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    Our emotional lives are governed by the Moon, its phases, transits and progressions, as we move along the path of our development and the growth of our relationships. As we mature through this process, certain markers stand out along the way. Neil Giles explores these concepts in this brief but valuable article.

    From an astrological perspective, several important things take place in the cycle of moving through the teenage years towards adult maturity. The first of these is to do with the Moon.

    In an astrological birth chart, the Moon will be placed in a particular Sign (Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc) and also in one of the astrological Houses (areas of influence or action). As we grow in years from our birthdate, the Moon is said to progress, or advance by degrees through the signs, in accordance with the years of our lives.

    Emotional Self-Discovery

    At age thirteen, the progressed Moon reaches a position where it is in opposition (180 degrees) to the Moon in the birth chart. This represents a point of emotional self-discovery through attraction to others.

    In other words we begin to be drawn to people outside ourselves and our family circle, in order to discover not only our own emotions, but also the emotions of others. We then discover how these two different emotional dynamics (ourselves and others) will interact.

    This is a very sensitive time of exploration and discovery with regard to our feelings, especially in relation to how we establish patterns that help us form attachments to others. Our habits and patterns of behaviour (ruled by the Moon) will be tested, as will the structures that our family (also ruled by the Moon) have set for us. This represents the beginning of a 'breaking away' from the family unit, by moving outside it into another emotional sphere -- which our bond with someone outside the family will help to establish. We begin to discover not only what we feel, but how we feel, as we experience feelings outside the family nest. This is an extremely emotional time, as we wake up and begin to discover love, sometimes falling in and out of the strongest and most intense feelings very quickly. This awakens the process of establishing a knowledge of our emotional self and of the world outside.

    The Saturn Opposition

    This is soon followed by what is called the Saturn opposition, at age fourteen. Saturn is the planet that rules forms, structures and expected patterns of behaviour that allow us to conform to the social norm. Saturn rules authority-figures in our lives, such as parents and teachers, and shows us how we will relate to their presence, their rules and their expectations.

    At fourteen, Saturn (like the progressed Moon the year before) moves into opposition with the place it occupied in the birth chart. So here we not only discover love and relationships outside the family unit, we also feel obliged to test the boundaries set by the home, using relationships with people outside the home (eg boyfriends, girlfriends) to see how much authority we can take over the course of our lives. This creates a kind of 'back and forth' motion, as we discover what we can and can't do according to the set authorities (parents and teachers), therefore pushing us at times to challenge those boundaries and at other times accepting their fixed place in our lives.

    This is why so many relationships for younger people revolve around not just the emotions involved, but also the sense of how much authority we can take, involving who we can go out with, how late we can stay out, how much money (power) we have to spend, what kind of conduct we can engage in etc.

    Spring Awakening, photo by Paul Kolnik

    This can be a rebellious and unsettled time as we are not simply testing the boundaries, we are challenging and changing them in preparation for the period when we will have full control over our lives later on. We must be prepared to prove the level of authority we would like to have by showing a level of responsible behaviour that justifies it as well as actually rebelling against the constrictions of an older set of values, those of our parents.

    Uranus Square

    The third change that plays a part in this cycle of sexual awakening is executed by planet Uranus. Uranus is the planet of revolution, radical action, change and awakened ideas or consciousness. At eighteen years of age, Uranus makes a ninety degree angle with its place in the birth chart.

    This is called a square in astrology. Squares tend to produce intense encounters and transformative change.

    Here we begin a process of awakening to ourselves as individuals. This brings about radical changes in our environment, eg moving from school to work or university with all the freedom, stimulation and independence that this can bring. It can also promote rebellious attitudes and behaviour, as we decide that we can no longer do what our parents and society expect of us. We must do things in our own way and for our own reasons.

    The emotional nature that we have discovered through the opposition of the progressed Moon matures through a process of establishing new authority through the Saturn opposition and the emergence of a unique individual spirit on its own path through Uranus square. While each of these aspects will operate differently for different people, depending on the nature and structure of their astrological charts, they nonetheless are landmarks and signposts for the process of growth and maturity that takes us out of childhood and into adulthood.

    This is the end of the article.

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