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.



When Jupiter gets your attention

I’ve won three raffles in the past five days. It’s almost like Jupiter is having fun with me: You were asking when we would get to the good part? Voila.

I don’t usually win things. But my job has had a series of fundraising raffles in the past week, so I gave to each of them. I just considered them donations. But then the emails came: You won the wine basket! You won the soccer tickets! You won the Louis Vuitton bag! Naturally I pulled up the transits to my chart. Is this all about Jupiter in Sagittarius? Why am I winning everything??!!

I’ve heard that Jupiter/Uranus aspects are common in lottery winners. Currently my progressed moon in Scorpio is conjunct my natal Uranus. In the past five days the transiting moon joined with my natal moon, then transiting Uranus, and then my natal Jupiter. Is that enough?

Maybe. Jupiter also stations retrograde today on my natal 9th-house Mercury. In less than two weeks I’ll teach a class about Jupiter in Sagittarius for Fresh Voices in Astrology. In the class I’ll be explaining that natal houses with Sagittarius and Pisces on the cusps are part of our Jupiter story. For me those are houses 9 and 12. Two of the raffle tickets I bought with the intention of giving away the prize if I won: The soccer tickets and the fancy, pricey bag. Two of my friends wanted the prizes more than I did. And so I had my friends in mind when I bought those tickets, and when I won I gave them the prizes.

I don’t know if I had never really won anything before because I was missing that 12th-house element of non-attachment or intention beyond my own ego. But today I feel overjoyed and deeply at peace.

I did buy a lottery ticket and scratch-offs last night, just in case. The scratch-offs didn’t win; maybe the lottery ticket will. If not, I still have great friends, and a great husband, and those several bottles of wine. Today’s Gemini moon is ruled by Mercury, the messenger. I’ve gotten the Jupiter message loud and clear. My cup overflows, and I’m grateful.


Fight, freedom, and helping: Mars square Uranus under a Virgo sun

“Black Bird” by Benny Andrews

“Black Bird” by Benny Andrews

Today Mars in Aquarius squares Uranus in Taurus. This is a closing square that relates to their conjunction or joining in Aries in late February 2017.

Mars square Uranus is a stressful energy. I’m gonna be real with you. This one stumped me, because I always read the sky as a message from a God who loves us. Why would we ever need more stress???

Virgo season is about doing the best we can in the human condition. Discriminating how we can do better and be useful to each other here on earth. Today’s moon/Pluto conjunction symbolizes that it’s time for some deeper reflection.

Think about your effort and progress over the last year and a half. Is there any resource or relationship you have now that you didn’t have or realize then? Think about all the scary things you’ve faced and survived. How has a group joined or supported you?

Today try to feel any love that has helped settle you and notice any progress in your personal fight. Unfortunately, it’s not over. But in some ways that’s actually a good thing, because what we’ve learned can now help others.

In the end, the fight was never really about just us.

When Saturn feels too heavy: The Capricorn moon conjunct Saturn

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/cassini-image-mosaic-a-farewell-to-saturn

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/cassini-image-mosaic-a-farewell-to-saturn

The moon is in the sign of Capricorn today. At 12:24 p.m. EDT it will be at the same degree as Saturn.

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, orients us to hugeness and expansion: The sky’s the limit. But beyond Jupiter, Saturn symbolically structures us. It gives us the ability to narrow down all the vast possibilities to the ones that matter most and suit us best. It’s connected to legacy. But Saturn can also just feel HEAVY, giving us a serious, sober tone. For better or worse, Saturn reminds us of personal limits and age.

Enter the influence of the moon. Take time to visualize and then focus your dream in some way today. If you notice certain ways you’ve become overcommitted or disorganized, give yourself a loving but serious talk. Kindly bring yourself back to the basics.

Between Jupiter of hopes, dreams, and greatness and Uranus of unexpected breakthroughs, individual genius, and freedom, lies Saturn: Time-honored traditions, effort, planning, patience, silence, solitude, work. Somehow today it will help all of us to eat our vegetables or come to a full stop at a Stop sign. In the long run, it’s for our own benefit.

Before Uranus was discovered in 1781, Saturn was thought to be the last planet in the solar system with the slowest cycle, taking 29 years to orbit the sun. At that time in England, life expectancy for males was less than 35. A Uranus cycle is 84 years, closer to modern life expectancy in industrialized nations. Progress seems slow over time but eventually it’s startling.

Honor Saturn today. Reflect on the positives of your age and experience. But try not to let the demands of reality right now overwhelm you. Remember that something beyond, unexpected, and still unseen exists, too.

Scorpio Moon and the storm

Photo by Ansel Adams

Photo by Ansel Adams

Yesterday I didn’t know what to say about both Venus and the moon in Scorpio opposing Uranus in Taurus. I didn’t want to sound alarmist. There can always be a range of expressions. But many of us were confronted by heavy feelings in the face of something unpredictable or disturbing.

Scorpio brings up issues of control, fear, passion, paranoia. It intensifies feelings in general, even happy ones. But Scorpio energy opposing Uranus in Taurus can be especially intense, raw, shocking and real as we try to find our actual footing and an internal sense of control at the same time, triggered by a complicated relationship or circumstance.  

For me the symbolism played out extremely literally: I participated in a mandatory security training at my school so I’d know what to do if confronted by an active shooter. We huddled under desks while our coworker came at us with a Nerf gun to illustrate how ineffectual the old advice of simply hiding was. It left us like sitting ducks. We learned how to barricade a door and how to counter as a very last resort. The best option, if available – if you know there is enough distance between you and the shooter – is to get away.  

We live in a world where I feel compelled to teach my son this information to keep him safe. And yet a neighbor I just met has dutifully picked Lyndon up from school every day along with her own daughter because I’m not able to. There is unexpected goodness, too.  

This week some of us have been processing deep feelings around trauma we’ve lived through. Others are facing an actual storm.

Today while the Scorpio moon trines Neptune and then Mercury opposes it, strategy and planning mix with the unknown, the uncharted, the fog. And yet in exactly that space we can find inspiration and a good-enough way through.

Feelings and phases -- the Cancer moon

At 8:03 a.m. EDT the moon will change signs into Cancer. The sensitivity and intuition of Cancer are a natural fit today for people who work in helping professions. In New York many teachers start school again today. But because Cancer is so connected with home and family, we might find ourselves missing our own space or our own people.

The watery Cancer moon can help us be more creative and resourceful. The cardinal energy can help us begin projects or lead others. Some of our activities and the people we interact with will excite us. We’ll care about them. But we have to start from a place of wholeness or we’ll absorb other people’s feelings -- start with a sense of love and security or we’ll become defensive and self-protective. If you feel yourself getting moody, go back into your shell for a bit: Slip away to the bathroom or close your door or close your eyes for a moment and breathe.

The moon will make aspects to Uranus and Saturn this afternoon, reinforcing that we might need to go our own way for a bit and take a moment to steady ourselves. We might need a moment alone.

Cancer brings feelings to the surface. Some of the feelings can help us get our work done and some can get in the way. We have emotional biases we’re not even aware of. We all have a natural rhythm when it comes to our feelings, and we’ve probably inherited certain beliefs about feelings, too. If you’re around someone who is more or less emotionally demonstrative, try not to take it personally, even if it feels a little uncomfortable. Cancer energy can help us take good care of each other, but only if we’re not too pushy.

The moon rules Cancer, and the symbolism of today's Cancer moon gives us permission to shine or hide or just reflect certain parts. The mutable Virgo sun reminds us not to get stuck in just one expression or phase.

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.