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.

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.

March 2018: A Tale of Water & Fire

ostaraWe glide into March on the seas of love and dreams with Juno, the Sun, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, and Chiron all in the water sign of Pisces. It’s an emotional full house. With Venus sitting close to Chiron that first week, don’t be surprised if old hurts resurface for no apparent reason.

The usual response from our rational mind is to push away such feelings, but logic is no buoy in this deluge. The tide is too high. We need to put on our goggles and go diving. These particular memories are surfacing from our subconscious because we are ready to release them on a deeper level. Ask what they came to share, thank them for the wisdom of their teachings, and then send them back into the abyss to be transformed into something new.

The Virgo full moon on Thursday, March 1 (Happy Purim!), offers an earthy, grounding respite to the flood. We may finally feel like we’re back on solid land, if only for a night. Virgo is a detail oriented analytical sign, so take full advantage of this energy by working on a task that’s been needing your attention. Writing projects may feel particularly inspired. Don’t worry if you don’t finish though, Virgo would keep you trapped at your desk, and Thursday night is too sweet to miss. Enjoy connection through communication, creative arts, and nourishing meals. The moon in earth sign Virgo wants you to take care of your body and treat it right, whatever that means to you.

The Pisces new moon on Saturday, March 17, is an excellent time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past month from all the emotional upheaval. The goal of Pisces is to commit to a vision or ideal. What dream does your heart sing to you? Whisper this goal, no matter how lofty, to the new moon. You may be amazed at what seeds sprout because spring is just around the corner.

March 17 is also St. Patrick’s Day, which commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. For many modern witches, the legend of St. Patrick driving out the snakes from Ireland is a metaphor for the banishment of the ancient goddess worship of the divine feminine. Although many pagan practices were outlawed, much of the old traditions were incorporated into new rituals. The custom of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is connected to the celebration of the rites of spring.

Pisces closes out the winter, and in many places, the thaw has already begun. The sun moves into Aries on Tuesday, March 20, at the spring equinox, initiating the beginning of the zodiacal new year. The vernal equinox is one of the two days of the year when there is a complete balance between night and day, light and dark. It is a perfect time to take a walk in nature and meditate on the changes you feel in the air. This is also the Wiccan sabbat of Ostara, the fertility festival celebrating life returning to the land. Eat and plant seeds literally, metaphorically, and most of all joyfully, all day long.

By the end of the month, all the inner planets will have moved into fire and earth signs and we may feel quite a different tempo from the beginning. There is a blue moon on March 31 with the full moon in Libra that should provide some much needed fresh air. Blue moons don’t have astrological significance but simply connote the second full moon in a month. Libra is the sign of justice and equality, and this moon may illuminate the progress we have made in these areas, both individually and collectively, since Jupiter left the sign in October 2017.

March is a month with two distinct sides and personalities. Take these big lunar moments to reflect and pause, and if you ever feel lost, just look up.