Question: I understand the symbolism of the Sun and Moon coming together in synastry. But how does it work in practice? What is the interaction?
Connections between the Sun and Moon in synastry are an astrological given. We all hope for them, we all look for them first off. But what does it really mean to have the Sun and the Moon in aspect?
What we’re looking for in Sun/Moon contacts, what we expect, is a wordless union of purpose. If the Moon is all that we are (and have been), and the Sun is the engine to all that we’re becoming, the Moon/Sun link is the place where my consciousness meets up with your purpose. If my Moon is in the same sign as your Sun, my accumulated knowledge fits wordlessly into your spiritual unfolding. The Moon person, male or female, usually takes the supportive role, the Sun person the inspirational one. Moon helps the Sun to create. Sun inspires the Moon to become more.
Sun/Moon, in alchemical terms, is the symbol of the Conjunctio, the Heiros Gamos or ‘sacred marriage.’ It’s a stage in the alchemical process where the higher and the lower meet, the physical and the spiritual worlds work as one. It’s related to the heart chakra, which unites higher mind and body, Earth and sky. It allows the higher states of consciousness to be integrated. It is our best life, a path that allows each earthly moment to be imbued with spirit. (No one tells you that you have to go through the other stages, Calcinatio (burning), Dissolutio (washing, disintegrating) and Separatio (letting go) before Conjunctio will kick in.) In synastry, we expect good Sun/Moon contacts (the conjunction, especially) to float us down a river of bliss, or at least peace. It doesn’t really work that way.
In a natal chart, good Sun/Moon contacts go a long way to helping us make that desired integration of past and present, higher and lower, body and spirit. The person’s past emotional integration is not at odds with the current life path. Not much attitude adjustment is needed.
Theoretically, in a synastry, two people coming together with this aspect should facilitate one another in this way. There is an understanding between them. They feel comfortable together, complimented. They like one another. This works even in compatible elements (fire/air, earth/water) without an exact aspect, although the more exact the aspect, the greater the integration. The practical, worldly experience of the Moon person compliments and aids the Sun in its spiritual journey. In theory, at least.
Why isn’t it foolproof, then?
Ever had a non-sexual relationship with someone whose Sun was conjunct your Moon, or vice versa? A friendship perhaps? Work colleague? Ever notice what happens? Usually, you get along okay, sometimes fabulously. You like the same things, you have the same attitudes, you feel comfortable with one another. You have fun together. But then, what happens? All that same-y stuff runs down an unconscious river between you. Pretty soon, you don’t notice it anymore, and then that’s when the conflicts of other planets kick in. And that wave of unconscious nicey-nice-ness that you were relying on suddenly turns on you a bit, because you find that the same qualities you really don’t like in yourself are reflected in the other person, like a bad mirror staring back at you all the time. Moon in Leo starts resenting Sun in Leo’s need for attention. Moon in Pisces starts steaming because Sun in Pisces is never home for dinner on time. One thing that has to be watched for, with ‘soft’ Sun/Moon contacts, is partners taking one another for granted or not recognizing problems when they arise. They can assume too much of one another. Truthfully, I prefer to see Sun/Moon hard aspects in synastry, because it causes a couple to have to reach out to one another without causing much upheaval or stress. It makes them interesting to one another. (Moon/Moon hard aspects can be much more difficult, because their inner lives may be completely at odds.)
And of course, the contact can’t be interpreted on it’s own. Any planet affecting the aspect will colour the entire relationship. A Sun/Moon aspect with Pluto on top is always going to be about integrating power. With Uranus, freedom and space will be an issue. Neptune will raise boundary problems, and question the solidity of the relationship. Jupiter may veer towards excesses, or be focused on higher understanding. If Mars is there, there will be lots of sex or arguments or both. Venus softens the contact considerably, and Mercury facilitates the capacity for communication, verbal or otherwise.
Also, Sun/Moon, in and of itself, isn’t a particularly exciting aspect. If you’re looking for magnetic attraction, fire or sexual charge, you have to look elsewhere. Sun/Moon contacts are like the pieces of a puzzle. When the soft aspects are involved, the pieces fit in nicely. With the hard aspects, you may have to shove them in, or bite the edges a bit. Even so, this is better than no aspect, where the pieces don’t fit at all.
Addendum: I’ve noticed that on a few forums there has been a misunderstanding of the relation between the Sun and Moon as depicted in this article. The fault is all in my sloppy writing. The idea is being picked up that the Moon already has been where the Sun is going. This isn’t the case. The Sun is an absolute within itself, the energetic engine of spiritual development, and is complete within itself. The Sun is not a developing entity, it is the central creative impetus for the chart and the life. The whole point of the Sun is that it operates beyond material reality. The Moon provides a back up for what the Sun is poised to create. For a more detailed explanation of what the Sun and the Moon represent in a chart, see the series, “The Mystery of Solar Fire.”