His family neither gave in to societal messages nor allowed their child to give in, even though Robinson was often angered past bearing, which affected his play.
It can also be said that negative messages picked up and introjected by the South Node in Gemini goad the individual into doing something or becoming something in response, and that’s why one must be so careful to help this native form and express positive, life-affirming characteristics, so he doesn’t decide to find escape through any of the many Gemini/Sagittarius ways of running away from life, from responsibility, or from growing up. The perpetual Peter Pan syndrome, brought on by too many pressures originating in the family during childhood, might prevent these people from ever living out their potential.
Encouraging play in all its forms, means encouraging them to get out of their heads and stop over-thinking problems. Any South Node in Air is going to have that propensity, so remember that these guys aren’t necessarily telling you every single thing they’re responding to; it takes a lot of sensitivity to observe them and notice the ripples of thought affecting them in any given moment.
More than with other signs and Nodal positions, Mercury influencing the South Node is influenced by ‘negativity bias,’ which probably poisons all of our minds to a greater or lesser extent (take a look at how your Mercury is aspected, particularly if it rules one of your Nodes by sign or house rulership).
Capricorn North Node in the 4th: Nodal axes are reversed in terms of influencing planets in each sign when the North Node shows up in the house of its opposite sign’s ruler. In this case, the 4th house is ordinarily ‘ruled’ (an archaic way of denoting influence of a planet by domicile) by the Moon and Cancer.
Rulerships are as old as the Moon’s association with Cancer and the Sun’s association with Leo, approximately of Babylonian origin, and very much considered ‘traditional’ astrology nowadays. It’s ironic, in a way, that astrology relies so heavily on tradition, particularly in its terminologies. You’d almost think astrology was ruled by Capricorn, the subject is so tradition-bound.
But it’s this very tradition that allows us to agree on what we mean when we talk about houses and domiciles and rulerships, etc. Without traditions, systems of knowledge fall apart, yet adhering too tightly to tradition ossifies creativity and new ideas.
When Capricorn is on the North Node, the goal is to hold tightly to tradition. New ideas will be sacrificed if they challenge accepted norms that have always proven to work. Challenges to Capricornian authority will be discouraged, and strength will be in doing what the person in authority must be done. Capricorn on the North Node is trying to take responsibility for something larger than himself, though, and deserves respect for taking that role seriously.
Cancer South Node in the 10th, because it puts the influence of Cancer’s ruler, the Moon, into the 10th house, softens the authoritative “do as I say, not as I do” method of dealing with dissension. However, now we also have Saturn’s influence in the 4th, and that’s harsh, under all circumstances. Saturn has a difficult reputation for a reason, and when you’re moving toward, not away from, Saturnian overtones, the lifetime is taken much more seriously.
The point of this lifetime, then, for the Capricorn North Node has to be a combination of factors. He is here to let go of any sentimentality he might once (in another lifetime, perhaps) have fallen back on as a way around expressing true authority. Most importantly, this time around, the native must own her own determination to do what she believes is right, but not if it means she must sacrifice South Node in Cancer’s empathy.
The danger here, which possibly goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, is that this person could be a really grim parent, or might have had really grim parents. One hopes there are good Moon and Saturn contacts in the chart to make up for the Saturn overlord who guards the purpose of this chart. Serious people raise this child to take life seriously. The key here will be combining Cancer’s best features, its empathy and capacity for nurturance with Capricorn’s wisdom and cautious achievement.
A key thought to keep in mind here might be something along the lines of ‘Suffering for its own sake doesn’t ennoble your purpose.’
Aquarius North Node in the 4th: An irony about astrology is how a sign or planet often contradicts or opposes the energy of another. Some signs or planets seem to serve as a way to ameliorate excesses of another sign or planet. One of those signs with a tradition of excess is Aquarius, whose modern ruler, Uranus, originally Ouranos, was challenged by his son, Kronos (Saturn), famous for mutilating his father.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, how family drama crops up in astrology? Even when we actively try to avoid it, it seeps in through the fissures and cracks. Sky-god Ouranos ‘hated’ his progeny, and imprisoned his children in Tartarus. Gaia, his mate, grew increasingly angry with the treatment of her children, and convinced one of her sons, Kronos, to take revenge on his father.
What does this traditional lore tell us today about Aquarius North Node in the 4th? With Uranus/Ouranos ruling this node, any severe disjunction between, let’s say, the parents and the child, or the parents themselves, has the potential to lead to a permanent split. Uranus as a ruler of a house cusp or planet isn’t inclined to mess around; he’s out the door, causing emotional havoc as soon as he finds his freedom, particularly if his dominance is challenged.
I know the prevailing opinion about Aquarius is that it’s a sign so concerned with the huddled masses it wouldn’t be crass enough to hurt a fly, but you know those broad, sweeping sun-sign characterizations aren’t accurate. Yes, of course the sign and its ruler are different. Yet we continue to maintain the tradition of rulerships; if you abolish them altogether, there’s much you’re going to lose in astrological meaning and lore.
So, we’re resolved on keeping this particular tradition, at least for the time being. Tension about tradition and the status quo is a likely Uranian response, so even if it’s an uncomfortable negotiation between Aquarius’ personal character and definitions of what it means to be ‘Uranian’, at least we’re keeping a coherent system alive through our acceptance of certain rules and standards.
And so we come back to the ruler of the South Node in Leo, the Sun. As I said before about Leo on the North Node, these two rulers, Sun and Uranus, have no inherent interest in following rules or tradition for its own sake. There aren’t two more self-interested planets as we currently define them—yes, let’s just say it—arrogant, male-dominated, attainment-driven, egocentric… wait, the list goes on!
South Node in Leo has the potential to be, at best, let’s say ‘self-determined,’ and at worst… well, you can think of the worst all on your own. This nodal axis tells the native to do her own thinking, not listen to some ersatz authority figure tell you what to think.
Attitudes toward authority really suck in this nodal axis until the individual becomes an authority figure or makes peace with the parent he thinks was trying to squash his individuality or deny him freedoms other signs either don’t need or take for granted are theirs as a birth-right.
But you get the point. The South Node in Leo here isn’t interested in what his father or other authority figure has to say if the father is a windbag (and yes, I’m using that term to remind us of Ouranos’ association with the sky). Authority figures are what Leo ‘remembers’ being, or has already developed an understanding of.
The goal now is (ideally, in spite of Uranus as its ruler) to represent the family and its ideas about how things are supposed to be, fairly and with awareness. Aquarius is, at its best, a very aware sign; it knows because it understands, but that equation requires empathy, not pure intellectualism. You can’t think your way through everything; learning to balance Leo’s huge heart with Aquarius’ potentially huge intellect is the way to work with this nodal axis.
Depending on how strong Sun or Uranus are in the native’s chart, however, the greatest likelihood is that this native walks his own path, defined by no one but himself. He doesn’t do well with being told to behave like anyone who came before him, and if you compare him to some ancestor he’s never heard of, unless the comparison is educational and shows him some new skill he’ll benefit from learning, an Aquarian North Node is going to continue carving out his or her own skill-set.
Leo on the South Node here might hold the North Node back through a lack of self-belief. I’ve found that Leo South Node people often have to be pushed to do the thing they’re good at, that will get them the most fame or help them define themselves—it’s as though they’re shying away from the strong ego you just know glows inside the bushel basket they’re hiding their unique selves under.
North Node in Aquarius’ role is to be unique, though, and to do that, he might just have to break away from the family entirely. That decision will depend on how authoritarian are the people raising him, and whether or not they treat him well, or make him follow mindless rules that break his spirit and exist only to force compliance from someone who needs to breathe fresh, open-minded air.
Pisces North Node in the 4th: Is Neptune a response to Uranus, do you think? Neptune is about as different from Uranian energy as you get out here floating in the star clusters of deep space. Mystical and dreaming, Neptune ruling the North Node in the 4th is an interesting combination. Where will this soul go this lifetime? Where is she coming from? Can she find that matching sock? Tune in and find out.
South Node in the 10th in Virgo implies a kind of calm rationality, a clear-headedness and surety of step you see when you combine two earth influences, in this case Virgo with the Capricornian/Saturnian overtones of the 10th house. Virgo South Node builds her reputation on pragmatism, and the North Node in Pisces must, if she is to become what she needs to be, mess up all that inherent neatness.
Moon and Cancer combine with Pisces’ North Node here in the 4th. That’s a lot of water influence on a North Node, and this combination is therefore water versus earth/air. That’s actually not a difficult elemental combination to work with, since these two complement each other. Air, in the form of Mercury’s rulership of Virgo, at least forces Pisces North Node into being able to try to account for itself rationally.
At best, the childhood is spent learning practical skills needed later in life, all the while keeping one dreaming eye on using those practical skills to further some artistic or creative endeavor. The parent or parents might have been creative in some way, and teach the child to express her creativity without negative judgement. This is my hope, anyway.
With any luck here, the parents are kind about the amount of work they make this child do, because a South Node in Virgo, particularly in the 10th, has workaholic parent/s written all over it. In the 10th house, Virgo works hard out of a sense of ‘shouldness’. “I should go plant the bulbs, I should do the dishes, I should make the beds,” one of the parents (or grandparents—I never leave them out of the 4/10 axis) told this child.
When you’re coming from a place of Virgosity, and your endpoint is Pisces, though, there’s always a struggle leaving behind or moving away from the “I must follow a well-worn treaded path” messages of the past. Pisces North Node in the 4th might very well be compelled to unlearn the shoulds and therefore tells his own children to make the beds only when they’re too yucky to sleep in. Standards slip in Pisces.
A Neptune-ruled North Node has a destiny that might change with each new influence or mood, so I would not expect this group of fish to swim in any particular direction. Will they even have children? You might find an unusual point of view with the whole urge-toward-procreation here. Anywhere you find a Pisces North Node, you’re also likely to find someone who might not show up today for Life; she’s staying in bed, drawing or thinking a new thought or remembering a new color. You really don’t know what to expect, even when the childhood regime was organized and strict.
This North Node, though, would make for an interesting parent, as long as s/he can remember to buy milk and wash the kids’ pajamas once in awhile. The danger lies in Virgo South Node’s adherence to all the rules it was raised with, because it’s a rare North Node in Pisces who is given permission by its South Node to live out its inner dream world.
Were the parents reliable? Did the parents show up, tell the truth, run Boy Scout meetings? Not necessarily. Virgo and Pisces each walk a very fine line when it comes to morality, ethics, and ‘truth’. Mutable signs don’t necessarily have the best reputation in town, so what this child didn’t learn about 10th house matters might prevent him or her from becoming mayor years later, when some scandal or other threatens his political future.
There might very well be some rather fascinating skeletons in the family closet when Pisces/Virgo are on the Nodes, the kind that, years and years later, descendants will want to hear all about, but embarrass the current generation.
On the other hand, in the 4/10 axis, there might be secret crimes you’ve never heard about, and never will, but you somehow live out their legacy because the family reputation is damaged by these acts, yet you’re never told precisely what happened. The 8th and 12th houses do not have a monopoly on secrets, you know.
From what I’ve seen, Virgo is only fastidious about its reputation and achievements on the South Node when it’s whipped into shape by a strong Pallas Athena, as described at Astrologyking.com in great detail. Certain flaws in one’s chart either need, or are given, balance in the chart; you just have to look for them.