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

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

May 2018: Major Movements & Unexpected Arrivals

beltane

Happy Beltane, Witches!
May Day is known around the world as a labor holiday, International Workers Day, when we honor those who fought and died for fair wages, safe conditions, time off, and ethical standards in the workplace. However, an even older tradition is the celebration of the rites of Spring, the pagan festival of Beltane on May 1.

The Wiccan Sabbats were considered holy by ancient peoples because they marked changes to the light in the sky and seasons on Earth. The Wheel of the Year turned on eight days of power: the Winter and Summer Solstice, Vernal and Autumnal Equinox, and mid-points in between. The mythology surrounding these moments illustrate the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth as told through divine figures, the Goddess and God. The particulars differ for every culture, and I encourage you to investigate the deities and stories of your own ancestors. Reconnecting with these lost traditions can help us feel more connected to the divine in our modern daily life.

The Sun is now in Taurus and we are midway through Spring. Passion and vitality are returning to Earth, and life bursts forth in color. At Beltane the Goddess and God join together in fertility rituals to bring life back to the land. Garlands were braided to signify their sacred union. People often rose at dawn to gather fresh flowers and green branches to decorate their homes and altars. May poles were erected in town squares and people danced around them ecstatically. Hopes and dreams were written on paper and thrown into cauldrons symbolizing the womb of the Goddess who becomes pregnant with life once more.

On May 1, take special time to notice the young flowers and budding trees. Thank the beautiful magnolia and cherry blossoms that fill our hearts with hope that Summer is on her way. Celebrate the life that is yours in whatever way makes you feel vivaciously vibrant.

May is a month of big changes and many important beginnings. Things might start out quiet, but there’s a big bang in the galaxy at the Taurus New Moon, on Tuesday, May 15, when Uranus, the planet of rebellion and revolution, enters Taurus for the first time since 1942. Unexpected and sudden shifts are Uranus’ specialty, and she will stay in this earth sign until 2026, giving a massive overhaul to our relationship with Gaia and how we collectively work with natural resources.

Later that evening, Mars ingresses into Aquarius for a five month stint during which he will square Uranus three times. These squares are going to shake up at least two major areas of our lives. Check out my weekly Instragram posts for more information, or better yet, book a chart reading to learn more because the shock waves will continue to reverberate for a long time.

After a wild ride through Aries, Mercury will finally enter Taurus on May 13,rolling out the welcome wagon for Uranus when she arrives. This conjunction is like the town crier having a politico upstart staying at their house. Uranus is going to announce what she intends to do in big bold letters that week for all the world to hear. The far-out outer planet’s influence is going to be FELT the week on May 14. Pay attention to what you learn and what starts to move (possibility in an erratic fashion). Venus glides into Cancer on May 19, but her reception will be a bit bumpy because of an immediate sextile from Uranus. You can’t protect yourself from these waves, but you can intend to be flexible.

The Sun enters Gemini on May 20, putting an emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge and greater understanding. Gemini is an air sign that rules the mind, and for the next four weeks there will be an emphasis on creative problem solving, which is a good thing since Uranus will be stirring so much up. Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, joins the Sun here on May 29, giving a boost of alacrity to all communication projects. However, Gemini can be impulsive and enjoys quick movement. Be sure to think things through thoroughly and involve others before carrying out your brilliant plans.

The Sagittarius Full Moon, on May 29, reminds us that information without application is just mental machinations. It is not enough to collect the data, study the notes, and the test. We then have to practice the craft in order to master it. Praxis makes perfect, and without constant reflection and revision we become stale and stagnated. Let this full Moon imbue you with the confidence and enthusiasm to keep pushing past your growth edges. Be bold and share yourself with a wide audience. Let the universe carry you in whatever direction it desires. Make this beautiful line from beloved author, Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon, your mantra for this Moon: “If you surrender to the wind you can ride it.”

Beltane art by Catherine Pleased

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.