Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mars Meets Saturn: Inwardly Focused, Outwardly Sensitized

Woman doing Yoga; Photo by Robert
Benjil; March 6, 2011.
By Elizabeth Michaud

Structure is sometimes a difficult concept to embrace in our lives, coming as it does with rules and regulations. Many of us feel frustration or resistance when we confront boundaries, especially if we are driven by inner purpose or passion. Limitation is often accompanied by a deflating sense of powerlessness, and we tend to miss the beneficial lessons of being restricted or reigned in.

Mars (the planet of action) and Saturn (the planet of form) will conjoin in Scorpio on August 25, proceeding the New Moon, making this aspect influential now through the end of the month. What we have is an opportunity to actively manifest our desires, but that may not be what it feels like to many. 

Saturn's gifts do not come easy; we have to work for it. It is in the effort and struggle that we learn, we grow humble, and we strengthen our resilience and our competence.

As astrologer Liz Greene wrote, "The frustrating experiences which are connected with Saturn are obviously necessary as they are educational in a practical as well as a psychological sense. Whether we use psychological or esoteric terminology, the basic fact remains the same: human beings do not earn free will except through self-discovery, and they do not attempt self-discovery until things become so painful that they have no other choice."

Mars in Scorpio is focused and driven by passion. There's a depth of intensity in the astrological atmosphere as Mars transits this fixed water sign, a potential to dig deep into previously feared or avoided areas of our life. 

Willpower is a potent tool right now, making it a great time to set goals or quit bad habits. So much can be healed when brought to the light, and Mars in Scorpio suggests a fearless (and sometimes ruthless) ability to face our shadow material.

But fear and anger may seem to loom as Mars, the forceful warrior, meets Saturn. When we are overly assertive, we inevitably encounter confrontation. Saturn is reminding us of our structure -- the organized civilization we are a functioning part of, the larger environment in which we play a role. 

When we act purely on our own desires, without consideration for others, we create a ripple effect of selfishness. If you feel like you are meeting unnecessary obstacles, ask yourself what good is served by the current course you are on. Saturn wants us to succeed, and this transit is a clue in to where work needs to be done.

The key to using this astrology wisely is to look at what you want to fix in your little world. Mars and Saturn want a project to work on, a problem to solve or a wound to heal. Instincts and precision are major tools at our disposal. 

During a recent yoga class, one of my teachers reminded us to stay "inwardly focused; outwardly sensitized." That seems to be a message of this Mars-Saturn conjunction. How can we contribute to building a healthier structure and releasing toxic baggage? How can we act in integrity, for the greater good?

Elizabeth Michaud is a writer and astrologer based on the New England coast. She is a contributing writer and editor at Planet Waves.net, and has been studying astrological cycles for 15 years. 

Elizabeth is available for personal readings and can be reached at elizabeth@planetwaves.net

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Containing The Vision: Full Moon in Aquarius 2014

Two Perseid meteors visible over the thrones of Kokino,
Aug 12, 2013. Photo by Algorit007, via Wikimedia
Full Moon @ 18 Aquarius 02'
August 10, 2014
11:09 AM Pacific
8:09 AM Eastern

This month’s lunar cycle culminates in tropical Aquarius Sunday August 10. The Sun, naturally in opposition to any Full Moon, is joined by Mercury and the dark Moon Lilith in Leo. Additionally, Saturn in Scorpio makes a square to the Full Moon axis.

Aquarius, ruled by Saturn and Uranus, seeks to establish and revolutionize social structures; but above anything, this sign desires independence and the road less traveled. The Full Moon culminating here brings about a collective desire to question authority, to go one’s own way, and to think outside the paradigmatic box of culture.

However, Saturn’s square to the Full Moon axis tempers this transient, revolutionary streak. In other words, every rebel needs a cause and a deeper sense of purpose. Eccentricity must find its footing within established traditions.

A surge of creativity and a sense of confidence emanates through the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Leo. Saturn urges us to use discipline, focus and hard work to bring our creativity forward into tangible forms and to balance confidence with humility and perspective.

This Full Moon may bring to light a creative vision that challenges the status quo without toppling the whole structure. If you’re in need of an answer to any creative frustrations, this Full Moon helps to get things moving in a practical direction—as long as we make the effort and do the work to get there.

In many ways, Saturn’s square to the Full Moon axis brings about a sense of restriction that can feel like a stranglehold on our need for free and uncensored expression. To resolve this, we have to be honest with ourselves and our limitations.

While sometimes uncomfortable, Saturn’s influence assists us in gaining real results from our efforts. Working with Saturn requires integrity and pragmatism. Saturn in Scorpio suggests that the only way for that creative vision to solidify, is to get dirty and work with the process.

We have to dig deep, see what we’re made of and burn away any self-sabotaging behaviors. Check in and attempt to look at what’s holding you back from the successful execution of your goals; it’s probably stemming from within yourself, from fears you may not be aware of.

With the Moon at perigee—it’s closest approach to the Earth, this lunation is also considered a Supermoon. This Aquarian Full Moon will be the largest Supermoon of the year; the Moon appears just slightly larger in the sky than it normally does. That subtle perceptual shift is just enough to amplify the Moon’s power in our personal and collective lives.

When the Moon is extenuated via its perigee, feelings and emotional undercurrents have more prominence and expression.  If the Full Moon touches a sensitive zone in our natal charts, its effects are always magnified, indicating an eruption of awareness from the unconscious realms.

Venus is about to enter Leo on Aug 12 as it teeters on the edge of Cancer.  For three days, until Aug 15, when Mercury enters Virgo, four major planets will be in Leo. This adds more weight and gravitas to ego needs and desires.

We may feel more confident than usual, more generous, playful and care-free. Leo’s childlike nature invites us to play and experiment with our creativity. But with Jupiter in Leo, we must expand consciously without exaggerating or inflating self-importance.

The Full Moon’s square from Saturn, however, reminds us to find a balance between work and play—breaking and following the rules. Too much of one thing and we wind up in trouble and important matters go neglected. Don’t fall into that trap. Let loose and allow yourself some playtime, but don’t lose sight of your responsibilities and larger purpose (destiny).

Also, we must be conscious that this fun Leo energy will be rather short lived this month, as Mars and Saturn team up in Scorpio as the month comes to close. Don’t let that rain on your parade, but keep at least one foot in reality, grounded and aware, prepared for the final exam as the month comes to a close. 

Enthusiasm is helpful; it catalyzes us into places we're usually more cautious to venture into, but enthusiasm without a plan or a strategy is just wasted energy. Saturn and Mars conjoining in Scorpio require a structure to contain our creative vision if it has any chance of lasting beyond a fleeting moment of inspiration.

One final note: the famous Perseids meteor shower will peak on Aug 12-13, just as Venus enters Leo and the Full Moon begins to wane. Unfortunately, that waning Full Moon is still bright enough to outshine much of the show; but the Persieds are well known for spontaneous bursts and explosions that could truly rival the Moon’s encompassing glow. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Confidence Tempered by Humility: New Moon in Leo 2014

One of the Louvre Museum lions from the famous glazed bricks friezes found in the apadana (Darius the Great's palace) in Susa (Shush). Pavillon Sully at the Louvre museum, Paris, France, July 2008. Photo by Patrick C., Wikimedia Commons.

New Moon @ 3 Leo 52'
July 26, 2014
6:52 PM Eastern
3:52 PM Pacific

The Sun and Moon conjoin in Leo this month, renewing the Lunar cycle alongside the most gaseous of gas giants, Jupiter. Yes, Jupiter has moved into Leo as of July 16. Its journey through Cancer amplified a collective emphasis on healing, nourishing, nurturing and introspection—connecting to our roots and establishing ourselves somewhere.

Jupiter’s elevated expression guides us with optimism toward a higher path and pulls us out of some precarious sinkholes. Through Jupiter’s expansion we are guided to opportunities for the advancement of destiny; we see something new on the horizon, some hope for a better set of circumstances.

Now, Jupiter moves into Leo, changing things quite a bit. This New Moon is an announcement of Jupiter’s latest journey since it sits within a degree of conjunction to this lunation. Mercury’s retrograde cycle is now in the past, putting an end to the lengthy chain of inner planet retrogrades we experienced at the start of the year.

First, take a look back at the past six months to see how far you’ve come. How has your life path changed? If you have but a modicum of conscious self-awareness then you’ve probably come pretty far. Now that things are direct and “forward flowing”, this lunation provides the gusto and momentum to make a statement.

Leo is the most ostentatious sign of the zodiac. After all that inward reflection, nurturing and healing, we’re ready to take a break, let loose and play a little bit. Jupiter, associated with fire sign Sagittarius, finds ample room in Leo for showcasing the ego’s greatest talents and abilities. Jupiter’s transit through Leo can help us all acquire more confidence to tackle our destiny head on.

As the Sun and Moon conjoin in fiery Leo, sink down and feel that reservoir of inner strength within you. Notice the life force that permeates all living things. The Sun, ruler of Leo, is the most primal symbol of this life force that enlivens all sentient beings. Connect to that sense of natural, inner joy that is every human’s right.

The creative impulse that animates our cells is pure joy and bliss. It is a wellspring of endless energy and enthusiasm for life. It flows through each and every one of us. Think about that. What keeps you going, exactly? What motivates you to do what you do each and every day?

When things seem bleak, difficult or challenging, just remember that the creative life force is within you and it’s always guiding you toward a higher path. Jupiter, the cosmic helping hand, coming into Leo can assist in pulling us up and out of any rut to rejuvenate our creativity and our thirst for life experience.

This New Moon can act as a powerful launching pad to put ourselves out there in some way. The seed is being planted now, kicking off Jupiter’s latest journey. It’s time to explore the inner creative realms, to grasp opportunities for self-expression and to rediscover joy in our every-day lives.

Also, sometimes a giant tub of ice cream and a funny movie can be just as healing as psychotherapy and a tissue box. Sometimes simple laughter can bring us back to a point of integration and sanity like nothing else. That’s Jupiter in Leo. If you’re feeling it, let yourself indulge in playfulness for a bit. Get in touch with your inner child in some way.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. This Jupiter/Leo combo can also amplify the ego and its drama like no other astrological fusion. Keep that in mind. Confidence must be tempered with humility and perspective. Without that, we end up looking like fools, jumping off every precipice, throwing all caution to the wind.

Also, since Jupiter was exalted in Cancer and trine Saturn, events on the world stage have been relatively mild--politically and economically speaking. But Jupiter's movement through Leo is likely to heat things up quite a bit, quite possibly in some dramatic way. 

Mars recently moved into Scorpio July 25, the day before the New MoonMars has been in Libra since Dec. 2013 due to its most infrequent retrograde cycle. There’s been a particular emphasis on relationships with this transit—redefining ourselves within that context.

Mars’ retrograde cycle through Libra also helped us to break out of certain molds or expectations placed on us from other people. We may have experienced a process of redefining ourselves in some drastic way—breaking out of the box, so to speak.

Mars in Scorpio makes a square aspect to this New Moon, applying some tension to this otherwise joyful, expressive, and enthusiastic lunation; but I think this square is the perfect aspect to temper the fiery passion and optimism inherent to this lunation.

Scorpio brings up depth and perspective; it also reminds us of our impermanence. We’re challenged by this aspect to showcase ourselves honestly—to be true to ourselves and realistic about what we’re really capable of. If we fail to do so, we may be in for a rude reminder of our limitations.

The catch is that all this energy is urging us to take a risk of some kind; but to do so in a way that doesn’t lead to overreaching or exaggerating our capabilities. Saturn, now moving direct as of July 20, also occupies Scorpio and so emphasizes the fact that there are no shortcuts to success. All the talent in the world is useless without the proper discipline and focus.

Mars in Scorpio square this lunation gives us the focus and perspective needed to attain what we desire. Saturn’s distant influence can help mold and direct that wild, creative impetus bubbling up beneath us in some practical and realistic way. So, needless to say, this New Moon is quite conducive to taking action.

If you feel the creative impetus emerging from within you, you’re not alone. Whatever’s been holding you back for the past several months is likely losing its grip, clearing the way for a fresh, new start that’s bound for success if we really believe in ourselves and our ability to make it happen. If you’re in need of a confidence boost, look no further than this New Moon and Jupiter’s transit through Leo.

If you’ve inflated yourself beyond realistic capabilities, look to see how you can temper that over-confidence so that it fits neatly with reality the way it actually is.

SolarScopes July-August 2014

Yes, I’m trying something new this month. Maybe it’s Jupiter conjunct the New Moon in Leo. Well, truthfully, it isn’t entirely new. I’ve experimented with Sun sign horoscopes in the past, on this blog actually; but it’s always been a rather unnerving process—a love hate relationship of sorts. Anyway, the muse struck just prior to this lunation, and this is where she led me. I hope you enjoy and benefit from these oracular messages from the tropical zodiac.

This may or may not become a consistent, monthly addition to my New Moon readings, so don’t get too attached. I’m a Gemini. I’m allowed to change my mind, right? These are probably more accurate if read from the perspective of your tropical zodiac Sun sign; but further insights could be obtained from reading your Moon or even Ascendant signs. Hey, this isn’t a science; it’s astrology for God’s sake. See what resonates for you. (Btw, tropical is just your Sun sign as you likely know it; unless you’re into Jyotish or something like that; but I doubt you would be reading my blog)


The heat is off, for now, despite the fiery energy inherent to this New Moon. It may have felt like you were shoved into a pressure cooker there for a while. Take a deep breath, and embrace this period of momentary relief from tension. You’ve earned it. Look around for opportunities to use your talents in some way. Indulge your creative side, explore and experiment. Laughter will be your medicine the next year or so, but especially right now in this moment. Yes, laughter is sometimes a mask for pain, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the best way for you to relieve tension and stress right now.


Awareness is often the greatest gift. The more you know about yourself and the world around you, the better equipped you are to take on life’s challenges; and the less vulnerable you are too. The more awareness we have, the more we seem to grow and evolve through life experience. You are being blessed with the gift of awareness; embrace it and use it wisely and constructively toward creating the resolution you now seek within yourself and with your environment. Doors are now opening, allowing you to enter a more intimate as well as psychic space. Sink in, get comfortable and play with it.


The greatest ideas can’t shine unless we share them in some way. Also, sometimes, the greatest ideas aren’t as great as we thought they once were. Where are you on that spectrum? It’s time to figure it out. There’s a fine line between too much confidence and not enough. Ideally, we find the middle ground somewhere. Ideally, we step back and assess what it is realistically. But, now, you’re feeling the need to let it out and to be heard. The only way to find out how “great” those ideas really are, is to put them out there or into motion somehow. The universe will provide you with valuable feedback.


You may be feeling the urge to prove yourself in some way. But I invite you to ask yourself to whom are you proving yourself to? Often we find ourselves trying to make a statement to appease someone else’s expectation or ideal; but have you really assessed your own? What do you expect from yourself? No, really. Think about that for a moment, what do YOU expect from yourself? That might be harder to do than it sounds. When you figure it out, you might realize that the only person you have to prove your worth to is yourself. It’s that simple and it’s that complex.


If there ever was a moment to shine, this would be it! But, uh, don’t let that go to your head. I mean, really, we know how you are sometimes. Jupiter entering your sign for the next 12 months is an exciting prospect and one that you would do well to utilize consciously and responsibly. I throw those words out there because it’s the smart thing to do. But seriously, there are opportunities that beckon, in whatever shape or form. There is a wellspring of confidence emerging into the light. Do you see it? You may feel bigger and brighter than usual. It’s time to expand your personal horizon; lead with confidence but know your limitations.


The creative muse is emerging from behind the scenes, whispering inspiration when you least expect it. True creative energy is something transient—emerging from realms we neither see nor fully understand. When the muse strikes us, we know it based on a bodily sensation, an adrenalin rush of sorts. You may be gifted with unasked for inspiration. Chances are that it takes the form of something you need to communicate truthfully and honestly. Forget about offending anyone—that’s likely inevitable. Not everyone will understand your vision as you do. Let it take whatever form it desires, even if that pushes someone else’s buttons, or worse, goes against their beliefs about reality.


You may have reinvented yourself over the past several months. That’s perfect. But now you’re getting used to this new you, taking it out for a test drive to see how the world responds. What you seek now is something a little deeper than physical appearances. You may want the world to not only accept the fa├žade, but the deeper values that lie beneath it. Sometimes, we have to take a risk to stay true to ourselves. That’s a little scary for some of us, and it may be for you now too. The only way to know what you really believe in is to see it stand up to criticism or, if necessary, scrutiny.


The heat is on and it’s burning with fiery passion! There is this energy in the air it seems, motivating you to take on your destiny in some direct and dynamic way. Perhaps it’s a small step, but they add up over time until you realize you’ve built a mountain through the sheer power of your will. Your will is strong now; it cuts deeply into reality. It may take some work to see anything tangible emerge now, but Saturn in your sign has been teaching you those hard lessons for the past two years. Like a warrior, you have the ability to take on giants. Have confidence, but be wary of overdoing it. Small steps can build mountains, but all in due time.


Our cultural conditioning has convinced us that we should have some rigid plan for our future. Those that really believe that usually end up disappointed, or soon realize that it’s not entirely how life actually works. Some of us never quite shed that belief. When I was seven I wanted to be an actor. That probably would have worked out; but life unfolded unexpectedly, and well, I couldn’t have imagined doing what I actually do now. Life, when given full expression, unfolds creatively. We start somewhere and end up some place completely unexpected. Embrace this wisdom. Trust the creative impulse urging you to break out of the template and explore something you never thought you would.


Western culture has such a perverse perspective of death—and equally, sex too. In astrology those two things are intimately related in an archetypal sense. For all of us, death is inevitable. Sex, well, optional. Neither has to be so shrouded in taboo. Both experiences bring humans together in an intimate way. In death or orgasm we glimpse beyond the veil; for a moment we sense something larger than ourselves. You’re invited now to play with other worlds beyond the palpable reality. Things that were too scary to look at now seem much friendlier than before, inviting you to touch the depths of human experience with confidence and a light-hearted attitude.


Commitment might not be too appealing right now. You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, would you? Don’t beat yourself up just because you aren’t more decisive. What you need now is a more playful attitude. Sample the dynamics that emerge between you and another. How does it taste? How do you feel after certain interactions? Most of all, whatever comes up, let it unfold naturally. You might be looking more for playmates as opposed to soul-mates. That’s okay, go with it. You need people around you now that feed you joy—that bring laughter into your life.


Fad diets and their marketing strategists have us all convinced that a healthy lifestyle equates to gnawing on raw vegetables and cutting our caloric intake until we’re left with saltine cracker crumbs. Sometimes, that might be helpful; but is it healthful? A healthy lifestyle requires that we nourish ourselves—body, mind and soul. Nourishment takes on many different forms. Sometimes laughter is nourishing, sometimes ice cream. What everyone tends to believe about health, usually the opposite is true. You need to find a way to bring more joy into how you choose to improve yourself. Get creative with it! Expand your definition of self-improvement; it can really be fun! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Introspection and Honesty: Full Moon in Capricorn 2014

A full moon is visible in this view above Earth’s horizon and airglow, Photographed by Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao on the International Space Station on (24 February 2005). 
Full Moon @ 20 degrees Capricorn 03'
July 12, 2014
4:23 AM Pacific
7:23 AM Eastern

While those of us in the northern hemisphere are likely feeling a little warmer with the onset of the Summer season, this Capricorn Full Moon brings in a different archetypal influx, a cold and serious tone. Accompanied by Pluto in Capricorn, the Full Moon takes on a tint of Pluto’s icy, distant aura.

There may be a desire for deep and introspective solitude alongside this Full Moon. There are shadows to face, demons to acknowledge, addictions to fess up to. What are those things covering up? They’re concealing pain, lots of collective and personal pain. It seems that suffering is a natural part of the human experience. Few of us ever get off the wheel.

Don’t get me wrong here; I seem to be painting a rather negative picture, generating dread for this Full Moon. That’s not the whole story, but I put it out there because it seems a prominent theme—fessing up to addictive tendencies to cover up something painful, possibly traumatic.

At the root of it, this Full Moon brings to culmination and brings to light, aspects of our reality we don’t want to acknowledge. There’s a need for raw, uncensored honesty here, whatever that looks like for you. It may be some small thing, but whatever it is it should be dealt with truthfully by seeing it the way it actually is.

The Full Moon squares Mars, Ceres, Vesta and the North Node in Libra. This prominent conjunction points to relationships and the compromise needed to sustain them. Too often, we get into relationships because we feel that they’ll somehow fulfill something missing within us and we commit to others without understanding ourselves.

Eventually, the hormonal spell wears off and we’re left to deal with that void, usually projected onto the other person. Ceres and Vesta speak about nourishment and passion. Mars points toward directed and willful action.

How can we nourish others without first nourishing ourselves? How can we find passion in a relationship without first connecting with our own inner passion? When we place too many expectations on a relationship to fulfill our inner needs, we end up disappointed and sometimes angry that it isn't working out the way we desire.

The New Moon seed that was planted two weeks ago brought our attention to the need to recharge and connect with the soul energy. Now, that seed is culminating, bringing to light those desires and fears that block us from successfully integrating with the world.

Check in with your compulsions, what’s motivating them exactly? Instead of acting on the compulsion, sit with the thing you don’t want to feel. Go into it, acknowledge and nurture the void.  When other people aren’t cooperating or falling into alignment with your expectations, ask yourself whether there’s something you need to look at within yourself first.

The people in our lives are powerful mirrors of our internalized stuff. Look around at those you associate with daily, and see what they’re showing you. Sometimes a little solitude and self-reflection is all we need to get a clearer perspective. Capricorn’s highest expression is the mastery of desires, taming the beast within us and directing its energy toward some higher calling.

That’s certainly no small task, but we may get a taste of that process with this lunation in some way. When feeling angry or frustrated, it’s probably best to take a time out and check in with yourself first. That could save everyone from a lot of grief later on. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recharging The Soul: New Moon in Cancer 2014

Me (Chad) enjoying the sunset behind the distant mountains.
I wasn't really meditating, but it made for a good picture.
Mt. San Jacinto, Ca, 2010. Photo by Ashly Smith. 

New Moon @ 05 Cancer 37'
June 27, 2014
1:08 AM Pacific
4:08 AM Eastern

This month’s New Moon occurs in the tropical sign of Cancer, just proceeding the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Thus, this lunation ushers in a new chapter, a marking point in the Sun’s annual cycle through the zodiac. Everything sentient takes notice of this change; we feel it mentally, emotionally and biologically.

Our cells know that something has shifted. If we listen carefully we might just  hear what they have to say about it. That might take some practice, but I think it’s possible. Here in the northern latitudes, the Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year; the Sun is at its highest ascent in the sky; it will never be as exalted in the heavens as it is on the day of this transition. It begins its descent at the Fall Equinox.

There is a climactic quality inherent to the Summer Solstice, a sprouting forth of energy and potential. With each solar cycle we are creating something, whether we’re conscious of it or not. When the Sun enters Cancer we’ll have some sense of foundation—of being rooted and grounded, ready to move forward with the full manifestation of that creation.

When the Sun and Moon conjoin in Cancer we may feel the urge to “withdraw” into the more intimate chasms of our personal life. That may manifest as a desire for more alone time—to reflect and connect with some deeply internalized process; or that may show up as a need to stay within a more close knit group of souls—tribe, kin or family.

The dark of the Moon in Cancer is intimate, but gentle. Cancer is a “sensitive” sign; it emphasizes feelings and transient moods. Like the perceptibly slow undulation of the ocean’s tides, Cancer is sign that amplifies the constant fluctuation of emotion.

Needless to say, our feelings and gut responses need much more attention at this time because we’re checking in with ourselves, fine tuning intuition and recharging our souls. Let that sink in a bit—the notion of feeding and nourishing the soul’s energy.

With Mercury retrograde in Gemini, the need for some time out, to step back and take in all the pieces, is greatly emphasized. While Gemini is all about the mind, disparate facts and logical conclusions, the power of this New Moon in Cancer draws us deeper into more sensitive and vulnerable territory.

Give the mind a break, and most of all, give yourself and your soul, some time out. Cancer, and by extension, the Moon, governs the enteric nervous system—which controls our digestive processes. Think of this New Moon as an opportunity to properly digest your life in some way.

Let all the elements sink in; absorb the complexities via osmosis as opposed to trying to sort them all out manually. If we get caught up in the extraneous stuff, we’re likely to experience the more negative side of Cancer—exaggerated emotionality or emotional isolation, feeling disconnected from the world and as a result, disconnected from our true nature, the soul’s energy.

In order for proper digestion to take place, we need to be in a more parasympathetic state—that is, we need to feel safe. Environmental stressors can wreak havoc on digestion, drastically slowing the process. Mercury retrograde reminds us that there’s no need to rush—that would be quite detrimental to the process.

Mercury turns direct on July 1, just three days after the New Moon. This opens up space for healing and integration. Within a few weeks we’ll be ready to take on the world. But for now, tune in and listen to your soul. A trine to the New Moon from Neptune in Pisces opens up channels to “higher” perceptions—ecstatic visions, spiritual insights and something transpersonal.

That transpersonal component may invite us to see beyond our own personal cocoon—to consider some larger sense of purpose. Whatever it is it will come to you with this lunation; there’s no need to go looking for it. The answers we seek now are to be found within us—in our bodies, in our souls. Sink in and find a comfortable, safe place you know well, if that’s possible.

If not, find that safe place within yourself—that well of abundant nourishment and joy. Remember what that feels like, what it does to your nervous system; and as the Moon continues in its waxing phase, try to hold on to that space and carry it forward as best as you can throughout the rest of the solar journey. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mars Direct in Libra: Taking the Reins

An original card from the tarot deck of
Jean Dodal of Lyon, a classic "Tarot of Marseilles" deck.
The deck dates from 1701-1715.

I'm excited to introduce Kosmic Mind's new guest writer, Elizabeth Michaud! Elizabeth will be writing in-between my lunation articles, whenever she feels compelled. I hope you enjoy the additional updates; I know I will.

For the rest of the month of June the astrological energy is offering up the chance to tap into our strength and direct our course with dynamic purpose. Mars, the planet of driving force, is moving forward through Libra, and getting our personal motors running as it makes its last contact with the Uranus/Pluto square.

Mars entered Libra last December, turned retrograde from March 1 through May 20, and is now building momentum as it chugs along in the cardinal air sign. Libra seeks harmony in relationships, but not codependency. It is the sign of balance-- meaning equal expression of personal desires while still meeting the needs of others. With Mars the Warrior transiting partnership-oriented Libra, this time period may have disrupted or reoriented the way we feel about the relationships we are in.

Perhaps we've wanted to protect or maintain something in our lives, but realize we can no longer play that role. Or maybe we've finally become aware of some part of ourselves that has been stifled or ignored-- and we see that it just isn't fair to hold back anymore. The idea that "that's just the way it is/I am" is no longer valid.  Whether in personal friendships, intimate bonds, or professional teams, there can be some tension as the planet that fights for "I" and "me" churns up the sign of "us."

Mars formed an exact square to Pluto in Capricorn this past Saturday, June 14, and will oppose Uranus in Aries on June 25. This potent T-square symbolizes a powerful opportunity to break away from old forms that no longer serve us, old skins that need to be shed in order for us to align with our inner truth. We are in a phase of transformative healing-- but Mars demands that we make the move.

It's important to be aware of this energy. It can feel like a pressure cooker as the planet of action ignites the revolutionary and destabilizing influences of Uranus and Pluto. If we can direct the passion to create what we want, rather than destroying what we fear, or lashing out in chaos and confusion, we will be harnessing the power of these transformative times. So steer wisely, be mindful of your vision, and aim high.

Elizabeth Michaud is a writer and astrologer based on the New England coast. She is a contributing writer and editor at Planet Waves.net, and has been studying astrological cycles for 15 years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Wider Perception and What Really Matters: Full Moon in Sagittarius 2014

Yodo-gawa from Setsugekka, Snow, Moon and Flowers. A traditional concept that provided the subject for sets of paintings and prints by Ukiyo-e artists. Shows boats being hauled up the river, which flowed passed Osaka, under a full moon. Hokusai, circa 1833, via Wikimedia Commons.

Full Moon @ 22 Sagittarius 06'
June 12, 2014 
9:11 PM Pacific
June 13, 2014
12:11 AM Eastern 

The current lunar cycle culminates on June 12/13 with a Full Moon in the tropical sign of Sagittarius. What is blossoming for you now? What great, gestating truth emerges into the light for you to embrace? It may be some small thing, but that does not negate its relevance by any means. 

With the Sun in Gemini and the Moon in Sagittarius, we come to a point of integration, a confrontation of the mind with the truths of a higher awareness.With a Full Moon in the Gemini/Sagittarius axis a truly profound, unfathomable awareness can now be mentally processed and integrated into a logical construct and form.

With Mercury retrograde in Cancer those intellectual filters are momentarily cast aside, widening intuition and empowering our gut responses. We are feeling and thinking in some new and different ways—opening doors and widening perception.

A square to the Full Moon axis from Chiron in Pisces opens up channels to numinous dimensions; but the “spiritual insights” it offers must be intentionally sought through the active pursuit of truth. Chiron’s awareness brings healing and integration to the mind, which may extenuate certain wounds or blocks that have stymied the flow of higher consciousness.

But the most poignant aspect present with this lunation is an exact opposition between Venus in Taurus and Saturn in Scorpio. As the Full Moon seeks to widen our field of perception, Venus and Saturn create yet another confrontation which may play itself out quite dynamically in certain relationships.

Venus and Saturn shed light on what really matters between those we are relating to. Once you cut away all the clutter and all the facades you wear for social appeasement, you’re left with the bare essentials: what keeps you connected and engaged with another soul.

It may be something “karmic”—that is, something unresolved or seemingly incomplete. Whatever we choose to call it, there’s “glue”, a gravitational force that attracts us toward others that is truly beyond conscious awareness.

Venus and Saturn ask us to get real about that cohesive bond, to look beyond intellectual rationalizations to see to the heart of the matter. That realization is something we simply feel, somatically. It’s simple and primal. It doesn’t need to be analyzed to death.

While the Gemini influx is strong now, the Full Moon’s power momentarily supersedes the mind’s grip on awareness--broadening its reach in ways that doesn’t overpower it. Sagittarius seeks to break free of limiting routines and beliefs that keep us stuck in a rut.

Perhaps that urge for freedom manifests in our relationships. Perhaps it manifests as a desire to expand our personal worldview, or modify some theoretical framework. Maybe we see something from a broader vantage point, opening up space for acceptance of what is and an anticipation of what could be.

As this Full Moon culminates remember that what you know is limited. What you see is always filtered, but we’re always given what we can handle. We see only what we can deal with. There is a need to jump off a precipice and take a leap of faith on some level, but don’t take that literally.

There is a need to exercise caution with this lunation, because Sagittarius’ fiery passion can sometimes go to extremes. It can break off more than it can chew. Too much awareness can be overwhelming, sometimes perilous.

Too much enthusiasm can lead to regrettable mistakes. Mercury’s retrograde cycle reminds us to take our time to process and integrate whatever we’re working on. Remember that as you navigate this terrain