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Trapped configuration, also called the Nodal Barrier

By Virginia Reyer

To the best of my knowledge, this aspect was first introduced by a Hindu astrologer by the name of Pithavala.  He indicated that when planets are on one side or another from the Moon’s nodes, the native seems trapped by situations and circumstances.  This configuration can only occur in a Bundle, Bowl or Wedge pattern, where the planets fall only in one half of the chart.

I have a very extensive astrological library with over 900 books, and many pamphlets and personal notes taken over the course of 50+ years.  I have to say that I have not seen anything in print on the “Nodal Barrier.”  Only one book I know makes brief mention of it.  See The Side Lights of Astrology, by Thyrza Escobar, p. 33.

The signs and houses the nodes occupy reveal the meaning of the trapped configuration.   Angular positions of the nodes and planets, especially if they are connected to the Aries point, are more intense. Also more powerful are intercepted planets and planets conjunct the nodes, particularly the Sun and Moon.  Use an orb of no more than 3º.

The effects of this pattern can be psychological, mental, physical or spiritual.  Special emphasis should be given to the lead planet.  Planets move in a clockwise direction, so the first planet leading the parade is called the cutting planet, also the high-focus planet.  Also check the planet that is trailing, also called the caboose.

This configuration gives a feeling of superiority, of separateness, and can be very intense.  The planets are “repressed,” causing frustration.  It creates a wall between the native and others, and the personality appears cold and distant.  These planets have very concentrated energies, are self-motivated and self-controlled, with strong goals.  It takes great scrutiny to analyze the chart.  The planet closest to the MC is very important, as is the planet that rises before the Sun.

Rudhyar called the north node the point of spiritual power and the south node the point of least resistance.  He places destiny at the head and human will at the tail. 

There are three axes within the horoscope: ascendant-descendant (self – others), the MC-IC (career – home), and the north node-south node (the future or spiritual growth – the easy way out or self-undoing).

Planetary patterns give further meaning to the trapped chart.  It is important where the planets fall.  If in the upper half,  planets give extreme ambition.  The person can be ruthless and want public recognition and status.  There can be problems with superiors and on the job, as these individuals do not like to take orders.  They learn much by observing others.

Planets in the lower half of the chart point to shyness and introversion.  The person may be a recluse and a loner.  He usually works in secluded places away from the public and is more personal than impersonal.  The life path is often late in developing but with strong roots, has a good chance to endure.  These people believe in themselves and learn much from their own experiences.

If planets are in the east, the native is responsible for his own successes and failures.  He usually makes new karma along the way and can set things into motion that are hard to control later.  There are difficulties in interpersonal relationships.  People with planets in the west make good social workers.  These natives are easily influenced and dominated by the thinking of others.  The orientation and effort will be to express through others.

Planets in two hemispheres show conflict.  The native can shift back and forth, and usually goes to extremes.  It is interesting to watch progressions in the trapped chart, especially the progressed Moon, because it shows how the personality will develop.  Eclipses and lunations should also be considered.

Benito Mussolini
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One does not see this configuration often.  The first chart of this kind I came across was that of
Benito Mussolini
, born July 29, 1883, at 1:30 PM, Predappio, Italy.  Long. 11E58, lat. 44N06. LMT (local mean time) was used before Standard Time Zones became the norm.    Mussolini has 16º Scorpio 44’ rising, with Neptune opposed his Ascendant (self-deception).  Neptune, the cutting planet, is at a critical degree.  He yearned for something special and far-out.  Uranus is trailing and rules the 4th house: unusual and frustrating circumstances tend to arise in later years.  With 29º Aquarius 12’ on the IC, Mussolini had no binding ties with his family.  Uranus is at 20º Virgo 52’ intercepted in the 10th.  With Uranus as the highest planet, Mussolini felt “himself to be perfect.”

His north node at 7º Scorpio 09’ squaring the Sun in Leo gave strength, enthusiasm and executive ability.   The Sun is conjunct Mercury at 5º Leo 30’, and the two planet are combust, the Sun in its own sign and stronger and Mercury in its fall and weaker.  Therefore, Mercury takes on the significance of the Sun: Mussolini became a military leader with grand ideas.  His Sun was conjunct the star Praesaepe: his adventure turned to disgrace.  With the Sun and Mercury squaring the nodes in the 9th house, he wanted others to accept his dogma and thereby met with social disapproval. 

Jupiter/MC at 8º Leo 52’ solstice Neptune dreams of good fortune and to be of importance in the world.  The Moon separates from Saturn and applies to Mars: harmful destructive energy.  The Vertex at 28º Gemini 05’ is conjunct and solstice Trans-Pluto at 2º Cancer 25’ and is also parallel Trans-Pluto. Vertex conjunct Trans-Pluto has a strong desire for satisfaction in love. Charisma is learned slowly by persuading others.  Mussolini had ultimate power and sway over others.

Vertex conjunct Polaris brings trouble and disgrace to himself, to others, and to his kin.  The anti-Vertex at 28º Sag. 05’ conjunct Acumen is impulsive and strong-willed.  It inclines to politics.  Uranus/Neptune midpoint Venus is a peculiar kind of love, all one-sided.

There are several 29º aspects: Saturn/Neptune 29º Taurus 14’ is dual in nature, struggling with the lower and higher natures. Venus/Saturn 29º Gemini 33’ is denial and limitation of affection, love worries.  Saturn/Uranus 29º Cancer 13’: a self-willed nature with provocative conduct, loses contact with the family.  Asc./Moon 29º Leo 52’ conjunct the MC is great egotism, the unfulfilled lover.  The 29th degree anywhere is upsetting, is karma, is a residue from the past that needs to be redeemed.  The MC at 29º Leo 12’ conjunct the fixed star Regulus denotes command, strong will, a thinker who analyzes and plans on the big scale, an experimenter whose work may never be finished.  It brings violence and destruction, military honor of short duration with ultimate failure, imprisonment and a violent death. 

There is more, but I think that says it all.  Mussolini was arrested by the Badoglia Government on July 25, 1943.  He was rescued by the Germans and went into hiding.  Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, dressed as German soldiers, were captured by the partisans near Lake Como on April 28, 1945 as they were trying to escape into Switzerland.  Both were executed and strung upside down, half naked, on a lamp post for people to spit upon and to humiliate (Saturn conjunct Moon).  Scorpio rising natives do not like to be seen naked. 

Mussolini was the archetype of all dictators in Europe.  With Pluto as the chart ruler at 1º Gemini 02’, he saw life as either dominating others or being dominated by them.  Most of his planets are on the setting side.  He was captured at age 59.  Solar arc Vertex was conjunct his natal MC.

Camilla Parker-Bowles
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Chart 2 is that of Camilla Parker Bowles.  Camilla was born on July 17, 1947 at 7:00 AM BST in London, England (long. 00W10, lat. 51N30).  Her maiden name is Shand.  Her birth time is given as 7:00 AM double British summer time, or 5:00 AM GMT. 

Her nodal barrier is intercepted: the north node is at 1º 21’ Gemini and the south node is at 1º 21’ Sagittarius, intercepted within the 11th and 5th houses.  This shows an aggressive person who sometimes starts more than she can finish.  The interception creates problems in love affairs and in friendships.  The nodal interception persisted when she met Charles.  The north node intercepted in the 11th house indicates that she will be denied her wishes and desires, and receives no help from others.  The Sun/Uranus midpoint is on the East Point: tension and upsets affect the nerves.  The Sun is the chart ruler, and Uranus is intercepted with Mars and the north node in the 11th.   The north node, being intercepted in the 11th, hinders development and shows how she projects herself to others. The Moon applies to Venus: she puts her best foot forward. 

Uranus rules her 7th house of relationships, and Mars rules the MC.  With the interception of Uranus, Mars, and the nodes, there is a persistent lifelong trend of outside interference.  The vertex is also intercepted at 20º 5’ Sagittarius, opposed to Uranus, bringing estrangements and sudden events.  Venus/Uranus parallel to Pluto is a high degree of excitability and the arousing of love; this combination contraparallel the vertex shows a nature that is quickly aroused and has a quick response to the art of love.  Charles’ Mars is conjunct Camilla’s vertex, giving strong desires.  The vertex is in the 5th opposite Uranus: she is enthusiastic, impulsive, and quick-witted in her relationships.  The anti-vertex conjunct Uranus is strong excitability and tension in the emotional life, the rhythm of the libido.

With vertex in the 5th and Leo ruling the 2nd, she feels lucky gambling in courtship and romance.  Both Camilla and Charles have Neptune in the 4th house, giving strong emotional ties of a karmic origin and a feeling of being let down.  Camilla’s disappointment creates soul suffering. Neptune is in Libra in the 4th house, creating confusion in the home and in relationships, giving strong unconscious emotional ties.   Venus quincunx the Vertex brings out karmic situations. Vertex opposed Uranus creates internal discomfort and stress, and gives false hopes.  With Trans-Pluto conjunct the Ascendant, she wants to be perfect, feels insecure and critical about herself, and will never give up in spite of failures.  Trans-Pluto gives enormous power, the power of persuasion and the power of projection, and gives a charismatic personality.  Moon conjunct Mars squaring Neptune gives an intense emotional life and an unhappy love.

All the planets are east except for Jupiter, the trailing planet. Mars is the cutting planet. Saturn, in its detriment, Pluto, in its fall, and Trans-Pluto are all in the 1st house in Leo, giving the need for importance and recognition; she is trying to defend her ego.  Saturn conjunct Pluto gives power and endurance.  Mars/Jupiter midpoint is 29º 29’ Leo, and unfortunately squares the nodes. The fixed star Regulus, at 29º Leo, gives a strong will and a fondness for power.  Mars/Pluto midpoint (11º 50’ Cancer) is conjunct Venus (10º 34’ Cancer), giving a passionate disposition.

Sun and Moon are above the horizon with the Moon squaring the MC: untenable life-objectives.  Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury are in Cancer in the 12th house, making her very possessive.  The Moon is out of bounds, denoting karmic liabilities, hidden forces, repressions, neuroses, and destiny.  With the planets above the horizon, she wants to dominate, and with Mars opposed Jupiter, she wants to be accepted in the royal family and to triumph.  With Mars/Neptune midpoint conjunct Saturn, she has a feeling of inferiority and instability. With Saturn and Pluto in the 1st house, she is strongly self-centered and very much in control of her own destiny, cold-hearted, and hated by the masses. 

All the Cancer planets are in trine to Jupiter in sexy Scorpio, the clinging-vine type.  Her Ascendant conjunct the fixed star Acubens shows a long life.  Uranus conjunct the star Anilam: she is fond of sports.   Jupiter conjunct the 5th fits in with her hobby, horse-racing.  Her chart has no earth.  A solar prenatal eclipse on May 20, 1947 at 28º42 Taurus on the nodal barrier is conjunct the Pleides, bringing many tears.  With Moon semisextile Saturn, she worries a lot and is very restless. 

LeeAnn Rimes
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Chart 3 is that of LeeAnn Rimes.  LeeAnn was born on August 28, 1982 at 5:45 PM CDT in Jackson, Mississippi.  All the planets are above the horizon, making her an extrovert, more objective and impersonal, and in contact with the public.  The north node at 12º 6’ Cancer is in the 6th house and the south node is in her 12th.  Uranus is her ruling planet. At 0º 44’ Sagittarius in the 10th house, Uranus shows that she needs lots of space. 

Venus is the leading planet at 17º 44’ of Leo conjunct Trans-Pluto at 19º 03’ Leo.  This gives artistic talent, a magnetic personality, and intense emotions.  Venus and the Moon are at the rim: LeeAnn’s mother had a great influence on her.  This combination also gives good judgment concerning the real value of things, gracefulness, artistic appreciation, and unusual love experiences. 

Venus square Mars at 15º 24’ Scorpio close to the MC gives great ambition.  Jupiter at the Sun/Moon midpoint gives a sound mental and emotional disposition and a good relationship with parents and partners

LeeAnn started singing at 18 months.  She could sing better than she could talk.  At age 6, she won first-place trophy in a talent show; at age 8 she was on TV for Star Search; and now LeeAnn is the country’s biggest-selling country singer.  She has won several Grammys and other awards.  LeeAnn’s Ascendant is 2º 37’ Aquarius trine Mercury: she is an independent thinker.  Uranus at the Ascendant/Mercury midpoint is self-knowledge, and she likes to chat.  The Sun and Moon trine in earth gives material and occupational success, friendly relations, and physical well-being and stamina.  This trine gives inner balance and attracts the opposite sex. 

With all planets in the upper half of the chart, she gives of herself to achieve self-realization.  The fixed angles give great determination.  LeeAnn’s nodes are Cancer and Capricorn: her parents had a great influence on her career.  Saturn is exalted in Libra, and the Moon is in detriment in Capricorn.  Saturn brings the realization that she can accomplish anything, and the Moon brings ambition and a reserved, cautious nature.  Her Vertex square Uranus brings strange, sudden acquaintances and romantic tragedies.  Vertex conjunct her Sun attracts powerful people, but relations with others can be stormy.  LeeAnn’s Vertex is in the 7th house of partnerships, alliances, and the public.  With Leo on the 7th, she is loved by the public.  The Vertex is in Virgo, so she prefers mental relationships with others.  She communicates easily with others and the people she works with.

Mercury sextile Uranus gives an intuitive, inventive mind.  She wants to be independent and do as she pleases.  With the Sun conjunct the Vertex in Virgo, she is duty-bound, and others have to measure up to a standard of perfection.  LeeAnn is wedded to her career.

Venus square Mars is passion and sensuality coupled with disharmonious tendencies and irritability.  The Venus/Mars midpoint is Mercury: her thinking is influenced by the love impulse and a desire for sensual pleasures; also she is very gifted in art and has great power of attraction.  Pluto at 21º 57’ Libra: she is an unusual and progressive person.  Neptune sextile Pluto shows a highly active imagination and fantasy.  With Neptune conjunct Juno, she prefers a more sensitive, spiritual partner; one who brings travel and new interests into her life with no restrictions.  20º 20’ of Scorpio on the MC is music and strategy, originality of expression.  Pluto in the 9th can bring a change with religion and gives farsightedness.  Both the MC at 20º Scorpio and the IC at 20º Taurus have to do with music.  The Moon rules the nodes.  Note the progressed Moon.

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Chart 4 is that of Betty, a bulemic.  Betty was born October 10, 1980 at 9:45 AM, long. 80W05, lat. 42N07.  Trans-Pluto conjunct the north node at 18º 24’ Leo is fun meetings for pleasure.  North node conjunct Trans-Pluto and Neptune are at the rim of the nodal barrier, creating many guilty feelings and karmic ties.  She has an unusual attraction to other people.  Neptune and Trans-Pluto are in trine: others impose on her.  Betty is an impractical idealist.  Neptune/Trans-Pluto midpoint 19º Libra 31’ conjunct the Mercury/Jupiter midpoint at 19º Libra 30’ brings ups and downs in fortune and indicates a wasteful nature.

Within the nodal barrier, all the planets are on the rising side of the chart.  Sun and Moon are above the horizon and in fall, with Venus in Scorpio at 6º Virgo 29’.  Sun in Libra wants to be popular, and seeks the cooperation of others in friendships and in group activities.  Saturn is exalted in Libra and rules the adrenal glands.  Pluto is the ruling planet. At 21º Libra 31’ conjunct the 12th house cusp, it shows a need to regenerate the unconscious mind by bringing its contents into consciousness.  The Sun/Moon midpoint (25º Libra 19’) conjunct the Jupiter/Uranus midpoint (25º Libra 05’) is financial loss through poor judgment.  25º Libra is a sensitive degree.  Vertex opposite Neptune and square Jupiter: a seducible nature with erratic aberrations, without attaining fulfillment.  Jupiter is in detriment.

The Neptune/MC midpoint (21º Libra 44’) in close conjunction to Pluto gives sexual problems. She feels very insecure and uncertain, with a lack of self-confidence called depressive psychosis.  The 12th house Moon holds in intense emotions, so she turns to food.  The Saturn/Neptune midpoint at 11º Scorpio 20’ conjunct Mercury shows nervous disorders and inhibitions, with a slow and difficult grasp of things.  Venus is in its fall at 6º Virgo 29’ of Virgo.  This degree rules chemicals and food additives, as does Neptune.  The Vertex, at 24º Gemini 24’, is neurasthenia gravis. Vertex square Jupiter opposite Neptune is loss through others. The anti-Vertex is conjunct Neptune, so inefficiency with money can be a problem and wishful thinking does not help.  The Vertex is in the 8th  ruled by Mercury; Mercury conjunct the Ascendant and conjunct the node of Neptune is fear of sex or sexual abuse by others, and Mercury solstice the south node is financial worries and clandestine affairs.  Jupiter rules the 2nd house and is in detriment at 26º Virgo34’ in the 11th house. Jupiter square the Vertex expects too many favors and considerations from others, can initiate too many close personal ties at one time, and is self-indulgent, disagreeable, and opinionated.  At the Neptune/MC midpoint is Pluto: criminal offenses.  Mercury at 12º Scorpio 26’ rules the 8th house.  Mercury is conjunct the Asc. conjunct the South Scale, a fixed star also called Zeubenegenubi, the southern claw.  It gives an unforgiving character and can be treacherous, causing disgrace and bad health.

Mars square the MC gives an aggressive spirit and proneness to accidents. Mars sextile Jupiter gives the capacity to make easy money.  Jupiter rules the 2nd house; with Neptune here, money may come and go in mysterious ways.  Neptune trine the MC favors artists and helps her gain public recognition. Neptune and Trans-Pluto conjunct the south node are at the rim of the nodal barrier.  This combination creates many guilty feelings and karmic ties. Also, she has an unusual attraction to other people.  Mercury conjunct the Asc. at 13º Scorpio 08’ shows that she is sarcastic and a skeptic.  With Uranus at 23º Scorpio 35’ square the 4th house at 23º Aquarius 09’, she is living on shaky ground with alcoholism in the family.

Betty’s prenatal eclipse on August 10, 1980 at 18º 17’ conjunct Trans-Pluto and conjunct the nodal barrier affects the health, especially the glandular system, the spine, and the spinal cord.  18º Aquarius solstice Mercury at 12º Scorpio 26’ has to do with rheumatic fever.

Ringo Starr
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Chart five is that of Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey.  He has an intercepted nodal barrier.  Ringo was born July 7, 1940 at 0.01 AM, BST, in Liverpool, England, long. 2W55, lat. 53N25.  The north node is at 15º Libra 29’ and the south node is at 15º Aries 29’.  15º of Libra gives musical ability and an inclination for musical development; there is also a variation of rhythm.  The nodal barrier square the Sun at 14º Cancer 41’ tends to block self-expression.  Ringo suffered many illnesses as a child. The Sun rules the 6th house of health.  The Sun/Neptune midpoint is 18º 51’ solstice Saturn, showing that inhibitions through illness and physical debility is of an emotional origin; he is easily influenced by others.  His parents divorced when he was three years old.  He suffered a ruptured appendix at age six and was in a coma for two months.  Then he suffered chronic pleurisy and was hospitalized for two years.  All of this gave him the undeserved reputation for being stupid.  Harry, his stepfather, bought him a secondhand drum kit when Ringo was 15, and Ringo immediately showed promise of becoming a great musician.

Uranus trine Neptune gives inner vision and resourcefulness in earning a living.  Uranus in Taurus gives unusual artistic talent.  Uranus/Neptune midpoint is 23º Cancer 57’.  Uranus at 23º Virgo 01’ gives many ups and downs.  Neptune in the 6th gives intuitive understanding of others; the inner or psychic life is open to outside influences.  Ringo is very sensitive; he picks up the vibes of others.  Neptune in the 6th demands many sacrifices; the lessons of work and health will be difficult.  Sun/Moon midpoint at 24º Cancer 21’ gives musical ability, has great ideas and aspirations, and rules the digestive organs.  Uranus rules the 12th house of institutions solstice Mercury; Ringo had to spend a considerable amount of time there while sick. Uranus is at 24º Taurus 54’ conjunct Caput Algol in the 2nd house. 

Neptune conjunct the Vertex can bring difficulties when working with others.  The vertex is at 00º declination, also Mercury/Uranus midpoint is at 00º Cancer 03’; 00 degrees cardinal are critical degrees; Ringo is at ease in public.  There are five planets conjunct in Leo in the 5th house (Trans-Pluto, Pluto, Mars, Moon, and Mercury). This stellium increases his power as an entertainer.  Jupiter-Neptune at the rim of the nodal barrier, midpoint 16º Cancer 42’, give a fertile imagination, which finds an outlet in art, music, philosophy or religion.   Jupiter conjunct Saturn semi-square Asc. is a challenge, tension.  Jupiter conjunct Saturn semi-square Venus: he attains his aims slowly but surely.

Vertex conjunct Neptune rules artists in square to MC, IC, and Venus.  Vertex opposed the Ascendant is undesirable friendships which can damage the reputation.  There was a prenatal solar eclipse on April 7th, 1940 at 17º Aries 52’, and another total solar eclipse on October 1, 1940 at 8º Libra 11’ near the intercepted nodes and square the Sun ruling the 6th house affected the health.  Eclipses always affect health.  The eclipse of April 7, 1940 was conjunct the natal south node and Alpheratz, a fixed star liable to diseases.  The nodal barrier squares the Sun in the 4th. The Sun is conjunct Sirius, a star that brings domestic harmony and success in business and occupation.  Uranus/Neptune midpoint conjunct the Sun/Mars midpoint gives inspiration, spiritual cognition, and determination; also the will to live.   The Ascendant opposite the Neptune/Vertex midpoint is being placed in a peculiar environment, surrounded by an air of mysticism and soul experiences.

The Sun and Moon are in mutual reception.  Moon conjunct Mercury is septile the Vertex, and Mercury is in its fall. Ringo is very sensitive to what others think of him.  He devotes much thought to home and family.

With the Moon in Leo, he has a need to love and be loved which leads to a sunny disposition and desire for a nice home.  With Mercury in Leo there is an interest in the education of children.

Neither node should be classified as good or bad.  Aspects to the north node show how we grow; aspects to the south node show where we give or let go.  South node is loss or depletion.  The nodes show past and future karma.  The nodes are:


N. Node    Gemini      Virgo           Libra       Sag.          Virgo              Aries
S Node     Sag.          Pisces         Aries        Gem.        Virgo              Libra

N. node favorable in Gemini and Virgo, or located in the 3rd & 6th houses; offer opportunities for growth.

S. node favorable in Sagittarius and Pisces, or located in the 9th & 12th houses; rewards for past good deeds.


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