Sagittarius Full Moon: Improve the Silence

With Sagittarius rising in my birthchart, Mercury opposed Jupiter, and lots of planets in the 9th house, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m a born centaur. This is especially true on the occasions when I jump on my high horse (so to speak) and start delivering sermons like a self-styled Joan of Arc.

I’m most apt to get Sadgey when I sense someone else is being bullied or treated unfairly. It doesn’t have to be someone I particularly like, either. Mostly, I can justify those rants. But for every situation that really demands stark truth-telling, there’s one that calls for a little more restraint and judgment. At those moments, this piece of advice, attributed to Indian spiritual master Sai Baba, can be helpful:

Before you speak, ask yourself:  Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve upon the silence?

Oh, self-righteousness can feel so good. Setting someone straight. Telling it like it is. Few things offer the delicious jolt of freedom, of agency, of utter indifference to consequence that comes with letting fly a self-righteous screed.

But even if what you say is true, and even if you can argue for its necessity, that kind of truth-telling is never kind and almost never improves upon the silence.

I’ve heard variations of the Sai Baba quotation many times over the years. The last part, the bit about improving upon the silence, is often left out. And that’s a shame… because when you begin to feel the thundering hooves of your inner Sagittarius begin to gallop, you’re not likely to care much whether something is kind or necessary, though you will certainly have convinced yourself that it’s true.

However, improving upon the silence is a concept that might actually curb Sagittarius’ tendency toward blurty truth-telling. This is because no sign worships as devoutly as Sagittarius in the cathedral of natural beauty. Towering mountains, mysterious sandstone arches, achingly beautiful forests… these are deeply moving to Sagittarius, particularly their magical silence.

The next time you feel the itch to really let loose and try to convince someone that you’re by-God right about something, try for a moment to close your eyes and pretend you’re in some beautiful natural spot that’s sacred to you. Put yourself in the silence. Wait awhile. You may find, to your surprise, that the real truth that needs to be told is a little different than you’d imagined. Sometimes, it’s not a truth about someone else at all, but rather about yourself— something you’re a little ashamed of, embarrassed by, and have been only dimly aware of. Let the silence stretch on, holding your truth gently aloft. Could your words improve this moment, this silence?

There are words, of course, that greatly improve the silence. Like Martin Luther King declaring in huge, thrilling tones that “the greatness of America is the right to protest for right,” and “I have been to the mountaintop,” and “I have a dream.” Or Bob Dylan’s keening wail: “How does it feel to be on your own, like a complete unknown, with no direction home.” Or John Kennedy’s famous, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Oh, friends, rhetoric and poetry can improve exquisitely upon silence; let’s not lose their lyrical power, which tells important truths so much more convincingly than mere hollering. Truth shouldn’t be something we use to shame one another, but rather a way of revealing us more completely so that we can better love one another.

This is a hard Full Moon conjunct Mars retrograde in Sagittarius. So, tell your hard, inconvenient truths. But the Full Moon point is also square Neptune in Pisces, so remember to put some love behind them, too—the love that says, “I think you’re completely wrong about what you believe, and you do stuff that makes me really, really, angry, but dammit, you’re my brother and I love your humanity!” And when you’re looking around you to total up the hypocrisies and dishonesties that need to be called out, remember, as Mercury and Mars are still retrograde, to look inside yourself, first, for frailties. Then, if you find you still have something to say that’s big and truthful and heart-opening, open up your throat and sing out loud and strong, with love and without judgment. Make your truth as beautiful as you can. Improve the silence.

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!

The Jinn Full Moon


If the veil that divides the visible world from the realms of the invisible could be parted this Full Moon, what sight might greet us? Perhaps a bevy of swirling astral spirits known as “Jinns” said by Sufi mystics to govern the mental realm. Like the genie in the magic lantern in the Arabian tale, Jinns put strange thoughts and magical wishes into our heads. That sudden thought, that puckish idea, that brilliant insight–all the work of the lively Jinns.

During this Sagittarius Full Moon the Jinns are out in full force–having extra fun, no doubt, given that Mercury and Mars are still retrograde. If a Jinn has caught you, you may be brimming with ideas – lots of them, colliding and banging around in your head like so many crazy atoms, each one pulling you in a different direction. You may feel tired as your nervous system is overloaded from all the tantalizing possibilities, potentials, and enterprises the muse-like Jinns may be dangling before your entranced soul. Swept up by the exhilarating whirl like a teen at her first dance, you may feel ungrounded and disconnected from the slower rhythms of your physical body.

Containing your own creative fullness without spilling over into giddy chaos is a delicate art.  Each month, the Moon gives us a lesson in this very thing. She gradually builds from a slender crescent, then, at her peak, she empties out, beginning the creative cycle all over again. For artists, writers, spirit warriors, and entrepreneurs, the Moon in its full phase is nature’s example of equanimity and poise. A feminine holding of powerful energy. A living image of grace under pressure. A symbol of harmony and balance. The pregnant, peaceful Great Mother in the pause before birth.

How to handle the highly stimulating energy of this Full Moon? How to bear the inner chaos of rich creativity? For one thing, the ordinary activities of daily life–making the bed, folding the laundry, caring for children–can help to anchor the potent forces at play in the atmosphere. Working in the garden, walking in nature, or simply talking to a common-sense friend can help to keep your soul from being blown about by the winds of spirit.

The breath–the bridge between body and spirit–can also help. Here’s a practice that anchors into the breath using the three phases of the Moon as guides.  On your inhale, see in your mind’s eye the fresh crescent of the New Moon. See it grow with your inhaling count of four. Draw into your breath body all the excitement and energy generated by your creative projects desiring to come into form.

Then, as your imagined Moon reaches its fullness, contain your breath for seven counts, tuning into the pervasive stillness underneath the Full Moon . Practice holding the energy of peaceful equilibrium. Just as the Moon holds the light of the Sun, you are containing the Jinn-fueled energy of your solar spirit.

Exhale, allowing this Full Moon to wane, shedding its light, four counts. As you do this, let go of all your work, detaching yourself from any desired outcome, and consecrate your endeavors to the will of the gods and goddesses. Continue breathing this way until you feel transformed.

As the breath begins to work its magic, notice that both your mind and physical body are coming to a state of calm balance.  Like a tuning fork with perfect pitch, the rhythmic breathing crystallizes your being into a whole and elegant pattern of meaning.

This Full Moon, don’t allow your creative energy to dissipate into confusion and disorientation. Instead, learn to move in harmonious rhythm with the mischievous Jinns who are romancing your soul. Like a Sufi dervish, or the fully lit Moon who circles the earth, whirl round and round in cosmic harmony with these lively mental energies, becoming a still point at the center of the dancing universe.

Ask Luna-May 6, 2016

Dear Luna, At 58 yrs of age, is it too late to learn how not to worry about things that are not in my control, i.e daily news events and things? Are you able to offer me guidance in how to achieve this? Thank you, Robert

Dear Robert, It’s natural that you’d be questioning matters of faith at this time, with your Saturn return in Sagittarius coloring this entire year.  In fact, finding a sense of faith in life despite appearances is your major work in this lifetime. So no it’s certainly not too late to learn not to worry about things you can’t control, but it will require doing some soul-searching on what you believe.  You must be a spiritual person or you wouldn’t be visiting this website. So, commit to the spiritual principles that you know to be true and realize that life is what you make it. Rev. Michael Beckwith says that watching the news is only good for identifying our “prayer requests” for the day. So, why not begin praying for the people and situations that trouble you? Science of Mind’s spiritual mind treatment is a particularly effective form of prayer (google it).  Say an affirmative prayer every time you start to worry. And if you choose to keep watching the news, please don’t do so at night just before bed, when negative stuff can disturb your sleep. Many blessings to you, Luna (Simone Butler)

Taurus New Moon: Slow and Steady

On a stroll in the neighborhood, I turned the corner to see a large tortoise striding toward me. Hello! His guardian gave me a bemused smile; she’s used to the shocked expressions when people see her pet walking the streets.

Welcome to the season of Taurus, a fixed earth sign. The tortoise is one of my favorite Taurus symbols. Steady and determined, this charming creature gets where she wants to go, no matter how long it takes. The Sun, Venus, Mercury, and (soon) the Moon are in that slow, sensual sign, so it’s time to make like a tortoise. With five planets in retrograde, including Mercury and Mars, that means slowing down, revisiting old territory and finishing up the past. Greener pastures may beckon, but it’s probably better to bloom where you’re planted right now.

The New Moon in Taurus (May 6, 12:30 p.m. PDT) features a lovely Grand Trine to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo. This suggests positive developments with existing projects, especially in earthly realms like finances, home and health – as long as we know what we want and are willing to stick with it. Jupiter turns direct two days after the New Moon, boosting health and work-related matters, especially those that have been stalled since early in the year. Just be cautious and patient, as quick, impulsive moves are bound to backfire this month.

Since Taurus rules money, this is a good time to get real about your needs. Exactly how much prosperity do you require right now? What form would you like it to take? Once you’re clear, write it down. Then fix up your home to accommodate that reality. Need beautiful new clothes? Give away the ones you never wear and make room in the closet. Need a specific amount of cash? Add at least one of the following to your Wealth gua (furthest left corner as you walk in the front door). Light a purple or green candle at the New Moon, giving thanks that the amount is yours.

  • A healthy green plant – especially a jade or lucky bamboo plant
  • A picture or statue of Lakshmi, or a golden Buddha
  • A bowl of coins or “treasure chest” with jewelry spilling out of it
  • A chunk of purple amethyst or green malachite
  • A hundred dollar bill

For additional help with prosperity, check out the Taurus New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. And watch the mini-video on that page showing how I helped one woman transform her bathroom to increase her wealth.


3 Minute New Moon Ritual

Ritual: Taurus New Moon

Ground your body, clear your mind…

Become aware of your body. Notice how gravity holds and connects you to earth. It’s as though your body is an ancient stone temple—solid, strong, secure. Sanctify this temple. Imagine a priestess is pouring sacred water and scattering rose petals, all the way down, from your head to your toes. Any anxiety or negativity washes away. Notice the thoughts and feelings leaving the temple—your judgments, your distracted mind, your worried heart. Be sure to honor them. Give each a smile and a piece of cake as it departs.

Draw a circle of protection, call in blessings…

Visualize a ring of fragrant flowers surrounding you, protecting you. Know that you are safe and relaxed. Breathe deeply. Feel the power of the Sun and Moon pouring into your circle. The energy of Taurus is gathering in your circle. It is patient and sensual. It is loyal and artistic. It is capable and strong. Continue absorbing this energy as you read the Taurus affirmations.

  • Earth sustains me.
  • I am creative.
  • I am rich with abundance.
  • I slow down and savor each moment.
  • I delight in my senses.
  • I am productive.
  • I love pleasure.
  • I am secure.

Allow seed intentions to form…

Your intentions for this cycle are gathering. You may already know what you wish to accomplish. Or you may not. Trust that all will unfold perfectly in time. Know that this brief ritual has aligned you with spirit. Now ask your heart if it has a closing message for you. This may come in words or as a picture, perhaps as a body sensation or sound. Give yourself time to receive this message. Digest it. Write it down. Then, in gratitude to yourself and spirit, return to normal awareness. Place a symbol of your Taurus New Moon message on your altar.

Taurus New Moon: Calling Venus


Let this Taurus New Moon stimulate your senses and draw you into the magic of your ordinary world. Do you feel a quickening in your body? A desire to experience even more earthly delights? Ritual is a time-honored way to attract invisible assistance in manifesting your desires. And it’s a wonderful way to deepen play with the creative earth energy of Taurus. That’s why every Spring, on an auspicious Friday, during the Venus-ruled Taurus season, I perform the Santeria ritual for Oshun.  As the Yoruba goddess of fresh waters, Oshun oversees the same delights that Venus does. I call “Venus” with Oshun’s ritual and neither goddess seems to mind the confusion.

The first time I did the ceremony as a lark.  Venus rules pleasures, money and love—who wouldn’t be eager for more of that!  To ensure a powerful result, I knew I needed to be as specific as possible.  I meditated on my desires—they seemed faraway, perhaps impossible, but I knew exactly what I was dreaming of: I wanted a fabulous new home and a man to share it with.  Given the magnitude of my request—wouldn’t it take time to bring such bounty!—I figured it wasn’t too soon to let Venus know.

I gathered the requisite ingredients: a dinner roll, a nickel, my desires written down on a piece of paper, some honey, and a candle.  I prepared them as instructed. The ritual was supposed to conclude with tossing the combined ingredients into a body of fresh (not salty) running water. This was not easy to find in my suburban neighborhood.  And I was not going to toss my dreams in the toilet—the common suburban substitute for ritual running water.  Thankfully, a receptionist at the local water company told me of an unmarked spot three miles north of the main road. There, in an unnamed stream moving briskly through a forgotten oak grove, I surrendered my dreams to Venus. She could help me or not!

Just six weeks later I found myself in escrow on a home so beautiful, with waterfalls, French windows, breath-taking views, it was grander than my wildest dreams. And guess what—the man arrived too, bringing a loan for the down payment and a desire to move in with me!

I was stunned.

I’ve performed the Santeria Oshun ritual many times since. None of my subsequent rituals have surpassed the sheer drama of that first result. Yet my repeated petitions to Venus have brought something far more profound: Venus is now a living presence in my life. My exquisite dream house has since been sold, its profits funding a prosperity of ease and playfulness that was once only a dream of mine. The man who materialized after that first ritual has since moved on, allowing another man, even more passionate, to join my life. My days are more pleasure-filled than ever before. No longer is Venus just a figment of my imagination. She’s a real being whom I actively serve, by celebrating what she loves.

It’s not the desire to pile up Venusian goodies that prompts my annual rituals. The sparkle and rush of running streams in my neighborhood, the teasing bowers of new Spring growth—they stir me to it. One time, after preparing our rolls and burning our candles, my partner and I drove to a local creek. I could sense Venus dancing in the water and among the leaves. I could feel her within, a rising joy. “Oh let’s pick a good spot, so we can watch our rolls float awhile downstream!” I focused into the pleasure of the moment and flung my bread into the water. I watched as it swiftly sailed through the sun-lit current, until it went out of view.

Exhilarated, I turned to my partner. His face was glum. There was his bread, inches away from where he’d thrown it, pinned against a rock. Every moment in ritual is a telling one. If what shows up is contrary to our desires, it indicates what might be in our way, or what is unclear about our current state of mind. My partner had been feeling stuck in his life for awhile. He shrugged his shoulders and turned toward the car. “No!  We must free it!” Was it Venus speaking in me?  We tossed stones, laughed, nearly fell into the water, and then his roll sprung free and went on its way. At home that night, we honored Venus deliciously.

Gods and humans need each other.  We love their magic.  They love our acknowledgement.  It is through us that they live!  I hope you spend this Taurus Moon cycle living the joy of Venus.  Use the Santeria ritual, or any other means!

Santeria Venus Ritual

One of the best ways I know to ask for Venus blessings is the Santeria Venus ritual (described by Casey in her Making the Gods Work for You. I make sure I perform this ritual every year during the Taurus cycle.  I encourage you to do the same!

  1. It’s best to perform this ritual on a Friday—which is Venus’ day.  You’ll need a round piece of bread, like a dinner roll.  Make a hole in it and put a nickel or five pennies inside (the number five is sacred to Venus).
  2. On a small piece of paper, clearly state your desires.  Fold this paper and put it into the bread, on top of your nickel.  Then pour a little honey on top of that (as Casey always says, “for obvious symbolic reasons!”).
  3. Finally, place a small candle in the hole (bigger than a birthday candle, but smaller than a taper).  Casey suggests a yellow candle, though I’ve found different colors fun to play with.
  4. Light the candle.  As it is burning, honor Venus:   take a luxurious bath, go shopping, make love.  Do something that makes you feel juicy, beautiful, pampered, prosperous, and happy.  Like attracts like—a delightful like-minded mood attracts Venus like nothing else!
  5. When the candle is completely burned down, so that only melted wax is on the bread, take it to sweet flowing water—a stream or a river, but nothing salty like the ocean.  Toss this now ritually potent (and fully bio-degradable) roll into the water, reciting an invocation, poem, or prayer of your choice.
  6. The goddess will respond to your desires in the coming weeks. She might fulfill your dreams in miraculous ways. Or she might play the trickster—revealing a blind spot that still stands in the way of your desires.


Taurus Meditation: A Spring Ritual of Sacrifice


No zodiac sign is more grounded than Taurus. Yet its obvious “earthiness” obscures its more esoteric dimension. In the pre-Christian world, religious ceremonies often revolved around rituals of sacrifice. Bulls–the animal linked with Taurus–were commonly used in these ancient rites.  Consecrated to the Moon Goddess, the bull’s blood was sprinkled on stone altars and used in rituals of baptism and purification.

Few modern-day seekers would find meaning in the literal sacrifice of a living animal. But  its archetypal symbolism yields rich insights. Ceremonial sacrifice teaches that there is wisdom in giving something up in order to make room for the creative spirit of the new. It teaches that we cannot do or be all things at once.  This esoteric principle is fundamental to being “grounded”—the essence of Taurus. Paring down and stripping away limits us-but at the same time gives structure and shape to our free-form spirits.

Thus this Taurus new moon is a cosmically ordained time to create a ceremonial ritual of sacrifice. To begin your ritual, assess your life and determine what part of your inner character or outer life simply “needs to go.” Unlike banishing something unwanted, the ritual of sacrifice involves relinquishing something that is meaningful or important to us. You may find, for instance, that giving up your extroverted social life is necessary in order to bring forth some creative project. Or, it may be that you need to forswear your love of seclusion in order to allow a relationship to blossom. You may truly appreciate spending money on books, but need to sacrifice that in favor of an acupuncture treatment.  Making a sacrifice is a form of emotional ecology. By practicing principles of conservation in how we live our lives, we cultivate a healthier inner ecosystem.

After you have determined that part of your life that needs sacrificing, choose a spirit animal that symbolizes your choice. Our inner, human nature, the ancients realized, reflects the living realm of outer nature. A bird, for example, might stand for that part of you that loves getting together with friends. A  bull might signify the side of you that is assertive to the point of dominating the more sensitive, empathic side of yourself or others. A dove may embody the peace-loving part of you that prevents confrontation.  A cow may signify the part of you that is overly nurturing to the detriment of your professional life. A fox might symbolize your wily street smarts that has obscured the more innocent part of your soul.

Next, imagine that you are facing your spirit animal. Pay tribute to the creature before you, honoring its positive gifts. Then explain your reasons why it must leave and give voice to the new dimension it is being sacrificed for. After you have blessed your spirit animal, imagine that you have released it into freedom, whether through opening a gate, letting it fly into the air, or seeing it rejoin its wild peers. This may not be forever, but for a portion of time, until you are ready to welcome that part of your nature back into your life.

At first, you may feel grief at letting go of a cherished part of yourself. You may also feel touched by the love of the animal that has sacrificed itself for your sake. Gradually, however, you begin to feel the spacious opening that has been created through making this spirit sacrifice. There is room now within your soul for the birth of the new and the uprising of an  unexpected and unexplored part of yourself.  Finally, give thanks to the moon, give thanks to the realm of nature and all living creatures, and last, acknowledge the sacred principle of sacrifice and its usefulness in our everyday lives.

If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in Dana’s Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, the zodiac… and you!

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!

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.

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