What Happens When You Meet Your Skipped Step? Repaying Karmic Debts In Romantic Relationships

Skipped Step

Credit: Casarsa via iStockphoto

Some romantic partners press your buttons just by walking in the room. You’re magnetized at first meeting, and find it difficult to pull back from the relationship, even though they always tread on that one, thorny issue. They make you uncomfortable, and yet you feel compelled to stick with them. What gives? They might just be your skipped step.

The Nodal Axis

The Nodal Axis is a karmic highway in your natal chart. There are two points (not planets) at either end. The South Node represents your past life. The North Node represents what you need to do in this life to deal with South Node issues and evolve. Sometimes there is a flag in your chart that points to a specific, unresolved past life issue. This is a planet that squares the North and South Nodes (in other words, it forms a square aspect to the Nodal Axis). The planet describes a skipped step, or a pressing issue from your past life.

When you meet someone with one or more planets that conjuncts your skipped step, they trigger the issue. There is a strong past life connection between the two of you, because that person was part of your unresolved issue. When you meet them in this life, as a romantic partner, the pull can be extremely strong. But the feelings that arise can be complex and frustrating for both parties. Read on for some examples and tips on how both partners can deal with this situation.

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Example 1: North Node in Scorpio/South Node in Taurus

Let’s start with Jack and his North Node in Scorpio, South Node in Taurus. Jack’s past life was based on security, preservation and looking out for himself (Taurus). In this life he can embrace that North Node energy by becoming comfortable with radical intimacy and letting down his guard (Scorpio).

Jack’s Venus in Aquarius squares his Nodal Axis. Along comes Jill, whose Sun conjuncts Jack’s Venus. She personifies his idea of feminine beauty with her cool, quirky, independent persona. But she also triggers that skipped step, which means Jack is attracted to, but threatened by, her independence. In a past life, she rocked his secure boat; perhaps they were in love but she was unsuitable because she challenged his limited value system (maybe he was a farmer and she was a rebel). She scared Jack, so he rejected her.

Here she is again in this life, and they pick up where they left off. Problem is, whenever Jill says she needs some time to herself, Jack responds as if his life has been threatened. When Jill uses her detached Aquarian insight to disagree with Jack, he either stubbornly clings to his opinion or cuts her off completely. His reactions are so far out of proportion to what’s happening that Jill has considered breaking things off with him many times. But she hesitates to take this step because she feels the pull between them as well.

Jack can learn to open himself up to new ideas (and detachment) through his relationship with Jill. He may feel the urge to shut her down every time she expresses herself. But he can move past this if he realizes that the strength of his emotions are echoes from their previous life together. Jill can use that Aquarian detachment to step back and realize that Jack is not rejecting her (exactly). This is Jack’s past life stuff, and she is just playing a part in it.

Example 2: North Node in Libra/South Node in Aries

For our next example, let’s say Ann’s South Node is in Aries, and her North Node is in Libra. It’s easy for Ann to be independent and do her own thing. Relationships (North Node Libra) and cooperating with other people are not one of her strengths. They scare her because being in a partnership would mean losing her identity. In her past life, Ann’s existence might have depended on staying strong, staying separate and remaining unencumbered.

Ann’s Mars in Cancer is square her Nodal Axis. Here’s Henry with his Mars in the same degree of Cancer as Ann’s. Tons of sexual heat with Mars conjunct Mars, but he also triggers her distaste of nurturing. Hugs make Ann feel smothered, and neediness is a turn-off. In a past life, Henry might have been overly dependent on Ann; perhaps he was crippled and she had to (grudgingly) nurse him back to health. Maybe she was a warrior who was sworn to protect him. In any case, Ann abandoned him and did not fulfill her promise to protect.

Now Henry’s back with his Mars in Cancer, demanding affection. Ann might push him away again, or she could take a step forward and realize that her fear of being smothered/trapped is just that: a fear. Henry may have a vague, panicky feeling that Ann will break up with him. The more he tries to push for commitment, the more he drives her away. Ann won’t help matters by keeping him at arm’s length. If both can wrap their heads around the idea that what they are feeling is part of an old, past life script, they can evolve together.

Using Your Skipped Step to Evolve

It’s always tricky when a romantic partner triggers your skipped step. There is a powerful draw, with an equally powerful frustration, or even repulsion. The details of your unresolved story can be found in the house positions of the skipped step planet and the North and South Nodes. Your skipped step partner is more than just a painful reminder of your past life failings; they are your key to evolving in this life. But as always, it’s up to you and your partner, if you want to work through the story together and start a new chapter. Or, you may decide to leave this one for the next life.

What happens when you encounter your skipped step? Let us know in comments below.

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About Nadia Gilchrist

Nadia Gilchrist offers over 19 years of experience in astrology. Her writings and personal consultations focus on applying practical astrological analysis to the real world. Nadia blogs regularly at Ruby Slipper Astrology.


  1. Interesting. In synastry with an ex my Venus was in a T-square to his nodes. His Venus was conjunct my north node and his Saturn conjunct my South node?? Venus is the ruler of my Taurus South Node… We were obsessed with each other and it took every part of me to push him away for good. An infidelity that I can’t forgive him for… is this going to continue into the next life you think? Any feedback is appreciated.

  2. wow Ive been looking for an article online regarding this…
    I am South node(1st house) in pisces north node virgo(7th) with someones ascendant in sag squaring it….
    Would this be like, I need to not be selfish and dislocated and learn to be more focused relating to other people, and this guy is at odds with that because of his free nature?

  3. This is absolutely fascinating!
    Someone in my life with whom I have professional relationship is the trigger for my skipped step. We have very plutonian/neptunian synastry which makes the bond hard to break…
    I have scorpio NN in 1 house with square to 10 house leo venus. Alternatively it squares my taurus SN in 7th. His mars conjuncts my venus and moon conjuncts NN.
    My saturn sits on his NN. Natally he has sun/mercury conjunct SN. My uranus squares it…
    It seems to me that we both have past issues to be resolved and yet after few years of this emotionally exausting and exhilarating “relationship” we can’t quite figure out how it will play out. Again…

  4. Hi Nadia,

    Thank you so much for shedding light on the skipped step approach. I know this is an old post. But if you have time, would you mind telling me what the case might be when an axis, rather than a planet, (AC-DC axis or Vertex axis) conjuncts two skipped step planets at both ends, does that count?

    Following couple for example.

    His nodes are squared by his Moon and Jupiter. Her AC-DC conjuncts them.
    Her nodes are squared by her Jupiter and Venus. His Vertex – Anti-vertex conjuncts them.

    In other words, his nodes square her AC-DC and her nodes square his vertex.

    True node used and all orbs within 3 degrees.

    Thank you.

  5. Fascinating article! I have NN in Cancer in 7th house and SN in Cap in 1st house. It’s squared by Mercury in Libra. My bf has his moon exactly conjunct my Mercury. Also my North Node is conjunct his Juno. I absolutely knew it was karmic when we met. Transiting Pluto went conjunct my South Node the day we first really hung out together. I’ll have to ponder all this.

  6. Hello,

    I’ve always enjoyed your site and am very curious about this strange connection I have with someone. There seems to be considerable energy in this part of our chart and I’ve been trying to understand it.

    We have both our south nodes in 6th house Scorpio with my vertex and uranus there. My vertex conjuncts his south node almost exactly. We both have our north nodes in 12th taurus with my moon, jupiter and chiron there.

  7. Sorry for the double post but I realized that we have south node square sun, mercury and venus. It definitely sounds like this is a very painful karmic relationship.

  8. Found this in Recent Comments. 🙂
    I am my friend’s skipped step. His nodal axis is NN virgo 19 10H and SN pisces 19 4H. He has natal neptune Sag 19 1H, which is exactly conjunct my natal venus 3H. He isn’t my skipped step though. Neptune and venus. Am I his dream woman?? 🙂

    Hard to tell right now if there is more to come or if we’re leaving this for another lifetime. Mars Rx and things are quiet. It doesn’t feel over, feels like we’re waiting for something, but that could be the eclipses!

    So I am painful for him? It’s easy for him to drift and dream, harder for him to focus, but that’s his 10H and he needs to if he wants to do well at work and with goals, and especially if he wants to marry. And this is where I come in? Kind of made me laugh, I did get frustrated he wasn’t taking things seriously enough when we were colleagues. I’m over-responsible, work before play. He didn’t like it, he felt criticised, but he saw the merit in my complaints and he did step up, both at work and with bad habits he has. He knew it made me happy. He’s flaky with promises and plans too, not realising how much he hurts people. He soon realised when he did it to me. I showed hurt on every broken/empty promise, I rejected every low offer. I asked him to try harder, do better. He gave up and went for easier options. But they’re not working…

  9. I share this with a man…we have north node opposing north node squaring my sun almost exact..which is exactly conj with his Jupiter..we we were married but it was a hidden marriage and my parents by force..by lies by drama…made me divorce him..and since I can’t get him off my mind…it lead to my depression… I need a solution for this..help..me..I wanna contact u..my dob march 6 1984..India..I don’t have time sorry..and his august 5 1974..india..I don’t have time for him either…plz contact me if u can give me any insight on this issue…this seem to poison me inside

  10. theadventure says:

    This explains a lot! My husband’s Moon and Sun straddle my North Node in my first house in Sagittarius and his Saturn is on my skipped step (my Nodes square Mars, 9H, intercepted in Virgo); like, 2 minutes and 3 seconds. Saturn and North Node are conjunct in our marriage chart and, at the time of the Node Saturn conjunction in 2013, were sextile to that position by less than a degree. Circumstances have conspired to make this marriage enduring, for better or worse, mostly worse. If there is something that is supposed to be learned from this cruel and unusual joke, I wish I knew what it was. Do you have any suggestions about how to work with this energy to be happy?

  11. My new very close friend’s north node squares my north node, south node as well of course and my sun (that conj SN). All I can feel is some strange tension but we can’t stop contacting each other. But I have no idea how to interpret this “connection”.

  12. and what if their Saturn squares your North and South Nodes? Is this typical to have the same planet in both NN and SN at the same orb? Does it make sense to leave behind in the South and evolve to in the North simultaneously?

  13. Could you explain the significance of one person’s nodes squaring the other person’s nodes?

    Also, my South node is conjunct his Chiron and Mars, my Jupiter is conjunct his Sun, and his Saturn is conjunct my Venus.

    Jupiter was retrograde and conjunct my Moon, and Pluto was retrograde opposite my Jupiter when we met.

    Have not found anything here about nodes square nodes, so would really appreciate some illumination!

    Thanks very much!

  14. Great article! I have this with someone, My venus (11th house) and moon(10th & 11th house cusp) in leo squares his north node in scorpio in my 2nd house. Any insight into possible themes?

  15. Hi everyone! I have a couple of questions regarding skipped steps:

    1. Person A has N node at 26 Taurus. Person A does not have any planets in Leo or Aquarius at all. Person B has Venus conjunct Jupiter in Leo, with Jupiter at 26 degrees and Venus at 28. Since person A does not have any planets in Leo himself, would the synastry still have any significance? I guess, in other words Can person B provide person A with something that he does not already have, or is this a case of him needing Leo himself in order to benefit from what person B has?

    2. Yeah, I know this may seem like a silly question, but thought I would ask anyway: Do angles square to the nodes, natal or synastry, mean anything? I’ve never heard of this before, but thought I would ask anyway.

  16. Nadia,
    If you are the parent and your child has a skipped step (say Pluto in Sag) on your sun in Sag (nodes are same for parent and child NN Pisces and SN Virgo) what as a parent are the karmic ties? Jupiter is the ruler of Sag and both parent and child have Jupiter in Scorpio. I’m wondering if the karmic issue is around emotions, spirituality or religion or law. Parent has NN Pisces in 12th and SN in 6th, child has NN in Pisces in 9th and SN in 3rd. Is there a death or separation from either in an earlier life due to religious or lawful concerns? SN ruler for parent is in 10th in Cap and NN ruler Neptune in 8th (Jupiter in 7th in Scorpio). SN ruler for child in 4th in Scorpio (conj Jupiter and square Saturn in Leo in 1st) and NN ruler Neptune in 7th in Aquarius (Jupiter in 4th in Scorpio). Your article got me wondering about the karmic skipped steps that are related to a parent from a child’s skipped step. Great article, thanks!

  17. Hi Nadia, thank you for this lovely article! I have met someone where there has been a powerful connection and attraction. We have not been able to physically get together but we chat all the time. However what is transpiring is the more I get to know him, the more he terrifies me with his extreme reactions to what I consider minor things, he’s hectic! Pluto in the first house individual. My plutonin 9H also squares his north north node in Capricorn in the 7H. My MC also squares his NN. His pluto in Libra sextiles my NN 29 deg Scorpio. This relationship terrifies me but I drawn to it like a moth to a flame!! I have broken it off 3x already but we keep coming back, initiated by him. We had a fight last night again and I’m just going to leave it but he’s been on my mind constantly and I should RUN in the other direction but my energy is otherwise!! Please can you assist and shed some light on this? Thank you xxx

  18. What happens when Person A’s Venus squares Person B’s North Node? Like, how do these people end up? I’m Person A and I’m scared if he’ll eventually get tired of me because of this configuration. Do couples with this aspect make it? Thanks

  19. Which is stronger? South node conj moon by 3 degrees or Skipped point conj Mars by 0 degree?

  20. Can you tell me.. What is it if my Mars is conjUncting his skipped step by 0 degree?

  21. So I get that the skipped step is points Conjunct. But what about points opp or Square? For instance I have my NN in Taurus is Square Jupiter in Aquarius in the 8th, and super widely Conjunct Venus in Taurus. That Venus in Taurus is Opp my Vertex Saturn Conjunction in Scorpio. I recently met a man who was engaged who literally gobsmacked me, I thought it was mutual. But he’s getting married so I want to focus on myself and what to learn from him. His NN is in Leo Square Chiron in Taurus, Mars and Uranus in Scorpio. His NN is Square my NN by 3 degrees, his Chiron is Conjunct my NN, my Saturn-Vertex Conjunction is Conjunct his Uranus Mars Conjunction these are all Square his NN. I’m wondering about oppositions and Squares. My Saturn is also Square his NN, and my Venus is very loosely Square his NN. My Jupiter in Aquarius in the 8th (is my skipped step) is Opp his NN, and Square his Mars in Scorpio Conjunct Uranus. We have a ton of astroid stuff going on (from my side…I haven’t looked for him) like alma, child, valentine, apollo, amor Juno that fits with this being something. His wife is an Aquarius Sun with Aries Moon born on a Friday, my SO is an Aquarius Sun Scorpio Moon also born on. Friday. This man was born on a Wed, and I was born on a Wed. He is. Libra Sun Conjunct Saturn with Cancer Moon, I’m a Cancer Sun with Cap Moon in the 7th Trine Venus.

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