In Tropical Astrology – where the twelve signs of the zodiac begin at the first moment of spring in the Northern Hemisphere – the Moon's influence has been considered of equal importance to that of the Sun for millennia. Part of the reason concerns the monthly dance in the heavens of the solar-lunar cycle of 29.53 days – encompassing the four main phases (New Moon; First Quarter; Full Moon; Last Quarter) as well as other, more subtle divisions of the Sun-Moon relationship.
From the Earth's point of view, we also have the synchronistic fact that while the Sun is approximately 400 times bigger than the Moon, the Moon is 400 times closer to us. This means that during a Total Eclipse of the Sun, the Moon's disk virtually covers the Sun's fiery face – blocking out solar light for a few minutes and creating a path of totality that moves across our planet and invites astute observations by meticulous astronomers as well as stunned visitors often traveling great distances to witness a rare celestial event.
While the Sun-Moon interaction is very significant, the Moon's actual revolution around the Earth takes a little less time (27.322 days). And because the Moon has always been associated with the tides of the oceans and the psychic pull on human emotions (particularly associated with women), this has created a resonance between the Moon and the mysterious rhythms and cycles that are a vital part of our physical, emotional and mental make-up as soul-infused individuals.
When the first astronauts encircled the Moon in 1968 (only a few months before the first human landing on July 20, 1969), they sent back pictures of the dark side of the Moon – never seen before by earthlings. The reason we don't see that dark side is due to the curious fact that while the Moon's revolution around the Earth takes 27.322 days, the Moon is also rotating on its axis in exactly the same time-span. Therefore, it only shows one face to us – although from the Sun's perspective, the dark side will be completely lit up when we on Earth experience New Moon.
In natal chart interpretation, the Moon, the Sun and the Rising Degree on the Eastern Horizon (the Ascendant) exist as a kind of supreme trinity affecting the destiny pattern of the individual born at a specific moment at a particular place on Earth.
While millions of people believe they are simply their Sun-sign, the reality is that a complete horoscope (composed of Sun, Moon, 8 main planets, 4 key asteroids, Chiron, the Lunar Nodes or Orbit of the Moon, the Rising Degree, 12 houses surrounding the birth moment, 12 signs forming an electro-magnetic field or aura, and the mathematical interrelationships of all of these factors) is the key to one's higher purpose from the astrological perspective.
Within the trinity of Moon, Sun and Rising Degree, the Moon is more indicative of the past while the Sun rules the present and the Rising Degree represents the future. In another manner of interpreting these three factors in every birth chart, the Moon connects strongly to one's personality while the Sun is the character, and the Rising Degree becomes the unique manner, window or self-oriented pathway in which the Moon, Sun and all the celestial bodies at birth assist the individual in contacting the outside world.
The Moon is associated with memories, moods, rhythms, cycles, instincts, subliminal impulses, the water element, and – in a broader sense – with being nurtured, fed and the feeling of "being at home." From a more esoteric perspective – if one accepts the idea of reincarnation – the Moon appears to be a reservoir or repository of "past-life memories" as well as signifying a sign of the zodiac with which this soul is very familiar over many life-times.
Since the Moon and its phases have much to do with the so-called astral plane of visions, altered-reality, and out-of-the-body experiences, the transiting lunar orb in the sky may periodically stimulate the dreaming mechanism within all human beings – providing glimpses of lives in past cultures and civilizations or, once in a while, offering portents ahead of time of what is to happen in the future.
Ancient and medieval astrology has always indicated that the Moon rules the fourth sign of Cancer (connected to family, home, mothering, bodies of water, the Crab and the Domestic Cat, psychic sensitivity, moods and deep-seated feelings) as well as the fourth house of a birth chart (home; roots; foundations; childhood memories; the past).
An excellent technique for understanding the power of the Moon at someone's birth is to utilize the concept presented a couple of paragraphs earlier about "being at home" or "feeling at home." For example, someone born with a Moon in the fifth house will feel they are "at home" while being creative and engaged in playful, child-like and heart-felt interactions with partners, friends and associates. A person with a Moon in the tenth house will feel "at home" in the public eye and while engaged in professional work. Someone born with a third house Moon placement will be at home while reading, study and teaching. An individual coming into incarnation with an eleventh house Moon will be attracted to group projects, team work as well as developing a wide circle of friends in which they can express their feelings and moods.
The sign the Moon is located in at birth is often a tell-tale indicator of Sun-sign activity in a previous life or during many lives in the past. For example, the Moon's presence in Leo in this lifetime strongly indicates past-life experience within royal families and/or that the individual was a Sun-sign Leo in a recent or important past-life that is now being rekindled for some kind of karmic purpose. Someone born with a Sagittarius Moon reveals a strong adventurous, exploratory and philosophical streak and/or that the individual was a Sun-sign Sagittarius in the past.
Whether the Moon is visible (upper half of the chart) or invisible (lower half of the chart), whether the Moon is waxing and increasing in reflected sunlight or waning and decreasing in reflected sunlight, as well as all the aspects the Moon is making to other celestial bodies in the birth chart – all of these factors and many others need to be understood when analyzing the natal horoscope as well as watching transits and progressions (the key cycles of moving celestial bodies after the birth moment).
Since the Moon takes 27.322 days to make a complete orbit through the zodiac and there are 12 signs, the transiting Moon will take approximately 2.28 days or about 55 hours to go through one sign of the zodiac. Thus, the Moon spends about 2+ days going through each of your 12 houses – coloring and influencing the affairs of that house in your life. In addition, the Moon will unite with every celestial body in your birth chart (for a few hours) in each 27+ day time-period – impacting the themes, qualities and meanings of that celestial body. Therefore, 13 times in a calendar year, the Moon brings its energy, sustenance, and support to every one of your celestial bodies – somewhat like a mother feeding a child. Thus, it definitely pays to become a Moon watcher – learning the intimate secrets of the Moon's motions relative to the Earth, the Sun, the signs of the zodiac, and the 12 houses of your birth chart.
Deeply associated with the Moon are its orbital nodes or intersecting points (North and South) with the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Just as the Moon connects strongly with the past, it is synchronistic that the Moon's Nodes travel in reverse – making one retrograde cycle through the zodiac in approximately 18.6 years.
The Nodes are a powerhouse in any birth chart – having much to do with higher destiny and fate. The houses in which the nodes reside are given extra significance in a birth chart interpretation. Eclipses can only take place when the Sun and Moon are relatively near one or other of the two nodes. If a celestial body at birth is at one of the nodes, then that solar systemic body is being accentuated – for good or ill – from the soul's perspective.
Keep in mind that the Moon's nodes constitute the actual orbit of the Moon while the Moon itself can be considered the concretized essence of that orbit. While much of the interpretation in any chart consultation focuses attention on the Sun, Moon and celestial bodies, the orbit of the Moon as well as the orbits of the 8 major planets in the solar system have their place in the dynamics of birth chart analysis.
It is considered auspicious and empowering when – during every 27+ day transiting cycle of the Moon through the entire zodiac – the Moon enters the sign of an individual's North Node. It is then – during an approximate 2+ day time-period – that the person experiences their "high cycle of the month," a valuable time-span to make phone calls and appointments, initiate plans, be more organized and efficient, complete important tasks, act intuitively and feel more self-confident.
Working with the Moon's essential meaning, its powerful phases, rhythms and cycles can be one of the most fascinating reasons to study your birth chart and upcoming transits and progressions in greater depth.
Welcome to the mysteries and secrets of Lunar Astrology.