The Madonna holding the Christ Child is symbolic of the sacred Moon, who among the planetary pantheon in Vedic Astrology represents the Divine Mother, motherhood, and love. How open is our heart, what is our capacity to be nurturing to others and to be receptive to what others give us is shown by the Moon, its placement, and its condition in our birth charts.
We experience the love of our mother when we are born, when we are infants and toddlers completely dependent upon her Being. Her loving presence provides us nourishment, shelter, and comfort. We grow through adolescence and young adulthood discovering the exchange of love and caring with family and friends. Or perhaps we, contrarily, experience difficulty due to the lack of these qualities from ourselves or others.
Ideally, as mature adults having tapped into our divine essence, we should become capable of unconditional love, expressing in our fullest the qualities of Divine Love to all whom we encounter. Whether this is within the silence of one’s heart or in external forms of communication is least important, but the longing to bring increasingly more gentleness, nourishment, kindness, and compassion into the world is the goal of the advanced lunar impulse.
During its Full Moon phase, the Moon reflects in its full glory the radiance of the Sun, giver of Life. The Father of Creation (the Sun) is, we can say, impregnating the Womb of Creation (the Moon), and from His throne watches the play of duality within all that is created, the ebb and flow of the cycles manifesting upon the Earth, to whom the Moon is a revolving yet steady satellite.
If we consider the Moon as a satellite, we can think in terms of frequencies, waves, and signals. What is your Moon picking up? What are you tuned into and receiving? What are the thoughts and inner visions playing upon the screen of your mind’s eye? What are you fully conscious of? What are you unconscious of? We all have memories, events, facts, beliefs, and feelings buried in darkness which have yet to see the light of day, the light of the Sun. How receptive are you to what’s being said, to what you’re feeling and intuiting, to what others are expressing? Do you listen with an open heart? Do you share your thoughts and feelings with ease and comfort?
The house occupied by your natal Moon shows the fields of life activity which will be ‘on the radar’, where you will naturally be tuned in to the frequencies, waves, and signals. Planets joined or aspecting the Moon will provide insight into whether or not you experience ease or difficulty in the expression of your loving, nurturing qualities, and, if present, they will modify how clear and calm or easily disturbed your thoughts and feelings might be.
The Moon is the Queen to the kingly Sun in our cast of Divine characters, forming the royal luminaries who provide and sustain life on earth. The Sun, in excellent form and function, is active and initiating, ruling and overseeing, engaging in lawmaking, governing, and enabling growth, all of which he can achieve within his ability and creative power, then delegate to the proper stations. The Moon, on the other hand, functions in a more passive, receptive state of being and therefore feels more comfortable in the company of family and friends, and those who offer sincere protection and stability. For this reason, the Moon is better equipped to handle life, its joys and its stresses, in the company of others, and this in turn supports her natural instinct and innate desire to serve and love others.
When planets are positioned in a house before or after the house occupied by the Moon in the birth chart, they affect the quality and comfort of the Moon’s functioning. Their presence is considered equivalent to that of the Queen’s court. She has company surrounding her. For example, let’s say Venus is the bright morning star and the Moon appears in the sky a few hours later, followed by Mars. The chart would, based on actual degree and timing of course, show Venus in the 12th House, the Moon on the Ascendant, and Mars in the 2nd House. As the hours pass, we would see – weather permitting- the Queen surrounded by her court.
In this example, Venus would act like a filter before the Moon’s receptivity of the heart and mind, flavoring the Moon’s openness with her own agenda for knowledge, fairness, and glamour. If this occurs in someone’s birth chart, we could say their feelings are influenced by their love of art and pleasure, which may help them to experience emotions in a joyful, creative, and optimistic manner.
But with Mars following the Moon in our example, the emotional process would take on more spice. Once the sweet and sometimes critical filter of Venus is experienced, one’s emotions may become impulsive and defensive, making the integration of what has been felt and experienced more challenging. Ideally, this Mars example would give courage to express the Moon’s deeper receptivity, intuition, and love.
To feel and function effectively, the Moon (ideally) should not be left alone. What good is a Queen who is off doing her own thing, who is isolating herself for physical, emotional, or spiritual reasons? The Moon, the Queen, holds the vital role of nourishing those around her, which means she needs people around her to nourish. Likewise, she must be wise and intuitive, knowing when enough is enough, and when she must attend to her own needs.
There is a planetary yoga in Vedic Astrology wherein the natal Moon is unattended, when the Queen has no court to support her. This yoga, called Kemadruma, forms when there are no planets conjunct the Moon, no planets in the houses before or after her position, and no planets (including the Moon) in kendra or karma houses (1, 4, 7, and 10). It’s not frequently found, but not uncommon either. This lunar yoga creates a challenge to the native in that they are now having to learn how to feel, embody, and manifest the Moon’s longing to love, receive, give, and nurture self and others from this disadvantaged ‘lonely’ state. This, of course, does not mean they are not loving but there can be experienced here some level of suffering and difficulty. The native must understand that they will experience a different flow emotionally then others. Many other factors must be considered based on the remainder of the birth chart. For example, which planetary period are they running and what are the effects of current transits? But once they can recognize this quality within themselves, they can use the knowledge to intellectually move beyond feeling like a square peg in a round hole or a stranger in a strange land, and –at best- mature into an effective, receptive, and loving Soul.
The Moon signifies our consciousness. In the rich Tarot symbolism, The Moon card shows the awareness and attention emerging (in the form of the lobster or crab) from the well of the unconscious. It appears more specifically half emerged, half upon the land, hinting of this dualistic state of flux and continuity between conscious states, and the release from ignorance, forgetfulness, or the depths of emotional darkness into the light and up on to the firmament of materiality where the emerging issues can be confronted and dealt with. The path from here, as the image shows, leads to the mountain of Higher awareness or attainment.
The dog and jackal remind us that we must process unconscious material very cautiously. Things, situations, or people may not always appear with clarity. We may have difficulty recognizing one thing from another. Our emotions may be getting the better of us. Integration or the overcoming of issues requires care, and the intuition. But how clear is our intuition? How readily do we respond to its voice? How prepared are we to act upon its wishes, its warnings?
The Moon is full and bright in the Tarot imagery, reflecting the light of the Sun with great potency. When the mind is bright and clear, when the intuition is heard and acknowledged, the Moon is capable of directing the powerful light of Life, Love, and Wisdom to others and to Self.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
In summary, according to Vedic principles, the Soul (Sun) seeks for the personality (Ascendant) who is awakening to its impulses, the individual who is beginning to direct his or her ego (sun) to a higher quality and purposeful life in alignment with the heart (Moon), clearing the channels of Spirit so that love and loving qualities can flow with ease and grace. The King and Queen, who represent the body/mind and Soul/Spirit connections, can then function in balance, with love-wisdom and power, in accord with the Divine Will. This idealistic state could be fairly easy to obtain and maintain— if they lived alone! It is not so easy when living in the waves of society. And what about the rest of the court and kingdom who remain in their watchful care? In Part 3, we will visit Mars, the warrior Knight. How will this defensive, aggressive chain-mail wearing, helmeted, sword-in-hand individual affect the kingdom?