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

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

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.