The Moon’s Nodes: Understanding the dynamic ties that bind
Price: £15.99 Paperback (Deep Books)
Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, enveloping The Moon’s Nodes: Understanding the dynamic ties that bind, hints at this book’s ability to shed light on relationship entanglements. It also dispenses insight upon individual karmic “knots” and wounds being worked through, towards personal growth, across lifetimes. Superseding the previously subtitled A churning of the soul, this comprehensive, accessible, revised and expanded edition encompasses viewpoints of 1) the natal Nodes as a knotted pair of points that work together, in individual charts and 2) how they operate across charts in astrological synastry and composites.
East truly meets West here since, whilst Agneta Borstein has a firm grip on both individual and relational Western astrology, her study interests lie in Hindu philosophy and Jyotish/Vedic astrology, making her work appealing for a wide readership. I do not have the first edition, so can make no comparison, but possess an array of other Moon’s Nodes books (some dating back to 1975) and have observed that much of the older literature had a purely “cookbook” format. Minimalist interpretations, moralistic directives, impenetrable notions and, occasionally, fleeting truths, populated the pages, as authors strove to relay arcane or badly-translated information to describe the Nodes in signs, houses, planetary aspects and transit. Information from one book often contradicted guidance in another, with differing ideas on dealing with karma and how the Nodes are experienced in real life. The result was confusion and a struggle to identify with themes and descriptions (one thankful exception is Komilla Sutton’s Lunar Nodes book, fans of which may find common ground in Agneta’s work).
That title aside, I am glad to say that The Moon’s Nodes: Understanding the dynamic ties that bind is like a breath of fresh air in Lunar Node literature, partly thanks to Agneta Borstein’s capability of considering astrological knowledge as a tool towards self-healing. The Nodes can be considered compassionately, to explain frustrating, inner conflicts and obsessions and appreciate relationship attractions and dynamics. The author’s viewpoint is holistic and integrative, encouraging work towards a true harmony of the qualities reflected by the North and South points; no longer do we have to decide whether to completely ditch a lifestyle path or relationship involvement, but, instead, can see ways to combine the various, living energies along that pathway, towards greater peace and acceptance.
The Moon’s Nodes can explain a great deal of the tougher stuff that we have to deal with in life but we need a sound source book to help with achieving this understanding - and its information needs to be grounded and real, so that connecting with the Nodes’ meanings is simple. I think that Borstein has created this book. The one thing that casts clear light on - and cements - explanations of the “cookbook” type is life experience and Agneta Borstein excels at providing essential evidence from real people’s lives, doing a fantastic job of bringing the Moon’s Nodes down to earth. Her synastry chart studies feature famous relationships such as: Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt; Freud/Jung; Michael Jackson/the Presleys; the Kennedys, together with individual studies of friends and clients and historic and modern characters from various walks of life, including Joan of Arc, Mozart, Edgar Cayce, Oprah Winfrey and O J Simpson. The chart collection brings the depth of Nodal information powerfully alive and demonstrates that the case for using the Moon’s Nodes in chart analysis is an impressive, if not indeed imperative, one for Western and Eastern astrologers.
The book is divided into four “parts” covering: essential facts, myths, synastry/composite charts and natal/transiting Nodes. An explanation of how Rahu (North) and Ketu (South) work together comes from the Hindu philosophy underpinning the Nodes, provided through Eastern mythological stories in Part Two, which Borstein uses to show how the essence of the Eastern approach – the search for Amrita (quest for eternal life) operates similarly to the Western, creation myth search for the Holy Grail. On p. 28 she states: “It cannot be overemphasized that without the knowledge of the Hindu Trilogy of Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – the images and understanding of the Moon’s Nodes would have a missing link..[it] would be even larger if we didn’t connect these Gods to their complementary goddesses, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati”.
Borstein’s Seven Step working methodology, the synastry/composite study in Part Three and the in depth sections on natal and transiting Nodes in Part Four - together with copious, practical examples - are pure gold for Moon’s Node devotees. Part One is the densest, featuring technical theory and astronomy, its possible dryness relieved with symbols, tables and a diagram (which neatly shows the cosmic “knot” but could have benefitted from more extensive labelling for clarity). The notion of looking for Amrita, the Holy Grail equivalent outlined in Part Two, was easier to grasp than the explanation of the Nodes as “nothing” and I would have liked to have seen a clear explanation of why orbs of aspect differ so much, depending on natal aspects, transits, solar arc or progressions. Any minor gripes dull, however, against the shining light of Borstein’s outline of a Seven-Step method to examine the significance of the chart’s Lunar Nodes, including a helpful emphasis on the rulership of Nodal signs and houses ( particularly handy if all other avenues for uncovering individual meaning fail).
A valuable piece of astrological literature, The Moon’s Nodes is a veritable “Tardis” of a book; a relatively thin volume, packed with methodology, examples and supporting information, including meditations, photographs, illustrations of gods and goddesses and a 1938-2050 ephemeris of Lunar Nodes and Eclipses. It is ideal for working on both client charts and individual analyses. On a purely personal level, the author’s description of my 4th house, Aquarius South Node - conjunct Saturn - touched me at the deepest (soul?) level and I know I will be venturing back frequently into the safe confines of this particular time-travelling tome for more wisdom on the Nodal Axis journey!
Copyright Diana McMahon Collis 2013
This review first appeared in The Astrological Journal Vol. 55 No. 4 July/August 2013
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