Lunar Eclipse in Libra: You Were Asleep

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, Libra, New Moon.

asleepEclipses are freakish moments when the world ceases to function the way we expect it to. The air turns prickly and the sky turns dark and we panic a little, the way you might if the electricity suddenly went out on a cold, windy night when you’re home alone. Objectively, you know you’re safe. But during eclipse times, objectivity is not on the menu. Your perceptions have been altered, and you’re not sure you can trust your instincts.

This month brings two eclipses. A Solar Eclipse in Taurus (April 28) is the penultimate in a series of Taurus/Scorpio eclipses that began back in November 2012. During this cycle, the changes in perception have been related to resources, security, and sharing.

Gradually, the eclipses are easing backward into Aries and Libra, and this Full Moon Lunar Eclipse comes with a clear message: your relationship style has outlived its usefulness. Don’t feel bad. I’m in the same boat. We all are. (more…)

New Moon in Aries: The Taming

Posted by & filed under Aries, Mars retrograde, New Moon, Zodiac Signs.

tamingThere’s more than a hint of madness in this New Moon in Aries, with the Sun and Moon conjoined Uranus and square both Jupiter and Pluto. Everyone seems busy and overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. It’s as though we’re suffering from collective adrenal exhaustion.

I’ve been wondering why I’m not getting more done, but when I look at my schedule it’s clear that I’m doing plenty, even if it’s not exactly what I’d wanted to accomplish. My appointment calendar is covered with my scrawling, failing penmanship. My days are filled to brimming, even if my bank account is not.

There is some work recorded there, some meetings and appointments, notes about homeopathic remedies I’ve taken. But plenty of what fills my days is not written down anywhere. Troubling phone calls about people I love. The demoralizing, annual ritual of gathering my business profit and loss information for our tax return; a sense of defeat about the latest setback in my career. Clucking over my spouse, who was going through his yearly stressful crunch time at work.

My book is full, my life is hectic, but so much of it is just stuff that makes me want to run away. Is this what is means to have the New Moon point conjoined Uranus, and square Pluto—demoralizing pressure, and longing for freedom? (more…)

Spring: Faces of Mars

Posted by & filed under Aries, Mars, Scorpio, Seasonal Essays.

by April Elliott Kent

I’ve grown lazy in the garden, and everything would be dead if it weren’t for the much-needed rainfall that ended our winter drought last week. Now the lawn, which we let turn brown and dusty until the rains came along and took pity on it, is lush and verdant and keeps my husband busy for at least a couple of hours each weekend. He resents this deeply, and I can’t say I blame him; but I like the green nonetheless.

The plants are suffering, though. A number of them need repotting, and I should’ve pruned back the rose bushes a month ago; but now they’re full of beautiful, dark red  foliage and I don’t have the heart. Anyway, it’s not that I don’t have time to devote to the garden, because truthfully I’m bone idle a lot of the time. I guess we just had such a short, stinting, mildish winter here that I feel a little cheated, and I’m reluctant to drag myself into spring mode.

Once I do, though, I’m bound to enjoy it. As I’ve mentioned before, I fancy myself a sort of horticultural messiah, raising plants from the dead. I really like a lost cause, always have. Had a lot of stupid relationships because of it, early on. Seems I have the eye to see the potential of a thing — can see the prince in the frog, the princess in the chambermaid, the Academy Award winner in the struggling character actor — as well as the conceit to think I can coax realization from potential. Transformation of something broken and half-dead into something beautiful and lush is thrilling as hell.  But resurrection — bringing forth life from death — is a labor of love that requires a lot of energy, and for that reason it’s a tough act to pull off.

Energy — that fine, pure dominion of Mars — is, in fact, the common denominator of life and death; hence, its astrological rulership of both Aries (birth) and Scorpio (death). In the garden, there is no life without death; foul, impolite, Scorpionic matter gets turned over and around and makes the soil a rich and nutritious thing. The hard labor of insects and enzymes, the vibrant energy of breaking down organic material into a usable state, is the foundation on which spring’s brave and tender beauty is built. So if all we celebrate of spring is the Aries emergence of green and vibrant foliage, then we’ve lost half the story of Mars — the dark, earthy, breaking-down Mars of Scorpio.  (more…)

Full Moon in Virgo: One Drawer

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Pluto, Saturn, Uranus, Virgo.

onedrawer_200When I listen to the radio, visit my favorite websites, or watch television these days, I see a world that is essentially a dilapidated vehicle with expired registration, careening headlong toward the edge of a cliff. The sheer scope of humanity’s troubles is enough to make you want to take to your bed, pull the blankets over your head, and wait for it all to pass.

Ideally, of course, we would learn from our current crises rather than simply enduring them – or worse, ignoring them. So how can we transform the demands, frustrations, irritations, and boredom of daily life into spiritual nourishment? This is Pisces/12th-house work – and it’s a tall order, because for many of us it’s a challenge just surviving our days, let alone mining them for Big Lessons. An overwhelmed mother of two with a full-time job would probably love to spend an hour each day in soulful meditation, surrounded by candles and incense. But between keeping her job, cooking dinner, and keeping one kid from biting the other, she’s got her hands full.

When you’ve got too much on your plate, even the most trivial chores can quickly snowball into Herculean tasks. Take the several baskets of paper, folders, and files piled up right next to my desk that need sorting, filing, and shredding. Every time I walk into my office, determined to roll up my sleeves and get to work, my heart sinks as I survey the sheer size of this pile. Not only does the prospect of dealing with it seem overwhelming, but even if I somehow managed to subdue this pile, another tower of paper would surely rise up in its place. (more…)

New Moon in Pisces: Widening the Path

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

Yellow_Brick_Road2The degree of the March 1 Pisces New Moon makes a precise trine aspect to Jupiter. Big dreams and grand adventure would seem to be the order of the day. But Jupiter, whom we like to think of as an astrological Santa Claus, is mixing it up with Uranus and Pluto, gods of transformation. Embracing limitless vistas of imagination is all well and good; but when you open up your life, your mind, your heart, truly open them wide, things change—and not always in the way you had imagined.

The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon degree is, “Men traveling a narrow path, seeking illumination.”  Note the “narrow” part. For all that the New Moon in otherworldly Pisces is trine Jupiter, god of the wide and limitless horizons, most of us will spend this month doing what we normally do, going through the daily routines that keep our lives safe and manageable, with Jupiter adventures relegated to the occasional vacation.

It’s sensible to avoid risk, and change is undeniably risky. From time to time, though, the careful path grows unreasonably narrow and desperately unhappy. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is doing his very best to convince you that not only is his life rotten, but that there is absolutely no way to make it better? The more suggestions or perspective you offer, the angrier he becomes. Astrologers encounter this all the time, and it’s frustrating to see a lot of great aspects going to waste in a client’s chart. It’s sad but true that you can lead a horse to Jupiter’s boundless lake of optimism and possibility, but you can’t make him drink. (more…)

Full Moon in Leo: The Grateful Flow

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Leo.

grateful-flowCreativity is a quality that most astrologers associate with Leo, the sign of this Full Moon, and with its ruler, the Sun. Absolutely everyone is creative, with a mad desire to connect with a powerful and loving Source, although many people deny that they’re creative at all. But if you ask them to remember a situation in which they lost all track of time because they were doing something they enjoyed, nearly everyone can come up with something. It might have been something as simple as dead-heading roses, organizing a closet, or playing fantasy football. “But that’s not creative!” we might object, imagining that creative people wear berets and wield paintbrushes.

Of course, passionate absorption in anything is the hallmark of creativity. The moment when you’re fully and happily engrossed in some activity, delighting in its nuances and solving its delectable puzzles, you’re engaged in what therapist Phil Stutz calls The Grateful Flow. In his book The Tools, Stutz describes five techniques he uses to help his patients build happier and more fulfilling lives. The Grateful Flow uses gratitude to retrain the mind away from the endless loop of negativity and toward joyful engagement.

For instance, if you’re doing something just for the money, because your boss demands it, or because your readers expect to hear from you twice a month; if you’re preoccupied with how much better you should be doing something, or whether it will be well received by others—you’re not in the Grateful Flow. To motivate yourself with the sting of the whip is the opposite of creativity, which is spontaneous, joyful, and self-directed.

As a writer, I’m no stranger to the whip. I’ve been writing about astrology now for nearly a quarter of a century. In some ways it gets easier and easier, but in one very important way it is harder now than it used to be: Now, I feel self-conscious because many more people are reading the things that I write. It’s easy to give into fear that what I write will be less compelling than others things I’ve written, or might offend somebody. Each time I finish a new article, my finger hovers for a moment over the “publish” button; I’m a little bit anxious about what will happen next.

When we fall into the ego trap, playing out Leo’s self-aggrandizing shadow side, we’re especially vulnerable to creative blocks. “The moment you claim credit for your success, you also have to take the blame for any future failure,” Stutz points out. His antidote to creative anxiety is to connect to the Source by thanking it for what you already have. Literally, any time you notice your mind visiting familiar neighborhoods of negativity, reroute it with thoughts about the things, people, and circumstances for which you’re grateful. Gratitude opens the heart to the world around you in the same way being in love makes the world seem like a kinder and more benevolent place. You’re not only happy, but inspired—available to receive whatever ideas and inspirations come your way. (more…)

New Moon in Aquarius: Doing the Math

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

do-the-math_250Earlier this week, I was this close to letting go of my 1986 Toyota Corolla. I had researched charities who accept vehicle donations. I had visualized removing the old plates, and clearing out the glove compartment and trunk. I was so close, after 28 years, to bidding farewell to this old friend.

And then, my husband got a bit wistful. He started talking about replacing the car’s engine. I let myself imagine how it would look with a new paint job. And just like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!.

There comes a moment when it’s time to let go of things. But how do you know when enough is enough? I suppose it’s when you realize that something consistently takes more from you than it gives back. My old car keeps breaking down and takes its share of our money and peace of mind. But it still gives me a sense of connection with my past, and my husband loves driving it (when it’s running). So when we do the math—balancing the financial and the emotional elements of the equation—it keeps adding up in favor of keeping my dear old jalopy.

This formula can be applied to relationships with people as well. The New Moon in Aquarius, the sign of friends – and a conversation with a client who was weighing a knotty problem with a close friend – led me to think about the delicate balance of give and take that is the foundation of friendship. (more…)

Cancer Full Moon: The Awakened Heart

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

fm-cancer-awakened_250A few 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. He was not unsympathetic, but did take the opportunity to caution me about the law of attraction and to wonder why I was manifesting this physical problem. He’s a genuinely caring person and I know he meant well; so why did I leave our meeting feeling judged and alone instead of positive and empowered? (more…)

Book Review: The Stellium Handbook, by Donna Cunningham

Posted by & filed under Astrology Techniques, Natal Astrology, Reviews.

handbookcvrsmMy teacher used to say that having a bunch of planets together in the same sign or house of a chart is sort of like having a nursery full of screaming babies and only one set of hands. Things can get pretty noisy and overwhelming with so much energy in one place.

In technical terms, this bunch of hollering astro-infants is called a stellium. If you were born between 1962-69, 1981-83, or 1987-90, you’re especially likely to have one in your birth chart. That’s because these were years when outer planets Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were engaged in various cozy conjunctions with one another. If personal planets (Sun, Mercury, Venus, or Mars) in your chart fall in the same signs as these outer planetary heavies, your nursery tends to be very loud indeed. How can you quiet them long enough to hear what each one is saying? (more…)

Venus Retrograde: Changing from the Inside Out

Posted by & filed under Capricorn, Venus, Venus retrograde.

venus-retrogradeVenus turned retrograde on December 21, 2013, just a few hours after the winter solstice. It won’t regain its forward motion until the last day of January 2014, when it will stick its head out, a bit warily, like that famous Punxsutawney groundhog.

There are at least a couple schools of thought about interpreting planetary retrograde periods. One is the “hide and wait until it’s over” school, which offers a prescriptive list of what to avoid doing, thinking, or being during the retrograde period. Another approach recommends a more thoughtful, synchronistic perspective: What can we learn from the retrograde?

I’m not very fatalistic, but experience has persuaded me that there is something to that prescriptive list of retrograde “don’t”s. For instance, Venus rules marriage, and researching hundreds of marriage charts convinced me that marriages actually did fail more often and with greater acrimony if they began while Venus was retrograde.

Venus also rules major purchases, like real estate. When a close friend purchased his first house while Venus was retrograde, it turned out to be a triumph of architectural misadventure and mold. Soon after the housing market collapsed, leaving him owing far more on the place than it was worth. Eventually he had to walk away, leaving a scar on his credit rating.

So I’m inclined to agree that Venus’ retrograde periods are no time to marry, make major purchases, launch a business you hope will make money, or host an important social event. Such arrangements will almost certainly turn out very differently than you’d hoped.

But why? What does it mean when Venus is retrograde? Is it simply that we’ve been naughty and the heavens wish to punish us? (more…)