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Working with your Moon sign: unconscious habit patterns

Moon sign Image Moon and Stars by Alphonse Mucha.

We tend to romanticise the Moon and it’s easy to understand why: she’s the saviour of lost travelers, a beacon in the dark and wondrously beautiful to boot. But she also has her dark side: in esoteric tradition she’s associated with illusion, madness and hysteria. Understanding your Moon sign can help you avoid being led astray by her.

In astrology the Moon sign tells us how we respond or react to life. It is the ruler of our emotions and the part of us that has been formed by our conditioning, absorbing the many experiences of our childhood and youth, including all the traumas and hurts that befell us. It is therefore an important key to breaking the cycle of repetitive behaviours, addictions and negative relationship patterns.

The Moon sign shows how we have processed our past experiences and the strategies we developed to deal with them, strategies that have often solidified into unconscious emotional habits. Unless we have done a lot of inner work, these strategies will usually still be playing out in our daily life, instinctively and often very destructively.

How destructive the habit patterns of our Moon sign are depends on its placing by sign and house and the aspects it forms to other planets in the birth chart. For example a woman has the Moon in Capricorn in the 8th House, conjunct the Sun and Venus, and Square Pluto in Libra in the 4th. During her childhood she experienced tremendous upheaval in her home life including sexual abuse, family conflict and power struggles between her parents.

To a certain degree our Moon sign shows our emotional survival techniques. In our example above our Capricorn Moon sign friend learned to cope with trauma by becoming self-reliant, and avoiding any show of vulnerability or strong emotion. This helped her distance herself from the family drama and protect herself from painful experiences.

But the emotional patterns our Moon sign developed to cope with the stress of early life often come back to haunt us later on. Over the years the emotional strategies our Capricorn Moon sign used to protect herself made it very difficult to bond with others and to be open about her feelings. It also led her to project her unexpressed anger onto potential partners and she was attracted to men with explosive and violent tempers.

Only as we learn to rise above the instinctive patterns of our Moon sign can we become truly emotionally intelligent. We do this by becoming aware of our unique Moon sign behaviours and then slowly but surely transforming unconscious reaction into conscious response. In the case of our Capricorn Moon example this would mean learning to share her feelings, express vulnerability and ask for support.

The unconscious habit patterns of each Moon sign

The information below is only a brief introduction to the unconscious habit patterns of each Moon sign. You should remember that each person will develop their own unique ways of dealing with the world based on their individual birth placements. You can expand your understanding of this aspect of yourself through an in-depth study of your Moon sign’s archetype or contact me for a Moon Sign Mini Reading.

Regular mindfulness practice is the best way I know to disengage from your instinctive reactions and move into a place of aware response. Developing mindfulness takes time but it is well-worth the effort. Read more about mindfulness here.

Aries – An Aries Moon sign will often express their emotions physically and this can be healthy if we’re talking sport, yoga or running. Punching a wall or a mate on the other hand is not so great! Traumatic early experiences can lead the person to develop a me against the world approach to life. But on the plus side these people tend to get over their emotional traumas fairly quickly and don’t hold onto grudges.

Taurus – Though outwardly stalwart, a Taurus Moon sign will often cling to money or material possessions in a bid to calm their emotions and find a sense of security. This is particularly the case when the childhood was characterised by upheaval or financial struggle. Due to this misplaced attachment they can get caught up in striving for wealth when what they really need is to find their security within.

Gemini – A Gemini Moon sign can talk for hours about their feelings without really feeling them. This may sound odd but intellectualising one’s emotions is actually a very useful way of avoiding the intensity of feeling. Unfortunately it means that their ability to empathise and truly share an emotional experience with another may be somewhat lacking. This can make them appear superficial.

Cancer – If they have experienced abandonment in the past a Cancer Moon can become nervous and clingy. They often look to others to validate their self-worth and are hungry for nurturing and affection. Due to an innate desire to nurture others they often choose partners who are emotionally immature and cannot give them the validation they feel they need. This leads to all sorts of unhappiness.

Leo – A Leo Moon sign is by nature open and magnanimous but his pride often gets in the way of expressing vulnerability and weakness. As a result he may power on for months or even years acting as if nothing is wrong when clearly something is! This can lead to a breakdown of connection in relationships and the Leo Moon sign person can eventually end up feeling alienated and lonely.

Virgo – Like Gemini, the Virgo Moon sign person is exceptionally good at intellectualising her feelings, but unlike Gemini she won’t want to talk about them. Instead she’ll tell herself all the reasons why she shouldn’t feel the way she does: it’s irrational, immature, unsophisticated etc, etc. All this negative self-talk is a undermining and can lead to chronic worrying and anxiety.

Libra – A Libra Moon sign tends to deal with conflict and other difficult emotional situations by smoothing everything over, making it nice. As a result a lot of negative emotions get pushed down and repressed. Unfortunately this emotion doesn’t stay put and squeezes out of the person in distorted ways. This is why people with lots of Libran energy have a reputation for being passive aggressive.

Scorpio – A Scorpio Moon sign feels intensely and this can be extraordinarily painful. To avoid pain they often block themselves off from others. This makes them appear mysterious and charismatic but in reality they’re often locked in bitter resentments and anger. It’s difficult for them to let go and forgive because that would mean capitulation. Instead they practice emotional self-control which unfortunately usually ends up erupting into violent rage.

Sagittarius – Open and generous by nature a Sagittarius Moon sign is also restless and impatient. This means that when their emotional buttons are pushed they tend to just pack up and leave, much like an Aquarian Moon sign. But unlike Aquarians they’ll tell you exactly how they feel as they’re walking out the door! Unfortunately for them, walking away when things get tough means they never get to see how things could grow with a little work.

Capricorn – A Capricorn Moon sign often deals with emotional stress through work. These are the work-a-holics who will pull a week of all nighters rather than deal with the pain they’re feeling inside. Capricorn’s strategy is to climb right out of the emotional hole through sheer determination. Unfortunately by ignoring their emotions and failing to communicate how they feel with others they run the risk of developing chronic depression.

Aquarius – The Aquarius Moon sign is the most detached and cool of the zodiac. In fact if things get heavy this Moon sign is more than likely to simply walk away – he just can’t be bothered with the drama. Unfortunately beneath the cool exterior is a deep-seated fear of being trapped or having their freedom curtailed. This means they often throw away good relationships because they don’t know how to express their needs to the other person.

Pisces – The Pisces Moon sign is deeply sensitive and any trauma they experienced in their early life is likely to have left a deep wound. In some cases this can even lead to deep neuroses or personality disorders. Due to this sensitively Pisces Moon signs often deal with difficult emotions through escapism, including day-dreaming, listening to melodramatic music, abusing drugs and alcohol, watching television or reading romances.

How your Moon sign is modified by aspects to other planets

If your Moon sign is well aspected and in a house and sign that it finds agreeable you may never develop any of these unconscious emotional patterns. On the other hand, challenging aspects, such as squares, oppositions and some conjunctions, increase the chance that you will develop instinctive and often self-destructive ways of reacting to difficult situations.

When your Moon is aspected, the energy of that planet, sign and house affect the way your Moon sign operates. Look at your own chart to see whether your Moon aspects other planets. Read the descriptions above for the sign that is ruled by the aspecting planet, as well as the natural House ruler (beginning with Aries on the Ascendent) and the sign on the House cusp.

Take as an example our Capricorn Moon sign friend. Her Capricorn Moon is square Pluto in Libra in the 4th House. Thus, the energy of Pluto (Scorpio), Libra and Cancer (4th House) will come into play and modify her Moon’s energy, in this case in somewhat troubling ways.

Understanding the interactions of your Moon sign with the other elements of your birth chart can be tricky, especially when it comes to interpreting the aspects. If you can’t get your head around it I’m happy to help. Just contact me for a Moon Sign Mini Reading. Cost is $30 US and the reading will be delivered as an audio recording directly to your inbox.

Your turn…

Due to its unique placement in the birth chart everyone experiences their Moon sign differently. Some find themselves playing out deeply rooted emotional habit patterns over many years while others sail above their emotions with ease. How has your Moon sign shaped your life and experiences? Please share so we can all learn from each other.

11 Comments on Working with your Moon sign: unconscious habit patterns

  1. With my moon in Libra, 8th house – square natal mars in 11th house… I know all about feelings being repressed, and how to gloss it over. My survival technique in an alcoholic abusive home (with touches of incest too) was to look good, try to solve my parents’ relationship problems in a diplomatic way (typical Libra energy) – and generally tell myself that it wasn’t so bad. Even though it gave me massive scars…

    My moon square mars gives me a powerful temper. My dad was just like that – very “mercurial” and changeable in his temper. It’s really depressing sometimes, and I waste so much energy sometimes, and end up frustrated. The part of repressing my own anger and instead finding very explosive/angry men instead, rams home with 100 miles per hour though. Damn. You really got me there. My own boyfriend has a very hot temper, and thus I am always completely devastated after a fight with him. Maybe it’s time I start to own my own anger instead of shopping/hobbying it away??

    Well, at least I’m going to a psychologist this autumn to look at my own abusive childhood (the incest theme only recently came up last summer when I finally saw the truth). I expect this to be rather intense! This is bound to cause some anger bouts… *cough*

    • Thanks for sharing Anette :) I think one of the most useful things about astrology is how it allows us to become more objectively self-aware and you’re an excellent example of this. You can only grow from here…

  2. Would love a free mini reading xx Thank you ….

  3. I have my Moon conjunct Sun in Pisces 4. I think emotional wounding for me has been something I’ve sought refuge from in philosophy and creating stories in my head, including projecting my neuroses onto the story of the world, so that working out the story of the world in my head is a way for me to comfort and heal myself, except that I would not understand why my working my issues out this way would come across extremely abstract and esoteric to others, to the degree I may come across as detached from reality.

  4. I just re-read this article again. But I also tried to take in the opposite sign’s qualities, to better understand myself, since there is this natal square with Mars. And Mars is represented by Aries. So, the Aries’ way of dealing with their moon sign is sooo spot on. “Me against the world” themes. Feels like punching something? You betcha! I have a tremendous level of internal energy, caused by this square, so physical activity works like a way of letting off steam in more than one way. Every time the moon transits touch my Libra Moon when it passes through Aries, I experience this very very strongly. It can be very painful.

    • So interesting to observe this in yourself Anette. And I bet it makes it a lot easier to deal with when you can look at it in this objective way… xx

      • Thanks Faith :-) I’m not exactly sure. But at least I now know what it’s all about. Funny how the opposite energy can be a lot more spot on than one’s natal. This is true as well for my Chiron placement in 3rd house/Taurus. It is exactly opposite my Sun-Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio. This opposition is placed exactly upon the fixed star Algol. So, I decided to dig into the placement of Chiron in Scorpio – and pling! So much of it was true for me as well, even if my Chiron is in Taurus. Actually I would say it’s even more accurate in Scorpio, since I’m a triple/quadruple Scorpio myself ;-)

  5. So interesting, Faith! I just posted a question in the forum this morning about Sun square Moon. I’m still figuring out how this aspect plays out for me especially since they are both solo planets in their houses and the only other aspect is the moon trine Venus/Mercury… I’m going to order a Moon reading from you and see what your insights are on this!

  6. Definitely been struggling with my Leo moon lately, as it’s in the 4th opposite my Aquarius Sun & Mercury. My life feels like a tug-of-war between head and heart, needs and wants. It’s exhausting and I just want to reconcile the inner conflict and find peace but balance seems rather elusive.

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