by Brian Clark
The eclipse will be visible from Asia, Europe, West Africa, North Africa, Atlantic, North America and Arctic. 18-19 November 2021: Partial Lunar Eclipse. This is going to be a partial lunar eclipse that means only a small part of the moon will be dark. The eclipse will begin at 11:32 am and will stay till 6:33 pm. 2020 Jyotish – Important Vedic Astrology Dates. By Somya Devi Jan 23, 2020 Astrology, Eclipses, Events, Planets Changing Signs, Retrograde. January 10th: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Gemini/Punarvasu January 15th – September 23rd: Ketu in Mula January 23, 2020 – April 28, 2022: Saturn in Capricorn.
A Date with the Dragon
How could we forget those old myths which are to befound in the beginnings of every people; the myths of the dragons whichare transformed at the last moment to princesses; perhaps all the dragonsof our life are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautifuland brave. Perhaps everything terrifying is at bottom the helplessnessthat seeks our help.1
— Rainer Maria Rilke
Old myths reveal that mostheroes experience a transformational encounter with a dragon at some point in their journey. While you may think that the dragon is yourmother-in-law or your boss, in reality it is a metaphorical monster. Theengagement with the dragon is an allegory for the times in theindividuation process when we wrestle with unsavory sides of the self,parts that we deny or keep secret but that have an uncanny knack forshowing up anyway. Jungians call it the shadow, the Freudians’nickname is the id; no matter what we call it, we prefer it to beunnamed. Whatever its name, the dragon struggle is a psychological truthand one that the ancients continuously scripted into their mythic epics.Before St. George killed the dragon, or the chivalrous knight rescued thedistressed damsel from the jaws of the monster, this phantasmagoricalmotif was embedded in the mythological stratum of most cultures. Ancientwisdom knew that the heroic part of all human beings has a rendezvouswith the dragon at defining points in their journey.
Since the dragon encounter is such an archetypal reality, we couldexpect the tradition of the appointment (or the dis-appointment) with themonster to be part of astrological convention. We could argue that thedragon battle underpins much of our experience of the outer-planetaryenergies. But even before the discovery of the outer planets, the lunarnodes incorporated this mythic pattern; in fact, the figure of the dragonor dragon-serpent was central to understanding the complex design of thelunar nodes. Dragon symbolism and mythology can enrich our understandingof the nodes, providing metaphors and images to help unravel nodalcomplexities. While the head and tail of the dragon have come torepresent the North and the South Node, respectively, the dragon-serpentis visible in many other ways, such as the serpentine movement of theTrue Node through the zodiac, the Ouroboros created as the Saros eclipse patterns encircle the globe, and the “snakes and ladders”effect of the nodal experience.
To start our exploration, I will first turn to the Vedic myth ofthe dragon-serpent Rahu Ketu, which underlies the North and South Nodes,and what that myth tells us about the nature of this axial polarity.2
Rahu and Ketu: The Dragon’s Head and the Dragon’sTail
The Rahu Ketu axis in the birth chart represents yourown personal eclipse point; how you struggle with the destiny imposed onyou from your past life.3
— Komilla Sutton
Dragon symbolism is embedded in the nodal axis through its connectionwith the demon-serpent Rahu Ketu, who eclipses the Sun and Moon bydevouring them. As a time-honored symbol, the demon characterizes thepull of regressive and primitive forces against which the hero struggles.As such, it is a positive symbol of the nodal axis in its striving forconsciousness and its attempt to unite soul with spirit. This union, theeternal homecoming, is often depicted as the Ouroboros, the dragonswallowing its own tail, another mythic variation of the nodal cycle.However, the most apparent connection between the lunar nodes and the celestial demon appeared in the sacred literature of India in a myth often referred to as “The Churning of the Milk-Ocean.”
In the beginning, the gods were involved in a Great War with theirdemon enemies, the Asuras.4 Near defeat, the gods summonedVishnu, who uttered the prophecy that the cream of the milk-ocean was theambrosia that would restore their energy. In order to churn the milk-ocean, the gods needed to use one of the Himalayan mountains as achurning stick. They could not lift this mountain themselves, having losttheir power, so they asked Vishnu if it would be prudent to ask theirenemies to help and, in return, to share the ambrosia. Vishnu agreed thathe would oversee the project, and a truce between the gods and the Asuraswas declared.
Now the work could begin. A gigantic snake, Vasuki,the demonserpent who ruled the Underworld, was caught and wrapped around the mountain as a churning rope. As the churning progressed, fourteen precious things arrived on the ocean’s surface: the Sun, the Moon, theGoddess of Fortune, the Goddess of Wine, the magic tree, the magic cow,the white horse of the Sun, and other gems. The last was a famousphysician/healer holding the bowl of ambrosia. As soon as the ambrosiaappeared, both the gods and their enemies rushed to drink the nectar. Afight broke out, and the Asuras seized the bowl of ambrosia. Amidst themayhem arrived an enchantress who suggested sharing the drink and brokethem into two groups, serving the gods first. The gods, being focused ontheir task, drank all the ambrosia. When the Asuras realized what hadhappened, they became enraged and attacked the gods. However, the godshad regained their strength and overpowered their enemies. Vishnu had answered their pleas — even masqueraded as the beautiful woman on theirbehalf.
The demon-serpent Rahu had disguised himself as a godand drunk the ambrosia. Surya (the Sun) and Chandra (the Moon) noticedthis deception just as he had taken the ambrosia. They immediatelyreported this to Vishnu, who drew his weapon and severed the demon’s head. But having drunk the ambrosia, the demon had becomeimmortal. Severed in two, his head remained Rahu, but his lower half, thedragon’s tail, was named Ketu. With respect for the two newserpentine immortals, Brahma placed them on the ecliptic. The two partsof the demon, Rahu and Ketu, remained furious at the Sun and Moon fortheir betrayal, and legend says they lie in wait to swallow the Sun andMoon if they venture near. When the luminaries wander too close to Rahuor Ketu, they are devoured and are taken inside the demon. However, sincethe demon has been dismembered, the Sun and Moon can escape through thepart of the body that has been torn open by Vishnu. When Rahu swallowsthe Sun or Moon, they reappear through the severed throat, but whendevoured by Ketu, they must be disgorged.
Rahu and Ketu are divine and exist on the same plane as theplanetary gods, just as the lunar nodes exist on the ecliptic like theplanets. Although the serpentine aspect of the nodes is at odds with theSun and the Moon, they are an integral part of the same system.Therefore, the nodes present us with the task of understanding thisaspect of our fate: What is the inner dragon that tries to devour solar creativity and identity?
This fanciful tale actually accounts for some astronomical truths.The two nodes are pseudo-planets, since they are seen on the ecliptic.Rahu is the ascending node, while Ketu is the descending node. When theSun is near Rahu or Ketu, the eclipse season comes into being, and solarand lunar eclipses occur as the luminaries conjoin or oppose each other.There will always be at least two solar eclipses per year — one near Rahuand one near Ketu — which celestially reenact the mythic enmity betweenRahu and the Sun. Eclipses now become aligned with the mythic motif ofdevouring, a common theme in solar mythology and one that Jung ascribedto “embracing and entwining.”5
Astronomically, the lunar nodes are the intersections of theorbital planes of the Moon and the Sun where the lunar orbit crisscrossesthe ecliptic. Imaginatively, the nodes are the intersection of the solarand lunar experiences from our physical, incarnate viewpoint. Thedefinition of node suggests points at which a curve cuts acrossitself, conjuring up the image of eternality. Each node is anintersection of the solar and lunar systems from the earthly viewpoint. Iwould argue that the lunar nodes are the points where the great planes ofspirit and matter intersect, or where spirit passes through matter,implying that both nodes are vessels of the spiritual life. This is perhaps why they easily become identified with reincarnation and theeternality of soul.
Heads or Tails
In astrological tradition, Rahu is the headof the dragon and the northern pole of the Moon’s nodal axis. SomeWestern interpretations have likened it to the Sun in that its inclination is to promote the conscious understanding of one’svocation. At this node, both desire and destiny are magnetized throughforward striving and movement. The heroic urge to be active and to battlethe impulse to regress is constellated at this node. Like the head, whichis the seat of consciousness and the container of the brain, the NorthNode is the rational pole and the one disposed toward Heaven. However,the mythic image shows us a severed head, disconnected from the body —symbolic of its disassociation from the Earth and incarnation. In itslower manifestation, it is the serpent brain, a head without a heart, orthe unanchored intellect. It is the pole that takes in and devours; yet,being severed from the body, it is unable to digest or contain. Often,North Node experiences are illuminating and awakening but are unable to be integrated or held. The head, hungry for another taste, continues itssearch for illumination. The North Node is a point of intake, and anyplanet conjunct this point becomes ambitious for new experiences. WhenRahu swallows the Sun, it passes quickly through his severed throat.There is an insight, a realization, a heroic impulse, but theenlightenment is hard to hold or sustain. Therefore, at the North Node,the realization and passion pass quickly, as it is almost impossible toprolong the participation with this heightened awareness. Thedis-appointment is often followed by a return to the South Node.Ironically, it is at the South Node where sustenance and encouragementcan be contained.
The house positions of the nodes will illustrate the environmentalfactors that help to shape and influence an individual’s destiny.The North Node’s house position directs us to consciouslyparticipate in that area of life where both the inner and outer worldscollude in an encounter with our destiny. It is a sphere of life that beckons and invites us into its experiences. Since the North Node is oftenthe place where we may momentarily experience the transcendent andspiritual aspect of the self, its house position maps the place wherethese experiences might happen. The North Node does not have a cumulativeeffect; in other words, experiences at this place are not sequential, butmore arbitrary, and may seem to happen out of the blue. The random natureof the North Node may have more to do with its subjective nature andentanglement with the paradoxical world of spirit. Hence, the houseposition of the North Node could suggest the setting where the encounterwith the spiritual self occurs.
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The South Node in the opposite house maydescribe a familiar place, an area of safety, and a comfort zone whichsupplies an anchor. However, it is also a place where we can become fixed, caught in the safety zone of our complacency. Therefore, itsuggests an area we must leave in order to develop and explore ourpathway. So, another metaphor we could use to define the nodal axis isthat it is similar to a tram line: The North Node is the destination, thestation where the tram is headed, while the South Node is like thedeparture point, the station where we embark. The nodal axis is like atrack with its well-worn grooves near the South Node.
This southern pole of the axis is homeostatic; we instinctuallyreturn to stability at the South Node. It is the counterweight thatprevents us from capsizing, the ballast on our life journey. Therefore,the nodal axis can feel like a game of snakes and ladders; once we haveexperienced the enlightenment of the North Node, we slide back to thefamiliarity of the South Node.
Ketu is the tail of the dragon, the southern pole of the axiswhich is likened to the Moon and the past. It points to the Earth whereit feels connected. At this node, we experience instinctive knowledgedeveloped from our understanding of what went before. The South Node is apoint of release, and any planet conjunct this node seeks release in theservice of the self. In its lower expression, it is overwhelmed by thepast, since this is where we experience the pull of the Great Mother backinto the womb. Yet, within this familial place are the souvenirs andendowments necessary to make our destiny a success. Like a tail, theSouth Node is an instinctual relic, often seen to be of little use but ironically brimming with wisdom. Having been severed from the body, thetail holds what has been digested from the past. Yet, for it to be of anyuse, its contents must be disgorged, or they ferment and become toxic. Bynature, Ketu is a riddle, as its contents are potentially helpful ortoxic; it is up to the individual to become aware of the subtleties. Ittakes a heroic act to dislodge the contents of the South Node and employthem in the service of the individuation process.
No wonder the hero emerging from the belly of the dragonis a common motif in mythological narratives. For example, a 5th-centuryGreek vase depicts Jason coming out of the dragon’s belly.6 Athenaguards the heroic transformation. While this motif is never mentioned inthe extant literature, the vase painting clearly portrays the mythicanalogy of disgorging the heroic contents of the South Node.
Christian myth also continued the tradition with iconicrepresentations of saintly Jonah emerging from the belly of the whale,symbolizing the completion of the heroic night journey. Again, theimagery is reminiscent of the release of processed and integratedcontents of the unconscious at the South Node. On theright is a Christian image of Jonah being released fromthe dragon-fish.7
To apply this symbolism in delineation, consider the mythic stratum ofthe South Node. As the container of the past, the innate talents, skills,and aptitudes it represents may be untapped and undifferentiated. Withoutconsciousness, they remain stagnant, unable to be directedadvantageously. Hence, a heroic act needs to dislodge and distribute thisenergy so it can be of service. In circulating this energy, the potentiality of the North Node is heightened. As the energy is liberated,destiny is petitioned and vocation is more conscious; therefore, theSouth Node is a vital key to unlocking the treasure chest of untappedtalents and potentialities. The South Node’s sign qualities andhouse characteristics illuminate the nodal enigma, but it is the natal ortransiting planets at the South Node that will help to dislodge the nodalcontent. Hence, transits conjoining the South Node often synchronize withthe uprooting and disentangling of past beliefs and images that no longersecure our passage.
The South Node is an innate quality that needs to be disseminatedand used freely in pursuit of our destiny. It is providence — inheritedqualities from the past that can be used as resources for the future.These well-developed residues need to be dispersed and shared, or elsethey become entrapping. The South Node can act as a dissemination pointfor what becomes conscious at the North Node. In a way, the South Nodebrings to mind the need to contribute this energy to the familial andsocial realms, the world at large. Since this energy is instinctual, it is not always consciously directed or purposefully used.
Another way to think about the nodal axis is that it is aninvitation to participate and cooperate in the life journey. The NorthNode is where we must exert effort and where we engage in the repetitivetask of becoming conscious of the self. Here is the symbol of opportunityto learn what needs to be developed and made conscious. For vocationalpurposes, we could view the North Node as what demands to be anchored anddirected in the world. Unlike the South Node, it is not instinctive andtherefore needs to be recognized before it can be applied.
The nodes regress through the signs, unlikethe planets which sequentially move forward through the zodiac. Theretrograde movement of the nodes against the zodiacal backdrop alerts usto a different orientation from that of the planets. At these points inthe horoscope, the spiritual plane intersects the mundane sphere, andalong this axis of the horoscope there is an aperture to spirit. Inanother sense, the mundane world is energized by spirit. Hence, the nodalaxis plays a major role in the destiny of each individual, one that isoften difficult to articulate. Its retrograde movement is contrary to thedevelopmental process of the planets. This suggests that the transits ofthe nodes coerce us into engaging with the sacred aspects of our personalexperience by confronting us with the spiritual essence underpinningmundane events. While our life experiences may conspire to split Heavenand Earth, it is along the nodal axis where the effort to couple thesacred with the mundane occurs. This attempt to join together the headand tail of the dragon is reminiscent of the Ouroboros.
Ouroboros: The Eternal Cycle
The Ouroboros and the nodal cycle are eternal circles, symbolic ofthe ceaseless revolution, samsara, and the wheel of life. As a dragon or serpent biting its own tail, the Ouroboros symbolizes acontinuum and cycle of development, self-fertilization, time, and aneternal homecoming. The Ouroboros, like the nodes, contrasts two ways ofbeing. Serpents and dragons are symbols of the chthonic world, theearthy, impermanent instinctual realm, while the circle implies wholenessand Heaven. Hence, the Ouroboros represents the marriage of the chthonicand celestial spheres, the two poles of the nodal axis. Heaven and Earthintersect; the dragon suggests linear development and the mundane,whereas the circle is representative of the sacred, spiral evolution.Like the nodes, the Ouroboros symbolizes the endless cycle of rebirth butreminds us of the nodal junction of spirit and matter.
Congregating around the nodal cycle are also the Metonic cycle andthe Saros cycle. The Metonic cycle is the recurrence of New Moons thatrepeat 19 years apart. The orb for the New Moon repeating in the Metoniccycle is generally within one day and one degree. This is an importantconsideration in astrological work, as the predictable cycle also linkseclipses that might repeat at the same degree. If the New Moon iseclipsed, there is also a 75% chance that the New Moon will be eclipsed exactly 19 years later, yielding a repetition of eclipses at the samedegree of the zodiac 19 years apart. This also limits the number of lunarplacements in a solar return horoscope to 19, stressing the 19-yearfeeling and emotive pattern in human experience.
The word saros is derived from theGreek meaning “repetition” and is used to describe therecurring nature of eclipse cycles. While the concept of the Saros cycleswas first known to the Babylonians, Cidenas, a Greek astronomer in the4th century B.C.E., “discovered” that an eclipse returnsafter 223 lunations (18 years and 10–11 days). Eclipses occur atpredictable times and are visible at predictable places on the globe.Each eclipse belongs to a family of eclipses, which has a beginning (atthe North or South Pole), a middle (at the equator), and an ending (atthe pole opposite where it commenced) and a predictable cycle. Each family of eclipses is named as a particular Saros series, and each grouphas a beginning eclipse which occurs either at the North or South Pole(hence N or S). The next eclipse in the series will occur 120 degreeswest of the previous one and closer to the equator, since the seriesmoves in the direction of the opposite pole. As the eclipses begin tomove closer to the equator, they occur closer to the lunar nodes;therefore, they also move from partial to total eclipses. The closer theeclipse is to the equator (or node), the more obscured or total theeclipse will be. Each eclipse series spirals around the Earth, forming acelestial Ouroboros.
Solareclipses always happen twice a year. In the annual course of theSun’s journey, it will be swallowed by the demons Rahu and Ketu,suggesting that these are the periods when the dragon may be encountered.This is the time when we enter into the shadow lands, the phases of lifewhere we encounter the dragon of our unconsciousness. Nodal transits arepointers to where Rahu or Ketu will attempt to swallow the heroicidentity. The house positions of the transiting nodes become important totrack, as these spheres are where the encounter with the dragon islocated, casting a shadow across this polarity of the chart.
In an imaginative way, the Ouroboros represents Rahu and Ketu andthe eclipses. The dragon-serpent biting its own tail is reflected in theSaros pattern: Imagine the first eclipse in a Saros series starting atthe pole and, over the course of its life, slowly winding its way aroundthe globe like a serpent. While the Ouroboros is a cross-cultural imagein ancient traditions, it is also a celestial reality: A serpentencircles the world egg just as the eclipses encircle the globe.
Dragon Cycles: Longitude and Latitude
One complete cycle of the lunar nodes is 18.6 years. The Mean Nodeis the daily average of the 18.6-year retrograde cycle through thezodiac, which is about 3 minutes of arc per day. The Mean Node has aharmonic that makes it easy to remember its movement through thezodiac:
• The cycle of the nodes through the zodiac takesapproximately 18–19 years.
• The transit of the nodes through one sign takesapproximately 18–19 months.
• The nodes traveling one zodiacal degree takesapproximately 18–19 days.
In one year, the Mean Node will transit just over 19 degrees ofthe zodiac. The 19-year cycle of the lunar nodes marks importanttransitions when spirit intersects the mundane. Hence, at these pivotalpoints in the life cycle, we either face the dragon of our complacency orare called to our vocation. These are moments of destiny when it ispossible to feel the spirit stir in the world.
The True Node’s direction is also retrograde. Because it canbe accurately measured, it is possible for it to change direction,meaning that it sometimes moves in direct motion. The True Node travelsthrough the zodiac in its own mysterious way. When plotted on a graph, itslithers backward through the zodiac for about four months, then itplateaus near the same degree for two to three months and slips backwardagain to repeat the same movement. The True Node highlights certain degrees of the zodiac when it plateaus in its serpentine movement backward through the zodiac — as indicated by the bold text in Figure5. Both the Mean and True Nodes are revealing in their own unique movement.
|Figure 5: The serpentinemovement of the True Node through the zodiac in 2009.|
|Date||True North Node|
in 1 Month
|Jan. 1, 2009||9°26’ Aquarius||1°35’|
|Feb. 1,2009||9°15’ Aquarius||0°11’|
|March 1,2009||8°52’ Aquarius||0°23’|
|April 1, 2009||6°56’ Aquarius||>1°56’|
|May 1, 2009||4°03’ Aquarius||2°53’|
|June 1, 2009||1°35’ Aquarius||2°28’|
|July 1, 2009||0°24’ Aquarius||1°11’|
|Aug. 1,2009||0°12’ Aquarius||0°12’|
|Sept. 1,2009||29°47’ Capricorn||0°25’|
|Oct. 1, 2009||27°48’ Capricorn||1°59’|
|Nov. 1, 2009||24°23’ Capricorn||3°25’|
|Dec. 1, 2009||21°50’ Capricorn||2°33’|
|Jan. 1,2010||21°04’ Capricorn||0°46’|
Another important nodal cycle is the Moon’s latitude cycle.This cycle marks the monthly passage of one full cycle of the Moon, fromits conjunction with its North Node to its next such conjunction. Whenthe Moon is on the ecliptic, rising in a northerly direction, it will beconjunct its North Node, and the latitude cycle begins. The maximumlatitude the Moon can reach is 5°17’ above the ecliptic. Approximately 6–7 days later (or one quarter of its cycle), it will be atits highest point above the ecliptic and will be 90° away from its nodes. Ironically, at these times the Moon is “as far withdrawn from theEarth as she can be”8 — yet deeply involved in her own sphere ofinfluence. This period of the cycle was known as the“bendings,” since the Moon was at its maximum latitude andready to “bend” or change direction.9 Whenthe Moon is square the nodal axis, it is at its bending and ofconsiderable importance in stressing the individual’s lunar needs.Another quarter of the cycle later, the Moon will be on the ecliptic again, yet this time moving southward. Here, the Moon is conjunct herSouth Node. One quarter of the cycle later, she will be at her southerlybending, squaring the nodal axis before she turns to move back toward theecliptic and begin the cycle again. In essence, this cycle is comprisedof four distinct quadrants, framed by the four cardinal points of theMoon–North Node conjunction, the northern bending, the Moon–South Nodeconjunction, and the southern bending. Each of these four quadrants is aseason of the lunar cycle and offers a more holistic view of the nodalcycle. The bendings complete a fuller picture of the dragon cycle —another image of the Ouroboros.
The Moon’s latitude cycle maps the terms of the lunar cyclejust as the Sun’s declination cycle marks its seasons and thediurnal cycle measures the intervals of light. If we draw a comparisonbetween these cycles, the North Node becomes akin to the spring equinoxor sunrise; the northern bending would equate with the summer solstice ornoon; the South Node is similar in nature to the autumnal equinox orsunset; while the southern bending is like the winter solstice ormidnight. Seen from the latitude cycle, the nodal axis denotes the risingand setting points of an unbroken sequence.
If we were to complete the picture of the dragon, how would weillustrate the bendings? We know that the North Node is thedragon’s head and the South Node is its tail. The northern bendingmight be the dragon’s neck, even its wings, while the southern bending could represent its belly.10 Hence, the bendings have an equalimportance in the nodal cycle, as they complete the severed image of Rahu Ketu and offer us a fuller image of the Ouroboros of the nodal cycle. The bendings are similar to the solstices in the annual cycle of the Sun11 and, as such, represent the entire cycle of the Moon.
Ninety degrees away from the North and South Nodes are the bendings,important points when considering the nodal axis holistically and as acycle. In the horoscope, the northern bending is 90 degrees ahead of theNorth Node in zodiacal longitude, while the southern bending is 90degrees behind the North Node in zodiacal longitude. The bendings are themidpoints of the North and South Nodes. It is revealing to consider thepotency and meaning of these points and how they might be usedastrologically. While other planets may not be at the same latitude asthe Moon at her bending, they can occupy the same zodiacal longitude andare thus square the nodal axis. What might natal or transiting planets atthe bendings signify in the spirit of the dragon encounter?
From a traditional point of view,planets “at the bendings represent critical issues which can changethe flow of life.”12 No doubt planets at the bendings play a veryimportant role in our destiny, marking turning points in emotional situations, changes of attachments, transitions of home and belonging. Butfrom the dragon’s point of view, they are archetypal challengesthat the hero must encounter. At the northern bending, a planetsymbolizes the influences that ground the desires and the intellect.These planets challenge the vocational direction of our lives and demandto be integrated, often shifting the conscious perspective along a newtrajectory. A planet at the southern bending represents the quest tolocate the storehouse of innate wisdom that can help to support the lifeschema. These planets are vital keys to understanding habitual behavior,instinctual responses, and compulsive patterns, and they summon us to excavate the depths of the self to find the treasures. No wonder I havealways seen these planets playing major roles in an individual’svocational quests!13
It is, then, no surprise that we also call this cycle the DraconicCycle, not because of its harshness, but due to the celestial encounterwith the dragon.
Dragon Symbolism and the Nodes
The Dragon’s Head contains the precious stone,which means that consciousness contains the symbolic image of the self,and just as the lapis unites the opposites so the self assimilatescontents of consciousness and the unconscious. The interpretation fullyaccords with the traditional significance of the dragon’s head as afavorable omen.14
— C. G. Jung
Dragons and dragon-slaying are cross-cultural motifs in comparativemythologies that are thematic to understanding the lunar nodes.Metaphorically, dragon symbolism ranges from positive to negative. On onehand, it can represent the invisible life force that devours time, or itcan epitomize the essence of Nature herself, being the spirit andprotector of the Earth. According to Jung, the dragon represented themother complex or the Great Mother herself. As a totem of the mothercomplex, the dragon portrayed the urge to regress to an unidentifiedprimordial state, which is often the pull experienced at the South Node.
Lunar Eclipse 2021 Vedic Astrology Susan Miller
In its negative manifestation, the dragon is the enemy of the hero.The hero, as the embodiment of the conscious ego, is attacked by thegigantic dragon, serpent, or monster. The dragon is the Earth andchallenges the hero to remain spirited. Dragons are the guardians of bothinner and outer treasures. The hero must fight the dragon to occupy theland; in a psychological sense, the individual faces the demons thatguard the spiritual treasures and the soul mysteries. Therefore, dragons must be overcome to encounter the treasures of the inner kingdom. Inkilling the dragon, the individual becomes enmeshed in the conflictbetween light and dark. In a developmental way, the dragon battle is withour own destructive forces in order to gain self-mastery. Along the nodalaxis, we confront the symbolic dragon. In the natal chart, we mightimagine planets conjunct the nodal axis and at the bendings to be engagedin the dragon battle. As the nodes transit the horoscope, we are alsoinvited to face the dragon heroically and encounter Rahu and Ketu as theyswallow both our conscious and reflective light.
References and Notes:
1. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, trans. Reginald Snell, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1945, p. 39.
2. As with all myth, many different variants of this narrative exist.The myth, which is first found in the Brahmanas, has been retoldin many ways. I have chosen the version from P. Thomas, Epics, Mythsand Legends of India, D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private Ltd,1961, pp. 89–91.
3. Komilla Sutton, The Lunar Nodes: Crisis & Redemption,The Wessex Astrologer, 2001, p. 3.
4. In comparative mythologies, there is often a battle with thedestructive force of the dragon so that a new order can be brought out ofchaos. In our own lives, our dragon battle might symbolize the battle with chaos and the establishment of order. Gods fought monstrous dragons in the battle of evolution. In Babylonian creation myth, Marduk slaughtersTiamat. As in the nodal story, he cuts the dragon’s body in two torepresent the poles of Heaven and Earth. Zeus also fights the monstrousTyphon in the battle with the giants in order for the Olympians to ascendto power.
5. C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, trans.R.F.C. Hull, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956, vol. 5, paragraphs 365–367.
6. The Athenian red-figured cup is credited to Douris, ca. 470 B.C.E. Its diameter is nearly 12 inches and interestingly shows Athena, notMedea, watching the hero be disgorged by the bearded dragon.
7. While I was visiting a monastery in Meteora, Greece, one of theresident monks took me aside to show me this fresco, hidden underneath analtar in a locked chamber. Synchronistically, at this time, the SouthNode was transiting my Pluto on the IC.
8. Dane Rudhyar, Person-Centered Astrology, ASI Publishers,Inc., 1976, p. 261. Although Rudhyar does not use the term “bendings,” he considerably amplifies the latitude cycle ofthe nodes in an accessible and insightful way (pp. 239–302).
9. The bendings, first attested to by Ptolemy, are the turning pointsin the latitude cycle. For amplification on the classical and modernviews of the bendings, see Dr. J. Lee Lehman, Classical Astrology forModern Living, Whitford Press, 1996, pp. 202–218. Astrologically, wemight suggest that the bending stresses the lunar needs and helps tobring what is necessary to consciousness.
10. In discussions with Astrid Fallon, she alerted me to the work ofFrench astrologers Robert Gouiran and Francine Mercier, who have used theterm “Pegasus, Dragon’s Wings” for the northern bendingand the “Dragon’s Belly” for the southern bending.
11. Rudhyar, Person-Centered Astrology, p. 253.
12. Lehman, Classical Astrology for Modern Living, p. 207.
13. In 2008, Esoteric Technologies (www.esotech.com.au) released SolarWriter Vocation, which has a chapter dedicated to Vocation and Destiny,using the nodal axis and planets squaring the nodes as indicators of afulfilling vocation.
14. Jung, The Collected Works, vol. 14, paragraph 141.
St. George killing the dragon: Bernat Martorell [Public domain], viaWikimedia Commons
Thailand dragons: CC0 Creative Commons, by jsbaw7160 via pixabay.com
Athena: 5th-century B.C.E. vase depicting Athena watching Jason emergefrom the dragon, Ladon. (Public Domain)
Jonah and the whale: Hand-made fresco by Theophanes of Crete (1527 C.E.)at Meteora, Greece. (Public Domain)
Ouroboros: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Orphic Egg: By Jacob Bryant (A New System or Analysis of Ancient Mythology) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Saros cycles: Provided by the author
Hero fighting the dragon: CC0 Creative Commons, byCkler-Free-Vector-Images via pixabay.com
Destruction of Leviathan: Destruction of Leviathan: Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Feb/Mar 2009.
Brian Clark is the creator of theAstro*Synthesis distance learning program which has beenshaped from his experience as an astrological educator over the past 35years (www.astrosynthesis.com.au). Brian has his MA inClassics and Archaeology from the University of Melbourne and has beenhonoured with lifetime membership from the state, national and professional astrological organizations in Australia. His books andarticles have been translated into numerous languages. In 2016 his twonew books The Family Legacy and Vocation:The Astrology of Career, Creativity and Calling receivedexcellent reviews. In 2018 his new bookFrom the Moment We Met:The Astrology ofAdult Relationships will be released.
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© 2009/2017 - Brian Clark - published by The Mountain Astrologer