The Moon in the Signs

The sign that the Moon occupied at your birth describes your emotional reactions. It defines an area of fluctuation and instability in your chart, and it also represents women in general and your mother in particular. In this list, I describe the effect of the Moon in the signs:

^ Moon in Aries: Instinctive and spontaneous, you form judgments instantly. Your enthusiasm is easily aroused, as is your anger. You may come across as self-absorbed because you're more insecure than you let on, and you're often remarkably competitive. You're feisty and decisive (sometimes foolishly so). You can also be selfish, irritable, impatient, and blunt. Quick-tempered and impetuous, you make sure your needs are acknowledged at the earliest possible moment. The chances are that, when you were a child, your mother reacted promptly to your insistent, fiery demands. She had no choice. As a result, you got what you wanted — and you learned to be independent, direct, and courageous.

^ Moon in Taurus: You yearn for security, emotional and material, and you do everything you can to achieve it. Stable and stubborn, you approach change cautiously because nothing makes you more uncomfortable. But once you understand that change is inevitable, you do what you have to do. Trustworthy and congenial, you're charming, attractive, warm, faithful, and possessive. As a child, you desperately needed the security that comes from having loving, reliable parents. You still crave the pleasures of predictability and security.

^ Moon in Gemini: You're flighty, friendly, dashing, and articulate. You express yourself with wit and intelligence, even if you strike people as glib or superficial. Nervous and high-strung, you take an essentially mental approach to matters of the heart. Although you may panic in the heat of a crisis, that reaction is a fleeting one. After the feathers settle, you look around objectively and analyze your own reactions, a process that brings you a measure of calm. As a child, you were restless, curious, and easily distracted. During stressful moments, your mother found it easy to divert you. Diversion still strikes you as a reasonable — or at least an understandable — strategy during hard times. A first-rate rationalizer, you don't hesitate to move on when the time is right.

Mary Beth Whitehead

Mary Beth Whitehead, one of the first surrogate mothers, was born April 7, 1957, with all the pioneering spirit you might expect of an Aries. Thanks to her bold Aries Sun and the detached, unconventional attitudes of her Aquarian Ascendant, she agreed to become the surrogate mother for William and Elizabeth Stern, a couple who were unable to have a child. Mary Beth, who has the Moon in Cancer in the fifth house of children, was glad to help. But after she had the baby, her maternal, Cancerian Moon kicked in — and suddenly the plan didn't seem like such a smart idea. Sensing a deep connection to the child she had agreed to give up, she stubbornly refused to relinquish her. Only when a judge ordered her to do so did she finally give the baby girl (also an Aries) to the Sterns. Had she spoken to an astrologer first, she might never have agreed to the deal in the first place.

i Moon in Cancer: The Moon rules the sign of the Crab, so no matter what else is happening in your chart, you're a lunar person: moody, receptive, sentimental, vulnerable, and supremely aware of the continual flux of emotions. Tears spring from your eyes with little provocation, and you occasionally need to withdraw to soothe your surging feelings. Caring and protective, you're a truly kind person but, like people born with the Moon in Taurus, you have a rough time letting go. As a child, you were extraordinarily responsive to your mother. Her impact on you surpasses the norm, which is why, when you have children, you're likely to be an exceptionally loving, occasionally overinvolved parent.

i Moon in Leo: A Leo moon adds warmth, dazzle, and exuberance to any Sun sign. Generous, devoted, and lively, you love to laugh and are gifted with presence and joie de vivre. Although your considerable pride is easily injured (especially if you think you've been ignored), you're usually confident and upbeat. One way or another, you love to perform, and the world loves to respond. But when things are going badly or when you feel downhearted or insecure, you cover up your doubts and ambivalence with emotional fireworks. You picked up this dramatic pattern from your mother, who was somewhat of a drama queen herself. She taught you to seek recognition, and she gave you the confidence to set ambitious goals.

i Moon in Virgo: Emotionally timid and unobtrusive, you'd rather repress your emotions than articulate them. You find it difficult to confront serious issues. Instead, you distract yourself with minutiae or by working so hard you barely have a chance to breathe. You're industrious and practical. You're also fussy and hard to please. Without a doubt, you're your own harshest critic. Where does this reprehensible quality come from? You guessed it — your mother (or whoever played that role in your life). Although her criticism, implicit or explicit, made an impact on you, she also deserves credit for several of your virtues, including the willingness to shoulder responsibility, the values you place on efficiency and organization, and your altruistic desire to relieve the suffering of others. You may be inhibited, but that doesn't mean you're blind.

^ Moon in Libra: You're gracious, romantic, and artistic. You shun vulgarity, value courtesy and elegance, and try to convey your feelings in a calm, diplomatic manner. Peace is essential to you, and you will do anything to maintain balance. As a child, you learned to maintain appearances, even if you were abused. Your even temper drew praise, and people came to expect it of you. Now, as an adult, you seem unflappable. Love and relationships are fundamental to your well-being. If you're single, you feel bereft without a partner; if you're mated, you can scarcely imagine any other scenario and may be fearful of being alone. Either way, you detest confrontation and therefore may gloss over problems. Not surprisingly, distressing issues may remain unresolved for years on end; your desire for peace and harmony trumps everything.

^ Moon in Scorpio: Passionate and easily injured, you're one complicated puppy. Willful, intense, and occasionally self-destructive, your emotions — to quote Herman Melville — rush like "herds of walruses and whales" beneath the surface of your personality. Hesitant to reveal the depth of your emotions, you try to keep them hidden, a task that may require a certain degree of dissembling and manipulation. Not that you mean to be controlling — you just can't help it. Covering up your feelings is something you learned in childhood. Even if your childhood looked enviable from afar, you were afraid of abandonment or rejection and were well aware of the suppressed needs and subterranean conflicts within your family. You learned to keep quiet about your own concerns. Your silence is a form of protection — and hiding. Although some people with this placement nurse fantasies of retaliation for long-ago wrongs, most simply continue to hide their feelings. Those walruses and whales may still be down there, but the surface looks smooth.

^ Moon in Sagittarius: You're philosophical, outspoken, cheerful, uninhibited, well-intentioned, unrealistic on occasion, and idealistic — sometimes pathetically so. Your optimism runs deep, and as a result, you're a risk-taker, always prepared to gallop off on an adventure or to commit yourself to causes other people deem hopeless. Intellectually and emotionally, you cherish your independence above all else. Lengthy relationship discussions make you squirm. More comfortable with action than with analysis, you can be self-righteous and inadvertently hurtful, and you tend to justify your own misdeeds without blinking. Yet you mean well. And people sense that about you. Even as a child, whenever you radiated good cheer, your mother responded positively. To encourage that sort of reaction, you convey your enthusiasm more readily than your pain and, like her, you shrink from emotional displays.

il Moon in Capricorn: You're steady, reserved, self-reliant, ambitious, and well-disciplined. Even when you were small, you were serious, and the playfulness of childhood may have eluded you. Now, ever the realist, you recognize both your strengths and your limitations. Among your limitations, you suspect, is the inability to have fun. You have a tendency to descend into depression and pessimism from time to time, perhaps because your mother suffered from a case of postpartum blues. Sensing her gloom, you pulled back. You're emotionally reserved and self-conscious, especially in the face of other people's melodramatic outbursts. You can't bear those scenes. Success steadies you. You're willing to shoulder broad responsibilities because you feel more grounded, as well as more powerful and peaceful, when you have authority. Somebody's got to take control. It may as well be you.

l Moon in Aquarius: In your mind's eye, you're out to improve the world. With your progressive instincts and sympathy for others, you have the ability to alter lives for the better. You also have a gift for friendship. But at a certain point, you disappear behind the curtains because deep in your heart, you have an antipathy for intimacy. You shy away from closeness and are drawn instead to offbeat people, unconventional activities, and the world of the intellect. Thank your mom. Even if your early years were marked by turmoil, she encouraged you to express your individuality and to use your intelligence. She was less comfortable with your emotional needs. You're the same way. You find it taxing to delve into your emotions — or even to recognize them. So you pretend they aren't there — and this technique works . . . at least for a while.

l Moon in Pisces: You're gentle, sentimental, sympathetic, and ultrasensitive. Easily wounded and often shy, you feel like a hostage to your own emotions, which are difficult to control or conceal. Other people suppress their vulnerabilities — you're all too conscious of yours. You're equally sensitive to your instincts, hunches, and fantasies. At your impressionable best, you're virtually psychic. You're also artistically (or musically) talented. But you can be gullible, hopelessly unrealistic, and self-indulgent. And you have trouble standing up for yourself. Being kind to others is often easier than helping yourself. This goes back to childhood. Ever alert to your mother's shifting moods, you learned to do what you could to improve the emotional atmosphere — even if that meant disregarding your own needs. Your continuing challenge is to be as compassionate to yourself as you are to others.

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