What Is A 'Moon Sign' In Astrology?

Even those not too familiar with astrology will likely recognize constellations from the zodiac like Libra, Virgo, Pisces, Gemini, Cancer, etc., and maybe the little symbols that accompany each one, like a crab for Cancer. There are twelve in all — each a different group of stars in the sky — and their location relative to the Earth changes over time as our planet rotates, revolves around the sun, wobbles on its axis, and so forth. 

Folks who ask something like, "I'm a Pisces — how about you?" are actually talking about their "sun sign," even if they don't realize it. For instance, was the sun hanging out in front of the stellar background of Leo (the lion) or Sagittarius (the archer) when you were born? And when folks "check their horoscope," they're checking the current celestial location of this constellation.

Sun signs, though, are only one tiny fragment of an entire zodiacal portrait. It's unreasonable to think that all of Earth's nearly 8 billion people (per The World Counts), with all their backgrounds, cultures, upbringings, genetics, inclinations, traits, drives, loves, quirks, etc., could possibly be reduced to a mere 12 psychological types. And hey, the ancient tradition of astrology would agree. Sun signs are kind of like a summary of a personality, i.e., what you "want out of this life," as the Times of India perfectly states. But "moon signs" — where the moon was hanging out when you were born — reveal someone's deepest, quietest inner world.

An inner, unseen world of needs and drives

As More overviews, the sun and moon signs symbolically represent the tension between one's outer desires and inner reservations. The sun shines brightly in the sky, lighting the way forward, and the moon shines dimly in darkness, casting a light on things overwise unseen (stated poetically). Maybe you've always wanted to go kayaking (following your sun sign's desire for novelty and adventure), but felt quietly afraid for your safety (following your moon sign's need for protection and order), and in the end decided, "You know what, I'm just gonna chill and read." 

The Independent continues talking about the importance of moon signs as a dominant force in someone's personality. Moon traits anchor decisions and reflect fears and deep, unconscious drives (like the need for stability). Lots of folks make choices based on the fear of harmful outcomes, for instance, rather than what they actually want. We'd all probably agree that for a person to be happy and fulfilled, innermost and outermost needs have to both be satisfied.

As Allure explains, the moon has had a long association with traditional notions of "femininity," in contrast to the sun and "masculinity." By extension, moon signs — in how they connect to innermost, unconscious fears and drives — are associated with early childhood connections to a maternal figure. This can mean how someone relates to their actual mother, or how they choose to "mother" themselves. Such drives guide from the darkness within, just like the moon.