Our Maiden, Our Mother, Our Mistress

Let me preface this with good news:
I was accepted into a Master’s in Social Work program in a great place. I’ve spent the last few months moving and getting into the swing of scholastics. I have just finished several presentations, and several papers (one a 25 pager). The semester’s winding down and I miss blogging!

I’ve been noticing alignment with the Moon and my life. The Moon is my ruling heavenly body. The full moon in Capricorn fell on my birthday, and Capricorn is the opposite sign of Luna. Then, on my first day of classes, there was a New Moon in Virgo, the sign of diligence and hard work in the Moon phase associated with beginnings. Finally, for one of my classes, I visited a Hindu Temple. The night I chose to visit just happened to be on the full moon in Taurus, a good time to mix intellectual duty, spiritual fulfillment, and fun. Therefore, I feel that it was time to talk about the Moon.

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The Moon, drawn by Mary Guinan for Julian DeBurgh’s Celtic Deck shows white stones surrounding a mysterious golden glow. A great pearl of a full moon gleams down on the scene. The Moon is a mystery. What are the secrets the questioner is in the process of uncovering? The Moon tells that there is more than meets the eye. The Moon casts her silver and pearl glow over rituals and meditation, protecting and illuminating.

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Here we have the Crab, naturally, and two wolves gracing Barbara G. Walker’s Moon card. The Crab is venturing into new territory from the mysterious, primordial pool, called by a full moon that’s pregnant with possibilities. The wolves sing to Luna as she rises above two pillars flanking a golden path that leads to darkness. It’s a little eerie. Where does that path lead? Is it safe? Is it safe to follow the moonlight? Will we find treasure, or…lunacy?
The Moon pulls our tides, and may also pull our blood, at least, I think so. Water is also full of treasures, but also threats, just like our subconscious.
By the way, the nine blood drops curving around the Moon there? They represent menstrual blood, and there’s nine of them to represent the nine months of pregnancy. Fun fact: the words moon, month, and menstrual all have the same root! The Moon is associated with the female, although in Japan, Tsukuyomi, is a Moon god, and the Germanic tribes had Mani, and the Mesopotamians had Sin.

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Kris Waldherr chose Diana/Artemis for her Moon card. Diana is the Huntress, and she is known for her harsh punishments (such as turning a guy into a stag and having his own dogs rip him apart, because he saw her bathing), and yet, she has a nurturing aspect to her as well. She helped her mother, Leto, deliver her twin brother, Apollo, right after she herself was born. She was also the protectoress of girls right until they were married. She healed Aeneus after his battle injury in the Trojan War. The Moon itself is associated with illusion and lunacy, but, it is also a source of healing and creativity.
Nature, and the Moon, are cyclical. Life is cyclical–waxing and waning with periods of activity and periods of rest. Diana, the Maiden, is the first aspect of the Goddess, followed by Selene, the Mother, and finally by Hecate, the Crone.

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In a more verdant landscape than Walker’s, Wood’s Moon features a little crustacean strolling out of a pond that is blue, not black, and the thin path winds between a small wolf and a very large beagle into a misty rolling field. The mystery we see in Walker’s card is still there, but it seems more nurturing somehow–perhaps because there’s some luminescence in the distant horizon, and there’s plant life. Instead of two pillars, there are two stone caves. The caves, as we’ve discussed before, symbolize the Earth Mother’s womb.
If you look at this card, it can be full or a crescent, waxing or waning. If you see the Moon as waxing, or growing bigger, it might be a fortuitous time for new beginnings. If it is waning, something may be coming to an end.
A wild wolf and a loyal dog have come together to serenade the Moon in a duet. The domesticated dog and the feral wolf unite their qualities in the Moon. The Moon is a loyal, loving mother, but may give you more than you bargained for. Case in point:

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Dorcha is Epona’s Wild Daughter. You can find her in The Faeries Oracle, by Brian Froud. She’s part of the group of Faery Challengers. She forces the reader to confront what Jung called the Shadow self, or the parts of the self we label bad. She accompanies us through depression, anxiety, and nightmares, like Hecate. Like Hecate, she may be misunderstood. Just because there is no light at night does not mean the Moon is not there, and just because somebody shows you frightening things doesn’t necessarily mean they are evil.

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Laiste is Dorcha’s sister. She believes in pulling pranks to wake people up, like when the Moon’s light makes things look like things they are not–turning water into solid ground, and trees into skeletons. She embodies the mystic Moon, and can be whimsical. However, just like Dorcha, she wants you to be open and go deep. She and Dorcha are adopted daughters of Hecate, the dark side of the Moon who can be fierce, but shows surprising flashes and glimpses of beauty. Hecate will then always become Artemis again, new and full of promise of new beginnings, and then become the gentle, loving Selene, and back to the Goddess of Magic.
I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so happy Luna is my ruling body. She’s everything–young, old, mother, maiden, wise woman, Queen of Witches. She guides and obscures. She’s also in a close, personal relationship with Water, element of dreams, love, and emotion. She is silver and pearl. She is Maiden, Mother, and Mistress.

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Luna

I think it’s time to change Cancer’s name.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m arrogant enough to suppose a name thousands of years old can be changed because I want it to. It’s more that I personally feel uncomfortable referring to myself and my brethren as a disease. Let’s face it, we don’t think of the constellation; we think of the illness.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel kind of shitty.

Just for fun, what could Moon Children call themselves? Here are some ideas:

1) Selene. Selene is the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. This name is easy to remember, and sounds as lovely as the goddess herself.

2) Fegarri. Fegarri is the Greek word for moon. I think it sounds harmonious with Sagittarius and Virgo. The bad part is that it sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. 


3) Huitaco (pronounced we-tah-co) (thanks to my awesome soul sister and colleague, Whitney. Check out her blog, wheresmytower.wordpress.com). Huitaco is the Columbian goddess of the Moon and protector of women. She was also the goddess of pleasure and happiness. The frequently tangled with her consort, Bochica, the god of hard work and sorrow. Bochica reminds me of Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, the sign of hard work and hard lessons. Moon Children oppose Capricorn (not OPPOSE oppose, but are opposite each other on the zodiac wheel).  There’s some nice synchronicity there, but the name sounds like “Wheat Taco” which is what we will forever be known as to people who don’t know about the myth.

4) Luna. Italian for Moon, and the Roman parallel to Selene.  Yes, it’s a Harry Potter character (and a character with very Piscean energy, at that, but Leo is a DiCaprio).

I think, for this article, I will refer to this energy as Luna/Lunar. It is the name of our Moon.

I myself am a Luna, and far from perfectly balanced.  I tend to focus on what is difficult about this energy. Luna is a water sign, and Lunar energy is highly emotional. I mean, EXTREMELY so.  It is difficult to separate this energy from these emotions and look at things rationally and impersonally. Also, this is an intense energy. Irritation quickly becomes raging frustration.  The blues and everyday disappointments can lead to sogginess from copious weeping.  On the other hand, contentment becomes joy, happiness is euphoria, and love turns into rapture. We are also literally quite watery; we tend to weep a lot.

The stomach and the breasts are the organs ruled by Luna.  It’s fitting that the breasts would be the organ for Luna–these are the mothers of the zodiac, after all, and the stomach keeps us alive through nourishment, another forte of Lunar energy. The stomach is also full of associations of being loved and mothered with food.

Lunar energy also helps you think with your gut, and aligns you with the third chakra, the bright, sunshine yellow spot of energy located behind your navel.  This spot in your body corresponds to your personal power.  While Capricorn’s lesson is that of mastering perfectionism, and to release the need for external validation, and Scorpio’s lesson is to learn to accept the dark parts of the Self, identify the dark parts that are useful, transmute the useful and let go of what’s not, and eventually rise above the dark parts as a new Self-creation, the energy of Luna is to discover power.  Notoriously timid, this energy’s lesson is to develop a belief in one’s Self, and in the Self’s worthiness.

 Luna rules the stomach, just as Capricorn rules the knees (the work horses of the body) and Scorpio rules the genitals (the seat of birth and death–“Le Petit Mort”).  This is the location of the third chakra. The third chakra is the seat of self-esteem, responsibility, and courage.  Out of balance, this is the seat of low self-esteem and fear, especially fear of rejection and failure (Myss 167-168).

The dark side of Lunar energy is a mess of insecurity. Luna energy that is out of balance give themselves impossible standards, standards so high the person becomes frozen out of fear of failure. It is the same kind of fear that keeps people lonely, because they aren’t willing to approach others.  Lunas are extremely hard on themselves, and tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot.

Lunar love is intense and maternal. It is so intense, in fact, that it hurts. The goddess Raven Kaldera associates with the sun in Luna is Demeter.  Demeter, the goddess of the grain, deeply loves her daughter, Persephone, and when Persephone is taken away by Hades, it sends her into a tailspin, a tailspin that takes the whole world down with it. Crops stop growing, and the earth becomes a cold wasteland. When a Luna feels hurt or abandoned, the psyche becomes a wasteland. A Luna attaches herself to a loved one, not in a creepy stalker way, but a Luna opens her heart to any one she loves, and  gives freely of it.  When the person they love goes away, there is a definite ripping sensation in the heart.

Perhaps this is because Luna is self-protective. When they do trust and love someone, they have to remove layers of their hard, protective shields, the “shell” of the crab. When that trust feels violated, Luna rebuilds the shell again, and reinforces it.

This metaphorical shell is also like a turtle’s shell.  If a Luna is in balance, he can feel at home anywhere  he goes. He will be grounded and secure, and he will help others feel secure as well.

Lunas are all about the love. A Luna will give her all to her loved ones, and will feel guilty if she feels she comes up short.  They are warm, comforting, and sensitive, when in balance. However, when out of balance, Luna becomes clingy and possessive. Unable to express “negative” emotions (and thus possibly anger a loved one) Luna becomes passive-aggressive and as brackish and bitter as a polluted ocean. Alternately, if the Luna is not secure enough to set boundaries, the roiling anger builds up until the dam breaks, and the Luna drowns the world in her rage.

Like the Moon, and the tides the Moon makes, Lunar emotions ebb and flow. This is very feminine; the word “month” comes from the same root as Moon, as do the words menses and menstruation.  I have found that my physical energy, creativity, and motivation also ebb and flow, and I wonder if perhaps other Lunas feel like this. I actually find it rather comforting–I know that when I feel low or dry, the tide will rise and I will be nourished again. Meanwhile, I have spare energies that I can tap.

The Moon is a symbol of illusion. Lunas must be careful to see past illusion. They must be especially careful not to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking common with the shadow aspect of this energy.  When they feel unloved, they must ask themselves if it is really true. They must exercise their minds to see the opposites of their negative thoughts. Can a Luna think of three people that like her? Then, the negative thought is not true. If you feel abandoned by a friend, is it true? Did this friend abandon you? Or are you abandoning yourself by letting this event change how you perceive yourself and your own innate goodness? Did this friend really abandon you? Did a friend abandon you, or just an acquaintance? Or, worse yet, someone who was using you?

Lunas are blessed with great intuition and imagination. Even an out-of-sorts Luna can intuit for her loved ones, even if she can’t intuit for herself. Even if the Luna is suffering from depression or garden variety writer’s block, they have a rich inner life. Sometimes, they must sit down and let the ink flow freely, like water, without any censorship. This helps them access that powerful Moon energy. Since the tummy is the provence of the Lunas, many would do nicely to just think with their “guts” and not overanalyze a decision.

It must be remembered that the energy of the signs is not just for the people born in the sign alone. You may feel you have more energy associated with one zodiac archetype than another, but you can access the archetypal energy of any sign.

Questions for Reflection, and Tips to Bring Lunar Energy in:

1) When making a decision, pay attention to how your body feels, instead of endlessly reasoning yourself through it.

2) Keep a dream journal. Lunar energy, like the other watery energies of Pisces and Scorpio, works with the subconscious.

3) When you nurture others, do you also nurture yourself?

4) What illusions do you maintain? How do they benefit you? How would your life be without these illusions? How can you let go of them?

Archetypes, People, and Animals for Luna

1) Mothers

2) Nurses

3) Family Historians/Museum Keepers

4) Demeter

5) Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion

6) Turtles and Crabs

7) Wolves and Dogs,, symbols of loyalty, family, and friendship

Book recommendations:

MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons by Raven Kaldera (You still haven’t bought it yet? It’s awesome!)

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss (I cannot recommend her books highly enough. Expect more discussion of the chakras!)

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie (This is what inspired the suggestions for working with illusions. I’ve worked with Byron Katie not only through her books but on a stage in front of hundreds of people. It changed my life!)