Change of Pace

Fear is the main factor. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made that statement last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She was referring to a worldwide rise in fascism in Syria, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, and the Philippines– but the connection to the United States is clear. She explained that when people feel economically insecure, they seek out a political strongman that they believe will set things right, and will make them safe and powerful again. That leader identifies strongly with one group, and pits himself against the other group, creating a social divide and an atmosphere of intolerance and bigotry.

Courage is only acquired when we face things that scare us. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is symbolic of this courage. Wherever Aries is in our natal chart points to an area in our lives where we must push forward into the unknown, branching out from the safety of our private shell. The Sun is currently in Aries, moving towards slow-moving Uranus. And the Moon is going to join in the party on Friday, heading towards its monthly conjunction with the Sun for the Aries New Moon, exact at 9:57 Sunday night.

This New Moon is a bit wild. Not only is it in Aries, a sign that cannot be restrained from doing what it wants, but it’s connected to rebellious, erratic, unpredictable Uranus. Uranus refuses to follow the rules– there’s a need to change things up, to break out of boring routines and shock the system. This is a great time to initiate a brand new idea, especially if it pushes you out of your comfort zone and toward something that you’ve been wanting to pursue, but rationalized all the reasons why you “can’t”.

The waxing lunar cycle continues next week with the Sun’s shift into earth sign Taurus on Thursday, April 19. If we’ve implemented powerful changes in our lives, the solid energy of Taurus the Bull is exactly what we need to sustain them. This energetic shift in the month’s astrology helps to ground down some of the frantic and strange chaos that seems to be permeating the social landscape, here and around the globe. But the calm and serenity that is at the heart of Taurus cannot be attained without our effort this time around. This waxing lunar phase culminates with Mars, the God of War, meeting up with Pluto, the God of the Underworld on April 26, just 3 days before the next Full Moon.

The conjunction of Mars and Pluto is not ominous, despite their mythological titles. But it warns us of the potential danger ahead. When we engage our inner warrior (Mars) in a healthy way, we make an impact. Mars is passion and power, and without it, we would be ghosts. Pluto corresponds to everything that has ever wounded us– and our ability to be transformed by it. Pluto is intensity and purpose, and without it, again, we would be ghosts–  walking through our lives as if it were a movie, not engaged or driven at all.

These planets have a high road, and their union in Capricorn is symbolic of all the abuses of power in our political, industrial, social systems. It’s not hard to see the shit hitting the fan in this regard. But the question is, what can we do about it? The low road is always an option– and as I mentioned, these planets pack a punch. Violent anger and destructive behavior based on corrupted values– that’s another possibility. We can continue hating the enemy, if we choose. But then we have only one path ahead: war.

In each of our own lives, this evolutionary powerhouse of a conjunction is coming.  Have that long, hard talk with yourself about what you fear and hate.  Know your own biases and prejudices. And be willing to make a huge change. Because there is no escaping Pluto. Pluto is the psychological heaviness we carry, and when we face it honestly, we become stronger, freer, and more alive than we were before. So the moral of the story is: work on your stuff, or your stuff will work on you.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” -Elie Wiesel






The Eye of the Storm

It’s hard to keep up with everything going on these days. A sense of urgency has been permeating the atmosphere, symbolized in astrological terms by Mercury and Venus joining erratic Uranus in Aries. And after Saturday’s New Moon, first the Moon and then the Sun will enter the first sign of the zodiac too, marking the Vernal Equinox and the start of spring.


March 2018 Nor’easter, Salisbury, Massachusetts

A fresh new season.. sort of. While we begin this new lunar cycle, we’re working with some tension that points to cleaning up the mess left over from winter before we can truly spring ahead. All of this planetary weight in Aries means that courage and boldness are required of us, but the challenge  is drawing the line between assertiveness and aggression.

Aries is quick to make decisions, but when that strength goes off the rails, there can be a headstrong and resolute intolerance for compromise. Mercury stations retrograde from March 23 – April 15, which means that despite the direct and somewhat impatient nature of Aries, we have to slow down and check where we’re at. And that can feel frustrating to the incisive power of this fire sign.

sky and waves

March 2018 Nor’easter, Salisbury, Massachusetts

Patience is not easy to come by this month. Mars, the ruler of Aries, shifts into Capricorn this weekend, followed by the Sun’s move into Aries on Tuesday, March 20. They will start moving into a square with each other, exact on the First Quarter Moon on March 23. We’re feeling the pressure to be getting things done, working hard and having an impact. But with Mercury in retrograde, the forward momentum is likely to need more planning and maturity. The limits of reality can bring up feelings of anger, rebellion, and harsh judgments as we struggle against something that feels bigger than us. Like the weather here in New England– it can be exhausting.

The higher ground of all of this incoming astrology is the dedication and drive available to make choices and get things done. Potent reserves of resilience and vitality lie at the heart of these squares between the planets in Aries and the planets in Capricorn. Just beware of the severity and intensity in the atmosphere as well! These signs need to remember self-love and kindness, so be mindful of burning or lashing out.







We’ve made it to the final lunar cycle of winter– just about 4 weeks until the start of spring! Soon we’ll put an end to the months of driving on ice and dressing in layers, returning to the warm and bright half of the year on the Vernal Equinox on March 20th. Here we go, into the season of Pisces–  the final sign of the zodiac and a point of reconciliation and recovery before we start a new astrological year.


During my Full Moon audio forecast, I talked about a group of planets in Aquarius (Venus, Mercury, and the Sun) forming squares to Jupiter in Scorpio throughout the first half of February. This urged us to consider our lives from an independent, detached perspective– to question where we feel disengaged from our own authenticity because we’re only doing things to fulfill the expectations of others.  These tense 90 degree angles from Jupiter in Scorpio pushed us to sort through our own compulsive ways of behaving, hopefully leading us to be more honest, even if only with ourselves.

As February continues, these planets move from Aquarius to Pisces. Venus has led the way, moving into Pisces on Feb 10th, and Mercury and the Sun will follow on Feb 17th and 18th, respectively. There’s a shift here from the intellectual perception of Aquarius to the subjective emotional world of Pisces, so where we were lost in a world of thought before, now we are more likely to be swimming in the waters of feeling. Pisces is the part of our natal charts that is always longing for something else. Longing is part of our condition as humans. That’s why Pisces is said to be a compassionate, spiritual, and creative sign– because being kind and loving, or inspired and charitable, is simply a means to overcome the ego identity. It helps us lose the voice in our heads that always wants more, that’s constantly judging the moment as not good enough. When we are lost in the moment, whether through service, love, or art– we don’t hear that nagging, critical voice of need.

So this waxing New Moon cycle, from now until the end of the month, is an increasing tide of energy flowing into this softer realm of Pisces. It’s likely to have a calming and diffusing effect on our forward motion. We may find reality more confusing because Pisces blurs the hard edges of those clear boundaries we made in Aquarius. Suddenly the driving force of Aquarius (the need to be fully aware of oneself as an individual) has switched gears into this more accepting, forgiving, and understanding passivity of Pisces.rose in sand enlargement

But what do we do with this energy? Whenever Pisces is activated, there’s the potential for escapism and avoidance. And that’s the challenge during these final weeks of winter, as restlessness and impatience start creeping in. It’s easier to give up on any sort of accountability or productivity because there’s this longing to get away from reality and the limits of the ego world. Pisces wants to transcend boundaries by connecting to laughter and pleasure and enlightenment. Or red wine and chocolate cake. Pisces intrinsically knows there’s much more to life than what we see in the regular world, and that longing for some divine contentment can be overwhelmingly attractive. At the lower end of expression, addiction dwells in Pisces too. Because at the heart of it, to be human is to want to feel good.

The high road of this astrology is the potential to be better people at the basic level of kindness. Softer edges in the way we perceive each other leads to less divisiveness. Opinions aren’t so dogmatic because Pisces knows everything is fluid and everything changes. If we’re only committed to serving our own needs and getting ahead of competition, these next 2 weeks will feel frustrating, no matter how hard we work. But if we choose to act in a  wiser, more inclusive and compassionate way, we can ride this wave into a healthier new spring season. Maturity and dedication to improvement are the gifts of this waxing lunar cycle, carrying us to the Virgo Full Moon on March 1st. Enjoy the rest of February!


Choosing Love this New Moon

And this simply means this: that within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of.   — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor the memory of MLK in this country, but his teachings remain a struggle for us, a nation polarized by constant divisions in opinions and beliefs. This is also the last day of this lunar cycle, the dark night of the Moon in Capricorn. Tomorrow’s New Moon occurs in the last degrees of Capricorn, signalling a shift in astrological influences toward the next sign of the zodiac– the fixed air sign, Aquarius. The idealistic and humanitarian nature of Aquarius links us to what the United States was founded on, and the very values that seem to plague us today. For we are not a country where every man and woman are equal, and we don’t necessarily honor every person’s right to the pursuit of happiness.

King often spoke of love and understanding as the key to peace in our country. But loving an enemy seems impossible when hatred, fear, and disappointment are parts of human experience. Especially now, where it feels like there’s something evil out there, something that is disgusting about our world, making us even more cynical, guarded, and judgmental. This is indicative of a larger symptom, a downward spiral that has gotten us to this point in history. And a lot of us are hoping that 2018 will help lift us out of this toxicity, will show the way to heal this disconnect between what we know to be right and what we see in our reality. Racism, sexism, competition, and jealousy have undermined our ability to trust, and we need to work together in order to mend the wounds. But how do we do that, in actual terms?

I think the answer has to start inside our own heads. Much of this new lunar cycle has to do with the connection between head and heart. The Sun and Moon meet in Capricorn at 9:17 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16th, and then both the Moon and Venus will move into Aquarius on Wednesday, followed by the Sun on Friday. The season of Aquarius brings in an air of freedom and open-mindedness, where the more controlled nature of Capricorn loosens its firm grip and gets a little weird and rebellious. Aquarius embraces individuality and independence, but also honors the equal rights of others to their own individuality and independence. It corresponds to the universal love and acceptance that is the core of any internal peace and spirituality, when our emotional body interacts with our higher mind, and we intrinsically know that every person has the same right to be happy and free.

This sort of universal love comes from the heart chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit, located in the very center of the chest, and is active and healthy when we are feeling loved, secure, and accepting of others as they are. Just like yoga, this is a practice– we choose to actively engage the heart chakra, or we choose not to exercise it. Making a commitment to forgive and accept ourselves is a central part of this practice, because we can’t give and receive outwardly if we can’t give that compassion to ourselves internally. And that choice between love and hate is where the head comes into the picture, as Mercury, symbol of our mind and perception, gets active in January’s waxing lunar cycle astrology.

Mercury will form intense aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus over the coming two weeks while it speeds through Capricorn, energizing the mental buzz during the rest of the month. Our minds are powerful catalysts for change. As we head toward the second Supermoon on January 31st, Mercury’s activity will likely shake up what we’re talking and thinking about. We have the freedom of choice here to cultivate love or to get caught up in the frenzy of hate. We need to be clear-headed and committed to the ideals of peace and non-judgment in order to heal all that is dragging us down now.

Again, how do we do actually do that? We have to exercise the heart chakra, the basic value of loving self and others as equals on the same path. Every time we feel judged, jealous, or insecure, we need to practice it for ourselves. Every time we feel threatened or frustrated by another person, we need to practice it for them. This waxing moon phase is all about the awareness of choosing love in order to create a healthier perception of the world.








New Year’s Full Moon Astrology

The next few days are really the most spiritual days of the year in our modern culture. People are stepping outside of themselves and setting intentions for the year ahead– looking at what they want to release and considering what they want to draw in. It shows how much we all want the same general things in life: to feel as though we’re happy and making progress in our journey.

2018 begins with a Supermoon, a dramatic entrance into a new year. And the Moon will also be in her home territory, the watery depths of sensitive Cancer– a sign that needs to protect its internal processes from the outside world, just like its symbolic crab. The soft inner nature of Cancer depends on its hard shell of secrecy to keep it safe. Which means we can be in touch with deep insight and intuition during this phase as we listen to what our internal voices are saying to us– but there’s also the chance that we fear defending that privacy from everything outside of us. DSC01826

This nurturing, healing quality of the Moon in Cancer is what 2018 is all about. There’s such a strong feeling of exhaustion in the world right now– we’re weary from the negative energy pressing down on us all the time, the endless onslaught of disgusting human behavior. Humanity is wounded, and we need this Great Mother Moon to start out the new year. This recharges our emotional body with a starting point of love and hope.

But the Moon will make oppositions to Saturn, Venus, and the Sun on the first day of 2018, and this powerful Capricorn influence represents the need to come out of the shell, to effectively bring this healing into the reality of what we do every day. And this touches on a bigger theme of the next few years, as Saturn (slowly) approaches Pluto in Capricorn. In order to fully heal what is going on, we need to accept the darker parts of ourselves and of each other. We tend to judge other people based on factors that we perceive about them– and while it’s true that we may not all be able to get along, the hard edge we create with that judgement ends up shutting us down. When the inner voice is harsh to others, we’re going to hear it too.

Ultimately 2018 is the start of long climb ahead of us, and it’s a powerful moment to commit yourself to authentic wellness. In each of our natal charts, Pluto has been hanging out in Capricorn for about a decade now, unearthing the foundation of the structures of reality. His influence is slow and steady, like erosion on the coastline. It seems barely perceptible until you catch a glimpse of what your life used to be like. Astrologer Stephen Arroyo writes, “Pluto in the individual chart therefore symbolizes the deep-seated psychic impressions resulting from past desires and actions, which now manifest subtly as obsessions and compulsions that have no rational explanation. In other words, the true nature of the original desire is no longer clear to us; yet we are still at the mercy of this inclination, and it often makes us miserable.”

But Saturn is in Capricorn now, and that feeling of helplessness to what makes us miserable is no longer acceptable. Not only is the awareness coming to the surface with Pluto churning up toxic material, but Saturn is getting involved in the game, strengthening our backbone and determination to take responsibility and make things right. Integrity and dignity matter now that Saturn is back in its home sign– we are invited to step into our power and effectiveness in a new way.  The Full Moon in Cancer on New Year’s Day is a symbolic moment of commitment to that better life and better world that we’re all seeking right now, and which we can only create when we take care of each other without blame, shame, and judgement. And that includes the way we talk to ourselves.




Thunder Snow

Entering into Capricorn season in the northern hemisphere is something we do with sarcasm and a bit of grim determination. Winter requires a certain level of ‘adulting’– simply from the primal perspective of having to deal with the cold, ice, and snow. The effort it takes to get where we are going in the midst of a storm is a metaphor for this astrological energy. Capricorn is the part of our natal charts where we do what we have to do, regardless of how difficult. And we do it because human beings need to accomplish what we say we will– our integrity and self-respect is connected to it.

Snowy Feb day in Maudsley 054 (2)

This year’s solstice lands a few days after the start of a new lunar cycle on Monday, December 18th. The Sun and Moon meet up in the last degrees of Sagittarius at 1:30 a.m., and then the New Moon moves ahead into Capricorn later that morning. The next day Saturn makes its move into Capricorn, and the Sun follows Thursday morning at 11:29, marking the official start of the winter season on December 21st.  As if that’s not enough, Venus will join the party Christmas day, entering Capricorn just after midnight. That’s a lot of planets in one sign (including Pluto, who’s been hanging out there for years)! Astrologically speaking, this means that Capricorn themes are on the agenda, individually and collectively.

Capricorn strives for autonomy and personal control. It is the archetype of the wise elder, the symbol of knowledge learned from experience and effort. Adjectives like “ambitious” and “goal-oriented” are often used to describe this sign, but that only points to the surface of what the energy looks like. The true nature of Capricorn is to own their own power– to be able to make manifest what they envision. So there is great strength and resiliency here where one’s word is one’s oath. Committment is serious. Because if we don’t commit to what we ourselves are saying, who else can we trust in the world?

This year’s solstice is supercharged with Capricorn as Saturn, its ruling planet, shifts into home territory for the next 3 years. Last month I wrote about Saturn’s transit of Sagittarius, which challenged our collective philosophy and shattered cultural delusions. The wild chaos and embarrassing lack of morality is unavoidable in our present society. So maybe this shift that Saturn is about to make will bring exactly what we deserve. Without any doubt, a time of reckoning is about to begin. All the hype, distraction, and melodrama will not be able to withstand the stark dignity of Saturn in Capricorn.

If that makes you nervous, this transit is something to start working with consciously. We all have to grow up a little, represented by wherever Saturn in Capricorn is in our chart. Resisting growth will only make the lessons that much harder to learn. This isn’t punishment, and to look at it as such only sells out to laziness and weakness. And we aren’t lazy and weak. There is honor and accomplishment in Capricorn work because we earn dignity, we learn to be our own authority. We trust ourselves. We don’t have to make excuses, lie, and blame. We don’t tweet. If there’s something you have felt unsupported in or too busy/stressed out/weak to commit yourself to, this is the blessing you needed. There are more important things than staying in your comfort zone. Saturn in Capricorn invites us to start climbing the very mountain that scares us, promising one hell of a view.

I am the bended, but not broken. I am the power of the thunderstorm. I am the beauty in the beast. I am the strength in weakness. I am the confidence in the midst of doubt. I am Her!” — Kierra C.T. Banks



Scientology’s Heretic and Saturn in Sagittarius

Welcome to Sagittarius season! The Sun shifted into fire sign Sagittarius Tuesday night, marking the final month of decreasing daylight hours. That’s an optimistic way to look at winter! Seeking out the positive glass-is-half-full viewpoint is standard practice for Sagittarius– it’s characterized by a future-oriented, enthusiastic, adventurous, and impetuous energy which helps lift us up into the holiday spirit.

Saturn has been transiting Sagittarius for a few years now, and we’re coming to the end of the journey. The planet of limitation and restriction first entered the sign on December 23, 2014, but due to its retrograde phase Saturn backed up into Scorpio during the summer of 2015. It settled firmly into Sagittarius on September 17, 2015 and will remain there for just 4 more weeks. Before it moves into its home sign Capricorn, I wanted to look back at one example of Saturn in Sagittarius manifesting itself in the world.


Saturn has a restricting effect on us because it tests our strength. It represents the confining limits of reality– where Neptune and the Moon are elusive and imaginative planets, Saturn is stuck in the solid material world, with all its flaws and demands. The lessons we learn through Saturn experiences are invaluable to our growth. We earn dignity and competence through Saturn times because we are met with challenges and loss and have to fight harder for what we want.

While Saturn transits Sagittarius, long-held philosophies and belief systems have been under scrutiny. The polarizing scandals of politics and Hollywood have gone crazy– from Trump-supporters and “fake news” accusations to sexual abuse revelations and NFL protests, it seems like nothing is sacred. Sagittarius, which corresponds to that big-picture, cross-cultural vision, has been reigned in by strict Saturn testing just how inclusive our beliefs really are. Sagittarius is a fun-loving, gregarious sign– and it’s been difficult to feel that type of optimism while Saturn exposed all these lies and weak points in our perception. And in negative ways, this elicits a brash, dogmatic, outspoken quality– the type that won’t tolerate discussion or compromise. It’s depressing to see how awful people have been treating each other, whether we’re talking about powerful movie agents, white police officers, or extreme politicians. But the gift of this transit is the truth coming to light, which ultimately allows healing to begin.

American actress Leah Remini entered the Church of Scientology as a child in the 1970’s. Scientology, which began in 1953 based on the science fiction writings of L. Ron Hubbard, is defined as “a religious course of study and counseling based on self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment.” Her mother was introduced to the religion by a boyfriend, and the family became Scientologists when Remini was just 9 years old. She was an active member throughout her adolescent and early adult years, advocating the ‘good work’ the Church claimed to be accomplishing as it cleared the world of drug abuse and crime. It wasn’t until the 2006 celebrity marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that Remini began to question Scientology– when she asked why a particular high-ranking Church official wasn’t in attendance and was met with a harsh rebuke. According to Remini, “The response spoke to the person in me that doesn’t like to be bullied.”

leah remini

After a few years of searching the internet, observing Church practices, and being interrogated by Church officials, Remini finally split with Scientology in 2013 and wrote a revealing autobiography of her experiences that was published in November 2015. The book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology elicited such a strong response from other victims of the religion that Remini was inspired to follow the story further. A documentary series was born out of Remini’s interview with former Scientologist Amy Scobee, who was disconnected from her family due to Scientology doctrine. The heart-wrenching revelation that Church practices were destroying human relationships became the central theme of Remini’s work. As she says in the first episode, “I thought I’d be documenting stories of families that were torn apart by the Church’s practices, but what I uncovered was much deeper and darker than I ever expected.” Television network A&E picked up the series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which first aired in November 2016, and has currently evolved into its second season.

This is Saturn in Sagittarius energy at its best, manifesting as the courage that it requires to publicly question a powerful institution. Scientology is a billion dollar entity that uses its enormous resources to maintain its propaganda. Scientology and the Aftermath reveals detailed accounts of witnesses  that prove corruption and abuse by the self-proclaimed religion, and in typical blowhard fashion, all the Church can do is deny the claims.  But the information is out there, and reality (Saturn) can’t be swept aside in the name of faith (Sagittarius). Saturn in Sagittarius is providing the consistent effort needed to reframe a cultural viewpoint, to help clarify a belief system and put us on solid ground. And most of all, it’s empowering people to take charge of their own faith– to understand that the human capacity to love and forgive far outweighs any promise of redemption by some large institutional power.

“I don’t want people to feel powerless because something seems more powerful than you. Yes, they may have more money. Yes they might have people that intimidate you. But we’re never going to make any change if we’re constantly being bullied.” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Libra New Moon: Raising the Standard

It feels as though the world is exploding. The news cycle is a relentless onslaught of shocking events and revelations, and the social and political problems that need to be discussed are tangled up in intense emotions that make rational people want to throw their hands up and walk away. This week’s New Moon in Libra paves the way for an astrological shift in energy as the Sun heads toward the sign Scorpio, symbolizing a need to be courageous in our vulnerability.Seattle Feb 2012 100 (2)

Jupiter has led the way into Scorpio, making its entry into the water sign back on October 10th. Jupiter spends approximately one year in each sign, operating in a way that expands our understanding of worth and value. It tends to exaggerate our expectations or appetites because whatever it is that we desire (represented by Jupiter in our natal chart) becomes distorted in importance. We overdo it. Just like binge watching Netflix or avoiding paying the bills, there’s a point where we know it’s gone too far and we have to clean up our own mess. Over-indulgence will usually require that we reevaluate and improve our boundaries in that particular area of life, which helps us to widen our perspective about what is really good for us.

So while Jupiter sets up shop in Scorpio, it will increase our experience of all of those deep emotions and psychological insights that we often keep tightly controlled, below the surface and out of polite conversation. It will be more difficult to reign in needs and fears, and it will be more difficult to sweep our nagging secrets and heavy burdens under the rug. But the gift of this stark truth is that when we face these emotions and fears, we begin to wrestle with the actual darkness. Scorpio heals by investigating the root of the disease. It eradicates the source of the problem. If we are perpetually wanting something bad for us, this is the time to ask why—and to deal with those habitual mental patterns. Jupiter in Scorpio is a powerful motivating force to release personal emotional wounds that have limited our sense of self-control.

Thursday’s New Moon in the late degrees of Libra sets the tone for this new lunar cycle. The Sun and Moon line up directly opposite Uranus in Aries, signifying that radical new ways of expression are needed to create real peace and harmony in the world. How much have we sacrificed in the name of “keeping the peace” in our lives? We’re entering the Scorpio season, and this requires some bare bones realism on an internal level. Scorpio doesn’t care about your Facebook status—it needs to get in touch with what your gut is telling you. Strip away pretenses and deal with your own desires and hang ups. Keen insight and transformative willpower are the gifts of Scorpio, if we will face what needs to be faced.

“It’s a question of whether you’re willing to look at your life and be responsible for it, and then begin to change it.”  James Baldwin



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.

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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’.