Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work, and helps
make something 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 is a form 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.
Although 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 principle.
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
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, personal incarnation.
manifestation of the energy:
another person through overburdening attention.
•Maternal overprotection (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
This 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.
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
In 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.
Again, 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.
An experience 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, or decay.
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
From 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.
As 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.
The 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.
Therefore, 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).
A 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 lunar values.
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.
In 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.
•The mother archetype; the ability to nurture oneself and
to nurture others.
•Receptivity to one’s “soul needs” and to
the “soul needs” of others.
•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 to others.
•The ability to experience and to express emotional well-being.
•The planet ruling women and the matriarchal consciousness.
•A “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 solar system.
•In Indian astrology, the Moon rules tenderness and mental
•Yin energy expressed as personal relations and the personal
“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,
3. I Ching (Wilhelm / Baynes edition), “The Receptive”
(“Six at the top”), p. 15.
4. Neumann, The Great Mother,
6. In the interpersonal encounter with another soul, the personal-soul
is enriched through the experience of romantic love (Venus).
7. Neumann, The
Great Mother, p. 149.
8. Ibid., p. 151.
9. I Ching, “The Receptive,” p. 11.
10. Neumann, The Great Mother,
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
(Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis.)
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