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


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

blackout.jpg

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 story unfolds from the details: Today's Gemini Moon

Today's Gemini moon carries the symbolism of details and the story they create.

Lyndon’s A/C hums loudly in the next room while he sleeps. I’ve never really noticed it before. At first I’m annoyed, but then I picture him sleeping and comfy -- mummy-wrapped in his sheets. And despite all my usual Mom worries and insecurities, in this moment the A/C tells me my little one's OK.

When you can see what you really need to do: Gemini moon square Virgo sun

The moon is in the mutable air sign of Gemini and the sun is in the mutable earth sign of Virgo. At 10:37 p.m. EDT they’ll square each other. A square is a tense aspect that can prod us to resolution.

A Gemini moon can represent a mood of distraction – jumping from one thing to another, the eternal child or student never maturing or taking the reins to teach. That’s not a knock on Geminis. That’s an energy we all have inside us, represented by today’s Gemini moon. If we’ve been avoiding a commitment that would actually be good for us, that’s the tension in today’s sky: Hey, focus. It doesn’t mean we won’t have other options. It just means it’s time to come forward in one specific way. In a sense we’re trading some freedom for some agency, picking what’s more important to us.

Virgo can represent that part of us that always finds something the matter. It can also be the part of us that takes on a subservient role. It feels good to solve a problem or help someone. But taken to an extreme, Virgo can become invisible, either because we don’t think we measure up or because we think someone else’s needs are more important than ours.

Gemini and Virgo can collude: Don’t come forward in this one way because someone else can do it better. Or keep doing this hard thing for someone who doesn’t appreciate it because that’s easier than speaking up. Make sure you really worry.

If we resemble those statements, the tension in the sky could nag us today. It’s time to let some of that go.

The blessing of the mutable signs is that they remind us that nothing is permanent. Time is fluid and so are we. If we’ve been stuck in a way of thinking or behaving, today can remind us that there’s more to explore. We all have resources. We have options and skills. We're surrounded by creative solutions.

Gemini and Virgo are both ruled by Mercury, the planet of noticing and sharing, by our words or by what we do.

Today our restlessness can reveal what needs adjustment. The quarter moon forces some resolution of last month’s Leo new moon. We had something to say and do then, that might not have been obvious to us yet. Today it can come to us in a whisper or a shout.

Venus in Gemini with a Saturn Overtone: The Thinker

 
The Thinker , Auguste Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Today Venus enters exciting, expressive Gemini, where it will be until May 19th. How can we bring a beginner's mind of openness, curiosity and flexibility to our relationships, to our own wellbeing, and to what we create? Why is now a good time for it? 

Crucially, it will energize us. While the sun is in Taurus, Taurus's ruling planet, Venus, holds a key to accessing our life force and well, shine. Opening our minds and our senses will be tied to feeling the power and brilliance of our sun and the steady, comforting peace and strength of Taurus. But getting to that peace and strength will take some different and possibly challenging strategies until May 13th.  

Why? From May 13th - 19th, Venus and Mercury, the planet that rules Gemini, will be in each other’s signs – Venus in Gemini and Mercury in Taurus – so symbolically they can excite and support each other in a positive feedback loop that in turn energizes the sun. But before then, in true Gemini fashion, we'll be bouncing around a Venus trail that leads to Saturn, and Saturn's not the fun and airy ending that Gemini might have had in mind. (Astro jargon background: Until May 13th, Mercury in Aries “disposits” Venus in Gemini, Mars in Capricorn disposits Mercury, and Saturn in Capricorn disposits Mars, making Saturn the Final Dispositor.) So although Venus in Gemini is about being open to variety, newness, fascination, learning, movement, and change in love, inner peace, and art, the symbolism of Saturn in Capricorn adds an editing quality to the Venus: a careful planning and consideration. What’s truly important to say to another person or to express in your art in this moment? How can maturity, patience, integrity and wisdom inform the beginner's mind? How do experiences of personal struggle, loss, and grief shape the love you can give to yourself and to others? Can they empower and embolden you, steady and inform you but not scare you, control you, or entirely define you? Can you leave some lines blank? 

Saturn's connection with Venus until May 13th reminds us that what we express in love and art lasts – in a hug, a kind word, a letter, a creation. And that can be frightening and intimidating. You may be tempted to stop yourself before you even begin. And so give yourself time and solitude to sort through what you take in every day and what you want to express. Organize and set goals if that helps. But in the next few weeks challenge yourself out of your comfort zone a little, too. Try your best to move, explore, and grow incrementally -- as a parent, a partner, a relative, an artist, a friend. The highest expression of this Venus transit will be to open yourself in fascination to all that's still left to learn, and to share with others — simply, profoundly – who you are right now and what you have to say. 

 

Two challenging days: Back-to-back T-squares

Yesterday there was a T-square involving the Gemini moon, the Virgo sun, and Pisces Neptune.

From astro.com: “The T-Square is an aspect figure which is formed when two planets in opposition (i.e. 180 degrees apart) are both squared by a third planet. Both these aspects are considered to be so-called "hard" or "disharmonious" aspects, and the T-square intensifies this quality which makes it… challenging…. The third planet is the focal point of the figure and could be said to carry the tension of the two planets… in opposition.”

Several hours of my day revolved around the fact that Lyndon’s bus drove right past him yesterday morning. The driver whizzed by three minutes early without stopping, never noticing that Lang and Lyndon were standing there, waiting. Neptune: the planet of fogginess and invisibility.

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When the Gemini Moon goes deeper: Moon square Neptune

Today try to speak with confident humility and to listen with compassion. The Gemini Messenger Moon wants to learn and teach, to amaze and be amazed; yet in a Waning Gibbous or Shaman phase with the Virgo sun, our engagement with others becomes deeper. How can what we already know help others? How can what they know help us? What can we learn or experience together?

Humor can help you connect with another person today, but so can openness and empathy. And if you’re facing something that worries or scares you, pray or form an intention first. Look for signs to show you you’re safe and blessed, even if you’re someplace new.

(Moon square Neptune in Sagittarius 12:52 p.m. EDT. Venus in Leo trine Saturn in Sagittarius 8:49 p.m.)