Category Archives: In The Sky

Shedding Skins: Astrology of Feb. 27 – Mar. 5, 2018

This last week of February 2018 brings a little fiery kick to an otherwise emotional or even weepy Piscean mood, as Mercury squares Mars and sextiles Pluto (exact Feb. 28), resulting in plans and communications appearing to work at cross purposes. For example, one person’s romantic dreams may be upset by another’s adventuresome spirit, and it may be difficult to bridge the two differing impulses. The different parties involved may be very clear about what they each are doing—but it will be a tricky matter trying to align those various plans!

The high emotional tide of the Full Moon in Virgo, which is exact at 4:51pm US/Pacific on March 1, is unlikely to bring calm or clarity to any such conflicts concerning direction, plans of action or the like. Virgo is very particular about its likes and dislikes, and with Neptune in a close conjunction with the Pisces Sun, sorting through disillusionment or unattainable ideals or dreams could be a theme for many under this Full Moon. Uranus makes an exact semisquare (45° angle) to the Sun, and an exact sesquisquare (135° angle) to the Moon, bringing in an erratic or unexpected quality. Uranus is often upsetting as a herald of the trickster, who delights in upending our expectations. Can you adjust? What—realistically—will that adjustment entail?

Virgo Full Moon 2018

On another level, the Virgo Full Moon of March 1, 2018 could offer up spiritual breakthrough, freeing your voice or your mind from old habits of expression. The devil will be in the details of Virgo’s discerning ways, and getting beyond cheap and feel-good dualities—such as unreflective notions of right or wrong, good or bad, pleasurable or painful—will be necessary to fully reap the harvest. Not everything worth having comes easily, but neither is pain and suffering a good indicator of the worthiness of one’s cause, ideals or pursuits. The nature of the full moon is to bring one’s emotional and inherited or instinctual self into greater contact with the conscious sense of a separate self, that part of us which says, “I am.” Neptune’s influence on this particular full moon demands self-reflection, and with such a tool, we have a chance to pierce a veil of unconsciousness. Under a full moon, it is rather common to experience the instinctual self (Moon) engulfing or overwhelming the “I am” (Sun), but it’s worth harnessing an intention to play an active role in coming to consciousness, however bumpy the ride may be.

For those who believe in reincarnation, this lunation could offer a great deal of healing in terms of releasing attachment to suffering which continues to echo through your lifetimes. A heightened experience of that suffering may well be the catalyst for release, as those patterns make themselves more clear by ceasing to operate in the background, hidden and undetectable.

On March 4, Mercury, Venus and Chiron form a triple conjunction at the end of Pisces, the last conjunction of those three planets in the sign of Pisces since Chiron entered the sign of the fishes back in April 2010. Chiron leaves Pisces and heads into pioneering Aries on April 17, and this loving send off from Venus and Mercury can offer some insight into how you have evolved your relationship to the fact of being a sensitive, vulnerable creature. The human being is innately vulnerable, from the time of birth into utter helplessness and dependency that lasts many years of early life, to the adult recognition of the relational nature of our existence…the fact of relationship means there will be wounds, hurts and wrongs which happen.

Chiron’s eight years in Pisces has provided a portal of insight into those very tender areas of our relationship to the divine—a relationship which is reflected in our relationship to the entire Earth Community, with its interdependence and demands for our presence as embodied Soul. The triple conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Chiron this Sunday would be well honored by journaling—particularly in poetic, metaphorical or beautiful language—concerning the last eight years’ evolution or transformation around the theme of vulnerability, dependence and interdependence, and the profound emotional pain or wounding we can encounter in the process of trying to access and offer our greatest gifts. Celebrate the successes and honor the rough-going parts or setbacks of this time—Chiron asks us to take in the whole picture, for the setbacks can become our greater teachers. Experiment with turning off the inner critic and allowing the poet of you step forward, because we each contain a poetic mode. You may be surprised by the voice or voices which announce themselves, adding a recognition of your resilience and your fragility to the harvest of the Virgo Full Moon.


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!

SATURN RETURN SPECIAL    In honor of the generation born roughly 30 years ago with a Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, I am offering everyone with natal Saturn placed from 25° Sagittarius to 29° Capricorn ~ roughly those born Jan. 1929 – Nov. 1932; Mar. 1958 – Jan. 1962; and Dec. 1987 – Feb. 1991 ~ a special Saturn return reading at the following reduced rates for a limited time only:

Returning clients
$65 for 60 minutes
$35 for 30 minutes

New clients
$75 for 60 minutes
$40 for 30 minutes


Open Your Mind to Your Heart: Astrology of Feb. 20 – Feb. 26, 2018

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

Once a month, the week’s astrological forecast will go out in Anima Mundi’s newsletter along with their herbal tips, DIY preparations and information.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all that Anima Mundi Apothecary has concocted in conspiracy with the plants’ desire to heal us!

Wishing everyone a blessed Pisces season, which has started off with a splash! with five planets swimming through the sign of the fishes.


Click here for a look at the astrology of the week of February 20 – February 26, 2018


Stepping into the Weird: Astrology of Feb. 13 – Feb. 19, 2018

We open this week with Mercury in the final degrees of Aquarius, where it will snuggle up with the chilly, cerebral Aquarius New Moon on Thurs., Feb. 15 after forming an exact square on Tues., Feb. 13 with the reigning king of the underworld, Jupiter in Scorpio. Your mouth may get you in some trouble if you are unaware that you’re motivated to simply shock or upset others with your clever (you thought) perspective. Even if you know you are trying to upset some apple carts, you still might want to check in on where your intentions are placed. Mercury square Jupiter suggests exaggerating or stretching the truth, or perhaps having an honesty deficiency, so make sure that any of your tall tales will have some entertainment value.

We have an Aquarius New Moon on Thurs., Feb. 15, 2018 at 1:05pm US/Pacific, which also ushers in the Chinese Year of the Dog and the 4,715 year of the Chinese calendar. When the Moon conjoins the Sun in the sky, it is a time of dayworld consciousness (Sun) interpenetrating with the more unconscious, animal self (Moon), when the Sun’s directed, focused nature energizes the deeper, hidden layers of our being. In turn, the Moon may saturate dayworld consciousness with its emotional tides and the immediate needs of the body. The mutual activation of what can appear to be two poles or extremes of the human experience is perhaps why the New Moon is thought to be a good time to plant seeds and set intentions for the lunar month.

Aquarius New Moon 2018

This Aquarius New Moon on Feb. 15 is a partial solar eclipse featuring Mercury in a triple conjunction with the Sun and Moon, squared by Jupiter and sextiled by Uranus. It’s a good New Moon for declaring your quirky, unconventional ways to be fit for human consumption. If you have had any reservations about being exactly as you are because at least part of you feels like a misfit, an alien, an outcast or outsider…this is a good time to explore self-acceptance of those parts of yourself. Is it really the outside world that is judging you? Or an inner critic trying to protect some tender spot or insecurity? How have your coping mechanisms served you so far, and are they still successful? Or do you need a change of strategy? It may be time to trade in some old habits of hiding your uniqueness or the ways that you stand out from the crowd—or to simply notice that those habits of hiding or shying away exist. Venus in Pisces, along with Mars squaring Neptune, can help open your heart to those outcasts or misfits within.

With Venus sextiling Saturn (exact on Feb. 15), your duties and obligations in intimate and platonic as well as workplace relationships are highlighted. It’s generally a good time to make adjustments to those relationships, but other factors may make the situation a little more contentious. While Venus in Pisces provides a kinder tenor to any relational adjustments, you may experience the heights of passive aggression, as unexpressed needs or desires refuse to conveniently disappear, despite having been unexpressed.

Feb. 18 features Mercury’s superior conjunction to the Sun at 28°Aquarius, when Mercury is farthest from Earth and begins its transition over the next few weeks from a morning star to an evening star, eventually joining Venus who is presently low in the western twilight sky. Mercury will enter Pisces on Feb. 17, closely followed by the Sun on Feb. 18, making somewhat of a pileup in the spiritual sign of the fishes: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and Chiron will all be swimming in the Piscean ocean through March 5. It will be a time to get in touch with that bleeding heart of compassion—however concealed it may be.

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 here!

SATURN RETURN SPECIAL    In honor of the generation born roughly 30 years ago with a Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, I am offering everyone with natal Saturn placed from 25° Sagittarius to 29° Capricorn ~ roughly those born Jan. 1929 – Nov. 1932; Mar. 1958 – Jan. 1962; and Dec. 1987 – Feb. 1991 ~ a special Saturn return reading at the following reduced rates for a limited time only:

Returning clients
$65 for 60 minutes
$35 for 30 minutes

New clients
$75 for 60 minutes
$40 for 30 minutes


Cycles of growth: Astrology of Feb. 6 – Feb. 12, 2018

Our lady of Venus in Aquarius gets one more affirmation of freedom, independence and originality as she makes a sextile to Uranus on Tuesday, Feb. 6. While this can bring an extra twinkle to the eye and favors dancing in which you allow your body to spontaneously move you, the Moon’s journey through Scorpio from Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 8 hints at deeper currents coursing through the emotional realm. Your body may have some interesting moves to make as things which are drawing to a close intensify, and new horizons beckon. Towards the middle of the week our desire to gamble may peak and draw us into staking bold claims, as the Aquarian Sun makes a square aspect to Jupiter in Scorpio on Saturday, Feb. 10. Use Aquarian objectivity of the Sun to your advantage and consider various perspectives and options carefully. The exploration of pleasure could shed light on your dilemma, though not simply pleasure for pleasure’s sake nor pleasure as a panacea, for some pain will often accompany growth. Pleasure in service of healing is more indicated, and again, can sometimes be accompanied or preceded by difficulty, loss or adjustment.

image by Joshua Halpern

Sun squaring Jupiter warns us to beware of excess—perhaps an excessive sense of self-importance which can bring so much unnecessary pain. Placing oneself (particularly one’s wounds) at the absolute center of every narrative constructs a fragile reality that requires so much management. It’s exhausting to maintain that perspective, either for you or for everyone around you or both!

Venus enters Pisces on Saturday, Feb. 10 for her nearly month-long stay in the sign of spiritual aspiration, dreamy reverie and imagination. This can bring both a heart-opening and a heart-rending, as sensitive sentiments and feelings well up to the surface. The Moon enters Capricorn at nearly the same time and recommends not so much emotional detachment as an examination of sentiments, values, and their structures, which can help make sense of the waves of feelings. If it’s a time for release in your life, let the tears flow as they will for they will wash the heart and bring healing. Find compassionate, nonjudgmental friends to listen and offer their support and comfort (but be wary of those who may be drawn to “fix” you or think that they can “heal” you). If it’s a time for dedication to loving compassion, seek out practices that support heart opening. Venus in Pisces evokes something like the lovingkindness meditation of Buddhism, a mantra of “May all beings know love. May all beings know happiness. May all beings know kindness. May all beings know joy.” Don’t forget, however, that you are one of those “all beings!” Martyrdom and poor boundaries can also be a feature of Venus in Pisces, and finding your center in relationship could be part of the journey with the Venusian elements of your life.


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 here!

SATURN RETURN SPECIAL    In honor of the generation born roughly 30 years ago with a Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, I am offering everyone with natal Saturn placed from 25° Sagittarius to 29° Capricorn ~ roughly those born Jan. 1929 – Nov. 1932; Mar. 1958 – Jan. 1962; and Dec. 1987 – Feb. 1991 ~ a special Saturn return reading at the following reduced rates for a limited time only:

Returning clients
$65 for 60 minutes
$35 for 30 minutes

New clients
$75 for 60 minutes
$40 for 30 minutes


To thine own Self be True: Astrology of Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2018

This week features a total lunar eclipse, or “blood moon,” which is also a blue moon, meaning a second full moon in a calendar month. It is also a supermoon, which happens when the moon comes closer to the Earth than usual (14% closer), making it 30% brighter. The extra special features of the Full Moon converge on 11° Leo, which is exact at 5:26AM US/Pacific time on Wed., Jan. 31, 2018. Mercury will enter Aquarius just shortly thereafter, moving us from a more strategic, rational mindset to one of cool detachment and a willingness to entertain different ideas. It offers a chance to open up to new perspectives and perhaps take a step back from entanglement in problematic emotions—though beware of becoming so detached that you become impersonal and unfeeling and lost in conceptual reality. Trying to escape an unpleasant reality is a far cry from gaining fresh perspective on it to move things in a better direction.

The Full Moon in Leo

Venus at 16°Aquarius is caught up in this total lunar eclipse, which brings an emphasis to surface appearances, matters of reciprocity, sentiments, pleasures and beauty as well as romantic, social and work relationships. Venus in Aquarius values freedom, individuality, perhaps being a little shocking with unconventionality or originality. And so you are called to be true to yourself as you are confronted with your unconscious or semiconscious habits of relating to others. Be that in friendship, in romantic partnership, in collegial or workplace relationships—this Full Moon is your cue to take note of the ways you sabotage yourself in relationships without really being aware of it. How this shows up could be reflected in the condition of your own natal Venus, and how it is aspected by other planets. Here are a few jumping off points for your reflection – find the planetary combination(s) with Venus found in your chart:

Venus-Sun – It’s nice to be liked, and doesn’t Venus-Sun crave that! But conflicts which you have been avoiding, or faults in yourself which you have glossed over may come bounding towards you with a test of your ability to be honest.

Venus-Mercury – Diplomacy falls flat when it’s only serving of your self-interest and to the detriment of your community. Those with Venus-Mercury may find themselves forced to show their hand around this Leo Full Moon.

Venus-Moon – Whether sticky sweet and overly empathetic, or using charm to coerce or deceive, this Leo Full Moon may bring those with Venus-Moon some perspectives which cause divisions or otherwise bring in needed objectivity to their interaction with others.

Venus-Mars – Perhaps you love a good quarrel, or enthusiastically pursue nearly every romantic opportunity, no matter how complicated, and so this Full Moon may shine a light on ways in which you damage potentials for genuine connection.

Venus-Jupiter – A tad self-indulgent at times, where too much is just not enough? Or is it that your expectations of others are off the charts? Perhaps this Full Moon will help you get a handle on knowing when enough is enough.

Venus-Saturn – It’s okay to be discerning but where has the quest for discernment lapsed into fear? A collision with boundaries that hamper the flow of connection may be a feature of the Leo Full Moon.

Venus-Uranus – The consequences of erratic choices or inconstancy in relationships may enter your awareness, asking you to evaluate how you achieve independence within relationship or how you might better serve your love of the unconventional.

Venus-Neptune – Go easy on yourself if your illusions begin to falter under the influence of this Full Moon. There is a profound art to retrieving projections of the ideal onto others, and retrieving parts of your own Soul thereby. Let disappointment guide you to deeper knowledge, as you offer the radical acceptance of a loving parent to the part of you that may feel victimized.

Venus-Pluto – Your addiction to radical vulnerability is highlighted in this lunation, and payoff can come through looking at how you put your heart or sense of well-being firmly in the hands of others. Not how anyone “makes you” do so, but in fact, what is by your own choice.

Uncovering Hidden Resources: Astrology of Jan. 23 – Jan. 29, 2018

This week follows on a hyper-Capricornian Capricorn New Moon (Jan. 16), which featured six planets in Capricorn and suggested a consideration of long-term planning and sober calculation that honors the need for balance in one’s life, such that work and external focus doesn’t crowd out everything else. Mercury has now moved from early Capricorn to conjoin Pluto in the middle of Capricorn on Wed., Jan. 24, while both planets sextile Jupiter. The mind may be clicking over  various ways of achieving your personal or professional goals, and you may find your arguments are more persuasive at this time. While the sextile between Jupiter and Pluto is not typically prone to the arrogance which the hard aspects between Jupiter and Pluto can display, it is still advisable to be wary of ambitions or unconscious motivations. Otherwise, they may bounce back at you from an environment which resists your attempt to be too controlling, too clever, too self-centered or too righteous. It is otherwise a good time for studying and communicating visions of self- or social improvements, and evaluating all the resources you have at hand, for you may realize you have some hidden wealth that has been overlooked or underappreciated in the past.

Mercury goes on to square Uranus on Sat., Jan. 27, which could lend itself to surprising revelations, or fresh and perhaps unsettling perspectives or news that requires an adjustment in one’s plans. It doesn’t have to be negative news or perspectives, though the square suggests some element of being caught unawares. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself uttering some variation on, “I did not know that!!” This square of Mercury to Uranus favors the contemplations suggested above, in terms of being able to re-evaluate one’s resources, talents and sources of faith and actually recognize new aspects or dimensions.

image by Joshua Halpern,

Our sense of direction, motivation, energy and vigor—Mars—moves out of cunning Scorpio and into high-minded Sagittarius on Fri., Jan. 26. The image of the crusader or champion of one’s philosophy comes to mind, as does the person who spouts off some ideas believing everyone else sees the world the same way, perhaps adopting a very moralistic and rigid tone in the process. Mars likes to leap ahead, to jump quickly without considering and this may be a helpful energy for those who self-sabotage by obsessing over the details of “how my plan will work out,” while for others it can add unhelpful fuel to the fire. Know your tendencies, and help Mars give you that extra boost of optimistic courage or think twice about pushing yourself to take unnecessary or unwise risks.

Mars in Sagittarius can also be fun-loving, playful and up for a grand adventure. This can make finishing what is started a little bit more difficult, but it’s a good support for allowing your fancy to flow, dreaming big and initiating new streams of activity. You’ll likely have to face any excess you’ve created, and trim away that which your body simply cannot follow through on once Mars approaches Capricorn in mid-March. Commitment-shy Mars in Sagittarius is great for exploring the possible, as well as firing on all cylinders for at least a stretch here and there in order to pursue a well-crafted vision. Beware of taking on too much during this time, or at least ensure your enthusiasm doesn’t get you into too much trouble when it wanes and your attention wants to wander elsewhere.

Venus in the Key of Change: Astrology of Jan. 9 – Jan. 15, 2018

This week may find us broody, moody or absorbed in processes which want to penetrate our defenses and give us an opportunity to release ourselves from old stories, old wounds, old ways of maintaining a too-superficial peace. The Sun, Venus and Pluto are in an exact triple conjunction at 19° Capricorn on Jan. 9, and will color the landscape through at least Jan. 13. (See Venus-Pluto: Love’s transformation for an exploration of some of its archetypal potentials.) Since this triple connection coincides with Mercury’s entry into Capricorn on Jan. 10, after Mercury’s incredibly long two-month trip retrograding through Sagittarius—usually only a three-week affair—we might turn this tendency to transform towards tending the seeds of our destiny.

Perhaps you partook in a ritual to harness the reflective potential contained in the Dec. 17 New Moon in Sagittarius (detailed suggestions provided here). Or perhaps you spent some time during the Mercury retrograde (Nov. 14 – Jan. 10) pondering the last couple of years of your life and where your aspirations have carried you—or led you astray. Taking time for reflection to glean the lessons of the last couple of years is a fantastic way to set yourself up for greater success during Saturn’s sojourn through Capricorn. And in light of what you may have gleaned about the last few years, the ingress of Mercury into Capricorn (Jan. 10) could correlate to receiving clarifying information about a new way forward in your relational sphere, specifically in terms of intimate or romantic relations, your economic arrangements, and the way in which you give and receive support. An enhanced capacity to strategize, trim away unrealistic idealism, and even concrete steps may become more clear to you. Decisive action is also supported, as the Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio makes a supportive, encouraging sextile to the Sun-Venus-Pluto conjunction.

This entry of Mercury into Capricorn has a particular potency, since Saturn and Mercury have not been in Capricorn together since Feb. 1991, 27 years ago. Throughout the month, pay attention to communications which come your way, as they may have much to do with impending adjustments in your life structures, plans and foundations for new growth contained in Saturn’s three-year transit of Capricorn.

image by Joshua Halpern,


Although it may be more difficult to achieve, some of us may also be in a good position to re-orient to some of our core wounding through this week’s influences. A core wound is one around which our identity forms, and it is likely that an encounter with another person will provide an opportunity to find a different way to negotiate a difficulty. Venus and then the Sun will square Uranus on Jan. 13 and Jan. 14, suggesting a break with a way of relating (or a relationship) which is too small for who you have become—or who you are now demanded to be. Since Venus and the Sun will sextile Chiron at the same time, it may be that your past aches and pains, emotional or otherwise, support your movement towards a more genuine way of being in the world. It will be important to notice if you are hooked into an excessively critical perspective, because the Mercury-Saturn conjunction (exact on Jan. 12) can bring a welcome objectivity, a means of stepping back to assess what is happening. Not what should be happening, but what is happening. The “should” could be just a tired old repetition of a limiting story and a way of remaining stuck in one’s wounding.

Whatever is brewing within you or in your relational sphere this week, five planets in Capricorn are supporting you to move into your greatest integrity, with courage and a depth of vision that can guide you through the upheaval (good and bad!) of this next phase of your life. Some of us may be dealing with smaller scale issues, but others may be receiving an opportunity to clear a space for sorely needed new growth. Growth that will nourish and be nourished by our heart of hearts, and emerge out of the untarnished truth of our Souls.


Interested in having your chart read? Click here to learn more.  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.


Venus-Pluto: Love’s transformations

In the Sky: January 9, 2018 features a triple conjunction of Sun-Venus-Pluto. These three will be in intimate conversation from Jan. 6 to Jan. 13. Read on for a discussion of the Venus-Pluto archetype, which will be illuminated by the Sun over this next week.

When the planet of love and attraction, Venus, meets the planet of raw elemental power, Pluto, the notion of peace and harmony can deviate a bit from the norm. In a natal chart, Pluto’s intensity can drive Venus into places she otherwise wouldn’t consider, and expand her capacity for perceiving beauty far beyond what is considered to be “pretty” or “nice.” As a world transit, this brief influence can provide a few days of discomfort, tension or even a catharsis, as low-key or hidden conflict pierces through a veneer of stability or avoidance and seeks resolution.

We will now consider natal placements of Venus-Pluto, which can appear in many different and even contradictory forms. This archetypal complex can correlate to the nature (Pluto) mystic or nature lover (Venus) who venerates the generative powers of life buried beneath surface appearances. It can also indicate someone who explores taboo forms (Pluto) of intimacy (Venus), or on the other hand, someone who deeply fears all intimacy and terrified of its power to transform, shrinks from deep relationship. Or Venus-Pluto can signify the person who believes in the transformative power (Pluto) of love (Venus), among many, many other expressions.

Harmony versus discord

Venus-Pluto can bring an uncommon depth of insight into the nature of peace and harmony. Discord, strife and the intimate dance between death and life can be seen as part of the great mystery of existence, rather than in opposition to our existence. A relationship can be cultivated with instinct, a healthy appreciation of it as a powerful force driving the vitality of life, and not just a dangerous element to be controlled and mitigated.

On the other hand, Pluto can also suppress what it touches, and make one fearful of the power within whatever Pluto aspects. See for example, Sigmund Freud (Venus conjunct Pluto) with his deeply influential book Civilization and Its Discontents, which posits the need for an eternal war—namely, civilization—against the depraved human instincts in order to force harmony upon human societies. According to this philosophy, love and reciprocity are to be found through repression and suppression, as Freud states, “It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct….” and “is a process in the service of Eros [Venus], whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind.”

Freud’s expression of Venus-Pluto here highlights issues of vulnerability and fears of being out of control, which are key themes for the Venus-Pluto archetypal complex, particularly regarding one’s social groups and intimate relationships. Jealousy and intense envy can feature prominently. However, one way to turn this tendency into a powerful ally is to make the contemplation of jealous feelings a part of the spiritual path. What is the desire to have something or not have something actually pointing towards? What real insecurity is beneath that desire? How can you meet the needs of that insecurity—if they can be met? Fixating on others’ perceived riches or foibles is a great distraction from one’s own deep insecurities! But turning towards those fears and facing them can be profoundly liberating and free up tremendous resources of life vitality, enjoyment and communion with the Sacred Other in all its forms.

Communion with and deep reverence for the Plutonic

This crop circle appeared during the Venus-Pluto square of May 2009. It looks quite like the glyph for Pluto on top, joined to the glyph for Venus at bottom.

Turning toward another inflection of the Venus-Pluto archetypal complex, one of its more interesting correlations is Venus-Pluto as the nature mystic.

The cosmologist Brian Swimme (Venus conjunct Pluto), with whom I studied for several years, is one who comes to mind. One of his book titles, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, expresses his Venus-Pluto well (hidden = Pluto, heart = Venus). While studying with Swimme, I appreciated his deep, deep sentiment for the preciousness of other-than-human organisms and the greater-than-human dimensions of our planet, which he often expressed with an inspirational passion. I remember from one of his lectures a story of wrestling with feeling so deeply for an insect, feeling so sad while watching it thrash about, trapped in some water on the edge of a bathtub. Swimme had wanted to rescue it! (Whereas many if not most people would hardly have a feeling of care (Venus) at all for an insect (Pluto).) But Swimme also wondered if his attempt to help was futile, for the bug would die anyway. A kind of helplessness in love can also be present in the Plutonian Venus, and in his story Swimme offered a reflection on our intimacy with destruction, as a simple fact of life, along with the heartbreaking helplessness one can feel in contemplating the vastness of the cosmos and our tiny place in it. Our love (Venus) for life makes us so vulnerable (Pluto) to life’s immensities and mysteries (Pluto). An open heart must know how to break.

The prophetic farmer and insightful novelist Wendell Berry (Venus conjunct Pluto) is another example of a nature mystic who worships the Earth and its incredible life-giving power.

A quote from his 1969 book The Long-Legged House provides a good example: “The most exemplary nature is that of the topsoil. It is very Christ-like in its passivity and beneficence, and in the penetrating energy that issues out of its peaceableness. It increases by experience, by the passage of seasons over it, growth rising out of it and returning to it, not by ambition or aggressiveness. It is enriched by all things that die and enter into it. It keeps the past, not as history or as memory, but as richness, new possibility. Its fertility is always building up out of death into promise. Death is the bridge or the tunnel by which its past enters its future.”

In this passage, we hear Berry’s deep praise for and adoration (Venus) of the Earth (Pluto), and Pluto’s signature themes of rebirth, the union of the destructive and the creative, as life moves through its transformations. The topsoil as peaceable, as Christ-like in generative power speaks of a feminine (Venus) regard for the source of life. Passive is recognized as active in its own very powerful way.

Finally, this poem by Wendell Berry, The Peace (Venus) of Wild Things (Pluto) is a soothing reminder to all those who find their place in the world, and peace in their heart, within the quiet ease of the greater-than-human world, simply moving in accord with (Venus) its nature, its instinct (Pluto) in the great round of life.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Coming To Life: Astrology of Jan. 2 – Jan. 9, 2018

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

Once a month, the week’s astrological forecast will go out in Anima Mundi’s newsletter along with their herbal tips, DIY preparations and information.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all that Anima Mundi Apothecary has concocted in conspiracy with the plants’ desire to heal us!

Wishing everyone a powerful 2018 illuminated by mutual aid and supported by the contemplation: “Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual.”


Click here for a look at the astrology of the week of January 2 – January 9, 2018


Awaken in the New Year: Astrology of Dec. 26, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018

The last week of December 2017 begins with a Sun-Venus-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn that may have brought a bit of a reserved, somber or even contentious mood to holiday gatherings or other social events. Perhaps a less festive mood and more reflective, introspective and even an enjoyable (Venus) solitary (Saturn) experience (Sun) prevailed, and this tenor will largely continue up through New Year’s Eve of the Gregorian calendar.

However, moving into mid-week, we see Mars trining Neptune, which along with Mars’ conjunction with Jupiter in Scorpio, could light more of a fire under our ideals and spur us to correct imbalances in our social, intimate or employment spheres. Beware of any zealous delusion, since Mercury in Sagittarius squaring Neptune in Pisces could be susceptible to making broad generalizations or simply selfish, short-sighted appraisals which may be great for heated arguments but fall short of making a convincing case. Particularly on Dec. 28 and 29, as the Moon sweeps through Taurus, we could find ourselves caught between making a more conciliatory gesture that retains a cool social veneer, and just meting out raw justice. Find the balance—keep it real, but recognize the complexities of the situation. If it helps to summon your kindness, remember your own past mistakes or shortcomings, so that the adjustments you try to make now will go as smoothly as possible.


Awaken! Do not squander your life!


New Year’s Eve in US time zones looks a little more festive, although the Moon’s opposition to Saturn, along with a tight Sun-Venus conjunction in Capricorn could make for a less than expansive mood. More intimate gatherings with trusted friends and close loved ones are favored, as well as celebrating in more refined, classy or even old-fashioned settings. A house party featuring old-fashioned parlor games and party favors, and copious amounts of tasty hors d’oeuvres comes to mind. Beware of over-indulgence, as the Full Moon chart for New Year’s Day (east of the International Date Line) looks like one of seeking tonic from “the hair of the dog that bit me,” i.e., having overindulged in alcohol. Sticking close with a trusted friend to check in on everything—including intoxication levels, if that’s on your agenda—throughout the evening of New Year’s Eve is a very good idea. Have several plans for how to get home safely if you plan to go out.

The Full Moon in Cancer falls on New Year’s Day 2018 at 6:24pm US/Pacific, and looks to be a contemplation on the choices we have made around who to associate with. Venus falls at the midpoint of Saturn and Pluto, and anything that may have been stirred up at the beginning of the week could be deeply illuminated as we strive to understand how and to whom we belong. If this theme is up for you, it is not likely to be a superficial or simply passing thought but a matter with far-reaching consequences or implications. Endings signify new beginnings, but only if we can summon the emotional and spiritual maturity to take honest steps in the direction of  greater health.

The final Mercury retrograde period of 2017
Key dates:
Nov. 14 Mercury enters its own shadow at 13° Sagittarius
Dec. 3 Mercury stations retrograde at 29° Sagittarius
Dec. 22 Mercury stations direct at 13° Sagittarius
Jan. 10 Mercury exits its own shadow at 29° Sagittarius