The Limits of Astrological Thinking

I am responding to this short article not to bicker with popular astrology, but because it feels important to clarify astrology’s potential and limits from my perspective as a teacher.  Much of what this writer addresses has been a concern of mine for a while.   With the chaos moving through the world, people are looking for anchor points.  And that is understandable in a culture out of balance.  But, anchor points can be cheap.  And anyone looking to use astrology for control is going to be disappointed.

I don’t think the article is particularly well-written or complete, but I relate to its energy, and the frustration the writer is feeling, weathering a moment of instant-answers that can often turn into more separation of individuals rather than unification.
I will always defend astrology as the powerful elevation practice that has given me greater patience and humility as a human being than any other sustained pursuit, one that has helped me shift in search of my higher purpose as I move through and beyond this life.  The turn has taken over 20 years and it is still a process unfolding.  There is nothing I could have done to speed this up.  There was no missed opportunity.  Our lives unfold.  Astrology gives us perspective on the choices facing us in each moment.  There is no mastery button on the zodiac wheel.   And I am intimately acquainted with a human desire for one.

So, from my perspective, astrology is not finding answers or projecting clarifying demarcations about people but asking good questions and maintaining curiosity about ourselves.  It will not speed up evolution at any abnormal rate, and anyone who says otherwise is selling sea salt to seals.   That just sets up disappoint and backlash.  And I imagine the backlash is coming.  But the cheerful contact high of a good weekly horoscope has its allure.  No arguing that point.  It is the gateway that brought me to this place.

Finally, I firmly believe that astrology shouldn’t be used as a self-justification tool.  Sometimes the phrase self-acceptance is a euphemism for self-justification.  Astrology is not about self acceptance, but self-identification, interrogation, self elevation, and evolution.  I want to reiterate the need for patience in this work.  Deep identification of self is a step that astrology brings, elevation of self takes a lifetime of hard won mistakes, mistaking better, and, with continued humility, working toward soul evolution with the long view of universal growth, not control over our immediate incarnation.  That will only end in self-blame for falling short of “the secret” and all its glorious promise.
Sorry for the disclaimer/does this sound like a rant?, but I have been feeling the feelings crawl up the back of my neck for a year or two now, and this article put some words into thoughts I’ve been having about this weird moment astrology is having again.  I do want to make my approach clear.
Cheers to doing the soul work.  It gets me into and out of bed each day,

Building and Breaking

pexels-photo-372153We arrive at the hot mess of this high point of summer with heavy things on the mind.  What matters most in the balance of your life?  What are you willing to release in order to reclaim some freedom and room to grow in the right direction?  The Capricorn/Cancer axis is alive with power struggles and emotional turmoil, internal and well, just read the paper.

The truth is we are all trying to determine what needs to be dissolved, destroyed, repaired, or resurrected in order to move into a higher, more loving state of being.  Systems in our lives that are corroded have to be dismantled.  Can this be done through love or need it be done with banners and spears?  We will find out over the next year ahead.  Lines are being drawn and the issues are crystallizing.  Under this energy, insecurity reveals itself as authoritarianism, and if you find yourself trying to control another person, ask yourself how else you may be using that energy?  squirrel-112727_1280

Mercury is also retrograde in Leo heading back into Cancer, and you may feel extra sensitive and unclear in the days ahead.  Take it easy.  What feels urgent can wait for action until August.  Inaction can be the most powerful form of action.  Sit with what feels wrong, sit with what feels right.  Just sit for a moment and experience.

The rest of your life depends on the choices you are making over the next six months; Capricorn and Cancer reflect our ambition, our need for privacy and retreat.  Our need to feel safe and productive butts up against a need to be “in charge” and “in control”.  What does love mean?  What does possession mean?  How do the two get confused?


Inside Outward Bound

9268308111_dd53d20d75_bWe are in the middle of an eclipse window, and this pocket of energy heralds transformation that may be more tangible in 2020.  How tangible does it really need to feel, you might be asking at this point?  I believe everyone can feel the change even if a vocabulary for action has not been published.  We know what needs to happen, but the scale feels so large: how to move the boulder that is bureaucratic inertia?  As I write this, I am watching an ant run circles around the perimeter of a circular side table.  No way out of this cycle!!!  At some point, this ant has to look down or up.  If it would just stop for a minute and think.  We are being invited to do the same while fighting a conflicting impulse to run circles of exhaustion.  This is thanks to the approaching Mercury retrograde conspiring with a Mars/Uranus square and an evolutionary eclipse window designed for regeneration.

While the new moon eclipse felt gentle in the sign of Cancer, eclipses always mean tide changes.  If you have not been able to access the intuitive messages, trust that major energy is moving outward and into the sign of Leo; with that, an action-oriented Mars square to the destabilizer, Uranus.  Uranus shifted into the immovable earth energy of Taurus, a sign that only mobilizes when the stakes reach transformation levels.  Change or die.  Uranus is here to bring that mandate.

Get-off-the-couch Mars and mental Mercury entered Leo this past week.  Time for a creative plan.  Mercury stops up short, however, and turns retrograde toward Cancer for reflection on emotional security and intuitive messaging.  Mars, however, is butting heads at full force with the revolutionary, Uranus.  A metaphor for Uranus awakened in Taurus is ‘earthquake’.  This is not so much a metaphor in California as an awakening of the earth.  Mars and Uranus began this dance on July 2 and the exact opposition runs to July 11.  There have already been 2 major earthquakes this week as the fault lines dial ‘yes’ to pressure release.

This is destructive, creative energy being expressed.  The planet is taking that intuitive need for change and pushing it toward action.  How can we use our own cathartic eruption in a positive way?  How can we embrace the shifting sands and use them as motivation for a new approach to living?  What needs dismantling for new growth to occur?

The full moon eclipse in Capricorn may bring answers.  These answers will feel partial as we continue to learn the lessons of building and breakage for the next year ahead.  As we tremble with change, with charge, we are revitalized.  Time to trust that the body has the knowledge our minds won’t/can’t/wonder how to fully organize into action.  Inward is onward is outward is the name of this train.  Ears to the tracks.


A dog growling at the window..

It isn’t mine.  I’m dog-sitting for friends away in Europe.  This dog is not my problem.  Or is it?  What is my responsibility to the fearful watchdog at the window in the next room.  Is this my house or isn’t it?  Who let the dog inside?  How can I calm an anxiety filled animal, a trained animal whose fear overrides logic, becoming dangerous for everyone in the house.  Particularly my eleven pound ball of scruff with a target on her back.

This snarling dog is an energetic theme happening in the world right now.  The light of Monday’s Sagittarian full moon paled in comparison to the rising hackles in everyone’s etheric field thanks to planetary buildup in Cancer and Capricorn.  Mars faced off Saturn late last week, and if you felt frayed, thank the planet of aggression in the sign of guardianship, Cancer.  Today, as I write this, Mercury, planet of the mind catches up to Mars, and they are both facing down Pluto this week.  Fear creates aggression and in this case, aggression is seeking anything to be fearful of, creating a lot of snarling dogs at windows.

What I have to remember is that the snarling dog in my house is otherwise a delightful beast; circumstances have piled up around his reality.   His pack is in Europe, he is dealing with a loss of status in a house with an older dog, and his anxiety has grown dangerous to the household.  It is painful to see and imperative that I maintain boundaries that keep everyone safe.  It is exhausting.  All the doors.

I suppose the question for anyone reading this is:  who else is losing her cool in this heated cosmic climate?  One only need look at the US/Iran crisis in development to get a sense of the way fear and a lack of trust spiral into aggression and chaos.  On both sides.  This dance of authority and fear is one we are being asked to study between now and 2020 when the stakes are higher than ever.

If you feel like you are pretending that a growling dog in your life is not your problem, think about that a bit longer.  Does the situation call for boundaries, intervention, or maybe a little bit of both?  The flip side of aggression is love and surrender.  Mercury wants us to explore how we can create safety without becoming aggressive and fearful.  Be mindful.

Fear is in the air.  We are all learning to dance with it.  If you think you are not a snarling dog in the room, ask yourself where you feel most threatened.  Check in to ensure you are not projecting aggression without consciously intending to do so.  Trickster energy can be anyone’s undoing.  Who is dangling the bait?  Who’s taking it.

Peace and ease through these challenges to us all.

Chihuahua baring his teeth at the threat of having his bone taken away.  David Shankbone, photographer.

Feeling Hawkish

red-tailed_hawk_with_moon_over_estero_bay_ca_-_composition_red-tail-moon-composite-2630s_2832366091329Under the fumes of the Gemini new moon, restlessness has set in.  I spent the last 24 hours feeling artificially hurried and motivated at the same time.  Hello Gemini burst.  Hello brainstorm.  When Gemini energy has no creative outlet, anxiety erupts.  Worse, yet, aggression.  But the urge to do everything at once can be paralyzing.  If you are feeling this way, what do you do?

I have a list in my computer called “Cleaning List”.  It was not intended and the name serves no good reason, but I keep what I call aspirational items alongside tasks and am at peace with moving items down the line and altering them when I cannot get things done.  But, in Gemini moments like these, the list becomes an anchor.  Panic.  Put it on the list.  Repeat.  Just as I was set to go to the university office this morning, I sat down and began knocking things off of my digital cleaning list at home.  Best laid plans.  And I wasn’t going to accomplish this blog.  It wasn’t on the list.  But as I prepared to stand and leave the house, a red-tailed hawk dramatically touched down on the power pole twenty feet from my window, just so we could share a breath, gaze eye to eye.

Hawks are busy birds.  Keen-eyed, intelligent, focused and skilled hunters.  My neighborhood development has uprooted their natural habitat, and I have watched with admiration in the way this territorial bird has adapted.  We are all in acute adaptability mode these days, and Gemini energy infuses us with curiosity, agility, and a homeopathic dose of paranoia if we permit it.  What is the creative project calling you toward focus right now?  More likely there are two.  What active meditation is called for to keep you from running off rails?  Venus joins the sun in Gemini just after Mercury dips into Cancer this month.  Time to say yes and yes also, this and that, please.

Cheers to the changing winds.


Mirrors and Windows

Sabian Symbol Taurus 12:  A Young Couple Window shopping:  Desire, Craving of Material Goods that reflect Inner Worth

This full moon is all about values and value systems.  It is about that naive, youthful desire to transform inner worth through outer, material transformation.  The solar complement to this is Sabian Symbols 12:  Officials at an Embassy Ball.  This speaks of political strategizing, mingling for power, game-playing, and protocols.  Desire is in direct confrontation with power systems one may feel left out of – who is the gate crasher in your life, or what idea is gate crashing your own inner psyche?  Rather than challenging power systems around you, what internal order is prohibiting full expression of your singular inner wealth?

This is a time of transformation, and Jupiter in Scorpio is encouraging such change in our world.  If it feels like the closets have burst open in our lives, it is all to the service of clearing and re-framing our relationships with inner and outer power.  If it feels like gate crashing power systems in the outer world, imagine the barriers that are being overrun in your own mind and go gently; but by all means proceed ahead into those shadows that wield great influence in your subconscious mind.

Outwardly, Saturn is in a helpful alignment with his wild-child father, Uranus.  Maturation is being shown a path toward liberation – mental, spiritual, and perhaps even physical…  We are burning away old philosophies and re-imagining what it means to be human, in the singular and collective ways.

We can’t have everything – where would we put it?  Enjoy the clearing to have sweeter relationship with what we do have.  Enjoy the fall,



Image Credit:  Karin Beate Nøsterud/ [CC BY 2.5 dk (, via Wikimedia Commons

Both Sides Now.

Full moon in Aries October 5, 2017 @ 2:40 pm at 12.43 degrees.

“Aries 13 A bomb that fails to explode is now safely hidden from view.”

Traditionally, this is the harvest moon, and a time of celebration of self and community.  This moon, however, may not feel so much  like a celebration as a wake.  And hopefully a wake-up call.  The Aries full moon reflects identity issues in relation to social contracts.  This particular lunar degree, Aries 13, is the degree of adolescent frustration; although one might be relieved the bomb failed to go off, it also reflects a failed revolution due to ego conflict and a return to the status quo of the oppressive power order.  This full moon is about identity reflection, about humility, and about growing up and out of our own lower frequencies.  The self-oriented Aries moon is butting heads with the Sun and mental-governing Mercury conjunct in the sign of harmony and balance, Libra.  Libra likes the status quo; Aries wants revolution.    We’ve been getting a lot of lessons in these spheres all year.  It is worth noting that Jupiter is in its final few days of traveling through Libra, asking us to think about social order, what we are willing to sacrifice for the status quo, and what needs to be done to maintain harmony in disruptive times?  We are all being asked to consider who we are and how we can pioneer this world forward; we must risk these impulses to blow up the world in order to create a new one.  Frustration runs hot, high, and heavy.

On the same day, Mars and Venus unite in their once-every-two-to-three year dance with each other.  Fortunately, they are conjoined in the grounded, practical sign of Virgo.  Virgo wants to repair, to mend, and to sew things together in a fastidious manner.  Our masculine and feminine forces are asking us to tend to the small inner work on ego and self-gratification.  Mars and Venus in Virgo encourage us to plant a seed for tomorrow rather than burn the field of today.

Where you feel thwarted, devise a reasonable action plan. Where you feel humiliated, make a list of gratitude for all you’ve learned.  Take what you’ve outgrown and lovingly offer it to the earth, sending it off in service to new use.  Where you feel lack, pray inwardly for fertile mental/emotional terrain that will nurture your imagined seed of fulfillment.  Take the long view.  Take the deep breath.

And by all means, yes:  Love yourself under this full moon, but love yourself enough to see yourself for who you are, who you no longer wish to be, and who you will yourself to become.


*Image from NASA Jet Propulsion Library.  Labeled for reuse.