Analysis of the 8th House/2nd House Nodal Axis Through the Signs

The Dragon's Lair by Jas-Tham

What mystery waits for you in the 8th house?

Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look at the nature of the 8th house, let’s move on to the North Node in the 8th/South Node in the 2nd analysis.

I think we can agree that the 8th house is a complicated house in many ways, in part because of chthonic emotional forces at work in the human psyche. The 8th house, like the 4th and 12th houses, are traditionally considered to be ‘water’ houses, due to their association with the Water triplicity (three signs belonging to the same element). This makes each house a repository of our various emotional responses to the experiences of our lives.

In my experience, the sign on the cusp of each ‘water’ house symbolizes how we express or cope with our emotions. When you combine the depths the 8th house takes us to with the element of water, you see a house with the potential to reach deep into the more difficult emotions life wrings out of us—sadness, depression, grieving, and so much more—with the intention of transforming these more difficult emotions into the kind of personal strength that allows you to help others with their difficult emotional states.

(If you are depressed now, please look here or find help in your area).

There is a mystery associated with this house, but it is one that might elude you your entire life, even as you search for it. Finding the answer to the mystery is the reason you continue to look deeper than other people at the more difficult places in the psyche others turn away from. No one has the ‘answer’ to what you’re looking for; the answer is within you, and your response to the sometimes grueling emotions you undergo will tell you who you are and what you’re capable of.

This house, through its association with death and transformation, is a house that forces planets and points here to process emotions with the purpose of transforming them, turning lead into gold if you learn the rules of this house, which are usually relentless and—sorry to say—unforgiving, since everything and everyone dies. Mourning is a fact of life, one we cannot avoid, whether we’re grieving the loss of a relationship, the loss of a friend, or a loss less tangible but nonetheless poignant and meaningful, like the loss of a beautiful dream.

‘Process’ is a key word with the 8th house, as are all of the ideas that come with the passage of time, such as patience and longevity, inheritance and tradition. How you respond to the idea of time and the need to let something lie quietly without actively pushing it into being is reflected by the sign on the 8th house cusp.

Your North Node in this house has something profound to show you about yourself, at the same time that it’s possible the rest of your chart won’t want to open that basement door. It’s also possible that something in your chart is curious about what lies beneath, and is all too willing to follow the psychopomp down into the depths—or become the companion for someone else, to help explain that darkness.

Either way, North Node in the 8th will find him- or herself pushed or pulled into deeply emotional experiences; the sign on the North Node colors how those experiences are engaged with, how they’re pursued or pushed away. This is never a casual placement for the North Node, and I will go so far as to say that there is inevitably a price to be paid.

You’re pulled toward self-knowledge and self-awareness of a sort that is not intellectual, it’s visceral; it’s not something you can talk about, you have to live it. It means facing the truth about yourself, whether that truth shows you something you like, or something you despise. The price is too often paid by someone else when your emotional quest becomes so overwhelming, others cannot continue with you on your journey.

This journey is usually conducted alone, or with one other person, your guide into the depths—choose wisely, because picking the wrong person here means you could both get lost in the darkness. Even the strongest North Node person needs a companion, although too often that companion’s needs are overlooked or misused, since the purpose of this particular North Node is so all-consuming.

One final note, though, is that in general, with South Node in the 2nd, these people are usually self-made in some way, particularly with Earth signs on the South Node, because the first quadrant of the chart encompasses the fundamental idea that if I don’t do it, who will?

It does seem to be a theme of the 8/2 nodal axis that if you’re not building on your family legacy, it’s because your family legacy scarred you beyond redemption, and you’re busily trying to disavow all knowledge of the people you come from.

Your task with this North Node is to locate the ‘treasure’ of your potential, which is often a negative quality you must transform until it becomes the core of your emotional strength. You might never know, until long afterwards, that you transformed hate into compassion, or distrust into acceptance, or pain into truth, but others will see that you’ve learned something about yourself during your descent into darkness, something that, all in all, makes you a better, more noble person, if you do the hard work the North Node requires. This seems to mean giving something up, when North Node falls in the 8th; what that is will be different for each placement.

ArieswoodcutAries North Node in the 8th House: If there’s a sign that will heroically plunge into the darkness—the darkness of his own soul, if needs be—you can expect it will be Aries. Unashamed of his own passions, if the rest of the chart supports it, this native is brave even in the face of virtually insurmountable challenges. Life will often oblige, meaning there’s probably no more challenging combination than Aries with the 8th house. This is the combination with the potential to create the hero you want with you if you have to go through the worst life throws at you.

Metaphorically or practically, this is the firefighter who plunges into a burning building, the indefatigable ‘warrior’ who takes on the world like a bull terrier biting into his quarry. When I looked up people who seemed to personify this trait, one of the first I came upon was Winston Churchill, whose natal Jupiter conjunct the 2nd house cusp also conjuncts the South Node, at the same time that Neptune falls within 4˚ of his North Node in Aries.

Each sign indicates the piece of personal character you’re likely to find when you descend into the 8th house. I suspect Churchill thought that much of his life was a living ‘hell’, a Hades-like grey zone of waiting, unsure if his political star would ever shine again once he was ousted from power. He certainly often walked his path alone, isolated from other politicians who did not see life from Churchill’s dark perspective, especially about the looming threat of Nazism in the thirties and forties.

Yet his unflinching bravery in the face of wartime exigencies was precisely the characteristic the people of Britain needed at the time. Even if a lot of it was bluster and fire-sign aggrandizement, the public needed to hear someone say they’d get through the worst experiences of their lives. With Mars, ruler of his North Node, within 8˚ of conjunction to his South Node in Libra, he could be bullish and aggressive, but I suspect because of his South Node conjunctions, he well understood human propensity for violence.

Neptune conjunct the North Node tells me that in some way Churchill needed these intense experiences to fulfill a dream or fantasy he had, but ‘fantasy’ and Aries go well together, since Aries has an idea of himself as more than he is, usually, with the need to go out and fight some battle or other, particularly with Jupiter on the South Node, which would augment (Jupiter-Neptune opposition) the idea that virtually anything is possible.

That aphorism “if you can dream it, you can live it” applies to Jupiter/Neptune combinations; just be careful that people with Jupiter/Neptune involved in the 8th house do not subsume you, because with Aries North Node in the 8th, they will literally do anything to make their impassioned beliefs a reality. They are emotional zealots.

Clementine Churchill’s Moon fell within a few degrees of conjunction of her husband’s South Node in Libra, her Mercury within a few degrees of conjunction with his North Node, and it is an understatement to say he relied on her emotionally for her strength and clear-headedness, qualities he valued in her tremendously and saw in her almost immediately upon meeting when they were young.

Her Mercury in Aries was conjunct his North Node, and trined his Anaretic 29˚ Sagittarius Moon. Her subtle method, appealing to his vanity at the same time she expressed concern for him, managed to combine Mercurial critique with support you expect from Moon conjunctions in synastry. I find it unsurprising with a Mercury/North Node conjunction that even though they spent much of their relationship parted by one thing or another, they wrote copious letters to express their feelings.

TauruswoodcutTaurus North Node in the 8th House: In a recently aired documentary about Kurt CobainMontage From Heck, a line of dialogue popped out at me, compelling me to explore his chart. The journey his life took sounded like North Node in the 8th, and so I checked, and lo, he did indeed have that placement.

Cobain, the troubled lead singer of the punk rock grunge band Nirvana, was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, suffered from long-term depression and physical pain, and committed suicide at the age of 27. Aside from his emotional problems, which are, in my opinion, stunningly clear when you see the makeup of his chart, what happens with Scorpio South Node and Taurus North Node, particularly in the 8th/2nd axis, is that the person, the soul, however you want to put it, is forced into awareness of the need for physical and psychic survival.

This is especially true if the Nodes are stressed, because Scorpio South Node is probably one of the hardest nodes to have in the 2nd house because of its potential negative effect on your body. Scorpio here is not going to easily give up its drug of choice. If you do not have personal experience of addicts or addiction, it’s important here to note that addiction covers a broad spectrum of activities, but it always includes denial.

Lying to yourself, lying to others, about how badly you need the thing that makes you feel better in the moment, whether it’s money, sex, work, whatever it is you are addicted to that allows you to experience your inner world from a less painful perspective, you’re going to cling to, no matter how unhealthy you become.

Physical health or lack of it then are a prominent issue in the 8/2 axis, but it’s a different kind of health concern than the problems we see in the 6/12 axis. This axis is about what we feed our bodies with, how we care for our body, and whether or not we can survive our compulsions. Cobain’s chart was unusually stressed in addition to having these Nodes. Sun was square Neptune, adding to the potential for lying to others and the self. Mars in Scorpio conjunct South Node on its own would have made it difficult for him to stop behaving in a Scorpionic manner. Self-destructiveness and Scorpio can go hand-in-hand.

He looked for ways out of his pain, and the way he chose to follow was, predictably, given what I’ve been saying about North Node in the 8th, to descend to his own depths; the problem is, he never found the way back up again. Cobain’s life is an example of what happens to people who get stuck in their own underworld, one version of an unsupported 8/2 Nodal axis.

Ideally, the ruler of the North Node is supported in the chart, but Cobain’s Venus Pisces was conjunct both Chiron and Saturn (Anaretic at 28˚). Pluto, the ruler of the South Node, is tied up in wide opposition to the stellium in Pisces. None of this works in the wrong hands. The definition of the word ‘resistance’ is a Pluto/Saturn opposition, so the likelihood of breaking through Cobain’s layers of denial would have been next to nil. With this mutable-sign opposition on the strongest angles in the chart (ASC/DSC) if he couldn’t repair himself, nothing outside of him stood a chance to do it for him. This is particularly true with Saturn/Venus/Chiron in the 7th, a combination that pushes others away.

His sister was interviewed for the documentary and was asked if Kurt “found the underground or if the underground found him,” referring to the underground ‘punk’ rock world and its subversive desire to make overt that which is usually kept hidden. She said “I think they found each other. He was searching for whatever made him feel like he wasn’t alone and he wasn’t so different.”

As discussed in this interview, from an early age, he associated punk rock with the feelings of anger, alienation and isolation that had been building most of his young life, but let’s be clear: he was mentally unstable and he was an addict, and addicts are not poor, misunderstood creatures who ‘somehow’ are in so much pain that drugs are the only answer. His anguish, expressed through writing and music, is clear, and it obviously touched many people, but it does not change the fact that his inability to deal with his problems made other people’s lives intensely difficult (see this interview for more from a friend of Cobain’s who says of course he had stomach pain; all heroin addicts throw up, it’s part of the body’s response to heroin).

The attraction for the dark side—of life, of the hidden realms of the personality, of all that which is considered ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ by the rest of the world—is a given in the 8th house, an urge I think is, to some extent, necessary when planets or a Node is placed here; we have to be allowed to at least look at our own darkness, although most cannot automatically handle what they see, which is why most of us need some help transforming that darkness into a more positive emotional state. Some people are more obviously drawn into the dark than others, and for that we have to look at the entire chart.

I find it sadly understandable that with Scorpio South Node conjunct Mars, he was worried, not only about his own anger, which can be poisonous when Mars is in Scorpio, but also societal issues around anger and violence (particularly men’s violence against women). Even so, and this is where the effect of oppositions come in—they are highly ambivalent and self-contradictory, he bought guns and ultimately killed himself with one.

The ‘masculine’ in general was a major concern for him, and not all of it devolves onto his father issues. His chart is dominated by feminine energy except for two points: he has Gemini/Sagittarius on the MC/IC cusps, and he has (feminine) Pisces Sun, Mercury, Chiron, Venus, Saturn in the (masculine) 7th house. Aside from that, everything in his chart, including Cancer Moon/Jupiter, the other tenanted houses and the nodal axis itself is feminine.

Was he masculine or feminine—the question plagued him. He himself wasn’t sure. He credited Courtney Love with preventing him from remaining in a bisexual lifestyle, and yet decried most men for being homophobic. If he’d been truly okay with a bisexual nature, it would not have mattered that Love somehow “saved him” from being bi. In other words, I think there are a lot of statements Cobain is known for that make no sense if he was as tolerant as he said he was.

What stands out for me when looking at the nature of Taurus (North Node) in this configuration, though, is something Liz Greene wrote a long time ago about the attraction Earth has for sensation. Her point, as I understood it, is that the problem lies with one’s ‘inferior function,’ a truth about our nature we are somehow held distant from and must struggle to consciously integrate.

The earthy type, being sensation-oriented, possesses as his inferior function a rather primitive intuitive sense. In some cases, this stunted intuition beleaguers him with irrational fears and vague apprehensions of a negative kind which perpetually interfere with his simple black-and-white world. In other cases, he represses intuition entirely and lives in an endless gray twilight of labors and routines that gradually increase the pile of objects around him while doing nothing to ease the hollow space within him — which cries out for some sense of purpose, some feeling of being part of a larger life, and some hope for the future which can allow him to rest from his labors and enjoy the present in a creative way.

If the North Node is what our soul aspires to, then it makes sense that it’s hard work to get there, and we have to do a lot of inner work to understand our own ambivalence about the things we say we want. This is why being pulled or tugged away from the South Node into the North feels so difficult so much of the time, and it’s why, when we’re in relationship with someone whose planet conjuncts our South Node through synastry, we have to be very careful that that person has their life in order, because it feels so good to be with them we assume they must be good for us.

I remember thinking after he died that his relationship with Courtney Love could not possibly have helped him; she was far too irresponsible and impetuous to have provided good ballast for him. In fact, Love’s Neptune in Scorpio in the 1st house fell within 5˚ of conjunction with Kurt’s South Node; opposite her Neptune is Jupiter in Taurus, which fell within 8˚ of conjunction with his North Node. As I mentioned above about Churchill, Neptune/Jupiter in aspect, especially the opposition, tends to augment the idea of fantasy-as-reality, and so everything depends on how the native uses the energy.

Ideally, Love would express a wonderful belief in that which cannot be seen, an artist whose rainbow-hued dreams inspire others to dream as well. I don’t think that completely characterizes Courtney Love, however creative and even inspirational she might be for someone, somewhere. It does seem as if Cobain projected much of his own creative drive onto her; he called her a ‘goddess,’ but then, he was high a lot of the time, poisoned by toxins.

South Node in Scorpio not only holds on to bad feelings when in the 2nd house, it also makes it much harder to clean toxins out of the body. North Node in Taurus, ruled by Venus, can be lazy and predictable in the 8/2 axis, making it far too easy to reach for something tangible, a drug, alcohol, anything that will make you feel better in the moment. Cobain’s Venus/Saturn/Chiron combination implies continual self-wounding, creating a chronic condition only you can cure, although if you find a “balm” for your wound, why wouldn’t you use it as often as you needed it? Cobain’s biographer called the urge of reaching for sex a “balm that he could count on, like beer or pot, to help him escape his lot” (Heavier Than Heaven, p. 55).

Ultimately, what stands out for me about Cobain’s pain, and he had a lot of it—when he died, his progressed sixth house contained Sun, Saturn, and Chiron, in opposition to Uranus in the 12th—is how tied it was to his lack of self-confidence and insecurity, symbolized by the lack of fire or earth in his chart.

Sun was transiting within 3˚ of conjunction with his 8th house cusp the day he died (April 5, ’94). I find that transits to the cusps of a house tend to activate that house’s energy. Aries on the 8th house cusp must be watched carefully in the lives of emotionally fragile people, since the sign and placement of its ruling planet on the 8th house cusp indicate the nature of the person’s death. In the case of someone with a family history of suicide, having impetuous Mars-ruled Aries on the 8th house cusp is something to keep an eye on.

Transiting North Node exactly conjuncted his natal Neptune in Scorpio in the 3rd that day as well; not only was he using heroin as he died, his suicide note was not written to his wife or a real person, but to his “make-believe friend” Boddah. According to his mother, Cobain “blamed everything on [Boddah]” (see this 1992 Rolling Stone interview where his mother discusses his childhood and youth in Aberdeen, Washington).

In another interview, one of his cousins, a registered nurse trained in suicide prevention, was asked what kind of qualities would prevent someone from committing suicide. Her response leads us to the nature and purpose of Taurus on the North Node (emphasis added):

Spirituality is an inner resource that is helpful in dealing with any problem, but when serious depression is present, people are most often not in touch with their inner resources, no matter how strong, how intelligent, or how spiritual the person is.

With a supportive and supported Scorpio on the South Node in the 2nd, the pull of Taurus in the 8th is toward emotional grounding, leading to the ability to walk fearlessly through some pretty dark places in life, whether brought to you courtesy of the world and its insanity, your own dark realities, or someone else’s issues. Ideally, Taurus in the North has the inner resources, so crucial for both Taurus and the 8th house, to deal with life’s difficulties.

The best possible outcome for Taurus North Node in the 8th is going to be when the emotional issues brought from the Scorpio South Node are transformed sufficiently so that the Taurus develops the ability to shelter or protect someone else. This can be as ‘simple’ as becoming the kind of banker who helps build houses in Uganda for a volunteer charity, or becoming the kind of mother all the other kids come to for brownies and a shoulder to cry on. Taurus here makes for a practical response to life’s crises, as long as one has the emotional wherewithal to help others.

GeminiwoodcutGemini North Node in the 8th House: No sign is going to have an easy time of it when their North Node falls in the 8th, but Gemini might squeak through Hades’ realm on sheer loquaciousness and charm, and with their innate ability to work the room, they can easily outperform any polished politician. If North Node in Taurus in this house is almost too heavy a burden to bear, the combination of Gemini with this house is poised, light on his feet, knowing precisely where the exits are located in case a hasty retreat is necessary.

Any house Gemini North Node falls in brings with it (if Mercury is well-aspected, or in his own house, the 3rd) multiple abilities, Gemini being the most versatile mutable sign. The 8th house colors this mutability, but here the shades Gemini takes on are more serious, less about impressing others with his or her speaking and debate skills, and more about taking on heavier fare.

There are people who are not necessarily the most powerful in the room, but are nonetheless either the power behind the throne, or attain status in their lifetimes, yet that role somehow does not define them, and they wear their status lightly. They can have powerful friends, but power on its own is not something they necessarily seek.

They move in and amongst the powerful, as Hermes did, communicating first with the gods on Olympus, then with Hades below. That’s the kind of versatility this North Node has, and her intellectual, analytical, and verbal skills usually serve her well here, although the nature of the 8th is to require this person to dig deeper than Gemini is ordinarily comfortable with.

There might very well be a strong resistance to dealing with emotions, or exactly the opposite, a fascination with studying psychology or anything to do with the 8th house in general. Gemini/Sagittarius nodes usually like learning, although Sagittarius is the more scholarly bookworm of the Zodiac, while Gemini likes lighter reading. With Gemini in the 8th, the native might prefer their learning to occur away from the classroom.

Expect that they will have more than one role to play in the course of their lifetime; it’s a skill to be so adaptable that they’re capable of taking on more than one job and excelling at it, which means that their interests might morph over time, from the frivolous to the profound. They can have powerful friends, but power on its own is not something they necessarily seek, but learning how to keep their friends’ secrets will be the key to their success in the ‘halls of power.’

There’s a price to be paid for Gemini/Sagittarius, and it is their natural desire to tell everyone everything they know and therefore appear more interesting, cool, and fun. North Node in the 8th will have to learn how to interest people in a way that Gemini usually sees no point in: keeping her mouth shut. Whereas usually her words flow and amuse, the 8th will require that they adopt a much more serious purpose if they’re going to remain friends with those in power, who usually keep skeletons well-buried.

South Node in Sagittarius in the 2nd holds them back if they are misdirected from an early age by their family about personal values, particularly anything to do with the body. Fetishism about body image come up here, because both Sagittarius and Gemini are fascinated in the 8/2 axis with everything from the simplest tattoo to the health value of raw foods. South Node Sagittarius also tends to move about with a bit of a swagger, and no matter how big or small the person’s body actually is, this South Node tends to think of himself as physically large, important, or even intimidating.

The individual experiments with cool new trends, and prefers to be on the cutting edge of anything to do with the physical form. S/he is likely to spend a great deal of time concerned with the way s/he looks, and therefore becomes a body builder or at the very least eats organic.

Usually this concern is more to do with health, rather than from a desire to impress (although Sagittarius on any South Node does not like being ignored), but it’s possible that squares from Virgo/Pisces might lead to eating issues like anorexia. Attention to and awareness of others’ bodies is key here as well, including fascination with pornography, and anything about visual images (photography, television, movies) involving awareness and appreciation of others’ bodies.

I’m not talking here about appearance, per se; that’s more a Libra issue. Gemini loves data, information, and spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about the subject matter of the house it falls in, so when you combine Gemini with the 8th house, you find someone with the potential for obsession with any information others might find disturbing, dark, or transformational. Whereas others might qualify this as an obsession with all that is “dirty,” I’d just say Gemini North Node finds this stuff “interesting,” not to mention informative. Gemini North Node is always on a path towards learning more, so trying to prevent them from finding out about this area of life is pointless.

For example, the famous photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, with Uranus conjunct North Node in the 8th in Gemini, was renowned not only for his avant garde and groundbreaking works of art, but also for his alternative, even risky, lifestyle. His chart reflects many Scorpio and 8th house behaviors (his Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio fell within 11˚ of his Scorpio Ascendant), but the 8th house North Node draw to the underground scene is strongly evidenced by his controversial photography of New York’s underground bondage and sadomasochistic BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

More about him below, because he was the lover and companion of a wealthy art collector I will discuss further in North Node Libra.

cancerwoodcutCancer North Node in the 8th House: Speaking as a solar Cancer, I can tell you that whether we like it or not, our primary task in life seems to be confronting our ability or inability to take care of people.

Some charts support this ability, some do not, but every (solar) Cancer I know has to make peace with the role of nurturer eventually, if only to make it clear that s/he has no intention/ability to pull off being archetypal Mother-to-the-world. Most people think you’re ‘born’ with the ability to do your Sun sign; I, however, think it’s pretty clear we learn as we go, and some of us are better than others at taking care of small, needy beings.

When it comes to North Node in Cancer, however, the urgent drumbeat message is unmistakable; life (or ‘fate’ if you believe we have no choice) keeps forcing you to deal with something many people manage to avoid, which is other people. If you are still young and you have no dependents clinging to you like albatrosses around your neck, you might not understand this, but North Node in Cancer’s job in life is to learn how to take care of other people.

If your chart is not set up to learn this skill, believe me, people are a huge burden, but therein lies the point of having the nodal axis in the first place: we’re here, from a spiritual perspective, to become better human beings, and taking care of others will shine up your karma and push you to the front of the line when we are all waiting to get into Heaven.

With South Node in Capricorn in the 2nd house, you come from a background where there was a certain amount of scarcity, or it felt like there was. Your parents might have been too old, or older, when you were born, and so now they’re tired; maybe you look like a burden to them. The message from authority figures (represented of course by Capricorn) is usually pretty austere.

Capricorn South Node in the 2nd has been told some version of ‘there isn’t enough to go around,’ and so he or she lives with the belief on a subconscious level that she better not ask for much. The body is therefore neglected, and those around you get the same treatment, usually, because it’s hard to take care of others’ needs when you’re not aware you’re mistreating yourself.

However, it’s also likely that your childhood in general is some version of difficult. Maybe you’re an orphan, or you feel like one. No matter what, though, the key to the South Node here is that it’s self-negating, and that will show up in how you treat yourself and others. Capricorn South Node learns to make do with much less than other people ask for themselves, so that when the North Node starts to tug, the ‘lesson’ usually looks like a squalling baby, a demanding older relative, annoying siblings, or stray cats crying below your window keeping you awake all night.

If you’ve been doing a bad job taking care of yourself all this time, you’re not likely to suddenly throw open your life, take all these needy beings in, and give them a home and succor, yet that’s precisely Cancer North Node’s job, particularly in the 8th, where the people you’ll be asked to take care of are not necessarily all that well to begin with.

For example, I once had a friend with North Node Cancer in the 8th who was ‘fortunate’ enough to be a triple Pisces and therefore was constantly taking in cats with one eye or one leg, or some other physical problem that cost her a lot of money which she didn’t have. She’d pay for those cats but she wouldn’t pay for her own health, and that’s another face of South Node in Capricorn, the lifelong inability to see the importance of one’s own wellbeing, all the while overdoing it when you take care of others.

Combining the 8th house with Cancer North Node implies taking care of people or animals (i.e., needy beings) in some sort of crisis. Because it’s the 8th, one automatically associates Cancer caretakers with a hospice setting; anyone who assists with someone’s death or another serious disorder comes to mind. The psychological realm makes sense too, of course; taking care of the psychologically fragile is always possible with this combination.

Possibly through the connection with Hermes and his magical life-giving staff, the caduceus, the 8th house has become associated with the healing arts. However, I’d need to see more connections in the entire chart before I’d suggest healing as a profession. Cancer North Node in the 8th, when South Node in Capricorn represents someone who spent a significant time learning their art, could make a wonderful, naturally healing doctor. For one thing, Cancer is renowned for our sense of humor, and humor is very healing.

A good example of this expression of 8th house Cancer North Node exists in the chart of Patch Adams (a real person who inspired the Robin Williams’ movie). Adams’ childhood was difficult, as one expects with Saturn or Capricorn related to the nodes or nodal axis. He also had personal experience with mental illness, both in himself and in members of his family, which proved to be the catalyst to attend medical school.

What’s interesting to me about his nodal axis is that Moon, ruler of the North Node, is within 10˚ conjunction with his South Node in Capricorn, while Saturn, ruler of the South Node, is within 1˚ of conjunction of the North (I grant wide conjunctions when it comes to the ‘lights’, or Sun and Moon). This reversal of rulers augments the message of this nodal axis, adding to the sense of ‘life-crisis’, that these issues must be dealt with.

With opposite rulers in aspect as Adams’ are, the energies of the oppositional planets will have to be integrated into the life path. On its own, Moon opposite Saturn is rarely easy; sometimes the native feels disconnected from his own emotions, sometimes the mother and father are seriously incompatible; sometimes the person projects one side or the other onto others, denying any problem with emotions on one hand or being overly strict or forbidding on the other. Some people with this opposition feel unloved and unlovable. That all or any of these issues might be part of the life path become of major concern when rulers conjunct the Nodes.

LeowoodcutLeo North Node in the 8th House: For many years, I kept an eye on Princess Diana’s natal chart, largely because she and I shared so many planet and house placements, particularly a stellium in the 8th house. Most people seem to have someone famous they compare themselves to, especially if you’re similar in age and have many planets in the same house; you want to see how their life turns out.

When they die young, however, an astrologer becomes particularly interested in seeing if that reality is reflected in their chart. It does seem that some people’s charts are simply more fated than others, and this is one of those charts.

What is the importance of death as a motif in her life? Let’s look at her natal, Solar Return and progressed charts to see if there are any messages from Hades’ realm. As a bit of a warning, I use the Arabic Part of Death in my interpretations when appropriate, so if you do not like this subject, please don’t read this.

In Princess Diana’s natal, North Node is Anaretic at 29˚ Leo, conjunct (Leo) Uranus, Virgo Mars and Pluto in the 8th house, implying risk of death due to sudden accident; with Anaretic North Node, there is the possibility that this type of death was fated or meant to be.

Everyone dies, but the shocking and sudden circumstances of her death represented an aspect of her life path and what we’ve come to call someone’s ‘legacy’, how they’re remembered. With Anaretic North Node, the life path involves a sense of crisis, that this lifetime is particularly important, but is only a stepping stone on the path of her destiny (if you believe in reincarnation).

Of course, if you do believe in reincarnation, her karma was particularly “heavy,” her life fated, her death involved in changing the nature of the English monarchy. Take into account that in synastry with her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana’s Venus/Algol/Part of Death conjuncts her mother-in-law’s IC/4th house cusp and therefore falls in close opposition to the Queen’s Saturn in Scorpio.

If you don’t think that set of aspects challenged the Queen’s Saturnian stiff-upper-lip lack of emotional expression in response to the death of the “Queen of Hearts,” I don’t know what would persuade you. Suffice it to say that the monarchy has mellowed considerably since Diana’s death, and I would argue, so has England itself, to an extent.

Diana’s life encompassed deep personal transformation from a sweet, naive young nursery school teacher, protected by virtue of wealth and privilege (Jupiter and Moon in the 2nd), to an older, more mature but still emotionally fragile woman who urged the abolishment of land mines and worked for peace (reflecting the potential to transmute the violence in her 8th house Mars/Uranus/Pluto stellium).

Although all members of the monarchy are given tasks of this sort to perform, any 8th house North Node benefits from working towards some form of emotional healing, especially if in that process one learns to help heal the world of its propensity for violence.

I do think that Leo North Node invariably gives the native the desire or ability to speak on the world stage, but in her case, so many planets and points aspect the Node and planets in the 8th house, that the nature of her death rather overshadows all the various transformations she herself went through. We tend to forget how close to home she started, and how far she came during the course of her relatively short existence.

With South Node in her chart conjunct the Moon (Moon is her Sun’s ruler) who she was when she started out in life is not who she was when she died. The goal of her higher self, then, was to transcend Moon’s emotional limitations, not easy for a Cancer. But her Moon was in Aquarius, ruler Uranus, which is tied up by opposition to the Nodal axis and involved in serious oppositions.

Moon opposite Uranus, Mars, and the North Node indicates a highly unstable life path, one fraught with upset and insecurity. All those oppositions to the Moon make the native fragile, and her response is likely some combination of fight or flight, since oppositional behaviors and psychology would be the likely response to the almost constant perception of emotional stress.

In the natal chart, 24˚ Taurus Venus is conjunct not only Algol but also the Arabic Part of Death at 23˚ Taurus in her 5th house. Again we see a message from this chart about death, for this Venus/Algol/Part of Death is square to the 8th house stellium and to both ends of the nodal axis.

This implies that a lover or love relationship will be implicated in her death (or the cause of her death), but Venus in the 5th with all these squares to planets in the 8th also implies some Venus-related behavior causing death. With all these squares, if North Node had been in the 2nd, the death would be in your own hands or up to you, but because it’s in the 8th, the death is brought to you by someone else’s behavior.

As an aside, Princess Diana’s Moon/Venus/Mars/Uranus/Pluto and Nodal axis work together to form a Grand (Fixed) Square or Cross. I can tell you from personal experience with my own fixed cross that ‘stubborn’ does not begin to explain the personality disorders. Unfortunately, the only change that comes with a fixed grand cross configuration is through self-motivation, and mostly not even then. The upside is the stability this cross brings, but the downside is lack of growth and the kind of fixed nature that leads to crisis, since it takes a crisis to get this person to change.

In her Solar Return for the year she died (August 31, 1997), natal Part of Death fell in her SR 8th house; SR Moon was Anaretic at 29˚ Taurus, conjunct Part of Death. Furthermore, Mars (violence) is within 3˚ conjunction with the ASC and is square to SR Sun in the 10th.

The progressed chart shows some things that I find disturbing, but could be interpreted in other ways by other astrologers, so there’s always room for interpretation. I personally don’t like seeing Saturn in the progressed chart directly on the Ascendant. Saturn within 3˚ of the Ascendant is not a good sign in any chart, really; it indicates that Father Time/Kronos is sitting on your head like a vulture, or the ‘end of the matter’ is upon you. If you ask a question in horary, Saturn falling in the 1st is a ‘no’. Now, obviously, people do survive with Saturn on the Ascendant, but in Princess Diana’s progressed chart, Saturn is within 1˚ of the Ascendant, and I just don’t like it.

The other thing I don’t like in her progressed chart is that Part of Death falls in the 3rd house. Obviously, the 3rd is “cars” and “short trips,” so there you go. The final possibly bad sign is that Uranus conjuncts North Node by 2˚, although it falls in the 7th, and in Leo. If she had died in her bed at an advanced age, none of these charts would have made any sense, though, because they imply violence, and/or the influence of a partner or a third party (5th house Part of Death in the natal; 8th house in the Solar Return; 3rd house in the progressed chart, although in that chart, with Saturn on the Ascendant, she could have been driving the car, and that would have made sense except for Uranus conjunct North Node in the 7th, which implies a partner (7th house) or stranger (Uranus) involved in any accident that might happen.

VirgowoodcutVirgo North Node in the 8th House: Another facet of the 8th house is represented by its symbolic association with “other people’s money.” This is a reflection of its relationship to the 2nd house’s connection with “my money”, whereas “your money” sits in my 8th house. This is why it’s thought that the 8th house represents the form of inheritance one receives from those who came before you. It also speaks to the nature of the legacy we leave after death.

To inherit something implies you did not create it (whether it’s a monetary legacy or something less concrete); but if you did create something in your lifetime, then presumably you’ll leave it as your inheritance to your descendants when you die.

There are people (bankers, investment counselors, estate managers, accountants, even bookies) who at one time hold on to your money for you and then oversee its dispersement, and those are the kinds of people associated with this house.

I find it interesting that Virgo on the North Node in the 8th might be the ‘perfect’ person to assign to take care of your money for you, since if the rest of the chart supports it, the person not only has an interest in doing the job right, but he or she might also be honest and humble enough not to embezzle from you, because anyone you trust with your money had better be honest.

I’d be surprised if you remember Conrad Bain, but he was not just an actor, he was also deeply concerned about the financial limitations actors dealt with. I don’t know if you know this, but actors used to be abysmally misused; they were typically underpaid, if they were paid at all, and often got no credit for their work (especially stage actors).

Acting has always been a notoriously unfair profession, and people like Bain worked to turn that around and make sure that his fellow actors had some sort of security. Prior to creating the Actors Federal Credit Union, actors could not take out loans, which meant they couldn’t establish credit or buy a house.

That he had Moon conjunct his North node tells me he was very concerned with security, particularly emotional security. Since this conjunction fell in his 8th house (and he was a solar Aquarius) the idea of security for him came to mean that not only must his fellow actors be treated fairly and equitably, but that the expression of this concern involved, in typical 8th house fashion, access to wealth.

Mercury, ruler of his North Node, has some interesting aspects; it is involved in a trine with the Moon/North Node; South Node Pisces is widely conjunct (probably out of aspect for many astrologers at 1o˚+) Sun’s ruler, Uranus. People who force change on the world typically have active Uranus influences, since they are rarely willing to tolerate the status quo.

Bain’s Capricorn Ascendant, Moon/North Node in Virgo in the 8th, Uranus in the 2nd, and Sun Aquarius combined to make him a maverick when it came to encouraging his fellow actors to be taken seriously by banks (what a Capricorn/Virgo/2nd/8th house thing to do!).

Having the chutzpah to take on the banks and win is not something I’d sneeze at:

In the early 1960s, Bain was one of the principal organizers of the Actors Federal Credit Union. In an article in the Credit Union Times, he recalled that “the effort grew out of the fact that, at least in the world of financial services, actors and other performers got no respect and, more importantly, no access to credit.”

Ultimately, ruler of the chart Saturn in the 9th (albeit retrograde, which tends to slow down the effects until, if you’re lucky, it goes direct in the progressed chart) tells me he had integrity and that his motives were pure. This is the kind of background check you should do if you ever have to hand your money over to someone, by the way. 8th house people with integrity are your best bet for holding on to your money or your secrets.

LibrawoodcutLibra North Node in the 8th House: If the first words in someone’s biography include “inheritor of,” I’d suggest checking out the person’s 8/2 axis. Sam Wagstaff, principle inheritor of the “extensive” Wagstaff fortune and owner of the world’s largest photography collection, in many ways personifies the combination of Libra’s refinement and aesthetic sensibilities, with the grittiness and burial of one’s reality associated with the 8th house.   (Suppression and repression are psychological realities connected with the 8th house, unless you’ve got the kind of chart that allows you to live in the darkness and the light).

Adding to Wagstaff’s aesthetic appreciation is that Venus, ruler of Libra, is conjunct his North Node (although Venus falls in the 9th, within 1˚ of that house cusp). The ruler of the South Node, Mars, is tied up with an 8th house stellium, but natal Mars is too wide to be considered in conjunction with the North Node. Technically, then, his Nodal rulers are not reversed (but with stellia, it can be very difficult to pull out and separate the planets as though they were individual strands of thread).

Of interest to me is that his “psychopomp,” the companion who saw him through his somewhat illicit ‘underworld’ experiences, was his companion and protégé, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It was Mapplethorpe who taught him to value photography as an art form; and it was Mapplethorpe who was credited with unlocking a “dark genie” in Wagstaff, who began to live out the suppressed energies of the Mars/Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in the 8th. Squares of North Node, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn to his Moon Capricorn in the 12th most likely contributed to the ‘closeting’ of his true nature.

Because the nature of the 8th house is relational, one’s path, even as it descends downwards, exists to help you not only “find” yourself, but open up aspects of the self you either repress or somehow disallow—common to the 8th house person, particularly someone like Wagstaff, whose Sun squared Neptune, an aspect that typically prevents or discourages the native from being honest about who s/he really is. Consider that Mapplethorpe and Wagstaff lived in defiance of societal rules.

Wagstaff in particular had a lot to lose if his upperclass ‘aristocratic’ friends and relatives knew too much about his private life. In exchange for this loss, North Node in Libra on its own requires some kind of collaborator, and prefers to find one s/he can share both love and work with, so Wagstaff hit astrological gold when he found his partner. Both men were born on the same day with Sun Scorpio, 11˚, although 25 years apart.

I find it of symbolic interest, considering Hades’ preference for a minimalist color scheme, that the photographic exhibition both men became known for was titled “Black, White and Gray,” (also the name of a documentary made about them). Although they lived their lives rather ‘outrageously’ given the moral climate of their time, in fact, they were both creative artists in their own ways, and one can only hope that’s what they’re remembered for.

Another aesthetically sensitive person born with North Node in Libra in the 8th (this time conjunct Saturn) was W. B. Yeats, whose birthday is today, June 13, the day I’m writing this. Yeats is my favorite poet, and I think if you are at all familiar with his work and his life, you can hear in your mind’s ear that he well understood 8th house issues. He believed in and studied astrology and was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as well as being a poet of profound depth who was able to find ways to articulate much about the occult and the spiritual realm that usually disappears in a foggy mist.

His fascination with mysticism, spiritualism, and the occult reflects the facets of the 8th house, and I think it was possibly the Grand Trine in Air (which also involved the North Node) that allowed him to find ways of expressing what he discovered in such a way that others were allowed to know, and perhaps to some extent, be ‘initiated’ into, the mysteries.

ScorpioScorpio North Node in the 8th House: I realize that the cliché about Scorpio, and indeed, the 8th house, involves ‘transformation.’ We say that word, we write this idea, as though it’s somehow simple, when in fact, true transformation is one of the most difficult acts to accomplish in one’s self, let alone the world.

So there’s a fair amount of bravery attached to anyone who undergoes the changes wrought in the transformation of the personality. In fact, it can easily be argued that we don’t change; perhaps we become more—or less—ourselves— but do we ever truly transform our fundamental ‘self’? This is a question one can ask in a time of comparative luxury, when we live so long, we have time to wonder about, prepare for, and cope with, issues beyond those of daily survival.

At one time, there was the magic of the transformation of the dead body that eventually returned to the earth’s soil, or the magical transformation of a body burned and turned to ash. Visible transformation occurs in the hours and days after death, when your soul leaves your body and the previously animated human begins to decompose.

Ancient people witnessed many transformations by participating in shamanic or cult ceremonies or rituals. As a sign, Scorpio is thought to be in touch with all these layers we’ve inherited through our cultures, the beliefs, fears, hidden wisdom, all passed down over time, part of our education. The potential lies for this North Node to summon all the wisdom of the ancients to overcome the problems of their lives, to transform what we have learned—rather indulgently, in my opinion—to think of as the ‘self,’ separate from others, probably alone, and most certainly vulnerable and more than a bit fragile in our various states of nakedness.

If you think of Scorpio as a sign that is somehow stronger than everyone else, or perhaps more capable, experienced, less vulnerable, you’re only seeing the surface. With this sign, much depends on the amount and type of early life wounding, because the rest of one’s life is spent making up for that wounding in some way. Scorpio is not given the ‘gift’ of being able to pretend the wound never occurred; that’s for more fanciful signs. Instead, Scorpio has to convince himself the wound doesn’t matter, and that’s a rather more convoluted skill.

If you puff up like an adder because someone inadvertently touches that wound, you wouldn’t surprise me. Although most Scorpio-type people are never going to make their reaction that obvious, they will try to find a way to scare you off. As Bono (Sun within 7˚ conjunction with Algol; Moon 2˚ Scorpio 8th house) once wrote in a bitter moment “And you become a monster/So the monster will not break you.” 

A Scorpio’s inner life is not frightened, exactly, but it’s not anywhere near as impervious to pain as this sign would like everyone to think. Since hiding pain and sensitivity is the norm here, and the lifetime quest might be towards hiding in the darkness, or it might be that the native is strong enough to go down into his or her own depths and return with the answers.

So in this Nodal axis, you’ve got the potential for someone to really understand the mysteries, to be called to a life that reflects ancient shamanic wisdom—or, regrettably, be very much afraid of those mysteries, stuck in proving that he’s not, and therefore a false rebel, but one people learn to avoid, if only because he gets a reputation for being fearsome. Much is going to depend on the rest of the chart, and whether or not he’s strong enough to face the fears he buried a long time ago and not rely on some South Node in Taurus addiction or pleasurable ‘crutch’ to see him through.

I’d like to say that Scorpio North Node has much less interest, or fascination with, the dark side of Hades’ realm, and the rest of the chart might agree with me. The key here is going to be the condition of the South Node, how it’s aspected, and its overall strength. Conjunct Algol, this South Node does not bode well, but most things can be overcome if you try hard enough, and Scorpio North Node is certainly capable of great strength, if he’s motivated.

Obviously, as with any major part of the chart that finds itself in this sign, it helps tremendously if the Scorpio North Node is pulled along by people who truly care about him, because if he’s surrounded by those who take advantage of him, he’s going to be in danger of losing the innocent piece of his soul that he should never have to lose. Unfortunately, of course, the world isn’t as pure and hopeful as sensitive water signs could wish, and so Scorpio learns to toughen up or die.

In the chart of Peter Yarrow, lead singer of Peter, Paul, and Mary, South Node is conjunct Algol, and North Node is trine its ruler, Pluto. Mercury/Uranus are conjunct in Taurus in the 2nd house, and within range of orb to Algol to be considered widely conjunct. His early interests, which he pursued at university, were physics and psychology, both subjects dealing with transformation, one of the state of matter and energy, the other with the state of the mind.

His transformation from psychology major to folk singer is interesting, but what’s important from my perspective is that Peter, Paul and Mary became known for songs that became associated with the civil rights movement in America. It does seem necessary to become established on the world stage as some kind of performer or entertainer before anyone will listen to messages of transformation, but with Sun in Gemini in the 3rd, perhaps those two went hand-in-hand for him.

I find it interesting that his political stance was not popular at the time, and yet he fought social apathy and negativity with music. This reminds me of Orpheus’ ability to descend into Hades’ realm and move the great dark god to pity. Perhaps music brings about the most powerful emotional and psychological transformations in others, and that’s a secret Yarrow brought with him, his anaphora from the depths of the 8th house.

Yet when he emerges, he finds Algol conjunct his South Node; so let’s say Algol represents all the ugliness in the human psyche that is transformed by the messages of peace (3rd house, with the Sun’s ruler conjunct Uranus, close to Algol in the 2nd, to transform the negativity of this South Node). The group received death threats, their music was considered so powerful, but also so antiestablishment, since they opposed the Viet Nam war, and weren’t afraid to say so. It’s these kinds of acts of bravery that ultimately have the power to change how others think about something, so that’s pretty cool. Well done, I’d say.

Unless the individual gets stuck reliving negative behaviors (which is always possible with Taurus on the South Node, particularly with South Node conjunct Algol) the ideal of transformation of some sort should be obvious with North Node in Scorpio in the 8th, either personal transformation, or the ability to inspire others to attain transformation. Of course, in the wrong hands, this persuasive ability can be misused, but so far the worst 8th house behaviors seem to belong to other signs.

[As a side note, virtually everyone involved in the Charles Manson ‘family’ of murderers except Charles Manson himself, had a planet or North Node in the 8th house; similarly, some of those killed also had at least one planet in their natal 8th house. Only the two most prominent men involved in the killings, Charles Manson and Charles “Tex” Watson had no 8th house planets or nodes, but both men have Scorpio planets; Watson’s Moon/Venus conjunction opposes Algol exactly, while Manson’s 19˚49′ Sun Scorpio opposes Algol].

Sagwoodcut Sagittarius North Node in the 8th House: I’m not sure if this is an indication of fatedness, or whether it tells you something about the 8th house, but 3 of the 4 people in the car when Princess Diana died (see above, North Node in Leo in the 8th) had North Node in the 8th house. Two had North Node in Sagittarius in the 8th: Dodi Fayed, at Anaretic 29˚and the driver, Henri Paul, at 6˚(widely conjunct Saturn in Scorpio at 26˚, opposite Algol). I don’t have chart information for the fourth, Trevor Rees-Jones.

The nature of Sagittarius on this Node is quite often that of a wanderer through life, someone who might not ever really know where he’s headed, who aims his horse towards the sunset, to see what lies over yonder hills. This is usually a noble North Node, one invested in the cliché of “finding himself,” yes, but more importantly, discovering the truth about himself, his beliefs and ethos, usually through some mind-expanding (or just as often, mind-bending) activity. This axis has a lot of work to do on the inner world, to understand what he’s made of, what he believes, and what his principles are.

In the hands of the pure at heart, this journey will be no more thrilling than reading everything he can get his hands on, but he might be a 3rd house famous flier (and author) like Antoine de St.-Exupery; a 4th house writer and action figure, Ernest Hemingway (with Neptune conjunct his South Node, too large a subject to take on here); or a “golden child” 5th house Jazz-Age Flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald.

Sagittarius and Gemini combine in this nodal axis to make for a person of intellectual curiosity, combined with daring and a desire, most likely, to either see the world, or understand the world as an armchair philosopher. Sagittarius North Node, when left to his own devices, likes to find out how things work, and Gemini adds to that an almost insatiable curiosity.

Because it’s the 8th house, though, this nodal axis might very well take a lot of “interesting” detours, since this is a provocative house, one that tends to offer people a fair amount of “fun,” if you’re so inclined. Sagittarius, no matter the house, is not known for turning down a good party, and the 8th house has some doozies to offer: the girls who beckon invitingly to Beetlejuice in Dante’s Inferno Room come to mind, but those ladies of the evening exist in the real world, too.

Although Sagittarius on its own can easily overdo it, much depends on the condition of its ruler, Jupiter. The key to a poorly aspected Jupiter (and to a large extent a fundamental problem with Sagittarius itself) is the kind of rash belief in his own abilities—physical or mental—that leads to taking foolish chances. Sometimes these chances work out, but the power of the gods themselves won’t stop Sagittarius when he’s aglow with the warmth of demon rum and he’s determined to do something everyone knows is just plain stupid.

Keep in mind that the 8/2 axis offers a mesmerizing, distracting sideshow of human entertainments; if you follow these dark streets, you’ll find places like Knockturn Alley (a place you shouldn’t go, Harry) beckon alluringly.

That’s when you want someone sensible nearby to put on the brakes, take away the keys, hire a taxi, and, most of all, stand up to South Node in Gemini’s wishful thinking that all his 2nd house vices are going to magically fade into the ether and his body won’t be the minefield it will become if he lives long enough. But when you combine Gemini/Sagittarius’ innate intellectual and even philosophical curiosity with the 8th house, you could end up with a guru, a prophet, or someone who’s been misguided by all the promises of “true wisdom” body-and-mind enhancing drugs offer.

Altered states are exactly the kind of experience this 8/2 axis combined with Gemini/Sagittarius longs for. These guys need to be careful, in other words, because they’ll initially believe, with great innocence and trust, the existential lies buried in an altered state of consciousness brought to you by a bad drug trip, or excess of any kind. When the 8/2 axis gives into depravity, it can go pretty far.

In those moments, Fire fantasy meets Earth’s material reality. ‘My driving is fine,’ slurs the inebriated Sagittarian, and then he smashes his car into a wall. On a good day, he walks away, laughing, with another story to tell the guys who buy all his drinks down at the bar. On a bad day—well, those days are worse than words can account for, and that’s what happened to Henri Paul, sadly, who was posthumously judged to have been driving under the influence of cold medicine and alcohol the night he died, taking Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana with him.

In Henri Paul’s natal chart, 29˚ Jupiter (in Leo), ruler of the North Node, was conjunct Pluto in the 6th house of work, in square to 8th house North Node conjunct Saturn in the 8th (these are somewhat wide squares; Pluto is within 10˚ of orb square North Node). His Mercury was conjunct Venus, in the 3rd house, sextiling Jupiter, but the Mercury/Venus conjunction also squares Mars in the 12th in Pisces, and if Mars represents our impetus to action, then you don’t want a soused Mars in Pisces square Mercury driver.

The square is mutable from the 12th to the 3rd, which indicates his thinking was too easily distracted or swayed by the “unseen”; but to be brutally honest, Mars in Pisces in the 12th could so easily be a ‘functional’ alcoholic. Usually, no one suspects 12th house planets of being capable of half the negative behavior they can easily carry off for years without detection.

The rulers of Dodi Fayed’s 29˚ Sagittarius/Gemini axis, Jupiter-Mercury, were in square; but the bad news, from my perspective, is that ruler Jupiter was in conjunction to Uranus, both in the 3rd house of short trips, indicating an overestimating of either skill or speed to do with driving. Further, with both Jupiter and Uranus in square to Mercury, there’s an increased possibility of poorly thought out sudden decisions.

The Jupiter/Uranus conjunction further squares his natal Neptune in the 6th, which is almost always a sign of muddied, unclear, or delusional thinking—in the 6th, we can speculate it regards his health, but also work-related decisions would suffer. Finally, Mercury (in the 12th, in conjunction with Sun) widely opposes Neptune, but Sun is within 2˚ of opposition, and Sun/Neptune oppositions find it hard to see themselves clearly, or they present a face to others they think others will find appealing.

Ideally, South Node Gemini in the 2nd house is interested in her health, the condition of her body, her intellectual resources, and is probably more capable of commitment to a path than she would be in a less fixed house; Taurus’ influence is very steadying for Gemini. This means that Sagittarius on the North Node has the chance to emerge from Hades’ realm with a hell of a good story to tell, and be wiser for the journey.

CapCapricorn North Node in the 8th House: One of the most interesting charts I’ve seen for the purposes of illustrating not only 8/2 symbolism, but also how the node’s ruler influences the outcome of the life, is Toni Giancana’s. She was the daughter of underworld crime boss Sam Giancana, a man so self-assured that when requested by Mafia overlords to return some of their money, he refused.

Within a month or so, he was dead, but the reason he was killed is still in dispute. The biography Double Cross: The Explosive Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America, tells us that Giancana’s birthday is usually listed (incorrectly) as June 15, 1908, but that he was actually born on May 24, 1908 (important for conjunctions to his Cancer North Node, although I do not have time of birth).

Toni Giancana was apparently raised in the manner befitting what she calls herself, Sam’s little princess, showered with attention, gifts, and all the perks you’d expect when your father’s Venus falls in your 2nd house, within 10˚ of conjunction with Toni’s natal Pluto/South Node conjunction (less than 2˚ orb). It’s this South node I’m particularly interested in, since it’s clear from what she’s said about herself that she identified with and received ego reinforcement from her father’s notoriety, equating his social power as mob boss with strength and respect, status and self-worth, very much 2nd house issues.

In general, Pluto conjunct the South node can easily equal a sense of personal power—particularly the underworld’s version of power. Pluto conjunct the South Node gives a natural, ‘easy’ force to fall back on, as though you’ve always been powerful. The lifetime is lived trying to express this power and be taken seriously for it. Toni has complained that if she were a man, she would have been allowed to follow in her father’s footsteps, in that she too would have been inducted into the Chicago “Outfit,” their word for the mob or Mafia. Essentially, it’s only because she’s female that she’s not renowned for killing people and running Las Vegas’ underworld, apparently.

I can’t tell you how sadly typical it is for Capricorn North Node to honestly believe that anything the father did is all good or all bad—perceptions of the father are too often black or white in this nodal axis, but the 2nd and 8th houses reflect their natural rulers’ fixed energies. Truth about the father would be hard to see clearly when Pluto is on the South Node, that’s for sure. Either the father did nothing wrong (the projection of a small child’s self perception onto the “all-strong” father) or the father was the devil personified.

Need I mention the strain this puts on the relationship between the child and the mother? She is held blame-worthy if the father is put on a pedestal as the good guy, but she is a perpetual victim if the father is the bad guy. The roles of mother/father become dichotomized. The child-self the native clings to must then be forced to grow up and allow that both parents are merely people, neither is good or bad, neither is to blame.

It’s interesting to me that the rulers of Toni’s nodes, Moon and Saturn, are not in aspect; her parents had a ‘normal’ traditional Italian marriage (he was sexually unfaithful, but ‘loved’ his wife and valued her role as mother of his children). The mother was apparently born September 3, 1909, but you should check out all internet references to be sure. Mother/daughter synastry, presuming the information is correct, indicates that the mother’s Saturn/Moon Aries conjunction fell in direct opposition to her daughter’s Mars in Libra, so Toni wasn’t likely to emulate her mother’s behavior, and probably never knew her mother clearly since Toni’s Neptune fell on her mother’s Sun.

The mother died when Toni was 19, alienating her further from a feminine role model. Saturn/Moon conjunction in Aries can be fairly insensitive; the mother’s natal Uranus/Neptune opposition fell within a few degrees of Toni’s nodal axis, indicating, with Uranus conjunct her daughter’s North Node the likelihood that this child would be forced to raise herself.

Toni was the oldest of three daughters, and clearly identified more with her father than her mother, whose contacts with the girl indicate a message of self-sufficiency more than compassionate maternal love. The mother’s Pluto fell directly on Toni’s Mercury, and squared Toni’s Moon, indicating either a kind of silence between the two of them, or a mother telling her child to be quiet, not to express herself fully.

Wherever you find Pluto, you find the ‘owner’ of Pluto attempting to control the other’s personal planet/expression, frequently treating the other person like a possession or an emotional slave. The final indicator of trouble between mother and daughter lies with Toni’s Lilith exactly on her mother’s Sun in Virgo. Lilith conjunct Sun in mother/daughter synastry means the mother somehow taught the child the meaning of self-sufficiency.

In synastry, someone’s planets falling in your 1st augment your sense of self, and frequently “light you up,” bringing their energy to your persona. Of course, as his child, the expression of her persona is at least partially due to his influence. What would it have been like identifying with a ruthless killer? Because Sam’s Cancer Mars/North Node conjunction falls in her 1st house, in close conjunction with her 1˚ Cancer Sun, she identifies herself with his perceived (aggressive, physical, masculine) power.

Her own Mars in Libra/5th house is widely square Cancer Sun in the 1st. A 1/5 Cancer Sun-Mars square indicates she loves to shine in the glow of reflected light from approving masculine company, preferably while partying; Libra Mars would also give her the ability to appear charming, although squares have to make an effort, and it always seems a bit forced. 5th house Libra Mars puts a lot of time and effort into one’s appearance, as does a 1st house Sun. 5th house Libra Mars likes to have a good time, preferably on someone else’s dime, a habit you can easily say she picked up from having daddy pay for everything.

With his Venus within 10˚ conjunction of her Pluto, it seems pretty clear their connection was more than a bit obsessive; Venus/Pluto contacts tend to speak of a love based on a mesmerizing sense of fear of some kind. Perhaps it’s a fear of loss, or a possessive fear that won’t allow one or the other person to be who they are. The idea of ownership and personal freedom is an important subject to discuss, particularly when there’s an obvious power imbalance as that which exists between father and child.

Do not expect that because it is her Pluto and his Venus that the roles can’t be reversed—Venus in Cancer loves the feeling of being needed. Besides, his own Pluto at 23˚ Gemini fell precisely on her Gemini Ascendant. He held on to her just as much as she held on to him, but these Pluto contacts are rarely emotionally healthy, particularly in the charts of unconscious people.

As a child, according to Double Cross, Sam Giancana’s own father beat him continually, apparently trying to teach the child not to misbehave, as Sam was defiant from his earliest years. Young Sam became so desensitized to pain and inflicting pain, he became more and more brutal. This was Toni’s father, the father she knew as someone who provided all the goodies, but also brought her along with him to meet Frank Sinatra and other celebrities. Her father clearly made her feel important, but when she refused to follow his rules by marrying against his wishes (Cancer/Capricorn nodal axis, plus an expression of Pluto’s implacable rules) she was banished and disinherited.

In this interview from 1978, Toni sounds extremely proud of her perceived “strength” which she equates with power, the power, presumably, to kill someone if necessary. If you ever wonder how people become associated with killers, or learn how to kill, this is how, by identifying through their ego needs with someone who is perceived to be automatically important because he’s scared everyone around him into compliance.

Her father’s Mars/North Node conjunction in Cancer fall in her 1st house, and I think the false, grandiose and narcissistic self she has built for herself is a sad reflection of how poorly she was raised and the kinds of behaviors her father encouraged in her. The passivity and lack of separation from her family legacy she shows in the face of her father’s power and largesse mirrors her grandfather’s desire to ‘break’ and ‘tame’ young Sam.

Sam’s Moon in Pisces fell on Toni’s North Node, so his emotional weaknesses were apparently passed on to her. This chart, therefore, gives a rather dire and complete message of family legacy handed down through different styles of behavior over generations, yes, but just as toxic as if the girl had been beaten repeatedly as a child. Unfortunately, learned helplessness, possibly reflected in her father’s unconscious emotional expectations of himself and women in general, is just as toxic (Pluto on the South Node) as the brutality of beatings.

Ideally Saturn, ruler of the North Node, should have led to the ability to stand on her own two feet, ‘divorced’ from her parents at some point in her life, probably around the time of her first Saturn return. With Capricorn North Node in the 8th, she should have started her own business, particularly since Saturn/Pisces trines Sun/Cancer and Jupiter/Scorpio (but it could easily be argued that her entire chart is weakened, and that water sign trines are lazy). However, her connections with her father are so intimately a part of who she identifies with, she will never truly separate from his legacy.

AquariuswoodcutAquarius North Node in the 8th House: I would very much like to use Augusto Pinochet’s chart for this illustration, but I have a self-imposed rule never to use less than ‘AA’ or ‘A’ Rodden-designated charts, and since his is designated ‘D’ (and cannot be corroborated or verified as accurate) I am forced to find information elsewhere. Pinochet’s association with violence, chaos and denial of his crimes against humanity would make an excellent 8th house North Node subject, though.

This is one of those house and sign combinations that are at odds but have similar, fixed modalities. The way of the North Node here is, to some extent, at odds with the nature of the 8th, although there are ways to blend these energies. Aquarius is, of course, a fixed air sign, and the natural ruler of this house is Scorpio, fixed water. To the extent that the chart finds a way to work with water and air energies, the path of this North node will be that much easier. Usually, the way is harder if one or the other elements are resisted.

Typically, the North Node lessons here have to do with integrating one’s darker nature with the way you live your life out where everyone can see it. This automatically places an emphasis on hypocrisy, since people who are uncomfortable with the 8/2 axis, its physicality, emotional needs and an overall inability to explain its actions coherently or ‘rationally’ tend to lie about their deeper feelings, pretending they’re ‘fine.’ The raw instinctual nature of the 8/2 axis tends to stand out for Aquarius North Node, which is why I expect Leo South Node to dominate, since it’s so often easier for the individual to express that combination than it is to express Aquarius in the 8th.

The purpose of the lifetime then might be described as bringing emotions to the surface so that they can be understood rationally. If this native doesn’t become comfortable with expressing his 8th house reality, it’s going to block his overall life purpose. So everything depends on the rest of the chart; does it support water or air? Is the individual going to ‘bury’ his or her 8th house nature, or is s/he going to take the hard road toward self-awareness?

Although the elements of air and water are often described as ‘opposites,’ consider that these two elements do not literally exist as opposites in the astrological chart: Fire always opposes Air, while Water always opposes Earth—these are fundamental astrological principles it is a mistake to mess with.

It is more accurate to say that old-think psychologists have decided to place these two elements in opposition to one another (thereby reifying the supposed ‘stability’ of binaries and ignoring virtually everything science has learned about how we process emotion). In fact, Aquarius and the 8th house have a lot to tell each other, and can, if integrated, represent the core strength of emotional intelligence.

I think emotional intelligence, although much discussed, is either dismissed as pseudopsychology, or is undervalued as a way of understanding, identifying, and naming emotions. If you haven’t learned to identify your emotions, but your emotions are really powerful, they have a tendency to take over and run your life, pretty much against your conscious will. This goes against everything North Node in Aquarius believes in and is striving towards.

Leo on the South Node in the 2nd, though, can be pretty comfortable, even though it also represents a square relationship between Leo/Fire and Taurus/Earth. The simplest expression here is that of basic ego needs in relation to issues of self-worth. Certain Leo South Nodes will be content with fame, financial success, shiny objects, and someone paying attention to his or her body. It’s just that North Node Aquarius is never going to be content with living at the body-level; Aquarius here is always going to be discontent, striving to get out of, away from, a ‘mere’ physical level of existence.

Uranus and Sun are rulers of these nodes, and neither of these are likely to express an overflow of humility, as I discussed here. The rulers of these nodes, in their guise as Ouranos and Helios, are connected in myth as masculine rulers of the heavens. I’d expect to see a fair amount of intellectual vanity and/or hubris with these nodes, in other words, even as the person strives to understand herself or the subject she’s fascinated with.

Industrialists (appropriate with 8th house North Node) who innovate through some form of scientific or technological breakthrough create a legacy here (see, for example, Jean-Pierre Peugeot, founder of Peugeot automotive). Peugeot is part of a family dynasty, which makes sense, given the legacy he would have inherited as part of his French lineage, his family going back to the 15th century. Leo on the South Node here quite literally represents that which his family built over generations, its proud heritage (take a look at his photograph in the link to his chart, though—he looks pretty arrogant).

Then there’s John Edwards, a seemingly nice man I once thought highly of, whose career in politics blew up in the face of allegations against him involving a sex scandal replete with sex tapes; misuse of campaign funds; and some sordid details about his marriage. Politics is an 8th house world much of the time, since politicians seem to crave wielding power over others no matter what they say before you elect them, but then there are politicians who you’re going to have to watch because of the personal issues they bring with them.

Ruler of the North node, Uranus (within 4˚ of conjunction with Cancer Ascendant), sits in square to Saturn/Neptune conjunct in the 4th. 4/1 squares complicate the expression of the persona, because the core self developed in childhood does not sit easily with the more socialized persona we develop when we’re older and influenced by our peers. Your “true” self, in other words, will always be difficult to express freely. With Uranus on the Ascendant, I get the impression the life path Edwards would have chosen for himself would not have been as straight-laced in appearance or behavior. Uranus on the Ascendant (even in Cancer) is a maverick.

With Saturn/Neptune in square to Uranus, though, his earliest experiences of family values were pretty skewed. You don’t see Saturn/Neptune conjunct in the 4th without there being some serious confusion about who you are, since the two planets represent energies so widely divergent from one another. In a conjunction, though, different energies try to coexist, but undergo a kind of inner war between what your family says they think is worth working for, and the Neptunian dreams going on behind the scenes, the things they’ve sacrificed for security, perhaps.

This theme is reinforced by the 12th house planets, especially since the 12th house Sun rules the South Node Leo. Sun trines Neptune/Saturn within 2˚, and so his ego would have pushed his aspirations, while at the same time Saturn squares Uranus, threatening to undercut Uranian authority, further evidence he self-destructed.

Moon ruling the chart (with Cancer on the Ascendant) is also part of the various deceptions Edwards managed to weave around himself, a desperate effort to make everything unsavory he’d done go away, to regain his popularity once it started to explode. Moon/Jupiter conjunct in the 11th trines the North node and sextiles the South node, indicating his overall popularity; Venus in Taurus is the only Earth in this chart, and again, it’s in the 11th, adding to the attention he was used to getting, based on being a really nice guy.

{Most of the time, of course, Cancer rising, with Moon ruling the chart, is very nice, but always check the state of the planet that rules the Ascendant, because that will tell you a lot. Plus, Moon is a variable influence, which, like Uranus, is a little too malleable to be entirely reliable, especially with a compromised Moon.}

But going back to my original theme, I said that whether the chart supports air or water will influence the direction North Node in Aquarius in the 8th takes. Edwards chart is, in my opinion, rather predictably mostly comprised of air; I say ‘predictably’ because of how badly he handled the various pileup of emotionally-based disasters going on in his life. Having said that, the key to the problem for Aquarius on the North Node is the state of its ruler, Uranus.

Uranus is what I consider the ‘wild card’ of the Zodiac, and its behavior is predictable only in its unpredictability. With Uranus in water-sign Cancer on his Ascendant and ruling his North Node, his emotional responses would be his downfall in this chart with its preponderance of air. My suspicion is that for each bad decision he made, he had a perfectly ‘reasonable’ and ‘rational’ explanation why it made sense.

He was very lucky he was found not guilty of the charges against him. He’s gone back to being a lawyer. While South Node in Leo might be implicated in the big dreams he dreamed for himself, I’m also left wondering if his family somehow pushed him beyond what he needed or wanted for himself and he lost his way when his aspirations (always high in the Leo/Aquarius axis) outstripped his self-awareness.

There were always going to be these tests and pitfalls, and it doesn’t seem like he handled them particularly gracefully. With planets in the 12th, particularly Sun, it’s my opinion you have to be either a very accomplished liar or squeaky clean not to get caught, since the ‘house of self-undoing’ will so often collude in tripping you up.

PisceswoodcutPisces North Node in the 8th House: I don’t often focus on wealth for its own sake; I’ve never understood the desire to accumulate money, and so I’ve been looking through Pisces North Node charts, trying to find the crazy romantics I just knew were in there somewhere, yet only a few surfaced.

I associate the sign of Pisces with the mystical Orient, with spices and travel over sand dunes on camels, with exotic archaeological digs under Egyptian pyramids, and ancient mystery cults. Things we still don’t understand—Newgrange, Stonehenge, stone rings in Norway—the purpose of labyrinths—all belong to the Pisces way of being on the planet, the tao of accepting that not everything has a rational explanation, that many things you must just take on faith. I expected to find Magical Mystery Tour guides in droves with Pisces and the 8th house.

Instead what you find are disappointingly pragmatic people, often tied inextricably to their heritage and family legacy. As with many other North Nodes in the 8th, these people build on their inheritance, continuing a dynasty based on hard work and perseverance. There seem to be many sensible people with North Node in the 8th, many of whom no one’s ever heard of, who nonetheless are a force to be reckoned with, sitting anonymously in boardrooms hidden behind formidable stone walls, modern-day Hades on their thrones.

Thankfully, though, there have been a few excessively emotional Pisces North Nodes wandering around out there. One of the most interesting ‘crazy’ Pisces romantics with North Node in the 8th was Alexandre Dumas, père. Although he wrote romantic literature (in the original sense of the word ‘romantic,’ as in a prose tale of heroic or ‘marvelous’ deeds; he is especially remembered for The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Corsican Brothers), early success as a playwright allowed him to branch out into magazine articles, travel books, and adventure stories.

He is considered one of the most prolific writers ever, but the key is, he had help. He hired a stable of writers to think up plots and multiplied his output, turning his products into a lucrative money-making business. He apparently had some trouble sharing credit with his writers, and I think his desire to maintain control over his realm might very well be reflected in the Pluto/North Node conjunction.

At the same time he was massively prolific in his writing, he was bedding what has been estimated as at least 40-50 mistresses over the course of his lifetime. He might have fathered as many as seven illegitimate children. The quick answer is that Jupiter, Venus and Saturn are conjunct his Virgo South Node in the 2nd, and even though Saturn was involved, the man simply didn’t know when to quit.

I don’t know if you remember, but I mentioned up above under Kurt Cobain’s chart that Pluto in opposition to Saturn is the definition of resistance; this usually means resistance to change. In other words, Dumas’ Venus/Jupiter/Saturn opposition to Pluto is probably what spurred him to do whatever he felt like doing, which included excesses of all sorts. Pluto on the North Node might have led him to desire accumulation of every sort of power he could lay his hands on.

Adding to that picture is his Leo Sun, with its strong, and strongly physical appetites (Moon/Mars conjunct in Taurus (near Algol) in the 10th, opposite ruler of the North Node, Neptune in the 4th). I’ve never found that those who insist on living la vida loca who also have fixed-sign planets heavily aspecting each other comprehend the meaning of the words “be reasonable.”

His mother told him rousing stories of his father’s bravery during the French revolutionary wars, inspiring his early writing efforts. His father came from a family of mixed race; Alexandre was therefore the grandchild of a slave and a French nobleman. Race was the subject of one of his shorter works of fiction, the novel Georges, which is of great interest since Dumas did not often write about this highly personal subject.

Ruler of the South Node, Mercury, is conjunct the Sun in Leo in the 12th; the theme of North Node in Pisces is picked up by 12th house planets, indicating that his life’s work represented the desire not only to create and use his Piscean imagination, but also to express his ‘self,’ his ego, through his writing. That ruler of the North Node is found in the 4th augments the information that it was his mother who initially inspired his love of adventure stories.

Moving away from the exotic to the relatively tame Pisces North Node is a name you’ve probably never heard of, a Scottish businessman, David Yule, from a family who relied on trade with India to establish their fortunes (Pisces North Node does seem to be drawn to foreign places, and in this way, they fulfill my idea of exotic locales, even if they don’t necessarily stay there).

Interestingly, given South Node in Virgo (ruled by Mercury) his father was a writer, although David’s creativity seems to have been channelled purely into business. Ruler of the North Node is in the traveler’s house, the 9th, while ruler of the South Node, Mercury falls in conjunction with the South Node—and yet David’s life expressed a different facet of Mercury’s abilities than the ability to write. 

When he was old enough, David joined the family’s conglomerate Andrew Yule and Company, founded by both his uncles, Andrew and George Yule. His uncle George died childless and his uncle Andrew died in 1902. At this point, the entire Yule conglomerate came under David’s control, making this guy you’ve never heard of literally the wealthiest man in the United Kingdom. He married within his family, to a cousin, the daughter of one of his uncles. He spent a significant amount of time away from his wife, doing business in India (possibly reflected in the Venus/Neptune opposition in the 3/9 axis).

The family business is still going strong, still carrying the family name, although David died without male issue, as they say in bonny Scotland. I find it interesting that the family name, Yule, has a traditional meaning and was given to the person who kept the Yule log burning, so their name is founded on a meaningful and mystical occupation of yore—a family lineage arguably reflected in the Virgo/Pisces nodal axis? I like to think so.