Sagittarius Full Moon: Improve the Silence

Posted by & filed under Featured, Full Moon, Lunar Phases, Sagittarius.

improve-silence-postWith Sagittarius rising in my birthchart, Mercury opposed Jupiter, and lots of planets in the 9th house, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m a born centaur. This is especially true on the occasions when I jump on my high horse (so to speak) and start delivering sermons like a self-styled Joan of Arc.

I’m most apt to get Sadgey when I sense someone else is being bullied or treated unfairly. It doesn’t have to be someone I particularly like, either. Mostly, I can justify those rants. But for every situation that really demands stark truth-telling, there’s one that calls for a little more restraint and judgment. At those moments, this piece of advice, attributed to Indian spiritual master Sai Baba, can be helpful:

Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve upon the silence?

Oh, self-righteousness can feel so good. Setting someone straight. Telling it like it is. Few things offer the delicious jolt of freedom, of agency, of utter indifference to consequence that comes with letting fly a self-righteous screed.

But even if what you say is true, and even if you can argue for its necessity, that kind of truth-telling is never kind and almost never improves upon the silence.

I’ve heard variations of the Sai Baba quotation many times over the years. The last part, the bit about improving upon the silence, is often left out. And that’s a shame… because when you begin to feel the thundering hooves of your inner Sagittarius begin to gallop, you’re not likely to care much whether something is kind or necessary, though you will certainly have convinced yourself that it’s true.

However, improving upon the silence is a concept that might actually curb Sagittarius’ tendency toward blurty truth-telling. This is because no sign worships as devoutly as Sagittarius in the cathedral of natural beauty. Towering mountains, mysterious sandstone arches, achingly beautiful forests… these are deeply moving to Sagittarius, particularly their magical silence.

The next time you feel the itch to really let loose and try to convince someone that you’re by-God right about something, try for a moment to close your eyes and pretend you’re in some beautiful natural spot that’s sacred to you. Put yourself in the silence. Wait awhile. You may find, to your surprise, that the real truth that needs to be told is a little different than you’d imagined. Sometimes, it’s not a truth about someone else at all, but rather about yourself— something you’re a little ashamed of, embarrassed by, and have been only dimly aware of. Let the silence stretch on, holding your truth gently aloft. Could your words improve this moment, this silence?

There are words, of course, that greatly improve the silence. Like Martin Luther King declaring in huge, thrilling tones that “the greatness of America is the right to protest for right,” and “I have been to the mountaintop,” and “I have a dream.” Or Bob Dylan’s keening wail: “How does it feel to be on your own, like a complete unknown, with no direction home.” Or John Kennedy’s famous, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Oh, friends, rhetoric and poetry can improve exquisitely upon silence; let’s not lose their lyrical power, which tells important truths so much more convincingly than mere hollering. Truth shouldn’t be something we use to shame one another, but rather a way of revealing us more completely so that we can better love one another.

This is a hard Full Moon conjunct Mars retrograde in Sagittarius. So, tell your hard, inconvenient truths. But the Full Moon point is also square Neptune in Pisces, so remember to put some love behind them, too—the love that says, “I think you’re completely wrong about what you believe, and you do stuff that makes me really, really, angry, but dammit, you’re my brother and I love your humanity!” And when you’re looking around you to total up the hypocrisies and dishonesties that need to be called out, remember, as Mercury and Mars are still retrograde, to look inside yourself, first, for frailties. Then, if you find you still have something to say that’s big and truthful and heart-opening, open up your throat and sing out loud and strong, with love and without judgment. Make your truth as beautiful as you can. Improve the silence.

© 2016 April Elliott Kent

PracticalAstro2016My book “The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology” is back in print! Available now in Kindle version, and very soon in a happy new paperbook edition! See this page for details.

Taurus New Moon: Living Well

Posted by & filed under Lunar Phases, New Moon, Taurus.

living-wellThis New Moon is in Taurus, “the money sign.” With lots of planets retrograde this month—often bringing unexpected financial setbacks—many of us might be fretting a bit over our bank accounts lately. It’s no fun to feel worried about how you’re going to pay your rent or your car mechanic. So by all means, at this New Moon, do some rituals (I love this one from Dana Gerhardt) and set intentions around attracting more money into your life.

But to focus only on money is to miss the larger point of Taurus, and perhaps of whatever stressful situations come your way. And that larger point is the importance of self-sufficiency.

Aries represents the challenge of withstanding immediate threat, but Taurus is where we meet the challenges of day-to-day survival. It represents how we put shelter over our heads, food on the stove, clothes on our back. If we don’t have these basic necessities or can’t provide them for ourselves, we’re in a serious crisis of security. Nowhere is this crisis more evident and immediate than in the way we feed ourselves.

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Scorpio Full Moon: Be a Beautiful Godzilla

Posted by & filed under Aspects, Full Moon, Learning Astrology, Scorpio.

beautiful-godzilla

“She’s like a beautiful Godzilla!”

“The only way the gods know we’re asking for help is ritual.” – Caroline Casey

Taurus and Scorpio are the two signs of the zodiac that are most closely associated with money. So if your finances are strained or life just isn’t giving you enough of what you want, the Scorpio Full Moon is the perfect time for a prosperity adjustment.

The prosperity dance involves persuading others that you have something that is so valuable, they should give you whatever you ask in order to get it. Sometimes, this exchange flows effortlessly; other times, it’s as though there is an actual, physical obstruction between you and prosperity. That’s when you find yourself feeling broke – or at least, you don’t have enough money to do something that’s really important to you (like pay rent, for instance).

Does it follow that if others are not offering to pay you for what you have, it isn’t valuable? I don’t think so. But I have noticed that simply being a nice person and good at what you do isn’t enough. Those who are wildly successful have some quality of attraction or seduction that makes others want to work with them/buy from them/be near them.

Seduction relies on a kind of subliminal, mesmerizing persuasiveness. It’s characterized by the ability to hold others spellbound and desperate to please you. These qualities don’t come naturally to me; perhaps they’re not your gifts, either.

These are Scorpionic gifts. (more…)

Aries New Moon: The One We Feed

Posted by & filed under Aries, New Moon.

one-we-feed-350An old Cherokee Indian was speaking to his grandson:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a long minute, and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.” 

Another election season is underway in the U.S., and things are getting kind of ugly out there. It seems impossible for candidates to compete honestly or share differing opinions without coarse insults, even with those in their own party. And some political rallies have taken on a particularly hateful tone this season. At this Aries New Moon, it would appear that the angry, wounded wolf is temporarily winning the battle for the supper dish. (more…)

Libra Lunar Eclipse: Go Gently

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, Full Moon, Libra, Lunar Phases.

This Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse at 3.17 Libra is on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at 5:01 am PDT, 8:01 am EDT, 12:01 m GMT, and 11:01 pm AEDT. Look to the house of your birth chart where 3.17 Libra falls and any natal planets being aspected for more insights into how this eclipse will affect you. 

libra-fmLike a lot of compulsive, driven types, I move a bit roughly through the world. Whether along my career path or on a trip to the supermarket, I focus on the destination and pay scant attention to the journey itself. Down to the smallest gestures, my approach is instinctively direct and graceless. I’m hard on the physical world, breaking, tearing, staining, or chipping nearly everything I touch.

But I have a pet indulgence – spending hours browsing through design blogs and magazines. I enjoy a glimpse into the way others live, their clean, spare, modern spaces, or (especially) their colorful, artfully cluttered bohemian dwellings. I savor small, elegant touches that appear in unexpected places, the gestures of someone who is attentive to each tiny nook and responds to it creatively. There’s something graceful about them, the suggestion that such a person pays attention to each moment instead of rushing to finish line.

I’m seeking an elegant oasis in a world that feels like a pretty rough place. If you’re the kind of person who pushes yourself hard, relying on the off-gassing of harsh self-talk to propel you, it’s especially difficult to live in a world that mirrors this pitiless inner landscape. It’s a very human instinct to meet brutality with greater force, exponentially, until before you know it presidential candidates are all but coming to physical blows on a debate stage. (more…)

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Eclipse?

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, Lunar Phases, New Moon.

This New Moon/Solar Eclipse at 18.56 Pisces is on March 8, 2016 in North America (5:54 pm PST/8:54 pm EST), and on March 9, 2016 most everywhere else (1:54 am GMT / 11:54 am AEDT)

afraid-eclipseWhen I was new to astrology, I was easily frightened by it. Astrology seemed accurate about so many things that I assumed it was right about everything, and so much of what I found in astrology books was profoundly scary.

Eventually I came to realize that the disturbing interpretations in those books were simply the way a few astrologers saw the world, and not gospel. Many years later, having watched all sorts of planetary cycles come and go, I’m rarely afraid of anything astrology can throw my way. Yet, I have to admit: the March 8/9 Solar Eclipse has me feeling uneasy.

I hasten to tell you that this has nothing to do with eclipses in general, and I’m not saying that this particular eclipse should scare you. To be honest, though eclipses are dramatic and interesting, few of them are truly life-changing. For many of us, this Solar Eclipse will come and go with some mild emotional disruption and perhaps some unexpected developments in some area of life, and that’s about it.

But watch your chart closely over a number of years, and you learn to identify its hot spots. And this particular eclipse triggers one of mine.

Eclipses near this degree (18.55 Pisces) sharply oppose my birth chart’s Mars/Midheaven conjunction, a particularly sensitive and challenging combination. My parents (ruled by the IC and Midheaven) died suddenly after two separate Solar Eclipses near this degree, 27 years apart. Each of the three Solar Eclipses at these degrees since my birth coincided with important relocations and change in my life’s direction, including the purchase of my first house and the transition to my career as an astrologer.

Granted, even if history repeats itself (or at least rhymes), this eclipse is unlikely to bring about the same events. I have no parents left to lose. I’ve lived in the same house since 1997 and am unlikely to move anytime soon, and my career is pretty stable. But if roughly four decades of astrological study have taught me anything, it’s that astrology is endlessly creative in the ways that it manifests. So, I’m kind of nervous to see what the universe will dish up this time around. (more…)

Virgo Full Moon: To Serve Man

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Lunar Phases, Virgo.

virgo-secty_postA classic Twilight Zone episode depicts seemingly benign aliens who have come to earth and pledged their help to mankind. Indeed, one of their seminal texts is entitled “To Serve Man.” Imagine the dismayed surprise of the humanoids who, having clasped these aliens to their bosoms, belatedly discover that the book is not a paean to intergalactic relations, as they’d imagined–but a cookbook!

It’s a clever twist on not just the word, but the concept of service, which in astrology is most often associated with Virgo. The sign of work, of diligent care on behalf of others, nevertheless has a rather nasty reputation–not entirely undeserved–for its hypercritical shadow side. Interestingly, the slang expression “you’ve been served” is a taunt that suggests you’ve been called out and shown up. And certainly, if you get on a Virgo’s bad side you may feel as though you’ve “been served”–or, in the case of those crafty aliens, as though you’re about to be served up!

But Virgo also symbolizes the very noble impulse toward usefulness. It represents the hundreds of people who impact your daily life. No matter how menial the task, another’s approach to his work can have a profound influence on the quality of your day. The barista who serves up your morning coffee can set the day’s tone with a smile and a little joke or can seemingly go out of his way to piss you off. A mechanic who’s having a bad day might forget an important step in servicing your car’s brakes–and that could influence the rest of your life.

I’ll bet it’s easier for you to think of half a dozen people who’ve recently given you poor service than it is to name even half as many who’ve offered help with a smile. Why does it seem so many people are unhappy in their work? Apart from things like sustenance wages and job insecurity, I think it’s mainly for two reasons. (more…)

Aquarius New Moon: Alone, Together

Posted by & filed under Aquarius, Lunar Phases, New Moon.

Cousins

Alone together with my crazy cousin, circa 1976.

Growing up as part of a big, loud, extended family, I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom, reading, writing, or playing my guitar. I savored my privacy and the relative quiet of my little sanctuary.

But what made it possible for me to enjoy my time alone was knowing that just outside my bedroom door, there were laughing, loving people. It was comforting to know that whenever I wanted to, I could join the party.

As an adult, this is what I still love about my family – and about my friends, too. They leave me alone when I need solitude, but when I’m ready for socializing, I’m always welcome. With them, I always feel that there’s a place where I belong – and that makes me happy.

Astrologers say that friendship is ruled by Aquarius, but friends come in a variety of packages. Aquarius’ particular brand of friendship is not the close, intimate, occasionally dramatic bond between “best friends;” those relationships are part of Libra’s purview, along with marriage, business partners, and “frenemies.”

Aquarius-style friendships generally sidestep the high emotional stakes of those relationships. They are the mesh tank tops of relationships – loosely-knit alliances that keep us covered but let us breathe. They are the connections that let us feel like a part of society without losing our independence. (more…)

Leo Full Moon: The Gift of Boredom

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Leo, Lunar Phases.

leofm_bored_300The economy seems to have picked up a bit—an observation that has nothing to do with the state of my 401K and everything to do with the topics my clients want to talk about in our sessions. These days, nearly all of them mention a desire to reclaim their sense of play and creativity.

The desire for self-expression is pretty high up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You have to have an awful lot going right in your life before it occurs to you to want more fun. That said, even a life that offers a roof over your head, food to eat, and safety from imminent peril can be flat, gray, and filled with despair, if there is nothing to feed your creative spirit.

Remember how wonderful it felt, as a kid, to play? After school, on weekends, over long, languid summers, the kids I grew up with spent countless hours goofing off. We rode bikes, invented games with friends, formed garage bands, read books, swam at the community pool. Eventually you’d get bored, but if you were even modestly resourceful and imaginative there was always something new to try. I always felt that boredom was my creativity’s best friend. (more…)

Capricorn New Moon: Starting with Why

Posted by & filed under Capricorn, Lunar Phases, New Moon.

why

It’s a new calendar year and a goal-setting, Capricorn New Moon. And like many of you, I’m sure, I’m trying to figure out how I’d like 2016 to look, and what I need to do to accomplish that.

In particular, I’m coming to terms with my new role at the helm of my local astrology group. It’s all a bit sobering, because despite having been born with Saturn in Capricorn and within one day of a U.S. president, I’ve never had leadership aspirations. So this new role came about as one of those “someone’s got to do it” situations.

Casting a net in search of sage leadership advice, I ran across a TED talk by author Simon Sinek (I’ve included the video at the end of this essay). Sinek suggests that the key to success is to “Start with why.” His thinking is that if you have a strong sense of why you want to accomplish something, you’ll naturally figure out the form it should take and exactly how you can bring it into being.

Sometimes, the “why” of a situation may seem as simple (and ungratifying) as, “I kind of had to.” But even when we’re stepping into situations out of a sense of obligation, it’s important to ask why. Why take care of an ailing relative who has treated you badly all your life? That’s an important “why,” and it probably has much less to do with who they are, than with the kind of person you want to be. Why do you accept a higher-paying job that you really don’t want? If the answer is, “I am a person who loves my family and will do anything to see that they are financially secure,” well, there is your “why,” and it’s a pretty good one.

Once we know why we’re doing something, the road forward is usually clearer. And though Capricorn is a pragmatic, “what” and “how” kind of sign, this particular Capricorn New Moon is a little different. The Sun and Moon are conjoined transformational Pluto and square revolutionary Uranus. Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn, will make a series of motivating aspects to Neptune over the coming year. This is a New Moon, and a new year, that demand we get to know our own motivations, the impalpable underpinnings of our practical ambitions. (more…)