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…)

Aries Full Moon: Grapes of Wrath

Posted by & filed under Aries, Capricorn, Full Moon, Lunar Phases, Mars, Planets, Pluto.

angry-yellingOne day, driving back from an otherwise uneventful trip to Trader Joe’s, I became so angry at a fellow motorist that I screamed – and it felt so good that I screamed some more. I screamed so enthusiastically that my husband, over in the passenger’s seat, started to get kind of concerned. He later told me that my screaming and anger had made him feel “as though someone was standing on my chest.”

Oh, dear. I know that feeling. I’ve been on the other end plenty of times, watching otherwise rational people rage out of control in a way that makes me fear for their safety and their sanity. I feel that way at family gatherings when talk turns to politics and controversy quickly ensues, and when I don’t click past the cable news shows fast enough while channel-surfing.

It’s worth noting, at this week’s Full Moon in Aries – ruled by Mars, the god of war – that anger has its place in the vast scheme of things. It’s a warning sign that something or someone is being threatened, and acts as a motivator to remove the threat. And in my defense, I will say that although I overreacted, my fellow motorist had jumped his turn at a four-way stop and nearly rammed his SUV into the side of my tiny Toyota. I was, indeed, threatened. Except that I can’t see that anger really helped me in that situation. And in fact, it probably harmed me, stoking up my blood pressure and upsetting my sweetie as well.

My over-the-top reaction to a minor traffic incident got me thinking, and it dawned on me that earlier that morning, I’d had my feelings deeply hurt by someone who I felt hadn’t recognized and appreciated me. I had swallowed those feelings whole, because they embarrassed me; but they were still there, festering, until an inattentive motorist “overlooked” me and triggered my little emotion bomb.

No matter how old we get or how confident we may seem, there’s a vulnerable, newborn Aries baby inside all of us who wants to come first. And when it doesn’t we scream bloody murder, like an infant who hasn’t been fed quickly enough. (more…)

Libra New Moon: The Leap of Love

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

bnb-croppedBack when I did a lot of electional astrology work, choosing good wedding dates for couples, everyone wanted the same thing: a Saturday wedding at sunset, preferably in June. It was the rare client indeed who was willing to deviate from this formula (though most were flexible about the month, at least). And I get it: There’s something very romantic about the hours when the Sun, spent from its day’s adventures, begins to float drowsily toward the western horizon like a happy, exhausted child returning home from a day at the beach.

It’s the time of day when the Sun occupies the part of the sky that astrologers characterize as the seventh house, the territory of marriages, legal partnerships, and weirdly enough, open enemies. It’s the house with considerable sympathy for the sign of Libra, in which planets mostly do their work by contrast and collaboration with The Other.

The New Moon this month is in Libra, close to Jupiter, which recently entered Libra for a one-year stay. Astrologers rejoiced when Jupiter left Virgo, figuring that since Jupiter is supposed to be a “lucky” planet and Libra is the sign of relationships, everything would soon be coming up rainbows and unicorns.

Call me cynical, though, or at least contrary. Because anytime someone starts talking about how wonderful a transit is going to be, it makes me itchy. (more…)

Pisces Lunar Eclipse: How to Survive Quicksand

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

The Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse at 24.20 Pisces is on Friday, Sep. 16, 2016 at 12:05 p.m. Pacific Time. See this link to find the timing for your city.

If you’ve ever seen a movie protagonist dramatically subsumed by quicksand, you may be surprised to learn that such a fate is highly unlikely. Usually, even if you should accidentally stumble into one of these wet, sandy pits, you’ll only sink to waist level. That said, if you thrash and struggle to get out, you will be pulled under a bit deeper. And eventually, unable to escape, your greatest peril comes from predators, hypothermia, or dehydration, not from drowning.

It’s not the quicksand that takes you down. It’s the panic.

Most of us wander into metaphorical quicksand from time to time, into situations that overwhelm and incapacitate us. The instinct is to struggle mightily for escape, but that’s the wrong approach. What’s called for instead is a variation on the advice for escaping actual quicksand: Very gently move your legs to increase viscosity, and turn your body slightly so you can gradually float to the top.

Gentle motion, flexibility, and floating: These are your survival tools for this Pisces Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse. Because if there is an astrological equivalent to quicksand, a Pisces eclipse would pretty much have to be it. At times like this, surrender—not struggle—is the key. (more…)

Virgo New Moon: Solitude and the Contented Heart

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

virgo-solitude-postI work at home, almost exclusively by email, phone, or Skype. From the time my husband leaves for work until he returns home in the evening I rarely exchange non-work-related words with anybody, other than a visit with my neighbor or the occasional brief chat with the UPS guy.

Recently, a gregarious friend asked me whether I get lonely working like this, spending whole days alone. “Absolutely not,” was my lightning-fast response. “It’s heaven.”

And it’s the truth. The thing I hated most about my years working in an office was being forced to socialize. I particularly loathed the never-ending office potlucks, baby showers, and retirement parties. I was at work to work, not to stand around eating cake and listening to speeches. (Though heaven knows, I have nothing anything against cake.)

Mind you, I’m not a total hermit. After all, I do have approximately 50,000 planets in Leo, a Sagittarius Ascendant, and a seventh house Moon. But when it comes to pursuing my life’s ambitions, one need look no further than my Virgo Midheaven, straddled by Mars and Pluto, to locate my abhorrence of workplace “team building” exercises. When it comes to work, I’m not a team player. At best, I’m a quiet craftswoman, toiling away in her musty studio with a cat at her feet and the phone off the hook, humming a happy and contended tune. (more…)