In a way it doesn’t really matter where you start with astrology because you’re dealing with a spherical body of wisdom: you can pick any point on the sphere and go in there, and it will take you to every other point.
It makes sense to start with the Moon because she’s the closest thing to us. But the real reason I start with the Moon is because I want to give you a sense of what I do when I’m trying to figure things out. When I crack open a chart, I don’t even look at anything else. I just say, “Where’s the Moon? What sign is she in? What house is she in?” And I look at her first because I get more information out of her than I do out of any other body in the chart.
The Moon, along with the archetype that governs the sign that she is in, tells me everything there is to know about the person’s past and all the stories and information that they’ve brought in from previous incarnations. She’s like an open book.
After I look at the Moon in any chart, already I can sit down and tell the person this, that, and the other thing. Within a few minutes they will look back at me and say, “Wow! How did you know that?”
Not only is the Moon telling me about past lives, she is all of the stuff that we have totally mastered. So, the Moon is basically telling me where this person has received a PhD—in the school of Taurus, or, if you’ve got the Moon in Aries, in the school of Aries.
What that tells me about this person is that for the first half of their life (this is usually how it goes) this individual is going to repeat that experience because life is a school and, when you come into this experience, your memories of your previous life are all you’ve got to bring with you.
So you’re born and you’ve got this context of cellular memory that remembers certain things, and you start to repeat those patterns. But by the time you get to be about thirty-five or forty, you begin to realize that things aren’t working the way you thought they would, and you can’t keep doing the same old thing because you’re not growing or learning anything.
Remember, the Moon is about growth. If you keep doing what you’ve already got your PhD in, you’re not going to get anywhere. Nobody in their right mind would go back and get their PhD twice in the same subject—not unless they failed at it the first time around.
There is a moment of truth that comes to everyone, somewhere around the fortieth year, when we look around and say, “Hey, this isn’t working for me anymore.” And the deal with the Moon is that you have permission to function from that place, because it does have its good points.
The Moon has endowed you with a body of wisdom and experience that is now a permanent part of you, but in this incarnation, you only have permission to function from that place one-third of the time. Operating from that point 100 percent of the time will not allow the soul to grow and evolve.
However, if the Moon tells us where you’ve been, she also has a lot to say about where you might get stuck. When you think about the Moon ruling all past lives, all previous incarnations, it is interesting to note that all of the cookbook astrology books will tell you that the Moon rules the past.
This astrological cliché is voiced incessantly but rarely considered or analyzed deeply. It’s easy to slip right by that statement and take it for granted. But if you think about it for two seconds, you realize, “Oh my God! The past is everything.” It isn’t just what happened yesterday; it’s what happened everywhere and in everything through all of time, right down to what’s going on in your cellular memory.
The Moon has total rulership over memory. Now some of you may argue with that. You will say, “Oh no! It’s got to be Mercury that rules the memory.” Well, Mercury rules the mind, it rules the brain, it rules the neural functions—but it’s the Moon that has governorship over the memory because she owns the past. She is responsible for the mechanism in us that knows how to remember, because she is the master of repetition.
Now it’s interesting to think about this because time, experience, and repetition are the only teachers here in the Third Dimension. The Moon goes around in circles, over and over again. She is the most blatantly cyclical body in the solar system. The Sun is another one of those things that helps us mark time by repeating itself. We watch it rise, we watch it set, and that pattern repeats every twenty-four hours.
The Sun moves one degree of arc in a day, while the Moon moves one degree of arc every two hours. Totally on time and on the ball, she is responsible for all the tiny, second-hand movements that get us pissed off, and cause us to react, and cause another reaction to occur over there, and another one over there.
The Moon is the one who moves the smaller gears that pull us along to the bigger changes. Her cycles are coordinated precisely with the cycles of Saturn.
Commonly known as “The Father of Time,” Saturn is the one that cuts us off and says, “Okay, you’ve spent twenty-seven years making a fool of yourself. That’s enough of that. It’s time to get on to the next thing.”
If Saturn is the one dropping the axe sooner or later—or rewarding us sooner or later, because sometimes he does—within that interval it is the Moon who gets us all the way from A to B. Queen of the small stuff, her movements guide us into the bigger changes. This is why she rules the memory: she has been there and done that more than any other body in the solar system.
One of the first things my mentor Charles Jayne told me is that the Moon rules the general public. I was puzzled, thinking, “How does that work? How is it that the Moon rules the general public?”
If you think about Mother Earth as the Great Mother, and you realize that all of humanity is the general public, the Earth becomes our Mother and we become her children. Relative to all of that, the Moon is the magnetic force that infuses all of life on this planet with the energy that ebbs and flows. She moves the tides as well as the blood that courses through our veins. And it is these invisible motions that alter our moods from day to day and change everything about us from generation to generation.
Anything that we do that goes out in a public way is a totally lunar event. We go to concerts. We go to the movies. Public buildings, train stations, and airports are all places totally ruled by the Moon. The “system” is a lunar mechanism. Politics is lunar. We could go on and on. For the time being, I would like to leave off with a reminder that we have by no means covered the whole story: you are never done talking about the Moon.
I just want to give you a sense of what I think of when I look at the Moon in a chart. Keep in mind that she has everything to do with a person’s past. She is what a person’s history is composed of. She has a lot to say about how their personality functions, because she is “where they have already been.”
We know the Moon like the back of our hand. It makes no sense to repeat that pattern — because life is a school and we don’t grow and evolve if we keep winding up in the same classroom where the Moon tells us we’ve already been. Give that some thought, and keep in mind that the Moon is great as a repository of acquired wisdom and experience, but she is also a place where we can get stuck.
©2018 by Cal Garrison. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Weiser Books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser LLC.
The Lunar Gospel: The Complete Guide to Your Astrological Moon
by Cal Garrison
The Lunar Gospel is a comprehensive guide to moon sign astrology, covering the significant role the moon plays in the horoscope. Cal explores the role of the moon as it manifests in the different signs and houses, as well as its relationship to the other planets in the chart. The Lunar Gospel clearly and insightfully gives you all the tools you need to understand your own moon sign--and the moon sign of other people.
Cal Garrison has been a professional astrologer since the 1970s. In 1992, Cal began writing weekly astrological columns for The Mountain Times in Killington, Vermont, and then later for Wisdom Magazine, Detroit Metro Times, and the Associated Press. She is the author of several books.