what is the north node vs. south node & why should we find this out?

astrology spirituality May 21, 2024

By Corey Barsic Tielman

“What is my purpose?”

It’s the query of modern times. The big question asked by the consciously career-curious. Just three little words that hold so much weight, and command the most complex answers.

In a world where most of us spend a third of our precious lives working, it’s only natural to seek fulfillment, meaning and a sense of purpose through that work.

And while this is a modern question, as we enter the Age of Aquarius more people are turning to ancient systems like astrology for answers.

the lunar nodes of destiny.

The North and South Nodes are placements in your natal chart that represent your soul’s journey. Namely, where it’s been in past lives (South Node) and where it desires to go in this life (North Node). The North Node in particular gives us practical direction and actionable answers to the question of “purpose”.

The North Node is having a bit of a moment in the pop spirituality space right now. It’s gained a coveted reputation of being *the* key to a fully expressed, purposeful life. While on the other hand, the South Node has become a little infamous – misunderstood as a “bad” placement that should be avoided.

Understanding the astronomy behind the Lunar Nodes adds much-needed nuance to the purpose conversation - nuance that helps you co-create with the full potential of these popular placements, in the way they were intended.

the astronomy of the “purpose path”.

The Lunar Nodes aren’t planets: They’re points in space where the orbital path of the Sun intersects with the orbital path of the Moon — hence “Lunar” Nodes.

Their paths cross twice. Once where the Moon’s path descends downwards (marking the South Node), and again where the Moon’s path ascends upwards (marking the North Node).

Why does this matter? Because it defines the real nature of “purpose”.

It shows that purpose isn’t a destination — it’s an ongoing journey of following your north star. It shows that your future evolution is inseparable from the teachings of your past. It shows how purpose is a cyclical pursuit of expansion and contraction. It’s quite literally a path of purpose.

the south node = your past life journey.

Your South Node describes the energies, events and experiences that your soul had plenty of exposure to in past lives. In the natal chart, its territory is an area your soul is super experienced in, and potentially even masterful at. It holds wisdoms and skills that you certainly shouldn’t avoid!

Where the South Node gets its infamous reputation from, is the idea of it being our comfort zone. It represents the reflexive habits, instinctive behaviours or “shadow” parts of Self that feel easy to choose, but after a while, can create stagnancy. Steering your life from the seat of your South Node feels safe, but if you’re there for too long, your full potential can’t shine.

But to villainise comfort zones, or see the South Node as something “bad”? This rhetoric isn’t only unhelpful, it’s false. It goes against the true meaning of the Lunar Nodes that we see defined in the Vedic and Evolutionary Astrology traditions.

The truth is: Nothing in nature blooms year-round, and you are nature. When it comes to your South Node, sustainable success comes from trusting that the magic of your off season is just as powerful as your “on” season.

When the energy of your South Node shows up in life, it’s a message that it’s time to:

  • Begin a cycle of contraction, conserving your resources
  • Reconnect with the wisdom of your inner world and intuition
  • Recalibrate your compass, feeling into what you desire at this stage of life
  • Regenerate your spark, passion and fuel ahead of a new cycle of expansion

The themes of your natal South Node can help with directing your energy in these off seasons, anchoring you into shadow work that realigns you to your purpose path.

the north node = your path of purpose.

For the seasons where you’re ready for growth and expansion, the North Node is your motor.

The North Node is the energies, events and experiences that your soul had very little exposure to in past lives. It’s unfamiliar, but fresh and exciting. It’s like the “school” your soul is ready to attend in this life. It can point you towards the type of career that you’re most suited to and can bring out the best in you (especially when confirmed by other natal placements).

But most importantly, the North Node shows you:

  • What qualities to consciously cultivate within yourself, to see your full potential
  • The experiences to embrace, if you seek more fulfilment through your work
  • Behaviours and actions that will help you create soul-aligned success
  • The unique flavour, frequency and feel of your most aligned purpose path

But, because the North Node is unfamiliar to your soul, chances are that it’ll feel a little daunting at times. It’s going to need your devotion and patience. Much like riding a bike for the first time — you’re gonna wobble, and you may even need training wheels. It may bruise your ego a little and require some humble experimentation, before you eventually find your flow. Take any wobbles as a sign that you’re on the right track.

If you’re willing to hold steady on your path, seeing it through the cycles of expansion and contraction, that’s when alchemy happens. Your devotion manifests into viscerally feeling the frequency of success. For the consciously-career curious, it’s most spectacular part of the North Node journey. It’s what we’re all here for.

This feeling affirms that walking the path of your North Node isn’t just about “finding your purpose”. It’s about seeking a felt sense of purpose, no matter what you do or how you do it. And when you do feel it, that’s when you’ll know you’ve landed in the timeline of soul-aligned success.

hi i’m corey — offline's resident north node guide.

I’m an Aquarian ex-HR advisor turned astrologer. I’d love to help you harness the power of your authentic blueprint as you do your most impactful, purposeful work in the Aquarian Age. For the cosmically curious, my course Discover Your Blueprint teaches you to apply your chart’s cosmic codes to create soul-aligned success. You can find me on Instagram @natural.astrology.