Why do we need these things?


There are often horrific events during Mars retrogrades. The Mars impulse–always in danger of getting dicey–comes more easily unhinged during these weeks.  Events in Orlando just last week are a heartbreaking testament: Christina Grimmie’s murder, the Pulse nightclub massacre, and the alligator who grabbed the little boy on a Disneyworld vacation. Bad things happen all the time, but unusual patterns of events turn our eyes skyward. Mars retrograde (since April 17) brought us the massive fire in Canada; there was the Egyptian plane disappearing, and the mystery of that, unraveling oh so slowly; a boy jumped into a gorilla pit, and a rapist got a sentence fit for a prince. There is a lot that has captured our attention and outrage.

But perhaps nothing is more horrific than the fact that here mass murders aren’t so unusual. In the United States, they’ve become commonplace. Almost anyone can get their hands on an assault rifle. This truth goes beyond politics, global terrorism, mental disability, homophobia. It takes us straight into Terror with a capital “T.” Assault rifles are objects of Terror. War is their only purpose. Why do we need to preserve people’s right to purchase weapons designed solely for the mass shooting of people? Why do we need these at all?  Like others, I am tired of our politicians’ “moments of silence.”

The Feminine is rising.  Alongside the heartbreaking events of recent weeks, there have been many equally powerful Mars retrograde stories that inspire hope and awe. I think of the outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence. If you have not yet read the powerful letter written by Brock’s victim, you’re missing an important document. Not only does she set the facts straight, she speaks from strength and with boundaries. We can learn from her. As VP Joe Biden acknowledged in his also powerful response, this “victim” is actually “a warrior–with a solid steel spine.”  I also think of the people lined up for miles to donate blood after the Pulse shooting, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony poignant acceptance sonnet, honoring the Orlando tragedy, his wife, and the divine feminine, with his heartbreaking insistence that “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. It cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Comedian Hasan Minhaj, speaking before a roomful of pundits and congressional workers noted, that since 1998, special interests like the NRA have funneled $3.7 million to Congress. He asks the congresspeople–who each earn over $200,000 a year–“If we raise four million dollars, would you guys take that to save lives?” What will it take for our leaders to serve the Great Mother and truly make our world a safer place?

Mars goes direct on June 29.

Mars is Retrograde till the End of June


Feeling tired? Cranky? Lost your momentum? Mars stationed retrograde on April 17 and will go direct on June 29.  During this time, whatever Mars rules is said to be weakened, including your vitality or your will to dare and win.  The sharp tools that are traditionally used for surgeries are Mars implements–so this is traditionally not a good time for surgeries.  Nor is it an auspicious time to launch a business, initiate a lawsuit, or start a war.  He who leaps during the retrograde tends to regret it.  These are the rules, but the whole world won’t stop. Runners will still run. Surgeons will still perform surgeries and not all will fail!  So instead of worrying about the rules, look for the retrograde in your own experiences.  Mars is about action, anger, courage, and heat. To help your meditations on Mars, following is an excerpt about Mars Retro from my monthly Moon Workshop:

Do keep your Mars glasses on in the weeks ahead! Look for active expressions of this archetype in your world. The retrograde already began for me a week ago when I had an unexpected DIY project, which required getting a couple plywood planks cut at the local lumber store.  Wouldn’t you know… at the lumber store, the fancy man-sized (and Mars-ruled) saw needed to cut my wood sported a sign that said “Broken.”  No other store had the wood I needed and no one knew when the saw would get fixed. I was told to call daily, which I did. My project languished for a week. And the retrograde was just beginning!

Mars retrogrades are less frequent than Mercury or Venus retrogrades—but they’re still relatively common, occurring every two to two-and-a-half years. Mars was last retrograde from March to May of 2014—when the world was gripped by the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370—a perfectly strange expression of an errant Mars.  Whether the plane disappeared because of rogue premeditated action, or some disastrous fire, explosion, or critical malfunction, all are Mars themes. If you recall the time, there was an odd paralysis of our hearts as well. It was difficult to grieve those we still hoped were alive. The suspiciously delayed actions of the Malaysian government further illustrate how retrogrades can work. Given the discovery in recent weeks of some debris from this plane, perhaps the mystery will get resolved during this Mars retrograde. Sometimes retrogrades continue the theme from their previous ones.

Checking my Moon journal, I see that I was an injured warrior during the last Mars retro. My knee was swollen and I was limping. Natal Mars says something about our preferred types of activity. What does your Mars say about you? Even though Mars currently retrogrades in Sagittarius, your natal Mars may be part of this party. With my Mars in Libra, I’ve always preferred the slow and graceful movements of yoga or ballet to the jumping and pumping of aerobic exercise. But during the last Mars retrograde, I was anything but graceful! I was horribly clumsy—and I had the minor bruises, burns, and cuts to prove it. I spilled things.On the way to cleaning something, I’d make a worse mess. And the chair I bought which was supposedly easy to assemble—sat in the garage in its box. I wasn’t up to handling the Mars implements needed to assemble it until well after Mars went direct.

The beauty of universal astrology factors is that we’ll all be touched in some way. There are spectacular events—but also a lot of small ones, so small they’re virtually unnoticeable unless you’re looking for them. And if you find how the archetype of Mars has touched you—then next you need to ponder what he’s bringing. A message? An affectionate kick in the butt? My Mars clumsiness gave me a better sense of humor about myself—and it improved my yoga practice, the benefits of which I’m still enjoying today.  I’m looking forward to the unexpected blessings this retro will bring.  In the meantime, patience and humor are smart companions for the next two months.  Also this bit of Mars Retro wisdom: sometimes, turning away or backing down is the fastest way to get ahead.

Follow the sky each month all year long with my Moon Workshop.  Enroll here!

Outrage, anyone?


Venus has recently disappeared from the night sky. Like Colorado’s gold-stained Animas River in the picture above, she’s entering the Underworld. She’s readying herself to meet the Sun god and be made new again.  And, like the contaminated river, she’s not going quietly or gracefully. This is the time in her 18-month cycle when we–and the world–are easily inflamed. Outrage is an important feature of Venus retrograde. When Venus re-emerges as the Morning Star, she’s in a fighting mood. The ancient cultures who watched her cycle carefully, considered her re-emergence as an auspicious time to send their armies marching. This event occurs next week (the date depends on your horizon line). Is there anything you feel like going to war about?

If Venus has her way, you’ll be particularly outraged by obvious slights to the goddess. Venus, known by many names throughout the world, among them, Oshun, Isis, and Aphrodite, has always been the goddess of clean-running rivers. The headline making toxic crisis is occurring in the “Animas” River–get it? Anima is the Jungian term for the unconscious feminine principle–or the female half of Soul. Three million gallons of toxic sludge are pouring through the anima’s veins, harming all the creatures that her river nourishes.  We should be outraged.

Perhaps your ire has been kindled by a certain reality show presidential candidate who refers to women as farm animals. Or maybe it’s that wealthy people can shoot lions whenever they want. Something more personal may have hooked you.  An unfamiliar phone number on your boyfriend’s phone. Or perhaps the last straw has fallen onto a long-standing burden. Whatever has roused your inner Venus, know that her anger is best expressed when it’s consistent with her values. Venus is the one who reminds us that we’re all in this together.  As we march forward in our new goddess shoes in the coming weeks, let’s remember that, as we try to clean up our collective act.

What does your Venus want? Find out with your Venus Unleashed report. I’m extending my sale for five more days!  You can take $10 off until August 18.  Order for yourself as you usually would–then, at the Paypal payment page, select the “gift for a friend” option to pay $35 instead of $45.


Image source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/08/10/3689745/epa-spills-three-million-gallons-of-wastewater-from-mine/

Saturn-in-Sag Success Strategy #2: Be Philosophical


It’s certainly like Saturn to erect scaffolding in the public square for a good old-fashioned public shaming. When the Stone Lord was in Scorpio, famous people were shamed for their dark vices, like drugging women and having sex with them, but now in Sagittarius, the sign of the ethical philosopher, our outrage has shifted.

We’re much more riled up about things like hypocrisy and lies. Poor Brian Williams. A tall story takes a big man down. He said his helicopter caught fire in the Iraq War and it didn’t. We don’t have a birth time for Williams; even so, we can see telling transits in the chart for his birthdate. The Uranus/Pluto square has Williams’ Mars in its crosshairs. Meanwhile Saturn takes aim at his natal Pluto/Jupiter square. (Read more from Anthony Louis and Elsa Elsa.)

But I’m most interested in the fact that we’re so interested. For weeks after American Sniper came out, articles and commentary kept appearing in my news feed, debating whether it was authentic or a pack of lies. Some said the movie lied and the book was true. Others said the book was a lie because their war experience was different. With Saturn in Sagittarius, we are examining the story tellers! People are more suspicious and opinionated. They’re willing to stick pins in helium balloons. Journalists, teachers, scholars, lawyers, politicians, marketers, publishers—shaky practices in these areas might assure a public shaming.

“Uh, remember the Brian Williams thing,” has become a kind of mantra running through celebrity and political interviews. The next sentence uttered is usually a cautious one. “Be accountable” is always Saturn’s message, along with “take responsibility” and “do your duty.” But be accountable and do your duty to what? For the next three years, the answer to that is “the Truth.”

And that’s why my second Saturn-in-Sag Success Strategy is “Be philosophical.” The truth isn’t easy. It’s usually not the first thing that comes into your head and out of your mouth. You have to think about it for awhile. Philosophers ask questions. And that’s what it means to be philosophical. Go to a high place and wonder a little about your life. What does it all mean? What really matters? Listen for some affirmation from your heart (who always has the final say in ethical matters). The truth has a capacity to light up your being. It moves you toward your higher purpose. Use the Saturn-in-Sag years to bring your actions in line with what you’ve always said are your ideals.

Or maybe the mob, with their torches and pitch forks, will start heading for you.

Throughout 2015 I’ll be offering Saturn-in-Sag tips on my blog.  See also:

Sag-in-Saturn Success Strategy #1!

Saturn in Sagittarius: Your Growth Coach for 2015

Tune into the lunar eclipse


It’s a lunar eclipse! What should you do with it? You could bang pots and drums as the ancients did to let the Moon know you’re eager for her return. You could park yourself in some beautiful spot and watch it—as it will be widely visible, from the Americas, across the oceans, through Asia and Australia. You could perform a ritual during the eclipse hours. Or you could make a point to avoid performing a ritual, as there are two schools of thought here. Some believe eclipses supercharge your ceremony. Others feel the energy is wonky and shouldn’t be trusted with important workings. I say, investigate! Lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, every year. So the first thing to do is start paying attention to them whenever you get the opportunity. This year, the lunar eclipse begins with the Full Moon on Wednesday October 8 at 6:51 am EDT (adjust for your timezone) and lasts for about five hours. This is the eclipse window. Pay attention to what happens during this window. How do you feel? What’s the energy like around you? Are you inspired to do anything?  In other words, tune in and let the eclipse tell you what to do with it.

Precious Hours Ahead


We get such a brief window of retrograde-free time, I’m telling you way in advance, so you can mark your calendar for the next New Moon, when we get a precious twenty-four hours that are retrograde-free. On Friday, February 28, it’s a New Moon, no personal planets are retrograde, and aspects between many of the planets are lovely. Usually we would say a moment like this is great for launching important projects. But whatever starts now will quickly meet the frustrations and/or general slowing-down of Mars, who goes retrograde on March 1.

So maybe we should rather spend the coming Pisces New Moon in luxurious dreamtime. The wise know that the gift of unstructured time brings great rewards. If we get quiet enough, we may get a sudden vision of how best to proceed. So schedule that Friday for something decadently romantic and self-nourishing, as is appropriate for Pisces. Just imagine, two whole weeks to plan that!

2014 is one of those years that begins with a string of retrogrades, first Venus, then Mercury, now Mars. With retrogrades, our progress struggles forward through invisible molasses. Or what has long been simmering on the back burner chooses now to boil over. A metaphorical boulder may suddenly block the road.

But retrogrades can only expose weaknesses that have been brewing for a while. So that’s what this time is good for—fixing what’s shoddy or weak. Verbs with the prefix “re” indicate where our efforts are best directed. We need to repair, renew, return, review, revise, reorganize, remember, revisit, or refrigerate (as in, chill out). Approached this way, retrogrades can strengthen us and our projects. So for this slow start to 2014, perhaps we should be grateful.

Mercury stations direct on February 28 at 9:00 am EST. Mars goes retrograde on March 1 at 11:24 am EST.

Venus stations direct: January 31


The armies can march! In the ancient world, Venus reappearing in the morning sky was a sign to align the troops and go for it. This year, Venus emerges from her seclusion right beside the Lord of the Underworld, within a degree of Pluto. This is a no-nonsense pair.  They demand that you be true to your depths–willing to shed what doesn’t serve.  They demand that you stand in your power.  True power isn’t pushy: rather, it’s fueled by divine guidance, and, is highly attractive.

In the past few weeks of the Venus retrograde (from December 21 to January 31) you may have found yourself possessed by a certain Venus madness: An urgency to strike against your bad relationships with fierce precision. Or a lonely wringing-of-hands, unable to tolerate a lack of love. Perhaps you discovered profound forgiveness and healing. Maybe you got newly motivated. “I need more money! More beauty! More free time! More passion!”

During her retrogrades, Venus often names what’s missing from your life–the shiny thing that would make your days happy and more fun. This need is a precious souvenir from her journey through the underworld. What should you do with it? You have options. You can throw it in a drawer, and by the time her post-retrograde shadow ends (March 3), you will be back into the familiar stream of your life, having forgotten what all the fuss was about.

Or you can write about it, make treasure maps and post them on your wall. You can give your desire to the receptive Mother in your Moon. She’ll pull your cranky Venus child onto her lap, soothe her, and suggest something wise to do next. When Venus and the Moon agree to pursue the same desires, your creativity, confidence, and power to attract what you want increases. That’s the secret of their monthly conjunction. The next one arrives on February 25.

Venus at Work


Venus retrogrades can trouble our finances, creativity, and/or relationships. On December 19, two days before Venus’ official retrograde station, Target admitted security was breached for credit cards used by nearly 40 million customers between November 27 and December 15—weeks that (not coincidentally) coincided with Venus’ pre-retrograde shadow period.  Retrograde problems are often planted during the pre-shadow weeks. But it’s fair to ask, why should things go wrong at these times?

During her retrogrades, Venus is looking for fault lines in the sign or house that she is slowly backing through. Problems indicate which areas need more attention. In Capricorn now, the sign of big business, Venus may have been delivering a message to corporate America—including its most profitable citizens: big banks. Despite record profits for financial institutions, credit cards for US consumers rely on an antiquated technology (the magnetic strip) that is easy to steal, while much of the rest of the world uses a safer microprocessor technology. Perhaps Target’s troubles will inspire a positive change.

Given this is a Christmas retrograde, likely more than a few unfortunate gifts were bought and exchanged. Gifts are Venus territory. The closer the relationship, the more important is the gift selected. It should reflect a real connection; it should say, “I know you.” Was that true of your gifts (given and received) this season?  2014 is going to be a pivotal year for relationships. Fault lines exposed this winter—whether through odd gifts or other conflicts—will be tested again this spring during Mars’ long retrograde in Libra, the sign of relationships. If Venus is talking to you now about your love life, pay attention!

Venus enters her shadow period

Asian Fan 2crop

Venus will station retrograde on Solstice—in about a month. She has just entered her pre-retrograde shadow period (having touched the degree she will later retrograde back to: 13 Capricorn). She is slowing down, reaching that time in her orbit when she comes closest to earth. The area of your chart where she now appears is especially important—as she’ll be evaluating your satisfaction here for the next three or four months.  During this shadow time—between now and the retrograde—you may get a taste of which Venus issues you’ll be reviewing and rebalancing. Denied desires may come to the surface. You may feel the need for new perspectives, particularly in finances, relationships, and creative pursuits. What you’ve been simply tolerating—but not enjoying—may become more aggravating. Or maybe to your surprise, you’ll find that matters are better than you recognized. It’s wise to reconsider all your old assumptions about love, beauty and prosperity, along with the issues in your Capricorn house(s)—the territory in your horoscope from 13 to 28 degrees of this sign.

Mercury’s “Pre Shadow” Retrograde


Mercury goes retrograde on October 21—and will remain that way for three weeks, until November 10. All that Mercury rules—schedules, forms, traffic, travel, speech, repairs, machinery—will be subject to The Trickster’s tinkering. How can you best prepare? Check which house (or houses) in your chart contain 3 to 18 degrees of Scorpio. Be cautious and careful with matters in this part of your life for the next three weeks, because we’ve just entered the retrograde’s “pre-shadow period.”  Mercury is taking its first steps through the zone of the zodiac it will later retrograde back through. This is when the seeds for the snafus we experience during the retrograde are often planted! If you go slowly now, with care, you may be able to spot potential problems and prevent them.