December 2018: Faith in the Dark

November ends with a bang from the opposition of Venus in Libra to Uranus in Aries on November 30. The electricity will feel like excitement for some, and tension for others, and should linger throughout the weekend. If you’ve been planning to organize your feminist militia, today’s the day.

On December 1, Mercury moves back into Scorpio for the last week of their retrograde journey. With a trine from Chiron in Pisces and a sextile to the Moon in Virgo, Saturday (Saturn’s Day) is great for physical activity, cleaning, and doing whatever needs to be done to feel like your mental, emotional, and physical house is in order. At the start of Hanukkah on Sunday (Sun’s day), November 2, the Sun in Sagittarius will square Mars in Pisces and Venus will re-enter Scorpio. This interplay between fire (spirit) and water (emotions) will be a theme throughout the month as spirit invites us towards adventure and greater interaction with the larger world while our emotions guide us inward towards sensing and introspection. How we strike this balance will be unique for each of us. Be mindful of which part of you feels like it needs more accommodation and attention. We continue to ride this wave of balancing our drive and our dreams into the week as the Sun moves into a square with Neptune in Pisces on November 5.

The year of too many retrogrades concludes at last on December 6, when Mercury stations direct in Scorpio. Of course, they and Venus both need to clear their retrograde shadows, but the worst is finally over. The Sagittarius New Moon on December 7, in a square with Mars and Neptune conjoining in Pisces, continues to stir the elemental cauldron. If our emotions are a magic potion, and the heat is the spark needed to activate their power, then this Moon is inviting you to throw past, present, and future into the mix. Do a tarot reading for 2018. What did it all mean? What are you supposed to carry forward? What does the Goddess want you to leave behind? The seed you plant now will bloom at the Spring Equinox so set your intention wisely. Part of preparation for Winter is filling ourselves as full of the faith and hope of Sagittarius season as possible.

Mercury moves back into Sagittarius on December 12, and head towards a conjunction with Jupiter, which perfects on December 21, at the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, also known as the pagan holiday of Yule. Venus is in a trine to Neptune as the Sun enters Capricorn and the wheel of the year turns again to a new season. The Winter Solstice is the time of greatest darkness of Earth, but the light returns as the Goddess gives birth to the child she has been carrying since Summer. Although the God passed at Samhain, he has now been reborn through his son. This pagan mythology, which was adopted by Christianity and repackaged as Christmas, is a beautiful reminder that all life springs from death. The Sun, and allegorical son, will grow all through the long winter months, as light slowly gains on darkness. Many people struggle with the lack of sunlight during the Winter, but it is truly on the rise. The Goddess rests for three months after her labor, and the land lays fallow and barren, reminding us that the cold period is a time to draw inwards and restore ourselves.

Yule is celebrated with fire ritual using candles or logs, which you can inscribe with images of the Sun or God as you wish. As you gaze into the flame imagine the light within you growing stronger even as darkness covers the Earth. The night draws forth the light, just as our fears draw forth our faith. It takes faith to survive the Winter, to believe that Spring will come again. What do you need to sustain you through this period? Create a self-care plan for the next three months. The tension between water and fire, feelings and spirit, is present here, but Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign that wants you to initiate a grounding daily practice. Our ancestors couldn’t have survived the Winter without careful planning (am I right, Virgo?) and this Capricorn Sun encourages you to cultivate mindful habits to sustain yourself. New Year’s resolutions are a modern manifestation of this ancient instinct, but most of those intentions are quickly broken. Instead of trying to create a “better” version of yourself in 90 days, ask what you need to to feel your best just as you are right now. Gaze into the fire and imagine taking it into your body, into your heart, and then ask the Divine to help you connect with that light daily. For some people that’ll be moments of quiet reflection in the morning, for others lighting a candle at the end of each day, or praying in the car/train on your commute. What do you feel called to commit to? Whatever it is, make it manageable and easily incorporated into your existing routine.

The Cancer Full Moon on December 22, is opposed by a formidable lineup of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node in Capricorn. We’re going to start having eclipses along the Cancer-Capricorn axis beginning in early January, putting the spotlight on issues of family and work. This Full Moon may give us a taste of what’s to come over the next 18 months. The Moon rules Cancer, and wants to do her loving, nurturing thing here, but this lunation could highlight the forces blocking those tender moments in your life. The desire to care for others often emerges from a desire to be cared for, but for many people it is easier to nurture our partners or children than it is ourselves. Let this Moon speak to you about the places you need support and the ways you can practice receiving. Ask for help, even if it feels hard, and be extra kind to yourself, even if it feels undeserved (you deserve it).

Mercury in Sagittarius squares Neptune in Pisces on December 24, which could confuse things a bit. If you make a list, be sure to check it twice. The Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, was held around the Winter Solstice, which is why Christmas is celebrated on December 25. Saturn was the ruler of the Golden Age, when it is said humans did not have to labor for the bounty of the earth, who signifies rules, traditions, and bondage. The human need for release, freedom, and equality was addressed during Saturnalia when social traditions were cast aside. Merrymaking went on for days with public feasting and dressing up carnival style. Gifts were exchanged, including gag gifts because Capricorns are the comedians of the zodiac. Gambling was permitted and slaves were treated as free people and the slave owners had to serve them at parties. Traditions are lauded during the December holiday season, but if they feel oppressive to you in any way, I encourage you to adopt a Saturnalian attitude and just do what you want. Flip things on their head and don’t take anything too seriously. See if that doesn’t infuse a bit more joy into whatever and however you celebrate.

New Years Eve begins on one note and ends with another as Mars leaves the chill waters of Pisces and enters the hot pocket of Aries on November 31, around 9:30PM EST. The warrior in his home sign could signal that a night which starts out mild could end on a more intense note. If you party, be responsible. Don’t go too hard, stay safe, and make sure you have a plan for how to get home. There’s a new day just around the corner. Can’t wait to see what 2019 holds in store for us.

Sagittarius: by Katerina Tsibouraki

November 2018: Light in the Heart

We begin the month on a sacred note. November 1 is All Soul’s Day / Dia De Los Muertos when Venus enters the birth phase of her synodic cycle. Cultures around the world consider this to be the time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest. This is a wonderful time to visit cemeteries or build altars to honor your beloved dead. The spirit world reaches out to us now, and we have the opportunity to connect with loved ones who have moved beyond this realm and form. Venus reemerging on this day is a beautiful reminder that death is but a pause before a return.

Significant shifts start happening on November 6 when the Nodes of the Moon move from Leo and Aquarius to Cancer and Capricorn. The Nodes represent what we are growing into and away from; they are areas of gain and loss. Eclipses happen at these points, so they are places of power in the sky. This shift marks the end of of one eclipse cycle and the beginning of another. More will be revealed about what this mean for you in January when the next series of eclipses begin. Also on November 6, Retrograde Uranus will move from Taurus back into Aries until March 7, 2019. Uranus was in Aries from May 2010-2018, and is credited with inspiring the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Now he’s back to complete unfinished business and perhaps inspire more radical participation in democracy (vote!). Just before they all change signs, Uranus will square the Lunar Nodes infusing them with radical energy, letting us know that whatever is coming next year will have an even bigger dash of the unexpected and confrontational. On a personal level, November 6 is a great day to have a conversation about partnership with the Sun in Scorpio trining Neptune in Pisces. If the Venus retrograde has gotten you more in touch with what you do or don’t want in relationships–be they romantic, business, or platonic–this is a great day to share your visions and ideals for what you’d like to create. We’ll never achieve utopia, but it’s a beautiful dream to strive towards.

On the following day, November 7, we have a lovely Scorpio New Moon with Jupiter present in the final degree of Scorpio, giving us one last blessing of faith and emotional healing. This moon comes towards the end of the Venus retrograde, when our bright lady has just begun to show her face in the sky again. Wish upon this Moon for how’d you’d like to grow your self-esteem and what you’d like to cultivate in your community. Are the two intertwined? Where is the love for yourself reflected in your people? How do you show love for yourself by showing up for your people? Tell this Moon what you’d like to manifest and watch for the roots that take hold in the Spring.

The big news of the month–and I do mean big!–is Jupiter entering Sagittarius on November 8. The planet of truth and justice has been in Scorpio, the sign of sex and death, since October 2017, and during that time we’ve seen the rise of the Me Too movement and the public reckoning with the legacy of sexual violence in our culture. Jupiter rules judges, and the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was one of the final manifestations of his work to bring consciousness to this issue. Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the Sun, and was last in Sagittarius from November 2006-December 2007. Think back to that time for clues as to what this next year might be like for you. Sagittarius is a sign of philosophy, freedom, and adventure. With Jupiter returning to his grand domicile, we may feel an expanded sense of optimism and faith, and perhaps a restlessness to break free from the old and head towards the new.

The other major sign change of the month is Mars moving into Pisces on November 15. Mars has been in Aquarius for five months, since May 17, and spent much of his time there retrograde. The Aquarian patch of sky has been well worn by Mars, and it is a sweet relief to see him gone from this conceptual realm. Mars in Pisces has a more emotive flavor. We may feel motivated around artistic projects and find the necessary drive to finish something we’ve been working on for a while. He joins Chiron and Neptune in Pisces, where he will stay until early January 2019. Mars is the warrior, so his time may be spent examining battle wounds, and learning how to heal instead of hurt. It should be quite a ride with Mars motorboating through these emo waters for the next six weeks.

On November 16, Venus stations direct in Libra and Mercury goes retrograde in Sagittarius. We’ve not been without a significant planet retrograde for half the year, so if 2018 was not all you hoped for in terms of forward motion and momentum, you can definitely blame it on the stars. Venus emerges from her retrograde victorious in her home sign of Libra, as the triumphant Morning Star warrior queen. The demons she encountered on her journey to the underworld were not able to hold her there, she is reborn and radiant, ready to take on whatever forces tried to bring her down. You may be feeling similarly right now, proud of yourself for what you’ve survived since October 5. Venus will begin moving slowly soon, but she will not pass from her retrograde shadow until December 18, so there’s still another month before everything shakes out. If you’re feeling a little worse for the wear, give it time.

Mercury is in their detriment in Sagittarius, opposite from their home sign of Gemini, so this retrograde may bring a bit more confusion than usual (ugh-oh). Mercury will be retrograde until December 6, when they station direct at 27 degrees of Scorpio, continuing the conversation about the retrograde topics and putting a final emphasis on the work of Venus and Jupiter. Rx Mercury squares Neptune in Pisces on November 17, and things could get lost very quickly. This is one of those batten down the hatches, back up your hard drive, and double check the directions kind of situation because Mercury in Sag is notorious for getting overwhelmed by details and Neptune in Pisces is like a dense fog rolling in. If you like to do holiday shopping early, don’t make big purchases or buy electronics while Mercury is retrograde.

The Sun enters Sagittarius on November 22, joining Jupiter at the great feast. We are in the darkest time of the year, but we do not despair because Sagittarius stokes our internal faith. The twinkling lights from the windows we pass reflect the shining of our hearts inside our chests. The following evening, November 23, is the Gemini Full Moon, illuminating the other size of the zodiac. Sagittarius is about the broad vision but Gemini loves the small details. Sagittarius asks why (and often answers, why not?), while Gemini accepts without question. Both signs are known for their appreciation of diversity, but with a square from Mars in Pisces, we may be urged to go deeper than either would prefer to delve.

The Sun conjoins Jupiter on November 26, and Mercury squares Mars. A planet in the same degree of the Sun is considered cazimi, to be in the heart, imbued with a sacred wisdom. Before and after this moment, the planet is being burned by the Sun, purified, but once enough distance has been gained, the seed that was planted grows in strength. In the days before Jupiter is cazimi, meditate on areas of life where you’d like to grow your faith and optimism. What do you long for but believe is not possible? The gap between the two can be filled by the light of the Sun in Sagittarius.

During Mercury retrograde we may continue old conversations or clear up unfinished business. The square from Mars on this day may give us a push to do just that, or it may feel like a needle in our side. If you feel compelled to communicate make sure your speech is not tinged with anger or anxiety, and if it is, take a pause and ground into yourself or the emotional truth of what you’d like to express. Think before you speak is generally a good slogan for Sagittarius season.

On November 27, Mercury conjoins the Sun and then Jupiter. Mercury goes retrograde more than any other planet and is cazimi three times a year. Even still, it is a significant moment when the messenger receives new marching orders. With this infusion from the Sun and blessing from Jupiter, the wisdom of Sagittarius season starts to integrate into our minds. You may feel divinely inspired on this day. Whatever flows in will help carry you through the darkness as we head towards winter. Honor the messages and those who deliver them, and most of all, heed the calling of your own heart.

Jupiter in Sagittarius by Johfra Bosschart

July 2018: Pause and then Plunge


Welcome to Cancer season. The summer has truly begun and the Sun is bright in the sky, but July is marked by retrogrades and eclipses. In order to understand these powerful cosmic moments of slow down and speed up, we need to examine the mythology and history of the planets involved in the astral dance we’re witnessing.

The month starts on a spicy note when Mercury, the God of Communication, enters Leo, on June 29, and immediately squares Uranus, letting us know communication is going to be heated for a while. The Sun is in the watery sign of Cancer, illuminating our need for healing on a collective and personal level. We want to be especially mindful of our speech on July 5, when Chiron, the wounded healer, stations retrograde in Aries, while the Sun trines Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mercury opposes Mars in Aquarius. It’s going to be a day with big feels and even bigger words. The medicine of this moment may go down better with a teaspoon of sugar, but we’re more likely to pour gasoline on the whole thing and light a match.

Chrion’s movement from placid Pisces into firey Aries in April signaled a shift in the way we approach healing. Chiron was a centaur, half-man half-horse, who was disowned by his parents, Saturn and Philyra, and mentored by Apollo and Artemis. Renown for his wisdom as a teacher and skills as a healer, he was credited with the discovery of botany and pharmacy, but sustained a wound that even his knowledge was unable to remedy, and was in such anguish that he begged to be made mortal so he could die. With Chiron in Aries, we’re experiencing an urgent call to action around our deepest wounds, and the retrograde period until December 9, is an invitation to consider how and where we enter this work. Our challenge is to approach these painful places with devotion and a true heart without flaming too bright and trying to run roughshod over our tenderest parts.

Venus enters Virgo on July 9, and our aesthetic sensibilities turn towards the earthy and refined. The perfectionist impulse of Virgo is best channeled towards art and beautifying your home, rather than trying to “fix” yourself or anyone else. The following day, July 10, Jupiter’s retrograde ends, and he stations direct in Scorpio. Getting access to the full power of the great benefic lends much needed assistance to our navigation of the catalytic eclipses that begin shortly thereafter.

Last year, the “great American” total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, at 29 degree of Leo, inspired millions of people to migrate to remote areas of the country to witness an astronomical event. Whether or not those pilgrims believe in astrology, they responded to a primal instinct that it’s a big deal when the Moon causes the light of the Sun to be completely obscured on earth, so they joyfully organized their precious summer vacations to drive hundreds of miles (sometimes after flying thousands) to stand in the middle of a field with strangers and stare up at the sky wearing flimsy plastic glasses. The draw of the eclipse signaled a shift in our collective consciousness. There was a public demonstration of consensus that the connection between the stars and human lives can be felt in our bodies. The next total solar eclipse in the USA is not until April 24, 2024, but an eclipse is not a rare event.

There are two eclipse seasons a year with up to three eclipses per season. Yet their power is mighty, their cycles complex, and their significance contested. The Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle that began on February 10, 2017, shortly after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, and will continue through January 2019, is an exploration of who we are as a collective and what it says about us as individuals. The impact of the August 2017 eclipse was highly debated ahead of time by astrologers because it fell on Trump’s ascendant, and cast the biggest shadow across the states that popularly supported his candidacy. Eclipses have always held great significance for heads of state, and many predicted the energy would either bring about his political downfall or solidify his power. A solar eclipse creates a container that is most powerfully felt for the next 6 months, but can have reverberations for the next 19 years.

This summer we have a trifecta of eclipses spanning July and August, and the first is a partial solar eclipse at the New Moon in Cancer on July 12. This eclipse initiates a new cycle between Cancer-Capricorn, triggering dynamics between archetypes of the loving mother and stern father, that will continue to play out over the next three years. This New Moon is opposed by Pluto, which can bring a frightening depth, but let that heaviness facilitate a deeper plunge into Cancer’s healing emotional waters.

A brightness returns when the Sun enters it’s home sign of Leo on July 22, and our spirit is inspired to shine out. Take time to appreciate yourself and those around you for the light and love they bring to your life. Remember to lay in the soft grass or warm sand and absorb the healing rays of the biggest luminary in our galaxy. The Sun will trine Chiron and square Uranus on July 25, reminding us that sometimes we have to break with the past to move into the future as the people we’re meant to become. Mercury stations retrograde on July 26 until August 19, emphasizing our origin story, and what is required for our spiritual evolution around issues of family, roots, and ancestry.

The biggest event of the month comes at the end with the Full Moon in Aquarius total lunar eclipse on July 27. This blood Moon is with Mars and squared by Uranus, so the impulse may be to radically cut away all that which is holding you back. However, hold off on making any drastic decisions around interpersonal dynamics or health issues until this martial energy has been fully integrated. People will probably be having a hard time in the days leading up to and following, so make sure to practice compassion for yourself and others. Try not to say anything you can’t take back, but if you don’t act your best, remember that a sincere apology coupled with a change in behavior goes a long way to mending rifts. Offer whatever you’d like to compost in your life or the world up to the purifying flames of Chiron in Aries, and ask Saturn to help you dedicate to a practice to be the change you want to see in the world.

The energy of July is like fireworks. Bright bursts will light up our lives and pass away quickly. Allow yourself to appreciate what is beautiful, and regard the drama with a healthy detachment, but don’t get distracted from that which is yours to do. There is more to come in August, and we need to pace ourselves in order to keep up with this summer that wants us to grow as fast and abundantly as the crops in the field. Take it step by step, and you’ll harvest a bounty in the fall.