The Moon rules your basic sense of security, which early parenting influences in a crucial but unconscious way. It is unconscious because it happens long before the infant is able to think in words. It comes from the way the infant is held, how it is fed, and how it is responded to when it cries -- whether all these things are done with love, with anxiety, with indifference, or even with hostility.
At that time in our lives, we are totally dependent on the parent for our very survival. Thus the type of parenting you get at this preverbal stage shapes your attitude toward the world you live in. Is it a safe place or a hostile one? Do you feel lovable? Do you feel wanted or barely tolerated?
Developing Basic Trust: Feeling Secure, or Not
An analysis of the Moon in your chart will answer these questions. In the preverbal stage, according to the theories of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, we either develop or fail to develop basic trust. Basic trust means that we find the world, and the people in it, good and trustworthy. This stage has a very great effect on our ability to allow other people to be close to us, and on our over-all orientation to life.
The person with Moon in Scorpio, for example, learned very early not to trust. The parent may have pretended concern and caring (even to the point of being over-protective), but there was often some other, less loving motivation behind it. Many times, the parent was manipulative and controlling, while pretending to have only the best interests of the child at heart. Thus, the child learned to be suspicious and, in self-defense, to try to second-guess others and find out their real motivation. As an adult, the person often adopts some of the parents' controlling patterns of behavior.
In contrast, the person with Moon in Taurus, unless the Moon has difficult aspects, had more positive nurturing. The parents were stable and accepted the child's needs. They were more forthright, not so hard to understand or so emotional as with the Moon in Scorpio. As a result, the child grows up secure and feeling that he and the world are basically okay. (Naturally, other aspects in the chart can modify this.) Taurus is the sign traditionally thought to be the best placement for the Moon -- its "exaltation". We always have to ask ourselves, "Best for what?" since Moon in Taurus has its drawbacks also, but for a sense of basic trust and security, it is a good sign.
Moon in Your Chart Shows What Do You Need to Feel Secure
Each person needs different things in order to feel secure, and the Moon in your chart shows the conditions under which you would feel most emotionally secure. A person with the Moon in the eleventh house would feel most secure when surrounded by friends or in some meaningful group. Someone with the Moon in the seventh usually only feels secure when involved in a long-term intimate relationship.
The sign and house position can conflict -- to have it in Aquarius means there is only security in freedom and change. The Moon in Aquarius in the fourth? Better invest in a mobile home. Many people may judge themselves harshly. For example, the Moon in Aquarius in the fourth person may say "It's bad for me to be so restless." Astrology can help you recognize those needs as valid and important and help you set out to meet them.
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Moon's Sign, House, & Aspects Describe Your Mother
Generally, the Moon's sign, house, and aspects will describe your actual mother to the extent that sometimes the child's Moon sign is the mother's Sun sign. What is interesting, however, is that children in the same family may have vastly different Moons.
In one family, for instance, the older brother and sister both have Moon in Aries, but the younger sister has Moon in Scorpio. The older children were both encouraged to be independent (Aries), but at the time the younger sister was born, the mother nearly died. (Scorpio is sometimes associated with death.) For that reason, perhaps, the quality of the relationship between the mother and the younger sister was very different. She was pampered, overprotected, and called "Baby Doll" up to the time she was 14.
We can speculate that the mother unconsciously resented that child bitterly for bringing her so close to death, but covered this feeling up by the overprotection and pampering. (This is one pattern you may find with Moon in Scorpio.)
Your Experience of Your Mother Differs from Your Siblings
Why do these discrepancies in Moons in the same family occur? What the Moon describes is not the actual mother, but the child's experience of her. That is, it doesn't show the mother as a total person separate from the child, but only the child's-eye view of her.
Parents cannot treat all children alike -- some children are better loved, some rub you the wrong way, some remind you of people you love or hate. Then, too, conditions in the home can change, and this can cause a difference in the mothering.
Tracing Family History Through the Moon Signs of Children
You can actually trace the history of a family through the sequence of Moons in the offspring. For instance, an early child or two may have Moon in Taurus, showing a warm and giving relationship with the mother. After the birth of a third child, however, perhaps economic conditions force the mother to go to work. Perhaps that child is born with Moon in Capricorn, showing that the mother is now more serious and intent on business, with less left over to give the child when the work day is finished.
There are still similarities -- both Taurus and Capricorn are earth signs -- but the third child doesn't experience as much warmth from the mother, and isn't allowed to be a baby long enough. The mother pushes the child to grow up and be less of a burden on her, because she is worn out from working.
To take another example, sometimes a child with Moon in Libra (or other crucial placements in that sign) is conceived because the mother feels it will cement a marriage that is breaking apart (or, if not yet married, in the hope it will induce the man to marry her). This strategy rarely works out, because in reality a new baby puts a great stress on a relationship, even one that is working well.
So, when the already-strained relationship breaks up or becomes more distant, the mother turns to her Moon in Libra child for the love and closeness she is missing from the child's father. The child then grows up needing that kind of constant closeness and being strongly motivated to form relationships. This may be a person who can't stand to be alone -- it makes him/her insecure and unhappy.
About The Author
Donna Cunningham has a master's degree in social work and over 25 years of counseling experience. She is the author of numerous books. This article is excerpted, with permission, from "An Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness", published by CRCS Publications, P.O. Box 1460, Sebastopol, CA 95472. 707-829-0735; fax 707-793-9434. This book may be ordered from the publisher ($12 + $2.25 shipping), or by clicking on the book cover on the right.