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.



Exploring Lyndon's and my progressed moon

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I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t been writing as much. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I’ve just been more reserved. I’m wondering how much this instinct to become more private is connected with my progressed moon having recently entered Scorpio. The progressed moon symbolizes our evolving emotional needs and states, and its 2¼-year length is helpful to explore in terms of significant emotional phases throughout our lives.

When my moon progressed into airy Libra I started writing and communicating more in general. I wrote and shared more about relationships – strategies for connecting and finding common ground. I felt compelled to check in. My counseling practice picked up. Even through a divisive presidential election I tried to show respect to people with differing opinions – a huge stretch for a Sagittarius. I was learning to be more considerate.

My moon progressed to Scorpio this summer while I was on a Holocaust Remembrance Trip in Europe with my family. I haven’t written much about the trip because there’s so much to unpack psychologically, and at the same time I’m aware that what I saw and felt over two weeks pales in comparison to what millions of people lived through. In the Jewish Museum of Prague I photographed these children’s drawings from the 1940s. Their teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, held secret therapeutic art classes in the Terezín ghetto, determined to connect the children to beauty and inspiration even as their lives got more restricted and terrifying. Eventually Dicker-Brandeis was sent to and killed at Auschwitz. I still think about her, trying to understand the evil that she was up against, wondering how I also can be an instrument of love and hope even in darkness. And it’s not always clear to me. It’s just a question. Sometimes the darkness is so potent.

I’ve become more aware of these kinds of difficult truths – how life can be unfair or cruel. And I think it’s giving me more empathy. Fellow water signs Cancer and Pisces are more often touted for their compassion and ability to love. But I’m starting to believe that Scorpio doesn’t get enough credit. With its penetrating ability to plumb the murky and intense, I wonder if the fixed water energy of Scorpio is partly about finding the strength to continue to love and empathize even when it would be tempting to shut out or shut down. Developing the right protections to carry a sensitive soul, like Cancer, renewing in dreamy darkness, like Pisces, but with the reliability of fellow fixed signs Taurus and Leo: You can depend on me. I’m not going away.

Somehow progressed moon signs or phases kick in when we need them to, when we are ready or when life is ready for us to express a new quality. Right before my moon progressed to watery Scorpio, Lyndon’s moon progressed to fiery Aries. Lyndon’s rising to the challenges of his new middle school: changing classes for the first time, meeting new friends, taking responsibility for his homework and grades. I see a decisiveness that wasn’t there when his progressed moon was in Pisces. Then he was more likely to be swayed by what other people said or just to try to blend in and not make waves. Now he’s speaking up with a budding confidence. I have to check myself when he’s a little harsh with me: Do I point it out to him or let him practice this new voice until he gets the right balance? Aries and Scorpio make an uncomfortable aspect to each other – a quincunx – and the two of us try our best to adjust to each other these days. We both can be a little too spiky. In some ways Lyndon is over-confident: He fervently debates that he’s old enough to take two subways and walk a mile by himself to get home from school every day. I counter that parents have a sense in their guts about what’s safe for their children. He doesn’t buy it. But I need to honor my strong intuition, too. He’s 11. It was only last year that he was the spacey kid who got a pencil stuck in his forehead. (For the full story, see my Parenting with Astrology webinar.) So I send him for smaller trips alone and see how he does. I defer when he tells me he’s too old this year to take a Christmas card photo. That’s a hard one for me. But I have to make sure I don’t come off as too authoritarian while he’s learning an Aries sense of his own power.

If I didn’t practice astrology, I could still find a language for what Lyndon is experiencing through developmental stages. And thank God there are so many ways for us to figure out meaning and next steps. But the progressed moon is a simple tool that helps me on a daily basis to understand emotional landscape and phases and cut myself and my family more slack.

I have two more years in Scorpio territory, and I don’t know what that will mean for me as a mother or wife, artist or astrologer, woman or simply a human. The progressed moon in Scorpio merges two symbols of mystery. And so I’m very much exploring right now. The clients who have come for readings lately seem to want to sit in deep space together. I love that. Yet I also feel socially awkward navigating this depth in other settings. What’s appropriate to share and with whom? I’m not always sure. Part of Scorpio is discerning between privacy that feels good or right and privacy that just reinforces a sense of shame.

Both Aries and Scorpio can be powerful, passionate and extreme. They’re both ruled by Mars – the red planet and God of war. And so for the next two years Lyndon and I might not always be so comfortable to be around. We might have to push back in situations we last year would have tolerated. We might have to tell harsh or awkward truths, to each other and to the outside world. In some ways that’s exciting, and I’m happy to be aligned with my child in this way. I have an Aries moon natally and I’m curious to see those energies reflected in Lyndon for the next two years. What will I admire? What will I see that I don’t like? What might I be able to help him understand? How will seeing Aries in Lyndon help me embrace untapped courage and leadership, too?

In two days transiting Mars will enter Aries; it’ll stay in Aries until Valentine’s Day. For Lyndon and me, this will ramp up the intensity and focus of our progressed moons. For all of us in some area, the symbols represent willpower and desire, boundaries and bravery. Pay attention to any unrest or passion, aggression, excitement, or fear you notice, either around you or within you. The next two months will be rife with opportunities to act and react – to challenge our natural patterns and try ways that feel more aligned with who we are right now.

I hope for me that means challenging myself to shed some of the shell I’ve been fortifying myself under – or at least exchanging it for a larger one that leaves space for more company. And so if you’d like to explore your progressed moon or your child’s, please reach out to me. The moon is a symbol of life’s natural phases of growth and renewal. It rules parenting and childhood, our inner life and creativity and our ability to recover and heal. It reveals the most tender parts of us. It can be an act of love to ourselves just to sit in that space, alone or with another: to feel, to wonder, to marvel – at where we’ve been, who we are and who we’re still becoming.

The first quarter moon and an emotional crisis

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Lyndon started middle school this month, and I didn’t realize until this morning how worried I’ve been.

Lang’s worries have been more on the social scale: Will the other kids be nice to Lyndon, will he be bullied or picked on? Mine, I realized this morning, have been more academic. Will teachers get him? Is he ready for a faster pace and more work? How will he handle 6th grade?!

This morning, my Overzealous Mom instinct somehow led me to these 6th grade ELA test questions from 2017.

I panicked when I saw the first response. Lyndon doesn’t write like that: Legibly, with abundant detail. Then I saw the second response, with erasures and misspellings. That answer looked more like Lyndon’s. As different as they are, somehow they both got full credit: “This response includes complete sentences where errors do not affect readability.” I didn’t know how much I needed to read that sentence.

I don’t really care about test scores. But sometimes in elementary school, Lyndon felt dumb. And as a Mom I’m an action figure. What does that mean we need to do? How can I change that? What needs to happen here?

Today the Sagittarius moon will make a square to the Virgo sun.

“The Moon, of course, is always about relationship, to oneself, others and life. We could say that the Sun represents your life – life force, life direction, potency. As the Moon moves away from the Sun, it is reaching out to connect with life, emotionally, so it can live its day-to-day life in response to the call of its Sun, its spirit. By the time it hits the square there is a crisis.”

-         Darby Costello, The Astrological Moon

Today we may become more aware of a crisis that’s been brewing emotionally for us. The Virgo sun can symbolize our idea of perfection. There may be some way we think life, or we, aren’t measuring up. What’s been moving away from you? Can the change help you follow the call of your own spirit?

I was the kind of student who added extra lines to essay tests to make sure I answered the question thoroughly. I wanted to prove myself and impress my teachers. Lyndon, on the other hand, wants to finish quickly and get back to whatever interests him. Every year he moves more and more out of my identity and range of control and more into a fuller expression of himself. And I think that’s what I’ve been coming to terms with.

A few hours ago Lyndon woke up and kissed us. He thanked Lang for doing the laundry. Lyndon gives us credit for basic things like filling the gas tank or food shopping. “Wow! Thank you for buying bread!” There’s a reason two worried perfectionists needed someone both kinder and more independent to join us in our home, celebrating the small things, not trying to change us into anything we’re not.

He highlighted that sentence in the photo for me, because I didn’t know how to. In his spare time Lyndon teaches himself Photoshop.

All of us in some area are having to redefine wholeness and success. With today’s Sagittarius moon we can all use a little hope or wisdom. If we look for it, we’ll find it. Maybe we have to push a little harder or be more strategic, or maybe we need to be more spacious in the way we’re viewing. Something about our previous judgment needs to evolve.

As for me, going forward, I’ll try to give my son — and myself — more credit.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking off the mask: Venus in Scorpio

“All Things are One Thing” By Issac Abrams  and “Julie. Den Haag, Netherlands, February 29 1994” by Rineke Dijkstra, Tate Modern

“All Things are One Thing” By Issac Abrams and “Julie. Den Haag, Netherlands, February 29 1994” by Rineke Dijkstra, Tate Modern

While Venus was in Libra August 6 through September 9th we learned a little bit about compromise and getting along. Now that Venus is in Scorpio we could get a little more spiky. It’s like suddenly we realize  we’ve fallen asleep wearing a necklace or a necktie, and now we need to take it off. It’s not comfortable or appropriate.

A friend told me yesterday that I looked tired. I was, but also I haven’t been bothering to wear as much makeup, and I had forgotten to smile. Makeup and a smile are two Libra habits I usually bring to the table. But yesterday I didn’t, and honestly, at that moment I couldn’t. I was in a crappy mood, and I had a crappy face. That was the best I could do.

What behaviors or courtesies have you adopted to get along with others? Do any of them not sit well with you now?

While Venus is in Scorpio, we might surprise people who’ve gotten used to us being agreeable or nice. It’s time for a shake up, but try to be strategic and careful during the process. Try not to cut ties in a way you’ll later regret. Venus will re-enter Libra on Halloween, and for the following month we’ll have to revisit compromise in some way. But for now something about us might make people a little uncomfortable, as we discover penetrating truths or changes we need to make.  

If you notice this energy in your boss or coworker or in someone you love, try not to let it destabilize you. Try not to reject or judge it. It could lead to more intimacy and depth, even if it’s not so pretty.

We’re all just trying to get closer to who we really are.

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.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The Aries moon opposed Venus in Libra this morning.

Yesterday’s NY Times Style magazine had an article about Ree Morton: “What Does it Mean to be a Mother and an Artist?” In the profile and in her art I see the Aries/Libra polarity. What are we compelled to do for our own sake? What would help the people we love?

In 1972 Morton sent her three young children to live with their father so that she could be an artist in New York. In 1975 she created this sweet and loving piece.

I can put myself in Morton’s shoes. And I can put myself in her kids’.

Aries/Libra sometimes works out as what helps me helps you and vice-versa. But sometimes we’re left longing and disappointed, or we have to let down someone we love. Sometimes different roles within us need to duke it out.

Today it can help to read the good parts of our story, but not in a fairytale way: Mixed in with the scary, hard, or bad parts -- trying to see them from different angles or in a new way.

It’s a better story that way, filled with complicated heroes, including us.

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.