Introduction to the Draconic Zodiac
* New blog post on the Draconic Zodiac*
The word 'Draconic' is from the Latin ' draconem' (nom. draco) "serpent, dragon," from the Greek drakon (gen. drakontos) meaning "serpent, seafish." In astrology, the Caput Draconis is the 'Dragon’s head' or North Lunar Node and the Cauda Draconis is the 'Dragon’s tail' or South Lunar Node .
The Draconic Zodiac is another reference for plotting the chart but instead of starting 0 degrees Aries at the vernal equinox as the familiar Tropical Zodiac does, 0 Aries begins at the Moon's North Node.
Hang on! It's not a complex as it sounds!
It just means that instead of the node being at the particular degree you're accustomed to seeing it, it is 'dialed back' to 0 degrees of Aries. The planets all stay in the same houses and have the same angular relationship (aspects) to each other as in the tropical zodiac charts but the signs and degrees are altered (unless you were already born with the North Node at 0 Aries. In that case, your Draconic chart is identical to your natal chart in the tropical zodiac). Here is an example.
Tropical Zodiac transit chart for December 6, 2007. Notice that the North Lunar Node is at 1 degree Pisces 27' Rx:
To create your Draconic chart, you can subtract the North Node in degrees of longitude from 360 and and add the difference to all the planets and house cusps. In the case above, the North node is 1 Pi 27 which (rounded) translates into 331 degrees of absolute longitude. Subtract that from the full circle, [360-331=29]. Add  degrees to every planet, point and angle and you have the Draconic coordinates. For example, the Sun in the tropical chart above is 13 degrees Sagittarius. We add  degrees to it [13 Sag + 29 = 42 (-30) or 12 degrees of Capricorn. Many computer programs will calculate Draconic charts, including Matrix Software, as used in this article.
Below is the Draconic Chart for the exact same moment as above. All the planets are in the same position by house and aspect but the signs have shifted the exact number of degrees the North Nodes was away from 0 Aries.
Like the North Node, the Draconic chart says something about where we are headed, if we chose to reach out, and also like the South Node, it says something about where we have been, what's comforting, familiar and secure. Some think of the Draco chart as as the “purpose” behind the soul's intention and link it to a sense of destiny or fate.
I like to think of the natal Draconic chart as a layer of “soul fabric” that lies underneath the outward personality. You can’t see it unless you look deep. Like the silk lining of a jacket, we never think about it being there and it never fully shows, yet it is a substance that makes the wearing of the coat more comfortable—a better fit—and when the breeze flips up an edge and we get a glimpse of that contrasting color and silky texture, we go “ahhh”.
The Draconic chart is something like that.
In this metaphor there is no “blending.” The Draconic chart is not woven into the natal chart like a tweed. It is the satin underneath, distinct and of its own, usually different, nature.
Consider the Draconic chart and it’s relationship to the NODES. In the Draco system, the North Lunar Node is ALWAYS Zero Aries and the South Lunar Node is always 0 Libra. This is a major hint as to the meaning and purpose of the chart.
The Nodes, which have so much to do with unconscious patterns from the past and new conscious directions towards the future, are the point in the chart that says “This is where you have been and what is comfortable (South) and this is what you can experience if you reach out into the new and unexplored (North). Life is a balance between the two and the Draconic chart resonates with this theme—where we've been and where we are going. Remember, everyone has the SAME nodes in their Draco Chart. That is a KEY to understanding the principles at work.
And, to top it off, the Lunar Nodes in the Draconic chart are ALWAYS on the Zero degree Aries point! Talk about destiny meeting intention! (North Node on the AP)
“The AP represents a movement (cardinal) from an inner quality to an outer manifestation. It orients us towards the world at large—society, public events and all relationships propelled from the individual to the collective. Sometimes it represents a "spectacular out rush of energies... and involvement with the world at large" --Celest Teal
Draconic to Natal
The North Node as the first degree of Aries, suggests how our “will to be”, or sense of I AM, moves out from the subjective and into manifest reality. The Node here gives everyone an incredible sense of self-assertion and WILL to move forward IF they choose to develop it.
The South Node as the first degree of Libra says, “I relate”, showing how our drive to interact with others in socially significant ways moves from our inner world and out towards other individuals. Because it is “from the past” it can indicate a feeling of too much reliance on “what other’s think” or letting others do things for us, or even run our lives. In this Libra - Aries polarity we have to make our own decisions and find how growth comes form our own experiences and adds to our capacity to relate.
In the Draco chart, there is no “sitting on the fence” or hesitating about “what to do” if we want to seek our destiny and any aspects to the natal chart can be quite instructional. Remember, the ONLY thing different in the Draco chart is the signs of the house cusps and the planets. This tells us about an underlying orientation that we otherwise have, but may not always see.
There are two main ways to consider the Draconic Natal Chart. It can be read as a stand alone, considering the difference between the orientation of the signs in the original natal chart, and it can be read in aspect to the tropical natal chart. The fist technique is most instructional if you compare the two Zodiacs planet by planet, cusp by cusp. For example if the Natal chart has the sun at 2 degrees of Gemini in the 10th house, we might say there is a need to communicate widely and knowledgeable in ones chosen profession--to feel distinct, this person needs to shine before the public in a sharp, dynamic, witty way. If the Draconic sun is there (it will always have the same house position and aspects) in the sign of Capricorn, there may be an underlying need for that public recognition to reap tangible results--something Gemini alone is not too concerned with. Going through all the planets and angles in this way brings quick insights.
The second technique is a way of comparing aspects between planets and points otherwise not revealed. The measurement, remember, is the distance of any planet from the North Lunar Node. If, for example, the original natal chart has the Moon 32 degrees ahead of the North Node and the Draconic Chart has Saturn at 2 degrees of Taurus (32 degrees ahead of the Draconic North Lunar Node or 0 Aries) there is a conjunction between the Moon and Saturn that otherwise would not have been seen. This can explain much in charts were there is no original aspect between planets but a powerful conjunction in the Draco to Tropical comparison.
Below is an example of a natal chart (inner wheel) with the Draconic chart placed around the outside as you might the transits or progressions. Here many contacts are seen that are not apparent by the natal alone. (D) Saturn is conjunct (T) Mercury and Venus, (D) Pluto is conjunct (T) South Node, (D) Uranus is conjunct (T) Chiron, and (D) Jupiter is conjunct (T) Part of Fortune.
With this kind of comparison it is best to keep orbs tight! I look particularly at conjunctions and/or oppositions within zero - 2.00 degrees of orb. Remember, all the planetary aspects in each chart are identical. What is going to be interesting is how the draco chart relates back to the natal. More examples are in the tutorial below.
The main thing to keep in mind is that there are TWO zodiacs
Read more about Astrology and the Law of Attraction
Synastry describes the technique of comparing the natal or progressed charts of two or more people. It literally means ‘stars in the same place’ such as when one person’s Sun is conjunct another person’s Moon. All aspects between the two charts are important, the angle, or type of aspect, being less relevant than the actual link. Each planet contact brings its own symbolism to life in a relationship and evaluating them in synastry charts can supply information as to the needs, purpose and desires that are awakened when two people meet, connect and interact.
People are like permanent transits. When you meet someone who has their natal Jupiter conjunct your natal Sun, it's like having Jupiter on the Sun whenever they are around! This is an easy contact to spot when comparing the tropical zodiac natal charts but they many also have their Draconic Pluto on your Mars, and that might feel a little different. It might also go a long way in explaining some intense dynamics in the relationship that might not otherwise be obvious.
There are several ways of using the Draconic zodiac in relationship comparisons. You can look at Draconic to Draconic or Draconic to Tropical natal or progressed charts. In this way, there may be connections under the surface that aren't obvious in the Tropical Zodiac charts but make a lot of sense when they show up in the Draco. Here is one example:
In this chart the (T) Mars of one person is conjunct the (D) Mars of the other. There is no Mars aspect in the tropical synastry and the feisty, sexy, battle & banter nature of the union is well explained by looking at the Draconic links. There is also a Jupiter/Mercury/Venus contact not see in the Tropical charts alone, and boy can these two talk!
Another method is to make a composite (midpoint) chart of the Draconic natal's. This may be very different than the tropical composite and progressed composite charts, shedding new light on the purpose and energy of the relationship. Some useful exercises for reading these charts will follow in the tutorial below.
Transits to the natal Tropical chart from Draconic positions can be insightful as can the reverse--Tropical transits to the Draconic Natal. Again it may be most instructional to keep orbs tight, within a few degrees, and focus primarily on the conjunction and opposition, at least to begin with.
Transits of any kind are often associated with outer events. Although this may be an accurate association, the initial effect is usually an inner one. Some part of the psyche, some interior figure or archetype, awakens. Concurrent with the nature of the transit, house and sign position, once awake it generally starts looking around for recognition. That means it looks for a crown, a throne and lots of patronage. If the recognition is readily forthcoming and conscious awareness is placed on the needs, desires and offerings of the figure, what it represents can transform into what we consciously express without a hint of an outer event. We simple add the new aspect of being into the multiplicity of ourselves.
If, on the other hand, the needs and wants of the figure are denied by consciousness, we will meet them outside ourselves. Jung said "We people our lives with bits or ourselves," and what we deny inwardly we bump into in the daily life as a person, place or thing. In this case, the event can be disruptive. This disruption, (or exhilaration), insures acknowledgement of the waking archetype, one way or another.
Remember, the entire chart needs to be considered when evaluating Draconic transits, along with other major and minor Tropical transits and progressions. If there is a Saturn transit to the Sun concurrent with a Draco Jupiter transit to the Nodes, the Draconic transit may be less prominent. If there is a transit to the Draconic Moon and a Tropical New moon conjunct the Ascendant, the impact can be far greater regardless of the outer planet transits. Draconic lunar events can also be considered as a “timing” device like Mercury, suggesting when major transits may manifest in an inner or outer event.
This Tutorial offers a structured way to begin working with the Draconic Zodiac. It is in no way inclusive or complete! Use what works as a guideline and enjoy!
Step One: Construct your natal Draconic Chart by using a computer program or by subtracting the North Lunar Node in degrees of longitude from 360 and then adding that figure to all the planets and house cusps.
Step Two: Start a page with columns. On the left, list all your planets out from the Moon, Sun etc to Pluto (include Chiron and any asteroids you like) It would start for example, like this:
1. 2 23'
Step Three: Add a few key words to describe the ORIENTATION of each planet in that sign. Focus mainly on what it “Wants, Needs and has to offer.” You can be as brief or elaborate as you like.
1. 223' - Loves communication, offers curiosity.
Step Four: In the right hand column, place the Draco sign and degree and its orientation. Focus also on “Wants, Needs and has to offer.” It might look like this:
1a. Tropical 223' - Loves communication, offers curiosity.
1b. Draconic 1525' - Loves deep feelings, offers sensitivity.
Continue on with this until all your planets are listed and you can actually SEE the difference in orientation. (You can consider decans and dwads if you'd like to take it further, adding more key words and ideas). The Draco positions say something about that silk lining, what is underneath your tropical needs and orientation. This doesn’t negate your tropical chart! It ADDS a new dimension.
By doing this compare and contrast of the tropical zodiac placements of the natal chart to the Draconic, an initial feeling for the link between the two will emerge.
You can expand on this by comparing transits, progressions and synastry placements to other people as well.
Step Five: Do the same exercise above using your Tropical house cusps in the left hand column and your Draconic house cusps in the right. It might look like this:
1a. Tropical ASC. 10 34' - Initiates in unique ways, zany energy.
1b. Draconic ASC 29 12' - Initiates after much analysis, quick mind.
Continue this through all 12 houses, focusing on the needs of the signs as they apply to the qualities of each house. You can take this further by considering the rulers of each sign on each cusp and were they fall in both the Tropical and Draconic chart. In the example above, the (t) Asc is ruled by Saturn and Uranus where as the (d) Asc is ruled by Mercury.
These above exercises are a great way to become familiar, step by step with your Draconic Chart.
Step Six: Find any aspects (look for the conjunctions and oppositions first) between the natal Tropical placements and the Draconic. As in the chart example above, consider the conjunction between (d) Saturn and (t) Mercury/Venus. How does that make the natal chart different? What is underneath the Mercury/Venus conjunction that was not obvious before? Studying these connections will bring new insights.
Find any aspects between Draconic composite charts that contrast the tropical composite, noting the differences in signs, elements and chart pattern. The Draconic composite is the only chart that alters its house placement and patter if you use the technique of combining the two Draconics as opposed to doing a draconic conversion of the tropical zodiac. What does the Draconic composite seem to indicate? How is that different from the natal?
Draconic Astrology Links
Draconic Astrology by Jan Carter
The Draconic Chart-Soul Mates and Blood Links by Pamela Rowe
How to Interpret Draconic Charts by Andrea Arden
Software for Draconic Charts - Matrix
Free Draconic charts at Astro.com
A Few Notes on Draconic Charts by Bette Denlinge
If you are writing about the Draconic Zodiac and want to have your link listed here, please email Kim Falconer.
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