So I’m looking at the news and following the COVID coverage wondering if my Jack London mini-adventure is going to come to fruition or if I should wait until the fall. The adventures may have to be in my head and my starry nights splayed across my television.
But at least I’ll live. Metabolically, I’m not quite where I want to be yet, though certainly at less risk than I would have been a while ago.
The good news? Maybe we’re getting closer to getting rid of the bar exam.
So, for the first time in years, I went to a used bookstore because, well:
There’s time now. All the time in the world.
Time enough at last.
If you’re eyes are getting misty right now, you and I are made of the same stuff.
I like used bookstores in particular because unlike commercial stores, used bookstores are treasure hunts of varying proportions. Some treasure hunts are more intimidating than others. Some treasure hunts are more fruitful than others. Some treasure hunts have more inherent risk of a head injury than others.
I also like used bookstores because you can tell something about a person by how they feel about them, or perhaps how they feel when inside them.
It was when I was at the bookstore, looking through the fiction, when I spotted Tim O’Brien’s novels, remembering undergrad. I was nontraditional because I was a little older and married, not at all part of campus life, not at all really involved with any of my peers. I didn’t even go to graduation: I wanted just that paper, just the degree, because my time in Eden was over, and there was nothing to celebrate in my departure into (back into) the real world.
Now I remember why I began to hate fiction.
It wasn’t because I was exhausted from undergrad studies. It wasn’t because I didn’t think there was anything left to read. I was jealous for time to be in my own mind. Between the eternal noise of an unhappily married life, working, and commuting for hours a day, it didn’t seem fair to dedicate even more of my time and attention to television, or movies, or books when there were so many of my stories left unwritten and thus unread, and I was jealous of the writers of the fiction I read that somehow figured out how to start, finish, and never look back, and there I was making spreadsheets in an open office, taking a long, crowded train home to a home that wasn’t my idea, and as time went on, was less and less materially mine.
I was asking for the magic formula for not sabotaging yourself without knowing any of the words of the incantations or the ingredients for the charm.
And then I developed a strong aversion to fiction. There were novels here and there, but not many.
You think that’s a weird thing to hold a grunge against? Maybe. And why should I? After all, what is reading but an author freely offering the reader a tour of her own mind, carefully curated and presented, in exchange for a teeny bit of storage space in the reader’s mind? It doesn’t make sense, but people don’t make sense, and the folly of so many pundits and political thinkers right now is that you can somehow force humans to be logical all the time, and that we should organize ourselves based on the fantasy that we can conduct ourselves like cogs in a machine all the time.
But hey – there are some people who read compulsively specifically to stay out of their own heads, and that I could never understand because I can spend an entire day laying on my sofa, listening to music, and just daydreaming away, journaling little bits of insight, meditating, wondering about the future, what I will do next, what is possible, if I have a soulmate and what he could be doing right at that moment, starting blog posts and abandoning them, and staring at pretty things wishing that the world was gentler for people like me, as if I cannot somehow make it that way myself.
That’s such a Pisces/Virgo thing, isn’t it, all of it: both crawling back into and wriggling away from the swaddling board of one’s own mind when the weight of the world is upon them?
I wish I could leave my work at work.
I’m an attorney and a guardian ad litem, so my job deals with the kinds of things that are unpleasant, traumatic, that are frightening, and unfortunately, all too real. There is not one case I have that didn’t come to me encased in the shell of its own particular sorrow. Granted, I really can’t think of what else I could possibly do with my law license if I must be an attorney. I really can’t think of worthier clients. I really can’t think of something more motivating than what I have on professional plate to clear, and because humans are as they are, my job is an endless buffet of tragedy to the most vulnerable of our species.
On a daily basis, I deal with cases based on facts that Qanon folks hallucinate as happening all around them. But I work from home in a studio where a pile of my files are in bags next to my coffee table, which I can see from just about anywhere. I get up, I get ready for the day, I go to my desk, I work, I clock out, but I am still at work. It’s been three hours now since I clocked out and all I did was finish a post explaining in detail why Qanon doesn’t actually know what child abuse is and how these wingnuts are making it more difficult for the rest of us in child protection to do our jobs, and also how a lot of us dearly love dark humor as balm for it all.
But I don’t know if I need to post that, because I don’t know if that’s the kind of attention I want. What is surprising is that I can mention that I’m a lawyer in a post, and I’ll still get law lessons in the comments from people who shouldn’t be advising anyone (so if you’re wondering why all my comments are moderated, it’s because I don’t want something that doesn’t contribute intellectually to the work here, and no, that is not a First Amendment issue. Don’t email me again about that.)
I tell you: if there’s one thing Americans have no problem lying about over and over again, it’s law. I’ve had people flat out tell me things that are just flat out wrong, like that you can force someone to do labor for you, that PBS is unconstitutional, that it’s impossible to sign away your right to publicity, that I am mistaken and there is no such thing as the division of the courts that I actually work in, and so on. And I always figured this was because a lot of Americans have the very wrong impression that civil law is just an intellectual exercise in which the victor is the one whose prose is the most purple, delivered with the loudest voice.
There is a part of me very well-suited for this profession even if there are parts of me that are not, namely the Pisces rising that doesn’t like to organize or still has strangers ask her if she’s lost and needs help when she’s going to court like she has been doing every other morning for ages.
Yes, that’s happened. I’ve been on my way to court, looking around for a particular lawyer or witness, and some stranger has asked me if I need help finding something.
Have you ever had that happen? Have you ever worked somewhere for a long time, and you’re going about your day, and someone you don’t know asks you if you need help, if you’re lost? Ever walked up to the fax machine without your glasses on, squint, and an intern you never met takes your fax from your hand and decides to send it for you since “you seem a little confused?” That happened to me when I worked at The Nation, and this must have been what? Fifteen years ago? And it’s still happening now.
Welcome to Pisces Rising in the workplace — you’re treated like a baby when you don’t want it, and when you want to be babied, people suddenly decide that you need to grow up.
But there’s a deeper part of me that abhors business, critical thinking and analysis even though that’s where I seem to find myself, drifting more and more toward my Virgo North Node and away from my Pisces South Node.
But it makes sense. I never wrote for any of the magazines or publishers I worked for; I worked in circulation. I was a business person. I never wanted to write for any of the publishers I worked for — in fact, I don’t think I could have handled working for a place that I felt I could be published in because then I would have no excuse other than my own insecurities, and I wouldn’t have the feeling of wanting to flee and do my own thing to carry me through my days.
Besides, I couldn’t figure out how to get a job at Highlights for Children or Zoetrope anyway.
Why you hate your north node (at least in the beginning)
My theory is that your north node is something you’ve been avoiding in previous lives but know you must experience in order to get where you actually want to be, and even though you chose it deliberately, you don’t really want it, because it’s unfamiliar and the lack of it makes you feel insecure (Moon) about who you are (Sun).
It’s like when you go to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make meals, and you check prices and recipes, filling the fridge and cupboards with possibilities to keep you nourished for a long time…and then you go to McDonald’s because you had a mac attack. You will feel guilty about it the entire time, but it doesn’t stop you, does it?
McDonald’s is your south node. It’s familiar. It’s convenient. You know what to expect. A Big Mac is pretty much the same anywhere, and you know what it will taste like, and you can order on your phone or on a screen so no one has to see your shame when you buy way more than just that Big Mac because you might be getting high later and don’t want to cash out your 401k to order from UberEats even though you know McDonald’s fries are shit nowadays and even worse when they get cold.
But despite being convenient and predictable, it’s actually not cheaper than making food at home, nor is it more nutritious (at least if you know how to cook), nor does it really save you time, because be honest: when was the last time you were in and out of McDonald’s, even the drive through, even if you ordered ahead, in minutes?
But it’s still stuck in your head that it’s cheap, filling, and quick, and that the innards of your sloppy burger aren’t going to slide out and fall in your lap or cleavage.
But eventually, you’re going to run out of money, your food at home is going to spoil, and then you’ll be going back to the grocery store to get Spaghetti-O’s while waiting for your next paycheck unless you get out of this habitual cycle.
So eventually you get sick of this. Perhaps you think you’re too old to be eating this way. Perhaps you’re scared that you won’t reach your body or fitness goals if you eat like this. Maybe you want your skin to stop breaking out, or you want to learn to cook so you can eat something different and bring something else to the potluck than napkins and cups.
So then you start shopping for things you will actually cook because you can actually cook them, no matter what other people tell you to eat, no matter what you think you’re supposed to be eating at your age and station in life. And then, as you get good at it, you start to try new dishes, buy different stuff, cook different things, to the point where you prefer to come home after work and eat what you cook because then you get to eat whatever you want, and then at some point, your mastery of cooking turns into an enjoyment of cooking.
No one wants to do their North Node in the beginning, but you’re often forced to do it because it’s a beacon that attracts people and situations that force the North Node upon you.
It may seem weird, like, why would you incarnate specifically to create a situation in which you have to do something you don’t want to do even if you know you need to do it to get what you want? But when you think about it, that’s kind of typical human behavior. If it wasn’t, there would be no home gyms gathering dust, no one wondering why they went to law school instead of architecture school, or getting an MFA in creative writing, or sculpture, or drawing, or all the other shit I thought about doing with my life that came easy to me in the beginning. We will surround ourselves with the artifacts and accouterments of the goal we want to achieve without ever, or only reluctantly ever, using them for their intended purpose, because the journey is the hard part and where the real commitment lies.
So yeah, it actually makes sense that a discarnate soul may look at their last life and whatever impressions or understanding they have of previous lives, and decide that yes, this time, they’ll finally do it. Get in shape. Learn a second language. Declutter. Go an entire day without masturbating once, even if you can’t sleep. Become successful. Leave toxic karmic relationships. Escape the cycle of samsara and dissolve into the beautiful chaos that is the universe.
But usually the soul is focused on something more existential, something that will further the soul aspirations that survive death. I imagine it’s mostly full of our regrets and losses, the things we just didn’t do because we were missing a skill or opportunity or trait that would allow us to go from one level of mastery to another.
Or, at least that’s what we thought, anyway.
Why you love your South Node (even if it’s killing you)
If you actually hate fast food, like you really really hate it for what it is and not what it represents, you’re probably a fucking liar. That food is engineered to make humans want to eat it, and your body doesn’t have loftier goals than the next human body. Perhaps your mind does, but not your body. Fast food is to humans what kibble is to dogs. Sure, both you and the dog would prefer a nice tomahawk prime ribeye, dry-aged, grilled, medium-rare, without the fat trimmed because trimming the fat is for cowards who don’t deserve steak, but that doesn’t mean that you will always have available the exact thing you want. Often, it turns out that the human body wants what’s quick and accessible, like huckleberries from a nearby bush to take off the edge while you gather twigs for the fire to bring back to the cave so you can stay warm tonight. You’re not thinking about the calories or how you may exceed your carb limit for the day and throw yourself out of ketosis. You just eat. And if you stumble upon a beehive instead? Even better.
So I’m just going to say a terrible thing: yes, I do think that human spirits are by and large unevolved, and that there’s no New Age where we’re going to do better than this. It’s a slow, awkward process that will depend entirely on the Earth that we’re reincarnating into. For example, if the world as we know it comes to an end and it’s just all Mad Max and hermits in the mountains, then that’s what you come back to, and if you have lived a life in a world like that, your expectations are shaped by it. Sure, there may be a Jesus, a Buddha, a Hiawatha, or what have you that comes to a generation, but for the most part, we’re all going to work with what we have, and if that means that the coarsest, least empathetic, least thoughtful, and least contemplative of us thrive in a harsh environment, then that’s the kind of things we’ll want to adapt into. There may be some stragglers who come enlightened and want to exalt mankind and help us achieve great things, and if they survive their societies, good for them. Perhaps there’s hope. If anyone listens to them, it’s amazing. If anyone puts their ideas into practice, it’s a goddamned miracle.
Especially for those of us who grew up in small communities and small towns, you know what crabs in a bucket is like, and for those who don’t leave and stay in the bucket, they reincarnate back into crabs in the bucket until one day, something happens that makes the mediocrity and the status quo not good enough anymore. It could be a tragedy that leads to an existential crisis, or a circumstance that alienates them from the people around them, or simply getting a real glimpse of how someone else is thriving outside the bucket and realizing that they’re missing that.
We like what is the same because it is comfortable, and because it’s an instinctual go-to when we’re in distress. The nodes are the place where the orbit of the Earth around the Sun and the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersect. The North Node is where the orbit of the Moon meets the orbit of the Earth where the Earth is going to be later on in orbit. The South Node is directly opposite, where the orbit of the Moon intersects with the part of the orbit of the Earth around the Sun where the Earth already was.
Since the Moon represents the past and karma, it’s path is crossing the Sun’s apparent path (because even though the solar system is heliocentric, on Earth, we experience the revolution around the Sun subjectively, and from Earth, it appears that Sun is moving around Earth). The Sun represents who we want to be in this life, what our soul urges to become, the Nodes represent the crossing of those things, the past (Moon) and the present (Sun), and what direction the soul is heading toward (North Node) and where it came from (South Node).
Thank you for finally explaining what the North and South Nodes actually are.
You should have done that earlier in this article.
It’s an experimental style of article writing: a shit ton of subjective stuff usually related to the topic, then the topic, then giving you the foundational information you need to know to understand the article you just read.
Really? Cause I hate it.
No. I mean yes.
Okay, what do you mean by South Node indulgence?
The South Node is comfortable, but moreover, it’s a secret place within us that we go to, that we indulge, when we need to feel good. Usually, the South Node is very apparent in youth; in fact, kids may be over-identified with their South Nodes, especially by souls they knew in previous lives. As they age, it becomes kind of a nostalgic treat.
For example, a child with the South Node in Leo in the 4th house may have enjoyed being involved in theater, but as the child grew, the North Node in Aquarius in the 10th house called them toward more humanitarian and technology-oriented endeavors.
Still, when this adult wants to feel at home, to escape the pressures of their humanitarian and/or technology-related career or business, she goes to the theater. She may perform at open mikes or make youtube videos for fun.
The danger is when she starts to regress back toward the South Node in Leo, trying to focus all of her energy on her own self-expression.
The South Node is where we tend to plateau…
Imagine this woman spending all her time on her South Node. The trouble is that the world is still going to steer her toward her North Node, and it may do it in ways she didn’t anticipate. For example, imagine that she’s in community theater and very involved. She’s balancing this with her job and her home life. But, say the community theater needs money, needs the community to care about it. Knowing that this woman works in non-profits, she’s asked to volunteer some of her expertise for grant writing, fundraising, community awareness, etc. She’s asked for suggestions to get more involved in the community and to become more inclusive of everyone in the community. Perhaps she’s spending much time doing this, the board of directors are pleased, and a job opportunity opens up to become the director of marketing and communication for the theater company. Loving her community theater so much, and wanting to be so involved in it, she takes the job.
Perhaps she thinks this will cause her to have less of struggle to balance her working life with her hobby, because well, there she is — involved in the theater. Except that now she’s spending a lot more time on her job and less time on the stage (where she feels as if she’s at home, even though she’s actually a much better businessperson for the theater than she is an actress), she can’t deny that it was her work with the community and not her acting that has helped the theater grow and thrive.
But the North Node is where we can continuously improve and excel.
So now she comes to a crossroads. The thing is that she still really loves acting, and even though she’s probably never going to be good enough to go professional, even though she’s always found herself “distracted” or having life make other plans for her, she still in her heart feels most comfortable on the stage. Yet, she can’t deny that she’s also a natural at her new job, that she’s much more successful at it, and if she wanted, she could write her ticket doing this. But does she actually want to be in the theater on the stage, and what is she willing to give up to do so?
Looking back, it seems like so many things in her life were pushing her this way: she was class president in elementary school. She was the treasurer of her dance troupe as child. Her middle school drama club was awarded the key to the city for putting on shows at nursing homes, which was actually her idea after learning how bleak and boring life in a nursing home can be for many residents. In high school, she had a role in a PSA that was aired regionally. In college, she intended to major in theater, and while she did well at her auditions, for the first time in her life, it really hit her that some people were just better than she was, and she wondered if maybe a more sensible major would be a better idea. After all, you don’t need a degree to be an actress, right? She finds anthropology fascinating (and obviously has her own idea of what the word “practical” means), but in order to remain in the major, she has to get more involved. In time, she meets people who introduce her to more activist activities, which she enjoys, because stumping for a cause is like self-expression, but on behalf of a lot of selves.
After college, she lands her first job at a non-profit , and with her acting experience, becomes a spokesperson who speaks at local elementary schools, even though she keeps telling herself this is just a temporary gig to pay the bills before she moves to New York to start her career as an actress. Soon, she does go to New York, and to support herself, takes a job as a supervisor at a non-profit, but it’s really tough to drop everything for auditions, and she’s not willing to become a waitress or a brand ambassador in order to do so because she’ll lose all her social connections, and frankly, she needs to feel in touch with the big world she knows. Besides, things happen. She gets promoted. She gets sent abroad for work. She meets her soulmate, and the two of them bond over their shared love of helping to make the world a better place. They buy a house in Connecticut, and there, the woman discovers the community theater and thinks “wouldn’t it be great to get back into acting again?”
Yes, you have free will. At any time, this woman could have changed her mind, but she didn’t. She followed the course her soul wanted to follow, no matter what story she told herself, what justification she offered. She never actually had to chase the Aquarius North Node stuff, even if it seemed like a really good idea anyway, even if there didn’t seem to be any suitable alternatives at the time.
How to accept your North Node path (while honoring your South Node past)
You are already at one with the universe. Everything you have, everything you are, every atom in your body and every electric pulse in your brain that translates to thoughts and emotions is all made up of matter and energy within the universe. Like it or not, you’re here, you’re stuck, and the only thing that separates you from the rest of Creation is your own belief that you are separate, and that of course, is all in your head.
You are both your past and your present, even though the present is ever-fleeting and the past only exists in memory. You are both your South Node and your North Node, and you can’t have one without the other. Most importantly, they’re literally and figuratively part of the same path, and with the South Node ultimately leading to the North Node, you use it to head toward your North Node.
House first, aspects second, sign third.
You share your North Node sign with most of the people born within a few years of you, and while the sign has some significance for all of you, it’s going to have specific meaning for you based on the house it’s in and a lot of meaning for you (and everyone born on your birthday in the same hemisphere) based on the planetary and angular aspects to the North Node.
In fact, I’ve been able to estimate an accurate birth time for an adult (40+) by placing the North Node in a particular house, because the opportunities to express that house shows up in their history, or the individual spends their life treading water, avoiding moving forward, clinging to the South Node like a buoy they don’t know isn’t actually anchored anywhere to anything.
But why the house, other than the fact that it’s the most specific characteristic of the North Node? It’s because this is where and in what area of life the North Node will bring you. 1st house? Championing the self, coming into individuality. 2nd house? Cultivating talents and self-worth. 3rd house? Connectedness to the world, sharing information. 4th house? Putting down roots and identifying with or finding one’s tribe. 5th house? Self-expression and creativity. 6th house? Healing and service. 7th house? Partnership and fairness. 8th house? Transformation and building things bigger than one’s self. 9th house? World and mind exploration. 10th house? Making the public remember your name, being seen for your accomplishments. 11th house? Making the world a better place. 12th house? Spiritual enlightenment.
While the North Node will always be colored by the sign, it’s not the most important thing for you personally. What is important is the planets in conjunction to either of the nodes, then square the nodes, and then trine (but not so much, as the North Node needs motivation, not a drinking buddy). All planets conjunct the North Node will help you move in that direction, adding their own energy to the Node. The Sun makes it vital in this lifetime to achieve the North Node goal, and your entire life will be oriented toward it. The Moon makes it instinctive and may make you famous for your North Node. Mercury makes you able to communicate your Node or fulfill it using communication or thinking. Venus usually means love and relationships will be key to fulfilling the Node. Mars adds a sense of urgency and energy toward North Node activities. Jupiter tends to bring luck in North Node endeavors and may bring many opportunities – perhaps too many – to chose from. Saturn means obstacles on the path, perhaps even feeling forced to take the North Node path because everything else leads to abject failure and isolation, but if taken, the reward is mastery. Uranus will put you on an unconventional path, bringing surprising, unexpected, even taboo opportunities. Neptune may make you feel confused about the North Node, even wanting to flee from it, but you will find spiritual peace only when you surrender to destiny. Pluto gives you a tremendous focus to fulfill your North Node or die trying, which is totally a possibility.
The North Node conjunct the ascendant means that you’ll identify with your North Node, and your dharma will be your persona. Conjunct the descendant, you’ll first look for your North Node in others before you realize that you must embody it, and when you do, you’ll find the one who will help you on your way and love you for it. Conjunct the midheaven, it will be very important to have the world recognize your North Node accomplishments, and you may be geared toward worldly recognition in some way, perhaps by your parents. Conjunct the IC, getting back to one’s roots, preserving and keeping the tribe, family, or home secure is important, and/or one may spend a lifetime on North Node endeavors and find success (and peace) at the very end.
What about asteroids? Sure. I’ve been using them in my readings more lately, but keep in mind we haven’t been studying them (or transneptunians) for that long, so we don’t know for certain what most of them do. But for example, Lilith conjunct the North Node means some resistance to North Node endeavors unless they’re entirely your idea…and you may find that sex or unconditional acceptance of your sexual self is vital to the North Node, and your dharma is a daring liberation.
Don’t forget the Sun and the Moon in this, too.
Since the Nodes come from the paths of the Sun and the Moon, the actual Sun and Moon in the chart will give you a clue as to what energies they give to the North Node. Now, this is where sign counts more, just after house placement. What the Sun and the Moon do in the chart by placement and sign tell you how they add life and desires (Sun) and feelings and inner drive (Moon) to the North Node. If the Sun, Moon, or rulers of the Sun and Moon are in hard aspect to the Nodal Axis, it’s all the more important to get this show on the road and do it right in this life. This is a sign that the soul likely chose this life to make the North Node work above all other things.
What happens if you don’t do your North Node right in this life?
Frankly, I’m not sure, but my guess is that you may come back to try again, and that’s not all that unusual. It would seem to me that some endeavors need a few passes before you get them right. Now, I’m not of the mind that souls incarnate knowing full well that they’ll die young or will otherwise not have a chance to take their North Node path. I also think that some souls just come back hastily, or reluctantly, without any real goals in mind, but may find themselves nevertheless having a task to fulfill in order to get where they actually want to go. I don’t really know why any particular soul chooses to do something, though I know that souls are people, and people are often stupid, so there you go.
Wise words from a wise woman.
But if we’re looking at the smaller picture, it’s frustration. All these things your North Node is attracting, and you can’t figure out how to use them, appreciate them, find fulfillment in them. And you’ll see that everywhere if you have eyes: the people who don’t appreciate the things they can do, the people, situations, and opportunities they attract, the fruits of their labor, the fact that so many alternatives manage to fail. It’s the exhaustion of trying to push back on whatever you think is pushing you in that direction, not wanting to face facts that its your own self.
But you know? There’s always another chance if you want it, if this planet is still hospitable to humans, when you’re ready.