The Sun and the Moon are the 2 main planets in the chart. The Moon expresses where we have come from, the past; the Sun expresses where we are going, the future.
So where have we come from? On a personal level the Moon takes us back to the moment of conception. Everything that has happened since then. The Moon rules Cancer, the ‘memory sign’. Everything that has happened to us has made some sort of imprint.
But why stop there? There is the influence of family and racial history. And Jung wrote about the layers to the psyche, that within us there is a 2 million year old human. We are influenced by the whole of human history. But even then, in the womb we recapitulate all the stages of physical evolution that have brought us to this point. At certain stages in the womb we have gills like a fish and a tail like a monkey. And we start out as a single cell like an amoeba.
So the Moon contains, we contain, the whole history of life on earth.
The Sun and the Moon are like the roots and branches of a tree. And the roots in this particular tree go back as far as you like. Why stop with life, as though that is separate from matter? It is not, matter and consciousness are profoundly interconnected, they are not separate. I don’t see why the whole history of matter should not also be included. “We are Stardust.” Our bodies are made of stuff that goes right back to the beginning, whatever that was. The Big Bang, let’s say. We are our bodies, so we go right back. The whole history of matter is within us. If we listen, we know the history of the universe, we can feel it within us. We don’t need scientists to tell us how it happened. Or priests. We know it, we feel it, we feel a part of it, though it’s hard to verbalise.
So the Moon is both conscious and unconscious. Maybe there is not room in our consciousness for that vast history. Not all the time, certainly not when we are busy. But when we are quiet we can peer down and see. Maybe it is part of our nature as humans to not just have a past, but to know it, to be able to look back and see it. Not just written and spoken history, but something much older.
On an immediate personal level, the Moon is what we are feeling right now in response to what has been happening and is happening. Sometimes there is not even room for that. And sometimes it is due to how we are built, what sign our Moon is in.
A Pisces Moon has the deepest roots of all, a profound sense that we are collective beings with a long history. And by the same token, because of that sensitivity, she can feel overwhelmed by too much everyday input. A Moon in Capricorn feels very responsible for her own place in the world and for those around her and for making sure things are done ‘properly’: the ‘inner’ is less important, and even then will often be compartmentalised. Of course, other factors in the chart may modify both our Pisces and Capricorn Moons.
A Moon in Sagittarius like me will write about the Moon in the way I have: trying to bring meaning and significance and a sense of expansion to the past. But personal feelings often take a while to catch up.
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The Sun is the future, where we are going as individuals. We don’t know where that is, or we would be there. The Sun is our inner conscious identity. It is dynamic, in the sense that it is going somewhere. The Moon is more of a given, but a living given.
The Sun is the branches of the tree, inspired by the future – the flow of new ideas, the Air element around it; and the vision that the physical Sun itself provides, the Fire element, towards which the branches are reaching. But also nourished and grounded by the past, the Earth and Water elements which come up through the roots.
It’s much harder to write about the future, because it hasn’t happened yet. The Sun is the principle of individuality, that which is unique to us, that stands out from the collective. It requires conscious application to develop, even though we don’t really know where we are going. That application is often about simply staying with ourselves, having the courage to stay with inner conflict, acting according to who we are, and not getting in the way of the unfoldment process that is outside of our control.
The Sun tells us that life is creative, that new elements are brought into being that we could never have thought of, that are not simply a re-arrangement of the old. That is why we don’t know, can’t know, where we are headed. And it shows the limits of astrological prediction. Ironically, astrology teaches us just how unpredictable the future is. Unless you have a reactive process going on, in which a person or a collective is determined to keep life as it is. Then it can become much more predictable.
Collectives also have a Sun. Where the Sun was at their moment of creation. Like the present UK was ‘born’ on the 1st of January 1801, the union of Great Britain and Ireland. That makes the Sun at 10 Capricorn, which Pluto is currently passing over, coinciding with major questioning of our identity, of who we are as a nation: do we remain in the EU, and under what terms? And will Scotland separate from the UK?
Collectives are also often easier to predict than individuals, because they tend to be less conscious and therefore have fewer choices. Those choices, we could say, are often more governed by the past than by radically new future possibilities.
In the same way that the Moon reaches back to the beginnings of time, we could ask how far forward does the Sun reach? And is it just an individual thing, or is it also collective?
Like I said, I don’t think we can separate the journey of matter from the evolution of life. A tree begins with a seed that contains the blueprint for all its future growth and decay. And the same with our lives when we look back, there can be a pattern that gives almost a sense of inevitability, that there was a blueprint all along. And the universe has its own destiny that was there at the beginning.
If we believe the scientists, that destiny is ‘heat death’, a bleak, almost demonised view of the fate of the universe. Or we could say that consciousness will keep expanding forever, that there is no limit.
Human consciousness, looked at logically, is just a step along the way, the latest new element that nature, in her creativity, has introduced. Nature has continually introduced entirely new elements, if we look at Evolution. So there is no reason to suppose the process will suddenly stop, it seems to be part of the nature of things. So the Sun principle of the branches reaching upwards would seem to be just as limitless in the future as the Moon principle is in the past. There is the endless creativity of nature to reckon with in any vision of the future.
And it seems to me to be both individual and collective. How could we ever ignore the shared past, the shared foundation, of the Moon? In a way the individuality of the Sun gives us the ability to know we are connected: the more individual we are, the more engaged if you like with our own tree, the more we know we are also part of some vast collective process as big as the universe.
So the Sun and Moon in the chart are immediate and very personal, but they also connect us to the ancient past, as ancient as you like, and to a future of undreamed possibilities. Life on this earth can seem very limited just now – like this is human consciousness, this is what it does, and what it is doing is gradually destroying the conditions for life. And maybe we will. But life is also endlessly surprising, and its context is the whole universe, and as a Moon in Sag I’m saying there is always a bigger picture.
And that applies to individual lives as well – don’t forget the bigger picture, don’t let yourself be determined by the seeming limitations of your circumstances. Your Sun doesn’t want that, and there is always a creative solution.