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.



Mars/Uranus check-in: Yikes

The big news in the sky this week were Mercury’s entrance into the sign of Pisces on Sunday (until April 17th) and the Mars/Uranus conjunction of Wednesday morning (Eastern time).

What’s been especially frustrating, scary, or beyond your control? Where have you had to go with the flow, chill, or let someone help you?

Yesterday when I started my car it sounded like I was starting a motorcycle or a Mustang. It was really loud. I turned my car off, scared, and restarted it. Same sound. I knew Lyndon was waiting for me at his school, so I started driving. But the car was pulling and not letting me accelerate smoothly. And it was still roaring. So I took side streets instead of the highway, called my Mom to ask her to get Lyndon, and drove straight to the mechanic.

As soon as the mechanics lifted the car, they called me over to see what the problem was. Someone had taken a saw to my catalytic converter. It was still there, but with a slice through it. The mechanics told me to buy a lottery ticket because it was my lucky day. It didn’t feel like my lucky day. It felt like a criminal had ruined my day. But they said that the criminal must have had to flee before finishing the job.

I had hoped to treat Lyndon to a mother/son Valentine’s Day dinner. That didn’t work out, but we both wound up in good company. My parents picked up Lyndon and prepared his dinner. The mechanics told me stories of all the robberies they’ve seen or experienced. We laughed at the ridiculousness and universality of it all. The mechanics were able to weld the part instead of having to replace it.

I love difficult separating aspects because they remind us that were coming away from something hard. One face of the Mars/Uranus conjunction is unexpected crisis. But sometimes it takes perspective to see that we’re already on the other side.

Happy Friday. I hope that someone shows you kindness today. And as the moon makes harmonious aspects first to Uranus and then to Mars, I hope you can notice somehow you’re more free and empowered than you might have been before.

Venus's Day (Friday)

Sometimes while I’m driving Lyndon to school we’ll talk about one astrological concept that can get us through the day. When I was looking at the chart of the day this morning, what popped in my mind is Venus.

Friday is ruled by Venus, whose gifts are love, beauty, art, and peace. Today’s Libra moon is also ruled by Venus. So there’s a double message of peace and connection with others. Where the message gets nuanced is in the current sign of Venus, Sagittarius. Sagittarius is an independence-loving sign, seeking and striving for adventure and inspiration. And restlessness isn’t always a great remedy for peace. So how do we reconcile these energies?

That’s for all of us to explore personally, but just knowing that both coexist might help us through today. Maybe we can seek interactions with interesting people; maybe learning, reading, or exploring in some other way can bring us peace. And maybe taking time to remember our best adventures or start planning our next one can help us see where we have freedom and options and get reacquainted with inspiration again.

Thinking Big: Mercury in Sagittarius

Mercury is entering Sagittarius today for the second time this year. The first time Mercury was in Sagittarius, October 31 – December 1st, it got stopped in its tracks by a retrograde period. (See Mercury retrograde post.)

We’re still in the Mercury retrograde shadow period, which will end on December 24th. So until then, Sagittarian optimism and joy may be a little slow-going. We may have to process a bit to get there. It might not be automatic. Some ruminating energy still shadows our ability to wish big. That can be a good thing, slowing us down enough to wish for the right things – the things that will really serve our highest nature and not just be a quick distraction.

Take advantage of this post-shadow period to spend a few minutes each day tuning within -- or simply remembering the times in your life when you felt an excited connection to your purpose. Now is a good time for us to recognize where we are on our life paths and make some sense of it all. What fits? What doesn’t? After the deep, feeling phase of Scorpio, Sagittarius adds spark and fire to our mindset, and maybe some impatience. Sit with that, too. The divine unrest of Sagittarius can be a teacher. Examine it somehow – with a loved one, in a journal, or in some other way that allows you to be safely and brutally honest.

In some way we may have become stuck. Mercury is connected to flexibility – in thought, speech, and physical movement. And Sagittarius is related to exploration. This time can help us recognize the freedom and abundance of our current situation or point the way to something better. So even if the time is frustrating, try to stay interested in what’s unraveling. And if it helps, try to picture the sound of your own name with a Sagittarian twist: Loud and exaggerated, jovial and free, infused with possibility.

1988 and today's grand trine: Saturn and Uranus as friends

Me, second from right, in 1988, with a favorite teacher, Mrs. Stein, and two best friends who went on to different middle schools.

Me, second from right, in 1988, with a favorite teacher, Mrs. Stein, and two best friends who went on to different middle schools.

Today there’s a grand trine in the sky between the sun in Virgo, Saturn in Capricorn, and Uranus in Taurus. A grand trine is a supportive, harmonious aspect. In a chart it looks like a triangle. Because the trine is in earth, we can also look at it as especially stabilizing or enduring.  

Saturn and Uranus joined together three times in 1988, and that can be considered the beginning of a Saturn/Uranus cycle: The relationship between our productive, mature, and disciplined self and our innovative, rebellious, and free self. Think of the most buttoned-up person you know and the most zany, and imagine inviting them to dinner – just the three of you. In 1988 instead of for dinner, symbolically those two energies came together inside us, like siblings forced to sit together after an argument. Whether we were born with stronger Saturn energies in our chart or stronger Uranian, that year they became equals and had to learn to work together.

So how’s that been going for you?

It’s easier for me to make friends with Saturn. I have long-lasting relationships. I tend to show up when I’m needed. I can finish what I start. Uranus is harder for me. I do it, but bracingly. Every time I write about astrology – which is Uranian – I’m afraid of being shunned. I start to imagine someone rolling her eyes or unfriending me. I don’t want to be too weird or too forceful.

1988 for me was the end of grammar school and the beginning of middle school: The excitement of moving forward, the fear of not fitting in. Missing close friends who wouldn’t be joining me. It all felt very dramatic. We’d write each other over-the-top letters proclaiming our devotion and sadness. But it was also fun: My middle school could be out of control. I remember kids standing on tables, dancing. It reminded me of scenes from Fame. More unsettling were the epic fights after school. I was a bus kid, so I never stayed to see them, but I saw and heard the lead-ups and recaps: Time-tested rituals of taking off earrings or pulling back hair; the next-day black eye or fat lip. The adults, for the most part, were ineffectual. I couldn’t believe this was possible for a school. Saturn, meet Uranus.

Do you remember what was happening for you?

This year Lyndon starts middle school, and I’m hoping that in the spirit of today’s grand trine, Saturn and Uranus come together in a safer, more supportive, less shocking way for him. My middle school would have blown his mind. Thirty years later, it still blows mine.  

But did I really learn the lesson? In many ways I’m still the Saturn kid watching someone else dance or someone else fight.

How about you? Are you still sitting closer to Saturn or Uranus? What goes through your mind when they speak?

Today I’ll bring Uranus more into the balance: Taking an action for social change and one for personal freedom. In honor of my middle school friends, I’ll try to have a little more moxie, starting with yet another Astrology post.

You may feel the need to hear Saturn instead: To structure, plan or complete something.

Wherever you are I hope you can see both Saturn and Uranus as friends, with you and with each other.

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.

Two days ago Lyndon came to me with a very serious face. His lip alternated between quivering and set. He told me he had something to say.

“I don’t usually fight my punishments, but this time I feel I have to….”

The day before, we had realized Lyndon wasn't reading any of the assigned summer books. He wasn’t even sure which books he was supposed to be reading or where the assignment sheet was. For twenty minutes we frantically searched for it. Lang found it behind the desk in Lyndon’s room. We ordered the books on Kindle and set a schedule for Lyndon to finish two book reports and one project before school starts. Lang and I were really annoyed. Now that Lyndon’s going into fifth grade we don’t want to be this involved in his schoolwork. We gave him a lecture on responsibility and told him that he couldn’t watch TV or play video games until the schoolwork was done. He agreed. He immediately started reading.

By the next evening he had finished one and a half books. It was almost bedtime and he wanted to watch ten minutes of football with his father. It meant enough to him that he felt compelled to approach me.

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