Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 25, 2009

Why Transits to the Birth Moon are so Challenging

©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 When Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto transits the birth Moon, it is typical to experience a crisis in several areas related to the Moon at once, so interconnected are they. Those areas include our emotions, security, the home, family, and major women in our lives like our mothers.

In the midst of a transit to the Moon, just in the places we are most emotionally vulnerable, the rug is pulled out from under us. Just where we least want to feel anything, where we are the most defended and unconscious, we are flooded with emotions we may have been stuffing for years. Just where we most need safety and security, we find our foundations wobbling. Just where we are most attached to the past, where we least want change, it is thrust upon us–whether from within or without.

moonstarsfiddleoldsm-a2dYet, even when it appears to come from without–Mom retires and moves away–there is also an inner stirring that says, “Yes, actually, it was time to leave the womb.” Just as the baby may fear leaving the womb and yet find its walls more and more confining, we also come to a place where we need and want to venture forth, however timidly. That’s the thing we need to understand.

That old devil Moon isn’t causing the trouble, nor is it the fault of Pluto or Neptune. No, it’s an inner evolution, an irresistible urge to grow and to experience more of life and the world than our safety nets have been providing. Crab-like, we sidestep our way into new territory. Fear is next to excitement on the color wheel of the emotions, so some of the panic you feel may contain a wild admixture of excitement. It’s like the first time you left your block on your own as a small child . . . Sure, it was scary, but afterwards there was no stopping you–a new world was opening up!

And yet the Moon is responsive, is reactive rather than initiating, so we seldom leave the womb until the labor contractions propel us. Let’s say your natal Moon is in the 6th house–representing employment and your day to day work patterns. With the Moon there, the job is your home away from home–or maybe your abode is just your home away from the job. You’ve been at the same company for a decade or more, looking forward to that pension in the year2020, and you’d never leave that security behind. Still, it’s pretty boring, and there’s no growth potential. You’re tired of baking your prize-winning cookies for the office crew week after week, just because people expect it. Your ulcers are kicking up, because you’re sick of mothering your boss, the customers, and everybody else on the job. But, no, you’d never leave. Not willingly.

 So, guess what–you get a big transit to that 6th house Moon, there’s a buyout, some foreign outfit takes over, and heads roll, including yours. You’re really shook up, you eat a pint of ice cream a day, and suddenly you miss your Mom, big time! You may even fly back there for some home cooking and motherly advice. After the turmoil subsides and your nails grow out, you decide that maybe this change isn’t such a tragedy after all. While you’re on unemployment and still have that credit union cushion, it’s time to try the home business you’ve dreamed about for years. You try it, and it works. Or it doesn’t, but in the process you learn new skills that put you in line for a better job. Looking back on it, you decide the takeover was the best thing that ever happened to you.

Despite all the emoting, despite the unwelcome adjustments, despite your fears and insecurities, a major aspect to your Moon signals a period of great personal development. You’ve outgrown certain sources of dependency and security and are leaving them behind–stepping out of the nest or being kicked out of it, it doesn’t matter. The result is that you’re more grown up, get to experience new territory and learn a great deal about yourself in the process.

 Only about a 12th of you actually have your birth Moon in the 6th, but wherever it is, the house position of the birth Moon is an important factor. Throughout our lives, this shows the area of life where we tend to be most lunar. Successful functioning in that area of life can add to our security and sense of well-being. Difficulties or failures there can make us unhappy and insecure like almost nothing else. Generally this is an area where you have a strong emotional investment, so it is one where you periodically go ballistic. When the natal Moon receives an important transit, there often are important metamorphoses in matters of the house involved. The result can be a crisis in the lunar realm, a need to transform lunar functions that have become attached to that area of life.800px-View_of_residential_housesafterstorm-CarlMeinerthwiki

Suppose your natal Moon in the 10th house is being opposed by transiting Pluto in the 4th. There will typically be a conflict of interest between career and home life. Sometimes a shift in the home life creates stress at work, sometimes political struggles at work increase the demands on your home life, and sometimes both.

Or, let’s say your Moon is in the 11th–the house of friends and group activities–but transiting Saturn is in your 7th–marriage and other major partnerships.  Maybe you’ve been active in your local astrology group–president, even–and these demands have given you very little time to spend with your partner.  When the transit hits, that partner may go through a crisis and need much of your time and energy–or maybe even is giving you an ultimatum about leaving the group to fulfill your home responsibilities. 

In working with transits to the birth Moon, then, consider all the meanings of the house involved. There are likely to be profound alterations in these areas that are so crucial to your emotional well-being. Another consideration is the house position of the transiting planet, because you will often be called upon to integrate the functions of both houses.

More Posts about the Moon on this Blog:

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY:  a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World.  Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!   If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post.

Art credits:  The old drawing of the Moon came from and the sepid image of homes after a snowstorm are from a stereoscope image by Carl Meinterth in the public domain at WikiMedia Commons.


  1. Lovely post!

  2. During the most dificult period of my life, Neptune and Saturn were squaring my IC Moon. My life received quite a jarring from all sides, and the houses involved were shaken to the foundation. Jupiter decided to join in for a while with an opposition, just for laughs.

    Even if it seems everything has crumbled, astrological houses, and lives, can be rebuilt.

    This was a very relevant post for me, Donna. A little trip down memory lane can remind us where we don’t want to be again and prevent us from making similiar mistakes.

  3. Great post, I love to find this kind of material.
    I have moon/pluto conjunction in early libra in the first house and I’ve being feeling the transits of saturn, pluto and soon enough will be uranus.

    I wonder if there are any guidelines for lovingly plan for a 2nd child within this transits and if there are favorable times/cues to consider for a good family sinastry? Please Help! I want to see the bigger picture but I’m feeling anxious.

    • HI, Sabrina, I don’t do individual charts any more–retired due to severe burnout after 40 years. Donna

      • Hi Donna, I can understand! Is there someone you could recommend though?
        I usually don’t over stress about transits and mayor decisions, just keep an a eye on them, and trust the lessons to be learned will reveal themselves in the process.
        But this has being different…and I suspect the healthiest way is to go is get someone else’s perspective. I’m not sure this is the right place to ask for recommendations so I apologize in advance, but would greatly appreciate any advice.

      • Yes, I do have a list of astrologers whose work I know and trust for many years, which I’ll send you by email. (Or to anyone else who wants a recommendation.

        I know I probably shouldn’t put my two cents in, so you are welcome to tell me to butt out. I’d hate to bring a child into the world over the next couple of years, because the aspects are really tough ones for children born during that time to have to live with their whole lives.

        The Cardinal t-square that’s in orb for most of the next couple of years can so easily become a Grand Cross if the Moon or any of the faster moving planets is in the sign Cancer. It’s a lot like the charts of children born during the Great Depression, with a similar Cardinal t-sqare of Pluto, Uranus, and Saturn. Apologizing in advance, because I know I am out of line. Donna

  4. Precious two cents!
    You just rounded up the concern I’ve had for months and made it more clear. Thank you.

  5. Hey Donna,

    Really Im so glad you made that 2 cents donation!

    Now you have given me the information I need to pass along to another to make her stop, think and get a grip on what coming down the pipeline! And maybe get some tube tying going on that needs to get going on!!! Thank You! & Bless You and your 2 cents worth!!!

    Thanks for anti ing up on the wisdom and may you always feel free to speak you truths! Always!!! In the service to others!

    Love and Hugs to you,

    • Thanks, Julia, I’m glad my instincts to chime in were welcome. Donna

  6. Hello Donna,

    I am so glad that you have now a web site. I have some of your books and always loved the way you write. It’s alway easy to grasp the essence of all of your themes. That goes for your books as well.

    Regarding this subject, I know I will go through “something” with my moon at 3 Libra. In 1972 (Pluto cj Moon in transit), my mom divorced my dad and her life turn completely around. She started to do house cleaning (to feed 8 kids!!), got involved in all kind of classes and groups (my moon is in the 11th house) and she still active today at 82! She said to me that when it happened, it was a total liberation for her and I have a feeling that I might go through the same now at 46 (well I sure hope so, even though I am scare to death LOL!).

    Thanks Donna !

    • Hi, France, I have had so many women clients over the years who came to me when Pluto was transiting their Moon, and some of the stories were quite inspiring, because their Moms lives were changing greatly, breaking out of bad long-term relationships, for instance, or deciding to make major moves and life changes. And the mother’s break from the old patterns and the traditional roles gave the daughter PERMISSION to break the pattern as well. It sounds like a positive potential for you. Donna

  7. I like that you used the word “permission”. With my moon in Libra (which I curse lots of times) it seems like it’s very difficult to make a move without that “permission” from others. Thanks for your response.

  8. Hmmm. First, let me say that it’s things like this (the topic of this article) that make me LOVE astrology. Makes it so much easier to manage life!

    Right now, Saturn is transiting my 4th House and trining my Aquarius Moon in the 7th. And in stepping back and looking at the big picture, I realize I’ve been “managing” my relationships (including the ones that make up my foundations) by cutting out the ones that don’t work and tending to & investing in the ones that DO work.

    By 2013, Saturn will have moved to my 5th House and will be squaring that Moon. And I will need to have only the best relationships in my life for that period, because it’s going to be hard enough without dealing with partners who are a “liability.” (Geez… that really sounds like Saturn talking, doesn’t it? LOL)

    Anyway, I only just realized all this after reading your article, Donna, and taking an overview of my current Saturn / Moon transit. Very enlightening (and fun)! Thank you! 🙂

    • I’m delighted that it helped, Merryweather. Astrology is the greatest tool for self-understanding! Donna

  9. Hi Donna,
    Just found this forum’s topic in your list of references with your latest post. Saturn kept hitting my Moon in Virgo H10 -back and forth–at the very time that my husband announced he would not stay home with our newly adopted son and I had to face the biggest home vs. career dilemma of my life. At that time, my mother had just moved to my city to be close to me during the last years of her life. As Saturn stayed close to my moon, she went into crisis; I set it up for her to live in my house as a separate flat but then my siblings who live in another part of the country, literally fooled her into coming for a visit, and while there, got her to agree to go into a nursing home where she promptly slipped into severe dementia–a woman who, when she went off to Ontario for her “holiday” was functioning as a member of the parish council of the local Anglican cathedral.
    Any thoughts, Donna, on how Saturn in particular would play a role in this way? It sounds so Pluto-ish, but Pluto was busy at the time sneaking up to my Venus/North Node in Capricorn, where it hovers now! I should mention, too, that my Moon is at the apex of a Yod between Mars in Aries (less than 2 degrees) sextile Sun in Aquarius (less than two degrees) so Saturn added something to an already hot spot!
    Thank you, as ever!

    • Transits to the Moon by Saturn and all the outer planets do tend to create changes in our relationships with our mothers. But, no, what you describe is very Saturn-Moon. Mother getting older, less able, having to move to a much more limiting place. Donna

  10. One more thing I wanted to mention. It was at that time that I first saw a particular local astrologer (I was just starting to become intrigued by the intelligence of astrology) and she pointed out the conjunction of transiting Saturn with my natal Moon. As others have pointed out here and elsewhere on your site, that bit of information helped me hold onto my sanity at that time, more than all other pieces of information and adaptive functioning combined! It is so extraordinary when one first (and every time subsequently!) “gets” how intimately connected we are to the workings of the cosmos.

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