The Nodal Return & The Reverse Nodal Return

nodal return and reverse nodal return

In the astrological community, we spend a lot of time talking about our Saturn return and very little time talking about the nodal returns. In my experience, these nodal returns are really important because they facilitate soul growth on a massive level

What Is A Nodal Return?

If you are approximately 18, 37, 55, or 74 years old you will experience your Nodal Return, which is a time when you effortlessly move towards your destiny. This is a time when you’ll be pushed by external events to embrace the qualities of your north node. 

If you are approximately 27, 46, 64 or 83 years old, you will have your Reverse Nodal Return. This is a time of going back to the basics and rediscovering the good qualities of your south node. 

Evolutionary astrology uses the natal moon’s nodes to define an arc of development. Nodes on the South Node indicate past conditioning that must be broken apart. The South Node shows where someone has picked up negative, low-frequency qualities that hurt them. The North Node represents what the person does not know, but must learn in this lifetime. It’s usually foreign territory and can feel scary, but it’s also where the person will encounter the most growth and (ultimately) happiness.

There are several times throughout a person’s life when the Moon’s nodes move in transit, setting up a cycle of squares, oppositions, and conjunctions. During this cycle of 18.6 years, you’ll experience a nodal return around age 18 and around age 37, and about 9 years between those ages, you’ll experience a reverse nodal return (when your transiting SN conjuncts your natal NN and vice versa).

During these returns, the focus will be on your soul’s growth and on the nodal work you’ve done up to that point. World events will push you towards your north node and make you confront the truth.

A nodal return (or reverse nodal return) is a significant life turning point, but it can also be a bit obscure. You’ll definitely know what’s happening if you’re paying attention. If you aren’t aware of your nodes, then these transits can be very painful and difficult.

The Nodal Return:

If you are approximately 18, 37, 55, or 74 years old you will experience your Nodal Return, which is when the moon’s nodes are back in the same sign and degrees as they were when you were born.

During your nodal return, you will clearly see the things that you need to embrace (the north node) and the things that you need to release (the south node). This is kind of a culmination of your learning where the lessons of the nodes are more clear than normal.

Many people experience their first nodal return when they first go to college, which is why this year can have so many major changes. However, even if you don’t change a single thing about your life, you will definitely feel this transit.

If you’re still on your “south node path,” you’ll be shown during your nodal return how clearly the south node qualities do not work in your life. Many external events will push you towards your north node and borderline force you to release holdups from your south node.

This is a time when you’ll realize that you need to sacrifice the south node parts of yourself in order to make room for growth. This often means that you physically have to give up the things you’ve accumulated from your south node, such as a goal, a possession, or a person. 

If you struggle to let go of your south node, things will become “worse” in your life during this time. However, if you’re on a healing path and have already done a lot of work developing the qualities of your north node, then you may find that you transition seamlessly and that this transit feels natural

Like any other transit, you aren’t forced to do something. You always have free will. However, you’ll find that your inner voice usually wants you to follow the qualities of your north node. This can seem frightening since these qualities are new to you, but it’s also necessary for soul growth. 

The area that you most need to change will be in the houses of your south and north node. Before you look at the sign of your nodes, look at these houses. For example, with the 4th/10th axis, you’ll find that most of your changes happen in the workplace and in the home. However, with the 5th/11th axis, the lessons will be to retreat from groups/friends and find your own way.

During the nodal return, you will eventually be able to clearly see your path forward. Even when you struggle to discern what this nodal energy is saying, others around you can see this. It’s a time when the smoke clears and you’re pushed more than ever towards south growth. 

Unlike the reverse nodal return, you won’t spend much time developing any “good” qualities of your south node. This transit is all about moving towards your north node. As you push in the direction of your north node, your life will become much less painful and everything will start to flow. This is truly a time of transformation!

Though this can be a positive or negative period emotionally, it’s always for your highest good. You’ll find that you very quickly change over the span of 18 months and emerge as someone new.

In order to make it through your nodal return unscathed, you must understand the qualities of your north node. I recommend doing a deep dive into your chart and figuring out not just what astrologers say about your nodal placement, but how it specifically manifests for you. Remember that not every description online will be totally accurate. Consider the energy of the node that manifests in your life as well as any possible metaphors.

Though the nodal return can be painful, it’s also a wonderful time of transformation. Many things may fall into place to support you. The nodal return can show you that you have the qualities to excel at a new skill, in a new field of work, or that you can think a different way. Remember that you already are your north node inside – you simply need to access it. Ultimately, the nodal return is necessary to give you the push you need to find the truest version of yourself.

The Reverse Nodal Return:

During your reverse nodal return, the world’s nodes will be exactly opposite your own. This is a chance for you to revisit the qualities of your south node and learn how to make these qualities more positive.

Your reverse nodal return allows you to find the good aspects of your south node. This may be hard to believe since we’re taught that the south node is “bad,” but I’ve found that the south node is actually badly expressed. You’ve learned qualities of that sign that are low-frequency, but there is an opportunity for you to figure out how to embody the higher-frequency qualities, too.

Remember that the opposite signs always go “together,” especially at their strongest. This means that your north node cannot exist without the qualities from your south node, too. However, even though you’re working with the south node and have more experience in that sign, you’ll be learning new things about your south node during this transit.

The reverse nodal return is a chance to discover what is good about your south node and reframe it. It can be a confusing time because the energy around you feels conflicted. What you thought you knew suddenly seems untrue and you might wonder how to proceed.

It’s important to know that the reverse nodal return is a time to take a step backward so that you can later take two steps forwards. You need to sink back into the south node but rediscover it in order to fully embrace your north node.

For example, if you have a Taurus south node, you may have focused on appearances and wealth in the past. Now, the reverse nodal return is asking you to get in touch with the body and with the earth in order to access the grounding qualities of Taurus. 

The reverse nodal return is a time to combine the old with the new, which can feel uncomfortable. You have to see the darkness in both signs in order to also embrace the highest qualities of each. 

Remember that neither sign can exist without the other. By figuring out how to embrace the best qualities of both, you will actually become a much stronger and more well-rounded person.

If everything you know feels like it has flipped on its head, know that this is normal. Push through and you’ll come out stronger!

Similar to the nodal return, the reverse nodal return pushes you into some serious soul growth. It enables you to become more well-rounded so that when your next nodal return comes around, you’re ready to act and move forward.

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