The Crab in the Iron Shell: Hard Aspects Between the Natal Moon and Saturn

Hard Aspects Between Natal Moon and Saturn


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The natal Moon describes how someone was nurtured as a child, and how they respond to nurturing as an adult. When the Moon is combined with Saturn (the planet of limitations and restrictions) in a hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition, inconjunct), a fortress is built around this most vulnerable area. Saturn can freeze emotional development, but only those who get close to the Moon/Saturn person will ever see this. In many ways the Moon/Saturn person is an iron-shelled version of the crab (symbol of the Cancer, the Moon’s sign).

The Moon/Saturn “Shell”

To most people, the Moon/Saturn person appears cool and in charge. Their emotions (Moon) are tightly controlled by Saturn, so they come across as supremely adult. Saturn adds grit; you will not find a more patient, harder-working individual than the Moon/Saturn person. The tension from the hard aspects can make them appear superhuman, as they shoulder tremendous burdens. To someone searching for a partner who’s got their act together, the Moon/Saturn person can seem ideal.

Inside the The Moon/Saturn Personality

The reality of the Moon/Saturn person is rather different. The process of opening up to a new partner can be painfully slow. They are deeply afraid of being vulnerable and want absolute assurance that they will not be hurt. Saturn limits their ability to take emotional risks, so a prospective partner will have to work (Saturn) to prove themselves. Some Moon/Saturn people are drawn to relationships in which open expression of emotions is discouraged. It feels natural (Moon) for them to have external limits (Saturn) placed on their feelings. There must be an element of struggle—even punishment—in the mix, because security that is achieved too easily feels wrong. However, once they let their defenses down, a whole new personality is revealed.

In Astrology: Transformation & Empowerment, Adrian Ross Duncan describes the tremendous need inside the Moon/Saturn person. When they finally decide that it’s safe to unlock Saturn’s iron cage, a clingy, vulnerable person jumps out. Suddenly, they demand constant reassurance. They appear to need (Moon) more support than anyone can provide. If the Moon/Saturn person receives a whiff of hesitation from their partner, they will interpret this as rejection. The cage door slams shut, and the Moon/Saturn person abruptly withdraws, becoming Mr. or Mrs. Cool once again.

Transformative Moon/Saturn Relationships

This is a critical point in a Moon/Saturn relationship. If you are partnered with a Moon/Saturn person, know that you have found someone who will be faithful and responsible, despite their childlike vulnerability. If you choose to stick it out, you can help the Moon/Saturn person overcome their core belief that they do not deserve to be nurtured. This will involve much patience and wading through a host of fears, suspicions, and immature behavior.

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As a child, the Moon/Saturn person felt that love and acceptance from their parents was based on achievement (Saturn). The family’s social position might have been tied to the child’s actions. Perhaps the mother lived out her desire for status through the Moon/Saturn person. This is an adult burden for a child to carry. It lead to the certainty that love had to be earned. At the same time, they feel that they will never be good enough to earn it.

For the Moon/Saturn person, the pattern of stoically holding back then overwhelming a partner with their needs can be broken. Their task is to develop their own emotional resources and become their own parent. Saturn’s protection has (ironically) prevented them from developing a thick skin. Only by taking risks and consistently exposing themselves to intimacy will they be able to develop true maturity. This will mean opening up to someone and not shutting down the moment things go awry.

The energy of the hard aspects can be used to escape from this prison, while Saturn’s resilience can create a solid emotional core. Once again, the Moon/Saturn person is being called upon to shoulder a responsibility. This time it’s the responsibility for their own needs. Their reward will be a stable relationship based on trust, and the certainty that they deserve to be loved.

Are you a Moon/Saturn person or involved with a Moon/Saturn person? Let us know how you “crack” the iron-shelled crab in comments below.

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About Nadia Gilchrist

Nadia Gilchrist offers 15 years of experience in Evolutionary and Traditional astrology. Her writings and personal consultations focus on applying astrology and tarot readings with a clear, practical approach to the real world. Nadia blogs regularly at Ruby Slipper Astrology.
 

Comments

  1. Thanks, Nadia! A good article.

  2. Nice post, Nadia! I apparently am dating a Saturn Square Moon….Cancer sun. We’ve been dating for 7 months now, and I thought his modesty (constant modesty) was because of an ex who died a little over two years ago (she wasn’t an ex at the time, so you can only imagine) and then the girl after her who totally dumped him in one of the most disrespectful ways. I don’t think the second girl was serious enough for him. Well, add those two on top of him being a Cancer and having to learn to keep his emotions hidden as to not freak the other party out. He said he’s aware that he used to be the clingy puppy that wouldn’t let go of the person’s leg, but I don’t know how long ago that was. He’s also extremely independent and likes to have his crab space quite often, which is totally ok from my standpoint. If we shack up together, I know we’ll need at least a 2 bedroom place. But, he just recently told me he loved me and I met his parents on Easter Sunday. The deceased ex is the only other one who has gotten to meet them… Oddly enough though, I want to see the clingy side, but at the same time I have a feeling he has it under such control that I won’t ever see it. Although, there still exists an unfelt bond between us. I figure it’s because we’re still new (imo). But, I’ll leave this open to whoever has had a saturn/moon partner who already went into uber clingy mode.

  3. @no-perspiration

    So good to hear you both are doing so well!!!

    @Nadia Gilchrist
    Another great article. I don’t know anyone offhand who has this aspect. Now, I want to look at family and friends charts to see. Knowing about Moon/Saturn will make me more sensitive to their needs!

  4. seekerloverkeeper says:

    I’m really intrigued by this post. I was reading it while out and about today and nodding, nodding, nodding – but then when I came home and checked my natal aspects I was surprised to find that Saturn and my Moon were not in conversation at all at the time of my birth. Is there another combination that would mimic this one, by any chance?

  5. shadoseer says:

    Hmm will the comment I left show here or just on fb?

  6. @ Tracey L. Rogers
    Thank you!

  7. @no-perspiration
    Two possibilities with his clingy side.
    1) He’s dealt with it and matured so you may never experience it. In it’s place there would deep, abiding love without the panic.
    2)The clingy side is there and you will see but it will take a long time. If he’s just told you he loves you this means hes still in the process of letting down his armor (but he’s well on his way). The neediness is a last frontier for Moon/Saturn people…only to be revealed when they feel totally comfortable and trusting.

  8. @NovLady
    Thanks!
    Great attitude re: seeking to understand the aspects of other people. This is what astrology is all about.

  9. @seekerloverkeeper

    Other combinations that could mimic Moon/Saturn energy:
    -Moon in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn)
    -Moon in the 10th House (naturally ruled by Saturn)
    -Saturn in Cancer (ruled by the Moon) or Saturn in the 4th House (naturally ruled by the Moon)
    -Venus in Cancer in hard aspect to Saturn
    -progressed Moon in Capricorn or in hard aspect to progressed or natal Saturn

    In some cases, Moon in hard aspect to Pluto can share similar qualities to Moon/Saturn.

  10. I have my moon and saturn conjunct in Sag :) I never share my emotions with others unless they are happy or rage-y. Its rarely a problem, because I’m almost always happy. Last month though I went home to my parent’s house for the first time since our family dog died in January, and being there when she wasnt was horrible. I spent the whole time home crying. So when I went out with my friends I did NOT want to go back to my house, but for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to tell my friends I didn’t want to go home because it was too sad. They don’t even know my dog died because I don’t share sad things. So then I decided it might be a problem that I keep my emotions so tightly locked up. But at the same time the last time I felt needy like that was over 4 years ago, and soo.. its not a problem often enough for me to bother fixing it.

    Neediness absolutely disgusts me. I don’t know if that’s my Saturn-Moon or my Sag though. Probably both.

  11. I discovered that my sister has this aspect. This helps me understand her better!

  12. So awesome to read the above. I feel like this article has been written about me!

    Moon in Capricorn in the 4th house opposing Saturn in Cancer in the 10th House

    I can totally relate to almost EVERYTHING! I have always been so responsible and find it extremely hard to open up and show my emotions. I need 100% guarantee that I am not going to be hurt to let myself be vulnerable and it’s just not realistic. I have seen that neediness come to the surface the odd times that I have let my guard down.

    I’m also that hard working, patient individual who appears superhuman while shouldering tremendous burdens. Just realised that I seek love and acceptance from my parents through my achievements, have been like this all my life.

    I am so grateful to have stumbled across this article and the website to be honest. Have gained a lot of clarity about myself and feel quite hopeful about opening up in the future.

    With Gratitude,

    E-Bloom

  13. @Lizzie
    You’re correct….both Sag and the conjunction to Saturn will make neediness a turn-off. Saturn in Sag will put an extreme filter on what feelings you express. Sag has a distaste for being bogged down with sadness and Saturn will focus that even more. It’s like disciplined happiness.

  14. @E-Bloom,
    Thanks for the great feedback!
    I’m pleased that you’ve found the clarity you’ve been seeking.

  15. Thank you, Nadia,
    your article just hit the soft spot. Both people have got moon conjunct their ascendant. Hers is leo his is scorpio. She has an opp to saturn, he a square to saturn on his IC. They fell in love and at first they were both very clingy. Now he is withdrawing, which left her shaking. She also has pluto on IC square to the moon-saturn opp.
    In their synastry there is a focus on his IC saturn, his NN being there and her vertex. So I understand in order to move foreward since they still love each other this saturn-moon issue has to be brought to conciousness.
    His father left the family when he was a child. His mother never got over it and he absorbed all her negative feelings which made him leave his mother when he was 14 and move to his father.
    She was born when her parents were on the brink of getting seperated. They did when she was five years old.
    She loved her father dearly and he died when she was fifteen. The withdrawel of her boyfriend brought all the pain about the death of her father to the surface.
    Their relationship brings out a great deal of inner pain and fear in each of them.

  16. @moewe
    You’re welcome.
    Thank you for sharing this. This sounds like quite the relationship….multiple layers of need (Moon) versus the urge for protection (Saturn).
    Pluto and Saturn on their respective ICs would make home and security touchy subjects for both of them. Conflicting energies: Pluto on her IC is the drive to transform the past (although that will be blocked by fear) and Saturn on the IC is the drive to keep it the same.

  17. My boyfriend has this aspect hard core! Not only is this at the fore front, but he has a Cancer Sun/Moon aspect as well! I’m constantly having to deal with moody behavior during the week and trying to help him overcome his insecurities from his childhood about not feeling adequate enough as a son from both his parents.

  18. Calliecallie says:

    Well… that’s me. 12th house Taurus moon squares 10th house Aqua Saturn.
    You don’t actually think I’m going to share some personal story, do you?
    Hahah.
    No, I’ll say this… In a relationship, if I even mildly detect the slightest “hesitation” from my partner, real or not, I will turn into a complete over-reactive child who wants to crazily and immaturely reject before I get rejected. I honestly don’t know what comes over me. My current boyfriend though, has been incredibly supportive and is helping get over this insecurity. Jealous of his Moon/Saturn trine haha. He’s the only person who has ever seen me like that. Ask anyone else and I’m one of the calmest, coolest, responsible, and most mature people they know.
    Oh yeah, and as far as my parents go, I’m just the little last child they got too lazy to parent.

  19. Finally someone talking of the rough duty of this aspect. I have Scorpio Moon/Sat opp in t square with Merc. Shuts down communication and feelings. A friend who knows me really well calls this opp my “hard line” which is so appropriate. Not only can I clam up tight but I can hold on for a long time, thanks to Scorpio. Thanks for the article because it brings understanding, validity and acceptance to a hard line.

  20. scarabbug says:

    This is so painfully true.. I’m a Leo, my Sun square my Scorpio Moon in the 1st house. To make the matter worse, my Scorpio Moon is conjunct my Libra Pluto (29* Libra) on one side, and my Scorpio Saturn on the other (all of this happening in the 1st house).. Emotionally, it’s a living hell..

    True, I tend to feel everything so intensely, to the point where I think that, if I was to open up my chest, all the emotions would flood the world and everybody in it.. So, I tend to keep them to myself.. People think I’m this cool, collected person, always on top of her game, and I am, however, when it comes to the matters of the heart, I truly believe that none of my partners ever knew just how much I felt for them.. because, I’m sure they would’ve felt smothered by these “emotion/energy” volcanoes I felt.

    It’s not easy dealing with a person like me, so I tend to make it easier on the people around me.. It gets lonely, though.. Sometimes, you can sit among friends, and know exactly how every single one of them feels at that moment, and every single thought that runs through their heads, and at the same time, be perfectly sure that none of them can even guess what goes on inside your mind, not to mention your heart.

    Once you become aware of this problem of opening up to the rest of the ‘mortals’, you hit a wall: where the hell do I begin?? I found that stating your emotions, or needs, can be very helpful. No, you are not this animal that can carry all the load of this world on your shoulders – you are a person, with a voice, so – use it.

    Express. Explode. Do not implode. People with this and similar placements are already impressionable enough, so, surely, processing their impressions, and their emotions, and exporting them to the outside world, which is their PREROGATIVE by the way ( although too often they don’t seem to understand that ), can be and is, the means to achieving balance, with oneself and the outside world. So what if the world can’t take it? You can, so will the world, eventually.

    It’s a work in progress.

    It’s like separating the wheat from the chaff – people who stand by you, no matter how serious your emotional outbursts get, are the ones that will stick with you through thick and thin. The ones who leave.. well, they did you a favor, anyway. It’s all about being honest, and things being genuine, right? You wouldn’t want anybody caring for you for all the wrong reasons, now, would you.. So, make an example – be your utmost genuine self. In time, your emotions will find a way to pour out in a calmer manner, and you will find yourself successfully coexisting with the people around you.

    It took me a quarter of a century to realize that I, too, have a right to feel, and to say what I feel, how I feel it, when I feel it. It took years to learn how to translate it to people, but it has made all the difference.

    You have a problem with this issue or that issue? You feel this or that? You think like this, as opposed to like that? Speak up! Because – guess what – it matters.

  21. I have a Moon/Saturn quintile, but I feel like it’s a square half the time :/ I need 100% re-assurance that I won’t be hurt before I let anyone near my fragile little emotions. My Sun square moon aspect makes it worse. My emotional relationship with my parents is complicated– they couldn’t give me the nurturing I required, like they don’t know how to function right with the emotional world (I have an unaspected moon in the 8th house), so I never learned to guard my emotions by not shutting down when things go wrong. I’ve never had a romantic relationship, but I feel like I need the help of a partner to help me overcome this. (I have no fire in my chart, so I don’t really have any ambition. Someone has to fan a fire under my lazy butt to get me to do anything.)

  22. Lol…I have a moon square Saturn aspect and it has been hell on wheels. Mostly for others rather than for me, because I don’t mind expressing myself when the moment calls for it. I’ve learned over the years how to articulate rather than explode, so that has helped. However, no one is still spared from the truth. I agree with the others with this hard aspect that being “cool and calm” comes naturally and sometimes people can mistake this for either a lack of me caring, hearing, or just not being interested in what is happening in the moment Worst case scenario, they take it that I’m a weak willed individual. Those who know me well understand that I’m observing, taking it all in, and weighing it out in my mind what battles to fight and which adventures to enjoy. Someone…forgive me for not being able to recall, said that when people walk away, it’s like separating the wheat from the chaff (sp?). YEP! Rightly so, because if you can’t integrate my truth into your truth, then we can’t flow. I believe in communial relationships (Sun, moon, and merc in the 11th house) and anyone who gives off that, “Me me me me me me” vibe, can NOT join my/our circle of peace. lol

    Recently, I observed this in a moon opposition saturn friend. WHOA!!! I watched this dude (this past weekend) blow up on this chick…a friend of his. I mean, he had a full on blow out/melt down. It was kinda comical. lol ha ha ha ha She deserved it. I mean…eh…what can you say. But she totally deserved it. I watched her stack up her blocks of negativity against him all weekend long.

    It was weird/interesting watching how it all went down emotionally though. He went from empathetic, to exasperated, to frustrated, to trying to distance himself (putting her in my care. lol), to watching me struggle with her (which ended up pissing him off royally), to super quiet simmering angry, to popping off so bad that I thought we were going to have to pull over. The key to it all was that she’d permeated his walls of defense as a friend and then (Scorp moon) tried to seduce him on the business trip. He later, the next day, came over and told me the entire story of their friendship. He was primarily pissed at the fact that she waited until he developed a soft spot for her to “show her true colors”. Man…he was more angry about that than anything else she actually did that was offensive. I can’t relate, because my walls never REALLY ever come all of the way down, BUT I could only imagine if I did let them all of the way down and someone betrayed my trust.

    I’m the square and he is the opposition. Is there specifics that apply to the aspects that you care to share? As a square…like I said…my defenses never really come all of the way down, because people can be trusted to meet one guarantee…everyone is going to mess up. So, I enjoy the relationships for what they are and always seem to have an arsenol of artillery to deal with the mess ups. Mostly healthy coping mechanisms that I’ve developed. Like taking time to breath before engaging in what could be a heated convo or telling someone immediately if I’m offended by something they did or said, before it festers and negative feelings build up towards that person. This dude seems more trusting and then has blow outs on people. Now…in reality…they are harmless (I’ve witnessed a couple of them before), but unless you REALLY know him…you don’t know that they are actually harmless and that he calms down rather quickly and really feels like crap for blowing up that way. I almost envy his ability to eventually lower the walls (giving of himself emotionally over and over and over again) and to also have the guts to take it there without really doing any harm.

    If/when I’ve gotten that angry with people or situations, I wreck stuff. Like punch holes in walls/doors and even have beat the crap out of people. So, I cannot handle that load of anger like he can. I’m wondering if it has to do with this moon/saturn hard aspect difference between a square and a opposition.

    To futher validate the information in this article…we both grew up without parental support and in environments like you described in which you feel that you have to earn the right to be loved.

  23. littlemermaid says:

    I have the sesquiquadrate between Moon and Saturn, and I think it affects me quite a bit. I’ve been depressed for almost my entire life. And when I’m not depressed, I’m either angry or sad, or both.
    All in all, I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt light and enthusiastic.
    In fact, it’s funny to me that my whole life, everybody’s been telling me that I seem so serious for my age, even though, inside, I’ve always felt like a sad, whiny baby.
    I have an almost exact Moon-Mars-Jupiter multiple conjunction, yet I hardly ever fit the mold of positive-feeling Moon-Jupiter descriptions I’ve read.
    I always feel like crying, although I seem to laugh quite a lot.
    I also have Moon square Mercury-North Node, and Moon sesquisquare Neptune, biquintile Uranus, quintile Venus.

  24. Hi, I have saturn conjunct with moon in my birth chart. life had been very hard from childhood. I am 40yrs now. My employment not remaining permanent. I have too frequent breaks. I work hard and well but for something I lose my employment again and again. I am well qualified and still pursuing higher qlfns. I am online writer as well and my writing are appreciated but do not give me income. Help me immdly any remedies please! asap

  25. Wow. I really identify with the traits described in the article. My Saturn squares my moon, and my Pluto sits very close to my Saturn. It squares my moon, sun and mercury. My sun, moon, mars, and mercury are all in cancer, Virgo rising. It’s nice to feel like someone understands my basic inner workings, and put it into words. I briefly considered sharing this with a couple of people in my life, to help them understand me better. The Saturn, Pluto/moon aspects describe so much of my personality and motivations. But of course, I don’t actually want the people in my life to see how weak I actually am, so I won’t be sharing this. Just the thought makes me feel embarrassed… I know that vulnerability isn’t always bad, but it feels sooo embarrassing and uncomfortable. I have been making a conscious effort to allow myself to be vulnerable. I’m having a very hard time with it, but my personal life has suffered so much. I don’t think that I have a choice. I’m rambling :) Great article.

  26. My Moon is square Saturn and Mars, and conjunct Neptune. I feel “cheated by the stars” out of intimacy and success in life. Ready for this incarnation to be over-I must not have been paying attention when I jumped down to Earth during all these squares. Only problem is, I am decades away from end of statistical life span. Yee ha, life is going to be fun!

  27. I always say humorously that the axis of outer planets are beating hard my Moon and Venus.

    My natal chart has conjunction Saturn/Uranus/Neptune Capricorn (in 12th house) square Moon and opposite Venus (Venus conjunction Chiron here). Not to say, Moon inconjuctions Pluto which leads me recognize clearly the destructive feeling, always. Moon Aries and Mercury/Venus Gemini give me strength and optimist thoughts in daily life. However I have never felt that I’m loved. Yes I have close friends, but I’m always feeling I’m an outsider. I do not belong to any where, and the closer I get to someone, the more lonely I feel. I know that it’s only an illusion of my mind, and that my feeling is deceiving me. But I just can’t get rid of them. I can only use my positive thoughts of Gemini Mercury/Venus/Chiron to talk to the Aries Moon: “that’s ok, everything will be alright after all” and so luckily for me, this Aries baby seems to be quick to forget that insecure feeling. Aries is always easy to be cheated. However the darkness is still there. It can be temporary forgotten, but it can not be solved this way. Whenever I feel cried, I know that my inner child is being bullied by the outer planets’ axis.

    Another funny thing is, as my Jupiter Taurus, I got blessed by money-goddess. Yet my Sun Taurus say it’s satisfied with this and I don’t have the right to feel unloved or insecure or unhappy at all. Well I’m aware of this and everytime I feel I need more like this, I slap myself and think “don’t be so greedy, you have thing everyone wants to have”. They prevent the Aries child to request any more love from whatever or whoever, and ASC Capricorn always act like a mature adult who doesn’t need to be care at all or who are too familiar with being alone or being dependent. As a result, I was put on the last of the list who-need-to-be-take-care. Well, anyway, in fact I don’t need either care or love anymore. The Aries baby just gives it up already. It can have fun with being alone itself, I guess.

  28. I have moon in Sag square Saturn in Pisces. I grew up in a weird home situation. My father and mother had an arranged marriage, where he, to this day, emotionally abused her to the point that she could not offer my brother and I adequate love, because she was so hardened by life, and yet, we were all she had. She needs us because she cannot escape (he has total financial power) still but pushes us away because my father makes her so insecure. I idolized my father as a child but then got older and realized all the problems in my family. And I have a whole slew of personal insecurities. I felt that because of the social standing my father held I was only loved for keeping with his and my mother’s approval. I was afraid to show my true self in that I would be rejected from my family. I loathe myself so much that I shut myself out from intimacy although its something I crave so much, but I know the energy I put out is insecure and closed off, so I rarely attract people. I never got to experience having a crush or a first boyfriend because I always kept any guys I liked at an arms length. At the same time, I have this need to be thought of as attractive by others and even sexually appealing, to the point where if I’m not making an impact on men around me, I feel worthless and unattractive. I have no outlet for my sexual energy (I have mars opposition pluto, and mars in Taurus, so I definitely WANT IT) because I still won’t let anyone in. I cannot deal with rejection and lose my mind when I sense hesitancy in a relationship. I want to know true intimacy and experience passion but with this square I’m too insecure to be able to deal with the ups and downs because I have no self love. When I am being praised or loved it’s a seriously ridiculous high, but when I feel alone the depression gets too deep. After a relationship is over I dwell for months, lose myself entirely, lose physical vitality… I feel burdened by my family’s ongoing issues. I can’t leave my mom to deal with my father, but how, then, can I have my own life? I create limitations for myself that don’t even exist.

    All this being said, I still have an incredible drive and ambition for worldly as well as personal success, and I honestly have learned to appreciate the presence of self-awareness. Someone mentioned somewhere that Coco Chanel had this aspect–my favorite quote by her is “I didn’t like my life, so I created it.” There is transformative power in confession, even if it’s just to yourself or your best friend. I know something is wrong, and it hurts so much, but I know I can grow and fix this issue. I’ve started by confronting my mom about the problem in our family, and deciding to show her unconditional love (I resented her for so many years) so that in turn, maybe one day, she will show me the same. I’m also bent on cultivating self-love, I know that I will be much healthier with it. If I can love myself, I can open myself up to intimacy and experience others on a more intimate level. I was blessed have some really good aspects in my birth chart (sun trine jupiter, jupiter trine saturn), and I honestly just put my trust out into the universe that it will show me the way to open my heart. I used to freak out that I was doomed by this square, but honestly, I think anyone can change anything for themselves. There’s no reason why any of us can’t handle it. We have drive and ambition and if directed properly, we can heal ourselves. And the sooner the better. I’m young and even though the depression and anxiety suck, I’m so happy to have realized it now and start working on it then later.

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