Taurus New Moon: The Mother Ship

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

Recently, we visited the Grand Canyon with friends from New Zealand. I hadn’t been there since I was about six years old; all I could remember of that trip came from stories I’d heard often enough to be convinced they were my own memories. And there are a few yellowed Polaroids: My older brothers looking sheepish (family lore holds that my oldest brother had just dropped his sunglasses over the canyon’s edge). My mother, young and movie-star glamorous in her capris; dad, handsome and a little dangerous-looking in his Ray-bans. And I, as usual, was gazing off into the distance—as my sister liked to quip, “waiting for the mother ship to return for you.”

I had no real memories of what the place was like, but I remembered how it had made me feel. I’ve always been moved by a spectacular bit of nature. Fifty years later, I was looking forward to feeling that way again. After a long drive, a good night’s sleep, and the slow suspense of an hour-long train ride across desert scrub and through Ponderosa pines, we finally climbed the stairs to the canyon’s rim and wandered over for a better look. (more…)

Libra Full Moon: Befriending the Enemy

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

Astrologers are fond of observing that a Libra is nothing more than an Aries who’s been to charm school. Libra is every bit as determined as his fellow cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, and Capricorn) to get what he wants. But Libra has the ability to make it look as though serving his own needs is the furthest thing from his mind.

That isn’t meant as a criticism, by the way. I admire the strategy. My mother was born with Libra rising, and she had the iron fist in the velvet glove routine down pat. For years, I watched her put this skill to use securing contributions for fundraising events on behalf of her favorite charity. She overcame any resistance with sunny charm, pretending not to notice reluctance or impatience coming from the other end of the telephone, and refusing to be intimidated. By pretending that others wanted to be helpful, she persuaded them to be so. In the end, she always got what she was after—and nearly always, earned another fan in the process.

With this Libra Full Moon conjoined Jupiter, facing off against the Sun and Uranus in ferocious Aries—and all of them square unyielding Pluto in Capricorn—conflict resolution is the order of the day. I’ve been thinking about the best way to deal with people who make me angry, as well as those whose interests are diametrically opposed to my own. One hesitates to call them “enemies;” it sounds so dramatic. But let’s face it, that’s what an enemy is: one whose interests conflict with yours. (more…)

Aries New Moon: The Beast in Me

Posted by & filed under Aries, Lunar Phases, New Moon, Venus retrograde.

I’ve always been reasonably good at getting along with people—except when it comes to anything involving creative expression or “play.” For instance, do not engage me in games of any kind; I’m a poor sport at everything from miniature golf to Yahtzee. Don’t ask me to sing with your band unless you’re prepared to play the songs I want, the way I want. And whatever you do, don’t ask me what I like to do for fun. “Fun” is a buoyant, Smurfy word that does not resonate in my impatient, creatively driven world.

This is what it means to have Aries as the cruise director of your fifth house, as I do. With Aries on the fifth house cusp, the cruise director is always pushing you somewhere, from shuffleboard to the buffet. The house of “children, fun, and creativity” is supposed to be a place of pure joy and relaxation. Mine is more like Fight Club.

Mind you, I’m content this way. I take enormous satisfaction from my fifth house pursuits. It’s just that everyone is better off when I pursue them alone.

Wherever Aries appears in your chart, you probably don’t play well with others, either. Even if you’re a dainty type who prefers to delegate Aries duties to your gun-toting, raw meat-loving partner, there’s still something untamed in you beneath your refined veneer—something songwriter Nick Lowe once called The Beast in Me, and which an astrologer might call Aries. (more…)

Virgo Full Moon: Meaningful Habits

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Virgo.

A client was expressing frustration over her untidy house and her struggle to manage the minutiae of her daily life more efficiently. Hearing Virgo and the sixth house in her statement, I summoned my Gemini moon for a lightning fast conference and calculated a response: “Maybe you’ve just formed some bad habits out of fear you won’t be able to make things perfect and keep them that way,” I suggested to her. “Why not focus on forming new habits that help you get this day to day stuff in hand?”

It that was a pithy recommendation, and we were both pretty pleased with it at the time. But remembering it now, I think I did my client and her Virgo planets a disservice by pretending her problem was one merely of housekeeping and habit. It’s not that what I told her was wrong, exactly; but it didn’t go quite deep enough. “Why,” I might reasonably have asked her, “have you turned the maintenance of your life into a drudgery to be avoided?” (more…)

Pisces Solar Eclipse: We Ride

Posted by & filed under Eclipses, 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…)