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Analysis of the 9th House/3rd House Nodal Axis Through the Signs

Dragons read about Nodal axis astrology too, you know!
This dragon always has her head in a book, dreaming of places to go and things to see. Click on the image for more about dragons.

One of the things I like the most about astrology is that it predates Christianity, and is therefore informed by earlier beliefs, which are relatively free of dogma.

Dogma comes from authorities who speak in “incontrovertibly true” factoid sentences, but they shall have no dominion over us. Practicing astrology is not like going to church, after all.

I’ve written about the 9th house before, but this time I want to look at ways in which this house is not necessarily “about” God or religion specifically (sorry, Maternus), but instead reflects the teachings and beliefs that guide us on (or confuse, limit and block) this path. I would have to hope by now that as a society we recognize that the concept of god/God is only one of the many beliefs that direct us on our journey.

Therefore, the path in this axis is coming away from ideas, blips on the mental screen that are interesting but not necessarily true for us, towards deeper learning, the kind that ultimately leads to meaning. There’s a way to think about learning that’s crucial for the North Node 9th house person to embrace, because we must work away from surface-level 3rd house ways of knowing towards deeper level knowledge, the kind that leads to true wisdom.

Usually, as I hope I’ve made clear up to this point, the family-of-origin (even if that’s the orphanage in the case of people who don’t know who their parents were) start you out on your South Node path. They give you a message, model a way of being, and contribute to how you think of yourself in relationship to others. In this case, the family of origin gives you the impression that it’s okay (or absolutely not okay) to skim through life.

The family might not have had, collectively-speaking, a great education, or you might have a learning disorder or other physical or mental challenge to overcome. However, it’s extremely important to point out that no position, whether it’s a node, a planet, or any other piece of space dust, absolutely predicts something as specific as a particular disease, mental issue, or learning disorder. This is beyond the scope of astrology; plus, you need many more indicators in the chart to guide a professional astrologer toward a more precise assessment. 

3rd house knowledge represents a kind of local awareness of what’s going on around you in the immediate circle of your acquaintances, family, friends—your neighborhood. You’re going to detect my prejudice against this as we go, so I’m not going to try to hide it; I will just explain that with Jupiter ruling my chart, and many aspects to Jupiter, plus North Node in Libra (Cardinal Air) in the 9th, my prejudice/bias is towards getting away from home and seeing the world.

The third house, ruled as it is by Mutable Air Gemini, can be counted on to challenge your mental flexibility. The life experience is similar in a metaphorical way to being a human weathervane. The ability to roll with the punches is a skill of Mutable signs, but there’s also the inability to sustain activities that seem tedious, and the possibility of giving up long before you should.

This nodal axis requires flexibility at both ends, however, since both the 3rd and the 9th are influenced by mutable signs (Gemini/Sagittarius).

Any lack of flexibility, therefore, is going to prove a detriment to North Node in the 9th, which might have to change its style or its methods somewhere along the way to attain its goals (which might also have to change to reflect reality). Some charts are going to support the North Node, while other charts are going to prevent or inhibit the individual from learning how to expand his mind, and therefore, his options in life. Diligent types will keep trying, however, learning from their mistakes, but not taking their eyes off the goal they’re working towards.

This is, therefore, a difficult path to canter down, oh ye Centaurs, if you’re scattered and refuse to follow the rules of whatever game you’re determined to win. The 9th house will find you having to learn ‘the rules’ of the road, and abide by them, since it’s a house that deals with personal morality (or amorality for some).

The thing about one’s nodal axis, though, is that it’s almost as though your path is laid out before you by the powers-that-be: fate, your parents, your heritage, whatever you want to call it. The nodal axis represents a lot of things you have no conscious control over. That message is reinforced by its association and dependence upon the Sun/Moon relationship at your birth.

There’s a path written for you even before you’re born, it seems, and while the entire chart is a map that guides you, your nodal axis tells you what the point of it all was. When you die it’s possibly what you’ll be remembered for. In the case of the North Node in the 9th house, it’s my belief (and you are free to believe your belief) that we’re here to learn something and teach that something to others. How we do this is determined by many other factors, most of which will be indicated by other aspects.

So you’re a 9th house North Node person, and you’re saying right now, great, right, I’m the farthest thing from a teacher you’re likely to find. And I say, okay, of course, don’t worry about it. You’re in the process of learning, you’re in the process of coming out of your 3rd house experience. I don’t know how old you are, but if you haven’t yet experienced certain transits (Saturn return #1, Chiron return, Saturn/Uranus opposition), I personally would not expect you to be able to fully live the purpose of your North Node anyway. Let yourself off that hook; we’re all on our path at our own rate.

But if you feel pulled toward 9th house activities, like long-distance travel; higher education; religion, particularly understanding religious systems and exploring alternate religions; exploring belief systems in general; functioning anywhere optimism makes the wheels turn, as in politics, sales, or motivational speaking; philosophy or being a philosopher; publishing and its more recent offshoots, online publishing and ebooks—then I think you’re on your path.

There’s a line from the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire I’m always reminded of when things are going badly on this 9/3 path. Harry, feeling entirely unprepared for the Tri-Wizard Tournament, since he lacks the experience and education of the older competitors, is required to fight a dragon (as are we all in the Nodal axis). He has no idea how to win, since he must go into the dragon’s lair without a weapon, not even his broom. His teacher, Mad-Eye Moody, reminds him that he’s allowed to bring his wand (and can therefore use the wand to summon his broom). It is only upon his broom that Harry performs with ease. 

This combination of using one’s mental abilities under duress, combined with intuitive skills and learned knowledge, even when you’re forced to bend the rules a bit in order to do what you do best also reminds me of Odysseus, a famous rule-breaker who used the tricks of language manipulation to win in situations when he couldn’t use a sword. Due to the double-Mutability of these houses, this lifetime requires a fair amount of ‘tap-dancing’ your way out of trouble, as well as a lot of asking for help from a mentor.

Eventually, with North Node in the 9th, you’ll be in a position to offer that mentoring to someone else, just like Chiron the Centaur. You may never become a ‘formal’ teacher, but if you get the chance to teach someone something and your North Node falls in this axis, do it. This is part of why you’re here. Don’t think you don’t know enough—the great likelihood is that you know more than your ‘student’!

Action (sometimes involving either technology or transportation) will always be what this nodal path leans toward. The 9th house likes to be in motion, and this might go against the 3rd house willingness to cogitate buried in a library or dusty old bookshop. Trust me, this makes higher education a challenge, since you can’t do the rigorous intellectual work the 9th house demands if you’re always galloping off somewhere, distracted by intriguing chatter of strangers, overheard in the corner at your local café.

Headphones set to white noise work wonders to overcome the chatter around you as well as the chatter in your head; this nodal axis tends to overthink things, and spends an inordinate amount of time “figuring things out,” which means running the scenario that just happened over and over (and over) in your mind.

These houses demand that you learn how to function in the world using higher-order cognitive skills, but there’s still going to be a bit of the wild Sagittarian Centaur in anyone who canters down this path—always a bit of the unpolished ruffian, the naive charmer who can talk a blue streak, but doesn’t necessarily understand how to communicate effectively. It seems to me we on this path immerse ourselves in words at least partially because we’re making an effort to learn how to fit in with the rest of humanity—no easy task when what you really want to do is canter off into nature and roll in the grass.

ArieswoodcutAries North Node in the 9th House: Double fire influences tend to be known for their determination and their morality (or lack of it); in the 9th house, Aries North Node will tend toward dogmatism, following a path in life he creates for himself out of an inner determination to be the best at something he believes in, even if it seems like a lost cause to everyone else.

The positive side of needing to believe in something is expressed through philanthropy (if supported by the rest of the chart, since Aries and the 9th house are not concerned with material wealth, nor are they particularly good at being held responsible for money). It’s more likely this combination will turn this person into an overseas volunteer, teaching his or her subject to poor children in underdeveloped parts of the world.

With the South Node in the 3rd in Libra, the belief is that words contain great power, but this power can be used to deceive and manipulate when Libra is on the South Node here. With highly developed verbal (and written) skills, Libra here tells you what you want to hear if it will advance his 9th house aspirations. In days of yore, successful courtiers to the thrones of Europe used these kinds of skills to manipulate from behind the throne; they knew their monarch’s secrets and they knew how to keep them.

Cardinal Air is intellectually ambitious, but capricious in the Mutable-energy 3rd house. Libra South Node is in the process of learning how to achieve the lofty dreams Aries 9th house North Node demands, but the 9th is a house of high expectations—the final push before attaining the summit of the 10th house, so to speak—so sometimes Libra will be ‘forced’, as he sees it, to embroider the truth. Learning not to unnecessarily misuse the truth might be a necessary part of this path, just as learning the importance of keeping secrets might be part of their job.

North Node in Aries in the 9th is particularly prone to falling in love with a cause or a belief system. These people could so easily come to represent some version of Hell-fire and damnation, because no one has ever stopped an Aries North Node from walking the path their own unique way; and, being of the Fire element, they’re not quiet about it.

They might convert you with their fervor, but that’s not why they’re cantering down this road—you are a secondary issue unless you represent their cause in some way. If they find a cause that matters to them, expect it to dominate their lives. They are the definition of ‘committed to a cause.’ Martin Luther (the reformer who nailed his challenging disputation to the Church on the cathedral door in Wittenburg, credited with beginning the Reformation) had North Node in Aries in the 9th, as one example of the intellectual fervor combined with a search for truth you’ll find in this combination. 

The danger with an Aries North Node is that he will traverse his path heedless of rules or restrictions enforced by others, largely because winning and being first means everything to this North Node. Explorer Robert Peary is an excellent example of the sheer force of will of this particular nodal combination.

In 1885, he’d noted in his diary that he was determined to be the first person to reach the North Pole. One of the preparatory trips he made North was to trek across Greenland, which he intended to do alone until a Danish man persuaded him he’d die if he went on his own (sometimes you have to smack Fire signs upside the head with the limitations of that little thing called ‘reality’).

In his book Ninety Degrees North: The Quest for the North Pole, Fergus Fleming describes Peary as “undoubtedly the most driven, possibly the most successful and probably the most unpleasant man in the annals of polar exploration.” 

In April, 1909, he was acclaimed as the first person to successfully reach the North Pole, and was given a medal for this accomplishment by the National Geographic Society. Unfortunately, in later years, after more careful review of the evidence, it seems that Perry exaggerated his claim. The NGS had not been as careful to check his data as they should have, since their society sponsored his expedition, and it was in their interests to be affiliated with his achievement. These are the kinds of details Fire has the hardest time attending to, and so exact latitude and longitude was overlooked in the quest to be “first.”

Another Aries North Node 9th house explorer (and cartographer, an excellent vocation for the 9th house) was the man who went on an expedition to Africa and claimed the Côte d’Ivoire for France, Louis Binger. By no means as well-known as Robert Peary, Binger nonetheless wrote a book about his experiences. Sun and Mercury are conjunct in his 3rd house, and widely conjunct the South Node, while North Node is conjunct Moon. Binger was appointed governor of the Côte d’Ivoire

A thoroughly different, but nonetheless determined ‘explorer’ of sorts is British rocker Tom Robinson, an outspoken, unapologetic, even defiant activist for gay and bisexual—in other words, human—rights. In this article he is described as a ‘hero’, and that’s the kind of energy I’m talking about with Aries North Node in the 9th. They can have the zeal to walk the talk on the front line, and be the first one up and out of the trenches, facing the enemy. Aries brings the will(and willfulness), and the 9th house points the direction, usually toward a cause or two.

TauruswoodcutTaurus North Node in the 9th House:  In any house in which you find Taurus North Node, the individual’s life path shows determination, stamina, and an ability to apply him- or herself single-mindedly to a task.  

Since this nodal axis is fundamentally about how we express what we know (through some medium or other, either as a teacher, a writer, a guide or mentor, as a few examples) then you’d expect to find North Node Taurus becoming materially invested over time, as he learns to express his deepest South Node Scorpio emotions.

The elements of Fire and Earth don’t form an easy bond; Taurus North Node grapples with Scorpio South Node in the 3rd ways of thinking, but must keep trying to express these dark, more complicated, ideas, through the philosophies he’s drawn to in the 9th. Taurus combined with the 9th always runs the risk of becoming dogmatic, passionate but almost crazed by the emotional force of his beliefs; this is going to be the real risk of the South Node here, since the 3rd, ruled by Gemini and Mutable Air, is at odds with Scorpio’s almost primitive, visceral (and Fixed Water) comprehension of reality.

Whenever we talk about any Scorpio South Node, we’re also talking about the family legacy, the inheritance Scorpio must find some way to integrate or reject as s/he matures. In the 3rd house, this will involve the early mental environment around the child. What bias, prejudice, and deeply-held beliefs surround him or her during childhood? Scorpio South Node is usually not subtle.

There will be a definite atmosphere in the childhood home, some message about ‘what we are’ or ‘who we are’ that rings clear as a bell subconsciously, if not consciously, for this native. The family is rarely neutral on issues; they tend to take a determined stand on how the world ‘ought’ to be. This implies that the family of origin is not necessarily terribly open-minded or flexible, and this nodal axis in particular will struggle with that as they go through life.

In some families, a belief in ESP, ghosts, the spirit world, and anything more esoteric and therefore ‘irrational’ will be reflected by the South Node in Scorpio in the 3rd. As they get older, some North Node 9th house Taurus people will have a knee-jerk reaction to the beliefs they’re raised with; they’ll either accept them without question, or do nothing but question them, for the rest of their lives.

Almost every Taurus/Scorpio nodal axis I’ve looked at so far involves living a life of extremes, usually emotional in nature, since there’s often a ‘hole’ to fill in the psyche, due to how serious Scorpio’s potential for early childhood scarring can be.

This time is no different, although the ‘extremes’ are expressed by an excess of work. Honoré de Balzac (whose North Node falls within one degree of the Midheaven but is nonetheless in the 9th house), was known during his lifetime as someone who ‘toiled with an incredible focus and determination.’ having inherited from his father, a self-made man, the belief that hard work equalled success.

Even so, Honoré de Balzac never mastered the ability to succeed in business (a Taurus North Node concern, no matter the house), largely because, I suspect, with South Node in Scorpio conjunct Neptune, he had not learned how to control his spending habits. He had an amazing imagination, though, and I cannot help but think that the strength or force of this expression has to do also with finding the nodal axis on the MC/IC angles.

He was largely ignored by his parents as a child, for reasons having to do with their quest for social status (which combined a strong work ethic, which had raised his father out of poverty, with bourgeois, Nouveau Riche beliefs, such as that of sending your children off to wet-nurses and expensive schools). I suspect Balzac’s South Node in Scorpio compensated for this emotional lack by indulging in anything his feelings led him towards later in life.

His education as a child (an area of concern for the 3rd house; in this case, Balzac’s South Node is conjunct Neptune) was punctuated by times spent in a ‘punishment cell’, isolated from the rest of his class. He had trouble adapting (a 3/9 house issue) to the rote learning common at the time. Instead, he was a prolific reader, and used the time spent in detention learning the fine art of how to tell a story by reading whatever he could get his hands on. With Neptune on the South Node in the 3rd house, the freedom to read and therefore ‘feed’ his imagination would have ameliorated some of the intellectual restrictions he was surrounded by at school.

Eventually, when he went to the Sorbonne, his philosophies about life were influenced by his teachers, who taught him the importance of thinking for himself (a 9th house concern, since intellectual freedom counteracts the rigidity and narrow-mindedness of one’s unconsciously learned beliefs inherited both from one’s family and one’s social world, represented by the 3rd house).

Mercury conjunct the North Node, of course, tells you that his path was clear as long as he was a writer or was doing something Mercurial in nature. It does seems that every time he veered away from writing, putting energy instead into some business scheme or other, he ‘failed.’

My experience is that every time you step off the path (also known as the thing you’re good at, which is arrived at through a combination of in-born interest, application, and a soupçon of luck— plus, most likely, some urge supplied by our genetic makeup), life finds a way to remind you what it is you should be doing by giving you the ‘gift’ of failure.

GeminiwoodcutGemini North Node in the 9th House: It would be nice to think that Gemini, being a rather light-hearted air sign, is somehow let off the hook of life by being posited in the 9th house. The mutability of both sign and house indicates that there are ‘reverse’ things to learn here, though, and that’s part of what complicates every reversed sign nodal axis.

So when Gemini North Node falls in the 9th house, it is in territory that might, on the surface, appear to fit, but in fact stretches the capacity of the sign, and might even pull it like salt water taffy until it’s nothing like it started out being. You put the North Node in Gemini in this house, and it’s going to demand the individual expand their desire to learn past the point that’s normally comfortable for Gemini.

Whereas the person might be satisfied to get a basic education, he or she might not ever intend to be forced to be immersed in a subject, not unless it’s inherently fascinating. The 9th house will also take the native further afield than Gemini would have liked to travel, or expand his or her mind more than he was prepared for. Yet there is a catch, again due to the reversed signs/houses, and that is that Sagittarius on the South Node means that she’s bringing with her some Sagittarian skills that will help Gemini North Node in the 9th house milieu. 

The world is a very much larger place than Gemini was prepared for, and the 9th house will push, pull, and point this native down a much longer path than he packed for. The 9/3 nodal axis always seems to throw the native curveballs, due to the mutability of the houses; this time, however, you’ve got quadruple mutability, and might not be able to count on much staying the same. The person’s childhood might bear absolutely no relationship to her adulthood, almost as though the person lives two (or more) lifetimes.

Sagittarius on the South Node is fortunate for this North Node position, and not just because of the supposed lucky wonderfulness of Jupiter. It’s helpful to Gemini to have certain extra support, because Gemini North Node can be asked to do more than he’s really capable of when in the 9th. But Sagittarius gives him or her certain skills that make all the striving we see in the 9th house easier, skills like salesmanship, believability, honesty, perhaps, given the rest of the chart, and the most important ability of all for the 9th house, the ability to believe in something.

Becoming truly disillusioned is the one really terrible thing that can happen to a 9th house person, so let’s just be glad that Sagittarius South Node, to paraphrase a Neil Diamond song, makes the native more likely to be a “believer,” even when things get rough.

This North Node falls in the chart of someone whom you might not know, Ernest Gallo, one of two brothers who made Gallo Wineries famous, helping to put California on the wine-growing map after Prohibition ended. The thing is, every North Node path is different because of the various other planets aspecting it in the chart. In Ernest’s chart, Pluto conjuncts his North Node.

Pluto on the North Node seems to manifest in a few different ways. One way is to foreground the subject of death. It’s possible the person dies young, or somehow lives out a Plutonian life in the sense that he or she controls great wealth (becoming the typical ‘plutocrat’). Ernest, oldest son of the Gallo family, saw both happen in his lifetime.

In 1933, when Ernest was 24,  his abusive father, who had beaten his two oldest sons yet spared the youngest throughout their childhood, killed his wife and himself. Ernest, inheriting the family business, almost immediately started using the grapes the family had been selling during Prohibition years (which fortunately for Ernest ended in 1933, a year that changed his life forever) to open a winery.

He seems to have had a ‘natural talent’ for salesmanship (thank you, South Node in Sagittarius) and was fortunate to have inherited wine-making and vintner skills. Interestingly, Gallo was a Pisces with ruler Neptune on the Midheaven, rather fitting for a wine-maker.

However, I think the key skill he exhibited, supported by other pieces of his chart, was the ability to adapt quickly and capitalize on misfortune, since he turned around after the tragedy of his mother’s murder and his father’s suicide, and used skills he’d learned from his family’s Italian wine-making heritage to build a multimillion dollar empire.

Gemini on the North Node in the 9th brings with it a ‘natural’ curiosity about learning, but there’s no guarantee that Gemini here will be terribly interested in the academic grind, even though Sagittarius South Node brings with it an innate thirst for knowledge. Gallo never went beyond his 8th grade education, but given the fact that he was born in 1909, a lack of education wasn’t uncommon in America at the time, nor was it held against him.

In spite of his lack of a formal education, he died a billionaire. Even today, Gallo wines are marketed as having an “optimistic spirit.” Might this idea stem from the family’s “optimistic” heritage, as expressed by Ernest’s 9th house North Node?

cancerwoodcutCancer North Node in the 9th House: Any time we deal with Cancer/Capricorn nodes, we’re usually looking at problems or advantages stemming directly from the mother/father dyad, rather than the family legacy in general.

With Capricorn South Node in the 3rd, the belief system surrounding the child is based on Capricornian values, which are usually pretty strict, authoritarian, and traditional. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since Capricorn’s values have a way of perpetuating certain behaviors that serve us well. Capricorn, for example, teaches you to take care of things that other signs ignore or overlook as too tedious. Capricorn believes in paying bills on time, and making sure the car gets its oil changed, that sort of thing.

However, most of the time, the child with Capricorn on the South Node must overcome Capricorn’s heavy influence; in the 3rd house, the heaviness expresses itself in the mental and cognitive atmosphere in the home, in the subjects that are allowed to be discussed. The parents (or one parent in particular) is seen as intellectually repressive, or excessively rigorous, denying the child a childhood, insisting they study or practice or achieve perfect scores on tests.

Because it’s the 3rd house, the neighborhood, other kids, one’s early education, are possibly experienced as excessively difficult for some reason. This could be considered the “Rapunzel” position, if the individual is separated from his or her sisters or immediate family, or is an only child. Capricorn on the South Node talks to herself in these situations, relying on herself, or a small, select, and perhaps carefully chosen coterie of chums for intellectual stimulation.

Although in each nodal axis there are ‘lessons’ to learn, in the 9/3 axis, the focus is on the kind of learning that expands the mind and allows a person to become more knowledgeable about a subject or subjects. Further, the ‘lesson’ usually seems to involve dealing with the arduous process required to emerge from ignorance (often because of the lack of a decent education) into awareness.

Take, for example, the case of Robert Stroud, a man you and I know as the “Bird Man of Alcatraz.” Stroud experienced abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father, and ran away from home at the age of 13. He never received more than a 3rd grade education, and never had a stable family life, much like Ernest Gallo (above, who also experienced profound violence in his home life).

At the age of 18, Stroud killed a man who physically threatened a prostitute Stroud was pimping for. Incarcerated at first for 12 years, he was a ‘difficult, troublesome prisoner’, eventually killing a guard. Sentenced to hang, he was eventually granted life imprisonment instead.

Although he had trouble adapting to prison, he used his time to advance his studies, taking correspondence courses in an effort to better his minimal education. I think this fact, that the individual pursues some kind of higher education is key for this axis; the question is, without the restrictive life of prison, would Stroud ever have had the opportunity to continue his education?

The curious thing that happened for Stroud, however, was the stroke of ‘luck’ that occurred when he found a nest of baby birds one day that had blown into the prison yard after a storm–this has Zeus overtones, doesn’t it? Storm god Zeus and his lightning bolts of luck, when he intervenes on your behalf, changing your life forever.

Think about it, though: by finding these birds, Stroud began the next phase of his life, where he began to reach for his Cancer North Node’s learning experience of nurturance and caretaking, two skills that are probably hard, but not impossible, to develop in prison.

Even so, the North Node is in the 9th, and Stroud expressed this by learning everything he could about birds, eventually becoming an expert, writing a book, Diseases of Canaries, and adding immeasurably to understanding of bird illnesses. When his birds were eventually taken away from him, he wrote a history of the penal system.

After he died, it was said that he was “possibly the best-known example of self-improvement and rehabilitation” ever experienced in the prison system. There are no planets in this man’s 12th house, nothing overt that points to a life spent in prison, but Stroud nonetheless expressed the lessons he’d learned in violence from his abusive father, which were eventually transmuted, like Rumpelstiltskin’s weaving of straw into gold, by the life-changing insistence for transformation of the North Node.

LeowoodcutLeo North Node in the 9th House: In this house and with Leo on the North Node, South Node in Aquarius has absorbed the message that it’s not a good idea to get a “swelled head” or to show off too much.

Leo North Node, however, has incarnated to make some kind of a splash, to announce himself, and to be on the world’s stage, usually with the help of Aquarius South Node’s ability to bring his friends along. But when it comes to burying his light under a bushel basket, Leo North Node’s need to shine goes against everything Aquarius South Node believes, since for this South Node, representing the group mind in order to form a more perfect network of friends is key. This South Node is loyal to his friends, and doesn’t prefer to self-promote if it means he must abandon the group. He hates ostracism and isolation, and if that means he sacrifices his Leo need for attention, so be it.

However, Leo North Node can find a way to graciously represent Aquarius South Node’s highly unique belief system. The Lion might be a rebel or reformer, or politically “progressive.” No matter what her friends think, it’s best for her development if she learns how to speak for herself. Given the fact that speaking in public ranks as one of the top fears for most people, if you think it’s easy for this North Node to make the transition from hiding in the back of the room to expressing herself in front of a podium, without qualms, think again.

If learning how to take your intellectual abilities seriously is hard, add to that how tough it is to speak in front of an audience. You’re on your own up there at that podium. Every limitation or lack of knowledge is on display. Social anxiety, particularly the anxiety of speaking in front of groups, might understandably terrify and excite this nodal axis. Key to the 9/3 axis, therefore, is going to be getting a good enough education to be taken seriously.

If Aquarius South Node was told that blowing her own horn is egotistic and wrong, imagine how hard it’s going to be, particularly for women and other marginalized groups in our society, to speak in front of others from a place of knowing. Marginalized groups do not feel ‘authorized’ to speak, and so they hide.

Leo North Node in this house demands that you get up there and let people know what you think. There might be the concern, augmented by the family, or school environment, that you’re ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid.’ As an educator, there’s nothing more upsetting than finding out that a student thinks of herself this way, so understand that there is no such thing as a stupid question; there’s only research and more research. No one knows everything!

Usually, Leo North Node will not be intimidated by the idea of knowledge and education itself.  If your earliest encounters with other kids, parents, or your school made you feel like you’d better keep your Leo goals to yourself, though, it becomes the work of a lifetime to stop standing behind someone else and take center stage.

Aquarius South Node believes that drawing attention to your abilities means you’re showing off. “Showing off” undermines the need to blend in with the group, and not stand out too much. Since the first ‘group’ we deal with is our family, someone in the family might have been threatened by the intellectual or technical skills, curiosity, or ability of the child born with this nodal axis. South Node in Aquarius in the 3rd can tell you this kid doesn’t think like everyone else, and the ways in which he’s different will pull him onto a path that someday might absolutely require him to become a public figure.

A classic 9th house Leo North Node is Jimmy Page, who taught himself how to play guitar while very young, yet most of his life never knew how to read music. The 3rd house South Node in Aquarius is usually quite ‘lucky’ in the sense that he comes in with innate learning skills; he can watch and listen, and then “just know” how to perform the skill in question. This leads people to label him a prodigy, but he’s simply applying the Aquarian ability to notice and process, lightning-fast. 

Strange as it might seem now, after Page has been a famous guitarist for so long, he spent many years playing so “anonymously” for various group sessions, that he’s gone uncredited on many studio-recorded gigs. He says his session work gave him “good schooling,” the 9/3 theme, where you pick up an education pretty much wherever you find yourself. 

Aquarius South Node allows the native to blend into the group, but this ability doesn’t come from humility, per se. We associate humility with the Virgo/Pisces axis, which also encourages ego dissolution. The Aquarian belief when posited as the 3rd house South Node says, ‘sublimate the ego (Leo) to the needs of the group’ and ‘friends come first,’ often before the needs of the self. This is what has to be ‘unlearned’ if the person is to evolve into someone who can promote his own skills. Yes, it’s wonderful to think only of others, but not if you forget about yourself entirely; that’s not healthy either.

All North Nodes exist to tell us “you left this part out in your soul’s evolutionary plan.”

If you’ve ever been in a large classroom, for example, you know what it is to get lost in the group of students; this effect is not exclusive to classrooms, obviously. This is how Jimmy Page kind of got ‘lost’ in the crowd of other performers. Group music sessions put someone else in the foreground, and if you’ve been hired to play backup, the only people who are likely to know you exist are other musicians.

Jimmy Page officially bowed out of Led Zeppelin—the band he started—after his bandmate and friend John Bonham died at Page’s house after imbibing a surfeit of alcohol the previous day. Page’s North Node is conjunct retrograde Pluto. Page himself struggled with heroin addiction, but Pluto with the North Node in general seems to indicate a life lived looking death in the face, either through death-wish behavior of your own, a violent home life, or, less often, thankfully, if the native is himself (or herself) a murderer, or is murdered. Of course, Pluto conjunct the North Node can also indicate that the individual will speak to the masses and have enormous appeal, especially to his generation.

Led Zeppelin’s writing duo of Page and Robert Plant created “Kashmir” and the somewhat more obscure but powerful “Immigrant Song,” a tribute to the Vikings, written while the band was touring in Iceland. [I attribute their moody, mystical style to the almost exact trine between Page’s Moon at 3˚ Cancer, Plant’s at 6˚ Pisces.]

Although each song has a very different style, they each speak to the 9th house theme of long-distance journeys, as well as ‘iter,’ the Latin word for the journey itself (which I talked about in this post). When you start paying attention to the lyrics, in fact, many Led Zeppelin songs are mystical, and involve journeying down a path of some kind—suitable material to inspire investigation into this particular nodal axis. As they sing in “Stairway to Heaven,”

…Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on…



Virgo North Node in the 9th House: There’s always a risk with this Nodal axis that the opposite tendencies of Virgo and Pisces could pull the native into disconnected ways of being in the world.

As with Gemini and Sagittarius in the 9/3 axis, there is double mutability in each house, and a doubly-mutable life resembles walking down a constantly shifting path, never entirely sure of your footing. Pisces South Node is tugged towards others who reflect him in the mirrored lustre of their own shiny scales, while Virgo North Node looks upon the loss of identity with disdain and fear. Mutable Earth might appear to be okay with ego-immolation, but when Virgo is on the North Node, the path leads towards definition, not negation of individuality.

An example of materials outside the self that help define the individual comes from companies who sell stuff with your monogram on everything. As an Earth sign who likes to touch things, Virgo likes monograms on her stuff. It makes her feel like she exists; even if millions of other people share those same initials, she looks at them and feels comforted. Tiny details, manifested and made material in the ‘real world’ matter to Virgo in a way that Pisces will never understand.  

The notion of ‘self’, of ‘who am I?’ becomes an important question for this nodal axis, and it informs the quest for this native, who will gladly listen to any guru and transform that person, qualified or not, into his mentor, taking every word seriously, possibly questioning nothing, but always ‘learning’. The North Node in Virgo in this situation becomes convinced that his (unquestioned) faith is not misplaced, because Pisces South Node sends the message that his feelings tell him everything he needs to know.  

A dominant Pisces South Node pulls this person toward total, boundary-less acceptance of what she’s told. North Node, if not supported by water and/or other, more compassionate signs or aspects, experiences the bitter judgementalism that comes from Virgo’s overactive discernment skills. You really don’t want a life dominated by either extreme.  

On the one hand, your ability to discern is sacrificed to the need for Piscean ‘oneness’ with the source (a mystical feeling of connection to the divine). There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you can harness Virgo’s ability to create boundaries.

When Virgo North Node expresses positively here, she is an excellent researcher, a devoted academic type of learner, who dots her i’s and crosses her t’s, and get straight A’s. Her standards are high, because Virgo combined with the 9th house makes this North Node dedicated to a morally upright (not necessarily religious) path, one founded on the sense that there’s more to this life than book-learning.

Virgo North Node nonetheless knows she needs a firm foundation, based on hard work and intuitive grasp of the material, to get her where she wants to go. Intuition and comprehension of complicated scholarly material works best when you have compassion but you’re not dissuaded from your questions and research by how terrible ‘real life’ is for those you’re researching. Virgo excels at this kind of research, all the while South Node in Pisces pushes her towards a fuller understanding of the world and the people in it. 

However, if the South Node’s compassion and innate empathy for strangers is somehow sacrificed, and North Node in Virgo’s emotionless pragmatism dominates, the person cuts him- or herself off from the connection with what the Greeks called ‘nous’, a kind of ‘higher mind’ that became associated over time with ‘good sense.’

It is also associated with the inexplicable ‘help’ one receives from the Divine, to make decisions based on what we nowadays call intuition. Intuition is a subtle blend of knowing, experience, and what’s called ‘felt sense,’ the kind of subtle blending of mind and body possible when Pisces/Virgo work together in harmony in the 9/3 axis.

Bob Dylan has long been seen as a dynamo of musical composition, singing, and overall artistic and creative ability; I’ve heard this attributed by other astrologers as having to do with his Gemini Sun, but that’s never going to fly, Orville. Sun sign astrology cannot explain fine shadings of grey reality, since people like Dylan defy easy explanations.

Read through the lyrics of his various songs: his Moon/Saturn/Jupiter/Uranus stellium in the 5th conjuncts Algol, and you can definitely hear the anger and even ugliness in many of his lyrics. As hugely creative as his 5th house is, his words do not, in my opinion, represent a positive expression of creativity. Some of his songs are perhaps more inspirational, but there’s a fair amount of bitterness in his lyrics. 

Call it a personal limitation, but I hear misogyny in too much of what he has to say about women. Perhaps this is inevitable when Saturn conjuncts Algol, since the individual is processing a lot of negativity with that combination. Maybe they are ‘realistic’, maybe this is the most his Virgo North Node attained in this lifetime, to ‘tell it like it is,’ and maybe people should appreciate his ‘honesty.’ 

The Christians want you to know that Dylan understands the human condition. I personally wonder if it’s not “the” human condition Dylan reflects, but a negative perception of what life was like for one particular generation, the post-WWII generation that inherited the guilt of dropping the Atom and Hydrogen bombs, and the resulting fear that that energy would be turned on them. Then there is the karma of the politically-created ‘cold war,’ Viet Nam … all the negatives associated with the ugliness of Algol.

A quote from the Christians: Regardless of his well-shrouded personal theology, Dylan has always been extremely adept at recognizing the human condition and calling it what it is: a life-long struggle with eternal implications.

He has written some compelling songs, with powerful lyrics “about” the human condition as he saw it from his perspective from the side of the railroad tracks, but I have yet to discover a really uplifting lyric; they all seem to have this weirdly negative, acerbic tone, reminiscent of the words running through characters’ minds as they wander down ‘the road’ in the book of the same name written by Cormac McCarthy.

The Christians also say, in reference to Dylan’s lyrical importance to his generation:

Smack in the middle of the “me” decade, here was a prophet crying in the wilderness that any of our concepts of personal freedom are ultimately a myth.

Dylan has long rejected the idea that he is or ever could be a ‘prophet,’ but if someone with South Node in Pisces in the 3rd is given a pulpit, he’s going to preach—the nature of the 3rd is to have a message to convey to others, preferably the masses if you get the chance. But be very careful about the nature of the message from someone with this nodal axis, given all the mutability going on here.

North Node in Virgo in the 9th is not necessarily a happy person, walking a happy person’s path, inspiring you with his happiness. Virgo is usually ‘cursed’ with intelligence, and if intelligence does anything for you, it makes you aware of all of the cracks in the foundation of life. If Dylan is “blinded by the Devil,” what kind of message, precisely, is he imparting? Salvation theology is a scary, scary place to stand. These people seem to actually believe we are headed for doomsday. I’m gonna try to stand as far away from them as I can.

You really don’t want an acerbic, negative sourpuss telling you what the inner belly of the Devil looks like. It’s far too easy for the South Node in Pisces to become a self-appointed messenger of g/God, while the North Node in Virgo honestly might believe at his core that he knows best, even as his acerbic “wit” compels him to doubt, question, agonize, and stir up trouble for true believers.

So, this is how messiahs are socially constructed: they come along, say stuff their generation resonates with, et voila and hey presto, all of a sudden the very selfish individual who can’t help being human is compared to Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed.

Yet when someone has this many planets conjunct Algol, I’d say, watch out, World. The words ‘false prophet’ come to mind. Ask yourself why he’s so ready for death’? Is that a truly spiritual stance, or is he mentally imbalanced? An acceptance of imminent death is common amongst the seriously depressed. Look it up if you don’t believe me.  

It seems to me you want a different spokesperson, one whose beliefs are based on reasoned, uplifting faith, rather than cynicism, anger and perpetual negative-Virgo warnings of the penalties of Hellfire and Damnation. You also want to listen to someone who is more hopeful about the future of humanity, no matter how bleak everything appears at any one moment in time. 

The adherence to the ‘power’ of a divine source (thereby giving up one’s own power) is usually a cover for Pisces’ fear of (and magnetism toward) dealing with his own power issues. Dylan’s Mars in Pisces is implicated here, since it means his ego and expression of self, his behaviors, and the reasons for those behaviors, are tied to the North Node/Neptune conjunction.

Neptune with the North Node is a tricky combination, because the ‘self’ morphs, and each iteration is advertised as being closer to the ‘truth’, when the truth might very well be that this person has no clue who s/he is, or is carefully avoiding who she is, because she really doesn’t like that person very much (so she creates a new identity every time the previous one starts to make too many mistakes). 

South Node in Pisces will talk as though he wants to be close to ‘the people’, but the fact is, that kind of loss of separate, Earth-bounded identity scares Virgo North Node, who becomes critical in the face of intimacy and feeling ‘known’ or ‘mapped out.’ Virgo is rivaled only by Scorpio for avoiding telling you anything real about herself.

I suppose a day might come, not when she trusts you, but when she won’t upset her own inability to accept her mere humanity, and she might be compelled to tell you something yucky about herself—but don’t hold your breath. 

The ruler of Pisces, Neptune, is conjunct Dylan’s North Node. It is indisputable that Dylan (not his real name, another function of Pisces/Neptune) is a formidable creator, writer, composer, as befits Virgo’s work ethic and the power of creation of the 5th house (not to mention the creativity inherent in both Neptune and Pisces), but the question “who is he?” remains, as no one seems to really know, and his persona and image continually shift in and out of focus, chameleon-like.

Neptune conjunct the North Node indicates that he himself is searching for an answer; it’s entirely possible he latches on to whatever trope holds explanatory/emotive meaning for him, and that before he dies, he’ll shed his current “Christian” skin and turn into …. something else.  

Neptune on the North Node, in my opinion, would be perfect for an actual prophet, a mystic, a shaman, someone who is actually in touch with the positive root of reality, not someone who says that “happiness” is a “Yuppie word.” 

His Sagittarius decan 3 rising sign is renowned for its iconoclastic, off-putting behavior. Sagittarius Ascendent (mutable), Gemini Sun (mutable), combined with his mutable nodal axis makes for a person who would be slippery as an eel, hard to pin down. If he wasn’t capable of writing poetically, and hadn’t been put on a pedestal because of it, he’d have the chart of someone hard to take seriously, particularly if he proselytized on his 9th house soapbox minus the award-winning lyrics.

LibrawoodcutLibra North Node in the 9th House: The 9/3 axis has speaking, writing, and communication at its core, yet the 9th house adds something much more profound to these abilities: it adds the concept of ‘meaning’.

That we have the ability to communicate is not as important as that what we say has meaning. Aries South Node skips right over this concept; the mind is fast, the words tumble out, and thoughtlessness prevents true communication.

This North Node has a lot of work to do, because Libra North Node intends that this native think before spluttering out any old thing that passes through one’s mind. If you find yourself apologizing, redacting, or editing yourself a great deal with this combination, you can thank Cardinal Air Libra for trying to keep your mouth connected to your brain.  

Libra North Node strives to get along with people, using the tools of persuasion and collaboration, but Libra’s efforts are often undermined by the aggressive, me-first mindset of Aries on the South Node. Whereas Libra North Node leans toward politeness even when she’s out-of-sorts, Aries South Node sees no virtue in ‘lying,’ and therefore tells it like it “is.” It would be nice to think that this is the same thing as telling ‘the truth,’ since we’re in moral, higher-ground 9th house territory, but most of the time, it’s just Aries South Node acting from the id.

Lucky Libra North Node natives find work that allows them to make use of some of that natural Arian childishness. This means two things nowadays: television, where childish behavior is entertaining, and comedy, where childish behavior is …. entertaining. It’s very difficult being taken seriously when you have this nodal axis in the 9/3 houses, because the urge to disagree with, and take on, authority figures, is so strong.

Perhaps the best one can hope for if Aries South Node is badly aspected is that the native decides (eventually) that being taken seriously has its benefits; only then will Libra North Node start pretending she attended a finishing school and use some of the etiquette skills mom tried so hard to teach her early in life.

I think it’s possible to civilize this South Node, but you have a huge fight in front of you. If you’re a parent, you’re really better off just letting the world kick this kid around a little. Saturnian types, and worse still, Saturn in the parent’s chart in difficult aspect to the nodal axis, will have a really hard time getting their authority messages across.

Aries doesn’t easily bow down to authority, but Aries South Node can also come from a family structure that’s hard to trust. This node can represent a 3rd house early-childhood environment too often disrupted by immaturity, marked by anger and/or violence (Mars, ruler of Aries). Rulers/signs of any South Node can tell you something about the parents; in this case, your parents might have been very young (a combination of Aries with Mars) and therefore not very good at the job.

Steve Allen, a pioneer from the early days of television, was the original “Tonight Show” host, long before Johnny Carson. He got his start on radio, where he convinced his bosses to allow him to run a comedy show five nights a week.

He came from a vaudeville family of comedians who also had a history of alcoholism. His father died when Allen was 18 months old; his mother frequently left him (Moon square Uranus) with relatives while she went back out on the road to perform.

However, his is a strong chart, and I’ll explain why. If the ruler of the chart is conjunct the North Node, the chart and the sense of life purpose is strengthened. Anaretic 28˚ Sagittarius is on the Ascendent; the ruler of the chart, Jupiter, falls in the 9th house, conjunct North Node and Saturn (all in Libra).

The ‘backbone’ (the angles) of this chart are supported by Cardinal points, therefore strengthening the native’s initiative, resolve and fortitude. Jupiter/North Node fall within 10˚ of conjunction with the Libra Midheaven. In the 10th is the ruler of the South Node, Mars (0˚ Scorpio, within 10˚ of conjunction to the MC). Mars is well-aspected in his chart. Further strengthening the message of fortitude is Capricorn Sun/Mercury conjunct the Ascendent.

It’s been my experience that Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions tend to indicate a hard worker, practically to the point of workaholism if not checked by other aspects. In Allen’s case, Jupiter/Saturn conjunct the North Node adds to the message that this person’s fate is interwoven with hard work and perseverance (Saturn), fortune and expansion (Jupiter). Allen was astonishingly prolific; he published at least 50 books, and composed over 10,000 songs, earning a Guinness Book of World Records award as the modern era’s most productive song writer.

South Node is conjunct Chiron, and here we have to be a little careful, because yes, Allen had a lot of pain in his early life, but this response from a 1989 interview should tell you that he had integrated his Chiron energy, using positive Jupiterian energy, channelled as a philosophical appreciation of the purpose and power of humor:

“We laugh at our tragedies in order to prevent our suffering … If we think about the tragedies on our planet, we could spend all day in bed crying. So we laugh to survive, to continue our lives.” 

 ScorpioScorpio North Node in the 9th House: One of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury, was born with this nodal axis. I actually met him once. I used to be heavily into science fiction and fantasy, and spent an inordinate amount of time at SciFi/Fantasy conventions, partially because I was co-owner of a computer publishing company (back when that was avant garde) and we were trying to sign writers.

Bradbury is perhaps best known as the author of Farenheit 451, a dystopian sci-fi ‘reality’ story set in an unspecified time in human history when books are burned because ideas are dangerous. He’s also well-known for The Martian Chronicles, a series of interconnected short stories that, much like The Illustrated Man, are not structured in linear, chapter-to-chapter narrative, but instead shift perspectives and narrators, yet all are tied together due to their thematic focus.

It’s my belief that the writer or composer’s North Node can tell you a great deal about the subject matter and style of the creator’s vision. In this case, North Node in Scorpio brings a dark vision to Bradbury’s perspective. I find it revealing that one of his best known works deals with the 9/3 axis subject of ideas, books, and even burning and immolation (one of the characters in Farenheit 451 commits suicide through self-immolation, a Scorpio/Fire-9th house-style plot point).

Explaining writer’s choices through astrology is always interesting to me; what I didn’t fully understand until researching this nodal axis series is how much you can know about a writer by looking at the themes of his or her nodal axis, its sign and house. The Literary Zodiac by Paul Wright is a great resource if you want to get a glimpse of literary analysis from the perspective of solar astrology.

Sun sign astrology can only take us so far, largely for the 3rd house reasons I’ve been alluding to, which is that it gives you a surface knowledge when what we need are details, and to go deeper, to understand someone or something. 

Bradbury was a ‘sunny’ Leo (although his sun was at Anaretic 29˚, conjunct 29˚ Leo Jupiter). On the surface you wouldn’t expect a solar Leo to take on the subject of the macabre, yet that was his fare.  His Scorpionic oeuvre includes The Homecoming, a fascinating novella about a family reunion of a coven of vampires; The October Country, a collection of evil stories about twisted beings; and Something Wicked This Way Comes, a “children’s” story that’s actually for adults.

Scorpio North Node combined with the 9th house tends to walk the path of magic, fascinated with the natural world and how to wield power in it. In fact, becoming a magician was Bradbury’s first goal in life (some of these themes are explored in The Illustrated Man, a collection of short stories involving sideshow performers at a carnival).

In general, though, there is a fascination in this combination with exploring dark subjects, which becomes integrated into the life path. The native should be encouraged to use his intellectual power wisely, since Scorpio’s innate interest in the very subjects most people consider dangerous or odd are probably best explored intellectually, preferably as research for a book.

Research into dark forces and their uses is certainly possible with this combination, but so is a profound understanding of the connection between animal and human nature. South Node in Taurus might very well be attracted to the physical power of alchemy, magick, chakras, crystals, stones—anything material they can hold in their hand and feel a sense of connection with. Scorpio North Node and the 9th house will be drawn towards the sense of power inherent in knowledge of earthly and divine forces.   

There are few houses where Scorpio North Node is pushed to think as hard about his or her desires and behaviors as with the 9th. This combination is asked to analyze his motivations, particularly his ethos. Taurus South Node in the 3rd is, ideally, encouraged from an early age, as was Bradbury, to be comfortable expressing his or her communicative abilities, but it will no doubt be through a dark lens. 

Bradbury also had something I think is crucial for this axis, which is a mentor/teacher who guides you, encourages you, and helps push the powerful Scorpio North Node toward its ‘highest’ expression. Whereas the Taurus South Node might stay pretty mute, content to watch television and never create anything of his own, Scorpio North Node is usually interested in subjects that might range from medicine and biology to Satan worship. You just never know; you have to check the rest of the chart. 

The worst thing that could happen to Scorpio North Node in the 9th would be to remain silent and discouraged in the face of his or her strongest interests. This nodal axis has a lot of energy behind it, but it’s fixed energy, which takes awhile to build up steam. Once their purpose has been decided upon, though, it’s best to stay out of their way if you’re not going to actively help them. If you have a kid with this placement and s/he shows an interest in an esoteric or otherwise ‘weird’ subject, try to help him with it. Nothing good comes of suppressing Scorpio energy.

SagwoodcutSagittarius North Node in the 9th House: An ongoing theme with North Node in the 9th house involves travel, education and publishing. In this combination, Sagittarius  North Node in Sagittarius has high aspirations, and, being mutable fire, is excited about telling you what he’s discovered. This combination makes the best self-promoters, since Gemini South Node in the 3rd wants to talk to anyone who shows even the slightest interest in the subject he’s studying.

North Node in its “own” house receives an extra dash of stardust, usually in the form of benefactors or patrons. ‘Success breeds success’ is the mantra of Sagittarius in relation to the 9th house. Gemini South Node keeps her ear to the ground. She’s got an interest in everything new; innovations, particularly in technology, science, education, and anything to do with languages and communication, will not escape her grasp.  

This is someone who can be relied upon to know all the news or gossip about her neighbors, or her chosen field of interest, once the North Node’s purpose in life is firmly established. The gift the North Node brings from its Gemini counterpart is unfailing interest in almost anything. Unfortunately, doubly-mutable South Node Gemini in the 3rd swivels in the breeze faster than a weathervane.

Any lack of focus has to be addressed before the native will accomplish much of anything, and it is devoutly to be wished that the natal chart is heavy in something pragmatic, because North Node in Sagittarius clicks her ruby-red slippers and wishes herself anywhere but home.

Because it’s Sagittarius, this native will, most likely, teach herself a great deal about her chosen area of interest and focus. Sagittarius North Node longs to be a mover and shaker in the zeitgeist, and can get her wish since it’s not much of a stretch to dominate the world with your ideas when you are in such constant touch with what’s going on.

Since this sign, charging through the heavens, pointing his arrow at some distant target, is renowned for looking up—in every way, from optimism to sky-gazing—it should come as no surprise that William Lilly, famous for his treatise on horary techniques, Christian Astrology, is represented by this North Node.

Lilly’s book on horary astrology was the first written in English instead of Latin; at the time, English was still an up-and-coming language, and Lilly’s use of it showed his willingness to break with tradition (Saturn/Uranus opposition; but also, more complex is the fact that Sun is conjunct Venus but also widely conjunct Uranus, so that stellium is bound up in an opposition to Saturn).

When young, and in spite of relative poverty, he received an excellent education, so crucial to the development of the North Node in the 9th. This included an ability to read and write Latin. When you consider that all astrological works available to him were written in Latin, not only did he open the field to other scholars with his work in horary, he furthered the development and spread of a ‘new’ language.

Lilly is also famous for predicting London’s 1666 fire that destroyed most of the city. Whereas most astrologers might nowadays wish their predictions would come true so they would be given credit for their accomplishment, when the grim vision he’d predicted many years prior, of a city in flames, surrounded by coffins, actually occurred, he was held and questioned by authorities for culpability.

Interestingly, Lilly came to astrology through a convenient marriage to a rich widow who rescued him from a life of toil (he had Jupiter and Mars in the 7th), but also via a ‘learned scholar’ who taught Lilly the “Black Art” of astrology, including how to make an ‘almanack.’ In this period, when astrology was at the peak of popularity, mostly tolerated by the church and used by popes, Almanacs, with calendars and ephemerides of planetary movements, out-sold the Bible.

The invention of printing made it relatively inexpensive to become a publisher, but Lilly also found the almanacs a useful form of advertising. At the height of his fame, he saw an average of 5 clients a day (2,000 in a year). From the perspective of astrological research, it’s impossible to over-state how important was Lilly’s contribution. Even so, Lilly’s achievements represent his need to be on the cutting edge of available knowledge and technology, which was just as important to forward-thinking, avant garde Sagittarius of the mid-1660s as it is today.

CapCapricorn North Node in the 9th House:  The common denominator I’ve noticed with so many Capricorn North Node people is how tough their lives are during their climb up the mountain. Saturn ruling the North Node is no picnic. Even if the family is supportive (and it frequently seems that they are) there will be an unusual amount of obstacles in their way.

Capricorn North Node is on a path of hard work, there’s no doubt about it. In the 9th house, he will have to prove what it is he believes in through his own direct actions, his work, his Cardinal energy that propels him forward, and forces him to declare his values and work to make the values he was raised with become material reality. Holding on to Cancer South Node issues, when the south node is troubled, leads to unseen emotional issues that lie beneath the surface. It makes sense that much of this would be caused by bias learned in the family, since 3rd house ways of thinking affect 9th house outcomes.

The obvious difficulties that prevent the north node from living up to the aspirations that came along with parental biases will be some combination of Cancerian emotionally-based beliefs. Cancer is well-known to be capable of the worst forms of nationalism and chauvinism, and since one’s beliefs determine how you live this path, it’s especially crucial Cancer gets a good education, because the 9th house needs you to broaden your mind.

Even so, Cardinal signs Cancer and Capricorn are the least likely to give up, so they just keep at it until they finally get where they are headed (which is usually to be in charge of something).

Any problems along the road are augmented by difficult aspects between the rulers of the two nodes, but life is always harder when Saturn is one of the planets involved. Plus, when Saturn attains what it wanted, it’s often in the form of material goods, which are often part of the values inherited from childhood.

Ideally, in any chart, you want to see positive or otherwise easy aspects with planets and the rulers of the two nodes. If the nodes’ rulers aspect each other, it would be nice to find harmonious aspects there as well.

The North Node Capricorn person I found to illustrate just how difficult this path can be is Vernon Jordan, one-time advisor to Bill Clinton’s presidency. He has long been involved in various corporations, sitting on the board of directors (Capricornian-style work) but got his start climbing to the top by fighting discrimination, originally as the first black man to attend DePauw University, Indiana, later as a lawyer for a civil rights’ activist firm in Atlanta.

The interesting thing is that his South Node represents all the work his family did to promote his interests. Thankfully, his immediate family was supportive, although probably fairly strict and not a little overly-demanding that he achieve their dreams. Jordan has a number of Moon trines, and the nodes’ rulers are conjunct, indicating that his parents were ‘as one’ in their expectations and treatment. He also has Moon oppositions, and Saturn opposite Mercury, key in the battles he had to face to oppose discrimination.

Typical for Capricorn North Node, he worked hard each step of the way but made gradual advancement (nothing splashy, since you’re not likely to see this node don rhinestones and glitter to be noticed). Even so, the 9th house is aspirational, and desires more than anything to reach the top of the mountain (hence all the striving you’ll see in the lives of people with a strong 9th house).

He moved on to work for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). I think his work for the United Negro College Fund reflects the beliefs of the 9th house, just as it represents the highest aspiration for many people, that their child be granted access to a high-quality education. This is what I mean when I say the 9th is aspirational; one must do more than dream a dream, we must find ways to make the dream reality. Capricorn North Node excels at taking all the steps necessary, especially when given the gift of a strong childhood home.

However, Pluto is conjunct his South Node, and that’s a bit of a sticky wicket when it comes to one’s karma. Jordan has been implicated in at least two ugly sex scandals. Jordan was shot and seriously wounded in an incident that seems to implicate him in an extra-marital affair, since was married to his first wife at the time (who was sick and possibly dying).

He was also Monica Lewinksy’s legal representation during the Affair of the Red Dress back in 1998. (Lewinsky also has North Node in Capricorn, although hers falls in the 3rd, occasionally the house of chatterboxes and tell-all gossips.)

In addition, and I think this is a red flag rather than a huge overall indictment, Jordan sits on an awful lot of boards, more than are absolutely necessary to prove your personal power, and has one of those golf club lifestyles that tells me he’s probably not paying all the taxes one could wish.

There’s a bit of plutocrat behavior that he’s apparently clinging to; his Sun in Leo doesn’t help with that, since he probably enjoys what he considers the fruits of years of labor, which is always a potential downside for Capricorn North Node, once they attain what they fought so hard for. Pluto here makes for rather obviously grasping materialists, overly concerned with their image and social standing. I keep an eye on people whose Pluto conjuncts their South Node; they’re not entirely honest a lot of the time in ways that is underhanded and has the potential to hurt others.

AquariuswoodcutAquarius North Node in the 9th House: One of the images I long ago attached to the Sagittarius/Gemini axis is that of Peter Pan, the eternal boy who refused to grow up. I find that analogy works for either sign, but it has also been revealing when it comes to the 3rd and 9th houses, too.

You might not associate Aquarius with Peter Pan, per se, but the 9/3 axis deals with a multiplicity of themes that Aquarius, as an air sign, will find interesting. With Leo on the South Node, this combination is really just looking for a friend who will empathize with his own story, but along the way will have to learn that to receive that empathy, he’s going to have to learn how to convey it authentically.

Aquarius is a quirky sign, replete with unpredictable ideas and attitudes that border on eccentric. With Aquarius, its dual rulerships of Saturn (the traditional ruler) and Uranus (the updated, innovative ruler of the Modern Era) mean this sign can go either way, so I consider Aquarius a wild card under all circumstances, including here in its role as the north node.

Usually, what I do when it comes to Aquarius is balance out a bunch of factors to determine which expression is most likely, Saturnian, Uranian, or some indeterminate blend that allows Aquarius to resemble other signs in a strange chameleon-like way completely inexplicable given this is a fixed element masculine sign. How to explain a sign that appears mutable on the surface, but in fact just changes the color of his zebra stripes to blend in better with the other animals at the water hole?

So it won’t come as any real surprise, I hope, that J. M. Barrie, who created the character of Peter Pan, had this north node. I think the most important fact about the 9/3 axis from the psychological perspective is that planets or points in the 3rd house can imbue the native with a child-like sensibility, while the 9th house is the house of someone who has the desire to dream in rainbow colors. When these fantasy-elements combine in one person, the psychological need is to somehow remain connected to the dreams of childhood, when things were simpler.

Barrie’s childhood was painful, with Saturn in the 4th square Sun-12th (that these are water houses is important psychologically, particularly since these are the rulers of the nodal axis). One of his older brothers died unexpectedly; Barrie thought, as children will, that he could ‘replace’ his dead brother, so he began wearing his brother’s clothes, speaking in his brother’s voice.

His mother apparently was comforted, but more by the idea that her dead son would now be forever enshrined in childhood. This idea was transmitted from mother to son, as psychological trauma has a way of doing, and presumably played in Barrie’s imagination. Uranus in Gemini in the 12th gave Barrie a powerful imagination, though, and I think those two rulers of the North Node tell you the forces that shaped his north node expression.

Another writer who illustrates the 9/3 goal of ‘being heard’ (in the broadest sense, one that usually finds expression through some form of publishing of one’s thoughts) in the quirky way one associates with Aquarius is Douglas Adams, who created a series of fantasy-science fiction novels, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that are funny, unusual, and informational, all at once.

Because it’s Aquarius, these books are hard to classify, since they rely on a wide range of subjects for their subject matter. However, the 9th house is where you’re most likely to see anything to do with travel, the future, and technology, particularly the loose classification of ‘sci-fi’ and science fiction/fantasy.

Aquarius North Node in the 9th combines two powerful intellectual forces. The innate and broadly-ranging curiosity of the 9/3 axis, combined with Aquarius’ desire to understand why something in particular is the way it is, brings a determination to the goals of this North Node. Aquarius’ goals are often about understanding or explaining ‘the group,’ often to do with what amounts to anthropology, or how a group of people behaves. 

In the 9th house, Aquarius has success connecting with their public usually from the emotional honesty of the South Node in Leo. Fire and Air ruling the nodal axis is a ‘winning’ combination that doesn’t guarantee worldly success, of course, but if South Node in Leo feels or believes something strongly, she’s going to want to talk about it; there’s less of a need to whimper stoically to one’s self in the 3rd house South Node, as you would expect with Leo, who generally hates to air his dirty linen in public.

The one thing to be cautious with in this axis due to the two fixed signs, particularly if Leo’s need for personal attention ever threatens to overwhelm Aquarius’ intellectual curiosity, is that these are didactic “I know best” signs. When they’re filled with fervor and cannot understand how their words are received by the faceless masses they’re trying to appeal to, it can be because they are fundamentally out of touch with others’ reality.

The 9th house is associated with proselytizing and standing on a soapbox. I can easily see this going wrong with this nodal axis; then you, their listener, has to endure someone who is hopelessly out of the loop telling you what it is you should or should not think. When a politician has this axis, I’d keep an eye on them.

What you don’t want is a Leo South Node ‘performer’ engaging in politics out of a misguided belief that he’s expressing his Aquarius ideal of ‘doing good’ for people he’s never met, all the while basking in the spotlight. When Leo South Node is sincere in his desire to change the social paradigm, and he’s done the relevant research and can empathize with the people he’s talking about, though, he’s hard to resist. This dedication transforms Aquarius North Node into someone who might actually be able to make a difference for real people, not the imaginary ones in his head. 

PisceswoodcutPisces North Node in the 9th: This is an interesting combination at the soul-level, because what Pisces and the 9th house have in common is the search for something to believe in.

Pisces might project this need onto another (or others), which is easier than finding something concrete within himself to guide the way. In this house, Pisces keeps thinking that light he sees on the path before him comes from someone walking behind him, and that if he looks over his shoulder, he’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of this ‘other’. 

It would be an exaggeration to say that all who are wander here are lost. Let’s say instead that this person hears that which most of the other nodal axis signs are not sensitive enough to discern (in this I cannot include Gemini or Cancer nodes, because each comes with extremely sensitive, but very different, forms of antennae that guide the native on her path).

Unfortunately, what he hears is too often the negative carping of Virgo South Node, which tells him (particularly in the mentally-oriented 3rd house, which has a tendency to chatter excessively) that he’s just not good enough. This leads to envy, jealousy, and other destructive traits, none of which are good to allow to fester. You don’t want an emotionally warped Pisces North Node, especially since Pisces’ will in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th houses can be tied to the fate of a much larger group.

They’re really unpleasant—moody, depressed, and self-destructive, a negatively-expressing North Node in the 9th takes the road that leads to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Religious reformers, those who go on crusade and think “God” is on their side, reassuring their deluded followers they’re about to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, hold extreme beliefs.

Where did those ideas start? With a fair amount of disillusionment and bitterness, which Virgo South Node has shrieking in his ear. Virgo can be the most judgemental South Node of all. There’s a great deal of hard work overcoming the power this South Node has to pour corrosive emotional acid into the wounds of the lifetime.

Virgo South Node in the 3rd is usually very clever, and also sensitive to certain kinds of changes around him. He’s not as sensitive as Gemini or Cancer, but he’s a careful soul and doesn’t like the world he controls and orders to be disturbed. It’s this sensitivity to order versus chaos that inspires so much of the attention to detail and ability to learn quickly that Virgo is so famous for. He enjoys learning all the various subjects available to him; innate curiosity is a great gift to have when you’re a kid and you want to learn everything, but applying that knowledge is Virgo’s forté.

Under the best circumstances, Virgo’s innate ability with language skills makes it much easier for Pisces North Node in the 9th to eventually express all of this learning in some imaginative, 9th house style. When the nodal axis is stressed, or South Node hasn’t learned how to let his imagination roam, or North Node has, for some reason, had its dreams destroyed, the psyche breaks, or the person learns to compensate for everything he was never allowed to be.

Remember, the 9th house dreams big dreams, whether they’re practicable or not. Pisces in the 9th might have extremely unrealistic dreams; you’d think that Virgo South Node would be able to keep this person grounded, but the rest of the chart has to support that. Take a look at how the rulers, Neptune and Mercury are aspected; this can tell you a lot about how this person thinks and what he’s willing or able to express to the outside world.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the fate of the world at the turn of the previous century was determined by the relationship between the child who grew up to become Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and his relatives, who happened to be all of the crowned heads of Europe.

Born the eldest grandson of Queen Victoria, his was a traumatic breech birth. During the birth, his arm was damaged; over time, the arm withered and developed palsy. But little Wilhelm was born into a Prussian military family that prized physical strength and masculine acts of bravery.

His mother, Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter ‘Vicky’ (renamed Frederica, Empress of Germany upon her marriage) showed little compassion for her damaged child. Vicky once wrote a letter to her father, complaining “I long to have a child with everything perfect about it like EVERY BODY ELSE” (King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War, Catrine Clay, p. 33).

The key word ‘perfect’ stands out for me; this is the essence of South Node in Virgo in the 3rd, which indicates Wilhelm’s unwitting inheritance of his mother’s negative attitude, and, most importantly for a child’s developing mind, the anxiety and guilt she felt for her son.

Her Sun/Jupiter conjunction at 29˚ Scorpio, which conjuncts his Moon Scorpio 26˚, squared Wilhelm’s nodal axis almost exactly (his North Node falls at 0˚ Pisces, and as you can see, although the element is the same, the math makes that an almost perfect square, one which meant that Vicky’s Sun, her sense of self, which was described as bombastic, arrogant, and obstinate, according to those around her in the Prussian court, was at odds with her son’s destiny. 

Sadly, throughout his life, Wilhelm turned to his mother for the emotional Moon support she could not give him. The Sun/Moon conjunction would have made the pull between them almost unbearable at times, and he is known to have written her letters that sound like they were written to a lover.

That his mother never accepted Wilhelm’s physical handicap, and, in fact, pushed him away because of it, seems to have directly contributed to the fact that he turned to his more accepting father instead. This nodal structure has double-mutability as its core skill. As with any skill, though, adaptability is a double-edged sword (pun intended) because everything about the way the individual’s life turns out in response to his environment very much depends on the quality and character of the people he turns to.

That his father showed him off and had courtiers complement his first-born son sounds good only on the surface. Vicky’s marriage to the Prussian prince was part of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s plan to bring English liberalism to a country viewed by the English as a military dictatorship. That the future Emperor of Prussia was alienated from his mother meant that his affiliation thereafter with the Prussian “side” of the family had disastrous repercussions for history.

I’m going to talk more about the synastry and composite chart of this mother and son in a future post, but it’s pretty clear that too many things went wrong for this sensitive child (Cancer Ascendant, Pisces North Node, Sun conjunct Chiron in the 8th house, Moon in Scorpio, and perhaps most telling of all, Saturn in the 2nd, the house of our earthly body as well as our personal values). His body was literally destroyed by the doctor’s overly-violent tugging with forceps from his mother’s womb, leading to life-long physical and emotional conditions that were overlooked.

Wilhelm is known to have been the possessor of a quick intelligence, but his physical strength was the result of training and self-control. The early education he received from his tutor was strict, and he was taught self-discipline and self-sacrifice, duty and the “value of hard work” (p. 38, Clay). His tutor never praised him, but taught Wilhelm that it was his duty to apply himself to his lessons.

Any succor he might have taken from his extended family was denied to him. As with any dysfunctional family, feuds between one generation were inherited by the next. Wilhelm was never invited to join his cousins each summer in Denmark, where they had fun and bonded with one another in ways that were intended to encourage the fomenting of positive emotional ties between all the European families.

When the time came, this sensitive child, who had in every way been broken by events and people around him, behaved the way you’d expect; his sensitivity had been squashed, and instead he behaved in the only way that he could be assured of gaining approval: he went to war with his cousins, who happened to be the Tsar of Russia and the King of England.

It is difficult to explain Virgo’s particular type of sensitivity; most people might think that, because it’s an earth sign, Virgo is immovable or impervious to suggestion, but keep in mind, this is a mutable sign. Mutable signs are highly malleable and very much at the risk of following anyone who gives them attention and love.

I think it’s pretty clear that we do not simply enact some piece of karma that’s handed to us with our chart; forces outside of us, which act upon us and are not necessarily inherent in the chart itself, also shape our destiny. This is particularly true (and of particular concern) when you’re dealing with a sensitive person who is terribly mishandled. In my opinion, it’s always very important to keep an eye on the Pisces/Virgo axis, particularly when the signs fall in mutable houses.