Being the Sunlit Moon

I wrote the first version of this response piece initially at the Scorpio Full Moon, and shared it with my newsletter. As the Pisces Full Moon approaches, I felt called to share it here in an edited and slightly expanded form. Want to celebrate that lunation with me? Read to the end of this post for the details on a super-special Non-Binary Moon workshop!

On their substack, Ari Felix wrote about their experience as a Leo rising (ruled by the Sun) in a night chart (led by the Moon). I immediately resonated with some of what they were saying as a Cancer rising (ruled by the Moon) in a day chart (led by the Sun). In my case, the Sun is in its joy in the 9th, even, which I think lends a specific flavor. Here are some of their words that I was inspired to take a stab at inverting:

“to be ruled by the Sun is to Know the Presence of God as a state of being in a way that cannot fully articulated or replicated. to be ruled by the Sun is to be a multidimensional Ruler in your own right, whatever the path you have chosen. to be lead by the Moon is to prioritize the Body as a receptor, a filter, a station of operations. it is to be lead by the softest, most tender part of you as a manner of embodying power in sustainable ways.”

—Ari Felix

After much reflection, I landed on this version for day chart Cancer risings:

to be ruled by the Moon is to Know the Presence of Earth as a state of being in a way that cannot be fully articulated or replicated. to be ruled by the Moon is to be a multidimensional Shapeshifter, to radically embody presence through honoring shifting needs and capacities. to be led by the Sun is to prioritize the Mind as a receptor, a filter, a station of operations. it is to be led by the most vibrant, radiant part of you as a manner of embodying tenderness in sustainable ways.

As my newsletter subscribers know, I am a big fan of language. Language is a site of both tension and collaboration between the structural, ordered parts of my brain and the more poetic inner self. A close reading of Ari’s paragraph here led me into some really interesting explorations both of the structure of the chart and of the felt sense of being an embodied being with this chart signature. I’d love to lead you through some of these explorations, if you’d like to come along. 

How Does the Moon Rule?

I struggled at first to find the mirror in the second sentence, which was a lesson in itself. What is Moon-as-Ruler? I love Ari’s play on how rulership is both an inherent trait of the Sun and its role in their chart, but there’s not exactly an equivalent for the Moon. So I started by considering the first sentence—if Knowing the Presence of God is about embodying rulership and sovereignty, what is Knowing the Presence of Earth?

Nothing quite fit, still, so I considered the essential nature of the Moon. Nurturing, care, sensitivity, reflection, Mother all came up. But I still struggled with how to encapsulate that Moon is also fierce, that she is not about unconditional caregiving to the point of burnout. She’s also not gendered in a human sense.

(For much more on the gender piece, you’re going to want to sign up for the Non-Binary Moon workshop! I use the pronoun “she” here because that’s what I’ve been called to do in my personal practice as a queer non-binary femme in conversation with the Moon, but I do not do so as a default stance, and encourage others to play with pronouns for the planets joyfully, chaotically, and intuitively.)

Being ruled by the Moon, for me, has certainly involved periods of joyful giving until I notice that I’m not receiving and find myself prickly about giving any kind of care. But the Moon has also taught me to prioritize my own needs, to engage with care in deep and complicated ways that have many dimensions beyond a simple binary of give vs. receive.

And for me the deepest Moon lesson, which I tried to embody in bits and pieces for so long and am just blooming into really allowing to rule my human experience, is about shapeshifting. It’s about who am I, and what do I need right now? It’s about detaching from colonial calendar and clock time and honoring what the body needs at any given moment, and listening to intuition rather than a to-do list. 

It’s living in cycles, living in waves of focus and energy. It’s spiral time. 

I also realized presence was crucial to include. The Moon is always changing the face it shows us, and living with its rhythms has required that I sink into deep presence to whatever I am right now—not as a permanent identity, but as an allowing and a listening.

Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Do I need rest today? Movement? Creation? Do I have the capacity to offer care? Capacity to receive care? Both? What is my present emotional state?

How Does the Sun Lead in a Lunar Environment?

The beauty is that in following Ari’s format, I was incredibly affirmed in what I’ve been living and learning: being in Moon for me does not mean releasing Sun. 

I absolutely prioritize the mind, and that’s not a bad thing. Mind as tool, mind as filter, make so much sense to me. My intuition often operates through my mind, in a subtle way that is not the same as being fully in a place of “logic” or “reason.” It’s not about intellectual purity, or about a strict binary. It’s about the magic that comes through interaction with the mind.

Vibrance, showing up, radiance, is such a fucking lesson for me. Visible tenderness. Leading from presence.

Embodying the Moon through the Sun.

What Is Radiance in Pisces?

My life path number is 1, suggesting a solitary beacon of radiance. I felt deeply uncomfortable with that idea when I first encountered it because radiance felt like selfishness, like denying privilege. 

But the Sun is not about that shit. 

In the tarot 1 holds the Sun itself, but also the Magician and the Wheel. Despite the common planetary associations for these cards from the Golden Dawn tradition (Mercury and Jupiter, respectively) I find a real connection here with the magic of Sun-Moon interaction.

Magician energy is the magic of the mind operating in conversation with every other mode and with God themselves. It’s the spark of inspiration. For me personally it’s channeled writing. I have Mercury in Pisces with my Sun, who rejoices in the ninth house. My Mercury, therefore, is not a logical Mercury, but it is one holding deep intuition that comes through my writing, through language.

Hellenistic astrology describes Mercury in Pisces as a detriment, as well as a fallen placement. My Mercury is also “under the beams,” and therefore considered a bit weakened by the Sun’s rays. The place where I experience this difficulty most is when interacting with solar values and institutions in the sense Alice Sparkly Kat describes in Postcolonial Astrology—my Mercury is not very functional when it’s forced to behave in rational, neurotypical, prioritized-by-capitalist-and-colonialist-thought-models ways.

But it’s also a neuroemergent Mercury. Intuitively, I find that my Mercury and Sun being this close in Pisces feels like an invitation to communicate in a different way. Intuitively, poetically, at times non-verbally. An invitation to listen deeply, and to process for the collective.

The tarot tells me that my life path requires radiance. And astrology tells me that when I’m in touch with the radiance of my Sun, when I’m in my own Mercury magic, I’m processing and transmitting (Mercury) from the beautiful potential of the solar Mind, which is synonymous with Spirit. The solar Self as an aspect of divine, not self-as-disconnected-ego-state.

Feeling Into the Sun-Moon Trine

My Sun and Moon are exactly trine, and flow between them feels most holy, but I also struggled to realize this for a long time, because I saw Sun and Moon as opposites: if I am this, I cannot be that.

In fact, I’ve learned, it’s through working with Sun that I access Moon in a way that feels resourced. When I work with my Sun in Pisces, in its relationship with Mercury, that’s when I feel like the Magician working beyond the veil guarded by the High Priestess.

The first time I directly channeled wisdom from the Universe, from God, from Source (to me these are all the same) I received a sense of myself as alchemizing, simultaneously embodying, Magician and High Priestess. I only realized in writing this piece how clearly this message relates to Sun and Moon!

High Priestess is deep inner knowing, stillness, and intuition. High Priestess embodies the Moon. I feel her most potently in the rest phases of my cycles, in my waning times. Times when I “go dark” not to hide or shrink but to recharge and be with my intuition with no expectation, to be with the mystery. Spurts of Magician radiance and channeling require intervening periods of rest. Everything on earth requires rest as a resource for creation.

The Wheel is associated in the Golden Dawn tradition with Jupiter, but I feel the Moon in its turns. The Wheel is spiral time. The Wheel is cycles, dynamic energy. There is no perfection, there is no end-point. Resisting the turns is just as futile as my attempts to get into rigid alignment with a human-made calendar, or to “overcome” my neurodivergence (one of the sources of my magic). 

Lunar emotions used to be my fear, my out-of-control place, as a rejection-sensitive Cancer moon. But these days, I see them as a beacon. They tell me when something is not right, when I am not flowing with that constant, natural change. 

I am a lifelong student of change.

Being a change doula, to me, is about holding, about stewardship, from this position of embracing change—not as comfortable, certainly, but as natural and divine. 

The Role of a Day-Chart Cancer Rising

So what does it mean to bring Earth closer to God?

I think it’s a return to natural cycles. I think it’s an acknowledgement that earth is God, and that embodied presence in deep alignment with the planet is both holy and necessary. What does it mean if God is accessible in the everyday? What does it mean if you can belong and be held through simply sitting at the roots of a tree in your neighborhood?

Racist, colonizing capitalism has been trying so hard for so long to separate Earth from God, to cast Earth as dirty, barbaric, uncivilized, a sphere of resources to be used rather than a living, breathing ecosystem with which we are meant to partner.

This system and those maintaining it have tried to convince us that God is a white male perfectionist in the sky, that we must reach to unite with him, reach away from what is earthly and natural and quest towards an ideal that we can never quite reach. And to honor this God we’re encouraged to work hard, earn money, identify ourselves as more enlightened or civilized than other humans, strive strive strive exploit exploit exploit.

No. Stop.

The Moon teaches us that we have everything we need. Divine is not a distant promise, it is here, in our embodied physical reality. It is in the planet itself and our relationship to its ecosystems. The Moon teaches us, in the words of Octavia Butler, that God Is Change. The Moon teaches us to live the turn of the Wheel in full presence, with all our emotions and our sensitivity and with mutual care for each other and for all beings. 

This medicine is accessible to everyone. But as a Cancer rising born with the sun high in the sky, I’m honored to serve as a change doula and as a neuroemergence guide and as a beacon to help others find this wisdom, to tune into their own bodies and cycles and to re-member themselves in relationship with the Earth. 

And I’m so grateful for my opportunities to learn from Leo risings born at night, like Ari, who challenge me not to shy away from embodying power, who help me to see when I’m letting my own power slip away. 

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