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Planets before and after the Natal Moonr.

Planets Before & After
the Natal Moon

by Dane Rudhyar

First Published
Horoscope Magazine
August 1962

In this classic article, unseen for 45 years, Rudhyar provides fresh insights into a natal chart by discussing the significance of planets enclosed by the Sun and Moon, as well as how the planets the Moon conjoins immediately before and after birth figure into the individual's destiny.
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Planets before and after the Natal Moon by Dane Rudhyar.

Since the beginning of the new upsurge of interest in astrology some sixty years ago, a great variety of new techniques have been devised and promulgated by European and American astrologers. These techniques have become in many cases increasingly complex; and the addition of as-yet-undiscovered planets, of a multitude of "sensitive points," of secondary charts supplementing the birth-chart and lately of variously calculated "sidereal zodiacs," progressions, directions, etc., has produced such a mass of "data" — very often conflicting ones — that it has become increasingly difficult to integrate all this astrological material and to arrive at a direct, convincing, vital grasp of the essential factors in a person's individual character and destiny.

It has seemed clear to me for many years that to increase the quantity of information leads most often to a loss of well-focused perception — and that what is most needed is not so much a vast array of surface elements and charts as a penetration in psychological depth based upon relatively few and simple facts. There are simple facts derived from the related positions and motions of the planets which have remained mostly ignored.

As I see it, astrology is essentially a discipline of thought, a way of discovering the order which is inherent in all existence, but which so often eludes us because of our natural lack of perspective upon our everyday life experiences. It is a way to see through the complexities of our life and to obtain a grasp, indeed a vision, of the basic rhythm of our individual existence.

This rhythm constitutes our individuality — and also our destiny (in the real and constructive sense of this much-abuse word) because destiny is simply the unfoldment and progressive actualization in time (and through various cycles of personal activity) of what each new-born is potentially at birth. We may not fulfill this "destiny"; and most people's lives do not actually manifest or exteriorize their basic "individuality" — because the rhythm of the latter soon after birth tends to be covered up and stifled by all sorts of collective and traditional family, social, cultural, moral and devotional rhythms. But the very purpose of astrology today is, I believe, to help people discover the basic rhythm of their individuality and the structure of their destiny. The astrological birth-chart (and its progressions and transits) can be a revealing symbol of this rhythm and structure of character.

However, if we think of the multiplicity of events to come, and if we try to predict these precisely, we almost inevitably lose the "feel" (the intuitive perception) of the basic rhythm of individual existence. This rhythm is based upon very simple beats and relationships, in which a few fundamental factors are paired or respond to each other as they unfold the life potential latent in them at birth. Of these fundamental factors, the most important are the Sun and Moon; they represent the two polarities of the life force — indeed, the two poles of all forms of existence. The Sun releases the energy potential; the Moon distributes it according to the need of the organism.

The Moon is the one satellite of the earth. The Moon's orbit surrounds our globe, somewhat as a cosmic-psychic (or "astral") womb. This cosmic envelope centralizes and distributes to the earth globe the energies which circulate through the whole solar system. These energies come (mainly at least) from the Sun; but the cyclic motions of the planets cut through the constant flow of solar energies and produce all kinds of crosscurrents and whirlpools of intensely charged particles which hit and enter this lunar "womb" within which the earth rotates daily. The position of the Moon at the instant of birth indicates — symbolically, at least — the essential way in which these energies reach the native; it establishes a kind of "astral" umbilical cord — or a center of diffusion for solar-planetary vital and psychic currents.

The related positions of the Moon and Sun in the birth-chart reveal the phase of the soli-lunar cycle (the lunation cycle of some 30-day length) at which the person is born. This phase characterizes the person's soli-lunar or lunation type. One can be a New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon or Last Quarter type person—just as one is an Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn type. The "lunation cycle" refers to the soli-lunar relationship, which constantly changes; while the "solar-year cycle" refers to the season of birth and the soli-terrestrial relationship.

Planets between the Moon and Sun

If we take a chart like that of Premier Nehru of India — born November 14, 1889, at about 11:00 P.M. — we find the Moon at 10° Leo coming to a square to the Sun at 22 1/2° Scorpio. This birth, thus, occurred a little before the Last Quarter phase of the lunation cycle, as the Moon will make an exact square to the Sun at about 23 1/2° Scorpio. Some eight days after Nehru's birth, the Moon reached the Sun close to 1° Sagittarius; and a new lunation cycle began. During these eight days, however — which, by "progression," correspond to eight years — the Moon crossed Saturn, at 3° Virgo, then Mars, Uranus and Venus in Libra, Mercury in early Scorpio. The power and meaning of these conjunctions made by the Moon were strongly impressed upon the first eight years of development of Nehru's personality. Such early imprints are always very basic.

It can be shown in a multitude of cases that the first planet which the Moon crosses after birth identifies one of the most basic characteristics of a person's individuality and destiny. This planet colors, as it were, the manner in which an individual orients himself most naturally at first to the reception of life energies; thus, the nature of the planet indicates what the native will draw upon in order to feed his individuality and (as a result) in order to assert himself in the fulfillment of his destiny

In Nehru's birth-chart, Saturn is therefore the indicated focus; it characterizes the line of intake of solar-planetary energy and the type of strength and function he will (and should) normally seek in the exercise of his "life role." We have the same situation in the chart of Khrushchev, for there the Moon at 24 1/2° Virgo makes its first conjunction with Saturn at 21 1/2° Libra — before reaching a Full Moon opposition with the Sun at 29° 59' Libra, two and one-half days after birth. Mao Tse-tung's chart (granted the date is correct) presents the same picture.

The Moon-to-Saturn indication suggests dependence upon some sort of tradition or "Father Image" as a source of life strength. Nehru was the spiritual son of Gandhi, who left him, as it were, his inheritance. Khrushchev and Mao rose to power along the pathway opened by the rigid ideology "fathered forth" by Marx and Lenin.

In the case of Abdul-Baha, the son and devotee of his father, the great Persian Prophet who claimed the status of "divine manifestation" and led the Bahai cause, now (a century later) spreading through all continents, the sixth-house Leo Moon made its first contact with the opposing Saturn (later, Neptune) in Aquarius — a very strong indication, as there are, thus, no planets in half of the chart.

The famous astrologer Evangeline Adams had at birth a sixth-house Moon, and its first conjunction was with Saturn in the ninth house; she revived and popularized an old current of ideas which had lost most of its power, and her life work was based upon it. In other cases, the Moon-to-Saturn contact reveals — a deep concern with psychological (Freud) or political-religious (Cromwell) historical trends.

With Jupiter as the first planet contacted by the Moon, one expects a deep reliance upon social values and fellowship, upon what comes from one's class, caste or status; and this applies to the Conservative Prime Minister of England. Mr. Macmillan has the Moon in Aries coming to Jupiter in Taurus, but after opposing Saturn retrograde at 25° Libra. In the chart of Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, the Moon in Leo is making its first conjunction with Jupiter and, soon after, Saturn in Virgo. The Queen's Moon in Leo crossed Neptune — soon after her birth, while opposing a conjunction of Mars and Jupiter rising in Aquarius.

As in the case of the English Prime Minister, our equally conservative President William McKinley had his natal Moon but half a degree behind Jupiter, with the Sun not far ahead — all in Aquarius, with Neptune and Mercury in the same sign. His birth exemplifies that just-before-New-Moon type of personality, which often tends to become significant — through some kind of sacrifice, death or legacy — to his society. When a planet is, as in such a case, sandwiched between the Moon and Sun, it acquires a very important meaning; all that it represents focuses, as it were, the relationship of the individual to his time or his environment.

This focusing resembles somewhat the focusing of vital energies in a vegetable seed falling into the soil, where eventually it may become a source of new life.

A notable example of such focusing is that of the German philosopher Kant, whose legacy of thought had considerable influence. In this chart, it is Mercury (21° Aries) which is sandwiched between the Moon (13 1/2° Aries) and Sun (2° Taurus). The same situation exists in George Washington's birth-chart, with the Moon in Capricorn, Mercury in Aquarius, the Sun in Pisces. Washington's mental attitude toward problems of the new nation he helped so much to found had a lasting influence —particularly in the field of foreign affairs (natal Moon in ninth house).

Coming back to a Moon's first contact with Jupiter, we find this in the birth-chart of Martin Luther and Mohammed (as given by the French Astrologer of the Classical Era, de Boulainvillier). Here the astrological condition can be seen to refer to the religious destinies of these great reformers (Islam developed at first as a reform movement at the fringe of a Christendom torn by conflicts). On the other hand, in the chart of the great saint and organizer of convents, Teresa of Avila, the sixth-house Leo Moon (at its north node) makes its first conjunction with a ninth-house Saturn in Sagittarius — an excellent picture of religious fervor and concrete consecration. The Sun at 0°27' Aries and Venus conjunct the ascendant at 24° Aquarius (with Neptune and south node Moon at 19° Aquarius) complete a most fascinating picture. In Hitler's birth-chart, also, the Moon is just about to meet Jupiter (in Capricorn). He was able to handle the power of social discontent and of social cohesion in his unfortunate country.

Among outstanding political figures of our day, we find two men of related importance and significance, President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer, in whose charts the Moon makes its first contact with Neptune, then Pluto. These two remote planets met in 1891-1892, and this conjunction sounded the keynote of our atomic (or electronic) age. Such conjunctions occur only every 492 years and, thus, establish a 500-year rhythm which is basic in the evolution of human civilization.

The French and German statemen were born before the start of this new age; but their public destinies became "set," as it were, by the pressure of the first tragic manifestations of this period of history just beginning. Naturally, in millions of human beings' birth-charts the same approach of the natal Moon to the Neptune and Pluto conjunction can be found; but most people respond but feebly to such vast pressures or focusings whereas (and for a variety of other reasons) de Gaulle and Adenauer have stood as architects of the resurgence of their respective nations — old nations, yet still insistently related to the fate of mankind in the new age. A similar picture is found in Stalin's birth-chart as the Moon in Aries meets, after birth, a close grouping of Neptune, Mars and Pluto in Taurus. The introduction of Mars sounds a note of violent ruthlessness in the pursuit of a vast national purpose.

As mentioned before, English Queen Elizabeth II has the Moon "applying to" Neptune — both in Leo — and opposing a rising conjunction of Mars and Jupiter. Here a basic conflict or dilemma is shown — perhaps symbolizing the conflict between England's old Neptunian (sea power) empire, now the Commonwealth, and the evident need for this island (which the sea no longer protects) to throw herself into the crucible of a Western Europe which, once totally integrated, could rival in power Soviet Russia and the United States.

In many notable personalities, we find the Moon making its first contact with Uranus. As examples, one can give President Kennedy and statesmen like Napoleon, and the apostle of a perpetual revolution, Leon Trotsky. Also, we could add challenging creative personalities such as poets Dante and Byron, writer George Bernard Shaw and, in the field of vast enterprises, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

The Moon is coming to Mars after birth in the charts of the statesmen of violent action, Bismarck and Mussolini — and less expectably in the chart of Albert Einstein, who was a lover of peace, yet whose famous mathematical formula started the trend of experiments which led to the atom bomb and whose name was used to induce President Roosevelt to initiate the bomb project In President Wilson's chart, the Moon is coming to a conjunction of Venus and, almost at once afterward, of Mars. The diplomat-king and lover of "good things," Edward VII, had at birth the Moon applying to Venus in Libra and the ninth house; but Edward VIII, who surrendered the throne for his love, and George IV, who ruled during the last World War, had their Moons applying to Mars.

Before and After

If the first planet which the Moon meets after birth represents the focus of future destiny and the most characteristic orientation of the native to the reception of life energy, the last planet which the Moon crossed before the moment of the first breath can be seen to symbolize a past orientation. By "past orientation," I mean a basic life attitude which the native inherited, either from his parents and his society or (if one believes in "reincarnation") from a "previous life" (whatver these terms exactly mean!).

Every new form of activity in the universe is always conditioned (I do no say "precisely determined"!) by a past mode of activity. This past may remain as biological instinct, as inherited predisposition, as ingrained habit, tradition of "soul memory".

In some instances, the past is very close to the present; and there are individuals born with the Moon closely surrounded (one used to say "besieged") by two planets. Great psychologist Carl Jung was born with the Moon at 16° Taurus, followed by Pluto at 23 1/2° Taurus and preceded by Neptune at 3° Taurus (this grouping being square the Sun and Uranus in Leo and Saturn at 24° Aquarius). Thus, the Moon had crossed Neptune before Jung's birth moment and was nearing Pluto.

Jung's psychology (or rather psychotherapy)is based on the "process of individuation" leading to the emergence of unconscious drives and images (represented by Neptune) and to their integration with the consciousness within a vaster field of integration, which is represented by Pluto. One might say that Carl Jung had a Neptunian (mystical, imaginative, poetic) past, which became transformed into a new (Plutonian) "depth-psychology" centered around the process of rebirth to a vastly inclusive field of "personality integration."

In the case of Andrew Carnegie, the Moon in Aquarius is sandwiched between Neptune and Uranus in the third house. One lacks the necessary information to explain this situation in terms of his personal life (which is the essential factor); but while the steel magnate's contribution to society and his destiny were certainly transforming and Uranian (even in the ruthlessness of his methods), there must have been back of his drive for expansion a certain depth of humanitarianism and a feeling for large organizations which could be called Neptunian. His Foundations testify to this innate sense of the vast realities of our industrial age.

Mussolini's chart presents, on the other hand, a Moon surrounded by Pluto, Saturn and Mars — all in Gemini. The historical and psychological background of Il Duce's Fascism (even going back to the old images of the Caesar type and the Roman Empire, which have haunted our tragic European civilization) is well represented by the Pluto-Saturn conjunction over which the Moon had just passed before Mussolini's birth. The Moon, thus, was propelled from this background into the arms of a violent Mars. The Italian past exploded through Mussolini into the Fascistic and Neo-Classic defeatism (for it was really defeatism!) of the period following the first World War.

It is not necessary, however, that the planet preceding the natal Moon in the zodiac should be very close to this Moon in order to convey indications of significance. In both Charles de Gaulle's and Adenauer's birth-charts, the planet which precedes the Moon is Mars — and both leaders founded their successful statesmanship on a background of war. In the case of Khrushchev, the Moon is ahead of the grouping of Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune in Gemini; his orientation to power emerged from this planetary background, symbol of a stern social-revolutionary ideology. For President Kennedy, the background of the Moon is Neptune conjunct Saturn and, still further back, Pluto . . . which could be interpreted in several ways. For Nehru, it is Pluto-Neptune, which the Moon had crossed a few days before his birth.

Quite evidently, the indications one can obtain by such a type of analysis are quite general; besides, they deal in most cases only with the psychological attitude of the person whose birth-chart is being considered unless this person has a particularly public life and the Moon can be considered to refer also to the type of public he draws toward himself and from which he receives sustenance — (psychic as well as financial or political). In any case, the indications thus obtained have to be integrated with those given by the entire "planetary pattern," especially as the latter is studied in relation to the place which each planet occupies within the lunation cycle which began with the New Moon before birth.

For instance, in President Kennedy's case, the New Moon before his birth took place at 29°23' Taurus on May 21, 1917 — just past Mars, Jupiter and Mercury, all in Taurus. This grouping of five planets emphasizes, therefore, the Taurean character of the President's basic vitality and conservative dynamism (his Catholicism, for instance). But Uranus (the transforming agent) in Aquarius, squaring this pre-birth New Moon, stands alone outside of the tight grouping of the planets spread between 12° Taurus and 2 1/2° Leo — forcing Kennedy's attention away from the spring signs of the zodiac and toward Aquarius. At birth, the Moon had left this planetary grouping and was advancing toward Uranus. Uranus, is here the pull to the future, the will to change; and Kennedy was elected on a typically Uranian slogan, "The New Frontier."

In the case of India's leader, Nehru, we find a tenth-house conjunction of Neptune and Pluto standing apart from a planetary grouping spread from early Virgo (Saturn) to early Capricorn (Jupiter). The Moon before his birth had crossed the Neptune-Pluto conjunction; and here we have the background of Nehru's career — a new era for very old India, still filled with vast spiritual-social concepts to which Gandhi gives a new impetus. Nehru follows Gandhi; but, left alone to meet the concrete social problems of India, he has to use equally concrete and stern methods. His Moon after his birth reaches to Saturn and all the planets ahead, up to Capricornian Jupiter — and this represents Nehru's work of destiny.

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