Moon-Saturn: the duality of being.
by Carla Pretto
translated by Nick Skidmore
Perhaps by coincidence, or perhaps because it mirrors the crises that women experience in our society, I used to find in my astrological practice the appearance of very similar problematic situations in people with birth charts in which Moon-Saturn aspects were marked.
The identikit that emerged after each sitting was ever clearer and more defined: women with Moon-Saturn aspects had impressive professional curricula, they occupied prestigious positions and their work was recognised and appreciated. But this picture of security and solidity vanished or rather collapsed the moment the women spoke of their emotional lives: this emerged in a very pronounced way among those whose aspects were negative. The anxiety was directly expressed physically, the body of the person speaking became bent bit by bit as the tale went deeper and deeper, revealing situations of humiliation and frustration undergone in their emotional relationships with their companion or husband.
One can spot at first glance those people with a strong Moon-Saturn dominance by the planning that they put into the session. These two unwanted planets defy the natural opposition between Moon-Saturn (Cancer-Capricorn) and give rise to a very strong conflict inside the person between the feminine and emotional side and the rational, professional and practical side; these subjects try to have the primary role in both areas.
In the negative aspects, duty and interest alternates between family and work: concentration moves from one pole to another and they fail to deal equally with the two situations. Friendships are few and carefully selected.
With positive aspects, the subject has difficult communicating their experience, rationality creates a balanced exterior and gives off a self-assured image; to maintain this performance, the person tends to hide any problems, above all in their emotional life; it’s from this that the difficulty in communicating their mental states at a deep level stems.
The drive to examine in depth the aspect Moon-Saturn was given greater impetus when I was asked to read the birth charts of two friends from another city (Moon in house 3). Both wanted to take part in the interpretation of the horoscope of the other, saying that they were such close friends that they knew everything about each other.
Reading the birth chart of Marina, I began to unpick the relationship that she had had with her mother (Moon in Aries house 3 in opposition to Saturn in Libra in house 9). I discovered difficulties in the relationship due to the ever present and pretentious maternal figure; for her part, the daughter tried to win her affection, taking on the behaviour and attitudes that the mother wanted. Bit by bit as the session went deeper into this aspect (which will be dealt with shortly), we were interrupted by the other person present, who jumped to her feet, her face as white as a sheet and attested that all the characteristics that I was describing were also true of her.
Indeed, we also find in Matilde’s chart a Moon in house 3 Taurus in opposition to Saturn in 9 in Scorpio. The similarities are there in their psychological experiences but they manifest themselves in different ways: this due to the signs in which the Moon and Saturn are to be found.
They have difficulty in relating to the people around them and succeed in that only in the arena of their work; work which obliges them to have contact with people, Marina practising white magic, while Matilde manages a flower shop; both love to travel, Marina wishing to leave her body by means of the art she practised while Matilde travelling so she can get to know far away places and different traditions. Both had been subjected to sexual violence in their late childhoods, Marina by an uncle, Matilde by a cousin. The trauma experienced was so strong that it could be analysed not only through the Moon-Saturn aspect but throughout the birth chart.
This shows the importance when reading birth charts of considering equally all the planets and the aspects between them, the houses and signs in which they are found.
General pschological profile
The Moon and Saturn bestow on the subject a rational, calculating mind, with a great capacity for analysis and synthesis: elements that produce punctual, firm and sure-footed action.
They build a life that follows a well-defined path: they themselves shape the point of departure with the goal being their autonomy, their independence and success in work or family life. The tools and strategies they use to achieve it are chosen with care and shrewdness, in order to avoid failure and under-achievement. They have a scientific bent of mind with predisposition to judgement.
Gifted with a great intellectual capacity, they are selective in their choice of people with whom they establish relationships, usually people who are intelligent, but with a great existential bent: only in this way can they explore the profundity of the human soul.
Friends too are few and carefully selected: these subjects build up an exclusive and elite little “clan” within which they have the primary role.
The modality of the relationships is distinguished by calm, clarity, gentility and a verbal and corporeal expressiveness characterised by sweetness.
In the negative aspects, the lunar emotionality may break up in a sudden and drastic manner the Saturnalian rationality: the subject then looses control of their own actions, undergoes mental states of insecurity and anxiety, in order to defend herself from that which she has locked away inside herself, closing herself off from others, unless out of her own subjective needs.
The solid, calculating side shows itself in the small things of daily life, making her available and ready to please; but needing support in the important decisions.
There is no interchange in the social life, the quadrature and opposition reduce relationships to those that bring some compensation; it is a relationship of blackmail that has one aim, to reach the determined objective.
Very often the subjects who present this aspect are abandoned by the people around them because they project onto them their own anxieties and problems, pretending to be listening and helping them as if it were they who were overcome with misadventure and pain.
With positive aspects, a balance is struck between emotionality and rationality, although the lunar characteristics lose some of their potency under the control of Saturnalian reason.
In interpersonal relationships, the positive aspects exert their influence, giving greater lucidity to the choice of people with which they surround themselves; there’s more balance between give and take, they are calmer relationships, even if determined and serious.
The relationship between mother and son.
The general characteristics that the Moon-Saturn aspect produces in the relations between mother and son are the preponderance of the mother figure; a mother who uses teaching strategies to influence and condition the choices made by the son, making him take responsibility from childhood. The son for his part goes along with the wishes of the mother knowing that his actions are carried out exclusively to keep the mother’s affection. In the negative aspects, the divide between emotionality and rationality is more pronounced; the mother-woman relives though her son the problems of her own childhood, in particular, her sense of abandonment and rejection.
The relations in the home are conducted by the mother in a blackmailing way; the intrinsic value of the child is not recognised, she sees him as an extension of herself; she disciplines him from an early age and gratifies him in exchange for his correct behaviour, giving him incentives and offering him a safe place within the family. The son grants the mother’s requests in order to obtain the affection he wants: he will reverse the blackmail endured from the mother in the relationships of his adult life. The two roles are reversed when the son achieves autonomy and independence; to keep him tied to her so she is not abandoned, she becomes in her turn the daughter, demanding attention and care.
Their conversations and dialogue are not two-way affairs, the only voice is the mother’s, the son receives the message, his response is to defend and accuse over the lack of faith in him. Whenever the mother communicates with the son, she wants to get her way.
In the positive aspects, some of the child’s rights are recognised, he can express his ideas and opinions, and if these are valid and well-founded, the mother will show her appreciation and agreement. The mother values the qualities of the son because she believes the qualities and positive attitude are the result of her teaching. She is not aggressive and authoritarian as under negative aspects.
To demonstrate the above, I offer the birth chart of Federico: it gives yet more evidence of the exasperated mother-son relationship.
The first thing that strikes the eye in this birth chart is the presence of the Houses in signs exactly opposite to the co-significant sign: from this we can say that this subject experience tension in all the areas symbolised by the houses. Even the luminaries play a part in this game of opposites: in fact, the Sun is found in the sign of Capricorn but is situated in house IV, co-significant with Cancer, house of the Moon; the Moon is in Pisces in house 6 in conjunction with Saturn, his natural opposite, and, because of these forces which, in opposition to each other, can create imbalance, the subject experiences anxiety and hurt.
The first difficulties are evident at birth: the mother’s waters broke, Moon in opposition to Neptune, a day before the delivery; this meant a dry birth which left Federico with a sever eye infection, Moon in opposition to Neptune and both in quadrature with Jupiter. Breast-feeding proved difficult because of a lack of milk; after a few days the mother reluctantly had to stop breast-feeding, Saturn - deprivation, in conjunction with the Moon - milk, and both in quadrature with Jupiter -nourishment. The principle figure in the boy’s upbringing was the mother; the father was often absent because of work. The mother gave all her love to her son, smothering him with sweetness and sensitivity, keeping him tied to her and recognising and praising the firm side of his nature in order to make their relationship even more exclusive.
The daily family round was run under strict and harsh rules; the son had to respect them since transgressions were punished with emotional blackmail, that is the distancing of the mother who erected a wall of silence and coldness until the son accepted the rules. The mother, Moon in Pisces, so as not to take responsibility on herself for the imposition of the rules, blamed the father, so that a sense of rejection by the father grew within the boy. The subject lost his father at the age of 14; consequently, he had to assume the role of parent and the relationship with the mother became even more morbid, heavily conditioning his emotional and sexual choices in his adult life.
Let’s take a close look at the details that characterise the relationship with the mother in different phases of childhood.
The pregnancy is wanted by the woman, who tries to use it to restore the conjugal relationship. In some cases, the relationship is plunged into crisis because the woman realises the limits and weaknesses of her partner and turns her affections to the child, laying the foundations for an exclusive mother-child relationship. The pregnancy is experienced psychologically with tension and apprehension as the moment for delivery approaches. This state of mind finds physical expression and sometimes the birth of the child is marred by various small problems.
The theoretical framework at my disposal reveals that in many cases there are problems over breast-feeding, due to lack of protein or the quantity of milk: this makes the mother feel guilty who, to overcome it, takes care of the child in a desperate, almost suffocating way. For the child, breast-feeding is the moment of greatest intimate bonding with the mother, over and above the satisfaction of a primary need. The experience of sampling this joy only to be deprived of it, creates a sense of emotional abandonment in the child, much more than simple lack of nourishment, given the mother’s milk is substituted with the bottle. This deprivation is stamped in the unconscious mind of the newborn and during his life his attitude towards his mother and other people to whom he comes emotionally tied, will be one of continual need: he will be unable to experience happy moments of extreme self-gratification for long because there will immediately be the anxiety that something negative will “spoil the magic of the moment” and the unconscious memory of his neonatal experience will return.
The negative aspects have a determining influence on the relationships of a working mother. The mother who leaves home for work experiences a sense of guilt and to overcome it she gives her child all her attention in an almost suffocating manner. In some cases, though, she will react to lack of affection on the part of a child (the child’s way of blackmailing the mother over her absences) with a detached and authoritarian attitude.
With positive aspects, the mother believes the choice of working is a duty; therefore there is no sense of guilt and the relationship is more balanced, even if not very affectionate.
The maternal figure is always present in life and above all in the choices made by the child. With the beginning of school, and therefore taking one’s place in society, the demands of the mother grow, it is important that the child’s scholastic results are always the best: to make sure that happens, the mother is ready to help him in doing his homework, with the following consequence: the results are not only due to the merit of the child, but also to her attention, her efforts and her patience. As the child ages, even the choice of high school is strongly conditioned by this omni-present mother. Clearly, in a relationship of this type, the child has no autonomy, is not independent, but above all feels that the mother has no faith in him. If the mother is smothering and suffocating, his efforts and results will be very low; if, on the contrary, the mother allows him to manage his own affairs, the results will be better than good as he demonstrates his ability and worth.
Analysing the behaviour of boys and girls who have negative Moon-Saturn results in their birth charts, we see that in the adolescent period the circle of friends is restricted; they create a little clan within which they can find security; only rarely do they widen their circle or leave the group in which they have inserted themselves. Friends are the same at home as at school: girls have more relationships with boys. It is also possible to observe situations in which the friendships are restricted to two people; in this case, the girl refuses to join the bigger group, because she finds it hard to accept criticism and advice. The person chosen as a friend must regard herself as fortunate to be given the role she has; usually it’s a very faithful person who, however, must never make any mistakes because she will not be forgiven and the friendship will be ended in a drastic and definitive way.
The mother tries to create the conditions in which the daughter can become autonomous and independent, she chooses and selects the daughter’s friends, she welcomes them at the family home so she can watch and observe.
With positive aspects, the adolescent boy makes friends with a few carefully selected and loyal friends on whom he imposes a harsh relationship: it will be he who chooses the outcome of belonging to the group. The mother changes the way she reacts to the son, becoming less authoritarian and heavy: this is a mother who becomes a friend and therefore is more willing to listen, and she steers the choices of the son the way she wants.
Relationship with the partner
The man chosen by a Moon-Saturn woman has well-defined traits: he’s a man of prestige, above all on the professional level; in the love affairs of youth, he will be top of the class or someone who stands out positively or negatively for his anti-conformist behaviour ; age is unimportant, it can happen that he may be much older than her.
When the Moon-Saturn woman falls in love, she follows her man everywhere, negating her own rational side and living her lunar side in an almost masochistic way, and to conquer him she is ready for anything. In a relationship with an older man, the woman is searching for wisdom, but above all she wants protection; she thus takes the part of a little girl, she wants to recover that part of her childhood that she was unable to fully experience because she was overburdened with responsibilities and concerns by the mother, but she submits to the personality of the partner, a reflection of the fear of the father figure, memories of a past childhood. In relationships where the partner is the same age or younger, the woman allows the lunar part to come to the fore, becoming protective, almost maternal, she looks after him with patience and care but asks him for affection in return.
For the woman, marriage represents the height of her ambitions, the most important objective in fulfilling herself, and often it goes hand in hand with the necessity of acquiring a good social and economic position. Actually, economic independence and professional and personal autonomy is now open to a woman independently of marriage. The situation above is true of past generations; however that does not make it any less important that the man chosen by a woman with Moon-Saturn aspect is socially established and much older than her.
In reading a birth chart, it is too limiting to describe the sex life of a subject by analysing only the Moon-Saturn aspect: it must be considered together with the other sexual planets and relevant houses. However, independently of the complexity of the chart, even sexuality reflects and reiterate the characteristics: I have observed in particular that Saturnalian reason and mental lucidity take away from sexuality its instinctiveness, impeding or “delaying” in some ways achieving an orgasm.
The negative aspects can allow the lunar emotionality to prevail and in this case sexual relations can have good results. In cases in which the Saturnalian characteristics prevail, however, when united to negative aspects in the sexual planets, frigidity can be the result.
To demonstrate what has been described to this point, I offer the birth chart of Carlotta.
The prevailing characteristic in this birth chart is the opposition between the Moon and Saturn, an aspect yet more accentuated by the fact that the Moon in the sign of Capricorn is ideally found in conjunction with Saturn, who has his home in Capricorn; the same thing applies to Saturn in Cancer, ideally in conjunction with the Moon housed in its own sign: from this we may conclude that all the tension and meanings of opposition are experienced in an even more exaggerated, hurtful and conflicting way. This person in the course of her entire life never succeeded in simultaneously reconciling her feminine and rational sides. The choices the subject made in her adult life reflect her childhood experiences. In this case too the maternal figure appears as authoritarian and severe; from a young age, the little girl was made responsible and obliged to assume roles beyond her years; sometimes she had to endure situations of psychological violence; because of the mother’s victim complex, she had to follow in the tracks of the father to see if he was conducting any amorous affairs: as it happened, she caught him in the act. In telling her mother what she had seen, she felt happy since this brought a further recognition of her mental and rational capacity; at the same time, her role as daughter of both parents was unconsciously eliminated. Her femininity was recognised by the parents from an evaluation of its outer aspects, encouraged by the fact that the girl was beautiful, but its deeper significance was ignored; she experienced her woman-ness therefore by taking particular care of her body and image, Venus in conjunction with the Sun in the sixth house, while, for the most part. she found outlet for her identity and personality on a mental and rational level.
She was not given the chance to study during her adolescence because the family needed her to earn money to be able to balance their budget. At her workplace, she fell in love with the boss, Sun in the sixth house, Saturn in the sixth house in opposition to the Moon in the twelfth house, who was older than her and who had a family. When she reached the age of majority, she broke with the family unit, ended the affair, and moved to another city, succeeding in fulfilling her biggest ambition, to take a course of study. She looked for and found work in a company and quickly rose through the ranks and effectively found herself in the same situation as before. In this new relationship, she found outlet for all her femininity through capriciousness and seduction, making her companion feel the most important and desired person in the world. Through this, she achieved her objective, becoming a mother, the perfect head of the house, although depriving herself of professional and mental satisfaction. Her complete fulfilment as a woman came only after the death of his wife, soon after the marriage, which allowed her official recognition in the eyes of others and of her family; she gained considerable economic security, Jupiter in conjunction with Mars in the seventh house, something she had always wanted, particular during those times she had gone hungry during her time as a student. Her married life was marred by the illness and convalescence of her husband, due to his advanced years: she took care of him, was always there for him, she consulted the doctors and took the decisions, thus swapping the role of wife for that of nurse, Moon in 12, allowing her mental and rational side to re-emerge. When her husband got better, she was unable to renounce the central role that she had assumed and this compromised the relationship so much that they separated; in the interim, however, she had taken care to ensure her own economic security.
This research work, in addition to having contributed to the theoretical-practical deepening of my knowledge, has also enriched me as a person. The difficulties we face as living beings depend on our capacity to manage two spheres that are equally important for our growth and these are reason and emotion. Dividing them, in order to expand one and suffocate the other, creates an interior imbalance and the subject’s self-fulfilment is incomplete. Fighting to keep them in balance gives rise to inner conflict and tension and sometimes paralysis. We must hope that everyone one of us succeeds in listening to their inner selves and lives their lives in their totality.