Star Stories: November 2017 edition

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles,

Lots of exciting starry goodness to share with you as we continue in this festive and liminal time of the year. Neptune gets busy this month and we have a special aspect between Saturn and Uranus that we will not see again until 2037.

And a little heads up: the next Mercury Rx begins on December 3rd and goes through December 22nd. As always I have plenty of Mercury Rx articles to get you ready – start with this one – and there are still a few spots left in the Mercury Rx Survival Kit so if you are Mercury sensitive then come join us!

Finally, November 4th is “fall back” when those of us in the US of A go back to “regular” time (can you hear Time God Saturn laughing?) Be sure to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night before you hit the pillows.

The Sun

At the beginning of the month the sun is in the deep and tumultuous waters of Scorpio. This period marks one of the most liminal times of the year as it coincides with the many festivals for the Dead and kicks off the months ahead when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. Plan accordingly like the soulful seeker that you are and don’t fill your engagement calendar until you are exhausted.
Ask: How can I go deeper?

On Tuesday, November 21st the Sun moves into Sagittarius. This brings a new breeze into our lives and an increased level of optimism. Mystical interests are at an all time high when the Sun is in Sagittarius as is our feeling of generosity and joy – perfect for the holiday season.
Ask: How can I make it brighter?

We end November on the 29th with a nice trine between the Sun in Sagittarius and the Moon in Aries. This trine gives us the energy, pep, and even socializing spirit that is brilliant for all the parties and celebrations that accompany this time of the year.
Ask: What do I want to celebrate?

Star Power BundleThe Moon

The Full Moon occurs on November 4th at 11 degrees Taurus, 12:23 AM
Ask: What is luxurious to me?

November 10th gives us the Waning Quarter Moon at 18 degrees Leo, 2:36 PM
Ask: What does false pride keep me from doing?

The New Moon at 26 degrees Scorpio is on November 18th at 5:42 AM
Ask: What shadow am I ready to explore?

November 26th gives us the First Quarter Moon at 4 degrees Pisces, 11:03 AM
Ask: What does right relationship with my intuition look and feel like?

 

Mercury

Mercury makes a sign change on November 4th moving from Scorpio to Sagittarius. Once in Sagittarius Mercury is know to be extra flighty and not as attentive to details. And we have a Mercury Rx in Sagittarius coming up at the beginning of December. So what does this mean?

Use the first week of November to double and triple check your plans for the holidays – especially flights and travel arrangements. If you purchase a lot of gifts that require shipping consider getting them sooner rather than later. On the flip side, you can use this time of Mercury in Sagittarius to really hone in on the big picture – perfect for end of year and beginning of year plan-making and goal-setting.
Ask: What is the big-picture story that 2017 has shared with me?

On November 13th Mercury squares off with Neptune and this energy can be a bit tricky to work with. Make sure that you do not buy into false ideas or illusions at this time and also make sure that you do not communicate them. It is a day when people may not say what they mean but, to give that a positive spin, it is also a day where there can be less speaking and more listening (and loving).
Ask: What do I need to know in order to discern the true from the false?

Venus:

On November 7th Venus changes signs from her home-turf of Libra into the deep waters of Scorpio. All of a sudden love relationships, partnerships, even friendships reach a new level of intimacy and any place where those relationships refuse to go deeper is a place where we might see them break off and apart completely. This is a wonderful sign change for those who crave more or deeper intimacy and a tricky sign change for anyone who wants to stay in shallow, superficial waters.
Ask: What does deep love look like and feel like to me right now?

Venus and Neptune trine together on November 16th that supports fantasy, art, beauty, and romance with a capital R. The last time this trine occured was on August 12th so refer back to your notes from that period to see how it showed up in your life. If relationship stuff came up for you then, it may make a re-appearance now.
Ask: What is my intuition telling me about my relationship with (fill in the blank)?

Mars:

Mars and Pluto square off on November 19th and this is a time and aspect to pay attention to. These two power houses speak to discipline and also risk. Use their celestial tension to help you assess risk with clear-eyed vision and also to cultivate the discipline that allows you to take risk and experience great reward.
Ask: Where, and why, am I willing to risk it all?

Jupiter:

Lucky November 13th features a conjunction between Jupiter and Venus in Scorpio. This is a prime time to make or renew vows or promises and to set aside some time for your significant other. Venus and Jupiter in Scorpio can also herald awesome money moves, new investment opportunities, and energetically allows you to bless the financial sector of your life.
Ask: What blessing around love and/or money would I especially like to receive right now?

Saturn:

A Saturn and Uranus trine on November 11th ushers in Veteran’s Day in the US. This is an epic meeting of the ancient past (Saturn) with the radical future (Uranus). On a global level we might see some important new innovations in tech make themselves know at this time. Personally it is a time to reflect on how ancient virtues (like the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for one’s country) can support and enrich new possibilities (like gene therapies that can prevent life threatening disease). They may not seem immediately related, but they are. This is the last trine between these two planets that we will see until 2037.
Ask: How does my past inform my vision of the future?

On November 28th there is a conjunction between Saturn and Mercury. This heavenly meet up can often make us feel a little sad, melancholy, and fatalistic. But it can also be a great time to explore and think about areas that are hard or difficult for you and a good time to get legal affairs in order or pay attention to legal concerns. Its the kind of day to use your worst case expectation to up the ante on your insurance policy or create a Will.
Ask: What detail work do I need to apply myself to?

Uranus:

November 4th features an opposition between rock n roll Uranus and lovely and loving Venus. This aspect can challenge stable, romantic, relationships but it can also be channeled into doing something spontaneous and fun – road trips or pop up date nights are very much encouraged!
Ask: Where does my love life and partnerships need to be shaken up and thrilled?

November 25th features a trine between Uranus and Mercury just daring you to access your most brilliant ideas, think outside the box, and do something unexpected.
Ask: What brilliance am I holding right now?

Neptune:

On November 3rd we have a Neptune – Sun trine that can illuminate our next artistic vision, our intuitive knowing, and remind us that we are all in this together. This trine can also bring up deep and possibly sentimental emotions – those of you doing Ancestor work around this time should especially expect to be affected. The last time this trine occured was on 7/5 so check your notes from that day to see how things were feeling.
Ask: What mystical vision am I ready to fully illuminate?

On November 22nd the long Neptune retrograde finally comes to a halt and Neptune is moving in the right direction once more. Those of us who have an affinity with the watery planet (that is Pisces, Pisces at the Ascendant, Pisces Moon, or Pisces at any of the compass points) will feel this as a lightening and road opening experience.
Ask: What dream am I ready to believe in once more?

 

Pluto:

See the Mars entry for Pluto’s action this month!

 

Want even more Astro awesome? Check out the Star Power bundle and join my ongoing course on astrology, Star Magic.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Jupiter in Scorpio: Go Deep or Go Home

Divination and Dreams

S

o as some of you may know, Jupiter, THE planet of blessing, abundance, sovereignty, and wisdom moved into the sign of Scorpio today.

Just as was the case with Jupiter in Libra, you do not need to know anything about your personal natal chart to start to appreciate and take advantage of the depth here.

What you do need to understand is that Jupiter is a strongly felt cosmic presence – in fact, it is the only planet in our solar system that sends out more energy than it takes in, thus making the ancient affiliation between Jupiter and generosity absolutely on point.

Like all of the planets, over time, Jupiter makes its way through the entire zodiacal wheel. The last time it was in Scorpio was 2005 so one way to begin thinking about what this period might bring is to reflect on what you discovered or realized or dredged up back then.

As we have already established, Jupiter is the planet of greatest abundance and Scorpio the 8th sign of the zodiac is the sign associated with sex, power, death, magic, money, investments, crime, and passion – so you know, nothing too intense. Scorpio is the sign of the Sacred Arts and it is also the sign of your scars and your struggles – if you want to understand any of the above better go to Scorpio.

At the very outset we can say that Jupiter is going to energize all of these areas in our world, period. For those of you who do know your personal charts, look to see what is happening in Scorpio and your 8th house – that will start to give you an idea of how Jupiter will work for you.

PS: if you want to learn more about astrology and specifically about Jupiter in Scorpio then join my forever astro class: Star Magic.

Let’s begin with the dates:

10/10/17 – Jupiter enters Scorpio at 8:20am cdt

3/8/18 – 7/10/18 Jupiter will be Retrograde. Retrograde starts at 10:45pm in Scorpio and ends on 7/10 at 12:02pm.

11/8/18 – Jupiter moves into its happy home turf of Sagittarius

As you can see from early March through early July in 2018 Jupiter will be retrograde. Typically we do not feel the retrograde motions of the outer planets as intensely as we do the inner planets like famous Mercury or even Mars or Venus. However, the retrograde motions of outer planets give us time and scope to really do a thorough review along the lines of a particular theme.

As longtime readers know, my approach to astrology is decidedly Socratic – I am not really interested in making generalized predictions, I am so much more interested in your unique understanding and relationship to the skies and stars. And the best way to get to know that relationship? Through asking and answering questions of course!

Let’s start with these

1.) What are the struggles I am currently engaged in and what happens when they become blessed? What happens when you stop seeing your struggles as have-to’s and instead see them as gifts and opportunities? What wisdom have you gained through your struggles? What blessings have you found in your broken places?

2.) Where do I need more power in my life and what can I do to cultivate it?

3.) What financial blessings am I open and and ready to receive? What financial teachings am I in need of right now?

4.) What is my relationship to other people’s money?

5.) What is the role that sex and lovemaking currently play in my life?

6.) What is a wound around sex, sexuality, love-making, and passionate intensity that I am ready to acknowledge and heal?

7.) What secrets am I no longer willing to hold in silence and what secrets am I ready to hear?

8.) Where could I benefit from more rigor, discipline, and depth?

9.) What does my anger and rage teach me?

10.) What is my magic?

11.) How might I deepen and broaden my current Sacred Arts practices?

12.) Where am I ready for more intensity?

13.) What would Jupiter in Scorpio like me to focus on over the next year?

 

Now every transit, no matter how lovely, has its shadow side. Here is my list of DON’T’s for Jupiter in Scorpio and they apply to all.

Don’t get addicted. To money, sex, power, drugs, alcohol, or other illicit substances. Struggle is hard and it is part of Scorpio’s story; addiction is how we tune struggle out – obviously it does not work long term and Scorpio is very much about long term investments and gains.

Don’t ignore your yearnings around magic and the Sacred Arts – the esoteric subjects belong to Scorpio so when Jupiter is in this sign we all feel our inner witch, wizard, priest and priestess come close to the surface – don’t shove these spiritual yearnings down to the bottom of your priority list.

Don’t accept stuck situations of any kind. Scorpio’s work involves movement and evolution, not being mired in waste and filth, keep swimming no matter how deep the waters might get.

Don’t give into rage, anger, or bitterness. Acknowledge those feelings. Work with them. Accept that they are part, but not the whole, of your story.

Don’t get reckless with financial or legal matters.

Don’t stay in the Underworld 24/7, the hardest part of the mythology of Scorpio is not the descent, but the ascent, find the medicine and apply it right here, right now.

Take the questions and the Don’t guidelines as springboards for yourself. Think about your own life and make this process your own. It is cosmic and vast but it is also highly relational so get into a relationship with it. Remember too that Jupiter is above and beyond everything else the Guru wise teacher – the opportunity to dance with your shadows and find treasure in the depths is full on right now; it is truly time to go deep or go home.

 

 

 

 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Astro Rx 2018

Sacred Arts

M

Miracles — Let us discover what is happening in the heavens so that we might be fully rooted here in this gorgeous earth.

In this post we will go through the various phases of the moon, briefly look at what each of the planets will be up to in 2018, and of course I will give you pertinent retrograde dates and eclipse dates as well.

As always for every single point I will give you at least one question to consider. Why?

Because although the popular way of teaching astrology (and most other things) is by telling you dear reader what I think they mean, I have found that a much better way of approaching anything in the sacred arts is to give you the tools to think about it, feel into it, and figure it out for yourself.

Questions, the right questions, can help you do just that. I teach magictarot and astrology in this manner and from the reports I have received and my own experience I know that it works.

So get those pens and notebooks ready!

Or better yet, hop over here and purchase the 2018 Sacred Arts Book of Hours – it contains ALL of the essential astro dates, gorgeous art by Cassandra, and beautiful lines for you to write your notes in. If you are looking for a planner and calendar to keep your Sacred Arts mojo straight then this is IT! Best part? It is $24 – for real.

And now, the dance of planets:

The Many Faces of the Moon

LunarLetter_FullMoonLa Luna is the most visible and easily trackable celestial body in the sky besides the sun. And so it makes complete sense that the earliest calendars were lunar to say nothing of the many ceremonies, rites, and feast days that honored Luna in her various phases.

Within the sacred arts there are four lunar phases to pay especial attention to: First Quarter, Full, Balsamic and/or Dark, and New.

New Moons are the best time to start any project or breathe new energy into any situation or area of your life. At this point the Moon is at the very beginning of her next 28 day phase – luna is starting fresh and so can we.

First Quarter Moons are best for looking at relationships and bringing harmony, balance, and intuitive insight to any given situation. Traditionally this phase of the moon was considered the best time to divine and the very famous Oracle at Delphi only gave out her divinations during this phase of the moon.

Full Moons illuminate the land and the sky, allowing us to “see in the dark” and making this the best time to look at and uncover the aspects of a situation that usually remain in the shadows; revelations occur during Full Moons.

Balsamic or Dark Moons are traditionally times to rest, fast, dream deeply, and banish anything that is no longer relevant and/or of use to you.

It is important to note that everyone has a very different relationship with the phases of the moon. While the above descriptions are tried and true in my life and the lives of many of my students and clients, I also know a hefty number of folks who feel (for instance) very depleted energetically during new moons and much more alive and full of energy during the Balsamic phase. Use the information as a springboard but then pay attention to your own experiences.

Below are the lunar phases for 2018 in central time. If you need help with timezone conversation go here.

And, if you want a specialized report on how each of these moons will affect you and play out in your personal natal chart and star-scape, you might want to check out my latest Astro RX Special Report: I See the Moon.

January 2018 – Blue Moon Month!

1/1: Full Moon at 11 degrees Cancer, 8:24 PM
Ask: What are my dreams telling me?

1/8: Waning Quarter Moon at 18 degrees Libra, 4:25 PM
Ask: Where do I need to return balance?

1/16: New Moon at 26 degrees Capricorn, 8:17 PM
Ask: What mastery am I ready to begin?

1/24: Waxing Quarter at 4 degrees Taurus, 4:20 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to ease and abundance look and feel like?

1/31: Full Moon + Total Lunar Eclipse at 11 degrees, Leo 7:27 AM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to expressing my feelings and how can I reverse it today?

February

2/7: Waning Quarter at 18 degrees Scorpio, 9:54 AM
Ask: What stories about my wounds no longer serve me?

2/15: New Moon + Partial Solar Eclipse at 27 degrees Aquarius, 3:05 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to broadcasting my message and how can I reverse it today?

2/23: Waxing Quarter at 4 degrees Gemini, 2:09 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to ideas and learning look and feel like?

March – Blue Moon Month!

3/1: Full Moon at 11 degrees Virgo, 6:51 PM
Ask: Where am I sovereign?

3/9: Waning Quarter at 18 degrees Sagittarius, 5:20 AM
Ask: What chains need to be broken?

3/17: New Moon at 26 degrees Pisces, 8:12 AM
Ask: What new Sacred Arts practice am I ready to implement?

3/24: Waxing Quarter at 3 degrees Cancer, 10:35 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to nourishment look and feel like?

3/31: Full Moon at 10 degrees Libra, 7:37 AM
Ask: What marriages and partnerships need to be celebrated at this time?

April

4/8: Waning Quarter Moon at 18 degrees Capricorn, 2:18 AM
Ask: What can I stop pretending to be/do?

4/15: New Moon at 26 degrees Aries, 8:57 PM – Mercury Rx ends
Ask: What am I ready to risk?

4/22: Waxing Quarter at 2 degrees Leo, 4:46 PM – Pluto Rx begins
Ask: What does right relationship to luxury look and feel like?

4/29: Full Moon at 9 degrees Scorpio, 7:58 PM
Ask: What relationships with the Unseen World need to be honored?

May

5/7: Waning Quarter Moon at 17 degrees Aquarius, 9:09 PM
Ask: What connections are no longer relevant?

5/15: New Moon at 24 degrees Taurus, 6:48 AM
Ask: What is one thing that I can do that helps me feel really good?

5/21: Waxing Quarter at 1 degree Virgo, 10:49 PM
Ask: What does right relationship to devotion look and feel like?

5/29: Full Moon at 8 degrees Sagittarius, 9:20 AM
Ask: What is my aim?

June

6/6: Waning Quarter Moon at 16 degrees Pisces, 1:32 PM
Ask: What addictive thoughts, behaviors, and/or attitudes do I need to banish?

6/13: New Moon at 22 degrees Gemini, 2:43 PM
Ask: What am I ready to learn?

6/20: Waxing Quarter at 29 degrees Virgo, 5:51 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to cleanliness and order look and feel like?

6/27: Full Moon at 6 degrees Capricorn, 11:53 PM
Ask: What award do I wish to give to myself?

July

7/6: Waning Quarter Moon at 14 degrees Aries, 2:51 AM
Ask: Where do I need to be less impatient?

7/12: New Moon + Partial Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Cancer, 9:48 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to home and tribe and how can I reverse it today?

7/19: Waxing Quarter at 27 degrees Libra, 2:52 PM
Ask: Where is it easy for me to have right relationships and where is it harder?

7/27: Full Moon + Total Lunar Eclipse at 4 degrees Aquarius, 3:20 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to creating and/or participating in community and how can I reverse it today?

August

8/4: Waning Quarter Moon at 12 degrees Taurus, 1:18 PM
Ask: Where do I need to banish laziness or sloth?

8/11: New Moon + Partial Solar Eclipse at 18 degrees Leo, 4:58 AM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief around being seen and beloved that I no longer wish to be influenced by and how can I reversed it today?

8/18: Waxing Quarter at 25 degrees Scorpio, 2:49 AM
Ask: What does right relationship to mystery look and feel like?

8/26: Full Moon at 3 degrees Pisces, 6:56 AM
Ask: What dream am I ready to celebrate?

September

9/2: Waning Quarter Moon at XX degrees Gemini, 9:37 PM
Ask: Where do I need to be less scattered and unfocused?

9/9: New Moon at 17 degrees Virgo, 1:01 PM
Ask: What do I want to plan for?

9/16: Waxing Quarter at 24 degrees Sagittarius, 6:15 PM
Ask: What does right relationship with religion/spirituality look and feel like?

9/24: Full Moon at 2 degrees Aries, 9:52 PM
Ask: What rewards have emerged from my risks?

October

10/2: Waning Quarter Moon at 9 degrees Cancer, 4:45 AM
Ask: Where do I need harmony and balance?

10/8: New Moon 15 degrees Libra, 7:47 PM
Ask: What new relationship am I ready to form?

10/16: Waxing First Quarter at 23 degrees Capricorn, 1:02 PM
Ask: Where am I ready to build mastery and expertise?

10/24: Full Moon at 1 degree Taurus, 11:45 AM
Ask: What pleasure am I ready to indulge in?

10/31: Waning Quarter Moon at 8 degrees Leo, 11:40am
Ask: What does false pride keep me from doing?

November

11/7: New Moon at 15 degrees Scorpio, 10:02 AM
Ask: What shadow am I ready to explore?

11/15: Waxing Quarter at 23 degrees Aquarius, 8:54 AM
Ask: What does right relationship with my community look and feel like?

11/22: Full Moon at 0 degrees Gemini, 11:39 PM
Ask: What friendships do I want to celebrate and honor?

11/29: Waning Quarter Moon at 7 degrees Virgo, 6:19 PM
Ask: Where in my life has the perfect become the enemy of the good?

December

12/7: New Moon at 15 degrees Sagittarius, 1:20 AM
Ask: What am I ready to set free?

12/15: Waxing Quarter at 23 degrees Pisces, 5:49 AM
Ask: What does right relationship with my intuition look and feel like?

12/22: Full Moon at 0 degrees Cancer, 11:49 AM
Ask: What hungers have I successfully sated?

12/29: Waning Quarter Moon at 7 degrees Libra, 3:34 AM
Ask: Where do I need to banish dependency?

Sun

The sun moves through the zodiacal belt just as the moon does. Your astrological sign is determined by the Sun’s position at the time of your birth. As everyone has ALL of the zodiac signs in their own charts, it is very useful for you to know when the sun moves into a new sign.

1/19: Sun enters Aquarius 9:09 PM
Ask: What am I ready to share with my community?

2/18: Sun enters Pisces 11:18 PM
Ask: What dream am I ready to hold?

3/20: Sun enters Aries (Spring Equinox) 11:15 AM
Ask: What fire am I ready to light?

4/19: Sun enters Taurus 10:13 PM
Ask: What pleasures am I ready to entertain?

5/20: Sun enters Gemini 9:15 PM
Ask: What connections am I ready to make?

6/21: Sun enters Cancer (Summer Solstice) 5:07 AM
Ask: What home am I ready to build?

7/22: Sun enters Leo 4:00 PM
Ask: What creative work am I ready to express?

8/22: Sun enters Virgo 8:09 PM
Ask: What vision of health am I ready to commit to?

9/22: Sun enters Libra (Fall Equinox) 8:54 PM
Ask: What partnership am I ready to nourish?

10/23: Sun enters Scorpio 6:22 AM
Ask: What depths am I ready to ponder?

11/22: Sun enters Sagittarius 3:02 AM
Ask: What freedom am I ready to cultivate?

12/21: Sun enters Capricorn 4:23 PM
Ask: What work am I ready to take on?

Lunar and Solar Eclipses in 2018

There are five eclipses in 2018. You can learn more about eclipses and how to work with them here. In short, I have found that eclipses are very useful for breaking long-held patterns of thought, behavior, attitude, and action that no longer serve. Many astrologers talk about eclipses in negative terms but don’t let that keep you from noting eclipse times and trying your hand at working with them in an intentional manner.

1/31: Partial Lunar Eclipse at 11 degrees Leo at 7:27am
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to expressing my feelings and how can I reverse it today?

2/15: Partial Solar Eclipse at 27 degrees Aquarius at 3:05 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to broadcasting my message and how can I reverse it today?

7/12: Partial Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Cancer at 9:48 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to home and tribe and how can I reverse it today?

7/27: Total Lunar Eclipse at 4 degrees Aquarius at 3:20 PM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief I no longer wish to follow when it comes to creating and/or participating in community and how can I reverse it today?

8/11: Partial Solar Eclipse at 18 degrees Leo at 4:58 AM
Ask: What is one pattern, attitude, and/or belief around being seen and beloved that I no longer wish to be influenced by and how can I reversed it today?

Planets

Just like the stars, planets move throughout the sky all of the time. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) all move relatively quickly through signs and sections of the chart. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) all move at a much slower rate through the various constellations and houses of the chart.

Inner planets traditionally are understood to deal with every day, practical, real-life issues while outer planets are understood to work with big cycles, realizations, and patterns in our lives. First we will spend some time with some of the inner planet happenings in 2017, starting with the ever dreaded Mercury retrogrades.

Mercury Retrogrades for 2018

Every planet has retrograde periods but most people are only familiar with Mercury in Retrograde – mostly because many astrologers and non-astrologers alike make this period out to be terrible, full of bad luck, and extremely frustrating. It can be, but I prefer to practice with Mercury retrograde instead of in resistance to it.

You can learn more about Mercury retrograde in my Mercury rx archives here and check out this article to start to get a sense of how you might deepen your retrograde experience. If you are what I call Mercury-sensitive you will want to make a note of the things to do BEFORE Mercury goes retrograde and join up with the Mercury RX Survival Kit.

Here are the dates for the 2018 Mercury Retrogrades:
March 22, 2018 – April 15, 2018: Retrograde starts at 7:19pm in Aries, ending on 4/15 at 4:21am.
Ask: What risks need to be re-assessed? What is my current relationship to health and fitness?
How many projects have I started without finishing and can I finish them or remove them completely?

July 26, 2018 – August 18, 2018: Retrograde starts at 12:02am in Leo, ending on 8/18 at 11:25pm.
Ask: Where are things too high-maintenance? What is my current relationship to voice and expression? Where do I need a performance evaluation?

November 16, 2018 – December 6, 2018: Retrograde starts at 7:33pm in Sagittarius and moves into Scorpio on 12/1, ending on 12/6 at 6:29am.
Ask: Where have I become too rigid in my personal philosophy and/or spiritual outlook? What relationships to Mystery and the Unseen need to be tended at this time?

Mercury, Venus, and Mars

These three inner planets move through the sky and around the zodiac relatively quickly. In 2016 we saw Mars spend an inordinate amount of time in Scorpio and Sagittarius, due to a lengthy Mars retrograde.
We have already gone over the Mercury retrograde dates so now we have to turn our attention to another long retrograde period we will experience in 2018 – Venus retrograde. Here is the info on that:

October 5, 2018 – November 16, 2018: Retrograde starts at 2:04pm in Scorpio, moving into Libra on 10/31, ending on 11/16 at 4:51am.
Ask: What is the role that love plays in my life? What do I love? Who do I love? Where can I love more and can I accept love from others? What has sex taught me about love and what has love taught me about sex?

Then we have the fiery planet Mars who also retrogrades this year:
June 26, 2018 – August 27, 2018: Retrograde starts at 6:26pm in Aquarius, moving into Capricorn on 8/12, ending on 8/27 at 9:05am.
Ask: Where have I allowed my passion and my convictions to get in the way of accomplishing my goals? Where has anger taken me off message and off point? Where have I become too indolent and lazy? What would happen if I applied more discipline to the areas of work and community?

 

Jupiter in Scorpio + Sagittarius

For most of 2018 Jupiter is in the sign of Scorpio and then in November it will move into its home turf of Sagittarius. Jupiter in Scorpio encourages us to find treasure in the hidden, dark, mysterious places of our psychic soul soils. The planet in this sign is great for all Sacred Arts endeavors, magic-making, deepening of intimacy and relationships, and amazing sex. This is also a great time to do estate planning, financial investments, and deal with any legal issues that might crop up.

October 10, 2017 – November 8, 2018: Jupiter is in the sign of Scorpio.
Ask: Where do I find treasure in the Unseen? What do my dreams and intuitions tell me about real prosperity? What spiritual beliefs and practices support my sovereignty? What are the blessings pouring out from my broken places? What has been my curse and what will be the cure?

During its course through Scorpio, Jupiter will trine with Neptune (in Pisces) three times over the next year. The first trine is in December, the second in April, and the final trine in September. Remember that the aspect of trine is astro-speak for “open for business” and Jupiter and Neptune are two kingly rulers – one’s domain is the good, green, earth, and the other’s is the depths of ocean and sea. This entire relationship is governed by the element of Water so Scorpios and Pisces or those with Scorpio and/or Pisces prevalent in their chart should expect an especially auspicious year.

There is a Jupiter Retrograde in 2018 as well.
March 8, 2018 – July 10, 2018 Retrograde starts at 10:45pm in Scorpio and ends on 7/10 at 12:02pm.
Ask: Where am I too invested in a relationship, partnership, or romantic experience? Where do I need to exercise more self-control? Where have I let past decisions determine too much of my present and future experiences?

Jupiter moves into the sign of Sagittarius. Jupiter loves to be in Sagittarius. During this period expect your sense of self to radically expand as new options and possibilities present themselves. With this alignment there is a sense of freedom and possibility that is pretty spectacular. Travel, higher education and learning, and the development of your own personal philosophy are energized at this time.
November 8, 2018 – December 2, 2019: Jupiter moves into its happy place with the celestial Archer.
Ask: What makes me feel free? Where do freedom and abundance show up in my life? How do they relate to each other? What uncharted territory am I ready to explore?

Saturn in Capricorn

For all of 2018 Saturn continues a long and slow transit through its favored sign of Capricorn. Saturn moves into Cappy on December 19, 2017 and will be in Capricorn for about 2.5 years. If you have been paying attention you know that Pluto is also in Capricorn throughout 2018. Either planet by itself packs an incredible punch but both of them together is something fierce.

Globally we should continue to see a shaking of the foundations of some of the most apparently timeless institutions as well as an infusion of discipline, conservatism, and possible asceticism too.

Personally this is a time when all of us are focused on career and career opportunities as well as getting clear on the areas where want to gain mastery, and navigating what reputations we want to cultivate and share publicly.
Ask: Where am I ready to gain mastery, experience, and cultivate true excellence?

There is a Saturn Retrograde in 2018 in the sign of Capricorn.
April 17, 2018 – September 6, 2018: Retrograde starts at 8:47pm in Capricorn, ending on 9/6 at 6:09am.
Ask: Where does my public presence and image need to be reviewed, re-assessed, and re-fined?

Neptune in Pisces

Neptune continues moving through the sign of Pisces, giving us plenty of deep ocean to swim around in and go diving for treasure. With the intensity of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, and the unbridled excitement of Uranus in Aries for most of 2018, it is so nice to have Neptune hanging out in its most favorite sign. However, there will be a Neptune Retrograde in 2017 too.
June 18, 2018 – November 24, 2018: Neptune Retrograde in Pisces. Retrograde starts at 6:26pm and concludes on 11/24 at 7:08pm
Ask: What unfinished creative/dream work do I need to turn my attention to now? What unhelpful fantasy needs to be revised and made relevant?

Uranus in Aries, Taurus, and Aries

In May of 2018 Uranus will change signs, leaving the fiery Ram of Aries and moving into the stable territory of Taurus the Bull. This is a seven year cycle that is going to shake up our most solid institutions and assumptions in both the personal and global spheres. To give you an idea of what Uranus in Taurus can look like, the last time it occurred was between the years of 1935-1942 – that was the Great Depression and beginning of WWII. While this transit may not be easy, it will absolutely re-orient some of the fundamental assumptions we make and basic ways we engage with life. Expect to see tech on all fronts including AI and Robotics gain ground and importance in both global economies and everyday life.
There will be a Uranus retrograde in 2018. The ground will be shifting but remember, you still have the capacity to ride those waves and ripples and call forth your capacity for visionary brilliance.

May 15th: Uranus leaves Aries and enters Taurus at 10:16am
Ask: How do I best navigate shifting ground?

August 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019: Uranus Retrograde in Taurus and Aries. Retrograde begins at 11:48am in Taurus, moving into Aries on 11/6 and ending on 1/6/19 at 2:27pm.
Ask: What needs to be shaken up in my life and what needs to be settled back down?

Pluto in Capricorn

Capricorn works hard and Pluto goes deep so this pairing cannot help but leave an impact wherever it happens in your chart. Capricorn is often thought of as the career sector of the chart but I think of it more as craftsmanship. The difference is that for many of us career is a notion tied distinctly to our jobs, while craftsmanship is a virtue that we can apply to many areas of our lives. Pluto relentlessly tears down whatever is not working and Capricorn has the good sense to continue moving forward and refining all needed skill sets.
Ask: Why do I do the kind of work that I do?

There is a Pluto Retrograde in 2018.
April 22, 2018 – September 30, 2018: Pluto is retrograde in Capricorn. Retrograde begins at 10:26am and ends on 9/30 at 9:03pm.
Ask: Where have I given up and given over my power and what do I need to do in order to get it back?

 


Sync up with the stars

We’ve created digital calendars with all the important dates, times and events for your convenience:

download the google Calendar
download the iCalendar
download the Sacred Arts Book of Hours – a planner for Soulful Seekers for $24 here.


 

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Star Stories: October 2017 Edition

Divination and Dreams

M

iracles,

As we are just coming off the recent intensifying that is Pluto direct once more, let us turn our attention to one of the most magical months of the year. Sign changes, Scorpio movements concerning Death and Taxes, and Venusian Va-voom are all in the stars this month, so read on!

The Sun

At the beginning of the month the Sun is in beauty, harmony, and balance-loving Libra where love rules all and relationships are king AND queen.
Ask: Who am I committed to?

Then, on October 22nd the Sun moves out of balance and beauty seeking Libra and into the deep and tumultuous waters of Scorpio. This period marks one of the most liminal times of the year as it coincides with the many festivals for the Dead and kicks off the months ahead when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. Plan accordingly like the soulful seeker that you are and don’t fill your engagement calendar until you are exhausted.
Ask: How can I go deeper?

 

The Moon

The Full Moon occurs on October 5th at 12 degrees Aries, 1:40 PM – you can get in on some lunar magic making by joining up the Here Be Dragons service here.
Ask: What do I put first?

On October 12th we have a waning quarter moon at 19 degrees Cancer at 10:20 PM – remember, this is the best moon for all banishing work.
Ask: What are the emotions that consistently trip me up?

October 19th ushers in the New Moon at 26 degrees Libra, 2:12 PM
Ask: Where do I need harmony and balance?

Finally on October 27th we have a waxing Quarter at 4 degrees Aquarius, 4:22 PM – and remember this is the BEST lunar phase for divination!
Ask: What does right relationship with my community look and feel like?

 

Mercury

Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 8th because there is an excellent conjunction between the Sun and Mercury – this is an ideal time to hatch a brilliant new idea.
Ask: What new idea am I ready to explore?

On Monday, October 9th, Mercury and the Sun are still conjunct but they start to square up with Pluto which can indicate stress and power struggles and you may enter into a situation where you are asking yourself – is this really worth it?
Ask: What is the Return on Investment I can get from this relationship?

The next day to pay attention to is October 15th. On this day Mercury and Uranus are opposed to one another and the sparks can fly. This is the kind of astro weather that can leave you feeling tired but unable to sleep with your thoughts racing a million miles an hour. Writing or talking to a friend are both good ideas.
Ask: How can I best make room for all of my ideas and insights?

On October 17th Mercury departs from lovely Libra and enters into the dark sea of Scorpio. This is a time when you are more likely to dish out the unvarnished truth and explore mysteries that you may not have had time for earlier in the year.
Ask: What am I ready to investigate?

This entrance into Scorpio is then followed up on October 18th by a conjunction with Jupiter which brings expansive ideas and possibilities to the table.
Ask: What big idea am I ready to give deep roots to?

Finally, on October 24th Mercury sidles up for a nice trine with Neptune, giving you immediate access to your inner psychic.
Ask: What is my intuition telling me?

 

Venus:

Venus gets intense early on this month as she partners up with Pluto in an intensely sexy trine on October 3rd. Expect relationships to be extra intense during this day both in positive and more challenging ways. This is also a great time to do glamour work around power, wealth, and influence.
Ask: What intensity do I desire?

On October 5th while the Full Moon is doing her thing, Venus forges an unlikely alliance with Mars as they conjunct each other. Mythically speaking this is the Goddess Aphrodite and the God Aries getting hot and heavy with one another, the offspring that were produced from that union were all monstrous except for their daughter Harmony who was finally able to bring peace and balance to the realm.
Ask: What happens when love partners up with discipline?

October 8th will bring issues around relationships, excess, indulgence, vanity, and superficial-anything to a head as Venus squares off with Saturn. This is the last Venus – Saturn square for the year and it has the capacity to teach you much so do pay attention.
Ask: Where do my passions need to be moderated?

On October 14th Venus traipses into her happy place, moving from Virgo into Libra. While Venus in Libra encourages all of us to be a little sweeter, a little nicer, and hum “what the world needs now is love, sweet love…” we can also find ourselves blinded by those rose-colored glasses. Enjoy the time but continue to exercise discernment.
Ask: Where am I ready to share my love?

On Friday October 27th Venus and Pluto come together again but this time they butt heads in a stressful square. Relationships that have been experiencing stress might well hit their breaking point on this day. Be aware of lower Pluto-Venus impulses – the ability to emotionally manipulate, blackmail, and use sex as a weapon.
Ask: What relationship experience have I given too much power to and how might I reclaim that power?

 

Mars:

On Wednesday, October 11th Mars and Saturn square off in a tetchy dance. Delays will happen, tempers may well flare, any area where you have not exercised appropriate moderation might come up and snag you in some manner. BUT this alignment also gives you the opportunity to influence your discipline with passion or vice-versa. DO NOT skip your exercise or fitness routine on this day.
Ask: What am I willing to take on?

The only other big move by Mars in October is its departure from Virgo and movement into Libra. Mars in Libra is traditionally considered bad juju because it can encourage inner conflict born out of Libra’s natural desire to please and Mars’ determination to come out on top. However, see above – Mars and Venus (or Libra who is ruled by Venus) also have the potential to create last peace, clarity and inner harmony – it all depends on how you play it.
Ask: What conflicts do I need to engage in in order to keep or create significant harmony?

 

Jupiter:

On Tuesday, October 10th Jupiter makes a sign change this month that is very significant since he will be spending quality time in his newfound home of Scorpio. To recap: Jupiter has been in Libra for 13 months, now he is going to grace the Scorpion with his benevolent presence. This brings a cosmic magnifying glass to the issues that Scorpio is most at home with: Sex, Death, and the Sacred Arts. It also can indicate deep shifts in taxes, law (especially estate law/wills) and the dance between mainstream culture and the magical arts. All you Miracles with Scorpio heavy in your chart, make sure you get in formation because 2018 will bring abundance in a major way.
Ask: What treasure is in the depths?

Jupiter’s sign change is really intense enough to be the singular event of October but there is another one on October 24th that you will want to keep in mind. This is a conjunction between the Sun and Jupiter both in Scorpio – if you are looking for more visibility and potency in your Sacred Arts work, if you work in the sex industry, if you are involved in undercover work of any kind, and/or if you are involved in the criminal justice system (on either side) then this is a primo time for you to shine and up your game. For everyone else consider this:
Ask: Where am I ready to expand my sense of mystery?

 

Saturn:

Saturn is fairly quiet this month, but do check out the above sections to see where he gets frisky. He is storing up his energy for his own sign change which will be coming up soon!

 

Uranus:

On Thursday, October 19th we celebrate a New Moon in Libra AND we also experience A Sun/Moon opposition with Rock n Roll Uranus. This can often indicate that there will be shake up of current relationships, that you will be particularly attuned to fresh and new ideas, AND that you need to be extra careful and cautious so that there are no accidents or explosions.
Ask: What brilliance am I ready to reflect?

Neptune:

Neptune continues to swim through Pisces. See the Mercury section above for the other Neptunian action this month.

 

Pluto:

Venus and Pluto are the major dance partners this month so see Lady V’s section above for that information.

Here is wishing you a gorgeous and magical October!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Libra

Ceremony and Ritual

L

ibra resonates with the element of Air, and is a cardinal sign. The Sun is in Libra from September 22nd through October 23rd. Libra is the 7th sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the second equinoctial point of the year when the hours of day and night are equal to each other and ushering in the first day of Autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) and Spring (in the Southern). Represented by the Scales, Libra speaks to balance, justice, fairness, law, partnership, beauty, and love.

The Scales as Libra

Libra has the unique position within the zodiacal wheel of being the only inanimate object. Whereas all other signs are either animals, people, or some combination of the two, Libra has been viewed since Babylonian times simply as “the scales.” Ancient Greeks saw Libra as both the scales and also at times the claws of the Scorpion we know from the sign of Scorpio. In ancient Rome the scales were depicted as being held by the Goddess Astrea and sometimes even today Libra is depicted as the scales held by Virgo, but the core component has never changed: Libra speaks to balance and has long been associated with the the rule of law, culture, and civility.

The inanimate nature of Libra gives us our first clue about how this sign works, for as we enter into the 7th house of the Zodiacal wheel we embrace the equinox – when the hours of light and day are equal – and we experience the shift from a focus on the individual to a focus on the collective. Law, culture, civility, balance, and the possibility of harmony that balance suggests are not physical in the way that a woman or a lion are, but they are animating and life-giving forces that make civilization and existence possible for all.

The scales of Libra are first associated not with a Goddess but with a God, the Babylonian Shamash who was the Sun God and also the advocate for truth and justice. Shamash, and his Sumerian counterpoint Utu, both speak to the revelation of law and justice and Hammurabi, who wrote his famous code of laws, was said to have the laws revealed to him by Shamash. The connection between law and justice was reflected in the fact that Libra’s original ruling planet was not Venus but Saturn – a planet associated with time, law, and learning. The masculine influence that we see in the sign early on also speaks to the androgynous aspect of Libra. Though often interpreted as ultra feminine because of its later association with Venus, Libra and those with the sign prevalent in their chart often blend masculine and feminine qualities in various ways; just another way that the scales bring balance and harmony between apparent opposites.

For the ancient Greeks, Libra was seen as both the scales and as the claws of the giant Scorpion, Scorpius. The association with the sign of Scorpio makes good sense. For Libra’s scales admit of the struggles that occur whenever people come together in any kind of partnership, and also remind all that harmony and a lasting peace is possible; that while your struggle may be a part of your story, it is not meant to be the whole of it. This observation speaks to another component of Libra, that of marriage and partnership. The scales of Libra are associated with balance and with harmony but what is often forgotten or overlooked in that association is that both balance and harmony actually require tension – neither is possible without some tension and struggle. So it is with our relationships. Marriage and partnerships, both romantic and otherwise, rely on creative tensions and the work of bringing two (or more) people into balance with one another.

The ancient Romans associated Libra with Astrea, the Goddess of Justice and Law and also the starry sky. Within the sky, the constellation of Libra is surrounded on all sides by constellations that are chthonic in nature, and so many of the stories surrounding Libra speak to its ability to shine the light and purity of law and order into places that are shadowed and chaotic. In this way Libra is seen as a “civilizing force” who does not forget about so-called demonic forms like celestial serpents and scorpions but instead encourages right relationship with them. The sign later became associated with the goddess and planet Venus with the idea that women are also civilizing forces, specifically through sex and marriage. Venus’ association with Libra also speaks to the sign’s appreciation of art, beauty, and culture, generally speaking.

While it is common to think of law today as merely a list of do’s and dont’s, a deeper understanding reminds that most civil laws started out their life as sacred laws and that law is one of the reasons why we do not live entirely in a “might makes right” society. Law speaks to the intersection of what we want and what we need. The forces that help navigate those tricky waters are rooted in discipline and love, and Libra advocates for both – not only in our own lives but shared with one another in friendship and community.

The Libra as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

We have come to the one zodiac sign that is not depicted as a creature, but rather as an object – The Scales. It is appropriate then to consider what is the balancing force between all creatures; from insect to man, what is the great equalizer? My spiritual experiences and studies with Nature have led me to see it is the Heart that almost all creatures possess. (The only creatures that do not possess some kind of heart also do not have a circulatory system, like Coral, Sponges, Jellyfish, and the most microscopic of beings.)

What does the heart do? It is the center of the circulatory system. It moves life-giving fluids throughout the body. It is the creator of internal rhythm. It beats without conscious prompting. It takes in the depleted life-giving fluids, restores them, and pumps the freshly nourished nectar back into the labyrinth of the body. All Animals with a circulatory system carry an organ that performs this function. For our purposes, we’ll use ourselves and the human heart as it relates to The Scales of Libra. Let’s first think about how the heart actually works.

{Warning: brief and fairly painless biology lesson ahead…}
An organ made of muscle, it is divided into four chambers – upper/lower and left/right. In the structure alone there is the representation of The Scales. Our heart moves blood equally through all four chambers; that is to say, our life-giving fluid is processed in a contraption that is built in a balanced manner. This contraption, this series of chambers, serves as a place of replenishment; a place where oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor take up equal space; a place of filling, of providing, of giving and taking, equally. Balance.

The part of our heart that we can physically feel is the mechanism that keeps the valves of these chambers opening and closing with precise regularity. This mechanism is extraordinary and can function completely on its own. The beating of our hearts is controlled by two bundles of nerves – one coordinates the top half of the heart and one coordinates the bottom half. In layman’s terms, our hearts have their own batteries that can, technically, continue to operate without stimulation from the brain. These two bundles of nerves create their own independent electrical impulses and are affected by our nervous system.

There’s a lot of electricity moving around in our bodies and it’s the nervous system that coordinates all that action, voluntary and involuntary. Part of our nervous system controls all the involuntary actions of our organs and bodily functions and another part controls our “flight or fight” response. The nerves that create the electricity necessary to make our heartbeat are influenced by both responses from our body.

Just like The Scales, an equilibrium of tension and harmony is created within our heart. All the parts and pieces working together come in 2s – two sets of chambers, two sets of valves, two batteries, two actions from the nervous system. The function of the heart is all about that balance.

{mini biology lesson over}

At rest, our hearts beat at a regular tempo all on their own. Exercise causes a need for more oxygenated blood, so our hearts beat faster to keep up. Our thoughts and emotions also cause a reaction in our nervous system, thus affecting our heart rate. The batteries that control the flow of life-giving fluids through the chambers of the heart can speed up or slow down based on our thoughts and emotions. Think about that for a second.

I am someone who experiences panic/anxiety attacks in certain circumstances. If you have ever experienced this, you know that it feels like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. The cause of this feeling is ultimately based in thoughts and emotions. If I take long, deep, diaphragm-filling breaths, and tell myself I’m not really going to die, my heart rate slows down. If I am freezing cold and I can envision myself next to a warm, toasty fire, my muscles, including my heart, relax. When I feel like I may be in danger, my heart races until safety is clear. The physical feeling of my heart beating, independent from my conscious decision, influences what I decide to do.

Do I give in to the feeling that I’m freezing cold, that I cannot defend myself, that my car is going to careen off this bridge no matter what I do?

No. I do not give in to those feelings, but I would not have a barometer to gauge my reaction were it not for my heartbeat.

We see the memes all the time – trust your heart, follow your heart, listen to your heart. Whether we know it or not, our Heart is our Scale. The work comes in not basing decisions solely on what the scale says. Libra asks us to work with all the functions of our body, including the mind, to weigh out our actions. Libra asks us to pause and consider our physical response with equal reverence to our mental response.

Call on The Scales When…

  • You wish to find a lover, deepen a relationship, or bless a marriage
  • You want to go into any field dealing with law, justice, and/or community
  • You are ready to harness the creative power found in tension and stress
  • You wish to have more/deeper partnerships – romantically and otherwise
  • You are ready to debate, discourse, or speak in public
  • You desire harmony
  • You need to charm or persuade someone to see your side of things
  • You wish to have clarity amid the chaos
  • You would like to win a court case, or have success in mediation or negotiations
  • You are ready for balance

Be Wary Of…

  • Indecision – When the Libra project is rocking the scales are in balance with one another but when things go sideways the scales get wobbly and uncertainty prevails. What this looks like in real time is Libra not knowing which way it wants to go – do we have Chinese or Thai for dinner? Do we go see an action movie or a foreign film? Art museum or ballet? This can be especially confusing for those around Libra because much of the time Libra can seem very confident and sure of what it wants and what direction it wishes to pursue. The indecision often comes from a desire to please everyone and make everyone happy and, ironically, leads to a place where the exact opposite occurs.
  • Co-dependency – Libra likes to be liked and so sometimes Libra’s opinion is determined too much by the opinions of others. Naturally interested in harmony and balance, Libra may hide its true opinion of things and people in order to “go along and get along.” This is especially true in intimate and romantic relationships where Libra will go to extremes to keep a relationship intact, even if it is clearly not good or healthy for all parties involved.
  • Bossiness – As a cardinal sign Libra can come off as bossy. Because those with a lot of Libra in their charts tend to be good with people as a general rule, the bossiness is not as noticeable as it might be with say, an Aries, but it is still there and present. When those around Libra wake up to the fact that they are being subtly manipulated or charmed into doing something they don’t exactly want to do, the results can be the opposite of harmonious.

Questions to Ponder for Libra:

Libra, the Scales, shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Libra” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Libra occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • What does partnership mean to me?
  • Where is the harmony present in my life, where do I wish it to present?
  • What does balance look like for me and how do I bring myself into balance?
  • What is my relationship to law and discipline?
  • What are my strengths when it comes to negotiating and speaking?
  • What is the role that culture plays in my life?
  • Whose opinion am I most concerned with?
  • What does peace mean to me?

Active Imagination Practice

The idea of balance has a lot of baggage attached to it. Some people say there is no such thing as balance. Others say that there most definitely is, but that it is hard to define. Libra however encourages us to embody balance and that is what this exercise will help you do!

Sit or stand where you are comfortable, close your eyes, and take a long deep breath.
Take several more long, deep breaths and with each inhale imagine the air filling your lungs and moving through your body down into your feet. On each exhale, push the air out through your core and imagine each muscle relaxing, from your toes to your head.
Affirm and acknowledge both sides of your body.
Feel into the right side of your body and allow yourself to observe what the sensations are.
Beginning with your right toes and right foot and moving, breath by breath up through your leg, hip, tummy, waist, rib cage, chest, back, fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, face, all the way up to the top of your head.
Take a moment to note what you have observed…is there pain in any of the areas? Is there soreness or tightness? Is there space and brightness?
As you are ready, lift up your right foot. You can brace yourself against the wall or a table if you need to, or simply lift your right foot a couple of inches.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the sensations that occur when you release some of the support the right side of your body provides for you. What does your balance feel like here?
As you are ready, put your right foot back down.
Engage with your breath again.
Feel into the left side of your body and allow yourself to observe what the sensations are.
Beginning with your left toes and left foot and moving, breath by breath up through your leg, hip, tummy, waist, rib cage, chest, back, fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, face, all the way up to the top of your head.
Take a moment to note what you have observed…is there pain in any of the areas? Is there soreness or tightness? Is there space and brightness?
As you are ready, lift up your left foot.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the sensations that occur when you release some of the support the left side of your body provides for you.
What does your balance feel like here?
As you are ready, put your left foot back down.
Engage with your breath again.
See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the mid-line of your body – how has it changed since you tried balancing on each side?
What have you learned?
Now, ask yourself again: what does balance mean to you?

Altar and Ritual

Libra the Scales marks one of the two equinoxes of the year, when the length of day and night are equal – Spring or Fall, depending on your hemisphere. It is during these times of equinox, these times of balance, that farmers rotate their crops.

The land that has been planted full, the soil nurturing sacred food for many months, has been harvested by the time Fall comes and the farmer’s earth is in need of replenishing.

The harvested land is turned and mixed and massaged. New crops are planted that help return nutrients to the soil. The loamy earth gets a break from all its hard work with a refreshing change that shakes up the old and welcomes the nourishing new.

As Libra shows us, this is a time of year for consideration, examination, and thoughtfulness in order to bring things into balance.

For this altar exercise, we invite you to “rotate your crops” in your sacred space.

Stand at your sacred space and really look at what’s there. Pay a little bit of attention to each item. Feel its energy and reflect on what this object means to you.

Is it still serving its purpose on your altar?
Or has it done its job and is ready to be “harvested?”

Take the items you feel have served you well and can be removed and set them aside. Once you have them all together, decide if you want to repurpose them in some other way, gift them to someone else, donate them to a charity/thrift store, put them in the recycling bin, or graciously put them in the rubbish bin. Be mindful of how you choose to move these items on in the world and do what feels right to you. Thank them for their service.

Now return to your sacred space. You are looking at the items you feel are currently serving you and working well for you. Take a deep breath and feel the gratitude for these objects swell within you. Thank them for their continued service.

Take a moment to acknowledge the balance that comes with moving out the things that no longer work for you and showing gratitude for the things that do.

Now take everything off of your altar.
Gently remove each item, including any cloth or covering.
Take off any flowers, plants, bowls of water or earth, old incense burners, etc.

Meditating on the balance you want to achieve, clean each item from your altar. Wash or replace the cloth/covering, get fresh flowers, water the plant and prune off any dead leaves, refresh the bowl of water and/or earth, clean off or replace the incense burner, dust off each item and feel it in your hands.

Take a deep breath and observe everything before you. Look at it all with fresh shiny eyes! How do these items want to hang out together? Listen to the way they fall into balance with each other.

Begin rebuilding and rearranging your sacred space.

Balance does not have to mean balance between left and right, or top and bottom. Place the items on your altar in a way that feels balanced and aligned with your purpose.

When you are finished, take a step back and take a deep breath. Light any candles or incense and feel the space come alive.

Thank these items for their service to you and thank the stars of Libra for facilitating the process of finding balance in your sacred space.

About my Co-Author:

Sara Magnuson is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Virgo

Ceremony and Ritual

V

irgo resonates with the element of Earth, and is a mutable sign. The Sun is in Virgo from August 22nd through September 22nd. Virgo is the 6th sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the point of the late Summer moving into early Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and late Winter moving into early Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Represented by the Maiden, Virgo speaks to purity, cleanliness, devotion, clarity, physical health, work, and sovereignty.

The Maiden as Virgo

If you have been waiting for a star story that gives women the central role then read on, for the sign of Virgo is all about the ladies. Virgo literally means “Virgin” and is a constellation that has been associated with the feminine and various Goddesses since we started listening to stories about stars. “Virgin” of course is a matter of interpretation, while the word still is taken today as referring to a sexually untried, “pure” woman or girl, the much older and more apt definition of Virgo is “one who is sovereign,” meaning that here we have a woman who is not owned, sold, bought, or belonging to a man (or another woman for that matter) but rather belongs to herself and herself alone. She may or may not be sexually active, may be of any age, and may be involved in the fields of spirituality, commerce, agriculture, or arts and culture as she likes because again, she belongs to herself.

As such, the essence of the Virgin is one that belongs to all woman and men. We all have within us a feminine aspect that will not be owned or claimed by another, and the Maiden becomes both a phase of life, that thrilling time of transition between child and woman, and a cultivated attitude that, again, men, women, and all other genders have access to as well.

Sovereignty then, is one of the key features of this particular sign, and perhaps a better way of saying it is knowing how to have an ongoing relationship with Sovereignty and what it means to you to belong to yourself first and foremost. Two more qualities that come up immediately, and that Virgo is strongly associated with, are cleanliness and purity. While the ideas of cleanliness and purity have been taken out of their original meanings and applied to some truly horrific ideas (like so-called racial “purity” or ethnic cleansing), the root idea with both terms is that one can be left alone, unmolested, undisturbed, and uninterrupted. Another way to think about what it means to be clean and pure is found in the idea of wholeness.

These truths are reflected in the strong association between the constellation of Virgo and the great Goddesses of old. For this sign is exclusively associated with the some powerful Goddesses including the Sumerian Shala, Babylonian Ishtar, Greek Demeter and Persphone, and Roman Ceres and Proserpina. In each case these Goddesses were significant figures in their time and place that spoke to universal themes while especially emphasizing fertility and harvest, as is best indicated by the sheaf of wheat motif with which they are all pictured.

For the Sumerians, Shala was the Goddess of the Harvest and the Furrows, meaning that she was both Maiden, waiting to be impregnated with seed, and Mother, aligned with all that is fertile and ripe. The Babylonian Ishtar was a great Goddess associated with the gifts of agriculture, love, sex, fertility, and marriage but also war and queenship. She too was imaged as both a brave maiden and loving mother whose name was called on during the harvesting of cereal crops and grains.

This theme continues with the ancient Greek pair of Demeter and Persephone. Here we see that the Maiden/Mother roles have been split in two, literally, with Demeter functioning as the great grain Goddess and Mother of all agriculture (as well as the keeper of Sacred Law) and Persephone embodying the Maiden who experiences violation and, in turn, learns (at hands of helpers like Hekate) what Sovereignty really is all about.

The association with these ancient Goddesses speaks to several other qualities of Virgo. One is the impulse we feel under Virgo’s influence to practice our spirituality in a more intentional manner. Virgo encourages us to build altars, become part of a church congregation, and/or develop a daily practice that is full of meaningful devotions. All of these Goddesses had temples, priestesses, and acolytes and in a very real way Virgo calls up the inner Priestess within all of us.

In slightly different terms we can also see here the emphasis on health. Sovereignty itself was a Goddess at one point and, like the other Goddesses mentioned here, She had a strong relationship with the land. What we see in the stories of Virgo is a reminder that the health of our bodies is connected to the health of THE body of the earth. This sign, already associated with the element of earth, reminds us to tend to the literal ground beneath our feet and also to take care of our physical bodies. For this reason Virgo has long been associated with the medical professions.

Finally, we see in the stories of the various Goddesses that Virgo is the Maiden but also the Mother – that this sign occupies the space in between both of these qualities and encompasses them as well. Once upon a time the Maiden and Mother were not so very cut off from each other. This meant, practically, that as women aged they still had the energy of the Maiden readily accessible, and that for women who chose not to have children or were not able to have children, they were not excluded from the particular mysteries of Motherhood – the Goddesses reflected all to everyone not just a chosen few. As our stories became split and splintered so did the role of Maiden and Mother, hardening into two extremes instead of the flowing relationship they once possessed. Practically speaking we are all still finding ways to repair and heal from this particular rift, so it is quite fortunate that we need only look up into the sky at the stars of Virgo (the second largest constellation btw) to remind ourselves what wholeness actually looks like.

The Maiden as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

In discussing the human-animals of the zodiac in particular, we’ve established that the vastness of our minds is the main characteristic that sets humans apart from other animals. As the Earth Maiden, Virgo shows us the merging of our intellectual capacity and our instinctual/animalistic body. Virgo takes us out of the mind and moves downward into the body, acknowledging our physicality. Virgo is the initial connection between mind and form. The Maiden also exemplifies the ways we are similar to and aligned with other animals, rather than pointing out where we diverge.

All animals learn how to exist in their surroundings by observing (watching, listening, smelling), trying/experimenting, and then processing those experiences so that their body and mind will react appropriately in the future. It is in this way that Virgo shows us our similarities to other animals. Those born under the sign of Virgo are keenly observant and process newly-discovered information not just in the mind, but down into their earthy being. Virgos don’t just know something, they feel it in their body. Typically fast learners, once they have mastered a task it’s embedded in their muscles and bones and they quickly move through it with ease. A Virgo reading a book or listening to music is not just taking in the words or sounds, but sensing the narrated world or the vibrations of the melody as if they were in it, feeling it, creating it. The mind of Virgo is very sharp, but the influence of the element of Earth keeps them especially attuned and connected to their physical senses.

We have seen the virgin and maternal aspects of Virgo described above, as well as the ways in which she is seen as the Maiden and the Mother. The association with virginity gives an innocence to Virgo that can be mistaken for apathy or naiveté and betray the deep wisdom they have obtained with their apparent wide-eyed idealism. Such is the way of many animals – seemingly innocent and naive, yet full of knowledge. For example, a Squirrel may not appear to be a wise creature, as they are skittish and approach everything as if they’ve never seen it before; yet the Squirrel has an understanding of how to exist in its environment that is deeply rooted in its body and goes beyond pure intellectual reasoning. The Squirrel knows what to expect from familiar circumstances because of previous experience, but it is prepared and understands that each encounter can bring new variables. As the Squirrel moves slowly out of the bushes toward the open ground under my bird feeder, as it has done a thousand times before, it is still cautious and filled with trepidation. It is processing all that it already knows and taking in any new information, integrating it all together. It is this ongoing collecting of wisdom that gives Virgo a motherly quality juxtaposed with a surface level innocence.

The mental-physical integration of new facts and knowledge with previous experience allows Virgo to be practical, resourceful, patient, and methodical. This process can also cause Virgo to be worrisome, controlling, and even a bit OCD. Learning to bring intellectual thoughts into the physical form and trusting the mind-body connection can help with Virgo’s anxious or domineering tendencies. It is this same act of integrating, however, that gives Virgo the ability to learn and adapt and allows them to live well in community with others. Virgo encourages us to take our knowing into our physical form and listen, trust, and act from our entire self.

Call on The Maiden When…

  • You desire more sovereignty
  • You want to cultivate a sense of order and peace
  • You are ready to take your words and ideas seriously
  • You wish to deepen your sense of purpose through service
  • You need more devotion in your life
  • You desire order and structures that make sense
  • You need better boundaries
  • You are working on cultivating a sense of personal responsibility
  • You wish to have greater clarity around your work in the world
  • You would like to have insight into your physical health
  • You are ready harvest the fruits of your labors

Be Wary Of…

  • Rigidity – Virgo’s qualities of clarity and organization are wonderful to have on hand and available but Virgo can also become too rigid or fixed in its attitudes towards these things. Sometimes Virgo can send off the vibe that everything must be in its specific place or we simply cannot function. This makes for a clean house but also a home that is sometimes empty of spiritedness or fun. Virgo does best when it fully integrates the gifts of Leo and remembers that fun and messes also have a place in our lives.
  • Intolerance – As the Maiden, Virgo is fixated on purity and devotion but sometimes this attitude develops into a “my way is the only way” mind-set. Virgo can come off as intolerant of mistakes, messes, and ways of seeing or going about life that do not fit into their predetermined framework of “the way that things should be.”
  • Passive-Aggression – In direct opposition to Virgo’s ability to be rigid and intolerant (more than pretty much any other mutable sign, with the possible exception of Aquarius), there is also a flip side of Virgo being too easy-going and accommodating. Virgo loves to serve and sometimes in serving others can lose sight of herself. When this happens Virgo responds often in a passive-aggressive manner, not wishing to create significant conflict but also needing to express their deep dissatisfaction.

Questions to Ponder for Virgo:

Virgo, the Maiden, shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Virgo” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Virgo occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • What does Sovereignty mean to me? What is my relationship to Sovereignty?
  • What am I devoted to and how do I express that devotion?
  • What is my body and physical health telling me about my overall approach to life?
  • What is the role of organization and cleanliness in my life?
  • Where do I love to serve others?
  • What does right relationship to work look and feel like?
  • Where do I need more clarity?
  • What am I ready to harvest?

Active Imagination Practice

When we talk and feel into intuition things can get very foggy and vague quickly. This is because intuition belongs to the Otherworld, the liminal world and it works according to the rules and customs of that world not our highly analytical, extremely audio-verbal waking experience. Thankfully there is one immediate and direct way to begin experiencing your intuitive guidance, and yes, we all have intuition, the path of this experience lies through and within your own blessed body.

Sit or stand where you are comfortable, close your eyes, and take a long deep breath.
Take several more long, deep breaths and with each inhale imagine the air filling your lungs and moving through your body down into your feet. On each exhale, push the air out through your core and imagine each muscle relaxing, from your toes to your head.
Affirm and acknowledge the presence of your shields and note if any areas or zones of the body need especial attention at this time.
Engage with the your breath again.

Ask in your mind and heart for your body to show you what YES feels like for you.
Pay attention specifically to what area of the body comes alive upon YES and what that life feels like: an opening, a heating up, a tingling, something completely different?
If when you first ask you feel that you do not receive a response in and through the physical body then, remaining engaged with the blessed body breath, allow yourself to remember a time in your life where you were asked a question, given an opportunity, or made a decision and the answer was YES.
Remember the specifics of the situation — the people involved, the time of day and season of year, the specific content. Then focus on the memory of your YES, what did it feel like in the body? Where did it happen in the body?

Once you can see, sense, touch, know, and feel your YES, then we turn our attention to NO.
Ask in your mind and heart for your body to show you what NO feels like for you.
Pay attention specifically to what area of the body comes alive upon NO and what that life feels like: an closing, a cooling, a tensing or contraction, something completely different?
If when you first ask you feel that you do not receive a response in and through the physical body then, remaining engaged with the blessed body breath, allow yourself to remember a time in your life where you were asked a question, given an opportunity, or made a decision and the answer was NO.
Remember the specifics of the situation — the people involved, the time of day and season of year, the specific content. Then focus on the memory of your NO, what did it feel like in the body? Where did it happen in the body?

Once you can see, sense, touch, know, and feel your NO, then we turn our attention to MAYBE.
Ask in your mind and heart for your body to show you what MAYBE feels like for you.
Pay attention specifically to what area of the body comes alive upon MAYBE and what that life feels like: a calming, a cooling or heating, a settling in and down, something completely different?
If when you first ask you feel that you do not receive a response in and through the physical body then, remaining engaged with the blessed body breath, allow yourself to remember a time in your life where you were asked a question, given an opportunity, or made a decision and the answer was MAYBE.
Remember the specifics of the situation — the people involved, the time of day and season of year, the specific content. Then focus on the memory of your MAYBE, what did it feel like in the body? Where did it happen in the body?

When you have completed this meditation, record your body’s responses. Make note of your physical and emotional feelings for each question. Reflect on how you can listen to your body in everyday life. If you don’t feel you have clear signals for yes, no, and maybe in your body after completing this exercise, revisit it weekly until the answers feel solid to you; be patient and know that your mind and body are meant to talk to each other.

Altar and Ritual

The Maiden, and the Goddesses of agriculture and harvest with whom she is associated, are most often depicted with a sheaf of wheat, so to honor her we must make bread!

The art of bread making (yes, it is most definitely an art) is ancient and brings us back to our common ancestral roots; for making bread is a very grounding experience. It is essentially a quite simple process of blending and waiting, but the physical act of combining the relatively few ingredients leads to the creation of something nourishing and wonderful!

For those of you that think making bread is too technical or delicate, it doesn’t have to be. Provided below as a simple and easy method of creating a “no-knead” bread that keeps the sacred process alive but does not require any baking experience. In this recipe we are also going to add some sacred herbs to create a most exquisitely magical bread.

(If you already have your own favorite bread recipe and/or are experienced with making bread using other methods, feel free to follow what you know and try adding some sacred herbs.)

IMPORTANT – do not use a bread making machine! The purpose of this exercise is to create this nourishing, sacred bread with your own two hands.

This “no-knead” method is taken from the book, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. A highly recommended resource if you’d like to start making your own bread.

This recipe will make four 1-pound loaves that you will bake one at a time over several days.
You will need a 4-5 quart glass bowl or plastic container, a baking stone (pizza stone works great), and a boiler tray.

Ingredients:

– 3 cups lukewarm water
– 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated yeast (2 packets)
– 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt
– 2 teaspoons total of dried herbs (4 teaspoons if fresh); use herbs that have a magical significance for you, but make sure they are edible and tasty!
– 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour (do not pack when measuring)
– Cornmeal (for sprinkling on the baking stone)

Step One: Mix and Store the Dough

– Put the lukewarm water in the glass bowl and add the yeast and salt. Gently stir to dissolve, but it doesn’t have to be completely dissolved.
– Add the herbs to the water mixture.
– Add all of the flour at once.
– Mix with a wooden spoon if you want a good workout and/or doing it all by hand is especially important to you. It’s also perfectly ok to use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until it is uniformly moist without any dry patches.
– Cover loosely with a lid, cloth towel, or plastic wrap, but you do not want it to be air tight.
– Allow to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse or flatten on top (about 2 hours).
– You can technically use the dough at this point, but since the dough is quite wet it will be easier to handle after being refrigerated for at least three hours or even overnight.

Step Two: Shaping and Baking

– Sprinkle your work surface and the baking stone with a generous amount of cornmeal.
– Take out your refrigerated dough and lightly sprinkle the whole surface with flour.
– Pull up and cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough from the bowl.
– Add a little more flour as needed so the dough won’t stick to your hands.
– Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. The bottom of the loaf will start to appear to be a collection of bunched ends and the top will be very smooth. Be careful not to over-handle the ball and the whole process should take about a minute.
– Place the shaped ball on your work surface and allow to rest uncovered for 40 minutes.
– Place the baking stone in the oven on the middle rack and the boiler tray on a rack below.
– Preheat the oven, with the baking stone and boiler tray inside, to 450 degrees. Allow a full 20 minutes for preheating.
– Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour and, using a serrated knife, slash a 1/4 inch deep cross, tic-tac-toe, or any other pattern into the top of the loaf.
– Place the loaf on the baking stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the boiler tray. Be sure to do this relatively quickly so you can trap the steam in the oven.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Avoid opening the oven to check on it for at least 30 minutes.
– When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing.” Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
– The remaining dough can be stored and used as needed for up to 14 days.

About my Co-Author:

Sara Magnuson is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Animalia Stellarum ~ Leo the Lion

Divination and Dreams

L

eo resonates with the element of Fire, and is a fixed sign. The Sun is in Leo from July 22nd through August 22nd. Leo is the 5th sign in the zodiacal wheel, marking the point of the deep Summer moving into late Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and deep Winter moving late Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Represented by the Lion, Leo speaks to creativity, boldness, influence, luxury, Kingship/Queenship, and self-expression.

The Lion as Leo

Like its preceding sign of Cancer, Leo is strongly associated with the legendary figure of Hercules and his first task, defeating the Nemean Lion. But the story of Leo starts long before that. Like the sign of Taurus, the constellation of Leo has been recognized almost universally as that of a lion. It is one of the oldest constellations of record recognized in both Sumeria and Babylon and has always been associated first and foremost with royalty and kingship. One of the original 48 constellations described by 2nd century Ptolemy, Leo is now among the 88 recognized constellations today and a beloved site in the sky for star gazing due to its uniquely bright stars.

These two initial features of an association with royalty and bright star clusters already give us a sense of how Leo works. Often one of the more maligned signs of the Zodiac, best expressed in the unkind statement “All ego Leo,” Leo is actually the point within the Zodiac, and within our own natal charts, where we discover what hidden talents we have that support us in rulership and also in shining brightly.

Kingship has long been associated with this sign and it is worth noting that to be a King or to be a Queen did not always mean seizing power unlawfully and lording it over the peons. Many ancient traditions had various ways of electing or appointing their royal rulers and in many places the mark of a good King or Queen was the health and well-being of their people and land. Along the same lines, just as Cancer is associated with the Mother and the Mothering qualities that we all possess, Leo is associated with the Father and the Fathering qualities that we all carry within us. While working with Cancer we were encouraged to get clear about our relationship to our Mother, our ability to Mother and the connection between Mothering and nourishment, Leo supports us as we meet our inner Father and work on our relationship to power.

The story of the Nemean lion is clearly a tailing of a much older story that involves the wild God Dionysus and his rock and roll ways. Dionysus is the God of the Grape, Wine, and the Wild. He is described as a “foreign” God meaning that he was not Greek originally and most likely much older. He is also a dying God, one who dies back and then resurrects again each year, just as the grapes and other greeneries do. In the legends that surround Dionysus we see a powerful and charismatic deity who is charming and persuasive, especially to women.

Flirtation, charm, enthusiasm, and fun are all classic traits that Leo shares with the God of the Grape. But Dionysus was not interested in women in a sexual manner for the most part, he was interested in having a party and the more influential the people who showed up were, the better. In this way too Leo is invoked, for as Leo situates us with respect to our personal power one of the natural questions that comes up is where do I, and where do I not, have influence?

Dionysus was strongly associated with the Lion and is often depicted wearing a Lion skin (and little else). Cut to the tale of the Nemean Lion – a Lion who held women captive in order to persuade their men to come and attempt to rescue them, and then, when the men did arrive, would devour them.

In actual history the rites that honored Dionysus were in many cases open only to women and men were strictly prohibited from participating. One notable exception to this are the tragic and comedic dramas that were performed in Athens every year as part of the rites in honor of Dionysus. Leo, of course, is the sign most strongly associated with the theatrical arts.

The Nemean Lion was defeated by Hercules and the women were set free, but in a curious move, Zeus, the headsman of the Gods (and the father of Dionysus), elevated the Lion into the heavens and created a constellation of him. Some say this was to honor the heroic feat of Hercules but others find this move to be telling that the Nemean Lion was a stand in for Dionysus – a God who wielded a very different kind of power, just as Leo can.

The Lion as Animal: By Sara Magnuson

Lion – King of the Jungle. Except Lions don’t really live in the jungle, but we’ll get to that.

Lion generally brings to mind power and strength. In fact, it’s hard to see Lion’s weaknesses for all its grandeur and magnificence. The strengths of Lion are obvious and many; nonetheless, let’s paint a clear picture of this glorious creature.

Panthera leo is the second largest Cat, after Tiger, and lives primarily in savannas and open grassland. Lion is an apex predator and a keystone predator. This means that Lion is at the top of its food chain and it is prey to very few. As a keystone predator, Lion plays an important role in controlling the population of its prey. Weighing in at 400-500 lbs and 6-11 ft in length (including the tail), they are formidable to say the least. They can run up to 50 mph, strike their claws with over 300 lbs of force, and bite with over 600 lbs of pressure. Like all Cats, their senses of hearing, vision, and smell are exceptional and are most acute at night. Lions rest (i.e. lay around) for 16-20 hrs a day – again, like all Cats – but that’s where their similarities end.

Unlike any other Cat in the Felidae family, which includes house cats, Lions are social. They live in groups we all know as a pride, which consists of 2-4 males (called a coalition), 5-7 females, and their offspring. Each adult Lion plays a very specific role and cooperation is key. Females are at the core of the pride social unit and do not tolerate outsiders. Prides are lineage-based and membership almost always only changes with the birth and death of the females within the pride. Few Lions live solitary lives and those that do spend most of the time looking for another pride to join. It is rare for females to accept a lone Lioness into the pride and males will only accept lone males after fierce battle.

Lions are also unique among Cats in the way they express gender, physically and behaviorally. In most Cats, there’s no obvious difference between males and females; you have to look at their genitals to tell them apart. Lions, on the other hand, exhibit sexual dimorphism – an outward, physical distinction between the sexes beyond their reproductive organs.

The mane of the Lion is the most obvious difference from the Lioness and tells many things about him. How big or small his mane is, how thick or thin it is, and its color all tell about genetic preconditions, sexual maturity/testosterone production, and climate. It turns out that darker fuller manes are usually favored among females. The larger of the two sexes, his role in the pride is very distinct – eat, mate, defend territory, protect other members of the pride. He rarely hunts, leaving that to the Lionesses. When not patrolling the borders of his territory, he is often found looking after the cubs while the females are finding dinner. The lifespan of the Lion is about 10 years, much shorter than the Lioness’ 14-15 years, and cause of death is typically injury from other Lions. He is best at defending and protecting and that’s what he does.

The Lioness is an elegant and complex creature. It is within and amongst the women that the cooperative nature of Lion shines. Due to her slightly smaller size and lack of mane, Lioness is the more effective hunter – she is swifter, more agile, and aerodynamic than her male counterpart. While they can run very fast, they can only do so in short bursts, so if they miss a catch it’s usually due to lack of endurance. Within their hunting groups, each Lioness plays a very specific role that is strictly observed and carried out. Some females fan out to the sides, while others flank the prey, and still others do the actual pouncing. Their maneuvers are smooth and precise because they know and trust that each Lioness will fulfill her position on the team.

The cooperative nature of the Lioness goes even further with raising their young. The females of a pride will synchronize their menstrual cycles to facilitate cooperative cub rearing. It is much easier to have groups of cubs that are around the same age rather than cubs at all different stages all the time. Females share the duties of providing the general needs of the cubs and are diligent mothers. The Lioness moves all of her cubs to a new den about once a month so their scent doesn’t build up and attract predators of the babies. At 2-4 years of age, male Lions are pushed out by the females to join the other adult males, while the young females remain with the core group of Lionesses.

Lions collaborate, coordinate, and unite. All this cooperation provides many benefits – protection, maintenance of territory, less injury, and kin selection (i.e. increased survival of kin vs self). Lions are extraordinarily distinct from one another in their appearance and actions and those born under the sign of Leo contain all the qualities of both the Lion and the Lioness. One could not exist without the other. The true power of Lion is twofold – power comes from complete ownership of its strengths and weaknesses; and power comes from an unflinching trust in the pride. Each Lion knows what it’s best at and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Lion walks proud with its golden fur shimmering in the sunlight, daring anyone and everyone to question their identity.

During the Sun’s transit through Leo, we ask all of you to draw on the powerful energy of this heavenly body and, no matter what you look like on the outside, own yourself in all your magnificent glory. Draw on the nature of Lion and Lioness and know that you are a strong, powerful, majestic creature.

Call on The Lion When…

  • You want to cultivate a sense of power and authority.
  • You desire to shine bright and bold!
  • You are ready to take your creative life and vision seriously.
  • You wish to bring more luxury and quality into your life.
  • You need more fun!
  • You wish to express yourself more sincerely and authentically.
  • You are ready for the spotlight.
  • You are excited to bring more play into your life.
  • You need more enthusiasm in your life.
  • You would like to take more care with your physical appearance.
  • You want to associate with power brokers and influential people.
  • You want more passion!

Be Wary Of

  • Arrogance – There is a fine line between Pride and Arrogance and Leo often has trouble spotting exactly where that line is. This is a wonderful area of the chart to work with when you need to develop a sense of healthy pride and ownership, but watch out for that pride turning into the kind of arrogance that can result in the loss of friends, allies, and so much more.
  • Selfishness – Wherever Leo occurs in your chart is a place where you are very much meant to be seen and heard. Well and good but this can easily turn into a feeling that you and ONLY you are the figures that matter. Leo rules the heart of the body so it is a good idea to keep it firmly in mind that when we come from our heart we make room for everyone and nip any selfish “me and only me” attitudes in the bud.
  • Superficiality – Leo can encourage us to take more pride in our personal experience – to look and feel glamorous (whatever that means to you). When we are in the high Leo vibe we often love to get shiny jewelry, a new hairdo, and some nice makeup. There is nothing wrong with that but Leo does well to remember that outer appearance and inner essence really are two different things, they can speak to each other, but don’t mistake one for the other.

Questions to Ponder for Leo:

Leo, the Lion, shows up in everyone’s chart – there is no such thing as “I don’t have Leo” because it is a cluster of stars in the sky and it is always there. Wherever Leo occurs in your chart these questions will help you get to know it better.

  • What is my relationship to power and authority?
  • What is the realm that I “rule” over?
  • Where do I have a special ability to carry more influence and clout?
  • What is the role of play in my life?
  • Where do I love to spoil myself?
  • What have I learned from my relationship to my father?
  • What luxury am I ready to indulge in?
  • What am I creating?

Meditation/Active Imagination Journey:

Cultivate Calmness.
Ground, Center, and Anchor in the ways that feel good and right to you.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel that you are standing in a great savanna under the blazing sun. The light around you is golden and the sun’s warmth feels good on your skin and a soft breeze blows through your hair.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the golden light all around you and the beat of your own heart. As you are ready, see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel the appearance of a great golden Lion that is running towards you in time with your own heart’s rhythm. Affirm and acknowledge that the proud beast means you no harm.

See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel its golden presence and it comes ever closer to you. When you are ready look into its tawny eyes and feel its hot breath on your skin. Affirm and acknowledge that you have come to this place at this time to learn a new teaching about your life, one that is gifted to you from the stars; you have come to encounter the celestial Lion, Leo.

Acknowledge that it does not matter where Leo occurs in your chart or whether you were born under this Sun sign or not – we all have this constellation present in some portion of our natal chart and so we can all learn from it.

As you are ready, close your eyes and take a deep breath in. See, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel, the presence of the Lion before you. Affirm that its powerful form is part of its message. Note what the initial message is for you at this time.

When you are ready, breathe in a blessing on yourself and your Lion familiar, exhaling in gratitude.
Then, ask the Lion what you need to know about power and creativity right now.
Listen to the answers you receive and it begins to lick your palm with its sandpaper tongue.

Affirm and acknowledge the answers and, as you are ready, ask the Lion any other questions you have at this time.

Take time to listen with care.

Then, as you are ready, breath a blessing onto the Lion’s face and then see, sense, touch, know, hear, and feel as it retreats back into the tall grasses. Affirm and acknowledge the blessing you have received.
As you are ready, bring awareness back to your present place here and now, and then set about your work of claiming your deep power once more.

Altar/Ritual

For this ritual we’ll be honoring the masculine/feminine sides of ourselves individually, as well as the place where they blend – all under the shining glory of the Sun.

What you will need:

4 candles – red/pink, blue, purple, and yellow (any shade of these colors is fine)
3-5 Items that represent your masculine side and/or represent masculinity in general to you; these should be positive symbols for you; the goal is to *honor* the masculine side of yourself; suggestions – an arrow, a horn or antler, a High John the Conqueror Root
3-5 Items that represent your feminine side and/or represent femininity in general to you; again, these should be positive symbols for you; the goal is to *honor* the feminine side of yourself; suggestions – a pomegranate, anything in the shape of a circle, a Queen Elizabeth Root
1-5 items that represent the blend of masculine and feminine within you, the parts of you that are not gender specific
Optional – if you already identify with a particular spiritual path or cultural group, use items that symbolically represent male, female, and gender-blending and/or gender-neutral within that context to further your connections.

The Ritual:

Think of your altar as a triangle, with two base points closest to you and the peak opposite.
At the right base point, place the blue candle.
To the right of the candle, place the items you have chosen to represent masculinity.
At the left base point, place the red/pink candle.
To the left of the candle, place the items you have chosen to represent femininity.
At the peak, place the purple candle.
Above the peak, place the items that you have chosen to represent the blend of masculine and feminine.
In the center, place the yellow candle to represent the Sun fueling the triangle.
Light the yellow Sun candle first.
Next, light the candle that you identify with most (it’s ok to light the purple candle first) and move toward the candle that you identify with the least.
As you go, draw power from the Sun and the candle you lit first.
Moving on, use that power to honor the other parts of yourself and the knowledge within them.
Sit with candles for at least 10 minutes, meditating on the flames, the symbols, how they work together, and the everlasting Sun catalyzing the effort.

Let the candles burn as long as you can without being interrupted. If you must put them out, be sure to re-light and sit with them again until they’ve burned completely down. Once complete, collect any leftover candle wax and bury it outside all together.
Collect the symbols you used during this candle rite and arrange them however you see fit – keep them on your altar or create separate spaces for each part of the triangle. You can also bury them outside with the candle wax, again all together.

Remember: always observe common sense fire safety when burning candles!

About my Co-Author:

Sara Magnuson is a crafter of spiritual supplies, a reader of cards, a diviner of animals, and the co-founder of Candlesmoke Chapel. Her personal practice is eclectic, animistic, and ancestral. The guidance she provides is based in the messages of Nature and its role in how we move through this world.

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.