New Moon, New Season

My dad passed away on the last New Moon, during the total solar eclipse in August. That’s a sentence I wasn’t expecting to have to write. His death was shocking and swift, carving an enormous void in my life that will undeniably change the course of it.

FullSizeRender (7)

Tragedy and loss seem prevalent lately, whether it be violent social behavior or destructive weather. To say that times are tough trivializes the high degree of suffering on planet Earth, and that stress is taking its toll on our collective psyche. Today I listened to the President of this country threaten to totally destroy another one. Hearing that from a world leader sums up the hopelessness that a lot of us feel– the fear of ultimate, irreparable destruction resulting from ignorance and intolerance.

Pluto corresponds to this darkness. It’s not that Pluto is evil or destructive, but that Pluto is the symbolic basement that we shove the stuff we fear or hate. We are seeing the cost of corruption, pollution, and greed– all the things that our capitalistic civilization has been burying for hundreds of years. The polarization of politics, the impact of global warming, social inequality and racism– all of it, in our face, all at once. Pluto is slowing down to a crawl, hovering at the same degree of Capricorn until it finally begins moving forward again at the end of September. When a planet (particularly an outer planet that moves slowly to begin with) is ending its retrograde phase, the energy represented by that planet is intensified. And since Pluto is in itself intense, there’s a feeling of impending drama and irrevocable change to this astrology.

Pluto, however, is also symbolic of transformation and renewal. It’s the fortitude that we show when we help rebuild a home annihilated by a storm, or the guts that we have when we stand up to a bigot. It’s getting out of bed in the morning feeling the weight of an unbearable loss. It’s being an American who loves the country and doesn’t want another war. There is always hope with Pluto– not the lighthearted hope of thinking positively, which is nearly impossible when Pluto is active– but the unrelenting tenacity of human will.

The Sun and Moon meet together at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, marking a new lunar phase. The luminaries will join Mercury, Mars, and Venus in earthy Virgo, accentuating the need to start the clean-up process. The strength of this energy helps with practical and simple effort– we are more likely to get down to business, get our hands dirty, and very literally start fixing what is broken. The danger is that Virgo is hypercritical, which can serve to amp up the stress that is already palpable. We have to actively remember to be constructive rather than adding misery and defensiveness into an unsettled atmosphere. And the Sun moves into peace-seeking Libra this Friday at 4:02 p.m., beginning the fall season in the northern hemisphere. The ideals of harmony and cooperation are the gifts of this air sign, reminding us that we are all in this together, so we may as well try to help.

Many of us are overwhelmed by despair right now, and that feeling is so heavy that I’ve personally wished I could just give up on life itself. But I owe it to my dad to advance, just like the people in Texas and Florida are rebuilding, with sorrow and pain. One of my teachers, Steven Forrest, said something during an astrology webinar this past weekend that I keep repeating over and over in my head.  “Of course our bodies hurt. Of course our hearts hurt. But live, and do something. Create something.” September’s waxing lunar phase calls on us to stop confusing fear with hopelessness, and anger with hatred. Create something good in the place of something bad.




Eclipse of the American Heart

Media hype abounds regarding the upcoming solar eclipse, mainly due to its visibility across a great stretch of the United States. On a positive level, the communal witnessing of this event heightens the awareness of large masses of people to a larger force at work– taking each individual out of their own limited awareness, even if for just a few moments while staring at a light in the sky. That is spirituality at its simplest form. This naturally lends itself to a sense of change being imminent, as if the anticipation of this event marks the turning point of a new way of being.DSC01792

Nothing worthwhile comes easy– even streaks of good luck or extraordinary adventures fade out eventually, leaving space for real life to settle back in. The truly valuable things we have to rely on take effort, patience, and frustration. We’re getting a second dose of Leo New Moon energy this summer (read about first one here), as this solar eclipse occurs at the late degrees of the Sun’s home sign, emphasizing the need to stop putting on a phony act. Or to stop hiding in the shadows.  Leo is associated with confidence, but that is not because confidence comes easy. No matter what the risk, Leo needs to find a means to express itself without affectation, without a mask. Spontaneous and true, and risking rejection– that is the real feeling of Leo energy. So maybe this second chance at a new start is a reminder that we aren’t risking enough in the name of truth and personal power.

Using this moment involves creative imagination and the release of old frameworks. We can begin this work in the sensitive environment that rises through the coming days. Monday night, August 14th, marks the Last Quarter Moon in Taurus, which begins the final week of the current lunar cycle. In other words, this week we can clear space for this eclipse.

The astrological forecast during this waning Last Quarter phase includes some powerful activity involving Saturn and Venus, symbolizing a personal need to refocus mission and passion. Intensity and anxiety can press down on us while these planets visit some sensitive areas in each of our natal charts. Saturn is slowing down to turn direct again, which heightens our feelings of inadequacy and lack. If we’re off track in our strategy, particularly if it involves shame, loss, or fear we’ve bottled, Saturn can bring it up for reckoning as it slows down and hovers around the same degree in the zodiac. It’s time to lighten the load we lug around, and we can only do this by honesty and self-forgiveness.

Meanwhile,  Venus is affected by Pluto and Uranus, rocking self-esteem issues. When we don’t get what we want, all we see is what we hate about life. All of this serves a purpose, if we can stop and see this harshly lit window into what is wrong with us, including what we project out there and blame others for. We have a window into what we need in order to be happy.

The Leo New Moon is indicative of a collective need to reconnect with the heart, in a world where the crisis of disconnection and apathy are closing off the path to hope and faith. Ultimately all of our happiness is interconnected, for it is impossible to be happy in a miserable and suffering world. I think everyone, for the most part, wishes the world would find some humanity and peace right now. And never has the need been greater than at this ‘Great American Eclipse’.





Solar Plexus Chakra and Leo

Powerful rays of fire energy are beginning to heat the astrological sky as Mars, the Sun, and the Moon each shift into Leo over the next few days, eventually forming the New Moon on Sunday morning at 5:46 EDT. Leo has a lot to do with our style– not necessarily just our appearance, but the way we present ourselves, our theatricality or lack thereof. Where Leo falls in our natal chart has a lot to do with how we feel about spontaneous self-expression, playfulness, and experiencing fun and joy. DSC01793 (2)

Leo correlates with the third chakra, Manipura or the Solar Plexus. This New Moon is all about strengthening, healing, and inspiring our self-confidence and our ability to feel pure happiness. This is a time to be mindful of how we deplete our energy and drain our own good moods. We all get in patterns of behavior that would be better to shake off, but it takes too much effort to do so. During this Mars/Sun time, we have planetary energy on our side, adding heat and willpower to build self-worth and to claim territory.

Just as the Sun is the center of the solar system, the Solar Plexus and Leo relate to the core of our identity. A healthy ego, in other words. It seems that the words “healthy” and “ego” are difficult to put together in today’s world. So much of what we hear and see seems bullying, judgmental, vain, and egocentric. And that will be the challenge, in the four weeks ahead, as strong, impatient, willful Mars chases the almighty Sun around its home sign Leo– can we burn away what is false and arrogant in our own ego? Authenticity and the confidence to show it– that is the goal. This New Moon honors the true individual we are becoming, and supports staying true to that own inner core.

The question, O me! so sad, recurring– What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here– that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman



Waxing to Full

Water sign Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which is to say that it has a strong affinity with lunar energies. Both the sign Cancer and the astrological Moon correlate with the inner, subjective realm– the quiet space within our mind that involves emotions and spirituality, the part of us that sometimes wonders who the hell is at the helm steering this ship of personality.

As the Moon continues to grow larger over the next week, the Sun is in the midst of its transit of Cancer in the zodiac, which serves to deepen the emotional pool. Rather than putting personal needs aside, we’re entering into an atmosphere where each individual is immersed in the complexity of their own feelings. And because those parts of us are typically submerged well below the surface of our style, it can be challenging to act and interact. Decision-making faculties are immersed in this emotional water, and intuition is stronger than rational thought.DSC01734 (2)

Of course we can’t all go and sit in meditation for the next seven days. This is the big holiday week, the height of summer in America. Mars in Cancer will be exactly opposite Pluto in Capricorn on Sunday, July 2, followed later next week by the Capricorn Full Moon conjoining Pluto and squaring Uranus in Aries. That equates to a high-intensity backdrop where defenses are prone to erupt. Considering the volatility of the trends in our world today, it’s a wise idea for each of us to be dealing with our own darkness as it comes up.

Listen to your gut reactions without judgment. Our own emotional instincts can be a teacher during this Cancer-themed astrology, where we can only improve our situation by making sure we’re healthy first. Too often we become stagnant and entrenched in the role we’ve built for ourselves. We resist change despite being detached or dissatisfied because ego wins over our heart. The Moon, symbolic of the primal Mother energy, reminds us that we’re here on earth to be happy, and the route to that happiness needs to be attended to as it changes with time.

Full Moon Stretch

The Sagittarius Moon is in full phase, and will be exactly opposite the Gemini Sun at 9:10 Friday morning. Restlessness and anticipation are keywords to be watching for because our instinct to grow is activated– and this leaves us on the brink of leaping forward in some area of life.

Jupiter, the ruling planet of Sagittarius, is at an astrological “standstill” in the sky, ending its retrograde phase which began back in early February. When a planet is retrograde, the energy it represents is directed more internally, toward introspection and personal contemplation. And with Jupiter’s expansive and future-oriented outlook focused on our inner value system, there’s been a sense of spinning our wheels without traction in the outer world as we revamp our quality control. The question may have come in the vague shape of, “What’s in it for me?”

harvest-moon-2016-134.jpgNow Jupiter is turning direct again, which will light a fire to fuel our intentions. It may be time to start implementing some of those bright ideas, especially if your gut is telling you to expand your horizons. Where have you been selling yourself short? Momentum is growing, igniting the start of warm days and the peak of daylight hours in the northern hemisphere. A summer ahead…  a symbol of life in fullness. This Full Moon energy is supportive of creating our own joy.

In aiming for the high road, there’s the hope that this Sagittarius Full Moon instills in us the trust in our own worth and the courage to take a running leap off the diving board. As always, be aware of that excitement getting out of hand and becoming selfishly exaggerated and overblown, the common shadow side of fiery Sagittarius. Finding the balance between assertive self-expression and conscious receptivity is the task of the weekend’s astrology.

Scorpio Full Moon Astrology

The Moon reaches fullness tonight at 5:42, bringing us to an emotional high tide in issues of trust and stability. With the Sun in security-minded Taurus, our comfort level is vital, and we may be getting an influx of solar energy illuminating what kind of stuff we believe would make us happier. Sometimes this relates to material items, but it also can tie into the sense of worth we get from our jobs, relationships, or in other areas of life.

As the Moon reflects the Sun’s light back from the opposite sign Scorpio, we’re able to get a poignant, bare, honest look at what we fear and lack. Earning self-worth and sustainability, the basic goal of Taurus the Bull, is so tough in today’s cutthroat competition, and the Scorpio Moon can bring to the surface some jealousy or blame aimed at a world that doesn’t always feel supportive to our needs. Harvest Moon 2016 149

Mercury is all worked up after its overnight conjunction with Uranus, which symbolizes that there’s new information out there. On May 20th, Mercury will finally reach the same spot where it turned retrograde, ending its shadow phase. There’s a sense here that we’re picking up the pace in our forward motion– the doors that open from Uranus’s lightning strike enlighten Mercury, offering a higher road or broader perspective. And Saturn will form a supportive trine to Uranus during late May, supplying some ingenuity and discipline to physically manifest a new way of doing things.

When we’re able to stand solid, despite being vulnerable, we can see more clearly what we need. This Full Moon is all about generosity of spirit– to counter the tendency to envy or distrust with some acceptance and faith that things are improving.


Bare Essentials

The Sun shifts into Taurus today at 5:27 p.m., signalling what is typically a calming and stabilizing wave into the astrological atmosphere. But as Mercury’s retrograde motion sets it back into Aries and into the neighborhood of wild child Uranus, there’s bound to be some unexpected activity that makes it challenging to ground down into stillness.

Taurus is an earth sign concerned with maintaining serenity. Symbolized by the bull because of the self-possessed and slow-moving strength of the animal, Taurus likes keeping things uncomplicated and predictable. There’s a strong sensuality to this energy– Taurus is associated with the earth and Venus, relating to the pleasure of the simple things in life, like good food, good music, and the beauty of nature. Taken to the extreme, there’s a risk of  self-indulgence and stubbornness, as that need to hold onto what is comfortable and familiar creates an obstacle for progress.lavender 020

So on the one hand, we have the Sun entering this sign for the next four weeks, assisting us in rooting back into our bodies. Get into nature, into cooking, into exercise– activities that slow down the chatter of the mind and focus us in the present moment. Smell flowers. Plant flowers. Do things that calm you down. Engage with what matters now, and not all the superficial stuff that distracts us from what is essential.

On the other hand, Mercury is turning up the volume. It is at 0 degrees of Taurus as I write this, moving retrograde. When the Sun moves into Taurus tonight, the two will conjoin, and then Mercury will back up into Aries tomorrow afternoon. With Mercury so close to the Sun, our minds are worked up. There’s a mental buzz, perhaps not audible, but going on inside our head. Operating in the signs of Taurus and Aries, the buzz is probably pretty self-centered in nature– concerns about personal needs and wants are at the core. It’s as if we’re trying to sort out information and formulate a plan, and since Mercury is retrograde, we’re trying to correct or improve our course of action.

As Mercury continues its retrograde, it will back up to meet Uranus in Aries, which will affect us all the way through mid-May. This is an impulsive and erratic energetic current that offers possibilities of liberating information and genius new ideas, while also promoting impatience and brash inconsideration. The Taurus Sun can get stressed out by this hectic whirlwind of excitement, especially if we feel swept up by it all. And Taurus’ penchant for stubborn defensiveness can cause problems if we dig our head in the sand and refuse the new opportunities being offered to us.

This is a balancing act of poised, deliberate action with openness to wild insight and unexpected ideas. It’s important to remember that patient consideration is necessary here, because the inclination to jump may be quick with the Mercury/Uranus influence. We need to harness the solid nature of the bull in order to bring these great possibilities down into practical use, and that means not jumping to extremes before caution is taken. Remember that Taurus seeks real, lasting value– not all that glitters is gold, as the saying goes.