The Dauntless Moon

Sarah Taylor’s weekend tarot reading is updated below this article!

This is an article on the Aries Moon from Planet Waves Weekly a few years ago — today, the Aries New Moon (which was not canceled). Here is how the article looked in its original Web 1.0 form, in case you’re an Internet historian.

Birth of the New Man — a great image of the bold innovation Aries Moon. By Salvador Dali, whose Moon was indeed in Aries.

When I sat down to research the Aries Moon it seemed strange that initially, I couldn’t think of anyone born with this placement. I then searched my charts database and had a rather surprising experience as I scanned a long list of pioneers, innovators and highly original entertainers — people who you might expect, having such a fiery Moon in the first sign of the zodiac, to be authentic pioneers in their fields. They include Marlon Brando, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Garcia, Anne Rice, Steve Jobs and (skipping back a few hundred years) Galileo. Among “the famous,” these are some of my favorite people i the world.

Galileo was the first person who saw the individual stars of the Milky Way, the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. DeGeneres was the first lesbian TV actor to come out of the closet, and she’s done quite well for herself. Rosie O’Donnell predicted her career would flop as a result; it didn’t. Every industry has its Jackie Robinson (he had an Aquarius Moon, another famous for its inventors, innovators and highly successful freakos). We get a lot of those Jackies with the Aries Moon.

As villains born with this placement, we have Joseph Stalin, Jim Jones and Jeff Dahmer, all brilliant innovators of darkness and bad vibes for their times.

Let’s consider what astrological theory tells us about the Moon in this sign. The Moon is by nature watery, cool and receptive. Its natural sign is Cancer, which is about nourishment. Aries is by nature hot, fiery and assertive. It’s natural planet is Mars, which is about desire, sexuality, anger and war. Looked at this way, the Aries Moon is a contradiction. The Moon helps us interrelate with physical reality; in it, we find experiences of being in our body, of relating to our needs, and of communicating to the world through the filter of a personality. Aries Moon people adapt to this contradiction by attempting to shape the world their way. It is not easy, but they do it. Really, they have no choice. What the Moon and Aries have in common is cardinality. Both involve cardinal signs, the ones that initiate the seasons, and initiate in general.

I once worked as a hired gun for something called the Center for Judicial Accountability, which battled corrupt judges, and which was headed by a bold little woman named Elena. She was a, no, rather, the human tornado: brilliant, contentious, opinionated, feisty, did I say contentious, and able to get the job done. Her Moon graced the sign Aries. She was out of control, in that totally in control way, which was item one in her job description. As for her mother… she is another book.

The Aries Moon would seem to denote a restless, agitated and passionate way of going about life. I could see the Aries Moon being comfortable in its body only when it’s expressing itself, conquering or taking some kind of action, preferably naked.

Have you seen the movie Contact? The scriptwriters provided the fictional character Dr. Ellie Arroway with a birthday — Aug. 25, 1964. (I once heard a rumor that they had an astrologer come up with the date, and if so, the astrologer did a great job.) Dr. Arroway is the brilliant astrophysicist and technological innovator who gives up her Harvard teaching career to join SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Despite the substantial professional resistance and numerous obstacles, she persists by the pure force of her personality and wits, becoming the first person to establish contact with life from another planet, then the first person to travel interdimensionally.

She is impassioned, determined, inventive, perceptive, extremely intelligent, and will stop at nothing. How does it work that a movie character’s chart works? Possibility one is synchronicity. Possibility two is that somebody hired an astrologer to create the chart (I heard a rumor to this effect). If so, the astrologer did a good job. Dr. Arroway is the incarnation of the Aries Moon, with a powerful Pisces-Virgo alignment and born in the year of the Dragon.

“They feel with their egos and live in the future; they’re brave and restless,” writes Debbi Kempton-Smith of the Aries Moon in Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook, describing Arroway to a tee.

Grant Lewi, in Astrology for the Millions, concurs. The Aries Moon is “an independent thinker, a mental force, a person of intellectual or physical daring and courage. The truth is important to you — the truth, that is, as you see it individualistically, which may not bear a relation to proven facts.”

In the book Astrology: Your Place Among the Stars, Evangeline Adams speaks of “great brilliancy, acuteness, and susceptibility to the senses, but they are always on a terribly fine edge, so that extreme nervousness is likely to result.”

She continues, “The directness and vividness of the sensations usually lead to great mental independence and activity; mental reaction takes place very rapidly. It is very difficult for persons with this position to doubt the evidence of their senses; and, unless some other aspects tend to diminish the executive power or to delay the operation of the judgment, the native will be so convinced as to the accuracy of whatever is presented to him that he will act immediately without consideration.”

Thank God for miracles. The world needs impetuous people who don’t think the past is the only guide to the future, and who can’t be shaken in their beliefs by people who know less than they do, or worse, by those who know more. The Aries Moon doesn’t need book knowledge and it doesn’t need a badge or certificate. You’re not going to impress these people by quoting Shakespeare. As Mark Twain, an Aries moonboy to the hilt, said, “Don’t let your schoolin’ get in the way of your learnin’.”

Searching several thousand charts in my database, two names I noticed in a class by themselves were investigative journalists Bill Moyers and Peter Montague. Both do extraordinarily impressive work in a day when investigative reporting has gone the way of Earth Shoes and the Ecology flag. Moyers is one of the few people in the mainstream broadcast industry today who is both fearless and unflinchingly dedicated to telling the truth about political and corporate activities. In a world of Geraldo wannabes, he does stories nobody will dare to touch which then end up on national television, currently PBS [in the earlier edition, I mistakenly said his prior employer, NBC]. How he manages to pull off such stunning coverage of corporate crime in the corporate media is something of a genuine mystery of our times, though Mars, Chiron and the Sun in Gemini certainly don’t hurt matters any.

Peter Montague is the founder of the Environmental Research Foundation, which publishes Rachel’s Health and Environment News. His approach was to create a small news service that does big stories, which then find their way into the hands of journalists, editors and activists around the world (his articles have appeared repeatedly on Planet Waves). He has been the single most faithful chronicler of dioxin, PCBs, genetic engineering and numerous other issues that would terrify most other journalists, or swallow their gumption whole. He has faced vicious libel litigation from Monsanto and stood them down. His dedication to the environmental movement over more than three decades has been an inspiration to everyone who knows him, and I predict that his articles will be evermore valuable as the decades progress.

One might describe Aries Moon natives as outspoken, blunt, brazen, dauntless, outrageous, authentic or whatever it takes to get the job done. On one level, they can appear simple, but that simplicity hides a complex worldview that they know is wise to keep mum about. What’s really going on is they tend to refine their message to the high-contrast projection that it takes to stand out from the crowd. With this Moon, the inner and the outer person are strikingly different, with the inner being far more perceptive and sensitive than what you see.

In film, there is Marlon Brando, who embodies both the sensitivity and brashness of this Moon in equal proportions. Consider his roles, in Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris and A Streetcar Named Desire. Some of his greatest and most moving scenes were neither scripted nor acted. Rather, they were intense moments of actual human drama caught on film and made into cinema (he has Sun, Moon and Chiron in Aries trine Neptune in Leo – fire, fire, fire, fire). His characters all seem to be seamless extensions of himself, and are unapologetic, vivid and rarely-witnessed expressions of humanity. In each, there is the sense that you are dealing with an extremely receptive person behind the veil of power and conquest.

Joe Pesci is another actor who’s portrayed Mafiosi and has an Aries Moon. I don’t personally know anyone in the Mafia or I would check their charts.

I did however come up with Al Capone, who (I learned this week visiting Alcatraz) at one point in the 1930s was making $100,000 a week and who, when he was finally busted, had a carpeted jail cell with a government-sponsored telephone in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary before he became one of the first federal prisoners transferred to Alcatraz (where he had neither a carpet nor a phone).

I found another interesting example of ‘real world parallels cinema’ searching this file. Bob Fosse, the director and choreographer, is born under an Aries Moon, as is the man who portrayed him in All That Jazz, Roy Scheider. Here again, we see the essence of restlessness, innovation and passionate creativity. These are colorful, expressive men who always seem to be dancing in fire.

No discussion of the Aries Moon would be complete without mention of Jerry Garcia, Leo sun with an Aries Moon. Jerry certainly had a way of bending reality to his preference. His energy, intensity and focus were inspiring. And you could trip on a drop of his sweat. Jerry dealt with the intense discomfort of the soft, childish Moon roasting in Aries by taking drugs. He must have consumed his formidable body weight in Persian heroin several times over. He was diabetic, which is another way of saying burning up. He did not like conflict and took it out on himself, letting loose, for the most part, only when he played. And it was a tight, ultra-refined kind of looseness, but he really could dance on those strings.

Now consider this collection of artists born under the Aries Moon. Let’s start with Salvador Dali, one of the great leaders of the Surrealist movement, whose mind is hot enough to melt reality like wax; George Braque, founder of the Cubist movement; Peter Max, the vividly outrageous psychedelic artist; and Andy Warhol, the Pop Art master. If successful artists have one thing in common, it’s that they’re not afraid to put themselves out there, quite literally putting their vision of inner and outer reality in people’s faces, and to persist in the face of the considerable adversity that the world dishes out for those who choose to live their creativity fully.

On the list of artists is Betty Dodson, the classically-trained illustrator whose detailed portraits of cunts (Betty’s term) stunned the New York feminist and artistic circles in the supposedly wild 1970s. She then gave up art and went into holding women’s masturbation workshops for 25 years. Betty is author of the million-selling Sex for One and the brand new Orgasms for Two. (See for more information).

“If I had continued with an art career, I would have brought back realism,” Betty said in an interview this week. (Like the fictional Ellie Arroway, she is a strong Virgo with an Aries Moon.) She said she had little use for the abstract art that was so popular in the 1970s, when (for instance) Frank Stella became world famous for painting black rectangles on black backgrounds, among other innovations (such as black squares on black backgrounds). Betty is way too practical for that. And unlike the other Aries Moon artists mentioned in this essay, her work is not flamboyant. She works in pencil, often on large illustration boards that require hours of expressing details.

Early in her career as a sex activist, Betty objected to the fact that vulvas were not depicted realistically and instead were portrayed as little black triangles (apparently yet another reference to Frank Stella). She set about expressing the beauty and detail of women’s genitals in a way that, well, got a little attention. She also did realistic portrayals of people masturbating and having sex.

Betty met Salvador Dali once and two significant contributors to our society born with their Moon in the sign of the Ram engaged one another for a moment.

He greeted her by saying, “Ah, dees ees dee fucking artist.”

“No,” Betty said, “I’m the artist who draws people fucking.”

Notice the of sublime subtlety the transaction. Betty said that Dali was too full of himself for her tastes. “There was nobody home,” she commented.

I asked Betty about her mother, since the Moon always tells us something about people in that role in our lives. The wisdom of astrology says that, as the double significator of the personality of the native, and of mom, a lot of who we are on the personality level is based on maternal influences. We’d expect anyone with this Moon to have been raised by a woman whose personality was dynamic, intense and self-assertive; perhaps this was a lot to handle. That, in turn, would be very likely to lead one to stand up to the challenge, to be undaunted.

“She was great,” Betty said of her mom. “I consider her a woman of the pioneer stock that settled this country, the ones that shot wild animals” and helped their families survive on the new frontier in the face of all adversity. Betty’s mom was born in 1899 and the family was from Kansas. She was one of the first women in her community to drive a car and truck, to get an abortion, and to travel alone. “She was a strong woman who voiced her opinions whether they were popular or not,” Betty said.

In public, people would have seen a reserved, even stoic woman who would “present a different face behind the Irish lace curtain. She was a great party girl.” As was Betty, who was as famous for her sex parties as she is for her workshops.

When I interviewed Betty, who recently turned 74, she was feeling a bit achy. “I jumped on a bicycle for the first time in 20 years and rode six miles,” she said of her recent weekend activity.++

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