of the Sun and the Moon"
RITUAL ACTIONS FOR SPIRIT AND SOUL
© 1999-2007 Antero Alli
The terms soul and spirit are commonly confused to mean the same thing. In this article, I suggest that soul represents "that which lives" and spirit, "that which we are becoming". I am also suggesting that the astrological Sun sign and its House placement symbolizes processes innate to 'spirit' and the astrological Moon sign, processes innate to 'soul.' The astrological Moon and Sun are symbolic representations, not formulas. The Moon is not the soul; the Moon represents the reality of soul (which may be beyond description). The Sun is not the spirit but a symbol for its direct experience. If your Sun sign refers to who you are becoming, it also symbolizes your personal process of self-realization, that specific dynamic for becoming fully yourself. If the Moon sign symbolizes what is living in you, it also represents the genetic history of your ancestors who have lived before you and whose influence informs your current experience, as history influences us, whether you are conscious of it or not.
Self-Realisation and the Icarus Mythos
Another way the Sun sign is taken for granted is in an assumption of expertise mistakenly ascribed to the Sun sign itself. For example, being a Taurus Sun doesn't automatically qualify you as the most stable and loyal person in the room, unless maybe you are a self-realizing Taurus. Being a Leo doesn't guarantee that you're a charismatic artist unless you are totally committed to your self-realization. Being a Libra does not mean that the cosmos owes you a meaningful relationship unless you are up for the hard work of self-realization through intimacy. Most likely, we are born into a certain Sun sign not because we are an expert in that archetype but because of a deeper need to experience that essence in order to evolve.
Self-realization is not for everybody. It's true that everybody is a star in potential but not everybody is willing and able to manifest that reality. There are certain incumbent pressures, sudden explosions, and solar flares that all fledgling stars must face. Self-realization demands a certain willingness to be yourself no matter what. Strong egos are not only filled with contradictions. It also takes courage to embrace them--not merely try and figure them out--as part of the larger changing whole that we are. The Sun sign mirrors the heat-giving, light-bearing properties of the star at the center of our solar system. To realize your shining destiny as an individual, you must be willing to put up with a lot of heat, light, and self-exposure.
The dark side of the Sun shows itself when any predominantly self-centered personality, society, or zeitgeist (yes, eras have their own egos) over-identifies with its spirit at the cost of losing its soul. When the Sun sign is over-emphasized, it radiates too much light, too much heat, and too much self-exposure; today's star is tomorrow's black hole. The myth of Icarus tells of a naive young man who waxed wings to his arms and flew off to the sun. In his enthusiasm for this star's fiery brilliance, Icarus flew so close that his wings melted and down he plummeted to the swarming seas below. The sea represents the soul's realm and the Moon's tidal pull. The Icarus mythos is set amid the inseparable alchemy of the Sun and the Moon; the fiery light of the spirit above and the cool, dark depth of the oceanic soul below.
Chilling Out in the Shadow of the Moon
Another symptom of excess Sun, or too much spirit and not enough soul, can be observed in the psychological addiction to understanding. An over-heated faculty for understanding obsesses with achieving mental clarity and maintaining it at all costs. The resulting Sun-burnt psyche grows too bright for its own good, too hot to chill out, and too over-exposed to enjoy a sense of humor about itself. The psyche as a whole also needs downtime for sleep, rest, and reflection (lunar traits) to turn down the heat. Through the living biology of our bodies we are linked with all things biological, all things alive. This does not occur due to any system of understanding or through the courtesy of some advanced mind, but as an undeniable fact which shouts out that, as long as we are alive, the body is the only part of our totality that is always in present time.
The mind wanders and the memory diverts attention to the past but the body is in present time, always, for as long as it is alive. This simple truth accounts for our kinship and connection with everything that exists in present time and with everything that exists, period. The direct knowledge and acknowledgement of this living fact gives us more clues about the innate meaning of the Moon in our charts and the life of the soul it symbolizes.
This complex web of biological intelligence that the Moon represents is free from any obligation to be understood on intellectual and spirit-based terms; it speaks its own tongue. Its language of dream logos refers to our connectivity with all life but also with the realities of impermanence and constant flux. The Moon, and the soul it refers to, symbolizes what we have inherited from our ancestral DNA, the genetic code connecting us with natural life; the DNA within us is isomorphic to the DNA wherever life exists. If planet Earth had a common language with which it kept in touch with all its creations, it might be DNA. The genetic rivers of maternal hormones coursing through every pregnant woman demonstrates a living example of the archetypal Moon incarnate; the ups and downs, the swells and cresting waves, the ebb and flow of the genetic tides within and around us.
Boundless Lunacy and Deep Subjectivity
When we become overidentified with the the Moon and what it represents, we suffer a disorientation of the senses. There are pathologies related to the Moon, lunacies of the soul. In any hyper-emotional, or lunar state, we lose perspective. Logistical details like linear time (appointments) and space (accident-prone behavior) become a hit and miss endeavor at best. Sometimes we suffer a dissolution of personal boundaries and spill ourselves blindly into the personal business and emotions of others, often with zero knowledge of their effects.
When the Moon is over-emphasized, we lose touch with the consequences of our actions, as if the laws of cause and effect did not apply. If an over-extended Sun mistakenly believes its own illusion of objectivity, lunar hallucinations demonstrate the deepening submersion in our own subjectivity and delusion. We can use astrology to apply all this information about soul and spirit by pinpointing the placement of our natal Moon and Sun. Generally speaking, you go to where the Sun shines for light, heat, and self-exposure, and you go where the Moon dwells to cool off, turn down the lights, and connect with more nurturing life sources. What is rarely realized is how accountable we may be for maintaining the often precarious balance between spirit and soul, as well as the lifelong courtship of their ongoing mystical marriage.
Like soul and spirit, Moon and Sun are always married within us as long as we are alive and, perhaps thereafter. Whether or not that marriage is strong may have much to do with how well these two aspects of our totality are communicating and understanding each other's needs. Astrology can be an effective tool to unveil this kind of understanding, given that it is applied to the realization of the living facts that these symbols merely refer to; in other words, understanding isn't everything unless you are totally spirit/Sun identified.
Temple of the Sun and Moon
The use of the Sun and Moon sign for instigating and maintaining our own psychic weather--the atmospheres, the warm sunny days, the brooding moody twilights--can be a valuable alchemical barometer for reading our psychic and emotional needs. By distinguishing the solar and lunar properties in your life, it may be possible to use your personal birthchart to fine-tune what you have begun to experience on your own. One of the ways to ritualize this alchemy of Sun and Moon, of spirit and soul, is its dramatization through the way certain rooms in your home can be arranged to express the energies of both.
By selecting two rooms in your dwelling--perhaps a bedroom and a living room--and assigning the physical and psychic properties of Moon to one and Sun to the other a kind of temple can be set up to honor their respective forces in your daily life. One way to bring authenticity to your Sun/Moon temple is through applying the knowledge of the element inherent in your personal Sun and Moon signs. Are you water, fire, earth or air?
Be specific when addressing the personal elements of your own birthchart. For example, if you are a Virgo Moon person, the element of Earth (not the general lunar element of water) is one you may wish to emphasize. If you are a Libra Sun person, it is the element of Air (not the general solar element of fire) that will bring you closer to the sun. How you set up a Moon chamber in your home depends as much on your instinct and imagination as the Sun room requires your understanding and clarity. The thoroughness and passion by which you approach this project will reflect your own current needs and desires for distinguishing these levels in your life and for realizing them through your daily environment.
You may find it easy to create a room dedicated to the Sun but be at a complete loss when it comes to the Moon or vice versa; if so, know that there is a truth in this. If a room doesn't come together right away, take a few days or even weeks to let it gradually develop its own life. If you feel despair or frustration or numbness in reaction to either room, consider these responses as legitimate expressions of where your Sun or your Moon might be at that time. Integrate these reactions into the temple until they are ready to change forms.
Daily Life in the Temple
Let your birthchart also inform your process of temple construction. If your Moon is conjunct your Midheaven, maybe you'll want other people to notice your room; if you have a 12th House Sun, perhaps, you are ritualizing your invisibility. Read the aspects to your Sun and Moon like elements or props to place in the temple, reminding you of the interdynamics at play. If you have Saturn opposing your Moon, place a saturnine prop like a clock or a calendar opposite the altar or focal point in your Moon chamber. If your Sun holds together a T-Square, place the other elements in a similar geometry and tension in that room as well. It seems that whoever first coined the term "houses" to describe the 12 sections of a birthchart may have had this process in the back of their minds.
These Sun and Moon rooms do not have to be overtly ritualistic in design. Sometimes all it takes to charge a space with the lunar or solar energies are subtle adjustments that only you will recognize. Often enough, the more natural adjustments we make in our daily routines begin seeping into the fabric of our lives unnoticed until the changes they bring come to fruition. The construction of a Temple of the Sun and the Moon, or the Sun/Moon Temple, in your own home is one way to bring those changes about.
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