Sun and Moon Dynamics

In various posts on this site, I have written about the building blocks of a horoscope: the zodiac signs, the planets and the signs they occupy, the houses and the planets in the houses. To get to know yourself, you have to first know your horoscope. You need to be familiar with it in the same way that you are familiar with your body and your mind. To start with, you want to get to know your Sun and Moon signs intimately. These are the luminaries, the lights of the horoscope, and more than any other factor they will work to shape your life in a particular way.

Everyone, not just astrologers, knows what their Sun sign is. But how well do you know your Sun sign? You want to start with the idea of it, the basics that you can glean from any Sun sign astrology book, or posts on this blog. Then you clarify and reinforce your understanding on a near daily basis: every time you come across someone whose Sun sign you know, you can look for commonalities and differences. In other words, you know who you are by knowing who you are not, so that getting to know yourself is intimately tied to getting to know others. You will get to know, for instance, that not all Taureans are alike, but that they are more alike than Geminis.

The general sign descriptions you start with will include a myriad of possible expressions, but each person will generally only express a few of these possibilities. You want to get to know the ways in which it has expressed itself in your life in terms of identity, life purpose, general world view, sense of authority, qualities that you inherited from your father or father-figure, etc. (in short, all the significantions of the Sun). Contrast this by observing and understanding how the Sun sign shows itself in the lives of others you know intimately. This will make you much more aware of not just who you are, but also who you are not.

The next big horoscope factor is your Moon sign. Much is made of the Sun sign because it is easy to determine, and consequently, anything written or said about the Sun signs is accessible to everyone. But the horoscope is so much more than the Sun sign, and first among other factors is the Moon sign. It speaks to how you go about your life day to day, how you instinctively respond to the regular ebbs and flows of external stimuli and circumstances you need to deal with, what habits you have adopted that provide comfort in the face of stress and strife.

The Moon is immediate, instinctive expression that is not within conscious control. It is not something we choose, but it’s something we can’t live without. Meaning, we are constantly being our Moon. The Sun is different. We don’t always have to be our Sun. Often, the Sun is an aspiration, a way of being we strive toward, a constant search for the full solar experience. In particular, when the Sun sign’s energy is at odds with the Moon’s, the Moon’s expression will win over the Sun’s. The Sun Aries person who was having a blast suddenly feels she’s had enough and withdraws into her shell. Her Moon in Cancer has called it, and she’s compelled to follow its direction, because that way lies comfort. Try as it may, the Sun will not be able to pry the individual out of their comfort zone unless the feelings induced by the Moon have been processed to the point where the individual feels safe to emerge. If you ever tried to dislodge a long-time habit, you’ll see what I mean. It’s very very hard to do, because habits are our Moon saying this is what makes you comfortable and comforted, and you want to do it over and over again, day after day. You can only change your habit if you are able to replace it with another, equally comforting habit that is “certified” by your Moon.

In my earlier post on the Sun-Moon blend, I described how people with the same Sun sign but different Moon signs can be noticeably different from each other. For each Sun sign in a horoscope, there is a choice of 1 in 12 Moon signs. To try and get a feel for at least some of the many possible combinations of Sun and Moon signs (12×12=144!), you need to closely observe people around you that have the same Sun sign as you, but have a different Moon sign. You may have the Sun in Taurus, but if you have the Moon in Aries you will experience life a whole lot differently than someone else who may also have the Sun in Taurus, but the Moon in Cancer. (This is another reason why not all Taureans are alike!) Others might even think you are an Aries (as if your Sun is in Aries). And if this actually is the case, you will begin to dig deeper into yourself to figure out in what aspects of your life you express Aries qualities, and in what other aspects you express your Taurus nature.

The elements in which the Sun and Moon are placed, whether they support or challenge each other can make a huge difference. Suppose the Sun is in Taurus and the Moon is in Virgo. Taurus and Virgo are both earth signs. The drive of the Sun is toward pragmatism, material security, keeping things simple. Virgo is similarly geared toward practical efficiencies, keeping it real, being aware of daily needs to keep life humming along smoothly. Taurus and Virgo can see eye to eye on many things: the Sun’s drive jells with the Moon’s daily needs, so there aren’t any big internal conflicts that push and pull the person this way and that.

On the other hand, consider Sun in Aries and Moon in Cancer. The Sun is in a fire sign, the Moon is in a water sign. They are about as different as you can imagine. Fire signs want to be out there, inspiring themselves and others, seeking new pastures, inviting new experiences that might take them well outside their comfort zone, and so on. Water is the opposite: it wants to build a comfort zone and stay in the zone forever. It is caring, sensitive, empathetic–and none of these qualities is nearly as important to the fire signs. Imagine the internal conflict. “Should I stay (home) or should I go (out)?” That’s the question! Often the person with this kind of conflicting combination will bounce from one side to the other. Sometimes they will be all fire, other times all water, without any conscious thought or plan on when the jump from one to the other will happen. This can be confusing to people around them, and to themselves. One moment they are having a blast with friends, the next moment they are sitting it out, sulking at something or the other, shutting themselves out.

Signs in the same element (trine to each other) are most compatible in terms of their general way of bring. Signs that are sextile or opposite to each other are said to work well together, with some interesting dynamics introduced by the fact that they are not in the same element. Fire-Air, and Water-Earth are sextile or opposite combinations. For example, Sun in Leo/Moon in Libra is a sextile combination, and Sun in Leo/Moon in Aquarius are opposites. Similarly Sun in Virgo/Moon in Scorpio are sextile to each other, and Sun in Virgo/Moon in Pisces are opposites. (I am ignoring the orb of aspect between the Sun and Moon because the signs being sextile or opposite to each other is by itself an important consideration, especially when the Sun or Moon are involved.) Air feeds fire, and earth absorbs water, so there is a natural receptacle for one in the other.

Take the Sagittarius/Aquarius fire-air sextile combination. (For instance, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan both have the Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Sagittarius. Pioneering cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead had Sun in Sagittarius and Moon in Aquarius.) The one common theme in these two signs is independence, so having Sun in one of these signs and the Moon in the other makes for a doubling down on going their own way no matter what. There is no controlling this combination, the best way to work with them or deal with them is to give them as much leeway as possible. The air feeding the fire happens via the Aquarian principles spurring the Sagittarian to do something about it. Ideas feed activity. Sagittarius will work with any kind of idea, however zany they may be, and Aquarius can sure produce some doozies.

How about, say, the Scorpio/Taurus water-earth combination. Taurus is sturdy, and it is as close to the earth as a sign can get. (Farming is a Taurus signification.) The earthiness of Taurus is able to “absorb” the emotional extremes and intensity of Scorpio. The similarity is that both signs can be tireless in their pursuit of goals. The difference is that the Taurus goals arise primarily from building material security (making a lot of money, living in a lovely home, etc.), while Scorpio’s goals arise from a desire to master their environment, and themselves. (As an aside, I have come across numerous Sun/Taurus-Sun/Scorpio couples-talk about opposite attracting!) Another notable earth-water combination is that of Capricorn and Scorpio-these people are super tough. They can be more single-minded and ruthless than practically anyone around them.

A generally interesting dynamic occurs when one of the Sun or Moon is an air sign, and the other isn’t. Air signs (and Virgo) are the only ones in the zodiac that do not have animals in their symbolism: Gemini is represented by the twins, Libra by the balance scales, and Aquarius by the water bearer. Virgo is the maiden. All other signs have animals for symbols: Aries is the ram, Taurus is the bull, Cancer is the crab, Leo is the lion, Scorpio is the scorpion, Sagittarius is the centaur (ok, only half animal), Capricorn is the goat, and Pisces is the fish. The human symbolism of the air signs represents civilization and conscious awareness. Humans with an air sign for Sun or Moon want to be civil. Libra hates being crass, Aquarius wants to be urbane and in control of their emotions, Gemini wants to be objective (they don’t opine, instead they let the data speak!).

Say the Sun is in Libra and the Moon is in Scorpio. Scorpio has zero trouble being rude or blunt, in calling it exactly as it is even if they know the truth might badly hurt someone’s feelings. There’s no desire to be civil at the expense of doing what it takes. On the other hand, Libra is all about being pleasant and civil and diplomatic. So this person with Sun in Libra and Moon in Scorpio will strive to be pleasant and collegial in all social situations, especially when it involves strangers. But in private, around family and close friends, the Moon in Scorpio will come out in all its vituperative glory if need be. The Scorpio Moon can also show itself when pushed, threatened, or made to feel insecure, even if it is with strangers for whom the individual wants to make a good, civil impression. Libra is seen as the ultimate diplomat, but if I had a choice between Libra Sun/Scorpio Moon and vice versa for diplomat, I would go with the Libra Moon – diplomacy (and a need to be liked) is instinctive and comes naturally.

In summary, understand Sun-Moon combinations by knowing the Sun and Moon signs of people you are close to, and observing their behavior day in and day out. See how specific behaviors match with the Sun sign or Moon sign. You can expand out by exploring the Astrodatabank database of public figures (see the Horoscopes page for an explanation of how to use Astrodatabank), and find people who share your Sun or Moon sign. Compare their traits with yours and see how the Sun sign or Moon sign is lived out. Astrology is a social “science”-all theory needs to be validated against human lives!

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