Updated: Dec 18, 2021
The second part of tracking a lunar cycle through your chart involves incorporating the rest of the planets. In the previous essay, we saw how to build a general model of a personal lunar cycle through the hard angles to your natal Moon sign. In simple terms, if you have a cardinal Moon, pay attention to the cardinal signs and so on for the other quadruplicities (fixed, mutable). These are the areas we will look at first in your birth chart.
An image of your chart or a list of planets in signs would be useful. Note which signs are occupied and where they fall within the lunar journey. Remember the general layout introduces a theme or imitates renewal at the return, begins to grow and act by the first square, is realized (or not) at the opposition, and is integrated/released at the final square. Where the planets fall within this cycle shows when they are introduced as “characters” on the journey.
In a sense, we are building a narrative that you play out each month. The sign of your Moon is a starting point, and each consecutive sign marks a new stage of the journey. Remember that planets in the turning points (squares, opposition, conjunction) will have a much more powerful impact than others. The change that occurs at these points will be marked by the nature and influence of the planet that is there.
When the Moon enters the sign of a planet in your chart, it reactivates the natal relationship between them. For example, if you have Jupiter in Capricorn trine your natal Moon in Taurus, when the transiting Moon enters Capricorn (Jupiter’s sign), that particular relationship is awoken. Even though the Moon is in detriment in Capricorn, it receives mediation from both the presence of Jupiter as a benefic and the reactivation of their natal trine. If the Moon had been in Aries with the same Jupiter, there would still be some blessing from Jupiter’s presence, but the relationship between the two would be more strained or dynamic and change-inducing.
The paragraph above shows the general principles of interpreting the Moon through this cycle. As it enters each sign, note the nature of the planet in that sign (benefic or malefic, if it is well-situated in this sign or not, aspects to the sign/planet) and the aspect that this sign sends to the sign of your natal Moon. Sextile and trine signs are usually more collaborative while square and opposite signs induce change, alteration, and tension.
The four signs that are averse (no aspect) represent areas of your life usually less influenced by your lunar nature. When the Moon travels through these signs, you may feel emotions that were buried, forgotten, or ignored. You may also be able to offer nurture and care to these areas of life, albeit temporarily. Sometimes, these transits can be challenging, as the Moon becomes disconnected from its inherent nature within your chart. Pay careful attention to how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. The presence of benefics (or their aspects) can lessen the strain at times.
Also of note as the Moon travels around your chart is its entry into each of the houses. Exactly when this happens will depend on which house system you are using. Most quadrant house system (like Placidus, Porphyry, etc.) have uneven cusps that can fall anywhere within a sign. You would have to note the specific degrees of these house cusps and use and ephemeris to note when the Moon changed from one to another. An easier approach would be to utilize whole sign houses and just have the sign/house ingress occur at the same time.
When the Moon enters a house in your chart, it highlights the topics connected with this area of life. So in the first house, your general health and sense of self are activated. In the second, your resources and livelihood are brought to attention, and so on. This is probably a better way to plan when to do certain things than a way to predict particular occurrences. However, this does lead us into the final consideration of the Moon through your chart.
As stated before, it isn’t just the Moon that continues moving through the sky after your birth. All of the other planets do as well. Noting the presence of transiting planets to your chart is a third stage of tracking the Moon. Because each of these other planets is highlighting, activating, and interacting with parts of your chart through its motion, when the Moon arrives to share that sign (or applies to an aspect with one of these planets), it brings those indications further to the front. The Moon is like a spotlight, showing what is most important and impactful right now.
Say for example you had transiting Saturn square your natal Moon. Whenever the Moon was in the same sign as transiting Saturn, it further sets off the energies of that square (by activating Saturn through conjunction and the natal Moon through a square as well). This would be true but less impactful when the Moon was in any other sign square or opposite Saturn, especially when aspecting it by degrees. So while the Saturn square your Moon would be an ongoing process (up to 2.5 years by sign and several months by degree), the transiting Moon would further intensify it periodically throughout that time.
At this third stage, we’re really getting into some in-depth timing interpretation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and read the beginning again. Maybe even go back to the first essay that sticks just with the Moon in relationship to itself. This is something you can ease yourself into and find the parts that work best for you.
One helpful trick is to begin this practice with a single planet. Find one that is in a strong relationship with your Moon (maybe its ruling planet or one that aspects it closely). Then, note the dates when the Moon is in its own sign, in the sign of that planet in your chart, and if you want, the sign that planet is currently transiting. Watch yourself and what occurs when the Moon highlights each of these signs over the course of a month. Note how the areas of life signified by the houses are brought alive or made relevant. Watch how the cycle of aspects plays out and is altered by the presence of this other planet.
When you are doing this, you will be noticing a particular pattern within yourself. This pattern will likely relate to the nature and indications of the other planet in question (as well as its house position and rulerships). The house position and rulership of the Moon will also be relevant.
Some other simple patterns track can be the Moon in relationship to the Horizon or the Meridian. These are the two dividing lines in a chart, depictions of two “great circles” that envelop the Earth. The horizon runs east-west and is marked by the Ascendant-Descendant axis. The meridian runs north-south and is marked by the Midheaven-Nadir axis. Crossing these different turning points can mark focuses of the Moon.
Around the Ascendant, the Moon is self-centered, focused on personal emotions, feelings, and physical experiences. At the Nadir (IC), it is hidden and internalized, diving into memory, past, and foundation. On the Descendant, the Moon is oriented toward others, tending to give parts of itself away and care for the needs of those around it. Heading to the Midheaven, the Moon is publicized and on display, feeling out loud or feeling vulnerable. While this is a general trend, notice exactly how this cycle plays out in your chart by watching the Moon.
When you have been using this practice for a while, you will begin to notice stretches of days that have a particular tendency. For example, I consistently have a hard time emotionally and energetically when the Moon is in Aries. This is a sign averse my natal moon and it contains my natal Saturn. It is also my 10H, squaring my Ascendant and in the sign after the one which contains my Midheaven. Thus, the Moon has just been publicized before it hits a brick wall of Saturn and needs to recover. At this point, I try to avoid big commitments or responsibilities when the Moon is in Aries. I mark those days off my calendar and try to hibernate or seek comfort as much as possible.
I’ve especially noticed that caring for myself and not over-extending when the Moon is in Aries makes my lunar returns in Taurus much more enjoyable. A well-spent Aries Moon recovering can lead to inspiration and opportunity at the renewal of my Moon instead of a forced recovery then (which certainly is the case occasionally when life is out of my control). This is a bit of proactive astrology, using the Moon to help build a better pattern within my life.
Utilizing all the techniques in this section will require an understanding of planets in signs, houses, and aspects. Use cookbook lists of meanings for prompts and initial thoughts, but if you see something that is confusing or you want clarity on within your lunar cycle, talking to an astrologer is the best course of action.