June 2019: Goddess Bless

The month of June is named for the Queen of the Gods, Juno, who was known to the Greeks as Hera, the feminine form of hero, meaning “earth.” Accompanied by a peacock and frequently a rainbow, it is customary for LGBTQAI pride festivals to be held in June, which are also symbolized by rainbows and accompanied by many peacocks. Juno is depicted holding a pomegranate in her left hand, a reference to her earlier manifestation of Goddess of the Dead, and a cuckoo surmounted scepter in the right. She represents the divine power of creation, and was the protectress of childbirth. As the feminine principle of celestial light, she was believed to lead children into the light. Juno also presided over rites and arrangements of marriage, and the sixth month was sacred to her. The custom of marrying in June is connected to seeking blessings from Juno. The menstrual cycle symbolized the orderly passage of time, and as Goddess of the Calender she was worshiped as the Calends, the first day of each lunar month. The mythology of Juno contains much complexity, but she was widely revered for her loyalty and fidelity. Her aesthetic is a reminder not to let the patriarchy dull your shine. Juno is one manifestation of the Goddess of many faces and many forms, and June is a wonderful time to take up worship of this powerful Goddess.

The end of Spring is ruled by Mercury, our fair genderqueer God of Communication, who presides over Gemini Season. Gemini is a mutable air sign represented by the twins that rules the double parts of our bodies: lungs, arms, hands. Those born under this star have a natural gift for gab, and Gemini season is the perfect time to get out of your house and talk to your neighbor. Mercury entered Gemini on May 21, immediately made their superior conjunction to the Sun, and re-emerged as an evening star. We’re forging a new relationship with the themes from the Mercury retrograde in Pisces (March 4-28). We’ve had several months to work with the psychedelic debris and emotional messiness that surfaced during that time. Now we’ll refine our relationship to those topics as Mercury prepares to station retrograde again on July 7, in Leo.

The month opens with a trine from Venus in her home earth sign of Taurus to Pluto in Capricorn on June 2. Venus received an electric greeting from Uranus when she entered Taurus on May 15. Now she’s receiving an empowered salutation from Pluto on her way out. This is a day of deep passions, regenerating forces in relationships, and an intense interplay between what we want and what we need. Enjoy the primal power of this day, but if you notice your mind veering towards the obsessive or controlling, steer it in a different direction.

The Gemini New Moon on June 3, is co-present with Mercury, opposing retrograde Jupiter in Sagittarius and squaring Neptune in Pisces. This Moon calls upon the relationship between intellect, imagination, and inspiration. The Sun is climbing towards the Summer Solstice and light is bright in the land, but that makes the contrast with the dark Moon even more apparent. Themes of duality are always present during Gemini season, and with Mercury in their home sign, there is an emphasis on connection through expression. Notice what parts of your self or body talk to each other fluidly, and which are more isolated. Are there some areas that are consistently ignored? This is a great time for integration work be that yoga, talk therapy, or guided visualizations. Let the softer parts speak and ask the loud parts to take a step back. The following day, June 4, Mercury enters Cancer, where they’ll stay until June 26. They’re moving quickly, which is a good thing, because this is a rough patch of sky that will influence the second half of Gemini season, especially the middle of the month.

Venus leaves her stable earthy abode of Taurus for the quick silver skies of Gemini on June 8 until July 3. While Venus is in the sign of the twins, she’ll desire a sibling-like familiarity with the world. Gemini is the eternal youth. You may feel restless in your relationships and a desire to reach out and touch new experiences that is not easily satiated. Gemini has a charm and wit all their own, and constantly seeks stimulation and connection through communication. Remember to have fun and play as much as possible, but also take time out to breathe. The Sun in Gemini moves into a t-square with Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Sagittarius on June 9, engaging our soul and will in the process of synthesizing the Mercury retrograde lessons. Venus will make these same moves on June 23 and 24, so the engagement with mysticism and faith is strong throughout the month.

If you can hide in the woods from June 12-19, that would be best. Just beware of bears because both Mars and Mercury are in Cancer, moving into oppositions with Ketu (lunar South Node), Saturn, and Pluto, and a conjunction with each other. This is going to be a challenging time. Full stop. Both our will and our mind will be confronted with what’s burning on the karmic funeral pyre of Capricorn. Our mental health will be affected. We’ll tend to focus on the negative, defenses will go up, but not in a helpful way. We’ll be irritable and unreasonable without knowing it, feeling both personally inadequate and blameful of others. If you’re stymied during this time then wait it out and try again. Nothing will be gained from raging against this machine. It’s rolling over us. No one is going to be having very much fun so try not to take it personal. This too shall pass. Take the high road by laying low.

The Sagittarius Full Moon on June 17, is a light in the darkness. Jupiter entered Sagittarius on November 8, 2018, and will be there until December 2, 2019. Having the great benefic in his home fire sign is a spiritual and material boon that’s helping us deal with the challenging Capricorn configuration. Sagittarius is about excellent adventures and spiritual quests. On the physical plane we may feel confined and trapped, but Jupiter is Sag reminds us that no matter the difficult circumstances our souls are always free. The good natured centaur encourages us to let our spirits soar. We’re halfway through Jupiter’s journey. He stationed retrograde on April 10, to take stock of his progress, and will not go direct until August 11. This lovely Full Moon, co-present with Jupiter, and across from the Sun and Venus in Gemini, is illuminating what growth he’s created in the Sag part of our lives thus far. One note of warning is that this Moon has an appetite for distraction. Enjoy yourself and indulge your senses, but hold off on any shopping sprees until the end of the month.

The Summer Solstice has an extra dash of splash as Neptune stations retrograde in Pisces just as the Sun enters Cancer on June 21. The Moon is in the Saturn ruled sign of Aquarius when the Sun joins Rahu (lunar North Node), Mars, and Mercury in her watery abode. Cancer represents home, family, and those we consider “our people.” Capricorn is the institutions and foundations that the heart dwells within. The city gates that surround our domicile. The eclipse points, Rahu and Ketu, moved into these signs last November, putting an extra emphasis on the Capricorn construction project. The first eclipse along this axis happened on January 5, at the Capricorn New Moon, and we’ll get the next round with the Cancer New Moon total Solar eclipse on July 2, and the Capricorn Full Moon partial lunar eclipse on July 16. Dynamic tension between home and career, family and work, want and support, love and duty will be especially heightened during this time. The encouragement is to grow towards what your heart needs, and to let go in the areas where you have traditionally held on too tight.

The pagan holiday of Litha, the Summer Solstice, marks the beginning of Summer and the day of the maximum light in the sky. We’re in the solar time of the year from the Spring to Fall Equinox. The light has been increasing a few minutes each day since the Winter Solstice on December 21, and is now at it’s highest point. On Litha, ancient peoples celebrated the zenith of the Sun, when the Earth is at a peak of fertility. This is a perfect time for magic of all kinds. You can ask the Sun to burn away that which you no longer want in your life and ask the Earth to grow what you do. If you’re not sure what that is, here is a tarot spread to connect with the divine forces at play in your life. 

LITHA TAROT SPREAD

This 7 card spread can be used to inspire your spell work or clarify intentions for the Season. Lay the cards in the shape of a circle with 1 card in the middle to represent the astrological glyph of the Sun.

  1. SEED: Where you are at this moment as the Summer Solstice, or whenever you want to use the spread during Cancer Season. This card goes in the middle.
  2. PURIFY/CHURN: What are you placing on the altar to be burned away by the power of the Sun? What rocks are you tossing out of your garden? This card goes directly above 1.
  3. MULCH: What nourishment do you need? What extra ingredients will make your garden grow best? This card goes to the left of the 2.
  4. PRAYER: What would you like you weave into your life this season? What sweet prayer is on your lips as your plant the seeds? This card goes directly below 3.  
  5. GROWTH: What grows in your life this season? This card goes directly below 1.
  6. WEED: What do you need to prune back to allow this new life to flourish? This card goes to the right of 5.
  7. SUMMER: The outcome of the Season. What you harvest in the Fall. This card goes above 6 and to the right of 2.


If you use this tarot spread please feel free to let me know and tag me in any photos/posts online. Solstice Blessings. 

Over June 23 and 24, Venus will oppose Jupiter and square Neptune, in the last of the three t-squares between Gemini, Sagittarius, and Pisces over the past month. Venus involves the heart, and this transit may bright a needed dose of optimism and faith that you’ll be able to withstand the current challenges and make it to the other side having grown in wisdom. This transit could bring a tendency to get carried away in the fantasy of love. Be sure to stay grounded in your perceptions of what people are offering and stay realistic about what they can deliver. These are days to watch out for excessive spending, especially on witchy items. Before buying that new crystal, consider whether a nice walk or a short meditation might produce similar effects for free. Gaia will thank you for it.

Much to everyone’s relief, Mercury enters Leo on June 26, and Mars follows a week later on July 1. While in the home of the Sun they’ll both make exciting and dynamic trines to Jupiter, and generally feel grateful for the warmth on their backs. Having fewer planets in Cancer is good for everyone, but the Sun is there till July 22, and Venus will arrive on July 3. The beginning of Summer is not the most carefree part of the season, but there’s something to be said for getting the hard stuff out of the way early. July is going to bring a series of powerful eclipses, exposing the cracks in our foundation, but that’s how the light gets in.

Hera: by Emily Balivet

May 2019: Spring Rites


Herne The Hunter: Sally Fryer

The month opens with the joyous pagan fire and fertility festival of Beltane on May 1, celebrating high Spring, around 15 degrees Taurus. We’re halfway to Summer, shoots are sprouting up from the ground, and light is filling the land. Traditionally, Beltane is when animals were let back out to pasture. From the Old Gaelic meaning “blazing fire,” great bonfires were lit on April 30, May Eve, and burned all through the night. Cattle were hearded from one fire to another for purification and to increase fertility. People jumped the flames or ran between them for the same reasons. This was the 2nd most important holiday in the Celtic world after Samhain (Halloween). Both are cross-quarter days of power; the mid-point of Taurus and Scorpio.

Samhain is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, and the Welsh believed that on May 1, a doorway opened into faeryland. This is a time of heightened magic when it’s easier to visit the Sister Realm (where the faeries live). This holiday celebrates the marriage between the Goddess and the Green Man. The Green Man, also called the Horned God, is the divine masculine manifestation of Mother Nature/Gaia. He is protector of the forest and its beasts. He loves the land, lives in harmony with its rhythms, and plays a central role in the continuation of life on the planet. When the Goddess and the Green Man come together all the creatures on earth rejoice. Beltane rituals celebrated the May Queen, the Goddess in her fertility phase. Dancing around the Maypole, which represents the virility of the Green God, is a practice that has survived into modern times. On May Day, we join together with what we love to create new things. It is time to celebrate transformation through sexuality and a day to make merry.

A RITUAL TO JOIN YOURSELF WITH WHAT YOU DESIRE:

What you’re seeking is also seeking you. This is never more true than during Beltane. Taurus season is about resources. Prudent use of the Goddess’ abundance pleases her. Everything we need already exists on earth. The Goddess creates it all; we’re simply agents of transformation. Seek to align yourself with what you desire using this simple Beltane ritual.

Imagine what you want to join with. It can be something tangible, like a new job, or a quality, like unconditional love. Take three ribbons, pieces of yarn, or branches from a pliable tree. Weave them together, imagining you are one string, the quality is the other, and the Divine is the last. You can recite to yourself as you do this, I join myself with XXXX. Imagine the Divine weaving you all together in an inseparable mix. When you’re done, hang the braid outside on a tree or shrub and let the wind carry away your want. Don’t wonder when the thing will manifest. Trust that the Divine is handling it all.

Many personal planets are moving through Aries and Taurus in May, squaring and trining the retrograde heavyweights Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu (the South Node) in Capricorn. These transits draw your awareness into where you need to let go in order to move forward with what you’ve been building in the Capricorn realm of life. It all starts with the one closest to the Sun, Mercury, who rules our mental habits. The God of Communication determines what and how we perceive, observe, learn, and move through life. On May 1, Mercury sextiles Mars and squares Saturn, and, on May 2, Mercury squares Pluto and trines Jupiter. Saturn and Pluto are throwing up some mental blocks, but Jupiter will help us find creative work arounds.

Pluto stationed retrograde on April 24, on the 23 degree of Capricorn (look to see if you have any planets there or on that same degree in cardinal signs). Pluto transits are times of truth. It becomes impossible not to be honest with oneself when the God of the Underworld comes to call. Saturn stationed retrograde on April 29, on the 20 degree of Capricorn conjunct Ketu for a delicious little karmic sandwich. Ketu represents the energetic resonance of past lives; the patterns we formed that no longer serve us today. The adaptive strategies that helped but now hinder so we must learn to live without them. As I wrote in my Plutonian Power post on Patreon, Pluto has been moving through Capricorn since November 26, 2008, and will be there until January 20, 2024. Saturn moved into his home earth sign of Capricorn on December 19, 2017, and will remain until December 17, 2020. Saturn transits mature us. Grow us up. Anywhere you’re shirking responsibility, Saturn will make you feel the consequences of those actions. Saturn will be retrograde for the next five months, until September 18. The karmic past is very present right now. Many of us are going through it, and it’s a lot to digest. Mercury will help wrap our minds around it, and the trine from Jupiter will give us faith we can get through it. 

Dark Moons are reflective times of quiet energy, but the Taurus New Moon on May 4, is electric due to its proximity with Uranus. We’re initiating a new cycle in the Taurus area of our lives and Uranus wants it to be revolutionary. The Full Moon in Taurus on October 24, 2018, was conjunct Uranus. What was going on for you then? What is up now? Uranus has come to shake us out of our unconscious habitual patterns around food, money, sex, pleasure, love, production, capitalism, and security. No big deal. This is the first New Moon of its kind, but for the next 7 years, no lunation in Taurus will be like any we’ve known. The seeds you plant during this time are radioactive. They may grow into things you never imagined possible. Take a long view with your intention setting and leave lots of room for Divine play.

On May 5, Mars in Gemini will oppose Jupiter in Sagittarius. This is a great day to take on a challenge. You may feel called to prove yourself and you’ll have the resources to come through. This can be a lucky day, but its not dumb luck. Be smart in your dealings, and don’t go to every battle your invited to (unless it’s the Battle of the Bastards). If desire overwhelms you, that may be a sign to take a step back and consider what you’re hungry for vs. what you’re really seeking? Often when focus on people or things when we really want an experience or feeling. Satisfaction will be found at the essence of the matter, not the simulation. Anything you do that increases self-esteem will multiply so play to win by playing nice (you can have boundaries and be nice, but you can’t have boundaries and put yourself last).

The fire in the sky starts to decrease when Mercury enters Taurus on May 6, moving towards a conjunction with Uranus on May 8. The amount of planets in earth signs creates a grounded and plodding feeling, but Uranus keeps it interesting. Mercury has just been reminded of the rules by the Capricorn gang. Uranus says, Good for them, and blows it all up with dynamite. You may feel overstimulated during this time and experience a heightened sense of intuition. Breakthroughs are possible at work, but avoid jumping to conclusions. Test results twice before presenting them to anyone. If possible, move your body to release the extra stimulation on the nervous system and go easy on the caffeine.

Venus is busy the week of May 6 as she squares Ketu, Saturn, and Pluto. This is the same rocky terrain Mercury has just crossed, but now our heart is involved. Our feelings are already in a tough spot because Venus is in her detriment in the fire sign Aries. There may be an edge to relationships right now, especially romantic partnership. Anger is closer to the surface than usual. It is advisable to cultivate patience. You can use this energy to assist with honesty, but don’t let the ego to crowd out love. Our hearts become hurt when we allow arguments to become the central method of communication. Give your feelings an outlet, and then share your thoughts with the person involved. During the week of May 6, we may experience some loss or confront serious issues, but it will be for our greatest good because Venus will make a fire trine to Jupiter on May 9. This is one of the best transits possible, and would be one of the best days of the year, if not for the restricting influences. Nevertheless, there will be unexpected boons and boosts of hope. Enjoy the feeling of the wind blowing in your favor.

The weekend of May 10 is a great time to get things done, as the Sun trines Ketu, Saturn, and then Pluto on May 13. You’ll feel called to bring yourself closer to your goals by taking tangible steps. The Sun is getting intel on Saturn and Pluto’s retrogrades, so this could mean letting something go or revising a past decision. It will be easier to discipline yourself so if there’s something you don’t want to do, wait till Saturn’s Day on May 11, and he will help you get ‘er done. The trine to Pluto may raise questions about inner motivation and what’s fueling your work. You’ll get great satisfaction from the transformation that’s occurring.  

Mars gets a sextile from Venus on his way out of Gemini on May 14, and enters Cancer on May 15. Mars doesn’t enjoy being in the sign of the ever changing Moon. Cancer is moody, fickle, and emo af. Mars likes to start a fight but doesn’t want to watch your tears fall. Over the next six weeks, you’re desire may feel stymied. People will act more defensive and overprotective, and be inclined towards passive-aggressive behavior. Our task is to show up with compassion for the emotional work that presents itself and tap out when you need. Mars will be in Cancer until July 1, and is conjunct with Rahu (the North Node) and Mercury at the Solstice on June 21, lending an edge to the start of Summer. This isn’t as bad as last Summer when Mars was retrograde in Aquarius the entire time, but from May 15-July 1, it’ll be easier to get your feelings hurt. Keep the focus on yourself and trust that this too shall pass.

The good news is that Venus will enter Taurus, her domain of earthly delights, on May 15, giving us a feeling of abundance and prosperity. Everyone is happy when mama is happy, and Venus will be in Taurus until June 8. This will help offset some of the Mars in Cancer crankiness and give us a feeling of support as we go through it The weekend of May 18 has an electrifying buzz because Venus will make a conjunction with Uranus at the Scorpio Full Moon. Wowza. Talk about Big Witch energy. This is a day where anything can happen in the areas of love and money. Have fun with it and let yourself feel free.

This energy is a follow up to the Scorpio New Moon of November 7, 2018, when Jupiter was taking his final lap through the dark waters, and a retrograde Venus ruled from Libra. Jupiter in Scorpio brought to light painful enshrouded secrets, and gave birth to the Me Too movement. For the next 7 years, Uranus will be opposing Scorpio. We will not be allowed to forget, nor will we be allowed to conduct business as usual. Whatever arose for you last fall may show itself again in a new form. People with planets in fixed signs (Aquarius, Leo, Scorpio, and Taurus) will be feeling this the most.

The Sun and Mercury engage in parallel play as they move into Gemini together on May 21, and form a perfect conjunction that morning. The double-bodied sign of the twins is social, inquisitive, and chatty. The Sun and Mercury meeting here is a nice reset that will blow away the old and stagnant, and bring in some fresh air for the end of Spring. You may feel inspired to change things up. Mercury is moving fast and will only stay in their home sign until June 4, when they enter Cancer. Make the most of this quickening energy that may feel like a flash of inspiration across your eyes or a hundred galloping horses in your brain. Gemini season is about dispersing so scatter your seeds far and wide and enjoying the rise to Summer.

April 2019: Rebirth & Revolution

April is a month of blessings and challenges. Much was unearthed during the Mercury retrograde and now it’s time to work with the debris that is left on the surface after the tides have receded. Three planets go retrograde, and we move into a firm commitment with Spring.

April 2 begins on a dreamy note with the Moon in Pisces conjunct Venus in the sign of her exaltation. Venus loves to be in this water sign where she can connect and express freely. We have a sense of being all one; a small but integral part of this glorious human family. The good times are strong with the ruler of Pisces, Jupiter, in his home sign of Sagittarius. The entrance of Venus into Pisces on March 26, gave us some sweet relief at the end of a trying Mercury retrograde. On April 2, Mercury conjoins Neptune for the final time, weaving in some final threads to the retrograde lessons.

Mercury retrograde in Pisces was one of the defining features of March (5-28). Pisces is the ocean and the outer planet Neptune is God of those waters. Many of us felt like we were being pulled under, and we weren’t sure if we’d re-emerge or where. Mercury retrogrades are periods of reflection, revision, and reordering; but Mercury is the trickster God. The journeyer who guides us through the subconscious, so these processes are non-linear. In ordinary life, we’re focused on details and progress, but Mercury retrograde brings our awareness into the larger whole by slowing us down and tripping us up. If we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we shouldn’t, we can enjoy the surreal experience of time melting a little. If we remain attached to the status quo and doing things the “right” way, these trimester sojourns can make us quite miserable.

The experience of Mercury in Pisces has been a long one. Mercury entered on February 10 and glided into a conjunction with Neptune on February 19. Depending on your inclination, this was like your mind being submerged in the dreamy, cosmic womb of the divine mother or the scary, psychedelic waters of the River Styx (some of us got both). Mercury moved to the last degree of Pisces, and stationed retrograde on March 5. From there, they began to move backwards through the sky, retracing their steps, but with a bit of mischief in their heart. On March 24, Mercury moved into their second conjunction with Neptune, and hung out there as they prepared to station direct on March 28. Mercury slowly began moving forward again, and will encounter Neptune for the final time on April 2.

Generally, Mercury retrogrades are times when conversations are continued and information is added. We’re shown where there are leaks in our boat and directions we could head that were hidden to us before. This Mercury retrograde has been an intense one for many of us. Personally, I had my laptop screen crack (the second time that’s happened in a Mercury retrograde since I started doing astrology–ha ha), and of course there were the typical technical errors, typos, delayed transactions, and confused details. Most significantly, old narratives of a difficult emotional nature resurfaced in our collective psyche. Mercury will remain in Pisces until April 17. Mysteries have been unveiled and changes have occurred, but it will take awhile to assimilate and embody this long strange trip. I’d love to hear how it went for you so drop me a line and tell me your retrograde story.

Mars broke free from stubborn Taurus and entered the freebird sign of Gemini on March 31. On April 3, he will sextile Chiron who’s begun moving through Mars’ home of Aries. The energy of Chiron in Aries is new, but the healing he’s bringing is long overdue. Aries is the sign of the warrior. The one who desires to demonstrate valor and courage, but who would rather go it alone and risk death, than compromise their ego and admit vulnerability. Chiron has come to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this patriarchal mindset. Collectively, we’re moving away from the ancient pattern of achieving security through dominance-over others, towards a model of power-with people. The Moon is with Chiron at the sextile, moving towards the Sun, so the energy of this transit is carried forward to the Aries New Moon. 

Pluto is conjunct the South Node on April 4, which is also heavily influencing this Moon. Pluto is the God of the Underworld; creator and destroyer. He breaks things down so he can build them back up again. The cycle of death, decay, and rebirth are under his purview. Pluto transits often force us to change, transform, or take control of something that has gotten out of hand in our lives. Like the gorgeous and formidable Indian Goddess, Kali, he restores balance through decimation and regeneration. The South Node of the Moon, known as Ketu in Vedic astrology, is a place of fear and loss. It is a karmic position of attachment where we’ve brought in energy from past lives. April is a unique month because both Pluto and Saturn are conjunct with the South Node, which hasn’t happened since January 1985, when they all met in Scorpio. The combination of these planets in Capricorn means that we won’t be able to effort our way out of this configuration; although hard work will be required. In April, change may occur that is out of our control, and we won’t be able to alter the course. We’ll see and feel where we’re restricted, and though we might want to fight like hell, it’d be better to go slack and simply slide out of the bonds (like how they teach you in self-defense class).

The Aries New Moon is in a square with Saturn, the South Node, and Pluto in Capricorn highlighting themes of power, limitations, and what we’re up against. This Moon is showing us where we need to let go so we can break on through to the other side. Aries is a time of new beginnings; the ego that springs forth and says, I Can! Saturn is the law of karma that says, No, you can’t. Questions of why are not helpful in this situation. We’re all born with baggage. The best course is acceptance and a prayer to show up for your part. The seed we’re sowing at this Moon is one of surrender and strength through submission. What we initiate in the Spring carries through to the Summer Solstice (3 months), and all the way through the yang part of the year to the Aries Full Moon in October (6 months), but the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is in effect for all of 2019. The energy of this Moon will influence the entire astrological year until Ostara next March, 2020. Here is a ritual if you would like to consciously work with this energy:

Aries New Moon Ritual
Adorn your altar with red candles, spring flowers, and anything with rams or horns. Ground into Gaia, cast your circle, call in your deities and supports, and take a moment to consider where you are right now. Give thanks for what you’re grateful for, and be sure to include yourself for creating time for magic in your life. Look at the topics ruled by Aries and Capricorn in your astrological chart (if you don’t know you can email me ahead of time). Do a meditation or visualization on how those areas feel. Are they connected? How? Spend some time checking in with yourself, and then consider what you’d like them to to look like. How could they be harmonized and optimized? Ask the Divine to show you what ego patterns or belief systems are holding you back from being truly free or in your power. This is less about getting material things that you want and more about transforming how we relate to these concepts so there’s more grace and ease.

It does not have to be a long meditation or visioning, ideally 10-15 minutes but whatever feels right to you is best. When you’re done, write about what you saw or heard in your journal. Pay extra attention to the emotional qualities that arose or that you’d like to cultivate. If you’ve gotten an indication of something that’s ready to go or be surrendered, write it down on a piece of paper, and make an offering of that thing to whatever form of the divine you connect with (could be a formless one). Then burn the paper in your cauldron or other fireproof container of your choosing. If nothing came, no problem. The important part is that you brought your awareness to reside in the connection. More will always be revealed.

The second week of April brings closure around the Mercury retrograde process. Slowly moving forward, Mercury begins sorting through the debris. Venus goes over the chaotic waters with her magic wand, but even the goddess may get confused here. The week of April 7, Mercury sextiles Saturn, the South Node, and then Pluto. On April 10, Venus conjoins Neptune, clouding our perception of the emotional truth. Don’t believe everything you feel because with the Sun square Saturn things might feel worse than they are. The Sun is in angular configuration to the planets it conjoined in January. You may reflect on where you were at the start of the new year and what has changed over the last month. The reapings of winter may be apparent now or you may be given a clue about the next step on your path.

Jupiter stations retrograde on April 10, and will be backtracking until September 13. We’ve been blessed with his gifts and abundance, but that flow may be slightly constricted as he retraces his steps over the next five months. This is an excellent time to consider what you’ve expanded into since he entered Sagittarius in November 2018. The Sag part of your chart has been stretched. You’ve been challenged to grow, and now we ponder the why and the how. Jupiter rules teachers and attorneys. He facilitates learning and justice, and he’s powerful. If we take this time to consider our individual responsibility, when Jupiter stations direct in the fall we’ll begin moving forward with greater wisdom. The week of April 15 starts out on a lively note when Venus in Pisces squares Jupiter. Both are in places where they like to party so you may be tempted to take a personal day and enjoy some fun in the sun. If there’s no negative consequences then let yourself enjoy, but beware that the Moon in Virgo won’t like it if you shirk your responsibility.

On April 17, the entire world rejoices because Mercury moves into Aries just in time for the Libra Full Moon on April 19. I haven’t felt this glad since Mars left Aquarius last year. Enough is enough of the watery slog. The cardinal fire does a good job drying Mercury out, and they are in position with Chiron for the Libra Full Moon. This is the second Libra Full Moon of Aries season. The first occurred on the Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun was at 00 degrees. The second occurs the day before the Sun enters Taurus at the 29 degree of Aries. What a bookend. What balance. With Mercury so close to Chiron, our minds are fully immersed in the wound that lingers here. The Sun is close to Eris, so we may feel the way in which our pain keeps us feeling separate and apart. This is a great day to purify through fire. Steam baths or saunas are a nice ritual to open up the pathways and get the toxins out. Time starts to speed up when we enter the solar time of the year. Reflect on how much has grown in just a month with the increase of light and heat.

On April 20, the Sun enters Taurus and Venus enters Aries. They can’t see each other, but they can feel one another because he’s in her sign and she’s in the sign of his exaltation. Taurus season is an earthy sensual time when we make real on the promise that burst forth at the equinox. The sign of the bull likes to buckle down, work hard, and revel in life’s natural rhythms. Taurus is tuned in the body’s clock and won’t rush for anyone. Venus in Aries adds some heat to our relationships, so even with the Sun getting grounded, our passions will be running high. Things aren’t all placid in Taurus country because the Sun immediately encounters Uranus on April 22, and Venus meets Chiron on April 23. We may seek a heightened sense of freedom and autonomy that week, and long to walk down the road less traveled. The meeting of Venus in Chiron could have us running from our wounds, but don’t gallop off into the sunset too quickly. Give yourself a couple weeks and see if the inspiration lasts before buying your tickets.

The intense Saturn-Pluto energy this month culminates at the end when Pluto stations retrograde on April 24, and Saturn does the same, conjunct the South Node, on April 29. These two are dangerously close to one another, activating the archetypal principal of power and control. Pluto empowers and intensifies Saturn’s impulse towards reaction and constriction. Together they believe might makes right, and advocate punishment for our own good. This configuration has implications for the United States of America in particular. The USA is a Cancer Sun, Aquarius Moon, and Sagittarius rising, and is going through it’s Pluto return, which only happens every 250 years (Pluto was in Capricorn on July 4, 1776). Saturn and the South Node are impacting the USA’s Pluto return, and many speculate what new rebellion against tyranny will be launched. Check the news to see how these elements play out in the collective through stories of religious fundamentalism, political conservatism, repressive violence, religious intolerance, and anti-environmental policies. Fear mongers may attempt to increase conformity and xenophobia through scare tactics. Over the next two years, we may see an increased attack on freedom of speech, religion, culture, and sexuality. With Uranus in Taurus, Gaia will certainly be fighting back against polluters, but they will still continue to try and exploit her. Let us all do our part by continuing to show up for the causes we hold most dear. All of us are essential; now more than ever.

P.S. The birth time of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was recently released and she is a Libra Sun, Aries Moon, and Sagittarius rising with Venus on her ascendent. Check out this article to read about the synastry of her chart with the USAs, and why astrologers predict she could be the first woman president.

February 2019: Power & Potential

Power and change is in the air. Everyone feels it. The news reports on various manifestations: the good–more people are identifying as empaths and getting in touch with their spirituality through paganism than ever before, and the deeply troubling–fascism and xenophobia are on the rise in governments throughout the world from Brazil to Russia and here in the United States. This challenging moment of uncertainty, heightened sensitivity and connection by some and a doubling down on separation and violence by others, has deep roots. The current expression is related to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that we’ve been feeling since last Winter, which will culminate in a year, from December 2019-January 2020. This epochal alignment is the overarching context we’re operating within for the next two years. To understand what this means for us as individuals, we need to look at how this has historically manifested in the collective because the movements of Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto define generations.

Saturn is the planet of strict authority, hard limits and boundaries, sufferings and hardship, and necessity and finality. With his many rings, he likes to constrict and deprive. Before humans had telescopes to view the heavens, Saturn was the last planet visible with the naked eye. As such, he’s associated with the endings of things. Pluto is associated with the God of death, the underworld, and the riches that lay beneath the Earth. He’s raw power and evolutionary transformation, and has the ability to empower and intensify whatever he touches. Pluto and Saturn come together every 31-37 years. Their combined energy brought us some of the most difficult periods of the last century: World War 1, World War 2, and September 11, 2001. Moments of contraction, characterized by international crisis and conflict, that each brought about the end of an era. In his book, Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas describes the archetypal Saturn-Pluto complex as tending “to constellate a widespread sense that one’s life was determined and constrained by large impersonal forces…too powerful to and dominant to be affected by the individual self. This sense of vulnerability was in turn regularly matched by a drive for power, control, and domination” (210). Capricorn is Saturn’s home sign of structure and security that desires to create firm foundation from which a mighty empire can grow. Astrologers have been speculating how the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will manifest in Capricorn as the cold earth sign does nothing to temper Saturn’s force, but rather exacerbates his autocratic impulses.

We’ve already seen an emphasis of this energy in 2019. The year began with a Saturn-Sun conjunction on January 2, the Capricorn new Moon partial solar eclipse on January 5, and the Sun’s conjunction with Pluto on January 11. Consider what was going on for you during those days for an indication of your personal experience with this power. Mars and Venus are going to set off these points in February, which will be especially pronounced for those with planets in Capricorn or any cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, and Libra). If all of that feels a tad ominous, it is (feel free to call me with your feelings about it late at night because I’m already up thinking about it), but it’s not the only major alignment at play.

The month starts on February 1, with Mars well dignified in his home sign of Aries, moving into a conjunction with Uranus, and a square with Pluto. This Mars square may add some extra emphasis to the Saturn-Pluto experience, but it’s also highlighting the end of the Uranus-Pluto square that’s been with us since 2010. If Pluto with Saturn closes things down, Pluto with Uranus breaks things open. The revolutionary emancipatory impulse of Uranus in Aries coupled with the transformative power of Pluto can be credited with much of the radical social justice movements that emerged in the last 8 years: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, increased immigrant rights, and greater freedom and liberation for the transgender community. Uranus takes 84 years to cycle the Sun, so this is the last time he’ll be in Aries in our lifetime after moving into Taurus on March 6.

In considering a long view of history, we see progress is commonly followed by backlash. The visibility of issues and concerns that were long ignored by the mainstream is a tremendous step forward. Yet those who’s fragile egos are threatened by these changes are attempting to take us back to an earlier era, to make America great again, because Saturn rules old age and creates nostalgia for the past. We see the Saturn-Pluto archetype writ large in people who cast themselves as victims and compensate for feeling vulnerable with violence and repression. But their fearful hate can’t negate the progress of the last decade. We’re a global society, more connected, organized, and informed than ever before. This Mars square hits on the ongoing negotiation within us personally and collectively, demanding we consider where we feel powerful and disempowered, free and confined, open and unallowed, evolving and stuck. The strong drive of Mars can give a nice boost to whatever area of your chart is ruled by Aries, but there’s a tendency to go too hard and an impulse to fight too much. The best use of Mars is to direct him towards a task, so be clear about what you want to achieve and watch him make it happen.

The following day, February 2, Venus is highlighted in the conversation as she makes a trine to Uranus from Sagittarius. This is an anarcha-feminist riot grrl kind of energy that has the potential to bring topics relating to the emancipation of the Divine Feminine to the forefront. Venus is often active on the Witches Sabbats, and February 2 is the pagan holiday of Imbolc, also known as Candelmas, Brigid’s Day, or mid-Winter. The ground is frozen but the light is gaining in the sky. The warmth fertilizes the Earth and we look for signs of the Goddess stirring from her slumber in the tentative hints of Spring.

Imbolc is traditionally a festival of torches when we reflect on the illumination from within and the inspiration from without. We give thanks for having stayed warm enough to survive the cold and remind ourselves that Spring is around the corner. One way to celebrate the increasing power of the Sun on Imbolc is to light a candle in each room of the house. Some pagans enjoy wearing a crown of lit candles on their head, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s safe in your space and for your hair. If there’s snow on the ground, you can remember the warmth of Summer and draw images of the Sun in the snow to remind your neighbors. I did this one year at a park after a formidable series of blizzards, and everyone appreciated it and started drawing their own. Witches inspire others to remember their magic so give yourself permission to play.

Imbolc ritual for self-dedication using candle magic: Decorate your altar with snowdrops and a Brigid’s cross (fun to make ahead of time). Cast your circle, light yellow, orange, and/or red candles and gaze into the flame. As you do, visualize your life bursting with vibrancy and creativity. Like the Goddess, you’re also being refreshed and renewed during Winter, but soon new life will spring forth. This is the quickening of the year, when spirit enlivens form. See it in your mind’s eye as if it’s already true. Believe in it and affirm it everyday from now till Ostara. Draw a picture or visually represent it to yourself in some other way. Some people like to create a poppet or Brigid’s doll. Carry that token with you or keep it on your altar for the next 7 weeks. So mote it be.

February 3 is a great time to move towards what you wish to manifest when Mercury sextile Jupiter. Business and communication are favored, and it’s an ideal day to make plans and create systems. Jupiter wants to expand your mind and Mercury is the key so let your imagination run wild and your spirit soar. Venus enters Capricorn on February 3, lending some grounding to the day, and further immersing herself in the power-play dynamics of Saturn-Pluto. Venus in Capricorn wants to make sure our relationships work for us, that they enable us to be our truest, most fulfilled, and productive selves. Over the month Venus may test your partnerships to see if they measure up, but only because she wants the very best for you. This is a strong, sensual, earth Goddess Venus who’s not going to allow you to settle for less.

The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, has a nice sextile from Jupiter and will continue the theme of forward looking innovation. We’ve finally concluded the eclipse cycle along the Leo-Aquarius axis that lit up those areas of our charts for the past 2 years. If it felt like there was a lot of loss in your Aquarius sector of life, this is a beautiful time to set intentions for a new beginning (feel free to email me if you’re not sure where this is for you). February 7 is a favorable day when the Sun sextiles Jupiter and Mercury sextiles Mars. Success is yours so if you’re feeling lucky go for it. I don’t know what it will be for you, but you will!

Mercury enters Pisces on February 10, beginning a lengthy swim through a psychedelic pond that will last (gasp!), until April 18. During that time they’ll encounter Neptune (the swamp monster!), multiple times over. Neptune isn’t actually a monster, but he is a confusing, disorientating, and, at times, debilitating influence. Mercury is in their adversity in Pisces, and will go retrograde there on March 5, so by the time it’s all over we may say, what a long strange trip it’s been. This is going to be a lazy, hazy couple of months, which means if there’s stuff you need to get done perfectly, do it now.

Mars conjuncts Uranus on February 13, but the volatile energy will build throughout the week. The best advice is to expect the unexpected and try to control yourself. Be careful when operating heavy machinery and avoid rash behavior or rushed decision making. This is a good day to begin an innovative project or express yourself individually, just be sure to play it safe in all arenas. Valentine’s Day may have a sharp edge this year thanks to Mars entering Taurus on February 14. Mars likes to fight and is in his adversity in the Venus ruled sign of love, beauty, pleasure, art, nature, romance, and sensuality. Mars will be there until April 1, so take the next 6 weeks to commit to what you’ve started because Taurus is faithful and enjoys hard work. Venus sextiles Neptune on February 17, which feels like a cosmic love letter, and will make for a better date night if you want to postpone romantic stuff for a few days.

The Venus-Saturn conjunction on February 18, curbs the dreamy influence and brings everything into the harsh light of day. If you find yourself feeling alienated or alone, reach out to those you trust. Conversations may feel somber but remember to give yourself the tenderness you need that may not be available from others. The Sun enters Pisces on February 18, moving us into the final sign of Winter, and two-thirds of the way towards Spring. Pisces is an emotional, intuitive water sign, ruled by Jupiter, that pertains to the formless and mysterious nature of God as embodied through the ocean. The Sun in Pisces incubates in the embryonic waters of life, gestating in the wisdom of all that is and the potential of all that could be. This is the final trimester before the rebirth at the Spring equinox when the Sun ingresses into Aries, the sign of it’s exaltation. Whatever you’ve been holding inside may begin pouring out, but do no be ashamed of your leaky body. Revel in the healing available from the baptismal waters of Pisces, especially if they burst forth from your eyes.

The Virgo Full Moon on February 19, is all fogged in due to the Mercury-Neptune conjunction on the same day. The Moon is in a trine with Mars in Taurus indicating there’s something to build, but it may be of a spiritual nature. Mercury is also making a sextile to Saturn, which provokes a desire for self-improvement and tendency towards exaggerated critique. However, due to the Neptunian influence it will be hard to see things clearly. Virgo does not suffer confusion gladly so this is more an opportunity for surrender than it is for control, which is a challenge for the mercurial earth sign. Dedicate yourself to what’s tangible and real, and appreciate the internal changes that have occurred since September.

Mercury squares Jupiter while Venus conjuncts Pluto on February 22, adding emotional intensity and depth to the weekend. You may confront the obstacle in your path or watch it be blown to bits. Passions will run high, but so will obsession and jealousy. Pay attention to who enters your life during this time and wait at least a few days before running off with them.

February is a short month but it’s packed with intensity. Please let me know how it goes for you, especially with all things Saturn and Pluto. Blessed be. 

Imbolc: Martinique Louise Fisher

January 2019: Earth Matters

Majestic Capricorn Sea Goat

The New Year starts with a bang as Mars enters Aries just hours before midnight on December 31, 2018. It’s fitting that the ruler of the initiating sign of the zodiac returns home as the Gregorian calendar begins anew, but the red planet’s energy may give the night a bit of an edge. Recklessness could have higher consequences than usual so stay safe, and try to keep the partying light because hangovers, both the emotional and physical kind, will be heightened due to the Sun moving into a conjunction with Saturn. One fun low-key activity is to have a tarot party, with friends or by yourself, and do a year ahead tarot reading. Here’s an accessible spread I created for 2019:

YEAR AHEAD TAROT SPREAD:

Shuffle the deck thoroughly, holding all your questions and hopes for the New Year in your mind. Lay out 13 cards with 1 in the middle (the first), and the rest encircling. The 1 card represents You, where you are right now. The 2 card is January (Capricorn), the 3 is February (Aquarius), 4 is March (Aries), and so on. Once you have laid them all out, you will have a circle of 12 cards (the months/signs of the year) with You (or the querent) in the middle. Meditate on each month individually, but also look at the cards in groups of 3s by season. What does Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall look like? What are the elemental themes contained within? Use the numerology to get a sense of the overall pattern of the year: aces are beginnings, 3s abundance, 7s challenge, 10s culmination. Are there big shifts as indicated by major arcana cards? All years contain periods of growth and contraction. Don’t get too hung up on if any specific month looks good or bad, but notice whether change is happening internally or externally and when. The true purpose of divination is to help us greet the future with acceptance and grace.

If you need help seeing the big picture and synthesizing the overall meaning, pull 2 more cards and place them on the left and right of the 1. The 14 card on the left is what you’re learning, and the 15 card on the right is where you’re going in 2019. Sit for a while and ask the universe to help you align yourself with the divine flow of energy as it moves through your life. Let me know if you use the spread and how you like it, and tag me if you post a pic on IG (@lauracampagna.astrology).

The Sun moves into a conjunction with Saturn on January 2, 2019. This is a serious and somber note that signals a definitive end to the frivolity of the holiday season with a back-to-work role call. If the duties you’re returning to feel heavy, try not to be daunted by all that was left undone. This is an excellent day to make a list, get clear on priorities, and get down to business. The Sun in Capricorn wants to build, and Saturn is the metal used to fortify the structure. On January 4 (my birthday!) the Sun will sextile Neptune in Pisces, reminding us that we are more than what we do. Our dreams and ideals must be part of the project for it to create anything good. Use the drive of the goat to climb the mountain you envision, but take time to rest and appreciate each unique vista on your way up. Capricorn has a tendency to sacrifice the present for the future by putting their head down and barreling through, but in doing so they miss the sacred beauty of the mundane. The way we do anything is the way we do everything so let the fantastical waters of Neptune provide some lubrication for you to stay flexible enough to be present when Saturn starts putting the pressure on you.

Mercury in Sagittarius is trining Uranus in Aries on January 4, so your thoughts and speech may feel more amped up. Try to reign it in if you you become a bit bombastic, but let yourself be inspired. There’s lightening hitting the water, so pay attention to what images dance across the screen. You’ll start to feel more grounded by late evening when Mercury enters Capricorn. This should feel like a definitive, and perhaps welcome shift. Mercury’s been in Sagittarius, the sign of their detriment, since Halloween, and went retrograde there, so it’s been several months of scattered minds and lost details. With Mercury in Capricorn it should feel easier to focus, though with a square from Mars in Aries, you may still have a little edge to your tone.

The Capricorn New Moon partial solar eclipse on January 5, initiates us into a new eclipse cycle along the Cancer-Capricorn axis that will last for the next year-and-a-half and highlight themes of family/community and work/creativity. Capricorn gets a bad rap as the workaholic of the zodiac, and while I’m not trying to argue the validity of that point (ahem, me), it’s important we recognize that all cardinal signs initiate. The drive of Cancer is towards belonging and the drive of Capricorn is for building, but both want safety and security and both are compelled by a deep sense of duty and loyalty. The difference is the Moon is endlessly changing, and Saturn is eternally constant. This New Moon is wedged between Saturn and Pluto so there’s a depth and intensity emerging from the earth. What tremors of change are being felt in your body? The first lunation of the new year is asking what do you want to make with yourself in 2019? You’ll have several weeks for the Sun to grow this intention so be judicious with your time at the beginning of January (sorry, my Capricorn Sun made me say that).

Power and change are in the air during the second week of the month as Uranus stations direct at 28 degrees Aries on January 6. He turned retrograde in Taurus on August 7 and will return back on March 6. Because he moves so slow, the next three months are the last we’ll see/feel of Uranus in Aries in our lifetime. It’ll be interesting to watch if the themes of radical self-expression and democracy re-emerge this Winter (Uranus in Aries is credited with bringing us selfies and Occupy Wall Street).

It seems hard to believe, but Venus will finally leave Scorpio, where she’s been since September 9, and enter Sagittarius on January 7. That was a long swim across some challenging waters. It may have felt like you weren’t going to make it, and hopefully you didn’t try to hold your breath for too long. Take a moment to appreciate the stamina and fortitude you developed, whether you wanted to or not. Venus in Sagittarius will have a different tempo and vibe, and bring us some blessed unions with Jupiter towards the end of the month.

The Sun conjuncts Pluto on January 11, giving you a sense of personal power and the resources you have to draw from. It may also give you a peek into what’s bringing you down. All the moves the Sun is making in Capricorn, Mercury follows suit, so you may get more understanding when Mercury conjuncts Pluto on January 18. This is an excellent day to take action because Venus is trining Mars and the Sun is squaring Uranus. Passions will run high, desires will come on strong, and it’ll be easy to let impulse get the better of you. Be bold and daring in love, but be considerate and thoughtful in communication.

The Sun enters Aquarius on January 20, cooling down the mind and bringing a sense of innovation to our tasks. If Capricorn wants to build a solid fortress and secure the perimeter, Aquarius wants to know who and what are on the other side. Aquarius cares about the all of humanity, not just the self. The debate around the US/Mexico border is a manifestation of Saturn in Capricorn; the authorities want to decide who is in and who is out, but as someone who taught a class on US/Mexico border studies for three years at Prescott College in Arizona, and brought students to the border to meet with people on all sides of the issue, I can assure you there is already a wall—I have seen and touched it—it cost billions of dollars to construct and it a completely ineffective barrier to immigration. Border Patrol refers to it as a “speed bump” because most people with a ladder can scale it in under two minutes (you can read my student’s accounts of the course here). We may hear more from members of the migrant caravan seeking asylum while the Sun is in Aquarius. Many people are fleeing their home countries in Latin America due to the devastating effects of US foreign policy, and since Aquarius is about changing the structure to accommodate the greater whole, there may be a reckoning with the past that bring a change for the future.

On a personal level, the Sun in Aquarius may feel like a revisiting of themes from the summer when Mars was retrograde there. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come since then. Matters of the heart may feel cloudy on January 20, when Venus is in a trine to Neptune. The best policy for Neptune transits is, when in doubt, ride it out. Venus is moving into a conjunction with Jupiter over the next two days, so things may be feeling groovy. Allow yourself to indulge in imagination but don’t get carried away in fantasy.

The Leo Full Moon total lunar eclipse on January 21, may also feel like a blast from the past, specifically August. There’s a grand fire trine going on between the Moon in Leo, Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius, and Mars in Aries, making this a firecracker of a night. You’ll feel it strongly the night before (Jan 20) and the night of. Take advantage by planning exciting dates or letting yourself get out and show up for anything calling to you, but be sure there’ll be no negative consequences in the morning because Mars is also in a square to Saturn.

If there are any disruptions, it should feel easy to reconnect when Venus conjuncts Jupiter on January 22. This is a rare and blessed day when love and prosperity are amplified. Allow yourself to focus on the good, and seek to maximize it in all your affairs. While this is a particularly lucky day for Sagittarius folks, all of us get to benefit. If you have the choice about when to schedule an event, discussion, or big meeting, that is the day when things are most likely to go in your favor. Mars will trine Jupiter on January 25, so the good vibes should continue for the remainder of the week.

Mercury enters Aquarius on January 24, and moves into a conjunction with the Sun that will perfect on January 29. The last week of January may find you feeling inspired and clear about your next steps. Let the Saturn sextile with Neptune on January 31, dissolve any impediments that have been in your way. Allow the fresh air of Mercury in Aquarius blow away any stagnancy in your mind. We don’t have to completely do away with the old in order to make room for the new. Aquarius will help you make it better, whatever that is.

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

October 2018: Illumination from Within

I hope everyone has their black pointy hats ready because this October is going to be one of the witchiest on record. The planets that make nice are in Scorpio, the sign of sex and death, all month, and Venus will be retrograde for most of that time. Mercury and the Sun will join her and Jupiter there, so there will be a total mind, body, heart, and spirit alignment with the principle of darkness and regeneration. You probably won’t need a costume to feel like you’re living in a liminal space this Halloween. There’s no telling who or where we’ll be by the end.

On September 30, Pluto, the God of the Underworld, stationed direct in Capricorn where his formidable influence has been felt most intensely related to debates around social hierarchy and abuse of power. The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing has forced a confrontation with our relationship to sexual violence and whether we will allow such abusive traditions to continue. One thing’s for certain, this issue is at the heart of what we as a collective are grappling with this month. Mercury in Libra will square Pluto on October 2, seeking a remedy for this spiritual sickness we are afflicted by, and perhaps bringing more legal developments.

The planet of justice and truth, Jupiter, has been in Scorpio since last October, during which the #MeToo movement rose to prominence, and he will be leaving for Sagittarius on November 8. Venus entered Scorpio on September 9, where she is in detriment, to spend Jupiter’s remaining days in the cold waters with him. On October 5, Venus, as an evening star, will station retrograde, and begin her descent into the underworld where she will confront her fears, allow a piece of herself to pass away, and receive a new transmission of life before rising again as a morning star. Venus completes this retrograde process every eight years. Consider where you were in October 2010, and what themes you were dealing with in your interpersonal relationships. Those same dynamics, patterns, or issues may resurface during this retrograde period that will be marked by several distinct stages. From October 5-20, you may be grappling with surrender. This is a come or be dragged kind of process. It works best if you align yourself with the energy and participate. Most people prefer Venus happy and cooperative. We want love and closeness and security. But although that is the most popular story told of Venus, the Divine Feminine has many other faces and facets and you will see them all this month. If you wish for divine assistance on your journey, enlist the aid of Hekate, the triple faced goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, ghosts, and the Moon, to light your passage through the underworld as she did for Demeter when searching for Persephone.

There is a Libra New Moon on October 8, that speaks to the need for balance and harmony in your home life. If the scales are unfairly tipped in one direction, that will be felt and most likely commented upon. Both lunations this month are ruled by Venus, so they will be flavored and colored by her retrograde experience. What positive qualities do you want to cultivate in order to see you through this journey? Bravery, faith, courage, fortitude, discipline, compassion? Wish upon the New Moon and Selene may make it so.

Mercury enters Scorpio on October 9, which helps the mind catch up with the feelings of the moment. Honor any instincts you have to improve physical health. The following day, October 10, Mercury opposes Uranus and Venus squares Mars, so let yourself cut loose creatively. Dance, paint, sing, or f*ck the pain away. Let yourself be free, if only (but especially), in your mind. Mercury will conjunct Venus on October 15. This is the perfect evening to get out your tarot cards and query the universe on what you’re meant to be learning right now. Write down any insights that come to you and be sure to thank the Gods for speaking through the deck.

The Sun moves into Scorpio on October 23, reminding us that this Venus retrograde is all about Our Bodies and Ourselves. How we feel about ourselves impacts our physical health. How we were raised to see ourselves is often reflected in the partners we choose. We project the qualities we most wish to embody on to another at the beginning stages of love, but when that illusion fades, we may then project the qualities about ourselves we most dislike and fear. This retrograde is about facing Shadow material in the mirror. We all come in alone, and that is how we go out. Relationships begin and end, but the one that comes first is the one with yourself. Who were you forbidden from being when you were young, and how do you forbid yourself now? Who would you most like to be and why do you believe that is not possible? This is a day to commit to radical self love and acceptance. If you have a story of why you are a bad person, write that all down and then set fire to it (safely). Scatter the ashes in the earth and let it fertilize new growth. The past is over. May we learn from it and then be done with it. (This is a great ritual to do the following night at the Full Moon).

There is a Taurus full Moon on October 24, which is ruled by Venus from across the zodiac. The Moon is exalted in Taurus because our watery emotions enjoy a nice sturdy container of Earth. However, for the next 7 years while Uranus is in Taurus, these lunations will be mixed with a challenging volatile energy. This Moon is up close and personal with Uranus, and with retrograde Venus deep into her underworld journey, it may illuminate some of the brackish mire that she is working through.

On October 26, retrograde Venus will conjunct the Sun at 3 degrees Scorpio. Three is a sacred number to the Goddess, representing the three phases of life: youth, maturation, and the wise crone. It is the young Venus that our society idealizes. It is the mature Venus in her full power and strength that is feared and has been reviled. It is the crone who’s wisdom is discredited and ignored. No longer. On this day, in the darkest place of our sorrows, the Sun implants the seed of a new beginning. If the past three weeks were a struggle, (or three months or three years), know that the loss was clearing away a space for the new. The fresh light of the Divine shines renewed within us, and slowly grows, gestating to bring forth a new life.

On October 31, Venus will oppose Uranus before retrograding back into Libra on the most sacred Wiccan sabbat, Samhain, the Witches New Year. This evening is a culmination of the power and promise that was birthed at Beltane in the Spring, and a portal into the dark half of the year. It is the day when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, and many cultures around the world believe that spirits of ancestors visit during this time. The celebrations of Dia de Los Muertos and All Saints Day on November 1, are the continuation of unbroken traditions from indigenous cultures that honor the dead by visiting cemeteries, cleaning and decorating gravestones, building altars, and making offerings.

Samhain marks the third feast of the harvest and the passage of the God into the underworld. The Goddess mourns his loss and wishes him safe passage, comforted with the knowledge that he will be reborn at Yule, the Winter Solstice, on December 21. On this night we look both backwards and forwards as we contemplate with loving thoughts those we have lost, release anything we don’t wish to carry into the new year, and set a magical intention that will grow in the womb of darkness for the next six months. You may want to construct several altars, one for your dearly departed, and one for what you wish to begin. Set a clear and positive intention for yourself and adorn your space with images of what you wish to bring into being. This is also a excellent evening to conduct a spells for all of humanity. Perhaps one to bring about the death of the patriarchy and another to usher in a new egalitarian society? The choices are endless and you can’t go wrong as long as you remember the Witches creed: Do as ye will, but harm ye none.

The following day, November 1, Venus is reborn, rising before the Sun as a morning star in her warrior queen role in Libra. What was learned from the retrograde will slowly emerge in the coming weeks before she stations direct again on November 16.

May the light of the Goddess illuminate you from within as you traverse this hallowed and harrowing terrain. Though we may walk in darkness, we are never alone. Blessed be.

Art: Crone Goddess – Keridwen by Shirley Wellstead  

September 2018: the Cool Down


September is here, we’re winding down from the intensity of the Summer of Retrograde, but it won’t be Fall for another two weeks. August was something of a torrid scorcher, no? The final heatwave at the end was a fun reminder of how hot and uncomfortable the Sun can make us. Even my cats were complaining. Of course, Mars was helping. The hot and dry red planet has been at maximum brightness all Summer, and is the second closest to the Earth that he’s been in 60,000 years (the actual closest was in 2003, and he won’t be that close again until 2287). Mars stationed direct at his exalted degree of 28 Capricorn on August 27, which set us up to start September on better footing than we’ve been since he went retrograde on June 26, but he’s still moving slow in the sky right now, and the themes explored during the last two months of his backwards motion will be active through October.

Our beloved trickster, Mercury, was retrograde in Leo from July 26-August 19; the trouble caused during this period would have been a bigger deal if everyone hadn’t just been trying to survive the eclipses. Getting trapped in airports with flights delayed, cancelled, and rerouted, or losing luggage and having to buy all new gear, these were minor inconveniences compared to what other people were going through. It’s really all about perspective and hopefully this Summer grew your patience, stamina, and compassion.

Mercury has been in Leo for a long time, since June 29, and on their way out the door, they’ll blow Venus in Libra a parting kiss on September 3. On this day you’ll be able to share your thoughts and feelings with adroitness so use the moment well. It’s a great time to enjoy the company of friends by taking in the theater or having a spirited debate over dinner. Mercury zips into their exalted home sign of Virgo on September 5, and enters into a conjunction with Athena, empowering our speech and mental alacrity throughout that weekend.

The push forward continues when Saturn in Capricorn stations direct on September 6, adding emphasis to the grand earth trine with Mercury in Virgo and Uranus in Taurus that we’ve been feeling for several weeks. Saturn is known as the Lord of Karma or Lord of Time, and his entrance into his pragmatic home sign of Capricorn on December 19, 2017, was a much anticipated astrological moment. Wherever we find Saturn, we find the need for commitment, hard work, and perseverance. Saturn will be in Capricorn until December 2020, so we have another 2.5 years of slowly building in this area of our lives (look to the house Capricorn rules in your natal birth chart to see where this will affect you personally). On a large scale, expect this transit to cause both a hardening of rules and boundaries and a dismantling of unjust systems and processes. The humanitarian crisis happening on the US/Mexico Border with government officials separating children from their parents and holding them in for-profit detention centers, and the resulting demand for immediate immigration policy reform has been one prominent manifestation of Saturn in Capricorn.

If you have a brilliant idea that must be shared make sure you consider all the angles on September 7, when Mercury trines Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Capricorn, and the Sun in Virgo is opposed to Neptune and Pisces. People are going to want to know how you intend to carry out your grand plan before they’ll believe you can make it work. There’s a hint of confusion in the air so it might be a good time to dream alone with your sketchpad before bringing anything to the table. The best strategy may be to root down into what you wish to manifest by keeping it a secret for the moment.

Venus has been in her airy high tower of Libra since August 6, which helped to cool down hot tempers, but a bit of passion flares at the end with a square to Mars on September 8. This is a great day to go for what you want. Show up in the world as your most beautiful and best self to attract in what you most desire. Reception is just as powerful as action, so call forth what you wish to conjure, but don’t get mad if it isn’t delivered right away. Things are going to get a bit more murky the following day, on September 9, when Venus descends into the deep, dark waters of Scorpio where she’ll remain for the rest of the year. It’s going to be a very Scorpio Fall, so don’t be surprised if your love life gets a big dose of ardor, obsession, intensity, and transformation in the coming months. Venus will enter her retrograde period on October 5; we’ll have both the active and reflective wisdom of the Scorpio teaching us about love, sex, death, healing, and everything in between for the remainder of 2018.

You may have been on a cleaning spree since the Sun entered Virgo on August 23. Virgo season is a time to get organized and clear; make sure the sacred spaces in your home get wiped, dusted, and blessed, if they haven’t already. This mutable earth sign, symbolized by the harvest maiden, is spiritual because she values and creates G.ood O.rderly D.irection. The Virgo New Moon on September 9, is opposed by Neptune in Pisces and in a trine with Pluto in Capricorn. The nature of Virgo is to appear as having it all together all the time, and it’s her preference to believe that’s really true, but this Moon may bring visions and desires knocking on the door that don’t fit in with her perfect plan. The power of vulnerability is that once we have acknowledged and grappled with what is challenging to reconcile, we don’t have to fear or ignore it anymore. The struggle to self-actualize is real, but Mercury in Virgo can help us integrate the emotional wisdom of this Moon into the mental realm, making us more effective agents for change.

We’ll get another taste of earth sign rebellion and restriction on September 12 when Venus moves into an opposition with Uranus and a sextile with Saturn, while Jupiter, co-present in Scorpio, sextiles Pluto in Capricorn. Thankfully, the discerning insight of the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena, in Virgo, is helping Venus make sense of these contradictory elements and impulses. You may receive guidance about the kinds of changes you need to make internally to have the kind of relationship you want to have with others. If there’s power plays going on at work, make sure you have the support you need at home to feel secure on the job.

Mercury enters Libra on September 21, and the following day, the Sun departs from Virgo, officially ending Summer. The Sun’s entrance into Libra, the sign of it’s fall, on September 22, initiates the start of a new season: Fall. The Sun is exalted in Aries at the Spring Equinox, the beginning of the time of the most light in the year. The Autumn Equinox marks the transition to the dark period when the Sun is in his decline and night is longer than day. But on the first day of both Aries and Libra, at the 00 degree point, there is a space of balance, a moment of harmony in the world with equality between dark and light, day and night. It is an excellent time to walk in nature and pray for peace.

The Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, as the Gaelic pagan festival is known, is a time to thank Gaia, Goddess of the Earth, for the harvest’s gleanings and turn our attention to preparing for the transition to the cold period. In mythology, the solar God further recedes, reading to leave his body at Samhain, Halloween, on October 31. In this momentary evenness before the waning light we may consider what has grown in our lives since March 20? If you set intentions at the Vernal Equinox, what has come of them? Take a moment to appreciate the growth, however miniscule. Thank yourself and the universe for what you’ve created together in the past 6 months, and for the truths that’ve been revealed, even if you weren’t seeking them. Let your heart be full remembering all you have received. Set new intentions for the coming shadowy time of the year, and be sure to include a radical relationship with fiery healing and deep commitment to mental health and wellbeing. No one can survive winter on their own, so make sure community is well featured in your plan.

The Aries Full Moon on September 24, amplifies the Equinox energy into our bodies as the Sun in Libra is in a T-square with the Moon and Chiron in Aries, and Saturn and Vesta in Capricorn. This lunation is ruled by Mars who won’t clear his retrograde shadow until October 8, so we may not be feeling in our full glory at this time. But we don’t value the things we win easily as much as those we struggle to achieve. There is a philosophical mood to this Moon. Humans are drawn to astrology and other forms of divination not just because they help us understand when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, but because they remind and reassure us of the Divine love present in all moments that can help us to face the world, good and bad, with equanimity and grace.

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.

Virgo Art: Ryland Smith

August 2018: the Bounty & the Blessings

The start of August finds us at an unusual impasse with five planets retrograde–Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Pluto–and a couple of asteroid friends too, like Chiron. The feeling in the air is more like waiting than progressing, but all of this arrested energy is building within the container of eclipse season, when life speeds up and unexpected events happen. This contradictory dynamic can be challenging because movement is stilted, yet what is happening feels completely out of our control. Remember that basic Mercury retrograde good practices are not to make any major purchases, buy electronics, sign contracts, or start something new during this time if you can avoid it. Of course, life marches on, and many happy people have done all of those things during a Mercury retrograde and lived to be just fine. However, make sure to read the fine print, review details twice, buy the warranty, and most important of all, try to stay flexible, especially when traveling.

The desire for action is heightened on August 1, when Mars squares a soon to be retrograde Uranus. This is the second of three squares the red planet will make to the great Liberator, but since Mars is the closest to the Earth he has been since 2003, this one may be felt the most profoundly. The first occurred on May 16, so there may be a continuation of themes from that time, and the final square will happen on September 18. Breakthroughs are often preceded by breakdowns so if you’re worried you’re headed for the latter, it may just be a prelude before the former.

There is much to celebrate at the beginning of the month because August 1 is the pagan festival of Lughnasadh/Lammas, the first harvest, when people give thanks to the earth for sacrificing her bounty. If you like you can decorate your altar with flowers, grain, corn dollies, freshly baked loaves of bread, and images of the Sun. This is an approximate halfway point between the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox and there is a mingling of moods. We’re in Leo season, the Sun is high in the sky, fruit is ripe on the trees, and the fields are abundant with crops. This is Gaia in her full glory, yet contained within this moment of Summer grandeur is the promise of the Fall because the Sun has already peaked and light is on the descent.

Ancient people wove the astronomical cycle into their mythology. The movements of the Sun were illustrated through the life cycle of the God. The Goddess was constant throughout the year, but the God lived and died over and over, being born from her anew only to pass again in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. At the Summer Solstice/Litha the Green God, in full strength, joined with the Goddess, but there is a bittersweet element to Lughnasadh as the pregnant Goddess realizes that her consort is fading. Although the God will eventually die in the Fall, he will live on through the child the Goddess is carrying, their son (Sun). The myth reminds us of the preciousness of life because change is the only constant, and this too, shall pass. Lughnasadh is a wonderful time to connect with your appreciation of Gaia for the gift of food that sustains and nourishes 7 billion bodies all over the world everyday. Make a ritual out of a meal and thank the thousands of human hands that contributed to creating your plate, most of all the farmers and farm workers.

Harmony and peace are the order of the day as Venus enters her home sign of Libra on August 6. Symbolized by the scales, Libra is an air sign, which rules the mental realm, and seeks balance and justice. Venus will stay here until September 9, helping us to learn how to live in right relationship with all beings. The following day, August 7, we have another earth shaking event, as Uranus stations retrograde, adding to the backward motion in the sky. The Awakener will be retrograde for the remainder of the year, retreating into Aries on November 7 and giving us another taste of fire. Until then, he will retrace his steps through Taurus, reminding us of what he came to build with the Venus ruled earth sign.

The last eclipse of the year occurs at the Leo New Moon on August 11, which is an excellent night to set intentions about self-actualization and self-expression. Speak your mind if there’s something that needs to be said, but make sure the words flow from your heart. If others are not able to receive it, let them be. Focus on doing you because that’s really the point of all this, to shine your beautiful light out.

Mercury emerges from their retrograde period as a morning star on August 19, infused with the wisdom of their travels and ready to begin a new cycle. Still in vibrant Leo and square Jupiter, there may be a playful spontaneity to our speech and thoughts, but try to temper any overly enthusiastic impulsiveness. The Sun leaves it’s happy domicile for the cooler climes of restrained Virgo on August 23. While in Leo the Sun loves to romp and play, but Virgo has a To Do list and free time comes last. We now turn our attention to getting clear about priorities and organized about how to carry them out. If you’ve neglected your nest a bit during the busy bustle of Summer, beautify now as you settle into spending more time indoors during cooler days.

There is a luscious full moon in Pisces on August 26, co-present with Neptune, the modern ruler of Pisces, God of the Ocean, and trine Jupiter. Neptune has a mystical aura, and heightens psychic sensitivity. This would be a great night to convene that coven you’ve been dreaming about, and practice scrying together with your crystal ball. The Sun in Virgo is opposite this Moon, and trining Saturn in Capricorn, reminding us that our big visions need to be grounded in the earth to take root. The danger of Neptune is the desire to bypass the messy and mundane physical world on the quest for spiritual enlightenment, but that doesn’t work because our body is the entry point for experiencing the wisdom of the Divine.

Our will returns in full force on August 27 when Mars goes direct in Capricorn where he is exalted. After two months retrograde, since June 26, Mars is ready to get to work again. Enjoy this day and notice if you feel different now that Mars is moving forward again, especially people with Aries or Scorpio Sun or Moon. Although Uranus went retrograde in August, we are leaving the month in a better position than we came in with Mercury and Mars back in action.

By the end of the month you can give yourself a pat on the back for having survive eclipse season. We may continue to feel some reverberations till the Virgo New Moon on September 9, but the hardest part is behind us. Enjoy the heat of August and remember to gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Much love.