In our continuing series of how each planet has a lesson to teach, it's time to explore the Moon -- and there is no more important astrological symbol than the Moon. She is mother, home, roots, food, family needs, feelings and habits, as well as unconscious and instinctual responses to life. She is the receptive yin to the Sun's active yang that connects us to the past and sets the rhythms of the present.
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Oddly, the Moon represents both consistency and change. This contrast is reflected in her rulership of the fluctuating Water sign Cancer, and the stability of the fixed Earth sign Taurus, in which she is dignified.
The constancy of change is reflected in the Moon's monthly cyles (or "moonthly cycles," as Rick Levine says), which are a reflection of human experience. We are always ourselves, from birth to death, but we grow, mature and die in the unstoppable flow of time that was here before we were born and that will continue after we're gone.
Learn self-care by the light of the Moon
The Moon teaches us that constancy and change are not opposing forces, but interwoven strands of the same cloth. For individuals who lack a sense of solidity in their lives, the Moon is a reminder to take note of the patterns of consistency that make them real. Even the most ungrounded people have talked, walked, thought or acted in some habitual ways that reveal the consistency of their lives. Wanderers who continue to wander remain, nevertheless, themselves.
On the other hand, anyone who is locked into rigid routines and diminished emotional flexibility can discover inner movement through the Moon. We can learn to be moody, a word sharing the same root as Moon, not in the sense of being depressed, but in the sense of being in motion.
A simple way to do this is to write down the intensity of feelings every day on a scale of one to five. Keeping a journal like this for at least 28 days (one lunar cycle) will reveal changes that show that feelings do fluctuate. Recognizing this fact can be a significant step toward breaking through insensitivity to oneself and eventually lead to more responsive self-care and nurturing.
Emotional intelligence is ruled by the Moon
Astrologers tend to equate Mercury with mental functioning, which is partially true. Memory, though, is associated with the Moon. It's as if Mercury is the lens of the camera or the mind's eye, and the Moon is the medium on which images are recorded. What we remember of the past affects our perceptions of the present. Painful memories that haven't been addressed can cause us to shut down when similar circumstances arise.
Harvey Jackins, the creator of Re-Evaluation Counseling, said we're only as intelligent as our emotions allow us to be. Our connection with feelings, or lunar self-awareness, is a key to making the most of our minds.
When our brains throw up stop signs of doubt or disbelief, it's helpful to double-check with our feelings to note where the source of resistance lies. It can often be felt in the body. We might rationalize our perceptions, of course, as if they are solely based on logic. Adding the emotional realm of the Moon to the equation, though, brings subjectively based information that makes a more complete picture of the situation, opening awareness and leading to better choices.
The Moon usually doesn't speak to us in words. She lives in the waters of instincts that flow below the level of language. Operating primarily on this plane inhibits consciousness, but failing to acknowledge its role in our behavior is equally limiting.
Recovery of the non-verbal aspects of ourselves brings a subjective truth that, when integrated with reason, is essential to developing true self-knowledge. This connection rewards us with meaning, joy and a more profound sense of fulfillment.