Gemini New Moon: Road Trip

Posted by & filed under Gemini, New Moon.

road-polaroidWhen you’re young, everything that happens is new. There’s no telling which joys, triumphs, tragedies, or heartbreaks are random events, and which are the first installments in storylines that will play out across your lifetime. As a child, even into your teens and your twenties, you’re still figuring out what your stories are.

Gemini and its ruling planet, Mercury, are astrology’s storytellers, delineators of your life’s narrative arc. Enter your thirties, and you begin to recognize recurring plotlines—the sorts of people who capture your heart, and how those relationships typically end; the habits that are maddeningly hard to break; your distinctive pattern of achievement and failure. In your forties, there is often a strong pull to escape from some of your stories. And by the time you reach your fifties, you’re more or less resigned to them, even philosophical. You’ve seen examples of most of what will tend to happen to you,  and it can get a little boring to watch more of it play out—but sort of comforting, too.

We tell ourselves stories about who we are, and after four or five decades, sometimes we just want a new story. I’ve wondered what it must like to be someone like Mick Jagger (not that there is anyone quite like Mick Jagger, of course, but you know what I mean), who has been playing Mick Jagger in public for fifty years, singing Satisfaction and leaping around the stage like a manic jack in the box. Does he ever just get sick and tired of the whole Mick Jagger thing? (more…)

Sagittarius Full Moon: The Shallow End of the Pool

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

handstand-pool_300Because genetics and fate seem to share a wry sense of humor, I often find myself at uncomfortable family gatherings where I’m one of only a few liberals in a crowd of very outspoken conservatives. It’s ironic, given these are exactly the sorts of situations I’ve spent my life avoiding. I’ve got strong convictions, but I was also raised to be polite and to avoid confrontation.

I love my family; I want to enjoy the little time we get to spend together, not fritter it away on ugly debates about immigration or health care. So I spend the day making chit-chat, biting my tongue and retreating to the patio whenever I felt my blood pressure starting to rise. At the end of the day, everyone is still on speaking terms–and I am exhausted.

After so many years, we all know the rules—what we can talk about and what we can’t. As long as we stay on neutral ground, we can maintain warm relations. Sometimes, we’re even able to wiggle our toes in deeper waters, carefully broaching the subject of our differences, and even laughing about the hard-headedness that we share in common.

But generally, it tends to be a fairly Gemini kind of relationship that results from this kind of compromise. Light and shallow, full of reminiscences and shared old jokes. Not that I particularly mind; I was born with the Moon in Gemini, and truth be told, I prefer to keep things on this kind of level most of the time. Light. Entertaining. Witty. Always moving. Loving, for sure, but not too intimate.

But at this Full Moon in Sagittarius, the sign of deep convictions noisily expressed, I find myself wondering about all the parts of myself that have to be sacrificed in order to keep my Gemini Moon feeling safe, over in the shallow end of the pool. Born with Sagittarius rising and a full ninth house, I am as much a Sagittarius at heart as I am a Leo Sun or a Gemini Moon. What I believe about this world and the next is as big a part of my life as my family’s beliefs are a part of theirs. And yet, I tend to think of myself not as someone who is committed to a strong spiritual center, but rather as someone who is constantly darting and weaving to avoid being ensnared by another’s strong opinions. (more…)

Taurus New Moon: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Syrup

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

taurus-dontcry-syrup_300I bought a fancy glass bottle of pancake syrup at the supermarket. When I got home, I tried to gather up too many of the grocery bags at once instead of simply making a second trip from the car to the house. Naturally, I dropped one of the bags—and of course, it was the one that contained the bottle of syrup, which smashed, covering everything else in a fine layer of goo. A shard of broken glass tore a small hole in the bag, and as I carried it into the house, I left a trail of organic Canadian maple goodness along the sidewalk, onto the porch, and across the length of the living room and kitchen.

I yelled. I cursed. I think I probably stomped my feet. I was already in a bad mood; I’d spent the morning moping about some problems I’d had with checks that hadn’t arrived, or which had arrived and promptly been lost, and spending twice as long as I’d planned at the hair salon because I’d forgotten it was a “color” day. Now I was behind in my work, feeling broke, and would have to spend time I didn’t have on cleaning up syrup. Tallying my grievances against an uncaring universe, I stamped my feet some more, sending the cats running for cover.

Then, I spent the better part of the afternoon scrubbing maple syrup from tile and wood floors and hosing it from the sidewalk. But the next morning I hit a few residual sticky patches in the living room, and while I was still grumbling about my newly adhesive shoes, a website problem came up – just minutes before an out-of-town friend was scheduled to arrive for a visit. I was ready to sit down on the floor and have a good cry.

I’m not a sun sign Scorpio, though on the days when my Moon/Pluto square acts up you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Such emotional drama (as only a Sun sign Leo can deliver); so much throwing of crockery and swearing! I’m pretty intense to live with.

Fortunately, I married a guy with the Moon in Taurus. Taurus’ super power is the ability to diffuse tension and drama. My Taurus mother was particularly adroit at countering my tantrums and emotional firestorms with patience and humor. She liked my husband the moment she met him, perhaps sensing that here was someone to whom she could pass the torch, who could talk me down from the occasional emotional ledge without being intimidated by my … shall we say, passionate nature. (more…)

Personal Planetary Order

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

planetary-orderTo get a general sense of how you will experience a transiting planet as it moves through its current sign, compare it to your personal planetary order.

If you list every planet, the North Node, and the Ascendant and Midheaven in degree order, and note the aspect it will receive from the transiting planet, you can see at a glance how easy or difficult this transit is likely to be for you personally.

Every transiting planet aspects these points in the same order, every time, though the aspects are different depending on its sign.

For example: Great Britain’s Prince William is a guy with a lot of planets in cardinal signs. How have transiting Uranus and Pluto in cardinal signs impacted him? Let’s take a look at Uranus in Aries. (more…)

Scorpio Full Moon: Empty the Cup

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

zen-cupI’d been running at full speed for eight months straight, so I took some time off. I made no plans; I’ve barely left the house. There has been a lot of napping, reading, and mindless Netflix bingeing, punctuated by an occasional burst of productivity.

After a week and a half, I began easing back into some easy, administrative tasks. But real work, something like writing this essay, is still only barely doable.

I hadn’t just been working hard—I’d let work take over my life. Without it, a lot of empty space has opened up in my days. It’s been instructive, observing what has rushed in to fill it. Crushing weariness. A certain low-level melancholy. Insecurity. Profound laziness. Snacking. Long sessions of vacant staring.

For awhile, my work has been feeling juiceless and labored. I knew why even as I worked long, grinding days, writing furiously against narrow deadlines. When you’re not living your life, you have nothing interesting to bring to your work. You’re a husk and a shell, dusty byproducts of grain that’s been harvested, soil that is depleted.

What used to fuel my creativity was time—hours of unstructured, unproductive time. I’d spend it lying on my stomach, filling notebooks with idle dreams and scribbled wishes for my future life. Some of those dreams and wishes eventually came startlingly and specifically true. All of this was long before I knew even the little I know now about magic and ritual. I thought it was all just daydreaming. I didn’t appreciate the gravitational pull of imagination. (more…)

New Moon in Aries: Sharks

Posted by & filed under Aries, New Moon.


image by YokoIshioka, Deviant Art

In the film “Up in the Air,” George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, whose career takes him all over the country to fire employees for companies that are downsizing. Ryan moves through life quickly, precisely, and without hesitation. He wields the machete of professional job termination with efficiency and (at least superficial) kindness, and once he has finished a job, he doesn’t look back. As Ryan tells a rapt audience of colleagues in a distinctly Aries-tinged monologue,

The slower we move, the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.

But at the zenith of his career, Ryan’s lifestyle of perpetual travel and unfettered independence is threatened both by new technology that could mean an end to his solitary life on the road, and by the realization that relationships mean more to him than he’d suspected.

Clooney’s Aries-like character (a confirmed bachelor) encounters the Libran other in the form of a fetching woman he meets on the road, but also in the wedding that reunites him with his family. Ryan seems surprised at the tenderness he feels for the sisters he essentially abandoned when he left their prosaic home town. As he tries – tentatively – to reconnect with them, he finds that they, too, have moved on, and that there is no easy place for him in their lives. Not only is his bachelor apartment in far-away Omaha stark, utilitarian, and not really a home; but he finds he doesn’t belong among his family, either. When someone on an airplane asks where he’s from, he simply answers, “Here.” (more…)

Astrological Grammar

Posted by & filed under Beginners, Learning Astrology.

grammarWhen someone who doesn’t know anything about astrology wants to reference it in a “humorous” way, he might say something like, “My Moon is in Uranus.” (Astrological humor almost always includes Uranus.) That’s an objectionable sentence in many ways, but most importantly, it’s poor astrological grammar. Here’s why. (more…)

Derivative Houses

Posted by & filed under Astrology Techniques, Beginners, Houses, Learning Astrology.

pigletLocating your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor in your chart

Astrology is a complete system; your birth chart symbolizes absolutely everything—and everyone—in your life. From your mother to your best friend in high school to the cabbie who cut you off on your way to work this morning, everyone who has or will cross your path can be found in your chart. You just have to know where to look.

Each house symbolizes places, situations, and types of relationships, but there are only twelve houses. How can they cover all the characters, both major and minor, in your life’s story? Derivative houses is a method of finding relationships through the inherent connection between the houses in your chart. The cusp of the house in your chart that symbolizes the essential nature of the relationship becomes the ascendant, and a new chart derived from this new ascendant will help you find the person or matter in questions.

Counting derivative houses

To use the convoluted but not unfamiliar example referenced in the title of this section, let’s say you’re trying to track down the neighbor of your brother’s ex-wife (you suspect he stole your teacup pig).

  1. First, find your brother. Siblings are found in your third house.
  1. Next, locate your sibling’s ex-wife. Spouses past, present, and future are represented by the seventh house. BEGINNING WITH THE THIRD HOUSE (your sibling), count seven houses – the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth. Your brother’s ex is represented by THE NINTH HOUSE.
  1. Now, to find that elusive neighbor. Neighbors are represented by the third house; so BEGINNING WITH THE NINTH HOUSE, which represents the ex-wife, count three houses: ninth, tenth, and eleventh.
  1. Voila! Your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor is represented by the ELEVENTH HOUSE of your chart.

The pig is a different matter altogether. Livestock is associated with the sixth house. Should you find a connection between the sixth and eleventh houses (say, Taurus is on the sixth house cusp, ruled by Venus, which is in the eleventh house), it might be time to stand outside your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor’s house and start hollering “Soo-eeeeeee!”

What rules what? Get the Rex Bills Rulership Book – most-used reference book in my library.

2011 by April Elliott Kent. Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology (Alpha/Penguin 2011).

Libra Lunar Eclipse: What Are You Hiding?

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

candlesWe’re not in the market for a new home, but my husband and I enjoy visiting open houses for sale in our neighborhood. This morning we toured a tiny but charming bungalow a few blocks away. Beautifully presented, it had been updated in a way that respected the vintage of the house. It was inspiring—exactly the kind of home tour I normally adore.

But I couldn’t wait to leave this one… because a trio of scented candles burned in every single room of the house. They matched each room’s color scheme perfectly, and the effect of the flickering flames and soothing colors was lovely. But their fragrance was overpowering!

The owners were probably just trying to create a welcoming atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering what nasty smell might be lurking beneath that cloud of perfume.

This Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse is at 14 degrees of Libra, a sign that is adept at making things lovely, nice, and fragrant. It’s the sign that symbolizes our ability to package ourselves in a pleasing way. People tend to like us better when they’re not forced to confront our coarse and strident humanity—our steely-eyed determination, pushy self-centeredness, and morning breath. Libra describes the social sensitivity and good manners that, like a scented candle (or a good toothpaste), mask some of our less pleasing qualities.

Go overboard with Libra, though, and people get suspicious. No one is that nice. Everyone has a bad day now and then. No one smiles all the time. Others might very well wonder, “Just what are you trying to hide?” (more…)

Lunar Eclipses and Relationships

Posted by & filed under Eclipses.

befriendingCertainly, eclipses falling in your 7th house (or in aspect to natal Venus or your 7th house ruler) are signals that your relationship world is likely to be rocked by change. But all lunar eclipses, regardless of which houses they fall in, represent critical moments in evaluating relationships. At a Lunar Eclipse, the Sun and Moon are in opposition (Full Moon), an aspect that reveals us to ourselves through our personal interactions. The August 7, 2017 Lunar Eclipse at 15.25 Aquarius reflects the degree to which we’re able to offer our full, loving selves in relationship, joyfully and unguarded.

For those who aren’t in a romantic relationship, or are in one that isn’t going well, eclipses might well mark times of finding or ending a romance. But what if you’re in a romantic relationship or partnership and it’s going just fine? Your union may come through these eclipses intact and strong, with only a few long-delayed adjustments. If the rest of your birth chart bears this out, however – and especially if this year’s eclipses are impacting those sensitive relationship areas I mentioned above – you may well find that your happy relationship isn’t as secure as it seemed.

On the other hand, romantic partnerships are not the only relationships in our lives (just the ones we’re most likely to be obsessed about). What about the 99.999% of the relationships in our lives that don’t involve yearning looks across a crowded room or intimate physical contact? What might the upcoming lunar eclipse have to say about the ordinary human connections among family members, friends, colleagues, and casual acquaintances? Here are some thoughts: (more…)