Part Two - Introduction
What does the Moon tell us in the language of astrology? We know that astrologically the Sun represents the vitality of our ego and the essence of our soul and its expression into the outer world. The Sun signifies dharma or life purpose, the path of our destiny and the nature of our conscious being. The strength of our ego and how it is expressed are coloured by the Sun’s placement in the zodiac signs, which symbolize the nature and quality of our experience. The Sun thus has an ‘external’ expression and is about who we are on the outside. The Sun is hard shadows and strong heat, where things are definite and clear. In the sunlight we advance, confident, righteous and positive, because we can see where we are going and know the steps. The Sun is self-justifying rationale – a chain of well-defined, well-rehearsed affirmations. It is clarity, even when we are not clear. Its strength is its authority, the will that lends form to the formless and destination to that which needs direction. It is easy to see how the Sun has assumed this symbolism, for all its luminosity, grandeur and pride of place as the most visible and energizing of heavenly bodies.
The Moon is less definite. It is changeable, shadowy and uncertain. In moonlight we feel our way forward, rely on our intuition. Our steps are less planned, less obvious. Moonlight is more ethereal, blending with shadows, bending and creating tenuous feathery patterns. Its cool light projects our momentary dreams onto the screen of our waking state. It is reveries mingling with silvery beams, daydreams that whisper how we really feel and visions that free us from the hard scripts of our ego. Moonlight is the magical shifting forms of our unconscious which tell us stories in riddles that change in shape and meaning the more closely we look at them. Moonlight is gentle thought, creative glimpses and romantic impulses that inspire us if we treat them subtly, sensing them with our heart rather than applying too much hard-headed scrutiny.
The Moon is more ‘internal’ and hints at who we are beneath the surface – our inner self, our emotional being. Do you know if the Moon is full tonight? Is it waning or waxing? The Moon is full for less than a day, is most often only partially visible and is sometimes completely obscured. It is less ‘aggressive’ than sunlight and symbolically is thought of as feminine, cool, sensitive and elusive. Its soothing rays are stimulating and stirring, giving the Moon its emotional, romantic associations. As it expands and contracts in its waxing and waning cycles it embodies the changeability of nature, the flux of feelings and emotions in our lives. Sensitive people often claim that they are influenced by the Moon. It embodies the subtle undercurrents of our lives, those we sense but often cannot easily put into words. It is who we are behind the mask we show the world, the reflection we see at our most private, intimate moments. Astrologically, the Moon therefore lights a pathway to deep self-discovery.
Self-understanding and enlightenment are the essence of Vedic knowledge. One of the first Vedic Sanskrit aphorisms says Tamasi ma jyotir gama – ‘Leave the darkness and come into the light’ – while another is Atato brahma jijnasa – ‘I am conscious spirit’ – the idea being that the better we know ourselves, the happier, more self-fulfilled and powerful we become. The Vedas offer many ways to achieve this, including yoga and meditation, which are considered helpful to anyone. But specific to the individual is their Rasi, or astrological chart, which offers, if you will, a personalized manual for living, a map or objective reference-point for self-understanding. It is a most useful tool for understanding an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. It is not proscriptive or limiting, but rather helps a person understand their real nature, thereby leading to self-acceptance and contentment.
In practical terms there may be no better use of Vedic astrology than understanding the dynamic of relationships. Even a little knowledge of your Moon sign will help you understand yourself better, as well as how others see you. It is fair to say that your Moon sign will reveal more secrets about you or your lover than your Sun sign, if only because the Moon represents what we don’t normally see in a person.
So do you need to learn a whole new system of astrology to take advantage of Vedic Moon astrology? The answer is, no you don’t. There are many differences between modern Sun-sign astrology and Vedic astrology, but the understanding you may have about the various zodiac signs applies to Vedic astrology. You will not be in totally unfamiliar territory in reading this book and with a little practice you will begin to recognize familiar zodiac traits in yourself and your lover.
If the Moon does reveal more about our emotional being, why do we see Sun-sign astrology in all our newspapers and magazines? Sun-sign astrology as we know it began with the birth of Princess Margaret. In August 1930, the Sunday Express published an interpretation of her astrological chart written by R. H. Naylor, a British astrologer, who described in some detail the finer aspects of her character to the great pleasure of the Express readership. The editor was inundated with letters of appreciation and recognized a unique chance to increase his reader base. He approached Naylor, who was also successful in predicting an air disaster at the time, and asked if it was possible to offer a similar astrological interpretation for the masses. While we don’t know the details of the conversation, Naylor would have informed the editor that each chart is unique and has thousands of factors that must be analysed before an accurate interpretation is possible. This didn’t dissuade the persistent editor. To make things easy, Naylor proposed that they use just one factor – the Sun – to describe the events of the day for one-twelfth of the population.
The reason they chose the Sun is because it’s the only heavenly body whose place in the zodiac can be accurately – and conveniently – determined by reference to the calendar day. With this, Naylor and the Sunday Express gave birth to Sun-sign astrology – at once the dumbing down of a complex system and the creation of a hopelessly simplistic view of the world, arguably deserving criticism from those who fail to observe one-twelfth of us dancing to the same tune on any given day.
Nevertheless, our need to know ourselves and understand others helped to make the astrological column a success, earning the Express more readers while giving a backhanded compliment to astrology by popularizing an awareness of some of its basic elements. Even a novice astrologer will tell you it’s possible to understand something of a person by knowing their Sun sign, but they will also tell you that it is only one part of their being.
The service Naylor did for astrology has been a mixed blessing at best. Astrologers are now trying to re-educate the public about the depth of the astrological language and gradually some progress is being made, especially with the recent appearance in the West of Vedic astrology and Panchang Moon astrology. This book may help in that cause by introducing the importance of the Moon and its ability to reveal our inner emotional world – and how compatible we are with another person.
Introduction Part Three