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!
Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative
I love this quote from Chris Brennans 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 ones karma. The birth chart is an illustration of ones 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.
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.
“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”
I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within…
I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year: The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.
I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”).
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.
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!
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
I heard from a few clients recently that the recordings of their sessions with me are disappearing after they download them. If this has happened for you, please please please contact me and let me know! This is an error and should not be the case. I have utilized different services for sending large files over the years and some work differently than others. I have all my recordings stored permanently and confidentially and I can always resend a recording to you. Meanwhile I am looking into the issue and looking for different options.
4/28/2015 UPDATE: I got confirmation from some clients that the recordings do not disappear after downloading, but they may be difficult to find (so sorry about that)! For example here is what one person wrote to me regarding two older recordings past the download link’s expiration date: “I found the recording! It automatically went into a folder in my iTunes music library called ‘my recording,’ then into a folder ‘unknown album!’ The files were numbered... for example ‘Z0000049.’ I also found a previous one in there!”
Hope that is helpful!!
For people with smart phones I also discovered a way to send the recording directly over text message without utilizing a service to send large files. No link that way. Just straight downloading to your phone (or computer if you have Messages on your computer). Not exactly sure where it gets downloaded to but it seems to be working for people. :)
An Eclectic Approach ~ Modern and Ancient Astrology
There are countless ways to practice astrology and within Western astrology alone there are a huge variety of systems, paradigms, and techniques from which to choose. Throughout the years of my own study and practice I have found that it serves me to remain open to all the different paradigms that I encounter, while also remaining focused and not overly diffused with too many different techniques at once. My biggest learning is always through direct observation, so when it comes to where I put my attention within the wide variety of approaches, my eclectic approach is based on personal experience of the usefulness and relevance of a particular concept or system.
When I began studying and practicing astrology, I was mostly exposed to Modern Astrology and Evolutionary Astrology. This is mainly what is out there nowadays, has many merits, and no doubt still forms the foundation of my understanding of astrology. As time went on, however, I began to encounter more Ancient or Traditional Astrology and I found these frameworks to be equally valuable. For instance, I certainly honor the modern practice of paying close attention to the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as well as Chiron), as I and many people and clients I know experience monumental internal or external events in our lives that correspond with the transits from these planets. The Uranus/Pluto square from 2012 to 2015 is a palpable example of this, being unfathomably intense for many especially those whose charts were directly lined up with the degrees of this life-changing, era-defining square (By the way, the last exact pass of this square is on March 16th, 2015).
On the other hand, I found that shifting to the Whole Sign house system (the oldest house system known); using the antiquated classification of planets in dignity, exaltation, detriment, or fall; and looking to the ancient rulers vs. the modern rulers, for example — are all undeniably useful to me when I analyze a chart. I didn’t necessarily want to adopt these older techniques, especially ones that appear on the surface to imply a value judgement, but when I investigated them I couldn’t help but notice their definite relevance. Through contemplation I realized that instead of seeing a planet that is in detriment or fall as a “bad” placement, for instance, the classification is rather a tool to acknowledge when an aspect of one’s self or one’s life (as symbolized by the planet) is experienced as inherently more challenging or uncomfortable than other planets that are more “favorably” placed. These challenges are of course not “bad,” just as squares and oppositions (aspects known to be associated with more challenges) are not “bad,” but a planet in detriment, for example, may represent a part of one’s life where one undergoes more suffering and requires more work or adjustment. I view this type of inner work or challenge as part of the divine intelligence within all of Reality, reflected perfectly in the birth chart, and for the purpose of learning and spiritual growth for the individual.
This is a good segue to the last example I will mention, regarding what I resonate with from Evolutionary Astrology. Evolutionary Astrology suggests that the birth chart is a reflection of what is needed for the soul for spiritual growth in this lifetime. My view is that the birth chart is a perfect illustration of one’s karma (the results of past impressions and actions) in this lifetime. The birth chart is literally a blueprint for how one is fulfilling one’s spiritual purpose and direction in this incarnation. Yet it is an illustration made up of symbols and full of moving parts, not a black and white, simplistic, or static depiction. Therefore it requires on-going exploration and can manifest in a multitude of ways, which will also invariably change over time as a person’s consciousness expands. I am always delighted to learn how people are living their charts. it is always more perfect then I could have imagined by looking at the chart alone.
In my experience, the deepest and most meaningful learning about astrology comes from experiential observation and involvement. Book learning is essential of course, but for instance, to truly understand the intensity of a transit from a slow moving planet to your birth chart, living through it or watching someone close to you live through it, is entirely different than reading about it. The theory you studied suddenly becomes tangible and is clearly manifesting before your eyes, and yet at the same time it is infinitely more complex and varied in its expression than you could have imagined. The same goes for truly understanding another human being, let alone yourself. It is a lifetime study. As an astrological counselor, I can study a natal chart for hours and hours, days, and weeks, but it would still take time to truly and comprehensively know the native (the owner of the chart). I may be able to quickly speculate about trends in character, predispositions, challenges, gifts, themes of the past and future, and various timelines of various archetypal influences affecting the individual, etc. And all of this can be immensely helpful for people in terms of inspiring self-understanding, self-permission to be who one is, as well as to give encouragement, patience, and strength with one’s life situation. Read more...
However, to really know a person, in a deep sense, and what it means to have a combination of particular planets in particular signs and houses with particular aspects, it takes time and keen observation. That is why I like working with people for a series of sessions over a period of time. We can go so much deeper into personality, life, or relationship dynamics, all of which the chart will illustrate in perfect fashion. Yet it takes time to unravel those mysteries written in a symbolic language. Like any relationship, it takes time and participation with someone to get to know them beyond the surface appearances or presentation. The same is true in a relationship between a counselor and a client and between an astrologer and a chart.