The Astrology of Pregnancy and Motherhood, Part I

Updated: 2 days ago

When I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of November, I was surprised and overwhelmed. I was finishing up my master’s degree, knee-deep in my thesis, working full time at a stressful job, and had just relocated to a new town. Using astrology, I was able to find my bearings and see my pregnancy as a profound invitation into the next phase of my life and personal development.

Astrology offered many insightful gems that deepened my spiritual experience from the time I found out I was pregnant. Ultimately, these insights helped open me to the journey and say a resounding “yes” to the adventure and initiation offered by becoming a mother.

Any pregnancy is its own journey; astrology can provide a supportive psychological and spiritual container for the experience. If you would like to delve into these themes in your own birth chart, I provide readings specific to pregnancy and motherhood that you can book here.

The first part of this piece focuses on the mother’s natal chart and transits, and the way that astrology can elucidate the path through the initiation into motherhood. Part II focuses on connecting with the child within, helping to build bonds between parents and baby even before birth. If after reading, you are interested in looking into prenatal astrology for yourself or as a gift to someone else (great shower gifts!), please reach out for a reading. Of course, this type of reading can also be done postnatally to help contain the experience and help your family integrate the gifts of your new little!

Part I: The Astrology of Pregnancy and Motherhood

The transits happening to the natal chart help to connect meaning and opportunities for spiritual development in the experience of pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant, Saturn, the ruler of my north node, was transiting my north node for the third time, and will not return there again for the next 27-29 years. I understood that I was being invited to make a choice and take a step toward what I really wanted the story of the next thirty years to look like. I was apprehensive and understood that saying “yes” to this experience was no casual undertaking. I also knew that the year 2020 would host my Saturn return, a major coming-of-age transit that takes place between the ages of 27 and 29 that helps us to commit to what we really value in life often by a confrontation with our own limits. Saturn returns often change our essential roles in life and set our trajectory for the next thirty-year cycle. I noticed that for the next year or so, Pluto, a planet of death and transformation, would trine my moon, offering space and circumstance for me to change my relationship with my own experience of womanhood and embodiment. Finally, in looking at my progressed moon, I saw that it was in the balsamic phase and that my progressed new moon would occur around the third week of July 2020, just five days after my due date. A progressed new moon begins - you guessed it- a new thirty-year cycle. The balsamic moon phase that comes before it is a time for release - of old stories that have previously defined one’s sense of self, worldly productivity that may have defined one’s feelings of self-worth, and retreat from the world. The balsamic moon phase is a death phase - with a quiet and deeply inward pull well-suited to gestation. Not only would I be gestating my baby, but also the person I would become as so many big astrological cycles reset. All of these transits occurring simultaneously lent a sense of “fatedness” to the discovery of my pregnancy, and soothed anxieties with the sense that becoming a mother at this time was meant-to-be.

Obviously, the timing may not be so belabored as it has been with me and many other transits can offer insight on what kind of experience is being invited in. The enormity of the transits occurring underscored the personal significance of the experience, meaning that for other women pregnancy might not belie such a big deal, but may change their life in other ways. Other transits that could be looked at are the solar return for the year, transits to Ceres, the 5th house, the ruler of the 5th house.

Understanding the indicators for mothering and nurturing in my natal chart helped me develop a relationship with my role as a mother, and what role mothering might play in the balance of roles I inhabit as a full human being. To look at mothering and nurturing in the natal chart, I start with two placements in the natal chart: the Moon and the asteroid Ceres. The moon contains the archetype of the mother and can indicate nurturing and attachment styles. It indicates how a person is likely to regard both their own emotions and those of others. By looking at the moon’s element, sign, house placement, aspects, which house it rules, and the natal moon phase, a picture develops as to a person’s experience of mothering and how they might nurture themselves and babies in their care. For example, my moon is in Virgo, an earth sign, indicating practicality, efficiency, and sacrifice when it comes to emotions and nurturance. Earth moons may not always be the most emotionally effusive, but they generally make sure that all material needs are met. Mercury as the ruler of Virgo, and hence my moon, lends a cerebral focus - it is very important that I think about and analyze both my intentions and my theoretical orientation when it comes to motherhood. My moon is in the 8th house, sextiles Pluto and my South node in Cancer, which it rules. Its place in the 8th house of death and transformation lends intensity to my feelings around nurturing, and its aspects to Pluto and my South node indicate the great significance that lunar topics play in my personal development along my life path. My South Node in Cancer, the sign of the mother/child dyad, indicates a sort of karmic “stickiness” around themes of motherhood, and mark it as a fruitful place for spiritual development. The asteroid Ceres represents the mothering impulse more specifically than the moon, so looking at her placement most directly speaks to the role of motherhood in the life of the native. I have Ceres in Scorpio, in the tenth house of career, life purpose, and legacy, conjunct Pluto and trine my South Node in Cancer. Again, her placement in my natal chart further underscores the significance of motherhood in my life. Her conjunction with Pluto lends the topic of motherhood a kind of transpersonal significance, meaning that motherhood as a topic has extraordinary weight to me as an individual.

What are the takeaways? For one, motherhood as a topic in my natal chart plays a very important role in healing and development for me as a person. Given all the Pluto contact, it will probably be an intense experience. It is something that is important to me in terms of my “legacy” and life’s work, so it is probably something I will put a lot of time and effort into doing well. Because it plays such a role in my chart, it is very important that I look at the shadow of the archetype of the mother as well.

Understanding my weaknesses, insecurities, and trauma can help me develop strategies to handle these when they inevitably pop up during the course of parenthood. Taking the time to work on these before the baby helps me stay aware of my own shadow, and the archetype of the death/devouring mother as well. All psychological functions have their shadow. All spiritual posturing has its inevitable hypocrisy. And the idea of mothering is no different. It is important to look at the potential shadows within the personality and map out their place in the psyche - not so they can become eradicated, that would be impossible, but so when they unavoidably pop up, they can be responded rather than reacted to, and so that we can strive toward humility and integrity as caregivers as well as people. Looking at the significance of the role of mothering plays in my chart, it will be important that it does not blind me to the specific needs of my child. Mothering is indeed such a big topic that it could inflate beyond what is appropriate and lead to some not-so-great parenting wherein I implicitly require my child to affirm or fulfill my emotional need to inhabit the archetype of the mother. Conversely, knowing the cerebral tendencies belied by my Mercury-ruled Moon and my Aquarius ascendant, I may at times not be emotionally present enough for my child’s needs and may dismiss emotional states that do not have immediate practical solutions. These are just a few examples, but mapping them out and reflecting on what I myself might find difficult in mothering is important to keep an eye on as I develop as a parent.

Finally, connecting with my own mother’s chart, and grandmothers’, helps me understand the lineage of mothering before me. Here we open up the individual chart to the larger familial context. I can use the techniques described above to deepen my understanding of mothering in my life from the perspective of my caregivers, and theirs. I can work on healing the dynamic of any wounding that may have occurred in my family of origin so that I do not unconsciously expect my child to heal those wounds for me. Obviously this step, any of these insights actually, straddle the line between astrological insight and psychotherapy and themes that arise can be taken into therapy and worked out over a longer period of time in the context of therapy. Knowing that I come from a long line of women with earth Moons, I understand that providing materially for children and nurturing primarily through practical and actionable means was of primary importance. Knowing too that both my mother and hers had their moons in the tenth house, which can indicate a feeling that your mother was too busy for you (often because of work), leaves psychological resonance and helps me reflect on the choices I make about how much and of what quality of time I will spend with my children.

This concludes my reflections on the astrology of pregnancy and mothering. Look for Part II on Prenatal Astrology to be posted within the week.

I would love to hear your stories and insights on your journey into parenthood, astrological, or otherwise. Please comment below!