One of the most vital parts of any astrological chart, the moon since ancient time has been the symbol of the Great Universal Mother, the feminine principle of deity and the fertility of nature. The astrological moon is also known as the ‘Gatekeeper of the Unconscious Mind’. Although not strictly speaking a planet, astrologers refer to the moon as one of the two ‘Luminaries’ or lights (the Sun being the other), and for ease of reference the term ‘planet’ is often used.
Useful keywords to remember when assessing the astrological strength of the moon are: Response, Instinct, Intuition, Fluctuation, Emotion. The Moon rules the sign of Cancer, and myths tend to show her as beautiful and serene – but often also as a cruel seductress. Both in myth and in astrology, she is associated with natural childbirth. Perhaps more importantly, she encourages natural, instinctive behaviour in a personality. There is a close connection with the emotions, and also with the digestive system. The moon can lend many things to a personality, including patience, changeability, narrow-mindedness, imagination, sympathy and unreliability.
When interpreting the influence of the Moon Sign in a natal chart, it is important to remember that the subject will intuitively and instinctively react and respond to all situations in the manner of that sign. The Moon indicates the attributes we inherit from our parents and from earlier generations. We may recognise these, but if we find them undesirable or inhibiting, we often have great difficulty in coming to terms with them. Awareness of these qualities is nonetheless very helpful and contributes a great deal to our psychological development and eventual wholeness.
The flow of the Moon’s energy is greatly helped by positive aspects between it and the Sun and/or the ruling planet of the chart. Also helpful is a trine or a sextile aspect between the Moon and the planet ruling the sign which the Moon occupies. Negative aspects are usually obstructive, whilst a conjunction adds great strength to the Moon’s sign and house position.
The spheres of life governed by the Moon’s house will be of great importance to the subject, and an important focal point of the chart. The more aspects the Moon receives, the greater it’s prominence. If Cancer is emphasised by the Sun or by being the Ascendant, the Moon will be especially powerful; it will also to a certain extent gain power through a Taurus Sun Sign or Ascendant.
The moon travels through each of the twelve houses of the zodiac in approximately 28 days. It spends roughly two to two and a half days in each sign at any one time. Since the moon travels through our whole natal horoscope each and every month, our natal moon receives aspects each and every month. If you can get hold of a good ephemeris, it is fascinating to watch the progress of the moon and chart this against your own moods. This is not difficult to do, and you will soon get a feel for which transits are helpful to you and which are more stressful. In a later lesson, we will be charting the progress of the moon’s phases, and explaining their astrological significance.
For the moment, however, let’s take a look at how the Moon’s energies work through the signs .
MOON IN ARIES:
Reactions here are extremely quick, and the subject responds emotionally (sometimes rather too emotionally) to any subject or issue that arouses his feelings. There is much positive, vital energy in this placing, and no chance of the subject allowing the grass to grow under his feet. He has a strongly instinctive need for action, which, however, can often lead to too much haste. A quick temper can also be a problem, especially if the Moon receives negative angles from Mars or Uranus. The subject may also be accident prone, due to bravery and impulsive behaviour. If this impulsiveness can be controlled, he will be marvellously decisive, with an excellent broad outlook on life. Independence is vital – not only does he want the freedom to do his own thing, but he also is happy to allow others to do theirs. Sexually, these people are passionate and alive, but can become easily bored. Selfishness, the worst Arian fault, often emerges when he is challenged, and these subjects will instinctively put themselves first. However, once the situation settles down, they often realise that they have hurt someone, and attempt to make amends in the manner of their Sun Sign. Patience, however, is not a strong point.
MOON IN TAURUS:
The Moon is powerfully placed in Taurus, and will to some extent outweigh many other factors in the chart. Security, or at least the impression of it, is vital to these people, who respond very quickly and defensively if their emotional or material security is threatened. Quite conventional, this placement can cause problems if other areas of the chart show a need to be original and different. Perhaps the biggest problem with Moon in Taurus is possessiveness. With sound common sense, she will often try to alleviate this fault, but often without much success. All in all, the approach to life here is solid and sensible, which can be a great asset if a certain flightiness is indicated elsewhere in the chart. The Taurean love of good food and good living makes itself felt very strongly through the Moon; in particular, she is likely to suffer from ‘stress-eating’ and such like. Traditionally, the throat is vulnerable with this placement.
MOON IN GEMINI:
Very quick verbal responses are characteristic of this placement. He will express himself – especially when young – in such a torrent of words that others sometimes find it hard to follow! The versatility of Gemini is certainly present here, and these people are excellent at ‘multi-tasking’. Because the Moon governs instinct and emotions, and Gemini is a rational, logical sign, there is a potential source of conflict when the subject tries to decide whether to follow heart or head. He must come to terms with the fact that intuition and objective realism can and should merge and flow happily together. This Gemini placement means that he doesn’t entirely trust his emotions, which is a great shame. Communication is very important to these people, and the natural instinct is to chatter. Impatience and restlessness are also present, and the high reserves of nervous energy should not be allowed to stagnate – this can be a problem if other areas of the chart indicate a more solid, steady personality. Nervous strain and tension are greatly reduced if the Moon receives positive aspects from Mercury. Left unchecked, nerves can lead to digestion problems.
MOON IN CANCER:
The Moon rules Cancer, and so it’s placing here is vitally important. Defensiveness is the immediate response to any challenge. Emotional and intuitive levels are second to none, and here is someone who really should learn to trust and to rely on their feelings, which will not let them down. However, there is also plenty of imagination, which if triggered by worry can be negative rather than positive. When worried, she always assumes the worst – not because of any depressive characteristics, just because apprehension over loved ones causes powerful emotions to bubble up out of control. There is frequently a strong sense of family and nostalgia with this placing, and coming to terms with childhood experiences both good and bad tends to take longer than with other Moon Signs. Speaking of childhood, she will often face problems when her own children are grown up and ready to fly the nest; she finds it very hard to let go. At times like this, other, stronger, more forward looking parts of the chart will hopefully provide a balance. These people love to collect things and to hoard, and often live amongst considerable clutter, all of which adds to their much needed sense of security. Mood changes are very fast, and can be disconcerting to loved ones. Women with this placing may suffer more than most from pre-menstrual tension, and the skin of both sexes tends to be sensitive.
MOON IN LEO:
The immediate instinct of those with this placing is to take over. There is a happy and optimistic energy, often expressed in a positive way, but it is all too easy for these people to come across as bossy, dogmatic and stubborn. At best, however, they are truly great leaders who know how to get the best from everyone, including themselves. Their belief that they can do everything better than anyone else is a bit of a mixed blessing. If shyness is present elsewhere in the chart, there is often a conflict whereby the subject covers up their lack of confidence by over-compensating and showing off in a way that can be embarrassing to loved ones. Intuition and imagination are strong, and there is a strong creative urge. Larger than life, this is a placing that really needs a steadying hand from other areas of the chart, especially with a helpful contact from Saturn or the earth signs. Superb organisational ability and a sense of immediacy make these people truly reliable in an emergency.
MOON IN VIRGO:
In some ways, this placing is similar to Moon in Gemini, in as much as the subject will be very talkative when nervous or challenged, and if anything there will be even greater resources of nervous energy. If this is positively expressed then here is someone who is always ahead of the competition, and right up to date with the latest developments. Worry and lack of self-confidence are often present, and because the worry springs from the deepest instinctive level, there are often accompanying mysterious illnesses with an unconscious cause. Children in particular can suffer from very real ‘school-itis’ when stressed, and a careful watch needs to be kept on this. Fundamentally rational , the subject has an extremely practical approach to life, and is known for being very helpful. A strong critical streak can be channelled constructively or destructively, depending on the other planetary placements. Talented and incisive communicators, these people usually win in most arguments and debates.
MOON IN LIBRA:
Here is the peace-maker of the zodiac, full of tact and diplomacy, There is an immediate response to and an ability to identify with other people’s points of view. This is a fine quality, but strength of character needs to be found elsewhere in the chart in order to avoid the subject becoming indecisive and weak. Kindness is boosted by a natural understanding and a genuine sympathy. In a crisis, these people remain calm and comforting, and help to encourage everyone to relax. He identifies naturally with balance and harmony, and will go out of his way to make amends when there is tension in the air with family, friends or colleagues. An ability to bring out the best in others is one of this placing’s greatest strengths. He makes strangers feel immediately at ease, often because he is so relaxed himself. There is an immediate charm which is often very beguiling, but in attempting to be all things to all people, he can sometimes forget to be just himself.
MOON IN SCORPIO:
The emotional energy resources, strong when the Sun or Ascendant is Scorpio, are even stronger with this placing. Emotions surface at once if the subject is challenged, and their response to all manner of situations is laced with vivid emotion. Because the feelings are so easily on tap, these people do tend to over-react, both positively and negatively. Outbursts often surprise those who don’t’ know them well, because other areas of the chart frequently present quite a different picture. Still waters run deep – certainly an apt description here. Physical energy is also boosted by this placing, which adds determination and an urge to achieve. The cruel streak of Scorpio can be evident in harsh views on, for instance, criminal justice. The jealousy impulse is also very strong, and it is vital that she recognises this and tries to control it. If the powerful emotions can be channelled in the right direction, then here is a person with tremendous inner strength and resourcefulness.
MOON IN SAGITTARIUS:
People with this placing respond with sheer enjoyment and enthusiasm to a challenge, because the need for adventure is quintessentially Sagittarian. Not bothering with the pros and cons of a situation, these people dive in head first and get on with it. Indeed, attention to detail is not a strong point, which can lead to careless and reckless mistakes. Impatience is strong, but hope and optimism ride high. A tendency to be off-hand can be hurtful to loved ones, and a somewhat brusque manner can leave others smarting. Sagittarian restlessness is inevitable with this placing; the grass is always greener elsewhere for this person, but then again, they are always travelling hopefully. There is marvellous potential in this placing, especially intellectually, but it is up to the subject to fulfil that potential by calling on the other, hopefully more stable and balanced parts of her chart in order to help her channel her unique philosophies on life. Food allergies are common with this placing, particularly against rich foods.
MOON IN CAPRICORN:
Those with this placing tend to respond to events in a cool, calm and dignified manner. Emotions are usually very much under control, and there can also be a tendency towards aloofness. However, the marvellously off-beat Capricorn sense of humour surfaces often, and does much to soften a sometimes cool first impression. Very ambitious, there is also considerable staying power with this placing, and provided the necessary intellectual or practical talents are present in the rest of the chart, success in life is usually the result. Sometimes he has a tendency to moan, and a lack of confidence can lead to depressive or negative tendencies. And inner desire to impress people can mean that help is usually refused as a matter of pride. However, when this placing receives positive aspects from Mars, Saturn, the Ascendant, Sun or chart ruler, then all of the positive qualities dominate any pessimistic side, leaving only occasional bouts of ‘down in the dumps’ which soon pass.
MOON IN AQUARIUS:
Those with this placing are magnetically attractive, yet send out signals suggesting they are cool and distant. When we break through the somewhat frosty barrier, however, we find these people to be very compassionate and helpful, especially to those in need. Unpredictable and ‘different’, she takes a pride in her unconventional views. Quite contrary, they sometimes even surprise themselves! Surprisingly, these people do have a strong romantic streak, but once past the flush of first love can appear to be very detached in a relationship. They do love deeply, but are not the best at showing it. Love for the world in general, by contrast, is always forthcoming; humanitarianism is their middle name. A spark of genius is often present, along with considerable originality. Flashes of brilliant ideas are not always seen through to a conclusion, though, and he would do well to cultivate more persistence.
MOON IN PISCES:
This individual is easily moved, whether to great happiness or deep sadness;
moved to tears by a sudden flash of nostalgia, and affected deeply by TV scenes of suffering. The response will be to do something kind and self-less, and these people contribute much compassion to humankind. Great sensitivity combined with an excellent imagination can mean that they are very artistic. However, being so sensitive does sometimes mean that the subject will take the line of least resistance, often weakening the character as a whole. There is a tendency to tell lies and to be deceptive, not only to others, but to themselves. When the subject does deceive others, the reasoning will be that lies are less hurtful than the truth – and the lies will be told with astonishing spontaneity and apparent sincerity. As with a Piscean sun sign or Ascendant, the subject may be adversely affected by drugs – prescription or otherwise. Giving way to a form of negative escapism can be a hard habit to break.