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Astrological Encyclopedia

The Moon—Principle of Motherhood

   In the study of the sign positions and aspects of the Moon in a horoscope we deal with one of the fundamentals of life-expression: the basis of feminine polarity. The Moon is one of the cornerstones of a chart; she is the root from which springs all the other variations of the passive, receptive, and emotional phases of the personality. The fullest significance of the Moon vibration can be comprehended only when every human being is understood to contain within himself, or herself, the essences of both polarity; every chart has Sun-Mars as well as Moon-Venus, in some pattern or other.

   Physical sex, in the world of forms, is a specialized emphasis of either polarity for the purposes of perpetuation. But, on the inner planes of subconscious impressions, feelings, karmic memories, and racial patterns, the Moon influence prevails. Fulfillment of evolutionary processes is thus seen to be made in the physical aspects of both polarities, usually alternating, and since physical sex is attended by a specialization of experience, everyone must know the life of male as well as female. This "specialization" is not only of expression but, automatically, of karma; thus certain lessons can be learned only through incarnation as female. In this connection, much in the karma of males may be traceable, by cause and effect, to unfulfillments and misdirections of the feminine urges in past embodiments, and the Moon, in male charts, is the key to these karmic patterns. The karma that a man experiences through women is merely the objectification of this own unregenerate feminine polarity; he is manifesting as male, but, by reflection through his contacts and exchanges with "the women in his life," these inner disorders are manifested.

   Mars, dynamic and vitalizing, is the function of impregnation, the essence of male sex; the Moon is that which receives this energizing and nurtures the dormant seed into form. Thus, the Moon is the link between Ego and family race. She is the agency through which man as male projects himself into the streams of life.

   Thus, the Moon is seen as the Principle of Motherhood and, in mundane or objective astrology, this is her primary signification. Through experience as mother, mankind receives lessons that are second to none in scope, depth, and importance. It is as mother that the potentials of Mars selfishness, Mars egotism, Mars domination, and Mars destructiveness receive their first alchemicalized transmutations through the initiation of self- sacrifice demanded by the functions of motherhood.

   Much has been said, for ages past, about the sacredness of motherhood; how few people realize that the same urge which moves a primitive, animal-like woman to lend her body to pain in order that the stream of life may be perpetuated is, in microcosm, the same urge by which a Master, through highly developed forms of transmutation and alchemy, "nurtures" the spiritual life of the race. The primitive woman responds instinctively to the urges of blood and desire; the Master fulfills his transcendent aspirations in impersonal love. When the nurture of the life of another—or others—is concerned, the motherhood principle is expressed. (Astrologically, of course, the woman in the above example is Moon-Mars; the Master, as an expression of spiritual Light synthesizes the planetary spectrum. In his case, the Moon is cosmically expressed as Neptune and Mars is expressed as Uranus).

   How, might be asked, can each child in a large family have the Moon in a different sign, since all have the same mother? Because of the quality of experience involved in maternity, and the changes of "capacity," psychological and emotional levels, and in domestic situations which may occur during the years of fruition, a woman is not quite the same person at the birth of her sixth child as she was as a mother of one. Each child in a family group has an individual pattern, and his, or her, Moon reflects or indicates an individual "mother picture." Hence, though the mother is the same individual she is "seen" differently, according to the consciousness or subconsciousness, by each child. And—and this is very important—she may have a different kind of karmic bond—some expression of basic attraction or repulsion—with each child. Thus, each child's Moon indicates a different pattern of reactions and feelings in his relationship with the mother.

   The sign position of the Moon in the chart of a girl— a potential mother—shows, basically, what kind of a mother she will, or can be; the Moon aspects describe her basic motherhood experiences. In a boy's chart, by reflection, the Moon describes the general trend of his domestic experiences and the essence of his attitudes toward women generally. There is an important point to be made in this connection: because of the transition of the mother of a family, the father may, in his children's life, have to take her place; his Moon is indicative of his ability to fulfill this responsibility. In other words, he, then, must be mother as well as father and not only his Sun-Mars but his Moon as well are all given direct expression. The reverse holds true: a woman's Sun-Mars indicates her ability to exercise the power and initiative to make a living for her family if the father passes. Both polarity patterns are then synthesized through the Uranus vibration for the transcending of relationship responsibilities and family karma.

   The Moon as a mental factor: The Moon symbolizes the processes of the subconscious "mind of feeling," not of detached, impersonal thought. She is opinion, based on family or racial patterns which may, or which may not, have much reference to actuality. In other words, she is "thought that is motivated by feeling response." Here the Moon is seen as "personal viewpoint" which is certain to make itself evident when a person discusses anyone or any thing while in a state of emotional disturbance. As the basic factor of the mental triad—Moon, Mercury, Neptune—the Moon finds her regeneration through the processes of emotional discipline and control and the development of personal detachment. We are connected to people and things only to the degree—and in the kind of degree—that we have feeling about them. It is our feelings that make for "reality" as far as personal reference is concerned. It is only when feeling has been eliminated, prejudice removed, parental and family influences transcended, and inner poise developed that "things are seen"—through Mercury—"as they are in themselves."

   Thus Mercury says: "This hat is blue." An impersonal fact. The Moon might say: "I think this hat is lovely—the color is just like my baby's eyes." Personal feeling. These are, of course, trite examples, but they serve to indicate how personal feelings can influence our interpretation of facts.

   This trick of the Moon to disorder our perceptions, by feeling, can manifest in larger ways to produce tragic results. A young woman is "jilted" by her sweetheart; she reacts, in feeling, with intense resentment and suffers for years with the (subconscious) conviction that " all men are cheats and liars." (We can just see her tense face and hear the shrill words). She is not thinking with her intelligence but with her feelings of disappointment, outraged pride, and loneliness. A man suffers some unkindness or injustice at the hands of another man of different race or nationality. He reacts with bitterness that spills out on his children. One of his sons "takes in" this unhappy impression, and, because one person gave his father a "bad time" he, the son, is from then on prejudiced against the people of that nationality and he feels the strong urge to condemn them all, without reservation, to perdition. In this example, a weakness in the son's make up is revealed. He was not using his own ability to think, but left himself wide open to the negative impulses of the father's disturbed emotions. And, until he strengthens his power to discriminate and think—consciously—he will continually victimize himself, through his uncontrolled feelings, in his attitudes about that particular nationality.

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   This retention of subconscious patterns, through feeling, represents on a large scale that which is known as "race memory," and in this connection the Moon, as "mother," stands for identification of the individual with his nationality or race. Mars urges us to fight for our country, but through the Moon we love our country as a child loves its mother. The symbolism is paralleled, exactly. As long as race consciousness pertains to the subconscious patterns of a person, he is in the same kind of bondage to his "feeling of nationality" as a child is "in bondage to his mother" when he sees, in the protective security of her love, the be-all and end-all of his living. These states of mind are, in essence, identical; one is infantilism with reference to an individual, the other is infantilism in reference to a race pattern. When emotionality is matured, all mothers are Mother, persons of whatever nationality are Brother and Sister, and any—or all—nations can be Home. However, in the scale of things, each race pattern provides a "nurturing mold"—or home—for specific and evolutionary purpose. Each is "good in its own time and for its own purpose," just as each mother is, "the right mother for each child."

   Since the Moon, as a mental factor, pertains to the interpretations of the horoscope for a psychological or psychiatric standpoint and so cannot be dealt with in detail here, we offer a few points of basic interpretation of the Moon, as Maternity, in combination with the other planets.

   The degree or intensity of maternal capacity is indicated by the sign position of the Moon, "experience-patterns," by the aspects made to the Moon by the other planetary bodies. In the sign Cancer the Moon is at her most motherly position; the urge to nurture is here the most marked. The next two best signs for maternal capacity are Taurus and Pisces. In Leo, the Sun sign, she glows with warmth and power, but with a positive quality that contrasts with her basic passivity of nature. In Libra she blends beautifully with the Venusian vibration of the partnership sign which emphasizes the seventh house impulses. In Gemini and Aquarius she is at her most purely mental, and in Aquarius the Moon is as impersonal as she can get— detached, scientific, and friendly rather than purely motherly in feeling. In Capricorn she blends with the form side of life through the Saturn vibration; here she is practical, capable, dependable, but somewhat lacking in the responsiveness and sympathy that mark the maternal urge. In Scorpio she is intensely emotional and generative, but the watery Mars vibration emphasizes force and severity. This position is considered unfavorable for the Moon from a physiological standpoint. In a man's chart it does not reflect a particularly harmonious or happy "picture of women." In Aries, the Moon is most definitely "un-herself." Here she expresses with a dynamic, egoistic, and masculine quality that is the antithesis of her feminine nature—the keyword is "self-assertion."

   It must be emphasized that the Moon focuses the maternal urge, but there are several kinds of "variation of experience." These are indicated by planets which are found in the sign Cancer, ruled by the Moon; these planets are said to be disposited by the Moon. Also, planets in the fourth house—regardless of sign—indicate, to a large degree, the objective side of the "home-consciousness;" it is through "home experience" that these planets find their chief channel of expression and highest potential for fulfillment.

   The faculty of instinct is one of the keywords of the Moon function. In this connection, the Moon symbolizes a "race urge," a "biological compulsion." She represents the most deeply rooted expression of the drive of the feminine polarity. Though passive and receptive in nature, the Moon finds her rulership and detriment in Cancer and Capricorn, both cardinal signs; thus a certain dynamic or generating faculty is seen in the Moon functioning.

   To the degree that the Moon is allied with signs that are congenial to her, she expresses with strong drive, deep fulfillment needs; when she is allied to uncongenial signs, she must express her urges through qualities that are not congenial to her basic keynote; to the degree that she is well-aspected, she promises fulfillments, harmony of give-and-take in experience, and health; to the degree that she is afflicted, she indicates "feminine karma," both objectively and subjectively, the needs for transmutation and regeneration of feeling, physical disharmonies—particularly in women—; and the indications of transmuting the feminine expression are shown by any affliction to the Moon in the charts of men as well as of women.

   The following interpretative notes must, of necessity, remain basic and simple, for clarity's sake. Remember that the Moon rules the function of the subconscious mind, and any afflicted aspect represents a negative "picture" which brought over from the past is "close to the surface of consciousness," and will manifest, definitely in childhood. The transmutation of a horoscope starts with the transmutation of afflicted Moon aspects.

   Moon-Sun: The maternal impulse is here identified, in some way with Power. Afflicted, feeling and purpose are in conflict—either one tending to predominate; excess of the Moon influence tends to deterioration of inner strength; with excess of Sun influence, maternity is expressed in terms of domination and tyranny. This is a disintegrative aspect because the person, through "feeling about herself," is not fully aware of inner capacities, therefore, self-assurance is lacking; to regenerate this aspect, power, in domestic experience, must be redirected for Moon fulfillments, not expressed just for its own sake. Benefic, feeling and purpose are harmonized; maternal experience is expressed and fulfilled with capability; a certain " positiveness " is found, thus indicating the possibility that the mother may be the "leader" in the family. Moon in good aspect to the Sun, is a redemption in any chart because it shows an integration of basic polarity.

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   Moon-Mercury: Afflicted, feeling and maternal concern conflict with thought; the mother with this aspect needs mental disciplining because she tends to "interpret" according to her feelings at the moment, and not in line with actuality. She should watch her words carefully and not give way to overmuch talking while she is emotionally disturbed because she is apt to commit herself to untruths and injustices. "Take time to think" is a good policy for redirecting this impulse, and, when this aspect is found in the chart of a child, the mother will recognize that the child is very impressionable to her words—she must not inflict on his mind her negative impulses and thoughts. Many people who have this aspect have been, karmically, impressed with the negative expressions of their mothers' emotions, and have lived for many years with unhappiness because of the "pictures" which were impressed on their subconscious minds in childhood. In either ease, mother or child, mental discipline and emotional poise, are of prime importance to creating happiness and success. Establish the habit of "finding out the facts," (Mercury) and by acting in accordance with them, feeling can be controlled.

   Moon-Venus: These two form the basis of the fulfilled feminine polarity in the sense that they indicate woman's emotions as mother and as mate. Since Venus is "cultivation and refinement," her inharmonious patterns with the Moon indicate a lack of sympathetic feeling; depending on which of the two is the more strongly emphasized in the chart, the maternal urge will obscure the "response to the other fellow," or the esthetic or partnership urge will obscure the needs for motherhood. This is an aspect symbolizing an inharmonious relationship with the mother, as far as emotion is concerned. And, in the chart of either a man or a woman, it represents a need to balance and complete the feminine patterns. This process may be done by (for the Moon) taking advantage of opportunities to express the urge to nurture and (for Venus) development of courtesy, cooperation, "thinking in terms of the other fellow"—which, after all, is the basis of all civilized (Venusian) living. Benefic aspects between Moon and Venus indicate a basic cultivation of the emotional nature. Refinement and charm, courtesy and good taste have been built in; these qualities may be reflected, physically, as beauty and grace. Harmonious relationships with the mother, or women generally, are promised. Cultivation of esthetic faculties are also indicated, since the subconscious mind has been strongly impressed by the redeeming factor of "thinking and acting in terms of harmony."

   Moon-Mars: This, in whatever form is a touchy aspect, since the two form the basis of "primitive emotion." Intensity of subconscious impressionability is indicated and the maternal feelings are highly charged. If negative, particularly the square, this is "hot-temper," irritability, jealousy, and resentment. The urge to dominate is strong and such mothers tend to "lead their children by the nose." This aspect indicates the possibility that ambition and the "urge-to-achieve" is stimulated by the experience of motherhood—such women feel the urge to "fight for their children." With the negative aspects, this urge is expressed with great force; the "law of fang and claw" is much in evidence. Potentialities of hatreds and enmities are strongly evidenced by Mars afflicting Moon, since the subconscious mind is keenly impressed by the "urge to defend and defeat." Harmonious patterns of Mars-Moon indicate the possibilities of much more constructive action—energy is expressed through the urge to achieve rather than the impulse to destroy. This is a courageous mother, intrepid and valiant, who is capable of living her maternal experiences in terms of positiveness and hard work. A good Saturn, Venus, and/or Jupiter aspect to the Moon—patience, harmony, and/or benevolence—are good correctives for Mars-Moon afflictions.

   Moon-Jupiter: The maternal urge is expressed through benevolence and abundance. Afflicted, the mother may be inclined to over- indulgence—she seeks to "overprotect" her children; a superabundance of maternal concern is indicated, and though the motives may be utterly sincere and unselfish, the mother with Moon afflicted by Jupiter is lacking in judgment—her feelings obscure her sensible evaluations and she tends to weaken her children by making things "too easy for them." She must discipline herself by, to some degree, disciplining her children. She must allow them the privilege of developing through the exercise of their own initiative and in fulfillment of responsibilities. In thus "freeing herself" from them she, to a degree, gains in perspective and emotional control. Benefic aspects between Moon and Jupiter form a very beautiful pattern of amplitude, generosity, sincerity, and balanced judgment. Such a mother expresses herself abundantly and healthily. She is a radiation of warmth and comfort, a source of well- being for her family, both physically and psychologically. This aspect is an astrological portrait of Ling Sao, the mother in Pearl Buck's book, "Dragon Seed."

   Moon-Saturn: Here the maternal experience is identified with the form side of life through Responsibility. The conjunction of Saturn with the Moon makes the maternal experience something of a crucifixion—even beyond the ordinary meaning of the word. Maternity, in this instance, "nails" a woman to the exigencies of life, and through domestic experiences, she must fulfill herself through many obstacles which may be actual, but which also may be because of her subconscious viewpoint. This is a pattern of "narrowing"—much has to be done through a limitation of scope. Inflicting Venus and/or Jupiter, Moon conjunct Saturn presents a rather sad picture—a domestic experience lived rather joylessly and in terms of limitation of means. Afflicting Saturn and/or Mars, the vitality and "thrust" are depleted—achievement is made against the counteractives of restraints and inhibitions. Saturn square or opposition Moon steadies the temperament and may prove a necessary counter-active to dynamic afflictions, but the Saturn influence will be felt as impediment, restriction, or inhibition. The position of Saturn will show a channel through which the maternal urge will express for the fulfillment of responsibility. The benefic aspects between Moon and Saturn indicate control of feeling and integration of practical abilities. This is the strong, competent mother who lives in an orderly, methodical manner. She is a pillar of dependability and, whether or not she is particularly emotional or loving, she still is reliable and able to put the domestic side of her life on a sound, practical basis. Perhaps somewhat lacking in "expressiveness," she is a loyal and devoted mother who expresses her maternal love in her desire to protect and stabilize.

   Moon-Uranus, Moon-Neptune: In these patterns, an indication is shown whereby the basic maternal urge may be redirected into impersonal spiritual, universal, or creative channels. In contact with Uranus and Neptune the indications of the Moon take on a scope that she does not have with the lesser planets. The subconscious mind is sensitized and vitalized by attunement to what might be called "cosmic patterns"—intuition and the psychic faculties may be unfolded. Moon-Uranus is much more dynamic and creative; Moon-Neptune is more sensitive, emotional, receptive and compassionate. However, the interpretative approaches to these aspects must be made from a comparison with the Moon's aspects to the lesser planets—since they form the "first steps on the ladder;" Moon trine Uranus, square Mars is not as easy as when Moon is sextile or trine Mars. In this example, much control and direction is required of Mars before the Uranus trine can express constructively. Otherwise Uranus, backed by a disorderly Mars, may express destructively. Moon trine Neptune, square Sun is a very sensitive Moon, impressionable, psychic; but with disorder between Purpose and Feeling, or depleted vitality; the sensitivity of Neptune may result in some form of negative psychism and mental confusion. Study the Moon-Uranus aspects by synthesizing the Moon with the other dynamic planets that she may aspect; Moon-Neptune—compare her patterns with Venus and Saturn. We must know how the subconscious mind is aligned to either the masculine or the feminine polarities—this gives us a key to the basic subconscious quality. Moon in aspect to either Uranus or Neptune is a clue to "latent universality" since these aspects show the directions by which the primitive, basic "flesh and blood" urges of the Moon will, in time, be expressed in terms of impersonal, or cosmic fulfillments.

Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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