The Moon: Fundamental Planet of Love
The Moon is actually the fundamental planet, period; it is the fundamental planet of everything! It is the “foundation” planet upon which the whole of our psycho-spiritual and even physiological structure is built. Just as a house built on a weak or faulty foundation is compromised, so, too, a psychology built on an unintegrated Moon is dysfunctional.
At the moment of birth, the Moon pattern is set and activated. The fundamental, primary, contact with the physical mother sets the child’s original sensory and feeling response to the external world. This first imprint sets an unshakable tone to the remainder of the life. Psychotherapy techniques that attempt to deal with the traumas that occur during this first imprinting are Primal Therapy & Rebirthing.
Through the Moon, the past can be contacted and explored. The past (including past-lives if you entertain this idea) can be a lost, unknown land. It is the seedbed for present reality and self-image. The inner lunar mindscape, or minefield, is a place of contrasts and contradictions.
The Moon is the deepest recess of our nature and through it we experience both personal and collective unconscious areas of our being. These include our roots, family heritage, ancestors, race, and individual DNA, the genetic code. Through the Moon we can access a reservoir of instinctive wisdom.
The Moon reflects the instinctive reactions created through repetitive experience and behavior. These reactions reveal our subconscious pre-dispositions and conditioned reflexes. They emerge as apparently spontaneous responses to situations. We create many types of automatic and mechanical reaction patterns-physical, emotional and mental. Life eventually becomes generally dictated by habit.
We are conditioned through our Moon. The first, most powerful conditioning occurs in the pre-verbal stages of infancy and sets the pattern for our sense of security or insecurity throughout life. This conditioning occurs first in the family, then society (playmates, peer group, school) and the general culture of the time in which we live. An example of cultural conditioning can be seen in the changing attitudes toward love, courtship and marriage in different eras and in different cultures. Romantic love is a relatively new invention, arising in Western Europe around the time of the Crusades. And, originally it had nothing to do with marriage to the beloved (she was almost always someone else’s wife).
The Moon ties us into what I call “herd consciousness.” It exerts a pull toward the past, where sentimentality, nostalgia, and an attraction to established social attitudes and values dominates the conscious mind, in other words towards “traditional values” and “family values,” status quo. The Moon represents memory, both individual and collective.
Due to the nature of the collective lunar roots, there is a tendency toward inertia within the psyche that encourages submergence into life experience without the struggle to attain individuality and self-consciousness (Solar consciousness). This is the pull back toward the realms of unconsciousness. This leads to the mass tendency to live on the basis of feeling response rather than developing the mind through efforts to understand life. We live in a Sun sign Cancer (stellium in Cancer) nation. As a collective, we are characterized for a childlike (some would say childish) attitude tending toward maudlin sentimentality and overblown patriotism (clannishness taken to a broader level). We want to “go home for the holidays,” hold almost sacred “mom and apple pie.”
The first task of any spiritual teacher or guru is to break the lunar habits in order that the person can rise to solar consciousness, to an awakened state and eventually to a state of self-realization or cosmic consciousness. In the Gospel of Mark 13:32 – 37, Jesus is quoted as admonishing his followers to “watch!” That word is repeated four times. Again, in Mark 14:33 – 40 the disciples are commanded to stay awake and pray, in other words to meditate consciously. Jesus says in exasperation, “Couldest not thou watch one hour?” This illustrates just how difficult it is for even the most devoted to abandon lunar unconscious and rise to solar conscious awareness. The Moon represents Mother; the Sun represents Father. It is hard to leave mommy and take on the responsibilities that daddy asks us to! Jesus is a Solar Hero, always talking about his heavenly father (the Sun), not his divine mother. In psychological astrology we would call this the process of integrating the Moon, learning to nurture and “mother” ourselves. Harish Johari wrote in his Chakras – energy Centers of Transformation, “One can become liberated from the traditional bonds that are deep-seated within the genetic code. Through Yoga it is possible to transcend the genetic code to complete freedom.” The individual ego dissolves and the will of God prevails.” One who accomplishes this is called “twice-born.” For more on the Moon and the process of spiritual development see the article titled Banquet for the Moon.
The Moon represents the archetypal feminine in the role of Mother. In a man’s chart the Moon tends to be “psychologized” through projection. He looks for a woman who will manifest his own lunar qualities and actualize them for him. The Moon represents his anima, that is, the idealized woman personalized. The woman or women who receive this projection are the ones with whom he “falls in love.” Most women tend to identify with their lunar qualities, but they tend to project their solar qualities onto men who are expected to actualize her animus, or inner conscious hero.
The Moon is:
- the needy inner infant; and a very common lunar pathology is addiction in all forms,
- the nurturing parent or inner mother
- the archetypal feminine.
The lunar phases represent the triple goddess:
- the Maiden, the virgin (first quarter),
- the Nymph or fertile woman, the mother (full Moon)
- the Crone, the Witch or wise old woman, the grandmother (last quarter).
MOON AND PARENTAL INFLUENCE AND PERSONAL NEEDS
The Moon is the basic planet of love because it is the planet of nurturing and growth. It represents the first relationship we ever experience, the mother-child bonding. Because this is our earliest relationship experience, a very intense one and the interaction is repeated often over the earliest months and years, it establishes the ingrained pattern for all subsequent relationships in our lives. The Moon is the baby seeking the breast as well as the breast seeking the baby. And while we may fall in love on the basis of Venus (attraction) and Mars (passion and sex drive), with a lot of Neptune (illusion, “glaze phase” of romance), we find sometime after the honeymoon is over that we have recreated our original family dynamics. We all deep down want to marry our mother. That is why the husband in a “happy marriage” is usually more content than his wife. After all, he got a mommy; all she got was superannuated kid!
Moon sign placements by element
So, let’s look at how the different sign placements by element (style of emotional expression) for the Moon indicate the kind of love, caring and nurturance we seek and can give in exchange. Moon in Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) indicates an enthusiastic response to a variety of life experiences. Fiery Moon people are nurtured by fun, enjoyment, creativity, action and play. Give him or her tickets to a play or movie, an evening out dining and dancing, play tennis with her, go to the beach, take a hike in the hills, go camping in the mountains (especially attractive to Sag. types).
The Moon in Air Signs
An Air Moon person needs communication (“For the great relief of having you to talk to.”), information, space to observe and talking. Give these people books, magazine subscriptions, and interesting educational courses on tape to listen to while commuting to work.
The Moon in Water Signs
Water sign Moon people want to share feelings, emotions, and they need and give sympathy, empathy and understanding. They want someone to share suffering and cry with them. Take them to a tearjerker movies after a dinner at the best seafood restaurant. They enjoy music, poetry and romantic get-aways somewhere near water.
The Moon in Earth Signs
Earth sign Moons are perhaps the easiest to shop for. They just like things – things that appeal to the five senses, things to touch, taste, smell, see and hear. That includes nice articles of clothing, fine jewelry, food and candy, perfume and flowers and their favorite music. Money, checks, stocks and bonds and real estate are quite acceptable, too. One woman’s husband gave her “his and hers” adjoining burial plots for an anniversary. She was ecstatic! She has Moon in Taurus in the 4th house (the house of the “tomb”).
The Moon in the modalities (style of movement) is nurtured: in Cardinal by action and movement; in Fixed by stability, persistence and permanence; in Mutable by variety and change.
Next, what is the Moon’s Orientation: Personal (Aries thru Cancer), Social (Leo thru Scorpio) or Universal (Sagittarius thru Pisces).
We can look at the house placement of the Moon. Is it in a Personal house (1 – 4) and concerned with “I, me, mine;” in a Social house (5 – 8) and concerned with interpersonal relationships, with “I and Thou;” or in a Universal house (9 -12) and concerned with broader cultural, collective and global issues, and encompasses the present, past and future: “All of us, everywhere, at all times.”
For example, a person with Moon in Sagittarius in the first house has a Universal Fire sign in a personal house. She may identify herself with, and feel nurtured, by a personal and emotional connection to travel philosophy and foreign lands. A person with Moon in Aries in the 7th house has a Personal fire sign in a social house and expects to be “number one” in the eyes and mind of her partner and other close relationships. If this Moon is in a hard aspect to Jupiter, she may be extremely self-centered and self-absorbed, and feels you should care as much about her as she does! A Social sign Moon in a personal house may behave much the same way, but the motivation is different. He wants to belong to the group or the other one and seeks personal nurturance from them, or to nurture them in his way (“parent knows best!”). A Universal Moon in a universal house may tend to “mother everybody” or expect the world at large to “mother” him. We can get some very interesting combinations!
Next, look at the aspects the Moon makes to other planets in the chart. The aspect (if any) to the Sun is the most important. A conjunction of the Moon is the most powerful lunar aspect, followed by the opposition (opposites complement and complete each other), then the square (challenge, struggle, tension). Trines and sextiles are helpful if there are these hard aspects present, as they tend to ease the inner emotional tension. The Moon reflects and absorbs the quality of the planet it aspects. Moon/Mercury rationalizes the feelings and emotions (headtrips them), somewhat like Moon in Gemini or Virgo. Moon/Venus seeks balance (may often be unbalanced) and harmony in emotions. Moon/Mars finds nourishment in action, assertion or aggression and disputes (like Moon in Aries, Moon/Mars has to be “first and foremost” to feel secure). Moon/Jupiter is a combination I find hard to understand (I have a Moon/Saturn!). It seems to lead to ego-expansion to the point of megalomania in some cases. We will look at several charts with this combination. Most are politicians and one is an actor. Moon/Saturn may be prone to pessimism and a poor or limited self-image. Or, they just try harder. George Bush, Sr. and Henry Kissinger have Moon/Saturn while Jr. Bush has Moon/Jupiter.
When Moon is aspect to the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, there is a general tendency to “go looking for the magic” – there is a hunger for the transcendental, the transpersonal, the divine. Of course, this may wreck havoc with relationships when a person goes expecting divine unconditional eternal love from another human being! Moon/Uranus has a deep urge toward excitement, enlightenment and sudden shocks. This frequently indicates a frazzled nervous system. One man with Moon/Uranus in Aries was prone to violent headaches whenever he was around his mother.
Moon/Neptune puts the lover or friend on a pedestal and cannot see clearly who or what he or she really needs. The mother may be perceived as victimized in some way. In a man’s chart, he may marry an alcoholic or addicted woman or a sickly woman. A woman may keep falling in love with “losers.” One woman said, after a transcendent experience of being surrounded by total love while she was out in nature, came back and said she wanted a man who would love her that way. Well, I don’t think Jesus is going to marry her!
Moon/Pluto can see “mother” as angel or devil. My sister and I each have Moon/Pluto oppositions with Mars and Saturn aspects thrown in. We both perceived our mother as the archetypal “dragon lady.” My teacher said that she and I probably had a “follie a deux” going, but he never met my mother! Another woman with the conjunction felt her mother was a saint and could never break the umbilical cord. Even long after the mother’s death, she would pray to her. With Moon/Pluto a person is either very aware of the “dark, dirty underbelly” of the collective, or goes into denial. Often these people cannot remember childhood; Plutonian traumas can annihilate memory.
Last of all, check out the phase of the Moon in the birth chart.
- New Moon personality type has an impulse to act, to become involved and make an impact. It has an Aries flavor.
- Crescent type is confident, self-assertive and feels a need to influence the collective direction in some way, to sow “new seeds” or “spearhead” something. There is great vitality.
- The First Quarter type is the most energetic and active (hyperactive), as well as tense, of all the types. “Driven” is a word for many of this type. They are action oriented and feel a sense that time is passing and there is much to be achieved. There is a felt need for urgency and eagerness to experience life’s rich variety. They can be very efficient organizers and may have executive and leadership skills. They are difficult to live with because of their great demand on their own energy as well as yours!
- The Gibbous (opening quincunx) personality is prone to personal reflection, introspective and concerned with personal growth and self-expression. They tend to emphasize the role of the intellectual mind with a talent for association, analysis and new synthesis. An inquiring nature and understanding insight can open new doors for them.
- The Full Moon type has the greatest awareness and openness as well as clarity of mind. The major impulse is to integrate the self with the collective while maintaining a balance.
- The Disseminating (or closing quincunx) seeks to release and sow “seeds” related to ideas and insights of universal or social significance. They feel nurtured by teaching or preaching and inspiring others.
- The Third-Quarter is energetic but not nearly so frantic as the first quarter type. This type has a Capricorn flavor. The emphasis is on integrity, and personal commitment to an ideal, principle, or philosophy. They need to embody and demonstrate this commitment in their lives. They are serious and vulnerable to criticism, often feeling alienated from the masses. They have a sense of the future and what should unfold.
- The Balsamic type or “dark of the Moon” type often has some sort of weakness, either physical lack of vitality or mental lack of self-assurance. They are, as it were, winding up a cycle, seeing the end of one phase and the beginning of the future. There is a Pisces/Neptune flavor here. Often there is confusion about what should be and the values of the past or those of the future. One man with this said he felt his “mission” was to be part of giving birth to the “New Age.” He also spent a lot of time “processing” or in solitary research of his past, of this life and imagined past lives.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.