Hearth and Home Vol. 22: Go and Help Your Brother

Foundations

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have been editing my second book, Star Child, all week so I have stars and Zodiac signs on the brain. This Hearth and Home is brought to you by the sign of Virgo, the sign most devoted to being of good help, and the sign that the New Moon occurs today.

“Go and help your brother.”

These are words I utter every day, usually several times, to my oldest son. Sometimes the help is given gladly. Sometimes the heavy sound of sneakers trudging across the wooden floorboards follows my request and I can tell he is a little annoyed. And almost always there is a response and the needed help is given.

You can’t really read the news anymore, you can just doom scroll your way through it and it makes me wonder about help and the stories of help and where they are. For it is exactly in times such as these, in crisis times and fear-ridden times, that we most need to look for the helpers, as Fred Rogers reminds us. Earlier this year when I returned to social media, I was able to highlight the helper stories and share them far and wide, but the stream has slowed to a trickle, the waters are drying up.

“Go and help your brother.” It has become a mantra of sorts, the theme of 2020 is not a word or an image, at least not for me, it is this: Go. And. Help. Your. Brother.

I thought I was uttering it as a suggestion, sometimes a snapped command, to my oldest child but it turns out I have been saying it to my own soul this entire time. What is needed right now? What medicine can begin to heal the wounds and the hurt places? Offering Help. To our brothers, our sisters, our loved ones, to men, women, those in between, and creatures of all kinds. Go and help. It is not a request or a suggestion, it is an inner imperative of the heart. Something we must all do in all of the ways, in all of the times, that we can.

More than that, these are the stories that need to be told, stories of helpers, everyday people, showing up with care and kindness. Their names and their roles are often obfuscated by the bigger events that are happening so I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of them, helpers I have had immediate and direct contact with over this year.

Doctors
Artists
Nurses
Grocery store clerks
Postal Workers
Lab techs
Teachers
Epidemiologists
Ministers
Truck Drivers
Scientists working on vaccines and therapeutics
Priests
Storytellers
Workers in warehouses, slaughterhouses, and fields
First Responders
Witches
Farmers
Professors
Writers
Police
Tarot Readers
Protestors
Grandparents
Shamans
Ranchers
Astrologers
Educators
School Administrators
Stockists
Therapists
Rootworkers
Parents
Children

I see this list as a litany. I say the names and the titles, many of which bring individual beloveds to my mind and I bless them for the ways they show up, the ways they try, for going to help their brothers, for helping me, my family, my friends, my clients, and students, my loved ones.

Being of good help is a theme we find in every major spiritual tradition as well as in the Sacred Arts. The four Tarot cards pictured above, all the Knights in the tarot, are often interpreted as helper figures showing up in our lives in different ways and with different qualities. So it is for us as well, we can show up to help in different ways and with different abilities and qualities at our disposal.

It is easy to think, in these latter days of Dharma as the Mahabharata calls them, that you can’t help. If you don’t know how to start an IV line or hold a line for justice or calm of a line of angry and frightened shoppers then really, what do you have to offer? Bit if there is one thing that 2020 has taught me it is this: That there is always a way to go and help your brother. I am grateful for the lesson.

I want to thank Jacquelyn Tierney/House of Divine Style Stock Photography for making this image available to me. I actually worked with it as a writing prompt which was so much fun!

And now for news from the home front:

Our September has gotten off to a busy start! The highlights include: editing Star Child, planning for the Story Threads class that begins in a few weeks, doing a guest teaching on blessing ways and prayer for a dear friend (I’ll be sharing more about this later), and keeping up with the school schedules of our body.

THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2020 is: Did you remember to put an extra mask in your backpack?

Mars Retrograde is giving me all kinds of fantastic ideas and so I am doing my best to write them down and take as many notes as possible. We are all spending more time outside because the Gods smiled on us and we are actually having a lovely, cool, September…so far!

We work in the garden, planting seeds, feeding the wild birds and chickens, and leaving offerings for the faeries. We are headed into our favorite time of year and so, we are already talking about the Feast Day of Archangel Michael and how we might arrange the Ancestor altar this time around, and of course, the most important question: WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR HALLOWEEN?

Answer: I don’t know, honestly but we will make it magical, and that is what matters.

As always, from our family to yours, we wish you a beautiful and magical month full of goodness!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Jupiter in Pisces ~ The Last Shall Come First

Ceremony and Ritual

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n 2021, Jupiter spends much of its time in the final sign of the Zodiac, Pisces, the sign of the Cosmic Fish. Jupiter first moves into Pisces on May 13th, 2021, and then retrogrades out of the sign on July 29th, 2021. He then re-enters Pisces on December 28th, 2021, and remains in Pisces through May 10th, 2022.

Though Jupiter is most usually associated with Sagittarius and the 9th house, this planet is actually considered the ancient ruler of Pisces and the 12th house and was strongly affiliated with both until the discovery of Neptune; this means that Jupiter is quite at home in Pisces and is, in a way, returning to its native ground. It is important to understand that while Jupiter, long considered one of the most beneficial of planets, is in its happy place of Pisces that does not mean that everything will be rosy and perfect during this transit. In fact, looking at the world solely through rose-colored glasses is one of the actions that can create problems during this period. Personally and for my clients, I have found that Jupiter’s influence has about a year of lag time between where it currently is in the sky and the effects we feel on terra firma. In other words, though Jupiter will be in Pisces for a good part of 2021 and 2022 the effects of his presence there may not be felt on a personal level until late 2022 and 2023. (This is one reason why so many people have hard years during their Jupiter Returns but then find the next year to be much easier).
All of this said, Jupiter in Pisces gives us some wonderful opportunities and it is a blessed time for those with Sun, Moon, or Ascendants in Pisces or those who have strong Jupiter or Neptune placements in their natal chart. The theme of this transit to me is the idea that the last will come first. When Jupiter was in Aquarius it helped foster the overturning of old, outdated systems, attitudes, and cultures. Now in Pisces, Jupiter ushers in healing and magnifies the roles of those who serve, help, aid, and assist as well as those who are humble in manner and means.

Recall that Jupiter is the planet of generous expansion – it is the only planet in our solar system that sends out more energy than it receives. This means that when Jupiter enters Pisces it will emphasize some of the most essential characteristics represented by this sign including making art and music, restoring romance, learning from history, connecting to our Ancestors, developing our intuitive gifts, working with our dreams, healing wounds on all levels, taking spiritual pursuits seriously, working positively with death and dying, and being of service in whatever ways are needed.

At the same time remember that Jupiter is also the planet that magnifies any given area of our life. This means that any habits, patterns, or tendencies that are not so desirable can also be emphasized and called out during this time. When Jupiter is in Pisces some of those problematic qualities can include our tendencies to engage in lies and deception, including self-deception, substance abuse, addictive tendencies, fixations on victimhood/martyrdom, hypochondria, depression, intense mood swings, loneliness, and unhelpful escapism. As always, the way to balance out these elements is to emphasize the positive opportunities that Jupiter blesses during this transit.

Remember that this is a period where we all feel more sensitive and thin-skinned. Amping up your protection work, practicing excellent self-care in whatever way that looks like for you, and asking for help are all essential activities during this period.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Neptune as a Holy Helper

Learning and Community

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iracles, Neptune

He is known as the Earth Shaker, a lover of horses, of waves, and of depths, his original name most likely hails from the Sanskrit root “dawon” meaning, one who flows. It is easy to write off Neptune or his Greek equivalent Poisedon as vain and vainglorious Gods who care little to nothing for the affairs of mankind but to do so would be a grave mistake.

With his trident Neptune can cause the earth in of her greatness to literally shake and tremble, causing earthquakes and tidal waves and great flooding. Sometimes disruption is necessary, and when it is, he is a Holy Helper to call on. As the creator of Earthquakes he is also a Holy Helper to call on for protection from shifting and moving ground as well as big waters and flooding.

His trident could cause destruction, yes, but also could call up fresh or salty water from the earth’s layers to spring up and through even the most parched lands. And so he is an ally for anyone who is trying to bring more moisture, suppleness or fertility into their lives, anyone who finds that their life is too dry, too desiccated, lacking creative flow and depth would do well to call on him.

He is also strongly associated with horses, animals known for their sensitivity and their power, but also strongly associated in the ancient world with the art of healing. We may call on him whenever we are working with horses, but also whenever we need to have the qualities in our own lives that we associate with horses – power, attention, sensitivity, great endurance, and keen intelligence. His favor may be sought in matters of healing – both by those who heal and by those who are in need of healing, for water and healing have been associated with one another for age upon age.

The newer stories say he pulled the wrong lot and was given domain over the depths but the older stories tell of him choosing to make the vast deep his home…and so he can aid us in feeling at home there as well. He is a God of both sea and freshwater, not picking one over the other. For all dealings concerning water – from finding it, to purifying it, to working with it or harnessing its power his favor must be sought out. Beloved by fisherman and those who work with the Sea, he may also be called upon by those who are invested in protecting the sea and all of the life it holds, and by those who are working for equitable water rights around the world. As the seas warm and rise he is a particularly good Holy Helper to get to know. Neptune is the one who holds our hand when we go deep – into our physical world and into our psychic terrain. For this reason he is also associated with dreams and the Zodiac sign over which the planet named in his honor – Pisces – rules, are known to be the dreamers and the ones who are most able to speak to and with dreams.

He is the protector or challenger of every voyager who must cross water. Making an offering to him before setting off on a water-heavy adventure is always a good idea. One of his sons is said to be the founder of Atlantis, the sacred isle that destroyed itself with the very technology that allowed it to be so very advanced. The ancient Greeks spoke of Atlantis as ancient meaning that Neptune has seen it all unfold this way many times before. For this reason, it is deeply associated with history and specifically our ability to learn from our history. So we may call upon his aid whenever we need to reflect – globally or individually – on what history has taught us and what it will continue to teach us.

In his oldest stories he is the husband, the lover, the devotee of the Earth herself, and we cannot help but reflect on how the sea ever and always kisses the land. Wherever the Earth finds herself in need of a protector, defender, or servant, Neptune may be called upon, for he bears the waters that bless the rich dark soil and allows all growth to happen. His depths mirror our own and in his waves we can find strands of our own story reflected over and over again.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Where the Weird Turn Pro

Uncategorized

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ou know the Hunter S. Thompson quote: “When the going gets weird, the weird go pro”? THAT is Mercury RX in Aquarius and actually kind of perfectly descriptive of Aquarius on a “normal” day. This retrograde can bring out potent visions of the future, radical miscommunications, and off the wall, off kilter ideas that might lead you directly to your genius. That’s how Mercury RX in Aquarius works.

Well, for starters it brings the distinct possibility that we will find ourselves in a disagreement/miscommunication among friends or our wider communities. Generally speaking the groups that we belong to will be especially effected once Mercury moves into Aquarius. This also gives us the opportunities to reevaluate our relationships to the various groups and associations that we have – do they still make sense? Do we want to take on a greater role/responsibility? Are we ready to hand responsibility off to someone else? These are just some of the questions that might emerge for you. Groups that are involved in activism, direct action protects, or other social justice movements (all very Aquarian) should be prepared for weird hiccups and misfires during this period.

The possibility of miscommunication is also present around technology. This can look like giving into the trolls on social media or your smart phone deciding to garble all of your texts for a week. Either way, it is important when Mercury is retrograde in Aquarius to keep an eye on your tech devices and to avoid any drama on social media.

Another aspect of this transit is the need to leave extra early in order to arrive on time. Aquarius is the sign of SURPRISE!!! And you never know what the surprise might be…detours are common and a lack of patience during this transit is NOT advisable. The solution: give yourself more time than you think you need. Worst case? You arrive early and can read a book for a few minutes!

Finally, when we go deeper into what a Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius can bring us we have to talk about the future. For Aquarius is the most future-facing sign of the Zodiac. It is very concerned with our personal futures as well as the collective future that we are creating for everyone. We can work proactively with this RX period by considering our future and reviewing what decisions we have made about it, what choices we are bringing to it, and how we want it to feel. Work with the time to get clear on what is next for you, and then get ready to make that next your now!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Planning by Starlight ~ Part Two

Divination and Dreams

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elcome to the second lesson in the Planning by Starlight series! This lesson speaks to the reason why so many people love the idea of planning with astrology and get you started on that path with minimal fuss. So, just a reminder. If you missed lesson one you can access it right here and feel free to leave a comment/question if you have one.

We ended the first lesson with a question about how to work with astrology to plan around major celestial events, especially for those of us who are not super well-versed in Astro-speak and/or who are intimidated by all of the Astro terms. This is one of the biggest reasons why people start to pay attention to astrology in the first place. Maybe you experienced a particularly rough Mercury Retrograde period and then found out about this whole thing called Mercury Retrograde. Maybe you saw your life fall apart and then dramatically re-arrange itself only to find out years later that those events all occurred around the time of your Saturn Return – and then you decided to find out just what the heck a Saturn Return even is!

In today’s teaching, I am going to walk you through how to find out about and then plan for the major celestial events you want to keep an eye on whenever you are planning out the course of your week, your month, or your year.

Outer Planet Awesome ~ When it comes to looking at big celestial patterns that have the ability to deeply support or dramatically disrupt our lives, the first rule of thumb is to look at the outer planets. These planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. (In classical astrology you will not see Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto mentioned as they were discovered later).

The outer planets represent big patterns and themes that we all want to be aware of as we make our plans. They move much more slowly than the inner planets do, so this gives us more time to get to know the outer planets, and also means that when they do something special – like move from one zodiac sign to another or go into retrograde – the effects are felt not just by us in our personal lives, but quite often in a more universal and global manner. The movements of all of the planets are called transits and usually when we speak of transits in astrology we speak of them like this: “For most of 2018 Jupiter is transiting the sign of Scorpio”. That means that for most of this year Jupiter has been moving through the constellation of Scorpio.

Understanding what is happening with the transits of the outer planets in a given year will help you make any big plans and also set you up to get the most of the coming year. We can also work with the transits of the inner planets but they tend to move much faster than the outer planets so there is a lot more data involved in those assessments.

Because the outer planets move so slowly they are pretty easy to map out:

Jupiter in Capricorn
For most of 2020 Jupiter is in Capricorn. Traditional astrology regards Jupiter as “fallen” in the sign of Capricorn because Saturn-ruled Capricorn tends to emphasize constriction while Jupiter values expansion above all else. However, there is much common ground to be found between Jupiter and the sign of Capricorn and this ground will be emphasized by the fact that Jupiter will be conjunct with Saturn through much of its tour through Capricorn. This is a time when hard work, restriction, and thriftiness will be well rewarded as will the dedication to any specific skill or craft.

 

Jupiter in Aquarius
Jupiter’s tour through Aquarius will begin with a bang when Jupiter and Saturn conjunct one another. Jupiter in the sign of the Water-bearer will support those who have messages that they wish to broadcast into the world gain greater clarity on how to do that. It will be a time when change is well-aspected and given a cosmic blessing and when significant decisions that will have long-term effects on the future come into being.

 

Saturn in Capricorn
For most of 2020, Saturn will be in its favored sign of Capricorn but it will move briefly into Aquarius from March – June giving us a taste of what is to come at the end of the year when it stations properly into Aquarius. The opportunity now is to look at the areas where mastery, duty, obligation, and responsibility play out in your life. Use these final months while Saturn is in its elevated position to set good routines and amp up the discipline in any areas where that is needed.

 

Saturn in Aquarius
Although in modern astrology Uranus is listed as the ruling planet for Aquarius, in classical Astrology it was Saturn, not Uranus (which had not yet been discovered) that ruled over this sign. This combination gives rebels a cause and can infuse needed discipline and responsibility into ideals that have been seen (up until this point) as too “out there” or “fringe.” It ushers in a new era of technological developments, some of which may have hard effects on the current economy and job market as we know it. It can also call in more oversight and legal obligations for big tech companies. For you personally this alignment is a time to take the discipline of Saturn and harness it to the future-facing energy that is present within Aquarius.

 

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. Neptune in Pisces both supports our ability to dive deeply into our intuitive selves and also to heal not only on a personal level but on a global level. It also stirs up the waters so that problems and issues that need to be seen are able to float to the surface. On the flip side, as Neptune swims through its favorite sign we can all engage in more fantasy and problematic escapism – this is a time when it is especially easy to run up those credit card bills and engage in creative storytelling that allows us to escape accountability. This is especially true during the Neptune – Jupiter squares. How to do Neptune in Pisces well? Don’t lie, trick or deceive – yourself or others, note your addictive tendencies, and focus on healing.

Uranus in Taurus
On March 7th of 2019, Uranus moved into Taurus. This marks 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 the 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.

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.

Now, for some of you, this is awesome information and for others, you might also be feeling overwhelmed because none of this is helpful if you do not know what qualities and areas of life each planet speaks to. Many astrologers speak about the energy of a given planet and if you like thinking about it that way you certainly can – planets do give off energy, they give off sounds, and in some cases, they give off smells! Personally, I think of the planets as Holy Helpers – they are celestial bodies that resonate with specific areas of life that people are interested in shaping or influencing in some manner. Painting in BIG brushstrokes here are some of the key ideas for each of the outer planets:

Jupiter – money, wealth, wisdom, teaching, traveling
Saturn – debt, banishing, mastery, discipline, asceticism, protection
Neptune – healing, dreams, intuition, magic, love, redemption
Uranus – connection, community, rebellion, technology, progress
Pluto – destruction, power, depth, secrets, re-birth, trauma, sovereignty

Here is how I suggest you work with this information: first, make a note in your calendars of where each of these planets is. Also, check to see if there are retrogrades for each of the outer planets and if there are when those occur (we will talk about retrogrades in a sec). If one of the outer planet changes signs, as Jupiter and Saturn do in December then make a note of those moments in your calendars as well.

Once you have plotted that basic information you have some choices. If you are brand new to this method of planning pick ONE of the outer planets – maybe you want to increase your money this year so you pick Jupiter or maybe you are really focused on healing a chronic health issue so you pick Neptune. Learn about the planet. Learn about the God that the planet is named for and resonant to. Find out what prayers were said and what offerings were made traditionally by the people who worked with this energy. Get an image of the planet and put it in a place where you will be sure to see it on a daily basis. Write out the glyph of the planet on paper, in incense smoke, on your skin with oil or lotion. Learn what YOU associate with this particular planet – take the year really getting to know it.

If you want to take this a step farther, find out where the planet is showing up in your natal chart. Jupiter is moving through Capricorn for everyone but one person might have Capricorn ruling their 5th house while another may have it ruling their 8th houses. Those different positions can make a big difference in how that Jupiter in Capricorn energy shows up in your life.

If you want to go even a step further then look at how the planet you have picked is relating to other areas of your chart. Because the planet is moving through a sign it will begin to form different aspects with other parts of your chart throughout the year. If you are an intermediate or advanced student of astrology then plan with an eye to this. Obviously, when Jupiter is squaring your sun you don’t want to try to launch anything or raise money and conversely if it is conjunct your natal Neptune you have a really good opportunity to heal something either physically or spiritually.

As you begin to work with this method of planning you will notice that some outer planets really speak to you while others do not. There are a bunch of reasons for this. Your sun sign has a natural planetary ruler, depending on your chart you may have a planet in a very powerful position (for instance, in my chart Pluto is right on top of my Sun so I have a strong relationship to Pluto). You do not need to know anything about your chart or planetary ruler though to find out which planets really speak to you – all you need to do is pay attention to the moments when planets shift signs and when they go retrograde – those two instances will tell you if you really feel the presence of a planet or not, especially in the case of the outer planets.

Again, to use myself as an example, whenever Pluto goes retrograde I can feel it in my physical body. One year when it happened I got food poisoning and spent the day worshiping at the porcelain throne. In between bouts of vomiting I had to marvel at how precisely affected I was by the planet’s movement, a planet that in astrological medicine is associated with the intestines and waste elimination processes of the body. I came out of that experience with a clear realization that I was overworked and the next day I hired a VA.

So, note when the planets are going retrograde (where they appear to go backward in the sky even though they really are not), and then when those events happen, ask yourself – how do I feel, what have I experienced and what have I realized during this time?

Mercury Moves ~ You can work with the inner planets just as you do with the outer planets but because the inner planets move much faster, it can be a bit overwhelming to plot their course throughout the year. Instead, I recommend you focus on one planet – the fastest moving of them all, good old Mercury. Specifically, you will want to note that what the Mercury Retrograde periods are for 2019. Here they are:

February 16th – March 9, 2020: Retrograde starts at 6:54 PM in Pisces, moves into Aquarius on March 3rd and stations direct on July 9th at 10:49 PM.

June 17, 2020 – July 12, 2020: Retrograde starts at 11:59 PM in Cancer and then stations direct on July 12th at 3:26 AM

October 13, 2020 – November 3, 2020: Retrograde starts at 8:05 PM in Scorpio, moves into Libra on October 27th and ends on the 3rd at 11:50 AM.

Mark these dates in your calendar and then go bookmark this post that tells you what to DO before Mercury goes retrograde.

Mercury is one of the most powerful planets to work with on a daily basis. This Holy Helper rules communication, technology in the day to day, connection, networking, presentations, speech, thought, publishing, friendships, and commerce. In the body, Mercury resonates with our breath, ability to extend, nervous system, and mind. Most people only work with Mercury during its retrograde period, but I fee that of all the inner planets, this is the one that we should really be paying attention to during the whole year. You don’t need to map out all of the Mercury’s movements through the year – but advanced students can notice when Mercury moves over important spots in their charts and beginning students can pay attention to what they encounter during retrograde periods as well as what times of the year they feel especially articulate and clear-headed.

Return to Me ~ A third way to work with planetary transits is to focus on returns. You experience a planetary return when the planet in question returns to the exact point it was at during the time you were born. Because planetary motion is regular, returns are also regular. The best-known return is your solar return – also known as your birthday! Everyone experiences a Jupiter return every 12 years. Mercury returns to its original place in your birth chart every year, and most of us experience a Venus return every one to two years. Saturn returns occur every 28 years. Uranus returns to the exact spot it was in at the time of your birth every 84 years.

Planetary returns respond well to reflection. If you have marked out in your calendars what returns you might experience in a given year then you are more likely to take even a couple of hours and reflect on what you have learned since the last time the planet was in that placement.

OK, so I know this post was information-heavy! As always you can leave a comment on the Canto page and if you have questions let me know and I will answer them. As you start playing with these different possibilities you will probably start to notice a pattern (actually, you will start to notice A LOT of patterns) but you may notice that sometimes there are astrologically sticky moments or that there are big Astro opportunities and now that you have marked them in your calendar you don’t really know what to do with them. I mean sure, you can “be aware” of them – but is there more to it than that? Indeed there is, and that will be what we cover in our third lesson!

Planning by Starlight Part Three

I am so excited to give y’all the third and final lesson in this Planning by Starlight series. Thanks so much to each and every one of you for your participation, great questions, and comments – LOVE Y’ALL!

So, this next lesson is my personal favorite because it deals with what I think of as the number one missing piece when it comes to not just planning with astrology but working with astrology in general. And that, my friends, is magic.

So, here you are. If you followed along with the first two lessons you actually have quite a bit of information. You might be planning according to your sun sign or working with the phases of the moon. You have probably started to map out the transits of the major planets and noted when in the course of 2019 those pesky Mercury Retrogrades are going to occur.

For more advanced students, you might be looking at how some of the major transits will affect your life by noting what area of your charts they show up in and what aspects they form with other important planets and celestial bodies. Whether you have started out very simple or you are getting into the nitty-gritty of planning by starlight, your planners are looking pretty spiffy and you should have a much better sense of the general shape of the year to come.

Now, if you have been paying attention, it is right at this point that a question naturally comes up. You have some solid-Astro information plotted into your planner, yes, but what does one DO with the information? As I said in lesson two – there are more ways to work with this data than just paying attention to it – although truly that is a great place to start.

The first step to working effectively with Astro-planning is to think about practical actions. I have given examples of these throughout the lessons so far – don’t launch something when Jupiter is retrograde, don’t have a big conversation with your significant other when Mercury is retrograde if you want to focus on healing in the year to come work with Neptune, etc, etc. For each astrological observance you have mapped out in your planner you should ask yourself: what practical actions on my part can support this event so that it is a blessing in my life? 

Do note: that does not mean that every Astro event is going to be an obvious blessing. If Saturn is going to be prominently placed in your chart over the next year then you go into the year knowing that it is going to feel like a slog sometimes and expecting to get a little existential. You can also know that practical actions focused on reducing debt, exercising, tying off loose ends and generally being super responsible will be deeply supported by Saturn while going on a Jupiter/Venus/Neptune inspired art binging and shopping spree (and sure, throw in a wild love affair while you are at it) is NOT going to work well for you, no matter how fun it sounds.

There has been a debate in astrology forever about free will vs. fate with some ancient astrologers saying that the stars are the stars and whatever they indicate is simply fated to occur while others have always disagreed and claimed that it is our relationship with the stars that is the determining factor. As a sacred artist, I fall firmly into the second camp, I believe our relationship to the stars is essential to both our understanding of them and our ability to work with them and not against them. After assessing what practical actions you can take, you may find that there are certain events that really seem to stand out for you. Maybe there will be a moment in the coming year when Jupiter is conjunct your natal Sun, perhaps Pluto is transiting the area of your chart the deals with money and cash flow (the 2nd house) and it has you a bit on edge, maybe you see that Uranus is changing signs from Aries to Taurus and the last time that happened we experienced both WWII and the Great Depression and so you are wondering…how exactly does one have a right relationship with that? This is where magic comes in.

Magic is the Ace in the hole for astrologers who do not buy into the fixed fate idea of the stars. More than that, as two Sacred Arts, magic and astrology have always been deeply related. Magicians, Priestesses, Sorcerers, and Witches all have worked with astrology to give them a sense of timing and to increase their chances of accomplishing whatever it is they have set out to accomplish with their magical work.

Some magical materials and talismans are traditionally made taking detailed astrological information into account – and for that reason can only be made at certain times or during certain years. In today’s world, more people are familiar with astrology than they are with magic and so we see more and more people moving to magic as a way to deepen their understanding and relationship with the stars.

If there is an astrological event that is coming up over the horizon for you and you want to get the most out of it then I guarantee you the best way to do that is to marry smart practical actions with simple magic. And, very much like planning with astrology, you do not need to know much about magic in order to start working with this process. In fact, here are three ways you can start immediately:

Elemental my dear Watson ~ One of the ways that we know that magic and astrology are related sacred arts is because they share a common language and that is the language of the 5 classical elements. (For our purposes I am focusing on “Western” astrology – although much of it originated and was developed in the Middle East, and “Western” magic – although much of it has originated and developed all over the globe. To that end, I am referring to the classical “Western” elemental system, popularized by the ancient Greeks, but worked extensively in ancient Egypt and ancient Persia). These elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit (also known in some traditions as Ether). Every planet, zodiac sign, and the house of the chart has an element associated with it. And in an individual’s chart, there is often one or two elements that make strong appearances as well as one or two that do not appear much or at all.

This elemental information is useful to notice when it comes to all kinds of things – from balancing your health to balancing your checkbook, but it is also very useful to know when it comes to making magic because many forms of magic also work extensively with the elements. Your initial approach to this can be so simple that it might not even feel like magic (and typically that is a sign that you are actually on the right track).

So, for instance, let’s say that my writing about Mercury has piqued your interest and you want to develop a deeper relationship with that particular planet. Mercury is associated with the element of Air so you might write a petition and then hang it from a tree so that the wind is able to blow through it, activating it. Or you might burn incense to Mercury on his special day of the week (Wednesday). If you want to take it deeper you might find out (or work with a professional astrologer to determine) when Mercury transits over the hot spots of your chart and set aside those days to do a little deeper work with the speedy messenger planet.

Perhaps you are really focused on physical healing in the coming year and have decided to work with Neptune. Let’s take it a step further and say that you have learned that Neptune is going to be conjunct (sitting right next to) your natal moon in Pisces. The element that both Neptune and Pisces are attuned to is water. So one beautiful way to work with this magically would be to take some drinking water, place it in a clear crystal or glass container, set it out under the Full Moon in Pisces (which occurs once a year at the end of August or in September) and allow the water to soak up the moonbeams and the vibe from Neptune. The next morning bring the water inside, say a blessing over yourself for healing, and drink the water down.

The singular best way to begin exploring the connection between astrology and elemental magic is to look at your own chart and discover which element is most strongly represented there. Begin to develop a relationship with that element. Here are some questions to help you do that:
What have my experiences of this element been like in my life?

What colors, scents, sounds, places, and stories do I associate with this element?

How do I feel when I am around this element?

How do I feel when I am away from it for a long period of time?

Sunrise, Sunset ~ Another, very old, way of working with astrology and magic is by working with the sunrise and sunset. This is probably one of the first ways our ancestors combined the sacred arts of magic and astrology because it is a daily occurrence and quite visible to the naked eye.

Work with the rising sun all the way up until the point that the sun reaches its zenith in the sky as a time of drawing towards you whatever it is that you have need of. You might ask for general blessings, for increased knowledge of astrology, or for something more specific. Notice how your requests change throughout the year and notice if there are times when you feel especially resonant with the sun’s presence and other times when you do not.

In the same way, work with the setting sun to remove things from your life you no longer need. Again, the requests may be general or specific. And again, you will want to notice when you feel especially attuned to the sun as well as when you might not.

Again, this magical work can look very simple. Standing in the direction of East (to work with the rising sun) or West (to work with the setting sun) and stating your need or desire out loud is one great way to get started. Take it farther by building an altar in the east or the west and doing you any attraction work or banishing work in those places respectively. Light a candle as the sun is rising in honor of its fiery strength, or focus on a melting candle as the sun sets with the expectation that whatever you are releasing or repelling will also melt away.

Moon Magic ~ Working magically with the moon is one of the oldest kinds of magic work. When we stand in the moonlight and listen to the night sounds we all feel our inner magic-maker begins to stir! Like the Sun, the Moon has phases that are an idea for drawing and attracting whatever it is that you need and/or starting new endeavors, as well as phases for completing any outstanding work and tying off loose ends and also phases for celebrating what has been accomplished thus far.

The first thing to do if you want to magically work with the moon is to get a sense of the different phases. At the very least pay attention to the days when the Moon is full and then again when the Moon is new. Here is an article on making magic with the full moon and here is one for the new moon. The phase of the moon just before the New Moon often called the Dark Moon is also a potent time, especially for self-care. Each half phase of the moon (known as quarters) is also special: the waning quarter moon is an ideal time for banishing magic and the waxing quarter moon is a great time for divination and/or sharpening your divination skills.

As you begin to explore the wild and wonderful world of lunar magic you will also realize that there are actually six months of magic in every full moon.

Again, I know I have given you all a ton of info but I really want you to have some basic tools that allow you to move from just passively noting the significant Astro dates to actively working with the stars, planets, and the magic that speaks to them to create not only an organized year for yourself but a year that flows and is full of a road that is open and a way that is clear!
May it be so!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Find your Freedom

Lunar Letter

O

n Saturday we celebrate a wildly radiant New Moon. Just a reminder, the New Moon is the best possible time to plant new seeds, ideas, creative aspirations, and start various projects and missions.

Every month we are blessed with a New Moon in a different Zodiac sign and this month the moon shines her dark glory down on us from Sagittarius — the freedom-loving, travel-happy archer.

Sagittarius, associated with the 9th house of the zodiac wheel and the planet Jupiter, is the great teacher. The Sanskrit word for teacher is Guru and linguistically related to the word “gravity.” This is what real teaching possesses — gravity. Not in the sense of everything is oh so dire and dreadful, but in the sense that we are serious…about living our best possible life, walking our true paths, and cultivating love in all of our actions.

Hitting the bull’s eye has real gravitas, it carries weight, and who better to teach that skill than the Archer? What does he encourage us to aim for?

Freedom.

Because here is the truth: when we cultivate freedom, real freedom, we also cultivate our ability to commit to what matters most.

Take aim. Steady your arm. Let it go and let it flow.

What is your favorite quality about the sign Sagittarius and/or planet Jupiter?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

November Astro RX

Divination and Dreams

S

o it is obviously the time of the Archer and we are all Sagittarians at least a little bit this month. We start of slow and patient with the Full Moon in Taurus but then it is Sag, Sag, Sag. The ninth sign of the Zodiac is ruled by benevolent, party-loving Jupiter and traditionally is associated with teaching, philosophy, travel, and the great outdoors. Sagittarius has a practical, earthy energy that is uplifted and inspired by ideas and new experiences. A core concept for Sagittarius is ease and another is freedom. November is a good month to consider how both themes play out in our own lives no matter our sign.

11/6: Full Moon in Taurus

See the lunar letter for the full details.

  • What am I not allowing myself to fully savor right now?

11/16: Venus into Sagittarius

Planet of love, beauty, and parties moves into the sign of philosophy, the great outdoors, traveling, teaching, and parties. So…

  • What does gathering together mean for you? OR
  • What is the Wild teaching you right now?

11/22: Sun into Sagittarius

Sagittarians across the board celebrate and we all get a whiff of easy breezy freedom and a renewed interest in learning about what really matters.

  • What kind of learning do I want to dedicate myself to now?

11/22: New Moon into Sagittarius

See Canto for the full scoop.

  • What is the greatest obstacle to my freedom right now?

11/27: Mercury into Sagittarius

The planet of ideas and communication moving into idea loving Sagittarius makes this an ideal time to examine/re-examine/develop your guiding ideals and philosophies.

  • Do my ideas and beliefs continue to reflect who I am right now and what I have come to know?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.