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The MOON – The Key to Happiness Hidden in The Subconscious

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Art by Andy Kehoe -

Popular astrology is commonly centered around the Sun (or Star) signs. The minimum most people know about their astrological profile is if they were born a Gemini, a Capricorn or a Leo etc. And this is just the position of the Sun (among 9 other planets) in the birth chart. It is only one of the many factors that make up the complex set of psychological predispositions and potential character traits of a person which a comprehensive chart reading can reveal. Naturally, many people do not fully or even partially identify with the qualities attributed to a particular zodiac sign and thus feel there is good reason to doubt the accuracy and reliability of astrology.

There is an explanation behind the discrepancies and contradictions of Sun sign astrology. Important as it is, the Sun sign placement puts people in 12 categories that oversimplify the shared characteristics between them and it accounts only for one of two, equally significant, halves of the personality. The Sun sign stands for the reason-oriented, conscious and deliberate nature of what motivates us to follow a certain path and set our long-term goals. But there is a missing link, which makes every Scorpio, Cancer or Sagittarius different from every other born under that same Sun sign – the position of the Moon in the astrological chart. While it is relatively easy to figure out what our Sun sign is (they change position at about the same time every month and it is common knowledge that most Virgos are born in September and Arians in April), the Moon sign is trickier to calculate and remains generally disregarded. Yet, it is not only as essential, but arguably, even more defining of a person’s character. Which is the reason that, if knowing about it, most people would readily recognize themselves in the archetypal qualities of their Moon sign.

I will briefly explore below what the Moon is about in astrology and why it holds the key to our personal well being.

The Inner Emotional World

Only half of what we are belongs to the realm of thought and logic – the functions of the mind and consciousness. The other half, which is a lot more subjective and unconscious, is what constitutes our emotions and instinctive responses to life. The two are the head and the heart of the personality. The active and projecting and the restrained and receptive. The Yang and the Ying. Rationality and intuition. All are at the same time conflicting and complimentary pairs of which the former stands for the psychological function of the Sun while the latter represents the Moon’s significance and meaning.

The sign the natal Moon is placed in provides information about what rules a person’s inner world – the feelings, instinctual nature and hidden motivation behind their actions. It specifies the particular manner in which they will be inclined to react to all that comes their way from the outside world. Like the lens of a camera, reflecting and distributing the sunlight in a distinctive way, the 12 possible faces of the Moon show how a person would expectedly respond to external influences - to both positive and negative stimuli. It speaks about their style of adaptation and perception of the environment they live in.

The essence of what the Moon is in astrology is reflected in the words of the famous film director Steven Spielberg, who says: ‘Your intuition is different from your conscience. They work in tandem, but here’s the distinction: your conscience SHOUTS – here’s what you should do! While your intuition WHISPERS – here’s what you could do! Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do, as nothing is going to define your character more than that.’ The message of that quiet, often difficult to hear voice that Spielberg is referring to can be derived from the specific position of the Moon in a natal chart, and especially by the sign it falls in.

While people born within the same month often share the same Sun sign, the Moon changes signs every two and a half days. It moves much faster and travels the wheel of the whole Zodiac in approximately 28 days. Thus, people born within hours from each other may have different Moon signs. The Moon is therefore one of the most individual factors in a birth chart. Gemini are known to be curious and chatty, Libras are usually delicate and refined and Pisces tend to be moody and artistic. But a Gemini Sun with the Moon in Aries is a completely different beast from a Gemini with the Moon in Scorpio, for example.

Personal Needs and Happiness

Two people having the same Sun signs implies that they would likely share a similar vision and overall sense of life purpose and direction. But if one has the Moon in Cancer while the other the Moon in Sagittarius, their everyday needs, what makes them feel secure and protected, as well as the things that bring them joy and emotional release will be very different. The sense of balance and well being we all need in order to function and be ‘in shape’ depends on how well we have integrated our Moon nature. Every Moon sign has to be fed its specific food. It shows what kind of nurturing, both physical and psychological, someone seeks and is also likely to give to others. This is why it is also related to how we are feeling with ourselves when alone, at home or when only surrounded by familiar people or circumstances. It is also our instinctive first reaction during a crisis situation, when there is no time to contemplate. The Moon has a lot to do with our ever-changing, whimsical moods. It is so instinctual that it is very hard, if not impossible, to control.

A great deal of decision making takes places on the basis of the emotions and moods rather than objective, rational thinking. And when the inner emotional ‘climate’ that the Moon represents is turbulent and unstable, behavior can turn destructive in a lot of different ways – food disorders, lack of care for the body, depression, compulsive habits, mental and physical blockages. When the specific emotional needs have been disregarded and we are not paying attention to them, the unconscious demands of the psyche still compel us to listen, but in a way that we no longer have control over the direction we take. The Moon is the channel through which all other energies and functions of the organism pass before they are able to play their designated role. It is a kind of filter or top-skin layer of perception and if our Moon doesn’t work, nothing else in the chart does.

Relationships and Compatibility

The Moon is also intrinsically connected to what we call the ‘inner child’ within us, that basic attitude we carry since early childhood. It is the inner child nature which accounts for the types of relationships we enter into and the people we instinctively feel good and safe with. Starting with the role of the mother with all its complex implications on everyone’s early development (the sign of our Moon talks about our perception of the mother) and going on to all sorts of intimate relationships later in life. Thus, compatibility with other people, both in intimate terms within the couple, and in the more general social field, has a lot to do with synchronizing the specific Moon needs of the those involved. Comparing two people’s Moon placements can provide invaluable clues on how they will be likely to interact and merge emotionally.

The prominent writer of astrology Steven Forrest says that ‘The Moon is here and now. It tells you what to do immediately if you want to be happier’ and also that ‘to benefit from the secret of happiness, to attune truly to the Moon, we need to stop thinking. We need to feel. We must cultivate the fine art of recognizing and succumbing to …whimsy.’ It all comes down to learning how to take care of ourselves which puts us in the position of being able to help others as well.

Below is a general guideline that Mr. Forrest provides on each Moon placement by sign.

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