Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon New Year

That's right, my Western Civvers: it's New Year's Eve (even though it's still morning in my neck of the woods) and it's happening on a Blue Moon, which means the second Full Moon of the month. The last time we had a Blue Moon was May 31, 2007, so you can see the expression "once in a blue moon" in literal action. This Blue Moon is even rarer, though, since it's also a Lunar Eclipse.

I realize this New Year's Eve recommendation may not make me popular among my not-impressively-vast readership, especially since none of you specifically asked for my advice, but this is not the New Year's Eve to party to excess, unless it is a dinner party that culminates in a food fight. Yes, there's a lot of Full Moon energy out there, and it's a Lunar Eclipse, and you may feel as if you are being magnetically pulled out of your home or your comfort zone. This is because of the opposition and possible conflict between the Sun in publicly-oriented Capricorn and the Moon in home-oriented Cancer. You may have the opportunity to attend a party that will increase your public standing or your influence--but only if you don't mess it up by getting plastered and generally loony. You may have the opportunity to spend New Year's Eve with family, which could be quite comforting as long as your family is unmarked by dysfunction in any way.

Still with me?

It takes guts to gently decline getting together with people, many of whom you may barely tolerate, and say no to spending money you do not have on the most loaded night of the year (in the sense of having expectations of tons o' fun, not indulging in your favorite poison--though that naturally goes with the territory). This night is doubly loaded because of the media spotlight on bidding adieu to the naughty aughties, the less than zeroes, or the Decade of Decline; never mind that the next decade doesn't actually begin till January 1, 2011. Yet not only is the Moon in the most home-oriented of signs tonight, Mercury and Mars are both Retrograde. You may be having second thoughts about whatever commitments you made for tonight (Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn), and you may also be confused about what you really want in order to express your joie de vivre (Mars Retrograde in Leo). Collectively, we are entering 2010 as a breech birth: looking backward, pulling inward. A Caesarian section is indicated.

If you can manage a quiet night in with your nearest and dearest, I don't think you'll regret it. If you have no nearests and dearests, it might still be better for you to be a party of one instead of with pseudo friends or desperate strangers.

As for me, who just so happens to be born under the sign of Cancer, I will most likely put my socializing off until tomorrow morning. There's an interesting sounding after-party going on not too far from me, and on a Moon/Uranus trine (exact at 10:43 a.m. EST) it might be worth it to get to sleep reasonably early tonight, wake early tomorrow, and head over there. If that actually happens, I'll be the freshest daisy in that crowd.

Stay tuned for 2010 predictions.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sun/Saturn Square: Astrologese for Sucky

This does not apply to you if you had an unbelievably fantabulous Christmas, whether you celebrate that holiday, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, some combination of the above, or none of the above. For all I know, you found the Sun/Saturn square a comfort instead of a straitjacket. And Mercury turning Retrograde on the 26th (at 9:38 a.m. EST) did not necessarily mean that you had to return gifts, if you were lucky enough to receive them at all, because the pants didn't fit right, the choker was choking you, the throw blanket wasn't your style, you already owned the Beatles box set or Season 2 of Mad Men, or it was No. No way could you keep whatever it was on your person or in your dwelling, not even hidden away in your closet, not even kept to re-gift to some unsuspecting soul next year. For all I know, if you live in the New York area, you liked the cold rain that fell nonstop for over 24 hours, because it made you appreciate yesterday's 50-degree sunshine all the more.

On a personal level Christmas was a hangover, both literally and figuratively speaking. The former I didn't mind so much, as it meant I'd had fun the night before, at a dinner-and-way-beyond party that took away any lingering bitterness I felt over not being invited to an annual party I'd gone to for the past 5 years. The metaphorical come-down I did mind; it wasn't pleasant to see the wrong movie with a close friend after I took the trouble to purchase the Sherlock Holmes tickets online and pick them up a few hours before the movie so we wouldn't have to stand on a long line and wind up getting bad seats (there's only one window at the box office, which is outside the theater). We even met 40 minutes before the movie was scheduled to start in case everyone else had also decided to pick up tickets in advance. I was that paranoid about the Sun/Saturn square, since it was exact at 6:58 p.m., 2 minutes before the movie was supposed to begin. The usher told my friend and I to go to the theater upstairs, but we were too busy catching up on our respective Christmas Eves to notice that the small sign about 20 feet above our heads read Avatar and that it was the other stairs we should've been taking to the other upstairs theater. We also didn't notice anyone holding 3-D glasses. We shut off our cell phones, so did not notice when 7 came and went and they were still showing trailers. Finally, there was an announcement to put on your "Real-D" glasses. Huh?! My friend ran and got them from the lobby while I tried to figure out why I didn't realize Sherlock was a 3-D movie. And when my friend returned, she told me it was already 7:15. There was no way we'd be able to get good seats, or even seats together, at the movie we were supposed to be viewing, which had started 15 minutes ago.

The less said about Avatar, the better. The fact that almost everyone loves this movie, including the critics, is proof that the viewing public's standards have been lowered even more than I ever dreamed possible. It came as no surprise 2.5 hours (that felt like as many eons) later that the usher refused to comp us so we could return to see Sherlock. That was when I finally noticed the sign. I usually love this small, non-corporate movie house, but right then it felt like the equivalent of a highway in New Jersey.

And this personal indignity was small potatoes in the face of what truly made the Sun/Saturn square sucky on a grand scale: that attempted terrorist attack that will now make flying even more of a miserable experience for the 99 percent of us whose main crime when traveling by air is to forget about that dangerous 4 oz. tube of toothpaste or the equally dangerous tweezers stashed away in our toiletries case. I remember when the prospect of flying somewhere got me giddy in a good way. Everything was so laid-back you could even (gasp) smoke on planes, as well as get served a full meal (even if it was kind of gross), plus not have to take your shoes off, get The Wand Treatment, or pay to check luggage. Now I am almost thankful that I don't have the means to fly to Venice or Paris. I feel so sorry for people flying home from family gatherings this week since they'll have to check all those holiday gifts received instead of carrying them aboard the plane in a second bag, and of course pay the airlines more money for the privilege. I can only imagine how humiliating it will be to lose control of one's bladder or bowels because no one is allowed to use the bathroom during the last hour of the flight, and also cannot read a book, access medication, or soothe an anxious child with a stuffed animal because Mr. Teddy might contain explosives. I can only imagine the lawsuits--but then again, perhaps there won't be any, because doing so could land you on a no-fly list. The Sun/Saturn square serves as a grim reminder that the terrorists are winning the War on Terror. Are airlines really any safer because of these arbitrary restrictions? I certainly don't feel any safer knowing that no one can attempt to detonate a commerical plane while standing up or using the lavatory during the final hour of flight. Since Saturn symbolizes limitations as well as structure, I predict that by the time of the next Saturn/Pluto square, those who have no choice but to fly on a plane that they do not own will be locked (Saturn) into their seats and can choose to purchase (credit cards only, please) potties (Pluto) and toilet paper from the airline attendants.

I am not entirely joking about this unfunny scenario.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Spirit: Jupiter/Neptune Conjunction

There has been much astrologizing going on in my life, but unfortunately none of it has taken the form of updating this blog. I hope to begin to make up for lost time as the year comes to a close (more likely, given the aspects, on a bang than a whimper).

A perfect planetary symbol of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is Jupiter--even though by December 25 we have entered the Capricorn period, the traditional excesses of food, drink, festivities, and shopping for presents mostly occur during the Sagittarius period, which may well be a reaction against the naughtier pleasures of Scorpio (which climaxes, so to speak, on Halloween). Tomorrow not only marks the Winter Solstice, but the exact Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Aquarius, a significant aspect that has been building for weeks. If Jupiter is an apt representation of the holidays, Neptune represents spirit--and presto, we have holiday spirit.

Yet the message of this particular Jupiter/Neptune conjunction is far from simple or placid. It is filtered through the lens of Aquarius, the most complex of the air signs: group-oriented, reform-minded, revolutionary, brilliant, stubborn. During a time that some are calling "Great Depression II," perhaps the most rewarding holiday spirit is to be found among friends, the family you make for yourself. Air is not material; friendship is a present you cannot put in a box and wrap. Compassionate or creative visions (Neptune) may very well hatch between friends or in larger groups of likeminded people uniting toward a common goal.

The health-care reform bill has been a topic of great controversy among people of all political (or apolitical) stripes, and although it now appears that the Democrats have their sixtieth vote in the Senate, the controversy is far from over. Many are also upset about the upshot of the climate talks. It will indeed be interesting to see if there are any mass protests or marches on Washington, especially as inner planets move into Aquarius. However, since this is also such a technologically oriented sign, protests may well have a greater presence online--in blogs, chat forums, petitions, and so on.

The Venus/Uranus square (exact yesterday at 8:52 p.m. EST) was marked by the Northeast's first blizzard of the season, but I read this square as less about the weather than about blowing hot and cold in matters of the heart...possibly not being able to decide whether a situation is platonic or more than a friendly hug goodnight. The far more harmonious Venus/Jupiter and Venus/Neptune sextiles, which are nearly exact at the time of this writing, should hopefully smooth out any lingering rough edges. It is also of interest that the Moon transiting Aquarius will create a pleasant emotional reverberation of the above sextiles early tomorrow morning (for Eastern Standard Timers). The Winter Solstice of 2009 will most definitely not be a boring one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturn Square Pluto: Tear Down the Wall!

This has been an unusually dark Dark of the Moon in Scorpio; Pluto, ruler of this capital-I intense sign, has been squaring Saturn. If this were a boxing match, it would be the heavyweight division: Pluto, Lord of the Underworld vs. Saturn, Lord of Karma.

Although the square is officially over (exact 11/15 at 9:42 a.m. EST), and I don't think either planet "won," I have found that aspects involving Saturn reverberate for quite some time, possibly because Saturn's action delays.

A prime example of this would be the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of August 2001, which culminated in the events and long, bloody, morally bankrupt aftermath of 9/11.

Planets are more powerful than the signs they inhabit, yet it is always important to consider the signs of an aspect. Saturn entered Libra just before Halloween; for the next two and a half years, all legal, contractual relationships will take on more structure and grave importance, and require greater maturity in order to survive. It is worth remembering that the last time Saturn was in Libra, the early 1980s, the divorce rate peaked in the U.S. Big business, which ushered in the "greed is good" decade, was also on the rise, and not coincidentally, in 1982/83 was a Saturn/Pluto conjunction...solidifying plutocracy, anyone?

Certainly, with Saturn squaring Pluto in early Capricorn, there is much pressure within relationships that are unbalanced in some way. One person, party, or group has been abusing the other person, party, or group for far too long, and something's got to give. Libra, the sign of the scales, is all about justice; the law ideally should mete out justice to any and all who have abused their power and goodwill. (Of course, this is no guarantee of what actually occurs.)

On a personal level I can speak for no one but myself; just a few weeks ago I placed far too much trust in someone who had done nothing to earn any of it, and I am still dealing with the fallout.

On a national level, we have been dealing with disturbing developments in our long-awaited, hopelessly bogged-down health-care plan, in which women's rights are taking a backseat to the status quo (in this case, the male-dominated Congress and the Roman Catholic Church). Americans are divided about the swine flu vaccine, and there's also a vaccine shortage. We have also been hearing all about the end of the recession even though unemployment is up, because Wall Street (Pluto in Capricorn?) is doing so well that bankers are using $100 bills as toilet paper. On a global level--well, to expect world peace may be a naive pipe dream, but issues involving the environment and pandemics (of which the swine flu is just the beginning) are just as important as all the futile, costly wars being fought.

About forty years ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono advised people to "think globally and act locally." This seems like more timely advice than ever. Instead of only focusing on national or global problems, take a good, hard look at your own relationships, within your own environment. If you don't like what you see or feel, there is no better time to be honest about your perceptions and act. If you try to renegotiate the dynamics of your unhealthy, unsatisfying relationships in a reasonable way and it doesn't work, it may be time to leave such relationships behind entirely. It's possible that you have literally become sick of them; the mind-body connection is not a myth. Far better to tear down (Pluto) the wall (Saturn) of oppression keeping you from your true self and desires, even if doing so leaves you vulnerable and alone, than stay in any contractual relationship, whether it's a marriage (Libra) or professionally based (Capricorn), that is doing you harm. Otherwise you run the very real likelihood of becoming increasingly resentful (Pluto), rigid, depressed, numb, and ill (all Saturn specialties).

They say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I say, screw that puritanical crap and take a stand for yourself, because even though Saturn is now in the sign of justice, life just isn't fair, and you may have to be your own judge, jury, and executioner.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Full Moon Fever: Relationships in the Hot Seat

Your faithful astrologer attempted to post this update last night, but her computer was out getting loaded, and the dashboard wouldn't load.

Anyway, we are still in the Full Moon period (exact at 2:10 a.m. EDT) and the Moon in Aries still has a few aspects to other planets to make before it moves into Taurus tomorrow, so this post will still have plenty of Full Moon food for thought.

In astrology, the "relationship aspect" is the opposition, and Libra is the sign of the zodiac that is the most naturally attuned to the concept of relationship. Therefore, this particular Full Moon highlights relationship issues. They need not be romantic connections, particularly if you are not involved with anyone romantically; issues in business partnerships may be of concern at this time. Yet since Libra is ruled by the "love" side of Venus (the "material" side of Venus, i.e., money and matters of the flesh, is the domain of Taurus), it's most likely that any issues that have been building within a love partnership have reached the boiling point with the Moon in fiery, aggressive Aries. If you are single, this weekend may have been a time of being "on the hunt" for a lover.

The conflict between this Full Moon that can also lead to its resolution is "me or thee?" Aries, the polar opposite sign from Libra, is all about the self. Unlike its romantically inclined fire-sign cousin Leo, there is very little awareness of "the Other." This does not, of course, mean that Aries is incapable of having relationships--just that this very first sign of the zodiac is more concerned with being for itself. Aries can be a great leader, and also, despite its potential for extroversion, a great loner.

So, "me or thee?" For those of who you may have been doing too much for that "Other" in your life, this opposition challenges you to take better care of yourself, even if that means doing it on your own and detaching from your partner in order not to live through him or her. For those of you who have been living out the Aries side of the opposition, this Full Moon may motivate you to consider the needs of your partner above (or at least as much) as those of your own, to develop a better give-and-take situation instead of mostly taking and not even saying "thanks."

This is not a typical horoscope blog, but individuals that are likely to experience the highest degree of conflict with this Full Moon are Cancer and Capricorn natives, followed by Aries and Libra (although these two signs stand the most to gain, as well). Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, and Aquarius are more likely to resolve relationship conflicts without ultimatums, and even if there is a loss or a break, these four signs are most likely to not let icky emotions like fear and neediness get in the way of personal growth.

This is also the Harvest Moon, so regardless of what sign you are born under, it is a time of reaping what you have sown back in the spring. The Full Moon always brings a culmination to the monthly lunar cycle. What has not been resolved during this period is not likely to fix itself over the next two weeks as the Moon wanes. This does not mean you should throw in the towel if your relationship seems to be going down the toilet, but not to force any needless issues, particularly since we are coming up on a difficult Mercury/Uranus opposition (exact today at 5:06 p.m. EDT). Under such an aspect, it would be far too easy to snap during a conversation. A real breakdown in communication may result, along with a break. You may instead wish to consider quietly gathering your forces for the New Moon in Libra on 10/18, which will give you a fresh chance to unite your own emotions and needs with that of your partner's. And once again, if you happen to be single, this will also be a good time to consider what relationships mean to you, and how you can strengthen your relationship with the one person who will never leave you: yourself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Equinox: Not Just a Gym. Get Ready for Fall!

We've gone through some fairly stressful astrological aspects during the past week, as we reach the end of the Virgo period. As much as I wanted give real-time updates, it was too painful at the time. My self-identity is undergoing a serious transformation, courtesty of Saturn conjunct my Pluto and Asc. Basically, I am trying to cast out my bad habits and compulsive behaviors without being too hard on my imperfections. Also, an unconventional, relatively-short-yet-long-enough-to-feel-real relationship broke up (Uranus conjunct my Desc.) and although it ended pretty jarringly it's really for the better, and has also made me ask myself some pretty hard questions about relationships in general and the kind I've been trying to have in particular.

The Dark of the Moon period (9/16 to 9/18) was perhaps the darkest a Dark of the Moon can get: the Sun, followed a day later by the Moon, opposed Uranus and conjuncted Saturn. The Uranus/Saturn opposition is one of the more difficult aspects out there, so it's a good thing it doesn't happen very often; this time around (2008-09) it's manifested in the terrible economy, a repolarization in politics that culminated in the election of the first black president of the United States (black as a color is represented by Saturn; yet President Barack Obama, given his relative youth and his landslide victory, is more Uranian), the swine flu panic, and the health-care debate. Throwing a Mercury/Pluto square into this already uncomfortable mix, it's a wonder more of us didn't go postal last week: Uranus is all about reform and revolution, while Saturn is about structure and the status quo. The Sun highlighting this opposition made it a far more personal struggle for many of us, since the Sun represents our conscious sense of self. Egos were definitely trampled on by other egos, and unless you're an air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) it was probably hard to detach.

The Jewish calendar is lunar, and so the Jewish holidays do not fall on set days of the year, but in accordance with the Moon. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, fell on this New Moon; the next two weeks will lead up to the Harvest Moon, in which we hopefully reap the bounty of all that has been sown this year.

We officially leave summer behind today with the fall equinox at 5:19 p.m. EDT, and enter the Libra period. Since the first major Solar aspect in Libra is a difficult square to Pluto at 0 degrees of Capricorn (exact Wednesday 9/23 at 10:21 a.m.), it will be a challenge to keep our balance, particularly regarding relationships (Libra) and authority, power structures, and the status quo (Capricorn). If you are currently employed, this would not be the best time to ask your boss for a raise or test his/her patience in any way. In fact, it might be better for everyone in your life, especially yourself, if you take a personal "mental health" day tomorrow. On a more positive note, light will be shed (Sun) on last week's unpleasant Mercury/Pluto square; even if you can't fix it or take back your words or your actions, at least you'll have a better understanding of what went down.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Second Thoughts? Welcome to Mercury Retrograde.

Mercury turned Retrograde on Labor Day, which makes me really glad I'm not starting school or a new job right now.

Mercury will be Retrograde in Libra and Virgo until September 29, so for the love of whatever god you do or do not believe in, don't sign anything--don't commit to anything you can't easily get out of--expect heavy second thoughts regarding relationships until September 18, and then second thoughts regarding your job, your health, your diet, any writing you might be engaged in, and any service-oriented activities until the 29th.

The Sun signs most affected by this particular Mercury Rx transit will be Gemini, Libra, and Virgo. Gemini and Virgo are ruled by Mercury and thus are that much more attuned to the quicksilver planet's energy than other signs; Libra will also get mired in the muck this time because Mercury is Rx in Libra until the 18th, when it slips back into Virgo. Virgo natives will be most strongly affected between the
18th and the 29th, but at least the 18th also brings the New Moon in Virgo, which should give some much-needed "starting over" energy to a sign that will need it more than the rest of the zodiac.

No matter what sign you happen to be born under, the next three weeks are an excellent time to reflect, retreat, and take stock of the events of August for the purpose of deciding whether or not you want them to continue into the fall.

In the meantime, don't be surprised when the check doesn't arrive in the mail, the phone doesn't ring, and everyone around you seems to be elsewhere.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Full Moon in Pisces: Purification Via Tsunami

It's a damned good thing I practice astrology, or else I'd be convinced I was going off my rocker. For the past day or so I have felt the energy of the Full Moon in Pisces, and this lunation is exact at 12:03 p.m. BFT (Brooklyn Freelancer Time).

Full Moons always bring a culmination to the lunar cycle: for the past two weeks, whatever has been building in yourself as well as the outer world will reach its maximum form of energy. A Full Moon can shed much objective light on an important situation and provide excellent, creative release if you use its energy wisely. Otherwise, the energy curdles, and the next two weeks of the waning Moon may be spent wondering, "Where did it all go wrong?"

Full Moons also illustrate a very important principle in astrology: polarity. Instead of thinking of twelve separate signs, living and dreaming in their twelve separate zodiacal boxes, think instead of six poles, each consisting of a particular sign and its opposite. You may think that opposing signs are truly opposite and have nothing in common; nothing could be further from the truth. Opposing signs always share a "quality," i.e., cardinal, fixed, or mutable, and also occur in compatible elements, i.e. Fire/Air, Earth/Water. Visualize the beauty of the yin-yang symbol: two interlocking black and white paisley shapes, each sporting a drop of the oppposite color. In astrology, each sign contains its opposite in seed form. Much, therefore, can be learned from your opposite sign. Interestingly, the astrological aspect that concerns relationship issues is the opposition! In other words, without the opposition, there would be no awareness that "the Other" exists...I am not just talking about relationships between people, but between objects, words, numbers...the world of abstractions.

For the purposes of this particular Full Moon, which is a "pure" one because no other planets are aspecting it, I shall concentrate on the Virgo/Pisces polarity. Both of these signs have unusually heavy karma attached (the other "heavy" of the zodiac is Scorpio). In the case of Virgo, the stage of self-consciousness has been reached; the self needs to be purified in order to enter the realm of relating that self to the rest of the world. Virgo is considered the final "personal" sign, which does not mean the signs that follow are impersonal; however, the second half of the zodiac generally is pulled toward shared resources and experiences, which culminates in the universality, empathy, collective unconscious, and dissolution (and unfortunately disillusion) of Virgo's opposite sign of Pisces. The Full Moon in Pisces urges us all to consider how healthy we really feel, and this is not limited to our physical body, but how we are getting along with the planet Earth (remember that Virgo is an Earth sign!), and our mental health. Some of the difficulties that can surface during this Full Moon include:

- Extreme perfectionism and dissatisfaction over only being human, leading to beating yourself up (Virgo) or fatalistic "I give up" depression (Pisces)
- Hypochondria
- Psychosomatic illness brought on by constant worry and anxiety
- Indigestion, often due to bad food/drink choices
- Insomnia
- Addictive behavior (if you have a strong Neptune in your natal chart, you may find that you are particularly vulnerable to the energy of Moon in Pisces)
- Reaching the breaking point in terms of services rendered: "After all I've done for (him/her/the world), THIS is what I get in return?" (Slam door, brood, and retreat for the rest of the lunar cycle)

If the above list leaves you shaking your head and wondering if there is anything good about the Full Moon in Pisces, here is another, admittedly smaller list of its more positive manifestations:

- Insightful creativity in the arts, especially writing, film, and dance
- True selflessness that encourages you to serve without expecting a reward
- Increased environmental awareness
- The ability to synthesize trillions of bits of information and, in so putting some metaphoric jigsaw puzzle together, understand the whole
- Setting more reasonable "shalt nots" and "shalt dos" in your life, especially those that affect your physical and mental health

Catch the wave!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shape-Shifting Virgo: Michael Jackson

Today would've been Michael Jackson's fifty-first birthday, and so despite the relentless media coverage following his demise earlier this summer, I thought I'd take a brief moment to acknowledge this deeply talented, deeply troubled individual, who was born with a close Sun/Pluto conjunction in the First House of self-identity.

In a way, "Jocko" was more of a Scorpio because of the heavy Plutonian influence--and he certainly had more than his fair share of scandal, particularly surrounding what went on with young children at his "Neverland" ranch. Yet his essential Virgo self shone through in many ways: in his precocity, in being the youngest son of a harsh, authoritarian father who drove him relentlessly, in his insecurity that manifested in his turning from a handsome young black man into an apparition resembling the Phantom of the Opera.

The peak of Michael Jackson's fame occurred in 1983, when Thriller ruled the airwaves and he broke the unofficial color barrier on MTV with the incredible short film/music video of that album's title song. Yet the following year, Pluto transited into its ruling sign of Scorpio, and it seemed that the following dozen years were not particularly good for Michael. Nor did Pluto in Sagittarius turn things around for him--although he could've wound up in jail, but didn't.

His death's being ruled a homicide on the eve of his Solar Return is highly significant, and also extremely Plutonian: Michael was a drug addict, and yet the very people around him who could've and should've helped him (family, friends, and oh yes, doctors) instead enabled his addiction.

RIP, Jocko.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

T-Square City: Mercury, Mars, Pluto Problems

One of the toughest things I find about being an astrologer is heeding particular planetary aspects about which I freely (and sometimes less than diplomatically) caution others.

Case in point: the T-square between Mercury, Mars, and Pluto that is still in effect, although the Mercury/Mars square (which killed Ted Kennedy, who was suffering from a malignant brain tumor [a Mars affliction] late last night) is over, as is the Mercury/Pluto square (I do not look forward to reading breaking stories on But the Mars/Pluto opposition is not over until later today.

To backtrack just a bit, for those of you who have no idea what a T-square is: this is a configuration that involves at least three planets, two 90-degree squares, and one 180-degree opposition. As potentially nasty as a T-square can be, it is still preferable to what is called a Grand Cross, which involves at least four planets and two sets of oppositions, which means four sets of squares. A Grand Cross is an aspect that I would not wish on anyone's natal chart, as it is a classic case of being locked up, immobilized (especially when the fixed signs are involved); however, a T-square has a "key" in the form of the sign that is not involved in the second opposition.

In the case of this T-square, critical degrees (i.e., degrees traditionally considered very significant) are in play: Mercury at 0 degrees of Libra, Mars at 0 Cancer, and Pluto at 0 Capricorn. The key to this morass of misunderstandings, miscommunications, anger, resentment, aggression, and abuse of power is 0 degrees Aries--perhaps the most headstrong degree of the zodiac (keeping in mind that Aries rules the head). Aries can be a soft, wooly lamb--or a battering ram. You must decide which of these creatures to be in order to free yourself from this T-square.

Yesterday, despite the oncoming Mercury/Mars square, I chose to throw caution to the wind in terms of communication with two people, and no harm resulted; indeed, with Mercury in the last degree of Virgo and Mars in the last degree of Gemini I was bitten by a most glorious poetry bug. Yet today I decided not to confront someone else about an issue that has been troubling me. At the very least, a Mars/Pluto opposition indicates power plays, secrets, and subterfuge; at most, severe betrayal and violence result. As a Plutonian, I cannot easily shrug off the heavy vibrations and consequences that come from fucking with this planet at the wrong time. The Moon, keeper of the emotions, is still transiting the Pluto-ruled sign of Scorpio.

Time to bide my time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clean-Up Time: Welcome to the Sun in Virgo

Summer officially has four more weeks to go, yet with the Sun's entrance into Virgo today at 7:39 p.m. EDT, the season is on its last legs--at least in this hemisphere. Labor Day fittingly occurs with the Sun in Virgo, after which there is a renewed emphasis on such Virgo matters as school, work, and the coming harvest (or not, as the case may be). The mutuable signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces all mark the waning of a season, preparing for the next one while still in this one, which often manifests in those born with the Sun in these signs' relative instability and duality as compared with the rest of the the zodiac. This also means more flexibility and ingenuity, if other planetary aspects concur.

Virgo is perhaps the least understood of all twelve signs, and has the most mundane, least awe-inspiring adjectives to describe it: Perfectionist. Competent. High-strung. Service-oriented. Hypochondrical. Obsessive-compulsive. Detail-oriented. Yet the list of exciting, awe-inspiring Virgins is a long one, and over the next four weeks I shall make it my business to post some astrological profiles that will bust this signs's boring rep.

In the meantime, get out those freshly sharpened #2 pencils and take some notes:

The skinny on Virgo:
Element: Earth
Quality: Mutable
Polarity: Feminine/Yin
Planetary ruler: Mercury
Body part/function: intestines/powers of assimilation

After Leo's joy of self-expression comes the task to refine the self. Like Gemini, the other Mercury sign, Virgo is curious and eager to learn but much more painstaking in the process. Virgo marks the crucial stage of human awareness: self-consciousness. Sexually, the Virgin maintains a certain innocence and purity even after losing its virginity--even if it decides to experiment like wild. Its Earth element lends definite sensuality. The scene in the film 9 1/2 Weeks that combines sex, food, and the Domme/Sub dynamic must've been conceived by a Virgo.

This year's entrance into the Virgo period occurs with the Sun trining Pluto at 0 degrees at Capricorn, making it an excellent time not just to clean up, but to excavate and transform the contents of your inner basement...and plumbing. If you find that you are "backed up," blocked, stymied, tangled up, or otherwise constipated, cleanse your system by ruthlessly confronting it and trying to make sense of the clutter, even if you come to the conclusion that whatever you are dealing with is utterly chaotic and illogical. Only by clearing out what no longer works (and perhaps never did) in your mind, office, and body (all ruled by Virgo) can you effectively clear the decks for something new.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Second Lunar Eclipse of the Summer

Exact at 8:55 p.m. EDT, get ready to howl at the Moon! Loudest howlers will be Leos, Aquarians, Geminis, and Sagittarians, but even if you're another Sun sign, much light will be shed on a situation that's been building for the past two weeks.

You can run but you can't hide from this most publicly oriented of lunations. If you're seeking fame and/or friends, take my advice and don't run.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Post Solar Eclipse Reflections

It's been a busy-in-a-good way July for this Cancerian astrologer, as I might've predicted with not one, but two New Moons in my sign. Some reflections on the past 6 weeks:

I have entered into one of the most fun getting-to-know-yous imaginable with a certain Gemini, whose intelligent duality energizes and intrigues me and who, as a double bonus, has Mars and Venus in my Sun sign of Cancer, as well as Mercury in Taurus exactly sextile my Mars-Mercury conjunction.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I attended my first-ever Burning Man-type festival, PEX (Philadelphia Experiment) on a defunct summer camp in Maryland, after missing the Memorial Day festival in Delaware due to a bad case of tonsillitis. Held on the approaching Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in humanitarian, reform-minded Aquarius, PEX was, for me, about an expansion (Jupiter) of fun (more Jupiter), old and new friends (yet more Jupiter), creativity, dreaminess, water in the form of a swimming pool, and Felliniesque costumes (Neptune City). With Chiron also conjunct Jupiter and Neptune, I felt a healing energy emitting from an unconventional group of people (Aquarius) who make these festivals possible. I no longer cry for the fact that I had not even been conceived at the time of Woodstock. The message of the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction: "The Age of Aquarius is far from dead!"

The day after returning to my "real life" in NY, my Moon progressed into earthy, sensual Taurus. In the past 3 weeks, I have noticed that my appetite for just about everything has increased, also that I have become a bit of a bull in the china shop who doesn't know its own strength (at least I haven't broken anything of value). Because that progressed Moon is approaching a trine to my natal Venus and transiting Pluto, I am trying to appreciate and fully live in this magical window of time while realizing that nothing either very good or very bad lasts forever.

Turning 39 was not nearly as traumatic as turning 29; I still look young for my age, and feel in a much more grounded, stable place, although I still worry over my lack of savings; at least in my work I am doing what I care about, feel more confident socially and sexually, and hope that with my progressed Moon in an earth sign that I shall also figure out how to improve my financial situation.

July still has a few days left, and as we approach the First Quarter Moon in sexy, intense Scorpio, I anticipate that this month shall go out with a bang....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Progressed Moon in the Last Degree of Aries

It takes approximately two and a half years for one's Moon to progress through a sign, and this often manifests in one's emotional climate--what you care about and need the most.

As of this writing my Progressed Moon is at 29 degrees of Aries, the final degree, and as a Cancerian born with most of my planets in the sensitive water and practical earth elements, what a tumultuous time it's been. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is an impulsive, enthusiastic, yet naive fire sign; its worldview is so different from my natal blueprint that it's really had the effect of shaking me out of my comfort zone.

Because most of this progression occurred in my 7th house, the place it's had the most impact has been in my relationships. I have had fiery, exciting romances, yet they have also been selfish (sometimes on my end, sometimes on my partners') and immature. About 8 months ago my Progressed Moon moved into my 8th house, and now I can feel new issues arising, concerning resources, sex, and the occult--but this is business as usual, as the 8th house is ruled by Scorpio, and my natal Moon is in Scorpio.

I am looking forward to my Progressed Moon moving into Taurus right before my birthday next month, because I believe it will be a more peaceful, loving, beauty-filled progression...I just need to make sure, since Taurus has a huge sweet tooth, not to gain any weight.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Full Moon in Sagittarius: Time Travel to 1925

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is a great time to travel and explore, as this is perhaps the most questing of all lunations. And indeed, I spent the afternoon at a place I've never been: Governor's Island in New York Harbor, less than a mile from the southernnmost tip of Manhattan. It was also spent in a time I've never been (except for possibly a previous life)--the 1920s. There was a Jazz Age Lawn Party that encouraged picnickers; the centerpiece was an achingly exquisite band, Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra, that played such red-hot tunes as "Sweet Georgia Brown." There was an actual wooden dance floor on which you could fox-trot, shimmy, do the Charleston, or just kick up your heels while making "jazz hands." Also on the premises were two societies you could sign up for: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker.

I have been drawn to the 1920s ever since age 11 or so, even though my version of the Charleston is more like a Boston, and I cannot wear my hair in a flapper bob because I would look more like Little Orphan Annie than Clara Bow. Yet I find myself admiring and even relating far more easily to such Lost Generation literary luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dawn Powell (a lesser-known literary giant), and the first generation of film stars, than the hottest names of today, many of whom seem to have little-to-zero class, in my most nonhumble opinion. As for the music, jazz before it was co-opted and homogenized to "swing" makes me want to get on the dance floor and do my pseudo Charleston, and also get more than a little bit naughty, while techno and hip-hop make me want to flee clutching my violated ears.

Astrologically, what put the flame in Flaming Youth and the roar in the Roaring Twenties was Neptune (the collective dream) transiting the fiery sign of Leo (what does the lion say, children?). On an even deeper level, Pluto had entered Cancer in 1914, the beginning of World War I, which effectively ended the Victorian age and began transforming at a very deep level (a Pluto action) what constituted home, hearth, and femininity (Cancer is, bar none, the most feminine sign of the zodiac). The combination of Neptune in Leo and Pluto in Cancer was certainly dramatic and crucial for women. Prior to the 1920s, only actresses and prostitutes appeared in public wearing noticeable makeup; then it became more common to see the girl next door wearing lipstick and other cosmetics, possibly even smoking a cigarette. The ideal beauty went from being curvy (plump by today's standards), with masses of upswept hair, to a thinner, flat-chested "garconne" as epitomized by Coco Chanel, who managed to blend glamour with practicality (she virtually invented costume jewelry and the women's suit). Another stylistic manifestation of Neptune in Sun-ruled Leo: sunglasses, and the suntan, which for the first time became a fashionable symbol of moneyed leisure among people who did not have to toil out of doors for a living. (These days, of course, thanks to the depleted ozone layer, sunbathers are more likely to apply SPF 85 to every inch of exposed skin.) Prohibition of alcohol (another Neptune thing) only served to make "painting the town red" a more daringly appealing mission; speakeasies thrived. Other types of "vice squad" morality were being challenged as well. Car ownership jumped during the '20s, and the backseat of automobiles gave young, unmarried, unchaperoned couples room to experiment. The proliferation of "petting parties" (an apt expression of Neptune in Leo) guaranteed that even young pedestrians could join in on the fun. Puritanical older people fretted over the so-called loose morals of the younger generation, but they were fighting a losing battle. Magazines of that era announced it was "sex o'clock in America." Shameless, nonshockable flappers (so named because they wore their galoshes unbuckled), even if most of them were not as outspoken and articulate as their heroines Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker, rolled down their garters and rouged their knees, which you could see flashes of as they frenetically danced the night away. Freshly minted Lost Generation argot includes such terms still in use today as "getaway car," "racket," "underworld," "sugar daddy," and "hot pants."

But what about the influence of Uranus, the closest of the outer planets? Well, Uranus happened to be in Pisces for most of the 1920s. Uranus is revolutionary by nature, and I believe its flowing trine aspect to the sign Cancer, where Pluto was transiting throughout that decade, further helped women's rights; fittingly, women in the U.S. were finally given the right to vote in 1920. Uranus in Pisces also translated into new technologies (Uranus) such as radio to disseminate such Piscean phenomena as music and the first soap operas (soppy, never-ending stories literally sponsored by soap manufacturers). Silent film (a perfect representation of Pisces, since this water sign rules film and the water element is not verbal) peaked; not so coincidentally, the first "talkie," The Jazz Singer, was released in 1927--the year Uranus entered loud Aries. The square between Uranus and Pluto was not exact until the early 1930s, which signified the Great Depression as well as a "New Deal" in the U.S. and the rise of Fascism in Germany; that is really a whole other blog post. But during the late '20s, this fiery placement of Uranus ensured that youth would still flame...yet like its unofficial poet laureate, Edna St. Vincent Millay, it was burning its collective candle at both ends, and finally burned out altogether (another Aries trait) in the wake of the Crash (a Uranus action) of 1929.

Uranus has an 84-year cycle, spending 7 years transiting each sign of the zodiac, and reentered Pisces in 2003/4. Right now Uranus is at 26 degrees of Pisces; the last time it was in this degree was 1925. Neptune is now in Aquarius, and Pluto is in Capricorn--both, in other words, directly opposite from the signs of the outermost planets during the 1920s. So I can say without entirely joking that the 2000s have been the 1920s turned upside down. Alcohol is now legal, yet so many other prohibitions or severe restrictions are in effect it is easy to forget that they were no big deal in the U.S. back then (e.g., marijuana was legal until 1937) or even very recently (e.g., security measures). Indeed, I was irritated yet unsurprised that I was not allowed to carry my St-Germaine cocktail (an enticing mix of champagne and St-Germaine liquor, made in France from elderflowers, served on the rocks with a twist) I'd purchased back to my picnic blanket--drinking was restricted to the area where cocktails were sold. And of course, everyone had to flash their ID before they were allowed anywhere near the makeshift bar.

With Uranus once again transiting Pisces, nostalgia for the 1920s has gained momentum over the past five years--at least in New York City, the capital of the original decade-long party. Such regular or semi-regular '20ish events as "Shanghai Mermaid" and "Dances of Vice" are popular; BAM has recently been showing silent films with live music, the way it was done when these films were new. Retro cocktails, albeit legal for those of drinking age, are now more fashionable than Cosmos and Appletinis. As today proved, interest in the decade that roared is strong enough to draw hundreds of people--many of whom dressed in vintage apparel for the occasion--to a Jazz Age Lawn Party. I myself had such a swell time hanging with friends and hepcat strangers on a sun-drenched lawn that I didn't want the day ever to end. For many reasons, I was definitely not in the mood to take a 10-minute ferry ride back to the present.

"In the meantime, in between times, ain't we got fun?"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gemini at the Midheaven Musings

Traditionally, this means I should have two careers. Ideally it would be three, but at the moment I'm earning more money as a writer as I am as an astrologer, which is terrifying to contemplate. Still, it makes me feel good to know that I have my eggs distributed, albeit unevenly, in more than one basket. Especially during Great Depression II, it's a strength to be flexible in this way.

Plutonians, however, are not noted for flexibility, and my own Pluto exactly squares my Gemini Midheaven from the Ascendant. I have indeed clashed with authority figures on more than a few occasions, and yes, like nearly everything, it started in the home. If I ever become an authority figure, I sure hope not to run into power struggles with myself. It's actually something to which I've given much thought, just like the mock interviews I used to conduct with myself, even though I am still only a legend in my own mind. Perhaps this "training" I've put myself through means I am conscious enough not to become a power-abusing tyrant if I manage to get the kind of break that really matters in the real world.

Now I have to get back to the job at which I'm almost earning a living, even though I'd much rather be writing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mercury Retrograde Meandering

During my "sick" weekend, I managed to get out of the city for a day and a half by visiting my parents. That I'd managed to convince myself I'd get some real rest out there is proof that tonsillitis can also infect the brain.

The one bright spot was visiting the cemetery with my father, as it was my dearly departed grandfather's yahrzeit (i.e. anniversary of death). Grandpa died on May 25, 1982, while I was on a weeklong school trip. It wasn't until I'd returned home from it that I was told he'd died earlier that week. Grandpa was my favorite relative, the one who taught me about unconditional love. Not too coincidentally, he was a fellow Moon in Scorpio, although with his birth time unknown, I don't know the exact degree. What I do know is that if I hadn't basked in this man's affection for my first twelve years, I would've turned out to be a much nastier strain of Plutonian toting an even bigger chip on my shoulder. Truth be told, I'm still pissed off at my parents for not coming to get me or have my teacher put me on the next bus; I was a few hours away in the Catskills, after all, not Togo. It's not as though attending a loved one's funeral is fun by any stretch of the imagination, but by being left out of the loop, I was denied something important: an official chance to grieve and cry with my family and with all those who recognized my grandfather's compassion. He'd been a doctor, a GP, and I don't doubt that a Pisces with Moon in Scorpio would have had quite a bedside manner, and healing abilities that went way beyond allopathic medicine. But like many healers, he did not take such good care of himself.

As you might expect from a Plutonian, I like cemeteries. They're quiet and well organized, unlike life, and I can pick up on a strangely soothing kind of energy. It occurred to me to jot down birth dates of other relatives who are buried there. After returning home, I pulled up my great-grandfather Samuel's chart. Samuel was the patriarch of my father's side of the family, the one who came to America as a teenager, studied (and later taught) at Cooper Union, and established himself as an architect who had worked on one of the most famous housing projects in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during the (last) Depression; the design was considered revolutionary at the time because it allowed actual sunlight to stream through the windows. The Sun sign of this "patriarchitect" was not Capricorn, as an astrologer might more than half expect (in fact, it was his wife, who died before my birth, who was a Cappy), but Gemini. When I perused Samuel's chart, I found a wide-but-approaching Sun/Saturn conjunction; the latter planet's influence certainly contributed weight and purpose to a typically lighthearted, insouciant sign, but what really stood out was a tight Sun/Pluto conjunction, which was exact at 11 a.m. in Hamburg. Another point of interest: Samuel was born with Mercury Rx conjunct Neptune in Taurus and trine Uranus in Virgo; not only was he an extremely intelligent visionary, but left-handed. My father, who was also born with a Mercury/Neptune conjunction and is also left-handed, recalled that Samuel wrote with his right hand, as most people were switched at school in those days, but drew with his left. I myself was born with an exact Mercury/Neptune trine, an aspect that informs my own left-handedness, as well as my vivid imagination, intuition, empathy, and capacity for visualization--all of which, thanks to the trine, I flow into naturally.

Yesterday afternoon I felt well enough to walk into Brooklyn Heights, where I paused in front of the building where Samuel set up his practice in 1920, according to the "Special Index Issue" of The American Architect, July-December 1920. (God bless Google.) It was situated on a junky stretch of Court Street, much of it covered in scaffolding, but it was right across the street from the courthouse, which impressed me. I zeroed in on the somber gray number 26, the only thing about the building that seemed apropos for an architect; now it was a New York Sports Club. Its next-door neighbors? A bank that will probably fold or merge with a bigger bank within the next six months, and a crappy-looking little deli that had probably not been operating since 1920.

I tried to avoid being jostled by all the people whose mission on Court Street was most assuredly not rooted in nostalgia but in present-day errands and business, and wondered if Samuel would have approved of me. He lived to ninety-three, an extremely old age by 1970s standards. I have a few early memories of him; my main impression was of a quiet, stern old man who radiated power and control, the farthest thing from a doddering, incontinent victim of senility. I imagine that even if he'd recognized a fellow Plutonian in wee me, I had not yet reached the so-called age of reason, and was therefore too young to bother instructing. What would the patriarchitect have taught me, anyway? "Hey kid, don't worry if you start to feel alienated by the age of nine, and don't get separated from your luggage?"

My heavily aspected Neptune is Retrograde in the Third (Mercury) House, and when I walk around my local environment, I often drift into waking reveries to the degree that it's probably safer for everyone that I'm usually a pedestrian. I definitely feel like I'm communing with my grandfather whenever I'm in Brooklyn Heights, particularly on Henry Street, where he was born; had he been born on Clinton Street, perhaps my grandpa would've been named Clinton instead of Henry. Especially with Mercury still Rx, such strolls make me feel as if I'm walking into the past. Yet I'm not sure that I managed to commune with Samuel yesterday. The man put his Plutonian nature to use by moving across an ocean at the same age that I was a self-styled nihilist disgusted with my high school--hell, make that my entire home town, and much of society except for that which occurred below Fourteenth Street in Manhattan. (Sigh.) Samuel came from admired, successful artisans, and upped the ante by becoming an admired, successful architect and establishing a family many of whom entered the medical profession (though my father's younger sister became an architect). As for me, I am on a decidedly downwardly mobile slope, and my friends, the majority of whom are struggling freelancers and/or kooky creatives, are my family.

I like to say that writers are architects, using words instead of bricks, literary stories instead of literal stories, character studies and plot lines instead of blueprints. Both writers and architects reflect as well as challenge the collective soul, the collective dream. Yet people will enter the same building countless times without a second thought, while rereading a book is a big deal. (Well, not to me, or to most writers, but most people don't bother unless it's something like the Bible.) Even if my great-grandfather would smile at my comparison, something tells me that he'd frown at my mystical tendencies, dismiss them as part of the Old World that he apparently left behind without a backward glance.

It is easy to forget that just as Pluto deals with transformation and cutting one's ties and burning one's bridges, it also has to do with repression and simmering resentment. As much as Pluto personifies the old Groucho Marx joke that it would never want to belong to a club that would have someone like itself for a member (which is exactly why Pluto doesn't give a shit that it's been demoted from planethood), as much as Pluto wants to wear the pants and dominate (preferably behind the scenes, so that it can be the puppet master instead of the sitting-duck puppet), perhaps the most significant paradox of Pluto is that power can be mined in its very vulnerability as an outcast, or outlier.

Whatever Samuel may think of that statement, I feel unconditional love still pouring in from his younger son, my grandfather. It's real. I would bet my left hand on it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Mercury Retrograde Angst

For the past several months I've had semi-idle to not-so-idle thoughts of Philadelphia, mainly because even with the recession/depression, real estate in New York City still sucks; as a freelance copyeditor/proofreader/writer/astrologer I can do my work from anywhere; I'm definitely a city girl and Philadelphia is a city; and especially if you live in the "old" part of it, you don't need a car, so you really can save the money you're not shelling out for rent. It's also not too far from NY, so I could hop on Amtrak to visit friends and family.

Imagine my happiness when a dear friend of mine offered to take me to a Burning Man offshoot in Delaware called PDF (short for Playa del Fuego, although it's not on a beach) for Memorial Day weekend, and in a neat bit of Jungian synchronicity, the group of 25 or so people in his camp was called PEX--the Philadelphia Experiment. So not only would I finally get to experience my first-ever "Burn," but would get to hang out with some cool people from the City of Brotherly Love.

With Mercury Stationary Retrograde at the time of my friend's offer, I should've known it wasn't going to be so simple.

At first it was a question of getting an extra ticket, because another friend he'd asked several weeks earlier said she could come just a few days after he asked me. But the extra ticket was secured on Monday. What happened very late that night or very early the next morning, with the Sun opposing my Neptune, was that I got sick. This entire Mercury Rx period has been jam-packed with work, comings and goings, various responsibilities, and dealing with people from my past. What I didn't count on was my health suffering. But since Mercury is my ruling planet (something easy to forget, as Pluto sitting on my Ascendant tends to overshadow the Virgo Rising part), and I've been under an unusual amount of strain and haven't gotten nearly enough sleep, eventually my body decided to rebel. At first I thought it was a continuation of the spring allergies that normally peak for me during early May, but then I started feeling achy. Like any self-respecting Virgo Rising, my medicine cabinet includes a thermometer, which confirmed that I was running a fever.

I managed to see my doctor yesterday although I had to wait most of the day for her to squeeze me in. Oddly enough, I was not seriously concerned about swine flu, probably because at a very deep level I think of myself as invincible. But my tonsils apparently resemble Polaris missiles and my nose and ears are congested. (What, did you say something?) At least my lungs are clear. I'm on antibiotics and codeine for my cough, and by tomorrow morning I probably won't be contagious anymore, but I'm still running a temperature; even if that goes away by tomorrow, partying this weekend is out of the question, my body just couldn't handle it, and although I'm semi-altruistic, it would torture me to watch people around me having that kind of fun if I am unable to participate.

(Cue: violin.)

And how can I gift the people at PDF with my astrology, stories, and poetry if I barely have a voice? I don't want to be around others feeling like warmed-over doggie-do anyway; the antibiotic I'm on is making me nauseous even though I took it with food, and I just want to hide out in my bed with the phone turned off and catch up on sleep, Netflix, journaling, and fictioning.

It's a sunny spring day as I write this pathetic little blog, which somehow adds to the indignity of the situation. A person should not get tonsillitis when it is 73 degrees and the sky is a seamless cobalt blue.

Astrology teaches that, just like George Harrison sang on his first solo outing, all things must pass. Mercury will not be Retrograde forever. My health will return if I listen to my body and slow the hell down for a bit instead of flipping the bird to the cosmos and continuing to burn my candle at both ends. PDF is a biannual event. And Philadelphia, the last time I checked, is also still there if I seriously want to see if it's my kind of place.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mercury Retrograde Musings

I promised this wouldn't be a traditional horoscope blog, and it isn't, but thought I'd mention that Mercury Retrograde is a particular pain in the ass to the two signs that are ruled by this planet: Gemini and Virgo. Also, if you were born with either of these signs rising, get ready to get all bollixed up. And let us widen the net even further to include all those who were born with any of the inner planets besides the Sun (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) in Gemini and Virgo.

To be sure, that's a lot of people, but this theory fits when you consider that "Mercury must be Retrograde" is the one astrologese phrase that lots of people who don't speak it get the gist of. When it takes you an hour to get someplace that normally takes half that time, or you can't remember which witch is which, or you can't pin down anyone in terms of making definite plans, including yourself . . . well, Mercury must be Retrograde.   

Other planets turn Retrograde all the time--in fact, as of this writing, Saturn is still Rx (it will turn Direct on Sunday 5/17) and Pluto is Rx till mid-September--so what is the big deal about this li'l pipsqueak planet, anyway? Here's what: Mercury is the planet that governs communication, both written (Virgo) and spoken (Gemini), as well as messengers, postal/UPS/ FedEx workers, siblings, neighbors, your neighborhood, grade school, and short-distance travel (think commuting or a stroll). In other words, Mercury covers myriad things that comprise everyday life. You may shun love or money (Venus issues), or avoid taking direct action or getting angry (Mars issues), but even if you are a total shut-in, monk, wimp, or crackpot, you probably can't avoid Mercury issues for long, including trying to figure out where the hell you put your keys that you clearly remember placing on the coffee table just two minutes ago. That's right, Mercury also rules keys.

Decisions made during a Mercury Rx period are often unmade a few or more weeks later; purchased items may not satisfy, or work, or fit. So if you can delay, it might be a wise idea not to commit to anything major, sign any contracts, or buy anything other than essentials till Mercury turns Direct, which will be at 9:22 p.m. EDT on 5/30.

Mercury Rx does have its beneficial side: you may be thinking more about the past, and such reflections may help you figure out solutions to problems that have bugged you for a long time. Someone or something from your past may pop up during this transit, as well. Depending on who or what it is, such a visitation could be either amazingly wonderful, unbelievably bad, a mixed bag, or whatever-neutral. However you react, just don't shoot the messenger.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Moon Is in Scorpio, Mercury Is Retrograde...Do You Know Where You Are?

I thought it would be delightfully contrarian of me to start this astrology blog just past the Full Moon in Scorpio with Mercury Retrograde, a time when no one can tell their ass from their elbow, let alone stumble upon a new site with zero traffic. Yet it also makes a certain amount of sense for me to finally recover something quite similar under the same name. For at the dawn of the '00s, the decade with no name that I refer to as "the naughties," I created and content-managed an astrology website for a now-defunct company called Webseed. At one point I received something like 52 cents every time someone clicked on an ad that was invariably trashy and had nothing whatsoever to do with astrology. Then I was down to 17 cents per click. But until sometime in mid-2002, when Webseed went the way of so many of the dot-com empires, i.e., bust, it was a rewarding experience. People from Montana to Malaysia wrote in to my advice column. Pluto Rising got good PR on a German website. I always figured I'd start another website devoted to astrology. Not the typical Sun Sign horoscope kind of website, which I personally believe cheapens the art of astrology and contributes toward people's skepticism of it, but something simultaneously more serious and more fun, more profane and more sacred.

Pluto Rising, by the way, refers to a placement in my own astrological chart, in which Pluto is conjunct, or smack-dab on, the Ascendant, or the eastern horizon. Not everyone has a planet rising in their chart, but if it's Pluto, then you're all about transformation, in addition to being a pain in the ass and partly or completely unfathomable to most people who think they know you. Astrology itself is transformational in that it encourages awareness, reflection, healing, and change.

Pluto is also the skeleton in the closet, radioactivity, the phoenix rising from its own ashes, X-ray vision, and X marking the spot to buried treasure on a pirate's map.

For all 7 of you who are reading this, you indeed have much to look forward to!