Full Moon in Scorpio

IMG_6515This is the chart for tonight’s Full Moon. This one is happening in the intense and sometimes scary territory of Scorpio. The chart points out a few interesting facts about this event.

For one thing, Pluto – the Planet that we humans named after the mythological Lord of the Underworld – will just happen to be located near the very bottom of the chart at the exact moment of the Full Moon. This seems like a fitting place for an Underworld God to be. Pluto is said to “rule” Scorpio, and anything in it, which would include the Moon during this passage, so Underworld vibes may be abundant this evening (and for a day or two on either side of the Full Moon). Pluto is also making a very agreeable sextile connection with the Moon, suggesting that the energies represented by these two symbols will be ready, willing, and able to work together in agreeable and potentially exciting ways.

With the Ascendant in Libra and a packed Seventh House, themes of partnership are also being pinged with some real enthusiasm during this Full Moon. Libra – the seventh Sign – and the Seventh House both have much to do with important one-on-one relationships. It could be that the grounding presence of the right partner may be exactly what you need to inspire you to not only descend into your own personal Underworld, but also to then find the strength within yourself to make the wearying climb back up into the light.

Uranus and Mercury are teaming up in the bold Sign of Aries to lend us courage if we embrace these strong partnerships. Honest communication will be key, and that Uranian input may result in oddity: odd partners, odd interactions, oddness welling up from within ourselves. If things get strange around this Full Moon, you can maybe take that as a Sign that you’re especially plugged into this one, and that you’re right where you need to be.

With the Lord of the Underworld himself encouraging a visit, and the light of the Full Moon to guide you and keep you safe, you have a fantastic opportunity for descending into the depths, retrieving something you stashed away down there in the dark a long time ago, and carrying it back up top so you can reclaim it and integrate it into your psyche. Your partner can’t travel down to the nether-regions with you – these are journeys we have to make by ourselves – but take comfort in the fact that the right partner will always be standing by, ready to help you in any way possible. Have faith in your partners…and have faith in yourself.

Happy Full Moon in Scorpio!

Full Moon on May 10th

Full Moon 5-10-17This coming Wednesday, the Moon waxes full in the rather intense realm of Scorpio. That means a lot of light shining into a lot of darkness, as Scorpio is the province of such weighty concepts as sex, death, secrets, power dynamics, psychology, and transformation.

If you’re in the Providence, RI area, please feel invited to drop in on the meditation/healing session I’ll be running at the headquarters space of the phenomenal Thrive Tribe! Several Reiki practitioners will be on hand for the event, so infusing the proceedings with positive, healing vibes is part of the central concept. We’ll also be focusing specifically on the idea that this Full Moon will be illuminating that shadowy Scorpio terrain.

And if you won’t be in the area, you can still do something in your neck of the woods to mark the event. An opportunity to carry some light down into the depths of Scorpion-territory is not to be missed!

Saturn/Chiron Square: April 30th

Astrology Update: Just as one tough square fades, another steps up to take its place… You may have felt the effects of the Venus/Saturn square that’s been testing our relationship structures since around the time April Fools’ Day was applying pies to faces all across the land. Thankfully, that square is fading now, and likely has only a few more days of fight left in it.

What’s probably of more pressing importance now is the fact that Saturn has found a new partner to square-dance with in the form of Chiron. This already powerful square is building toward peak effect this coming Sunday, April 30th.

So what does all that mean…? First of all, as always, you really need to plot this activity against what’s going on in your own birth-chart. Do you have anything around the 27th degree of Sagittarius (where Saturn is right now) or the 27th degree of Pisces (where Chiron is kicking it for the time being)…? Or do you have anything in the corresponding degrees of the other Mutable Signs, Gemini and Virgo? If so, this square may pack an extra bit of wallop in your world. The same may hold true if Saturn or Chiron are highly influential in your chart in general.

But outside of putting thumbtacks in maps, it may help to ponder the symbols involved here in broad terms, too. Saturn symbolizes a rather chilly, impersonal force in the Universe. It wants us to be excellent in all things, but its preferred methods are not of the warm and cuddly variety. Saturn plants foot in posterior when it wants to motivate. Saturn is a drill instructor, a merciless personal trainer, a constipated auditor doing a full and scathing review of your financial records.

When Saturn shows up with sickle in hand, the question is always: How much preparation have you done leading up to this visit…? If you’ve been diligent in your work, putting in the time, attending to details, and not cutting corners, then you’ll probably pass Saturn’s tests with flying colors. If you’ve been careless, lazy, or prideful in your approach, though, Saturn is likely to dash your shabbier efforts apart like trembling little houses of cards. These types of Saturn visits can lead to periods of rebuilding, damage control, and even razing everything down to the soil and starting over from scratch.

And what about Chiron? This “Planetoid” is named for a mythological character dubbed “the Wounded Healer.” In darker times, Chiron is more about the soul-wounds that we carry around with us. These are the traumas that seem built right into us, and that may even to some extent define us. In more positive periods, though, Chiron emphasizes the healing and the healer parts of that “wounds/healing” spectrum. During Chironic passages, we may find ourselves more able to heal others, and maybe even more able to heal ourselves. Epiphanies and rejuvenation may be on the menu.

So is this square period more about the wounds or the healing…? It’s important to think about the nature of the square relationship. Any Aspect that links two Planets together represents an occasion of those Planetary energies trying to work together. Some Aspects are easier and more user-friendly to experience, though. The square is one of the more friction-heavy varieties. Squares can feel uncomfortable and abrasive to the spirit when they exert themselves, and they can signify instances of Planetary energies merging badly, misfiring, or even working against each other. Planets in square can bring out the worst in each other.

In this case, just as Saturn has been taking harsh and critical stock of our relationships lately (that now fading Venus/Saturn square), and shaking them vigorously to see if they’ll come apart or not, with this new square, the same sort of attentions will be turned upon our wounds and our health. This isn’t to say we’re all doomed or anything – squares aren’t necessarily deadly, and we’ve all lived through thousands of them in our lives, and we’re still here. But the point is that this may be a time during which old hurts are brought to the surface, and loneliness and depression come easily. Saturn might dig a few fingers repeatedly into your tenderest bruises just to verify that those bruises still cause you pain. Recurring hot-button issues may be triggered, and it’s possible that actual physical health woes could surface alongside any mental, emotional, or spiritual ones.

The best thing to do is to work with Saturn’s demands rather than against them. Take extra-good care of yourself for the next two months or so until this square has had time to fizzle out. Make some positive changes to your diet, be a bit more devoted to some sort of exercise regimen, meditate with some regularity, and be very realistic with yourself about what your own strengths and weaknesses truly are (as opposed to what you’d really, really like them to be).

And it’s not all bad news. While squares can be tricky to weather, they’re still very powerful connections between Planets. And as mentioned, Chiron can bring about sudden revelations, and fairly sweeping upgrades in a person’s worldview, especially regarding those aforementioned soul-wounds. Maybe study your wounds: what are they, how have you approached them in your life, and how might you either view them differently, or try to deal with them in ways you haven’t yet tried? Even when Chiron is being squared, opportunities for great healing can still manifest – just don’t let Saturn’s heavy presence get you so down and depressed that you fail to make use of them!

New Moon in Taurus (Wednesday – April 26)

The New Moon looms, in the Sign of Taurus, the Bull…

This Wednesday, the 26th of April, marks the occasion of our next New Moon. In sharp contrast to Full Moon moments – when the Moon is as large and bright and majestic in the nighttime sky as she ever gets – New Moon occurrences are remarkable for the total absence of a visible Moon. The sky can’t really get much darker than it does during these intervals.

And it’s for this very reason that people often find it as useful and empowering to perform rituals to mark the New Moon as it is to commemorate a Full Moon. One approach is to make use of that yawning black abyss up there above us by releasing things into it that are no longer serving us. The operating theory is that if we can hold forth those thoughts, emotions, unhelpful behavior patterns, and self-defeating bits of programming that we carry around with us, then that staggering void up there may snatch them from our trembling fingers, and disperse them across those light years of vacuum, effectively nullifying them for us. In essence, the result is like somebody deleted some unsatisfying text from the documents of our lives…

This particular New Moon takes place at about 6 degrees into the Sign of Taurus. Take a look at your chart to see if you have anything located there. Check also to see if you have anything situated at or near the same degree of any of the other Fixed Signs: Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. For example, my own natal Sun lies in the 4th degree of Scorpio, which qualifies as being opposite this particular New Moon. This set of circumstances says that I might be likely to feel this New Moon to much greater extent than somebody with no such placement in their chart might feel it.

But even if you have no Planets making direct relationships with this New Moon, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be completely immune to its effects. It can still be worthwhile to address an event like this with ritual and meditation.

So what does a New Moon mean when it happens specifically in the Sign of the Bull…? Taurus is an Earth Sign, and in particular, it has associations with concepts such as the body, sensual pleasures, simplicity, material belongings, and a love of beauty and serenity.

Are there things in these areas that you could let go of at this time to your benefit? Such things might include poor dietary and exercise habits, self-recriminating body images, a need to place too much or too little emphasis on money or possessions, bursts of laziness and procrastination, and maybe plunging too deeply into hedonism (or not plunging deeply enough?). If you can perceive any of these issues within yourself right about now, then this New Moon could be the perfect opportunity to release them into the Universe to be repurposed as more helpful energy elsewhere. Reclaim some of your bandwidth this Wednesday evening under the blackest of skies, and start fresh on the things that really do matter to you…

Limited Time Only – Special on Birth-Chart Interpretation

Birth-Chart Interpretation SpecialIn the spirit of the springtime season that’s now touching down around us here in the northeastern US, I’ve decided to run an Astrology special that should help to usher in positivity and fresh growth.

For the next 10 days, until the month of May lands, I’m offering birth-chart interpretation sessions at a full one-third off! This 33% discount means that for a 60-90 minute interaction (by Skype or in person if you’ll be in my geographic area), instead of the usual $75 USD, sessions will cost only $50 USD!

Your birth-chart is a profoundly meaningful document that serves as a sort of wiring diagram of your psyche. Understanding it more fully is a lot like being handed the User’s Manual for your own self. Become better equipped to pitch your efforts in life at being exactly who and what you were truly designed to be, instead of flailing away at things that don’t align with your true nature.

If you’ve been feeling unsatisfied with your lot in life, then a better grasp on your birth-chart may be part of the solution! CONTACT me today to set up your session!

Understand Pluto by Understanding Persephone…

Somber Hades, Lord of the Underworld, and his three-headed Hellhound, Cerberus…

Yesterday, I posted HERE about Pluto’s impending turn retrograde, set for tomorrow. I talked a little bit about what Pluto signifies in Astrology, and I also held forth somewhat about what retrograde periods might mean when they decide to settle in around us.

Today’s post is more purely aimed at fleshing out the specific character of Pluto.

So this is a Planet that was named after the Roman God of the Underworld. And while it might be a bit uncharitable to the Romans and their Deities to say this, most of the Roman Goddesses and Gods seem like barely updated versions of the earlier Greek Deities. Jupiter, the King of the Roman Gods, with his mighty thunderbolts, feels a lot like Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods…with his mighty thunderbolts… Mercury, the Roman Messenger-God with his winged sandals and magic caduceus-staff is the spitting image of Hermes, the Greek Messenger-God, with his winged sandals and his magic caduceus-staff… You probably get the picture.

But even though the Greek incarnations came first, it somehow transpired that we humans named the Planets of our solar system after the Roman versions of these mythic figures. You know the names: Venus, Mars, Saturn, Neptune…

And Pluto is no exception in all this: the Greeks had an incredibly similar Lord of the Underworld named Hades, but we named our far-distant, planetary system-mate after the Roman version. Still, it can be very instructive to examine one of the primary myths about Hades to understand more about the role that the Planet Pluto plays in Astrology.

This image has always made me think of Persephone before Hades arrived on the scene – she’s carrying on her mother’s agricultural work, but not looking especially passionate about it here, and is maybe wondering if there might be something more for her out there…

To tell this particular story about Hades, though, is also to relate the story of Persephone, a young Goddess who would have a fateful encounter with the gloomy Lord of the Netherworld (whose nature would eventually be mapped onto our icy Pluto)…

So after the generation of Greek Gods known as the Olympians ascended to power, an age of growth took hold. The Olympians settled in to rule, and various species flourished down on the earthly level. One of the Olympians, Demeter, assumed the role of Goddess of Agriculture and of the Harvest, and so control of all green and growing things became her province.

Demeter was often helped in her agrarian efforts by her daughter, Persephone. An innocent and beautiful young Goddess-girl on the cusp of Goddess-womanhood, Persephone seemingly had little independence and identity of her own outside of being Demeter’s sheltered daughter.

Hades abducts Persephone – this is a great summary of what can happen to us when Pluto the Planet becomes activated…

One day, though, Persephone wandered down to Earth, and strolled about in a meadow all by herself. While there, she caught the eye of her grave uncle, Hades, who was watching from down below in his Underworld domain. Unable to fight back his loneliness and desire, Hades harnessed his chariot, raced up toward the surface, caused the earth to open up beneath Persephone, and he gathered her up as she fell, and brought her back to his dark realm below.

And as Persephone dealt with this abrupt and frightening turn of events, her mother was quick to notice her absence, and launched a frantic search for her. It took some time, but eventually, the Olympians learned that it was their own kinsman, Hades, who had abducted young Persephone. When Zeus, their King, demanded that Hades return the wayward Goddess to her home up above, Hades pointed out that while she was his guest, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds…and no one living, not even the Olympian Deities, may eat of the food of the dead.

Zeus found himself caught in a real bind here, not wanting to reward Hades for kidnapping an innocent Goddess-girl and depriving Demeter of her beloved daughter, but also agreeing that the prohibition against the living eating food from the Land of the Dead was an important law that was not to be broken. He settled on a compromise: for every pomegranate seed that Persephone had eaten, she would have to spend one month per year below in the Underworld with Hades, while for the other six months of the year, she could roam Olympus and Earth as she pleased.

As is so often the way with compromises, no one was especially happy with this decision. Hades had only half of the companionship he’d been seeking, while Demeter was being forced to go without her daughter’s company for half of every year. In retaliation, Demeter declared that she would help nothing to grow for those intervals when Persephone was down below in the darkness – this is why we have the Autumn and Winter seasons each year, and why, when Persephone returns aboveground on the Vernal Equinox, we enter the warm and fruitful six months of Spring and Summer (obviously, the Greek tales originated with a society that lived in the Northern Hemisphere…).

Persephone as Queen of the Underworld: now a Goddess of great power, with tremendous influence over her husband, and the ability to inspire fear in the hearts of even the greatest of mortals…

Interestingly enough, though, while her abduction must have been fairly terrifying at the time, Persephone arguably benefitted from it. Where she’d once been little more than an extension of her mother, with no real identity and no real autonomy, Hades’ intervention transformed her into the powerful Queen of the Underworld. Almost overnight, she made quantum leaps forward in establishing a new role for herself, amassing a tremendous amount of personal power, and transforming from a young, naïve Goddess-girl to a fearsome, fully matured Goddess.

In Homer’s classic Greek tale, The Odyssey, the hero of the piece, Odysseus, is obliged at one point to travel to the Underworld, and he clearly states his desire to finish his errand and get gone back to the surface before “dread Persephone” puts in an appearance. And this was one of the greatest heroes of his time, fresh off the bloody horrors of ten years spent fighting in the Trojan War – Odysseus was arguably one of the least cowardly mortals then roaming the Greek landscape, but thoughts of even a three-minute encounter with the Mistress of the Underworld had him wanting to flee that dark place like an incontinent child…

In some tellings, Persephone even seems to become the true power in the Underworld, forcing Hades into a never-ending quest to win her forgiveness and her affections after having stolen her away from the bright, airy upper-world and the life she’d known there. In these versions of the tale, Hades spends the rest of his days in a vain effort trying to make his Queen smile and love him back.

So the point of all this is that when Pluto the Planet – named in roundabout fashion for Hades – becomes active in our lives, it’s possible that we might have to play the part of Hades himself in some dynamic. We might be called to grapple with our own long-denied hungers, to choose whether to exert our power over others, and to bump up against the limits of how much we truly value the consent of those others before we exercise our will upon them.

More likely, though, there’s an excellent chance that during times of Plutonian influence, we may in some manner be slotted to be on the receiving end of some version of the Persephone treatment. That is, Pluto energies may take us on a forced march into some scary Underworld of our own, to face whatever dwells down there in the dark. We may be ripped from our usual routines, and we may be sequestered for a time in some fairly dismal psychic locale. We may have to contend with the worse aspects of human nature, and we may have to make some truly hard choices.

But as with Persephone’s experience, the developments may not be exclusively bad here. Plutonian passages can allow for us to retrieve long-buried psychological material and then transmute it into something positive. They can also trigger profound transformation, and yield massively enhanced power and knowledge.

It’s not really possible to outrun Pluto’s influence, or to hide from the Lord of the Underworld – he comes for all of us at some point. When he does, though, what we can do is accept the challenges that these periods present us, and try to ride them through to some personal metamorphosis.

For this Pluto retrograde, you can prepare and cope by making use of such techniques as meditation, dream journaling, psychotherapy, visualization exercises, shamanic practices, and energy healing. Have faith in yourself, make wise choices about what to use as fuel during this retrograde interval, and accept that change is inevitable…but not necessarily “bad.”

Pluto Retrograde

Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld…and when Pluto gets active, all of the hidden, buried things come crawling up to the surface…

It’s been some season of retrograde activity lately here on Planet Earth. For a moment there, we were toiling under no less than four Planets that, from our ground-bound perspective, looked to be traveling backwards through space. A few days ago, on the 15th, Venus halted her retrograde ways and returned to more standard direct (= “forward”) motion, but that still leaves us with Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn all seeming to backtrack along their usual orbital pathways.

And two days from now, on the 20th of April, cold, dark Pluto will join them.

So what does it mean when a Planet named for the Lord of the Underworld seems to cease its creeping progress around the Sun and then roll backwards…?

As you may know, astrologers generally tend to describe retrograde periods as times when the energies symbolized by the Planet in question will be more likely to manifest in our inner worlds rather than as concrete developments out in our external consensus reality as they normally might.

In the case of Pluto, we’re often talking about deep, often long-buried psychological material emerging into the light. This can be a terrifying sort of occurrence, but it can also ultimately be very healing and empowering. Keeping a secret can often enslave us to that secrecy, and it can be profoundly liberating to expose such hidden material. Doing so then frees up all of the bandwidth that had been dedicated to preserving the secrecy.

And it’s important to note that when Pluto gets active, the secrets in question can be of the deliberately and consciously kept variety, or they might be things that are hidden even from the person doing the hiding. Humans can display astonishing powers of denial and suppression. Sometimes this happens due to concerns revolving around self-protection: for example, someone might suppress memories of traumatic experiences simply so they can continue to function in the wake of the trauma. At other times, people can bury thoughts, emotions, and memories in the depths of their psyches due to triggering pressures such as guilt, fear, shame, or doubt. Might it not be better in the long run, though, to deal with such issues in a conscious manner rather than letting them fester in the darkness, where hidden things tend to patiently bide their time, while growing in potency and influence…?

It’s very often true that when we don’t deal with our issues…our issues deal with us. And when they do, at times and places of their choosing, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t enjoy the results.

In addition to “hidden stuff” in general, Pluto can also symbolize intense power dynamics, transformation, intensity, issues in the realm of sexuality, and at times, great wealth.

So when Pluto turns retrograde, we enter intervals of time during which all of these themes may turn inward. We may be invited to descend into our own internal Underworlds, and confront our own inner demons. We may have to face parts of ourselves that we fear or despise. We may need to identify self-imposed blockages and other unhelpful programming that we’ve taken on over the years. We might have to come to terms with certain threads of darkness that lie within us. It’s also possible that this is an opportunity to acknowledge and embrace aspects of our own power that we’ve been denying or avoiding. In some cases, this might even be a chance to bring about some remarkable transformation within ourselves.

But whether the overall effect is one we might label “positive” or “negative,” Plutonian events are generally going to feel heavy, stark, intense, and often frightening. Taking an active hand in their development, or at least recognizing their approach and bracing for them, can be helpful techniques in dealing with them.

And as always, it’s a good idea to see where the event is occurring as related to your own birth-chart. This Pluto retrograde will be happening at about 19 degrees into Capricorn. Do you have anything at or near that location in your chart? Or do you have anything at around the 19 degree mark in any of the other Cardinal Signs (= Aries, Cancer, Libra)? These are the places where this particular event will deliver its strongest impact. Also, if Pluto is naturally strong in your chart, this retrograde may make itself felt in your life.

Pluto moves very slowly as compared with the other Planets in our solar system, so its retrograde periods last for some time. This one will remain in effect until September 28th. Until then, it may be good policy to tune in to your own internal worlds. Meditation, recording your dreams, various forms of therapy, shamanic practices, and naked honesty with yourself about yourself may all prove to be helpful tools in navigating this particular retrograde period.

It’s not always possible to avoid being caught in the darkness…so maybe view this interval as an opportunity for gaining some skill at navigating within it.