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Mythology of the Moon

The Moon rules Cancer, is exalted in Taurus and in its fall in Scorpio. In astrology it represents the imaginative, reflective, emotional and subconscious side as well as being associated with memory.

The Sun represents that side of you that others see, the Moon represents that side of you which you keep hidden. It also represents that side of you which reacts before you have had time to think. The Moon represents a separate, but equal side in your personality. The Moon sign modifies your Sun sign and your personality is created from the blending of these two signs.

In mythology, the goddess of the Moon ruled side by side with the Sun god or goddess. In some civilizations the Moon goddess was more important because it also dispensed wisdom and spiritual knowledge. The Moon has always been associated with the movement of water and the nurturing of the earth through vegetation. It was by the cycles of the Moon that the calendar was originally created and it was according to the Moon that crops were planted and harvested.

As the Moon influenced so may aspects of life, it generally influences many aspects of the personality, so it is only reasonable that the Moon goddess should have been known by many names. Selene, Cynthia, Phoebe, Hectate and Artemis or Diana were but a few. There are several stories of Artemis that have her performing different kinds of acts.

1. She rescued the maiden, Arethusa, from the pursuit of Alpheus, the river god, who was relentlessly pursuing her by changing her into a spring of water that flowed through a tunnel under the sea from Greece to Sicily. Arethusa plunged down and emerged in Ortygia, where the well she sprang up from is considered holy ground to Artemis.

2. She prevented the Greeks from sailing against Troy by sending a north wind that made it impossible for their ships to sail, until they sacrificed a virgin to her for killing a hare and her offspring. The virgin she wanted, according to the soothsayer, Calchas, was Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia. At great personal sacrifice, but gaining great respect from his men, the girl was sacrificed and immediately the north wind ceased and the ships set sail against Troy.

3. As the revealer of truth to Theseus, whose wife wrote a suicide note declaring the lie that his son, (her stepson) Hippolytus, had raped her.

4. As one who without concern, causes death as in the death of Actaeon, a great hunter, who while out hunting one day, innocently came upon Artemis as she ascended from her bathing pool deep in the woods. She sprinkled him with water by the shake of her hand and caused his heart to change into the heart of a stag. His dogs sensing his fear and smelling the stag, quickly chased him down and tore him to bits.

5. As a murderer of innocents when she and her twin brother Apollo killed the seven sons and seven daughters of Niobe, when she arrogantly placed herself above Leto and demanded the people bring their offerings to her in Leto's temple.

6. As a jealous lover, she killed Orion, her chief hunter, whom she loved, because Dawn, also called Aurora, fell in love with him.

7. As a rescuer of Iphigenia, when the girl was about to be sacrificed, by removing her from the alter and leaving a deer with its throat slashed in Iphigenia's place. Iphigenia was then taken to a place of safety.

All these stories, and more, are attributed to Artemis, the goddess of the Moon. She was capable of reacting in jealousy, rage, and ambivalence, but also one who could act to save individuals and to deliver the truth. As we, in our daily lives act and react by those things in our lives which motivate us, cheer us, anger us, sustain us, or cause us fear, so Artemis, the mythological Moon goddess acted and reacted.

Artemis, the Moon, is the quintessential female archetype. Basically there are three aspects to the Moon corresponding to its phases. The waxing Moon represents the youthful maiden, the full Moon represents the mother goddess in full array and the waning Moon, represents the wise old woman or crone. In Neolithic times the Moon goddess' symbol was the cross of 4 directions, a symbol of wholeness.

Easily seen, but not easily understood, the effects of the Moon must be understood to effectively understand one's self. KNOW THYSELF was the imperative written on the temple at Delphi in Greece. To know thyself one must understand the effects of the Moon in the natal chart.


Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Mythic Astrology: Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope by Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson

The Only Astrology Book You Will Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

Dictionary of Astrology by Fred Gettings

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