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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

 
photo 12.38.34 PM.JPG

 

“My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you.”

~Carl Jung in a letter to Sigmund Freud (June 12, 1911)

 

Astrological Counseling

I offer astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one’s life journey. My approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities I see while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences reflected in our lives and inner states of being. Consultations available for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship dynamics, and timing for important events. 

 

Contact me

 

 

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February

Making Friends with the Planets

 
Art-by-Kagaya.jpg

 

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After a long/semi-permanent hiatus from social media — for the purpose of spending more time outside in nature and less time at my computer — I had an inspiration to write the attached article. I hope you like it. Please let me know. My learning and practice of astrology hasn’t stopped even though I am not posting much online. Much love...

 ~~~~~~~

 

When the planets in the sky interact with our birth charts, especially the longer term transits from the heavy hitters like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, each transit can last from several months to a few years, and these transits usually correlate with the most growth-inducing times in our lives.

 

For anyone who is paying attention to these transits and anticipating which ones are imminent, it’s helpful to have a way to hold this knowledge without a sense of fear and dread. Otherwise it’s easy to get caught up in negative anticipation as these heavy transits keep unfolding over the years. We certainly get times of respite, but sometimes it can be one challenging transit after another. 

 

So, I have been contemplating how to make friends with these planets. I take inspiration from the Indian/Vedic tradition of literally worshipping the planets in the hopes of gaining their mercy or graces. And I have great respect for those who feel called to do ceremonies or rituals in honor of the planets. For me, however, creating a relationship with each planetary archetype and finding a way to honor that archetype in myself and in my life is what feels more natural and is what I am focusing on in this article. So I thought I would share some of my ideas for how to do this with regard to each of these heavy hitters/great lords in the sky. Tuning into their presence in our lives, through the seemingly magical synchronicity that is astrology, offers one way to get an inkling of the perfection of Divine Intelligence.

 

Saturn

Everyone seems to know about the Saturn Return these days, when Saturn in the sky returns to the same position it was in at the time of your birth, at the age of 29 or so. And in Indian astrology there is the Sade Sati, or the 7½ year period when transiting Saturn goes through three consecutive signs: the sign before your Moon sign, the sign of your Moon, and the sign after your Moon sign. These are usually life-changing years in our lives. How can we propitiate Saturn and flow more harmoniously with these transits? I believe it is by actively incorporating, welcoming, and expressing Saturn principles as much as possible during these periods. Here are a few general ideas for how to do so:

  • Be responsible, reliable, hard-working, and disciplined. 
  • Say no to frivolous things that don’t serve your long-term goals.
  • Spend time in solitude/Be a hermit for awhile/Overcome the fear of being alone (“Seclusion is the price of greatness.” ~Paramahansa Yogananda) 
  • Be frugal and get serious about planning for the future.
  • Contemplate and prepare for the inevitability of your own death and the deaths of your loved ones.
  • Allow deep or chronic sorrow to rise to the surface. It is emerging now because the time is right for revisiting it, reparenting yourself, and moving further along on your healing journey.
  • Accept and take pleasure in the tedious, monotonous, and mundane chores of life. 
  • Think structure: Get structured about your time, create structures in your life that you can count on, and let structured support help you cope.
  • Embrace humbling and ego-annihilating moments and events. Trust these moments are serving you even though it might feel like torture. 
  • Enjoy, respect, and learn from the elders in your life. 
  • Behold the wisdom and backbone that develops in you as a gift from Lord Saturn. 

Uranus

Uranus is the god of radical or shocking change, revolution, freedom, new technology, eccentricity, and electricity. Everyone has a Uranus opposition in their early 40s, which can be understood as part of the so called mid-life crisis, where the typical challenge is to express a more authentic self. But one can have a major Uranus transit at any time depending on one’s chart. Now, as Uranus recently entered Taurus, those of us with more planets or angles in the fixed signs of Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius are currently having or will soon have some serious Uranus energy to contend with over the next 6 years, depending on the degree of those placements. Here are a few ideas for how to play with Uranus:

  • Be open to the possibility of making a seemingly wild or crazy change — one that fulfills a longing that you have been craving for awhile. It may require a significant upheaval in your life (usually it will be in the area related to where Uranus is transiting in your chart or what it is triggering). At the same time, consider any changes made during a Uranus transit as experimental. If possible try to avoid making any permanent decisions just yet as you may end up changing your mind again before Uranus is done with you, or after the transit is complete. And then you might have terrible regret to live with if you threw the baby out with the bathwater as you were creating your more authentic life.
  • Alternatively, go with creative ways to incorporate more freedom, space, and newness into the current structures of your life. This way the major upheaval is circumvented, yet the need for change and freedom is still honored. 
  • Be willing to let go of structures you built under Lord Saturn’s rule. The changes that happen may come to you from the outside, from unexpected events or initiated by others. These changes may appear to be against your wishes, yet Uranus deems change and disruption is needed to free you from attachments, stagnancy, or old concepts that are holding you back.
  • In general: Speak your truth, live out loud, and no more people pleasing if it isn’t coming from an authentic place. In the end, everyone will benefit from any healthy changes you make (even if they resist the changes at first).
  • Receive glimpses from Uranus. Inspiration can strike you. Be open to tiny sparkling glints that reveal an alternate way of seeing things, especially with regard to old beliefs that were once keeping you alive but are now no longer needed. 
  • At times, change for the sake of change can be a good thing in that it shakes you out of self-imposed or confining patterns, and it introduces more flexibility into your being. 
  • Behold your limiting walls crumbling when Lord Uranus gazes upon you.

Neptune

Neptune is the god of oceanic oneness and unity, dreams, visions, and mysticism, but also illusions, addictions, delusions, and escapism. What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been is an apt title for a Neptune transit. Here are a few ideas for how to merge with Neptune constructively:

  • Focus on your spiritual path, whatever that means to you. 
  • Immerse yourself in activities or environments that help you tune into and feel connected with that which is greater than yourself, your greater self, and the greater whole, the cosmos, God, or whatever it is for you… Things like meditation, prayer, being in nature, being in or near large bodies of water, and engaging in creative or movement practices that get you in the zone. 
  • Even though certain things may usually seem black and white, it could be beneficial to contemplate the grey areas at this time. Something transcendent might emerge from the edge of that grey.
  • Try to hear and discern the quiet voice of intuition within.
  • We all have imaginative scenarios that come up from the unconscious, almost unnoticed. Catching one of those is like catching a fish, a little treasure from the deep. To assimilate that content can contribute to a significant internal realization.
  • Be aware that information you receive from others may be lacking in clarity or reality. Conversely, do some self-inquiry about whether you yourself are painting a picture that is somewhat misrepresentative.
  • Be especially mindful about pharmaceutical drugs and other chemical exposures, which you may become more sensitive to during a Neptune transit. 
  • Behold! Out of the vagueness of the oceanic currents Lord Neptune confers your divine destined wholeness.  

Pluto

Pluto is in Capricorn from 2008 to 2024. Where you have Capricorn in your chart — that area of your life is currently going through a slow, sometimes imperceptible, but utterly thorough and complete makeover. It may not be clear now, but in retrospect it will be awe-inspiring to see the fullness of the transformation. When Pluto connects with a specific planet or angle in your chart the transformation process peaks for a couple of years. Here are a few ideas for how to be on friendly terms with the god of the Underworld: 

  • Have the willingness and courage to face parts of yourself you may have disowned, denied, or never encountered before. These previously unconscious parts may initially become known to you through external forces in the form of other people or events, yet in the largest sense, it is all in you. Forces that initially threaten to overpower you impel you to undergo shifts that result in self-empowerment. 
  • Contemplate forgiveness of self and others. I mention forgiveness because sometimes Pluto transits correlate with events that stir up an abyss of pain, resentment, or guilt. If you can begin the process of seeing these events as instrumental for your growth and regeneration, a glimpse of being able to forgive may knock on the door of your heart. (For clarification, I see forgiveness as being able to have understanding, insight, and empathy around something that was harmful or hurtful, but it is not the same as condoning that thing.)       
  • Engage in some type of therapy to begin to process all that gets stirred up. Pluto requires us to see and touch the very depths of our being that we don’t normally contact. We may not have conscious cognizance of all that is being worked out within the psyche as this is happening, yet the transmutation that occurs will be seen more fully at a later time. 
  • Allow yourself to experience a symbolic or psychological death — such as the death of a cherished ideal, self-image, or life plan — that you were attached to but that needs to be let go of now. Though this ending can be painful, scary, or simply revelatory, a rebirth is on the other side of this experience. 
  • Behold the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the old you after lord Pluto pays you a visit.

I hope these ideas for how to connect with these divine archetypes are helpful. For those of you who have any of these planets prominently placed in your birth chart, the ideas above may apply for that particular archetype in a longer term way or in a more global manner for you. The lists above are not exhaustive by any means. I would love to hear your ideas or experiences with how you survived and thrived during transits from these game-changing planets. 

 

See my older post on Astrological Rites of Passage for more about the timing of the Saturn return, Pluto square, Neptune square, and Uranus opposition, etc: /blog/3675

 

(Art by Kagaya)


October 9, 2017

Dear Astrology Friends,

 

 

For the last several months it has become clear that it is a necessity for me to live more in sync with nature. This has required some radical changes in my life and is an ongoing practice, but even the small steps I’ve taken so far are worth the effort. I’ve been spending more time outside, trying to watch the sunrise and the sunset everyday, getting more natural light in my eyes, more sunshine on my skin, bare feet on the earth, and drastically reducing my exposure to radiation frequencies from my iPhone and wifi, etc. It’s been wonderful and so helpful, but it means I’m not blogging much… The writing cycle may come back at a future time… I am still doing consultations… Best wishes to all!

~Marlena


April 12, 2017

Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative

 

 

I love this quote from Chris Brennan’s new book on Hellenistic astrology: 

 

“Despite the formulaic nature of astrological omens, the astrologers themselves did not necessarily think that there was a direct causal connection between celestial and earthly events. Instead, the celestial omens acted as signs or indications of the future that were sent by the gods, and not as causes of the events that they correlated with. The stars in particular were seen as a sort of ‘heavenly writing’ that was inscribed across the sky. Naturally, as Rochberg points out, ‘the notion of the stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted.’ Thus in the earliest Babylonian strata of astrological tradition, astrology was seen to be a type of language.” 

 

This supports what I often say, that the planets do not cause things to happen, rather they merely reflect one’s karma. The birth chart is an illustration of one’s sanskaras for a given lifetime, and there are various techniques to look more closely at a specific timeframe within the lifetime... We are drawn to astrology to gain insight, understanding, and acceptance of the complexity of circumstances we find ourselves in and the attributes we came in with, as well as the inner and outer events and developments that unfold over time. 

 

It appears that some ancient astrologers placed great value on endeavoring towards acceptance of life as it is and developing forbearance, equanimity, and contentment regardless of circumstances (as revealed by, not caused by one’s astrology). The Vettius Valens (c.175 CE) quote at the beginning of Chris’s book is incredible: “Those who engage in the prediction of the future and the truth, having acquired a soul that is free and not enslaved, do not think highly of fortune, and do not devote themselves to hope, nor are they afraid of death, but instead they live their lives undaunted by disturbance by training their souls to be confident, and neither rejoice excessively in the case of good, nor become depressed in the case of bad, but instead are content with whatever is present. Those who do not desire the impossible are capable of bearing that which is preordained through their own self-mastery; and being estranged from all pleasure or praise, they become established as soldiers of fate”

 

This strikes me as counter to the modern concept of “manifesting” one’s desires and dreams. I resonate with Valens and appreciate the realism and dignity of his words. I am still certainly a proponent of trying one’s best to improve one’s self or one’s lot whenever possible, as that may also be part of the path, but striving for equanimity and acceptance if or when certain things seem unchangeable is just as worthwhile.


March 3, 2017

The transiting nodes through the houses

 

 

Tracking the transiting nodes of the Moon through the birth chart can be very elucidating. It takes about 18 months for the nodes to move through a pair of signs. During that time, the North node will be working one house of your chart while the South node will be working the opposite house. From Western to Vedic, and from modern to ancient astrology, there are several different ideas about how the nodes manifest. From my studies, including my own direct observations over time, I have come to some conclusions… 

 

The axis of houses across from one another form a pair of experiences that are related — these areas of life compliment and balance one another. When the nodes move through a particular pair of signs and opposite houses (using whole sign houses), that axis of experience within your life is gradually processed and transformed in a new way over the course of the 18 months (that it takes for the nodes to complete one pair of signs). As the nodes move through a pair of opposing houses, they bring a major focus to both of those related areas of life, and that usually means a bit of chaos for you in those areas. The nature of the North and South node, however, have some interesting distinctions. Mythologically, the North node is referred to as the dragon’s head while the South node is referred to as the dragon’s tail. This has some suggestive implications. Where the North node travels through your chart, the dragon “eats.” In this area of life, energy is taken in, something new is integrated, and there is an experience of increase and nourishment there. In the opposite area of your chart, where the South node is traveling, the dragon “excretes.” In this area of life there is a letting go process, a detoxification of sorts, and there can be an experience of decrease, loss, and usually a bit of stink there… 

 

At first glance it may seem that the experience of the North node is inherently more positive and the South node is inherently a bit negative, but it usually isn’t that simple. While it’s true that everyone usually enjoys the fulfillment and satisfaction of eating — the process of digesting and excreting is just as critical for life. Sometimes there can be a real crisis in the area of life where the South node is transiting, as the detoxification or letting go process unfolds. It is helpful to remember that this is not a meaningless difficulty or crisis, but a healing crisis — either physically, emotionally or spiritually. The crises may be more apparent when the eclipses (which happen near the transiting nodes) hit significant points in your chart. The eclipses mark heightened moments of intensity within the larger process of the nodes moving through a set of signs and houses. By the time the nodes complete their transit through a pair of signs, certain seemingly fated experiences come to a close and there is a resolution in that arena for you. Then it is time to get ready for a different area of your life to get triggered, stirred up, nourished, digested, processed, and ultimately transformed.

 

We just completed the last of the eclipses through the Virgo/Pisces axis. Starting in May, the nodes of the Moon move into Leo/Aquarius for the next phase of development. If you are interested in looking at how this (or anything else) is playing out for you, schedule a consultation with me. I am transitioning to mostly phone or Skype consultations even for local people. I love working with people in person, but with astrology, connecting over the phone works just fine and the convenience of this will allow me to schedule you sooner.


October 22, 2016

Question about Synastry (relationship analysis)

 

 

I received this question from someone, and I think it’s such an interesting topic that I decided to post about it. 

 

Question (paraphrased):
My boyfriend’s Moon and Venus fall into my 7th house, but my planets do not fall into his 7th house. Will I be the only one stimulated by this? Will he feel the familiarity too? Does it go both ways?

 

My answer:
I have observed and thought about this many times. In the context of a significant relationship, when a person’s planets, especially their Sun, Moon, or Ascendant, fall or overlay into your 7th house (the part of the chart representing partnership), yes it does mean that they embody in a big way whatever it is that you need in a partner, so you may feel strongly drawn to them. They balance you and complete you in a sense. This can apply to a romantic, friendship, business, or any other significant partnership. 

 

So how does this affect the person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house? In my experience, it is not the same dynamic, but the connection and attraction is still mutual. The person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house feels called and inspired to be your partner. It feels natural to them to be what you want and need in a partner. This happens on a relatively subliminal level. Some authors say the attraction is stronger for the person whose 7th house is being over-layed by the partner’s planets, as opposed to the partner, but I have not found that to be the case. Your 7th house (i.e. the partnership) provides for them an area and a context for vital expression of part of themselves.


February 25, 2016

To feel seen and nurtured

 

 

Highlight of my day: At the end of a session, client said she felt seen and nurtured. I love that. It’s truly a gift when I get to play the role of helping people feel more peace about themselves and life.

Life is often so full and things happen in phases and cycles. This has not been a writing phase for me (sorry for no astro blogs for quite awhile!), but I am still doing consultations!


September 15, 2015

Venus unfolding

 

 

You can find abundant information about current astro weather everywhere on the internet. So, instead, for today, I’m going to write about what’s on my mind a lot lately with regard to the planets… Though first I will say briefly that there is a lot going on right now astrologically (but there always is. It never stops). We’re in-between eclipses — a North Node Solar Eclipse in Virgo on Sep 13 and a South Node Lunar Eclipse in Aries on Sep 27. Eclipses mark big though sometimes subtle shifts, which unfold over the course of several months before and after the actual eclipse dates. Also, Mercury is about to turn retrograde on Sep 17 (we’ve been in the shadow period since Aug 28) and Saturn moves into Sagittarius (also on Sep 17) to stay until Dec 2017…

But what I want to mention today is the last Venus/Sun conjunction, which occurred on Aug 15th. Astrologer, Gary Caton, taught me to pay attention to these special conjunctions, because they set into motion a deep transformative process that is in effect for about 9.5 months until the next Venus/Sun conjunction. Through observation I have found this to be profoundly true, yet it’s sometimes only in retrospect that I can really see and appreciate it, which is why I’m bringing it up now. We’ve had a month to start feeling this new Venus unfoldment process. The conjunction was at about 23º Leo. What house of your birth chart does Leo fall in for you? That house will describe the sphere of life that is beginning to undergo a transformation of values (values, a Venus thing), especially if 23º Leo is near an angle or planet in your chart. Where Leo is in your chart is an area of your life that will be in focus until the next conjunction in Jun of 2016 in mid Gemini. The domain of life affected by the Venus/Sun conjunction often manifests in a clear or concrete way over the 9 month period so it is worth contemplating. The Venus/Sun conjunction correlates with a discovery process of what you truly value/desire/enjoy and that discovery creates change. if you want to think about the 9 months prior to Aug 2015, the Venus/Sun conjunction before this last one was on Oct 25, 2014 at 2º Scorpio. If you aren’t familiar with your chart or if you want to explore this further, contact me and we can set up a consultation.


July 18, 2015

Pluto’s heart

 

 

The news about the historic first time ever flyby of Pluto is a few days old now but still interesting to me, and this is the first chance I’ve had to post anything. At the very moment of the flyby of Pluto by NASA’s fast moving spacecraft, New Horizons, which took almost ten years to get to Pluto — the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars were all opposing Pluto. The opposition is an aspect of awareness of the Other. It is like looking across a round table at someone sitting exactly opposite you. Although they are furthest away from you, you are in a position to have the most clear, straight-on view of them compared to all the other seats around the table. So with the faster moving planets in this opposite position we got a much better look at Pluto, who is known to us in astrology as the hidden, mysterious, and powerful symbolic god of the underworld. On the day of the flyby the Sun and Moon were unified in Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn, representing a sort of spotlight bringing our undivided attention to Pluto. Additionally Mercury’s opposition represents communication with and about Pluto, and Mars represents decisive and probing action regarding Pluto. Wherever Pluto is currently transiting in your birth chart will give an idea of the area of life that is undergoing a slow but profound death and rebirth process (what we associate with Pluto). During the last couple of weeks with this four pointed opposition to Pluto — we had an opportunity for more awareness of what is being disintegrated and transformed within ourselves or our lives.

These faster moving planets were acting as triggers, going over the degrees of the longer-term transit of Uranus square Pluto, which is correlated with a groundbreaking turning point for us individually and collectively, as well as now literally with new astronomical information about Pluto. Even though Pluto is small in size (though New Horizons found it to be larger than anticipated) and even though scientists are finding many other dwarf planets out there in space, I trust there is a reason why Pluto is unique and has been part of our consciousness for a long time. I am struck by the heart-shaped landmass shown in the new photos of Pluto and widely circulated and discussed in the media. Pluto is associated with doing the heavy and sometimes frightening psychological work of confronting one’s unconscious shadow parts. But this new mass awareness of Pluto’s heart, suggests that on a psycho-spiritual level, once we actually have the capacity to get a closer view of our own deeply hidden feelings and motives, for instance, as symbolized by this distant and invisible (to the naked eye) body in our solar system, we may also discover a more welcoming and loving part of ourselves that we never knew before.


May 28, 2015

Saturn in Synastry

 

 

Saturn is often considered a challenging planet associated with obstacles and hardships. However, especially in connection to a synastry analysis (how two birth charts interact together) and particularly between a parent and child, I have been noticing an interesting theme with regard to Saturn. It is one that contrasts with the common Saturnian stereotype of difficulties, obstacles, and hardships. Saturn aspects between a parent and child often turn up in harmonious relationships. In these cases the parent is indeed in an archetypal parental role, taking responsible and reliable care of the child, and being ultra motherly or fatherly. As well, the parent is experienced by the child as the authority. And that initial dynamic between them often continues, even after the child is fully an adult. In relationships like this I have repeatedly seen the parent’s Saturn tightly conjunct a significant point in the child’s chart, especially the child’s Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. This is not surprising, as Saturn is known as “the wise old elder.” And it is commonly said that Saturn is almost always notably placed in the synastry of any long-term relationship (such as family).

 

In non-parent/child relationships, even in the case of hard aspects, such as an opposition, for instance, from one spouse’s Saturn to the other spouse’s personal planet such as the Moon or Venus, the Saturn person may simply take on a responsible, mature, and perhaps a directive role in the relationship. Depending on the other person’s internal relationship with these Saturnian qualities, the person receiving the Saturn energy may be harmonious with this dynamic or not. In any case, a Saturn configuration between two people in a committed relationship is commonly present and is indicative of a tone of accountability, reliability, and practicality within the structure of the relationship.


May 19, 2015

Bach flower remedies

 

 

I have studied Bach flower essences for many years. Recently I have been offering suggestions to astrology clients (if they are interested) about which remedies may assist them in their life situation, healing, or growth process during current planetary influences or for natal chart placements. These remedies help to balance things on the subtle sphere and work on the vibrational level with the tremendous challenges of being human. They can ease one’s inner response to the effects of trauma, relationship issues, spiritual growth crises, difficult decisions, troubling emotional patterns, psychological complexes, and even physical complaints (as everything is connected).

 

The planetary positions at birth (the birth chart) show a symbolic picture of the types of assignments a soul chose/or was given to work on in this incarnation. It is impossible — and in actuality it is unwanted — to know exactly how things will manifest, as that is part of the mystery of life. But astrological symbols do reveal archetypal clues that provide insight for wherever one is in their expansion of consciousness at a given time. Each person has a unique path towards Self-development, and I’m grateful to astrology for reminding me of that — every time I look at another unique birth chart. The Bach remedies are one tool to help along the way. If you are interested in hearing suggestions for remedies in conjunction with an astrological consultation, please let me know so that I am sure to remember to include that. :)

 

“Health depends upon being in harmony with our souls.” ~Edward Bach


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