Libra Lunar Eclipse: Go Gently

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

This Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse at 3.17 Libra is on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at 5:01 am PDT, 8:01 am EDT, 12:01 m GMT, and 11:01 pm AEDT. Look to the house of your birth chart where 3.17 Libra falls and any natal planets being aspected for more insights into how this eclipse will affect you. 

libra-fmLike a lot of compulsive, driven types, I move a bit roughly through the world. Whether along my career path or on a trip to the supermarket, I focus on the destination and pay scant attention to the journey itself. Down to the smallest gestures, my approach is instinctively direct and graceless. I’m hard on the physical world, breaking, tearing, staining, or chipping nearly everything I touch.

But I have a pet indulgence – spending hours browsing through design blogs and magazines. I enjoy a glimpse into the way others live, their clean, spare, modern spaces, or (especially) their colorful, artfully cluttered bohemian dwellings. I savor small, elegant touches that appear in unexpected places, the gestures of someone who is attentive to each tiny nook and responds to it creatively. There’s something graceful about them, the suggestion that such a person pays attention to each moment instead of rushing to finish line.

I’m seeking an elegant oasis in a world that feels like a pretty rough place. If you’re the kind of person who pushes yourself hard, relying on the off-gassing of harsh self-talk to propel you, it’s especially difficult to live in a world that mirrors this pitiless inner landscape. It’s a very human instinct to meet brutality with greater force, exponentially, until before you know it presidential candidates are all but coming to physical blows on a debate stage. (more…)

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Eclipse?

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

afraid-eclipseWhen I was new to astrology, I was easily frightened by it. Astrology seemed accurate about so many things that I assumed it was right about everything, and so much of what I found in astrology books was profoundly scary.

Eventually I came to realize that the disturbing interpretations in those books were simply the way a few astrologers saw the world, and not gospel. Many years later, having watched all sorts of planetary cycles come and go, I’m rarely afraid of anything astrology can throw my way. Yet, I have to admit: When eclipses will aspect particular planets in my birth chart, I feel uneasy.

I hasten to tell you that this has nothing to do with eclipses in general, and I’m not saying that eclipses should scare you. To be honest, though eclipses are dramatic and interesting, few of them are truly life-changing. For many of us, this Solar Eclipse will come and go with some mild emotional disruption and perhaps some unexpected developments in some area of life, and that’s about it.

But watch your chart closely over a number of years, and you learn to identify its hot spots. And there is a particular eclipse cycle that triggers one of mine. When eclipses occur near a particular degree of the zodiac, it triggers sensitive and challenging aspects in my chart. My parents died suddenly after two separate Solar Eclipses near this degree, 27 years apart. Each of the three Solar Eclipses at these degrees since my birth coincided with important relocations and change in my life’s direction, including the purchase of my first house and the transition to my career as an astrologer.

Granted, even if history repeats itself (or at least rhymes), subsequent eclipses at this degree are unlikely to bring about the same events. I have no parents left to lose. I’ve lived in the same house since 1997 and am unlikely to move anytime soon, and my career is pretty stable. But if roughly four decades of astrological study have taught me anything, it’s that astrology is endlessly creative in the ways that it manifests. So, I’m always a little nervous to see what else the universe will dish up. (more…)

Virgo Full Moon: To Serve Man

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

virgo-secty_postA classic Twilight Zone episode depicts seemingly benign aliens who have come to earth and pledged their help to mankind. Indeed, one of their seminal texts is entitled “To Serve Man.” Imagine the dismayed surprise of the humanoids who, having clasped these aliens to their bosoms, belatedly discover that the book is not a paean to intergalactic relations, as they’d imagined–but a cookbook!

It’s a clever twist on not just the word, but the concept of service, which in astrology is most often associated with Virgo. The sign of work, of diligent care on behalf of others, nevertheless has a rather nasty reputation–not entirely undeserved–for its hypercritical shadow side. Interestingly, the slang expression “you’ve been served” is a taunt that suggests you’ve been called out and shown up. And certainly, if you get on a Virgo’s bad side you may feel as though you’ve “been served”–or, in the case of those crafty aliens, as though you’re about to be served up!

But Virgo also symbolizes the very noble impulse toward usefulness. It represents the hundreds of people who impact your daily life. No matter how menial the task, another’s approach to his work can have a profound influence on the quality of your day. The barista who serves up your morning coffee can set the day’s tone with a smile and a little joke or can seemingly go out of his way to piss you off. A mechanic who’s having a bad day might forget an important step in servicing your car’s brakes–and that could influence the rest of your life.

I’ll bet it’s easier for you to think of half a dozen people who’ve recently given you poor service than it is to name even half as many who’ve offered help with a smile. Why does it seem so many people are unhappy in their work? Apart from things like sustenance wages and job insecurity, I think it’s mainly for two reasons. (more…)

Aquarius New Moon: Alone, Together

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


Alone together with my crazy cousin, circa 1976.

Growing up as part of a big, loud, extended family, I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom, reading, writing, or playing my guitar. I savored my privacy and the relative quiet of my little sanctuary.

But what made it possible for me to enjoy my time alone was knowing that just outside my bedroom door, there were laughing, loving people. It was comforting to know that whenever I wanted to, I could join the party.

As an adult, this is what I still love about my family – and about my friends, too. They leave me alone when I need solitude, but when I’m ready for socializing, I’m always welcome. With them, I always feel that there’s a place where I belong – and that makes me happy.

Astrologers say that friendship is ruled by Aquarius, but friends come in a variety of packages. Aquarius’ particular brand of friendship is not the close, intimate, occasionally dramatic bond between “best friends;” those relationships are part of Libra’s purview, along with marriage, business partners, and “frenemies.”

Aquarius-style friendships generally sidestep the high emotional stakes of those relationships. They are the mesh tank tops of relationships – loosely-knit alliances that keep us covered but let us breathe. They are the connections that let us feel like a part of society without losing our independence. (more…)

Leo Full Moon: The Gift of Boredom

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

leofm_bored_300The economy seems to have picked up a bit—an observation that has nothing to do with the state of my 401K and everything to do with the topics my clients want to talk about in our sessions. These days, nearly all of them mention a desire to reclaim their sense of play and creativity.

The desire for self-expression is pretty high up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You have to have an awful lot going right in your life before it occurs to you to want more fun. That said, even a life that offers a roof over your head, food to eat, and safety from imminent peril can be flat, gray, and filled with despair, if there is nothing to feed your creative spirit.

Remember how wonderful it felt, as a kid, to play? After school, on weekends, over long, languid summers, the kids I grew up with spent countless hours goofing off. We rode bikes, invented games with friends, formed garage bands, read books, swam at the community pool. Eventually you’d get bored, but if you were even modestly resourceful and imaginative there was always something new to try. I always felt that boredom was my creativity’s best friend. (more…)

Capricorn New Moon: Starting with Why

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


It’s a new calendar year and a goal-setting, Capricorn New Moon. And like many of you, I’m sure, I’m trying to figure out how I’d like 2016 to look, and what I need to do to accomplish that.

In particular, I’m coming to terms with my new role at the helm of my local astrology group. It’s all a bit sobering, because despite having been born with Saturn in Capricorn and within one day of a U.S. president, I’ve never had leadership aspirations. So this new role came about as one of those “someone’s got to do it” situations.

Casting a net in search of sage leadership advice, I ran across a TED talk by author Simon Sinek (I’ve included the video at the end of this essay). Sinek suggests that the key to success is to “Start with why.” His thinking is that if you have a strong sense of why you want to accomplish something, you’ll naturally figure out the form it should take and exactly how you can bring it into being.

Sometimes, the “why” of a situation may seem as simple (and ungratifying) as, “I kind of had to.” But even when we’re stepping into situations out of a sense of obligation, it’s important to ask why. Why take care of an ailing relative who has treated you badly all your life? That’s an important “why,” and it probably has much less to do with who they are, than with the kind of person you want to be. Why do you accept a higher-paying job that you really don’t want? If the answer is, “I am a person who loves my family and will do anything to see that they are financially secure,” well, there is your “why,” and it’s a pretty good one.

Once we know why we’re doing something, the road forward is usually clearer. And though Capricorn is a pragmatic, “what” and “how” kind of sign, this particular Capricorn New Moon is a little different. The Sun and Moon are conjoined transformational Pluto and square revolutionary Uranus. Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn, will make a series of motivating aspects to Neptune over the coming year. This is a New Moon, and a new year, that demand we get to know our own motivations, the impalpable underpinnings of our practical ambitions. (more…)

Cancer Full Moon: Mother Christmas

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

cancer-full-moon-300Growing up, I enjoyed Christmas as much as the next kid. I became ambivalent toward the holidays some time in my mid-20s, but it wasn’t until I got married that my indifference toward Christmas flared into genuine dislike. I found the unbridled materialism unpalatable (now that I was at an age when it no longer benefited me personally), the music irritating, and the moralistic undertones cloying. Craving an observance more peaceful, that felt more meaningful, I renounced the Christmas of my youth.

The first Christmas after I made my stand, my mother had a hard time believing I was serious. As mothers do, she wheedled, cajoled, and twisted my arm to join in the usual family reindeer games. I demurred, and she insisted, until finally one day, desperate to be understood and irritated beyond measure I finally snapped, “I don’t like the way you celebrate Christmas!” And watched, mortified, as her eyes filled with tears.

Now, my mother loved Christmas. She loved the tree, the music, the dopey Christmas specials on TV, the cookies, the wrapping, the craziness. She was an extraordinary gift-giver, paying close attention to the random comments of those she loved throughout the year and taking note of what they wanted and needed, and she gave precisely the things that would delight us most and suit us best. So when I made my nasty, hateful comment, I couldn’t have wounded my mother more had I slapped her across the face.

“Spirit!”‘ said Scrooge, “show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?’

I bungled it so badly, my wish to declare independence; and although my mother soon forgave me, I still haven’t quite forgiven myself. Yet I was motivated by natural impulses: I wished to celebrate the seasons in my own way, to carve out my own traditions. And as the youngest of four children I desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an adult.

Family Christmases tend to be difficult precisely because they amplify the natural tension between wanting to belong and to be taken care of (Cancer) and the desire to be taken seriously as the captain of your own ship (Capricorn). It’s tempting, when you’re first coming of age, to feel this is a zero sum game and that you can’t be your own person as long as you’re also someone’s child. And so you make foolish, hurtful mistakes, as I did, feeling the only alternative is a certain death of the self. (more…)

Sagittarius New Moon: Think Big

Posted by & filed under New Moon, Sagittarius.


Collage by April Elliott Kent

Astrologer Dana Gerhardt, born with the Sun in Sagittarius, once wrote “Feeling envious of someone else means you’re not thinking big enough for yourself.” Leave it to a Sagittarian to remind us of our limitless potential!

Realizing that potential, however, relies on cultivating a vibrant imagination. Envisioning something that hasn’t existed before is not unique to people born under the sign of the archer, but you can bet that most true innovators have that sign or its ruling planet, Jupiter, prominent in their birth charts. Sagittarian Walt Disney, for example, envisioned a playground that could be enjoyed by people of all ages, and realized it on a scale previously unimaginable. Steven Spielberg gave the movie-going public an entirely different vision of what films could be. Jimi Hendrix took the electric guitar to places it had never been before.

To be an innovator requires trust in yourself and absolute conviction in your vision and truth. The Sagittarian road requires the faith to ignore nay-sayers and to resist the urge to emulate the successes of others.

To move in the direction of Sagittarius truth always requires a leap of faith and confidence in our knowledge. But taking this leap comes with the danger of becoming insular and overzealous, of refusing to listen at all to other points of view—especially while inflexible Saturn transits this sign through December 2017. The utter conviction that serves Sagittarius so well in many situations can sometimes cause problems if we assume that everyone shares, or should share, our particular view of what is true. Navigating the Sagittarius experience requires that we keep feeding our brains with other ideas and perspectives, to keep ourselves flexible and lively. But for the sake of innovation, it’s equally important to know when to escape into our own imaginations and retrieve the treasures we find there. (more…)

Gemini Full Moon: Let Us Give Thanks

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

give-thanks-3I’m feeling anxious about Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday, but for some reason the always-simmering but (usually) contained political hostilities within my family have flared up, and this can make family gatherings mighty uncomfortable.

I don’t know exactly what has triggered the rage that’s spilling out all over my loved ones’ Facebook pages this week. I don’t really follow the news these days, but I figure it must have something to do with the really awful terrorist attacks in Paris, the unpleasant rhetoric flying around about refugees, or maybe those godless Starbucks coffee cups.

But really, it could be anything. Because the real conflict is between two fundamentally different world views.

Which brings us to the two planets that best symbolize those views: Saturn and Neptune. The first of three exact square aspects between them takes place this Thanksgiving morning (Nov. 26, 2015 – the other two dates are June 17 and Sep. 10). At this Full Moon in Gemini (Nov. 25 in the U.S., Nov. 26 most other places), the Sun is conjoined Saturn in Sagittarius, the Moon is opposed both of them, and they are all in square aspect to Neptune. So I’d say this Full Moon is pretty much where this nearly year-long Battle of the Titans gets underway. (more…)

Scorpio New Moon: On the Road to a Foreign Country

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

scorpio-nm-6ft-2Over the past couple of years, it’s become harder for me to write these essays. Partly, it’s because I’ve been writing them for so long that it’s harder to find something fresh to say.

But it’s a little more complicated than that. I look back into my archives and see that I used to put so much of myself in these little stories, so much emotion. Lately, not a lot of that tenderness finds its way into my writing. On my morning walk today, thinking about the Scorpio New Moon, I think I figured out why.

It’s because I haven’t been completely honest with you.

The truth is, I still have a rich emotional life, but over time the emotions became the kind I’d rather not think about too much, let alone share. It began when Saturn transited Scorpio (Oct. 5, 2012 – Dec. 23, 2014; June 14 – Sep. 17, 2015) and the twelfth house of my birth chart. (more…)