Shadows, Echoes, and Light: The Moon in Composite Charts

Synastry Studies by Dawn Bodrogi

Moon in Composite Charts

Credit: miljko via iStockphoto

The positioning of the Moon in composite charts brings us to the essence of composites. Mostly, the Moon is thought of as representing our emotions and attachments. It describes how we are best fed, nurtured, and supported; what we find comfortable; and what makes us feel secure. The trouble is, the composite chart is supposed to be a chart of the relationship itself: the third thing that is created of two individual lives as they relate to one another. How can this third thing, this entity, claim to have a seat of emotions?

Most of the time, folks look to the Moon in composite charts to see if a couple is comfortable with one another, if they will be able to rub together in a calm emotional flow without too much drama getting in the way. It shows where their emotional lives might be challenged by their physical reality. But the Moon is so much more than that. It goes way beyond our comfort zones. On another level, it represents the reasons we have come together.

The Moon Body

In traditional and classic astrology, the Moon represents the body. Aspects to the Moon represent some of the many ways we are physically vulnerable. The Moon conjunct Mars may be prone to fevers; Neptune/Moon may be vulnerable to hard-to-heal infections; Uranus/Moon is famous for having energy “blowouts,” in which they run out of steam, or cut out, for no reason. The Moon shows where the physical world can invade our sensibilities, where the “real” world and the un-manifest world meet. It represents where the psyche retains the memories of our physical existence—or our many physical existences, if we believe in past lives. Our bodies, represented by the Moon, are our vehicles in the world, the physical “car” that we drive through this physical life, but the Moon also represents the awareness and sensibility of the driver and his/her reactions to the road.

The Moon, ultimately, is the repository for all things that have made up our consciousness in this world, up to and including the second that has just passed us by. We can think of it as a massive bank account of our awareness, which is the reason it represents what comforts and sustains us. We are comforted by what we find familiar; it is the familiar that feeds us—even though what may be familiar to us may be difficult, challenging, or downright disturbing (which is why outer planet aspects to the Moon are so challenging).

The Moon in Composite

In a composite, it is common to assume that the Moon, by sign and house, shows the “comfort zone” of a relationship. It represents the couple’s emotional habits and needs when they are together. We must have all noticed, at one time or another, the way different relationships bring out different emotional reactions in us. When the composite Moon is very strong, it can cause us to seem to change personalities, especially if it is very different from the natal Moon. The baseball and beer fan with the natal Moon in Taurus or Sag may suddenly, in a new relationship, take to the more Libran or Leonine opera and wine. With a new partner, we may suddenly develop new habits, new likes, new dislikes. Old friends may think this is a new false self, but, if it’s genuine, this new horizon is otherwise known as growth within a relationship.

Composite Moon versus Composite Sun

The Moon in a composite chart is as strong as the Sun. Perhaps more so, because where the Sun shows us the focus and creative energy of the relationship in the here and now, the Moon shows us where we have been together and what habits and patterns we have had as a couple. And usually, until we get older and begin to grow together (and separately), the Moon’s habits trump the Sun’s urging forward. The Moon shows us where we are volatile and vulnerable.

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Aspects to the Moon in a composite chart will tell us whether, as a couple, we are doves or hawks: will we coo together peacefully (perhaps with Moon conjunct Venus or Jupiter) or express our relationship’s emotional level through conflict, as squares from Mars or Pluto might imply? The houses these aspects reside in will tell us the kind of things—the areas of life—that may trigger our conflicts.

The Moon and the Nodes

One of the things I’m most often asked is, “If there is karma in a relationship, where do you see it?” There are a lot of ways to answer this, and a lot of indicators of past life relationships, but one of the quickest ways of telling where, and if, a relationship “has been,” is in noting the Moon and the condition of the South Node. The Moon itself will tell you a lot, but adding the South Node will help you discern what a couple needs to learn from this current life together. The Moon represents the pattern, and the Nodes the resolution and growth of that pattern. (Remember, always, that the Nodes are the Moon’s Nodes.) The Moon and the Nodes will give you both the echoes of the past and the guiding whispers towards the future.

Composite Moon Example: Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon

Sometimes this is a very private thing, and often the path can’t be seen in the public eye, so celebrity examples can fall flat, as we don’t know the inner motivators in the relationship, only the exterior behaviors. However, one example can be seen in the fairly long term (1977-1985, married 1983-4), but tempestuous relationship between actress and writer Carrie Fisher and musician Paul Simon. Without looking at the natals, the composite chart gives a very clear picture of the relationship dynamic (which is confirmed by Carrie’s honesty in her many books and one woman show, Wishful Drinking, and in Paul’s raw and potent lyrics in his Wisdom of the Saints album, which documented the downfall of their relationship).

Click here to open the Fisher-Simon Composite Chart in a new window.

In the composite, the Moon is in Gemini in the composite Eighth House. Carrie has said in her show that the relationship, in the beginning, consisted of, “words, words, words, beautiful words, lovely words…” implying the intimacy and seductive abilities of that Gemini Moon in the Eighth House. This is a couple, one would think, that was bound to communicate and maintain verbal intimacy, especially with the Moon trining the Sun/Venus/North Node and the Moon’s own dispositor, Mercury. The intellectual connection was everything, and was what drew them to one another. On the darker side, the Eighth House Moon likes to dig down deep, psychologically; the spoon it chooses to dig with, in this case, are words. This creates an intellectual probing and cold analysis that is downright uncomfortable.

If we were looking at this chart without taking the nodal story into consideration, we would think it was very strong—from Sun/Venus/Mercury, there are trines to the Moon, and trines to the “glue” of the chart, Saturn (which is hunkered down nicely there on the I.C.). However, there are a number of red flags here, the first of which is a semi-square to a Leo Jupiter, which indicates a tendency to exaggeration and excess.

First of all, couples with Aries/Libra nodes have a specific lesson to learn regarding the simple question of how to be a couple. How do we relate the “I” within the “we,” the individual ego with the “us?” With the South Node in Aries, we know that the individual “I” was dominant in the partnership in the past, and that much work needs to be done in order to get to the “we.” This is also indicated by all of those planets connected to the North Node, as if the universe designed specific homework for them to do in this area. It is further emphasized by the Twelfth House influence (my June Synastry Studies article refers to Sun in the Twelfth House in composite, and its need to fix something specific within the relationship). The South Node in the Sixth House suggests that they worked together in a prior life, and a greater balance was needed in the partnership.

We get further insight into the relationship when we see the influence of Mars. Mars is the ruler of the South Node. Its position in the Fifth House indicates creative work done together in the past. (We can reflect back to that Gemini Moon in the Eighth House and its depth of expression and communication—the Eighth House is where we share what we have with others.) Mars is at its strongest at 29 degrees of any sign; here it is at 29 Pisces, the sign of artistic imagination.

Mars is made stronger by the fact that it is the co-ruler of the Ascendant, a secondary chart ruler. And with Scorpio rising in composite, you know that a relationship is going to be both intense and testing. Scorpio rising wants to test boundaries all the time. There are going to be power and ego issues here, stemming from the past, that get in the way of this relationship’s peaceful development. The explosive, contentious, on again, off again nature of this relationship can be seen in the square from that dominant Mars to Uranus, also in the Eighth House. This erratic Mars is made even more problematic by its tight quincunx to the Moon’s dispositor, Mercury, and its lesser, but still highly problematic quincunx to the North Node, Venus, and the Sun. When planets are conjunct the North Node, they usually indicate a previous problem that we need to continue to work on (we didn’t finish our homework) and indicate gifts that we can use.

In this case, the trines from the Moon and Saturn are not strong enough to overcome the power and influence of the chart ruler, Mars, but also the dangerous quality in the other chart ruler, Pluto, and it’s square to the Asc/Desc axis. There is a make-or-break quality here that would require a lot of Libran lessons to overcome. Not accidentally, both Paul and Carrie are Librans who would have to dig into their shadow sides to contact their own Mars energy.

Moon in Composite: Secrets Revealed

Could they have made it? The composite chart, with its strong North Node, and the strong Moon/Saturn, indicates the possibility, but it’s necessary to go back to the natal charts and their individual strengths and weaknesses to see if the compromises could be made and the challenges overcome. And it’s important to remember that the Moon and the South Node in the composite chart indicate habitual behaviors and sensitivities that are deeply entrenched, and which take an enormous amount of conscious awareness to overcome. But that’s what the North Node and the Sun are for.

The Fisher-Simon composite chart is just one example of the composite Moon in action. The takeaway here is that to apply this level of analysis to your own relationships, you need to look to the Moon as more than just a gauge of your comfort level within a relationship. Like the Moon itself, with its wondrous interplay of shadow and light, the Moon in your composite chart holds many secrets, just waiting to be revealed.

What does the Moon in your composite chart have to say about your relationship? Let us know in comments below.

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About Dawn Bodrogi

Dawn Bodrogi has studied astrology since the age of twelve, and has been a practicing astrologer for over twenty years with a special emphasis on synastry. Her studies in Jungian psychology, alchemy, and Buddhist philosophy inform her work. Her upcoming book, The Inner Wheel, takes a new look at interpreting secondary progressions. You can see more of Dawn’s work at her blog, The Inner Wheel: Living with Astrology.


  1. What happens when your composite moon has several variable aspects? For instance, I have a composite with someone where we have Sun trine Moon, Moon sextile Juptier and Uranus but it squares Neptune and Mercury. It would seem the Sun trine Moon would be important, but so would the Moon square Mercury/Neptune. How do you understand which aspects carry more weight?

    Do you look at individual needs then? Because in this same situation, the other person has the Moon right on their ASC and in our synastry, my Gemini moon sits right on his Gemini DSC (where he has no natal planets). His natal moon falls right on my 8th house. This makes me wonder if my Moon (which opposes Uranus and squares Mars) with Gemini’s changeability is potentially attractive to this person’s 7th house Gemini needs, even though their natal Moon is well placed. Join that with a composite 7th house Moon and you can see why I am trying to understand our emotional dynamic!

    I am looking to better understand why I have this emotional attachment to this person (who it appears has a soft spot for me, too). Our emotional dynamics and relationship has non-traditional all over it (we have a composite Uranus and several Uranus aspects). I’m fine with its uniqueness, but have wanted more communication access (me seeing it as strengthening our intimate friendship) which has been resisted. Now, I am looking to astrology to understand NEED (my own, his, and the “relationship’s needs) “and when something should be compromised, surrendered, or understood better to adapt to.

    Oh, and I am curious as to what it means when you have variable synastry, but a better composite?

    I’m loaded with questions. Thanks for any insights. Another great article for study!

  2. curious757 says:

    I’m still a bit confused with all the abstract stuff of astrology. And being new into it, however, what I have noticed (in reference to Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon) and others who have “strong” libra planets in their chart – sometimes it is the MCmidheaven aspects (Elizabeth Taylor) but not always, is that there’s a lot of lessons to be learned in not divorcing just because the going gets tough? It’s easier to divorce when it gets “tough” for those who cannot withstand the harshness when “reality” hits and the beautiful “idealism of marriage” has faded away. Sometimes strong aspects of Saturn is too harsh for Venus or exaltation in Venus, that a couple just wants to run away in the other direction and find new ground for another idealistic person to worship or adore when the last one has lost it’s magic.

  3. curious757 says:

    re: Fisher /Simon, communication connection sounded wonderful in the beginning, but there has to be emotional connection to seal the deal. It’s a “balance”. Emotional/Intellectual combination. Read that Paul Simon actually married Edie Brickell (Pisces Sun) in the end. Don’t know the rest of her chart. As for above, it’s really hard with determining Celebrities because they’re the ones that most often divorce. 🙁 And the living in the world of hollywood and higher society will make a couple feel like they’re in the castle up in the air. Or lazily floating on some gorgeous ship with the moonlight dipping down.
    To be honest, i find that people usually stay together when they’ve been brought up in poverty or close to it, or somehow brought up with obstacles ect.

  4. NovLady–You would need a full synastry to sort out the issues you bring up between these charts. Remember that the Moon doesn’t act alone–you can’t only look at the Moon for the emotional dynamics of a relationship. Angle contacts indicate intense attraction (both ways) but whether this is acted upon depends on other factors in the chart or charts. You say you have a strong Uranus–that’s reason enough to have partners pull away from one another. Uranus isn’t only about uniqueness; it represents a very strong on again, off again, push me pull you dynamic which, in a composite chart, could rock the boat very harshly. The skill of synastry is in the synthesis, and the best way to synthesize is to remember ALL of the meanings of the planets and house positions. Don’t get stuck on one or two.

  5. Hi Dawn,

    Thank you for the wonderful synastry articles. I have a question about a composite moon conjunct composite south node (2 degree orb, in capricorn, third house). Pluto squares the moon/nodal axis, and sun/venus sextiles/trines moon and nodes.

    I’d love to get your opinion of the special lessons of composite moon conjunct south node, if there are any. Thank you!

  6. @Dawn Bodrogi

    Thanks for your input. I agree. Its all about the synthesis.

  7. Once again, your article makes me think about all these connections that I haven’t seen before and I thank you for that.

    In my case, the composite Moon is conjunct the composite Sun in Aries, but in different houses: 12th and 11th, respectively. Our South Node is in Capri, and Saturn in Libra makes a very nice opposition to the Moon+Sun.

    Is a relationship stronger when Moon conjuncts the Sun? Is Saturn a threat for it’s stability, especially when Moon and Saturn are the rulers of the Nodes and oppose eachother? How can we overcome this aspect?

    Thank you.

  8. Hello,
    Thanks for one more wonderful article.
    I intrigued by the Nodes, trying to figure them out. So my question is how to look for the natal SNode (my) conjunct the composite Venus and Moon placed in the 12H? Is this showing some past friendship? Composite Moon/Venus in Taurus.
    Thank you!

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