Pluto, planet of taxes, death, rebirth, resurrection and sex tends makes a habit of turning retrograde around tax day, as it will this year on April 14- September 22. In my personal and collective experience, we are not good with handling Pluto. It’s hard to face what no one wants to either do (die, pay taxes), talk about (death, sexual taboos) or own up to (desire for power, old traumas running our life). We’d rather… not. That’s part of the problem with Pluto. The other is that Pluto transits are frustratingly and agonisingly slow. Pluto is the furthest non-planet (since it’s untimely demotion) from us and thus by the time we’ve gone through the two and a half to three year process, we earthlings are plum tuckered out. So a level of frustration, fatigue & even flat out denial goes hand in hand with our experience of Pluto. During hard Pluto transits we are also often dealing with a lack of financial, emotional and spiritual resources. How to cope with the sheer intensity of this massive thrust for psychological honesty without cultural support beyond therapy, which many cannot even afford, staggers the mind — and contributes to the level of trauma, damage and violence in our world. I’m trying to be positive here, but frankly, Pluto doesn’t do Pollyanna positive. The stuff of Pluto is just difficult. There’s no getting around it. [Read more...]
These aren’t the easiest of times. Everyone’s cup is filled to the rim, and living with daily stressors can really wear you down. Paradoxically, stress lowers our tolerance for handling the complexity it brings into our life; science says stress chemicals hi-jack our brains, and narrowing our ability to think we literally become dumber. Under stress, we become reactionary and reductionistic. Even ordinary discussions are bigger, hotter and redder as, we, and the people in our lives, find it all to easy to forego nuance, ambiguity and instead jump to conclusions. [Read more...]
At springtime, Mother Nature inspires us to begin anew so last weekend we got in the spring spirit and lined our red flagstone walkway with potted flowers and herbs. Mothers are known to nest when preparing for the imminent arrival of their new bundle, and as we readied the yard, I realised this was what I was doing. For months, I had noticed that even though our Pink House was full of vibrant light, energy and color, there was a feeling of expectant emptiness and generosity. It had occurred to me: the house was waiting for someone. [Read more...]
Problems. I don’t know a person who doesn’t have them. In astrology, problem-solving is associated with the sign of Virgo, and some problems are simpler to tackle than others. For instance, when I tell my friend, Marian, who has Venus in Virgo in her First House, that our new King sized bed is like trying to fit a King mackerel in a sardine box, in seconds she’s strategised a new floor plan. Then there are problems that resemble an unsolvable Rubik’s cube — where that same walk we take down Logic Lane takes a turn for the worse at the bend of Spiritual Impasse, to arrive at the Point Of No Return. We can’t find a solution. We ask why and move ten steps back. We’ve stumbled upon the Virgo Zen koan of problem solving: Asking why something is happening, or constantly looking for answers, only keeps us in our mind.
It’s the shadow of Virgo: analyzing, fretting, nit-picking an issue till we’re in knots but the opposite sign, Pisces, calls for surrender, imagination, acceptance. In the book Sacred Contracts Carolyn Myss says that when Thomas Edison needed to solve a problem with one of his inventions he would sit in a rocking chair with a question in mind holding a ball in each hand. Rocking in his chair, when a ball would hit the floor signalling he had started to doze off, it would awaken him. At that moment, he would remember what he had been visualizing or dreaming and often it held a clue to what he was working on. Thomas Edison somehow knew solutions for certain types of problems won’t necessarily arrive in a linear way.
The Sun will soon move into Aries at Spring Equinox on March 21, triggering the difficult Uranus-Pluto square and cardinal cross that is exact from mid to end of April. In astrological shorthand, many are experiencing an impasse and a call to action to tackle the kind of problems that are toughest to crack. This Virgo Full Moon is a preparatory pause button in our consciousness, a time to seek integrative solutions in a non-linear way, to allow the chaos of our lives to open us up and guide us to new self-awareness. For those who ask, What do I need to work on in myself? What will help my life, work, relationships run better, more efficient, smoothly? Virgo Full Moon will probably present a few practical solutions in real world ways. But for other life issues, Rubik’s cube level ones –stubborn, unyielding Uranus-Pluto type problems that we’ve gone over a hundred times in our head, problems that we’ve relentlessly worked to improve, and exhausted our resources to solve — those require a stronger and yet gentler approach: an innovative shift in consciousness, a turning of the perceptual prism in a new and slightly more imaginative, surrendered way.
My Rubik’s cube is insomnia. Virgo and Pisces fall in my Sixth and Twelfth Houses, respectively. Sleep routines, stress reduction techniques, herbs, vitamins and essential oils, you name it, I’ve tried it. We try and control so much of the world through the Ego Mind, but health difficulties are a real lesson in learning to look at your self in a holistic way. Yet my mind scavenges for answers, always like searching for a needle in a haystack, and I often reach the end of my rope. This happened last night when still awake at 4 AM, talking to my husband on the phone several time zones away, he suggested I do the one thing I hadn’t yet fully embraced: accomplish what I need to do during the day, at night. Maybe, he sagely suggested, the body-mind already knows what it needs to do to reconnect, you just need to allow it to happen.
Right now, while the Sun is still in imaginative Pisces, and Mercury soon follows, we have a window for glimpsing new perceptions, startling new ways of seeing. The Full Moon alights at 26′ Virgo-Pisces on Sunday, March 16, 10 AM PDT. Where does this Full Moon fall in your chart? The buzz of the problem-solving Virgo Moon can help you to identify sources of uneasy dissatisfaction in these areas so you can make improvements in your health, work-life, routines and daily habits. But for the problems that require a more creative approach, take a clue from Edison. Don’t overthink it. Go easy. Let it percolate on the back burner while you’re sleeping, bathing, relaxing. In moments of calculated inattention, let the answers find you.
Every year around this Pisces New Moon, I take an intentional walk with Spirit. Using the front door as a magical threshold, and the tree-lined trail in back of our house an enchanted forest stage, I step out with the intention to receive what Spirit wants to tell me. With my bottle of water I also carry a magical mindset; open, receptive, surrendering and present, I view everything I encounter as a message specifically for me, the receiver. It also helps to be in a non-linear space, fuzzy and wide-open, as I do on this day. [Read more...]
If you enter a room to get something only to forget why you went in; if you discover mid-sentence that you’ve lost your train of thought entirely; if you lost yet another several hours or days doing…(yes, what exactly were you doing?) it’s probably not early dementia –it’s Neptune. [Read more...]
I, like many, was surprised to hear about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death last week. As an actor and human he seemed to be in a genre completely of his own, and because he had touched me in that place few actors do, I was saddened. I didn’t know he had a history with addiction, and that he relapsed last year; now we all know. In the media, compassionate articles like Russell Brand’s “my life without drugs” re-circulated (he wrote this after Amy Winehouse died of an overdose last year), and there have been more discussions since. A NYTimes article talked about the impact his death has had on fellow members of the AA community who shared their collective fear: If it can happen to a man 23 years sober, can it happen to me? [Read more...]
You know that excited-all-over feeling you get when you meet someone who will inspire you in some momentous and mysterious way? Over 20 years ago, as a student of astrology, too poor to buy a copy of the magazine, I would hunker down in Santa Fe’s Ark bookstore, cup of tea (it was free) in hand and a fresh copy of The Mountain Astrologer, to drink in astrologer, Dana Gerhardt’s words. I was googly-eyed for Dana (still am). I don’t remember which article inspired me the most, but I am pretty certain that I barely tasted the tea.
Reading her new e-book, Lessons in Astrology as Magic, a compilation of her most beloved articles, was like coming home to myself. Dana asks questions that even seasoned astrologers rarely voice but all of us experience, like, What happens when you look at a chart and see nothing (p.s.-it happens to all of us)? To that end, she honestly addresses the reality that while we can study for years, get certificates, degrees and work astrology’s precise methods down to the letter in attempt to make a prediction or certain outcome, the planets don’t always behave as expected. [Read more...]
It’s the Year of The Horse, in Chinese Astrology. Although I’m no Chinese Astrologer, and I’ve been too busy to read absolutely anything about this perspective, I can feel Snake Year giving up the ghost, and horse energy at the gate. In the mystic tradition I study, horses symbolise missions, goals with a sense of purpose about them. Horses swiftly carry us places. We yoke our dreams, hopes and wishes to the harness of an able, strong animal. In a vision, reading or dream when a horse crosses my path it signals to me that this is a time of goal fulfilment, and this is also a very busy time. What’s been “waiting at the gate” is ready. Rest up, and finish up now because once a horse leaves the gate, they keep going. A horse can ride to the bitter end, ride to their death even, if the rider so wills it. Logically, it’s a good time to think about goals and mission, to ask whether our goals are aligned with purpose. If not, we could be in for a wild, headless horseman kind of ride. [Read more...]
As we turned the corners of the new year, I returned home after living in Stockholm, Sweden for four months. I am finally where I belong. Home. In Northern California where the air has an otherworldly perfume of damp peaty musk and fresh green. Home. As David Byrne of the Talking Heads once sang, “…where I want to be” And as poet David Whyte once wrote, “…where I want to love all the things it has taken me so long to learn to love.” [Read more...]