The Moon holds a special place in the cosmological and astrological imagination. It may seem cliched to write that even our prehistoric ancestors had a special relationship with the Moon, but it’s true: from the caves of Lascaux to carvings on animal bone, humankind has recognized the significance of the lunar body and tried to work with its cycles.
One of the first upgrades astrology students make is moving beyond the Sun sign. The realization that the rising sign and its ruler are the most important factors in the natal chart comes with additional a-ha moments. Each glyph scattered around the wheel (or square!) holds symbolic mysteries waiting to be deciphered. The Moon is just one of these symbols, and yet, from astronomers and astrologers as far back as Claudius Ptolemy in the second century CE, the Moon’s position in the chart, aspects that it forms to other planets, and even prenatal syzygys all contribute to a complex understanding of a native’s environment, body, emotional and mental health and quality of the soul in this lifetime.
Lunar Cycle Archetypes are Just One Tool
In traditional astrology, the Moon has a weighty role in chart delineation, and not just in nativities. In his 146 Considerations Before Judgement, the thirteenth-century astrologer Guido Bonatti lists seventeen conditions under which the Moon is “ill-affected”, indicating that these principles apply in “all Questions, Nativities, Elections, and actions” (consideration #5). While much of humanistic and psychological astrology has overlaid conceptions of personal growth, development, relationships and spirituality onto the lunar phases, even traditional astrologers, potentially harking back to the original Babylonians, recognized certain powers behind the angles that the moon makes with the sun.
In what follows, I’ll focus more on a couple of additional approaches to delineating the Moon — specifically, I’ll focus on the New Moon, leaving the Full and other phases for later posts. While I will weave in some of the lunar cycle’s archetypal principles, these are but one factor I consider after looking at the Moon’s condition by house and sign placement, as well as aspects that other planets make to it. I won’t be going phase by phase — for this I think the internet is replete with articles about what a First Quarter or a Disseminating Moon can signify — but I am first and foremost a student of traditional astrology and so my tools are…