Friday, January 16, 2015

Transcending the Consensus: New Moon and Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2015

A man entwined in the coils of DNA; scraperboard drawing by Bill Sanderson,
1990. Wellcome Library, London.

New Moon @ 0 Aquarius 09'
Jan 20, 2015
5:14 AM Pacific
8:14 AM Eastern

In times such as these, it becomes increasingly pertinent to question reality, and above all, to question authority. Human beings have entered a new landscape precipitated by a paradigmatic shift unique to the current historical timeline. That shift came about rapidly when William Hershel realized that a tiny dot, that appeared to be moving, was not a star, but a planet, a new world beyond the temporal boundary of Saturn. And Earth was never quite the same.

When Uranus was finally acknowledged, an electrical surge permeated the planet and awakened humanity to a new realization: there is something beyond time and space and we can access it--we can harness it. No longer were the “higher realms” something that an elite faction of kings and priests had exclusive dominion over. It was available to all, but it came at a price.

The acquisition of higher knowledge requires hard work, commitment, an open-mind, and immense responsibility. When the mind widens to something that challenges its conditioned beliefs, it can be shocking and sometimes overwhelming to the psyche. It’s no wonder that the “tree of knowledge” was forbidden by God in the Garden of Eden, or that the fire was a heavily coveted treasure amongst the Olympian pantheon.

The modern, tropical sign of Aquarius, which holds space for this New Moon, derives its symbolism from the constellation of the Water Bearer. Tropical Aquarius and the Water Bearer are not the same things but are archetypically linked. The Greek myth of Prometheus, who stole fire to give to humanity, derived from an ancient Mesopotamian tale of Enki—who saved a few choice human beings and other specimens from a great deluge against the commands of other Gods.

Modern astrologers attach the Promethean mythos to Uranus and by extension Aquarius, because Uranus just doesn’t quite cover it. Sure, the sky god is an appropriate symbol for Uranus, but its innately rebellious and revolutionary streak can have no other origin, in an archetypal sense, then Enki and Prometheus. Thus, those born with a strong Uranian or Aquarian nature seek out the unusual and are rather acquainted with the notion that to acquire truth and understanding, one must transcend the consensus, one must challenge conditioned perceptions.

If it weren’t for this realization, we wouldn’t have the world we have today. We wouldn’t have this technologically-driven society, the scientific method or the template of democracy (however roughly adhered to). We are here now. We are moving towards the stars and there’s no going back. But just because something beyond Saturn was discovered, doesn’t mean that the consensus group-think doesn’t still exist. Saturn, while no longer the last step in our collective, evolutionary process, is still there and must be respected. We must respect our boundaries and limitations if we wish to survive, but Uranus and Aquarius remind us that the knowledge and potential, to transcend them, exists within each of us.

As the Sun and Moon join together at the entry of Aquarius, and Mercury comes to a standstill before its retrograde cycle, we’re invited to seek the unusual and challenge our perceptions in a way that allows for an expansion of reality. This New Moon suggests that to bring something new into our lives we must do things differently. We must think in some new and unusual way.  Change is refreshing, but also terrifying. Defying our personal or collective beliefs is difficult work because it threatens who we think we are and what we have come to identify with.

If you want to achieve great things, if you want to transform stifling circumstances, you have to transcend your perceived limitations by taking that first step off the precipice of time. Mercury’s retrograde motion reminds us, however, that there’s no need to rush. We can take our time. In fact, Mercury’s retrograde through Aquarius (Jan. 21 through Feb. 11) is a time to gradually get comfortable with these emerging insights and realizations.

Saturn is the traditional or primary “ruler” of Aquarius. Saturn recently moved into Sagittarius (Dec. 24), though it will retrograde back into Scorpio (June 16) once more before fully committing to Sagittarius (Sept. 19, 2015). Saturn in Sagittarius will assist us in finding our place in the world and in solidifying our faith in the universe--on a collective and subtle individual level (unless it touches some point of personal significance).

As this New Moon commences, Mars and Neptune are separating from a conjunction in Pisces square Saturn in Sagittarius. This presents the challenge to persevere in the face of the unknown, in the face of fear. Aquarius needs to shake things up, and our hesitancy to do so now is completely justified. What if we upset things? What if we offend other people in the process?

In order to find our place in the world and the universe, we have to take some risks. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are worth the challenges. To be true to ourselves sometimes requires that we make other people or even ourselves uncomfortable. There is no getting around that fact. We are creatures of comfort and we like predictable routines. But those routines so often cause stagnation and prevent us from moving forward.

The evolutionary process moves on with or without us. While ultimately non-linear, the universe, that we perceive, is ever changing and guided by some unfathomable intelligence. The Aquarian double current is the twofold pathway to wisdom and understanding. There is a way upward and downward, and both paths are essential for soul growth and maturation. Whatever we choose in life, we’ll learn from it and ultimately grow.

To the ego, there is a right way and a wrong way, or a more or less ideal way to go. But to the soul, all experiences provide us with lessons and all choices lead us eventually to wholeness. There is a very personal, paradigmatic shift approaching for each of us with this lunation. Can we defy our fears to see what’s behind the veil of our illusions? Can we trust the universe enough to provide us with the experiences most needed to further our evolutionary growth? Only time will tell, but the more receptive we are now, and the more willing we are to accept the unthinkable, the less painful or shocking it will be.

Retrograde Logistics

Mercury turns stationary retrograde the day after this New Moon. All the usual advice applies here. Don’t freak out and there’s no need to go lock yourself in a closet for the next three weeks. Life goes on when Mercury turns retrograde. We make decisions and choices just like any other time. But we may want to reconsider rushing too hastily forward at these times, especially because we’re in a process of revision and reassessment (basically anything with a re prefix works well at these times).

Mercury retrograde is a time to be particularly mindful and conscious of what you’re doing and to have an open-mind. As human beings, we’ll never have all the knowledge that exists. Our perceptual frameworks are constantly changing and being revised. It’s during these times that the universe invites us to see things differently and to expand our personal and collective points of view. That often happens quite unexpectedly during a retrograde, so be prepared for it.

During Mercury’s stations (in this case the days of and surrounding Jan. 21 and Feb. 11) things can get a little hectic and glitchy. This usually applies to electronics, machinery, and equipment. Because Aquarius is a sign we associate with technology, we can expect this to be exceptionally pronounced more so than usual (though Mercury retrograde is often hard to predict, so don’t hold that against me here). Just be extra mindful of your communications around these times and make sure that things are clear and well-explained.

Misunderstandings and miscommunications are another common Mercury retrograde hang-up and they can sometimes end up quite costly. But these are also rather exciting times. The mind is getting debugged and our timeline rearranged. And to quote author Lewis Hyde, “the agile mind is pleased to find what it was not looking for.” It’s the sudden and unexpected paths that are the most rewarding in life, and Mercury retrograde is notorious for throwing them our way. 

I am available for personal readings and consultations; please e-mail me directly at or visit my page for more information.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Heart of the Matter: Full Moon in Cancer 2015

An artist's impression of the binary star system, Sirius A and B;
photo by NASA, ESA and G. Bacon. Sirius A and its companion, Sirius B,
a blue white-dwarf star, revolve around each other every 50 years. Only
8.6 light years away, these companion stars are fairly close to home,
the fifth closest stellar system that astronomers are currently aware of.
Doesn't Sirius B look rather tiny? It's actually smaller than our home planet, yet 

its surface temperature is actually hotter than Sirius A.
Crazy, eh?

Full Moon @ 14 Cancer 31' 
Jan 4, 2015
8:53 PM Pacific
11:53 PM Eastern

One of the greatest challenges of being a sensitive, empathic individual is the inevitability of having to face the world—a world that can be cruel, unyielding and seemingly unfair. It is a painful thing to realize, as a sensitive soul, that you must somehow harden yourself just to get by and survive on this planet. Not all of us are so sensitive; many people have developed a thick skin quite early on in life due to certain conditioning factors. But those of a strong Cancerian, lunar or fourth house nature will have to deal with that harsh and challenging adjustment throughout their entire lives. Other mitigating astrological factors will either ease that process or make it exceedingly difficult.
The tropical sign of Cancer holds space for this Full Moon following the New Year transition and the end of the holiday season. This Full Moon brings to light our vulnerabilities and amplifies sensitivity, even if we aren’t particularly wired for that heightened awareness. To make things even more interesting, this month’s Full Moon finds itself in the crossfire of the Uranus/Pluto square forming a grand cross with the Sun conjunct Pluto and Uranus sideswiping from Aries conjunct the Nodal axis. That dynamic contact exposes our intimate and personal lives with that of the collective—political, economic or ideological influences. 

As many people across the western world set their New Years’ resolutions, they can’t help but feel slightly beleaguered by a sense of uncertainty and maybe a slight pessimism. Recent events in the world’s political and economic arenas have given us all good reason to remain alert and committed to realism. But the greatest challenge of all is to maintain our connection to our heart’s true calling while remaining fully conscious of the obstacles that lie ahead of us and which seek to prevent us from pursuing it.

As this Full Moon comes to a climax in the sky, hovering directly above one of the brightest stars, Sirius (the “dog star”; though actually a binary star system comprised of two stars, Sirus A and B), it symbolizes the awareness of a higher calling, purpose and mission which may not be concretely defined but can be intuitively sensed. The heart is calling us outward to participate in the world, though the path or destination may be unclear. This lunation comes with the realization that full participation in life requires that we break out of our comfort zone and make some compromises without completely shutting off our sensitivity and emotional awareness. 

To embrace the transformative quality of this Full Moon, we must do so cautiously and gently, that is we must not lose sight of our vulnerabilities and limitations—aware of the risks and dangers we may encounter. Pluto’s conjunction with the Sun in Capricorn urges us to embrace and honor what we’re really feeling without getting too overwhelmed or caught up in it. One way to do that is through Mercury and Venus’ conjunction in Aquarius: to openly communicate our feelings with others to receive a detached perspective of ourselves and what we’re experiencing. 

In order to rise up and take on the world, we often need to go inward to acknowledge those aspects of our unconscious nature that often get ignored. The external world is a mirror of the world within ourselves and it simply reflects those things we do not usually perceive. Take some time to acknowledge yourself with this Full Moon. Hold space for your fears, vulnerabilities and those deeply embedded feelings you have forgotten about or disregarded. When we are comfortable with ourselves, regardless of external circumstances, then we will have the strength and capacity to change the world, and that takes a certain level of sensitivity, a sensitivity that the world truly needs right now.

Note--Mercury will turn retrograde this month, believe it or not. We enter the shadow phase on Jan. 5 and Mercury turns stationary retrograde on Jan. 21. I will cover this along with the New Moon in Aquarius which occurs the day before the retrograde begins. Get ready for a wonky and glitchy New Moon, everyone!

Happy Gregorian New Year!

I am available for personal readings; please contact me directly by e-mail:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Light Side of the Dark Night of the Soul: New Moon in Capricorn 2014

An amanita muscaria mushroom, quite the possibly the inspiration
for our modern day Christmas celebrations;
photo by Böhringer Friedrich.

New Moon @ 0 Capricorn 06' 
December 21, 2014
5:36 PM Pacific
8:36 PM Eastern

Winter Solstice

December 21, 2014
3:03 PM Pacific
6:03 PM Eastern

The current lunar cycle resets in the tropical sign of Capricorn alongside the solstice transition—winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and summer solstice in the southern portion of the planet. The word solstice literally means “sun standstill”, as it is a point along the Sun’s journey when the Sun has reached its highest (in summer) or lowest (in winter) point in the sky. For us northern dwellers, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, which means decreased sunlight and colder months ahead. For those southern dwellers, the opposite is true—lighter and warmer months will follow.

When the Sun comes to a stall, though momentarily, it is a reflective and transitional point no matter which portion of the planet you happen to reside. It is a time to pause and gain perspective on the path you are on—to look forward or backward to locate your footing and assess your progress. The solstice transition occurs just a little over two hours before the New Moon; thus these two events are inextricably linked. That this New Moon occurs at the entry of Capricorn, touching the Aries Point, gives this lunation a certain power and momentum that connects the personal and intimate with the impersonal and collective.

Also on this day, Uranus turns stationary direct, just after its sixth of seven square aspects to Pluto on Dec. 14. We can rightly assume that this New Moon and solstice transition points dynamically to the collective events currently on the table. The Uranus and Pluto cycle has correlated with some dramatic changes on the world stage—principally involving the integration of what may have seemed too radical and impossible at the conjunction in the 1960’s. If we look back on the past several years, it is clear that the social infrastructure has been significantly altered, for good and ill.

We are living in a very different world—more “connected” though increasingly less intimate and personal. Also, that Uranian surge of progress relates to an overwhelming tidal wave of “change” and cultural transformation. It may feel a bit too much to digest at times, as if the world is moving too fast, too soon. And we are often left wondering, where are we going? From the battle over medical and recreational marijuana use, the revelations of the NSA mass surveillance program, the racial disparity sparked by recent acts of violence by law enforcement, the legalization of gay marriage in many states, the widespread awareness of the unsustainable and unjust economic system, to the recent revelations of the CIA torture report in relation to the events of 9/11, the world, and indeed the American infrastructure, has seemingly turned upside down and inside out.

As much as these changes and revelations have taken place, it seems that unlike the 1960’s, the revolutionary spirit of America has been substantially numbed out—perhaps due to the overwhelming shock of too much at once, or perhaps due to the widespread technological distractions and the “bread and circuses” fueled by the Empire. It’s easy to feel disempowered these days, with so much uncertainty in the air and the always looming threat of economic collapse. It was indeed just six years ago that Pluto entered the very same degree of Capricorn as this New Moon--which seemed to correlate quite poignantly with the Global Economic Crises, of which we are still recovering, though anyone with a shred of common sense knows that the problem hasn’t been rightly resolved.

Capricorn is the symbolic culmination of the zodiac, the highest point of manifestation and concretion of energy. While we associate the pursuit of achievement and success with Capricorn, it is also a very “inward” oriented sign. Capricorn needs time to reflect and retreat to get in touch with its core values and to connect authentically with itself, otherwise it’s  just playing for the crowd, seeking applause but unaware of who it is and what it really wants.

Outward success, while a noble pursuit, can only gratify us so much. There needs to be that awareness and acknowledgement of our soul’s true calling for us to reach outwardly in a healthy, balanced way. This inward focus of Capricorn energy is often ignored in a society that places more value on worldly accomplishment than it does on self-knowledge. As Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, this New Moon works as a powerful point of focus and self-discipline. With so many planets clustered in this sign, there is a sense of seriousness and an emphasis on more practical matters.

Capricorn invites us to get our priorities straight, to have a clear plan or strategy for action, and to take the appropriate amount of time to reflect on ourselves and our true desires. We each come into this life with desires carried over from somewhere else. Perhaps those desires linger from some previous life experience. As we come into this world, we are conditioned and programmed by our family, friends and collective culture, and new desires are readily implanted. As we grow older, it becomes our task to differentiate between what our souls truly want and what we have been conditioned to believe that we want. Often that process of gaining clarity can be painful and wrought with frustration.

Capricorn is a sign of single-pointed clarity and focus. When we know who we are we do not doubt what we want in life. There is no question. When we have that certainty and clarity, we are free to pursue our dreams with confidence and determination, but when we lack that deep, personal connection, when we ignore the need for solitude, we experience a disconnect between our true self and the mask we wear to appease the public. A New Moon in Capricorn is a dark night of the soul, but not necessarily in a negative sense. Often, that seemingly dark place inside of us simply lacks the light of our acknowledgement and love. What we ignore or cast aside takes on whatever form is best suited to grab our attention.

Alongside this lunation, Venus is separating from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn—which brings Venus directly into the crosshairs of the square with Uranus. Capricorn also has a strong sense of “right-timing”—an intuitive gaze that allows those of a strong Capricorn nature to act when the moment is just right. Love and relationships are common Venusian themes, but so is the desire for beauty and rejuvenation. Pluto asks us the question, “How are you trying to control the flow of love and beauty in your life?” Must there always be a “right-time” for everything? When do we really know that this time is more right than any other? Pluto equally brings to the surface those false masks we wear to merely receive love and affection—urging us to get real.

There is, I feel, an unfolding plan that underwrites our experiences. There is indeed a “right-time” for everything; though that doesn’t always conform to our wishful thinking or expectations. Life happens, love happens, pain and heartbreak happens. Such experiences flow into our lives via some synchronistic thread we do not control. All of those external cues are reflections of embedded desires held hostage in the unconscious mind. As we confront them, we are fulfilling some deeply buried want or need. No matter the experience, we must learn to trust it, for it holds the experiential lessons our soul truly needs. When we break free of our attachment to the way things should unfold, we are liberated to open our hearts to the greater plan of the universe.

Take some time to honor the sacredness of this solstice transition. For the north, that inward focus is more pronounced with the onset of colder weather and darker days. There is a “magical” presence surrounding the winter solstice—reflected in the rich traditions passed down from the extreme northern latitudes. The muted sunlight opens up the potential to glimpse worlds undetected by the physical senses. The crispness of the cool, night air adds a vividness and intensity to the canopy of stars. It is a time to go inward, to connect with nature in some way, and to have a moment of clarity, if only to gaze upward at the infinite splendor of incompressible, cosmic beauty.

In case you didn't know, I do give personalized astrology readings. The Gregorian New Year is upon us; astrology readings are a great way to start your year out wisely. This requires an accurate birth time. If you are interested, please contact me by e-mail:

If you're reading this from an e-mail, head over to my blog page via this link for information on pricing and my methodology. Note: I adopt a sliding scale/donation policy.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Change Your Mind; Change Your Life: Full Moon in Gemini 2014

A galaxy overlayed over a human skull; artist unknown.
Full Moon @ 14 Gemini 18'
December 6, 2014
7:27 AM Pacific
4:27 AM Eastern

The mind is an incredible thing. Its complexity is what truly separates humans from the other beasts. We often associate the mind with the brain, but that is not an entirely accurate perception. Indeed, the brain has much do with our thinking processes, but the mind is much more ubiquitous throughout the body. When I think of the mind (as if that isn’t a paradox), I imagine something that permeates my entire body, something that exists throughout the entire nervous system.

The mind extends throughout the body as a whole. It’s in our brains, yes, but it’s also in our fingertips and our toes. So, what is this thing called mind? How do we come to understand it from an astrological point of view? Well, we could start with the tropical sign of Gemini which holds space for this month’s Full Moon. Gemini is an air sign, as well as Libra and Aquarius. We could associate all three air signs with “mental” processes. Air signs are mental creatures; they are objective points for the observation of reality.

The mind is a tool that allows consciousness to separate from its experiences to form ideas and understandings. It is the interpretive lens through which the observer (beyond the ego) perceives the universe. I don’t imagine that a dog or a cat thinks much about the meaning of life—the names of things, the deeper underlying mechanisms behind the façade of perceptual observations, or the symbolic meaning of disparate events. These are purely human activities. Perhaps, as mythology paints it, the mind is a gift from the “Gods” (it’s equally a curse for those ill-equipped to handle it). If the mind is some fairly recent evolutionary development, we are perhaps in the midst of a long struggle to master a symbiotic relationship.

According to the Greek version of a very old story going back to Mesopotamia, Prometheus brought “fire” to humanity against the wishes of the other gods. This fire gave humans something “god-like” that profoundly changed human behavior. For this act, Prometheus was punished, chained to a rock island and beleaguered by a tumultuous sea, to forever suffer the agony of having his liver pecked out by an eagle. As an immortal, Prometheus couldn’t die. That’s a pretty rough deal. Fortunately for him, Chiron saved the day. He gave up his own immortality to free Prometheus from his imposed bondage.

So, what was this “fire” that Prometheus brought to humans? Similar to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge, this fire gave humanity a shift of perception; it allowed them to see things quite differently. It allowed them to glimpse what the God’s could see, and that was understandably quite threatening, for it elevated humanity to a level not possible before. We could say that this “fire” is both a symbolic reference as well as a literal one (a conversation a bit beyond the scope of this article).

This Full Moon in Gemini highlights the nervous system, the mind in general and communication in all its varied forms. You’re thoughts, perceptions and ideas about life have an incredible impact on the body. And Gemini, a mutable air sign, indicates the plasticity inherent to the mind itself: the ability to change your mind with the attainment of new information or insight. Imagine the power of a single experience to change your entire life--how a single book, conversation or interaction can alter your outlook and transform your perception. That is an amazing thing and it demonstrates the flexibility inherent to human perception.

Chiron in Pisces squares this Full Moon axis—indicating the potential for sudden, spontaneous awakenings and a shifting of thought, perception and outlook. When Chiron is worked with consciously, it opens a hidden, creative potential that we often deny, inviting us to activate our gifts and talents, or else we succumb to a soul-deadening meaninglessness--swallowed by the void deep inside, devoured by the wound of separation. Sometimes that manifests as a very real disease process in the body. Chiron’s square is a challenging call to action that invites us to do something about the way we think and perceive reality, and how we integrate and acknowledge the bigger picture.

The New Age circus is chock full of ideas about mind over matter. The “create-your-own-reality” bandwagon has quite a bit of momentum these days. Do you really create your own reality? Well, kind of. I mean, to some extent. Personally (and I’m not attempting to topple anyone’s paradigms here), I think the idea as some validity, but it’s also a bit delusional when taken to some extremes. I don’t make the Sun rise each morning. It does so whether I choose to believe it does or not. I don’t think gravity into existence either. There are laws in this reality that I have nothing to do with, but my attitude, how I feel about the way things are, that I can control, and that does impact my reality and the experiences I attract into it.

Chiron helps us to change our toxic attitudes, and when contacting planets in Gemini or Sagittarius, it seeks to shift our thinking, beliefs, or ideas about how things are or should be. As the Full Moon illuminates this Gemini landscape, we are given the opportunity to see that mental clutter more clearly and to do something to change it. That won’t come about without some effort on our part, and it may feel a bit challenging at first, but persistence will lead to a renewed perspective, however drastic or subtle.

The asteroid Ceres also joins in on the conversation. Ceres stirs up issues surrounding nurturance and nourishment—often pointing to some very practical issues involving food. We often underestimate the importance of food and its impact on our physical, mental and emotional health. A nourished body leads to a clear and happy mind. Our cultural conditioning convinces many of us that we’re victims of disease and that we can’t do anything about it without the help of pharmaceuticals or surgery. Sometimes, those things are necessary, but a lot of the time, they’re quite counter-productive to the healing process.  

True healing takes time; though sometimes, dramatic changes and shifts come about quite spontaneously when we choose to change how we see it. When things seems bleak, lost or hopeless, no matter how dire the situation, there’s always a way out and there’s always something guiding us toward a resolution and integration of our experience. The pivotal moment lies in one single choice: the choice to change your mind, to never give up on the pursuit of wholeness. That determination to thrive can make all the difference in the world. It’s all just a matter of how you choose to look at it. 

In case you didn't know, I do give personalized astrology readings. This requires an accurate birth time. If you are interested, please contact me by e-mail:

If you're reading this from an e-mail, head over to my blog page via this link for information on pricing and my methodology. Note: I adopt a sliding scale/donation policy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Does This Path Have A Heart?: New Moon in Sagittarius 2014

Spring path in Amayé-sur-Orne, Normandy (France);
photo by Roi Dagobert, April 2014.

New Moon @ 00 Sagittarius 07'
November 22, 2014
7:32 AM Eastern
4:32 AM Pacific

Take a deep breath, seriously. Take a moment out of your potentially busy day and just breathe for a minute. Close your eyes. Turn it into a meditation or whatever. Allow yourself to feel what that does to your body—how it immediately releases stress and tension. Yes, this New Moon is like that—a breath of fresh air permeating your lungs and entire body. You see, we’ve been in the trenches for quite some time, especially these past several weeks, months, or what may have felt like years. It’s been intense to say the least.

Much of that has had to do with Saturn’s transit through Scorpio—a sign that gets a bad rap which I seem to be potentiating here. No sign is inherently bad in astrology—though some combinations of signs and planets have a certain “negative” feel and are more difficult to integrate. With Saturn in Scorpio, we feel a sense of immense challenge and uncertainty. Okay, let’s face it; this transit has been, for many of us, like slogging through hell with no end in sight; though hopefully you’ve come out a “better”, more integrated person. Hopefully, you’re more aware of the dark side and wiser for it.

Knowledge is a really important thing. Scorpio is not a sign we associate with knowledge, but it is a sign that encourages an awareness of the “dark side” of reality, of the world and of ourselves. That awareness leads us to knowledge—which we must make the effort to seek ourselves. Saturn moving through this dark and secretive sign gave us that impetus to probe those places that make us uncomfortable, perhaps a little queasy even. Saturn pushes us to make the effort—to push ourselves to make things happen, to make things real, to face reality no matter how painful or scary it is.

This month’s New Moon occurs at the entry of tropical Sagittarius—a quixotic sign that seeks new horizons--physically, mentally and psychically. The “newness” of this New Moon finds itself at the fresh start of Sagittarius, the critical point of transition from the preceding sign of Scorpio and, in a way, it symbolizes a preview of coming attractions. Saturn is still in Scorpio, but in case you haven’t heard it’s about to dip into Sagittarius come December; though it will retrograde back into Scorpio once more before fully committing to its new journey in September 2015, but that subtle shift, that first foot in new territory is enough to get us excited about what’s coming next.

This New Moon packs quite a punch for it redirects us from what may feel like a suffocating bind to something else, something larger—to new possibilities and potentials. I’m getting pretty excited just thinking about it. I can feel the dawn of a new day coming—new vistas expanding, the spaciousness of infinite possibilities. Feel that in your body—that opening, that awakening, that feeling of weightlessness and levitation--new worlds, cultures, experiences, galaxies; that is the Sagittarian directive.

Maybe I’m being a little optimistic here—just a little, but that’s kind of the deal with Sagittarius. Besides, optimism is what gets most of us out of bed each morning. It’s perfectly necessary and it’s perfectly healthy to embrace it in moderation. Jupiter, the planet we associate with Saggy, is quite literally the god of optimism and happy-go-lucky attitudes galore. It’s a planet that just can’t say no for good or ill. Sagittarius takes on a bit of that positivism which elevates consciousness beyond the mundane and depressing truths of life’s existence.

Sagittarius is also a sign we associate with truth—though that truth differs from Scorpionic truths—less raw and disturbing and a little more gilded. Sagittarius seeks the “higher truth”, platonic truths that transcend mere logical conclusions about reality. Sagittarius is both the remedy and the root of existential despair. If we work with this sign correctly, we have restored our faith in the fact that life has meaning, purpose and design.

Astrology is an amazing tool that reveals this fact, but in reality, meaning is something we must create and strive for. Saturn through Sagittarius will certainly assist us with this. We are not born with a purpose, but rather we are born with a potential. Life is not inherently meaningful by itself. We give it meaning; as we reach for our potential, our purpose is solidified and becomes something tangible and real and as the old platitude goes: God helps those who help themselves. There is much truth in that statement.

No one is inherently special or significant in the larger scheme of things. Nature prefers to keep all options open and available. An oak tree drops a heck of a lot of acorns with the hope that at least a few will one day reach their potential destiny. Our specialness comes from what we do with our talents and abilities, how we use them and how well we develop ourselves. That takes a certain level of consciousness, intention and ambition.

Saturn’s entry into Sagittarius also coincides with the activation of the mutable signs. Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune will form a t-square next year, introducing this mutable energy to the collective psyche. That is quite a shift from the cardinal emphasis we’ve been experiencing with the Uranus/Pluto square. Cardinal energy is about initiative and action. Mutable energy emphasizes change, transition and adaptation—more on this to come.

Venus widely conjoins this New Moon and Neptune makes a square aspect from Pisces. Yes, this lends well to optimism, to restoring hope, faith and coming to peace with the world in some way. Though, let’s not be naive here. Let’s not assume that anything is handed to us without considerable effort on our part and some form of energetic compensation. Sometimes hard lessons and challenging life experiences are the only way to restore our faith in the universe.

Let this New Moon inspire you in some way. Allow these energies to restore your vision and direct you further upon your personal, spiritual quest, but remember that if we wish to live truthfully and authentically we must make the effort. If we wish to transcend the illusions that surround us, we must choose to see beyond them and ask some hard questions. Assuming that every magical synchronicity is some kind of divine affirmation of your specialness is a sure sign that you may be courting disaster.

Your destiny is not some preordained destination at the end of some linear path. Your destiny, while conforming to the archetypal dimensions described in the sky, has a multitude of possible expressions. Sagittarius reminds us of this—that the universe is filled with infinite potentialities. The challenge is which one to choose. That’s a little scary, isn’t it? You have a choice, and each decision will take you on an entirely different path. Each choice is unique and yet symbolically similar. In the end, the choice is always yours. Choose wisely.

“All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. ... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.”
 ― Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Something You Can Depend On: Full Moon in Taurus 2014

An oak tree in the midst of spring; Photo by Chad Woodward, 2012. 

Full Moon @ 14 Taurus 26'
November 6, 2014
5:23 PM Eastern
2:23 PM Pacific

Last month’s Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio culminates as a Full Moon in the tropical sign of Taurus as the month of November begins. Taurus, a fixed earth sign, will help to calm and ground the collective energy from what may have felt like a temporary period of emotional and psychic turbulence as well as a time of some uncertainty and second guessing. With Mercury’s retrograde period coinciding with these eclipses, life may have taken some unusual and unexpected turns.

We’re almost clear of Mercury’s retrograde shadow, which invites us to make finishing touches and last minute alterations. While the retrograde cycle is complete, minor glitches and inconveniences may still pop up, though its “influence” is slowly dissipating. A Full Moon in Taurus brings to the surface that which we can depend on. This is a time to solidify and find our footing—to establish a reliable and stable position in some way.

Venus, in opposition to this Full Moon and conjunct the Sun, brings relationships, esthetics and the desire for peaceful resolutions into the conversation. The polarity of Taurus and Scorpio represents the dichotomy of growth and decay, construction and destruction. Taurus seeks to build and maintain while Scorpio desires to deconstruct and scrutinize.

While Scorpio appears more “negative” or even morbid, it serves an essential evolutionary function: to keep structures from becoming too rigid and to prevent stagnation within the flow of life. Venus in Scorpio probes the depths revealing hidden desires most likely suppressed or intentionally ignored. We are human beings with human needs. The past several weeks has brought forth a potentially harsh reminder that all aspects of our human nature must be acknowledged and expressed in some way.

Sexual lust, anger and even violent urges need a forum for their expression; otherwise such feelings take on more grotesque formations within the psyche. Scorpio is all things taboo within our cultural heritage. It represents the dark chasms of the psyche we are conditioned to ignore—shoving it all under the rug to deal with at some later time, though it’s usually far too overwhelming for us to process when it all comes bursting forth.

Hopefully, the past few weeks offered us opportunities to decompress and release some of the pressure. While this Full Moon in Taurus bathes us in light—both literally and metaphorically, we’re not quite clear of the underworld quite yet. Mars approaches a conjunction with Pluto (exact Nov. 10) and Mercury is about to return to Scorpio (Nov. 8); and, of course, the Sun will transit this sign for the next two weeks, until the lunar cycle resets on Nov. 22.

As Mars and Pluto meet up in Capricorn they stimulate power struggles both internally and externally. Going back to the theme of desires inherent to our human condition, Pluto and Mars may dredge up certain tendencies within us that our more civilized and conditioned selves find repulsive or even frightening. Again, I would caution you to be exceptionally conscious of this conjunction, because it may stimulate some unsavory outbursts; though I encourage full, conscious expression of this transit because it is a powerful one. Mars and Pluto coming together in Capricorn is a point of focus and an opportunity to discipline the will toward higher transpersonal purposes.  

Mercury’s return into Scorpio allows us to take a plunge and commit ourselves more fully in some way—seeing as we have had several weeks to think it over. With the retrograde and eclipse season complete, we likely have more confidence and certainty about where we’re headed. This Full Moon can give us an extra boost and the gusto to nudge us in the right direction—though Taurus prefers the slow and mindful start.

We also can’t forget that Saturn, that old devil, is still slogging through Scorpio. Venus conjoins Saturn on Nov. 12 followed by the Sun on Nov. 18; Saturn makes its first dip into Sagittarius Dec. 23. While Saturn will retrograde back into Scorpio next year, it’s reaching the end of its transit through Scorpio and these final conjunctions will help us integrate all the hard lessons learned since Oct. 2012. As this month progresses, and the Full Moon begins to wane, there is a sense of closure that permeates the air. We are approaching new territories to master—having braved the darkness and found the light within.

Take some time out with this Full Moon to just check in with yourself and your progress. Sit back and take the moment in. Taurus symbolizes the beauty of the here and now, the appreciation of silence and simplicity. Whatever you may be dealing with now, whatever complexities or problems nag for your attention, take some time to simply breathe and find gratitude for what is working and for what you can actually depend on. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Into the Deep: Solar Eclipse in Scorpio 2014

The Moon and the solar corona, Venus in
the distance; photo by NASA/U.S. Geological

Solar Eclipse @ 00 degrees Scorpio 
October 23, 2014
5:57 PM Eastern
2:57 PM Pacific

As we reach the final eclipse of 2014 (a Solar Eclipse in tropical Scorpio) we’re invited to look deeply into ourselves to assess the changes taking place there. As I explored in the previous Lunar Eclipse article, eclipses are moments of collective change and transition. While there are differences in the nature of each eclipse (whether lunar or solar), they each share this common attribute.

What I failed to mention (as if I can remember everything) was the sense of acceleration that accompanies an eclipse. This is not the same as “time acceleration” attributed to major aspectual contacts between outer planets, i.e., the Uranus and Pluto square. No, this sense of acceleration relates principally to rapid developments or a quickening of unfolding circumstances (either externally or internally). While related to the subjective experience of accelerated time (since unfolding events relate to a specific duration of time), they are slightly different experiences.

The eclipse has the power to open new portals into our lives, which can rapidly precipitate new paths of growth and development. These portals bring us opportunities to enter new territories, landscapes or narratives. Yet, with Mercury drifting backwards at this time, there is also a sense of familiarity to these “new” realms, since they are likely to be new expressions of unresolved past, experiences. Relationships are likely to be a major component since the Libran archetype is accentuated now—though we cannot limit our interpretation to that.

Libra is also a rather artistic and creative archetype; relationships can be forged between seemingly disparate elements to create an object of beauty. Libra is also a stabilizing archetype which can assist us in acquiring more balance and equilibrium. Thus, this month may have us feeling very creative and passionate as well as more aesthetically or romantically inclined (co-dependency or neediness would be the most shadowy expression).

The Solar Eclipse tends to place more emphasis on the momentary dissolution of the ego—to see deeper into ourselves and others to glimpse the more authentic elements of the psyche. The moment of the eclipse (the day or night of) is a time to simply observe and look more deeply at the symbolic meaning of the events unfolding around us. Much of the work that accompanies an eclipse is very unconscious, though what emerges into conscious awareness is often quite revealing and informative.

Mercury’s backtrack from Scorpio to Libra is about re-establishing trust and equilibrium. Scorpio, which holds space for this month’s Solar Eclipse is a sign of depth and intensity as well as intimacy. As I stated before, the Scorpionic impulse must follow the establishment of trust. Can we trust ourselves to move forward? Can we trust someone else enough to make a deeper connection beyond the façade of social niceties? Ultimately, can we trust the universe to bring us what we need at any given moment?

As the Sun and Moon conjoin toward the end of October, they also conjoin Venus and Pallas Athena (an asteroid) at the very entry of Scorpio—the place where trust has been established on some level and consciousness decides to take a risk.  This is a partial eclipse of the Sun so its impact is less intense than the Lunar Eclipse two weeks prior, but all eclipses are significant from the astrological perspective.

Similar to last week’s Lunar Eclipse, another occultation occurs, but with the planet Venus. That is to say that the Moon conceals Venus due to its relative declination; however, if looked at from above, if one were hovering in a spaceship just above the solar system, Venus would be on the far side of the Sun, thus further concealed by Sol’s irradiation. Again, we are dealing with layers of concealment or obfuscation with this eclipse.

Occultations are seen as highly pronounced conjunctions—an accentuated infusion of archetypal energies. The expression of the planets involved is fermented by the presence of the planet or planets they conjoin.  A planet that is occultated in a natal chart has a far more vibrant expression; the occulted planet is also seen as a hidden talent or capacity which must be probed consciously to fully access its potential.

With Venus as the concealed element in this eclipse—again, we’re brought back to the theme of relating, the urge is to seek souls with which we can authentically connect. In Scorpio, there is, of course, an element of intensity, passion and excitement. Needless to say, this eclipse may lead to some dramatic and emotional interactions, which may assist in deepening pre-established bonds or cementing something new—though we must also be careful.

I say this because this eclipse symbolizes a moment of intense vulnerability. The Sun becomes porous and translucent during an eclipse—revealing layers within the psyche usually concealed. This may have the effect of dissolving boundaries which are necessary most of the time, to keep us from revealing too much, or to protect others from things we wouldn’t share in more casual circumstances. Scorpio likes to get straight to the point; it is relatively matter of fact in its expression. But that doesn’t mean that Scorpio lays all its secrets on the table but that it is often quite blunt about what it wants or needs.

As you go about your interactions in the days surrounding this eclipse, keep your mind sharp and be conscious of what you reveal to others. What we feel in the heat of the moment may not always be entirely appropriate for various reasons. While the eclipse itself has a momentary ego dissolving effect, we must be conscious of what we are actually projecting. Are we sharing ourselves as we truly are, or are we merely presenting an image that will receive immediate approval or get us what we want?

Remember, at the heart of Scorpio is the impetus to probe and reveal deeper chasms within the self and others. At its highest expression, Venus helps us to establish relationships that truly feed us on a soul level, not simply for reasons of convenience or to temporarily ease a bout of chronic loneliness. What isn’t true or what isn’t real at this point, is simply reflecting the fact that a deeper connection to ourselves is needed at this time. What doesn’t feel right may still feel good at the moment, but will it last? Will it sustain us? Is it truly what we need?

Only you can answer those questions for yourself. For current relationships, this eclipse may prompt us to look at our connections from a different vantage point—to see things we have been avoiding. If worked with consciously, we can bring to light certain blind spots that could potentially trip us up if we continue to remain unconscious of them. Mercury retrograde will assist us in talking things out and changing our perspective.

Mars makes a sextile to the eclipse while Neptune connects through a trine aspect. Mars’ presence from Sagittarius excites and stimulates these highly charged emotional energies, again amplifying an impulse to blurt the truth in some raw or intense way. Truth-telling isn’t necessarily a bad thing with this eclipse if we are fully conscious of what we’re sharing with another—aware of the deeper motivations for doing so as well as the ramifications. Neptune’s “favorable” aspect adds a spiritual or visionary dimension to the conversation, which can prompt an awareness of numinous realities.

Neptune and Venus are, however, prone to idealizing things beyond what they really are. Idealism must be tempered with rationality and common sense. All archetypal currents must be handled cautiously and with care if we are to make proper use of their impulses. If we can navigate this eclipse carefully, we’ll be able to reap its potential benefits far more successfully. As this eclipse builds momentum in the collective psyche over the coming days, be exceedingly mindful of the impulses that arise within you.

It’s best to simply explore impulses that suddenly arise from within the psyche before choosing to act them out. If we’re grounded and balanced, we can approach this sensitive material in a way that doesn’t overwhelm us or those we’re likely to interact with. Utilize this energy to open up on a much deeper level than you would otherwise. Be wary of the fact that many of the secrets locked deep inside are often concealed for very good reasons and must be approached cautiously. 

Scorpio, above all, is a symbol of transformation—shedding the skin we have outgrown. As we pass through this final eclipse portal, something is shifting within each of us and that may be a little uncomfortable initially. We are letting go and awakening to new realities that lie before us. Transformation is often a very scary thing, but the more we cling to what no longer serves us, the more frightening it will become. 

Also, this transformative eclipse is a release of pent-up emotional and psychic energies, related specifically to our relationships and interactions. Keep this in mind and try to have compassion for what others may be experiencing now. Not everyone is comfortable with these energies. Mercury turns retrograde on Oct. 25 and will gradually shift the collective awareness from an inward, introspective focus back to the way things usually are. If you're brave enough with this eclipse, take the plunge now and do some inner work. You'll be grateful that you did.