Planet Series: The MOON


The first of the Planet Series threads will focus on the Moon, just the Moon for now without any aspects, signs or houses. One of the ways of considering the Moon is by looking at in terms of:
** Mythology
** Primary Keywords and general meanings
** The Moon as an action by us
** The Moon as representing external events and happenings
** The Moon through our feelings

Wizzle and I will post later threads involving the Moon in combination with other astrological factors. All who care to participate are welcome to post within the constraints noted above. In this way we can keep some order to our thoughts and have a good reference to use later. We look forward to sharing with you and reading your views on the Moon. Dave and Wizzle.


Moon and keywords, general meanings

Noel Tyl, a prolific author of the 1970 to 1990 period, summed up the Moon as representing our "primary needs." Much of his writings built up interpretations of the Moon symbolizing our "needs" which were modified by aspect, house and sign. We can ask ourselves why he focused so much on "needs."

As a fluctuating visual phenomena, a light in the sky that moves constantly though various phases and which obviously affects the ocean's tides and the biological functions of Earth's creatures. The Moon lights the night with half-light, bringing an uncertainty to what we think we see in the shadows. We have a rich cultural tradition built upon the Moon's mysteries. All of this can be represented by words such as anxiety, illusion, change, mis-representation, curiousity and stimuli, and men through the ages have equated some of this to the feminine nature. With so many meanings playing upon our minds, is it hard to see why the Moon came to symbolize our needs -- the need to be certain about what is around us, the need to have hope instead of anxiety, the need to seek stability instead of being subject to changes imposed upon us, the need to satisfy our curiousity about things, the need to feel secure and seek our mother's comfort?

I have found "Needs" to be an excellent one-word summation for the Moon when I first glance at a chart. Yes, I can also see it as representing women and mothers, home life, habits and childhood behavior patterns, etc., but I tend to see it first as one's "needs." Dave.


A continuation of my thoughts

I'd like to continue my thoughts on the general characteristics, and their basis, for the Moon.

I had noted that "change" was one of the key attributes associated with the Moon. We know that the Moon "changes" in its appearance and its relationship to the sun (in measured zodiac distance/degrees). But, consider this "change" as also being related to how we humans are "wired" either by biology or culture or any/all other things. We have THOUGHTS and ATTITUDES (associated with the Sun and with Mercury) that shape our emotions and response mechanisms!

Is this caused by the Moon or do we associate it with the Moon's symbology as a way of remembering the Moon's "meanings? Does it matter? It just seems to "be." We will have to pick up in a later discussion the association of the Moon's workings as influenced by other planets -- but that is another thread. For now I believe it is enough to recognize that the way the Moon works is also due to how we perceive, judge, assess and store/use the data and information and knowledge we take in from the outside world.

This view, in turn, leads us the Moon's ability to "reflect" what others offer. Therefore, we say that the Moon is feminine, socializing, has a tendancy to invest a lot of energy into understanding relationships (women tend to talk a subject to death, men use about half of the words needed to minimally state their views). By extension, the Moon's reflective qualities are tied to being social and charming (this builds relationships) and having a "deep feeling" for its surroundings -- this latter being tied to security issues.

The Moon may not be so much a "security blanket" symbol as a symbol of always seeking security by being able to accurately reflect (understand) the immediate environment. Younger people/children tend to "act out" as a means of getting attention and feedback about what is proper or acceptable.
This ties the Moon into childhood, early family patterns of behavior, habitual behavior, acceptance and the encouragement and appreciation of attention.

So, these thoughts can provide a basis for appreciating the fuller scope of the Moon's meanings in our chart and perhaps the basis for associating the Moon with signs, houses and other factors. Any feedback or disagreements? Dave


Hi Dave,

Thanks to you and the others for starting these threads .... fascinating stuff ..... especially for a beginner like me, though you may find I have quite a few *stupid* questions from now on!

I'm still captivated by your description of the moon as *needs* ...... so if you tie in thoughts and attitudes .... would you say that this is related to how you think and act about your *perceived* needs? Not sure if I'm phrasing this right though.




My dictionary defines the word "need" as a condition necessitating supply or relief, to be under a specified necessity or obligation, a requirement for carrying out some function or activity.

What can constitute a "need?" First, a biological function can bring recognition that one is thirsty and needs hydration. Second, an action-event can trigger alarm for one's safety and need to engage in fight, flight or some defensive action. Third, one's interaction with another may cause us to perceive that they need assistance of some kind which we can offer. Fourth, our developed values and assessment of our lack of something may trigger a sense of greed or envy -- we need something that another has. Fifth, we perform on a stage in actuality or in life's little social dramas because we need recognition or praise to satisfy some type of security complex.

The word "complex" is important relative to defining "needs." In astrology we use a lot of symbols. In life, we also use symbols -- actually a very great number of symbols. Our minds (to wander off into Mercury-land for a minute) tend to group symbols in packages -- hunger, a snack, an apple, satisfaction as an example. When we group these packages together we get complexes. Hunger = apple = satisfaction coupled with you being in a market with no money so you have to "borrow" an apple. Then, the hunger need can be associated with a Want = take = guilt package that is coupled to the first package and we end up with feeling guilty about eating an apple. We then rationalize it and add other behaviors, and then we have a deep complex. What is the symbol behind this complex? Is it feeling hunger, liking apples, not liking guilt when entering a market, feeling out of control by compensating for hunger for an apple by eating something else as well?

Needs are shaped by complexes that may not be understood or even visible to us due to their tendancy to exhibit themselves habitually. They get triggered and we react. The chart may show us, if we are trained well enough to see it, a basic complex in terms of its trigger or external goal. However, we would have to go into aspectual patterns, progressions and other astrological tools to have a chance of understanding its full set of drivers. Perhaps this is where we have to draw the line when we recognize strong needs in the chart.

As an aside note, a Sun-Moon-Pluto combination might be one simple example of a strong need for something being present in the chart. Other things can also point to complexes and needs. Those things are outside of this thread but can be addressed later in our planetary exploration. After all, we can't review and explore everything at once. There is a need for patience! Ha. Poor humor on my part, but then . . .

So, to summarize, we might say that NEEDS are often emotional expressions to gain something that might have been developed as a result of experiences and perceptions and our reactions to those at a prior time. These can be simple in nature or very complex in nature. This is also why people often associate the Moon with the past. The past, in segmented form, is always willing to "live again" clothed in present experiences. One of the ways we can see this is through studying our progressed Moon's path and changing aspects in a secondary progression chart. But, that is also for a later thread. Dave


Natal versus Progressed Moon

What do we need to keep in mind when looking at the Moon in a Secondary Progression Chart? Is the Moon "different" in some way from the natal Moon?

As we consider these questions, let us review what a Secondary Progression is. In broad terms this is a very ancient form of astrology, at least two thousand years old and probably closer to 2700 or 2800 years old. In ancient times the birth of a King or important person was noted and a chart was drawn up, often based on the positions of the planets and stars as observed at sunset. Some cultures made charts that reflected the time of birth within the accuracy that was possible, others placed the Sun position at the apex of the chart. But, the crucial question was, "What will become of this person, what events will befall him and when, will those events be fortunate?"

It was imperative for astrologers and priests to provide these answers early in the life of the new King or important person. If unfortunate happenings were to happen to the King then the whole kingdom would suffer. Many a future king never saw his first birthday. The manner that predictions were done was based upon the capabilities and circumstances of that age. The astrologer noted the changes each evening that occured in the sky -- when the next new moon came, when Mars overtook Jupiter, etc. Each day was allotted to a whole year and the term "a day for a year" became well known.

The Secondary Progression method (in general as there are several variants) is based on one day equals one year. Our question is, "Do we treat the Moon's position and contacts in the progressed chart the same as in the natal chart?" NO. No, we do not. Now, don't dispair -- the reasons are simple and the adjustments in your views and interpretations are also simple.

The natal chart is an "imprint" chart. The secondary progression chart is a "developmental" chart. The natal chart gets you going along certain paths, the secondary chart gives you the opportunity to gain experience (read as different influences) and make adjustments due to those pressures (transits bring new combinations and aspects to planets and tend to break us out of past habits and responses and to present us with new situations). This is how we grow within and from our chart.

Remember, change is growth. Change may or may not be good, comfortable, predictable, wanted, but it will happen. Change is what the Moon is all about. So, when we see the Moon move through different signs and houses every couple of years, we can equate that to different expressions of Moon energy and different areas of Moon expression in our lives. When the Moon joins another planet moving at a different and slower pace -- they all are slower than the Moon -- the Moon gathers that Planet's energy and modifies it.

Moon modification of another planet's energies and expression -- how is that possible. Every two and a half days the Moon moves another sign-distance through the zodiac. In 28 to 30 years it circles the zodiac in a secondary progression chart. In a month's time, many planets may have only moved several degrees. Essentially, in a life time (except for the Sun perhaps) the planets probably stay in the same house and sign or only move one house and sign. The Moon touches them all two or three times! So, the Moon gathers different conjunctions and aspectual relationships with all of the planets, even those it had no natal contact with. Newness is brought into our lives. We have to make adjustments in the way we respond. We break old habits, we forget early childhood upbringing, we drop old needs and perhaps take on some new needs. In other words, we change and grow. Perhaps we also mature.

So, to summarize, in a secondary progression chart the Moon signifies the constantly changing challenges and opportunities presented to us. We can learn to use our planets in different ways. We can see the Moon as an agent of change, growth, maturing, experience. The planets it contacts, the house that it occupies at any one point in time points to where we can act, what we can do, how we can respond. Opportunity. Perhaps that is the key word for the progressed Moon. Dave


Keywords for the Moon: receptive/feminine, reflective, short cycles

Personification: the triple goddess (Isis, Diana, etc.), the mother archetype

Primary symbolism: water, the sea and the cup

Let me make a quick disclaimer about using words like "feminine or mothering" in my discussion. I am using these words in their archetypal sense as representing a principle rather than as a personal attribute. Be we male or female, we all have the archetypal energies of the feminine. That's really what the planets are, symbols of the great archetypes. And a quick check of a natal chart will show that we each own ALL of the energies/planets.


The Moon is our receptive functions and energies more than anything else. Contrast that with the sun, which is the primary outgoing function. This is a simple, but profound concept, this idea of the Moon as representative of our incoming or receptive natures. Nearly all of the classic associations with the Moon can be derived from this one concept.

If we examine how, we take information and experience into our lives, we realize that it just arrives without our awareness. There is far too much incoming data for the conscious mind to process so our receptive selves use the subconscious which does not filter information like consciousness does. For example, we may not be aware of a sound until we turn our attention to it, but our subconscious hears that noise. Thus, the Moon, the receptor, is the subconscious. And since the subconscious is difficult to access for most people, except via dreams, the Moon is associated with unconscious elements of ourselves such as our habits and emotions.

Even as infants we absorb and receive. We are not yet ready to be our outgoing "sunny" selves. So the Moon is also childhood and our experience of our mother, particularly in her role as nurturer. The Moon in a chart shows how the native was nurtured and probably how he, in turn, goes about nurturing others. If we put the concept of early childhood/nurturing with the subconscious qualities of the Moon (and an infant is indeed mostly functioning at a subconscious level), we can begin to understand how the Moon represents our deep-seated issues, both positive and negative. When the Moon in a chart has hard aspects (square, opposition, etc.) or is conjunct an incompatible planet, the issues the native has to deal with will be hard to access because they will be largely subconscious.

When we are on the receiving end of things, we are basically powerless. Stuff just comes at us. It is from this situation that the Moon gets it's association with the public as a large, faceless, powerless mass. However, on a personal basis, the Moon is as powerful in forming the personality as is the Sun. This is because we are all so much formed and influenced by what we receive.

The Moon, however, is not the total feminine archetype in a chart. She owns that portion of the feminine that has to do with nurturing, mothering, receiving. The other portion is owned by Venus and basically has to do with attraction and earthy concerns.

(to be continued)


wizzle said:
When we are on the receiving end of things, we are basically powerless. Stuff just comes at us. It is from this situation that the Moon gets it's association with the public as a large, faceless, powerless mass. However, on a personal basis, the Moon is as powerful in forming the personality as is the Sun. This is because we are all so much formed and influenced by what we receive.
Hmmmm ...... just wondering ........ would you say that a child would be formed much more by its Moon experiences as it were .... say in the very early formative years ...... than by the Sun experiences?


huredriel said:
Hmmmm ...... just wondering ........ would you say that a child would be formed much more by its Moon experiences as it were .... say in the very early formative years ...... than by the Sun experiences?
Absolutely. The child has very few opportunities to express the Sun, except in play. In particular, how a child is nurtured provides the first opportunity to experience what the world is like. If his needs are met, the emotions around him pleasant, then he will feel the world is a safe and pleasant place. On the other hand, a poorly nurtured child receives an impression that the world is a hostile place or he is somehow inadequate. This impression will most likely be carried forward into adulthood and only then can consciousness and the solar aspects of his personality deal with whatever issues were formed. Think of the moon like a mold into which life is poured. Changing that mold, once habits and emotional patterns are set, is not easy.

I would also add that some people live their whole lives more in tune with the Moon than by expressing their Suns. This could be either a result of their personal experience or because of their environment. As an example, a woman with Sun conjunct Mars in Aries who lives in a conservative culture will almost certainly not be able to express this very dynamic and individualistic combination. She may then opt to "live" her Moon which defines traditional gender based roles for women.

Just remember... Moon = in/subjective; Sun = out/objective.

To some degree our whole life is a quest to overcome our Moon and move toward our Sun. At best we learn to blend and balance these two energies. But if you start out with a bad set of Moon experiences, it will feel a whole lot more like overcome than balance. Also note carefully that the Moon is subjective. In receiving stuff, we may or may not have a grip on just how important/unimportant that stuff is. But that's more the reflective part of the Moon which I'll also discuss.

Now this is a personal idea of mine based on a book I read when I was pregnant. I think the mother/child interface is so strong that the mother provides a sort of psychic matrix for the child until he is able to build his own matrix via the Sun. As children we use mom's matrix which includes her ideas, ways of doing things, etc. As we grow we work out our own preferences.

Great question, thanks.


Always exceptions

huredriel said, "Hmmmm ...... just wondering ........ would you say that a child would be formed much more by its Moon experiences as it were .... say in the very early formative years ...... than by the Sun experiences?"

The great thing about astrology is that there are always exceptions to the rule. Of course, early-studies student would say that this is the bad thing about astrology -- understanding what is one way and what is another way.

For example, if a child had an angular Sun and a background Moon, he might express him/her-self through the Sun. Not as a confident self-directive entity but in terms of following a male-like role model, acting as he sees others act. Too much of this isn't good, of course, and a little thought on our part will lead us to the conclusion that there will have to be a balancing factor involved.

If too much Sun enters too early then conflicts with the Moon appear through the actions of the mother and other providers. A Sun that is bigger than life is easy to imitate but it often doesn't shine on every spot in someone elses life. As the child grows these shadow areas, within and without, become more noticable. Balance is most often sought out. When an un-balance occurs then that person tends to be driven, highly individualistic, and seeks a very out-of-the-ordinary life.

Even in these cases, the Moon plays a powerful role. This why Wizzle and I decided to start with the Moon as an entry into the exploration of the planets. The Sun was introduced so that we could revisit the Moon and its relationship with the Sun -- something that truly makes life go around. Dave.