Before we embark on this post—The Dragon’s Head, let us prepare for a pleasant journey. Our destination? A discussion of Draconic Astrology as a thoughtful augmentation of the Natal horoscope. The lens for this special viewing—reconsidering the Moon’s North Node as guide.
Draco, in Greek, is dragon. Draconic Astrology is a special, if rarely explored, subset of the Western Mystery Tradition’s astrological academy. We ask you to relax as we venture further. You will not need a seat belt. It will not be possible, today, to visit this subject exhaustively. The journey we will attempt is suited for non-waking awareness. In a wakened state what do we do? Mindfulness–it is a fine proxy for non-waking awareness in a wakened state. May we breathe with intention–allowing, as it does, for the liminal to come close!
Welcome to a fly-over survey of The Dragon’s Head. Imagine it were possible to launch a special “astrology” drone high above one’s present incarnation–high enough to see the far horizons and the arc of one’s journey–how the past and present connect and assist one another. This is not easily done from a comfortable chair with only one’s Natal horoscope as co-pilot.
We are venturing inward, where we keep company with phenomena available to non-waking awareness. This is how, in utero and long ago, we processed experience. The dimension of our pre-utero memories, for now, are hidden beyond a “Veil of Forgetfulness”— a veil we passed through on the day of our birth en route to intercepting Time to participate in history. With the help of Draconic Astrology we improve our chances to fill in gaps of disquiet. The goal of helping self and others, at a deep level of care and transformation, begins to feel more like productive work than folly. So let it be done.
Our astrology drone, meanwhile, has a name: the Dragon’s Head.
Draconic astrology utilizes all the planets and their zodiacal location as they are present in the Natal horoscope. The work product of Draconic astrology is a chart, a Draconic horoscope incorporating the subject’s Natal horoscope. The Moon’s North Node defines the orientation of the Draconic horoscope as zero degrees Aries.
Is there an easy way to think about the purpose of the Moon’s Nodes? Three words: karma, balance, opportunity.
We incarnate with overdeveloped and underdeveloped capacities of the heart. The North Node identifies areas for improvement—for strengthening. The South Node identifies areas of confidence, even accomplishment—areas where we may be tempted to hide out in lieu of addressing North Node opportunities for new learning where success is uncertain.
The Moon’s North Node is a calculation–not a starry object. We will explain this calculation shortly.
In a Natal chart the Moon’s Nodes can be located in any sign, at any degree, 0-30, and in any one of twelve houses. Not so in Draconic astrology. The Dragon’s Head, in a Draconic chart is located precisely at zero degrees Aries. Always. The house location for the Dragon’s Head is where zero degrees Aries appears in the Natal chart–this connects them one to the other.
The Dragon’s Head, at zero degrees Aries, shows us where the lessons we must learn in this incarnation are leading! Zero degrees Aries is the traditional starting point of the cosmic Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere). It represents energy, action and direction.
By including the natal planets, Sun and Moon, the Draconic chart shows how gifts and capabilities previously developed are ready to serve the challenges ahead.
Provided we steer towards, not away from lessons that challenge our will, the Draconic chart makes apparent “everything is going to be okay”.
“Everything is going to be okay” is the guidance one might expect an elder to offer a seeker early in their journey. The Draconic chart informs the elder’s perspective–it holds the longer view relative to the Natal horoscope.
In combination, Draconic chart and Natal horoscope, it becomes possible to observe the foundational direction of one’s present incarnation–including the legacy of one’s karma and related imbalances. It is a beautiful thing to ponder.
Ready? Let’s go. We begin our tour, in the Southern Hemisphere, of course— in Cusco, Peru–elevation 3,339m (11,152 ft).
The image (above) was photographed during a trip to Peru, Cusco specifically, several years ago. This picture is a restful image of pastels and differentiated viewpoints–an organic foreground in sharp relief and a remote (opaque) background. The multiple points of view demonstrates how Nature can be experienced as nearby and far away. How does one connect with the other?
Nearby…. Far away….
The visit to Peru had two landmark objectives: Machu Picchu and the Amazon–one made by people to homage Nature (Machu Picchu includes an astronomical observatory as part of its original design) and the other, to visit a region of the extent Amazon River system–one of the greatest confluences of water organized by Nature on the planet.
Biologists refer to the Amazon as the “lungs of the world”. It is the water of the Amazon that sustains the rainforest’s capacity to “breathe”. The stonework of the Inca links architecture everywhere with the element earth. The Andes are quiet totems to ancient volcanic fire.
Long ago, the natural philosopher tried to explain the organizing principles of a complex venue–the cosmos as Nature! An early conclusion: combine and re-combine Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These four elements would suffice as our best guess across ages of Time.
The Chinese adepts would add metal to join earth, air, water and fire; the Vedic tradition, while it would omit metal, added the concept of akasha—as “space” or the concept “zero” to account for all creation–waking and non-waking—Nature as nearby and far away.
In modern times we have learned how our table of chemical elements, and the bonds that bind their constituent particles together, while small (invisible actually) somehow hold the infinite. This is how the mushroom cloud might be appreciated symbolically (if not politically). Kabbalists since the 11th century write extensively about the inability of earthly “Vessels” to “hold Original light”—instead, when exposed, the vessels merely shatter into unnumbered pieces. Ever after, whether we remain in the Garden or wander, our opportunity as seekers has become—“find the remnant shards and offer them back to heaven”.
Enter– The Dragon’s Head to help…
Aren’t dragons Chinese in origin? Isn’t Peru our base camp for this tour? Answers: No and Yes. Dragons appear in cultural lore and narratives around the world and have persisted for centuries, even millennia. Illustrations follow: Chinese (left), Hindu (top right) and European (lower, right):
Amaru. Would you know this reference? The Amaru is a Peruvian dragon!
Amaru is a two headed winged serpent-dragon. Mayan and Aztec imagery also references “two headed” serpent dragons. (See below: Peru, left; Mexico, right).
We believe there are no physical dragons to be dissected by science. Where then, might all the dragon lore as cultural artifact lead us? Answer: the Dragon, because it does not derive from direct waking experience, is important to the ontology (the nature of) of non-waking awareness.
The North and South Nodes of the Moon have been part of astrological lore for a long while. Each has a Latin name. The North Node of the Moon is Caput Draconis–meaning Dragon’s Head. The Dragon’s Tail would be the South Node, or Cauda Draconis. The Dragon’s Head and Tail are astronomical points, not heavenly objects. What do these points measure or portray?
In the public square of waking awareness, the role of the dragon is limited to mime and costume. In the Western Mystery Tradition, the Dragon’s association with the Moon cements its connection with the realm and awareness of the non-waking.
The following two-headed dragon image illustrates symbolically, the North and South Nodes of the Moon. The North Node as Moon, the Dragon’s Head, defines the orientation of the Draconic horoscope as zero degrees Aries.
Planets, luminaries and the zodiac are identifiable by glyph (pictograph).
In addition to placing the Sun, Moon and planets in their respective signs and houses, each natal horoscope also includes two points that do not represent a starry object per se–but a calculated location, viz., the North Node of the Moon and a South Node of the Moon. These points are designated in the horoscope as the pictograph featured (left).
Astronomically speaking, our waking awareness, expressed mathematically, has demonstrated the Earth both spins AND orbits—it spins around its axis daily AND it orbits the Sun annually. We also know the Earth’s rotational axis (orientation) to the Sun is not 90 degrees—but varies by 23.5 degrees–which means the Equator of the Earth, and the sun’s pathway (Ecliptic) on the surface of the Earth are different. The following diagram makes this clear.
Existentially speaking, we “have known” forever that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. This is why we still talk about sunset and sunrise when we have “known” for over 400 years, the Sun neither rises nor sets—but is eclipsed daily by the rotation of our Spaceship Earth.
Back to the Moon’s North and South Nodes—the Dragon’s Head and Tail.
The Earth rotates about its axis daily, and orbits the Sun once annually. (The Sun may orbit the fixed star Arcturus according to some clairvoyant traditions–but we shall save this digression for another post). Meanwhile, the Moon orbits the Earth approximately once every 28 days in a counterclockwise direction. The Moon’s 28 day orbit of Earth is called a Sidereal Orbit or Sidereal Month. The pathway of the Moon’s Sidereal Orbit, traced across the surface of the Earth, follows a pathway close to, but different from the Sun’s Ecliptic pathway (as illustrated).
Each Sidereal Orbit, the Moon crosses the Sun’s Ecliptic twice. These points of intersection comprise the Moon’s Nodes (See above illustration showing Lunar Nodes). As the Moon moves Northward crossing the Ecliptic this point marks the North Node or the Dragon’s Head. As the Moon transits Southward, the point where it crosses the Ecliptic defines the Dragon’s Tail. Let us remember—directions like North and South are useful when Nature is nearby. There is no such helpful reference for far away Nature.
In an earlier post we introduced a counter-intuitive way to think about the Sun v Moon based upon our existential experience with each luminary from the surface of Earth.
To review: if one could only contemplate the Sun, is it be possible to infer the Moon? Answer: No. If one only contemplates the Moon, might it be possible to infer the Sun? Answer: Yes. The Sun is implied by the Moon’s reflected light.
What else do we know about the Moon?
While the Sun, our day star, is the undisputed symbol for waking awareness, the Moon, as the orb of night, is the symbolic home of non-waking awareness. From inception in utero to our incarnated life of dreams, day dreams and the imagination, the Moon is our closest and most significant symbol of non-waking experience. Our literature and story- telling heritage has long associated the Moon with fertility, mother, breasts, stomach, moisture and dreams.
P. James Clark, author of the blog, “The Classical Astrologer”, states it succinctly: “The Moon [v.v. the Sun] in astrological practise is therefore of great significance.”
How best to appreciate Draconic Astrology?
The horoscope of Draconic astrology is a soul map. It is organized around the Moon’s North Node at Zero Degrees Aries—on the date, time and location of one’s current incarnation. The Moon’s North Node defines the orientation of the Draconic chart—thereby pointing the forward path of the soul. The reservoir of karmic experience embodied by Natal planets (inner circle) is illustrated by their new locations (outer circle) in the combined Draconic-Natal chart (sample below).
In the Draconic chart a subject’s Natal Sun will remain in the same house—but it will occupy a new sign! Imagine what it would mean for a Natal Capricorn Sun (left–inner circle 5th house) to learn their Draconic Sun is in Scorpio (outer circle 5th house)! Suddenly we have a special case—an Intensely Competent Capricorn–and the insights begin to emerge and build.
The Draconic horoscope is the horoscope of one’s innermost identity.
To contemplate one’s Draconic chart as it holds the Natal horoscope, from the perspective of the Western Mystery Tradition, is to ponder the miraculous. Draconic Astrology is the foundational context for the soul’s direction in this immediate incarnation. The Natal chart is to the Draconic chart as the Sun is to the Moon–what waking awareness is to non-waking awareness.
Review: To know the Moon is to infer the Sun and its radiance. To only know the Sun is to remain naive about the Moon–its presence and its power. In the sample chart above, it is the (Draconic) Scorpio who understands how this particular (Natal) Capricorn is special! This is the Self, at a deep level, guiding the Self! What could be more authentic? Is there a better way to achieve individual certainty?
We light the candle and burn the incense at the altar of our personal journey—to push back the nearby dark while turning in the direction of a far away light. Think of Draconic Astrology as the candle and the incense.
Practice makes improvement.
We bid you peace, Love, and assurance, all shall be well,
Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, we refer you to a performance, “White Sandy Beach” —from the Wonderful World album (2007).
A Reference of symbols, charts and definitions important to Western Mystery Tradition studies is listed as Post No. 900. Enter “900” in the Search box to be directed to this location.
© 2016-2020 Astrologers’ Folio, Astrologers-Folio.org, all rights reserved.
Reference today’s post: “Draconic Astrology” by Pam Crane.
Draconic-Natal Composite Chart illustration for 9 January 1985 courtesy of https://horoscopes.astro-seek.com