This sign represents the moon as a new moon, i.e. as it looks for a few days
after its conjunction with the sun ( ) for those living far from the equator
in the northern hemisphere. It therefore does not really belong in
this dictionary of non-pictorial graphic symbols. But owing to its
fundamental role in Western ideography, and the earliest Western
system of symbols, astrology, it cannot be left out without detracting
from our understanding of Western ideography.
is first and foremost a general sign for earth's only planetary size satellite, the moon. It is used as such in astronomy, astrology, and alchemy.
Astrologers, moreover, use it to signify a complex of psychological factors. While the sun, , represents the infinite creative energy that is available to the individual, the moon's function is to give form to this energy and help realize its potential. For this reason in astrology symbolizes man's sensitiveness and impressionability, the instincts, the subconscious, the emotions, and the ability to react. The key word is personality, the inner individual's outer shell that is continually formed and changed by what he or she experiences. also symbolizes the mother. In a man's horoscope it signifies women in general, in particular his wife or partner. In terms of the Chinese yin-yang philosopy, is yin, the feminine, receptive, passive, formable psychological aspect of man.
is the ruler of the sign of Cancer, , and of all those professions that are related to the fields, and to food, nourishment and children, and those associated with the sea or the sea flora and fauna.
As a general symbol for the personality is synonymous with in the graphic symbolism of astrology. In for example the sign , the receptive outer part of the inner being, the personality, is directed upward toward the world of ideas, while the individual, , is still linked to the hindrances of the world of matter, , yet rises above them, i.e. is rational and not dominated by material considerations but rather dominates matter thanks to the sensitivity for and reception of higher impulses.
In alchemy represents the metal silver, as the sun sign represents gold. Silver was also drawn , , , , and otherwise.
When used in astronomy and in calendars stands for the first phase of the moon or the first quarter, i.e. that time of the month when those living high up in the Northern Hemisphere can see the crescent of the moon with its curved side facing right. The first quarter is sometimes also represented by the sign .
Compare with , the sign for the conjunction of the moon with the sun, the time whe the moon is not visible at all from the earth because it is too close to the sun.
Compare also with , the full moon, and , the last quarter.