A friend who is an acupuncturist, ceremonialist & grief counselor recently asked me for advice about the most auspicious timing to host and facilitate several grief rituals. As with so many questions regarding astrology, my initial impulse was to stress the significance and complexity of individual charts, and just how complicated it could be to pick a good time that would guarantee to support an astrologically diverse group of people. With that being said, I then spent the next few days contemplating it, researching & looking at several charts. Here are some of the considerations & factors I came up with when assessing proper & auspicious timing for grief work, healing ceremonies, and initiating therapeutic breakthroughs in general. Astrology for Healing! The first part of this series is going to focus on the Moon throughout essential houses and lunar transits.
The Moon: Midwife to the Heart’s Song
The Moon (chandra) is a powerful force in any of our charts. Because it moves through the zodiac so quickly it can have a significant impact on the timing of anything whose time-scale will be affected by weeks, days, or even potentially hours. The Moon is the planetary indicator for our emotional world, moods, feelings, memories, intuitions, general receptiveness, capacity for peace, relationship to our mother, early childhood, heart-centeredness, and the imaginative Self. The Moon in our individual natal chart reveals where we are most tender, sensitive, and vulnerable. A well-paced Moon can fill up the personal honeypot making us nurturing, open-hearted, and emotionally present. Our natal Moon will reveal what house, sign and any other planets where we are highly sensitized. The Moon reflects the Sun, our Soul’s power, and is our unique Soul expression and personality.
“The Moon is the planetary indicator for our emotional world, moods, feelings, memories, intuitions, general receptiveness, capacity for peace, relationship to our mother, early childhood, heart-centeredness, and the imaginative Self.”
The Moon needs good boundaries, safety and emotional groundedness. A more challenging placed Moon can become overly-sensitive, emotionally volatile or controlling, and not bring ease to maintaining peace of mind. The Moon is exalted in Taurus, a sensual and stable sign that can cultivate beauty, self-esteem, and value in life. It is beneficially placed at home in the sign of Cancer, where it wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve, a sleeve that may be covering the hard shell of a deep empathic nature. It is debilitated in the sign of Scorpio, where it can potentially be overtaken with insecurities, restlessness, passion and intensity. Don’t worry Scorpio Moons, I have noticed a particular gift that the moon in Scorpio can have for healing and trauma, death-work, working with grief, and other alchemical medicines that require a profound emotional depth. A Scorpio Moon can be an instrumental ally indeed for the healing arts, especially when aspected well, and with good house placement.
The Moon does particularly well in the 4th house. It is the only planet in Vedic astrology to have no enemies. As the Moon waxes and wanes it is considered to be the strongest when full, it’s furthest point from the Sun, and is considered to be the weakest when it is in combustion, conjunction with the Sun. It is considered to be more gentle and beneficial when waxing, and more cruel or malefic when waning, but in general any natal Moon that is within 5 days on either side of being full is considered helpful to the Moon’s strength (in other words, greater than 120 degrees from the Sun).
Lunar Transits & Entering the Healing Ground
There are two foundational things you will want to find out when using lunar transits to support your journey of healing and innerwork. The first is where your personal “natal Moon” is placed in your birth chart, that being the placement of the Moon in the sky at the moment of your birth. Your natal moon will be placed in a particular sign and house. For example, my Moon is auspiciously placed in the sign of Leo in the 4th house. The Moon likes the sign of Leo, because the Sun is a friend to the Moon, and it likes the 4th House, because the sign of Cancer which rules the Moon is the 4th sign. The 4th house is an indicator for areas of your life that relate to the same characteristics that the Moon represents: Mother. Emotional well being & happiness. Home. The condition of our heart.
The complement to your natal Moon, is understanding where the actual Moon, in real time, is in the sky. This is the “transiting Moon.” While your natal Moon will always be in the same place, the transiting Moon will move through all the signs and houses of your astrology birth chart approximately every 28 days. As it does this it will pass over your natal Moon and all the other planets in your birth chart. If you know what your natal Moon is and you follow the Moon in the sky as it travels through its cycle in the Zodiac, you may be able to perceive the times when you are more likely to be emotionally vulnerable, sensitive, have an increased capacity for opening up, feeling deeply, and expressing authentically from your emotional body. This could be extremely helpful information considering how important emotional perception and somatic awareness is any healing process.
I had a therapy teacher once who would always say, “You have to feel it, to heal it!” And so comes the Moon: storehouse of emotional depth, harbinger of the heart’s song, emissary to our deepest longing to love & heal our ancestral wounds & karmas. Feel it & heal it!
Please remember that astrology is extremely complicated and has been very watered down in the pop culture sun sign/moon sign astrology of the modern West. There are so many variables to consider when contemplating the appropriate time for anything. If I were to look at someone’s chart to determine a good time to attend a grief ritual or do an intensive therapy session (or do anything), I would literally be looking at dozens of variables, and it’s certainly possible the initial considerations of basic sign placement and aspecting transits would be overridden by a nuanced narrative informed by many other factors and techniques.
For the purposes of this article though, I want to consider one of those factors, one of the most significant: house placements and lunar transits. As the Moon goes through its cycle and moves through the Zodiac it will transit all your houses, some of which are houses that are more important to this sort of work, and some less so? Some of them are going to be generally important because the nature of the house, and some are going to be specifically important to you based on the placement of your natal Moon. As far as the latter are concerned, anytime the Moon is transiting directly over your natal Moon it could open and stir things up. If your Moon is in Gemini, then every month when the Moon is in Gemini, may be a good time for you to consider doing work that is supported by enhanced emotional sensitivity or awareness.
Also, anytime the transiting Moon is in the 7th House from your natal Moon, or opposite the Zodiac (an opposition), is another good time to consider. Let’s say your Moon is in Gemini, well then anytime the Moon is in Sagittarius (the opposite sign) is a time worth paying attention to, especially when the Moon is full in Sagittarius. In general, I always pay attention and often times have ceremony when the Moon is full in my natal Moon sign, as well as full in opposite my natal Moon sign.
The other day a friend who was recently divorced told me he spent the day weeping deep in grief and sorrow, like never before. He was curious why that day? I looked at his chart and sure enough the Moon was opposite his natal moon in his birth chart. It was also transiting in the 12th House of his particular chart.This takes us to the general house indications, and how lunar transits would work in each placement.
In Vedic astrology, the utmost importance is placed on the ascendent, or rising sign. This is because the ascendent will determine all the house placements of your chart. The ascendent sign becomes the 1st house sign (The whole sign = the whole house), and the next sign is the 2nd house, and on and on with the 12 signs and 12 houses. In this way the ascendent will also establish the “house lords” of all the houses in your natal chart (The house lords are the planets that “rule” the sign that is occupying a given house. For example, if the 2nd house is the sign of Gemini, the 2nd house lord is Mercury, because Mercury rules Gemini. Gemini gets its personality, style and essential qualities from Mercury).
The Practice of Astrology: Some Nitty Gritty on the Houses
Well, back to my friend, not only was he having a lunar transit in opposition, that is in the 7th house from his Moon (The 7th house being the significator of Marriage), but it was also taking place in the 12th house of his natal chart which deals with dissolution, hidden emotions, isolation, loss, wasted energy, moksha and states of death. Perfect lunar transit to trigger a large opening of grief specifically around the death and loss and emotional suppression he’d been experiencing in regards to his marriage ending!
There are particular houses that deal with social/personal issues and specific people in your life. Any lunar transit over these specific houses will be a good place to consider do healing work around those relationships, any unprocessed grief or emotional wounds you may be carrying that relate to those relationships. Let’s go over those in a chart below:
Houses that Signify Specific Relationships & Potential Healing
|House||Relationship/Person||Other Relative Significations|
|4||Mother||Emotional Environment. Happiness. Home. Belonging. Grief. Heart.|
|5||Children||Romance. Creativity & Expression.|
|7||Marriage Partner||Others & Partners. Public Image.|
|9||Father (as teacher)|
|10||Father (as authority)|
If you know that there is some unresolved work to do or grief to be expressed that pertains to those relationships in particular, you can follow the Moon, know where it is transiting in terms of house (and sign) in your chart, and time matters accordingly.
There are other houses that are worth paying attention to as well. Of the 4 houses I did not place in the above chart (the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and12th) 3 of them are “suffering houses,” or dusthana houses (The 6th, 8th and 12th,). Each of these can involve areas of life that may bring up deep emotional issues, sorrow, grief or other matters that may connect to one’s personal healing. I am including the 1st house here as well because it is so tied to important characteristics of self-identity and well being. These are as follows:
Houses & Healing/ Grief Work
|House||Meanings & Significations|
|1st||Self-esteem, Self-love. Birth & Early childhood. Confidence. Vitality & Health.|
|2nd||Self-worth & Value. Childhood & Family Life. Wealth & Personal Resources. Food. Belonging.|
|6th||Health & Disease. Immunity. Digestive System. Vices. Enemies. Diet.|
|8th||Longevity. Accidents. Trauma. Deep Psychological Transformation. Vice. Suppressed Emotions. Death. Chronic Disease.|
|12th||Moksha. Final Liberation. Isolation. Fantasy. Hidden Emotions. Ghosts. Sorrow. Altered States. Death States. Hospitals.|
Because the 6th, and especially the 8th and 12th houses hold the primary spaces in a chart for suffering, life’s hardships, and liberation they are particularly important places to consider. The 8th and 12th, along with the 4th (remember the 4th is connected to the Moon, Cancer, and our deep, sensitive and vulnerable life areas, are all moksha houses and have a watery quality to them.
The experience of healing our traumas and wounds is generally an experience of dying, of traversing the terrain where we must let the ego surrender to life’s deeper emotional and spiritual currents. This can involve much suffering, discomfort, and pain as we open our hearts, shed tears, and feel the grief and longing buried deep within our bodies. The water helps! Feel it, to heal it!
A few closing words. You can also use the Moon as your ascendant, making the Moon your 1st house, and apply the same system of lunar transits and knowledge of the houses. This is called Chandra Lagna, when the house that has the Moon in your natal chart becomes the 1st house. It is worth consideration. For different reasons, the transiting New Moon & the Full Moon can both be potent times for healing, times to face your shadows and darker parts of the psyche, to somatically express, to be vulnerable and open to the world’s grief, your own ancestral wounds and heavy karmas. Never neglect the New Moon or Full Moon, regardless of the house they happen to be transiting in your natal chart. The same goes for when the transiting Moon crosses your 1st and 7th houses (conjunctions and oppositions).
Remember that the Moon moves fast over your chart, so if you are really attempting to work with a lunar transit, look at the degree of your natal Moon, and time those transits as close as possible. And always, always, always remember that astrology is extremely complex and subtle, so you never take one variable or technique and apply it in isolation. You need to consider what other planets occupy and aspect houses in your charts, the condition of your houses lords, the strength and dignity of those planets and lords, other transiting influences, and so many other things. In the next article in The Astrology of Healing Series we will get into some of these other layers.