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

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.

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

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.