On telling our story and the hope of Jupiter in Sagittarius

Astrology fascinates me as a tool to understand family systems, including my own. I love to hear people’s stories and then see how the symbols in their charts reveal an added dimension to the challenges they've faced and the resources they have. I asked my brother Rich if I could share some of his story.

Rich was a Full Moon baby. He was born with the Sagittarius moon opposite the Gemini sun. His moon, Venus and Mercury are all “out of bounds”, which astrologer Tony Howard describes to non-astrologers this way: “...An out of bounds planet is as high or low as it can go from our view on Earth. Imagine a midline that all of the planets more or less travel along. Each can travel above and below that midline. But some get really far up there, even further than the Sun can go. And that’s when we call them ‘out of bounds.’” Out of bounds planets correlate with innovation and out-of-the-box originality, but also with extremes. The full moon and out of bounds planets in Rich’s chart reflect this inner and outer experience of extremes, in his emotions (moon), his processing and communication (Mercury), and his relationships (Venus). Rich was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a senior in high school.

Rich is a rapper and a poet, very fitting for a Gemini who is here to teach and witness. He raps about his experience of feeling suicidal and our Mom’s herculean faith:

“Fetal position for days. Mom tellin’ me God is good and this is only a phase.”

In astrology the opposition aspect is an interesting one: It can symbolize what opposes you or seems out of reach and what is also your partner. His out of bounds Sagittarius moon at once represents the bipolar genes he inherited, the hope and comfort that have at his lowest point seemed unreachable, and the mother who has helped pull him out of his own mind, toward faith and love. Our mother was hospitalized with post-partum psychosis when Rich was seven. In this way I see the out of bounds quality of his moon as a gift: If you’ve walked through Hell like Rich has, how much would it help to have a parent who has been where you are and won’t give up on you, no matter what? How would your broken spirit require that?

Our suns ultimately show us how we’re here to shine individually, and though Rich’s sun is so significantly tied to his moon, his story is not my mother’s. It’s unique to him. Three out of bounds planets reflect a path of freedom and individuation. He learned to write poetry just as our Mom did, but his poems are a different style, and he also raps. He learned to have faith just as our Mom does, but to him Church became riding the subway or walking to buy milk from the neighborhood store. And he teaches just as our Mom did, but not high school: Rich leads groups as a peer advocate, at times in the same hospital unit where he stayed after his own breakdowns.

Rich is 51, an astrologically significant age, because it refers to your Chiron return. Chiron is the symbol of the wounded healer, and it takes 51 years for the centaur to make a full trip around a person’s chart, returning to the spot where it was when s/he was born. We all have the option to become attached to a description of ourselves as wounded; the reality is that life is hard and we would be justified. But people who navigate their Chiron return gracefully take on a mentoring role for others and use their own experience of wounding to help and heal others.

Here’s a poem Rich wrote recently. He’ll be the featured poet next week at the Queens main library, and in generous Rich fashion, he’s invited Lyndon to perform a poem during the Open Mic portion. I don’t know if Lyndon will. Really, we’re all so excited see Rich. If you find yourself in Queens on November 18th, please join us.

Now that Jupiter has entered Sagittarius, beginning a year’s trip through the sign, may you find hope in your own story, reasons to believe in your own great gifts, and ways to share them that fill you with confidence and joy.

'never Ladybugs'
these days,
i am grateful for the moments
when i am forced to narrow my focus.
---------------------------------------------------
for example,
when there was a Ladybug on my leg
a few days ago.
that dominated my thoughts for a minute or two.
i was sitting in my apartment when i noticed her,
so i took her outside and realized how lucky she was
to not know all the things we know.
to be a four-spotted citizen of the world.
------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------
my pet Corn Snake Julius had a respiratory infection last week.
his breathing sounded like a bowl of rice crispies.
i went online and learned
that you can treat it
with a couple of plastic containers
and a bowl of hot water with vicks in it.
it did the trick.
-------------------
-----------------------
human beings let us down.
never Ladybugs
never Julius
never tupperware
never vicks
----------------
we are lacking.
---------------------
a Butterfly is never less than a Butterfly.
not even in these times.
---------------------------------
these times,
according to newspapers and magazines,
were made for poetry.
that's a lot of pressure.
-------------------------------
better for a Ladybug to land on your leg, i think.
or for you to save a Snake from pneumonia.
better for you to look into the eyes of someone you've missed.
and for you to be, for one another,
a respite


The moon as love

These past couple of days had some challenges. It’s not so simple to reconcile the moon’s Aquarius energy of social interaction and curiosity with the deeply-feeling, protective energy of the three Scorpio planets it’s squaring. Do we get out there or do we stay hidden?

I’m easily hurt and embarrassed. And I’m also part-extrovert. So I don’t really know how to do this dance.

The Libra sun symbolizes a balancing act, and Venus retrograde hints that maybe in the past it hasn’t always gone so smoothly. But the moon always symbolizes the great healer: Unconditional love that doesn’t leave us. The moon is tidally locked to the earth, always showing us the same face, brighter or darker, more or less visible, but always there.

I hope you feel connected to that love today.

A loving push, if we're up to it

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Mars will spend one more month in Aquarius, and won’t return to the sign until March 2020. If your world's been rocked by unpredictable events or the actions of others lately, that could be welcome news. But today’s moon/Mars conjunction also symbolizes a chance to make peace with Aquarian energy and if we're ready, to get ourselves going again.

We might've had fits of “What’s the point?” while Mars has been in Aquarius. We've probably had bouts where we just needed to mentally check out. Today the energy of the moon can help us soften and heal the angry, scared, or dejected parts of us so we can reawaken our own special groove.

Mars represents our desire nature. So what is it you want?

At some point today, name a result or inner feeling that you really want.

What we don’t want has probably been clearer lately. But today marks an opportunity to reflect on and change any energy that’s been stuck in simple rebellion or detachment into creative, inspired, original action toward something that excites us.

If you're in the midst of an acute crisis, I hope you'll find some rest and peace today. But if you're in a position to come forward, today could be the Holy Spirit's loving nudge.

 

On the Libra New Moon

On Monday right before midnight EDT there was a Libra new moon, closing out an emotionally exhausting previous month. 
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I’ve been weighing what to share about the Libra new moon, because the air signs challenge our objectivity. And each time I typed a sentence about an aspect in the new moon chart, I saw my own perspective creep in. Libra helps us build a bridge of respect and rapport with each other. It challenges us to see different sides. And so I typed and then erased so many words these last two days. I just wasn’t sure they were universal enough. I didn’t know what would help.
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I can use more Libra energy. I naturally have tons of the opposite energy in my chart. I’m oriented to Aries action, independence and crisis. I can drive myself and the people around me a little bit too hard. 
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The past couple of days I’ve noticed civility and humor creep in: Someone opening a door for me, students calling me Mrs. Jones, a little boy karate chopping the air in my direction as he and his Mom cross in front of my car – just in case. Simple signs of interaction, drawing me out of my own head. I needed these after a Virgo month of scrupulous introspection, of trying to do things just-right. I feel some Libra ease set in. Amy, you can breathe.
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But that’s just me, and this month that’s really the point. The air signs represent open-mindedness. And so I don’t know the ways that you can get stuck, too, but this month offers an invitation to balance. This month is a chance to challenge patterns of thought, speech, and relating. Can we carry the mutable – changing – quality of Virgo forward and add in the cardinal new start? How would it heal us to begin again?
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This month isn’t entirely comfortable. Because Venus, the ruler of Libra, is now retrograde in Scorpio, the past informs this cycle, as does the mysterious, the psychologically powerful and complex. In this cycle we try to find the outer expression that reflects our honest inner selves right now, allowing that we’re a complicated stew of paradox. And so any practice that helps us make peace with ourselves can keep us from being too explosive and reactive. We’re working some things out. And Venus’s square to Mars symbolizes that we’ll be compelled to act. But it takes some effort not to act on auto-pilot, driven by past trauma or rejection. 
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In Sweden last week a little girl pulled a pre-Viking era sword from a lake. I wish that image were just tremendous, but it’s complicated, too. This month reminds us to enter those murky waters, but carefully. We can become the best or the worst of what we’ve seen and experienced. 
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There’s so much more to say, but this month I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be the one to say it. I’m working on listening, too.

On making it work for us: The Leo moon opposite Mars in Aquarius

Ever since I was little, I remember hearing my mother change the words to prayers and rituals so they would be more meaningful, inclusive and inspiring. "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" and "for us men and for our salvation" became "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" and "for US and for our salvation." She thought of worship as celebration. She felt called to participate fully, and she wasn't going to reduce her expression of a welcoming, loving God to gender or exclude herself from God's love.

She was always making tweaks, and she uttered them loudly. Of course, this was a little odd. It made her seem like she didn't know the real words. It meant sometimes she was out of step with the group. 

Today during Mass for the Feast of St. Francis, we remembered the saint who loved all living creatures and wrote poems to the sun and the moon.

And I found myself channeling my Mom, as I contemplated the following words:
"Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

I've struggled with this response for a while. I've wondered, is it the capital "I" that's the problem? Is it ego, selfishness or separateness that makes us unworthy? For a few years now I've tried to see beyond myself and become a little "i." But the words still always felt clumsy – absent of the love, acceptance and peace of Jesus Christ. Yes, we're human. Yes, we're flawed. But unworthy? Aren't we created in God's image?

I thought about the messages of spiritual teachers old and new, male and female. They call us to engagement, action, and attention, and help us see how we can stretch. For many of us, that means learning to stand in the light.

And so I tweaked the words. I said, "Lord, I AM worthy that you should enter under my roof, so only say the word and my soul shall be healed." 

Today the moon is in the sign of Leo, reminding us of our inborn dignity and worth, at odds with what can make us feel disconnected, challenging what can make us feel ashamed. 

I hope at some point you can feel the presence of someone who's taught you you're deserving of love. I hope you see that you're part of a beautiful whole. And I hope you can express yourself honestly, even when you're noticeably out of step.


Moon opposite Pluto and the power of projection

Last night I had a dream I was about to play Monica Seles in a tournament match.

In the dream I didn’t have any special abilities. I knew it was ridiculous to go up against Monica Seles. I probably haven’t played tennis since fifth grade. Still I wanted to help her, because she needed this match for her standings. I knew she and I shared a birthday, so I thought, “I guess by playing I can help a fellow Sadge move ahead.” 

I didn’t have much time, so I prepared for the match by buying the right clothes. It might have been more useful to work on my serve or to stretch. I knew she would destroy me on the court. But I at least wanted to look the part. 

Accommodating, helping, sharing. Appearances, the question of an equal match. My dream was filled with Libran themes.

I woke up before I got to the stadium.

Today the moon enters the last quarter phase. Steven Forrest refers to "cathartic theater and the inner journey of the solitary artist" of this phase. In my dream I was about to face a powerful opponent who was sure to win. But she also has my birthday. On some level I was facing myself. 

Jumping in when it's not really appropriate or before I'm really ready to; over- or underestimating myself; deferring so someone else can win. I do these things sometimes, but do I still have to or want to? How often do habit or duty play a role in my decision-making? And what does it really matter what I look like??? 

Throughout this Virgo new moon cycle, the details and tasks that come up and the ways we're recruited to help or serve reveal to us the unfolding self that fits right now. It's a process of adjustment. It takes discernment. We get messages telling us how we’re doing, and we sift through them the best that we can. We weigh them with what we notice, and what feels safe and right for us, too. 

Who have been the major players in your life recently? What have been the major themes? Are there relationship or behavior patterns you've recognized? What have your dreams or intuition been telling you?

If a powerful image or interaction also gets your attention or elicits a strong emotional reaction, it might help to explore it from different angles or talk it through with someone you trust. It could have a helpful message that takes some time and attention to unpack.

Today's Cancer moon represents secure bonds and deep emotional safety needs. Show up for people how you can and when you're ready, but if you're someone who always thinks about other people, maybe give yourself some kindness, care, and love today, too.

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.