Heliocentric Planetary Nodes

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  • 8/8/2019 Heliocentric Planetary Nodes


    Heliocentric Planetary NodesHeliocentric Planetary Nodes

    By Michael Erlewine


    In the early 1970s, when I first began tostudy heliocentric astrology and wasable to create for myself a helioephemeris, I was fascinated byheliocentric planetary nodes. This wasyears before home computers. With thehelp of my friend David W. Wilson and amainframe computer, we calculated thiscomplete nodal system. Here is a briefintroduction. For those who want toknow more on this topic or who wantlists of these nodes at various epochs,please see my book Interface:Planetary Nodes, which is once againavailable in paperback on Amazon.com.

    Astrology is all about nodes. Nodes are

    sensitive points in the natal chart thatcan be interpreted. Obvious examples ofnodes are the Nodes of the Moon. TheAscendant, Midheaven, Vertex andother sensitive horoscope points arenodes. The traditional twelve HouseCusps are also nodes. Since mostastrologers do not consider latitude

    when calculating aspects, even aspectsare nodes.

    We may be familiar with the abovenodes, but what about planetary nodes?

    What are they?What is a Node?

    I had been studying astrology for somenumber of years before I understoodwhat a node was, for example theAscendant or Rising Sign that allastrologers mean when they ask: Whatis your rising sign?

    Back then, my rising sign in Sagittarius,was to me just that: a point in the

    zodiac, in my case in the signSagittarius. It was not until much laterthat I understood that all nodes areintersections of two independentsystems of one kind or another. In thecase of my Ascendant, the zodiac wasone system, but I had to research to findout the other, which turned out to be theLocal Horizon.

  • 8/8/2019 Heliocentric Planetary Nodes


    Heliocentric Planetary Nodes

    The Ascendant is a Node

    So the Ascendant is the intersection orinterface between the plane of the

    zodiac and the plane of the localhorizon, to the East. This was news tome and sent me scurrying to figure outwhat the other nodes I had always beenusing interfaced with.

    For example, the Nodes of the Moon arethe intersection of the plane of theMoons orbit with the plane of Earthsorbit, the zodiac.

    Or the Vertex is the intersection of the

    plane of the zodiac with the plane ofwhat is called the Prime Vertical, aGreat Circle running from East to Westthrough the local Zenith. And so it went.You get the idea.

    Nodes or Interfaces

    The point here is that any node is aninterface and intersection between twogreat circles or planes, very ofteninvolving the familiar zodiac. This bookis about planetary nodes, the nodes orinterfaces that are formed when the

    planes of any two planets intersect. Andby intersect, I dont just mean intersectwith the planet of the earths orbit, butthe planes of any two planets intersectwith each other, with or without Earthbeing one of the two.

    Two planetary planes intersect to createwhat we could call a sensitive point,more like a power point for that matter.As the planets travel around their orbitsthrough time, they reach these powerpoints or nodes two times in a completeorbit or cycle. At that point, the planet isnot only in the plane of its own orbit, butsimultaneously in the plane of the

    second planet, and this is a point ofpower or emphasis. This book is aboutthe system of planetary nodes and howto interpret them in your own natal chart.I call these planetary nodes: InterfacePoints.

    Where it Started for Me

    The interface concept came out of myinterest in heliocentrics, in particular aninquiry into the mutual inclination (or

    lack thereof) of the various planes of oursolar system, planes like that of theecliptic, equator, horizon, galaxy,supergalaxy, and so on. I wasfascinated by the different attitudes orinclinations of the various astronomicalplanes, each to the others. What couldthese mean?

    A whole series of astronomicalcoordinate systems exist, each with theirown center and plane of reference.

    More interesting to me is that fact thatthese many systems are oriented toeach other, differently are set inspace at different angles to one another.They are set in space like some grandcrystal. Perhaps they represent wholeapproaches to life, each with its ownindependent attitude or stance.

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    Heliocentric Planetary NodesI was interested to note that astrologersdevote their attention to the zodiac orecliptic, but seem to pay little or noattention to these other planes: theHorizon, Prime Vertical, and CelestialEquator. Astrologers seem not to graspor care that points such as theAscendant, MC, Vertex, etc. are notzodiac points alone, but are nodesrepresenting the intersection of thezodiac with some other great plane. Infact, it takes two independent planes tocreate a node. This important factseems to have been lost in modernastrology.

    Even within our own solar system, eachof the great planetary orbits has its ownplane and particular orientation orattitude. Each of these great planetaryorbital planes are oriented or inclined tothe others. An attempt to reduce allthese intersecting orbital planes -- thisgrand planetary crystal -- to the set ofthe most significant points or nodes washow the interface nodal technique cameinto being.

    Introduction to the Concept

    As mentioned, astrologers use a varietyof coordinate systems to look at life. Themost well known, of course, is thezodiac or ecliptic system, but there arealso the equatorial system of rightascension & declination, the horizonsystem of azimuth & altitude, the primevertical system of longitude & amplitude,and still others.

    On a grander scale, there are still othercoordinate systems that are fascinatingin their own right , including the localsystem of stars of which our Sun is amember, our own galactic system, andeven a supergalactic system, of which Ihave written elsewhere (The Astrologyof Space. All in all, we have several

    major coordinate systems in commonuse by astrologers such as the eclipticplus half a dozen or so esoteric systemsthat are little used, which brings me toconcept of interface analysis.

    Interface analysis is a reduction of all ofthe nine planet's orbital planes, theirinclinations and disinclinations to oneanother, to the particular series ofzodiac points that represent bothsymbolically and physically the onlypoints in the zodiac at which thesevarious inclinations and disinclinationsintersect and are exact or in perfectalignment.

    When a planet (moving in its own orbit)comes into alignment with the orbitalplane of a second planet (passesthrough or over that point), it is at one ofthe two nodes (ascending ordescending) with that plane. I call thesenodes Interface Points. Therefore, aninclination or nodal alignment (interface)refers to an exact planar alignmentbetween two planets orbits (where thetwo planes intersect to form a node) and

    this will emphasize (for better or forworse) the nature and function of theplanets involved. On the other hand,planets at DIS-inclination (at 90-degreepoints in their orbit to the nodes orinterface points) represent these sameprinciples as they are when mostmutually disinclined each to theother. It may help to offer a briefsummary of the astronomical basis forthis concept.

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    Heliocentric Planetary Nodes

    The Basic Astronomy

    In the above diagram we see the Sun atthe center of the solar system and Earthgoing counterclockwise (Looking downfrom above the Sun) in its almostcircular orbit each year. The earthalways stays in its orbit and that orbitdefines a plane running through thecenter of the Sun and Earth. That planegeometrically extends infinitely in alldirections, dividing the heavens into twohalves, one above the orbit of the earth(and Sun) and the other below that orbit.This is standard high-school astronomy.

    Earths Orbital Plane

    Here is the same diagram, but lookingmore or less from the side now, but at

    just enough of an angle so that you cansee the ellipse of Earths orbit. Theearths orbit, which defines the familiarzodiac or ecliptic, is the primaryreference plane used by astrologers.

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    Heliocentric Planetary Nodes

    Nodes to Earths Orbit

    What is a node? As we know, each ofthe nine planets orbits around the Sun ina large ellipse, with the Sun as thecenter. This orbital ellipse of the earthand any planets defines a plane passingthrough the center of the Sun. Theplanes of the orbits of the nine planets inour solar system do not happen tocoincide (do not orbit in the sameplane), but, instead, are inclined to oneanother, slightly. The line defined by theintersection of the planes of any twoplanetary orbits is called the line ofnodes.

    In the above diagram we can see theorbit of the earth and the orbital plane ofthe planet Jupiter. Note that these twoorbital planes cross each other to formtwo intersections or interfaces. These

    are the planetary nodes of Jupiter andEarth. Both the ascending anddescending nodes are marked in thediagram.

    Other Planetary Nodes

    Our solar system has the Sun at itscenter and this is known as theheliocentric celestial sphere. Since all ofthe planetary orbital planes pass (bydefinition) through the center of the Sun,the planes all intersect the celestialsphere in what are called great circles.Therefore, each intersecting planetaryplane has a distinct pair of nodes witheach of