Have you ever been told to follow your North Star? It is such a comfort to think that there could be one. One that directs your internal compass when you have lost your way. It’s interesting to note that the placement of the north star within the zodiac is at 0 degrees Cancer (plus or minus 2 degrees) which is the sign of the Moon.
We all know that compasses point North due to a magnetic pull created by the Earth’s magnetic field.
Can we look to our Moons in our natal charts to better understand our individual lodestars? And what in us is moving toward this lodestar?
The lodestone (a naturally magnetized iron ore) composes the needle of this compass so it will always point north. Iron nails are attracted to the magnet.
Could it be the iron in our blood that knows true north? Is the thing that makes our blood red the same thing that keeps us on track?
If we are now talking about iron and the color red then clearly we are in another astrological terrain- Mars.
But I don’t want to get away from the Moon and the North Pole either. So here is a figure who seems to embody all of these themes.
Mary comes from the word mar, as in maritime or marine. Magdalene bears a strong similarity to the word magnet. So here we have a mysterious notion of a magnetic sea. Or similarly, a Mars-like (magnetic) Moon (the sea, the tides).
This is a map of the Arctic as prepared in 1569 by Gerardus Mercator, a Belgian cartographer and explorer. At the center of the map is a mountain, said to be positioned at the North Pole. This mountain is know as Mount Meru, the magnetic mountain.
Mount Meru is know to be the “center of the universe” in both Buddhist and Hindu cosmologies. It is comparable to Mount Olympus of Greek mythology in that it was the home to the Gods.
The mountain is said to be surrounded by the “indrawing seas” as depicted above by the four rivers and this supposedly creates a whirlpool effect.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It’s hard not to notice the similarity of the image of a whirlpool and that of the symbol for Cancer, the zodiac sign associated with the Moon.
Above are artistic celebrations of Mt Meru. Borobudur (left) is a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. The other two pictures depict a Maha Meru, a Hindu symbol that is a 3D projection of a Sri Yantra (a mystical diagram involving nine interlocking triangles).
Magdalene’s “alabaster jar” that is nearly always pictured with her bears a striking similarity to the Mt Meru symbols.
Mount Meru is said to be the navel of the world.
It’s interesting to think of what our navels used to do for us.
These days we don’t give too much thought to our belly buttons.
In closing, next time you get a gut feeling, consider that it might be your infinitely mysterious magnetic inner Mount Meru/Magdalene calling!
Many astrologers will equate the Sun with consciousness and the Moon with unconsciousness. The waking hours of daylight (consciousness) bring us out of our dreamlike state (unconsciousness). It is pretty impossible to argue that obvious symbolism, it speaks loudly and clearly. The thing that doesn’t sit right with me personally is when the Sun is therefore associated with the ego, i.e. the center of consciousness, and further more the Moon just cast out into her own sea of irrational emotions. There seems to be so much more going on here…
Let’s start with looking at the days of the week that these two represent. Sunday for the Sun, and Monday for the Moon. There certainly is a big difference between these two days for most of us.
On a Sunday we generally are doing what we want to do and enjoying ourselves. In latin, the word for Sun is sol, and in french soleil, thus we have a connection with the word soul, and the other “s” word spirit. Spirit is associated with breath, as in respire. The Sun rules the heart in the body which is intimately connected with the lungs. And in nature, fire (Sun) needs air to grow. Sundays are the time for us to reconnect to spirit, to tune back into ourselves and let the world pass us by a bit.
Monday not by accident sounds similar to the word MUNDANE, defined by the dictionary as “of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one.” This derives from the latin word mundus, meaning “world”. The french call the world “monde”. The moon brings in an earthly element. Monotonous mundane Mondays where we tend to earthly matters. We go to work to make money, another Moon sounding word. In fact, the words for ‘silver’ (the element associated with the Moon) and ‘money’ are the same in fourteen languages or more.
Silver is the metal associated with the Moon and gold is for the Sun. Let’s look closer at the properties of these metals.
The elemental symbol for gold is Au, derived from the old Latin name for gold, aurum, which means “shining dawn” or “glow of sunrise”. Gold is the most malleable and ductile metal of all. Malleable as in it can be pounded out into the thinnest piece of paper, and ductile meaning it retains it’s strength. Webster’s definition for ductile is “able to be deformed without losing toughness; pliable, not brittle.” So with gold comes immense flexibility without sacrificing it’s strength. Because of its resistance to heat and acid it’s also a symbol for immutability. Sounds a lot like an allegory to the heart and it’s capacity to love again after hardship and inevitable changes.
Silver’s elemental symbol is Ag, derived from the latin argentum which means “grey” or “shining one”. Silver is the most reflective metal of them all. What other metal could better represent Mother Moon who’s main function is to REFLECT the light of the Sun. Carl Jung talks about how the ideal job of the ego is to reflect that nature of the Self (the radiant totality of our beings that dwells in the unconscious). This is why I can’t get cozy with the idea of the Sun being the ego. It seems to me that ego is more in the realm of the Moon. We can reflect our own Selves, as well as the Selves of others.
Another interesting fact about silver is that it conducts electricity better than any other element. There are some theories out there these days of us living in an electric universe, with the Sun being a giant force of electric energy. What if the Moon not only reflects the Sun but also conducts it’s energy toward Earth? I am no scientist– just a fun idea.
So if the Moon is all matter and the Sun is the “spark” of spirit, what would one look like without the other?
Aside from the Sun, we don’t see much fire in nature. The spirit remains hidden. We can’t look at the Sun too long without burning our eyes. We can only look at it reflected in EVERYTHING around us. Perhaps this is why things like fireworks are so mesmerizing. They fill our hearts (Sun) with a joyous feeling (most of us!).
So to bring this all back home, literally let’s go to mom and dad. When reading a chart I find that an excellent beginning is to discuss the client’s parents with regards to the Sun as the father and the Moon as the mother. Ultimately these perceptions are deeply infused into who we are, and getting at these routes can be enormously helpful. If for example someone has a Sun that is squared with Uranus, we would be looking for what in the father has a challenging Uranian element. Issues of emotional detachment or mental superiority perhaps. Or strangeness, not fitting in somehow.. these are all shades of a challenged Uranus. The first step is to have the client see it in the parents, the second step see how they’ve integrated that into themselves. Or how about Moon conjunct Saturn. How is the mother an authority somehow or how might she be restrained? Or how is she the symbol of hard work and perseverance? Have you set that bar too high for yourself? It can really open up a well of dialogue. We can’t escape our beginnings and we certainly can’t dwell in them, but they can teach us a ton.
Remember the last time you looked up at a full Moon? Did it do what it usually does (at least for me) and fill you with a flash of mystery? At the same time a sense of comfort? Maybe a small strange feeling of yearning?
The Moon is forever elusive, always changing, yet oh so soothing. Moonlight feels like magic does it not? It produces a PULL within us, similar to the influence it has on the tides. It awakens the dreamer in us. We become more inward and reflective. The Moon itself reflects the Sun and is also reflected in the many lakes and puddles of our world. It’s a two way reflection. Very Orson Welles…
The question is, what does the Moon represent in our psyches? As I said before, I am HIGHLY influenced by my favorite astrologer, Alice O. Howell. She speaks of the Moon as the “matrix of consciousness” having the capacity to “give birth to those limitless little or big attacks of insight through which we turn experience into empiric knowledge”.
She draws symbolic parallels between the stories of “the virgin births” and an inner psychological process of uniting our egos to our Selves (capital S as Jung speaks of the Self). The “Self” is the “divine guest” within us. From this union of ego and Self comes the “spiritus renatus” or the “twice born Self”. It is a virgin birth because it all happens within you. The “ego” is how we attempt to live in our worlds, feel comfortable and make sense out of it. Over identifying with the ego cuts us off from our divinity, but ignoring the ego cuts us off from our world. We need both.
O. Howell sees this concept symbolically represented by the inner marriage of the Sun and Moon. She puts the Moon more on the frequency of the ego and the Sun more on the frequency of the Self, although she says the Self is so vast it is really more the unfolding of the entire chart over a lifetime.
On a more immediate level, the Moon represents our emotional nature, and the emotional current that really drives us in life. Is it along the lines of going forward towards new experience (Aries Moon)? Or maybe to feel safe and secure emotionally (Cancer Moon)? Or to feel that you are efficient and useful in the world somewhere (Virgo Moon)?
By the same token these signs will flavor our natural REACTIONS to what life throws at us. The Moon is connected to the stomach in the body (as well as the breasts and womb). Those knots in our stomach when we are stressed our the butterflies when we are elated put us in touch with this fact. If we are not conscious of how our Moons operate we may become a slave to our emotions, letting them run wild and boss us around! On the flip side if we cut ourselves off from our Moon entirely our emotions grow hungry. We are like an undernourished child inside in desperate need of comfort and cut off from the beautiful mysteries of life. We need to give ourselves permission to retreat to an inward HOME where we are safe and secure.
The sign of Cancer is the sign related to the Moon. Cancer is represented by the crab. This creature more than any other that I can think of embodies the concept of HOME. It IS it’s own home in a sense. The hermit crab literally carries it’s home on it’s back. But all crabs have that hard exoskeleton, which serves as a strong barrier, a “shelter from the storm” of life. They also need to always be near water (another home) because the breath through gills on their legs. Their little leg gills must always be kept moist. The hermit crab even carries back up water in his shell! Crabs can be solitary creatures (Cancer is also related to privacy) or they can live in groups. When they are in groups they work hard to provide food and protection for their families (a very Cancerian way of life!).
The ancient Glastonbury Zodiac that stretches over miles of land depicts the sign of Cancer as a dog instead of a crab! It’s ear is illustrated by a lake, and for years people around the area never knew why it was called “Ear Lake”. I remember being stupefied by a move my dog pulled one Christmas eve. My sister and I had bought my mother a concertina as a gift. She pulled it out and my little dog came running in and began howling to the music. He had never howled before that! Concertinas, at least to me evoke a stroll along a Moonlit road in some romantic place, there is a connection there..