A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 24-30, 2014
HOW WE FEEL: THE MOON AS A SYMBOL IN ASTROLOGY
Most of us know our Sun signs. If you were born between March 21-April 19, for instance, you’re an Aries like me. If you were born between January 20-February 18, you’re an Aquarius. Depending on the date you were born, it’s easy to look up your Sun sign in the horoscope column of a newspaper. The 12 signs, Aries through Pisces, reflect the geocentric journey of the Sun around the Earth, month after month. We mark the start of a tropical/Western astrological year when the Sun enters zero degrees Aries. The Sun travels roughly one degree per day through 29 degrees Aries and moves on to zero degrees Taurus and so on. But you say that it’s the Earth that orbits the Sun. Then I say that astrology is a symbolic system that is Earth-centered because the ancients perceived the Sun, Moon, and the planets as the elements circling around the Earth and not vice versa, and then associating these celestial observations with happenings on personal lives or the lives of kings and nations. It’s a system that continues to work because it resonates with the powerful personal mythologies that animate us as individuals. Astrology is the language of our psyche and soma, spirit, mind and body, just like the ancients found correspondences between celestial movements and our mundane life on this plane.
While we may be quite familiar with our Sun sign, we may need an astrologer’s help to figure out our Moon sign. You would need to supply your complete birth data: date, time, city (and country) of birth. In Western astrology, the Sun describes a person’s basic character. Here are the key words for the signs: Aries-I AM, Taurus-I HAVE, Gemini-I THINK, Cancer-I FEEL, Leo-I WILL, Virgo-I ANALYZE, Libra-I BALANCE, Scorpio-I DESIRE, Sagittarius-I PERCEIVE, Capricorn-I USE, Aquarius-I KNOW, and Pisces-I BELIEVE ( Isabel M. Hickey, “Astrology, A Cosmic Science,” 1981). Viscerally feel the vibe of each sign, not just yours but the signs of people you know. Do the key words fit them, or is there something else you observe about them that makes them untypical of their Sun sign?
This is where a person’s Moon sign and Rising Sign/Ascendant come in. Let’s focus on the Moon. According to Isabel Hickey, one of the popularizers of spiritual astrology, the Sun is the greater light while the Moon is the lesser light which has no light of its own actually and thus must reflect the light of the Sun. As such, the Sun symbolizes the person’s basic “drive for significance, the will to do and to be,” while the Moon symbolizes “the subconscious, feelings, and receptivity (Hickey, 30-31).” Personally speaking, I have been noticing as I grow older that although my Sun sign is Aries (key words: “I am,” the leader, the courageous, the pioneer), my default operating system is based on my Moon in Pisces (“I believe”). I am much more laid-back than my assertive Aries Sun appears to stand for. Especially in times of stress, I fall back on Piscean negative tendencies like indulging (in sweets, in nicotine, etc.), wallowing in self-pity, or being passive. On the upside of Pisces, I do believe. Pisces are artistic people. Well, basically I write. That has always been true for me. Pisces have empathy. Well, I counsel friends and clients and practice self-care.
Therefore, when it comes to feelings, an astrologer like me zeroes in on the Moon in a client’s chart and what aspects (angular relationships) it makes with other planets in her chart. Moon is Mother, the nurturer, the caretaker. When we talk about the Moon and feelings, we can’t help but go back to the first ever interaction we have as we are born into the world: the bond between the mother and child. This mother-child relationship was the springboard for discussion in a workshop I attended recently at Fort Mason sponsored by the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) San Francisco Bay Area chapter. Paris-based astrologer and popular lecturer Lynn Bell held a full-day workshop on “The Moon and Dependency.” She illustrated the variation in dependency issues using natal charts of previous clients and the natal charts of some attendees who were willing to share their stories. The main point of the presentation is that, according to Ms. Bell, “The Moon creates loops that recreates the feelings of dependency until we find a way to resolve them.” Since other planets have their own symbolic meanings, Ms. Bell related some actual client stories with underlying themes in their charts like Moon-Uranus (lack recognition, push-pull, ambivalence), Moon-Neptune (selective memory, idealization), and Moon-Pluto (power struggles, the need to investigate). These pairs represent potentially tense aspects or angular relationships (conjunction/0 degrees, square/90 degrees, or opposition/180 degrees) between the Moon and the planets in the person’s chart. True enough, once the chart is projected onscreen as the attendee answers exploratory questions from Ms. Bell, we see where in the chart the feelings of isolation or maybe aggression come from, or how the native is turning the negatives into positives in her unique journey through her life. One attendee who agreed to share her chart as an example had a Moon in Taurus squaring her Pluto in Leo. In her experience, this translated into childhood memories of being left alone in her crib and a mother who was always weepy and depressed. She would bang her little body against the walls and cry as hard as she might with nobody picking her up at all. When she was 5 years old, she remembers listening outside the door to her mother’s bedroom and hearing her mother cry. She has a sister who is older than she is by 12 years and a brother who is 18 months younger than she is. She had always felt like “the child who isn’t there.” This participant grew up to be a peppy, cheery, and forceful personality who gets things done. She is now one of the foremost practitioners and teachers of astrology in the San Francisco Bay Area. Proof that yes, of course, one can overcome emotional trauma and turn one’s life around. In astrology, as is true with other aspects of our lives, of course there are some basic things we can do nothing about, realistically speaking. We thank the benevolent Universal Spirit, therefore, for dependencies and other issues that we can work on and improve.
Ms. Bell also touched on the types of attachment: secure, ambivalent, anxious, and chaotic disorganized. With the exception of the first type, the other three are problematic, but these arise from the bonds from the earliest memory and have an increased chance of being carried over to adult relationships if the person has not yet resolved her issues. Towards the end of her talk, Ms. Bell reiterated that the Moon as a symbol has an “eternal return quality” like a well-worn groove that keeps being traversed over and over again. Moon is Mother. Moon is Memory. The Moon, she says, is like the dream that repeats again and again until it’s resolved and never comes back again.
Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org