The Astrological Moon

The Astrological MoonDarby Costello

“The natal Moon describes the physical gateway through which each of us must enter if we are to have a life on this planet. So far no one has discovered another way to get onto this very colourful little planet, circling its own medium sized star. To spend any time here, as far as we know, you have to enter through a woman’s body. And that woman’s body will contain traces of every event that has happened since the very beginning….All of the past will be contained in that body…. everything, going back to the birth of the universe.”

For the last twenty-eight years Darby Costello has been watching the progressed Moon as it moves through the signs and the houses of the astrological chart. In the two seminars contained in this book she explores the Moon in its relationship to the natal Sun; and the progressed Moon, by sign and house, as it describes the unfolding of our emotional life which leads us to the awakening of our souls. She also traces the cycle of the progressed Moon as it interweaves with the Saturn cycle, marking moments where crisis and change become gateways to new dimensions of experience. These gateways bring past and future together, and provide openings to the points of intersection between time and eternity that dwell in each of us.

Review by Suzi Harvey: Astrological Journal, May/June 1997

“We imagine our destiny through the Sun, but we experience our destiny, our being in life, through the Moon.”

This book, Volume VI, is one of the latest productions of the new CPA Press. The price may seem high, but in fact once you read it you’ll conclude otherwise, not just because of the inner content but also because this is a high quality, exquisitely produced hard-back which won’t fall apart when it has become a well-loved and often thumbed-through favourite. The author of this book is a well-known London- based astrologer and lecturer/seminar facilitator who has been teaching for the Centre for Psychological Astrology and the Faculty of Astrological Studies, not to mention many other international venues, for many years. She is known for her widely-read, acutely intelligent and inspirational style, and this book, a transcript of two of her seminars, is eloquent testimony to her reputation. There is enough lunar knowledge, insight and experience in these pages to keep any astrology newcomer or experienced student going for quite a while. And the reason for this is Darby’s gift of mingling a wide range of intellectual content with direct and spontaneous interchange with her audience, the result of which is a highly readable next-best-thing to being there. Thankfully for those who cannot attend seminars, Darby’s quadruple Geminian wit, wisdom, and “warm thinking” (thinking from the heart) has now been captured in print.

Part One is entitled “The Moon as Source” and it explores the whole province of the Moon’s mythology, psychology, and physiology. The seminar traversed a wide landscape: Lunar goddesses, the Moon and its connections with body, mind, and the dead, the Moon as significator of the mother/child bond, lunar and natural rhythms, the Moon in the elements, signs and houses, lunar aspects, and lunar transits and progressions.

In the section on Mother and Child, Darby introduces the work of physicist Danah Zohar, the author of The Quantum Self. Zohar wrote this book while she was pregnant and so was able to avail herself of a poignantly feminine, lunar lens. Darby shares Zohar’s insights and maternal experience of herself as both ‘particle and wave’, which Darby, quite rightly in my view, suggests could be a metaphor for the Sun and the Moon. Moon consciousness as ‘wave’ caused Zohar to lose the “sense of myself as an individual, while at the same time gaining a sense of myself as part of some larger and ongoing process”. Zohar’s experience for me evoked the sense of lunar timing and lunar ‘knowing’, so different from the solar urge to supersede the slow, binding processes of nature. This was a very vivid and beautiful example (and typical of the stirring sketches throughout the book which demonstrate theory) of the way lunar experience connects us to a personal past as well to a wider historical past, to the rhythms of nature and of other bodies and ‘selves’.

In the section on ‘The Moon and Soulmaking’ Darby brings in James Hillman’s ideas, especially focussing on Hillman’s crucial insight that “soul turns events into experiences” (Re-visioning Psychology). Darby writes: “Undigested, unreflected events do not become real experiences. this process of turning events into experiences happens through reflection on the images that rise out of the events in our lives.. reflection and digestion have to do with the Moon.. And experience has meaning, and leads to meaning”. Darby is emphasising a very important facet of the Moon here, one that I have not seen stressed very often, and it is about making emotional connections – making a relationship – with one’s life and the ‘things’ that happen in it; in doing so, the quality of ‘thing-ness’ becomes a ‘thou-ness’ – related, meaningful, the dots joined up to reveal a pattern. The fact of Jupiter’s exaltation in Cancer, Darby shows, is a poignant validation of this event-into-experience lunar function. That we belong to a family is one of our first ‘pattern recognition’ experiences, and it is at the root of and leads to our continual urge throughout life to search for meaning.

These ideas provide the basis for Darby’s move into a study of the progressed Moon, for, as she points out, from the moment of birth we are moving further away, ever so slightly at first, from mother and “gathering the events of life into experiences which become more and more your own”. Darby has a clear focus with the progressed Moon: “What I like looking at is that where ‘the Moon begins’ describes what you and your mother share, in terms of the heredity you have both come from. You incarnate through her, and you are the next possibility of that lunar heritage. That lunar heritage carries on, the heritage of that family habit pattern carries on one more step, but at the beginning she and you are so close- hardly a breath between you. But every breath you take, the progressed Moon moves away, and so you are moving away from her.” Darby’s words eloquently evoke the mysterious realm of lunar process, and reminded of various Brothers Grimm stories which weave images about lunar consciousness and activities such as baking and fermenting, which are bound to a specific flow of time. There is the story of the woman who must wait for some special event until the Moon is full once more, and until then she spends the time in some natural, rhythmic task, as do we all in our daily round, going over the same ground again and again, only each time a bit differently because we are in a different phase of the cycle. Darby’s understanding amplified by example and audience participation weaves a similar matrix out of which the reader’s comprehension can grow.

Part Two is ‘The Moon and its Cycles’ which covers two main themes: the Moon in relationship to the sun, and the progressed Moon in relation to the natal Moon. Through a lively presentation and interaction with her audience, Darby stresses a crucial point – one which bears repeating (as I have done at the beginning of this review): “To achieve your purpose, to let your Sun shine, to fulfill your destiny, you have to do it through the Moon… the day-to-day activity and the daily rhythm of your emotional and physical life provide the ground with which you achieve your destiny.” Darby then moves on to examine the lunation cycle based on Dane Rudhyar’s work. This section is excellent for getting a real feel for working with lunar phases as they relate to lunar progressions. Each of the eight lunar phases is explored with care and attentitiveness, each coming alive with a colourful personality and psychological significance. The dovetailing of the progressed lunar cycle and the transiting Saturn cycle is also examined, and I found this part extremely informative and useful. the audience is fothcoming with many examples, and Darby responds with lucid humour. Darby also is very generous with her own experiences and anecdotes, and undoubtedly these personal stories and insights are the best ‘teaching aid’ one can ever have. The seminar then is rounded off with an in-depth case study, following the lunar progressions and events, experiences and achievements of a client/friend.

The Astrological Moon is both an educative and enjoyable read. Whilst it is packed with plenty of principles and accuracy and knowledge, all the essentials for rigorous study, in fact it is its ‘moistness’ – a distinctly lunar quality – that wets the imaginative appetite and gets one reflecting again about ones’ own Moon position and one’s incarnational habits of a lifetime. Truly a ‘must’ for every astrological library.

© Copyright 1997 The Astrological Association of Great Britain

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