Pisces Solar Eclipse: We Ride

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, Featured, Lunar Phases, New Moon, Pisces, Sabian Symbols.

In a critical scene from True Grit (2010), grizzled old Rooster Cogburn carries badly injured young Mattie Ross on horseback through the cold winter night to seek medical help. Shaped by a culture with a profound regard for horses—that will, in fact, kill a man for stealing one—Cogburn nevertheless pushes the steed cruelly, digging with his spurs until the poor creature’s mouth begins to foam. We feel its agony, and the old man’s exhaustion, and Mattie’s fading strength as she stares up at the lyrically beautiful, inky expanse of prairie night sky. When the horse stumbles and falls, there is nothing for the old man to do but shoot the poor animal, scoop the injured girl into his tired old arms, and continue the race on foot.

The Sabian Symbol for this Solar Eclipse is Pisces 9, THE RACE BEGINS: INTENT ON OUTDISTANCING HIS RIVALS, A JOCKEY SPURS HIS HORSE TO GREAT SPEED. I didn’t know what to make of the Sabian Symbols when I first came across them; I read them too literally. Sometimes, they do play out that way. But they’re a bit dreamlike, too, and I find I usually get more from them through a sideways glance, my eyes a bit squinted. From that perspective, one can easily see the horse fleeing at great speed across an icy prairie, note that the jockey is an old man with an eye-patch and steely determination, and that the rival he’s trying to outdistance is a young girl’s death.

He rides like hell, because if this girl dies, it will hurt. This is a fine girl, a brave, unsentimental one. Her death would make the world less than it could have been. Old Cogburn may be a drunken mercenary when Mattie hires him to avenge her father, but he wasn’t always, and he still recognizes a quality human when he sees one. She’s the kind of girl who makes you stand up a little straighter, one with a spine of steel, who makes up with true grit what she lacks in years.

And so we understand his wild midnight ride across the prairie, undertaken without hesitation and without a single care for his own safety or for the welfare of the horse. (more…)

Leo Full Moon Lunar Eclipse: On Such a Full Sea

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

Eclipses are the universe’s way of letting us know that we’ve taken a particular path as far as it can reasonably go, and that it’s time to change course. The nature of eclipses is crisis, those fateful moments when we find we can no longer cling to the familiar and must move in a new direction. When all hell breaks loose at eclipse time (and it often does), it’s very often related to something we’ve seen coming for a long time and have chosen to ignore or avoid.

One chapter in our current eclipse story begins in August 1999, around the time of a Solar Eclipse at 19 Leo… just a few degrees from this month’s Lunar Eclipse at 22 Leo. That summer, on a break from school, I decided to teach myself to create a website. I spent many happy hours up to my elbows in HTML, learning Photoshop, and generally having a grand time. I had set out onto a happy new creative path with no idea where it was leading me, or what a profound influence that summer would have on my career.

Nine years later, at a Solar Eclipse at 18 Aquarius, my website had led directly to the publication of my first book. Today, almost eighteen years after setting out on that fateful path, my little website has carried my voice all over the world. It brought me all three of my books, most of my clients, and a modest reputation in my field.

But for the past couple of years, I’ve found less and less time and energy to invest in my little astrology empire. My once-shiny website, professionally overhauled with some of the proceeds from a book advance, is woefully out of date, but I haven’t had thousands of dollars or hours of time to invest in a new one. My days are filled with clients and students, my involvement in my local astrology group, vet appointments for two elderly cats, and trying to make sure there is enough clean laundry. It’s hard to make time or summon inspiration for blogs or social media posts. It’s getting harder to write these Full and New Moon essays, too. After eighteen years of traveling this territory, I often begin to write something, only to realize I’ve already pretty much covered that ground in an earlier piece.

In other words, I’ve been plodding along a well-traveled path for so long that I’ve stopped noticing the scenery. I was born with the Sun in Leo, the sign of this Lunar Eclipse, a lively, creative sign. It’s a fixed sign, too, and once it’s created something, Leo will keep it going ad infinitum. But as its opposite sign, Aquarius, is keenly aware, change is the life’s blood of creativity. Every now and then we have to veer off the beaten path in order to keep moving forward—and if we won’t go willingly, the universe will not hesitate to give us a shove. (more…)

“What will the eclipses mean?”

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, Learning Astrology.

I write about eclipses a lot. They’re an astrological passion of mine, because I’ve seen their dramatic cycles play out in my life, the lives of those close to me, and the lives of my clients. I’ve delineated eclipses moving through the houses of the horoscope, eclipses in aspect to natal planets, and written about how to work with eclipse cycles.

But I rarely write about eclipses in signs, other than as part of my monthly essays. It’s not that I think signs are unimportant. In fact, watch the news in the next couple of weeks and I’m confident you’ll see important stories that relate to the general symbolism of Leo (performance, self-expression, ego, children, games/gambling, recreation in general, the arts) and Pisces (compassion, those who are suffering, illness/health, spiritual purpose, victimization). Eclipses mean change is coming, that these matters have reached a tipping point and will, over the next couple of years, bring resolution closer.

It’s interesting to watch this play out in society. But I find it a lot more interesting to watch it play out for individuals. And this is where houses, planets, and your personal relationship with a sign come into play.

“What will the eclipse mean, what will it mean?” we cry. And the answer is that it will mean something a little different for each of us. Much in the same way humans are built from the same essential biological building blocks, we all contain the same astrological symbols as well. It’s how they’re arranged that makes us unique.

So while it would be handy for an astrologer to be able to tell you precisely what an eclipse, a transit, or a progression will mean for you, it would be a fool’s errand to try, because these things never mean exactly the same thing for everyone. For astrology to be most helpful, you have to be willing to do some of the work. You have to be curious and creative enough to adapt astrology’s symbolism to what you know about yourself and your life.

What is your relationship with the February eclipses? Look at the degrees of the eclipses:

  • Feb. 10, 2017  – Lunar eclipse at 22.28 Leo
  • Feb. 26, 2017 – Solar eclipse at 8.12 Pisces

Which houses do these eclipses occupy in your birth chart? Does either of them make hard aspects to your natal planets? And most interestingly, what happened the last time an eclipse fell at those degrees (for instance, the Feb. 9, 2009 lunar eclipse at 20.59 Leo, and the Feb. 26, 1998 solar eclipse at 7.55 Pisces)?

Not every eclipse brings big change to you personally. But taken together, these two – the first in a Leo/Aquarius eclipse series that plays out through Jan. 2019, and the last in a Virgo/Pisces series that has been active since March 2015 –  mark an important change of focus. Have you rested enough, healed sufficiently, learned something new about compassion and boundaries and regained your physical and spiritual health? Because the next turning point we face requires ferocious engagement with your creative spirit, and fierce collaboration with a like-minded community. There’s a little something to get your imagination started. Now, see where you can take it from there.

For more eclipse articles and offerings, see my eclipse page.

MoonShadow reportWant to know more about how this year’s eclipses will impact your birth chart? Order my Followed by a Moonshadow eclipse report – 3 years of eclipses for only $35. Click here for a sample and ordering information.

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Aquarius New Moon: The Unexpected Guest

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

I’m working in my office on a weekday afternoon when I hear the front doorbell ring. I open the door and find a large, beautifully wrapped box on the front porch. The tag attached reads, “Allow me.”

I’m excited to find out what’s inside, but I quickly realize the box won’t fit through the front door. I’ll have to carry it around to the back of the house and bring it through the French doors. Luckily, the box is light and easy to carry.

When I finally get it inside and set it down, I’m reluctant to unwrap it. It’s swaddled in shimmery pink paper with gold polka dots and a big, gold bow on top, and it seems too precious to open. I carefully remove the wrapping. Inside is a beautiful card with a yellow bird on the front; enclosed is a check for two million dollars. The inscription in the card reads, “One for you, one to share.” Both the card and check are signed, “Abundance.”

In his book, Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicity in Everyday Life, author Robert Moss offers a number of creative exercises for inviting meaningful coincidence and symbolic illumination into your life. The scenario described above comes from my notes after exploring one of the games, called “The Unexpected Guest.” Here’s how to play:

Visualize yourself inside your home when the bell rings or there is a knock at the door, and then see who or what has arrived; this is the Unexpected Guest. It might be a feeling, or a person, or a concept. Just name it, and examine your response to this unexpected guest. Moss assures the reader that you are not required to allow just anyone or anything inside your home – if it’s an unwelcome or even threatening guest, you can choose to leave them on the porch, or perhaps in a waiting room – but you have to deal with it in some way. (more…)

Cancer Full Moon: The Awakened Heart

Posted by & filed under Cancer, Full Moon.

Some years ago, I discovered that I had to have a tooth pulled. Big deal, right? Yet I was astonished at the intensity of my reaction. Most nights I found myself awake at 3:00 a.m., tormented by thoughts of mortality. My poor old tooth prompted fears that growing older would mean a future in which I drop limbs like a diseased tree. Before long I’d be old, old and frail, old and alone!

I mentioned these nocturnal worries to a friend, taking care to present the subject with humor so I didn’t seem like an hysteric. Metaphysically minded, he mused that perhaps I had manifested this tooth trauma. I wondered, is he right? Would a better mindset have saved my tooth?

Well, maybe (though I strongly suspect it would have been easier to avoid the bad dentist who failed to cap it after a root canal). But even so, it seems to me that we miss something in trying to inoculate ourselves from life’s difficulties—it’s a bit like believing in a false Santa Claus, groaning beneath the weight of unearned gifts. This Full Moon is in close aspect to optimistic Jupiter, the closest thing the solar system has to Santa, and sweetly supported by Mars in Pisces, the spiritual warrior. But it’s opposed the Sun in close conjunction to Pluto, with both square unpredictable Uranus, the planet of (sometimes rude) awakenings—a reminder that in order to best enjoy life’s tenderest pleasures, we often must first confront the gargoyles of pain and fear. (more…)

Capricorn New Moon: Merit Badge

Posted by & filed under Capricorn, New Moon.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the New Moon in Capricorn falls during the season when the Sun’s midday zenith is at its lowest point in the sky. As astrologers, we often describe those born with the Sun in this sign as natural executives, built of grit, integrity, and ambition. But something we don’t often mention is the source of Capricorn’s ambition – the uncomfortable feeling that we, like the winter sun, are a vast distance from the heights we wish to reach.

To crack open a new wall calendar or desk planner on January 1 is to delight in the feeling of endless possibilities. You may begin the year unemployed, unhappy in relationship, uncomfortable with your body; but by year’s end, who knows? You could be ecstatic in your work, blissful in your relationships, trim and healthy.

The popular joke is that by the end of each year, our lives usually look pretty much as they did at its beginning. Victims of our own weakness, or of some psychological blockage we haven’t yet fully unraveled, we find ourselves back at the beginning – the lowest point in our personal sky – by December’s end. Perhaps we’re too often guilty of envisioning the desired outcome, but not the process of achieving it.

The cold Capricorn season reminds us how far we are from where we’d like to be. But if we listen closely, it also provides a formula for reaching the promised land: Choose your objective, break it down into bite-sized chunks, and work away at it steadily, diligently, and honestly. Most of us understand this. Why, then, do we so seldom end the year differently than we began? (more…)

Gemini Full Moon: Grownups at the Table

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

Winter was relatively quiet on the farm where I grew up. We spent more time with neighbors and relatives in the long, dark evenings, after dads and uncles had spent the day repairing farm equipment or logging.

In my memory, a lot of this wintry time takes place at my uncle’s comfortably ramshackle, two-story farmhouse. This house had a big potbelly stove in a spacious living room, where my aunt used to put me down for naps in a cupboard drawer and where we watched her “stories” with her in the afternoons. It had a huge kitchen, dominated by an enormous, legendarily cluttered table. I remember the smell of fried potatoes, and the sink filled with dishes, and—am I remembering this right? —an old, mangle washing machine in the corner.

But mostly, I remember the voices. On a given winter evening there might have been a dozen of us clustered around that table, perhaps with a kid or two perched on the countertops, balancing plates on their knees. Dinnertime was a sort of performance; speaking up was a big deal because it meant people would listen to you. If you didn’t have something worth saying, or better yet, worth laughing at, the conversational gods would quickly pass over you. There was a lot of pressure to be compelling.

Much more enjoyable was the after-dinner talk. Technically, this was a grownups-only zone. Kids had mostly scattered to the cousins’ attic bedroom or in front of the TV, leaving the adults to talk among themselves in a pleasant, low rumble, punctuated by laughter.

I was the kind of kid who is drawn to the delicious drone of voices like a bee to the sweetest nectar. So I was usually lurking around the edges of that big conversation, tucked under the table or burrowed into someone’s lap. In the same way I can hum certain songs from my youth without recalling more than a snippet of the lyrics, I could not tell you what the adults at that table spoke about. It didn’t matter to me in the least. It just mattered that the voices I loved were swirling around me like a protective cloud. It meant that the grownups were on the scene, and I was safe. (more…)

Sagittarius New Moon: Reluctant Pilgrim

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

love-leading-pilgrimMy husband hails from faraway New Zealand, and we often daydream about moving there. Yet despite the promise of living in a beautiful place with truly outstanding dairy products, and possibly hobbits, we’ve never managed to make the move. Over the past twenty-five years, the U.S. has become his home. And as for me—well, I have a somewhat tortured history when it comes to making big moves.

I was born in rural, southern Indiana, a place that probably has never been described as exotic. I never imagined a larger world until the summer I turned six, when we visited relatives in the dizzying, palm-dotted mecca of Los Angeles. Everything was so big, flashy, and loud! I had a good time that summer, but I wasn’t sad to return home to our familiar corner of the planet. For me, then as now, there was no place like home.

Four years later, when my mother decided we should move to Los Angeles permanently, I dug in my heels. I didn’t want to leave my home, my family and friends, my school, the wheat field where I used to lie on my back for hours and look up at the big, open sky. Suddenly Los Angeles, a mildly amusing vacation destination, seemed threateningly foreign, a blinding maze of asphalt, freeways, and taco stands.

Well, I was only ten years old, so I lost that battle. I’ve lived in southern California for most of my life now, and it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else. I would miss the enchiladas, just for a start. I’ve come a long way from the days on the farm. I’ve traveled to foreign lands and married a man from a country which, a few years before our wedding, I would have been unable to locate on a map. I eventually became the first in my family to graduate from college, a sort of foreign country for the mind.

But I’ve never completely outgrown the Indiana farm girl parochialism. I’m still a little wary of unfamiliar food. I’m unenthusiastic when my TV channel-surfing husband pauses on a Chinese film with subtitles. And I am ashamed to confess that, on occasion, I have made uncharitable assumptions about other people based solely on the fact that they are different from me.

The irony is that Sagittarius, the sign of the pilgrim—the traveler to other lands—was rising in the east at the moment of my birth, and a cluster of planets were hovering in the part of the sky we call the ninth house, the house of Long Journeys Over Water. I came into the world, it seems, to sojourn, and to sample the world’s cultural delights.

But I am a reluctant pilgrim, born with many planets in signs that are fixed by nature, intractable, bent on holding onto and mastering the known instead of expanding into the unfamiliar. A creature of habit, I would be happy to spend every day in the same place, with the same people, doing the same things; but the world has had other plans for me, periodically placing me on a collision course with upheaval and the unfamiliar. (more…)

Taurus Full Moon: Fearless

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Lunar Phases, Scorpio, Taurus.

dreamstime_xs_52562639There’s a movie that, for me, elegantly sums up the Scorpio/Taurus struggle to transcend difficulties while continuing to live fully. Fearless tells the story of Max, a man who survives a horrific plane crash. His survival has convinced him that he’s immortal and this belief has made him utterly (and dangerously) fearless. He does seem almost supernatural – for instance, his life-long, deadly allergy to strawberries seems to have miraculously disappeared since the accident. But he’s also become harsh, utterly intolerant of dishonesty, and frighteningly blunt. Having come so close to death, he’s shattered – and he can only seem to connect emotionally with people who are in great pain. He seems cold to his own wife and son, yet shows remarkable tenderness to a fellow survivor who lost her baby in the crash.

Gradually, both the shock and his sense of immortality begin to wear off. With his help, the crash survivor with whom Max has formed an attachment finally overcomes the worst of her grief, returns to her life, and urges Max to do the same. As the film reaches its conclusion, Max has decided to rejoin his life and reconnect emotionally with his family – but he’s still not sure he can find his way back. He tests the waters of mortality by indulging in a fat, tempting strawberry – and promptly falls into anaphylactic shock. His wife manages to save him, and his final line, gasped through ecstatic, sobbing laughter, is “I’m alive.” (more…)

Scorpio New Moon: Season of Long Shadows

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

Scorpio does not have a reputation for being especially happy. “Intense,” yes; “brooding” and “extraordinarily perceptive,” sure. But while the occasional Goldie Hawn or Sally Field can skew the averages, Scorpio is seldom characterized as “perky” or even “upbeat.” The Sun, the ultimate astrological symbol of life force, struggles in Scorpio, a sign that is keenly attuned to mortality.

And yet, one of the most infectiously joyful people I know was born with the Sun in this sign. (She also drew the Moon-conjunct-Saturn card; perhaps in astrology, as in grammar, two negatives create a positive?) While I doubt she’d describe her life as perfect, and she certainly hasn’t enjoyed a uniformly happy past, she is the person who comes to mind when I try to envision what I would call authentic happiness. That is, a kind of happiness that seems grown-up, that seems earned. A Scorpionic kind of happiness. (more…)