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

June 2018: Marry Yourself to Mystery

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June is the first month of the Summer, but it straddles the Spring and holds the highest Sun. Happily, the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, God of liminal space and time, entered it’s home sign just hours after the Sagittarius New Moon on Tuesday, May 29, so we begin June on a dignified note. For some, an immediate arrival of important information may have coincided with Mercury’s homecoming.

The Sun is certainly glad to have it’s host present in the airy realm as it ascends towards it’s zenith, but Mercury will struggle to be seen and heard during the first two weeks of the month precisely because of it’s close proximity to our blazing source of light. Gemini season is characterized by our desire and ability to connect with others. However, we may spend the beginning of June doing more receiving and processing information coming in, rather than being received ourselves. Notice what information is flowing towards you, especially on June 5.

One remedy to feeling invisible is to focus on listening to yourself and honoring what your body and emotions are conveying. Our subtle energy bodies are extremely attuned to the planets, yet our minds tend to be overactive during Gemini season. The uptick of mental activity can fatigue our nervous system leaving us feeling wired yet depleted. Spending time in quiet contemplation will benefit your physical body, which Gemini can tend to leave behind, and allow you to eavesdrop on ethereal epistles dropping down from the heavens.

The energy of the month markedly changes at the Gemini New Moon on Wednesday, June 13, when Mercury moves into Cancer and Venus enters Leo.Venus in Leo is feisty and fierce, but she’s being opposed by Mars in Aquarius conjunct the South Node, which can trigger tension between what you are growing into and what you are growing away from. With Mercury in sensitive Cancer ruling this Moon, there may be an impulse to purge your feelings in order to get relief. It’s great to pour it all out, just make sure you’re not draining other people in the process. Use this day to think philosophically about the struggles in your life. How are these challenges inviting (sometimes forcing) you to grow your spiritual practices and increase your faith? One interpretation of crisis is a moment when the past no longer determines the future. What life would you create if you were not bound and obligated by all that came before? Breathe into the liberation present in each moment of uncertainty, and let your breath anchor you as you navigate the new.

The Sun moves into Cancer on Thursday, June 21 at the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha, reaching the crescendo of light for the year. The ancients worshipped on this day with bonfires of purification. If you wish to do a ritual to honor this holy moment, build an altar adorned with sacred objects, flowers, if you like them, a cauldron (or some fire proof container–could be a pyrex bowl), and a red candle. Have a piece of paper and pen handy. Sit quietly and ground into the Earth, invite in the Goddess and God to your space, or any loving forces of the universe you wish to join you. Meditate on what has changed in your life since the last Solstice; what is working and what isn’t? Write down all of your cares, doubts, troubles, and fears. Write until you feel empty and all of it is gone. Then fold that paper up into a small square and tie it with a red ribbon. As you do intend to give all your troubles over to the care of the universe in a nice, tidy bundle. Then light the paper on fire with the flame of the red candle and toss it into the cauldron. As it burns imagine the Sun burning away everything in your life that is holding you back from living authentically and joyfully.

After you are finished sit quietly again and appreciate the space that has been created through that release. Savor the peace of the goddess in your heart. Remember that you can give your cares to her as many times as you need everyday. You may then wish to perform rituals of love, healing, or anything else you wish to grow next. Nature abhors a vacuum so rest assured that whatever opening was created will be filled with something for your highest good. The month of June is named after Juno, the Queen of the Gods, who’s symbol is the peacock. People traditionally married in June to receive her blessing. The myth of Juno and Jupiter reminds us of the importance of honoring ourselves first and foremost in relationship. If a partnership does not work for you then it does not work. Make a pledge of devotion to honor and care for yourself with loving kindness, and ask Juno to make it so!

The end of the month is challenging due to Mars stationing retrograde and Saturn opposing the Sun in the days before the Capricorn Full Moon on June 28. Tender feelings of vulnerability are always heightened during Cancer season when the sun is obscured through a watery filter. It could feel like we are under attack or being blocked the week of June 25, and indeed, we might be. Rather than rail against forces that may be unmovable, look for where there is movement and growth, and seek to align your efforts there.

We are coasting towards eclipse season in July and August, when life will begin to move you in unexpected directions at a frantic pace. The only way to sustain is to surrender. Intend to join your energy with the flow of the universe and see where it carries you.

April 2018: Get Grounded to Shine Bright

Spring renewalApril opens with a continuation of several strong events that closed out March. Much to everyone’s collective horror, Mercury stationed retrograde in Aries on March 22, and it has been a doozy so far. The need to be independent and develop self-awareness is paramount to Aries, and while the planet that rules communication is in the fire sign of the warrior, we may find ourselves speaking without thinking. That can be good if you’re finally able to be honest about things you’ve been holding back, but consider what you say before you say it. A good guideline to consider is: does it need to be said, does it need to be said by me, and does it need to be said right now? If all three answers are yes, then please speak your truth, but remember that there is a dearth of kindness in public discourse right now. Be the change you want to see in the world by assuming the best of people, and speaking with diplomacy and tact in all settings.

Mercury will station direct on April 15, but the residual effects will linger for at least a week after. Back up your computer, save your work frequently, double check your receipts, and beg for mercy because this retrograde is exposing all those weak spots you didn’t know you had.

The new moon in Aries is also happening on Sunday, April 15. New moons are a time of reflection and renewal, and this moon is full of questions about innovation and employment. What you do for a living may not reflect who you are as a person, but how you carry out that work most certainly is. Are there changes you could make that would help you work smarter not harder? Seek out inspiration and allow yourself to jump down it’s rabbit hole. You may pop up with some fresh ideas.

On Saturday, March 31 (happy Passover!), the Full Moon in Libra coincided with Venus entering into her earthy home sign of Taurus. A planet in it’s home sign is in its full power. They have the maximum ability to carry out their work in the world, and what Venus likes to make is love, beauty, art, and connection. In Taurus, she especially wants to do these things at home, in nature, and with a steadfast resourcefulness. Fortunately, Venus will be in Taurus helping the flowers grow until April 24, when she moves into Gemini. This month is the perfect time to commit to creating rituals around the creative in your daily life.

Society has standards and ideals for all manifestations of Venus, but those are sanitized, flat, in the service to the status quo, and invisiblize the tremendous amount of labor that goes into creation. Birth is a dangerous, courageous, messy process. It requires skilled guides and a community of support to bring new life into being. Venus wants to help you manifest your babies, whether they be human, artistic, business, or terrestrial. What dream was growing in your heart this winter? The remainder of Aries season is the perfect time to shine that forth. Collaborate with your friends and lovers and create something beautiful together or just let people lift you up as you go through the incredibly brave journey of making and becoming on earth.

The Sun enters Taurus on April 19, highlighting these sensual, aesthetic Venus topics on a soul level. Give up ideas of what your art should look like and instead ask what it wants to be. Surrender your fear of not being good enough and focus on what you know you came here to do. Trust yourself and love what you produce, as the Divine already does.

The month closes out with an intense Full moon in Scorpio on April 29,probing issues of the Self and Other. Essentially, how we do relationships. The mirror that’s held up when we are intimate with people can illuminate our Shadow side: the things we’d rather not acknowledge about ourselves, the qualities we find unacceptable, and the facets of ourselves we prefer to hide. Scorpio likes to get real intense, but also knows what to do with it.

There is a tremendous amount of energy trapped in the parts of ourselves we’re cut off from. When we’re able to connect with that pain and change our relationship to old wounds, we liberate that animating force, which can then be redirected towards healing and growing.

Take April as an opportunity to ground into yourself, your body, and your dreams. With two feet firmly planted in the earth, you will be able to harness the incredibly fertile energy of Gaia to accomplish your goals and shine forth from the heart.

Blessed Be.