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Most people are familiar with their sun sign--the sign determined by your birthday. According to astrologer Cal Garrison, however, it's actually your moon sign that is the true key to your horoscope.
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.
About the Author
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 and lives in Arizona.
Read an Excerpt
Why are we going to talk about the Moon first? If we're talking about the Moon, there's got to be a reason. 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, so 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. Don't forget; 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.
Well, if the Sun moves one degree of arc in a day, 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.
By extension the Moon rules our habits. Think about it: what do we do every day? Anything that we do repetitively is ruled by the Moon. She's in all those things we do as a matter of course:
When you're cooking breakfast, that's the Moon.
When you're putting your slippers on, that's the Moon.
When you're brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, or washing your face, that's the Moon.
Anything that is related to the house and especially to the kitchen, that's the Moon.
Food is lunar.
Women are lunar.
Water is lunar.
The laundry is lunar.
When you are hanging up the wash or putting it in the dryer, you are involved with the Moon.
When you're sitting in your living room watching TV, that's the Moon.
All of this is lunar.
The Moon is the mycelium, she is the moss, she is the matrix that all of the bigger stuff takes place in. She holds it in a net — or a web, or a womb. I swear to God this is where the Spider Woman myths originated. So if you think about it, every blessed thing comes out of her and is part of her.
Now the reason I am talking this way is because it's important to get a feel for things. Astrology isn't "out there" — it's here inside and among us. We're living it. And if you bring this whole concept of the laundry, the household chores, and all of the little mechanical things that we have to do every day to just be human all the way down to the cellular level, the Moon also rules all the automatic responses that keep everything in our body moving. She controls the way the blood flows. She keeps the heart beating. She controls all the tiny changes that cause the womb to open when it's time for the courses to flow or when it's time to give birth. She's the one that knows that it's time for the tide to turn.
Does this make sense to you? Her patterns envelope all of us. We are living through her 100 percent of the time. It's no accident that we associate her with this feminine, watery influence. She is the Universal Mother. We pay a lot of lip service to the Goddess. We do Full Moon ceremonies. We speak of the power of the female. She is the one who silently and invisibly causes all of these things that we totally take for granted and that happen without our participation or attention. All of those things belong to her. This is why the books say she rules our instincts and our emotions; of course she does! That all-pervasive inner knowing of ours that understands instinct and can feel things, and that has intuition, is pulling "stuff" out of the matrix in the same way that the Moon does. And part of what we need to understand if we really want to be a good astrologer is that you have to be able to see the way things correspond. So the Moon corresponds to the instincts because she operates or resonates at the same frequency; she is basically doing the same thing. One is a reflection of the other, and all of her actions are instinctive. All of her actions are automatic. She is oceanic in the way that she extends herself over everything. When you think about it, this is why she gets connected with the All-Powerful Great Mother and the watery female influence.
When you think of water and the feminine, the area this covers is huge. It's as if to say, "Is there anything that isn't within her domain?" So not only is she the Great Mother; she's also the Grandmother, your biological mother, females in general. And this is literal. When you're looking at natal aspects or transits, and you notice that Saturn is conjunct with your Moon, you know that you're going to have problems with females in general.
She's childhood. The Moon will tell you everything that you need to know about a person's childhood. She is also "The Child." And she is the breasts, the stomach, the childbearing organs, and everything we associate with all of those things. She's your mother's breast. She's your mother's lap. She's the feeling that you had when you were cradled in her arms — or not. Do you understand what I mean?
And so the whole thing with her femininity, and the "momness" of the Moon, is important because in order to really get where a person is coming from you have to know where they're coming from emotionally. You get one thing from your father, you get another thing from your mom. The father is your male aspect, literally. The mother is your female aspect, literally. What you get from your mom is the emotional piece that senses what it means to love, and to feel, and to live in that place of femaleness or femininity.
If you want to be a good astrologer, people can come and talk to you about a million different things. They walk in the door and they've got this big front of whatever it is that the adult in them is wanting to present to you, but you're there to help them and you know that we're all a wreck. In order for you to understand how you're even going to have a conversation with this person, you need to be able to enter into their reality without invading it and without making them feel uncomfortable. The Moon will tell you all about how they process their feelings and how they respond when somebody wants to get close. They may come to you because they want to know about their work, or their relationship, or some major thing that's going on in their life, but they won't understand you if you can't tell them that the issue that is at stake is something that goes all the way back to something that happened with Mommy when they were two. You've got to be able to get to them at that level. It's really interesting: an astrologer can get in two hours what it would take a shrink to do in a year. That's how good it can become when you know what you're doing — and you're coming from the right place, of course.
When it comes to the Moon, get as familiar as you can with the archetypes and the signs so that you can read what the emotional presentation would be for a person who has the Moon in Sagittarius, for instance. It's a completely different story than it would be for a person with the Moon in Cancer. A person with the Moon in Cancer is going to want things to be nice and safe and cozy. They've spent past lives down on the farm, taking care of everybody, having kids, growing things, and doing all this family-related stuff. And it's important to them; it means more than anything to them. It may not necessarily be what they need to keep doing in this life, but it's a far cry from someone who has the Moon in Sagittarius who has basically had a totally feral experience up until this lifetime and is not the least bit conditioned for domesticity or anything that relates to settling down. Chances are there will be no desire to have kids or deal with anything that doesn't give them total freedom to go out on the tip of their arrow and be themselves.
I'm trying to give a feeling for all of the things that the Moon covers. Anything that grows is ruled by the Moon. You watch the grass grow. You watch those time-lapse films of things growing at night. The Moon's doing all of that. All those little twists and turns that those little vines make — the Moon's talking through the plant. Anything that grows in the dark, especially things that are round and wet and full of seeds like pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers, tomatoes — all those things are ruled by the Moon. Pomegranates and mushrooms — totally lunar.
The pancreas is ruled by the Moon. Enzymes are ruled by the Moon. Tumors are lunar, and so are warts. Any cancerous growths or cysts are lunar in nature.
One of the first things 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 what we've talked about so far, and 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. It is an oceanic subject after all.
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.
Next we will go through each of the twelve signs, and talk a little bit about how the Moon behaves in every one of them. I hope that this will give you a chance to compare what I have to say about it to your own experience. I just want to give you a sense of what I think of when I look at the Moon as a means to help you beam in on things as soon as you look at a chart. Keep in mind that she has everything to do with a person's past. As I describe how the Moon functions from sign to sign, remember that she is what this 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 as we move on, 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.
The Horoscope Wheel
For those of you who are new to astrology, read the following for a sense of how this two-dimensional wheel relates to what is going on in the heavens at the moment of birth.
When you go to an astrologer, or send away for a computerized horoscope, you will inevitably receive a copy of a chart that looks a lot like the image in the above illustration. What appears on paper as a simple circle, divided into twelve pieces of pie, or twelve sections, is a 2D image of what, in three-dimensional terms, is the spherical energy field or "space" that surrounds a human being at the moment that the first breath is drawn. If we take the center point to be the heart and soul of the newborn baby, the top half of the circle represents the area of space that is situated above the horizon at the moment of birth. It is an image of what was happening in the sky during the daylight hours at that moment in time.
The centerline that cuts the circle in half, horizontally, is the horizon line. From a 3D perspective it is not a line, but a circular plane. This plane stretches out around us in every direction. If we picture the newborn baby at its center, knowing that what is above that line depicts the dome of the daytime sky, the circular plane becomes the ground that we walk upon. Seen in that light, the bottom half of the circle is a representation of what is below the horizon at the moment of birth. It is an image of what is happening on the other side of the Earth, or what is going on in the night sky, at the moment the baby takes its first breath.
Excerpted from "The Lunar Gospel"
Copyright © 2018 Cal Garrison.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Moon 5
Chapter 2 The Moon through the Signs 19
Chapter 3 The Moon in the Houses 51
Chapter 4 The Moon's Nodes, Part I: From Aries to Virgo 87
Chapter 5 The Moon's Nodes, Part II: From Libra to Pisces 119
Chapter 6 The Moon's Nodes in the Houses 139
Chapter 7 Synthesis: Bringing Everything Down to Earth 173
Chapter 8 A Few More Things 197
Glossary: The Language of Astrology 203