What's your calling? Have you found it yet? The expression "finding your true north" comes from how the needle in a compass always points to the north, meaning wherever you are and however uncertain things are, as long as you follow your true path, you'll eventually be able to get out of the mess. This sounds quite reassuring.
In online astrology groups, many people post their charts to ask for advice on career issues and a common piece of advice given is "follow your North Node". The reasoning is, the North Node shows the lesson that individuals will have to master in this lifetime, as they'd already learned whatever there was to learn in the area indicated by the South Node in a previous life. I agree this is a very logical piece of advice, based on the teachings of many great astrology teachers and textbooks, but in reality, the issue is a lot more complex.
For one thing, the nodes indicate a spiritual lesson. It's something transcendental, meaning you must first have something already in place so that you can afford to go beyond it, i.e. you must have built a very solid South Node first. This is particularly important for those with a chart in which a number of planets (or the Ascendant) are conjunct the South Node while there's simply nothing around the North Node, or it just lies solitarily in another part of the chart.
Take this man's chart as an example:
Notice the North Node is in Libra in the 8th, rather alone by itself, but the South Node in Aries in the 2nd house is surrounded by multiple planets: Chiron, the Moon, the Sun (all in Aries), Venus and Mars (both in Taurus)! As his South Node is conjunct the Sun and Moon in Aries, which are the core components in any birth chart, this means he must first learn to fight, risk, take on daunting challenges to affirm his unique creativity (the Sun) and to get emotional support (the Moon). Moreover, all these would be directly related to how he earns money and consolidates his sense of self-worth (with this massive stellium all in his 2nd house). In short, he must learn to stand on his own feet first.
His North Node is in Libra in the 8th, suggesting the spiritual lesson he should learn in this life is to co-operate with others, be considerate, treat those that he shares resources with in a fair way, etc. Staying civil, nice and impartial in dealing with whatever complex emotional undercurrents there are in a relationship is very important for the North Node in Libra in the 8th.
So whose chart is this? Here's the chart owner!
The great Italian operatic tenor Franco Corelli! He was born on April 8, 1921, 3.15am, in Ancona, Italy and passed away in 2003. Opera lovers would surely have heard of him. He was a superstar in the 1950s and 60s. He definitely had dug very deep into his 2nd house because he was more or less self-taught in singing. Courage was a big word in his life because he suffered from horrible stage fright! He really had to overcome it if he had to go on stage at all, supported by his always-present, extremely protective wife.
For a tenor, the 8th house also includes "sharing the stage" with other singers in an opera. But in the operatic world where egos are often big, the tenor and the soprano may engage in sonic volume competitions to see who can win the most applause! His duets with the Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson were legendary. She had a super big voice and her vocal chords seemed to be made of steel. Sharing the stage with her was truly daunting because other singers might just get "drowned" by the sound she produced! But Corelli managed to match her vocals: "OK, you sing big, so can I!" and won a lot of respect from Nilsson, forming a very good operatic partnership with her.
Corelli's example is very interesting: OK, the Libra North Node is supposed to be nice and friendly and co-operative, but you can’t be that or even have the chance to do that - until you've paid your dues to the Aries South Node in this lifetime too, i.e. proved your mettle that you deserve to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with someone else.
Notice I'm focusing here on birth charts with the North Node placed in a relatively isolated location, compared with the South Node. In charts where, say, the North Node is closer to other planets (while there's nothing around the South Node), it could operate somewhat differently.
So when people ask for astrological advice on career, I don’t think it’s a good idea to say "just follow your North Node", especially when they are still young (like in their 20's) and basically just starting out in life. My clinical observations are that, especially in cases like Corelli's, people can't really begin to work on their North Node until they've achieved a solid identity, and usually that means around midlife or even afterwards.
That means if you've had a hard time in "following your North Node" so far, perhaps you should first consolidate your South Node. When you're more-or-less done with that, you'll find it easier to take on the North Node.
There's a time for everything and everyone, after all...
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