Is natal Moon in Capricorn the same as Moon conjunct Saturn? What about Venus in Scorpio versus Venus square Pluto? You’d think a planet in a sign would act the same as that planet aspected by the sign’s ruler. While there are general similarities, the two situations are really quite different. Assuming that Moon in Capricorn has the same emotional issues as Moon/Saturn can result in misleading relationship assumptions. Fortunately, it’s easy to understand the difference, once you understand how signs and planets work.
The What and the How of It
Natal planets represent what is being expressed. Signs describe how a planet expresses itself. If your natal Moon is in Scorpio, your needs and emotions (what) are expressed intensely (how). If your Moon is in Aries, your needs and emotions are expressed impulsively and assertively. But let’s say your Aries Moon opposes Pluto (ruler of Scorpio) in Libra. Two “whats” are connected, with Pluto adding the expression of power and penetration to your needs. But those needs will still be expressed in an Aries context, and Pluto’s energy will be expressed in a Libra context. Maybe you swing (Libra) between needing independence (Aries) and needing a relationship (Libra). Or, maybe you unconsciously project your need for a challenge (Aries) by getting involved with partners (Libra) that trigger crises in your life. Any aspect between the Moon and Pluto creates an interplay between needs and the urge for power, penetration and authenticity. That interplay will be colored by the signs it takes place in. House position adds another layer, describing the area of life where the energies are expressed.
Assuming it’s not unaspected, your Moon in Scorpio will be influenced by aspects to other natal planets. If it trines Jupiter in Cancer, your need (what) for intensity and authenticity (how) will be expanded by Jupiter in Cancer’s enthusiastic nurturing. Jupiter’s expansion and ideals (what) are expressed through Cancer’s nurturing, sensitivity and parent/child archetypes (how).
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