The Arrow of Time

Most information I am subjected to, such as news, entertainment, and documentaries, are usually focussed on a moment in time. A situation or phenomenon or relationship is presented as being only relevant to a moment in time. Very little information is presented in context of what created the conditions for the content, or what takes place after the presented information.

I find this style of presentation extremely boring, uninteresting, and largely empty of relevancy. My favourite presenters, stories, and entertainment always make reference to precursors or consequence or both. It is no surprise that I engage Astrology in the same way.

When I first began studying Astrology in the late 80s, I naturally rote practiced the glyphs, houses, aspects and maths for creating a chart. I made umpteen lists and matrices of how the planets, houses and signs all linked and cross-linked, and I read many books to understand how the different parts function together. Even so, there is one point of Astrology which is unique: the Nodes.

Static Information

The birth chart is a static reference point of the personality, the transits are a static reference point of current experiences, but only the nodes indicate what came before and what came after in the personal development of the native. 

With the natal chart, we have a static reference point for experiences in time with transits, and another static reference point of fundamental changes in time with secondary progressions. Both of these allow for some very accurate and informative insights. However, they do not provide the context within which the experience takes place.

For example, two people have transit Pluto opposite Libra Sun: ought they be told the same thing? Generally, yes – great forces are at work! Yet we must leap out of generalisations and seek to apply our skills to relate personally relevant information.

Information in Motion

The Ascendant is the clearest astrological point describing how energies represented in the natal chart can be observed in real life, and the ASC must be defined with the Ruling Planet. For example, Taurus ASC with Venus in the Third natives will be vastly different from Taurus ASC with Venus in the Twelfth. Even so, such natives possess an undertone of grounded self-expression – one being more loquacious than the other.

The other Houses and their cusps similarly indicate how energies are manifested by the native, but again, these qualities are a static representation in time. As the native alters their locations and relevant positions to others through different types of relationships, the content information of each House becomes more and then less relevant. 

Secondary Progressions do provide a series of snapshots of fundamental changes in orientation, but these are also a series of static reference points of experience for the native. When the P. Sun changes Sign or House, yes, we can observe such changes as experienced by the native. Yet this is still static information, and does not indicate a ‘why’ that change is taking place or a ‘how’ that change is relevant to the native.

Motion through Time

The Natal chart is personal, but most of the content represented is static. Transits are not personal – they indicate the changing environment and we can only analyse how the native reacted to similar experiences in the past to gain insight now.

The Nodes, however, indicate how the native may develop and grow through those experiences, or likewise, degenerate. Nodes gives the context of the native’s level of self-awareness, maturity and capabilities on a deeper level. Only the Nodes in the chart indicate an arrow of time – how and why changes take place and the potential personal value the native may gain from their experiences.

When we analyse a natal chart, only the Nodes provide the context in time of all the other information, and provide the key to making experiences and our relationship to those experiences personally relevant. The Nodes are, in effect, the path we walk through this incarnation.