Today's Pisces moon and entering the flow

This morning I woke up in a panic: How should I use my day off? I have so many projects going at once -- astrology projects, gardening projects, and general family projects that are ever looming. The last photo album I made for Lyndon went up to age two. The symbolism of the sky is so centered around creativity and expression that it can be both exciting and overwhelming. Am I doing enough?

I was thinking about the fixed nature of this week’s Aquarius full moon, and the idea that our lives and ideas have lasting impact. They just do. We’re all important. But every now and then we see ourselves as separate from the mix. We wonder where we fit in. When that happens, what’s our natural instinct: Is it to assert ourselves, seek company, recede?

I noticed this week that Lyndon hasn’t turned the pages on his Page-a-Day calendars since June 25th, his last day of school before summer vacation. He doesn’t know what day it is. He just goes with the flow. And under today’s Pisces moon that’s inspiring to me. I started a new job two weeks ago. Maybe today I can give myself a break.

Flooded by input from superstars and influencers, it can be hard to look beyond images to see the deeper ways we’re all the same. The mutable water symbolism of Pisces reminds us of both change and source. Has the flow of our lives taken us away from or brought us closer to whatever happens to be our own personal source - - God, creativity, family, love...?

It might help today to take a break from structure and routine in some way, even if your nature is more hard-driving and productive. The work and the ideas will be there when you get back, and they may gain new inspiration.

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves to find ourselves. But a lasting spark remains. To quote one of my favorite Pisces, Mister Rogers: “You can never go down the drain.”

 
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Jupiter stations direct: Meditating on hope, wisdom, freedom, and joy

Jupiter will station direct tomorrow at 9:37 a.m. EDT. There are many ways to process this for insight and inspiration. Here are a few, taken from my class for Fresh Voices in Astrology earlier this year: Jupiter in Sagittarius: When Do We Get to The Good Part?

Meditating on Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest planet, named after the mythological most divine ruler. So just imagine that for a moment, and now imagine more of that quality in you. Jupiter symbolizes some area of talent, luck, or blessings: where we have an inborn connection to greatness and can have even more if we believe in ourselves, pick up some wisdom along the way, and go for it. Ultimately Jupiter represents how we can access a state of success, gratitude, and joy.

Jupiter is between Mars and Saturn. So it’s beyond Mars, the planet of action and desire. But before Saturn, which helps us grow up, commit, and work hard at something. And that placement is meaningful because first, Jupiter helps us wish. Just try. Follow our excitement. Tune into hope. 

 
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The glyph or symbol of Jupiter is the God’s lightning bolt. It’s also the crescent of receptivity rising above the cross of matter. Steven Arroyo calls this “the intermixing of the spiritual and the material.” We have an earthly experience of structure, limits, points of decision-making. Interacting with that cross is this crescent, cup, or moon -- the emotional, imaginative, loving, healing realm. We absorb and reflect or take in and pour back out this mixture of the real and the mysterious, the practical and the nourishing: humanity and divinity. Can we be receptive and generous enough to do that?

Meditating on Sagittarius

In Sagittarius, Jupiter has come home, where the energy is pure and powerful, so it’s hypothetically easier to express. Jupiter is in its rulership in Sagittarius — its castle. In the zodiac cycle, which starts with Aries and the first day of Spring, Sagittarius is the 9th sign, between the still, deep waters of Scorpio and the cardinal, beginning earth of Capricorn. Sagittarius as a mutable sign has an agenda of movement: A passage between inner and complex, psychological processes and outer, impressive accomplishments. The archer between the scorpion and the seagoat or mountain goat. 

 
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Mutable signs don’t tie us to anything just yet but remind us of a need for variety, change, flexibility. And Sagittarius as a fire sign wants action, a challenge. It wants to find and express freedom, passion and inspiration. It’s also the centaur, combining the animal nature and wisdom of the body with the higher mind. When we shoot the arrow it takes us to new places both mentally and physically. And that’s exciting for a planet in Sagittarius. That feels good. learning, moving, disseminating. Paraphrasing Steven Forrest, three faces of Sagittarius are the student, the traveler, and the philosopher.

Sagittarius is also the great connector of threads, finding common themes and deriving meaning. And so it can help to reflect on the past Jupiter in Sagittarius cycle, or as many as you can remember.

June 9, 1960 - October 25, 1960
January 14, 1971 - June 4, 1971
September 11, 1971 - February 6, 1972
July 24, 1972 - September 25, 1972
December 25, 1982 - January 19, 1984
December 9, 1984 - January 3, 1996
November 23, 2006 - December 18, 2007
November 8, 2018 - December 2, 2019

Have any themes recurred for you this year that tie into past Jupiter cycles? Think about how might this be a homecoming not just for Jupiter, but for you, too.

Meditating on Direction

There are high and low expressions of every symbol in astrology. The danger of a planet in its own sign is that there’s nothing to put the brakes on. Jupiter in Sagittarius can be extreme: Overindulging, overdoing, overextending.  It can symbolize our tendency to jump to conclusions, leap before we look, or become stuck in an echo chamber or our own opinions.

There’s a naive face of this, like a good-time party animal or a thrillseeker. Relying on luck or bravado can lead to all kinds of accidents or disasters. But the darker side of this is if we create a belief system around greed or glory or superiority that just keeps expanding. This is a reality of the moment, too.

High Jupiter in Sagittarius expression is merciful and honorable. The cross and the crescent underscore Hippocrates’s ideal of “first, do no harm” — as long as we don’t stay in our rooms all day because we’re afraid of doing harm. The world needs our leadership, too. Jupiter represents a lifelong process of developing a higher code in some area. But Jupiter also represents something to do: instructions for a better life. Jupiter is considered the “greater benefic” in astrology, and benefic comes from the Latin bene and facere -- to do well. And so our well-being is tied to a verb — an action.

Since April 10th of this year (EDT), Jupiter has been retrograde. A retrograde period symbolizes a slowing down, retracing, inward time. But it can also be a do-over. This could have felt extremely frustrating if we really wanted to push ahead on something. Especially for people with strong Sagittarius and Pisces, signs ruled by Jupiter, we might have found ourselves having to dig deep to access hope. The symbolism of Jupiter retrograde was partly that discernment takes time: That wisdom can come from looking back and within, from processes that are less linear, more imaginative. Jupiter retrograde, for better or worse, gave us insight into what was beyond our control. And hopefully it helped counter some of the excess of Jupiter in Sagittarius, drawing our attention not just to outer action but to inner wisdom and our deepest, most passionate dreams.

Now that Jupiter is stationing direct again, we re-aim that arrow to a direction that’s not just personally exciting but also meaningful and broad.

The Jupiter in Sagittarius Lesson

The symbolism we’re dealing with when we talk about Jupiter in Sagittarius is possibility. Just that it’s possible to have faith again, to feel connected to the celebration. Through December of this year, it could help us simply to know that: That the person we see sharing good news may really need that victory right now. Or that it’ll be our turn one day, too. And if it is our turn, can we give ourselves permission to enjoy it?

The current integration of Jupiter in Sagittarius with the other outer planets is an opportunity to be more grounded and more open. If we’ve been gifted in our lives, how can we pay it forward? If we carry a legacy from our family or just people in general who’ve shown us what decency looks like, what character looks like, how can we share that? What are the mature and practical ways we can show kindness or vulnerability or leadership that will elevate not just us but others too? And can we treat ourselves that way, with bold acts of love and generosity and mercy?

Goodness and generosity and blessings are out there just as they’re inside every one of us. Someone or something is out there helping us, cheering for us, making our success possible.

The Jupiter in Sagittarius lesson is this: Something celebrates when we show up.



A new start and a full heart: The Leo new moon as Mercury stations direct

Tonight Mercury in Cancer stations direct within an hour of the Leo new moon, and I’m struck by the synchronicity in my life of a new beginning after a sentimental trip through the past.

I never expected to return to high school for another four years.

These IDs show my first day as a 9th grader and my first day as a staff member 25 years later.

 
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Mercury is fast-moving, and when it appears to slow down and move backwards it can represent the principle that our mental processing, communication and even movement in general can sometimes benefit from contemplation, deliberation, and do-overs.

When I was in high school I didn’t fully know the cost my grandparents were absorbing to send us to Catholic school. I didn’t realize that my teachers were writing me college recommendations during precious weekends at home with their families. I didn’t understand how much of my family I carried with me and I definitely never knew which lunch table to join.

For four years as a staff member at St. Francis Prep, I saw caregivers dutifully pay tuition. I watched teachers schlep armfuls of college essays and recommendations. I heard stories about my Mom and saw my brother Ted’s photo greeting me as I walked in the building. I finally ate lunch at the same table with the same group of friends every day.

I used to be embarrassed about my high school self. I’ve never been to a reunion. But there’s something healing about meeting versions of yourself years later in the same place -- for me, bubbly, sincere students with toothy smiles and a certain physical clumsiness. Today I almost fell several times while carrying bags and flowers and balloons. But I wasn’t mortified or self-conscious. My friend and I just laughed. It’s a gift to release that unnecessary, high school shame in the very place I first picked it up like a backpack.

I’m heading from high school to college again. Tomorrow I start a job at Columbia University, and it feels so much like leaving home. I’ll carry the teaching of St. Francis with me, and this time I won’t be too embarrassed to ever come back.

New Moon Blessings to everyone, and a Happy end to this Mercury Retrograde. Do-overs are not always setbacks. I hope you can see the hope, blessings and love in your present situation, too.

A memorial stone on the pathway of our high school.

A memorial stone on the pathway of our high school.

Bye for now, Ted!

Bye for now, Ted!

Mercury conjunct Mars and my fight at the gym

Mercury and Mars came together yesterday for the second time since June. I had a fight with a guy in the gym. 

I finally had reached my annoyance threshold with this guy making loud noises while he punches and runs on the treadmill. When I asked him to stop making loud noises, he jumped off his machine, ran at me, and screamed in my face, “This is not a mother__ church! This is a GYM!” We all have different expectations of gyms, perhaps. His might be one that lets him get out all of his aggression however he wants to. Mine is a safe space for me to get fit; I deliberately chose a gym with a tagline of “No lunkheads.” Our ideas were in conflict with each other and sparked a confrontation. The management decided that his behavior crossed the line and asked him to leave. Fellow gymgoers thanked me and co-signed the incident report. I was nervous and shaky all night. 

I imagine most of us don’t find confrontations fun. Confrontations basically suck. We avoid them, unless maybe we’re in our cars or online. But what happens to unexpressed anger? What happens to stifled passion? 

Mercury and Mars will meet again in the earth sign Virgo on September 3rd, on the same degree as the sun. One interpretation is the combining of our voice and action in practical, useful ways that express the essence of who we are. That’s some assignment. The closest we’ve come recently was July 2000, when the Mercury/Mars conjunction was just a degree away from the sun. In Cancer, that correlated with building a safe, healthy, and loving emotional core, home, and family. What have been the fruits of your learning and efforts in those areas for the past 19 years? How have you come to embody and express home, healing, kindness, and family? When have you had to protect or defend the vulnerable? 

Mercury in retrograde now returning to the sign of Cancer gives us a chance to reflect on those principles and readjust if we need to.  If we’re exhausted from some effort or fight, what nourishment can we reach toward? How can we mentally recuperate? This Mercury retrograde (July 7-July 31 EDT) can be challenging because we’re compelled to move ahead in sustained action while our processing and communication functions seem slower. But how could it help our actions to process information at a more deliberate pace and weigh our words more carefully? 

We can probably all benefit from reexamining our usual approach to confrontation. I might have been brave at the gym, but I also might have put myself in unnecessary danger -- a Mars pattern of mine that stresses the heck out of everyone around me. How can I have smarter confrontations? I was annoyed by that guy, but I was probably also triggered by years of unexpressed resentment over aggressive male behavior that built up over time: From manspreading to catcalling, I’d had enough.

If you’ve had a recent conflict -- inner or outer -- have you started to process the lesson?

This Mercury retrograde and the period leading up to September 3rd I’ll be mulling this over: In the joining of the sun, Mars, and Mercury, do all three planets usually have equal say or does one tend to dominate? How can they learn to cooperate? 

We’re never stuck in one expression. If you find yourself frustrated while Mercury is in retrograde, consider it a challenge you’re up for.

But maybe be a little more thoughtful and careful than I was at the gym. Come September, you’ve got an important job to do.


On Parenting and the Taurus New Moon

When a child is born the birth chart reflects just a transit or passing moment for the rest of the world, but for the child it reflects the life experiences and a set of instructions that will theoretically lead to a joy-filled and nourishing life. If the child is ours, the transit of their birth is more than a moment. It represents ways we will continue to grow ourselves: A commitment not only to our child but to the instructions of their birth moment, which we continue to face in every interaction we have with them. If you have a Pisces child, you can’t escape lessons in going with the flow, imagination, empathy, surrender. Twelve-plus years ago, Langston and I had an Aquarius baby.

Aquarius is a fixed air sign. It’s the water-bearer, which confuses people into thinking it’s a water sign. But the water that Aquarius shares is of the air variety: Thoughts, ideas, knowledge, information. Aquarius is associated with movements and humanitarianism. Aquarians are often ahead of their time. Aquarius is co-ruled by the planets Saturn and Uranus. Saturn, long-thought to be the last planet of the solar system, and Uranus, the only other planet besides Venus to spin clockwise rather than counter-clockwise. Uranus takes it one step further and rotates on its side instead of upright. The Saturnian part of us is the way we must persist and work for a worthwhile legacy. The Uranian part of us is the way we have to spin absolutely in our own direction; as alienating as this can be, this will also often connect us to a kindred group. Discovered after the American and French Revolutions, Uranus is the planet of rebellions. It’s associated with shock and originality.

When two people form a relationship, astrologically they create a composite chart. Two individual charts meet in the middle to form something brand new. Lang’s and my composite sun and moon are in Aquarius, and so Lyndon was born to an Aquarian couple. It’s becoming more normal now, but on the day he was born our mixed marriage still turned some heads. As Langston looked through the nursery glass at our son, a nurse who knew my family pushed him out of the way. “I know the family”, she said, curtly. My brother Ted corrected her: “This is Amy’s husband. He’s the father.” She simply didn’t imagine anything but a white husband for the daughter of a white family she knew.

We didn’t baptize Lyndon when he was born because we didn’t want to limit him -- not only in his conception and relationship to a higher power but also in his acceptance of himself and others. Our Catholic Church still preached that the expression of gay sexuality was a sin. We didn’t know if our baby was gay, but we didn’t want sign onto those beliefs just in case. And so we held a Blessing Ceremony for Lyndon, we chose godparents for him, but we waited.

When Pope Francis became the head of the Church, Lang and I were touched by his humanity and compassion. We have a Pope Francis bobblehead in our attic, along with RBG and other people we admire. We started attending Mass more regularly. Every so often we’d ask Lyndon, “Would you like to be baptized?” “Maybe,” he’d say, always noncommittal. During Mass Lyndon would move his knees to the side so we could pass him to join the communion line. It didn’t seem to bother him too much not to be able to receive communion himself, even as he got older. He’d kneel to pray, or sing, and then he’d scooch over to make room for us when we returned.

Recently we started attending Episcopal liturgy as a family. Lang and I had become exhausted trying to fit ourselves into the Catholic Church. During the first Episcopal liturgy we attended I remember the moment when we prayed for “Gerilyn, our Bishop.” Gerilyn?? Lang and I looked at each other, excited.

In prayer I think symbolically, so that when I hear “Father”, I think “Parent.” When I hear “man” I think “human.” But there was something about hearing an actual woman’s name within the hierarchy of church that made my heart dance that day. I was raised by a mother who had earned a Master’s in Theology while raising five children. When my parents went to India as a young family to teach Marriage Encounter to Catholic couples there, it was because my Mom had heard and acted on a calling. Once we were in school ourselves, my Mom became a religious education teacher. When we’d come down the stairs to make our breakfast we’d find Mom on a living room chair, wrapped in a prayer blanket and passionately writing Bible reflections. My Dad is faithful, too. But my Mom actually wanted to be a married priest. One day a pastor asked my Dad whether he would like to be considered for the role of deacon. My Dad declined. It became a joke between my parents, how my Mom does all the work and my Dad gets all the glory, but it was still telling and hurtful. My Mom didn’t have the option to become a deacon.

Couples outside of the Catholic Church have asked my Mom to marry them. People recognize gifts where institutions may not. But my Mom’s broken heart not to be included as a full member of the Church she loved is a wound that shaped me -- a way for so many years I also internalized being less-than.

One day at our new Episcopal Church Father Tom invited people to meet him after liturgy if they were interested in renewing their faith or baptizing their children. Lyndon whispered to us, “I think I want to be baptized.” Father Tom was a little taken aback when Lyndon approached him after liturgy, directly asking to be baptized. Later when we asked Lyndon why he finally decided to be baptized and why he picked the Episcopal Church, Lyndon said ,”It’s because of women priests and LGBTQ rights.”

Lyndon has heard us discuss these things in our home. He knows these are our values. But he is the first of our family to take a public, religious stand in that direction.

And so I don’t know who brought the water to whom -- Lyndon to us or we to Lyndon. But in the beginning light of yesterday’s Taurus new moon, as Lyndon prepares for his baptism next month, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned these twelve years as his Mom -- of planting roots and becoming free.



Today's meditation: Fitting songs to areas of your chart

This morning I played James Taylor’s “Something in the Way She Moves” and imagined which part of my chart “she” might be.

She has the power to go where no one else can find me
Yes, and to silently remind me
Of the happiness and good times that I know

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For me, my Jupiter in Taurus came to mind: The part of my chart that helps me be present and still.

Is there a part of your chart that strikes you as comforting? If you don’t know your chart, is there a quality you have that fills you with a sense of peace?

If this song doesn’t speak to you right now, is there another song that can remind you of a beautiful piece of you?

When Jupiter gets your attention

I’ve won three raffles in the past five days. It’s almost like Jupiter is having fun with me: You were asking when we would get to the good part? Voila.

I don’t usually win things. But my job has had a series of fundraising raffles in the past week, so I gave to each of them. I just considered them donations. But then the emails came: You won the wine basket! You won the soccer tickets! You won the Louis Vuitton bag! Naturally I pulled up the transits to my chart. Is this all about Jupiter in Sagittarius? Why am I winning everything??!!

I’ve heard that Jupiter/Uranus aspects are common in lottery winners. Currently my progressed moon in Scorpio is conjunct my natal Uranus. In the past five days the transiting moon joined with my natal moon, then transiting Uranus, and then my natal Jupiter. Is that enough?

Maybe. Jupiter also stations retrograde today on my natal 9th-house Mercury. In less than two weeks I’ll teach a class about Jupiter in Sagittarius for Fresh Voices in Astrology. In the class I’ll be explaining that natal houses with Sagittarius and Pisces on the cusps are part of our Jupiter story. For me those are houses 9 and 12. Two of the raffle tickets I bought with the intention of giving away the prize if I won: The soccer tickets and the fancy, pricey bag. Two of my friends wanted the prizes more than I did. And so I had my friends in mind when I bought those tickets, and when I won I gave them the prizes.

I don’t know if I had never really won anything before because I was missing that 12th-house element of non-attachment or intention beyond my own ego. But today I feel overjoyed and deeply at peace.

I did buy a lottery ticket and scratch-offs last night, just in case. The scratch-offs didn’t win; maybe the lottery ticket will. If not, I still have great friends, and a great husband, and those several bottles of wine. Today’s Gemini moon is ruled by Mercury, the messenger. I’ve gotten the Jupiter message loud and clear. My cup overflows, and I’m grateful.