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.



Partial solar eclipse in Capricorn

 
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When I was younger I used to love to be in plays. I loved the excitement of waiting in the wings before the show started. I loved listening to the buzz of the arriving audience. One of the crew members would give us updates. “I saw your Mom and Dad!” “It’s packed!” “We had to add extra chairs.” So much of the overall production was out of our hands. Would the props work? The lighting and sound? Would my partner remember the dance sequence? Even after months of practice I was never sure I was ready. Would my voice crack? Would I forget a line? Would I fall? When the curtains opened it was always an act of bravery and trust for us to perform, because we really didn’t know how we would do or how the audience would receive us. We just tried our best.

I like the symbolism of curtains closing and opening for an eclipse, especially tied in with the new moon symbolism of beginning in darkness. If the sun in astrology represents us, today’s partial solar eclipse blocks our ability to see ourselves fully. So what might we be missing about our own potential right now? What part of us is trying to get our attention, that might be different from the self we’re used to? It’s terrifying to have most of our ego stripped away. But what does that make space for? What was always waiting in darkness or is ready to be seen now?

Saturn and Pluto are conjunct this solar eclipse in Capricorn, bringing up issues of age, excellence, achievement, and solitude, but also control. How much control feels safe for us? How do we over- or under- control? What have we steadily planned for, worked for, built? What’s important to us? And when the unexpected happens, when our hearts are broken in disappointment, what steadies us? What really matters and keeps us going?

I’m carrying the excitement of a beginning with me this new moon/solar eclipse but also the seriousness of Capricorn/Pluto/Saturn, because in some area of our lives the stakes are high. We might be overwhelmed or defeated or terrified. But all of our effort and all of our experience counts in ways we might not understand yet. And when we show up something powerful and unseen swells with love and pride, and marvels. And I hope we do, too.

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.

About Bill Buckner: Mars enters Aquarius

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Mars enters the fixed air sign Aquarius at 8:55 p.m. EDT. Yesterday Venus entered the fixed water sign Scorpio.

Mars and Venus were in these signs in the fall of 1986, fall/winter of 1999, and the fall of 2001.

“So the winning run is at second base, with two out, three and two to Mookie Wilson. [A] little roller up along first... behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!”

- Announcer Vin Scully, NBC, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series

We were Mets fans. 1986 was a very happy year in our house. But I’ve always felt bad for Bill Buckner.

He liked to wear a glove that was a little floppy. That night the jerky momentum of his body as he ran for and stopped to catch the ball caused his glove to close. Famously, Mookie Wilson’s hit went right through Buckner’s legs and earned the game-winning run.

Positively, Mars in Aquarius can be the action of a team working together or an individual doing things in an unexpected, outside-the-box or genius way. Negatively, Mars in Aquarius can be connected to rejection for exactly the same reasons: Why couldn’t you catch the damn ball?

Yesterday was a new moon in Virgo. This symbolizes a new beginning in careful attention and meaningful work, but also in humility and introspection.

Mars will be in Aquarius until November 10th. We’ll all have some unexpected victories and losses. As we’re more attuned and attention-driven for the next month, let’s also be mindful of each other’s feelings. Venus in Scorpio can symbolize powerful intuition and regeneration when it comes to Venus-ruled areas like love, money, and art, but it can also symbolize control issues, power plays, and scapegoating.

I hope we all find ourselves in Mookie’s position, shocked by great achievements. But if we find ourselves or someone else in Buckner’s, reflection and analysis can help us find a better reaction in a dark moment.

Thirty years later the 1986 Red Sox team was honored at Fenway. This is Buckner, getting a smile from hitting coach Walt Hriniak and a hug from former teammate Wade Boggs. Even when we’re crushed or disappointed, we’re capable of this response, too.

The Taurus New Moon and Uranus in Taurus

Today at 7:47 a.m. EDT there will be a Taurus New Moon at 24°36' Taurus. Uranus will move into Taurus at 11:17 a.m after having spent almost eight years in Aries (May - August 2010, March 2011 until today.) 

How has your life changed since 2010? What did you begin? What changes upended who you thought you were or the path you thought you were traveling? Have you found a role as part of a new group? Which crises or adventures brought breakthroughs? How have you dared to become weirder, or to take a counter-cultural stand?

I started studying Astrology in 2010 as a way to understand the inner turmoil and unrest I was feeling as a stay-at-home Mom and wife. Lyndon was in nursery school and I was feeling lonely and unfulfilled. That year I also started working outside the home, first part-time and then full-time. In the last eight years Uranus joined with my Ascendant, moon and Chiron. I do feel different now and more willing to show up even if I might get rejected. I've accepted a broader definition of who I am and have dared to explore and share more of my inner life and creativity. Maybe it's age, and maybe I've internalized a little more of the Uranian who-gives-a-crap-what-people-say detachment and openness to shake-ups. I'm not fully there, but I'm trying. I hope that the ways I've grown and asserted myself will prepare me for changes and breakthroughs in the next 8 years in Taurus areas -- for me the second house of money and self-worth.

Where does Taurus fall in your birth chart? Where does Aries?

By all means, learn about and explore the combination of Taurus and Uranus archetypes to anticipate what could be stirring for the next cycle. But also look back and within. For all its positive associations, the joining of Uranus and Aries also symbolized trauma survival. In the past eight years, all of us have survived some unexpected trauma or loss. Our bodies, resources, nature, and certain loving relationships somehow sustained us. As you usher in the Taurus new moon, take some time to see and feel the power and stability of everything that helped you endure.

Today we begin again in the dark, as we began in the womb so many years before. Try to ground yourself in peace and openness to all that's building.