Black Moon Rising
Depression as Symptomatic of Creative States
© 1996 Antero Alli (excerpted from ASTROLOGIK)


The astrological Moon constitutes a multitextural symbology of depth and complexity representing what is most personal to us and most personal about us. The Moon symbolizes the multilayered textures of the homing instinct: from our most literal dwelling place to our early upbringing to our innate capacity to sense where you feel most at home to what constitutes familiarity, emotional security and shelter. The Moon is deep.

Once in awhile -- and sometimes daily -- we lose touch with the familiar comfort zones of our Moon only to drift into genuinely weird, and sometimes depressing, states. The focus in this essay is what happens when you lose touch with the Moon and how we might know that experience through the symptoms of depression, despair, and feelings of hopelessness.

Losing Your Moon is Easy to Do

Depression is not an emotion but an utter absence of emotion. An emotive flatness characterizes a depressed, or deflated, state. Think emotional flatline. By comparison, grief and sorrow are lively. This negative emotional state, tends to occur when losing touch with emotional responsiveness -- your real-time connection with reality. As this emotional disconnect increases, a state of depression can ensue. This can also be natural yet our modern society -- friends, parents, teachers, we ourselves --does not view depression as an ordinary event.

When depressed, we are instead conditioned to believe something is "wrong" with us. Instead of feeling our way through our depressions, we often become hypochondriacal negativity-adepts who make a bad thing worse, or emotional escape artists who refuse to feel anything unpleasant. This pattern of emotional denial functions so smoothly and within such severely limited emotional ranges that it can eventually create its own behavior of false shame and modesty around our emotional truths. We truly are giants raised as dwarves.

The Art of Falling Apart

A certain kind of self-dishonesty is often maintained by a lifestyle that avoids depression. If we are truly depressed, the emotionally honest thing would be to express that depression. Natural cycles of real life express ongoing processes of decay and dissolution vital to regeneration; there is no life without death, no death without rebirth. It's as if life-at-large demands periodic phases of collapse.

There is an emotional need for periodic collapse of the ego. The quality, style, and frequency of that collapse differs for each person. Some people need to "die" more often than others; mystics diea little every day. Others fall apart once a month; every lunar cycle or so. The frequency of ego-collapse may depend more on how alive you actually are and how much death you need to renew that life; the greater the life, the greater the need for deflating it when it gets old.

In the course of a black moon phase, the avoidance and repression of depression can have a snowballing effect. With enough avoidance, feelings that start out as merely "blue" can darken into indigo and then, black. How black does it have to get before you're ready to fall apart?

Modern society shows an appalling lack of black moon rituals that express, honor and dignify the state of depression. No "depression bibles" exist to show us how to fall apart on purpose, even if that's what you need to do. You must create your own rituals. Observe the tribal wisdom of that ritualistic generation born with Pluto in Libra (October 1971 through December 1983), and among some of those born with Pluto conjunct Uranus. These young people are feverishly creating their own black moon rites; behold, the shocking Goth fashion statements, the piercings and tattoos, the hardcore industrial music (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson).

When depressed, how often are we encouraged to express it or find forms for its release ? Take note of all your buffers and distractions to the black moon. When approached with commitment, rather than avoidance, a certain kind of follow-through can occur. Depression transforms into something else. The black moon state is nurtured by the fearless knowledge of your emotional needs (symbolized by the placement of the natal Moon -- the house -- and your emotional style of your Moon sign). Find your Moon.

Desperately Seeking Information

Another misunderstood yet informative symptom of the black moon phase is despair. Despair expresses an emotional state of hopelessness married to the feelings of helplessness to change that condition. The key to understanding despair is in observing the distinction between being truly helpless and feeling helpless. Notice how easily the two are confused ? We hypnotize ourselves into emotional immobility and self-victimization by self-imposed convictions of helplessness when, in fact, we may be denying our true feelings about a real situation. Feeling helpless may be a natural response to any situation exposing the limitations of our personal efforts. No matter how hard we try, sometimes our efforts our bound to fall short of success. That's life; it happens.

Sometimes your Moon sign can give you and others a clue about how you deal with helpless feelings, whether you can endure them &/or must whine and complain. Remember, our feelings of helplessness originated in early infancy. The bonding imprints developed with a mother (or surrogate) determined the nature and severity of your helpless feelings. Some of this may express itself in the sign and placement of your natal Moon. Is your Moon smothered by conjunctions to other forces (planets)? Is the Moon unaspected and alone? Is it bound to other planets by hard or easy aspects?

If you do not create space in your life for your legitimate feelings of helplessness, a kind of emotional stupidity can begin to own you. Some of us negate helpless feelings by pumping our egos up, forcing and pushing, attempting to overpower our dismal circumstances. Others express denial by self-imposed, downward spirals of endless despair. Whatever your style of denial, its evidence in your life is a symptom that you may have lost touch with your Moon.

The astrological Moon also represents the living organism which, courtesy of DNA and other mysterious connections, has you attached to all living things. When your Moon slips out of reach--when the black moon phase begins--the universe listens and responds.

Immediacy, Not Immediate Gratification

We are born as giants and raised as dwarves. Many of us are held to emotionally immature behavior despite our sophisticated ideas of who we are and want to become. Emotional maturity cannot be forced or made to happen by anything the conceptual mind creates for that purpose; maturity follows its own organic course. Emotional maturity depends above all on a willingness to remain responsive. This demands a deepening commitment to responding to your moment-to-moment experience so that your emotional reality stays connected to actual events and situations. Without this kind of emotional anchoring, we tend to be more subject to our mechanical (redundant) habit patterns, emotional memory and the monkey-grip of excessive assumptions (expecting the present to replicate past experience).

Your most direct and personal responsives to real life experiences express your commitment to immediacy. Direct response to stimuli frees the soul and refreshes your emotions. Without this type of direct responsiveness, there can be no real spontaneity and the soul remains shackled to the darker recesses of the so-called subconscious, singing the world's saddest song. "Immediacy" has nothing to do with that consumer purchasing power called instant gratification, a cheap dime store replica for true feelings. Real immediacy involves direct and unmediated--or, if you will, un-media-ated--responsiveness. There is an innate hunger and emotional need for immediacy in our lives. Without it, our lives languish in apathy. Our appetite for life is our most effective strategy for emotional survival in this hyper-saturated, turbo-mediated Un-world.


excerpted from
ASTROLOGIK: The Oracular Art of Astrology
by Antero Alli (Vertical Pool, 1999)



Another excerpt from ASTROLOGIK
"ORACULAR ASTROLOGY: Questioning the Trend to Legitimatization"

Other Astrology Essays by Antero
Also links to non-astrology articles

Consulations, Essays, Columns
by Antero Alli