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

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.

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. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Genius Hides in the Deep: Total Lunar Eclipse in Aries 2014

Sculpture of Prometheus by Hungarian sculptor
Imre Varga; 1978; Szekszard, City Centre; Photo
by Csanady via Wikimedia Commons.

Total Lunar Eclipse @ 15 Aries 05'
Oct 8, 2014
3:51 AM Pacific
6:51 AM Eastern

The paradox of light is that ­­­­­it reveals artifacts within the visible spectrum but obfuscates that which is hidden from perceptual view—the unconscious, ethereal, and unseen chasms of reality. The visible world is a façade; all spiritual teachings tell us this (this has been a redundant theme in the astrology lately). Deep down, we intuit this to be true, but what we see with our eyes is so convincing and palpable; it’s all we really know. Who we think we are, our identity or ego, is equally illusory, a momentary garb to interact with the visible world.

Eclipses are mysterious moments in time when the light that emanates from the Sun becomes eclipsed and the visible world becomes momentarily obscured from view, symbolically and literally speaking. During a Lunar Eclipse, which occurs on Oct. 8, the Sun’s light is concealed (though not entirely) by the presence of the Earth which casts its shadow upon the Moon. This alignment of celestial objects emerges within each of us as a bursting forth of unconscious content.

The light that illuminates gives way to that which it hides from view. For some, that is a precarious situation, for others a moment of clarity and ironically, illumination. A Lunar Eclipse, we could say, is an amplified Full Moon—a critical culmination of psychic energies from the depths of the unconscious. Eclipses are collective opportunities to make shifts and adjustments within ourselves—to respond to messages arising from our very souls and to acknowledge what it is we really are.

When you strip away the exterior garment, you’re left with only the essence of your true nature. The degree of your attachment to that façade indicates whether such times present you with a liberating experience or a crisis (or both). Naturally, during a Lunar Eclipse, as well as a Solar Eclipse, we are encouraged by the universe to simply observe our very nature, to see consciousness as it truly is, not what we project on to it.

A Lunar Eclipse, specifically, is a time to recharge our souls and to allow that which is eternal and authentic to imprint itself upon the very fabric of the external. I can’t help but overemphasize the profundity of these events, which happen (usually in pairs) two times a year. When we embrace the Eclipse process we come out the other end renewed and reconnected to our life path and potential. We are given the opportunity to change our course which happens only after we have made a shift within ourselves.

Mercury is still stationary and changing direction at the time of this Eclipse—indicating that we are stepping back to essentially move forward. To complicate matters, this month’s Full Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse (total as in complete obfuscation of light and thus more impactful) occurs in the tropical sign of Aries—which, to say the least, is a very action-oriented sign, a sign that emphasizes the power of the will to take action and make change.

But only fools will actually jump off the precipice with this lunation—that is, take the archetypal impulse literally. Change begins inside of us; remember that. If you want to see changes in your life, you have to shift your inner life first and foremost (thinking, beliefs, and emotional reactions). During times such as these, we are usually better off to remain stationary while the events unfold around us. What we have already put into motion will simply transform accordingly. All we have to do is watch and respond appropriately at the opportune moment.

In other words, life doesn’t stop, but rather the usual process—the dynamics of cause and effect often becomes inverted. If we are aware of this, we can simply be in the moment and not push ourselves into forcing anything to happen through willful action. That is how we can work and flow with the Eclipse and retrograde energies. Mercury’s retrograde cycle encourages us to make changes and adjustments to a project or process that we’ve already put into motion—to deconstruct and ultimately refine. If you come up against resistance it’s usually a sign to back off and adjust your strategy.

Interestingly, there are many layers of obfuscation with this Eclipse. The Moon, prior to coming to full opposition to the Sun, occults the planet Uranus, concealing it from view; or looked at another way: merging completely with its archetypal nature. The two become one, both Moon and Uranus. Of course, without a telescope or good pair of binoculars, Uranus is invisible to the naked eye; it belongs to the trans-perceptual realms. Its vibration is subtle yet that does not lessen its influence upon the psyche. That which is unconscious (invisible) often has more power over us than we wish to admit.

Yoda meme exemplifying Uranian wisdom.

That which we don’t see, or worse, what we refuse to acknowledge, tends to direct our lives, often to our detriment. The need for emotional individuation is strong with this lunation, but the risk of drowning in overt subjectivity is equally tenacious. Uranus must be acknowledged and heard: you are not the product of your conditioning; you are vastly more powerful and eternal than you have been led to believe. The paradox of this lunation is that freedom is essential but ultimately limited and finite. While we all need our own space to become who we are, we depend on others for optimal survival. Freedom is always a double edged sword.

This South Nodal Eclipse opposes the Sun, Venus and North Node in Libra—emphasizing relationships and negotiation. Often, our facades become mechanical and routine—our interactions scripted and banal. Uranus hiding behind this dimly lit Full Moon reminds us that we need not hide who we are. We can be authentic and still interact with the world. Whether the world approves of us or not isn’t the point. The risk of being authentic nourishes our soul and that is reflected in the external environment. Eventually, the more we remain true to our nature, we attract those (soul mates) that can respect and love us as is.

As this lunar cycle culminates, we are encouraged to face our stale and mechanical acts—to nourish our soul essence and allow the true being to burst forth. Beyond all those layers of social conditioning lies the divine genius, who revitalizes us through bursts of spontaneous creative inspiration. How have you lost touch with such a force? How can you revitalize your connection? A fire grand trine between Moon/Uranus, Jupiter and Mars connects this Eclipse in a web of passion, playfulness, motivation, adventurousness and the eternal fire that fuels the life force within all sentient beings. Creativity is strong here and there is certainly no shortage of supply.

To access these energies, we must step back and face what’s true, real and raw within us. Pluto’s square may challenge us to face fears that have shaped our lives, holding us back from what we have come here to do. Introspection and honesty are needed. The opposition with Sun/Venus in Libra presents a challenging balancing act: to be true to ourselves yet to make peace with the world the way that it is—regardless of whether it approves of us or not. In the end, the external is always a mirror of the internal. What’s out there is inside of us. The separation is merely an illusion of our limited, human perception.

*This eclipse will be visible throughout much of the world including North and Central America, Greenland, some parts of Austrailia and most of Asia. South America will only see the onset of the eclipse. It will not be visible in Africa, Europe or the western portion of Russia or Asia. During a Lunar Eclipse, the Moon will gradually take on a red-orange hue often called a "Blood Moon". The effect is quite ominous looking and hard to miss (if you're awake, of course). 

The West Coast of North America will have the best view, since it occurs several hours before sunrise; thus the Moon's reddish-orange color will be particularly striking. If you can stay up or get up for this Eclipse, it will be worth your while, especially if you've never seen one. I've seen several, so I may actually skip this one (sleep is far more valuable for me these days). For more on the astronomy of this eclipse, check out this article over at

In case you didn't know, I do give personalized astrology readings. This of course 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. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Reestablishing Trust and Equilibrium: Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra

"Mercury with caduceus" on ceiling mural
Allegory of the Planets & Continents (1752)
by Tiepolo (1696-1770),
Würzburg Residence, Germany

Every three months the planet Mercury turns retrograde—that is to say, that Mercury appears to move backwards from our point of view. This optical illusion happens with all the planets and objects used in astrology, with the exception of the Sun and Moon. The reasons for this are quite technical, but have to do with the disparity in the speed and distance of two moving objects as they meet at a certain point along their designated paths. Imagine the perceptual illusion created when looking out from a fast moving car or train; objects moving at a relative speed yet slightly slower appear to float backwards in relation to the objects (telephone poles and trees) racing by in the background.

The perception is quite convincing but not quite accurate to reality. Then again, what is reality but an illusion itself—an agreement made within consciousness about how things should or shouldn’t work? We could get rather philosophical with all this, but my point here is that time itself is relative to motion; all matter is energy in motion. You catch my drift? “Truths are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions,” said Freidrich Nietzsche. In a sense, Mercury retrograde is an illusion within an illusion. While not what it appears to be, it still has a profound effect on consciousness, as does everything else.

Mercury retrograde is probably one of the most well-known of astrological phenomena. Even the conservative home maker next door is probably aware of it, and likely has something to say about it. With anything that reaches a level of consensus understanding, it’s plagued with myths and misunderstandings. Mercury retrograde has reached the status of a cursed deity, the ubiquitous symbol of everything that’s going wrong in our daily affairs.

Yet, with every stereotyped consensus perception, there’s still a modicum of truth. For good reason, Mercury retrograde is known for its correlation with a higher incidence of “unfortunate” happenings—most usually involving something technical, mechanical or dealing with communications (in all its varied manifestations). Did your computer crash? Oh, it’s Mercury retrograde! Your car is having trouble? That e-mail didn’t get delivered? Well, you know, it’s probably that damn retrograde.

This is all quite true, but not entirely true. For instance, lots of cars break down and computers crash when Mercury isn’t retrograde. So how do we explain this? The key is in the fact that I stated above: Mercury retrograde seems to correlate with a higher incidence of “unfortunate” happenings. Can we prove this statistically? No. Do I care to? Not really. I do believe there have been studies on this in some shape or form, all of which were pretty inconclusive. That usually happens when you put astrology under the scientific ringer. It doesn’t work out too well for astrology’s reputation.

So what is happening when Mercury is retrograde? Well, on one end (and highly subjectively I might add), things do get a little wonky, especially electronics and machinery. This is most noticeable during Mercury’s stations—that is when Mercury is slowing down to change directions, coming to a standstill. For our purposes, this happens on the days of and surrounding Oct. 4 and Oct. 24. At least in my experience, this has been a consistent observation. Of course, the whole period of Mercury’s retrograde is wrought with “unfortunate mishaps”, as well as its shadow periods (Sept 29- Oct 4 and Oct 24- Nov 10).

The truth is, Mercury retrogrades will not affect everyone the same, nor is there any way (that I’m aware of) to predict whether this one is really going to nail you or not. Maybe if Mercury were to hit a planet or sensitive area in your chart, it might be more significant, but then again, maybe not. How I view Mercury retrograde is this: Hermes, the Greek representation of Mercury, is a trickster. The trickster is notorious for throwing a wrench in our plans and expectations; not because he’s out to get us like some psychopath (though maybe Hermes was a little sociopathic), but because he’s like the cosmic wild card. Not even the “Gods” are immune to the trickster’s antics.

When Mercury is retrograde, its trickster side seems to come out to play more than usual (though let us not forget that all planetary archetypes do have a trickster side to their expression, regardless of whether they’re stationary or direct). A bi-density/bipolar being, the trickster doesn’t take sides. He can fly from this world to the next with the greatest of ease, poise and elegance. But his “curses” can also be blessings in disguise. Like the illusion of a planet moving backwards in the sky, it’s all a matter of how you choose to view it. Lewis Hyde, in Trickster Makes This World, says of Hermes:

“Accidents break the surface of our lives to reveal hidden purpose or design. The carefully interwoven structures of thought and social practice provide stability and structure, but they bring a kind of blindness and stupidity, too. Gifts of Hermes tear little holes in those fabrics to offer us brief intelligence of other realms”.

To quote Meister Eckhart, “We are made perfect by what happens to us rather than by what we do”. As I’ve often written, Mercury retrograde helps us to see outside the suffocating bind of beliefs. If you really take a look, beyond all the “accidental mishaps” that may or may not surround you at these times (which, as we have just learned may be helping us break free of our perceptual prisons); you will see what you have refused to see before.

If Mercury retrograde does one thing consistently, its challenge our perceptions of the world and our beliefs about what is or isn’t truth. Still, your computer might crash, light bulbs burn out, or a rock might bless your windshield while driving on the freeway (yes, that happened to me a few retrogrades ago). But maybe, just maybe, that really annoying and seemingly meaningless mishap is trying to tell us something, trying to break us free of our blindness or stupidity. Maybe, like Carl Jung said, “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate," Mercury’s retrograde foibles reveal deeper layers of the psyche, bringing to the surface those artifacts clogging up the mental septic tank.

We need order and structure to survive, but the trickster’s purpose is to keep our structures loose and flexible, free from becoming either too rigid or oppressive. When taking a look at the world around us, consider it a blessing that Mercury turns retrograde every three months; it keeps our minds and the structures they create open, fresh and alive. Astrology is often blind to the trickster. I think that on some level, our attraction to astrology is/was a way to gain more control of the chaos inherent to the world—and by extension the cosmos itself.

When we include the trickster in our pantheon of astrological symbolism, we open to an entirely new perceptual field, one that reveals the ever changing nature of life predicated on the unexpected. Hyde’s brilliant book is chock full of ingenious insights that can help us to understand this process. I highly recommend it. Often, the most rewarding things in life come to us from out of the blue, when we aren’t expecting them. This is often what can happen during a Mercury retrograde cycle. As with any retrograde, its purpose is to redirect consciousness from some rigid path or expectation, to reveal a broader field of possibility, and to help us step back and do things differently.

While it’s probably best to stick with some of the usual advice, to avoid signing major contracts, purchasing expensive equipment, executing some big project, coming to a critical, conclusive decision or to be more clear and redundant in your communications while Mercury is retrograde, we can’t forget that sometimes the unexpected turn of events are actually blessings from the gods. To appreciate these “accidents” and “mishaps”, we need to remain open to the unexpected. To quote Hyde once more, “The agile mind is pleased to find what it was not looking for”.

So, rather than pushing against life, trying to force our will and exceptions onto reality, Mercury retrograde is a time to step back and see things differently—to not look, but rather allow the unfolding to reveal “brief intelligence of other realms”. We shouldn’t fear this pertinent astrological cycle, hiding out in our house until it’s all over; and we certainly shouldn’t follow some rigid rules that tell us to put everything on hold until Mercury is direct and moving forward. Some of those rules are helpful, and can assist us to simply see that there may be holes in our game plan that we aren’t quite aware of; but Mercury, the trickster, is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to remind us that rules are meant to be broken.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra

Sept 14, 2014: Mercury enters retrograde shadow 
Oct 4, 2014: Mercury stationary retrograde (retrograde begins)
Oct 25, 2014: Mercury stationary direct (retrograde ends)
Nov 10, 2014: Mercury leaves retrograde shadow 

Mercury’s retrograde cycle occurs just beyond the equinox transition and the New Moon in Libra. These two events bring a dramatic yet subtle shift in collective focus and priorities. As with all Mercury retrograde cycles in 2014, two signs are involved, both water and air signs. While spending more time in air signs with these cycles, the slight dip into the proceeding water sign has a certain symbolic significance.

Mercury will retrograde through Scorpio from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10—just under a week. It then dips back into Libra for the remainder of the retrograde. In the zodiacal cycle, Scorpio symbolizes a certain kind of relationship—one that takes commitment to a whole new level. The Scorpionic relationship is imbued with a kind of intensity and passion that takes a little bit of time to get used to. When consciousness reaches Scorpio, it’s ready to take the plunge and go really deep. That Mercury backtracks into Libra, a sign that favors social niceties and the seeking of common ground, indicates that this cycle alludes to that fact that we may, collectively and individually speaking, need to backtrack and get more acquainted with certain formalities before we take a leap and get really dirty. This could apply to a whole host of things. Relationships might be one of them, but there are many variations of this.

In order to merge deeply with something or someone, we need to have a certain level of trust established first. That’s what Libra is all about—gaining trust in another human being or what have you. If we can’t trust someone, we can’t let down our guard and release certain barriers to allow for the free exchange of energy and resources. So we may find ourselves needing to test the waters, to talk things out, re-negotiate or re-communicate our intentions so that everyone is clear about where the other truly stands. 

The fact that things aren’t moving as quickly as you may like them to may have much to do with this process that needs to happen first. There may be a sense of restlessness with other commitments or attachments made previously, as if we feel stifled or too co-dependent. Again, this retrograde process allows us to see the holes in the current framework so that we can reestablish our commitments or our point of view. Keep the trickster in mind. Let the unexpected do its thing. New relationships may pop up or old commitments may fall apart. Let the chaos work its magic; embrace the contingencies. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio/Libra can help us see those dynamics within our interactions (personal, intimate or otherwise) that we were blind to before.  

Beyond the symbolism of the signs involved in this retrograde cycle, Mercury retrograde is a time to go back and review those things we’ve been working on to gather more information, to look for loose ends, and to return to things we’ve forgotten about or have left behind. The past often plays a significant role at these times. With Scorpio/Libra, that may involve past relationships and the karmic dynamics generated between the individuals involved. Keep your eyes peeled, your ears receptive and your mind loose and flexible. When Mercury changes gears, we need to be agile and prepared in case things go awry. When we go with the flow and trust the process that presents itself to us, we’re less likely to experience the many frustrations so prevalent at these times.