In The Sky
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Moon-Mars-Neptune: Fighting a house of mirrors

Danger: Open Excavation

In The Sky: Mars in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces from Sept. 18  to Sept. 29, 2017.  The Moon joins Mars in Virgo on Sept. 18, and forms a T-square with Mars and Neptune on Sept. 25, 2017, when the Moon passes through Sagittarius.  NOTE: In world transits, the Moon may act more as a trigger of the potential embodied in the slower moving planets, and this article is most relevant to those with these three planets combined in their natal charts.

When the Moon forms a dynamic aspect to Neptune, clarity can be a bit challenging. Someone with this aspect once lamented to me that it can be like navigating a house of mirrors. With Mars added to the brew, locating the source of one’s motivation, anger, vitality or sense of direction can be frustrating.

The Moon is what we’re unconscious of, and it can take a long-term effort to notice its role in our behaviors and circumstances. The Moon represents those things which simply are, whether inherited or which by their nature operate outside of our awareness—such as our life support systems. We don’t have to be aware of the daily toil of literally countless beings that allows us to eat, to breathe, to exist. That reality falls into the realm of the Moon. In a similar way, so too does the personal unconscious belong to the Moon.

Moon-Mars-Neptune can symbolize free floating (Neptune) aggression or anger (Mars) in the emotional atmosphere (Moon). Those with this combination in hard aspect will sometimes report a childhood home filled with outward aggression and a pervasive atmosphere of fear. Such an early childhood could generate a profound compassion for others who suffer, or a deeply wounded, victim-identified fragment of the psyche, among other possibilities.

Another common experience is a good deal of passive (Neptune) aggressive (Mars) behavior in nurturing parental figures (Moon). But what is “passive aggression?” Perhaps if we look beyond the label to the activity itself, we can begin to recognize more expressions of Moon-Mars-Neptune archetypal themes.

Essentially, passive aggression is rooted in outwardly expressing one’s feelings, desires and needs in one way, but inwardly feeling very different, often in contradiction to what is verbalized. People will have different storylines driving why they feel they must betray their own experience—and while surviving the constant threat of violence is a very good reason, why else might we see this behavior particularly with Moon-Mars-Neptune?

Sam's River bank cut

It is easy for Moon-Mars-Neptune to feel invaded by others and by their own empathy. Moon-Neptune symbolizes the capacity to feel the emotional experience, the suffering and the illness of others – literally and in one’s own body. With Mars involved, such sensitivity could then be experienced as an attack or invasion.  Moon-Mars by itself can indicate an instinctive (Moon) reactivity or combativeness (Mars), since the Moon represents what we habitually do without thinking.

But when Neptune begins to saturate Moon-Mars, the resulting combination is incredibly sensitive, resulting in a lot of defense mechanisms to protect all that tenderness. Avoidance seems to be a common approach, and that can be avoidance of one’s own feelings, not necessarily avoiding other people’s feelings. Perhaps by denying their own feelings, Moon-Mars-Neptune would feel attacked (Mars) by their own empathy for others (Moon-Neptune).

For example, I had a friend with this combo who absolutely refused to let me apologize to them.  They thought they were taking the high road, being compassionate and understanding of my suffering. But really? They were avoiding their own feelings of anger and trespass, because they would later (totally unconsciously!) punish me in various ways, which was very confusing at first. By not allowing other people to actually be imperfect, to make mistakes, to be messy…they martyred themself in a strange way. I couldn’t apologize because I was already forgiven—but then their own suffering was excluded and not mutually acknowledged, and out came their unconscious resentment.

A well-integrated Moon-Mars-Neptune has an admirable capacity to advocate for compassion, to bring energy and vitality to the receptive and caring parts of the human being, and to actively provide care. Once its deep sensitivity is integrated into the psyche, that sensitivity is no longer a liability or vulnerability.  Moon-Mars-Neptune can be quite the spiritual (Neptune) warrior (Mars), after the native has established a deeper, loving relationship with the Victim archetype—an archetype in everyone’s psyche, but perhaps especially poignant for this combination.

Because the activity of advocating on behalf of others (Mars-Neptune) HAS to start first at home (Moon), for oneself. The Moon-Mars-Neptune native must first establish their own safety and choices for themselves, and not seek to merely create it for others or by living through others, e.g., codependent relationships.  This is Neptune’s challenge: how to not so identify with others’ hardships, that one’s own self is lost.

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