Going forward too during Venus retrograde

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Venus has been retrograde in Scorpio since October 5th. Venus retrogrades in a sign every eight years. Venus retrograde periods are opportunities to achieve greater ease within and a greater connection to others by turning our attention inwardly and by revisiting the past. Venus symbolizes our ability to recognize and reflect beauty, peace, and love; Scorpio allows us to penetrate the truth and unlock a power that’s been dormant or repressed.

What energies have your relationships recently been reflecting back to you? Which themes from the past have resurfaced? How have your interactions revealed unconscious patterns or shown you your own transformation over time?

The Capricorn moon joined the same degree as Pluto this morning, connecting our emotional state to this Venus retrograde period. It can feel heavy and deep. And yet today’s first quarter moon symbolically also compels us forward.

If you’d like, at some point today reflect on how you’ve been changing and why. Maybe the dates from the past 8 Venus in Scorpio retrograde cycles will help you; maybe something else you come across will. Love and relationships are so complex; we awkwardly but so sincerely attempt this dance of truly being seen. Give yourself some credit and some time.

Pluto stations direct during a Gemini moon: The truth and an open mind

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Pluto stations direct today, seeming to reverse directions from backward to forward.

Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld and it’s associated with the underground, the deep and powerful. Where we have Pluto in our charts we bring a probing quality, or we need to. The surface is not enough.

Pluto has been transiting the sign of Capricorn since 2008, combining the symbolism of authority and the gold standard with the shadow and the ultimate truth. This is reflected in our society, as long-honored traditions and institutions that have abused their power and privilege are facing a very public reckoning. And this is reflected in some area of our personal lives, where we’re confronted with a wound, buried truth or shadow and we’re invited to reclaim what was lost or taken.

Is Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet? Is what’s happening in our lives a mountain or a molehill? Pluto brings up questions and we do or don’t answer them. But they’re there. They don’t go away.

We know that Pluto moves more slowly than any of the other planets, with a cycle of 248 years. We know it’s not visible to the naked eye. NASA calls Pluto mysterious and complex, with a heart-shaped glacier the size of Texas and Oklahoma; Pluto actually has red snow.

A heart-shaped glacier and red snow. Just think of those images for a moment. What do they conjure up for you?

There’s a blackout experiment on social media now. It’s a statement against abuse; it’s meant to reflect solidarity and help us imagine a world without women. To those who are participating, it means something, whether somber or uplifting, which some may be willing to shout and some may never feel safe enough to share.

Today I’m reminded of Jane Elliott’s “Blue-eyes-Brown-eyes” experiment, in which the 3rd-grade teacher separated her students by eye color and gave the blue-eyed children extra privileges. By the end of the day the blue-eyed children had become more arrogant and bossy and scored higher on tests than they ever did before; the brown-eyed children became more timid and isolated and their test performance suffered.

Many of us can relate to the brown-eyed children, whether because of our race, gender, or some other part of us that is outside of traditional privilege. It’s confounding. It hurts deeply. And yet it can be so tempting to accept the other role if we’re invited to, like when Elliott reversed the exercise.

I’m not likening Elliott’s experiment to anything right now. I’m not drawing any conclusions. I’m just pondering it because it popped in my head again, and so I’m trying to re-consider and learn from it. I’m seeing how my own behavior measures up.

Today’s Gemini moon reflects the healing power of images and communication. So I’m sharing this picture to validate and support the women of integrity and conviction who sent me the invitation. I didn’t create the social media blackout, so I really don’t have the authority, but I also don’t believe in exclusion. So if you don’t identify as a woman but feel moved to participate, I invite you to , also.

No one disputes the fact that Neptune is a planet, and so what it represents may have the last word: Compassion, vastness, unity, direct connection to the divine without boundaries or divisions.  But we wade through murky waters to get back there. We have personal and shared experiences of hell and of redemption. And they’re real and meaningful, even if not seen or acknowledged.

Recovery is a long and slow process. Stopping to consider Plutonian territory today — what’s mysterious or complex, the shameful or the shadow, especially as it has shown up in our past relationships — might enable us to move forward in some way today. But if we regularly plumb the depths or have recently been through acute pain and darkness, we may need to give ourselves credit; we might need a little break.

Wherever we happen to be, today's Pluto station and Gemini moon remind us to be patient and flexible with ourselves and with each other as we express what we're ready to, as we discern our right speed and direction.

The jarring Aries full moon: Growing -- and speaking -- up

The new moon that began this cycle symbolized the Virgo ideal: The worldly connecting us to the holy, like Barbara Brown Taylor's metaphor of laundry as prayer flag. Some part of our home base and identity takes on a level of higher meaning and becomes sacred through attention and ritual. But Virgo, as it seeks and reaches perfection, is a mutable sign. We never really stay “there”, or “there” changes.

And… so must we. This week's Aries full moon is revealing what’s no longer working as is through tension, passion, and conflict. It carries the energy of wanting to break out or break away – to shake free of complacency. Exploration. Fight. Flight. The Libra sun is rebalancing the scales somewhat. What truly fits or is fair now?

When I was growing up, the Thursday night NBC line-up was a big deal in our house. As New Yorkers in a large family The Cosby Show felt like watching ourselves: The doting husband, the sassy Mom, the occasional songs and choreographed dances. Eleven years ago, as Lang and I were about to start our own family, a Cosby Show marathon on the maternity room TV helped us relax, and even laugh, through some of my labor.

Yesterday Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for drugging and sexually assaulting women.

Whenever Libra is involved, the paradox of two truths plays a role, and that’s a big message of Monday's full moon. It’s true that I'm nostalgic about The Cosby Show. It’s true that I stand with survivors of sexual abuse. But Saturn in Capricorn was the apex of that t-square between the Libra sun and full Aries moon. Now that I’m an adult, which truth is more important? And are they really equal?

I noticed that Lyndon is starting that walk-half-a-block-ahead-of-your-mother phase. He’s using teenaged phrases like, “Whatever”— but softly, carefully — like the first time you say a word in a foreign language. I’m usually the one forging ahead: the coach. But at this stage Lyndon is learning boldness, directness, and independence, and I’m learning a more supportive role, and often a more worried one: Will he look both ways when he crosses the street? Will he hug me for a full five seconds? The other morning as I automatically straightened out the waistband of his sweatpants, it dawned on me: I really should ask before I do that. It’s a matter of respect I simply never considered before.

Whether we’re learning to be more assertive or more cooperative – or both – this week can be emotionally tense and jarring, as we realize we need to draw or accept new boundaries, as we take on new patterns of being and relating.

Some behaviors are no longer appropriate. And some have never been appropriate, but now our eyes are open. The Aries full moon reminds us: Take an honest look before deciding something's sacred or even simply fine as-is. For all of us on some level, it's time for a change.

We're accountable in a way we haven't been before.

Mercury square Saturn: Remember to listen and look

In November of last year a seed was planted. Mercury and Saturn joined at the same degree of Sagittarius. They joined together once more the next month, and finally the next – this time in Capricorn. Since then our mental processing and voice have had to pass through a series of stages toward wisdom, transformation and staying power, but not without grief, setbacks, and a lot of hard work.

How have your thinking and voice matured or left a mark since last November? What external events reflected a need to do so?

Wherever Saturn is going through your birth chart can seem like things are moving too slowly and you have to face too much alone. Today’s square from Mercury in Libra reminds us we have help. It reminds us there’s something we haven’t considered. It reminds us not to get too weighed down.

If we’ve been avoiding the work or letting someone else do it, it’s the reverse: Today is a reality check. Either way, it’s for our own benefit.

I’ve been plodding along but not always remembering the message of risk, reaching, freedom, and truth. That was the original promise. The Capricorn message of careful planning, uphill climbing, and a very long wait – winter – has probably been closer to my mindset. It’s been hard for me to stay hopeful. Today I needed to lighten up, look around, and breathe. The moon and Neptune coming together today help us return to our dream or start a new one.

Saturn in Capricorn is serious business, but growing up can inspire and teach us, too. Remember this process actually started as an arrow and a flame.

Before Virgo leaves....

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The sun in Virgo can be a fretful experience. Ruling Virgo is speedy Mercury, noticing everything, drawing our attention to this or that. It can be hard to feel settled. There are just so many coulds and shoulds — a never-ending to-do or to-improve list.

The yearbook photographer has taken up shop these last two days in the faculty/staff room in my school. Every time we initial the sign-in sheet or grab a cup of coffee, we're confronted with just how much we hate our own pictures. Those of us who especially despised last year’s picture have a chance to retake it, awkwardly, in front of everyone in the room. Often, the new one is no better. We borrow hair products from each other or try to make each other smile, but pretty much everyone I see walks away with the same reaction: It is what it is. Maybe use last year’s, after all.

Yesterday I couldn’t bring myself to eat lunch in the faculty lounge. I went to the quiet, dark chapel instead, and cried. I didn’t even know why I was crying. A colleague walked in, and sat in her own pew. When I passed her to leave I noticed she was crying, too.

On the stairs leading to the chapel hangs this picture of St. Clare.

Virgo season can remind us almost cruelly how life, and we, are less than perfect. That's not Virgo's intent, any more than it's the yearbook photographer's intent to make us all feel gross. But anything that's not-quite-right has gotten our attention and by now maybe somehow deflated us.

Tonight Mercury and the sun will be at the same degree in Virgo. In some way we need to attend to a new vision of ourselves. The astrological symbol of the sun is a dot surrounded by a circle -- the seed of potential within a vast and greater whole.

Tomorrow Mercury will change signs to Libra, and the next day, the sun will, too.

My frizzy hair and failings, your fill-in-the-blank. Before the mirror of eternity — even as we are right now — I hope we can see beauty and find peace.

Fight, freedom, and helping: Mars square Uranus under a Virgo sun

 “Black Bird” by Benny Andrews

“Black Bird” by Benny Andrews

Today Mars in Aquarius squares Uranus in Taurus. This is a closing square that relates to their conjunction or joining in Aries in late February 2017.

Mars square Uranus is a stressful energy. I’m gonna be real with you. This one stumped me, because I always read the sky as a message from a God who loves us. Why would we ever need more stress???

Virgo season is about doing the best we can in the human condition. Discriminating how we can do better and be useful to each other here on earth. Today’s moon/Pluto conjunction symbolizes that it’s time for some deeper reflection.

Think about your effort and progress over the last year and a half. Is there any resource or relationship you have now that you didn’t have or realize then? Think about all the scary things you’ve faced and survived. How has a group joined or supported you?

Today try to feel any love that has helped settle you and notice any progress in your personal fight. Unfortunately, it’s not over. But in some ways that’s actually a good thing, because what we’ve learned can now help others.

In the end, the fight was never really about just us.

When Saturn feels too heavy: The Capricorn moon conjunct Saturn

 https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/cassini-image-mosaic-a-farewell-to-saturn

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/cassini-image-mosaic-a-farewell-to-saturn

The moon is in the sign of Capricorn today. At 12:24 p.m. EDT it will be at the same degree as Saturn.

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, orients us to hugeness and expansion: The sky’s the limit. But beyond Jupiter, Saturn symbolically structures us. It gives us the ability to narrow down all the vast possibilities to the ones that matter most and suit us best. It’s connected to legacy. But Saturn can also just feel HEAVY, giving us a serious, sober tone. For better or worse, Saturn reminds us of personal limits and age.

Enter the influence of the moon. Take time to visualize and then focus your dream in some way today. If you notice certain ways you’ve become overcommitted or disorganized, give yourself a loving but serious talk. Kindly bring yourself back to the basics.

Between Jupiter of hopes, dreams, and greatness and Uranus of unexpected breakthroughs, individual genius, and freedom, lies Saturn: Time-honored traditions, effort, planning, patience, silence, solitude, work. Somehow today it will help all of us to eat our vegetables or come to a full stop at a Stop sign. In the long run, it’s for our own benefit.

Before Uranus was discovered in 1781, Saturn was thought to be the last planet in the solar system with the slowest cycle, taking 29 years to orbit the sun. At that time in England, life expectancy for males was less than 35. A Uranus cycle is 84 years, closer to modern life expectancy in industrialized nations. Progress seems slow over time but eventually it’s startling.

Honor Saturn today. Reflect on the positives of your age and experience. But try not to let the demands of reality right now overwhelm you. Remember that something beyond, unexpected, and still unseen exists, too.