As The World Turns: Shifting Tides and the Lunar Nodes
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  • Post published:05/07/2021
  • Post last modified:05/07/2021

In late September 2020, the transiting lunar nodes will make a significant change moving out of the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, where they have been since March 2019, into the Taurus-Scorpio axis, where they will be for the next year-and-a-half. This is not based on the tropical system in use by most western astrologers. Rather, it is based on the sidereal zodiac which has been traditionally used in Vedic astrology and other ancient astrology systems. According to the “true node” calculation, the lunar nodes will move their positions on September 19; and using the “mean node” arrangement, they will shift on September 23.

The lunar nodes are not physical planets, but are “shadow planets,” known as chaya graha in Vedic astrology. They are two astronomical points marking the intersection of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth with the apparent path of the Sun known as the “ecliptic.” The North Node of the Moon, known in Western astrology as Caput Draconis or the “Dragon’s Head,” is called Rahu in Vedic astrology. It is the point where the Moon’s path crosses the ecliptic from south to north, and is thus known as the ascending node. The South Node, known in Western astrology as Cauda Draconis or the “Dragon’s Tail,” is called Ketu in Vedic astrology. It is the point where the Moon’s path crosses the ecliptic from north to south, and is thus known as the descending node.

Even though the lunar nodes are not physical planets, Vedic astrology assigns them equal status to the other planets, and in fact Ketu is considered the eldest of the planets and the head of all the stars and planets. Both lunar nodes represent the churning of karma and thus are said to specifically mark our soul’s journey through time. They always occur in opposite signs and houses from each other, known as the “nodal axis,” also described as the “karmic axis” because here we experience the polarities that stir up our lives in order to bring out our karmic potential. The nodes can have a subtle, “shadowy” influence which means they can exert their influence psychologically as well as tangibly. Either way, the natal or transiting nodal axis reveals some of our greatest challenges and opportunities.

The assignment of rulerships and the exaltation and debilitation of the lunar nodes is a controversial topic over which Vedic astrologers rarely agree. However, it was Maharshi Parashara, the “father” of Vedic astrology, who said that the Moon’s North Node Rahu is exalted in Taurus, and the Moon’s South Node Ketu is exalted in Scorpio, and vice versa with Rahu’s debilitation in Scorpio, etc.

Exaltation is a measure of strength and sometimes auspiciousness, offering more ease than difficulty; and, debilitation is a measure of weakness and sometimes inauspiciousness, associated with more difficulty than ease. In addition, Ketu is also a co-ruler of Scorpio, so Ketu’s transit in Scorpio is considered to be doubly strong and somewhat propitious. It can also be intensely transformational as it tends to reorganize a lot of things that need to be set straight. The lunar nodes are asuras (demons), so their demonic energy can also get magnified when they are strong like this (see some of the events listed below that occurred previously during this transit).

All that said, Rahu will move into its exalted sign of Taurus in September, with Ketu moving into its exalted sign of Scorpio at the same time, and they will remain in this sign axis for the following year-and-a-half until March or April 2022. Generally, this transit can indicate a period of some stability in the world (Rahu in Taurus) as well as spiritual progress (Ketu in Scorpio). The exact dates of these upcoming transits are:

September 23, 2020 to April 12, 2022 (Mean Node Calculation)

September 19, 2020 to March 16, 2022 (True Node Calculation)

The North Node’s natal and transit placements represent our evolutionary progress in the material realm, as well as our drive and opportunities, and the best areas on which to focus our attention in terms of our outer goals and achievements. The South Node reveals our latent talents, the issues that need to be purified and lessons to be learned in regard to our past karmas, and our spiritual progress. In order to get the full picture when we analyze the placements of the lunar nodes in a natal, mundane, or transit chart, we have to analyze the lunar nodes in terms of their nakshatras and varga (harmonic chart) placements, and the houses and planets they aspect in a birth chart or mundane horoscope, the placement of their dispositors (rulers), and so on.

In general, we can all expect a sea change when the lunar nodes change signs, as they represent the axis of karma.

Around the time that the lunar nodes move into the more stable Taurus-Scorpio axis and out of the less stable Gemini-Sagittarius axis, we will see another big change as Jupiter and Saturn, the lords of Dharma and Karma, move out of retrograde. Jupiter has been retrograde since May 14, and will station direct on September 12; and, Saturn has been retrograde since May 11, and will station direct on September 29. All of these events will contribute to a “winding down” of some of the current unfortunate state of affairs in our world related to the coronavirus panic, lockdown lunacy, violent protests and riots, culture wars, and political discord. However, it may be a gradual process that will last until after the U.S. elections in early November, and after the movement of Jupiter back into Capricorn later in November, and after the planetary war between Saturn and Jupiter in December, in order for us to really see the most significant change.

The reason I mentioned the lunar nodes being “less stable” in Gemini-Sagittarius is because here they can be highly polarizing and aggravating, and can tend to agitate the collective nervous system. It is especially so for the U.S. birth chart where they have been transiting in the 1/7 axis, reflecting dramatic ideological divisions and conflicts, as well as mayhem in areas of politics, culture, media, health, travel, and education.

Additionally, in my research I found that the lunar nodes are most often in the signs of Mercury during public health crises (as now with Rahu is in Gemini). And usually, the most deadly pandemics that bring the greatest loss of life occur when Ketu is in Gemini or Virgo, not with Ketu in Sagittarius which has been in place since March 2019. Ketu will be in Gemini from May 2028 to February 2030, at which time we could see a pandemic with much more significant loss of life such as we had in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, or in the Hong Kong Flu pandemic of 1968. If the Spanish Flu were to occur today, given the significantly higher world population now, the U.S. would have experienced a few million deaths, and the world could see 150-300 million deaths, much more than with the current coronavirus.

I looked through my database of mundane and natal charts with Rahu in Taurus and Ketu in Scorpio, and found the following charts of interest:

  1. The SARS epidemic first occurred in November 2002 (a relatively minor epidemic in terms of number of lives lost).
  2. The Shaanxi Earthquake in 1556 (it killed 830,000). (Rahu in Taurus, an earth sign, can be a trigger for seismic events).
  3. The Bali bombing in October, 2002. (Ketu in Scorpio can trigger violent events).
  4. The CIA was formed in 1947, created under the National Security Act of 1947, which President Truman signed on July 26, 1947. The CIA officially came into existence on September 18 that same year. (Ketu in Scorpio can represent mysteries and secrets like espionage, etc.).
  5. President Truman addressed the NAACP in June 1947. He was the first U.S. President to do so.
  6. Birth of Nations: India Independence, and the Philippines.
  7. Inventions: Penicillin (available to public 1945), Transistor radio (1946-47), and Internet early development (1983-85).
  8. Great Wealth: Andrew Carnegie and Mark Zuckerberg.
  9. Spiritual Leaders: Ramakrishna and Martin Luther King.
  10. Entertainers: Shirley Temple Black, Cher, and Candace Bergen.
  11. Authors: Mary Shelley, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Camille Paglia, Agatha Christie, Bertrand Russell, Immanuel Kant, and Oscar Wilde.
  12. Infamous: Ted Bundy, Rodney King, and Heidi Fleiss.
  13. Politics, Government, and Politicians: The GOP, Hillary Clinton, Charles De Gaulle, Bashar al-Assad, Jerry Nadler, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, GW Bush, Brett Kavanaugh; previous four U.S. Presidents during these transits were Harry Truman (Democrat, 1945-53); Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat, 1963-69); Ronald Reagan (Republican, 1981-89); and G.W. Bush (Republican, 2001-2009).

Taurus in mundane astrology represents banks, banking, currency, investments, shares of stock, securities, loans, national trade and business, auto industry, natural and physical sciences, and food production. I looked back to the past four times that Rahu transited in Taurus, and Ketu in Scorpio. My main curiosity was to see if there were any recurrent themes related to the economy, since Taurus rules this area, and Rahu being exalted here should have a positive effect.

I am also curious because of the current state of affairs related to the fear of an impending worldwide financial disaster in response to the coronavirus. In the U.S. for example, the federal government has launched an unprecedented financial stimulus plan which has kept businesses and consumers afloat during an extended period of disastrous lockdowns in all areas of industry, including within travel, health, and educational institutions.

We are already seeing record delinquencies in rent and mortgage payments, but the results of this will not be seen for a while since the federal government is bolstering consumers, many of whom are in a better financial state than ever due to receiving generous federal and state unemployment “pandemic” funding. The national debt continues to skyrocket, and pundits fear an impending massive consumer credit default because of the destruction of so many jobs and businesses due to the lockdowns. As soon as the pandemic unemployment funds dry up, they fear a global recession or even a great depression.

This is what I discovered about the last four times that we had the Rahu in Taurus, Ketu in Scorpio transits:

  1. May 1946 to November 1947: During this time, the U.S. economy shrank 11%, but that shrinkage was only within the government (government spending fell 66%); yet private investing grew 156% during this period. The jobless rate was 4.1%. The world was recovering after WW II, and in the U.S., it was also the period that preceded the rise of prosperity and consumerism that occurred in the 1950s Boom. In March of 1947 President Truman announced his Truman Doctrine, establishing that the United States would provide political, military, and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces. This was done with an effort to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War, and it set the stage for future globalization commitments such as the Marshall Plan enacted in 1948, otherwise known as the European Recovery Program, a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. It provided more than $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent. Speaking of that, Europe endured great hardships due to a very harsh winter 1946-47. And, the Soviet Union experienced a severe drought and famine at this time, too. These latter matters can be explained by the fact that Rahu transiting in Rohini nakshatra (10-23 deg. 20 min. Taurus) is called “Rohini Sakata Vedha” (splitting the wane of Rohini), which is said to bring misery, famine, and disaster (whenever a malefic planet transits in Rohini this occurs). This transit will occur again from mid-February to mid-September, 2021, and is of grave concern to me as I study this matter.
  2. December 1964 to June 1966: This was a period of strong economic expansion in the U.S. economy which included a significant personal income tax cut and the first reduction of tax rates in a decade, and the largest one ever. There was an increase in disposable income and consumer spending and saving, expansion of business, unemployment declined, and ample credit existed for all. Lyndon B. Johnson was the President and unfolded his Great Society social programs in 1964-65. So this was the big news of this period which included the War on Poverty, and also Medicare and Medicaid which were enacted for elderly and poor (the second largest social insurance programs in history, after Social Security). The Great Society also included urban renewal programs, support for the arts and humanities, educational reform including Head Start (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965), and the Water Quality Act of 1965.  All of this preceded an economic crash on August 29, 1966, which came after two decades of nearly uninterrupted economic growth and stock market gains following World War II. As Vietnam and President Johnson’s Great Society social programs began to push up government spending, the Federal Reserve responded by tightening credit conditions early in 1966 which led to this crash. But this crash was short-lived and did not lead to a recession.
  3. July 1983 to January 1985:  This was the period that arrived right on the heels of the 1982 U.S. Debt Crisis. It was the beginning of a period of strong economic recovery after the deep recession of the early 1980s which had been caused in part by the stagflation of the 1970s. Ronald Reagan was President (1981-1989) during this time. Upon taking office, the Reagan administration implemented an economic policy based on the theory of supply-side economics. Taxes were reduced through the passage of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, while the administration also cut domestic spending and increased military spending. Some historians say that the Tax Act helped the economy and reduced unemployment, though this is controversial. The foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration was geared toward winning the Cold War and the rollback of Communism—which was achieved in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this period (as Rahu transited in Rohini nakshatra/Rohini Sakata Vedha), there was a very dire drought and famine in Ethiopia.
  4. January 2002 to September 2003: This was during the Iraq War which brought many uncertainties and a fall of oil prices. This period came on the heels of 9/11 and the 2001 crash when stock prices took a sharp downturn (as in the “stock market crash” or “the Internet bubble bursting”) and this occurred across United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. After recovering from lows reached following the September 11 attacks, indices slid steadily starting in March 2002, with dramatic declines in July and September leading to lows last reached in 1997 and 1998. The U.S. dollar declined steadily against the euro, reaching a 1-to-1 valuation not seen since the euro’s introduction. The economic policy of the then George W. Bush administration was characterized by significant income tax cuts in 2003, the implementation of Medicare Part D in 2003, increased military spending for two wars, and a housing bubble that later would contribute to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–2008 and the Great Recession that followed. The “No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB),” which passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2001 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Jan. 8, 2002, was the most recent update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that occurred during this time. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a respiratory illness, was recognized as a global threat in March 2003 after first appearing in Southern China in November 2002. It was around from November 2002 to July 2003 and was pretty minor, having infected only about 8400 people worldwide and killing about 800.  There were also significant droughts in the U.S. and Australia and elsewhere in 2002-2003.

One common thread seems to run through all the four previous transits of Rahu in Taurus/Ketu in Scorpio, which is that all these periods included a cycle of economic recovery in the aftermath of a significant crisis. Let’s hope that history repeats itself, at least in this respect. Of course, in order to get a full picture, we also have to examine the other transiting planets and also planetary progressed cycles including various mundane chart dashas. Please refer back to my other previous articles about 2020 for more information on all these.

I will also be tuning in and writing more about other upcoming energy shifts for the last quarter of 2020. I will be specifically watching and writing more about:

  1. The retrograde transit of Mars, from September 9 to November 13, when Mars will transit from Aries back into Pisces. Mars (violence and conflict) will be especially significant during this time as it is the traditional ruler of Scorpio, where Ketu will be transiting after September 23. Mars will cross the treacherous gandanta (one-degree edge of transformation between a fire and water sign) between Aries and Pisces three times: August 13 to 20; September 30 to October 7; and December 21 to 27!
  2. Ketu, which has the power to break things apart, is currently transiting in the transformational Galactic Center, which extends from the last degree or so of Scorpio into the first 6 degrees of sidereal Sagittarius. This is in range from April until October, 2020. This is one of the many astrological reasons that the world is so fired up and torn apart now. From September 15-30, Ketu will transit in the one-degree gandanta edge between Scorpio and Sagittarius, known as the Kali Zone, where the gods and demons go to fight their greatest battles. It looks to be a time of some significant intensity and energetic shifts that will also be intensified by the equinox still point on September 22.
  3. And also later on in mid-December, we will have the solar eclipse with the luminaries conjoined this same gandanta in late Scorpio, as well.

So we must certainly hold onto our hats for more wild times ahead, “as the world turns” and the lunar nodes “churn.” Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

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