Venus as Holy Helper

Foundations

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he is the morning and evening star, the five-pointed pentacle, the sweet bite of an apple, and the heady scent of rose. Venus is the tang of salt on your tongue and the song of sensual pleasure thrumming through our bodies.

She is Venus but behind her stands Aphrodite, behind her we find Ishtar, Isis, and Inana – to name only a very few. She preceded all of the Olympian Gods and Titans in her form as Aphrodite Urania, heavenly Aphrodite, as she sprang from the blood and seed soaked waves in the wake of Uranus’ sacrifice.

She is lust, desire, and love in all of its many forms embodied. She is the ripening fig, the rich red wine, the golden honey, and the decadent cream, but she is also the sacred spring and the wind through her beloved Cypress trees, trees that like her, know something of the Underworld and Shadow.

She shows us that it is possible for Love to vanquish War, for beauty and harmony to outsmart perfect strategy and pure power. She has bewitched the most powerful of witches and spurred on fierce battles.

Most often we think of her as a rather conventional beauty, full hips, and breasts, slender waist, nubile position, forgetting that in some of her greatest statues she could easily be mistaken for Athena, appearing as she does in full battle armor. The teaching of course is that no force knows how to battle the way that Love does.

Traditionally she was petitioned to bring a lover, keep a lover, and deepen a current love relationship. Her blessing was sought on all marriages and unions of all kinds, her provenance extended to bring beauty, music, laughter, dance, and joy into the hearts of mankind. She is both a breaker and healer of hearts, the desire that can set us on the right course or drive us mad. She is often perceived as the weakest and flightiest of the Divine, but anywhere depth happens, she is present. Hekate, Titaness of the Underworld, and Guardian of all Thresholds is her protector because Love is the most precious of all.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to Work with Mars Retrograde

Ceremony and Ritual

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bout every other year the fiery plant Mars goes retrograde – the elusive state where a planet appears to be going backward in its elliptical orbit, but it isn’t really. In classical astrology the traditional understanding is that when a planet goes into retrograde it actually descends into the Underworld, descending into shadow. When Mars descends into the Underworld we can know that some of this planet’s more aggressive tendencies can be exacerbated, but as always there are many positive effects of Mars’ entrance into shadow. It is during this time that we are able to align ourselves with the elements of Mars that have perhaps been missing or overlooked in our lives over the past year and change.

Do’s

– Exercise and overhaul your physical fitness routine
– Review conflicts, disagreements, and battles that you have engaged in since the last time Mars went rx and consider what they have taught you
– Explore your relationship to self-discipline
– Inform yourself about the current geopolitical situation
– Refine your diet
– Avoid passive-aggressive behavior
– Dedicate the merits of your actions
– Optimize any areas that seem to especially be calling for your attention
– Refresh your self-defense skills
– Take action to honor those who have served in the armed forces
– Stay hydrated
– Amp up your protective rites and magic

Dont’s

– Pour gasoline on fires by ramping up disagreements and conflicts
– Glorify war and violence
– Give into dictatorial behaviors no matter where they come from
– Ignore your physical health
– Engage in destructive behaviors
– Let a diplomatic outreach or negotiation go off the rails
– Give into division and acrimony
– Stew in rage or anger that has no proper channel
– Leave yourself vulnerable
– Burn the candle at both ends
– Resist getting plenty of rest

Mars is the planet most committed to discipline and perfection. This can work beautifully in our day to day lives because when we are alignment with Mars we see what needs to be fixed and we have the energy to optimize it. However, the shadow side of discipline and perfection is never being satisfied and always wanting more…this impatience for the very best can easily lead to conflict that at the end of the day, no one really wins.

If you are Mars-sensitive and concerned about the effects of the retrograde you may engage in the following acts of honoring and propitiating the God of War:

– Make and keep doctor appointments, prioritizing the health of the physical body
– Add the color red and the scent of cinnamon to your altar
– Donate to a local veterans association
– Exercise and dedicate the merits of your work to Mars
– Donate blood
– Donate to a peacekeeping organization
– Offer dishes of meat (especially lamb, pig, or bull), red wine, and wheat
– Place iron objects, ideally weaponry made of iron, on your altar
– Learn to work responsibly with a weapon of your choice
– Take on a physical challenge you can work your way up to

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: The Ties that Bind

Purification and Cleansing

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iracles, family

When Mercury retrogrades through Cancer issues around family, tribe, and tribal identity often emerge. These can be national or global in scope – nationalism, for instance, is a shadow side of the Cancerian dedication to family and what is “one’s own” but they also show up in our personal sphere and in our own families.

Just as many of us have spent more time in our homes of late, many of us have also been around our families much more than we usually are – and during the best hours of the day. Chances are that there have already been scuffles and misunderstandings and that, by the time June rolls around and we are in Mercury RX territory you and your family members have had some hard conversations.

If you haven’t had these conversations but know that hurt feelings have been simmering in the background then do not be surprised if during this RX period it all comes out to the fore and there is a blowup. It may not be fiery (we are after all dealing with the cardinal Water sign of Cancer) but it is definitely going to be felt. It is possible that right around this Mercury retrograde we will hear calls and be given opportunities to return to the “way that things were before” the Coronavirus hit.

If this is the case then I won’t be surprised to see this Mercury RX in Cancer have us re-thinking what was normal before we had to self-isolate and quarantine with our loved ones and if that “normal” is something we want to change or adjust in various ways. This is an ideal time for peaceful homework.

While things with living family members may feel a bit tense or stressed we may also well feel pressure from the family members who have gone beyond the veil, our Ancestors.

Our Ancestors have collectively very active since the beginning of the year and their activity is only increasing. If you have not felt really connected to your Ancestors then this time of Mercury’s descent into the Underworld might have you sensing their presence in a stronger way.

As is the case with Mercury retrograde periods this is also a time to reflect on what makes your family feel most together and what does not. If there are any wounds with either immediate or extended family members then now is a wonderful time to address them and seek reconciliation and healing. If there are any big issues around the family that need to be discussed and they have not been addressed before Mercury retrogrades in Cancer, then I recommend that they are put on hold until after the retrograde has completed.

Partners who have been in a tense relationship should recognize that now is not the time to either try to “fix” things or make a final decision about the future of the relationship.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Star Stories: May 2020

Ceremony and Ritual

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strology for May 2020

Note for May: May is a rock and roll month when it comes to the celestial weather. We have three retrogrades that start this month and sign changes for Venus, Mercury, and Mars. As we move into Summer we depart the fiery energy of Aries for the cool winds of Gemini and begin preparing ourselves for vast healing with Cancer next month! While the retrogrades pose some challenges there are lots of great opportunities, especially for communication, this month as well.

5/1: Blessed Beltane!!!

5/4: Sun conjunct Mercury. AMAZING day for communication. Write, speak, network, connect, and share to your heart’s content!
Ask: What am I ready to communicate?

5/7: Full Moon at 17 degrees Scorpio, 5:45 AM. Some ideas for how to work with the Full Moon can be found here: https://brianasaussy.com/how-to-honor-the-full-moon/ and here: https://brianasaussy.com/six-months-of-magic-every-full-moon/
Ask: What is my relationship with shadow?

5/10: Happy Mother’s Day!!!

5/10: Mercury trine Pluto and Jupiter. A wonderful day to use words to create increase and power in your life. Petition and sigil making magic are a definite YES on this day. If you have a tough relationship with your mom, this day can also facilitate a lot of powerful healing through speech and discussion.
Ask: What do I want to empower with my words?

5/10: Saturn Retrograde. Retrograde starts at 11:09 PM in Aquarius, moves into Capricorn on July 1st and stations direct on September 29th at 12:11 AM. Saturn Retrograde means a review of legal issues, finances, work and career, and the various challenges you experienced since the last retrograde and how you measured up to them.
Ask: What disciplines do I need to review?

5/11: Mercury moves into Gemini! Mercury loves to be in positive and loquacious Gemini! This is an excellent time to do work around speaking, writing, publishing, and also networking for your career. If you have siblings or dear friends this is also one of the best times all year to reach out to them.
Ask: Where am I ready to connect?

5/13: Venus Retrograde. Venus Retrograde begins at 1:45 AM in Gemini and stations direct on June 25th at 1:48 AM. Read all about Venus Retrograde here.
Ask: Where do I need to re-examine my loving connections?

5/13: Mars moves into Pisces. Your art, music, and spiritual skills can feel energized and full of potential right now but you might also feel, slow, sluggish, and tired. Choose one creative endeavor and make that your focus for the next month!
Ask: What do I want to put my creative energy into now?

5/14: Waning Quarter Moon at 24 degrees Aquarius, 9:03 AM. A reminder that this is a great time to banish: https://brianasaussy.com/what-are-you-really-banishing/
Ask: What connections are no longer relevant?

5/14: Jupiter Retrograde. Retrograde starts at 9:32 AM and ends on September 12th at 7:41 PM. Read all about Jupiter retrograde right here.
Ask: What aspects of my daily devotional and spiritual practices are still relevant and what needs to be released?

5/15: Sun trine Pluto. This is a powerful trine that can give you a deep message about your sovereignty and personal power. Hidden issues around power, finances, and your latent abilities may make themselves known today and it is, generally speaking, a great day for magic and business!
Ask: Which of my powers are ready to be illuminated?

5/20: Sun enters Gemini 8:49 AM
Ask: What is my message?

5/22: New Moon at 2 degrees Gemini, 12:39 PM. Here are Four Ways to Honor the New Moon just in case you missed them: https://brianasaussy.com/4-ways-honor-new-moon/
Ask: What am I ready to share?

5/22: Sun trines Saturn. This is a lovely trine that helps us in committing to what matters most, playing the long game, and energizing our work and careers.
Ask: Where do I need to play a long game?

5/22: Mercury conjunct Venus. A yearly meetup between these two lovely planets is always a good thing. Heartfelt conversations about relationships are a GO today but do keep the Venus Retrograde in mind as you hang with your S.O. If you are not in a relationship expect communications and synchronicities around love or money on this day.

5/25: Happy Memorial Day!!!

5/25: Trine between Moon and Mars gives you great energy to deal with any family or house drama and you may feel compelled to start making some home improvements or re-focus on your diet and eating regime.
Ask: Where do the ways I nourish myself need to be optimized?

5/28: Mercury moves into Cancer. Mercury in Cancer turns to feelings, perceptions, and imagination. Communications tend to be more emotional and deep and words can be especially cutting at this time if proper care is not taken.
Ask: How can I best communicate my feelings?

5/29: Waxing Quarter at 9 degrees Virgo, 10:30 PM. This is the perfect time to brush up on your divination practice! https://brianasaussy.com/teaching/20-question-tarot/
Ask: What new health and healing regime am I ready to explore?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Star Stories: April 2020

Ceremony and Ritual

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strology for April 2020

Note for April: Blessed April friends! This month has a lot of fire and air energy that is calmed and grounded by the Sun moving into Taurus as well as the earthy Taurus New Moon. Go outside, pay attention to the land, and find small things to celebrate!

4/1: Waxing Quarter at 12 degrees Cancer, 5:21 AM – All Fools Day. This is the perfect time to brush up on your divination practice! https://brianasaussy.com/teaching/20-question-tarot/
Ask: Where do I need to increase nourishment?

4/3: Venus moves into Gemini. This year Venus is in Gemini for a looong time because it will retrograde through this sign. When Lady V is in the sign of the Twins it means we are all more charming and flirtatious than usual! It also can mean that fidelity and exclusivity are much harder to come by.
Ask: What am I not ready to commit to?

4/4: Venus Trine Saturn. Although Venus in Gemini gets your flirt on, this trine with Saturn is actually beneficial for long term commitments and a marriage proposal made today would signify a lasting bond! This is also a great day to get spending and finances in check – just before tax time!
Ask: What am I ready to commit to?

4/4: Jupiter and Pluto Conjunction. This pairing occurs every 13 years. It is sometimes referred to as the “mogul” pairing and carries a lot of potential for creating deep wealth and money magic.
Ask: Where am I ready to deepen my wealth and abundance?

4/7: Full Moon at 18 degrees Libra, 9:35 PM. Some ideas for how to work with the Full Moon can be found here: https://brianasaussy.com/how-to-honor-the-full-moon/ and here: https://brianasaussy.com/six-months-of-magic-every-full-moon/
Ask: What is my relationship to balance?

4/7: Mars square Uranus. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of astrology because it can often bring in unexpected accidents. Be extra cautious on this day, do not be in a rush, exercise safety especially around fire. As long as you do that, the energy can work to supercharge one of your most brilliant insights!
Ask: Where can I take more care?

4/11: Mercury moves into Aries. Communication becomes fast, brisk, and smart during Mercury’s move through Aries. Just make sure that you do not get overly aggressive in your conversations.
Ask: What truth am I ready to share?

4/12: Happy EASTER!!!!

4/14: Waning Quarter Moon at 25 degrees Capricorn, 5:56 PM. A reminder that this is a great time to banish: https://brianasaussy.com/what-are-you-really-banishing/
Ask: What can I stop pretending to be/do?

4/14: Sun squares Pluto. This is a tricky aspect that can have all of us diving into a bit of an existential moment as the shadow side of our personal psyches, as well as the shadow side of bigger powers (like entire countries or global economies), are lit by the sun and in plain view of all. Be kind to everyone, including yourself.
Ask: What shadow do I see right now?

4/15: Sun square Jupiter. When the Sun squares Jupiter it is the proverbial our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. The dream or vision that you have right now could use a big dose of rational clarity. If you don’t actively seek that out, on this day it will come and find you.
Ask: What practicalities am I forgetting when it comes to my big project?

4/19:  Sun enters Taurus 9:45 AM
Ask: What foundations am I ready to lay down?

4/21: Sun square Saturn. This creates a sense of fear, challenge, and sometimes the feeling that you have absolutely no time. Expect delays and wonky behavior from others and you will be in good shape.
Ask: What calming rites can I engage in when I feel too rushed?

4/22: New Moon at 3 degrees Taurus, 9:26 PM – Earth Day. Here are Four Ways to Honor the New Moon just in case you missed them: https://brianasaussy.com/4-ways-honor-new-moon/
Ask: What financial seeds am I ready to sow?

4/25: Pluto Retrograde. Retrograde begins at 1:54 PM and stations direct on October 4th at 8:32 AM.
Ask: What aspects of my personal power need to be refined?

4/26: Sun conjunct Uranus. Bring on the freedom, vision of the future and really smart ideas! This is a great day for all of the above. Take the party outside for maximum pleasure. One caveat,  you may encounter people and situations that push against your comfort zone – on this day you can choose to stretch out and explore IF you want to.
Ask: Where am I no longer willing to feel stuck?

4/28: Mercury square Saturn. This is a hard day for communications and things that you need or want to say are likely to come out all wrong. Give yourself a break and consider all of the ways you can nonverbally communicate.
Ask: What can I wait to say?

4/30: Waxing Quarter at 10 degrees Leo, 3:38 PM. This is the perfect time to brush up on your divination practice! https://brianasaussy.com/teaching/20-question-tarot/
Ask: What does the right relationship to luxury look and feel like?

4/30: Mercury conjunct Uranus. NOW you can talk! This is a once a year, brilliant convergence that can reveal all kinds of profound ideas and connections to you.
Ask: What connections need to be made now? April April 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Three: Living With Shadows

Learning and Community

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iracles, shadow

Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.

So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?

Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.

In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.

But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.

For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.

For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.

Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.

The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.

Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.

However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.

In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.

So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Two: Focusing, Finding and Applying the Needed Medicines

Learning and Community

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lright Miracles, shadow

Today we are going to work in a very particular way with the area of shadow that you identified for yourself after reading yesterday’s lesson.

As I wrote there, the biggest challenge around engaging in shadow work is getting stuck in the psychic underworld, never ascending, never returning to life here and now.

I believe this is such a challenge for the age-old reason that any journey can be perilous – distraction. For when we plumb our depths and experience the underbelly of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs we often find much more than we bargained for.
We may have started our journey with one area of shadow in mind and find ourselves months or even years later so far off course that we couldn’t tell you what we were trying to do in the first place. In some traditions, this is referred to as being fairy-led and there are many stories that deal with the theme: from the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife to the ancient myth of Orpheus, to the classical work of Dante. In all cases, the protagonists deal with the very real possibility that in their foray into the Underworld (where our shadows reside) we run the risk of getting stuck and never ascending.

Which brings us to the question of how one avoids falling into the trap of distraction and making the actual ascent back into the world here and now. The answer is simple: stay focused, find the needed medicine, and apply it immediately.

Let’s break this down into three steps with the help of a hypothetical story. This is a true story from one of my clients who gave me permission to share, the name has been changed for obvious reasons.

Amy dreams of public speaking. She has had offers to go and speak in front of crowds and lead gatherings because her work is popular and known. But Amy does not like to be in the spotlight AT ALL. Not because she is shy – she isn’t – but because she is very comfortable with people’s eyes on her. Amy came to me to have some divination on this situation and also to do some liminal work around it – she realized that some shadowy reason was at the root of her resistance to being seen and wanted more insight on it.

We worked together and this is what she found:
Amy realized that the shadow she was dealing with concerned her dad. He would come home from work every day tired and angry and looking for someone to take it out on. Since she was very tiny Amy learned to hide, in her bedroom, among her stuffed animals, to avoid his wrath.

This brings us to Step One: Stay Focused.
Amy did not need to do a lot of work to discover the deep cause of her discomfort with the spotlight. A little divination, a little liminal work, and she knew what the situation was. At this point Amy had a choice: she could continue with the shadow work by seeking to understand WHY her father was the way he was OR she could deal with the issue at hand – her discomfort with being seen. You can see how tempting it is to take it further, to get just a little more information, but you can also see how that journey takes us farther away from the goal – which was to support Amy in public speaking and being seen by people. Amy wisely chose to deal with the issue at hand. She knew what her shadow was, now what?

Step Two: Find the Needed Medicine.
Amy had mentioned that she always hid among her stuffed animals. A little more divination and a few questions later, we had determined that one stuffed animal, in particular, a lion, had really made her feel especially safe and secure. This was ONE medicine that resonated with her situation and addressed her shadow with potency. From there it was obvious what needed to happen. We were ready to move to Step Three: Apply It Immediately.

Now we did have a moment where we had to get creative because Amy’s little lion was long gone…and a grown woman probably couldn’t take a stuff lion on stage with her! But, we did discover that there are tiny stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes, many that attach to a key chain. Amy found a lion she loved, I loaded it up magically for her, and she attached it to her key chain. She takes it everywhere with her and guess what? She also does lots of public speaking now. Amy had a successful encounter with one of her shadows because she stayed focused, found the needed medicine, and applied it immediately.

You can do this as well: go back to the shadow you wrote about in the last lesson. Think and feel into it and try to recollect what medicines supported you when it was an active force in your life. There may be several such medicines but most likely, one will stand out. Then ask yourself: how can I apply for this medicine today and immediately?

In our final lesson, we are going to talk about what happens next, after the medicine has been applied.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.