Five of my Favorite Ways to Use Astrology as a Mom

I became interested in astrology because I wanted to understand myself and the people I love in a deeper way. But when life and relationships get messy and complicated, it can still be a challenge to stay curious and connected. I remember a harried moment 15 years ago, when I didn't get this right. Two days before my wedding, my Mom and I couldn't come to common ground on priorities. I was overwhelmed by the amount of work left to be done, and my Mom pointed out one detail I had missed: The aisle runner. She really thought we should stop arranging centerpieces and run to the store to buy a white aisle runner. She said it would complete the look. I didn't think it mattered. I wanted her help with the flowers. We squabbled for a while until I finally barked, "Stop being such a damn Virgo!"

That was, clearly, a failure to relate. My Mom stormed off and I still wish I hadn't said that. It ended well, and she was right: The aisle runner was a beautiful detail. But for hours that day we both stewed, alone and furious. I never found the words to express my stress and vulnerability, and I can only imagine how hurt and unappreciated she felt.

Now that I'm a wife and a mom, the stakes for getting these interactions right are even higher. How do we share the same space and keep growing into ourselves and into a family?

I'm happy that astrology is becoming more popular. But if it only serves to reduce our loved ones to fixed stereotypes - - like my bridezilla outburst with my Mom - - that's a missed opportunity at best and an intimacy-crusher at worst.

I don't handle my family gracefully every time. I get tired and hangry. But I do try to be vigilant and careful as I practice astrology. Certain methods have especially helped. Here are five of my favorite ways to use astrology as a Mom:

1. The Birth Chart
Rather than looking at a child's chart deterministically, I encourage parents to focus on a few key features that will help you love on your baby right now. Today. Maybe your child will become a doctor or an astronaut. But maybe it will help you both get through this moment or this year just knowing that communication soothes her - - or action, or solitude. If you enjoy integrating a lot of information, then dive right in. But during my most frustrating moments, what's helped me with Lyndon is just to pull up his chart and find a key that I've been missing. You always will. And it will help you support your child with a specific action. What they can't communicate to us directly we can find in their charts, so that we can better behold and help them. But try not to assume. Let it just soften your heart and start a conversation. Integrate what you see in the chart with your intuition and observations. Check in with your child.

2. Their Birth Chart as a Transit in Your Life
The word planet comes from the Greek word for "wanderer." As the planets wander through the constellations at different speeds, at any moment a snapshot of the sky or transit chart freezes the planets in time, symbolizing our inner and outer experience. Most moments come and go without particular significance. But the moment of our child's birth is extremely significant. And so our children's charts can represent life lessons that are not only crucial for them to learn but for us to keep learning, too. Understanding that can keep us from projecting negatively. If I constantly think of my child as an insert judgy adjective, insert astrological sign, that keeps me from my homework of allowing some of that energy to transform ME for the better. And if I reject a certain energy in my child, that builds a wall between us. So I encourage the practice of remembering the moment of your child's birth - - the joys, the challenges, the lessons. As an imaginative exercise it can help you appreciate the preciousness of that moment for you in a fuller way and empathize with some of the inner and outer tensions your child might regularly face. You've been there. You can help. And as your child grows into herself, she'll become more of a model for you in those ways, so you can be continually inspired.

3. Daily Transits
Transits are fun to track because they represent a shared experience. And so if the slower-moving, outer planets are representing something especially difficult that doesn't seem to be budging or progressing, you're not the only one living through this. Your child is, too. Knowing that can help with compassion. It also can lead to great conversations. In our house most mornings we talk about the sign and aspects of the transiting moon, the fastest wanderer in the sky. What do we expect will happen? What strategies can help us? It gives us a framework for a possible mood of the day, and then we go out into the world and test our hypotheses. We share what actually happened. Or we forget and talk about something else. But it's a fun way for us to connect as a family and to remind ourselves to stay flexible, intentional, and curious.

4. and 5. The Progressed Moon: Theirs and Yours
Tracking your child's and your own progressed moon is a fairly simple way to visualize life stages in roughly 2 1/2-year increments. I love this tool as a parent because it shows me support I can give to Lyndon for the short-ish term. It can be hard to keep up parental stamina, so I'm all for the tools that can give me a boost in the moment.

Lyndon's progressed moon in Aries correlates with a budding feistiness as a middle schooler. If I didn't know astrology I would know that middle school isn't forever, and maybe that would help me get through middle school moods and pushback. But the symbolism of Lyndon's progressed moon in Aries actually helps me better understand the usefulness of conflict and boundaries in a child who's otherwise naturally peacekeeping and agreeable. It represents a need for assertion, action, and orientation to self. Within that framework, I'm less likely to engage in ego battles because I know that this is just a phase and it's a necessary part of his growth. I hope it will help him be sufficiently choosy with his peer group and keep him safe as he learns to take the subway alone for the first time.

My progressed moon gives me clues on how my phase of life can support him during his. As he navigates increasing independence, my progressed moon in Scorpio can point out ways to be safer and more strategic, more careful and resilient. We're both slightly scared. But it's also exciting to see Lyndon assume more agency while challenging myself to embrace a phase of murky transformation for both of us.

The Bottom Line
If you're interested in astrology, by all means learn it and practice. But please give yourself permission to be a student always, too. No matter how much wisdom or life experience we have, there's still so much more we don't know, and that's actually hopeful and exciting. So see how your child helps bring a new understanding of the symbols to make you a better human. And try not to let any narrow interpretation of symbols create distance between you and your loved ones. They deserve that level of both openness and discrimination.

Feed and water whatever it is that brings you and your family comfort. It doesn't have to be astrology. You have your own bag of effective tricks. But if you choose to use astrology as a parent, please do it humbly and with great care. Please protect yourself and your children from harmful or reductive messages.

That's only my very strong opinion, though. Sometimes I can be such a damn Sagittarius.

The Gemini Moon, or Now We Can All Be Joe Biden

At 8:15 a.m. E.D.T. the moon enters Gemini. At 3:44 p.m. will be the Gemini New Moon.

I’m calling this one the Joe Biden New Moon.

This week when I was pondering positive Gemini qualities – versatility, humor, fascination, youthfulness – Joe Biden memes kept creeping into my mind. Joe Biden cracking jokes, Joe Biden finding change and showing us, Joe Biden really seeing that second ice cream cone.

Joe Biden is a Scorpio, but he has two planets in Gemini – Saturn and Uranus. So he can be the elder and the awakener when it comes to the Gemini agenda. Watching Joe eat ice cream makes me really want to eat ice cream. Seeing Joe crack up makes me wish I heard the joke. His ability to interact with the moment elevates the moment and turns it into something worth seeing for the rest of us.

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Finding Stillness in Our Name: The Taurus New Moon

I hadn’t been sure what to write about Tuesday’s New Moon in Taurus. It was significantly less earthy than last year’s. Last year Venus and Mercury joined the sun and moon in Taurus, and six out of the ten major planetary bodies were in earth signs. The message had been clearer then: Return to the earth, return to the body. Communicate love and simplicity in your words and find stillness in your heart and relationships. But Tuesday’s new moon message was modified by some jittery energies: Mercury and Uranus in Aries and Mars in Gemini. It didn’t feel quite so comforting, and I didn’t know what to make of that. So in Taurus fashion, I stayed quiet and took it slowly.

Then I saw this poem on the subway, and it suddenly clicked. Like Eve, part of us is longing to be comforted right now. Somehow the upheavals of life have left us uneasy, and we’re longing to hear our own name.
 

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Libra Full Moon

This is an especially juicy Full Moon, and there are so many aspects involved that I wasn't even sure I wanted to tackle it. But I did feel moved to write about one particular aspect: This Full Moon's connection with the planet Jupiter.

Jupiter has been in the sign of Libra since September 9, 2016. It’s been calling us to stretch more in Libran areas – relationships, art, balance, beauty, peace. Jupiter traditionally gives us blessings, and maybe we’ve felt luckier in those areas. But as Steven Forrest says, Jupiter always asks us “How am I underestimating myself?” Jupiter has been asking us to take risks in these areas and not just settle.

How have you been doing? I’ll tell you how I’ve been doing: Mensa mens'. Así así. I've been writing more, meeting more interesting people, and reading for more clients. Those are all reasons to celebrate. And yet, I'm exhausted by this new pace and I can't stop eating Tostitos. The other side of Jupiter is expansiveness. Jupiter brings more. And while I think I'm hearing the Jupiter message, I'm not sure about the Libran side of it. I find myself swinging back and forth more than achieving balance and peace. Fights with my Mom and husband have brought messages that I'm too judgmental and too generous with people to the point where I overextend myself -- both negative Jupiter traits. At the time of course, they were wrong. I’m just the right amount of judgmental and it’s OK to be generous with people. Plus, isn't calling me judgmental a judgment? During this time, we can be the suboptimal face of Jupiter in Libra, breezily caught in a loop of our own opinions.
 

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Aries New Moon

The Aries New Moon invites us both into total darkness and fire for a moment. In the hours before, we can reflect on what we are ready to leave behind for the benefit of our own survival. And we can look forward. What have we forged within that can now help ourselves and others? What new habits, emotions and ways of loving and relating can we brave in mystery until they are fully realized? Is there an Aries message in our being and the way we nurture that can be strengthened or adjusted? Are we called to be the pioneer, the warrior, a benevolent leader, or something more precious, delicate and new? Take a moment to imagine how a healthy ego looks to you: Can you incorporate more reflection, kindness, and imagination into your being at this moment? Can you integrate the balance and support of the universe with the boldness, courage and fire within you? Maybe you already have! Can you now come forward to inspire others?

Both the new moon and Aries carry the energies of possibility yet vulnerability. It's not easy to be first. It's not easy to advance in darkness.

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On Turning 40

For my birthday, my husband and son made me Amy: The Game. It’s a mock board game, with memories filling the spaces around the board and kind or funny words about me filling the playing cards. Some of my favorites are “You are light in the darkness” (written by my dear and tender son, Lyndon) and “You always know where to put the furniture” (by my dear and wisecracking husband, Lang). Truly, it floored me.

This was a big one: 40. The two years leading up to it were humility- and faith-building, which I didn’t find so easy or comfortable. But one reading in particular helped me, and today I want to share it:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

I think I’ve always understood from this reading that life can be hard. But in the last two years I’ve taken it a little less about discipline and a little more about compassion and discernment: At this particular moment, am I on the road or at the gate? How about the people I love? And what about the people I find hard to tolerate each day?

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Venus Retrograde: Recreating Art, Finding Peace

Having to face interviews after almost nine years of being a Stay-at-Home Mom is humbling and utterly demoralizing. Part of me feels compassion for these employers: At this point I'm overeducated but also unproven. My last full-time job was in 2000-freaking-7. If I were the Hiring Manager I'd probably go with the person who worked in say, 2011 even. And so I've sunken into a funk of despair and self-doubt. Venus brings us peace, and since she's been retrograde it's been very hard to feel soothed or settled. I've been an emotional wreck. What exactly have I been doing for the last 8+ years?!!

Thankfully, even in the darkest moments, Astrology, like any spiritual practice, can offer a remedy. Any planet's retrograde period is the ideal period for the re-do: Revisiting that planet's themes and archetypes. And since Venus also rules art, I decided to recreate a series of photographs I took almost seven years ago: Lyndon's first trip to the Barbershop.
 

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