Taurus Full Moon: The Sorcery of Benign Neglect

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

garden-cat_300We visited a Taurus-rising friend in her Bay Area home last spring, and she treated us to a tour of her thriving garden. My husband and his Taurus Moon were especially taken with her “tater totes”—recycled tote bags, perfect for growing potatoes. But nothing impressed him more than her elaborate, three-section composting shed. While the two discussed, at length, its design, construction, and functionality, I (no planets in Taurus) wandered off to find the cat.

Plant some Taurus in a birth chart, and it will generally grow into a green thumb. My husband has stationed a cookie-jar sized container next to our kitchen sink to collect scraps for his own, cherished compost heap. And just this morning, my Sun in Taurus neighbor cheerfully described what a good time she’d had yesterday, working in her garden. She’d started out a little bit sad and out of sorts, she said, but a day of puttering around in the dirt had set her right.

Taurus has an instinct for cultivation. Its opposite sign, Scorpio, symbolizes the process of death and decay, the spent organic matter that’s thrown on the compost heap and the busy, helpful insects that break it down. The result, to most of us, looks like plain old dirt. But from across the horoscopic wheel, Taurus recognizes the resulting loam as beautiful, nourishing, and helpful, and knows just how to use it to encourage things to grow. (more…)

New Moon in Libra: It Isn’t Fair

Posted by & filed under Libra, New Moon.

libra-fairLibra has a reputation for being nice and for putting other people first. But Libra also symbolizes comparison; to some extent, most of us gauge our relative success by looking at what others have accomplished. Even when we’re smiling on the outside, our inner Librans are keeping score and making sure the scales balance. When they don’t… no more Mr. Libra nice guy.

Some of our earliest, most shocking realizations about the world are about fairness. “It’s not fair!” squeals the 5-year-old whose older brother gets a later bedtime. “It’s not fair!” objects the teenager who is denied her own car, even though all her friends have one. “It’s not fair!” shouts the employee who has been let go in his company’s latest round of firings, even though his laziest coworker gets to keep his job.

Life isn’t fair, at least not according to our (probably limited) understanding of fairness. And it’s especially galling when you’ve played by the rules and done everything you were supposed to do, and have not been rewarded for it but in fact punished. Like young people who were pushed to attend college, sometimes incurring massive debt in the process, only to graduate and find there are no jobs for them. Or workers near retirement age who find their guaranteed pension has vanished into thin air.

For many of us keeping score at home, the scales don’t seem to balance. When our internal accounting system triggers a fairness audit, we have a range of options. We can attempt to steer the world toward greater fairness through activism and education. We can surrender to cynicism, anger, and laziness. We can turn to faith; Venus, Libra’s ruling planet, is after all exalted in Pisces, the sign of spiritual awareness. Maybe the currently popular adage is true, and “Things always turn out right in the end. If things aren’t right, it’s not the end.” Or we can simply ignore everything that makes us unhappy.

The chart for this New Moon (October 12, 2015, 5:06 pm Pacific/8:06 pm Eastern), with the Sun and Moon opposed radical Uranus in Aries and square transformational Pluto, demands that we exercise the first option. Aspects like those fairly scream, “State of emergency! Threat level orange! All hands on deck!” But after a couple of decades of fighting hard for a better world, I’ll admit that these days I’ve retreated into the second, and possibly the fourth options. I’m dimly aware of the catastrophes running rampant in the world at the moment, but I’m doing my level best to ignore them. I’ve had a few health problems this year, and I find I’m not willing to risk more by fretting over politicians behaving like the craven idiots we always knew they were. (more…)

Aries Lunar Eclipse: The White Knight

Posted by & filed under Aries, Eclipses, Full Moon.

horses-postOne morning a few days before the Aries Lunar Eclipse, on deadline and procrastinating with some internet busywork, I ran across something that left me furious. Yes—in the words of the old cartoon meme, someone was wrong on the Internet. Wrong in a way that made me feel attacked and bad about myself. And so, I got angry—angry to a degree far out of proportion to the offense. So angry that it actually scared me a little bit.

As a woman in her sixth decade of life, a professional, a mentor, and a counselor, I was unnerved that such a small thing could make me so angry that, for a moment anyway, I entertained black thoughts of bitter retaliation. It’s times like this that remind me how we came to use expressions like, “That made me mad,” when we mean something made us angry. It really is a kind of madness when petty anger is triggered.

I had met the lunar eclipse in Aries (Sep. 27 or 28, depending on your location) a few days early. This is the last of three Aries eclipses since October 2013 (the others were on October 18, 2013 and October 8, 2014). Each one has given us the opportunity to learn something more about how, when, and even whether to stand up for ourselves.

Aries is the sign of self-defense. At best, it’s the knight on a white horse, brandishing a glittering and lethal sword, galloping to your defense when you feel threatened. But it’s important to remember whom the knight serves: the ruler of the realm, symbolized by the Sun, ruler of ego, selfhood, and sanity. A knight’s crusade is only as honorable as the monarch who sends him into battle.

You’re the monarch of your life, the hero of your own story. And when you perceive that you’re in danger, the knight is deployed to defend you. This knight is at its best when life and death are at stake. So if you don’t live in constant fear of immediate physical peril, what’s the knight’s job? (more…)

Solar Eclipse in Virgo: Go Deeper

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

go-deeperVirgo’s gift is for the work of the everyday – work that is never-ending, self-perpetuating, like washing the dishes or trying to keep your closet organized. Work that will never, ever be finished, because it’s the work of supporting and sustaining… what, exactly?

That’s a tricky question for our Virgo natures to grapple with. Virgo is a foot soldier, and remaining steadfastly earthbound can limit one’s perspective. And when your Virgo nature loses the sense of connection to a larger purpose, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by work that is never-ending and repetitive.

But life is more than a series of meaningless tasks and rote servitude. And it’s not necessary to abandon Virgo’s analytical rigor or worldly pragmatism in order to find a sense of meaning in life, some cause deserving of Virgo’s deft and graceful talent for bringing order out of chaos. It is only necessary to ask, “Whom do you serve?” As Saturn inches nearer to Sagittarius, a sign dedicated to seeking the big picture, this New Moon brings a decision: How will you use your Virgo gifts, and in the service of what larger cause?

This New Moon Solar Eclipse, sextile Pluto, signals an opportunity to release Virgo’s more negative expression in our lives. It’s time to release the tendency toward busywork that distracts us from the real work at hand; the urge to criticize the efforts of others; the complete denial of life’s poetry and magic, in favor of a rigid, rational approach. The Solar Eclipse point (20.10 Virgo) lies close to the Moon’s North Node in Libra, drawing a line that connects us to a long pattern of trying to overcome such negativity. In the previous years when eclipses fell in Virgo (most recently 2006-2008), where were you to quick to criticize, too slow to notice the beauty around you, and too busy sweating the small stuff to keep your eye on the big picture?

Turning Routine into Ritual

One of my favorite Virgo parables is found in the movie “Groundhog Day”, with its provocative thesis: What if you were forced to live the same day over and over again? And not a particularly exciting day, either, but a day full of minor annoyances and petty frustrations, neither better nor worse than a thousand other days of your life. Phil Connors, portrayed by Virgo Bill Murray, attacks the problem with resistance, cynicism, complaint, and nihilism–until finally, after repeatedly trying and failing to destroy himself, he surrenders. He spends each day in devotion to good works and self-improvement, even though he knows that he’ll have to do it all over again the very next day. By the movie’s end, nothing much has changed in the town–except for Phil, who has become compassionate, accomplished, and beloved.

It’s not easy to reclaim our spirits from cynicism and our everyday routines from the tyranny of file folders and post-it notes, and particularly not when Scorpio/Pluto are the forces behind the change. Saturn moving toward Sagittarius, a sign representing the laws of society, insists that we temper even our finest Virgo impulses toward helpfulness with a commitment to the world as it is. As Phil Connors found, before we can hope to improve society we must first commit to being part of it.

When Scorpio and Pluto are involved, this commitment carries some risk. There is a story about a man who was unexpectedly confronted by an unfriendly dog that promptly took the man’s entire hand into its mouth. Most people’s instinct would be to pull the hand away, and in doing so probably shred the flesh against the dog’s teeth. But this man’s instinctive reaction proved much wiser: he pushed his hand further down the dog’s throat, and when the dog gagged, he opened his mouth. The man pulled his hand out, uninjured.

At this New Moon, the answer to overcoming Virgo overwhelm (or boredom) with every day life might be similar to dealing with an unfriendly dog: when you’re feeling trapped in the jaws of life, don’t pull away—go deeper. Where you’re relying on past insights, you might do better to dig in and discovering new ones instead.

The problems of the world can feel much too large and overwhelming to be helped in any way by our small ritual gestures of help and healing. Probably, they are. But ritual and mindfulness remind us to operate in our immediate environment in a way that’s guided by larger principles of conviction, belief, and inclusiveness. And maybe that’s enough. There will always be work that needs to be done, and we can’t always change the outer world – but we can always change the inner one.

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.

Pisces Full Moon: Faith, Reason, and the Truth

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

angel-scientistEach Full Moon presents us with an apparent dichotomy between the sign occupied by the Sun, and the opposite sign, occupied by the Moon. When we take a closer look, we realize that while these two archetypes may approach a situation from opposite directions, they’re at least moving toward a common center.

The dichotomy at the heart of this Full Moon pits faith (Moon/Neptune in Pisces) against reason (Sun/Jupiter in Virgo). Is “I don’t know—I just like him/her” a valid reason to support for someone who is running for public office? Is “I’m so in love!” a persuasive argument for marriage? Our Virgo instincts are outraged by such notions, insisting that important decisions must be based on logic, not hunches. Yet Virgo’s annotated list of well-considered arguments and carefully researched facts does nothing to assuage our Piscean ache for something, or someone, to believe in.

As much as those who sneer against “hope” and “faith” would like to believe otherwise, these matter a lot to a great many people. They are, in fact, matters for which many would give their lives, and they are concepts whose power is utterly immune to critical thinking. If you doubt it, try reasoning with a friend who is madly in love with a complete scoundrel. She may agree that he’s a louse, but she hopes he’ll change. Having relinquished reason, she allows her decisions about the relationship to be made by her powerful unconscious—with all its hopes, fears, nostalgia, and unspeakable longings.

It can be frustrating when those around you, especially those you love, see life through a lens that’s different from your own. As an astrologer, I can speak from first-hand experience about cynical scientists and insulting skeptics. But as someone with a couple of planets in Virgo, I also understand their point of view; to those who worship at the altar of rational thought, an astrologer must seem like a heretical ambassador from the loony bin. (more…)

Jupiter enters Virgo: The Party’s Over

Posted by & filed under Jupiter, Planets, Transits, Virgo.

jup-virgoI was born with the Sun and various other planets and points in Leo. When Jupiter moved into the sign of the lion last year, my astro-savvy pals congratulated me as though I’d been nominated for an Academy Award. I have to admit, I felt pretty excited.

But despite its reputation as astrology’s most generous benefactor, Jupiter’s gifts are often best enjoyed in hindsight. While Jupiter is moving through a sign, a house, or in aspect to one of your natal planets, you can actually feel quite a lot of pressure—to live bigger, to be more daring, and to challenge your limitations.

You don’t have to have Leo planets to have felt Jupiter’s influence over this past year. Wanting to be noticed, have more fun, and connect with the engine that drives you—these are hallmarks of Jupiter in Leo. Leo is certainly a glamorous, fun-loving sign, but in combination with the exaggerated, exuberant influence of Jupiter, it can be a little too much of a good thing. (more…)

Leo New Moon: Guided by Desire

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

leonm-postUp to now, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about Venus’ current retrograde period. But the chart for this New Moon (Aug. 14, 10:53 am Eastern Time) features the Sun and Moon in a close conjunction with Venus, so perhaps it’s time to tell that particular story.

In astrological Venus, we find the symbol of style, beauty, pleasure, value, and keeping up with the Joneses. We also find the very human susceptibility to being told what we should enjoy. There are entire industries that rely upon this tendency, and they are part of a world that is all too happy to tell us, every day and in a variety of ways, what it is we should love and find pleasurable.

There are socially approved body shapes, clothing styles, music, and colors. You should aspire to drive this car. Your kitchen can only look beautiful with granite counter tops, cherry wood cabinets, and travertine tiles. If you are a woman and not naturally svelte, you must starve yourself to maintain the correct shape.

The specific messages vary greatly depending on our age, gender, where we live, and our interests. But the essential idea is the same: The world conspires to tell us how to be beautiful and where to seek pleasure. And if you find that your own preferences lie outside the mainstream, it takes awareness, confidence, and a strong sense of self to embrace them.

Fortunately, Leo wrote the book on confidence, or at least the dogged pursuit of it. The profound relief of Venus retrograde in this sign (July 25 through September 6, 2015) has, for me, been the awakened urge to retreat from those messages and turn within to examine what actually does bring me pleasure. Who are the people with whom I really enjoy spending my time? Does the value of our home truly depend upon renovating our kitchen in a style I dislike? Am I a failure as a woman because I enjoy eating carbohydrates? (more…)

Finding Your Transits

Posted by & filed under Astrological Transits, Astrology Techniques, Learning Astrology, Transits.

finding-transits-blog-imageI’m pretty excited that my new book, The Beginners Guide to Astrological Transits, is now available in the wild (e.g., wherever books are sold) in both print and e-book versions. I think it does a pretty good job of explaining what transits are and how planetary cycles work. It even explains how to find your transits. But I know that for some, nothing gets the job done quite as well as a demonstration. So I’ve put together a video to show you how to get your hands on your current transits immediately and start using your copy of Astrological Transits the moment it arrives!


Aquarius Full Moon: Born Free

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

born-free_300A friend sent me a stunning photograph from her boyfriend’s summertime expedition in the northernmost reaches of the Pacific—floating on a ship amidst a sea of ice floes “as thick as I am tall,” he wrote, for endless summer days that never turn into night that far north.

Viewing it from San Diego, where delayed summer has given way to warm, sticky, exhaustion, I found it a singularly restful image. In North American July, nothing feels quite as good as an air-conditioned room, tastes as delicious as an icy drink, or looks as inviting as a polar landscape.

It’s the season of the Lion, the sweltering, prideful season of those who look good in a bathing suit…and the rest of us. Leo won’t tell you this, and probably won’t admit it if you ask, but we’re an insecure bunch, forever seeking our true selves in the approving eyes of others. That insecurity either comes from, or perhaps motivates our creative drive; it’s probably a bit of both. The need to express yourself and to offer up your thoughts and feelings for the judgment of an audience can make you feel as jumpy as the proverbial cat on a hot tin roof.

Trust me. I’m a Leo who writes for a living.

It helps to have some Aquarius planets in your chart, or Aquarius relatives and friends, or even the Full Moon in Aquarius to rescue you from the tiring quest for the spotlight. Aquarius trusts humanity and leads us effortlessly, like a confident dance instructor, into happy communion with others. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, our cool and contained Aquarian selves are blessed with strong interpersonal boundaries that allow us to immerse ourselves in the human experience, comfortable in the knowledge that, should the walls start closing in, we can simply chip off our own floe and drift out to sea. (more…)

Cancer New Moon: Tidying Up

Posted by & filed under Cancer, Lunar Phases, New Moon, Pluto, Uranus.

zen-closetInspired by Marie Kondo’s bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I’ve spent part of every day for the past month getting rid of unwanted things. I’ve already donated three huge bags of clothing discards, three boxes of books, and a box of CDs and DVDs to the library and my favorite charity, and I haven’t even started in the kitchen.

At this month’s New Moon in Cancer, the Sun and Moon are in aspect to both Uranus and Pluto, the epic gods of change. Uranus is the gleeful god which, once unleashed, can get carried away with tossing aside almost anything. But Pluto demands deep, thorough, and lasting transformation, and Kondo’s approach to household organization has the ring of Pluto depth and ruthlessness about it. Decisions about which things to keep is based on the answer to a single question: “Does this spark joy?” It sounds like an odd approach, and I rolled my eyes a bit… before I tried it, and found it surprisingly effective. There really is something marvelous about feeling that I could open my closet, my drawers, and my bookshelves and, even if blindfolded, choose an item I’d be pleased to wear or read.

If you decide at this New Moon to spend quality time with your house (and since Cancer rules the home, you probably will), it is likely to be Uranian freedom from possessions that you seek, but unpleasant Pluto tasks you will feel compelled to tackle – the ones you’ve been putting off for months, even years, because you just couldn’t face them, because they’re dirty, or exhausting, or overwhelming. What will you let go of? (more…)