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The Astrological Moon
Aspects, Signs, Cycles and the Mythology of the Goddess in Your Chart
By Haydn Paul
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 1998 Haydn Paul
All rights reserved.
The Reawakened Moon Goddess
For thousands of years, the Moon has attracted the fascinated gaze of humanity and evoked many myths, legends, and dreams. It was appropriate that the rupture of spatial planetary barriers should be achieved by the physical landing on the Moon. The solar impulse for outward expansion and exploration had resulted in the technological progress necessary to enter space, and on 9:18 BST, July 20, 1969, the Eagle lunar module from the aptly named Apollo 11 mission safely descended onto an area named the Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong reputedly spoke those famous words during the first Moon walk: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Within an hour of the landing of the Eagle module, a Russian spacecraft, Luna 15, crash-landed into the Sea of Crises. Those two areas of Tranquility and Crises symbolize the ambivalence of human response to the influence of the Moon and the mutability of emotional balance.
While the planetary Moon appeared impervious to the intrusion, the corresponding inner Moon within the depths of consciousness proved more responsive to a human presence in outer space. A membrane, or veil, had been penetrated; humankind had broken free of planetary restrictions. By leaving Earth and looking back on their home world slowly revolving in space, the astronauts provided a more inclusive vision of the universe. The Moon mission produced a powerful photographic image of Earth as one planet spinning in space. This visual symbol of our planetary reality reminds us of the One World and One Human Family, potentially dissolving limiting concepts of national barriers and racial antagonisms. This photograph of Gaia's beauty symbolizes an important human turning point.
Lifting the spatial veil simultaneously opened an inner channel within the collective psyche, which has grown ever wider since 1969. This involves a rebirth of the inner Moon influence, so that balance can be restored between positive and affirming lunar qualities and those now-imbalanced solar attitudes and tendencies which threaten planetary health.
As ancient matriarchal cultures faded and were replaced by patriarchal hierarchies, the lunar principle retreated further into the collective unconscious mind, away from the more dominating and aggressive solar masculine attitudes and values. Over the centuries, the Great Mother has become secondary to the cultural power of the Father God, resulting in a devaluing and denial of the virtues of the feminine principle. Male fears of a resurgence of feminine power have often resulted in purges of those holding pagan beliefs, and Christianity has often sought to repress heretical matriarchal attitudes by abusing social power and using physical violence. The infamous witch trials and inquisitions provide evidence of great intolerance and are an ineradicable stain on the Church's expression of Christ's teachings.
Through the domination of masculine assertive and exploitative attitudes, the intellectual mind has reconditioned cultural worldviews so that rationality has gained ascendancy over instinct, intuition, and feelings. Inner connections to personal depths and to the vitality of natural life have withered away during centuries of patriarchal power. While this has helped to bring about certain major advances, such as the expansion of scientific knowledge and technology, we are now arriving at the point where a new way needs to be discovered before what was once beneficial to human progress becomes increasingly destructive to human and planetary life.
Since the 1960s, the influence of the reawakened Goddess, symbolized by the astrological Moon, has been gathering strength once more. We live in a time when the value of instincts, emotions, feelings, irrationality, connectedness, and nurturing needs to be rediscovered and expressed within the collective mind. We need the vitalizing energy of the Moon Goddess to renew human spiritual needs, so that heart values may exert a more powerful role again, and so the importance of unfolding individual potential may be acknowledged as necessary to the well-being of society.
Signs of this intensifying shift in collective inner needs have been apparent in the growth of the New Age, Alternative Culture, and Self-Help movements, which attempt to introduce new attitudes and visions within all spheres of life in an effort to revitalize and transform unfulfilling lifestyles. Since the inner Moon Goddess was reawakened, there has been a rapid growth in demands for personal and planetary nurturing. The emphasis has changed toward satisfying inner needs by creating a better quality of life, often through pursuing the various paths of greater self-understanding.
For many women responding to the call of the Goddess, this shift has been felt through the growing influence of the Women's Movement, which allows for a fuller expression of the feminist spirit. The social assertion of feminine power by developing political awareness and within women's solidarity and consciousness-raising groups has been vitally important in starting a movement toward greater social integration and balance.
In Western societies, the role of women has grown again in importance, and lunar-influenced life-styles are becoming socially acceptable. We see this in emerging preferences for health foods, vegetarianism, complementary and holistic health approaches, natural living, more awareness in child raising, natural childbirth, and an increasing female role in politics, work, business, and artistic creativity. One major movement now focuses attention on planetary nurturing, the need for careful ecological policies that avoid disrupting the Earth's delicate ecosystem. Ecological concerns are now internationally recognized; we are finally awakening to the responsibility and challenge of our potential to either destroy or heal the only home we have.
In the more spiritual realms, old, fading traditions are being reborn. The mysteries of Albion and the Celtic peoples are experiencing a popular resurgence, as many realize that a more pagan worldview matches their preferred perception of life. Wicca, or modern witchcraft, is similarly reinvigorated as the Goddess calls her own back to serve her, and older shamanic traditions, with their emphasis on the attunement of nature and mediation between levels of reality are now fashionable and appeal to many. Certain aspects of these contemporary needs are looked at in chapters 9 and 10, especially the potential integration of masculine and feminine principles.
Many people now feel the need for inner inquiry, and spiritual searches and occult investigations are pursued internationally. The doors to the inner quest have been opened, and meditation paths (especially those of the Western traditions) are leading toward the depths of our inner natures and the realms of the Goddess, where we can reintegrate our repressed feminine principle and begin to embrace a latent wholeness. Modern psychology, and particularly the Jungian approach, teaches us to acknowledge all levels of our being, to honor our feelings and instincts, and to release emotional pressures and tensions which damage and limit our potential and well-being.
This book gives an astrological perspective on certain aspects of this reawakened Moon Goddess. Through a greater understanding of personal connections to our inner Moon, we can discover ways in which we can better integrate the feminine principle. This aids our self-development, but also has a beneficial collective influence, helping to heal unnecessary social divisions within the collective psyche.
If we choose to consciously explore and examine ourselves through the perspective of a Moon-focused astrological interpretation, we may discover some surprising and valuable insights into our unique personal mystery. Moon messages can be transmitted through astrology in a way which can be quite direct. It is hoped that every reader will discover much of real value through reading this book, within its comprehensive astrological approach to the powerful Moon presence active within each psyche.
We have a responsibility to invoke the inner Goddess and to allow her fertilizing power to transform us and our world. Through this invocation, we can establish communicative channels between our conscious and unconscious minds. Reawakened, the moonlight shines within the darkness of the unconscious and illumines the paths of the Underworld. Following this way leads to a great healing. Through walking it for ourselves, we share in the task of world healing.
Invocation-Dea Luna, Deus Lunus, The Mythic Moon
Day after day, the ancients looked to the heavens above, watching the movement of the great orb of light as it rose at dawn and fell again at twilight. Night after night, they watched as another light cast illumination into the surrounding darkness, as mysterious shadows evoked fears of attack and animal noises eerily echoed in the distance.
Soon they realized that, while one light in the sky was constant, blazing down and giving light to the day, the orb of night passed through mysterious and magical changes, apparently appearing and disappearing in a cyclic pattern. They observed these changes and, as time passed, watched the varying positions in the sky from which the lights would appear. They felt subtle changes occurring within their bodies, emotions, and minds and intuited that the heavenly lights and stars were influencing them. Slowly, an early formulation of the later Hermetic axiom, "As above, so below," was conceived and the ancient wisdom of starlore emerged into human consciousness.
In the mysterious and dangerous world that they inhabited, our ancestors felt that the lights in the sky were like eyes watching their every move. They were awed by this presence and reverential feelings arose. They knew that, in some way, their lives depended on the rising of the Sun each day and the coming of the moonlight at night. The lights became sacred objects and worship, ritual, and propitiatory sacrifices were developed as means of ensuring heavenly goodwill. The Sun became identified as the King of Day, the God of Light; the Moon became known as the Queen of Night, the Goddess of Darkness.
The sources of astrology lie shrouded in the mists of antiquity, but, even today, we still look up at the same Sun, Moon, and stars, and will do so until all human life passes away on Earth. These are constants in human experience across time and generations, transcending cultures and national barriers.
The ancients studied the heavens, often measuring the linear progression of cyclic time by the transiting movements of Sun and Moon, sometimes using stones positioned to indicate times of the year when seeds for crops could be successfully planted, or times when important religious rituals should be performed. The soli-lunar cycles became calendars and systems to organize time within cultures.
The rhythmic Moon pattern was especially useful as a model, defining the seven-day week and the twenty-eight-day lunar month. The average duration of human pregnancy, from conception to birth, is equivalent to ten lunar months (forty weeks). The twenty-eight-day Moon cycle is related to the female menstrual cycle. Modern research has shown that the female monthly period is more likely to occur at either the New Moon or the Full Moon than at other times. It is likely that, in the past, women were probably more synchronized to the Moon's lunation cycle than they are in today's era of chemical contraception and interference with instinctive physiological patterns.
The Moon's rapid transits through the heavens and the fact that it is "shape-shifting," even vanishing from physical sight during the "dark of the Moon," led our ancestors to believe that certain actions, thoughts, and functions should not be indulged in during certain phases, for fear of displeasing the Goddess. Certain phases were associated with the shedding of blood during a woman's menstrual cycle and, through concepts of "uncleanliness," physical contact with women was often culturally prohibited. The shape-shifting qualities of women during pregnancy implied an affinity with the Moon and so, in most cultures, the Moon became identified with the Goddess and with feminine principles. Women became priestesses of the Moon, which was perceived to be the source of life on Earth, a heavenly gateway similar to the physical gateway symbolized by the female sexual role.
To both ancient and modern people, looking into the sky from Earth gives the optical illusion that the Sun and the Moon are of a comparable size. In fact, we now know that this is just a visual impression created by the difference in their respective distances from Earth. In reality, the vast difference in mass of the Sun (four hundred times larger than the Moon) is optically nullified by the Moon being four hundred times nearer to the Earth.
As befits a heavenly influence that is associated with fertility, the Moon has generated a vast array of goddesses and gods which appear as powerful mythological figures in many of the older religious traditions of bygone cultures. The image of the Magna Dea (the Great Mother) has cast her shadow across the world, and it is only in relatively recent centuries that her influence has waned as the solar influence became more dominant in human consciousness. Yet it often goes unrecognized that the later solar religions, like Christianity and Islam, have deep roots in previous lunar religions and that, in many cases, the solar traditions, myths, and legends are derived from more ancient Moon myths, simply replacing the matriarchal Mother with a patriarchal and masculine Father-God image. It is significant, for instance, that a major symbol of Islam is the crescent Moon.
The Moon was adopted in ancient times as the heavenly symbol of the feminine principle in life. She was perceived as the Great Universal Mother, the female aspect of Deity. The Moon became the mythological source and progenitrix of all ancient cults which were related to issues of growth and fertility. In this sense, she became Mother Nature and was appealed to through worship for the blessing of crops and to ensure abundant harvests, because failure of the food supply meant starvation and death.
The Goddess was the Divine Nurturer and Nourisher of life, the one who gave form to the seed of life which was implanted in the womb of nature and woman by the Father-God. She became the patroness of agriculture and childbirth, whose beneficent presence and light was indispensible for growth to occur. As we know, the Moon influences plant growth, tides, and body fluids, and the sidereal lunar month corresponds with the female menstrual cycle. Observing these things, the ancients began to perceive the Moon's cycle as reflecting natural phases of fertility, birth, growth, and eventual decay and death. The Goddess began to be recognized as both a giver of life and a wielder of the destructive powers of nature, embodying both light and dark faces within her divine countenance.
The crescent Moon symbolizes the waxing phase and is associated with the cycle of growth and fertility, because it is at this point the Moon has had the most time to grow. In ancient times, the waxing Moon was considered to be a heavenly parallel to the swelling stomach of pregnant women. The New Moon (the conjunction of Sun and Moon) signals the best time to plant crops, and was considered to be an apt time for male and female sexual intercourse. In many older languages, the words for Moon and menstruation are closely linked—mens (Latin) is also the root for "mind" and "mental": the mind shares the proclivity of the Moon for change.
Moon myths touch extremely archaic traditions and resonate deep psychic chords, embracing various evocative archetypal themes which penetrate the creation mysteries of ourselves and nature. All worship of the Goddess involves a relationship with less tangible, subtle powers. It concerns spiritual influences or qualities, explorations of instinctive wisdom, and attempts to attain atoneness with the greater Self. Awakening the inner Moon restores the power of Sophia, Queen of Heaven, and unlocks the wisdom inherent in the building blocks of life and encoded within our DNA.
Reflections of this inner oneness are noted within the concepts of sacred, virgin Moon Goddesses found in the origins of many religious faiths. The word "virgin" did not have the same connotations in ancient times as it has today; it did not mean a person who had no experience of sexual intercourse, but rather someone autonomous, who submitted only to the real ruler of the inner nature by surrendering to the hidden divinity. Effectively, a virgin was a person who had become transformed by contacting the light of the God or Goddess, Deus Lunus, Dea Luna.
Excerpted from The Astrological Moon by Haydn Paul. Copyright © 1998 Haydn Paul. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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