Category Archives: In The Sky

Making the Break: Astrology of Jan. 14 – Jan. 21, 2019

This week’s astrological forecast is written for the plant-wise Anima Mundi Apothecary newsletter!

We welcome the Sun’s entry into Aquarius, a total eclipse of the Leo Full Moon and the emergence of the Cancer/Capricorn eclipse cycle—and with all the excitement of the new and the possible comes a certain dragging on our vitality. This week contains contradictory energies of breakthrough versus holding back and it will require our commitment to working for what we desire in order to receive “a lucky break” and opportunity. The ending of the Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle asks us to reflect on where we may be hiding behind a false image while the opening of Cancer/Capricorn summons the interweaving of our work and our personal lives…

Click here for a full report on the astrology of the week of Jan. 14 – Jan. 21, 2019

Three women sitting in a swamp braiding each others' hair

This is just a general outlook on the week. To learn more about how the planets are affecting you personally, book an astrological consultation! And step into the realms of Soul to enlarge the conversation you are having with the worldWith Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. You can also get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

Breakdown to Breakthrough: Astrology of Jan. 8 – Jan. 14, 2019

Wanna fight?

The week is heavy with cautious Capricorn’s influence and yet the planet of mind, Mercury making a stressed square aspect to the god of war, Mars (exact Jan. 8) setting off existing tensions or initiating new conflict. If you feel the heat of anger rising while you’re speaking to someone, try to put on the brakes and evaluate if you’ll get what you want through shoving or arguing. It could be very hard to catch yourself, though! Mars is in Aries (until Feb. 14) and as the aggressive part of this combo, will be strong and inclined to move fast. On the other hand, Mars-Mercury can help with working through differing perspectives on an issue. You’ll find Mars-Mercury in the skilled debater and the passionate advocate. Fighting (Mars) with words (Mercury) can drive people apart from each other—Mars as the knife edge that separates—but this influence can also help to define or carve out differing (Mars) ideas (Mercury). The key is a willingness to be curious about our anger rather than merely possessed by it. Why does this idea, issue or point matter so much? Does it? If so, what is the best way to get what we want?

Breakdown to breakthrough

Expansive Jupiter is making a dynamic sesquisquare (135°) aspect to liberating Uranus (exact Jan. 9) which can add to the impulsiveness of the moment. But Jupiter-Uranus will also assist the contemplation of the more generative aspects of the currently heavy zeitgeist that is defined by Saturn-Pluto (2018–2021). Saturn-Pluto is carrying the overarching narrative into which all other stories are woven or subsumed. It is driving the momentum to “face reality” and to have a real encounter with what has been previously hidden under the veneer of civilization. Jupiter-Uranus is a very different piece of the evolutionary puzzle containing unexpected breakthroughs. Jupiter-Uranus symbolizes the opening of new vistas of understanding in various human endeavors and the impulse to break free from suffocating structures. This week will be particularly good for reflecting on how the breakdown (Pluto) of consensus reality (Saturn) can create the opening for very positive and life-affirming changes. Perhaps it is an ongoing project of yours or a new inspiration—give it some attention this week in order to plant your ideas, projects and efforts within the reality of the trauma of the birth experience of Saturn-Pluto. How can the breakdown help the breakthrough you’re dreaming of and working for?

Family of mushrooms breakdown to breakthrough in the damp Douglas fir forest

Synergy versus power play

Sociable Venus has just entered Sagittarius (Jan. 7 – Feb. 3) and will aid our efforts to network with others and expand our spheres of support, cooperation and reciprocity. She is also making a hard semisquare (45°) aspect to the lord of the underworld Pluto (exact Jan. 12) which can add a little oomph to our connections—for better and for worse! Along with the egoic Sun’s conjunction to Pluto (exact Jan. 11), we may have to explore our ability to share power with others and get real about our true orientation to the cosmological power of synergy, which is the power of working together. Synergy may require us to shift our perspective on boundaries and identity, adopting new contexts and joining with others to create larger wholes. True synergy results in more energy, creativity and productivity for all—it is a mutually beneficial relationship. But Sun-Pluto emphasizes our own personal quest for power: the ability to cause or prevent change that arises from the fact of our deep interrelatedness with all beings. Do we crave power over others? Do we battle for control? Can our identity expand to include the others—seen and unseen, human and other-than-human—whose active cooperation will magnify our own power, reach and effectiveness? This kind of expansion can surely be experienced as a breakdown and yet could give us one of the biggest breakthroughs of the year.

This is just a general outlook on the week. To learn more about how the planets are affecting you personally, book an astrological consultation! And step into the realms of Soul to enlarge the conversation you are having with the worldWith Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. You can also get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

Planting Seeds: Astrology of Jan. 1 – Jan. 7, 2019

Welcome to the first week of 2019 and the onset of regular contractions in the birthing process of the larger Saturn-Pluto story of 2018–2021. The birth pangs that began in 2017 and quickened in 2018 will be taking greater shape in personal and collective lives. The week has a somewhat somber or leaden beginning with the Sun spotlighting depressive Saturn (exact conjunction Jan. 1), bringing loose ends, insecurities, insufficiencies and a feeling of lack or loss into awareness. Saturn likes to think of himself as The Real Reality™? but can often bring paralyzing distortions through an overly negative or pessimistic outlook. It can be helpful to step back from the way we are framing our “problems” and notice whether the way we think about them creates a dead end where there may in fact be a great way forward. The fresh start of desirous Mars’ recent entry into impulsive Aries (Dec. 31 – Feb. 14) will benefit from having a direction that is informed by a sense of history, responsibility and even duty—both to ourselves and to others. Resist compromising and rather let the internal pressure that builds shape new responses and new perspectives.

The emissary of our thinking mind, Mercury will make a helpful trine to innovating Uranus (exact Jan. 3) as the centering power of the Sun forms a supportive sextile aspect to Dream Maker Neptune (exact Jan. 4). These two influences can bring an assist to any struggle between “the new” and “the old” that may be churning within. These two days offer us a quick liminal or in-between space to waver and tremble in before Mercury enters Capricorn (Jan. 4 – Jan. 23) and turns our thoughts towards the more practical side of life. Dreamers must become doers in these times of mass planetary change and that means not dumping your Soul’s desires and its part in the dream of the Earth for the illusion of safety or control.

Along those lines, trickster Uranus has been quite busy overturning all the apple carts labeled “safety” and “stability” and it is a good use of Uranus’ direct station (Jan. 6) to reflect on how Uranus has transited your chart since entering Aries in May 2010. How has your life been altered according to the topics of the house(s) which Uranus transited, as well as Uranus’ transits to your personal planets? Uranus pushes us towards expression of our unique qualities and gifts—things that no other organism in Earth Community has and which Earth Community needs in order to flourish and creatively respond to the ceaseless motions of life’s unfolding. Whereas most of us have an understandable desire for things to be reliable, predictable, and what-is-known—when this keeps us from blossoming and sharing our nectar with others, Uranus will rattle our cage. Uranus will leave Aries for good this year, and their Jan. 6 station to direct motion may correspond to some validation of the changes it has brought over the last nine years—which can be exciting! and terrifying! and liberating! and all of the above.

Capricorn New Moon 2019 horoscope

Which brings us to the partial eclipse on the Capricorn New Moon of Jan. 5, 2019 at 5:28pm US/Pacific. This is the opening eclipse in the Cancer/Capricorn series which will run through July 2020. Since this New Moon falls at the midpoint of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, we may receive a preview of what Saturn-Pluto holds for the year ahead and it makes a difference whether we identify as a victim of or as an active participant in the upheaval and evolution of our life and times.

This is not to dismiss any real victimization that is happening but more to highlight the importance of holding our own vision of a more beautiful world and acting from that place. And given that we have far less control over much of our circumstances than we would probably like, it makes a difference if we act from the parts of us that do have some choice, some influence, some ability to create in the midst of what can feel like (and may actually be) a fairly despairing situation. The insightful author of the book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown, composed the following mantras and they are so fitting to the tone of this year: “I am no victim of life; I shape change. We are not victims of circumstance; we shape change.” “I am a microcosm of all the possible justice, liberation, pleasure and honesty in the universe, and I act accordingly.” “I remember that I exist only in relationship to other people and systems.”

Here are some thought-provoking ideas around intentions you might place within this New Moon, to carry into the intensity of Saturn-Pluto’s 2019 landscape and its strange need to change us:
• Bring in other major transits of 2019, Jupiter square Neptune and Saturn sextile Neptune and open to healing our relationship to belief itself.
• Reflect on your desire to be an individual Sun, a shining star (Leo) and how that was impacted by the Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle. Then reflect on your aspirations to belong to a whole, to the family of life (Cancer) and how your Sun, your shining star can contribute to nourishing the whole (including Self).
• Dream deeply. Go to the source within you. How do you want to live your values and be accountable to yourself, your Dream and your communities?
• How do you want to contribute to the healing and repair of our world? The significance is in your inspired connection to and passion for the task—not in its relative merits or valuation by others or by society.

Moving Ahead: Astrology of Dec. 25 – Dec. 31, 2018

The Sun sets on the final week of the Gregorian calendar year by cruising through early Capricorn, advancing one degree per day towards stern Saturn, mysterious Pluto and the eclipsing South Node, who are now all in Capricorn. The Sun in Capricorn (Dec. 21 – Jan. 20) provides a fine energy for plotting the new year ahead, identifying important goals, being realistic about obstacles (so you can find a way through them!) and reflecting on how to offer the gift of your being to this world. Socialite Venus makes a sextile to obsessive Pluto (exact. Dec. 28), adding some extra energy to whatever Venus’ recently completed retrograde brought up in your intimate, social and collegial spheres. Venus is still in Scorpio, which has us probing loyalties and questioning trust. Without a little distance and perspective, we could be reading “the worst case scenario” into events or relationships that really just need more time or more information to reveal the truth of themselves.

With combative Mars conjoining sensitive Chiron (exact Dec. 28), taking steps towards resolving disputes, clearing the air of misunderstanding or negotiating intimacy with others could be hampered by poor boundaries. We may have to go against expectations, assert ourselves with people in ways we never have before, and generally stand up for ourselves when it feels awkward to do so. Any pent-up anger (which may have already evolved into resentment) could come out with a bit of a surprise because the lid just can’t hold it in any more. On the other hand, expressing one’s desires to someone may also be inhibited by ancient past pains that really have nothing to do with the present…though they are very alive as you make the effort to reach out for what you want. Take it slow, breathe deeply and practice patience with yourself. Whatever has waited 100 years to express itself will not be improved by speeding the process up by a few days.

Tall Valley of Firs in the winter sunlight

Impulsive Mars conjoins Chiron on his way to entering the headstrong sign of Aries on Dec. 31. After six weeks of swimming through the deep tides of Pisces, Mars is in his home sign where he functions well. At least until Mars forms a challenging square with authoritarian Saturn in about two weeks, our efforts to initiate projects, take decisions and move ahead with plans will be supported by this influence. It is a good use of Mars’ time with Chiron this week to examine what limiting beliefs you may have around pursuing what you want and what is standing in your way. Then when Mars meets Saturn, you’ll be in a better position to work in your own interests and address obstacles or limitations constructively instead of trying to fight a losing battle—whether with yourself or someone else!

The astrological weather for New Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 2018 looks like an interesting mix of the somber and relatively quiet mood of a Sun-Saturn conjunction plus an appetite for the impulsive. The few days around the Sun-Saturn conjunction (exact Jan. 1) may bring to light some of the mistakes we have recently made or loose ends which need to be suddenly tied up. This may or may not interfere with the mood to celebrate, depending on how much we are responsible for and what all is depending on you. The Moon in Scorpio is a rather spicy placement for social, group activities and on the one hand, slumming it may feel glamorous while on the other hand, ordinarily familiar locations may take on an air of mystery or even danger. The Scorpio Moon also makes an exact sesquisquare to thrill-seeking Mars in the hours leading up to midnight which could mean a sudden change of plans, an encounter with rudeness, an urge to challenge authority and/or some very enthusiastic and fun dancing!

Let’s take care of each other out there and I look forward to seeing you in 2019!

Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

An Ethic of Care: Astrology of Dec. 18 – Dec. 24, 2018

Our week opens with the Sun awkwardly squaring eccentric Chiron (Dec. 19) and fluidly trining the even more eccentric Uranus (Dec. 20), which could offer us a glimpse of painful obstacles that make it hard to tap into and offer our creative gifts. Sun trine Uranus is nice for creative openings, inspiration and fresh insights but Chiron’s square may place a few hurdles in our way. Beliefs around scarcity and abundance may be particularly present, but our own natal placement of Chiron (where Chiron is located in our birth chart) may also indicate the nature of impediments. It is hard if not impossible to just power on past what Chiron wants us to look at, but the good news is that it is possible that Uranus can lend a helping hand of a fresh approach to an old problem. Start exactly where you are (instead of wishing you were in that ideal place where the creative flow is happening) and focus on honoring and addressing the obstacle and you may get some surprisingly good results!

This is happening as we are wending our way towards the Solstice point of 0° Capricorn (Dec. 21), signaling winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. The longest night of the north, the longest day of the south sets the stage for the Cancer Full Moon on Dec. 22 at 9:49am US/Pacific. The Sun and the Moon are teetering on the edge of Capricorn/Cancer and this face-off of conscious (Sun) and unconscious (Moon) seems to highlight interpersonal responsibility and the ethic of care. The Moon in Cancer is already very emotional, bringing us in touch with the instinctual response of the child. But Full Moons are particularly charged up as the Sun forms a dynamic relationship with the emotional self that draws forth or expresses feelings, repressed or hidden aspects of the self and the environment which (usually invisible) supports you.

Horoscope of the 2018 Cancer Full Moon

Even though irritable Mars’ tense square aspect to the Full Moon is not very close, it can offer a poke or a prod that will get the ball rolling. With Chiron so close by, care of the self (Cancer) and the responsibility towards the other (Capricorn) may be churning under the pressure to act and indecision on what to do—or the nature of our actions could come under scrutiny. Are we caring enough for those we’re responsible to? Is it just to make us look good, which means that our actions are not properly tied to results or consequences or—heaven forbid—the desires or needs of the others we (pretend to) serve?

As the Moon’s nodes are currently sweeping through Cancer (North Node) and Capricorn (South Node) from Nov. 2018 until May 2020, I notice an emerging discourse of criticism of the philanthropy of corporations and the wealthy, particularly of those based in the United States. Several books have been published which point to the wealthy’s failure to contribute to the tax base of a (theoretically) democratic system of governance while funneling large sums of money to ideas and institutions that are not democratically decided or governed. The results of these efforts are not always beneficial and reflect and can even reinforce structural inequity. (NB: In the United States, certain charitable contributions result in lower taxes.) Such disconnects between an ethic of care and interpersonal responsibility will possibly echo through our own lives, with this Cancer Full Moon providing a sort of catalyst.

In other news, we have Mercury conjoining Jupiter (exact Dec. 21) and squaring Neptune (exact Dec. 24), giving us an opportunity to inquire into how we can bring out the most juicy, generative, creative and buoyant potential of the Jupiter square Neptune world transit (now through Dec 2019). This is an excellent influence for using intuitive means of inquiry—e.g., writing stream of consciousness, using tarot or other divinatory systems, turning on your favorite music and tuning into your body’s movements and gestures, creating collages, or using systemic constellations processes. As I’ve written previously of some of the potential of Jupiter square Neptune, how would we like to heal our relationship to belief itself? Or how would we like to ground our spiritual aspirations into true service to others? Let ourselves be free to get in touch with what WE want to serve—not the whole host of “shoulds” and “this will make me a Good Person” and other social pressures. When we solicit and enact our Soul’s desire, it not only feeds us, it will meet a genuine need in the world, one that we would not even be able to guess at.

On the other side of this Mercury-Jupiter-Neptune transit, look out for being overly optimistic and overestimating your capacities, and being way too sloppy with details. We might instead indulge in works of beauty, immersions in favorite natural settings, asking the Dreamtime to send us important dreams and listening for and recording those dreams. This is an excellent period of time for working with dreams from our sleeping worlds, as well as from our waking worlds. If you are gathering with family over the holidays, be aware of the desire to slip into or communicate a kind of fantasy land. On the one hand, this can be wonderful for healthy childlike wonder and entering into play with children (both inner and outer!) On the other hand, this could create a problematic dynamic if others are wanting to “be real” about something. We may find a generative way through conflicts about “fantasy” and “reality” by acknowledging there are no simplistic answers to complex issues, especially those that have a long history.

Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

The Greater Part of Loving: Astrology of Dec. 11 – Dec. 17, 2018

NB: All dates are US/Pacific time or UTC -8h.

This week, messenger Mercury returns to the sign of Sagittarius (Dec. 12 to Jan. 4) post-retrograde, adding to the exaggeration, overestimation of capacity and glossing over of important details that the self-centered Sun plus jolly Jupiter in Sagittarius can represent. While these placements can be great for big picture visioning, some of us will need to be extra tidy with details and mindful to stop talk-talk-talking and actually take in other people’s information and experience. Good intentions can actually interfere with desirable outcomes. At the same time, the lightness, optimism and hopefulness offered by the next two weeks of Sagittarian emphasis is a welcome counterpoint to all the heaviness and intensity of the strengthening Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which will come within three degrees of exact next April. The closer planets are in aspect to each other, the more vivid their correlations become and the grim reaper energy of Saturn meeting the irresistible inevitability of Pluto is about as dramatic as it gets in terms of depth and the possessive effect of archetypes.

To quote the founder of archetypal psychology, James Hillman: “By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God.” Hence the practice of astrology that ideally allows us to take a step back from the archetype’s narrative of the world and be a little more responsive and a little less reactive (maybe). It’s even possible to honor the power of archetypes by deliberately engaging with the unique perceptions and powers of their cosmic vision and invite them to play along with stories you would like to enact. Although we mere mortals do not always understand the rules of the games these deities play, and we certainly struggle enough with our own self-control! it is very worthwhile to work on becoming more conscious of archetypes and their significant influence. We are all already puppets of these cosmological powers, enacting their tendencies without even trying.

Meditating Buddha with tea service

With that in mind, the first quarter of the Moon (Dec. 15) could stir an emotional challenge to our search for meaning—a good cry in a hot bath could do wonders to clear our heart-minds. Then on Dec. 16, socializing Venus makes her exact sextile to Saturn and feisty Mars makes his exact sextile to Pluto. A combination of irritation, enthusiasm, confidence and uncertainty could bring us face to face with some of the major themes in our particular lives that are contained within the much larger movement of Saturn-Pluto (2018–2021).

The sextile aspects especially point to the role of mentors, teachers, counselors and guides in our lives. Since Mars and Venus are concerned with pursuit, being pursued and our likes and dislikes, we might guide our reflections with another quote from James Hillman:

“Loving in safety is the smaller part of loving.”

To be clear, when I say “major themes” related to the longer Saturn-Pluto transit, I am referring to the predominant storylines, relationships, responsibilities, opportunities and losses related to the Saturn-Pluto archetypal complex. As noted above, this particular combination carries a very weighty, serious experience and sharpens our awareness of the difficulties which can either crush us or make us stronger (or both). Knowledge of where this conjunction falls in your natal chart can provide some clues around what you might want to become more conscious of and intentional with. To give just one example, if Saturn-Pluto is transiting your 7th House of relationship, you could be focusing heavily on the hard work of maintaining your partnership(s); creating a completely new persona to present to the public; experiencing the karmic consequences (positive and negative) of how you have related to others 1-to-1 in the past; or challenged to demonstrate or embody the wisdom gained from studies with powerful if sometimes abusive teachers or mentors (represented by Pluto’s transit of your 7th House). Saturn-Pluto can be very concerned with safety and yet fear can sabotage us with paranoia and misjudgment, making everything far less safe. We might wonder how we can pursue the greater part of loving, with all the risk that carries.

Growing with Saturn-Pluto

Saturn-Pluto: The Birth Contraction of 2018—2021

Saturn-Pluto periods of time, such as the present alignment from 2018 through 2021, can represent a transformation of the status quo or the existing state of affairs. However, it’s crucial to remember that archetypes display many different and even contradictory meanings all at once. History shows that Saturn and Pluto coming together can also represent the empowerment (Pluto) of that which would either regress or hold back changes (Saturn). Reactionary and regressive cultural and social developments form a strong correlation throughout history because of the intense fear that can accompany these two planets in combination.

glyph for Saturn
Saturn

Glyph for Pluto
Pluto

Pluto expresses that everything wants to live. Pluto at its best is totally alive! There is a vibrancy and courage and vitality that a well-integrated Pluto can express like nothing else. When Pluto meets Saturn, it meets its limits. The question will come up: how can this striving to “survive” or to “persist” orient to Saturn’s demands? Saturn’s rules, its problem-making, its demand that we go at the “right” pace and not too fast…but not too slow. Saturn wants to channelize or diffract Pluto’s raw intensity that would just gush out everywhere, and blindly grab whatever is needed to sustain or expand its current energy level or throughput. And so it becomes a birthing process, where Saturn pushes Pluto to evolve in a particular way—Pluto may be evolution, but Saturn can be a guide. Saturn will consistently ask us what’s really possible here, given the current circumstances shaped by history, by our ancestors’ decisions and lives?

Highlighting Differences

Given all of these possibilities, how could we constructively engage with Saturn-Pluto as a world transit? World transits have collective impact and yet it takes individuals to form collectives. Each of us in our individual lives will face parts of this massive birth contraction of 2018 to 2021—which is one of the more generative ways I can think of this time period’s potentials—and it will be different for each of us. We’re all situated differently within larger social structures, within our personal and various collective-level karmas. Awareness of these very differences are heightened during Saturn-Pluto periods of time.

So you might try to engage the depth and power of the Saturn-Pluto alignment by deliberately working with its tendency to exaggerate differences. You might seek out the perspectives and points of view of those who are from a culture or community that has fewer opportunities, material resources and more difficult circumstances than your own, including those who suffer stigma. It could actually be quite the revelation just to seek out who lives on the margins in relation to your own position, whatever your relative freedoms and advantages. Prevailing social norms make those “below” us on the hierarchy less visible than those “above” us, and in this way we could use Saturn-Pluto to constructively bring to the surface (Saturn) that which is hidden or repressed from awareness (Pluto).

all color images by Joshua Halpern ::: ecocourageous.com

Sacred Curiosity and the Wisdom of the Heart

Saturn-Pluto may give us greater access to appreciating the radical differences between ourselves and others—but appreciation is not automatic. One tip to prevent us from dismissing different experiences or collapsing them into our story about the world is to summon up a genuine and respectful curiosity. And a willingness to admit that we know less than we think we do!

A practice that could help this along is to bring your awareness to your heart, and to keep re-focusing awareness on your heart as you explore the perspectives and experiences of those who seem to be so different from you. Both feelings of disgust and compassion could become stronger and it is helpful to consider that your emotional response says more about you than it does about others. Trying to just allow your feelings, however taboo they may be, and trying to connect with the part of you that can allow emotion to flow through will help them move. Is it possible to be curious about what you are feeling? Curious and gentle?

You may notice a whole raft of judgments arising, too—which is why it’s helpful to connect with the heart. The heart carries a more accepting mode of consciousness. The point of this exploration isn’t to figure out “who is right” and “who is wrong.” It’s more to notice: there is more than one way of experiencing the exact same events. There is more than one culture, more than one society, more than one system of beliefs, more than a single lineage or ancestry giving birth to our present moment. It seems that no rigid ideology can guard us from harming others—only a commitment to ever-increasing awareness of Self in relation to Other (and vice versa) can reduce that possibility—and indeed, lead us to transform what needs healing within the status quo, within the existing state of our affairs.

Healing Our Relationship to Belief: Astrology of December 4 – December 10, 2018

We welcome in the first full week of December with the Sagittarius New Moon on Dec. 6 at 11:20pm US/Pacific, highlighting our ambitions to adventure, explore, learn and believe in something greater than ourselves. Sagittarius is considered the home sign of the royal planet Jupiter, whose significations are getting a signal boost since Jupiter entered Sagg about a month ago. As harsh as many realities are, Jupiter in Sagg can encourage us to seek out grounds for optimism or to (re-)establish our relationship with hope, meaning and our purpose in this lifetime. The quest for meaning is a primary quality of the sign of Sagittarius and those who have strong Sagg emphases will often find meaning in even the most challenging of circumstances, when all others would despair. Our relationship to the planet Jupiter reflects our sense of optimism, faith and hope for the future, as Jupiter correlates to good fortune and favor, the ability to grow, opportunities, and philosophy as “a love (philos) of wisdom (sophia).”

Horoscope of the 2018 Sagittarius New Moon
2018 Sagittarius New Moon

This week’s New Moon in Sagg features storyteller Jupiter exactly at the midpoint between messenger Mercury and the fertile conjunction of Sun and Moon. This means that Jupiter—the planet of expansion—draws Mercury—the planet of the mind—into the New Moon configuration and the four planets can work together to infuse any intentions you might like to set for the lunar month ahead. One possibility is to welcome in the healing available from the Jupiter square Neptune world transit (Nov. 2018 – Nov. 2019) which could be a great ally to the intensity and rigidity of the Saturn-Pluto world transit that’s bringing some urgency to our evolutionary process. Jupiter-Neptune is soft, empathic, forgiving, endowed with grand visionary potential and imbues imagination and spiritual experience with an ecstatic, celebratory or humorous quality. In a less integrated form, Jupiter-Neptune can represent the grand delusion, spiritual materialism and an overblown, false religiosity.

Amongst the potentials of the current Jupiter-Neptune alignment is “healing the relationship to belief itself.” Working with this New Moon to explore both your skepticism and your naivety is supported by the Mars conjunction to Neptune (exact Dec. 7) which is aspecting the New Moon. Mars-Neptune can appear as the spiritual warrior and Mars will bring a bit of complexity to Neptune’s square to the New Moon, which might otherwise render us very blurry and indistinct. Mars may function by way of irritation and following the lines of what ails us in order to find reconciliation or healing is suggested by the overall cosmic portrait. Particularly where violations of our boundaries or those whom we care about intersect our belief or our relationship to belief systems, ideologies and philosophies. Sagittarius and Jupiter want us to grow, not to remain in a “repetition compulsion,” the psychological tendency to re-enact traumas again and again and again, with the hope of having a different outcome. A different outcome will require a different viewpoint and the application of conscious self-reflection. Fortunately, Mercury returns to direct motion on Dec. 6 just prior to the New Moon’s exact conjunction, offering hope of thought processes that are more direct and on target. But Mercury’s slowed motion indicates value in moving slowly through thoughts, reflections and feelings. Particularly where injury and trauma is involved, it is important to move at the pace of the body rather than the mind.

Venus’ return to Scorpio (Dec. 2 – Jan. 7) in the wake of her recent retrograde adds to the picture of following the lines of what ails us in order to heal. Venus represents many seductions we can spend a lifetime pursuing: money, sex, love, community. She wants connection and harmony but can have such a hard time in Scorpio because she must first confront whatever is problematic or terrifying within our needs to give and receive love. It’s hard to feel balance, harmony and satisfaction when there is so much “stuff” to metabolize. And what does it mean to metabolize something? Metabolism describes separating nutrients from what is unusable and sorting each to an appropriate place. What is nutrient? What is material for the compost pile? What is a little bit of both? Don’t neglect the nutrient value of whatever may want to emerge from Scorpio’s hidden underworld. It is foundational to the Jupiterian path to wholeness.

 

Key dates for Venus retrograde:
Sept. 3, 2018 – Venus enters shadow 25° Libra
Oct. 5, 2018 – Venus stations retrograde 10° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Venus stations direct 25° Libra
Dec. 16, 2018 – Venus exits shadow 10° Scorpio

Key dates for Mercury retrograde:
Oct. 28, 2018 – Mercury enters shadow 27° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Mercury stations retrograde 13° Sagittarius
Dec. 6, 2018 – Mercury stations direct 27° Scorpio
Dec. 24, 2018 – Mercury exits shadow 13° Sagittarius


Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

The Quest for Accountability: Astrology of November 27 – December 3, 2018

We begin the week with Mercury’s retrograde backing over the Sun and Jupiter (exact Nov. 27 US/Pacific) in Sagittarius, signaling the halfway point of Mercury’s current retrograde period. Right around this time, we may receive information relevant to the substance of this retrograde, especially that material it would be helpful to review, rework, reconsider or revisit. This information may very well pertain to works you will write and perhaps publish, new philosophical insights, material you find worthy of teaching to others, and what of yourself will come to be shared with others as Jupiter makes his way into the interior of Sagittarius (through Dec. 2019). There could be a little bit of impatience or difficulty concentrating or focusing on what we should be investigating but we could try to incorporate our wanderings into our days. Jot down your stray thoughts in the moment and short reminders to later attend to the distractions that would threaten your focus. You may also find your sleep and your daytime concentration improved if, before going to bed, you take time to write down everything you intended but did not accomplish that day. Don’t reflect on it or make your notes neat and organized; let it all flow out in a stream of consciousness. Tell yourself before closing your eyes: I have it written down, so I can remember to get to it tomorrow.

Quote: "People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead." -James BaldwinThe Moon will enter Virgo on Nov. 29 until Dec. 1 US/Pacific, squaring the Sun in Sagittarius in her Last Quarter phase. During this part of the week, we may find ourselves in a more critical, fault-finding mode. Virgo in its unintegrated aspect can be fairly obsessed with “whose fault it is” and while the quest for accountability is necessary for justice making, beware of blowing things out of proportion or seeking a too simple answer. The strong Sagittarian currents can fuel arrogance and overconfidence, and as Mercury backs into Scorpio on Dec. 1, the desire to uncover deeper truths will rise. The danger here is descending into paranoia and scapegoating attitudes, especially as Venus makes her final opposition to Uranus (exact Nov. 30) and moves forward into Scorpio herself (Dec. 2). During her retrograde this year, Venus opposed Uranus on Oct. 31 and Sept. 12 and this final opposition of Venus retrograde may call forth the many upsets and unsettling shifts of 2018. Why did that happen? Who did this? Indeed, whose fault was that? Whatever disturbing or unwanted events remain unmetabolized may boil to the surface and seek out your care and attention. For those who have worked diligently with the twists of fate of 2018, Venus opposite Uranus this week may feel more like a test of hard-won stability and present an opportunity to solidify insight, new ways of relating and identifying oneself.

Set within the larger Saturn-Pluto cycle (2018-2021), the overlapping Mars and Venus retrogrades of 2018 carried with them the onset of “birth contractions” which will culminate in 2020 to 2021. If we think of Pluto as the base desire to persist, to exist, to be alive and Saturn as endings and death, historical circumstances and the necessities of being in a body—when the two come together, the desire to live meets the limits of that living. In response, new things wish to emerge, perhaps even a new version of yourself, your sense of family, reciprocity, belonging, community, sexuality, passion and guiding values. Unfortunately, this planetary archetypal collision between instinctive survival (Pluto) and real limitations (Saturn) can produce so much fear, paranoia and obsession with control—hence the rise of dictatorships and all manner of authoritarian institutions. This trend will intensify through 2019 and 2020, and taking a moment here near the end of 2018 to breathe, assess and re-assess the way we are living, how we direct our finite energy, the communities we serve and our deepest commitments can give us the grounds to be responsive rather than reactive to destructive/creative pressures of the anima mundi, or Soul of the World.

Key dates for Venus retrograde:
Sept. 3, 2018 – Venus enters shadow 25° Libra
Oct. 5, 2018 – Venus stations retrograde 10° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Venus stations direct 25° Libra
Dec. 16, 2018 – Venus exits shadow 10° Scorpio

Key dates for Mercury retrograde:
Oct. 28, 2018 – Mercury enters shadow 27° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Mercury stations retrograde 13° Sagittarius
Dec. 6, 2018 – Mercury stations direct 27° Scorpio
Dec. 24, 2018 – Mercury exits shadow 13° Sagittarius


Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!

Within the Opposites: Gemini Full Moon of Nov. 2018

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Following is an ode to the potentials within the Gemini Full Moon of 2018 (Nov. 22 at 9:39pm US/Pacific).

I write you as I return from a journey to the underworld catacombs to retrieve the lost ancestors, forgotten and excluded ancestors, the neglected ancestors…a journey of giving thanks to both the destructive and the creative aspects of those who gave me this existence. For how hard it is to fully appreciate the gifts our ancestors have given us. So many of those gifts can appear to be curses, ugly and unwanted. But held with care, under a sustained gaze and a willingness to suffer the deformities of time, even the unwanted offers strength to the kind of life we aspire to live.

The 2018 Full Moon in Gemini speaks to us of the delusions of force and the pitfalls of overconfidence. The sword of the mind and its desire to create sharp distinctions and to banish shadows becomes dangerous within the flux of kairos—the melting away of all that seems to be so permanent and everlasting. We are challenged to release our desire for clarity in the conventional sense and step into more murky waters, tempting us with both terror and trust. Stepping off into the murk offers is no guarantee of failure and no guarantee of success. There is only guarantee of the need to submit to the adventure of learning how to care—with an edge. The edges of learning, which are filled with awkwardness and confusion. The edges of desire, which seem to both guide and betray us. The edges of the traumatic, which lives within all of us in varieties both personal and transpersonal. The edges of resilience, which cope with the bottomless well of suffering in this world and what of it may be our personal lot to bear.

2018 Gemini Full Moon horoscope
2018 Gemini Full Moon

This is not to be too gloomy, not at all. “To bear” has many meanings—to bear children, to bear witness, to bear up and into this world. The poet Mary Oliver says that there is only one question: how to love this world? What does it mean to genuinely give thanks for EVERYTHING which led to this present moment? That which enabled you to even read this sentence, to breathe life and to feel and to serve that which you love? The Gemini Full Moon of 2018 suggests something that may be counter-intuitive to a sword-like mind that wants a world of black-and-white choices and simple oppositions of Good and Evil.

Easy, clear-cut reasoning may deceive us into thinking we have found safety and certainty and high moral ground. Instead, this Full Moon beckons us to swim in the murky waters of our relatedness and connections to all things. Swimming with trust and with fear—that is, with courage—towards genuine awareness of and sincere gratitude for our complicated past, because all of that history and ancestry gives birth to our present moment. Because this kind of gratitude will grant us our freedom. Freedom to enact more of the truth of who we really are and to return to our ancestors that which belongs to them. Ignorance of the past holds us in its chains and will restrict the ability to care along all of the edges of our present time. Despising the past also has a way of binding us to it and leads us to carry who and what we hate as a burden. It is as if we would become walking zombies of the past, with its misdeeds and confusion and suffering continuing to live on through us.

Of course, no one can simply leap into such waters and expect all to be resolved in one day. The Earth has been in formation for 4.5 billion years. The murk is real. So is the pain. And so is the joy of freedom from burdens which are not ours to carry. Even the past can heave a sigh of relief, freed from a twisted relationship to the present, freed to form wisdom and strength for our struggles and our successes of today. This can seem impossible and even unethical or taboo—but the Gemini Moon would wed itself to the Sagittarius Sun in these ways, according to the cosmic clock which these days churns us all from its most hidden depths.

 

Key dates for Venus retrograde:
Sept. 3, 2018 – Venus enters shadow 25° Libra
Oct. 5, 2018 – Venus stations retrograde 10° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Venus stations direct 25° Libra
Dec. 16, 2018 – Venus exits shadow 10° Scorpio

Key dates for Mercury retrograde:
Oct. 28, 2018 – Mercury enters shadow 27° Scorpio
Nov. 16, 2018 – Mercury stations retrograde 13° Sagittarius
Dec. 6, 2018 – Mercury stations direct 27° Scorpio
Dec. 24, 2018 – Mercury exits shadow 13° Sagittarius


Step into the realms of Soul and enlarge the conversation you are having with the world through an astrological consultation. With Erica as your guide, cross the astrological bridge between heaven and Earth to transform liabilities into assets and cooperate with the energies and forces presently shaping your life. Get in touch at erica at realimaginal dot com!

2019 RETREATS   I am excited to share that astrologer Renn Butler and I will be offering another holotropic breathwork + archetypal astrology + dreamwork retreat in summer 2019!  Watch this space for more details and to save the date!