When I was in first grade, a boy from my class followed me home from school; midway, he hit me in the back. I hurried home without turning around; he must have slunk away. Years later I learned this boy had a crush on me. It was my first in a lifetime of puzzling encounters between the masculine and feminine–or Mars and the Moon. The Warrior and the Divine Feminine do not come together easily. How do we reconcile Mars’ desire with the Moon’s vulnerability? How do we hold space for both–for aggression and compassion, for daring-do and protective instincts, for nurture and the need to win?
I thought of this as NASA sent its rocket to crash into the Moon last week and emails from irate Moon-protectors exploded in my inbox. Because I’m a so-called “moon expert,” many wondered what I thought. My reaction was much like it was the day little Kevin socked me in the back. I wasn’t sure what to think. Except that it was definitely a Moon/Mars moment. And if there hadn’t been a Moon/Mars connection in the sky that day, I might have had to quit astrology! Sure enough, Mars was in the Moon’s sign, conjunct the Moon’s south node. Mars is debilitated in Cancer’s territory and at the south node, we fall into reactive habits. Meta-moon-fizzies held vigils, worried that the vulnerable Moon would be harmed by a patriarchal NASA acting like a wife beater or a stupid boy exploding firecrackers in a poor frog’s ass.
NASA, however, was just carrying out a controlled physics experiment in a search for water (that might bring us life-saving information in the future). Last June, the Japanese sent its own probe into the Moon’s surface without much world protest. The truth is the Moon is constantly attacked by space debris that’s far more punishing. Look at all those craters! What bothered me about the event was how easily we literalized–and misunderstood–the archetype. In a world where children regularly go hungry, where girls and mothers are raped, and where vulnerable men and women are bombed, didn’t we misplace our outrage? The Moon is a symbol of the Divine Feminine–something whose essence NASA cannot harm but that each of us, on a daily basis, can surely shatter–by our refusal to listen to the person in front of us, by our inability to show compassion to someone who confuses us, by the screams and criticism that drive men and women apart. If we really want to protect the Moon from the ravages of Mars, we don’t need to look to outer space. Just stay close and look within.