The core of my astrological practice comes from the place that everything is connected, that your natal chart truly is a symbolic reflection of “As above so below”*** and that ultimately we are all heroes or heroines of our own epic story that is unfolding. That we both experience and creatively participate in the telling of our personal tale.
Whomever’s chart I am gazing at always provokes questions such as how can we use the chart to more fully foster in daily life the potentialities reflected? What secrets is this map trying to reveal? How do we breath life into the dreams and harness the power that lives in our inner worlds both conscious and unconscious?
Questions like these, provoked by the chart, infuse me with a sense of mystery at the marvel of our lives. With each chart I work to unravel its secrets and listen to its song. When I do this, with any chart, my own or a clients, it always feels like we are working together to act in alignment with the universe.
When we work with our chart as a guiding spirit we harness its power. We are moving along with the current and can use its energy to more easily carries downstream.
From this space I believe we can actively participate in creating magic.
With this in mind I thought I would put forward a series of blogs that tackles retrogrades.
As an astrologer it has been both fascinating and frustrating to watch Mercury Retrograde become common in the lexicon over the past 20 years. On the one hand I am excited that people are paying attention, on the other I find it sobering that it is tossed about on only the most superficial level because a profound opportunity is being missed. Wouldn’t it be great and a lot more fun to actually harness at least some of the potential available during a retrograde?
When astrologers say something is retrograde we are referring to what is called a transit, a movement in the heavens above. This is one of several techniques used in predictive work. When we use them we are actively engaging with the rhythms of the universe. We are essentially consciously acting in partnership, we are dancing together.
When a planet as viewed from the earth (i.e. where we stand literally and psychologically in the universe) appears to go backwards it is called retrogradation.
Currently Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are all in retrograde with Mercury set to join the party on June 17 to July 12.
So what does all this signify? In other words, what do retrogrades represent from a psychologically creative level and perhaps most importantly how can you work with this particular flow of energy?
First of all on a mundane every day life level numerous things will simply slow down, and we are already seeing this even with the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Pluto, which rules viruses and Jupiter which expands everything it touches have been closely traveling together since the middle of March and now they are both retrograde. We are seeing infection levels slow.
Secondly, this psychologically (the root of the word psyche means soul) reflects a time of reassessment not only personally but collectively. Retrogrades represent a gift from the Gods for your development, this slowing allows you time to catch your breath and realign before life takes off one again at it usual hectic pace.
Today I will look at Jupiter and Saturn. If you are interested in reading more about the Venus Retrograde I discussed it here. The much misunderstood and underestimated Mercury gets it own blog to follow shortly:)
From my point of view Saturn and Jupiter need each other. In essence these two work hand in hand together. Jupiter dreams and Saturn builds.
On a very basic level Jupiter represents our beliefs from faith to philosophy. Jupiter often reminds me of The Fool card in the Tarot. Representing the beginning of a journey, the person pictured is about to step off of a cliff. Essentially he is taking a leap of faith. Wherever Jupiter lays within our chart we will find ourselves again and again being asked to take leap of faith. To expand and move forward.
Saturn on the other hand, and he receives far too much bad press in my mind, symbolizes moving to adulthood. Admittedly where Saturn lies in our chart we often have a sense of fear or inadequacy and he shows perceived limits both conscious and unconscious.
But consider this: Before there were telescopes Saturn was the furthest visible planet. Metaphorically, Saturn describes the visible and invisible boundaries we put on our everyday reality. The outskirts of the reality we perceive with our inner vision. The “story” of our limits, not our actual limits. To own our Saturn is to move into our power to create our own lives and move past these invisible boundaries and traverse into untried territory. In other words to move beyond our current limits and build something new.
Jupiter thinks this is all great fun, Saturn on the other hand? He knows there is a lot of work involved.
In Evolutionary Astrology retrogrades represent an opportunity to reclaim some aspect of yourself when they appear in your Natal Chart. In particular Jupiter represents an evolutionary imperative to reclaim your confidence, and Saturn retrograde symbolizes the need to reclaim a sense of authority, as in authorship of your own life. As I said above, on a certain level both planets are about going beyond boundaries. They ask they question where have you limited what’s possible for yourself and your life?
Their current retrograde is the perfect time to catch your breath, recenter and set the stage for your next horizon.
You can begin to use the energy of Jupiter retrograde to reclaim your sense confidence in an area of your life where you feel stuck by looking at your beliefs. Of course this sounds easier than it is…because most of the time unconsciously some of those beliefs feel like “the way it is.”
So start small, choose just one area. Where have you been playing small and holding yourself back? My suggestion would be to journal in this area, allowing yourself to openly explore this arena of your life. Or go for a walk and ask Jupiter for guidance as you stroll along. If you are visual create a stream of consciousness collage by holding the issue lightly in your mind’s eye and spend 20 minutes literally ripping through magazines, grabbing any image that you linger on for more and a second or two. It’s not about liking the image, If you are lingering on an image your unconscious mind is responding to it so it is important to include as it is speaking to you from a deep place. Then with your stack of images assemble a collage. Use it as a type of reading, a visual revelation of sorts. What does it unmask and bring to light?
The important thing is to be light and play with this, because Jupiter loves play and adventure. How can you reimagine what’s possible?
One question to ask yourself is what small leap of faith could I take?
Then utilize Saturn who loves a good plan. He is the ultimate master builder. He wants to take those ideas, those possibilities of Jupiter, all that potential and make it real. In other words harnessing the power of Saturn is about moving past your fears and manifesting your dreams in a concrete form. See what I mean about bad press? Sure there is work to be done, but he is all about making it real. What daily discipline, one of Saturn’s favorite words, could you incorporate that would be a concrete action towards the new territory? It doesn’t have to be logical. A year ago on June 1 I began walking each morning as a way to center myself. Over time, another thing Saturn is in charge of, mountains have moved in my life.
The word disciple and disciple come from the same root. What ever action you are taking is actively saying to the universe I am becoming a disciple of of my inner vision. In essence I am apprenticing to my dream. This is a very powerful thing.
There is great wisdom unfolding for you and for your benefit during these retrogrades but it is going to take time. Jupiter goes direct on September 13th and Saturn follows on the 29th. If you work with it this juncture can act a gestation period for you to begin to give birth to something new.
***As above so below comes from the Hermetic Emerald Tablet that was used by Alchemists as they worked at what they dubbed “The Great Work.” More about that to come.
In the past two years the word selah has often dominated my thoughts. Occurring between verses or paragraphs in parts of the Hebrew Bible, it is a mysterious word of enigmatic meaning at the end of verses in the Psalms: sometimes viewed as a musical direction(the Psalms were originally sung), to indicate a pause for contemplation.
Right now both personally and culturally through the courtesy of a pandemic we have collectively been put on just such a pause.
I have deep personal experience with this, you might even say I have become a professional. Recently, when asked by a friend how I was doing in quarantine I sort of sheepishly laughed and said that most of the time life didn’t feel any different for me with the exception of when I headed out to the store once a week all trussed up in a mask and sporting gloves.
Since early 2014 my life increasingly has become commandeered by the care of my aging parents. So much so that by early 2018 much of what had been my daily reality prior to 2014 was now entirely eclipsed by the experience. Essentially my version and vision of life had been put on pause.
In the early part of this odyssey, even as I tried to view it as part of a greater spiritual journey, I was often full of frustration, overwhelm and resentment. I was also terrified as it increasingly felt like my life was falling apart even as I knew somewhere deep in my soul that the choice I had made was absolutely the correct one for me.
As an astrologer I had been watching this period approach for years, but even as I viewed it through this lens the twists and travails of the voyage were often beyond my imagining. Life became a moment to moment practice of trusting my inner knowing to find my way out of the inner darkness that was often emerging as I became more isolated. I really didn’t share most of this even with close friends simply saying when asked how I was surviving that I was doing fine and finding meaning in the experience.
By the time 2018 arrived for the most part I had embraced what was occurring in my outer world as an opportunity to embrace a deeper change I had been called toward like a siren song for many years. It was just about that time that I stumbled upon the word selah. It seemed to perfectly capture the greater transformation that was echoing across my life and became a mantra.
The caterpillar’s metamorphosis from caterpillar into the majestic flying butterfly is a frequent metaphor for total transformation. It’s a breathtaking mechanism developed by nature, yet while it may seem beautiful from the outside, this transformation looks pretty gruesome deep inside the chrysalis. In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly, it digests itself using enzymes triggered by hormones. Then, sleeping cells (similar to stem cells) grow into the body parts of the future butterfly. This can only happen during a pause in what previously had been the caterpillar’s life.
Right now both personally and culturally through the courtesy of a pandemic we have collectively been put on just such a pause. A selah. So on this Monday morning I offer the wish of a good selah. The possibility of us being able to use this time to re-envision how we are both with ourselves and each other.
Selah also appears in music, believe to be a cue to hold a holy silence for a few moments to pause in reverence between the notes. Right now, in this moment, there is a unique opportunity to listen to our lives from this profound space. An invitation to use this brief pause from the frenetic pace that life often moves along to deeply reconnect with ourselves and hear the melody of our heart.
The last interpretation of selah I will share is “a blessing meaning forever.” May each of us find the blessing in this time and emerge as a butterfly reborn.
May is chock full of retrogrades. Pluto went into retrogradation at the end of April. Saturn goes retrograde on the 11th to be followed quickly by Venus on the 13th and then Jupiter on the 15th. Mercury joins the group next month in June. Symbolically this is a time of restoration and reclamation.
Most of you are familiar with the dreaded but misunderstood Mercury retrograde (more about that at the end of May) but Venus is where I want to focus.
Venus retrogrades more rarely than any other planet approximately every 18 months. The retrogradation lasts approximately 40 days which is considered a sacred number in many traditions.
The Mayan’s saw great significance in her cycle. So much so part of their calendar reveals a detailed understanding of the cycles of the planet Venus.. The retrograde portion of her cycle mythologically had profound significance as they envisioned it as Venus’ journey to the underworld.
In all of mythology, journeys to the underworld always symbolize periods of transformation, of death and rebirth. In order to leave the underworld, something must be left behind in order to arise again into the conscious world.
Symbolically Venus represents what we value, how we connect, She is the Goddess of Love. Intertwined with the arts and our creativity, Venus shows where and how we take pleasure in life. She is an intrinsic part a road map to what gives us the experience of being fulfilled. Where she is in your chart shows how you approach relationships of the heart and how you can develop a health sense of self esteem and self love.
Venus is retrograding in the sign of Gemini which is most known as a sign of communication but I would suggest that on a deeper level Gemini is about connection. How we connect with others, how we connect with the world around us. We all have Gemini somewhere in our chart whether it is heavily emphasized or not.
Venus retrograde presents an invitation to reclaim a part of ourselves. And in the sign of Gemini specifically an invitation to reconnect both with ourselves and others. The possibility of rediscovering what’s truly important on a very personal level. I admit I both marvel and find it ironic that this particular retrograde is taking place essentially during the global pandemic. I keep seeing posts on Facebook saying that it isn’t about getting back to normal but about the possibility of getting back to something better. Consciously or unconsciously the macrocosm and the microcosm are always dancing together.
On some level, we are searching for the missing piece we’ve always pretended wasn’t there. Wasn’t necessary. It’s that one piece that would make our picture complete: your picture and my picture, different for each of us and different for each individual, even astrologically. At its core we are looking for buried treasure.
To make the most of this Venus retrograde we must work at curating an inner sense of appreciation both for ourselves and others. The Goddess Venus went to war when she didn’t feel valued. And most often we do the same. This is a period for revisiting old creative projects, taking long baths and walks in nature. Morning pages or journaling which are essentially an inner walk with or to your wild nature are called for. Take a class that you’ve been longing to take. Self Care will bring deep rewards.
From the point of view of a psychological journey to the underworld the Venus retrograde offers an opportunity to leave behind something that is no longer serving us so that we can rise again with our inner values realigned to powerfully create our world. Or perhaps for others it is a time to reclaim a part of ourselves we had set aside simply because we were busy elsewhere. Most importantly it s a time to deeply listen to your heart’s song. What is it longing for? What is your heart secretly whispering to you?
Venus Retrograde in Gemini May 13-June 25
Through the signs:
Aries and Aries Rising: Finding your voice and facing your fears of putting it out into the world.
Taurus and Taurus Rising: Making peace with money and getting over any shame about having what you want.
Gemini and Gemini Rising: You are essentially being asked to stand nakedly in front of a mirror and embrace your uniqueness. To understand that personal power comes from reveling in who you are.
Cancer and Cancer Rising: Surrendering to a higher power, letting go of control. Trusting the deep voice within and following it to take the next step forward.
Leo and Leo Rising: To participate in your community, essentially it is time to reclaim your tribe.
Virgo and Virgo Rising: Pondering your position in the world and your issues with being fully seen and visible.
Libra and Libra Rising: Explore what deeply ingrained beliefs you have about yourself and life that prevent you from living the life you imagine.
Scorpio and Scorpio Rising: Where are you clinging rather than accepting life’s impermanence? What are you trying to control in order to feel safe?
Sagittarius and Sagittarius Rising: Who in your life are you trying to fix rathe than focusing on yourself? As Carl Jung said: What we don’t integrate on the inside how up on the outside dressed as fate.
Capricorn and Capricorn Rising: Your physical health and well being are highlighted. What daily rituals can you follow to bring more balance? Ho can you nourish your body?
Aquarius and Aquarius Rising: How can you be in emotional integrity with yourself? Where and how can you add a sense of play and joy?
Pisces and Pisces Rising: How can you create an inner sense of security and foundation for yourself. In other words how do you create both roots and wings?
Consciously Using The Virgo Pisces Polarity
Similar to life, astrological understanding requires reconciling opposites. So how do we go about balancing the polarities with our lives and ourselves?
There are twelve signs and six polarities. Aries/Libra, Taurus/Scorpio, Gemini/Sagittarius, Cancer/Capricorn, Leo Aquarius and finally Virgo/Pisces.
We contain all of the signs/polarities within our charts and thus within our lives. Each one is asking us to develop certain qualities. Some may be more emphasized than others but they are all part of our journey. All of them bring wisdom that we can consciously develop.
For longest time the Virgo/Pisces polarity was somewhat mystifying to me. I understood the cookbook definitions but what was it asking from me? From my clients where it was emphasized? In other words, what did it really want?
Both signs have the idea of serving or suffering associated with them. But serving what?
On many levels I often feel that Virgo is the most misunderstood. It certainly has had a bad rap, often being associated with anal, fanatically neat personalities…perfectionism. And the dark side of Virgo can certainly go there.
At its best Virgo is about bringing order to chaos, about consciously choosing. Used well it helps us focus and direct our energy. Virgo is about being willing to do the work necessary to bring our creations into being. It is the vessel.
For Pisces on the other hand it is easy (natural) to experience the all. Boundless, it senses everything. It is full of compassion and creativity and yearns for the connection with everything it senses. And it can get lost in all that boundless possibility experiencing disillusionment not quite knowing how to connect this vision to everyday reality and feeling overwhelmed as a result.
It needs the polarity of Virgo to bring all this boundlessness into being. Pisces needs focus, Virgo needs inspiration and compassion, and together they feed each other. Virgo is the vessel that is the receptacle of the universe’s (Pisces) boundless creative energy so that it can be contained and focused. Without the compassion and vision of Pisces the vessel is empty.
While this just scratches the surface, here is one of the more powerful ways that you can use to look at this polarity: Wherever Virgo/Pisces lies in your chart you are being asked to consciously look at what you are devoted to and then to focus how you demonstrate that in the actual nuts and bolts of everyday life. In other words how do you make your visions a reality?
Consciously or unconsciously we are all devoted/committed to certain things within our lives. If you are not sure what you are or have been devoted to look around your at the details of your daily life. Those details will reflect the current commitments you have both conscious and unconscious. Life will reflect who you are being. Then it is up to you to choose and practice (Virgo) who and what you are going to serve. You can either serve the greater vision or your insecurities (Pisces).
Consciousness is the substance between the matter of dreams or nightmares.
As I write this I am reminded of the statement -Before enlightenment: Chop wood carry water. After enlightenment: Chop Wood and Carry Water. To master the Virgo Pisces Polarity you must serve the greater vision that you carry within.
A few years ago a close friend of mine would ask me about the women he was interested in and then when I gave him the information he asked for (both the smooth and challenging matters at hand) take issue with any incompatibilities between their charts. “I refuse to believe that this is just how it is!” he would claim indignantly, “We have free will, you can’t tell me that these ‘problems’ are just the way it is!”
We all do this; I know that personally I too feel this way when it is someone I really like. I will happily justify an aspect between our charts that I would warn any client will be highly challenging. But the question remains…is it written?
If we have a basic incompatibility between our chart and that of another person, is there nothing we can do about it, can’t we just make it work?
On an individual level, aspects represent energy between planets in our chart – our own personal constellation. There are energies that flow more readily, and energies that create a certain amount of friction. In synastry (which describes the effect you and your partner have on each other) our chart meets another’s personal constellation, and where they line up we are sensitive, receptive to that person and they are to us as well. We literally energetically resonate -magnetic attraction at its’ core!
While these aspects represent the initial energy that pulls us together, underneath the attraction there are deeper things at play. The energies or aspects, between our charts are telling.
Here is one example; let’s say your moon, the part of you that yearns for security, filters your emotions, represents what you need and hunger for on a primal level, is in a hard (challenging) aspect to someone’s mars – the part of the chart that deals with how you assert yourself, take action and express anger.
The good news is there are sparks…big ones!
The challenging news is this is similar to a cross-cultural difference in relating to the world. It is as though these two planets, both personal planets (meaning we feel them personally), speak completely different languages and come from different worlds: One modern American English and the other ancient Chinese. The cultures have vastly different ways of interacting with the world, different needs and different ways of expressing those needs.
What this means in a relationship is that you often just misperceive each other. They do something (mars) and you feel hurt (moon) by their action as though they have completely disregarded your needs. They feel you are being overly sensitive, they didn’t intend to hurt you.
In the early days of a relationship, while we are experiencing what I call the delightful hormone high, we don’t care. We are just having too much juicy fun. Then, little by little, the dust settles.
A client of mine had this particular aspect between her chart and the chart of her new boyfriend. I gave her this information and three weeks later she called to inform me that I was completely wrong – he was the kindest most sensitive man she had ever been with. I told her to get back to me in six months. Sure enough, this pattern of interaction between them had become one of the hallmarks of their relationship. He did something; she was hurt. This could be as simple as he wanted to watch television at the end of his workday, she felt like he was ignoring her and didn’t care.
Is this a death knell for a relationship? No, but the people involved will have to work at it harder than they would with a flowing aspect. This dynamic between the two will always be at play. Successfully navigating it requires a certain amount of awareness. These so-called “hard” aspects provide a lot of juice that feeds the attraction but also bestow a certain amount of volatility.
From a larger perspective – we are all here evolving. The energy between us that is so mesmerizing pushes us to grow in ways that our soul yearns for – often beyond current boundaries into new and uncharted territory. The trajectory of our lives in this moment is providing us the opportunity to become more conscious in the area of our life being activated in by the energy of the other person.
In any relationship there will be times we are better at it. I firmly believe that anyone we are powerfully drawn to, whether as a friend or something more, has arrived for a reason at that point in our lives. Our job is to cherish the possibility and promise at hand without being attached to the outcome. Kismet in motion;)
“Astrology is a language, if you understand this language the sky speaks to you.” -Dane Rudhyar
I love to read. According to my mother, I began to sound out words at the tender age of 18 months. For as long as I can remember I have read each night before I go to sleep. Even when I am exhausted I have to enact this bedtime ritual – at the very least one paragraph. Stories, from fairy tales to epics, notable literature and the “you can ‘t put it down piece of pulp fiction” have always captured my imagination.
Why is this important to astrology? Because to me, each chart holds a never-ending story, an epic journey full of mystery, magic and yes- fate.
In this analogy, the natal chart would be the book. Here all sorts of themes are exposed about our hero or heroine. Do you get obsessed, almost captured and dragged to the underworld by your relationships? I guarantee somewhere Pluto is involved and at best he is asking (ok it is Pluto so perhaps demanding might be a better word) you to let go of needing to call the shots and embrace change so that you can better understand your soul. Or alternately Neptune might be the player and you are either being taken to new soul merging heights (usually the beginning of a Neptune dominated relationship) or learning just how self- deceiving you can be. I have a Neptune dominated chart and I used to say self-depreciatingly of the relationship with my ex-fiancé “The writing was on the wall in huge graffiti and I was pretending that I was illiterate.” In the end, all of the trials and tests along the journey are here to serve our soul and its greater purpose. This may sound dramatic but for each of us our life is an epic journey – we are all the hero of our own story.
I should add here that I fully embrace the view that we picked the journey and the astrological chart along with the transits to it and the progressions within it reflect “our itinerary” in this lifetime. Is it that literate? The truth is sometimes yes.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t have free will. But if we are on a divinely inspired journey who is to say when those choices took place? From our family of origin to our relationships and dreams I subscribe to the notion that we chose it all. There is a lot of inner peace that comes with this, and frankly, when I look at a chart my breath still gets taken away by the beauty of each soul’s travels. Think of your natal chart as a map, a form of sacred cartography. Decoding it helps you understand (remember) the course that you have set.