The nodes of the Moon, also known as the Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail belong to one of the more elusive astrological factors. They are the knots, nodus in latin means knot, where the Moon crosses the ecliptic. These particular knots are made by the mythical dragon that eats either the Sun or Moon during a solar or lunar eclipse. The Dragon’s Head or north node is the point on the ecliptic where the Moon changes from south to north latitude. The south node or Dragon’s Tail is exactly the opposite. Here the Moon changes from north to south latitude. This is important as a change to north latitude strengthens a planet. The higher, the stronger. The opposite is true for a change into south latitude, and if we remember that it is the Moon, that planet with the most visible change from poverty of light to fullness of light, that crosses the ecliptic, it is not surprising that the Dragon’s Head is associated with increase and the Dragon’s Tail with decrease. This is what the 46th Aphorism of the Centiloquium of Hermes Trismegistus describes:
“The Dragons head with the Infortunes, denotes terrible mischiefs, for he increases their Malice, but with the Fortunes he works good and augments their benignity. But the significations of the Dragons tayl are to be noted the contrary way.”
This simply means that the Dragon’s Tail decreases the influence of any planet whether fortunate or not. It does not mean that the Infortunes suddenly become benign and the Fortunes malefic. I had a good example of this in a recent horary where the question was: “Will hurricane Florence reach the United States coastline?” The answer was no. Among other testimonies Mercury was exactly conjunct the south node. Mercury of course siginifies among other things winds. And in this context the hurricane. This means that the hurricane will diminish, which it is now slowly doing. In three days hurricane Florence will be absorbed as according to the latest meteorological forecast her wind speeds are progressively slowing down. She will soon be classified as extratropical.
The change from north to south latitude belongs to another monthly cycle of the Moon. One look in an ephemeris shows this. For example this month (September 2006) the Moon is at 5S03 latitude at the beginning of the month. When she reaches the position of the north node at 25 Pisces on September 8th she is at 0 latitude and will increase in north latitude reaching her highest latitude of 5N18 on the 15th at about 28 Gemini. Afterwards she begins decreasing in north latitude until she reaches the position of the south node on the 21st of September. The change from north to south latitiude along with reaching the highest and lowest latitude is not identical with the phases. A Full or New Moon can take place in north or south latitude.
Both nodes are without latitude as they are on the ecliptic and remain there. An important point to note, as they are without body and hence can only show a direction, give a tendancy. This is why an eclipse can only take place near one of the nodes. The Moon is then close to the ecliptic, the Sun’s path, and so when full, falls within the earths shadow and is eclipsed (as it did just recently on September 7th) or when new, is between the Earth and the Sun, eclipsing the Sun. At any other time the Moon has latitude and so is not in the Sun’s path. An eclipse cannot occur.