Shiva/Shakti, Sun/Moon - Union of the Masculine and Feminine

Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism and both male and female aspects of the divine, personified through the deities, are worshiped by men and women alike. Indeed, the word for strength, power and energy in Sanskrit, is the feminine aspect of the divine – or “Shakti”.”  While, Shiva, the masculine impulse in the universe is the transcendent eternal principle; it is the feminine Shakti that transforms spirit into material form.

As such, in Hindu culture the union of two people in marriage is akin the theological relationship symbolized by Shiva and Shakti , whose relationship and symbiotic love is the cornerstone of Hindu ideology. Dharma (spiritual path) and spouse/partner are interchangeable concepts.

However, the feminine and masculine energies have naturally different inclinations. Like the left and the right hand coming together in Namaste, the harmony of all relationships and activities is dependent on the balanced exchange of these energies, much like the Yin and Yang of Chinese philosophy.

In Vedic Astrology the quality of the masculine energy in our psyche is interpreted by the placement of the Sun and the feminine by the Moon. In the zodiac, the Moon rules the feminine, water sign of Cancer and the Sun the masculine, fire sign of Leo.

In Brihat Parasar Hora Sastra, the primary ancient Sanskrit text of Vedic Astrology,Sage Parasara, the father of Vedic Astrology,  gives the following descriptions of the Sun and Moon, which remain relevant thousands of years later:

mãdhupiìgaladåksüryaçcturastraù çucirdvija,
pittaprakåtiko dhémãn pumãnalpakaco dvija.

“Honey-yellow eyed is the Sun, square and radiantly pure, O’
Twice Born, of Pitta nature, intelligent, masculine, with but little
hair, O’ Twice Born.”

bhuvãtkaphaù prãjïçcandro våttatanurdvija,
çubhadåìmadhuvãkyaçca païcalo madanãturaù

“Abounding in Vata and Kapha and filled with knowing is the
Moon of round body, O’ Twice Born, auspiciously eyed, of sweet
speech, fluctuating and love sick.”

Sage Parasara is talking to the “Twice Born”, or one who has been re-born through initiation into the study of the Vedic Scriptures. He describes the Sun as “square” and moon as “round bodied”. The square shape of the masculine energy gives it steadfastness, consistency, and the ability to take determined action. On the psychological level the masculine energy provides stability and on the spiritual allows the soul to be safely anchored in spirit. In contrast, the “round bodied” moon describes the feminine nature of our psyche, which rolls around, changes directions and like the moon changes shape everyday. While, the Sun responds to permanence and by sticking to its principles, the moon responds to feelings and emotions and remains open, receptive and flexible.

The Sun is depicted to have “honey colored eyes” and the moon is as “auspiciously eyed”. The golden hue of the Sun’s eyes signifies a spiritual nature, and sweetness of honey symbolizes that the masculine energy sees the world with compassion and caring. Often, we associate nurturing with feminine energy but in reality it is healthy masculine energy that protects the more vulnerable. The feminine energy on the other hand is depicted as “auspiciously eyed” and with “sweet speech” – it sees the good in all things and unlike the masculine energy accepts what is without needing to act. Instead, the feminine energy brings solace and comfort through sensitive speech.

The sage describes the sun as having “intelligence”, the knowledge acquired through a rational process to arrive at the Truth. The moon on the other hand is portrayed as filled with “inner knowing” and therefore looks inward for answers. Instincts, intuition and perception are the domains of the feminine energy.

The masculine energy of the Sun is described as “Pitta” natured, which is fueled by the Fire element. The fire element is courageous, initiating, and dynamic. The negative traits we associate with the masculine energy like anger, domination, control and power result from an afflicted Sun in the horoscope. In other words, the less the soul is anchored in spirit the more it will display unhealthy egoist masculine traits.

The moon on the other hand is “Vata and Kapha” fueled by the Air and Water elements. The water element gives the moon the ability to love, forgive and take pleasure in rest and tranquility. The Vata aspect of the moon helps initiate change and movement. If the moon is afflicted in the horoscope it is very difficult to be receptive to life and find peace and contentment; the kapha (water) will lead to depression and over emotionality and the vata (air) to endless thinking and worrying – negative traits we often associate with the feminine energy.

The sage describes the Sun as having “little hair” symbolizing the Sun’s need to keep things ordered and controlled. Long wind blown hair, which is harder to manage and pin down is associated with the feminine energy.

Finally, the moon is described as “lovesick”. In the horoscope, the Sun is our universal soul and the moon the individualized consciousness on earth, which is desperately seeking union with the divine on the spirit level. On the physical level, it is the feminine energy in us that is relationship centered and shuns being alone. The solar energy is quite complete in the self and content to be on its own, but the feminine energy requires “the other” to be complete. It is for this reason that in the horoscope the moon is the most important factor in Vedic compatibility.

Each of us, are a combination of masculine and feminine energy. However, men will almost always have more of the masculine characteristics; simply because their physiology dictates higher testosterone levels and women will have more feminine characteristics, as their physiology is guided by estrogen. Beyond the biology both genders have varying degrees of masculine and feminine energy.

Relationships between two people naturally incline the more solar energized person to be drawn to the lunar energized person to balance the two energies. From the Vedic Astrology perspective this is the law of Karma and the partner you attract in your life, regardless of circumstances, will be dominated by the energy you are deficient in. The less balanced your masculine or feminine energies the more extreme partners will come into your life.

The trouble arises when we see the masculine or feminine as superior to the other. All over the world, since medieval times, the feminine energy and women have been demoralized and seen as inferior to the masculine energy and men. This has caused so much suffering and torment; especially in India the ill treatment of women has left a deep scar on the land of Yoga and enlightenment.

Men and women have to develop and embrace both sides of their nature. One cannot be balanced without the other; each of us must make space for the other in our life, especially through our partnerships. Vedic compatibility seeks to bring two people together who can have this symbiotic relationship with each other.

Make peace with the male energy within you. Don’t be afraid to be resolute, principled, and take noble action. Make peace with the feminine energy within you. Don’t be afraid to receive, adapt, trust, rest and meditate.