Cancer New Moon: Setting the Table

Posted by & filed under Cancer, Featured, 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…)

Gemini New Moon: Thinking for Fun

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

When I first began studying astrology, I fairly percolated with interest. I couldn’t read enough books, look at enough charts, or learn enough techniques to satisfy my curiosity.

Now that my days are defined by the struggle to keep my head above water in a sea of astrology work, it’s easy to lose track of what once made astrology itself so fascinating to me. It’s not that feel I know enough about the subject; I never will. It’s that most of my time spent with the subject requires me to display what I know about it—and that leaves little time for indulging my curiosity about what I don’t know.

Gemini is the sign that delights in collecting shiny little pieces of information, turning them over this way and that like sea glass salvaged from a beach. Gemini lives in the bird that builds nests from random bits of twig, string, or even discarded wire, the artist who creates sculpture from found objects, and the writer who knits together words based simply on the delightful ways they strike her fancy.

There is a playful quality to archetypal Gemini. Can you remember being a small child, learning to read and write, drawing pictures, figuring out how things worked? Nearly everything was new, engrossing, and delightful.

Some of us lose the gift of delight as the years go by. In the grown-up world, so much depends on being regarded as knowledgeable, even expert, in ways that will help you win a political argument or be considered more valuable in your job. Too often, information that bears out the flaws in one’s logic or a competitor’s superior skill is treated as a shameful nuisance to be swept under a rug, rather than an exciting new toy to challenge the brain and delight the imagination. (more…)

Scorpio Full Moon: Hades Heart

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Scorpio.

I’m not a good person.

I mean, I’m not a bad person, exactly. But let’s face it: there’s some ugliness in here. For instance, I’m not a forgiving person. Once crossed, I never forget, and almost never forgive. I can be vengeful and harsh.

For most of my life, I was able to hide that part of my personality, even from myself. But over the years, it’s taken on weight and presence. It radiates malevolence. And as the old saying goes, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” I know that clinging to old anger and resentment hurts me far worse than anyone else. So why do I hold on to them? (more…)

Taurus New Moon: The Mother Ship

Posted by & filed under 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…)