How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Uranus/Pluto square

Posted by & filed under Pluto, Transits, Uranus.


(1) In times of upheaval, the center does not hold. Avoid putting yourself at the center of things.

(2) Ignore the news.

(3) Don’t try to hold on to what is already gone.

(4) When life sends you an atomic bomb, strap on a saddle and say “Yee Haw!”

On Monday, March 16, 2015, Uranus in Aries made its final exact square to Pluto in Capricorn. Can I get an “amen”?

Pisces Solar Eclipse: Wounds and Healers

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


“Flight of the Sick Bed” by Claudia Fernety

I have some thoughts to share about this Solar Eclipse in Pisces, I promise. But to get there, I have to begin with Chiron.

For those of you who are not familiar with it, Chiron is a planetoid that has become widely used in contemporary astrology. I don’t use it. In fact, I actively dislike it.

Here’s why.

Chiron is inevitably described as symbolizing the “wounded healer.” But too many of Chiron’s most zealous fans embrace only one half of that phrase: wounded. It seems to be a way for some (not all – please hold your email fury) to set themselves apart as special and tragic  – “I’m so wounded,” with the back of the hand pressed to the forehead, sinking to a fainting couch.

And that’s when something cold and hard in me rises up and bares its teeth.

Here’s where I have to come clean. In my birth chart, Chiron is alone in Pisces, in a close opposition to Pluto in Virgo. In a chart heavy with Leo and Virgo planets and many hard aspects to Neptune, Pisces is veiled, mysterious valley to me. Yet my life is filled with scads of jolly, Tigger-like, Sun in Pisces friends who wouldn’t give a fainting couch a second look (except perhaps, a little longingly, as a spot for a good afternoon nap). They tend to symbolize the very best Pisces qualities of empathy, kindness, and flexibility.

But the shadow side to the Pisces archetype is the victim. The martyr. It’s said the things that bother us most in others are the things we deny in ourselves. And while it makes me furious to entertain the notion, I suppose there must be some disowned little part of me that longs to sink to the fainting couch with my smelling salts and hear someone say, “There, there.” It is the part of me that overextends myself and then feels victimized when my contributions are overlooked or criticized. It is the cowering little kid cringing from my inner looming, shouty adult.

Now. Here is what it has to do with you, and all of us, and eclipses in Pisces, which we’ll see more of over the next couple of years. (more…)

Saturn by Sign: Where Does Your Authority Come From?

Posted by & filed under Learning Astrology, Planets, Saturn, Zodiac Signs.

saturnFor a long time, I’d fallen into the trap of thinking natal Saturn’s sign and its house placement meant more or less the same thing (namely, misery). But now, it seems to me that they’re entirely different.

Saturn’s natal house placement does seem to symbolize the life-long, Sisyphean task of rolling a boulder up a steep mountain, only to watch it repeatedly slip backward and nearly flatten you. If you can succeed in moving that boulder a few inches over the course of a lifetime, your life has been a stunning success.

But Saturn’s sign in your birth chart seems to indicate the qualities that make people take you seriously. They are the qualities from which you derive your authority. They are what make others a little nervous at the thought of falling short of your expectations. And they are the qualities for which you are judged most harshly if you don’t act with integrity. (more…)

Signs Aren’t People

Posted by & filed under Beginners, Learning Astrology, Zodiac Signs.


A typically shy, retiring Leo.

When you read something like “Leo is magnanimous and outgoing,” your mind may immediately object that your August-born aunt is, in fact, shy and retiring. This is where the astrological skeptic proclaims victory and changes the subject. But allow me to gently reintroduce the topic, with the explanation that although your aunt was born when the Sun was in Leo, she has an entire birth chart full of planets and placements and aspects that may contradict or mitigate the Leo archetype.

Think of it this way. In the world of film, there are various familiar stereotypes that allow you to grasp the essence of a character without a lot of time-consuming flashbacks or exposition. You know them as the wise-cracking best friend, the crusading cop, or the plucky career gal with the disappointing love life. But the best and most memorable films have a habit of elevating these tired stereotypes to archetypal status, representing something true and universal in the collective unconscious. The star-crossed lovers from opposite ends of the tracks are a stereotype. Positioned in an important historical context, however – such as Rose and Jack on the Titanic, or Scarlett and Rhett during the Civil War – and their relationship may take on archetypal importance, representing the human impact of these historic events.

Signs are not people—they’re characters, archetypes. Placing different planets, like different actors, in a particular sign gives the archetype a different flavor. Signs can be thought of as a costume to be worn. Place Venus, the planet of love and also of attractive young women, in Virgo, a sign of modesty and practicality, and your film character looks a bit like a lovely and slightly shy secretary. Cast Mars, the planet of war, in analytical Virgo, and your character might be a studious young war reporter during World War II.

Excerpt from The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, © 2011 by April Elliott Kent.

Virgo Full Moon: The Editor

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

DreamOfCeresAs a writer, I’ve worked with my share of editors. I’ve appreciated every one of them. A couple of them, I’ve downright loved.

The editors I’ve loved working with have had something important in common. Their focus was on what was right with my work, instead of what was wrong with it. Eventually we got around to refining the disjointed thoughts and cleaning up the sentences that occasionally trailed off without any ending at all. In this, they were every bit as exacting as their job required. But the process began with their enthusiasm for the best of my writing, followed by coaching designed to help me bring the rest of it up to the same level.

All this is soothing for the writer’s ego, of course. But there’s also a practical lesson in there for any of us who find ourselves in a position of critiquing others, as parents, bosses, coaches, or even friends: most of the time, high standards combined with encouragement inspires better results than criticism alone.

The Full Moon in Virgo is a good time to meditate on one of the keywords commonly associated with Virgo: criticism. Virgo’s criticism is a consequence of two other keyword qualities, discrimination and discernment. Like its opposite sign, Pisces, Virgo is idealistic, embracing dreams of perfection—but Virgo can be a bit pessimistic about the capacity of mere mortals to live up to these ideals.

While Pisces is blessed with the ability to overlook imperfection, Virgo is tasked with seeing each failing that stands between us and the vision. Sometimes, it must be said, Virgo indulges in negative criticism; the world is full of faults and mediocrity, and Virgo’s inability to ignore these things can turn her into a cranky scold. But sometimes, Virgo criticizes because she is enraptured by a vision of greatness that lies only a few punctuation marks away. (more…)

You’re a Mix of All Signs

Posted by & filed under Beginners, Learning Astrology.

all-signsNothing makes an astrologer sadder than hearing you say, “Oh, I hate [insert sign here].” One of the favorite arguments against astrology is, “There is no way that everyone in the world can fall into twelve neat categories,” and you’ll get no argument from me. Gross generalizations about the signs of the zodiac are, to me, as baffling as declaring you hate vegetables just because you’ve eaten a couple of overcooked Brussels sprouts over the years.

The fact is, each of us contains every sign of the zodiac in our birth chart. The horoscope is a representation of the entire sky at the time of your birth. Every constellation along the ecliptic, whether it was visible or not from the place of your birth, is fully represented in the twelve houses of your birth chart. So declaring war on any sign of the zodiac is tantamount to disowning part of yourself.

You have the opportunity to experience each sign of the zodiac in your own life. If Leo falls in the sixth house of your chart, for instance, you get to “be a Leo” in sixth house areas of your life (at work, for instance). As each planet moves through a sign, it activates that archetype somewhere in your life. Some, such as the signs of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant (cusp of the first house) at your birth may speak through you more strongly than others. But all twelve signs are part of your birth chart, and relevant to your life.

Don’t disown or disparage any sign based on past experience. If you’ve had a number of bad experiences with people born with the Sun in a particular sign, you may decide you “just can’t get along” with people of that sign. But who knows how many people with that sign strong in their charts that you’ve met without knowing it, most of whom you probably got along with splendidly? Signs are not people—and all of them are a part of you. (more…)

Progressed Moon

Posted by & filed under Balsamic Moon, Progressions.

mandala-moon-phasesThe Moon is especially strong in Taurus, and I like the sign a lot. But I haven’t particularly enjoyed having my Progressed Moon here, and I’m looking forward to the greener pastures of Gemini and my 7th house, where my natal Moon has enjoyed itself for years.

The Progressed Moon in the sign behind your natal Moon sign is more or less a Balsmic Moon time. Letting go of habits and reviewing patterns that aren’t working for you, spending time in contemplation, catching up on your rest… these are Balsamic Moon activities. (more…)

Venus and Mars in Aries: Wild horses

Posted by & filed under Aries, Mars, Venus.

aries-cowgirlTransiting Venus and Mars entered Aries last week, and over the past couple of days they made trines to Saturn in Sagittarius. Normally a deliberate and focused worker (with no Aries planets in my birth chart), I’ve had a devil of a time settling down and getting anything done. About all I’ve got to show for my flailing efforts is a stack of printouts, notebooks, and folders, the detritus of a half-dozen projects, taking over one side of my desk.

In my frenzy of Aries enthusiasm, I’ve jumped from idea to idea over the past week, tossing each one aside when it proved too difficult. And while Saturn is normally helpful when it comes to sticking with things, in Sagittarius he’s looser than usual. “Keep those arrows flying!” I heard him mumble. “A couple of them are bound to hit their targets!”

I want to do everything, I want to do it now, and if it takes any longer than 20 minutes it’s getting shoved in the pile just to my left.

I may have no Aries planets in my birth chart, but I’ve got a strong Mars, and I always figured that made me a kind of honorary Aries. But the energy is completely different. My Mars is in Virgo, in the 10th house, trine Saturn; it has energy, but there is none of the jangling, high-octane impatience and restlessness of Aries. It is a horse that is comfortable wearing a saddle.

Aquarius New Moon: The Greedy Cusp

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

aquarius-pisces-cups-350An Aquarian client with a Pisces Moon describes her current situation as living in limbo, poised between two radically different lives, with one foot in each and an ass that’s still very much on the fence. She’s drawn to a new life, but committing to it means losing everything she has; remaining in the old one makes every kind of sense intellectually, but is emotionally untenable. There is little point trying to offer advice to someone in such a situation. It would be like telling a mouse that it needs to make a decision about whether to leave its trap.

This New Moon falls at the dying gasp of Aquarius’ very last degree, just one minute before the Moon enters Pisces and three minutes before the Sun enters Pisces. I’m on record as disliking the idea of “being on the cusp” between two signs. Usually, it is a concept boasted by someone who was born on the day the Sun changes signs, has not had his or her chart properly calculated, and takes it as an opportunity to plant a flag in both signs. I’ve always insisted that it doesn’t work that way; you are one thing or another, and you don’t get to be both. This cusp business has always struck me as a bit greedy, somehow.

But if ever something could claim to be “on the cusp” between two signs, it’s this New Moon. Like my client, it is a New Moon that is living on the cusp between Aquarian and Pisces experiences, and insists on laying claim to both worlds. It is a New Moon that is neither (Pisces) fish nor fowl, and a little bit greedy – for something new, for freedom, or simply for an end to a difficult situation.

Technically, it’s a New Moon in Aquarius, a sign as fixed and stubborn as they come, and perhaps you’re living a life that is technically much the same as it’s been for ages. But it’s a New Moon with one foot, or maybe two, wiggling their toes in Pisces’ waters. You might find yourself wondering what it would be like to grab for two lives with both hands, instead of settling for just one. Wondering whether you could pull it off, get away with it. (more…)

Leo Full Moon: Filled With Your Own Light

Posted by & filed under Full Moon, Leo.

fmleo_yourownlightI began my life as a musician at the age of 12, singing with my cousin. I was a shy little Leo; she was a slightly older, brash and unafraid one, with a full-throttled voice. It felt natural to let her take the lead, while I mastered harmony. Harmonizing came so naturally that it never occurred to me to wonder why I felt so much more comfortable singing counterpoint to someone else’s melody.

Soon enough, my cousin lost interest in performing. She didn’t need a stage; her personality and charisma were so big that she commanded attention simply by walking in a room. She would never be a harmony singer, drifting through life as a satellite, reflecting another’s light. But my Leo self was undernourished, so I kept performing. Unsure that I had any light of my own inside me, I needed lights upon me in order to be sure I existed at all. (more…)