Leo Lunar Eclipse

On January 20th, we get the chance to witness a lunar eclipse here in the states. Here’s hoping for clear skies in Pittsburgh! This eclipse settles in just as the Sun enters the sign of Aquarius. The need for freedom in thought, and a focus on humanitarian goals take the spot light in this sign. The moon is situated at 0 degrees Leo, bringing a dynamic focus on the qualities of the sign of the lion – a need to be seen and a need to have a sense of positive self-worth as well as creative goals.

This lunar event reminds us that our path is not separate from the rest of humanity; we can all shine when we tend to our own inner light. The picture becomes more complicated because of a loose conjunction to the nodal axis, which has just shifted from Leo/Aquarius to Cancer/Capricorn. Cancer and Capricorn are opposite signs that often represent our upbringing. Cancer as the nurturing, emotional body we feel in resonance with through nature or the embrace of someone who loves us. Capricorn is the quiet, often stern urge to achieve and focus felt in the presence of a great coach or father figure. We seek these archetypes in work relationships, families, friendships, and therapeutic relationships.

We all stand on the shoulders of someone else, but this is a great time to check in with your intuition and ensure your goals are not the project of people-pleasing or longing for acceptance into the family history books at the loss of your true nature. It’s time to reconnect with that animal instinct and fearlessly make the next few steps alone if you don’t find the support in your immediate environment.

A square from Uranus reminds us we have the freedom to make our own choices; and a square from asteroid Pallas in Libra reminds us that good counsel should be sought, as we may be subject to making rash decisions! A conjunction of sweet Jupiter and Venus in Sagittarius sesquiquadrates the north node and moon; this reminds us not to brush these issues under the rug. Respond to your own needs with kindness. Fun is a need! We must go beyond accepting the limitations of our upbringing. A trine to Ceres in Scorpio shows us how to recognize an internalized sense of stifled or conditional care of the self. Though developing trust in our internal guidance, we will be led to a state of radical self-love.

Many people have reasoned against the effectiveness of astrology by citing its multifaceted system of meaning. It’s true that the interpretation of the signs and symbols can be applied in many different ways – that’s why predictive astrology is so often incorrect. Astrology reminds us that we need to understand the past before we can even begin to try to interpret the future. Conceding that taking a personal approach does not negate understanding from a collective perspective; let’s zoom out on this event.

This eclipse also represents the archetype of the King (Leo) in exile (Aquarius). Trump is refusing to listen to the real needs of the people and being led astray by dogmatism (Venus conjoined Jupiter in Sagittarius, sextile Trump’s natal moon, south node). The north node is also conjunct Trump’s natal Saturn and Venus. Being an eclipse baby himself, I will be curious to see if this eclipse may bring further issues of legacy, fidelity, and family issues to light. With a shocking 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck (CNBC), this eclipse may also highlight the need to get creative about meeting basic human needs such as food and shelter.

In many ways, this eclipse feels like we are continuing to set the tone for the “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn approaching in 2020. Right now, Jupiter and Saturn are semi-sextile; it may be an uncomfortable time, but sometimes a little discomfort may orient us in the correct direction. As Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node continue to move through Capricorn, there are a lot of structures, internal and systemic that need replacing with more efficient and sustainable models.

The return of optimism

The end of 2019 is poised for a lot of shifting energy. Uranus is retrograde, waffling between Aries and Taurus, the nodes of the moon are switching from Aquarius/Leo to Capricorn/Cancer, the seemingly endless onslaught of personal planet retrogrades from the summer wraps up with Mercury going retrograde just as Venus starts direct motion, Jupiter enters Sagittarius, and Neptune starts moving forward in Pisces. There is always something happening in the sky! And as above, so below; let’s fill in the math with the meaning.

In May of this year, I presented a small chat on Uranus’ entry into Taurus. To summarize that session, we can expect the planet of rapid individualization to change the ways we relate to Taurus ruled issues, such as money (hello to cryptocurrency, barter systems, more egalitarian principles being applied to economics); food (where are we going with GMO’s? Japan has designed robot bees?!) and issues of personal confidence (body positivity, and with Taurus ruling the throat, speaking out becomes crucial!).

Before we can fully digest the meaning of the approaching time, Uranus has dipped back into Aries for a retrograde that lasts until March of 2019. This period heightens the themes of rugged individualism vs. a cooperative society, issues of gun-control, and the narcissist-friendly environment that our social media has created.

Neptune’s transit through Pisces has been palpable to those trying to discern fact from fiction in our newspapers and media. As “fake news” abounds, the reality dissolves into a survivalist frenzy that leaves people confused and wondering where they fit in. Interviews with Jeffrey K. Cohen, the President of Allegheny General Hospital and working physician treating murderer Robert Bowers states, “He listens to the noise, he hears the noise, the noise was telling him his people were being slaughtered. He thought it was time to rise up and do something. He’s completely confused (Washington Post)”.

This tragedy brings to mind the work of Hannah Arendt during the trial of Adolf Eichmann. Arendt coined the phrase “banality of evil” to describe the morally nullifying effect of going with the flow. Describing Eichmann as engaging often with clichéd speech and being mentally absent from reality, she reminds us that rather than believing in some type of evil mastermind, the devil is in the details. When bureaucratic systems justify insane outcomes, there will be people who follow the call.

When the tide is washing up obviously disgusting ideology, it is even more important to remain steadfast to rigorous thought. With Jupiter moving into Sagittarius, we are facing a recommitment to these values. Experience leads to insight, recognize where your experiences have been limited and seek to expand your world. Meet people from other cultures and realize that your way of living is not the only way. Having faith in a positive future is not exclusive from working towards creating that more positive future! The spirit of Jupiter is like that of Saint Nicholas, generous, jolly, neighborly and with a bit of a belly! Sagittarius is the globe-trotter in search of knowledge. These two archetypes combine to demonstrate that the time has come to learn, to listen, and to attempt to create more joy.

Unfortunately, nationalist rhetoric and political fervor are also buoyed by Mercury’s retrograde turn. The cycle kicks off with a square to Neptune, again activating our need for a buffer, treating what we hear (and what we say!) with caution and an eye to maintaining our true values through thought and speech. With the retrograde happening in Sagittarius, we are reminded that we do not know it all. If situations get preachy, pare down to the facts.

Mars moving from humanitarian and aloof Aquarius to intuitive, sensitive Pisces may create the feeling that we are right even if we don’t know the full story, or have the information we need to make a proper decision. Particularly around the switch (mid-November) take time out and be a source of calm for others grappling with their circumstances. Also remember that Neptune astronomically stands as a boundary between what is the known universe, and the unknown, or “transpersonal planets.” Working in a positive manifestation, Mars journeying through Pisces can act like a drain snake, unclogging our flawed spiritual perceptions, or like a squeegee, cleaning the window through which we view our circumstances and the world.

Let’s pour one out for Jupiter in Scorpio and cheers to better times ahead. <3

December's Gemini Supermoon

"Dear gods, be just - win back our rights." - Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers

On December 3rd we greet a bright night sky with a super Gemini full moon. Gemini is a sign that often finds itself being treated simply, but the archetype is as complex as any of the other animals. Known as the twins, and ruled by Mercury, Gemini has the ability to play with concepts and ideas. Mercury is never far in it's orbit from the Sun, so, applying the astronomy to our psychology, how we perceive our environment (our Mercury communication function goes beyond speech and thought to contain perception itself) is never far from the Sun (our ego).

In Roman mythology, Hermes was known for his speed, thievery, cunning, and skills as a mage. The psychopomp, Mercury is granted the ability to travel between two worlds. In his wonderful series, Astrology by Hand, Robert Hand discusses this Mercurial "sleight of hand" with an example of astrological polymorphism, a client who escapes what traditional astrology would call "her fate," wherein she replays the wounding trauma of her youth by becoming addicted to drugs. Instead of falling victim to that scenario, she plays a role in a television series, and addresses the life challenges of a person ravaged by substance abuse through her art. This fascinating phenomenon demonstrates how the cauldron of the subconscious is constantly receiving and processing signals on our behalf, transmuting our symbolic reality into the world we perceive it to be.

In a less shining example, think of the bigot who believes a young black man in a convenience store is up to no good. There may be a million examples of young black men behaving perfectly within the boundaries of the law, but the one example that belies this letter will be the one the bigot clings to. Our perception (Mercury) orbits our ego (Sun). We can choose to be as defensive and consistent with our beliefs as we would like. Mercury is impartial, it is always on both sides, serving as a guardian of the gates.

As with everything in astrology, this duality can be used towards evolution or stagnation. When words are your playthings, how many people can fall victim to verbal traps that only sink deeper into justifications, shifting realities, and different interpretations of "the facts?" In a world where scientific research is subject to corporate interests, our Mercury function can only attempt to see everything, to gather all information - to decide is not within the boundaries of Mercury's rule.

With the full moon in Gemini on December 3rd, we get an amplification of this energy. This lunation invites us to consider what perceptions of our reality we are ready to shift beyond, and a square to Neptune in Pisces makes its even more imperative to sit with the fog while we attempt to regain clarity. With Mercury stationing in Sagittarius, and retrograding over Saturn, we will be forced to make a choice about where we stand, perhaps inner work will lead us to interactions and strengthening of our own sense of authority.

It's important to note that Sagittarius is not as impartial as Gemini - Sagittarius rules philosophy, belief systems, and dogma. Having this opposition occur reminds us that this is an opportunity to align ourselves with what we believe. Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, is in a helpful trine to Neptune, providing us with the courage to create our own realities, and expand our consciousness beyond the limited scope provided to us by our social conditioning.

The US is grappling with the effects of word-play (and really, reality-play) from our Gemini-in-Chief; as well as the continued emphasis on the voices and experiences of women and marginalized people. I am excited to make note of Emily Wilson's translation of the Odyssey - how beautiful to be able to question the canon of history. Having women's voices transcribe the classical world, complete with the discomforts of slavery and abuse is an amazing testament to the time we live in. With this full moon falling on 12 degrees Gemini, we get the Sabian; "A Slave-Girl Demands Her Rights of Her Mistress." Rather than use the energy unleashed at this time to increase our defensive patterns of consciousness, lets develop new habits of discernment. We are being given the opportunity to create a world with fewer victims, let's not pass on the opportunity.

Jupiter through Scorpio and the Pluto Scorpio kids

Astrology is a beautiful system in a number of ways, it's organization allows for infinite second-by-second transit detail when you decide that the level of complexity on a yearly or seasonal level is not nearly perplexing enough; it has a mysterious way of encompassing elements of the human consciousness that we have yet to discover or understand but somehow find a home for in our own psyches corresponding with their outer astrological occurrences; and the way the sets of systems interact to create what astrologer Robert Hand has so eloquently called "Life Cycles for Living."

There are tons of lovely blogs out there letting folks know what Jupiter's ingress into Scorpio means for their Sun Sign and what sort of wonderful gifts to expect in the lucky 13 months that follow this changing of the guard. In this communique, I want to focus specifically on how this affects the Pluto in Scorpio generation. Pluto entered Scorpio around 1983, give or take a few wobbles around the cusp, and slowly worked it's way through that sign until about 1995. If you were born between 1984 and 1994; you are of this generational ilk. If you were born on the few years between and don't know what your chart looks like, I'll make another shameless plug to come see me for a reading!!

As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of different corresponding cycles that astrologers use to understand consciousness. The moon moves quickly, making a full revolution of the chart every thirty or so days, and represents a sort of changing mood throughout the day, week, month. It can also help anchor the effects of slower moving transits, like that of Saturn, which takes a full 30 years to move around the limits of a chart. The slower moving planets have more time to build effect in our consciousness; less than a passing mood, they are a signaling of a growth process. Something deep, hidden, internal and mysterious is at work when we undergo a Plutonian or Neptunian process.

Often, because Pluto moves so slowly, it can create a sort of "generational" feeling. The baby boomers, for example, were born with Pluto in Leo (around 1938-1956) and this cohort is developing a reputation for required plastic surgery, which is an expression of the Leo need to age spectacularly, or not at all. This generation showed us how to be a rock star in a number of arenas, giving birth to Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Prince, and political and social stars like Putin, Oprah, and the Clintons. Going back a Pluto cycle, we may include Leonardo Da Vinci in this crew. In this generation, creativity and the arts have flourished. With the sun working as planetary ruler of Leo there are, of course, lots of shadow sides to this focus on radical self-development. But the idea is, for a time, Pluto helps lay the backdrop against which we all respond to what has come before, and make a stab at whatever comes next.

And how! Stabbing is a great way to segue in to Pluto in Scorpio! This planet and sign have a particular affinity for each other. Pluto, along with Mars, is considered a Planetary Ruler for Scorpio. So, we can already infer that this generation is certainly not afraid of the dark.

The popularity of vampires, the growth of psychological understanding, and the decline in the divorce rate among this generation all demonstrate we are taking Scorpio's need for intimate, life-changing, even psychically bonded relationships to our graves. If we think of Scorpio as a psychological process, there is a detective quality to this generation. We need to understand why things are the way they are. Much more than our optimistic younger sisters and brothers in the Pluto in Sagittarius generation (1995-2008), we see the necessity of an ending. It is our generational duty to make the nature of this ending visible to those who can enact the new beginnings that are the responsibility of the Sag kids.

Jupiter, the beneficial planet known as the giver of gifts and good luck, will be making it's way through Scorpio over the next year or so. Jupiter expands and magnifies everything it touches. We can all look forward to intensified themes around control, sexuality, appetites, rage, even psychic abilities and the occult, as Scorpio highlights all these primal aspects of human nature. The unconscious begins to urge expression and make itself felt across the board, which means lots of wonderful things, and lots of terrible, disgusting things.

One way the higher manifestation of Jupiter in Scorpio has been taken on is through the #metoo and TimesUp campaign - a reaction to the revelation of Harvey Weinstein's gross abuses of power (high Scorpio process of detective work meets low Scorpio process of sexual abuse) uniting with Jupiter's ability to lead the charge, unite the masses through publication methods, and attempt to make things more fair. Jupiter's methods may lack subtlety, but this is the ongoing work of the transit to further refine and deepen the Scorpionic process. It is our generation's charge to take up this flag and point out what abuses of power, natural resources, and human relating have long outlived their usefulness.

It feels necessary to mention the darker potentials of this transit, which include an increase in attempts to control the masses. With Jupiter ruling the state, there may be more sense of "lockdown" on a government level, or more shifting towards a police state. The CIA was founded during Jupiter's trip through Scorpio, so let's all keep in mind the negative potential inherent in our use of technology and the importance of supporting internet freedom. As with everything in astrology, predictions are baseless because there are always helpful and harmful ways to handle any planetary energy.

My best hope for all is that Jupiter's transit through Scorpio fortifies us with the courage to admit where we have been wounded and begin the healing process. With Jupiter's beams landing on the natal Pluto of 30-somethings, let's not chicken out. Our morbid humor, bleak outlook on the future of earth, and sense of despair are here to serve an evolutionary goal. The best use of these strange talents is to not succumb to hopelessness or self-righteousness, but recognize that the terminally new-age "think good thoughts" mentality can be equally harmful to the growth process. Bad things do happen. Rape exists. Our generational opposite is not joy, but the mindset of voluntary ignorance, and shallow thoughts, where malignity is allowed to breed.

Great American Eclipse

The New York Times featured a lovely full-section write up on the upcoming eclipse. After being enthralled by the gorgeous color info-graphics, I was a little disappointed at the tenor of the writing. We are so eager to separate mysticism from science, articles abounded with assurances that the events total predictability make it nothing more another one of Mother Nature's tricks of the mind.

As an astrologer, I want to look beyond the facts and discover the meaning.

We may be the only planet in our galaxy that has a satellite that appears in similar size to the sun, blocking out it's main glare and leaving only the corona visible. If we waffle away from the astronomy for a moment, and think of things astrologically, this is akin to thinking that here on the tiny blue dot our emotional states (the moon) loom as large as our own identities (the Sun). Let's not discount the instinctual sense of confusion the animal world feels during an eclipse - bats flutter and emerge in the daytime, baffled coyotes howl and the air picks up a chill as we see stars and a few planets in the middle of the day. My intent in mentioning these animal reactions is not to encourage a sense of fear or alarm, but to recognize the call for reorganization.

It gives me pause to think that in a few hundred million years, Earth will no longer have an orbiting moon due to the energy gain in the moon's orbit causing it to spiral out by about four centimeters per year. Does this mean that inhabitants at this point will no longer be emotionally resonant? Let go of the long view, and assess the moment - what feelings have you lost to the rigors of logic?

What shadow processes have you been neglecting? What part of your psyche have you tucked away and promised to never deal with, because it was too unpleasant, emotionally raw, or socially unacceptable? If this eclipse hits a charged point in your chart (holler for a reading if you aren't sure!) it's time to deal with those demons.

This eclipse is located at 28 degrees Leo. With the eclipse touching ground across a central band of the US and also tuning in to the Ascendant of Donald Trump, I wonder what sorts of creatures will emerge from our little swamp. Astrologers may not be able to predict future outcomes, but we can certainly do our best to predict questions that we will be asking ourselves.

Leo at it's best is magnanimous and leads with the heart. The shadow side of this energy is a petty, vain tyrant. With Mars, our motivations, and the North Node, our evolutionary goals, conjunct the Sun and Moon in this eclipse, we have a chance to "eclipse" our arrogance and envision the archetype of the loyal warrior. With an opposition aspect occurring between Pluto and Ceres, our emotions surrounding feelings of futility about the loss of our Earth's resources, and reckless treatment of our environment may seek expression.

I think this eclipse is begging us to examine where our spirituality is lost to the deadening drum of facts. If nothing else, please take a moment in nature to appreciate the awesomeness of this world and consider how you can make steps towards a more sustainable future. With asteroid Ceres and planet Venus located in Cancer, issues around water quality and conservation again take a spotlight. Astrologically speaking, what we sow at this new moon will continue to germinate over the next six months. Regulus, the fixed star at the heart of the Lion has ingressed into the sign of Virgo. Let your heart guide you towards responsible outcomes and breakthroughs, particularly working to be of service to the feminine and Earth.

July's Capricorn Full Moon

I was particularly nervous about this month's full moon in Capricorn, which hit my neck of the woods at around 12:09am on July 9th. Full moon energy attempts to shine a light on some unseen part of the consciousness. This moon's holdout in ambitious Capricorn was being strong-armed by Pluto, giving it an extra boost of the power that comes from recognizing and addressing our shadow selves in order to harness the energy and creativity that we possess, but spend so much energy attempting to control. When we find healthy, positive outlets for these instinctual drives, and quit repressing our true emotional natures, we find reserves of strength we didn't know existed. 

The full moon always features an opposition to the Sun, but at the moment Sol is yukking it up with warrior Mars in the circuitous sign of Cancer. Our aggressiveness needs an outlet, otherwise we are running in circles. Mars is not comfortable in this aspect, the elusiveness of the crab doesn't suit the aggressive energy of the warrior planet. Add to the mix the squaring off with wild card Uranus in Aries, my expectations were for some fireworks, either psychological or physical.

Then, the plot thickens, as we pull out our charts and see what houses these lunations fall under. If you don't know how to determine your house cusps please set a counseling appointment and I will get you rolling with astrology 101!

Capricorn is the sign on the cusp of my twelfth house. I should have heeded the warnings I give to my clients when I see the moon entering the twelfth house - considered the house of hospitals, death, endings, and also spirituality and guru type figures. My typical advice is at this time of the month is that everyone serves their own best interests by relaxing a bit, avoiding picking up new projects as much as possible, and taking care to avoid mishaps as physical energies are quite low.

As Capricorn energy tends to be ruthless, driving, and craving ceaseless progress, it's hard to heed the astrological suggestions to relax. I had a long week at work, and couldn't wait to get out for a bike ride that evening. Not far into the ride, I found myself splayed across the pavement, bike askew, spitting out chunks of teeth, and my boyfriend looking panicked. I knew immediately there was something wrong with my head, but no surface wounds were visible. Clif was too occupied with all the blood gushing out of my face. He quickly rode back to the house for our car, loaded me up and took me to the ER, as blood was beginning to drip out of my left ear.

Now, we do the astrological breakdown - Sun conjunct Mars (potentially war-mongering nature becomes accident prone in the sensitive sign of Cancer); opposed to the full moon conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (Capricorn ruling the teeth, bones and skeletal structure, full moon in the 12th house, suggesting hospitals and tight enclosures, the CT scan I was to undergo that evening); squaring off with Uranus in Aries, literally "headstrong" willpower meeting with the electric, accidental voltage and surprise encounters Uranus is so known for.

Luckily, my skull fracture was nearly perfect - according to the doctors, I should "heal without incident." With a few stitches, and some time to recover from this concussion, I'm looking forward to getting back out there again. All I could think of when I was waiting in the hospital was, first off, how relieved I was to be mostly coherent with mental faculties in tact and still kicking, and secondly, astrology.

Please share your lunar stories or schedule astrological appointments - I am so happy to have the chance to work with the stars!!!

February 10 Lunar Eclipse

"As frankly as possible, ask yourself if you're honestly having fun. It seems that's all there is to it, really." - Missei Shirakawa

On February 10th, we Earth creatures welcome the first eclipse of the season. If events occurring near an eclipse feel painful, it's the universe nudging you away from the safety of your nest and into the wild world waiting for you. The Earth is experiencing a zap right along it's nodal axis, bringing up both karmic baggage and future potentials.

Psychologically, we can feel a tug reminding us who we really are, and what are capable of achieving. Some of the most fortunate manifestations of an eclipse will have the tendency to make life situation feel suddenly "unstuck." Luckily, the approaching February 10 eclipse is looking sweet. As with all lunar transits, we will likely be feeling things out more than thinking things through. Close relationships, their emotional undertow, and self-care routines all go under the microscope.

A lot of folks will be looking closely at power dynamics in their one-on-one relationships, and even the relationships between things like work/life balance. Uranus and Eris are conjunct in the sign of Aries, giving strength (and the power that comes from channeling chaos!) to the feminine revolutionary archetype. This time may serve as a wake up call to femmes of all stripes who have been living in the shadow of another. The downside is that this wild energy can often cause in-fighting among people battling on the same side. Long-term success can happen, but it's patience and diligence that get you there. Sparks will likely fly between couples with both Venus and Mars in Aries, but there's a lot of imaginative ways to utilize that sort of fire.

This feeling of freedom is further encouraged by Jupiter's opposition to Uranus. If you've been avoiding dealing with unpleasant situations, don't be surprised to encounter an avalanche of buried resentments around this time. This can give you the strength to break free of limiting situations, or help you find new ways to get the independence you're craving. The sun is also making saucy connections with Uranus, which further increases the free-spirited vibe of this eclipse, and the need for respect, generosity, and freedom in close relationships. Delving deeper into new areas or study and working on spiritual development are also encouraged.

Feeling like you're trapped in a carnival? The sabian symbols for the lights concur. With the moon at 23 deg. Leo, we have "in a circus the bareback rider displays her dangerous skill," while the 23 deg. Aquarian sun shows "a big trained bear performs, sitting on a huge chair." Keeping up your juggling act could be a costly charade to maintain, but with the stabilizing energy of the grand trine forming between the Moon, Neptune & Saturn, we've got the ability to channel imagination, intuition and dedication into some real magical feats. Also, when we add the Sun's sextile to Jupiter, not only are opportunities expanded, we get more when we give more. Cultivating a generous, magnanimous spirit will make the current drama much more approachable for the faint of heart.

These aspects make a beautiful 5-pointed star shape in the event chart - a reminder that we are here on Earth to use and express our talents. As the sign of Leo asks that we use our personalities to carve our way through the world, this eclipse reminds us of the humor, freedom, and joy that come from healthy expressions of our inner child. We are reminded that not only is it important to be true to ourselves, it's important to make our unique contribution to the world. Make the best of it, and make it more fun.