Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work, and helps
of the world.
The ‘mild’ light of the moon ... merges things together rather
than separates them. It does not show up objects in all their pitiless discreteness
and separateness, like the harsh, glaring light of day, but blends in a deceptive
shimmer the near and the far, magically transforming little things into big things,
high into low, softening all color into a bluish haze, and blending the nocturnal
landscape into an unsuspected unity.
Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis.
the Chinese Book of Changes or
I Ching, yin energy is characterized as “dark, yielding, receptive,”
and is expressed through the image of the earth. It is the “perfect complement
of the creative–the complement, not the opposite, for the Receptive does
not combat the Creative but completes it. It represents nature in contrast to
spirit, earth in contrast to heaven, space as against time, the female-maternal
as against the male-paternal.” Like the astrological Moon, yin symbolizes
the maternal, nourishing, life-bearing qualities of nature, especially its personification
as Mother Nature. In addition, “the Receptive must be activated and led
by the Creative.” In creation myths, yin corresponds to the primal darkness
that is “acted upon” by the yang energy and thereby fructified. (The
astronomical moon shares this receptive quality in its reflective mirroring of
solar light and energy.) Just as biological processes require a complementary
balance between an active vitalizing force (yang) and a receptive, nourishing
one (yin, which houses and feeds; contains and envelops), the Creative and Receptive
find proper accord through complementary rather than antagonistic relationship.
Considered a “luminary”
(along with the Sun), the silvery light of Luna also symbolizes the illumination
of consciousness, yet it describes a state of affairs that is quite different
from the solar consciousness of everyday life. As the illumination of night, the
“moonlight” triggers an awareness that is diffuse, “connecting”
(in its tendency to blur distinctions), and that shines upon the nocturnal mysteries
(i.e., “dimly lit” unconscious processes). The “most personal”
of the inner-orbiting or “personal planets,” the Moon symbolizes
our most intimate emotional processes and how these are generated into feelings
that direct and nourish the soul. Luna also symbolizes the often difficult-to-remember
(“dimly lit”) preconscious events of early childhood. Just as the
Moon reflects solar light, as children we are receptive to the solar directives
of the adult world, which shape our psyche in ways that we can never fully recall
by the time we reach adulthood.
our inner world of soul is imprinted and programmed by these influences, the lunar
consciousness also possesses its own unique elements, and it reflects back a qualitatively
different kind of light. Through the waxing and waning of the emotional undercurrents
symbolized by the Moon, the solar consciousness is altered and its harsh and unforgiving
brightness is diffused and softened in tone. Such processes describe the animating
of the personal identity (Sun) with soul (Moon). They describe the shifting nature
of the relationship between the solar consciousness, which hyper-illuminates
objective reality, and the lunar consciousness, which links things into a subjective
whole. The soul cannot be perceived under such a bright solar light: a light that
provides a mere surface discrimination and that exaggerates the separation between
things. Instead, it is best perceived through experiences that enhance the muted
glow of Luna or that are nurtured within the sheltering “darkness”:
the latter epitomized by the waning Moon or the so-called dark side of the Moon.
(Astronomically speaking, this side of the Moon is not any darker than the side
that faces us).
As a personal
planet, the Moon serves to “step down” the energy of the outer planets.
The latter represent a higher or more evolved state of energy. Because the outer-orbiting
planets represent transhuman (transpersonal and archetypal) energies, they find
a unique expression when brought into the personal, human dimension. For example,
the impregnation of a human being by a god, and the child that results from this
union, is a form of mythic expression illustrating the human incarnation of transpersonal
forces. The transpersonal soul–the anima mundi or the world soul (Neptune)–is particularized when
it assumes a human form, and this particular human expression of the soul is the
basic principle represented by the Moon, i.e., the lived intimate experience of
soul. In the sphere of human relationship, the lunar energy is expressed as emotionally
supportive relationship with others. Through the proper expression of such
feelings, we experience the “residue” (or memory residing within the
collective unconscious) of a union with the transpersonal world soul (Neptune).
If one falls into an unconscious
identification with the Moon principle, interpersonal relationships will become
unconsciously “sanctified” or “sacralized” in an unhealthy
manner. The sacred instinct for unifying the personal soul with a transpersonal
or religious force in the cosmos (Neptune) is replaced by the merely “human,
all too human”: symptoms of emotional clinging, unhealthy merging, and
the security-seeking and quasi-hysterical need to affirm one’s inner soul-worth
through the emotional affirmation of others. This is often expressed in an extroverted
manner through the tendency to overprotect, overindulge, pamper, coddle, and
nurse to the point of psychic suffocation and -death. This is usually the result
of acting out one’s own needs: of psychologically projecting an internal
desire to be “suffocated with love”–and concretizing this need
by imposing it upon another person. This tendency describes the yin energy when
it no longer functions in a balanced and complementary relationship to the yang
When properly channeled,
however, the lunar energy corresponds to two important psychic functions:
The so-called bright side of the
Moon describes the manner in which our emotional foundation has been toned during
the intrauterine and early childhood period. Whatever the nature of this emotional
toning (affected by the parental behavior and the parental soul-expression: how
they express their feelings toward the child), we carry it within us throughout
life. This affects the personal manner in which we shine: our “moonlight”;
the outward effusion of an inner emotional state. In turn, this will serve to
“draw” or “magnetize” other feeling-toned experiences
(in which our inner nature will be dramatized, through psychological projection
and transformation, on the human stage).
“dark side of the Moon” represents the second psychic function symbolized
by the Moon. This face of the Moon, which remains fixed in its orbit around the
earth, points away, toward the outer reaches of the galaxy. This wonderful symbol
for the ultimately “unknowable aspect of the soul” portrays the lunar
connection with the other soul-expressing planets: Venus, Jupiter,1 and Neptune.
While we are usually familiar with the “personal face” or “human
expression” of the soul (experienced, for example, in emotionally supportive
and emotionally expressive relationship), this other side of the Moon symbolizes
the darker, more mysterious emotions that are more difficult to define; to explain;
or to illuminate with solar understanding. Yet, it is through the orbit of the
“personalizing” Moon–our primary experience of emotional life–that
these higher yin octaves are able to express themselves. The nature of our emotional
toning–either discordant or harmonious and affected by childhood experiences
of lunar consciousness–will determine much about the soul in its particular,
manifestation of the energy:
another person through overburdening attention.
(expressed through either a father or a mother).
•Tendency to overmerge,
resulting in a loss of emotional borders.
•Tendency to overconnect,
resulting in conspiratorial fears and paranoid expressions of emotion.
emotionally overwhelmed in personal relationships, resulting in a loss of identity.
on the one hand the Moon symbolizes the nurturing, protecting, and life-affirming
aspect of yin consciousness, on the other hand, through her alluring lunar gaze
and shifting, deepening darkness, she symbolizes the dangers that threaten the
nascent, budding ego-consciousness (the latter represented by the “sunrise”
or solar development of the mind). The lunar imagery is rife with a symbols that
illustrate the swallowing of the solar principle; its psychic regression to a
state of unformed primal darkness; and the reemergence of the yin principle in
its dominating, destructive aspect: as the Terrible Mother.
pattern finds a symbolic correspondence in the tendency of objects to strain and
fall under the force of gravity and of the ego-structure to fall prey to the inertia
of elemental, archetypal energies that reside within the collective unconscious.
The phenomenon of lunar gravity (e.g., the pull the Moon exerts upon the tides)
symbolically refers to the state of psychic inertia (i.e., “inner gravity”)
that tends to lure the ego back to its original state of unconsciousness.2 (The
metaphoric connection between the human body, which is composed of about 60% water,
and the Moon’s effect upon fluids is symbolically relevant here.) In addition,
the archetypal symbol of water as a form of feminine life-bearing yin energy finds
its specific appearance in dream images of the lake (or the smaller body of water)
as signifying the personal unconscious, while the sea or ocean is an archetypal
symbol of the collective unconscious, the latter filled with the denizens of the
deep (the archetypes) and representing the collective origin of all life forms.
Yin consciousness is symbolized
in dualistic forms that appear in various cultures and that typically represent
the “Good” and “Terrible” aspects of the Great Mother
archetype. Often, this symbolism represents the union of a single individual
with a mythic eternal feminine force.
the positive symbols of the Great Mother, the lunar light signifies an energy
that nourishes the soul. In a similar fashion, the Moon symbolizes the actual
biological mother, who provides physical nourishment and who sustains the life
of the developing child within her psychological and emotional field (experienced
by the child as the mother’s caring, concern, and sheltering, maternal love).
From a transcendental perspective,
the radiant maternal “moonlight” symbolizes the radiance of soul:
its life-sustaining force and its ability to engender emotional development. This
proceeds through various ontological stages, progressing from the personal soul
(Moon), to the intimate soul (e.g., romantic love, ruled by Venus), to the emotional
expansion triggered by the “cultural soul” (Jupiter), to the final
merging of the personal soul with the Universal or world-soul, the anima
mundi (Neptune). The last stage symbolizes the global, transgenerational,
or transpersonal evolution of feminine or yin principles. In this sense, the moonlight,
besides symbolizing the emotional radiance of the personal soul, symbolizes an
archetypal emanation of transpersonal yin energies, which promote psychic by activating
sophisticated levels of feeling-toned experience. Solar consciousness, with its
tendency to emphasize individual separateness, is thereby balanced by the connecting,
embracing, unifying aspect of lunar consciousness.
as emphasized in the I Ching, the complementary relationship of yin and yang is
the sin qua non of health. When solar
consciousness is properly developed (e.g., a healthy functioning of the ego-structure),
then the lunar consciousness finds a sound and complementary balance with the
yang, solar force. The danger of psychic disintegration (symbolized by the Terrible
Mother) is the result of an improper functioning of the complementary solar ego-structure,
as this leads to an imbalance of the primal energetic (yin and yang) forces. The
Sun (ego) is then swallowed by an overwhelming force of yin energy. In the words
of the I Ching: “in this unnatural contest both primal powers suffer injury.”3
Neither the yin nor the yang force will find its proper expression in the human
being. The maternal feminine energy is now experienced as destructive, because
the solar ego-structure cannot properly repel it and effect the necessary tension
for maintaining a balance of opposites. The feminine is then experienced as poisonous
and intoxicating instead of nourishing; clasping, ensnaring, and imprisoning instead
of embracing and sheltering; and devouring, dissolving, and annihilating instead
of emotionally transformative, because this is precisely how the yin energy is
experienced intrapsychically. Instead
of “bearing and releasing”4 and “gently pushing” the soul
toward its next phase of transformation, (i.e., Venus), the Great Mother or negative
Moon principle now has no other recourse but to channel its transformative energy
destructively, through “the function of holding fast, fixating, and ensnaring.”5
If this developmental phase continues
in its negative (i.e., unconscious) form, and if the transformative energy allocated
to assist the personal soul in reaching its next stage of yin development (the
interpersonal extension of the soul through soul union with another, i.e., Venus)
is continually blocked and effectively retarded, then the Great Mother, in her
Terrible aspect, effects a negative transformation. In extreme cases of yin insanity, instead
of the positive growth of Venusian allure and enchantment toward another,6 the
Great Mother now reverses the direction of transformational energy, with the result
of provoking an infatuation with negative transformation processes, such as dissolution,
decay, and death.
of the “dark emotions of life” will be the immediate result,7 and
these will be rendered in symbolic images of the gaping, sucking, devouring womb;
of the endless pit of nothingness; of the horrifying, gruesome maw of the hungry
and enveloping tomb. Naturally, the force of archetypal attraction toward the
Great Mother is a profound one, symbolizing as she does the fecund original state
of life and the potential for growth in her more positive form as the Good Mother.
In her negative aspect as the Terrible Devouring Mother, she will now exert a
sort of masochistic allure on the solar force of consciousness, which seemingly
delights in the experience of being devoured, dismembered, or decapitated by
the Great Mother, much as one might speak of an intoxication with death, dissolution,
In the final phase
of development, the negative yin energy usurps the role of the now corrupted ego
complex, as the lunar consciousness absorbs the qualities and processes that
properly belong to the solar consciousness. The Great Mother is now symbolized
by the negative image of the phallic mother, such as the vagina dentata (often, bearing notably phallic teeth) of certain American
Indians tribes; the pointed, protruding, and phallic tongue of Kali in her annihilating,
blood dripping, and skull-festooned form; the fiercely extended “erect”
phallic breasts of the Bali goddess Rati; or the hostile, devouring beasts that
accompany the Great Mother in a variety of mythic forms, such as the Grecian Gorgon,
personified by snake-haired Artemis-Hecate; the Peruvian Chimu “crab-Gorgon”;
the Hellhounds of the Scylla; the Aztec serpent-skirted Coatlicue; or the Egyptian
Ta-urt, a monstrous amalgam of terror composed of hippopotamus, crocodile, lioness,
and woman.8 Here, the primal masculine and feminine forms have been improperly
intermingled (rather than achieving a transcendent union). Intrapsychically,
such symbols warn that instead of effecting a balance, the opposites are now blurred
and improperly merged. They may become concretized in some physical form (e.g.,
transsexualism) rather than achieving more sophisticated spiritual expression.
This leads to the improper dominance of one opposite over the other, as the yin
consciousness now overpowers the entire transformation process, resulting, in
the words of the I Ching, in “opposition to and struggle against the Creative,
which is productive of evil to both.”9
the preceding discussion, it is obvious that the Moon, although it is not traditionally
conceived as such, is, in fact, a triggering or energizing power within the symbolic
solar system. Yet it is one that, in her more positive manifestation, stimulates,
nourishes, and actualizes the yin consciousness or feminine energy (just as much
as the Sun or Mars–the traditional “energy triggers”–ignite
the solar consciousness). As mentioned above, the pull of lunar gravity and the
luring, illuminating gaze of the Moon symbolically correspond to emotional realities
and qualities that are unique to yin consciousness.
an energetic trigger of awareness, the Moon operates through the personal soul,
the personal unconscious, and the most intimate emotional states (often subtle
in nature) that seek to engender emotional stability and security. Ultimately,
solar-based words such as emotion, union, feminine energy, Moon principle etc.,
never do justice to the mysterious radiance of “moonlight”: a fundamental
and elusive energy that nourishes the foundations of the soul.
energizing function of the Moon is largely ignored in astrology, probably because
the Moon’s transits (the orbiting Moon’s relationship of celestial
degree to our natal planets) occur so frequently in comparison to the other planets.
Yet as we have seen, the Moon provides an essential emotional foundation. The
cycle of the Moon symbolizes that daily cycle of emotional charge and recharge
that assists us in our dealings with the rigors and stress of everyday life. Astrologically
speaking, the rapid movement of the Moon through the horoscope “stimulates”
the natal planets on a regular basis, ensuring an emotional revitalization, stabilization,
and life-nourishing meaning that is so necessary for achieving a sense of well-being.
A yearning for emotional security;
for a method of effectively releasing emotional blockages; and for relationships
that nurture and strengthen one’s emotional well-being may haunt the native
who suffers from a psychologically underdeveloped Moon. An underdeveloped Moon
principle signifies a “gap in the soul experience”–an inability
to experience the security (or even the reality) of the personal soul. This may manifest through an impulsive
need to “cling” to others (yin and yang no longer in complementary
balance) or to surround oneself with others for the purpose of absorbing their
emotive resonance. Such behavior signifies that the Moon energy is not properly
related, either to oneself or to others: that the inability to feel emotional
balance and security results in an inability to properly register and respond
to the feelings of others. Instead, the receptive yin energy is concretized in
its negative form: as absorbing the life essence of others. An emotional vampirism–sucking
away at another person’s emotional vitality–is the result.
in mythology the Terrible Mother is represented as a vampire; a vulture; a “flesh-eating
sarcophagus voraciously licking up the blood and seed of men and beasts.”10
In unconsciously identifying with the transpersonal aspect of the Terrible Mother
energy, the dysfunctional Moon native is, ironically, robbing himself of an essential
human experience: of properly reflected warmth, union, and relatedness extended
toward others and/or within oneself. This is why, in the myth, the vampire cannot
return to the human realm: personal consciousness is overwhelmed by the alluring
transpersonal energy of eternal, archetypal forces: forces that effectively obliterate
the personal container of the emotions (the soul) and damage the unique expression
of the solar force (the ego-complex). The inability
to feel emotionally appeased
or the inability to humanly feel are other common expressions of underdeveloped Moon energy.
These are also symbolized by the vampire myth (which has recently reappeared with
such force in our own emotionally underdeveloped culture). Other forms of improperly
channeled Moon energy include primitive emotional expressions, such as hysterical
fits, moodiness, or even quasi-psychotic brooding.
astrocartography, the Transcendental location often triggers an instinctive awareness
of the planetary energy in question. This is because the immediate
experience of the energy forcefully
dispels any uncertainty regarding its proper functioning. Hence, the Transcendental
Moon location may help us to understand that an emotional center that we label
“soul” is based upon an energy (“emotion”) that is fundamentally
autonomous and, to a large extent, self-directed: emotions possess an innate awareness
of “knowing” where to flow. Blockages in the soul are effectively
released by letting go of the need to direct or dominate one’s soul experience.
This is achieved, in part, through an experience of the lunar energy as Transcendental:
as no longer patterned solely upon earlier behavior patterns and previous personal
experiences but, instead, as now “resensitizing” our ability to be
psychically “imprinted” and emotionally “reprogrammed.”
Under this location, we may reencounter the Moon principle as a positive and supportive
aspect of daily life. This may be experienced in a direct and existential manner
(instead of merely through a parental focus).
reassessment of one’s earlier life may reveal that one’s emotional
potential was not lacking so much as it was blocked due the native’s fear
of embodying an aspect of the Moon symbolism. (The term emotional
blockage expresses the watery nature of the Moon and of the emotions, which
seek to flow along a natural level of expression.) This may be experienced as
an inability to remain receptive
to one’s emotions or to the
emotional fields emanating from others. A miscomprehension of the
Moon’s proper function (or a devaluing of its worth as an energy to be nurtured
and expressed) is at work here. The inability to properly express or value emotional
receptivity may be negatively enhanced due to prevailing cultural trends in society,
which increasingly value solar aggression, direct action, forceful presence, dramatic
verbalization, assertiveness, physical force, and every conceivable lack of subtlety,
tasteful indirectness, or quiet inner strength over the more yielding and receptive
Moon location presents the native with experiences that clearly illustrate the
value of this archetypal energy. Encounters with those who embody positive expressions
of the Moon’s energy will enhance the integration and development of such
qualities within the native, as well. Realizing that the emotional realm is a
source of meaning, power, and creative fecundity–rather than merely a realm
of unfulfilled yearnings that are better left repressed, undervalued, blocked,
stifled, or expressed only through shifting dark moods or through a paranoid conspiratorial
sensibility–has the effect of complementing the solar ego-drive, which can
now assert itself in a more emotionally empowered and balanced fashion. Actions
that were previously pursued with a sense of emotional meaninglessness will now
be reexamined so that the “purpose” of emotive resonance, receptivity,
and growth “fuels” the solar-directed action (i.e., provides it with
purpose and meaning). In addition, instead of relying on others to affirm one’s
emotional reality and worth, one will learn to view one’s internal experience
as authentic. Under this location, the native’s ability to arrive at his
own terms of inner worth will provide the necessary clarity with which to pursue
relationships that promote emotional receptivity and respect.
keeping with the Moon’s yielding and receptive symbolism, the Transcendental
Moon line will highlight locations that promote sensitivity to one’s surroundings.
An example of this is found in the biography of Helen Keller; working under her
Transcendental Moon line, she developed an extraordinary receptivity to sensory
impressions, resulting in her reeducation and reconditioning (for example, by
learning Braille and other techniques, all of which allowed her to escape the
isolation of her silent and imageless world and that allowed her to “unite”
with others. The psychic sensitivity of the Transcendental Moon is exemplified
in the biography of the mystic poet William Blake, whose birth under a Transcendental
Moon line resulted in an uncanny impressionability and an enduring receptivity
to childlike emotions and sensibilities, which he portrayed in works of poetry
such as Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.
with Primary Transcendental Moon:
Blake (whose “uncanny impressionability and emotional sensitivity”
combined with his Secondary Mercury to produce some of the most memorable poems,
prose, and allegories of the proto-Romantic era); Queen Elizabeth I (born in the
vicinity of her Primary Moon, in England; her decision to “nurture and
protect the still fledgling and vulnerable” nation by refusing to engage
England in war led to increased “domestic prosperity” and wealth);
Helen Keller (renowned for her “remarkable ability to reprogram early childhood
patterning by developing an extraordinary sensitivity to external stimuli”);
Sissy Spacek (actress whose “stirring” portrayals of adolescent “emotions”
occurred directly under her Transcendental Moon line in Hollywood, California).
* * *
phrases for the Moon:
•The personal soul.
archetype; the ability to nurture oneself and to nurture others.
to one’s “soul needs” and to the “soul needs” of
•Indicates areas in the natal chart where one goes to seek shelter,
comfort, and psychic sustenance. On the mundane level, the home as the physical
embodiment of these same principles.
•The ability to relate emotionally
or to “tune-in” to the feelings or emotional needs of others. Public-“relation”
ability. The experience of being stirred by or of absorbing the emotions of others.
Having a “personal pull”; the effect of one’s emotions on others.
•The emotional tone of the personal unconscious. Preconscious imprinting
that determines behavior. The emotional core of the unconscious complexes; autonomous
psychic functions in the personal unconscious. Habitual psychological dispositions.
•The ability to communicate feelings; the extension of the soul experience
•The ability to experience and to express emotional well-being.
•The planet ruling women and the matriarchal consciousness.
“connecting” energy that blurs the distinctions that separate sentient
creatures. The energy that serves to create unions. Like Venus, a symbol of the
Eros principle (but in its maternal rather than erotic or romantic form).
•The primary manifestation of yin or receptive consciousness in the symbolic
•In Indian astrology, the Moon rules tenderness and
•Yin energy expressed as personal relations and
the personal soul.
“Together, the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter represent successive stages in the
evolution of consciousness ...”; “Neptune completes the sequence of
the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter ...” Marcia Moore; Mark Douglas, Astrology, The Divine Science, pp. 40-43.
Erich Neumann, The Great Mother, p.
3. I Ching (Wilhelm / Baynes edition), “The Receptive” (“Six
at the top”), p. 15.
4. Neumann, The
Great Mother, p. 65.
6. In the interpersonal encounter with
another soul, the personal-soul is enriched through the experience of romantic
The Great Mother, p. 149.
9. I Ching, “The Receptive,” p. 11.
10. Neumann, The
Great Mother, p. 149.
11. Ronnie Gale Dreyer, Indian
Astrology, p. 88.
begun is half done.
you find your childhood dreams, you become a child again.
(Joseph Roth, Report
from a Parisian Paradise, trans. Michael Hofmann.)
to the ancient view, the moon stands on the borderline between the eternal, aethereal
things and the ephemeral phenomena of the earthly, sublunar realm. Macrobius says:
"The realm of the perishable begins with the moon and goes downwards. Souls coming
into this region begin to be subject to the numbering of days and to time....
There is no doubt that the moon is the author and contriver of mortal bodies.”
[…] The moon, as the star nearest to the earth, partakes of the earth and
it’s sufferings…. She partakes not only of the earth’s sufferings
but of its daemonic darkness as well.
(Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis.)
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