Who we are is made up not only of what now we choose to be but also of what has impacted upon us in the past, which created an unconscious influence, unrivalled by later occurrences. The influence is the root of our personality; it begins at conception and is firmly fixed by the time we go to school. Contributors include ancestral coding through DNA and genes, one’s early home environment and dietary input, the behaviour and feelings of mother (above all else), father, siblings and other close family members, also the climate and zeitgeist during infancy. Astrologers look to the moon’s position to get a sense of this core, unconscious aspect of character, which some believe to be of greater influence even than the sun sign or ascendant.
We find habit comfortable, and the unfamiliar potentially threatening – as vulnerable tribal nomads survival depended upon being very wary of the unknown. Through the moon we connect to all tribal wisdom, and resonate with the collective rhythm that binds us to the members of our extended family unit together with our tribe’s relationship with Nature’s rhythms of the sun and moon – so lunation, monthly and yearly seasons, menstruation, planting and harvesting, celebration, migration and so on. Even migration patterns are seen now when people return to known haunts on vacation.
Nowadays, where close awareness of natural rhythms is often lacking, a person’s ease of response to events, and their ability to cope with emotional challenges, depends upon how well-adjusted they are. This connects to their willingness to respond appropriately to inner feelings, family needs, ailments both physical and psychological, and cultural norms that represent the flowering of the experiences of our ancestors over millennia. It is generally thought that women are more comfortable than men with this aspect of life.
Sometimes to preserve our sense of wellness we have to do what we feel, rather than what we think we should do, even if doing so costs us influence or advantage; this is because being well-adjusted includes acknowledgement of our own neediness, vulnerabilities and imperfections. This is not meant as free licence to behave childishly – as immature people seem to think – it is that the spontaneous, uninhibited urges of childhood need to be assimilated into appropriate adult attitudes so that both the self and the community can be accommodated; without this there is the repression that inevitably leads to unconscious, inappropriate outbursts. Better to rage and scream at your team’s opponents on the football field than to pick up a gun.
In brief, the moon in one’s horoscope indicates the various aspects of character that derive from our need to be made safe by belonging to a tribe and family, or at least be within a familiar and safe environment. Stressful or harmonious aspects of the moon show how well we cope with the emotional challenges that arise when we feel that our belongingness is at risk.
These traits of personality include our general self-image and sense of worthiness, what we do to make us feel good about ourselves and life in general, where we look to find security both emotional and physical, how we respond when we feel at risk, how we present ourselves to the world and conduct our relationship with the public at large, where we need to receive feedback about who we are and how we realise in practical terms whatever choices we make as visionary statements of our ideals.
Elsewhere, moon positions by sign are discussed in depth – but we can get an outline by considering the elements and qualities. Earth moons are practical and they tend to respond to stress with endurance. Water moons are emotional and have a tendency to respond to stress with dramatic outpourings. Fire moons are vigorous and more readily respond to stress with anger. Air moons are social and usually respond to stress by talking and rationalising. Fixed moons are staunch; cardinal moons are directing; mutable moons are negotiating. For example – moon in Scorpio (fixed water) is devoted and needs their loved ones to be the same; moon in Gemini (mutable air) loves to discuss both sides of everything and needs freedom from dogma; moon in Aries (cardinal fire) is first to respond to opportunities to move things along toward their goal and often gets impatient with those who cannot move quickly enough for them.