Planetary and Reference Points in Midpoint Astrology

with a special focus on the significance of the Lunar Nodes

2002, 2016 by L Blake Finley, M.A.

Updated 2016.Feb.05


The meanings of the personal and referential points have been clarified through work with Uranian Astrology, much because of the innate precision of Uranian techniques.   In this article, we will elaborate on just what they mean, for their definitions have often been obscured in traditional astrology.  This is probably due to the fact that when learning traditional astrology, there is a tendency to perpetuate and cling to old truisms that have been translated from language to language over the centuries, or are buried in cultural and social archetypes and collective mindsets of history that are far removed from today's realities.

Thus, we need to take a fresh look at the personal and referential points, for they are the main points in an astrological chart, around which the planets revolve, either literally or symbolically, and they therefore provide us with significant points of reference in our interactions with the energies of the cosmos.  We look to Uranian Astrology for answers, as its founder, Alfred Witte, and his most likeminded students, including Ludwig Rudolph, and Ruth Brummund, exercised healthy skepticism combined with inventiveness in their astrology, and only perpetuated what they witnessed during actual chart work. This differs from the many astrological authors who tend more to parrot observations and knowlege handed down historically, without comparing the written claims with actual observation.  The great experimenter Witte, who approached astrology as a science, was among the first to attempt to popularize use of the 0 Aries (Cardinal) Point in recent times; and he also worked regularly with the Lunar Nodes while many western astrologers ignored them or interpreted  them to reflect solely esoteric or karmic processes and functions. This was resolved by further observations that led to more insighful interpretations of the nodes, over the years, by Witte, Reinhold Ebertin, Sakoian and Acker, Alan Oken, and Robert Hand.

Personal study of the writings of the above-mentioned authors, and verification through over 40 years of  practical work with natal charts of clients, friends, and family, along with event and horary charts, brings me to summarize the meaning of the referential points in the following manner.  In addition, a special fascination with the inner meaning of the Lunar Nodes has led me through a number of books and continual reappraisal of how the Lunar Nodes manifest in the lives of the people whose charts I have studied.  It was Alfred Witte's comments on the astronomical nature of the Lunar Nodes that led me to find the various interpretations of them fall into place and perspective, to see the unifying thread underlying what manifest as superficially differing interpretations.

   Aries Point:  This is also often referred to as the Cardinal Point or the Vernal Point.   In reality, in traditional 360 dial work, Witte referred to 0 Cancer; but as the 4th-harmonic 90 dial was popularized, where 0 Cancer = 0 Aries, the term "Aries Point" has been used.

Its meaning:  As the starting reference point for the Tropical Zodiac, it symbolizes one of our root connections with the universe.  No matter where or what time we were born, its value in the chart remains the same, relative to the Tropical Zodiac.  It has often been interpreted as "out in the world", "out among the public", "among the general public", and one that I also find most appropriate is "public settings".  It has also been described as "the geographic locality on the Earth", the meaning of which probably needs further clarification.  The fact that the point is relatively fixed and unchanging in any given chart indicates its objective and impersonal nature.   Midpoints and clusters linked to it describe how we relate, in an impersonal manner, to the world around us, in a public or objective sense.   One might say it's our "window to the universe", and it might seem that such a point would be so impersonal as to be insignificant -- but it is not.  You will find it, whether in the natal chart, directed positions, horaries, or in fact in any type of chart, to indicate situations where we have broad, open public contact at some level, and is an indicator of how the world as a whole perceives us, as it describes the energies through which we experience and interact out in open public settings (whether people -- correlating with the Moon -- are immediately present or not).

   Midheaven:  This is a point above us, overhead, and correlates symbolically with what we reach upward for.  If you were to ask a person what their special talents are, they would likely describe talents that correlate with the astrological configurations involving their MC, for it is what each of us idealizes our selves to be. Thus it is often a key component describing our vocation, as an extension of what we strive to be as individuals as we "reach for the stars", and with few exceptions, we manifest these talents in a way that others usually recognize us for them.

   Ascendant:  While the Cardinal (Aries) Point is likened to "our window to the universe", the Ascendant is a more personalized point, geared to our birthplace and based on the minute we were born, and is more like "the lens we view the world through" or "our personal window to the world", and indicates how we interact more subjectively with our immediate environment, with people as well as other organisms and inanimate objects.  Thus, it is often described as correlating with the persona, or surface manifestations of the personality (other astrological factors describing various factors of the inner nature) and the types of environmental situations we gravitate towards.

   Sun:  A variety of interpretations of the Sun's core meaning have been proposed.   Some say it's the ego, others say it's the self.   In Uranian Astrology, the Sun could be thought of as one of several aspects of the self (which is also largely represented by the MC).   The Sun proves to be the physical body and the vital energies that we function with on the physical plane, and its configurations say much about our personal, vital purpose, which we may identify with our egos.  And it also is an indicator of the types of physically manifest situations we tend to gravitate toward.  Think of the Sun as being the bright star at the center of our solar system, which guides us as it lights our days; and it sends us vitalizing rays of energy that lend us the vitality to live life to its potential.  As individuals, we are in fact, at a deeper level, stewards and vehicles of this energy, not its origin.  Problems arise when we forget this.  Hamburg School astrologers have verified that the Sun relates to the father and male archetypes in one's life... for each of us, it is in some ways our father's genetic heritage as integrated into (or projected by) our personalities.

   Moon:  Here is the big reflector of the Sun's rays which light our paths in the night, and hovers around us as we sleep, feeding us and the plants and animals in our environment with transmitted vital Sun rays.  The Moon generates no light of its own, like our giant Sun does; but it does relay the vital energies to us, while tempering them with its own relatively fluctuating qualities.  In the traditions of recent centuries, the Sun correlates with male energies and the Moon with female.  However, we see that both energies can manifest equally in any individual.  The solar component of personality is vital and generative, while the lunar component is receptive, adaptive, and nurturing.  A balanced and well-adjusted  personality might well include elements of both.  Hamburg School astrologers have verified that the Moon relates to the mother and female archetypes in one's life... for each of us, it is in some ways our mother's genetic heritage as integrated into (or projected by) our personalities.

   Lunar Node:  Here is perhaps one of the most misunderstood non-planetary points (along with the Aries Point).  It has stayed with western astrologers largely through its important role in Hindu Astrology, and interpretations of it are often colored with the language and perspective of ancient Hindu traditions.   Here, however, my intent is to describe the Lunar Nodes as they manifest in today's world and more universal paradigms.  Let's look to what the Lunar Nodes actually are, and that will help us clarify what they actually mean for us when we look at a chart in the here and now.  The Hamburg School and Cosmobiological traditions have been to correlate them with bonds, relationships, or connections.  A problem here is that these terms overlap with matters also signified by the Ascendant and Venus, and Cupido, as well.   So we might seek to clarify the Lunar Nodes' meaning to distinguish them from those other chart factors which yield similar, but not identical, information.  The Node of any planet is where it crosses the path of the Sun around the Earth.  In this case, since were are referring to the Nodes of the Moon, we are dealing with something that combines the energies of the Aries Point, the Sun, and the Moon all together.  Why is the Aries Point considered here?   Because it is the starting point in a reference paradigm, i.e. a "circle" called the Ecliptic, which is in effect the apparent path of the Sun as it appears to circle around our planet Earth, from a geocentric perspective. 

My first exposure to convincing interpretations of the Lunar Nodes was through the writings of Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker.  They presented the Lunar Nodes as our personal manner of relating to public trends and the Zeitgeist, or "Spirit of the Times".   Well-configured Nodes, i.e. those that allowed for fluid and readily constructive expression in the chart, often indicated popularity and an ability to easily capitalize on public trends and "go with the flow", while Nodes with stressful configurations indicated personal problems in relating fluidly with the general public... "swimming against the current" or "being out of sync".   I found such interpretations to be accurate in most every case, and to be rather significant for many people.  However, when I came upon Hamburg School and Uranian literature, the emphasis in Node interpretations was more on the personal side, and I initially thought to myself, 'how could this be?"

Further study, in an attempt to answer this question, led me to realize that as an extension of the Moon (relying on the Moon as their main point of reference), the Lunar Nodes have both a personal and a public side, just as the Moon does.  For, just as the Moon indicates the public itself... the people of the public (compared to the inanimate and fixed location where one finds oneself when "out among the public", in the open, symbolized by the Aries/Cardinal Point) ... the Lunar Node describes the interaction between the Moon (the people of the public and our emotional response to them.), the Sun (our vital energies), and Aries Point (the general setting, and our place in the world/universe).   Considering these three factors together, they semantically dovetail quite nicely to verify what Sakoian and Acker asserted.

The Moon also signifies our personal connection to the public, in a personal and subjective sense, i.e. how we perceive and receive our environment... how we sense, feel, and respond to what we experience.  The Moon indicates much about our emotional nature and how we function as respondents to the energies of both the inanimate environs and other people in our proximity, in a very personal way.  Combine this with the Sun, which signifies the vital energies of all beings as relayers of the Sun's energies, and we see how each one of us, as members of the public, functions like a little Moon.  And how does this fit with relationships, bonds, and connections?   Think of the interaction between the Sun and the Moon.... one emits light with vibrant energy, while the other receives, reflects, and rechannels this energy to nurture our Earth and to nurture each other.  A main theme here is "complementation" and the give-and-take of energies in interactions.   We begin to have a sense of how the Lunar Nodes function in personal relationships.... there is a vitality and also personal sensitivity not indicated with the Ascendant.  Here, the various factors involved synthesize well to correlate with the definition Hamburg School astrologers have often ascribed to the Lunar Nodes.  We might experience the Lunar Nodes externally through complementary relationships with others (where one individual is more assertive, the other more receptive) or through an internal balance where individuals project themselves with a balance of assertiveness and receptivity (thus promoting ease of social relating and popular acceptance).

Here is how Alfred Witte described the Lunar Nodes in 1924, where he commented on how the (approximately) 19-year orbital ("metonic") cycle of the Lunar Nodes correlates symbolically as the square root of the 361-day orbital cycle of the Sun in a remarkable mathematical relationship that seems more than just coincidental:  "The Lunar Nodes are significant in that the nodes are the intersecting point of the Moon's orbit (symbolic of the wife) with the Earth's orbit (symbolic of the husband) and therefore correlate with the masculine-feminine blending.   In addition, the unification of the etheric (Moon) with coarser material substances (Sun) are influenced by the Lunar Nodes." (Witte, p 193)

This insight indeed correlates with the Lunar Nodes as an indicator of both intimate partnerships (where Solar and Lunar energies are blended), as well as the integration and coordination within the individual of vital energies, self-awareness, and confidence (Sun) with receptiveness to needs of others (Moon) required to truly and effectively relate in broader social contexts, confirming the insights of Sakoian and Acker, and validating some of the more traditional and esoteric assumptions about the nature of the Lunar Nodes.  The Lunar Nodes might then well be interpreted as "complementary relationships" or "complementation in interaction".

I would like to thank Ruth Brummund, in particular, for her insights into the reference points, which help me reflect on previously crystallized assumptions, clarify and transform my understanding, and write this article for your perusal.

-- San Francisco, 2002.Mar.24

If you have not already done so, you may want to read Ruth Brummund's set of articles on the Ascendant and how it functions in the astrological chart, by clicking here.

The most effective way to explore Uranian techniques is through use of the 'Special Uranian' program by Aureas Software of Paris.  (Click here for further information.)


Brummund, R. 1994. Uranische Techniken Hamburger Astrologen: Hamburg: Ruth Brummund Eigenverlag.

Ebertin, R. 1979. Kombination der Gestirneinflusse: Freiburg: Ebertin Verlag.

Hand, R. 1981. Horoscope Symbols: Rockport MA USA: Para Research.

Sakoian, F. & Acker, L. 1973. The Astrologer's Handbook: New York NY USA: Harper & Row.

Sakoian, F. & Acker, L. 1977.  Predictive Astrology: New York NY USA: Harper & Row.

Witte, A. 1975.  Der Mensch--eine Empfangsstation kosmischer Suggestionen ("Man: A Receiving Station of Cosmic Influences"; an anthology of articles written by Witte and associates in the 1920s and 1930s): Hamburg: Ludwig Rudolph/Witte-Verlag.