May Mercury bless us in all ways always. May we learn to love your retrogrades and embrace the trickster wisdom these ever generative cycles so often (soften) bring. In doing so, may we honor the ebb and flow of (y)our rhythms, allowing ourselves to slow down, reflect, reconsider and recreate during these brief respites from too fast forward momentum. There is liberation in the pause. May we learn to laugh at all our human foibles and frustrations, gaining perspective around doing what wants to happen rather than what we'd planned. In a workaholic capitalist patriarchy, productivity is over valued and the costs are rarely considered. Pause and edit all that isn't aligned with what you actually value (as much as is possible). Take breaks. Reconnect with your own wise inner voice. Now is always the time. Thank you. I love you.
Mercury is retrograde July 25th-August 18th of 2018 adding to the wave of retrogrades that defines the astrology of the year. This eclipse season is drenching us in perspective, drawing us ever towards the bigger picture of what matters most. These overlapping cosmic invitations are encouraging emotional awareness, creative responses to the ever unfolding spiral path of change and catalyzing transformation of all the places we are stuck. It's hardly comfortable, there is no linear path and yet it's very much what we need to make our very best dreams of what's possible for ourselves and our collective well being come true.
Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA - Enhanced Color Mercury Map, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51483844
There is something so splendid about a job well done, a day well spent and a life lived with vitality and adventure. The life force that pushes us through this complex, challenging and mostly uncharted territory known as our life is understood astrologically through Mars. The Martian planetary dance has been correlated to the work of fighting, fucking and getting things done. Our energy levels are crucial guides through this path of finding what we value most, enough to protect, enough to sacrifice (to make sacred) for, enough to exhaust ourselves for over and over again, enough to replenish ourselves over and over again so we can keep going.
When Mars appears to go retrograde in the sky, the momentum that's been pushing us forward gets wonky. Perhaps there's some project or passion that we've forgotten about that we must return to before moving forward? Perhaps we need to deeply rest and rejuvenate ourselves for the next big push? The energy of labor has rhythm, after all. Perhaps we find ourselves with so much energy, we return to activities that helped us feel alive many moons ago? I find that whatever I'd planned to do may take much longer than I'd anticipated, but is generally of a much more thorough, effective and occasionally more exquisitely, however always imperfectly, crafted than I could've imagined. What a treat--even when it isn't on the timeline I'd imagined--sometimes we need to pull some tarot cards, take two baths and get a good sleep before we can write that article on Mars retrograde.
There is much ado about retrogrades that I find remarkably unfounded. People who don't even follow astrology turn to me in exaggerated agony when they hear about a retrograde planet (or six). This makes me wonder what anxiety lies underneath the anguish. It also makes me wonder where we might be abdicating responsibility? For a control freak like me, the salve that having to let go of what I'd intended in order to allow what wants to happen in, is all kinds of irritating blessing. That's how pearls are made, my dear mammalians aspiring to be more like mollusks. Still, if blaming the planets for our problems gives you some solace, coping can take many forms and life is hard, so do what works. Retrogrades are a time for questioning what works. Perhaps there's some other ways to relate to the planetary and personal motion that might be better medicine? What if we saw the illusion of retrogrades as an invitation to slooooow way down, tune into rhythms we often ignore (inner and outer) and allow reflection to bring us its succulent, if not yet ripe, gifts.
We often get crucial clues during times like this about how to best care for ourselves. It's simple to say, do more of what makes you feel a sense of aliveness and less of what drains you, more complex to actually DO that. It requires a willingness to tune into what we're actually feeling, which is rare and understandably reluctant. Experiment as you are able and reflect on what a difference honoring your self and each other this way can make. Depletion is a part of life, sure. Still, what if we invoked enough gentle courage to stop playing the "I'm so busy and so tired" olympics. I know it's oh so integral to our wounded, modern people script in this capitalist nightmare. What if we in some small way started actually just playing, creating, making, protecting and caring enough to rest and relax?
We have the chance to change how we do conflict during this time. I found myself using humor to interrupt my too hot head from saying regretful things recently and even joked that I wasn't quite sure who I was without instant blame to orient myself. This is loss of identity I can embrace. We may get to track how eating, sleeping, and hydrating can shift the emotional undercurrent of whatever we're doing, including around tension and struggle. We're all better activists when we're taking care of ourselves. What fuel does your engine need?
All this to say that as Mars is retrograde from June 26th-August 26th in the sign of Aquarius. I enjoyed the following resources for further consideration and inspiration: Choosing Curiosity Over Fear & A deeper dive into the astro moment.
Eclipses are wildcard lunations that represent the apex of changes that have been brewing for the past season or two. The moonths following eclipses are where we integrate those changes. The unexpected rules the day as much that was obscured is revealed. If you're not sure about something, now is a time to expand your ability to sit with that uncertainty, setting intentions for actions you wish to take, feelings you wish to feel more, rather than forcing a particular plan or outcome.
August 7th brings the full moon lunar eclipse where our intuitive knowing and emotional insight is most activated, while the inner shifts gestate before taking form in the externally oriented companion eclipse on August 21st. This solar eclipse is getting a lot of attention because it will be visible across the contiguous US and will be total in a path that begins in the Pacific Northwest and ends in South Carolina. These locations are known for their long histories of racist segregation. With the success of efforts to remove statues that elevate that terrible past, we must not forget that we must do the work today that undoes the inheritance of said oppressions. The sources of profit and privilege persist in shameful and disturbing ways. Our efforts are often symbolic and must be much more than that too.
Leo is the sign of royalty. There is something disturbing about the way astrologers emphasize this without questioning the celebration of colonialism that this can represent. When we celebrate the part of us that centers ourselves in our own stories, we must make every effort to do so in a way that doesn't deny others that same right. If our regalness is built on the backs of others then the emporer has no clothes. Standing naked in the vulnerability of doing our best, honest about our not enoughness, can be a liberation of sorts.
The Sabian Symbol or evocative image associated with the Sun's degree during 8/7 eclipse is "Brilliant sunshine just after a storm" and the Moon's image exactly opposite that is "A big business man at his desk." These images echo that sense that while we must enjoy the relief that we might feel whenever we can, at every small, not enough creative or political victory, we must remain vigilant around the forces of profiteering corporate greed and exploitations. The Sun and Moon join on 8/21 at the degree "A mermaid emerges from the ocean waves ready for rebirth in human form." The mythopoeticspiritual part of us that can both breathe underwater and sacrifice (to make sacred) itself to be reborn on land is calling us toward these bigger purposes. Like the sun and moon are reborn through their cycles, we can turn this wheel evermore towards justice.
The planet Mars, protector and activator, is accompanying us on this solilunar journey and asking....what can I protect? What am I hear to take care of? What am I willing to do with my energy? Mercury goes retrograde on August 12th-September 5th and will station and go direct on the same degree that the solar eclipse activates. Expecting unexpected answers to those questions would be wise. Perhaps the whispers of spirit we've been hearing will be harder to ignore. We must be willing to take more risks and show up in all our fierce truth and compassion or we risk losing our self respect. As is often the case in these times of surrender to the larger cosmic cycles, plans will shift and life will reveal to us what's wanting to happen. Keep doing the next right feeling thing, allowing nature and your own intuition be your guide.
Ways to honor these eclipses:
-Reflect on what was happening in your life in August 1999 and July 2009 when these areas of your life/chart/sky were last activated by these particular cha-cha-change energies
-Enjoy sunflowers & sunflower flower essence
-Do heart opening body movements & meditations
-Gather with your favorite people to bear witness to this magical moment (get your eclipse viewing glasses to share so you can do so safely). Best info for what will be visible when wherever you are is available here.
-Reflect on what you most want to protect (give that Mars a mission)
-Play and create
-Be inspired by pampered house cats (especially when they're purring) and children (especially when they're sharing)
-Adorn yourself in ways that make you feel radiant and alive
I'll be hosting an intimate gathering of folks who want to explore these themes more on Thursday, August 10th at 7:30pm. RSVPs are required so I can plan (hahahaha...) accordingly. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're in the SF Bay Area and would like to join us. Mermaids ready for rebirth are especially welcome.
Above image acknowledgement and gratitude to Judy Schmidt and Astronomy Picture of the Day. Below image is in the public domain found on Wikimedia.
Saturn's cycles signal the need for maturation, discernment, respect and responsibility. She reminds us of the power of NO, setting boundaries, defining and developing trust for our inner knowing so that we don't live lives authored by some external authority. He tells us that we really must do what we know we must do. They are there to strengthen us as the struggle to emerge from the chrysalis makes us strong enough to fly.
Every 29.5 years or so, Saturn returns to the place it was at the moment of our blessed birth. Around the ages of 29, 58 and 87, we are ushered into a deepened understanding and acceptance of reality. It often isn't comfortable. Particularly for us the first time around, astrological adulthood can provide some unwelcome, but ultimately beneficial wake-the-fuck-up calls. Some discomfort is there to help us grow. Some discomfort gives us information about what to avoid, what habit patterns aren't serving us and gives us the strength and willingness to change. Pain reminds us that we are alive and mortal, that our time is finite.
The stone associated with Saturn is the diamond. Like this precious rock, we all start off as coal. After many years of tremendous pressure, we harden, crystallize and arrive at our Saturn return sharper and more powerful than ever before. We often wrap up projects that began thirty years before and embark on endeavors that will take that many years to complete. When we make commitments, Saturn is there. We can and should question the manipulated value of diamonds as a symbol of commitment and the exploitation of people and the earth that is associated. I prefer the more reasonably priced diamonds that come on stone sculpting tools and record players and ones sourced with the most stringent ethical considerations in mind.
Saturn returns are times to do what we should, to work hard, not under the duress that is capitalism, but for our big life works that reflect purpose and meaning. We choose to commit to divorce or to marry, to sculpt stone, to write that book, to take that professional challenge on, to lift those weights literal and metaphoric. We begin to accept that what we now think of as career is a winding, non-linear path that is about purposefulness and service. Being of use in ways that align with our values are good ways to honor and celebrate any point in a Saturn cycle (we feel can feel the influence of Saturn transits prepare us for the returning throughout our lives). Sacrifice means to make sacred. How can you consecrate your one and only current life?
Here are a few ways to make your time & energy sacred:
-Know (REALLY know) that you are the ultimate authority on your life. Breathe that in and refuse to live your life any other way.
-Validate yourself. External validation will only keep you doing what other people want you to be doing.
-Wear black (color sacred to Saturn) especially on Saturn's day (Saturday).
-Eat black sesame seeds & make an offering of them as well.
-Strength training & climbing to honor your inner sea goat (Capricorn is sign associated with Saturn)
-Embrace aloneness & solitude. Place the Hermit card on your altar and meditate on its messages.
-Do what you've always wanted to do, but breaks a patriarch's taboo. Live your life for yourself, not your father (or the most domineering of your primary care givers).
-Discipline yourself. Restraint can be liberating.
-Donate clothes. Get rid of stuff not so much because it doesn't spark joy, but because it's not useful to who you are now and to who you are striving to become.
-Plan & Strategize. Use time wisely and intentionally. Calendars can be compelling tools.
-Thank your teachers & mentors and/or become one.
-Take care of your health, especially your teeth (the only visible part of your skeletal system which as that which gives structure & rigidity to the body is certainly in Saturn's domain)
-Do your propers.
-Honor your ancestors.
-Commit yourself (can be to a thirty year project or idea that's wanting to be made tangible as much as to a person). If you're wanting to be married and not yet, marry yourself.
-Get reality checks, but if they don't resonate with your inner knowing let 'em go.
-Hoop. Nothing like literally having a boundary around your body to practice having your very own swirling rings of protection.
-Push through the resistance that isn't serving you and allow that which is to act as a guidepost along your long path forward.
-Take breaks. Saturnal work is a marathon, not a sprint.
-Sleep on it. If you're not sure, say "maybe" and take some time to mull it over. If you know it's a "no," practice saying it.
-Have boundaries of love replace your walls of fear.
-Get real cozy with the fact that you are aging and embrace the sweet, terrible fact that you will die. Intimacy with this reality helps us live.
On the precipice of my Saturn return in Libra, I narrowed my worldly possessions down to four bags and crossed the country to see if the long distant (originally a typo, but more accurate than "distance" so leaving it as is) relationship I was in had legs (it didn't). Determined to live alone, I found a tiny hermitage in the city I'd just tried to leave. It was supposed to be a two month sublet which I've lived in for going on eight years. I started to say no without apology (learning that I didn't even need an explanation took a few more years). This is when I finally began to give astrology readings professionally. I met my future spouse and started experimenting with monogamy after a decade of polyamory. I focused and committed. I finally got this website going. I worked hard to rebuild my life in a way that reflected what I most needed to thrive. I quit smoking. I started meditating daily. I figured out that because my mother had had me when she was 27 years old that, as her firstborn, I had been her Saturn return rite of passage. We started to understand each other much more, as adults, in a new way with much more clarity and respect. It was really potent time. I'm already looking forward to the next one.
As a student of astrology, it was as if I had been preparing for it my whole life (though I hear that a sense of having arrived or levelled up happens for folks turning thirty who don't know anything about astrology too). In my mid twenties, I found myself dreading the experience. I felt overwhelmed and scared. Fortunately, I spoke with a lot of brilliant astrological colleagues and teachers who assured and reassured me, guided me and encouraged me through the initiation. Turns out that I had nothing to be scared of. Yes, I went all in on love and from one vantage point, I lost it all, but from where I am now, I see clearly how much I really gained. Folks who are already on their path in some way are less likely to be knocked down by this experience. If you do get knocked down by it, don't kick and scream and resist (though that may be an important part of the process too). Always ask, what can I learn from this? How can I grow (hint: Saturnal growth requires a fair amount of weeding a la learning to let go)?
May your experiences with Saturn be blessed with wise restraint and enduring acceptance.
Today planet of all things enthusiastic has entered Virgo, a sign not particularly known for big picture enthusiasm. Virgo is more centered around the everyday, mundance (a typo that I'm sticking with because it just works). Jupiter represents opportunities to grow and expand and in Virgo is about acknowledging that small is beautiful, that wholeness is sexy and that details can be liberating. I awoke this morning with prayers in the fore of my mind that are certainly part of the good works that Virgo in Jupiter is calling us to. Here's a start:
I pray to be of service. I pray for rootine that expands my ability to show up for self and community care. I pray for perfectionism to give way to faith in good enough. I pray for the kind of self awareness that sends me looking for answers inside so that whatever relationships we have are full of wholeness & wellness. I pray for focused patience with all that is unresolved and for the spiritual good sense to take all the little steps that lead to re-solution in the meantime. I pray to honor wise discernment by saying yes when I can do so enthusiastically. I pray for the spiritual discipline to do all that needs to be done to cultivate good health on all the levels. I pray for calendars, schedules and plans that serve the life I most want to be living, helping me to grow and flourish with plenty of breaks, downtime and spacious spontaneity with a healthy dose of creativity. Mostly, I pray for the focused attention needed to truly appreciate each days gifts so that I might find greater joy in the mundance!
What matters to you? What are you willing to do for love, beauty, money? How committed are you? What is worthwhile and important? How do you relate to yourself, to your beloveds, to your communities, to this world, to love as a felt experience as well as idea? How do you wish this were different? This summer is a potent one for asking yourself these questions. As Venus, home to our desires and values, goes retrograde (7/25-9/5) it's time to re-think and re-consider the literal and emotional currencies of our lives. Our answers will likely get turned on their heads over the next few weeks, probably to the chagrin of someone, perhaps even you, and yet there is the potential to have a lot of fun with it as long as we stay away from that which cannot be undone.
Lovers might break up, get back together, meet again after years out of contact often to find deeper layers of closure in the rekindling, or connect with each other in a way that feels like destiny. Whatever happens it's often temporary though the results of our attempts to re-structure existing dynamics certainly aren't free from consequence. Keep the long term in mind as you get swept off in whatever fantasies come your way and remember that if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. Though there's nothing wrong with enjoying the (sane, consensual) fantasy while the glamour fades. So many folks are finding themselves exploring familiar summertime festivals within new relationship parameters. Be aware and you won't have to beware. Linger in the longing.
The numbers 5 and 7 are sacred to Venus as is their sum of 13 and Fridays (Freya's Day) are her realm. Venus will spend most of this retrograde in Leo (I wrote this post while it was there and the Virgoan Venus' tendency towards perfectionism just wouldn't let me post until we shifted back into a Leonine time). We can honor this with art, sweetness, play, creativity and making sure that we are tending to those things that brought us joy in childhood even as adults (if you're not sure what this could be, I suggest taking some lessons in fun from the children of the world). The artists amongst us might find that the art we make during this time pushes a creative edge exploring uncharted territory with fresh eyes and experimentation (useful for 7/31's full moon too). Allow the Virgoan part of this retrograde to encourage discernment, wisdom and willingness to be in the details, planning, and scheduling around creative connecting (rather than dwelling in the stuckness that delayed this post).
Without further ado, here are some ways to make this current work for you instead of getting dragged down by it:
1. Be clear about how you want to be loved. This doesn't mean telling another person what to do. This means having the self awareness to know and then extending the kindness of expressing that to all the people with whom you wish to deepen intimacy. Psychic as they may be that doesn't mean that the onus is not on you to ask for what you need. Be prepared to receive what's offered as imperfectly as it may come. Leo energy is like the pampered house cat so remember that you can get up and strut away when you're done being petted.
2.. If you want to be adored, be adore-able. Mostly this done by extending the adoration outward and doting on your loved ones the way you'd like to be. Of course, it's good to keep in mind your lover's preferred way of receiving love when you do this (a relationship astrology reading can be so helpful in exploring this or just knowing their moon & venus & juno signs or better yet, ask the folks you love how they'd like you to show it).
3. Focus on yourself, your desires, your needs. If you have to choose between guilt and resentment, choose guilt. Find ways to experience indulgence and luxury without compromising your budget or your relationships. A little research will go a long way. It's an inside job always, but especially now. All relationships suffer under the burden of martyrdom and self-sacrifice if it becomes habit or default.
4. Give up blame, criticism, negativity or whatever habit is bothering you and/or the folks you love for the duration of the retrograde and see what shifts occur. I gave up blame for lent this year (a witch giving up something for lent baffled me too however the universe told me to so I did and I sure am glad). It's not that thoughts of blame didn't come up or that I didn't even behave in blaming ways sometimes, but I caught myself and backed away from it as soon as I did. I also got to see how much I'd rather blame myself than give up the illusion that we can control our ways out of difficulty. Mostly though I just saw how boring those habits are and what a block to connection. This helps us not only soften into the humanness of others, but deepens our own self acceptance.
5. Know that this too shall pass even if you can't stop thinking about that ex, that crush, the idea that you'll never find love or that annoying thing your partner keeps doing. None of those states of mind are places to act from. Receive the information and reflect. Don't make any irrevocable changes until October (when we're out of the shadow) unless you can do so peacefully and easefully or at least obviously. The best decisions are the ones that arise clearly with only a modicum of doubt. This means expanding our ability to sit with the discomfort of uncertainty until clarity comes.
6. Be grateful for what is. Stay grounded and connected to the actual reality of what's happening by seeing all there is to be thankful for in it. Even if your relationship is self-destructing, what a gift that can be! Just think of past loves and how lucky we are to not be on those same hamster wheels anymore. Express your gratitude to the people from your past and present for the part they've played in your relational development.
7. Reminisce. Nostalgia and the good ol' days can be salve for whatever relationship wounds you've been nursing. Reflect on how far you've come and appreciate what brought you together in the first place. If you're not currently in the sort of relationship you want to be in, reflect on what in your past has brought you closer to your desires and snuggle up to that.
8. Let go of the illusion of control. That's not how love works. If you say something more than once, chances are you're trying to control a situation (or another person). Figure out what you do actually have the ability to change (redundant hint: look inside) and explore that.
9. Read about love! I recommend anything by bell hooks, particularly Communion: The Female Search for Love for some good politicized wisdom that makes it clear that abuse ain't love and that love matters even as we struggle with the way heterosexism and gender roles play out in all our relational dynamics. Listening to love songs can also provide insight & wisdom. A most excellent suggestion from DJ Larsupreme by the Velvelettes. So simple, so clear and so very Virgoan.
10. Stay open to creative solutions. If your relationship it primarily made up of just two people, it can fall into polarization much too easily. Look for the third option, the possibility you hadn't yet considered and the signs that can lead you there. Ask for an outside opinion or bring a therapist, mediator or trusted advisor to the table for wisdom and insight.
11. Create the creative solutions through art, beauty and play. Make love into ritual and ritual into love. This is one of the best ways to explore whatever relationship conundrums are up. We take sex so seriously. Try laughing and playing in the romance even if the primary place of romance is in self love. Come up with more entertaining fantasies.
12.. Take breaks for goodness sakes. Honor the power of space, distance and time to grow fondness and appreciation.
13. Do love your way. I tell you there's nothing like getting married that will put you in touch with how many taboos exist around doing love differently. Learning about polyamory even if you never do it can help us to get out of whatever box we've found ourselves in too. The movements for queer liberation have clues around how to shift as do conversations with folks who are having a relationship that looks like an expression of love you might want. Mostly though know that love follows a spiral path and the linear one that society sets up is usually far to restrictive unless with bend it into shapes that fit us better.
The caveats and comforts:
-Don't worry if you're getting married during this time because it probably means you're an unconventional pair.
-If you were born during a venus retrograde (or if you're dating someone who was), this doesn't apply in quite the same way. You just might be better at all this than the rest of us. Enjoy the cosmos reflecting the moment you were born back to you.
-Regret is just an opportunity to learn.
-Love that doesn't last is still love. Breaking up is sometimes the most loving thing. Relationships that last six weeks are not necessarily less important than ones that last sixty years. This includes the friendships that no longer support who we are now.
This Venus retrograde conjuncts Jupiter, squares Saturn and trines Uranus so look for the opportunities to do the hard work of finding innovative ways to be with your loving desires.
Apparently I have a lot to say about relating. This post was by client friend request. In the spirit of relating, if you have a question or want some advising and are willing to have it turned into a post, please let me know. My Virgoan self wants to be of service in the most useful ways possible and it's one way to get me to write more long form too.
If you're more interested in how to use your resources more wisely in the other realm most commonly associated with Venus, I suggest you recycle and re-explore this post from the last time this planet appeared to go backwards.
Dear Saturn in Scorpio,
What were you doing last April? How are the issues that were coming up then finding greater resolution? What are you relieved about? Regretful about? This is all good information about the eclipse season we’re in now. Eclipses put more force behind the full moons and new moons that they fall on as apexes of changes that have been building for the past three-six months. The first eclipse falls on the late night/early morning (depending on where you are) of October 8th and since it falls in Libra/Aries, keep in mind that there is no such thing as other people’s stuff.
It’s a wild card time in general, but with the grand trine in fire signs and mercury’s retrograde in Scorpio/Libra and Uranus and the Sun forming a lightening rod for cosmic energy, expect the unexpected. The grand trine in fire (now through the 8th) encourages us to use our creativity and spiritual aliveness to focus on all that warms our heart. It’s no surprise that San Francisco is being hit a heatwave. Monitor your energy levels for information about what brings vibrancy and go for more of that. Be careful of burnout though and remember to take refuge in the shade. A blow torch is more powerful than a bonfire or a burnt bridge though I can’t deny that we all don’t have some part of us that loves to watch it all burn. Burn candles, old sheets imbued with sex with an ex or old files that are dragging you down. What phoenix part of you might rise from those ashes?
Know that while eclipses bring change and fire signs love spontaneity, due to mercury’s retrograde, caution is indicated especially around anything that you might not be able to back out of. Feel free to write those harsh emails, but don’t necessarily send them without a trusted advisor’s revision. Burn those letters and journal pages where you've purged your vitriol then perhaps you'll be able to write from a more effective place.
Don’t overcommit yourself based on the intensity of the moment. If you’re even a little uncertain, breathe deep and expand your capacity to sit with the not knowing rather than forcing a resolution. When we’re seduced by the need to find closure, it’s almost always a sign that we're avoiding the work of sitting with our feelings. The solution is usually to put the phone down, come back to the present and know that the answer will come at the right time (if it hasn’t come, it’s not the right time).
There’s nothing like astrology to give us a sense of right timing and nothing like tarot to get us through those moments of uncertainty. The only question that matters right now is “what wants to happen next.” Pull out the tarot if you’ve got too many options and/or are feeling overwhelmed. Pull a card for each option and see what feelings arise from there. Keep in mind that the cards are a reflection of your relationship to the option in that moment. It’s okay to say “no” right now and you become a “yes” later, when the time is right and more information has been revealed. If you don't have a deck or are away from it, this is a sweet online resource. Use this wild card time to lean on our wild, artful divinatory cards.
As mercury's retrograde moves back into Libra, if you have trouble deciphering the message with all the taboo shit stirring that the Scorpionic energy brings, consult with another person. Take it all with a grain of salt because you’re the ultimate authority on your life, but there’s some clarity that can come only from sorting stuff out with another being. It will be much less about what’s being said and much more about what’s being felt. This is a great time to practice using feeling words in a non-blaming way (NVC anyone?). Good luck!
The final eclipse of this cycle is on October 23rd in Scorpio. We enter the depths, letting go and sinking in to all that we’re here to learn about our psyches. I’m planning to spend that night making a collage honoring that “no” is a complete sentence. What small, often quiet voice in you do you hope pay extra attention to as the energy of the moment shifts?
Have a blessed Samhain and happy new year to all the witches out there!
For folks that have been wondering where my more regular postings can be found, for the past six months or so, I've been toying with Facebook so follow me there for more consistent & brief astrologically inspired nuggets of wisdom. It's not my favorite platform, but it does make it easy.
God is Change
And in the end,
Kindness eases Change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.
-Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents
Photo Credit: Nathan Taylor
I've got a penchant for apocalyptic mythos (Octavia Butler's Parables series is a favorite I've recently re-visited). I am especially fond of those that assure me that though transformation can be quite painful there is tremendous hope for shaping our breakdowns into breakthroughs. At the same time, I'm with Saul Williams in "calling all tarot readers and sparrow feeders to cancel the apocalypse." This dark moon in Aries (March 30th) I find myself steeped in both the fear of change and craving the promise of newness, of hope, of possibility born from destruction. Aries needs something to protect so all that fiery, fierceness has somewhere productive to go. This lunation allies with trickster Uranus and Juno, protector of the underdog invoking our unique inner hero's journeys to be allied with the greatest good of all. Use the unexpected to that advantage. Now is the time to ask yourself where you want lightning to strike in your life?
April moves us into eclipse season (4/15 & 4/29) and a grand cross in the cardinal signs (exact on 4/23). I adore when the gregorian calendar and the astrological match up and a tax day lunar eclipse is no exception. Practicing war tax resistance has made me conscious of war nearly every day. It's a small way to resist, to ensure that the nearly half of my tax dollars that go to war do not go there easily. It feels right, good and terrifying. I remind myself all the time that it's nothing compared to the terrors of war or the acts of resistance by folks like Chelsea Manning, and it's something that I can do. The feelings we have about our struggles get highlighted especially in relationship to others. The solar eclipse that follows brings shifts in our bodies and beings toward greater wholeness in the cognitive dissonance.
The grand cross brings us to this moment's crossroad. Dynamic tensions invite shifts that have probably been brewing for a while. It's our work to find integration and wholeness in the shifting possibilities. Uranus in Aries asks us to find deeper liberation of the self and courage in creating change. Jupiter in Cancer asks us to give and receive deep nourishment to our families of origin and those with whom we have chosen kinship. Mars (retrograde) in Libra asks us to return to familiar territory in relating so we can take action differently the next time around (and the next, and then next...). Pluto in Capricorn is asking us to let go of the illusion of control so that real power can come through in service to deep, lasting transformations that serve us through difficult times as well as through bliss. What is your sweet and powerful Positive obsession to guide you through this month?
As Julie Simmons says of this dark new moon time "Step inside the cardinal cross. Bring your friends. There is actually no other place to be. Imagine yourself at the center where the four directions meet. You are the keeper of the directions of your life and today or tomorrow you must make your intentions clear. You want change, you need to feed and nourish your people, you must be a leader but not a dominator and you must have extreme courage to face the fear that there is simply not enough. Whether this is true or not, is not for you to know. What is known is that there is great fear which will require great courage."
Today brings us the dark moon in Aquarius, a time when the lunar year shifts from snake to horse. I don't have nearly as much primary experience with horse as I do with snake, but I can say that in the lead up, I've felt a flurry of activity galloping in my direction. More than once I've wondered if I was riding this wave or if I was being ridden.
Aquarius is an air sign, bringing the workings of our mind to the fore, spinning and spinning as the mind does, so focused on the big picture that we forget to look where we're going. We find ourselves wanting to do everything right, knowing how to do it right, if only we lived in a world less complicated by our humanness. Repeating the phrase "you can't do it wrong" has allayed my mind (when it's willing to listen to reason). This phrase then magically extends to others. Judgment then becomes easier to recognize and drop.
Those moments when my mind insists on doing what the mind does best (think, awfully obsessively at its worst), I've found peace in slowing my stride way down a la walking meditation. Putting one foot in front of the other, with intent and insistence despite the frantic pace of modern life, somehow resets my mental processes. Doing this in the moments I need it rather than waiting until I'm at the perfect place for walking mediation is key (yes, I suspect I get funny looks which usually means I'm doing life right). Amazingly, as my body slows, I can then actually see into what the best next step is. I also get to appreciate the beauty right in front of me which is often the only best next step. Once the crazy thoughts feel good and reigned in, I'm delighted by how much more I can actually get done.
With the approach of mercury retrograde (2/6-2/27), I suspect we'll all be slowing down whether we like it or not. Might as well enjoy it. It is easy to become so preoccupied in the head that we forget our feet. When we remember our earthbound connection and the gift of gravity, we give ourselves permission to simply be. In that peace with the two steps forward, one step back dance that all this retrograde motion is bringing up can exist in acceptance as we drop into cyclical rather than linear time.
Venus' retrograde is just about over so it's also a time to reflect on what you've learned about what matters most to you over the past forty days and forty nights. How do you really want to be in relationships (to people, to money, to stuff) moving forward? What kind of care do you need to extend to yourself in order to embody that more?
Lastly, astro-heads up: Valentine's day brings us a full moon. Remember that expectations are pre-meditated resentments and that love can show up in all sorts of ways if we only open our hearts to it. More on that later. For now, mark your calendars to join me for an evening of art making, playful ritual and self & community love at Be Your Own Valentine.
Happy Imbolc/Candlemas/Brigid's Day to all the witches and witch lovers out there! In honor of her bright spirit and deep poetry, Mary Oliver has some words to live by this shifting season tide.
Photo credit: Nathan Taylor
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