Libra New Moon: The Way the World Works

Posted by & filed under Featured, Libra, Lunar Phases, New Moon.

The world has gone mad, and to write about it today would fill me with terror alternating with black depression. So instead, I’ve decided to share some thoughts about one of my favorite subjects, and one in keeping with the Libra New Moon season: marriage.

There are all kinds of reasons to marry someone. We might marry them because they are like us, or because they are enchantingly different; because they are smart or good looking or rich or because we wish to annoy our parents. I think that usually, we choose a mate from a place of such profound unconscious that it’s years before we realize exactly why we married the person we did.

On the surface, I married my Libran husband because he makes me laugh, I enjoy his accent, he smells good, and he’s practically allergic to dishonesty. (From an early relationship with a horrible, criminal boyfriend, I learned that dishonesty is the fatal flaw from which all other evil follows.) But over the years, I’ve come to realize that, like practically everyone else, I chose a partner because he possesses many qualities that I lack. (more…)

Aries Full Moon: Keep Fighting

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

The first message in my Facebook feed this morning was from my nephew, marking himself safe in “The Violent Incident in Las Vegas”. His notification linked to a news story about the latest mass shooting, this one involving a gunman opening fire from his hotel room into an open-air concert next door, killing at least 50 people and injuring hundreds of others.

I closed down Facebook and made breakfast.

To entertain myself while I brewed coffee, I put on the latest episode of one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts were describing the horrors in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. The hosts sounded like I felt, their voices flat, as if letting themselves fully feel what they were talking about would splinter them into a million pieces.

I turned off the podcast.

Next on the day’s agenda: an essay about the Full Moon in Aries. I mean, what can I say? That it’s the best Full Moon of the year for getting motivated, standing up for yourself, fighting the good fight? All that’s true, of course, but it feels a bit inadequate to focus on personal growth when the whole damn world seems to be falling apart. (more…)

Virgo New Moon: Practical Magic

Posted by & filed under Everyday Astrology, Lunar Phases, New Moon, Virgo.

Years ago, we were visited twice each month by a marvelous woman who cleaned our house. The place felt terrific after Angela had been here – not just clean, but calm. Centered. It was as though the place had been Rolfed instead of merely mopped and dusted.

Angela came to us through our elderly neighbor, Mildred. One day, after Angela had been coming to our house for about a month, I thanked Mildred again for the referral and remarked how wonderful and peaceful our place felt when Angela was finished with her work. Mildred nodded, sagely. “Oh, she’s a very spiritual person,” she said.

Yes, I thought, that’s exactly right. Angela was devoutly religious, but she never spoke of it. Rather, her spirituality was something that came through in the way she approached her work with a spirit of care and gentleness, and something else I can only call magic. Hers was the practical, everyday magic of smoothing the wrinkles from the linens, making the woodwork gleam, and leaving the floors shiny – but with an extra dash of cheerful calm that transformed this simple work into something more.

This ability to settle and soothe the discord of daily life is the practical magic of Virgo. Ordinarily when I think of magic, it’s the heady style of Scorpio that springs to mind, a fragrant and thrilling pastiche of pentacles, black velvet, and patchouli. As for spirituality, that adjective has always belonged, in my mind, to my Pisces friends, warm and sweet-natured, unfailingly compassionate, and full of concern and good works for a wide range of social causes.

But most of us are not full-time priestesses or everyday saints. We’re just people with jobs, carpools, and colicky pets. We may wish for more time – and tranquility – to spend in meditation, but it’s Virgo and the sixth house that represent the everyday world where we spend most of our time. Do we feel well? Do we have work to do? Is there bread for tomorrow’s breakfast? Traffic snarls, paying the bills, balancing the checkbook, washing the dishes: this is the Virgo stuff our days tend to be made of. (more…)

Pisces Full Moon: The World Without Us

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


In the middle of an exceptionally busy week when a series of deadlines had worn me down to a nubbin, I dragged myself to a client’s office to do some bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is such precise, Virgo work that I enjoy doing it now and then; it’s a bit like working a crossword puzzle. In an uncertain world, there’s something comforting about getting numbers to line up right.

But everything went wrong on this particular morning, as it often does when you’re feeling rushed and overextended. I was buzzing with tension; my attention wandered, and I kept making foolish mistakes. In the end I made a catastrophic blunder in the checking account reconciliation, blurted a frustrated profanity, and nearly burst into tears.

This client has known me for many years; he’s no stranger to my moods, but somehow likes me anyway. So today, as I sat there with blurry eyes, apologizing profusely for my mistake, he just came over and stood by my desk. “You need a break,” he declared. “If you keep pushing yourself so hard, you’re either going to become a very angry person, or just a very…” He struggled for a word. “A very stiff one.”

During Virgo’s season, the world of work beckons with such allure that before we know it, things can get out of hand. Suddenly our calendars are packed far too full and we are wound far too tightly. We look at the world and see only its imperfections, an endless Dead Sea Scroll of tasks that need Virgo’s capable hands to sort it all out and its methodical brain to analyze the root causes of the problems.

But when you begin to look at the world as a problem to be solved, you may forget that it’s also an enchanting mystery that defies both logical explanation and our best efforts to keep it tidied up. Fortunately, the world does its best to remind us, delivering shape-shifting numbers that stubbornly refuse to be wrangled, or trickster hard drive malfunctions. When we’re too entrenched in Virgo’s linear mindset, even our keen minds begin to rebel, refusing to stay focused. When we overdose on Virgo, our wise spirits instinctively reach out for a gentle antidote of music, beauty, and daydreams – all of which can be found in its opposite sign of Pisces, the sign of this Full Moon. (more…)

Leo Solar Eclipse: Lights Out

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

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to The Eclipse to End All Eclipses. Rarely in my lifetime has so much attention been focused on a single celestial event. Mind you, I’m a big eclipse fan; as many of you know, I created a personal eclipse report that I’ve sold for more than two decades. And as the inexorable drumbeat of media has intensified over the last month, so has the demand for these reports.

But over the past few days, even as lines of eclipse-seeking tourists clog the highways of Oregon and social media nearly disintegrates under the weight of eclipse-related posts, the report orders have slowed a bit. One night, our electrical power was abruptly “eclipsed” for five hours. And in a development that, to my superstitious mind, seems somehow related, even our hot and humid August weather has cooled.

As we approach the threshold of the big event, it’s as though the Sun’s power is already dimming. And as the tingling, hair-raising suspense of the eclipse intensifies, maybe it’s time to turn inward, where a darkened sanctuary defies August’s beckoning sunniness.

This Solar Eclipse takes place in Leo, the sign in which self-hood struggles to be fully realized. The Leo self sings, dances, paints, delivers monologues; creation and performance are how it discovers who and what it is, and what it wants to become. When the authentic Leo self is given free rein, it eventually finds its audience. But while validation of an audience is intoxicating, it’s also dangerous. If we begin to spend more time performing for an audience than immersed in the joy of creation, too much time begging for attention and too little absorbed in happy, creative reverie, we lose the connection to our internal, uninterruptible power source. (more…)

Aquarius Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse: Radio Silence

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

aquarius lunar eclipse

The radio program This American Life recently devoted an entire episode to the topic of summer camp. Most of the kids that were interviewed loved camp, its rituals, language, and most of all, the feeling of belonging. Some said they thought about camp all year long, speaking “camp language” to bewildered hometown friends. A few even grew up to become counselors at the same camps they attended as children.

Listening to this program was as close as I’ll probably ever come to eavesdropping on actual aliens. I’m the molecular opposite of a summer camp girl. The few times I went away to camp, I was the miserable kid who counted the hours until it was time to leave. I loved being outdoors, but the enthusiastic singalongs and team-oriented activities – the Aquarian territory – made me clench up inside like a horrified fist. I was born when Jupiter was transiting Aquarius, but it was also opposed by a jumbo serving of Leo planets at the time. I’m simply not built for groups.

To this day, whenever I attend conferences (my profession’s version of summer camp), I hide out a lot, maintaining radio silence while conserving my solar energy for presenting lectures. I marvel at my socially adept colleagues, rock stars who glide through the days in glittering, confident packs. They clearly love camp, in the way I always imagine I will—until I get there, and find that I’m counting down the hours until I’m back in my quirky little home.

This Full Moon–a lunar eclipse in Aquarius–is designed to give a full and truthful accounting of how well we’re navigating Aquarius’ territory. The Full Moon never lies. It’s that interval in the lunar cycle when not even the night time is dark enough to hide our hurts, fears, and flaws. Are you a happy Aquarian camper? Are you spending time with people who engage your finest qualities, or do you disappear in a group, unappreciated and overlooked? Is there room within your tribe for disagreement and individualism, or is nonconformity quickly punished? It’s great to feel that you belong, and miserable to realize that you don’t. But whichever is usually true for you, it’s helpful to give yourself a little silence and space to remember who you are on your own, celebrate your own rituals, and create your own language. (more…)

Leo New Moon: Filled With Your Own Light

Posted by & filed under Leo, Lunar Phases, New Moon, Sun.

I began my life as a musician at the age of 12, singing with my cousin. I was a shy little Leo; she was a slightly older, brash and unafraid one, with a full-throttled voice. It felt natural to let her take the lead, while I mastered harmony. Harmonizing came so naturally that it never occurred to me to wonder why I felt so much more comfortable singing counterpoint to someone else’s melody.

My cousin eventually lost interest in performing. She didn’t need a stage; her personality and charisma were so big that she commanded attention simply by walking in a room. She would never be a harmony singer, drifting through life as a satellite, reflecting another’s light. But my Leo self was undernourished, so I kept performing. Unsure that I had any light of my own inside me, I needed lights upon me in order to be sure I existed at all. (more…)

Capricorn Full Moon: Nobody’s Child

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

I’m well into my fifties now, and it’s been 20 years since I had a living parent. But I’ll admit, there are still days that I miss being someone’s child. However much one is loved by a spouse, friends, or children, there’s something about having a loving parent that makes you feel you’ve always got a soft place to fall.

When I see friends my age coping with their ailing parents, though, part of me is relieved that I never had to watch my mother and father slowly falter, their memories disintegrating, their need for care exceeding their (or my) resources. It’s often said, and rightly so, that there is no worse fate for a parent than to outlive a child. But when I watch exhausted, worried adults in their fifties and sixties overwhelmed with care for aging parents, that doesn’t seem so great, either.

It’s a hard world, and some days it doesn’t feel like any of us really has a soft place to fall. And those who are the most capable, who have made good decisions and who always strive to do the right thing, are carrying some of the heaviest burdens. These are Saturn’s children, and if they occasionally grit their teeth and speak sharply, it’s not because they’re unfeeling, but because they’re doing what they must, against sizable odds. (more…)

Cancer New Moon: Setting the Table

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

My grandfather built the house himself, a smallish bungalow a few miles from the river, with a good porch and a barn across the road. It was a humble house with three tiny bedrooms and a bathroom added by dad years later, when there were two small kids and a third on the way and Mom was fed up with dragging everything around to the outhouse.

At the center was a large, eat-in kitchen, with bedrooms and living room radiating from it like the rays of the sun. Six of us ate our meals at a round, oak table that, in my memory, was huge. Mom and Dad sat at that table late into the evenings, going over the budget, chatting with uncles and aunts and grandparents. We did our homework there, and mom set the table for big, fried chicken dinners on Sunday. Dad had his morning coffee and cigarette there when he came in from the fields for breakfast; I remember crawling up on his lap, remember his blue work coveralls and his stubbled cheek, remember feeling safe. Remember sitting there, too, the morning a neighbor showed up at the back door to tell us my father was dead.

Many years later, after my mother died, my aunt finally sold that old house. I hadn’t seen it in a decade, and I never planned to live there again, but it was hard to see it go. If my husband and I hadn’t bought our first house together the year before, I’d probably have lobbied to buy it. As long as we owned that house, a place still existed where we had been a family, all of us together.

Coincidentally, it was around this time that I found myself in possession of that old kitchen table. It had gotten a bit warped over the years, and contrary to my memory it was hardly big enough to accommodate even four adults. But back then, most us were little kids and we were all family, so there felt like plenty of space. I wanted to keep that table for sentimental reasons, but our house has small rooms, too, and no space for a dining table that can’t be used for dining. Eventually I passed it back to my sister, who is probably trying to figure out what to do with it now, herself.

When you’re young, there are usually some relatives, a house, some possessions that connect you to the place where you started. If the people who raised you did a good job, there are also places inside of you that act as an internal GPS, long after those people and those places are gone.

Cancer, the sign of home and history and heritage, is your astrological GPS, the umbilical cord that connects you to the mother ship and nourishes you to viability. It’s home – the place where you started out in life, the place where you begin each day, and the people and things that have been there with you. Sometimes it’s even an old, warped table. (more…)

Sagittarius Full Moon: I Married an Alien!

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

My sister and I enjoy chuckling over pictures from our childhood, which invariably feature me looking up at the sky, distracted, as if awaiting the return of my mother ship. Who knows, maybe I was; born with Sagittarius, the sign of the foreigner, on the Ascendant of my chart, part of me has always felt that I was born in the wrong place, the wrong century, perhaps even in the wrong solar system.

From an early age, even my taste in men spanned multiple time zones. While my sister’s tastes in Tiger Beat magazine teen idols ran along the decidedly American lines of Bobby Sherman and Donny Osmond, I strongly preferred wispy English boys with cute accents. Years later, I spent a good deal of my twenties in a thoroughly impractical and ultimately doomed relationship with a much-older Scotsman; I suspect that his fetching brogue was responsible for 80% of my attraction.

So it came as a surprise to absolutely no one close to me when the man I eventually decided to marry turned out to be from a different country. It makes complete sense that my closest relationship is with someone whose green card thrillingly classifies him as a “Permanent Resident Alien.”

Yes…I married an alien! My husband hails not from Mars but from New Zealand, a smallish country in the South Pacific renowned for its magical scenery, abundant sheep, and Hobbits. Not that I knew anything about it when I met him—and that, of course, was a huge point in his favor. As far as I knew, he came from an entirely different world, and that was interesting to me. Fortunately, after more than two decades together, it still is.

Which is a bit surprising, since—despite a Sagittarius rising sign and a lot of planets in the 9th house of “Long Journeys Over Water”—there is nothing exotic about me whatsoever. I’m from Indiana, possibly the least exotic place on earth. I pretty much hang out in the kinds of places, with the sorts of people, and doing the types of stuff that would seem completely unsurprising to anyone who met me. I have visited a few foreign countries, but I’m actually not that fond of long distance travel. I am wary of unfamiliar foods and am mildly afraid of visiting a country where English is not the native tongue.

But within each of us, a stealth Sagittarian cell seeks the kind of experiences that expand the tiny parameters of our realities. It’s my Stealth Sagittarian who enjoyed sampling a couple of foreign languages in college, whose favorite film of all time is in German, and who married a guy from the other side of the world. (more…)