Moon Faces

Part I: The Power of the Moon

As the Moon circles our beautiful Earth its light waxes and wanes because this heavenly orb is also moving between the Sun and Earth. The period of time over which the Moon goes through a cycle in its visibility corresponds approximately to 28 days. The ancient calendars of many cultures were based on this cycle, assigning thirteen lunar months plus a few days of correction to the year; the calendar of twelve months based on the apparent movement of the Sun around Earth was developed later on. Cultures based on the lunar calendar also engaged in some form of Mater Matrona or Great Mother worship, which featured the concept of Trinity in symbolic form. Trinity means many things, but above all encompasses the cycle of birth, life and death as being phases in an eternal dance energised by an eternal creator. This vision of trinity would also support the concept that all of manifestation in nature is equal to and co-existent with spirit in being a divine, eternal exchange between energy and matter. Unfortunately, down through the times of patriarchal culture the number thirteen and much of the sacred symbolism attached to it became an unlucky omen, just as much that was held sacred in Great Mother worship was either demonized or adapted into later religious practice under a different name and function.

These earlier cultures were also expert star gazers; it is they who developed the first observatories as can be visited at Stonehenge, Alta Vista or Karnak. 1 It is they who first named the constellations and intuited a connection between star patterns and the planets that move amongst them, relative to the conduct and manifestation of earthly affairs. Long ago astronomy and astrology were one science under the control of a priestly caste; for many thousands of years the balance of power was determined by shifts in the heavenly panorama as determined by Precession, the slow wobble of the earth about its axis.

Strangely co-incident with development of the linear alphabet and rising influence of logical-linear left brain dominance, early lunar/stellar cultures gave way to the solar/Apollonian principles of Light and Reason. Correspondingly, earthly existence became dualized into good and evil, mind versus body, man versus women, spirit (as identified through mind) versus nature which shaped much of modern civilization including the conduct of war, loss of women's rights, religious persecutions and rampant economic exploitation. In coming to worship the Light at the expense of the creative, image-based and intuitive powers resident in the Dark, much holistic wisdom, skill and scientific information was actively suppressed, allowing for control of the masses through dogma and the fear of damnation and death. We gained the concept of time but lost the concept of space. Even today, the struggle is on to consolidate and coordinate all media sources, in order to control the flow of information, images, truth and lies around the globe. Man's preoccupation with himself as separate from earth has bequeathed a system of subjective "reason" that essentially serves human greed and human preoccupations with hierarchy, control and power, even while claiming that love and compassion is to be valued above all else.

It is by darkness that the infinity of the universe is revealed, whether the Moon has the light of the Sun shining on it or not. By the ancient arcane phrase "As it is above, so it is below," the lighted Moon can be compared with the light of consciousness as it shines on a tiny portion of the vastness that contains both the individual unconscious and higher self, the human collective and the web of life that is Gaia. There is some argument in astrology over what the Moon represents; perhaps the Moon symbolizes the ebb and flow of our conscious and unconscious as these faculties intermingle with the web of manifestation within which each physical form is embedded. The Moon also reflects the emotional body along with its attendant powers of intuition and instinct. In the more difficult range of meaning it also can represent the ancestral past; those patterns of thought, emotion and behavior which we have inherited and use as the basis for our sense of self, until we begin to wake up to the greater territory of holistic self as it unites with the Web of Life.

In an astrology chart, the sign and house position of the natal Moon supplies information about how our instincts tend to work and how we felt about early caretakers, therefore forming notions about survival behavior and what we need for emotional security. The Moon's position also tells us about mother, how we related to her, what we believe she was and is; she served as an important model for our own behavior, whether we followed her example or reacted against it. Above all the Moon represents the past; not only our own beginnings but what is inherited from the generations that proceeded us. The past is encoded into our DNA; it forms the basis of our instinctual response system. Family dysfunction, tragedy and talents alike can be easily reflected in the natal Moon.

The Moon in aspect to other natal planets can show how we feel about ourselves, our sexuality and our emotional needs, in addition to how we might build relations with others. Moon aspects can tell about how we build and maintain our defenses; for example whether we tend to be swamped by our feelings or try to live in the mind. The nature of our survival strategies or lack of them is embodied in the Moon but this also is a reflection of the past. Our Moon shows how we handle trust and intimacy issues and whether or not we feel nourished, whether by the "mother" within or by the Great Cosmic Mother that is the field of probability from which we came.

Using a similar analogy, the Sun could be likened to the light of consciousness as applied to the process of individualization and the experience of self through the agency of ego. Within an environment that for the most part was evolved as a paradise until we humans started abusing the privilege. Until recently, many priests and astrologers have likened the Sun to the Father and the Divine Son, both spiritually and literally. The female principle as represented by Moon and Venus simply circled around this center of Light, hoping to be redeemed by obedience to the male either through child bearing, by honor of joyless standards in "purity and virtue" or in sacrificial service to family and church.

In the west we have just lately begun to become aware of the machinations of ego as distinct from the experience of an authentic, spiritually-centered sense of self; which could be identified as triune in nature as experienced on the earthly plan; incorporating yin (passive, receptive and formative), yang (active, energizing and transforming) as aspects of an infinite unknowable that exists and empowers without gender sexualization and all the disastrous dualities that have gone along with it. This core of true identity as vibrates through all beings on earth could be represented by both Sun and Moon, functioning in their higher vibrations of being and doing, initiation and containment.

How did the tender darkness which reveals so much hidden by the light of day come to be considered as evil? How did attendant principles of the feminine, the nurturing principle, creative dreamtime,the very fertility and productive abundance of the earth come to be an object devalued, something to exploit and use, casually casting its products away as whaste when tired and worn? Has that part of existance ever shrouded in mystery, dynamic in ability to shape-shift and uncontrollable in content become athymia to fear-saturated, neurotic modern culture? How did we let abstract, static, artificially perfectionist ideals rule our concept of the Divine, rather than simply embracing the ever-changing perfection of nature left to its unmolested state of glory?

In western religeous dogma why is only the Light considered to be "good" and "of God", when nothing would reproduce or live for long without the fertile darkness of soil and womb; if the restful cloak of night were taken away would we ever find peace and repose? The night hides predators but we have eliminated most of them except for ourselves, and these move as much by day as by night. We have brought that function into high form through long admiration for the arts of war, conquest and artful litigation. When a light is shined in the face, we cannot see what is going on behind it; when anything is exposed too long or too closely to the Sun, it burns up. Light manifests on the physical plain in the "darkness" of matter, which is simply a stepped-down and formally structured form of light. Yet we assign "reason" to the presence of light, "emotion and feeling" to darkness and by extension, oblivion; we make light logical-linear and rational, while the darkness is assigned the domains of image and heart, both of which have been considered as errors of the divine creator. Herein lies a clue to disabling the apparent dualities that split us asunder in so many ways. Black and white do not automatically-or logically- equate into evil versus good, female versus male, passive versus active, but there have been many "rational" or "righteous" thinkers that have striven mightily to Make It So.

The aspect patterns made by stars, asteroids, planets and earth provide a template by which the earthly dance of birth, life and death can be predicted, measured and modified. Truly miraculous that, whether we are tracking the phenomenon of natural catastrophe, the politics of nations, events in the life of an individual or the movements of inner mind; these phenomenon are reflected one in the same, within the movements of heavenly bodies in relation to earth. This dance is not limited to a blind dictate by cruel Fate, operating alone in fatalistic command of our lives. It is more a constantly shifting interplay between fate, destiny and free will, a cornucopia of probability and opportunity that changes simply by the act of observation, of becoming conscious of the energetic currents, known and unknown that shape the becoming of our reality.

Part II: Moon Phases in Action

Astrologers Marilyn Busteed and Dorothy Wergin noted that "...the Sun symbolizes potentiality and the Moon actuality; the phase (of the Moon) itself refers to reality, or the actualization of potential."2 For example, some of us are motivated to put the considerations of spirit ahead of form, therefore service to others and their happiness comes first. Others of us are more attuned to putting personal desire first, such as an aggressive businessmen who is sure God favors the financially astute. The angle of the Moon to the Sun at birth can be used to determine our approach and style to the process of living, from how we express creativity to coping strategies and relating to others.

There are definite karmic themes to the Moon phases in a birth chart; the earlier phases (New Moon type) represent one who is more concerned with having the freedom to explore, try out new ideas, be a non-comformist. The existential crisis here concerns defining self out of the whole cloth of the collective; what shall I be? By the time of the first quarter another crisis looms; themes and definitions of self are crystallizing, but how does this structure fit with the larger world?

For someone born around the Full Moon phase it is important to release ones themes and creations out into the world. We can experience a crisis around getting head and heart, intellect and instinct onto the same page; the state of being can be quite dualistic, split between "in here" and "out there". Maintaining a permanent relationship can be difficult as one feels options need to be kept open for something better. At the Moon's gibbous waning phases the structure of self is re-adjusted and re-valued, in response to the necessity of giving back to society that which has been given out in terms of resource, template and time; one must edit, modify and trim soul themes, discard discarding that which no longer serves a purpose. One born between the Full Moon and last quarter is still generally blessed with bountiful opportunities to deploy themselves and their talents out in the wider world on personally mandated terms acceptable or inspiring to collective consciousness.

At the last quarter of the Moon we are brought to another existential crisis, wherein much of that which formerly held great value and importance for the individual no longer matters. Beliefs and conformist tendencies that used to define one's universe are no longer viable; we must go beyond orthodoxy and duty into the endless planes of spiritual exploration. The very late phases represent lives crafted of endings and beginnings as the soul gets ready to commence a new round of development. Service and sacrifice is the best way to live with an "old" Moon, but some born into this phase who have stubbornly clung to obsolete ego structures may have refined the art of being self-involved to a high degree instead. Old Moon folks are frequently very capable at finding sustenance in the world but they are essentially removed from the mundane lifestyle in some way. The very old or Balsamic Moon has the task of balancing any karma and unresolved issues that have not been dealt with before; just like the New Moon individual, they can be disinclined to form permanent relations with a partner, unless that individual would serve as a means of support or protection.

Tracking each monthly Moon cycle during the current year is very useful for planning daily activities and charting monthly goals. The new Moon marks an excellent time to make new plans, allow new inspirations to surface. As the Moon waxes fuller, projects can be given shape and form; energy goes into crystalizing concepts, trouble shooting and compromising with the limitations of reality along the way.

By full Moon the plan, product or idea should be ready to release out into the world. It is here that what is hoped for meets with what is really possible, therefore people in general are much more likely to be emotional, moody and restless during this phase. The waning days of the Moon are good for making adjustments, finishing up loose ends, resting and getting ready for the next cycle. The signs and degrees at which the New and Full Moons occur during each month, along with any major aspects the Moon makes at those times can also give us clues as to the likely themes that will take center stage in life during that particular time.

A Moon reading might include the following:

  • The birth Moon by house and sign; what does this mean in terms of the past, influence of the ancestors and current security needs? What sort of person was your mother and how did she interact with you? What does the elemental signature and aspects made by the Moon say about instinct, intuition, and access to the dreamtime and astral realms? What is the nature of the emotional body, how are feelings and emotions processed? Examples: Moon in Aquarius in the sixth house of unresolved issues, health, co-workers, service and small animals. Aquarian Moon can use distance and detachment as a security need; in the sixth house it can represent one who is shy and alienated from others; expressed positively it can point to someone who serves in the alternative healing industry. Libra Moon in the second house of values, self-esteem and making money; Moon in Libra loves to socialize and usually does not favor the rude or crude in demeanor; in the second house it can indicate someone who's self-esteem is tied to their popularity or who makes their money through public relations, the arts or the beauty industry.

  • Aspects made by the Moon to other planets and points in the birth chart can be incredibly powerful in shaping the scope, themes and challenges of our life. For example: Moon square Venus (values, self-esteem, the feminine sexual)can indicate conflicts within self identity as a nurturer and "mother" versus being a sexual, independent woman; Madonna-whore complex in a man. Moon square Mars (aggression,drive,libido)has issues with channeling emotions and desires; this energy can express as destructive, impulsive anger or focused and determined ambition. Moon square Jupiter (expansion, fortune, belief systems,)can be boisterous, gregarious and generous or prone to exaggeration and over-the-top behavior, even crisis-prone in the direction of nervous breakdown or eating disorders.

  • The Moon's Nodes are powerful tools with which to explore both who we already are and what we are trying to become. The South Node or Dragon's Tail () relates to past lives, where we have already been and what we are used to; The North Node or Dragon's Head () pertains to the path of soul growth. The position of this Node and aspects made to it can be most useful for determining what our purpose is for being here in this lfetime. Planetary aspects made to the Nodes symbolize character traits and family-based dynamics that can help or block our progress forward as we mature.

  • Astrologers use a technique called Secondary Progressions to learn more about the current emotional tone and focus of interest likely for an individual. These progressions are found by advancing the positions of the planets about one day for each year of life. The progressed Moon is most immediately useful as it moves a little over a degree per month, depending on when during the year a person is born. The progressed Moon shows where we are currently in mental process, what the most immediate focus in life is likely to be at any given time; progressed Moon can serve as a trigger by aspect for the manifestation of major events in life, as we are co-creators in determining the course of our experience on the earthly plane.

(1) Echoes of the Ancient Skies -The Astronomy of Lost Civilizations, by Dr. E.C. Krupp,Harper and Row Publishers, New York, NY, 1983.

(2) Phases of the Moon, A Guide to Evolving Human Nature, by Marilyn Busteed and Dorothy Wergin, AFA, Inc., Tempe, AZ. 1992.

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