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By The Light of the Slightly Tranished Moon
Pluto in any aspect to a personal planet means that there is an increase of consciousness due, a re-birth of sorts, with respect to that part of oneself symbolized by the other planet.
— Stephen Arroyo
An astrological chart is a map of the solar system seen from the perspective of Earth. The luminaries appear to be rotating around the center of the chart, the unmarked and unnamed Earth and its Underworld; with enigmatic Pluto lurking in the depths of space, inner and outer. The macrocosm is seen through a finely focused lens, the microcosm of the individual whose chart is being considered. So, the natal chart is a map of individual consciousness manifesting out of the sea of the collective unconscious which surrounds it, a consciousness colored and shaped by the relationship of its disparate parts.
THREE LUMINARIES AND THE EARTH
From the Earth, the Sun and the Moon seem to be the same size. Both were a source of awe and numinous power for our ancestors, but the Moon was worshipped long before the Sun. Linked to fertility and death, the Moon was primarily seen as "feminine" and most of the deities connected with it are female, although ancient Egypt had its full complement of lunar gods—and solar goddesses. The Moon is a cyclic deity. Like the tides, she ebbs and flows. She has her new, young face, and her ancient, timeless form.
Time is different on the Moon. There the brightness of "day" and the darkness of "night" each last for fourteen days—half a Moon cycle. The Sun presents a ubiquitously bright face to Earth, but the rhythmic Moon shows a face which seemingly changes, waxing and waning mysteriously from dark to crescent to full, and then returning to the dark. This is because the Moon is actually presenting the same face to Earth all the time and its light is reflected from the Sun. As Earth from time to time intervenes between Moon and Sun, we see a changing face.
These two luminaries and Earth have a special relationship to each other. Although the Moon is rotating around Earth, its gravitational center is the Sun; so Earth and Moon are "twin souls" orbiting around a mutual attraction—the Sun. Similarly, the planet Pluto and its Moon, Charon, are twin bodies circulating around the Sun. Charon, like Earth's Moon, does not orbit Pluto's gravitational center directly. The two dance in a complex relationship around a mutual point of gravity, far removed from the self-conscious Sun.
Symbolically, Earth can be seen as representing physical incarnation and material life. Its deeper, instinctual energies are an archaic, ingrained, collective level of earthy consciousness (the Plutonian Underworld); while the Sun is the pull to Spirit and Self, a differentiation into individuality and separate awareness. It is the life-giver, a source of power and indicator of destiny. The receptive Moon acts as a bridge and mediator between the two. No one can look at the Sun directly without being blinded. So, the reflective Moon vitalizes and fertilizes Earth by stepping down the Sun's light. It then destroys and annihilates consciousness by shutting off that bright light so that the forces of the instinctual Underworld can rise up for a time and engulf the Earth. This rhythmic cycle holds the balance for the polarities embodied in the apparent duality of earthly existence: sex and gender; light and dark, day and night; god and goddess; life and death; left and right brain functions, etc.
Pluto's orbit is highly elliptical, bringing it in from the outer reaches of our solar system to pass within the orbit of Neptune. The unconscious breaks through, it penetrates the watery bounds of Neptunian illusion, as we shall see. Pluto, too, is a giver of light, a luminary. He lights up the deepest recesses of our being, a dark place which is Hades, his mythological underworld home. His ferryman, Charon, conveys us into the center of our Self, the place of initiation and pure truth. There is nowhere to hide, and no need for concealment. Pluto offers us the riches of truly knowing our whole Self.
THE LUNAR EFFECT
The Moon is said to govern the body. The lunar tides affect the fluid in our bodies. Men, just as much as women, experience surges and fluctuations in the flow of hormones, blood, and lymph. Our bodies are over 70 percent water so it is no wonder they respond so intimately to the pull of the Moon. They carry the messengers of the lunar emotional self, mediating between the physical and subtle bodies of earthly incarnation.
We could look on the Moon as the Neoplatonist Soul of the World, which mediated between the spiritual realm of the gods and the sensory, material realm of mortal beings. We could also look on it as Jung's collective unconscious in which dwell the psychological principles known as archetypes—the gods who interact with human existence. The collective unconscious is the respository for all past experience. It is the storehouse of racial memory and the ingrained patterns that motivate all human behavior. It is the genetic code of human evolution. These are lunar attributes. However, this identification with the collective unconscious may be more appropriate to Pluto, while the Moon is a more personal, and accessible, level of the unconscious (see figure 8, page 32).
The New Moon hangs pregnant with the Old
Our earliest ancestors had no clocks, but they did have a reliable marker of the passage of time—the Moon. They observed that the Moon was continually changing, and yet uniformly followed a rhythmic cycle of unfoldment and withdrawal. This is the great paradox of the Moon. It faithfully records the Great Round, and reflects the cycle of life from conception to death in its appearance and disappearance. The magical, otherworldly light that bleaches the color from the landscape signals the time to emerge from the Underworld. Its withdrawal into darkness is the moment of entry into the netherworld. It relentlessly signposts the passage of the seasons, and of procreation. Thirty-five thousand years ago, notches were cut into bone to mark the lunar phases: the calendar had come into being. Such calendars kept track of women's menstruation, indicating the fertile New Moon of ovulation and conception, and the "Full Moon moment" of birth. They ticked off the ten lunar months needed for gestation and parturition.
When the light of the Moon is potent and unimpeded, the menstrual cycle usually follows the flowering of the Moon—that female matrix out of which everything is born and to which everything must return as it dies. At each stage, all the other stages, both those that have gone before and those that are to come, are held in seed form, ready to unfold. At New Moon, if we look really hard, we can just make out the dark form of the germinal Full Moon. As the Moon waxes, it swells gravid with potential until the Full Moon is delivered and the Old Moon emerges. In her bright phase, the Moon gives life. In her dark phase, the Moon sheds blood and is the destructive power of nature and consequent death. Together, the two phases are the cycle of life.
In modern times we live in a light-polluted environment and, for most of us in the Western world, the full power of the Moon is experienced rarely. But go to a less populated place and you will immediately be aware of exactly where the Moon is in her cycle. At the three-day Dark of the Moon, nothing is visible, blackness prevails. The goddess has withdrawn her face from the world. In Greek mythology, Demeter is grieving for Persephone. In Egyptian understanding, Isis seeks Osiris. The world is plunged into mourning. This is the time of greatest mystery, the Hecate time for divination and prophecy, for magic and healing, for retiring to the menstrual hut to dream dreams. Then slowly, by degrees, the mystical light is once more seen in the heavens, growing organically as the waxing Moon gestates her own light. This crescent Moon is receptive, bowl-shaped, waiting to be fertilized, or ravished. This is virginal Persephone awaiting her initiation into womanhood.
The Full Moon shines down pitilessly, exposing everything that moves. It is the moment for the as yet unmanifested to come into consciousness. This Moon seems to hang pregnant with promise, or subtle threat, and indeed the ancients revered the Moon as a triple-faced, fecund deity who fertilized, and presided over, the passages of life. Demeter is but one of many Moon goddesses who have absolute power over life, death, and fertility. Then, with surprising suddenness, the Moon vanishes back into the darkness. When the Moon is coming up to Full there is a day or two of wondering: is it yet? Is it time? No such confusion accompanies the shadowy Waning Moon. Suddenly, a slice of light is gone. Quickly it shrinks to the crescent and then descends into full night, the realm of Hecate. Magic and mystery are once more abroad in the world and the Gates to Hades are open wide.
The mythologically expressed lunar cycle can also, therefore, be seen as loss, quest and resurrection; as gestation, fruition, and decay. The dark of the Moon is a time for introspection, moving into oneself and having visions, for purifying and releasing old patterns, for allowing the past to break down into fertile compost so that something new can emerge, the moment of transformation and renewal. The New Moon is the time to plan fresh projects, to prepare for bringing that vision out into the light, to conceive new patterns and receive fresh inspiration. The Full Moon is the creative time, the period when we can manifest and make known who we are, living out our renewal and resurrection. It is the moment of interacting with, and being energetic in, the world—birthing our creations. This is the time when we are outwardly most active and vital in who we are. Then fruition is reached and, with the decaying Waning Moon, we are are ready to eliminate, to cleanse and clear the detritus of our experience. This is the moment of letting go and starting anew, the time when we accompany the Sumerian goddess Innana into the underworld to meet her dark sister Ereshkigal. The cycle of introversion and extroversion, receptivity and activity, change and unfoldment begins again. The Moon also signifies inheritance from the past. Looked at from the karmic perspective, the phase of the Moon at which we were born might also hold a clue as to how long we have been dealing with the karmic issues in our chart, notwithstanding that the aspects between inner and outer planets also show this clearly. Fixed squares, for example, are karmic issues that have been around for many lifetimes, whereas cardinal squares are "karma in the making." Trines are issues that we have more or less "got right" and are now being tested to see if we really have grasped the lesson. However, the New Moon might be embarking on the experience for the first time, or on a new way of dealing with it. The Full Moon could well be focusing on an issue, seeing it clearly for the first time, perhaps, although the issue itself had been around for some time. By the time we get to the last quarter, the issue is old and we are ready to let go. As Liz Greene says: "A balsamic Moon has begun to unload its parcel of experience, and there is a melancholy, sacrificial, almost weary quality to this lunar phase."
The Moon cannot be outgrown or transcended, but if its underlying needs are understood, it can be transformed. It describes our innate response to life and we will explore its manifestations in much greater detail through this book. The archetypal Moon is expressed through myriad goddesses and inner processes as befits an energy which is inherently present from conception to death (see chapter 2). It is our basic security needs, expressed from the first moment a baby reaches out for food and sustenance, and throughout the whole of life to the last dying breath. It is our need-iness and our vulnerability, our roots and our continuity.
The Moon has always had close links with the womb. Both waxed and waned, swelled and then gave birth. But, to the ancient Greeks the womb also had an affinity with irrational emotion. It was believed that the womb went wandering, giving rise to hysteria and other disturbances. And, of course, through the ages the Full Moon has been indissolubly linked to madness and mayhem. The lunar energy carries this aspect of "out of control" emotion, irrational and feeling-dominated behavior. Most men tend to project this side of the planet onto women in general, although pre-menstrual women and those in mid-life have borne the brunt of the collective attitude to menarche and menopause. Another side of the Plutonian planetary energy which has been projected, and one which women suffered much persecution over, is the fey, intuitive, "witch" who was so feared by the medieval church and others, a fear that still lingers today.
Lunar energy is about fluctuation, feelings, mood, and emotion. It is an inarticulate energy and can rarely openly express what it needs, or the source of its emotions. It is an autonomous, organic life process, controlling the body, taking in nourishment, assimilating experience, and following ingrained patterns from the past. Our automatic reaction to a preprogramed response. It is our heredity, our family, and tribal awareness, and the emotional baggage we carry with us. However, the Moon is also where we need to adapt, not through struggle but by surrendering to the inevitable process of death, decay, and new life. This process is facilitated by an attunement to Pluto. Familiarity with his realm lends comfort to the destruction and re-creation process. Adaptation proceeds at a greater pace when spurred on by Plutonian necessity. If we view the Moon as Gatekeeper to the Unconscious, a doorway through which the transpersonal energies of the outer planets must pass, we can see that an attunement to Pluto would indeed compel one toward transformation, no matter how much the psyche might, at the individual level, resist. So, the Moon focuses the Plutonian urge to transform, its fickle light shows us the pathway into the unconscious.
Purveyor of the Mother Archetype
Above all else, the Moon carries the archetype of Mother, the primal matter from whom all emerges, on whom all life depends. This is not the personal mother, although she may reflect it. Nor does the actual mother need to have an identical Moon placement to reflect this archetype back to her child. It is what, at the deepest level of being, Mother signifies in all her aspects. It is how Mother is perceived, what is expected of a mother, and how the person (male or female) with a certain Moon placement will behave in a nurturing role. This is the Terrible Mother, who holds the power of life and death, the Nurturing Mother who succours the needy, and the Primordial Mother who is the source of life itself. So, the sign placement of the Moon, and its aspects, describes the archetypal image of Mother that the child carries; it describes what the person needs and anticipates from Mother.
The Great Mother shows her faces through Persephone, Demeter, Hecate, and the other, much older, goddesses whom we will encounter as we journey through the Underworld of the Hades Moon. She has awesome, numinous power and is worshipped for her death-dealing face just as much as for her life-giving power. The human child is, of course, dependent on mother for an inordinately long rime, and is aware that if she cuts off nurturing, death could well result. This death may be physical, but it may equally well be emotional or intellectual. Without love and care, children become apathetic and do not thrive. Left too long in this state, they shut down, functioning only through their autonomous lunar body processes.
It is this death-dealing aspect of the lunar energy, the devouring shadow, with which we all are, at some level, familiar. This is the stuff of nightmares, a shade which haunts the edges of our awareness. It is the blood-sucking vampirism of unsatisfied need, and the hopelessness of the unnurtured. The Moon is the untamed, savage face of instinct, an instinct that will kill to protect its young, or murder them to survive. So, an over-protective mother is just one side of the shadow-Moon. An irrational fear of annihilation and death that takes no prisoners and gives no quarter is another. "Mother Russia," the Berlin wall, American imperialism and its paranoid, fear-driven fight against communism stemmed directly from the Moon's overwhelming need to preserve at all costs the security of what is known and familiar.
Hitler's rise to power coincided with the discovery of Pluto. His collective-shadow 8th-house Gemini-Pluto oratory mesmerizing the inconjunct 3rd house Capricorn Moon into complicity, illustrates society's need, and also the individual's wish, to project all the rage and insecurity onto an enemy who is "out there," as the rise of a new bogeyman, Saddam Hussein, so soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall nearly confirmed. And, of course, the Gulf War was really about greed, power, and manipulation of the world's fuel sources but was masked by a spurious caring for the invaded and oppressed Kuwait—typical of the collective shadow-lunar energies at work—liberally seeded by Pluto in Scorpio sextiling the New Moon in Capricorn the day before the war. Just before midnight (GMT) on the eve of the war saw a solar eclipse in Capricorn. Authoritarian Capricorn is a sign that may demand a scapegoat for the collective "evil," and the Gulf War had much collective karma behind it. A solar eclipse is a time when the light of personal consciousness (the Sun) is blotted out and the unconscious and collective forces of the Moon are able to surface. In Capricorn, cosmic consciousness pours down upon Earth. This can be an explosive time, when repressed energies erupt, especially when fueled by Pluto.
Excerpted from The Hades Moon by Judy Hall. Copyright © 1998 Judy Hall. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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Introduction: The Dark Moon
Chapter 1. By The Light of the Slightly Tarnished Moon
Chapter 2. The Mythic Moon
Chapter 3. The Devouring Moon
Chapter 4. The Rejecting Moon
Chapter 5. The Raging Moon
Chapter 6. The Karmic Moon
Chapter 7. The Cathartic Moon
Chapter 8. The Sacred Moon
Chapter 9. The Renascent Moon
Chapter 10. Afterlight
Appendix. The Pluto Moon Dialogue