The Truth About Your Moon Sign (& How To Incorporate Shadow Work Into Your Magic Rituals)
There are lots of ways to start your shadow work process (talk therapy, a vision quest, a night alone with a bottle of wine & Netflixing August: Osage County), but I have a little astro-hack to help you ease in.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to examine your shadow through the lens of your moon sign: the position of the moon in the sky at the moment of your birth. Your moon sign spotlights the urgent, subconscious needs that take precedent over other instincts, typically becoming the desires / needs you disown or deny.
When you analyze your personal shadow through the lens of your moon sign, you’re given insight into how to transform your shadow-drama into power. The traits you may have previously resented or struggled against become your secret reserve—the stash you reach into when you need a boost of creative consciousness.
What can you do with this information? Use it to create deeper, resounding, more mystically melty magic rituals! Learning about your moon sign is like peeking through an astrological keyhole into the center of your psychic universe!
Most importantly: knowing about your moon sign can turn your shadow into your best ally.
So, here’s what we’ll do: I’ll explain more about what your moon sign is, how you calculate & learn more about it, then I’ll walk you through a few journal exercises to help you start reframe your shadow self! I’ll wrap up by giving you a few pointers for putting your Shadow Self insight to work in your rituals.
WHAT’S YOUR MOON SIGN?
The moon phases through a new zodiac house every 2.5 days, while the sun takes about 30 days. At the moment of your birth, the sun & moon were most likely in different positions of the sky.
We're all pretty familiar with our sun sign; it’s the sign you look for when reading your horoscope. It’s about your personality & persona.
In contrast, your moon sign illuminates your temperament & instinctual nature. It shows what you need. Your moon sign interprets your gut reaction, moods, & how you intuitively process the world around you. Generally, the moon symbolizes the partner, the mother, & the crowd: the gentle, unconsciousness influences you pay priority attention to.
From Stars Like Us:
Our shadow represents the qualities of ourselves we disown, suppress, or deny. These qualities slip out as soon as we lose vigilance or are caught unawares. These are the temperamental, emotionally reactive, “blame it on PMS” traits we apologize for when they leak out.
When we do shadow work, we’re actually trying to understand & practice compassion towards our most urgent needs & desires… which may be very difficult to decode, depending on how vigilantly we’ve suppressed them. Essentially, we’re trying to nurture the very moon sign qualities we’ve tried to overcome.
Before you can understand & get compassionate, you’re going to have to get an outline of the type of Shadow you’ve got. And that starts with really deconstructing the energetic back-up surrounding those core, soulful needs. That’s where your moon sign can help!
Your moon sign will point out certain qualities—the instinctual, temperamental, needful ones you don’t necessarily lead with. I have a couple astro-inspired exercises to help you get an astrological perspective on what may be lurking in your shadow!
To find out your moon sign, you’ll need the date, time, & location of your birth. I’ve linked to a couple moon sign calculators below, but I think you might as well score your legit astro birth chart. I got mine from the AstroTwins. (The basic version is free.) Sign up for your's here.
When you have your chart, look for the crescent moon symbol: ☽ Whichever zodiac house the symbol shows up in, that’s your moon sign.
Par exemple, my moon is in Capricorn:
Review a few interpretations of your moon sign to get a well-rounded definition of its qualities. Here are some places to start:
- Star Sign Style, "The Magnificent Moon in Astrology"
- The AstroTwins, "Moon Signs: The Inner You"
- Mystic Medusa, "Vital Moon Signs"
- Dr. Mia Rose, "Moon Sign Astrology"
- Cafe Astrology, "Moon in the Signs"
All the links above interpret moon signs (& most link to more resources). Read THOROUGHLY, jot down notes, & bookmark them. You'll most likely return to learn more!
Are you already pretty well-versed on your sun sign? If not, do a little reading on that as well. (It’ll play a role later!)
COMPARE YOUR SUN & MOON
Do the following exercise in a diary, your grimoire, or out loud into an audio recording app on your smartphone. You’ll be comparing the compatibilities between your sun & moon signs in order to spot similar strengths & vulnerabilities. This will also give you a genuine perspective on which are your personality traits & what are your subconscious traits.
After, I’ll tell you how to use your insights in your rituals!
- Organize your moon sign qualities into 2 lists: what you consider to be your emotional strengths & what seems like your emotional vulnerabilities.
- For what you consider your moon sign strengths, describe your sweet spot: the sort of environment & types of people that put you at ease. What kinds of places do you feel right at home in? (Hint: it’s totally fine if you say “my actual home”--especially in your moon is in Cancer!) What kind of people do you consider part of your tribe? What kind of mood do you like to be in? (A contemplative rainy-day mood; a focused in-the-zone mood; a soft-focused daydreamy sort of mood, etc.)
- For what you consider your moon sign VULNERABILITIES, describe the types of situations where your emotions get the best of you. What sort of situations enhance these vulnerabilities? What sort of people seem to play off of them? Recount true-life events in your journal if you life--in fact, rifling through your grimoire a.k.a. magical diary is a great place to start! Recount a few unsuccessful new moon rituals. What was your magical intent? When did your mojo start slacking? Can you remember your mood during the ritual, or in the days following the ritual? (If you haven’t kept a grimoire for that long, failed New Year’s resolutions are also a great place to look!)
YOUR SUN SIGN
- Now, research your SUN sign & make 2 more lists of qualities (strengths + vulnerabilities, again).
- For your sun sign’s STRENGTHS, describe the sort of people who bring out the best in you. Who pops into mind? Specific friends & family members? How do you prefer to socialize--interacting with your peers or colleagues, or with people you rank higher than? Are you a lone wolf or a team player? What sort of situations do you shine in?
- For your sun sign’s VULNERABILITIES, describe the sort of people & situations that usually throw you off your game. These will be peers & scenarios where you were thwarted from getting what you wanted. Like before, you can be as general or specific as you like.
Finally, highlight sun sign strengths that (hooray!) are TOTALLY compatible with your moon sign strengths. Also highlight overlapping vulnerabilities. Make a special note of strengths in both signs that neutralize each other, & vulnerabilities working hand-in-hand to disempower you.
For efficiency, use the AlwaysAstrology moon sign compatibility calculator. Just plug in your sun + moon signs, then compare! Super easy & straight-forward.
I encourage you to spend a few minutes really dissecting the tales you recounted in all four sections. Try connecting the invisible dots amongst all the data, building a holistic picture of your personality & temperament that doesn’t rely on general qualities.
APPLYING MOON SIGN INSIGHTS TO YOUR NEW MOON RITUALS
Okay, so now that you’re more enlightened about the psychic forces at play in magic, let's get logistical. Here are my tips for applying the insights you’ve learned about your moon sign to your magic rituals!
FIRST, CRAFT A MORE ENLIGHTENED MAGICAL INTENTION.
Through this ENTIRE journey, I'm positive you've spotted at least ONE outrageously obvious conflict between your magical intention & your secret shadow.
So, you cannot go into the ritual with the same magical intention. More enlightened magical intentions align with your temperament, instincts, & natural inner-resources—all revealed with your moon sign insights.
Let me digress for a moment. My moon is in Capricorn, which describes my temperament as flinty, practical, & driven. I crave productivity & solitude. I'm happiest enjoying well-earned fine pleasures, like splurging on a solitary gourmet lunch at the Nordstrom’s cafe after getting ahead of a grueling work deadline. Nothing thrills me quite like ticking off To-Dos in my planner. And this might sound weird, but work crises turn me ON--at the 11th hour, I turn into Criss Angel: all ego & spectacle & arrogant triumph.
I have a ton of fancies (that's my sun in Aries influence), but I know the magical intentions I really care about are ones that feed my cravings for leadership, achievement, & tangible payoffs. If I haven’t yet satisfied those basic cravings, then I won’t be able to level up to higher, better magical intentions.
Here's a brief exercise. Compare just your moon sign's compatibility with the zodiac influence of the upcoming new moon. (Pretty much the same thing as we did above with your moon & sun signs!)
Use the AlwaysAstrology moon sign compatibility calculator again. Put your moon sign + the sign of the upcoming new moon. If you need to find out the astrological flavor of the upcoming moon, check out the Deluxe Moon webpage.
Highlight compatibilities that'll work in favor of the nature of your magical intention, & make special note of the incompatibilities. If you're not feeling confident about the compatibility AT ALL (in fact, it looks as if this new moon will draw out your LEAST admirable moon qualities), refer back to your sun sign strengths.
I know, I know: I told you your moon sign plays a larger role in your manifestation than your sun sign. Well, now you understand your true needs. Your sun sign-based personality can now play an enlightened role in manifesting wishes by setting up prime conditions to meet your emotional needs! Now that you're conscious of those sneaky vulnerabilities, you can strategically rely on your sun sign's strengths to pull you through!
For really BIG wishes, look ahead to find new moons that will phase through your moon sign. (If you're signed up on an astrologically-themed blog like the AstroTwins, you'll get weekly updates about the astro climate. Otherwise, you can look through the MoonGiant calendar.) You already know: THESE new moons are choice opportunities for making shit happen! All you have to do is show up with a pinch of thoughtful will power.
If you need more exercises for really nailing down your magical intentions, visit this post.
IN THE PRE-CEREMONY, DELIGHT YOUR INNER-CHILD.
Your shadow is one-in-the-same as your inner-child. All your fancy reasoning goes over her head. You really can’t will her to chill out or cooperate with your intentions (& the pushier you are, the deeper she withdraws). She’s also got TONS of other influences, like the collective unconscious, archetypes, karmic baggage, etc., all of which are nearer-at-hand than your ego-driven agenda.
So, to gain the trust of your inner-child, you have to make an effort to delight her.
Use your moon sign insights to create a ritual environment that excites your inner-shadow-child. When setting the mood, dress the space up in a way that makes her feel happy & secure. You could scatter treats, play soundtracks to feel-good movies, or light scented candles evoking memories of birthday parties, carnivals, or holidays.
Do what feels authentic to you, more than trying to make the ritual-zone look like your idea of what is “magically authentic.”
The main objective is to pad your ritual environment with the sort of comforts that will soothe & widen up your emotional consciousness. If you haven't done this before, it COULD mean creating a whole mini-ceremony for healing, playing, &/or daydreaming with your inner-shadow child.
Maybe it even means looking into a mirror & asking forgiveness for all the denial & suppression you've put your inner-child through.
If you want tips for decorating to your moon sign's aesthetic (which is very fun), I suggest visiting the AstroTwin's section, "All About The 12 Horoscope Signs." Click on your moon sign, scroll to the bottom, & you'll find a link to that sign's Home Decor Horoscope. (I linked to Capricorn's, my moon sign, as an example.)
In any case, your moon sign insights should help you craft an environment that appeases your instinctual temperament.
IN YOUR RITUAL MEDITATIONS, PURGE YOUR THOUGHTS.
Meditation gets easier the more you do it.
But very often, we avoid meditation because of the deluge of shadowy thoughts: doubt, anxiety, irresolution.
I used to bolt off my little meditation cushion (a rolled-up towel) trying to physically escape the wave of bad vibes that would break in my head. For a long time, that blocked me from getting richer, deeper, more mysticky-feeling rituals.
Here’s what I started doing.
Grab your diary (or use the audio recorder on your smartphone), & set a timer for an extra-long pre-ceremonial meditation. (Let's say 15 minutes.) Still your mind, of course, but also jot down or say aloud all the thoughts that cruise by. Don't judge or stifle them. Pay bill, buy the black pair, stop sending to VM, ice cream, be nice. Get it all down.
Once time is up, examine your notes alongside your magical intention. Was there a feeling or thought or memory that kept popping up that you know will bump you off your magical grind?
Do any of the thoughts you jotted down seem to align with your moon sign’s qualities?
Does anything trace back to a bigger, darker issue in your life—maybe a way you perceive yourself that hurts to admit? A past experience still fresh & top of mind, you can’t imagine it not always impacting your life?
Once the shadow thoughts are externalized & you can examine them, you can create a ceremony that confronts & neutralizes them, so they stop covertly sabotaging your follow-through.
SOOTHE THE SHADOW IN YOUR RITUAL.
Rituals are metaphorical; constructed with symbolic actions & words. Your ritual itself should address any vulnerabilities you might face on the path to fulfilling your intentions.
If your moon sign revealed a true need that must be appeased, or some internal block that may thwart your intentions, incorporate it into your phantasm. Your phantasm is the visualization key you use when meditating on your magical intention. It’s totally wordless & multi-sensory. Your phantasm is like a fantasy scene where you’re experiencing the transformation at the other end of your magical intentions. Pragmatic daydreaming. (Visit this post for more about phantasms & creative visualization.)
You might need to reimagine your fulfilled intention to accommodate what you now realize your instincts need & want. For instance, you might have fantasized about finding true love, but you’ve got a deep phobia about commitment. Your phantasm should play out in a way that soothes your anxiety about promising fidelity & love (what if s/he turns out to be the wrong one? what if I fall out of love later on? what if…), while also satisfying your craving for loving communion with another living soul.
You can also use the ceremonial space to forgive & release the internal block. Write it on flash paper, then burn it in a mini cauldron or metal waste bin during the ceremony. (Without risk of mayhem or injury.) This won’t “cure” or fix a tangible obstacle, so if there’s an outstanding issue, you’ve got to take those extra steps to correct it.
Beyond the phantasm & the ritual, the insights you’ve learned might also point to extra steps you need to take after the ceremony, when you’re actually trying to realize the intention. You may be able to soothe the shadow & break-down inner barriers, but you still need follow-through.
After all, your moon sign is a symbolic tool. What you discover through the sign & how you confront it in the ritual really only breaks up the topsoil on what’s going on in your shadow-world.
Honest-to-Goddess truth: discovering my moon sign amped up ALL the magics!
At first blush, it was entertaining. "Haha, that's uncanny! Anyways..."
But the insights stayed on my mind. I started "watching" myself. I was suddenly decoding all the psychic tides of my life: the stuff I thought was just purely me, purely chaos, coming from mashed-up experiences & random by-the-seat-of-my-pants synaptic reactions.
Personality is actually much more algorithmic than we think. Stars are the inputs; we are the outputs.
I wish you the BEST of luck on your own intuitive journey with your moon sign! I can't wait for your moon magic to start blowing UP!
What are you rediscovering about yourself? Tweet me about it! I've got lots to share, too!
Stay wild, moon child!
All illustrations by Karly Cherry!