About Jessica Shepherd

Jessica Shepherd is a writer, astrologer and health coach who has studied and practiced modern astrology since 1992. She is the author of A Love Alchemist’s Notebook: Magical Secrets For Drawing Your True Love Into Your Life (Llewellyn, 2010) and the books Venus Signs: Discover Your Erotic Gifts and Secret Desires Through Astrology
(Llewellyn, 2015) and Karmic Dates and Momentary Mates: The Astrology of the Fifth House (Moonkissd, 2014). She has written for print and online publications (Astrology.com, Astrocenter.com, WellBeing Magazine AU, Llewellyn's Moon Signs Book) and publishes an astrology blog called Moonkissd. With a private astrology practice, Jessica lives and works from a funky pink cottage in Fairfax, CA with her husband, three step-daughters and five four three two one chicken.

Ask Aphrodite-July 4, 2016

Dear Aphrodite, I love a guy very much; he knows my feelings for him, but he just keeps saying “I like you” and “I don’t want to lose you.” His changeable attitude towards me confuses me; he always calls me if he needs advice or help, or someone to understand him, but he has a girlfriend. I don’t understand what to do. The times we spend together are some of the happiest moments in my life. Maya

Dear Maya, Oh, dear. We all have fallen into this unfortunate rabbit hole from time to time (can I get a hear, hear?!). Unreciprocated love has got to be one of the cruelest love lessons we grow through as humans. I think what makes it infinitely more cruel than it has to be is that we tend to think they don’t love us because there is something inherently wrong with us. This isn’t the case! But our psyche just goes there, maybe at first out of boredom, or simply trying to understand the unfathomable, but if we let that subconscious thought linger too long it communicates something deeper about our (low) self-esteem.

I don’t know if this is something that is keeping you hooked and hanging around a relationship that’s clearly not going anywhere, but it’s a wormy little thing lurking in many a woman’s mind and heart, a fear that because this one person doesn’t love you, others probably won’t, either. I want to tell you: That’s such baloney. One of my favorite phrases about this phase of relationship, dating, I lifted from a marketing/sales guy: “It’s not about rejection, it’s about selection.” Because, really, who can control who they fall in love with, or who they don’t (think about it a moment: Have you ever been able to simply choose who you fall in love with? If you haven’t, why do you think he should be able to do that?)?

I suspect that if you weren’t caught in this misunderstanding you’d already have moved on from this guy, because deep down we all know that it is far more juicy to be loved in the way we want to be loved – or be in hot pursuit of the promise of that all-encompassing, mutual love – than hanging around someone who can only offer crumbs of affection. Put this mantra on your mirror, right after you say goodbye to Mr. Crumbs: “I want to be with someone who feels as deliciously wild and crazy about me as I do about him.” If you still need a compelling (astrological) reason to do so: Because, you have Venus in Libra, and for you, love must be a give and take, a two-way street. When you find someone who truly deserves to be placed so high on your pedestal, you’ll know it — they will do the same for you.

Jessica Shepherd | Astrologer & Author | Health Coach

read the full article »»

Sagittarius Full Moon: A World You Want To Live In

Attractive woman over the cloud world map

Have you ever found your self in a relationship dynamic that you didn’t want to be in? Ever find your self, wondering: How did it get this bad? Was it the leaky faucet we neglected to fix? All those times I went silent when I should’ve spoken? That’s how many of us feel, lately, living in this world gone mad. And this dysfunctional relationship is extremely one-sided. The world is not being a good listener. It doesn’t ask you what you want and need, nor does it care. No matter how much you try to fix it, no matter how much you try to help, like an alcoholic that needs to bottom out on its own, it does what it does. No, it’s not going to change — not anytime soon, anyhow.

Yet here we are, on social media, in our conversations, attempting to have a relationship with a world gone crazy. My social media feed is a noisy cacophony of responses. Planet of communication, Mercury, in Gemini, is filling out a t-square to the Saturn-Neptune square at this Full Moon. Language can feel futile right now; how does one engage nonsense? As the saying goes, You can’t reason with crazy. Opinions have never been so freely on tap, and when everyone feels the need to speak up and share what they think, how we use our words becomes increasingly important. Do we perpetuate fear, or love, with our words and thoughts? I’ve decided the only appropriate response to world events is art. Perhaps, poetry. Maybe some spoken word:

Make all things possible again because I cannot see

I AM in a snowstorm searching for my keys

I’m being bombarded by a thousand things I did not ever want, nor ask for

None of this is mine

All of this is mine,


No, this isn’t a world I created -at least I don’t remember doing so. Yet now it is mine and I, and you, have a choice about how to participate. We can throw our words into the ring- share the innumerable meme and hate-battling sentiments, fill up our rectangular white comment blocks with more… words (sometimes our participation magnifies something, making it bigger). We can allow the fire to purify our purpose and send us on a mission to do some real good and healing. We can become a more effective change-maker (and if you know how to do this, please step forward now). If we’ve ever contributed to the shadows of bigotry, prejudice, hate and injustice that’s plaguing us now, we have the responsibility to help clean that stuff up. Or we can choose to not participate.

Let me say this: You are not a cruel and insensitive person for not openly bleeding all over your Facebook feed. Refusing to engage with a world gone mad is not avoidance. It is preservation of sanity.  I’m thinking of the recently deceased Muhammad Ali, a conscientious objector who decided to not participate in something unconscionable- the Vietnam War. I’m thinking of myself, and all the empaths who, when an act of violence drops into the atmosphere, feel it in our physical body, as something painfully destabilizing that starts making little then more noticeable inroads into our sanity, centeredness, and ability to hold peace and healing for our selves and others. Empathic or not, we are all being impacted by world events on energetic levels.

We may not be able to choose the world we live in, but we can choose to inhabit a world we want to live in. Full Moon Sagittarius shines a light beam of hope and possibility into the darkness. Let’s reach for higher ground– if only inside our self. Let’s imagine a world we want to live in. Close your eyes. What do you see? Everything is possible inside your mind’s eye, perhaps not on the outside (not yet anyhow) but inside you have an arena to play and create. Follow your inspirations, now more than ever. Give yourself permission to have a sacred sanctuary that upholds everything you stand for, your beliefs, your loves, beauty, values and truth. Hang out there. Often. You are not burying your head in the sand. You are holding a light of peace for us all. 

I create the world I want to live in. I take many trips to the garden. I court hummingbirds, wear rose oil and read books I love because this makes me feel good. Instead of giving myself over to emotional depletion, I vigilantly fill myself up. I remember what’s important, as a practice, many times a day and when fear, paranoia and despair arises from the ego structures that perpetuate them, I let that stuff go. That is not the world I want to live in. By not participating in a world I do not want, I start to create the world I want. That’s how I help heal everything. I plant flowers. I listen to music. I make dinner. I make love. I make art.

I do my women’s work

The work that all women do,

Silent but not quiet

We ask for fresh water, for healing, cleansing

We make magic disguised as small ordinary everyday things

Feeling blood pump back into muscle

Remembering what’s not mine and what is mine, strength grows

There is power in small places

A garden can feed a neighborhood

A bedroom can conceive a life

A dream can give rise to vision

An ant can pull 5,000x her body weight

Miracles happen

A hippopotamus gives strawberry pink milk to her young

My strawberry flows into me and into you

I leave a trail of sweet smelling fragrance wherever I walk

Light follows me

Sound of music and birds find me

I open my mailbox and I receive… my self


I can find myself again because I know where to look

I can take nourishment in the Mother

Venus has just entered Cancer, sign of the Mother Goddess, and the Sun will join her on this Full Moon day. The feminine always has healing nourishment on hand. The feminine, with her ability to nourish beauty and all of life even in the most desolate of times, can turn bitter vinegar into sweet wine, can teach us how to heal, and, like a flower gently turning toward the sun, open our hearts to love. She awaits, a perpetual invitation to remember our divinity. This is my world, a world I want to live in. I choose to inhabit this world. How about you?


read the full article »»

Sagittarius Full Moon: New GPS

Hiker woman with a compass in the mountains

Did you ever read the children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth? It’s a story about the importance of being willing to engage our life journey, and to learn from it. It begins with a young man named Milo, who is bored. He receives a package one day, with a map, and note that reads, “For Milo, who has plenty of time.” The package instructs him to have a destination in mind, but he disregards that, and as he plays in his room a whole world opens up and he’s taken to his first stop, called Expectations, where he is sidetracked by the Whether Man’s incessant banter, and daydreams his way into the Doldroms, a colorless, boring place. But as he engages his journey, he meets companions, is inspired to undertake a quest and just when he decides life and the world is thoroughly interesting and beautiful and he was all wrong about the “boring” part, he’s dropped by the phantom tollbooth back into his own bedroom with a new note that reads: “For Milo, who now knows the way.”

Our natal chart is like Milo’s map, an object of wonder with its hints and suggestions “head this way… no, go that way” and even glimmers of arriving at a true north. Yet even if we have a map we all bungle through life to some degree, don’t we? That’s because we are here to have experiences, make new connections and learn. None of us are given a guidebook, a scripted “how-to” for seamless navigation of life’s ups and downs. Life is an object lesson in improvisation, in thinking on our feet, connecting the dots and reading feedback. We’re ALL doing stand-up here.

Especially, now. Doesn’t it feel like we’ve entered a new world, one where a high degree of uncertainty and volatility is the new normal? Gemini is the mentally agile part of us that responds to our busy, changing environment with curiosity. Gemini says, It’s a fascinating, changeable world, and one worth discussing. It’s an information-rich sign, with a lot of ideas– all worth considering –but too many can spin our brains into cotton and lead us into confusion. Sagittarius can be the evangelical know-it-all who expresses that there’s only one right way and morally condemns others for their views -or- the wise counterpart to Gemini, helping us to step back from all the noise, sort through information, look at the big picture through a philosophical framework, use higher reasoning to get to higher ground. This lunation asks us to cut through the noise and find our own inner mountain top, though we can get easily sidetracked in the heat of the moment.

I’ve been witnessing a lot of heated debates about right versus wrong, lately, people condemning others for their opinion while placing theirs above others. Mars in Sagittarius retrograde joins this Full Moon. Self-righteousness is in the air. There is a right way and there is a wrong one, and you better know the difference…. That’s ego’s perspective. Ego separates. Yet none of us can claim to know what the world, or others, truly need. That’s Spirit’s perspective. It’s helpful to distinguish.

Fiery Mars invites us to engage life with our energy and choices, but retrograde, that may mean its time to pull back, disengage, recalibrate our compass. Maybe a behavior is no longer working.For instance, entertaining too many opinions, gossip, mental worry can fragment and divide the attention we need to be in the driver’s seat of our life. Ah, the Whether Man. The more people take a fiery moral stance, the more it seems to cause division and drag everyone down. You’ve now entered the land of Expectations –bound to disappoint. Let’s remember that we’re all doing improv, here.

I’ve been on my own Mars journey, getting new information by connecting meditatively to my higher self – an unexpected side effect of starting to do energy work to learn how to manage being an Empath (Mars in Sagittarius has been retrograding around my Neptune). It feels like I’m driving the same car, the same body, but I’m getting a new GPS download, a new way of driving my vehicle. It’s been unexpected, but it wasn’t unintentional. I engaged the uncomfortable things that were happening in my life and I became willing to grow and learn from them. That’s always been my personal philosophy, and it’s served me well in terms of growth and life satisfaction.

What’s your guiding philosophy? Is your compass, your GPS, working – or could it use an upgrade? We are each intrepid explorers on a quest for personal truth in a world full of uncertainty and differences, and while we have more in common than not, we are also so different. It’s easy to generalize truth with a capital T, but that’s not working anymore. The old GPS says there’s one right way for everyone. The new GPS says there’s a right way for you, and only you can know exactly what that looks like for you.

If you have more questions than answers, that’s in the air, too. We’ve got time to puzzle this one out; this is the first of two Sagittarius Full Moons. But with Mars’ placement, this is a clear call for deliberate action/choices, from higher wisdom ground. After all, life will always generously carry you along its stream, but only you decide, with your willingness to engage, read feedback, and learn from your experiences, whether you end up any wiser for the ride.

read the full article »»

Ask Aphrodite-May 21, 2016

Dear Aphrodite, I’ve experienced some grievous losses recently and am despairing of ever enjoying any sort of deep love or relationship again, or even feeling real joy. Transiting Saturn is squaring my natal Venus, which goes right along with the uncomfortable way I feel about a most of my relationships right now, and my fears about love. Do you see anything in my chart that might help me to feel more optimistic about what seems like a bleak future regarding romantic love?-Spica

Dear Spica, I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m concerned that you’re limiting your self in terms of how you approach love. Romantic love is only one form of love, and though it’s the most popular and coveted, by thinking purely in terms of romantic love we limit our selves from experiencing other forms of love available to us.

According to Plato there are many forms of love; there’s phileo, a tender, warm “platonic” love that inspires affection and loyalty, as you might feel for some friends you want to have in your life. There’s storge, the love that we feel when we are bonded to someone. It has an unconditional feeling to it- like the love you feel for a pet, best friend or partner. It is a primarily safe and accepting love.  There’s eros, of course, the grand passion comprised of raw sexuality and emotions. Then there’s my personal favourite, agape love, the love you feel for your fellow human beings. You don’t have to know or even like them to experience agape.  This love surpasses all conditions, faults and shortcomings. It’s the kind of love you feel when you’re standing in line at the supermarket, feeling utterly alone in your plight and with pain heavy in your heart, and you have the sudden awareness that every other human is feeling their own version of what you’re feeling and that realization inspires a wellspring of connection in your heart to all the other hearts beating around you. Agape has supreme healing grace in it. It offers resilience and buoyancy in times of darkness.

Grief is a difficult but natural part of life and has its own timeline; we just don’t know how long this tunnel will be. All the more reason to expand your ability to receive love in all of its ways and means. Has a painting or work of art ever moved you to laughter? Has a walk in nature ever given you to a powerful sense of connection? Have those precious animal videos always circulating on social media ever opened your heart on a sleepless, lonely night? These are the secret teachings of Aphrodite/Venus, too, about how to receive love, joy and connection –no matter what season of life you find yourself in. You have Venus in Virgo opposed by Jupiter in Pisces in your natal chart, so I have a feeling I’m speaking your language. Don’t underestimate the power of your Venus to offer you these seemingly small experiences that are meant to expand your capacity to appreciate and receive the love, joy and connection in all of its forms. Plus, you do know your loved ones would want you to enjoy your time here, right? People who’ve had NDE (near death experiences) or life-between-life regressions, all report the same thing: Earth’s chocolate and gardens, afternoon champagne dates with friends and shoe shopping is unparalleled!

read the full article »»

Scorpio Full Moon: The Guts of Love

love you to death


A few of my friends are in newly committed relationships. After the heady high of romance, things can get rocky. From listening to their stories, I’m reminded of the challenges a relationship faces during that precarious and magnificent time when two people decide to merge hearts & lives.

John and I very quickly decided we couldn’t live without each other; time was made irrelevant by the fact that we had found our other half. There is no more glorious feeling than finally finding the one you love. Cue: angel wings and the horns of heaven. So why then was the first year or two of our relationship so fraught with dramatic fights, fears and cry-fests (mostly mine)?

During those first years of commitment we seemed to bring out one another’s worst fears. He: that no woman would want to commit to a man who already had three children. He had proof of this, as a staggeringly high number of single women refused to give him, a single father, a chance. He also had other, more personal fears I won’t name here, irrational fears whose origins still bewilder me today.

As for me, I ping-ponged back and forth between care-taking his fears and verily actualizing my worst nightmare. Every fight was another opportunity for him to abandon me, for me to abandon me. Every fight inspired an ancient anxiety in me, the feeling I needed to flee, to save myself from being hurt. I was so deeply afraid that every argument meant our relationship was over, and so defiant in my self-protective instinct to save myself before it happened, this virtually guaranteed a fight would end up leading to that deep dark place in myself. My yo-yo behaviour could cause me to walk away, or plea in tears for his understanding. Sometimes I would go cold as ice while internally hugging my fragile self  (held together by band-aids, paper clips, chewing gum at this point) so tightly that I would come close to hyperventilation –a nod to the way I used to hold my breath as a child when my parents would fight. Where was the self-aware, courageous, open-hearted woman he fell in love with? I was becoming a hot mess.

It was horrible and glorious at once, to be so in so much love and so much hurt. Both of us knew we were one another’s soul mates, so why was this happening?  It was as if… our magnificent joining brought out our very best and our very worst. It was as if… we finally found the lock to the key that neither of us could unlock alone. When love really opens us up, everything opens up. The blood, the guts and the wounding.  There was no more hiding the fact that somewhere deep inside we each felt deeply unworthy, unlovable, abandoned, and that all the crimes visited on our hearts by those we had loved would be revisited by the person whom we now loved  – and more than we ever thought possible.

This is the point in the story where things could have gone either way. Looking back, I see that we were going through a powerful and painful process of trust-earning. By showing one another our respective wounds, we were asking each other, albeit unconsciously: Will you betray me? Will you go away, too? Are you sure?   If we had remained unconscious to those questions, if we had allowed them to secretly lurk behind every fight, our relationship would have spiraled out of control. But what happened was this: Neither of us left because neither of us wanted that. We wanted to be together. Over time, we caught on to what was happening. We realized that if we didn’t talk about and include our deepest wounds in our newfound love, we would destroy it.  As we both began to trust that the other person wasn’t going to leave, we knew the relationship could survive our deepest demons.

The Scorpio Full Moon sheds light on the honest, bloody, ooey-gooey guts of things. The truth is, we cannot be wholly loved without being whole, and we cannot be whole without being fully seen and loved by another, our icky, wounded parts and all. Whether we’ve been struggling with hidden patterns in intimacy, or we feel blocked from moving forward in our lives, this Full Moon shines light into the darkness. Under her cool light, our resource is the degree of emotional intimacy and honesty we have with our self.

There’s always a breakout moment in relationship, a critical point where all our shadow stuff is, often gracelessly and perhaps dramatically, revealed. Yet this isn’t a disaster. It could be the moment where we find the courage and love in our heart to fully face our self, our most unattractive parts, our deepest fears.   It could be the moment where our greatest love meets our greatest pain, and loves us through it.

During those first years, we learned to restrain our selves from compulsively pushing our relationship to the edge. We learned to understand exactly how our train went off the rails, and perhaps more importantly, we learned to pause during those high-emotional-stakes-moments and refuse to engage the story. For instance, if the thought “this is it, this is really the end” crept into every disagreement, it brought unsafe energy into relationship, energy that does not inspire trust and so undermines the container that can hold it all. We learned to back off during those moments, and to gently befriend our own wounds, sometimes in the privacy of our own self. Scorpio needs calming Taurus as a balance; it takes guts to quell one’s fears, to be gentle and kind. It takes wisdom to back away from the edge of a too-intense conversation and get an ice cream, instead.

We survived each other and lived to tell the tale. From the other side I can confidently say that being seen wholly by the one we most love, sticking together through hell and high water, has big healing power. Intimacy unleashes a river of healing and forgiveness that we cannot access alone. It is the ultimate compassion. At this Full Moon, look into the mirror of your Beloved, or the Moon herself. It takes courage to face your deepest fears, your disowned self-parts, to take a deep look at the truth and to finally… breathe.

image source: Pinterest

read the full article »»

Ask Aphrodite-April 7, 2016

Dear Aphrodite, My relationship has just ended, a relationship that I deeply believed would be a lifelong partnership. Our connection felt very unique and singular, but we neglected the third body, our relationship. He left me for someone he had just met.  Is there any insight you can give into why this pattern of being left, either through infidelity or seeing your partner fall in love with someone else, has repeated for me? -Anna

Dear Anna, I don’t believe a birth chart can tell us whether we are vulnerable to patterns of infidelity, however, it does illuminate blind spots and areas of growth with others.

Astrologically, you were born during a full moon phase which consistently draws you toward relationship to learn about your self. Partners are your greatest teachers. With Gemini Moon on your seventh house cusp, ongoing dialogue, being present to and involved with the daily life of the partnership, staying in touch and most importantly really listening to what’s being communicated (or not), are vital to an engaged, balanced relationship. Your third house Pisces South Node (ruled by Sun-Neptune conjunction in the twelfth house) suggests you can become overly absorbed in your own dreamy inner world and processes. When you get too relaxed into the daily patterns of partnership you can miss out on the nuances of information available to you, from your partner. Being curious about the other’s perceptions, present, making daily efforts to check in about work, life, each other’s satisfaction levels, desires and needs from the relationship are ways of staying engaged.

With your natal Venus and Uranus conjunct in Scorpio, intimacy involves compassionate emotional honesty, transparency, sexual empowerment and deep loyalty. Unfortunately this pinnacle of intimacy often arises only after “fierce grace” type experiences with others. I’m so sorry you have experienced betrayal, and I think this is important to say: It is not your fault. Experiencing the complexity of feeling around betrayal, grief and entering into process the healing of emotional trust and forgiveness is high Venus in Scorpio work. Honor this Venus work as part of your sacred feminine journey.

Here are some more practical tips:

We always attract from our Venus sign, so if you’re not drawing in the higher expression you may be attracting from your Venus shadow. For you, unreliable partners who may hold a piece of their self separate/dissociated from the relationship (Uranus) and who are not totally honest with you (Venus in Scorpio) are pointing you toward areas to look at, in yourself. Commit to embodying your Venus’ need to have a fiercely honest, healed, and rich relationship to your self, to others, to life.

Also, with such a clear pattern established, if you haven’t already, take a look at your primary relationship model: your parents. Journal about the model they set for you. Include their secrets, longings, unmet needs, dreams. If you don’t know what those were, imagine what they might have been (kids are really good at picking up on what was not voiced or expressed).

It’s rich territory to discover patterns occurring in our relationship life, even though the process leading us to awareness is painful. Yet if you consider every single relationship as a precious teacher, use those lessons learned as stepping stones toward greater authenticity and connection with your self, you get closer to finding, and keeping, the love you dearly desire.  –Jessica

read the full article »»

Libra Lunar Eclipse: Fierce Medicine

Libra by Jesi86

Several times over the past few weeks, friends and clients, while talking about their experiences with both making judgments on others, or being unfairly judged, have asked me a leading question, “I bet you have been judged a lot, being in the public eye?” Before my first book was published, I had a channeled reading with one of my teachers who said: Expectations come with this new book and role. Many new people will love and elevate you, and there will be people whom you will disappoint. He was right.

Show me a Libra Rising who wants to disappoint others and I’ll show you an empty room. Yet, it’s true; many have connected with me, but I’ve let others down, too. About my books, I’ve been told that Karmic Dates, is nothing original, no better than what’s found on the web; that A Love Alchemist’s Notebook is too “Chicken Soup For The Soul” (is this a bad thing?). I’ve been told that Venus Signs, because it was written from and for a woman’s perspective, “offers little more than entertainment value”.

If you are committed to being vulnerable and real, there is no armor strong enough to protect you from the sting of judgment. People judge. Some more than others, but people judge. You can’t please everyone. You can only please your self. Because art wouldn’t be created if we spent our time worrying about what others will think or say. Because I don’t want to be the kind of writer or person who is so afraid of owning a perspective that her self-expression is robotic, and instead of producing a work of art, poetry, produces an encyclopedia of knowledge that, while exhaustive in its ability to name all the permutations and possibilities to account for everyone’s perspective who reads it, often reads more like a textbook and fails to touch the human heart. That kind of writing doesn’t turn me on. That kind of writing is not what comes out. It isn’t me.

I have been judged for what I have said, for what I have not said and, like many, I’ve been unjustly judged. Honestly, when my friend asked about being judged, my mind went to an incident I experienced last weekend, at a hotel. A mix of about twenty adults and teenaged kids, who were having a dance party late at night in the hotel lobby, decided to harass me for no apparent reason, as I played with my iPhone from the balcony above. The ringleaders were adults, which surprised me (I later learned, from the clerk, they thought I had complained about them being too noisy; I hadn’t, though they were). I was shocked at the example the adults were teaching kids; essentially, to bully strangers. I actually wondered if I was secretly being filmed on a reality show, because I am so rarely exposed to nasty people anymore that I could only associate them with t.v.

This eclipse falls on my Libra-Pluto, Aries-Mars, Cancer-Sun, Capricorn-North-Node cardinal cross, so I got to revisit the times I’ve bullied, picked on, harassed, violated. I got to revisit all the times I’d been called “gringa”, “white skinny bitch” and “Ethiopian” in junior high; and the time I was attacked in an empty stairwell. I got to revisit times I’ve felt grossly, unjustly misunderstood- to realize how futile it is to attempt to be understood. Heck, don’t entirely understand me, why I have this particular lesson, only that I am learning, one experience at a time, the more I: refuse to get pulled down by negative behavior, continue to stand in my core value of kindness while deciding to not be a victim and stand up for myself… the more I honor my self. Frankly, it feels good to be at this stage of maturity, where I can so clearly see how much I’ve grown

And that’s why I give gratitude to this eclipse. Eclipses bring up old patterns, to show us how far we’ve come and just how ready we are to grow, to move ten steps ahead and close out the pattern, once and for all. As I’ve observed my clients face similar fast and furious eclipse growth lessons, they’ve been so literal it’s uncanny.  One client’s latest love interest, instead of leading with his strengths (the typical way people express interest in having a relationship with us), basically handed her a resume of all the reasons, and warnings, about why she should not date him. Still, for her, breaking old patterns isn’t easy. It isn’t easy for any of us. But right now we can and should reach, because the stronger the evidence we are being given, the more ready we are to end this pattern. As Jimmy Cliff once sang, the harder they come, the harder they fall. 

At this Libra Full Moon Lunar Eclipse, our evolution is tied into the lives of others. Who are your teachers right now? What are they showing you about your self? What lesson are you finally ready to graduate? Just because something is happening, again, and looks eerily similar to the past, doesn’t mean that it is a repeat performance, that we’re going down the cosmic toilet bowl, doomed to repeat flush forever. We have a choice: we can get pulled back into the undertow, or we can stand at the helm of our little boat we call our life and make a new choice. From a spiritual perspective, everyone is here to help you grow. Maybe that means experiencing judgment so you can realise only you have the power to give your self away. Maybe others are showing you bad behavior so you can see how good you’ve gotten at honoring you. Or maybe it’s about severing an unhealthy relationship and committing to healthy partnering. Maybe you are learning the Libran values of civility, kindness, empathy, because your behavior is being perceived by others as rude, unkind, tactless or self-absorbed. Whatever “it” is, your current growth path, the Cosmos have been giving you oodles of obvious clues, lately.

As we move into an Aries Sun month, let’s each take confidence in our birthright to unapologetically shine from our center and trust what comes out as true for us. It takes courage to take a stand, whether voicing your political beliefs, addressing injustice, or writing a book from a unique perspective. It takes courage to put your voice and choices out there for the world to see, to stand in your truth, to make yourself vulnerable to judgment. It takes courage to turn corners on an old pattern. You can do this. Just stand in your center, friends, make choices from your deepest, truest values. Because at day’s end, when you rest your head on your pillow, what other people did or said doesn’t matter. What matters most is how you feel about you.

image: Libra by Jesi86, Deviantart.com

read the full article »»

Virgo Full Moon: A Little Broken


On top of several other conditions I was attempting to heal, I got really sick last week. It was the full catastrophe. Suddenly I was flooded with self-doubt. Was it the chocolate (sugar-free) I had been sparingly eating lately that had taxed my adrenals and made me vulnerable? Or the gluten-free naan bread I had treated myself to a few days prior? Despite having been told by the contractor who had been working on our house that black mold was found, and removed, which certainly was the culprit of the latest problem, I still managed to attempt to take responsibility for all that was broken in me. I still managed to re-trace every possible false move I had made, every emotion not skillfully handled, because I was certain that if I had just done better- managing everything- I’d have been okay.

To add gas to the fire, my physician naively heaped a good old-fashioned helping of guilt on me during a vulnerable moment, insinuating that I was creating my illness by certain things I was not doing correctly (according to him). The sharp, sudden anger I felt woke me up to my own self- flagellation and I realized how tired I was. Of this guilt-ridden story. Of criticizing my own best efforts. Of being vulnerable to being made wrong by others. Of taking responsibility for everything that takes an unexpected turn or falls apart, when the reality is I’m doing the best I can. Because focusing on what’s wrong instead of what’s right is no way to live. In fact, it’s not living at all.

How often do we do this to our self? How often do we practice self-recrimination, self-comparison, self-shaming and self-loathing all in the name of “working on our self”? I know I am not perfect. I know I’ve got issues, but I also know that self-improvement efforts are not the source of my happiness. Taking responsibility for creating my entire reality can leave me feeling burdened and broken. When there’s always something to fix inside our selves it’s impossible to be happy. The fact is, we’re all a little broken. We’re all striving for something higher. It is good to want to improve, fix things. But if a sense of inadequacy, wrong-ness or shame is at the core of your self- improvement efforts, it will never feel like you have done enough. You will always fall short. You will also measure others by what you haven’t achieved – an idealistic state of perfection that doesn’t exist outside of self-help books. And you will never be happy. At least, that is my experience.

With expansive Jupiter in fix-it Virgo (until 9/9/16), we’ve received the cosmic missive that any improvements we undertake: perfecting our self, working on our issues, our life, can make our life better, bigger. Virgo’s shadow is shame, self-hatred, guilt, perfectionism, idealism… and Jupiter, near the transiting North Node, can exaggerate this shadow. There’s a dark side to chasing the light of some impossible standard that doesn’t exist on Earth, and I think we are all vulnerable to this.

What’s the solution? More self-love. Unconditional self-love, radical self-acceptance, is the antidote.

We each have healing to do and we still deserve love, from others, and most especially from our self. In my book A Love Alchemist’s Notebook, Soul Mate Secret No. 1 (there are nine of them in total) reads: You don’t need to be healed enough to be worthy of love, but you may need to heal before you’re ready for your soul mate. You deserve love, as broken or complete as you are. If this sounds like a paradox, it is (paradox is a close friend of alchemy), because it’s only by totally accepting where you are now that you can move forward into something more. I did a sh**-ton of work to attract my soul mate, and yet with this as my foundation (it is Secret no. 1), it didn’t feel like work. It felt like freely expanding into myself. Once I gave myself permission to unconditionally be who I was, no matter the situation, mood or demon I was battling, everything flowed from there.

This Virgo Full Moon will offer us plenty of ideas about what’s broken and how to fix it. It shines light on our aspirations and where we fall short of them. Paradoxically (that word again), Neptune widely opposes this lunation; things may feel, or actually be, messy, disorganised, chaotic, confounding and up in the air. There may be no immediate solution or fix in sight, because, you know what? Not every problem can be solved away through our attempts to fix it. Not every person can be healed or saved from their condition. Not everything in life can be made better, or make sense, by having it fit into a neat, tidy, well-organised color-coded box. Neptune rules Divine Compassion, self-acceptance, flow, surrender and letting go …and is the ultimate remedy to too much Virgo: of trying to control the world through logic, problem-solving (if I can just fix, understand, organize it, then this problem will go away!) as well as all the self-flagellation, guilt, shame and rigid feelings of not measuring up. If this is you– have mercy on your self.

My realization led to a recommitment to myself (I had thought I’d master this lesson off long ago, but just because I wrote a book based on self-love doesn’t mean I do it perfectly.  Hey, I’m human). I decided that I’m never going to look healthy on paper, at least by the world’s standards. But I can be well. I can live well, I can be happy. I didn’t have to listen to internal or external voices telling me to be better. I can accept all of my self-parts, inadequacies, challenges, and let my life flow from there.

So at this Full Moon: I challenge you to open up and let supreme self-acceptance in. Try this mantra: I’m as broken as a broke down bus, and yet I am perfect. I love and accept all of myself unconditionally. If self-loathing or shame is behind any of your improvement efforts, stop them immediately and head out to the beach, a movie or your favorite forest. Hang out, space out, lay in the Sun, create, lose your mind for a little while. Because in those moments, Neptune opens its wide arms and embraces us, saying, “No worries, be happy. It’s all going to be okay. Want to know why? I love you.” I know… there’s no logic to it. It doesn’t make sense that we can be so imperfect and yet so worthy of love. Yet there it is. Neptune loves and accepts you as you are- in spite of your self. Can you?

image: Grace Avenue

read the full article »»

Ask Aphrodite-February 22, 2016

Dear Aphrodite, I’ve had 4 chronic years of unstable employment, (year long gaps between jobs). Nothing comes through. I feel like I’m being tested. In my entire life, I never wanted to do anything other than write, not even to be published, but just have time to activate my imagination. Time to daydream. That’s all. All I ever wanted was just a day-job where I could have enough time to write privately on the side. I never questioned it until now. Sometimes I just wonder if I’m wasting my own time?  How can I know which path is the right path to go in so muddied a road? I just want to be free. -Amy

Dear Amy, With your Rising, Sun and Moon in Mercury-ruled signs, these and a handful of other signatures indicating a calling for self-expression, are written all over your birth chart. Yet you are experiencing your Saturn Return (which happens at around ages 28-30), an often discouraging time when our faith is tested. And it is happening in your third house of, you guessed it, communication. I encourage you to take the long view and keep at it. Nothing in life happens easily for a Sun-Saturn born person (you have a natal opposition), or for that matter, a writer! But if you feel this is your calling, as I suspect you do, it will be worth moving mountains, persisting through financial droughts, honing your craft over and over again, if, for no other reason than because *not writing* is the equivalent of not being alive.

It is not unrealistic to get a job that allows you to write on the side. If you can swing it, look at your year-long gaps between jobs are writing times. Many writers would give their left arm (or, the one that’s not needed for writing!) to be in those shoes. But unless you’re independently wealthy, you probably need to work.

So let’s get some inspiration going. There was once a writer who had stories to write but she was poor. So she took jobs teaching, sewing and caretaking- jobs she disliked immensely. She only lasted a month a nursing, as she almost died from the typhoid pneumonia she contracted during that time.  Bedridden, at home, half deranged by Mercury poisoning (ironically, the planet of writers shares a name with the very medicine of that time that had the potential to drive people to madness), she produced short vignettes. Casting her self as a stalwart character and writing about the patients, their stories and travels, she’d met during her time in service, she sent them to her local paper. To her own surprise, “Hospital Sketches” became immensely popular. Her name? Louisa May Alcott.

The moral of the story here is: she used what she had to do -work, service she wasn’t crazy about but needed to take on in order to survive – to create art. There are many similar stories out there about authors (JK Rowling, for instance) and many, many more untold ones. For artists, as it was for Louisa May Alcott, life is the inspiration. It’s all right here: rich, dark mulch for your work. The struggle, the difficulty, the persevering through hardship, is the fuel for great art.

Your Saturn Return struggle is that rich, dark mulch. It’s all right here.  During this period, commit to doing what you have to do to create something great and you will be rewarded. Focus less on the daydreaming side of your fantasy and more on taking action. The hard work we do during Saturn transits always pay off.

Jessica Shepherd | Astrologer & Author | Health Coach

read the full article »»

Leo Full Moon: A Celebration of Life

People have been exiting the Earth in record numbers, lately. If there’s a welcome home party in the afterlife, there’s surely going to be some great music and conversation. Naturally, the question of the hour is, why is everyone dying? This isn’t a new phenomenon. The past six or so years have been demanding. Uranus and Pluto, still in their wide square, continues to pressure us to “evolve or die”, to face our shadows, heal our wounds, and live more authentically and true to our self. Energetically, this hasn’t been an easy ride for anyone, and with the relentless burden and strain to evolve, the human vessel gets tired, worn out. Maybe that’s why some have been called to finish their healing on the other side. For those remaining, life goes on, though it’s different. Like a ravenous appetite after the fever of a long illness has burned off, we re-enter life changed, hungry to really live. When I visited Paris after the bombings last year, it was still Paris, city of light, but moreso. People were going out, dining and drinking champagne at midnight, celebrating life. To my mind, the dying want those left behind to be more Parisian: To more fully live. Fulfill our self. Celebrate life.

My husband John and I have a tradition of checking in with one another about how on track we are in leading the lives we want to lead. This can happen at any time but spontaneously occurs around the death of a notable. We compare notes around the old “If I knew I was going to die in a year would I do anything differently?” question, striving to answer it truthfully while holding each other accountable when one of us starts to compare our thimble- sized accomplishments to say, David Bowie’s (“Is that your ego talking?” usually clears that one up). Last year, John decided that from now on that he would only wear red socks because he liked the statement it made (“now here’s a man who’s serious about style”). He holds a 1950’s style cocktail hour every evening, and although I rarely partake, it’s a joy to behold his mixology joy (did you know there’s a slew of Bowie cocktails? “The Ziggy Stardust”, “The Black Star”, and the straightforward “David Bowie”?) Like a check and balance system, Death’s gift is the reminder to play, live, enjoy… and if you don’t, you’re not taking Death seriously.

We tend to live as if we have lots of time. “If you knew you had only a year to live would you do anything differently?” Would you finally: leave that relationship, start the blog, visit Machu Picchu, re-connect with a precious friend? Are you waiting for a divine power to give you permission to live? In the wake of his passing, I read a Stephen Levine interview circulating. Stephen was the author of among others, Who Dies?, a book about dying I read while volunteering at an AIDS hospice a lifetime ago. Stephen devoted his life to helping people become more conscious about their death. In the article he spoke about not waiting to live, but living this year as if this is your last, which he did as a formal spiritual practice (he was Buddhist). One thing he noticed while doing the practice is how vain we are. “We are so attached to how we appear in the world, in relationships,” he said, “Simple embarrassment so often guides the way we interact with others… I think we are embarrassed by how much pain we have been in throughout our entire lives. Because we are embarrassed, we don’t share this truth with one another… We need to have mercy on ourselves. We all feel embarrassed. Actually, when we do speak about these things, when we do share our embarrassment, we experience relief.”

It’s been touching/heartbreaking reading about the love shared between some of these power couples (David & Iman, Stephen and Ondrea). Yes, this kind of mythic love exists, ain’t love grand? Venus enters Capricorn at this lunation, shining light on the durability, realism, maturity and success of our love bonds. I have a friend whose relationship dynamic is that when one person is feeling successful the other will bring them down by being unsupportive or dismissive of their accomplishments. When one feels unseen and un-special, no one’s allowed to be. Their relationship suffers a Leo deficiency.  To thrive, we need a supporting cast of people who really see our “star” –and you can’t power up your star from an empty battery. There are people in life who will magnify your light and there are people who will dim it. Only you know who those are. This isn’t a judgment, but a statement of fact. Be around people who rise to the occasion, and you rise, too.

It is a relief to allow our selves to be human, to let go of the illusion of invincibility, or a pain-free existence, what or whoever is holding us back from living. We can can choose to be vulnerable, and to move on from those who restrict or close down our heart. Leo Full Moon asks: Are we living as colorfully, as fully, as well as we can? Are we expressing our creative potential? Do our accomplishments reflect our true values? Are we loving and loved? And are we having any fun, yet? When I was at the hospice I worked with a transgender AIDS patient who, although actively dying, every morning put on glitter make-up, fishnets, sequins. She loved Diet Cokes, cigarettes, gossip and getting her hair done. She was a joy. With so much death lingering in the air, there’s an invitation here to ride our lives as we would a wild mustang horse, to feel our freedom more fully, to taste our life, feel the wind whip through our hair, to ride on… Our mortality is watching.

read the full article »»