We all know our Sun sign – whether we credit astrology with any validity or not. The Sun however is only part of the story – the chart position of the inner planets in particular have big influences on our personal experience of life, and of utmost significance is the placing of the Moon. For while the Sun position reveals how our sense of self operates, what motivates us and how we express that, our inner world of emotional responses, memory and sense of belonging are the territory of the Moon. Often the Moon is the most influential, because the outlooks and actions it evokes in us are pretty much automatic, while in many respects we have to choose to feed and develop our sun energy, in order to enjoy life and become who we are. When we know somebody closely, it is through their moon energy that we relate to them. The relationship between the Sun and Moon in our birth charts can tell us a lot about who we are and why we think, feel and act in certain ways – yet most of us have no idea where our Moon is located, and so blindly blunder through life, complaining a lot when things aren’t going as we would wish, wondering why we feel and act as we do.
Life is a fractal phenomenon. Trees and plants for example reflect fractal mathematics – each branch, each leaf, each flower emerges from a set pattern or formula yet is utterly unique and distinct. The same applies to Consciousness, to what we are. This is why astrology will always be relevant to human life, because it locates us in the cosmos: it gives a reflection of the unique blueprint for life that we each have. It takes more than logic to interpret this blueprint however – it requires skills of interpretation and intuition, using both our logical Sun nature and our irrational, imaginative Moon side.
As Above, So Below goes the ancient maxim, carved on the tablet of Hermes Trismegistus in Egypt. The ancients had a lot more time on their hands than we do today… time to watch the sky, observe the movements of the sun, moon and planets amongst the stars and spot how those movements were mirrored in the events, personalities and interactions of human life. Modern rationalism, which makes the quite reasonable sounding assertion that the movements of the heavenly bodies have no influence on the details of our lives, has however not managed to eradicate the astrological arts. Daily horoscopes are little more than a novelty, one that can serve well to convince the rationalists that their dismissal of the starry art is correct, but a serious study of the planetary energies reveals a complex system of resonances and patterns that are affecting us all and are playing out on planet Earth. The planets reflect the internal archetypal structures of our human consciousness. The signs of the zodiac also reflect back to us the stages of the journey of consciousness on planet Earth, from the individuated self awareness of Aries right round the wheel to the merged cosmic oneness of Pisces.
The 12 zodiac signs belong to four element categories. The astrological wheel starts with the creative spark of fire in the sign of Aries, moves into earth with Taurus – bringing that creative fire into physical manifestation – then into air element in Gemini, where the manifest spark is spread and expanded and into water sign Cancer, where the feelings produced by the spark take centre stage. This pattern of fire-earth-air-water repeats three times in a year. The other fire signs are Leo and Sagittarius, earth are Virgo and Capricorn, air Libra and Aquarius, water Scorpio and Pisces. It is generally not hard to see that a person displays characteristics associated with their element – fire people are action-oriented, self-motivated and often quite intense; earth people are practical and concerned with down to earth matters; air people love to communicate and form connections, water people love sharing feelings and deep emotional connections. A good place to start understanding more astrology is by being aware of which elements our sun and moon are located in. Sometimes the moon in our chart complements the sun position, but will often be of another element all together and give our inner world a very different flavour from our outer.
For example: a person with Cancer Sun and Taurus Moon is likely to be very homely, loyal and attached, while one with Cancer Sun and Sagittarius Moon will be more outgoing, more inclined to share their deep emotional nature with lots of people. It helps to know where the Moon is located as it can make sense of our individual relationship with life, and take us deeper into the astrological mysteries. These mysteries ultimately reveal the unity in consciousness, and we come to see that we are each players in one divine and awesome cosmic dance. We are the observers of the dance and we direct the moves – but usually unconscious of the deep archetypal energies that are influencing our choices. Becoming conscious of them empowers us to make decisions that serve us better, that serve the whole better, and that create more joy in our lives.
Each month the Sun changes sign and sets the background energy of that period. If we choose to be open to those energies we can enhance our experience on this planet vastly. Thus during Gemini month the vibrations support social interactions and communications, then Cancer month comes along and we are likely to find that home-focussed and emotional connections are what appeal to us most. Leo is a time for holidays and basking in the sun. Later in the year Scorpio brings a time of death and rebirth as winter approaches, we celebrate Samhain/Hallowe’en, bringing hopefully a sense of being part of an eternal existence and the chance to let outdated parts of ourselves die. Sagittarius then brings an energy of aspiration, of higher purpose and connection to higher self. These are Sun movements – to get the most out of them we need really to choose to engage with them, to make them part of us and explore them within us, otherwise they remain external to us and we can easily ignore these major opportunities for growth and increasing self- awareness.
Moon energies on the other hand are affecting us all the time and we cannot escape them. Every two and a half days the moon changes sign, giving significant shifts in the background energies affecting our internal, emotional existence. Often when we are feeling out of sorts, confused or moody, it is because the moon has changed sign and element, but, being creatures of habit, we are resisting changing along with it.
So here’s a brief summary of how we might use the moon’s position to our best advantage:
moon in aries – think for oneself, follow our own inner compass, be independent
moon in taurus – enjoy the good things in life – food, comfort, companionship, sensuality
moon in gemini – get social, talk to people, explore new things, broaden the horizons
moon in cancer – focus on love, on emotional communication, on the home
moon in leo – have fun, rise up and roar or settle down and lap up laziness, whatever makes u happy
moon in virgo – get things done, help and serve others, tidy up loose ends, tackle those details and move forward projects
moon in libra – find balance, enjoy partnership, seek harmony and revel in beauty (sometimes we will create a lot of discord in order to reach the harmony we seek)
moon in scorpio – dive deep, reflect, release, let go of burdensome stuff, renew
moon in sagittarius – aim high, seek wisdom, expand
moon in capricorn – get realistic (but not pessimistic), take steps to achieve those high aims
moon in aquarius – see the bigger picture, enjoy group energy, birth a new world
moon in pisces – merge into that picture, group and world and bathe in the energies of it.
New moon are times times when new energy arrives on the planet and we can tune ourselves to receive it. New moon is the best time to set intentions and goals – every month life is offering us a new start. Full moon two weeks later is when our inner energies are at their strongest. Full moon can be a very expressive time – sometimes too much so and we explode with difficult emotions. At new moon sun and moon are in the same sign, it is easy to attune to the flavour and vibrations of each astrological sign at new moon – then at full moon the moon and sun are in opposite signs and we experience how we handle polarities. Each full moon brings the energy of one of six axes into play. So for example, during homely, sensitive Cancer month at full moon we experience the internal energies of outgoing, achievement oriented Capricorn very strongly, which can set us reeling. During the laid-back, self-loving month of Leo at full moon we experience the internal pull of Aquarius towards loving and identifying with the whole and working to improve it.
After full moon our internal energies wane along with our nightime companion in the sky. By dark moon many are even feeling depressed as the inner light is at its weakest. Knowing this we can be prepared for it, and use dark moon times to feel and release dark parts within ourselves, preparing for new energies to flood in when the next moon month begins.
The moon is a huge influence on our lives. We see how it affects the tides, we are used to people going a bit crazy at full moon. Yet our culture fails to grasp just how much the moon is influencing our lives every day. We exist in a culture that prides itself on being superior to nature – being above the natural ebbs and flows of energy. We try to keep up the pace of work and play all year round, and throughout each month. No wonder human existence is in such a dire state of crisis. To create health, harmony and hope in our lives and in our society we urgently need to remember we are part of nature, not separate or superior to it, and allow it to be our teacher and guide on this fractal manifestation of life in which we find ourselves, get attuned to the natural rhythms and cycles and use them to create a thoroughly uplifting experience on this planet.
Of course our society has also made our outer self more important than the inner – we are very achievement-focussed, status and wealth obsessed. But real wealth is about inner riches, and our most exhilarating experiences of life happen on the inside.
The Sun tells us something about who we are in the world, but when it comes to who we are on the inside, the Moon matters.