Brother Moon, Sister Moon

Today, Aug. 15, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. I had been planning an article on the topic, but I could not get it up to my standards in time.The world has been looking at the same (admittedly brilliant) photos of the festival for many years. Not so many cameras got in, or not so many photos got out. But some, by Richard Bellak, were recently discovered. Among others, he took a series of nighttime images of the Woodstock festival, which were especially difficult to capture using film cameras from the time (where “fast” film was considered ASA/ISO 400). We’ve illustrated tonight’s article on the Aquarius Moon with pictures from the festival by several different photographers. Tonight’s article is a revision of a piece in my “Moon” series originally published in 2003. NOTE: If you want to listen to Woodstock “as it happened,” tune into WXPN out of Philly. They are playing the concert in realtime all weekend.

I am a lonely visitor.
I came too late to cause a stir,
Though I campaigned all my life towards that goal.
I hardly slept the night you wept
Our secret’s safe and still well kept
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got soul.

— Neil Young

Dear Stargazer:

The Aquarius Moon often presents a puzzle to astrologers. The Moon is a cyclical creature, constantly changing. Aquarius is a fixed sign and tends to crystallize patterns. The Moon is inherently emotional and Aquarius is usually described as being rational and intellectual.

The Moon is maternal and we hardly think of Aquarius as being particularly cozy this way. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn (in the modern age, also by Uranus). The Moon rules the sign Cancer, which is about as different from Aquarius as you can get.

Photo by Richard Bellak.

And different is exactly what you get.

Some astrologers will tell you it’s a terrible Moon and others will tell you it’s a great Moon. Whatever the case, there’s something distinctly Aquarian about the Aquarius Moon — you can see it and feel it in these natives. It’s not necessarily something easygoing on the deepest emotional levels, but it’s not exactly out of place in the world either. You might say it’s something that feels right about being out of place. It may be that because certain specific needs were denied to them in childhood, they turned out needing something they probably never expect to find.

Martha Lang-Wescott, in The Mechanics of Free Will, writes that “The dynamic with the mother-symbol is radical; there is a lack of the sense of the child truly belonging to or with the mother. The bond is distant. And the bond with the emotions and perceptions becomes equally distant and unpredictable.”

They are continuously in unfamiliar emotional territory, continuously forced to adapt, synthesize and create the world they need as a basic necessity of living.

Humanity and Vision

This Moon seems to come with a certain kind of pioneering spirit. As Stephen Arroyo writes in his Chart Interpretation Handbook, unlike some Moon placements, the native with an Aquarius Moon “feels secure when exercising complete freedom of ideas, self expression, and innovation.” For a fine example, Brian Epstein, the first manager of the Beatles, the man who put the Beatles into those classy suits and put them on the map, had an Aquarius Moon. It required honoring both vision and practicality, and a feeling for exactly what the world was ready for.

According to George Harrison, Epstein was told by Dick Rowe of Decca Records that, “Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein.” Did he care? Did he laugh? Did he have a vision? Did he trust The Beatles? Evidently, guitar groups were a thing of the future — the future being a matter of great interest to the Aquarius Moon.

Photo by Richard Bellak.

George Lucas, who innovated a new genre of science fiction and created a robot that was as warm and loving as anyone’s dog or friend — Artoo-Deetoo — has an Aquarius Moon. He also created his very own Hollywood, so he didn’t have to be part of the scene — Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic were his creations, his vision, of the future itself, and of the movie industry.

Speaking of science fiction, its very inventor, H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), and his distant cousin and dharma heir, Orson Welles (producer of the radio classic War of the Worlds), both have Moons in this sign. Of these people, George Lucas is the only household word. His actors and actresses and their characters were far more famous than he was, the same being true for Brian Epstein. As for Wells and Welles, their ideas and achievements are more famous than they are. This reflects what Jan Spiller and Karen McCoy write to Aquarius Moon natives in Spiritual Astrology: “As you inspire confidence in others and encourage them to express their talents and abilities, you see them furthering your ideals of brotherhood whether or not they are aware of it.”

This is not the Leo Moon, where one must be visible, well-loved and well-known; Aquarius Moons do fine working behind the scenes, and in fact thrive there.

But it happens that they end up in your kitchen or television set. Consider the late Diana, Princess of Wales or John Lennon. Here are two of the best known names in Western culture, and both have an Aquarius Moon. But they are known as much as anything for their basic humanity. There’s a need to be normal with this Moon, to be part of the world, to be human despite being famous, and that need is obviously driven by a feeling of being so different from everyone else.

John Lennon lived like just about any other New Yorker. Visiting my dad on the Upper West Side as a kid, I half-expected John to be having dinner with Yoko in the Empire Szechuan restaurant on 96th Street every time I walked in; that was how he lived. With Diana, Lennon shared a propensity for getting involved with social causes, which is something often associated with Aquarius. To most people, social causes are abstractions. To Aquarians, abstractions are real, so there’s no conflict there. They can conceive of needs that most people cannot imagine. They are very good at identifying needs that go beyond themselves.

Breaking Rules and Breaking Ground

There is something distinctly futuristic about Aquarius Moon people, like you’re friends with a character from a sci-fi novel, or at least fictional character. They are “different,” a little cool, a little (or a lot) remote at times, but consistently a friend and even a friend to their enemies. This is the Moon with “no time to hate.”(Richard Nixon, who had his Moon in Aquarius and also had plenty of time to hate, is an example of how even someone so diabolical could be appreciated for his humanity. Nixon was the president who went down to the plaza quite early one morning with a somewhat alarmed Secret Service detail to explain the Vietnam war to protestors.)

Photo by Richard Bellak.

To wit, Derek and Julia Parker write: “The unpredictability of Aquarius will be seen when the subject is confronted with any aspect of life that could be considered controversial. His reaction may be totally unexpected, and quite different from what was anticipated. Similarly, the subject may take an unexpected line of action, on the spur of the moment, that is completely out of character with other areas of his personality.”

Are they friendly or dispassionate? Perhaps both, or seemingly so. One needs to be a little dispassionate to be a true friend; one must not get too involved. As Sue Tompkins puts it in The Contemporary Astrologer’s Handbook: An In-depth Guide to Interpreting Your Horoscope:

“Very understanding and interested in you in a detached and impersonal way. They will listen carefully and impartially, and rarely be shocked. This can be a non-judgmental Moon. Some will cultivate others’ independence and encourage freedom of thought and action. The Moon in Aquarius type may care for you by telling you the truth as they see it.”

Their apparent lack of passion can drive the people who want them to be openly emotive a little nuts. Yet it’s nice to know someone who can accept what they are told and not necessarily have a big reaction. And in this world people who are comfortable being themselves — or live that out as their karma yoga — can make others feel a little on edge. We need this kind of example.

They may seem a little or a lot neurotic, but you love them anyway. The neurosis is a marker of inner conflict, and as that abates with maturity and inner integration, they feel better about themselves and can become calmer with time.

Michael Lang was the primary promoter and conceiver of the Woodstock festival. He was one of the few people not high on acid that weekend. I thought he might have an Aquarius Moon, but it turns out he has Venus in Aquarius and a Scorpio Moon. If you know anything about him, that makes perfect sense. He makes lots of cameos in my neighborhood and lives in the actual Woodstock, N.Y. Photo by Richard Bellak.

Both Diane Keaton and Woody Allen have Aquarius Moons. These two people — are they characters or are they real? — exemplify New York City style mashugana like the professionals they are, popping Valium to stay calm and navigating the mental loops of relationships for all to see. “I awoke on Friday and because the universe is expanding it took me longer than usual to find my robe,” Woody Allen said in a 2003 issue of The New Yorker.

Their comedy is social satire. They get the joke of how stupid society is, with all its rules, expectations and appearances. They understand the rules and cannot help but break them. After all, what else are rules for? To an Aquarian, that is.

Mental — there is something mental about this Moon, which is why some astrologers are prejudiced against it and claim it’s shallow. But what it may lack in gushing emotion it makes up for in ideas. Both Alfred Nobel and Joseph Pulitzer, each idea men in their own right whose names are now attached to prizes which reward society’s most daring journalists, creators and scientists, were of the Aquarian Moon. It was Pulitzer, a newspaper publisher, who first called for the university-level training of journalists.

When NASA put the first woman in space, Sally Ride, it was someone with an Aquarius Moon. Ditto for the first black baseball player to step up to the Major League plate in the modern era, Jackie Robinson. Many people back off when they have a chance to do something unprecedented. The definition of a pioneer is someone who is willing to go where nobody has gone before. To them, it’s an invitation, not a deterrent.

Planet Waves
Pages from the Book of History: Mike Lang and John Roberts.

A Complex Moon

How does this work? My take is that the Moon is so antithetical to Aquarius that it functions chirotically (that is, like Chiron). The Moon seems agitated or irritated and must go to great extents to fit in at all; therefore it can also withstand the long struggles that pioneers face, and the mixed reviews they always wind up getting. They are already attuned to a degree of emotional alienation, so the discomfort of bold achievement is not too difficult for their natures to endure.

But their emotional natures are exceedingly complex, and mingled with all kinds of ideas about themselves. These are not simple people, no matter what you do. Emotional complexity is far more natural to them than it is to most other Moons. This is one reason why they make such good friends. Everyone else’s problems seem simpler than their own.

Most of the iconic photos of Woodstock were taken by Elliot Landy. This is Janis Joplin, of course — who had her Moon in Aquarius.

The dark side of the Aquarius Moon appears in the likes of David Koresh, Charles Manson and Gary Gillmore. Koresh and Manson, for their part, exemplify the group aspect of this Moon that can have a cultish quality; Steven Forrest offers the keywords “Coldness; Dissociation” for the shadow side of an Aquarius Moon. But there is still something of their humanity that shines through these people.

Gillmore, a confessed double-murderer who became the first person executed after the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, became the truly human symbol for how stupid the death penalty is (in part thanks to Norman Mailer, who has an Aquarius Sun).

Even Charlie Manson, who masterminded numerous murders, comes across as an actual living person as much he does as a monster. Interesting that both Koresh and Manson had aspirations to being rock stars, perhaps the ultimate career experience for this Moon (Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young being two examples).

Neil’s lyrics give us some insight into the complexity of this Moon. In one song, he talks about how all those lovers are only passing through you in the end. In another, he ponders, “How I lost my friends, I still don’t understand.” He continues:

They had the best selection,
They were poisoned with protection
There was nothing that they needed,
Nothing left to find
They were lost in rock formations
Or became park bench mutations
On the sidewalks and in the stations
They were waiting, waiting.

So I got bored and left them there,
They were just deadweight to me
Better down the road without that load.

What Neil seems to be saying is that his friends crystallized and become burdens — and that they were spending their lives waiting. Though Aquarius itself may be about crystallization, the Moon is always changing and it can’t take one pattern of living for very long. Speaking to those with an Aquarius Moon, Skye Alexander writes in Planets in Signs, “[you] don’t want your home life or relationships to become routine or predictable. For you, routine is a deathblow to the relationship. Stubborn, brusque and willful, you can be insensitive to the feelings of others.”

So that Moon is always on the move, emotionally and mentally, constantly reinventing itself, at least in a healthy specimen. The chart’s aspects, of course, modify and describe the details.

About Attachment and Detachment

This Moon does not suffer from most of the usual attachment trips (just its own highly innovative ones). The Moon’s first keyword is need, and the first keyword for Aquarius is freedom. The Aquarius Moon needs to be free despite having emotional attachments. Far be it from most humans to wrap their minds around such an abstract or bizarre concept! Or to not be terrified of it.

That unattached, on-the-move feeling leads some astrologers to say that its natives are shallow or not that serious about what they do, but that quality can be more or less exaggerated, or nonexistent, based on other chart factors. Obviously, some very high achievers have had Aquarius Moons, but most of them have been restless souls. Consider John Lennon, whose musical compositions represented a rapid series of self-reinventions between 1966 and 1969.

Jimi Hendrix closed the show Monday morning at 8:30 am — 12 hours behind schedule. Hendrix has his Moon in late Aquarius. Photo by Dan Garson.

These albums pushed the culture forward and yet offered sanity and guidance in some of the most tumultuous years in recent history. Lennon’s, and his Aquarius Sun soulmate Yoko Ono’s, idea of a peace protest was the “bed in.” His was a hilariously, classically Aquarius concept. They arranged for a bed to be set up in the lobby of the Amsterdam Hilton, invited the press, and basically said, we’re not leaving till the war is over. (I guess they’re still there.)

The Aquarius Moon can deal with change; in fact, it needs and expects change, and expects and needs people to change. Everything is interesting, but nothing is that interesting for that long.

Including people. They need a lot of people around them, and a constant supply of fresh faces and minds.

Their ideas are stranger than most, their analyses more complex and penetrating, and their minds seem able to exist in many time periods at once. They are the most interesting people most of their friends know, but where does that leave them? Well, as usual, needing to invent someone or something, or to reinvent themselves, in order to fill the void. Sometimes they create quite the scene, just so they have one to hang out in.

Aquarius Moon is the original brotherly lover. Their detachment — in both men and women — gives them the ability to be both lover and friend, either or both at the same time. Being friends with them after a romantic relationship has ended is often easy because they are generally not hung up on the past, and they recognize the necessity of friendship inherent in any sexual pairing even after the sexual dimension has changed. Alternately, they can really let people pass through them and move on.

They all have eccentric mothers, many of whom were a little detached and may themselves have “moved on.” Their moms can have that same removed quality most people see in them. But removed or not, there is always something odd about mom. Either she is not there, or she’s an aunt, or she’s more like a friend than a parent, or she’s just kinda weird. Does their mom ever really know them?

Can anyone know them truly? How well do we know anyone? Aquarius Moon people seem more enigmatic than others, but really, they just wear the enigma on their sleeve. They present the puzzle of personhood and emotion right out front, almost always demonstrating the example of being humane in the process. If you have a complicated situation and you want to talk to someone who will understand, look up your friendly neighborhood Aquarius Moon. And if you want to do something nice for them, either invite them somewhere they’ll meet a lot of new people, or have them over for dinner, with just a little touch of what mom might offer — a safe feeling, and food they like to eat.

With love,

Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 (#1257) | By Amy Elliott

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You are likely to feel on firmer ground now than you have for many weeks: with a much clearer picture of what you wish to do, and more confident in your ability to carry it out. This may be a good time to use any enthusiasm — or nervous energy — as fuel to power your creative and skillful endeavors. Set your sights high. How far you get depends partly on your willingness to persevere through any moments of difficulty, and on daily self-discipline; that said, an ambitious yet broadly realistic outlook will probably serve as useful motivation in itself. We often err on the side of underestimating ourselves. Maybe try hovering closer to the opposite end of that line. — By Amy Elliott

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — At present you seem to be grappling with a specific problem relating to the past, which might feel like it’s clinging to you at all costs in spite of every attempt to shake it off. Perhaps a different approach is necessary. For one thing, you could treat it like a puzzle to be solved. In addition, consider whether there’s an aspect of this issue you may be avoiding looking at, in case doing so opens up a can of worms. Possibly the thing to do is to confront this facet head-on, and bring the full richness of your analytical powers to bear. You could well discover a whole new technique for dealing with the situation, and learn valuable information in the process. — By Amy Elliott

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury, your ruler, has finally entered new territory following its recent retrograde, and as a result you’re likely to be breathing somewhat easier. A problem that appeared to be a sticking point may now suddenly appear bite-size and solvable. As you prepare to move on to fresh turf and more adventures, keep attuned to your instincts and your most profound aspirations: these will help you keep control of the steering wheel. It’s conceivable that you may be revisited from time to time by whatever doubts beset you in the past few weeks; yet if they do appear it’ll probably be in a far weaker form, and if you keep them at bay they can’t be fed. — By Amy Elliott

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It can be tough these days figuring out what is real. The internet can call into question the most fundamental of facts, in part because it’s harder to pay attention to our physical senses. Yet this is the first thing to do, if you’re feeling confused. Getting offline isn’t a sweeping solution to what is in any case a complex problem; yet it can help you get back in contact with your body when the distortion becomes too much. Slow down your thought processes and consider how your body is responding each moment. Are you comfortable? Hot? Cold? Tense? Hungry? Tired? What about your mood? Avoid judging the responses; just feel and notice them. — By Amy Elliott

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Over the next few days the dazzling Sun-Venus conjunction in your sign is still in effect. This is a great time simply to celebrate your accomplishments. Creative originality is at the very heart of your being, and this week it is blazing forth in all its glory, along with the near-irresistible charm that Venus is bestowing. However glamorous you may appear to others, though, the most important takeaway is the ability to love yourself. This is a vessel that sometimes you need to replenish actively. Therefore, take notes, and whenever you feel particularly good, preserve it in your memory. This is something even the most carping of critics cannot touch. — By Amy Elliott

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — In recent weeks you’ve turned a good few pages in the ongoing story of who you are, and the person you are becoming. At present you are on a long-term mission to discover certain core truths about yourself. As you do so, remember that you are a complex individual with a powerful brain and many moving parts. Do not underestimate your capabilities, your flexibility, your capacity to grow, or anything else. Likewise, don’t try to box yourself into categories for anyone’s convenience. You have a good deal to give, and would find it easier if you embrace yourself as a holistic being, flesh and blood, and not a set of discrete components. — By Amy Elliott

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Are you feeling inclined to be sociable, or not so much? It appears from your charts that either you want more privacy and feel a little overwhelmed by invitations and obligations, or you’re interested in getting out more, but are perhaps seeing sparse opportunities to do so. You might be fluctuating between the two. Potentially a helpful approach would be to make time and space for a bit of both, thus satisfying your need for company and for peace. Perhaps you could spend an evening with one or two close friends and let the conversation go where it will; if it strays into deep or unusual topics, so much the more interesting. — By Amy Elliott

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you’re feeling rather frustrated about the lack of progress in a career-related matter, you may need to question some of your core assumptions. This is ultimately likely to expand your pool of options and make your task a good deal easier. However hard you’ve been clinging to certain beliefs, opening them up to scrutiny will probably save you a headache or two down the line. This may include reassessing the abilities or contributions of people alongside whom you’ve been working: someone may have a previously unnoticed gift to bring to the table. You may need to hold space to allow this to emerge more fully. — By Amy Elliott

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Continue to approach your goals one step at a time, however anxious you might feel to see rapid or concrete progress. It may be necessary to scout ahead for any potential snags before moving forward. Likewise, consider how your intended course is likely to impact the overall environment. There are certainly situations in which it’s necessary to provoke controversy or conflict, and others in which doing so would not be helpful. It would be best not to withhold your truth from the world merely in order to keep the peace; likewise, generating heat for its own sake just adds up to a waste of energy. Keep to the narrow path. — By Amy Elliott

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Your charts suggest that you are likely to better understand a point of contention if you look deeply within yourself, in the realm of instinctual and almost primal sensations. There may be a particular feeling that you’ve been suppressing or ignoring, but which is nevertheless important. Often, these straightforward impulses, untinctured by civilization, are keys to fundamental truths. It’s generally helpful not to hide from them, but to acknowledge them as they are; which is to say, to acknowledge ourselves as we are. Doing so will not rob you of the power to think and act as you wish. These things remain under the governance of your free will. — By Amy Elliott

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It would seem you’re unsure or doubtful about your level of power in a negotiation or a relationship. You may feel as if the other party has a clear advantage, or is too charming to resist. Yet, as with all such interactions, it’s worth entertaining the possibility that your impressions could be mirages of projection rather than accurate pictures. In any case, you have more clout than you realize. If you think carefully, you’ll probably discover you have a shrewd grasp of the situation, which will also enable you better to comprehend other people’s motives. If there is a glamour over someone, with a little effort you can see past it. — By Amy Elliott

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You may well still have some recharging to do, though by all means let your creative spirit flow freely and find expression if you feel so moved. You are likely to find inspiration at this time in the abundance and beauty of the natural world in all its forms. With Mars entering your opposite sign on Sunday, that could include honest, vulnerable one-to-one interactions, especially where desire is present. Opening up your plain, unvarnished self in the presence of others is a way of honoring who you are at your very essence. This can take tremendous courage, but it is also freeing in a unique and profound sense. — By Amy Elliott

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