The solar system is composed by the sun and nine planets that most of us can name with more or less ease but there are also 190 satellites or moons, four dwarf planets and a couple of important planets that have not been discovered yet and will become the rulers of the constellations of Virgo and Libra.
Some of the planets in our solar system are impressively big some others are small and have created controversy in the scientific community about whether they even deserve to be called planets, Pluto is a good example and yes, Pluto is really important in astrology.
It was decided thousands of years ago, that the Sun and the Moon were to be called “planets” because most astrologers use a geocentric perspective of the solar system. Everything is based on the apparent course of all of these planets around the Earth and around us and we can “map” their trajectories from our location as observers. When we map their positions, we are creating a Chart. The Natal Chart is a map that shows the positions of all 10 planets and 12 constellations at the very exact moment of birth, for the particular place of birth.
The moon, our own little satellite, determines, in judiciary astrology, many aspects of who we are and how we emotionally react in our interactions with others. It determines the way we express ourselves, whether our mother was nice to us or not while growing up and even how many times we move from one address to another. Thinking of relative sizes, it seems like that little satellite has the capacity to influence some aspects of our lives that are somehow sensitive. And that is an important concept to remember because the moon rules our emotions and, to understand how the moon operates in any of us and our interactions with others, we have to be in tune with our basic emotions.
Many poets have written under the inspiration of the moon. Many movies show the most amazing full moon in the night sky, as the only seemingly possible background to the romantic moment close to the end of the movie. We could even take a look at it to understand how the moon determines the minute when it’s time for someone to go up the stairway to heaven, the final move at the end of their life.
Calculations about the moon motion in a period of two and a half days are at the core of TV and newspaper horoscopes, they are based on the emotions of the one particular day the horoscope is calculated for. Therefore, the horoscope we read in a magazine is the result of a system of time calculations that forecasts people’s reactions based on emotions that are not long lasting and can change at the drop of a hat. It is a tricky thing when we forget the size of the moon, even if emotions can be powerful sometimes, they shouldn’t be given the importance of seemingly set the tone for our whole day or week. Bigger planets may have more powerful influences and can easily offset the emotions caused by the moon. It is the lightness promoted by horoscopes what has always given astrology a bad name, it is difficult to prove that someone may feel happy emotions while going through a long ordeal. In those cases, the possibility of a little relief for some hours, pales in front of the bigger, darker picture painted by other planets.
I think a natal chart is like a fine and precisely crafted cocktail: you put each planet’s influence in the cocktail shaker and you mix them together. The resulting concoction will have a completely different color and flavor than any of the separate ingredients. Which explains why every human being is so very different from all others, even twin siblings have their own unique characteristics because they were not born at the same exact minute, in the gigantic scenario around us, that is enough for the planets to move far enough to create differences between them.
But how do we define emotions if we want to understand the role of the moon in our charts?
Emotions are those fleeting moments when we get carried away
as a response to something we see or hear. The butterflies in the stomach when
we happily meet someone dear or our fear or anger during any unfortunate event
of road rage, are based on primal emotions that most of us learn to control as
we grow up. Our emotions, even if we repress them, are always there, right underneath
the skin and ready to makes us blush or twitch uncontrollably.
It is fundamental to remember these images about emotions when we study the influence of the moon.
Think, for example, of the early night sky and the moon rising on the east, maybe over a lake, the ocean or a snow capped mountain.
Sometimes, when the moon appears right above the horizon, it makes us stop in awe at the sight of that gigantic “planet” looking at us? Let’s think of the emotions of the moment: we all do the same things, we look at the moon and we snap photos and write poems about that amazing vision. But, let’s wait a couple of hours until the moon is at a higher position in the sky, at about 30 degrees over the horizon or slightly higher, the moon seems to shrink to a third of the size of what it was when it rose over the horizon.
Those are the images to remember, how changing and deceiving the moon can be. When it first appeared over the horizon it looked like an alien mothership peeping to see what we mortals were up to. Two hours later, that first impression is gone, and the moon is back to being our charming little satellite again. Because that is what the moon does: it deceives us with those changes. It makes our emotions go up and down as in a roller-coaster.
The other aspect to remember is that the moon is the fastest “planet” in our solar system. As a side note remember that in astrology we say the moon is a planet because the planets or stars do not adjust to the terms of astronomy, they correspond to rules set by archetypes and mythological characters and, using the imagination to qualify the planets will help enormously at the time of interpreting the chart.
The orbital speed of the moon, around us, is 27.32 days if we consider sidereal time which is used to describe the orbit of a planet returning to the same place in the sky in front of the same constellation where we first looked at it. If we consider the return of the moon to the same position as of the sun, we will be looking at the synodic month which takes the moon 29.5 days to complete.
In general terms, for our calculations, we will consider 28 days as a safe basic measure when we talk about the movement of the moon to calculate a horoscope. A transit of about two and a half days in front of each constellation.
So far, we have mentioned all the concepts we have to keep in mind when we study the moon in a chart. There are key words for each planet and their influence, a coding system that becomes very useful.
For the moon we will consider the most important words and concepts by remembering these key words:
- mood changes
- fast speed at which those changes occur
- the night
- small scale (compared to the other planets)
Everything we can discuss about the moon is quite simple and easy to remember if we keep those concepts of changing appearances and the Charm the moon represents.
As we make progress through the analysis of each planet in the chart, we are going to consider the weight of a planet compared to the others. Being the moon significantly smaller than all the other planets, its influence is proportionally smaller as well and that is a key factor when reading a chart. If a person has a very strong Saturn and they are extremely rational, their emotions, ruled by the moon, will be constantly repressed and tamed because the size and weight of Saturn is considerably larger.
In astrology everything is a matter of balance, weight and speed of the planets are important factors to understand what traits will be dominant. A well-balanced cocktail is the result of precisely calculated amounts of each ingredient. If there is too much alcohol, sugar or lemon juice, the excess factor will overpower the others and the cocktail will not be the nice drink we were expecting. We are a mix of many traits, not just emotions. Considering the moon alone is not going to be enough to understand who we are in all our complexity.
Being able to see the whole combination of the 10 planets in a chart is a very complicated exercise of analysis, we have to find the perfect balance of all the aspects of the chart, consider the planets and their positions, the interactions between them, even their temperature or whether they are showing in the night sky or under the influence of the day in each chart.
In our next post we will study how the moon is influenced by each constellation…