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 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.

Virgo New Moon and Venus in Scorpio

Venus entered Scorpio this morning, and this afternoon the moon joins the sun to usher in the Virgo new moon.

I hear Lyndon downstairs talking to his cousin on his headset while his fingers press quickly and forcefully on a game controller. I ask him to keep his voice down, but he’s excited and keeps forgetting. I cover my ears and try to concentrate. Up and down the stairs behind me, Lang does his Sunday morning puttering.

It probably would have been better if I had woken up an hour earlier. It’s easier for me to write in silence.

There are methods or rituals we all need to feel soothed and settled. This month gives us a chance to seek, find, and practice them in a better way. It’s not that we have to be perfect. But the Virgo new moon symbolizes that a new start and healing are connected to introspection, effort and humble intention.

If you’d like, take some time to create New Moon intentions for this month. What would you like to improve? What would you like to start? What part of your life needs loving attention?

The people in our lives don’t always behave the way we want them to or in ways we understand. Right now Venus opposes Uranus, and we can experience others as disruptive. How comfortable is it for us when we don’t feel total control?

This new moon synthesizes the perfect ideal with the messy and complicated. In some ways it will help us to build more control into our routine. And in others it will help us to seek more honesty and freedom. The Virgo path always requires some discernment. 

Do your best to seek quiet, alone time, but if you’re unexpectedly drawn out of it, that may not be such a bad thing, either.

 

The invisible comes to light: sun opposite Neptune

Today the sun in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces.

Oppositions can symbolize outside forces or what we project onto others and the sun represents our evolving selves. Neptune on some level represents both letting in and letting go.

The other day Lyndon was upset because one step in the video game he was creating wasn’t working. He wanted to give up. I watched Lang ask questions and explore solutions with him. I saw Lyndon reluctantly absorb some positivity and perspective. He went back to his game peppier and more hopeful, and I was relieved, until I saw how depleted Lang had become from the interaction.

Lyndon and I do this: When something goes wrong, we want to throw in the towel. We both have the sun and Neptune joined in our charts, and we start with a perfect dream in our heads. And then we feel doomed and defeated if we hit a snag or a problem. It’s so disappointing and overwhelming that we want to give up the dream completely. What’s the point? Who even cares? We do, and we’re crushed, but when that feeling comes we just want to give up.

And often Lang rides in to help us. So we give him our bad mood, and our litany of complaints, and he helps us break things down into achievable steps. He helps us see the positive. And I don’t know how often, but at least sometimes, we forget to thank him. I’m going on 17 years in this pattern. He loves me and he believes in me, and so he naturally helps and boosts me up. But because he loves me, it takes an emotional toll. How would it feel for both of us if he didn’t always have to help?

We were born to be fluid, but we get stuck in roles: The victim, the savior.

Today we’ll get flooded with images, and they can help us see which side of the coin we might be on in different areas of our life. Try not to let the new knowledge depress you. We can always make adjustments. Today will just open our eyes.

If you’d like, set an intention to rebalance yourself or an important relationship, so you can stop being stuck in one role.

 

Saturn stations direct: When it's hard to get to work

Mercury entered Virgo last night and this morning I found myself just a little bit more distracted – by the Tostitos I ate last night, the moth flying around my head, Lang’s conversation upstairs with Google Home, punctuated by beeps. “Google, set the alarm for 6 a.m.” Beep. “OK.” Beep. “Thank you.” Beep. “I’m here to help.”

It’s a little hard to quiet my critical mind. “Why DID you eat all those Tostitos?” “There go my wool sweaters.” “Why does he have to have such long conversations with a gadget?”

The pace may be picking up around us – our schedule, responsibilities – or at least calling for more structure after the summer. Saturn stations direct this morning after five months of retrograde motion. We could be feeling antsy to get something going that’s important to us. But we probably don’t live alone in a cave. So our own agenda can come right up against some outside circumstance or some other person. How do we adjust but still honor that inner boss?

The moon enters Leo this morning at 9:54 and a critical inner voice could combine with a fiery mood. Try to remember that you do have time and options, and we’re all somehow in the same boat. You could help someone who’s overly stressed. You could bring a creative solution to someone who’s stuck, even if that person is you.

Try not to only see the task you’re attempting. Mercury in Virgo can show us the annoyances but it can also show us the helpers. This morning I couldn’t immediately tell the difference. Now, after some effort, I can.

Memories, needs, and emotions: Empowering your moon today

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2530.html

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2530.html

Today the moon makes a supportive, harmonious aspect to the sun. And I’m thinking of it as a chance for our emotional reactions to support and harmonize with our true selves.

Emotions are sticky and, at least in the symbolism of astrology, they're tied with needs. We all have different comfort levels with showing our neediness. With a natal Aries, 1st-house moon, emotions come quickly to me. I can’t give calm or rational voice to them right away, though. I envy that quality in sophisticated Libra moons. I’m more of a cavewoman. I get a hot feeling – my cheeks flush or my heart races – and I feel compelled to act. If I’m angry, you’ll immediately see it on my face. But even if I’m happy I’m likely to do something slightly aggressive like interrupt you, grab you, or move in way too closely. My eyes bulge and my smile tries to reach my ears. Sometimes I smile so forcefully that I displace my own jaw. I can be a little much.

People who love me, I hope, find this endearing. When I’m angry, they’re a little scared, but they cautiously hang in there like hostage negotiators, trying to help me voice my demands. When you have an Aries moon, needs do become immediate, internal demands. I’ve been helped by people who can show me a little patience while I work out what my heart is really demanding of me. Who can accept a little discomfort with me until my Sagittarius sun catches up to take a larger, more philosophical view. But I’ve also been shamed by people who didn’t accept this Aries energy in me. It made them uncomfortable. Sometimes for good reason – because I wasn’t considerate or skillful in what I expressed. But sometimes they were also just stuck in what was comfortable for them. Not everyone likes a confrontation or really exaggerated facial expressions.

The moon is connected with memories, and today’s Sagittarius moon can help you connect the dots between your childhood needs, environment, and emotions and your current emotional style. What is your emotional style? How did your caregivers express their feelings during crucial stages of your life? How did they respond to yours? How do the people in your day-to-day life respond to your emotions if and when you show them? What messaging around having and showing emotions have you absorbed from society regarding gender, race, religion, etc.? Does your response to and expression of your feelings fit who you now are?

If you know your natal chart, what are the qualities of your moon and how do they blend with the qualities of your sun? But even if you don’t, how do your feelings help or conflict with your ability to stay centered and shine?

The Leo sun and the Sagittarius moon today give us a unique opportunity to see and share more of our authentic selves, but the moon is private, protective, and vulnerable: Healthy emotional expression, like the phases of the moon, evolves over time and in stages. But if you’re ready and interested, slow yourself down to feel some of your own answers to these questions. We can be soothed and strengthened today if we look a little deeper at where we've been emotionally and personally and where we'd like to go.

Creating and Sharing Under the Leo moon

The moon is in the fiery, creative sign of Leo now, and I've been working on next Saturday's webinar: Enlightened Parenting Through Astrology: Five Times Astrology Made me a Better Mom.

I've never given a webinar. I've never taught a class. My parents are teachers and I'm astonished and awed by the impact they've had on so many people over decades. I think seeing the wisdom, charisma and passion they embodied kept me away from teaching. I didn't know if I could pull it off. I didn't want to try.

My siblings are performers. Their presence is captivating. They're funny. They're deep. They're transformative. I love supporting them. But I'm terrified to join them. I work an office job every day in a room by myself, hidden by a humongous computer screen, usually eating.

And yet I was asked by my dear, respected friend Tony Howard to give a class in the summit he created. And I said Yes, because I trust Tony's judgment in other people and I know Tony's high standards. And this topic is so dear to my heart. If I've put the hours and intention into anything in my life it's been into creating a family and learning and practicing astrology. But still, I'm scared.

The New Moon in Cancer on July 12th has symbolically brought an opportunity to rebirth nurturing, creative, loving energies in us. But Pluto in Capricorn is opposite the sun and moon in that new moon chart. Fear, dread, shame and limits can overpower and stop us before we start.

But what if we look at it differently? What if we see the times in our lives when the shy, protective, emotional shell of Cancer has been capable of stopping us before we even start? That's kind of where I was when Tony first approached me: No thank you, I'll watch the webinar from the comfort of home and someone else can present. In that case Pluto in Capricorn can be the helper -- drawing out what we're actually capable of. Plumbing the depths of who we've worked to become; letting that empower and transform us and those we encounter.

This new moon/Pluto action happens for me in the 4th and 10th house axis of home and family and career and the broader world. I can choose to stay home and just practice these techniques by myself and with my child, with my family and friends and local clients, Thank you very much. But a powerful friend is giving me this opportunity to share the information with a broader audience. And as I prepare it I know the techniques can help people nurture and support their children, or their clients who are parents. I just have to overcome my shyness and fear to do it.

Where does this new moon fall in your birth chart? Consider the Cancer solar and lunar themes positively and negatively. Let that inform your intentions for starts and renewals. And try to make a friend of Pluto. There's power inside and outside of you, an opportunity for creating and revealing something profound to yourself and others that you can do only when you realize you're already safe, loved and whole, and only when you can shed some of your ego and over-sensitivity. I hate saying that. Sensitive people bless and heal the world. So I hope you can see what I mean: We can get so lost in being sensitive that it cripples us or holds us from action, and that's where the Capricorn energy can help us. Leave something in this world that is born out of your sensitivity. Leave something tangible. Today's Leo moon can help inspire you.

It's been a pleasure to create this webinar. Next Saturday, I'll be drawing on my experience of motherhood, inspired by my parents' ability to teach and my siblings' ability to take the stage. I hope you'll join me. It's free, and from what I know of the other astrologers who are presenting, I'll be in outstanding company. Thank you, Tony, for the nudging at least one of us needed to bring this to light.