To the ancients she was a wild woman in the woods: a silver huntress, flagged by hungry hounds, armed with an arrow ready to stick its barb into the hind of some unlucky animal. She was untamed, primal, animalistic, a virgin unowned by husband or father, free to roam and fly her stag-drawn chariot wherever she pleased. The Moon was a goddess who reigned over the night, queen of the symbolic, mysterious dark we feared so much. We feared it in ourselves because we could not see it, could not reason with it, and could not understand it with our rational human minds. But as with all things we cowered away from, we fear what we do not understand. If we are wise enough to use our intuition, we can navigate the dark just as surely as we do the day, and even venture to find comfort in the privacy it offers. It is the Moon who reaches out with pale, gentle hands, and reassures us there is nothing to be afraid of.
The first thing we learn about the Moon in astrology is that she has no light of her own. She only reflects the light of others. Her grey body is lit by the Sun and the Earth, which hit her at different angles at different times of the month. She grows and shrinks, waxes and wanes, cycling from New Moon to Full Moon and back again. Some days she is so close to the Sun she disappears, overpowered by the light of day. Other times, she illuminates the night against an audience of stars. In the weeks in between, she shows a sliver of light at sunset, her body glowing from earthshine; a white face at dawn, retreating over a pink skyline; a pale half moon soaring across a blue sky; a silver half moon cutting into the veil of night.
The face of the Moon changes as her environment changes, as she a reactive, rather than active, force. But although she is always changing, she is always cycling back again. She teaches us to wax near to other people when we need closeness, taking in their light and shining it back onto them. And she teaches us to retreat into darkness when the world gets too overwhelming, to withdraw into privacy and recharge ourselves. This is how we balance out our Yin energy: between extraversion and introversion, caring for others and caring for ourselves, reflection and introspection.
The glyph we use for the Moon is the alchemy symbol for silver. It is also a drawing of a crescent moon (☽). The crescent element of an astronomical symbol represents the human mind or spirit. Partly in the light and mostly in the dark, it shows us how there are things in ourselves that are partly visible and known to the world, and parts of us which are not. Think of how there are great swaths of impulses, emotions, memories, and knowledge lying below the depths which our thoughts are unaware of, and cannot penetrate. That is what the Moon is, and what the symbol seeks to communicate.
The Moon represents your emotional nature and your subconscious mind. Herein lies your feelings and moods, your instinct and intuition, your gut reactions, and your empathetic connection to those around you that allows you to feel what they feel and know things you cannot explain. The Moon is sensitive and sympathetic, changeable and receptive, easily affected and quick to respond. She changes often, but is predictable in the changes she makes, for your emotions are conditioned by experiences, traumas, memories, and other events that have punctuated your past.
Most astrologers will tell you that the Moon represents your mother, and for good reason. Your earliest emotional memories began at birth, where you were dependant on your mother-figure for warmth, love, comfort, and protection. In many ways we don't outgrow our emotional need to be loved and protected - we remain needy children hungry for our mother's arms. For some, we yearn for a cushion of money, property, possessions, to make us feel safe. For others, it is our lovers, our families, or our homes.
When our Moon needs for safety, stability, comfort, and nurturing are met, we are at our best. We are relaxed. Our skin is thick. Nothing much gets to us, for even when we have bad days, we know everything is temporary and the dark moods will pass. Optimism is easier to fall into, and our positive attitudes make us happier, more confident individuals. Most importantly, it is stable. The healthy Moon is loyal and tenacious. It is open and receptive to the feelings of others, and able to give and receive comfort when it is needed. When feelings are expressed and heard by the people we love, there is nothing left inside of us to fester. No grudges, no wounds, no stress, and no rage.
But the unhealthy Moon, whose needs are not met, whose life is churned with chaotic changes, feels weak and vulnerable. And when a person's emotions are wracked with stress, they become moodier, more unpredictable, angrier, and more childish. This is the Moon that we fear, for we know that deep down, our emotions are not civilized or rational. They are utterly irrational, and so many of us are afraid of what will happen if we let them out. We choose to ignore our feelings and try to move past it without acting upon them. We choke back tears and bite back words said in anger, so we can appear rational when other people look at us. But emotions do not go away when we ignore them. They stay put, and they cry like children inside of us, until either they erupt in a volcano of explosive tears... or we acknowledge why they are there in the first place.
Emotions can't be outsmarted, repressed, debated, or reasoned with. You can only understand them by feeling them, listening to what your body is trying to tell you. Emotions are reactions, triggered by stimuli in your environment. And unlike thoughts, which arrive from your conscious mind, emotions are signals from your subconscious telling you how to react in a given moment. Happiness and joy give us an emotional high, a reward, telling us to do it again. Anger and anxiety are our "fight or flight" responses, telling us to take immediate action upon whatever it is making us upset. Sadness, and especially crying, work us through trauma so we can release our grief and calm down, moving past whatever has hurt us. Each of these emotions serve an important purpose, whether we like them or not. And each Moon placement has their own set of triggers and their own way or reacting, and each has their own emotional journey to work on.
RULERSHIP AND EXALTATION
The Moon is Ruled by Cancer and Exalted in Taurus. In these two Signs, the Moon is the most powerful that it can be. The Cancer side of the Moon is its tidal, changeable, emotional nature, whose moods shift from one moment to the next. The Taurus side of the Moon is how predictable those changes are, always cycling the same pattern, a solid rock drifting steadily through the sky. Both of these Signs seek emotional security in family, money, property, and material goods. Both have strong links to the past, to their mothers, and to their childhood upbringing. Neither of them let their life become too chaotic, matching their emotional needs for stability with a steady lifestyle of routine and enduring personal relationships with friends and family. And both are introverts, preferring to stay home, locked away in privacy, sheltered by four familiar walls and the family they love so much.
The Moon is in Detriment in Capricorn and in Fall in Scorpio. The Moon is weak here because although these Signs feel their emotions very powerfully, they do not express them in a healthy way. Capricorn may be sentimental, nostalgic, and family-oriented, but they are also dry and detached, and only dole out their feelings in stiffly measured spoonfuls. Scorpio may be an emotional Water Sign, but they are all-too aware of the extreme nature of their emotions, and afraid of what might happen if they let them take over. Both Signs bottle things up so that nobody knows what is really going on below the surface. But, as we discussed, emotions do not go away just because you ignore them. They become crying fits, anxious knots in your stomach, stiff muscles, headaches, increased sensitivity, and even a violent temper. And both Signs need to feel and express their feelings in a healthier way, and at appropriate times, in order to make themselves happier overall.
MOON THROUGH THE SIGNS
MOON IN ARIES has very a very impulsive, volatile energy, making you quick to express everything that you feel in a very big, dramatic, way. For the most part you are happy and optimistic, quick to let things go and move on, not one to hold onto grudges or past hurt. Until you are triggered by being made to feel weak, powerless, or vulnerable. Then you can get suddenly, violently mad. Your biggest emotional lessons are to admit when you are wrong, take responsibility for how your outbursts made others feel, and to find a better way of expressing yourself that doesn't hurt the people around you. Other than that, since you seldom hold things in or dwell on how you feel, your natural emotional expression tends to a healthy one that others can learn from.
MOON IN TAURUS is in its Exalted position, making you strong, but soft. Stubbornness is a concrete emotional reaction to being pushed around, and you certainly don't take being pushed lightly. A Lunar Taurean, such as yourself, feels safest and most secure when their life is permanent - same job, same relationship, same home, a steady bank account, all your belongs locked safely away. Any sudden chaos, or a push to change, ignites a powerful emotional reaction to plant your feet into the ground and stay put. It takes a lot of pushing before you actually react with violent anger; most of the time, you appear calm, cool, and collected, even when under enormous stress. This makes you emotionally mature, even at a young age. But it does mean that you dwell on things for far too long, and stress out more than you need to. Allow yourself to change and adapt to new situations to keep yourself from having major breakdowns, you will be a lot healthier in the long run.
MOON IN GEMINI is a fickle one. Perhaps more than any other Moon placement, this one is prone to sudden moods than come and go and change often, making you as unpredictable to yourself as you are to other people. One minute you are opening up to somebody, spilling your guts, and the next minute you've forgotten all about it and are denying that you ever said anything at all. On the outside, it seems as though you have a very good grasp of your emotional nature, since you tell people exactly how you feel. But what you are actually doing is thinking about your feelings, instead of actually feeling and expressing them. Use your mental strengths to be more introspective to get to the heart of how you actually feel, and don't worry about being completely rational all the time.
MOON IN CANCER is in its Ruled position. Strong ties to your home and family (especially your mother) makes you an emotional introvert, a lover of comfort and familiarity above all else. Although you keep your feelings contained behind a hard shell of detachment and cynicism, underneath you are as sensitive and emotional as they come. You create high, defensive walls between yourself and others so that nothing they do can affect you. But despite your strong defences, deep down inside you are sentimental, moody, soft, and emotionally perceptive. Only those very close to you, who have known you for a very long time, see this side of you. To everyone else, you are an emotional rock.
MOON IN LEO means you are not shy about telling everyone exactly how you feel. You express yourself in the most DRAMATIC way possible, as if you are an emotional performer crooning in front of an eager audience. Feeling sad? Flood the room with your tears. Feeling angry? Scream, kick, swear, and roar until your face is red and your knuckles are bloody. Happy? Literally jump and squeal with joy! In love? Tell everyone within a 10 mile radius how perfect and amazing your lover is in every way. At times your drama makes you a childish, whiny, emotional egomaniac who cries "What about how I feel?" over every issue. But at others, you are just a child crying out for love and attention, willing to give ten times the warmth and affection you get to the people who mean the most to you.
MOON IN VIRGO keeps its feelings well maintained. You don't cry, or pitch a fit, or raise your voice, or yell in anger. The only symptom of your anger or frustration is increased pickiness and an avoidance of whatever is bothering you. You tend to repress or deny your feelings, since you harshly criticize anybody who doesn't act in an appropriate manner - most of all yourself. But you need to learn how to express your feelings in a healthier way. Let down your walls and let people comfort you when you need it. Deep down, this Moon is loving, generous, sensitive, and endlessly giving. So remember to give yourself the same warmth and comfort you give others!
MOON IN LIBRA means you spend too much time thinking about how you should feel. Always looking for a logical explanation for how you feel, you tend to overthink your emotions and spend too much time questioning yourself. "Is it okay for me to feel like this? Or should I try harder to see the other person's point of view? Is it unfair for me to be upset about this? Should I tell them truth about how I feel, or would it hurt them too much? What about how everyone else feels?" All this thinking, and all these questions, distract you from the point your body is trying to get across to you - feel your feelings! Right now, you are dependent on partners to mirror your emotions so you can better gain an outside perspective on how you feel deep down inside. You need to get in touch with your emotional triggers and let them come and go, rather than turning every episode into an internal debate.
MOON IN SCORPIO is in its Fall position. While you may look calm and composed on the outside, inside you are living with an emotional volcano. All your emotions get taken to an extreme - love and hate becomes obsessions, grief becomes depression, anxiety becomes panic attacks, anger becomes a violent, happiness become an elated high. Growing up under a stressful home environment, you learned how to take it all in and just deal with it all on your own. But in the process, you developed some unhealthy neurosis and suffer under the grip of your emotional illnesses. Luckily, what you have on your side is an incredibly perceptive intuition for how people think and feel, and an interest in psychology - both of which give you enough insight into yourself to heal the emotional chaos of both yourself and other people.
MOON IN SAGITTARIUS makes you a dramatic and entertaining person, always a bright spot in other people's lives, always trying to make people laugh. You certainly don't lack emotional warmth - but you also aren't shy or dishonest, and have no bones about expressing how you feel! If you are angry, you will use sarcasm and a barbed tongue to get your point across. And if you are excited about something, you won't shut up about it. Why you are this way remains a mystery to you, as you don't like to dig into the deeper parts of your psyche. You prefer to keep things light-hearted and casual, because when you feel stuck or suffocated in a situation, your Moon gives you strong emotional impulses to free yourself. Your emotional journey is to learn how to take things more seriously, and to gain a better insight into yourself and other people.
MOON IN CAPRICORN is in its Detriment position. As mentioned before, you are a dry and unfeeling person, one whose emotional waves are seldom churned by chaos or turmoil. It is only far, far below the surface that you nurse your sensitive, sentimental heart, a part of you that almost never breaches the surface for others to see. On the inside, you are a loving, protective, family-oriented person, forced to become emotionally mature at a young age to weather the chaos of your childhood home. But repressing your emotions and burying them deep down only causes you to erupt in a sudden surge of emotion when you get pushed too far. You must learn to feel your feelings and listen to what your body is telling you, especially at times of stress, and rewrite a Moon that takes on too much.
MOON IN AQUARIUS is characterized by two things: the appearance of being cool and aloof, dry and rational, your feelings unaffected by everything around you - and sudden, unpredictable, completely inappropriate explosions of emotion that throw your relationships into chaos. The road from one the other is paved by your preference for logical, rational, reasonable explanations and thoughts, causing you to either overthink your feelings or disregard them altogether. This leads to your emotions boiling under the surface, until they suddenly spill over and burn everyone around you. Like the other Air Moons (Gemini, Libra), you need to learn how to listen to your intuition, until you become more attuned to your body and it becomes more natural for you to express how you feel.
MOON IN PISCES makes you hypersensitive, which propels you towards introversion and an escape into an inner fantasy realm. Because you have absolutely no boundaries between yourself and others, everything in your environment hits you right in your heart, throwing you back and forth, stirring up feelings that you absorb and take into yourself as if they were your own. If you are a victim of your spouse's anger, your mother's guilt-trips, or back-breaking debt, your emotional state will reflect that. And if you are in a loving relationship, with a stable job and a nice house to come home to, your Moon will reflect that too. More than anybody else, it is so important that you put yourself in a calm, consistent, stress-free, home, job, and relationship, because your Moon will be unhealthy and self-destructive otherwise. Remember to take care of yourself first and foremost, because you can't take care of others when your own energy is drained away!
Just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun and the Earth to show different parts of herself, your emotions reflect the environment around you. And just as she pulls waves up and down the shoreline, the Moon in your chart waxes and wanes upon the waters of your subconscious mind, changing your mood as easily as she changes the tide. Her silver lights and her quiet mystery have all made the Moon both mother and muse to humanity. She is predictable in her unpredictability, for although she has many moods and many faces, all of her changes are just a temporary phase as she moves from one thing to the next. From the Moon we can learn how to take care of our own emotional health, finding inspiration in how she cycles between the light of others and the darkness of ourselves.