Draconic Astrology: Getting in Touch with Our Deeper Self
The term DRACONIC comes from the Latin names for the Lunar Nodes: Caput Draconis, the dragon's head or Moon's North Node, and Cauda Draconis, the dragon's tail or South Node. The Moon's North Node is the point where the Moon crosses the ecliptic from south to north; this intersection is used as the starting point, or 0° of Aries, to cast a chart based on the draconic zodiac. Unlike the tropical zodiac of solar origin, the draconic zodiac responds to lunar symbolism and therefore expresses unconscious motivations that affect our daily life1. Instead of representing psychological traits, it displays those recurrent emotional responses and inner impulses that we feel are beyond our control, which have to do with hereditary issues or early childhood experiences.
The South and North Nodes are placed 180° from each other and form the nodal axis. The South Node, or Dragon's Tail, shows where we come from, it describes those qualities that we are already familiar with and express in spite of ourselves, it is the path of least resistance. The North Node, or Dragon's Head, represents where we are going, it pinpoints the traits we strive to conquer in order to counterbalance these unconscious tendencies. In his article How to interpret the lunar nodes, French astrologer Dane Rudhyar states: "From a more strictly biological and functional point of view, the North Lunar Node refers to the mouth of an animal and the South Lunar Node to the organs of evacuation, which means both the anus and the procreative organs from which the seed goes forth." He emphasizes that the South Node is not necessarily negative, but a point of automatic release of materials that the organism needs to get rid of. In the same article, he exemplifies this concept by quoting French composer Saint-Saens (1835-1921) who used to say: "I compose just like an apple tree produces apples"2 It can be productive in an unconscious way, entailing no discernment or awareness.
In other words, the automatic impulses described by the South Node need to be outgrown and countervailed by incorporating the North's attributes. This is why many astrologers refer to this axis as the soul's path.3 For instance a person with the North Node in Sagittarius is born with a natural inclination towards learning and communication, but can also be superficial and changing opinions (South Node in Gemini). In an internal level he feels the need to seek his own philosophy of life, to contend with higher truths and expand his consciousness through fields such as philosophy, teaching, religion and traveling. He knows he has already become accomplished in Gemini and that to follow this path of least resistance prevents his growth (let us say by becoming an eternal student), and therefore strives to grow by developing Sagittarius.
Or someone with the North Node in the 10th is innately drawn towards nesting, and attached to her past and family (South Node in the 4th). The North Node in the 10th suggests that she should struggle to establish her social and professional position, but without losing her ability to take care and nurture her family in doing so. Both Nodes need each other to maintain a balance.
How to Calculate the Draconic Chart
Many sites such as astro.com or carta-natal.es calculate draconic charts. It can also be done very simply by using the position of the tropical North Node as 0° Aries. The North Node can be determined in two ways: Mean or True, the main difference being that while Mean is always retrograde, True is direct a few days each month. To figure out Mean, the Node's rate of motion is averaged out, while True takes into account the position of the Node after correction for the alterations that the gravitational forces of Sun and Moon cause in its path. The result is very similar in both cases and they are never more than a few degrees away from each other. There is no agreement among astrologers as to which is better to use in chart analysis. For example, in the article that has already been mentioned, Rudhyar advocates the use of the Mean Node. In his own words: "...as the nodes are not actual, concrete entities but refer to the interaction of two cycles - the lunar month and the solar year - the mean position of the nodes seems to be more significant than their slightly different actual position."4
To calculate the draconic chart, the position of the North Node is subtracted from the location of each planet and house cusp.
Example of calculation of the position of the North Draconic Sun:
North Node= 28° 10' 30" Cancer (118° 10' 30")
Tropical Sun: 9° 39' 47" Virgo (159° 39' 47")
Draconic Sun 159° 39' 47" - 118° 10' 30" = 41° 29' 17" which is 11° 29' 17" Taurus
This same procedure is used for the rest of the planets and house cusps. In the resulting chart the shape of the chart does not change because tropical house placements and aspects remain the same. These will have different signs and degrees but the same house positions as in the tropical. A Moon emplaced in the tropical 8th square Saturn will still be in the same position and aspect in the draconic. This chart coexists with the tropical one, complementing it, so it's better to approach them together. Special attention should be payed to conjunctions and oppositions between tropical and draconic planets (using an orb of 5 degrees). These links make available more subliminal aspects of our personality which come up by means of the conscious traits represented by the tropical planets and angles. To help make a clear distinction between the functioning of both charts, Argentinian astrologer Néstor Echarte recommends interpreting the draconic houses and planets as if they were conjunct the Moon.5
Take as an example a woman with a Sun in Cancer who feels that although she can identify with the importance of protecting and nurturing her family, this is not enough to make her feel fulfilled. Her draconic Sun is in Aquarius, so one could say that although her immediate environment will always be crucial, there's an inner force that compels her to get involved with groups, or activities related to social issues or modern technological developments. A great way of combining both could be by working with children or women at risk, or living in extreme environments. Another possibility, always depending on the rest of the chart, could be by growing food and plants in a community center and applying innovative techniques to the process. Or by developing an app to help women tackle issues related to feeding their families.
How to Interpret Draconic Houses
On combining both charts, the houses overlap. A way of reading this would be by considering the draconic house as the internal, emotional layer. Special attention should be paid to the draconic house that coincides with the tropical 12th or vice versa, this is an area that will involve hardship that presents itself through fated events. For instance if the draconic 12th overlaps the tropical ascendant, unconscious unresolved issues (draconic 12th) will come up in his sense of self, the relationship with his body and the way he appears to others. Or if the draconic 12th concurs with the tropical 7th, destiny seems to test the person through personal relationships and social interactions. Princess Diana illustrates this point.
Another crucial point is the draconic ascendant in relation to the tropical house it coincides with. If the draconic ascendant overlaps with the tropical 3rd, the person expresses his deeper motivations and gets in touch with his most intimate self through studying, learning, writing...In combination with the tropical 4th, one comes into deep contact with oneself through experiences related to family, the past, home. With the 6th, a clearer sense of identity is reached through work, or illness, or the kind of service one provides.
Example Chart: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Born Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, in Argentina, she is the wife of King Willem-Alexander
I have used astro databank maintained by www.astro.com for these charts and calculations. The True Nodes have been used. House system: Placidus. All personal information and details have been obtained from www.bbc.com6.
The purpose of this work is to merely pinpoint some of the themes that stand out by combining both charts, that's why a detailed analysis of the charts will be omitted.
• Máxima met Willem-Alexander in April 1999 in Seville, Spain. In an interview, they stated that he introduced himself only as "Alexander", so that she did not know he was a prince. She thought he was joking when he later told her that he was not only a prince, but the Prince of Orange and heir apparent to the Dutch throne. Draconic Vertex is in the cusp of the 7th. According to American astrologer Celeste Teal, the Vertex is a point of fated meetings which escape our control and may be a revealing factor in relationships between couples who have otherwise incompatible backgrounds. In her book Predicting Events with Astrology7, she states that the Vertex "is associated with experiences and encounters with others over which one has little or no control" and "we attract others...to play those parts of ourselves that we disown".
• The draconic 7th is in Leo (she married a king) and overlapping the tropical 9th (from another country). Though her marriage she became well known beyond her usual surroundings. She is the first Dutch queen consort to have been born as a commoner (Sun in 6th), and the first to have been born outside Europe. Tropical 4th house is ruled by Neptune conjunct Jupiter. Mars ruler of draconic 4th is also disposed by the Jupiter Neptune conjunction. She has dual citizenship: Argentine and Dutch (draconic Mars ruler of 4th and tropical 4th in Pisces, a double bodied sign).
• Her tropical ascendant is at 0° Capricorn, which is a critical degree, or Aries point, identified with notoriety and public acknowledgment. Celeste Teal states that it is "associated with events that will extend outward and beyond an individual's usual surrounding"8. This ascendant overlaps her draconic 11th, which explains (together with her draconic ascendant in Aquarius) her concern for social issues: Queen Máxima has a particular concern for the integration of immigrants (draconic 11th in Sagittarius) into Dutch culture. She was a member of a special parliamentary commission which sought to recommend ways to increase the participation of female immigrants in the workforce (draconic 6th in Cancer). She was a member of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Women's Participation from July 2003 until 2005. She currently serves as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. Her role is to raise awareness on the importance of inclusive financial systems for achieving economic and development goals such as poverty alleviation, food security and education.
• Her draconic 9th overlaps with her tropical 10th. She participates in conferences around the world representing the Netherlands.
Draconic ascendant coincides with tropical 3rd. Máxima stresses the importance for immigrants of learning the Dutch language in order to fully participate in Dutch society. Dutch is the Queen's third language; she is also fluent in Spanish (her native language) and English. She speaks French to a conversational level.
• Sun in Taurus and draconic sun in Cancer, she is well received by the Dutch who see in her a woman who is capable of bringing stability to the king's life, mainly by being supportive and caring on an emotional level.
• Both charts have the ruler of the 10th in the 5th, and her eldest daughter is the heir to the throne.
Draconic charts are sensitive to draconic transits, which indicate the moment in which our unconscious tendencies manifest themselves, very often in the form of major events that alter the course of our lives. Because the draconic zodiac is different from the tropical, the planets move at a different pace and a specific kind of ephemeris is needed to calculate the draconic transits. But if a draconic ephemeris is not available, to calculate the draconic transits the position of the North Node is subtracted from the location of each planet for a given day. Sites such as astro.com or carta-natal.es calculate this kind of transits as well.
Tropical transits to the draconic chart can also offer valuable information. Argentinian astrologer Jerónimo Brignone9 recommends focusing on conjunctions and oppositions, and keeping tight orbs of 2 degrees.
Royal Wedding: Máxima and Willem-Alexander were married on 2 February 2002. Draconic transits on draconic chart, www. astro.com
• Transit of draconic Mars to draconic Jupiter. Marrying a foreigner and starting a new family in a foreign country (Mars rules the draconic 4th)
• Transit of draconic Jupiter to draconic Moon
• Transit of draconic Venus to draconic Uranus, ruler of the ascendant.
• Transiting of draconic Mercury, Sun, Venus and Neptune on the draconic 10th.
• Transiting draconic Moon in opposition to draconic Neptune.
• The tropical Sun at 13° Aquarius conjunct her draconic ascendant.
• Transit of tropical Jupiter at 6°52' conjunct her draconic Sun.
To conclude one could say that astrology is a path consisting of various ramifications. All of them lead towards the gift of self knowledge, and here lies astrology's importance. Draconic analysis is one of its more valuable branches in that it provides incredibly detailed information, and enlightens the way to growth and awareness.
STA Student Online Horary Course
Maria Blaquier was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1967, and has been involved with astrology for the last 30 years. Her studies include psychological astrology, Draconic, Medieval Astrology (MDA Zoller 2012) and is at the moment studying horary (STA). In 2001 she got a degree as a coach and counselor (The Newfield Network Argentina y Chile). Between 2001 and 2008 she attended the center of Jungian studies Fundación Vocación Humana (PhD Bernardo Nante). She works as an astrologer and vocational counselor.
- Néstor Echarte www.urania.com.ar/index.php/astrologia/investigaciones/26-astrologia-draconica
- Dane Rudhyar, How to interpret the lunar nodes, Horoscope Magazine, June July 1966
- Elina Gomez centrocieloytierra.blogspot.com.ar/2011/07/la-carta-draconica-o-carta-del-alma.html
- Dane Rudhyar, How to interpret the lunar nodes, Horoscope Magazine, June July 1966
- Néstor Echarte, Astrología Dracónica, La Nación de Urania, October 2013
- Celeste Teal, Predicting Events with Astrology, Lewellyn Books, p 307
- Celeste Teal, Predicting Events with Astrology, Lewellyn Books, p 303
- Jerónimo Brignone, Astrología Dracónica y profesión, 28° Congreso Ibérico de Astrología en Barcelona, June 10th 2011