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Edvard Munch and the Capricorn Moon

In my upcoming book, Father Sun, Mother Moon, I talk about how our Moon sign shows how we protect ourselves against the threats posed by the outside world. While Sun sign pushes our ego outward and looks for those areas in life where we might shine, the Moon interjects caution and uses intuition to help us avoid dangers and side-step obstacles.

Edvard Munch was a Sagittarian by Sun sign and he had Mars and Venus in Scorpio, but his Moon was in Capricorn and his artwork reflects that sign more than any other. We see some of Capricorn’s tendency toward anxiety and isolation in his most famous work, The Scream. However, I think the lithograph pictured here is among his most Capricornian pieces. (Click here to see a horoscope for Munch charted for noon.)

It is called Sin and it seems to depict a woman consumed with guilt because of a sexual tryst. But she could as easily be worrying over a tweet she just sent out or wondering if she over-tipped her hairdresser, (which, from the looks of her hair, she most certainly did.)

Worry is almost a state of being for Capricorns. They are never quite sure if they’ve done enough, if they’ve met the standard or proved their worth to authority. They are constantly reviewing themselves and judging their actions. This is one reason that this sign is famous for its cautious, step-by-step way of doing things. It is also a reason why Capricorns are so prone to dark moods and depression.

Edvard Munch certainly had his dark moods, and they are frequently reflected in his artwork. He was a guilt ridden Norwegian whose father was intensely religious and felt that just about everything about his son’s chosen profession was sinful. Munch escaped his father’s complaints by moving to Paris, but you have a sense, when you look at Munch’s work, that the old man’s voice never stopped ringing in his ears. (Click here to see a gallery of Edvard Munch’s work.)

With the Moon in Capricorn, Munch carried that angry, reproachful voice of his father deep within his psyche. It warned him of the moral dangers of sensuality and lust, (which is probably one reason why Munch’s art has such misogynistic tendencies.) It made him sensitive to slights and indications of disrespect, particularly from competing artist. And that voice probably spoke to Munch loudest whenever he picked up a brush or drawing instrument, challenging him to do his best and to prove his father wrong.

If Munch had been born with the Sun in Capricorn, this need to exceed expectations and meet high, personal standard would have been more outwardly directed. (Look at the careers of Henri Matisse or Paul Cezanne to see this.) But as his Moon sign, the Capricorn influence in Munch’s personality was internal. It became a part of his neurosis.

When I was student, one of my professors liked to put down poor Munch. He told us that the Norwegian was limited as a draftsman and a terrible colorist. “The only thing Munch had going for him,” he proclaimed, “was his neurosis.” That might be so, but a Capricorn neurosis is still a factor to be reckoned with. It was certainly enough to make Edvard Munch one of the most memorable artists of all time.