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

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.