Understanding your moon sign: What it means in astrology

The sun gets most of the shine when it comes to astrology, but fate and feeling are not determined by that showboating yellow dwarf star alone.

Nay, the moon is an equally important qualifier in our quest for self-knowledge. While the sun stays in each zodiac sign for roughly a month, the moon changes every two to 2½ days. Along with the rising sign, the sun and the moon make up the holy trinity known in astrology as “the big three.” 

What does your moon sign mean?

The moon reveals our style of need and the nourishment we did and didn’t receive as children. If the sun is the light we shine, the moon is the shadow we keep. Within the birth chart, astrologers look to that shadow to determine survival instincts, defense mechanisms and even eating habits. How are we fed and formed folks? By the light of the ever-loving moon. 

The moon has long been associated with fertility and childbirth. Likewise, the Moon in astrology is indicative of maternal influence and how we tend to the soil of our own inner child. 

For a more thorough understanding of the role your moon sign plays in your life, it is important to consider which of the twelve houses it falls in as well as its relationship to other planets. The house the natal moon occupies reveals the areas of life where we ourselves feel most at home.

The moon through the elements

The ruling element of the moon sign is also of great consequence. Fire moons react instinctively, intensely and oft irrationally. Their approach can be jarring but there’s a beauty and clarity to their bluntness. Air moons intellectualize emotion, preferring reason to outburst, and cool detachment to hot blooded engagement. Earth moons are slow to process. There’s a seriousness to them that can usually be softened by an illicit tryst, a warm meal or a walk in the park. Water moons are highly intuitive, emotionally manipulative and allergic to boundaries. Not only do they navigate the tides of their own feelings, but they also are prone to absorbing the vibes and feels of those around them and self-medicating accordingly.

How to find your moon sign?

To determine your moon sign, use a reputable birth chart calculator or moon sign generator. Once you’ve got a lasso on your lunation, read on and howl proud.

Moon in Aries

Hair triggers and hellfire, Aries moon individuals are admirably direct about their needs and abjectly impatient about meeting them. “Mine” and “now” are their guiding principles and you will never, ever have to ask them how they feel. You might, however, have to duck. 

Moon in Aries folk experience difficult childhoods where a certain amount of emotional self-sufficiency became necessary for survival. Because of this, they develop into radically sovereign adults who greet dependence of any kind with outward hostility. Despite or because of this, they make for fiercely protective parents and impassioned activists. 

The need to express is powerful for the lunar Aries: they’ve got to spit out that fire lest they self immolate. This quality makes them quick to temper and quick to quarrel, case in point our beloved Cardi B who engaged in wars great and small with the likes of Nicki Minaj, conservative commentator Candace Owens, a crew of trash-talking 10-year-olds, and even Peppa Pig. Not only are those with Aries moons prepared for war, they prefer it, as it improves circulation and gives them a sense of purpose. Ever-ready to defend or strike, they often imagine threats where no threat exists. Anyone who has ever spontaneously combusted had an Aries moon. 

Because the extreme expression of anger is violence, we as a collective forget that anger has value, especially as a tool for survival and triumph. At its highest expression, it is the fuel that moves us forward and through. The lesson to be learned by the lunar Aries is that when they allow anger to inspire change within them, rather than conspire to unmake them, they are limitless.

Moon in Aries folk experience difficult childhoods where a certain amount of emotional self-sufficiency became necessary for survival.
Moon in Aries folk experience difficult childhoods where a certain amount of emotional self-sufficiency became necessary for survival.
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Moon in Taurus

The Taurus moon wants to care and be cared for on a deeply creaturely level. They actively avoid anything that poses a threat to the easy lives they establish and will rarely initiate unless they have determined the safety, viability and return on investment of their actions. The upswing of this modality is that they don’t engage in low-level self-sabotage; the downturn is they resist change in order to maintain a sense of stability. Not the gambling type, they prefer to protect themselves and their finances by being overly cautious. 

They value comfort above all else, indeed the mass acceptance of Athleisure wear has been a real boon to the people of the bull moon, as illustrated by Taurus moon native Anna Kendrick

Because Taurus is linked to the second house of possessions, those with this natal moon-like things and have been known to lean heavily into home furnishings and pantry items. 

Those with this moon placement typically have a Susie Homemaker kind of mother figure. This foundation imbues them with the ability to self-soothe through caretaking of their animal body, buying durable luxury goods and spending time outdoors. They are markedly romantic and come across as warm and devoted to the well-being of others. They will never, ever refuse a potato.

The Taurus moon feels most at ease with their resources secured in the home they create for themselves. Owning property — a prized piece of the Earth itself — is of great importance to them. They crave and are divinely positioned to receive abundance but resist or block it because of a scarcity/starvation mindset. Within these natives lives the fear of financial ruin and they respond by amassing more than what they need and harboring an unhealthy idea about what is sufficient. They are at their most beautiful when they can live indulgently, give freely and rest easily in the knowledge that they have, and are, enough.

Moon in Gemini

Gemini astrology zodiac
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Moon in Gemini energy is best described by Lana Del Rey in her 2012 bop, “Ride”: “I’m tired of feeling like I’m f–king crazy/I’m tired of driving ’till I see stars in my eyes/I’ve got a war in my mind.” Indeed, Gemini is the sign of the mind and those with this lunar placement sometimes struggle with being in a closed loop of conversation with themselves. 

Duality, a hallmark of Gemini energy, is expressed here in the disconnect between their private and public selves. To friends and acquaintances they are endlessly engaging; doling out dirty jokes, sage life advice and charm by the bucket. In their closest relationships, they feel safe enough for their keenly moody side to emerge. They can be erratic and even cutting toward their inner circle. 

The mother in the lives of those with a Gemini moon is usually childlike or stunted in some way that makes her more of an older sister than a traditional mother. This unpredictable upbringing lends itself to a quick-witted, fast-learning and highly adaptable adult. 

While language and talking about feelings is second nature to these folks, really inhabiting those feelings is a struggle. From an emotional standpoint, they don’t always know what they want or need, a confusion that makes the road to contentment elusive. Rarely still, the constant motion of their bodies reflects the restlessness of their minds.

Incredibly likable, they are made for social gatherings as it is in conversation with others that they are able to temporarily ease the pain of being in their own heads. Needing reprieve, lunar Geminis enjoy reading, writing, talking, listening and escaping into the world of words and information processing. They feel despondent when they are unstimulated and sometimes pick challenging or even unhealthy partners because they would rather be tortured than tuned to monotony. This is to their own detriment as the lunar Gemini needs what it lacks; decisive, practical and emotionally available partners in love or business. 

While they offer others the gift of understanding they themselves feel deeply misunderstood, a wound that can only be sutured by getting in touch with their emotional center and telling themselves a different kind of story.

Moon in Cancer

Cancer is the natural nesting place of the moon and as such the lunar qualities of these individuals are heightened. Seriously sensitive, highly intuitive and intensely nostalgic lunar Cancers are easily wounded and prone to carrying the albatross of inherited trauma. They are drawn to places and people that remind them of their own ancestry and history. Problematically nostalgic, they over idealize the past, remembering it wistfully and. 

There is no moon more adept at or interested in caretaking than the lunar Cancer. They feel valuable when they are able to assist, protect or meaningfully impact others. Misdirected, this devotion can easily cross the line into martyrdom or express itself as self-pity. With a distaste for surface-level interactions, these folks prefer the close company of a few trusted people. They need true connection and feel safest when their roots are tangled close to the ones they love. There is a danger amongst lunar Cancers of taking the easy road in life and especially in relationships as a preventative measure against upset or abandonment, a passivity that leads to stagnation. 

Cancer is the natural nesting place of the moon and as such the lunar qualities of these individuals are heightened.
Cancer is the natural nesting place of the moon and as such the lunar qualities of these individuals are heightened.
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Moon in Cancer suggests a mother or maternal figure that experienced extreme and ever-changing emotions. The moon in Cancer child learned early to adapt to these shifting emotional energies and developed the desire to make it better through their own efforts. 

Those with this placement develop strong defenses to guard their acute vulnerability and may develop substance issues as a way to dull their sensitivities. In order to avoid harm, they may avoid intimacy or use humor to deflect from the oceanic intensity of their moods. Indeed, an inordinate amount of comedians have this moon placement. The archetype of the sad clown abounds in Adam Sandler, Tracy Morgan, Dave Chapelle, Lewis Black, Aziz Ansari, Ron White, Bob Hope, John Candy, Mike Myers, Ken Jeong, Phyllis Diller and Mindy Kaling

Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler
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Moon in Leo

Those with this lunar placement are given to high flair and the pursuit of pleasure. Charismatic and warm, they’re prone to impulsivity and idealism in matters of the heart, falling fast and pedestaling their partners. Leo moons are optimistic and vain, creative and lazy. Believing themselves to be and deserve the best they run the risk of overspending their budget and overestimating their charm. 

There’s a bit of an “all press is good press” mentality to those with this moon. They only feel safe if they feel noticed and only feel nourished if they feel adored. In a healthy expression, that admiration is earned through generosity and a desire to be of use and to elevate others. Problems arise when their need for attention becomes unquenchable and they look to a multitude of outsiders to give them the positive feedback they need. This need may manifest as a series of one-dimensional relationships fueled by flattery and marked by disappointment. 

The mother figure for those with natal moon in Leo is a kind of grande dame who either failed to give her striving children the attention they needed or was overbearing and a bit of a “Dance Mom,” pushing them towards success in the hopes the shine of it would lend them some spotlight. This mother taught her children to carry themselves with dignity and never to allow a personal upset to stand in the way of their public perception. 

These folks like lavish things and important people, they feel most at home in the company of greatness and finery, as it reflects for them the vision they have of themselves. Looking at you lunar Leo, literary lion, avowed Aesthetic and shameless dandy Oscar Wilde

Moon in Virgo

Virgo zodiac astrology
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Plagued by perfection, there’s a low-level anxiety that hums in the hearts of lunar Virgos. Hypercritical, they feel compelled to account for the failures and shortcomings of themselves and others, a habit, gone unchecked, that robs them of joy and undermines their ability to exist in the present moment. 

This moon needs to be needed and finds emotional fulfillment in productivity and the ability to help others on a path to betterment. Cue Matthew “Green Lights” McConaughey, a lunar Virgo, giving America an aspirational, this-is-how-you-can-be-better pep talk on July 4. 

Affection for this ilk is expressed through practicality. They won’t buy you flowers because flowers die; instead, they’ll buy you a basil plant because it’s a food source and a way for them to test your sense of responsibility. 

The maternal figure was likely traditional with a scoured kitchen floor and the pervasive energy of wanting more from her children than they were able to deliver. This energy translates in the Virgo moon adult as resistance to emotionality. Feelings get in the way of work, so they would prefer to alphabetize and repress them. They’re strangely soothed by the mundane realities of life and reach near elation in balancing the checkbook or scratching items off the to-do list. Pleasure is a byproduct of work rather than a respite from it. Security for them stems from order and clarity. 

Moon in Libra

Libra zodiac astrology
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Lunar Libras feel safe when they are wanted and anointed by favoritism. They seek this position by putting the needs of others ahead of their own, oftentimes to such a degree that they cannot discern their own wants from their desire to satisfy others. Solitude and reflection are essential medicine for this modality. 

The mother figure for lunar Libras is usually a dashed romantic whose ideal relationship was always out of reach. The child was cast in the role of mediating between two parents, ever grasping for peace and displaying a dark willingness to do anything to achieve and maintain it.

Those with this lunar placement are both admirably flexible and maddeningly indecisive. Yet their wishy-washy people-pleasing finds a productive outlet in mediation and diplomacy, à la lunar Libra Henry Kissinger. The goal is to strike a balance (pun intended) between adaptability and authenticity.

These people trade in charm, affection and likability. They cannot abide ugliness in others, be it aesthetics or temperament. They maintain the misguided belief that what is good must be beautiful and what is beautiful must be good. Sometimes, moon in Libra natives manage within themselves to be both, as is the case with beloved babes and nonpartisan crowd-pleasers Bruce Springsteen and Harry Styles

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Kevin Mazur

There is no human being more conflict-averse than the one with their natal moon in Libra. This avoidance makes lunar Libras benign to others but somewhat dangerous to themselves They view upset as a threat to — rather than a necessary part of — relationships. They will regularly disguise their desires and then feel disappointed when they go unmet. Gracious? Yes. Direct? Never.

They look to others for validation and to confirm that they are worthy of love. The key takeaway for those with this placement is to look inward as self-love is the only kind with staying power. Further, they must learn that relationships without conflict are relationships without depth.

Moon in Scorpio

Psychic and a little spooky, this lunar placement is the province of those that see beyond the surface. These folks pride themselves on being able to detect motivations, agendas, weaknesses and opportunities invisible to mere mortals. Scorpio moons peer through you and dig into you, typically without blinking or consent. This intensity can feel alluring or downright off-putting depending on the temperament of the person being emotionally exhumed. 

Their need to uncover can manifest as devotion to research and craft or the harboring of unhealthy fixations. Scientists and psychopaths find fertile ground here. Because obsession and investigation are solo activities their circle is usually small though their influence is widely felt. They’re not afraid of their own darkness and at their best are able to draw their demons into the sunlight of self-expression, a modality exhibited by lunar Scorpios Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. These folks don’t shy away from the shadow side of others, making them excellent counselors, therapists and criminal accomplices. 

The maternal figure for those with this placement was likely an unwilling mother who suffered her own heavy losses and serious sorrows. Though she may have cared for her child, the child sensed and internalized being somehow unwanted. As adults they’re imbued with the energy of the suspicious survivor, one who keeps others dependent upon them in order to avoid abandonment.  

Lunar Scorpios fear betrayal and the subversion of their power. While their feelings run deep and paranoia run high they present as controlled and even distant. They are unlikely to forget a kindness or forgive an insult. Intelligence and intuition conspire together to make fierce friends or formidable enemies. In relationships, a lunar Scorpio either pretends their ex is dead or never fully releases them. The latter disposition is displayed by power couple Scorpio Moons Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Moon in Sagittarius

Let the good times and the dice roll. Lunar Sagittatarians find safety in freedom and security through personal growth. Education, both traditional and self-directed, is a mark of this moon. The lunar Sag wants to wander the borderlines and boundary edges between the known and the undiscovered, a pursuit exemplified by spiritual pioneer and psychedelic advocate Ram Dass, man on the moon Neil Armstrong, and brilliant, black hole-loving broom ’stache Albert Einstein

The enthusiasm and humor of this ilk is a contagion that makes their tendency to preach, exaggerate and obfuscate the truth mostly forgivable. Natural storytellers, they sometimes struggle with blunt force delivery and the weaponization of their words. They value knowledge above all else as they see it as the single thing that cannot be taken from them and the means by which to overcome any trouble life delivers. Wonderful teachers, they love to see consciousness bloom in others.

The mother for this moon was likely a lifelong learner who sought enlightenment in spite of — and because of — trying life conditions. So important was self-discovery to this momma that she may have been somewhat absent mentally or physically. This manifests in the lunar Sag as an inner restlessness and a resistance to dependence of any kind. While they are inherently generous — looking at you, Oprah — they are not conditioned or positioned to receive or accept, a wound they must work to suture.

Oprah Winfrey
Epic gifter Oprah Winfrey
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Lunar Sagittarians are generally good at being — and having — a very good time, but trouble arises when they go to unhealthy lengths or indulge in unnecessary excess to keep the party going. The salvation of these folks and the lesson they lend to others is incessant optimism; no matter the blow, trauma or derailment, they seek the silver lining and golden opportunity in each and every hardship. 

Moon in Capricorn

Capricorn zodiac astrology
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No matter how rough the going gets, the lunar Capricorn keeps composed. These folks harbor a wellspring of emotions but are continually blocked from expressing them. They fear letting go and find overt displays of feeling and affection tacky. For them, the ability to maintain decorum and forward momentum amidst chaos is a personal strength. Their great lesson is to learn to enjoy and not simply manage life. 

Not a merry band of risk-takers, lunar Caps crave status, security and the approval of others. They excel at organization and need very much to be trusted and revered when it comes to their ability to do so. 

The mother in the lives of those with natal moon in Capricorn was a bit of a perfectionist with little patience for the learning through failure modality of children. As a result, people with this placement develop adult sensibilities and self-discipline very early on. They have a hard time asking for help or human tenderness as they were raised not to expect it. 

Ambitious, their standards for others (and most of all themselves) are absolutely punishing. Because their sense of self-worth is tied to achievement, they take defeat, rejection and criticism especially hard. At its darkest expression, this can lead to depression and substance abuse. 

Often, and to great effect, they are able to channel pain into productivity like lunar Capricorn, musician and mogul Frank Ocean. Following the death of his brother, Ocean launched the luxury brand Homer. “This project has kept my mind moving and my imagination turning throughout it all,” he said. “My hope is to make things that last. Things that are hard to destroy, set it in stone.” This desire to build something of enduring value is the driving force for lunar Capricorns.

Moon in Aquarius

Moon in Aquarius is the domain of oddballs and anarchists. They’re built to watch, question and disrupt. Naturally shy, and acutely different, they regularly feel like outsiders, a somewhat lonely positioning that grants them the vantage point of observation. They see all and in turn, are endlessly fascinated by the view. 

At their highest expression, lunar Aquarians are intellectuals who want very much to dismantle harmful or limiting social structures. These people value freedom and want to help others find it. Case in point: lunar Aquarius and the purple majesty himself, Prince. The shadow side of this is a fear of being dependent or having others depend on them. Thus, security for those with moon in Aquarius can feel like the absence of attachment. 

In romantic relationships they offer their partners a great deal of independence, expecting the same in return. They cast a weird wide net when it comes to friends, always willing to accept without judgment the strangeness of others. 

The mother figure related to this lunar placement was a combination of erratic flakiness and progressive thinking. She likely fared better with teenagers she could talk to then-toddlers she was responsible for. This moon placement is the province of the parent as pal dynamic. 

Like all air moons, lunar Aquarians are somewhat emotionally detached. Yet, these folks go a step beyond, denying the uglier base feelings of jealousy, rage, fear and greed, falsely believing themselves to be above them. When repression ultimately fails them, the result is extreme and unpredictable; think abandoning someone at the altar, disappearing to a foreign country, assuming another identity, etc. 

Moon in Pisces

Pisces astrology zodiac
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Dreamy at best, delusional at worst, moon in Pisces is the watery home of geniuses, empaths, and people who wear prosthetic fairy ears.  

These folks are in touch with the collective unconscious and the best of them reveal what the best for all can be. Case in point: revolutionary dreamer and lunar Pisces Martin Luther King Jr. Psychic and sometimes spaced out, those with this moon placement seem not quite suited for this world, a distinction that gives them great and unusual creative prowess, as exhibited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and Renaissance man amongst men Leonardo Da Vinci.

Empathetic extraterrestrials that they are, these folk habitually cast themselves in the role of rescuer. Lunar Pisceans also easily absorb the feelings and psychic debris of others, an exhausting combination that can lead them to seek solace in substances. 

The mother for those with this moon was one of two extreme archetypes: either a martyr/saint who did all for all, or a wounded bird that required a certain degree of caretaking from her own children. As a result, the lunar Pisces is drawn towards scenarios where caretaking is called for, or, never feeling cared for enough, seeks out situations in which they can be indulgently, latently, nurtured.  

The potential for feeling is vast among these natives and they must learn to dip cautiously into the currents of pain and consciousness but not allow themselves to be swept away or drawn under by them.


Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.

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