The Moon reveals the energy of the Sun through the colour spectrum of light, which underlies the ever-changing forms of reality.
A considerable number of authors have focused on the swift movement of the Moon through the zodiac while examining lunar symbolism. Indeed, the Moon acquires a distinct perceptual intensity and associated meanings primarily due to its ability to counterbalance the fixed nature of the solar disk. Rudhyar, on the other hand, emphasises the interplay between the Saturn-Moon dyad, the structure or form that contains the psyche’s representation energy. Lunar symbolism is replete with references and suggestions to the neonatal state, sensitivity, receptiveness, femininity, and other values that expose us to the world. The Jungian association of the animus-anima with the Saturn-Moon couple could also be traced back. Nevertheless, it is impossible to comprehend the lunar symbolism without considering its astronomical location.
The Sun-Moon dyad
The Sun represents the light of consciousness and physically expresses the Logos, the origin of the Self. Once situated at the intersection of the cardinal axes of domification, the Self becomes individual potential. The Moon, on the other hand, is the most explicit representation of the reflecting potential of matter and enables us to differentiate the Self from what appears to be other than the Self. The Moon acts as the archetype of the ego’s birth and the Logos’s light that takes shape by revealing itself through reflection, which is resistance to the advancement of light. However, it is also the pathway to universal self-awareness. At this point, we comprehend the fundamental nature represented by the Sun-Moon dyad, where the Moon is shrouded in the solar vision, returning it indirectly. It is the supreme receptacle of the power of the Sun, the archetype of welcoming and restitution in the ever-changing forms of nature. Additionally, it is the female function that, regardless of biological sex, gives birth to the fruit of her creative seed. Among the many symbolisms brought by the Moon, we mention the sensitivity, emotion, perception, representation, and intimate elaboration of the contents of consciousness provided by the senses.
The Moon and memory
The Moon’s association with memory is a well-known phenomenon attributed to lunar sensitivity. This sensitivity results in the formation of an impression, which acts as a model of the sensory form, thus allowing it to retain the imprint of the objects of perception. However, this impression is only transformed into memory when triggered by a catalyst ego.
The Moon as a satellite
We might wonder why the Moon is so important as a symbolic signifier of the values just mentioned. Astronomically, this can be attributed to its position as a satellite of the Earth, which acts as a guardian of our planet. The Earth-Moon system resembles the larger Sun-Earth pattern, where the central system is the Earth, and the Moon plays the role of a nocturnal remembrance. In the absence of direct sunlight, the Moon reflects the same light, which testifies to the presence of the Logos in the matter. The interdependence between night light and reflected light is an interesting topic. During the absence of daylight, the night is the natural moment when the waking consciousness gives way to sleep, leading to two phases: dreamless sleep and the dream state.
During dreamless sleep, consciousness unites with the mother of reality, an undifferentiated foundation free from space-time categories. Conversely, the dream world presents itself as the power of imagery, reproduction, or representation of the wakefulness experience. It is an intermediary realm between the unconscious and awake activities, a reflection of both, which concentrates on the imaginary formation of the contents of reality before they materialise. It is an intermediate world where logic creates uncommon bonds and forms because they lack space-time categories. Nonetheless, it discloses the potential of the Moon, which acts as a mediator between the waking state of daytime consciousness – where reality appears in the sunlight – and the dream state that follows dreamless sleep when the stillness of the sleeping senses permits us to explore the realm of the unreal.
The brain serves as a crucial organ that exercises its mirror function, enabling humans to comprehend the Logos otherwise incomprehensible in its devouring intensity. Similarly, the Moon, acting as a satellite, becomes a screen for the direct action of light, processing its monochromatic content into a spectrum of symbolic representations of a diverse range of natural forms. On the other hand, the Earth serves as a focal point where each individuality holds within itself a seed of awareness that echoes the primordial unity.
The Moon’s symbolism ultimately refers to the vicarious function of reflection, which is multifaceted in both the human and natural microcosm. It serves as a potential for sensitivity, allowing for receiving content from sensory experience. It also evokes emotionality, which is the response or reaction to impressions received. Memory is another function where the sensible form is imprinted. Femininity represents the attractive side of nature, manifested biologically in the female sex. Motherhood is the biological counterpart of emotion, a strong reaction that unites spirit and matter. Water is a means of nourishing and adapting living substances and is also a symbol of abandonment to gravity with its descending flow. It corresponds to the falling state of matter and its thickening, which causes the loss of spiritual lightness.
The Moon phases
The Moon’s revolution around the Earth is characterised by its synchronous rotation due to the tidal influence of the Earth’s gravity; as a result, it consistently displays the same face. The lunar phases do not cause a monthly occurrence of solar or lunar eclipses due to the inclination of the lunar plane of revolution to the Earth’s plane of revolution by approximately 5 degrees; eclipses only manifest when the new Moon and full Moon phases coincide with the crossing of the two axes. The Moon’s and Sun’s apparent diameters coincide, leading to total solar eclipses where the lunar disk completely covers the Sun’s disk, except for the solar corona.
The lunar cycle comprises four primary phases: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter. These phases occur when the Moon and Sun’s geocentric ecliptic longitude differ by an angle of 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees, respectively, forming the aspects of conjunction, square, and opposition in astrological terms. Throughout the intervals of the primary phases, the apparent shape of the Moon is both increasing and decreasing. The lunar cycle includes intermediate phases in the centre of the respective quarters, namely the growing crescent, growing gibbous, waning gibbous, and waning crescent, bringing the total number of phases to eight. The primary phases last approximately seven days (7.4), and their duration varies due to the ellipticity of the lunar orbit.
The lunar phases phenomenon is intrinsically linked to the Sun-Moon aspects of the astrological chart. The dyad, in its entirety, serves as an emitter-detector. Two additional components need to be considered symbolically: the relative speed of the lunar revolution compared to other planets and its reflection of changing rhythms. This connection to recurring manifestations, such as tides, biological rhythms, and emotional changes, is associated with the element of water. The essence of water represents the ordinary meaning of the physical manifestation of falling downwards and filling forms and the inner psychic representations of objective perceptions. Its state of rest, with minimal energy, represents the spirit becoming form.
The Sun-Moon aspects
From an astrological perspective, the main phase aspects (conjunction, square, and opposition), along with sextile and trine, are given primary consideration. The intermediate phases, which are the angles of ecliptic longitude at 35, 135, 225, and 315 degrees, correspond to the minor aspects of semi-quintile or decile (with a difference of 1 degree) and sesquisquare. During the new Moon phase, which corresponds with the conjunction aspect, the lunar disk aligns with the solar disk on the same degree of ecliptic longitude. This situation results in the dominance of the dark side of lunar symbolism, the non-reflective, non-manifest side. Symbolically, this temporary invisibility is expressed on a human level as a lack of differentiation between the conscious principle (the Sun as Logos, the creative word) and its representations in mutable and changing forms of visible reality – the Moon, which reveals itself only when illuminated.
This aspect offers various interpretations, with the supremacy of the ego principle at its base. The invisible Moon becomes the unexpressed unconscious potential, and consciousness has no way of dealing intimately with the objective experience, which is the testing ground for realising an existence capable of expressing one’s interiority with balance. Consequently, the individual tends to be self-referential, lacking an “educational” relationship with the surrounding reality and emotionally self-sufficient. The behaviour appears insensitive, with limited connection to the outside world and no tendency to learn from others or one’s mistakes. However, this aspect also has strengths, such as originality and the propensity to fill the missing link through the encounter with the soul mate. It favours the realisation of a harmoniously integrated consciousness with different parts of reality in spiritually elevated personalities.
Moon’s separating aspects
As the Moon nears the first quarter in the separating sextile, our inherent nature becomes attuned to the sensitivities of others in a mutually beneficial and non-strenuous partnership. We tend to pursue interests that do not pose challenges and limit opportunities for tension. Doing so creates a positive and conducive environment for interactions that can be rewarding for all involved.
The Moon, in the separating square, undertakes the task of freeing itself from the constraints of the Sun. The aspect indicates an arduous and tense process to achieve independence, often hindered by a spirit of rebellion that seeks autonomy at the cost of denying one’s origins. From a human perspective, this aspect usually signifies a critical relationship with the feminine part of one’s being, suggesting that the perception of things can lead to difficulties in recognition, resulting in adjustment problems and unresolved emotions. As such, contact with reality may induce self-defence mechanisms that manifest as a refusal to recognise the value of an experience or escape from situations that are perceived as overwhelming. The nature of these reactions depends on which of the two planetary poles prevails. The phase of the first favourable contact expressed in the sextile becomes a struggle for individual dominance as one becomes unwilling to relinquish one’s independence.
In the trine of separation, two-thirds of the lunar disk is illuminated. The light reflected on the moon’s surface dominates, while the unmanifested side remains present, albeit not dominant. There is an opening to the sensitive world, enabling emotional experimentation and perception perceived as free, with the intimate certainty of an inner core providing a basis for anchoring to one’s unmanifested self. This anchoring helps avoid excessive reliance on the suggestions offered by the senses. Additionally, the aspect’s separating nature provides for a specific experimental enthusiasm.
The opposition aspect, represented by the full moon, depicts a contrasting relationship between the light source of an individual’s consciousness and its reflection. The receptive part of the personality is profoundly influenced by the reality principle, which can have both engaging and traumatic effects, ultimately altering the delicate inner fabric. This can lead to emotional conflicts brought on by intense projection work, weakening individual sensitivity or the arousal of rebellious reactions towards people and circumstances. These unconscious struggles often manifest externally through responses to events and those perceived as adversaries. To resolve these conflicts, it is imperative to recognise the true nature of things and perceive them as opportunities to attain the ideal goals of existence.
Moon’s applying aspects
This section aims to distinguish between the concepts of separating and applying aspects. Separating aspects refer to the stage where an individual’s independence from the creative process is realized, to varying degrees of tension and relationship. In essence, these aspects highlight the embodiment of original creative vitality and accentuate the autonomy of the manifestation process. The detachment between the Logos and its appearance is symbolically achieved in the opposition aspect or full moon. Following the critical separation phase, the applying aspects establish a relationship with the causal principle based on the maturity gained in the previous half-phase.
The applying trine denotes a disenthralled sensitivity, characterised by a soft and enveloping emotional comprehension, veiled in wisdom, somewhat crepuscular, and a composed and observant demeanour. Although the new moon phase is yet to arrive, there is a feeling to be a semblance of something concealed behind superficial appearances.
The applying square symbolises a crisis occurring in situations of abandonment, here referring to the problem of reconciling the Sun’s directive that binds the realm of internal impressions with the reality principle. This, in turn, triggers contrasting emotions, rejected sentiments, and spontaneous reactions to the impositions that nevertheless arise from objective responsibilities.
The applying sextile entails adapting one’s perspectives to a broader vision. It involves empathising with others’ emotions, maintaining emotional stability through inner tranquillity, and perceiving the deeper meaning of things beyond their appearances.