In the Astrology system, there are 12 signs and houses, broken down into 6 pairs, or opposites. If you are already familiar with the anatomy of a Natal Chart and the concept of pairs or opposites (derived of two signs or two houses), you may want to skip to the next paragraph. If you look at a Natal Chart Wheel (for a free Natal Chart, go to Astro.com), you will see that the 1st house is directly opposite the 7th house, the 2nd house opposite the 8th, and so forth. Similarly, the sign Aries is opposite Libra, Taurus opposes Scorpio, and so on.

In my teachings (Yoga, Astrology, Holistic Wellness), I focus a lot on the idea of creating and maintaining balance in our bodies and lives, which we can do through the integration of opposites. In my yoga classes, I teach the poses in a way that encourages harmony between polarities: i.e., effort and ease, strength and softness, movement and stillness, the downward (earth) energy (Apana) and the upward (sky) energy (Prana). The foundation of my holistic wellness teachings, rooted in Ayurveda, is about cultivating the opposite qualities of one’s natural body/mind constitution in order to create and maintain balance.

You can think of pairs of signs or houses like a see-saw: if there is more weight on one side, it will plummet, fast and hard, to the earth. Remember the feeling when you were a kid of either descending to the ground with a bang (ouch!) or, if you were the lighter side, floating up up up to what felt like the sky, feet dangling, suspended in the air until someone released the other side or added some weight to your side?

At certain times in life, you see-saw along, both sides working together in harmony … and at other times you land with a thud, or float all the way up with no foreseeable way back down to the earth. During a challenging time in my 20’s, I was in a situation that would have yielded a lifetime of extremes, i.e., hard, painful falls versus rising, untethered, like a helium balloon … but never a middle ground, never peace. I had a strange dream during this time of a horse on a tightrope (how he got there, I do not know), being asked to perform a complicated ballet move. Performers on the tightrope were falling off of it to the left and right, plummeting to the ground, but the horse was somehow still standing, about to attempt his fancy move. Everyone was staring up at the him, motionless, waiting. I woke up with the word torture on my tongue. The poor horse had so much pressure on him to execute this move perfectly, to somehow propel himself into the sky, three times (no less!), and land  securely back down on the narrow piece of material suspended in the sky.

I knew I needed to leave the relationship/love triangle I had found my way into; a situation that involved three people being asked to accept unmanageable and unfair circumstances. I had known it for a while but I couldn’t admit it. A part of me was still pretending that we were going to have a “happily ever after” … this married man and I.

We are in Eclipse season again. Eclipses happen in the same sign for everyone (a collective energy) and, on a more personal level, they trigger a set of Houses in your Natal Chart. Eclipses (similarly to a full moon) can bring events to a head and therefore, sometimes, symbolize the peak moment of change. How much you feel the eclipse energy depends on your life circumstances (are you fairly balanced, or are you moving from one extreme to the other?) and whether or not the eclipse makes contact with your personal planets. If, for example, it is conjunct or making a hard angle with your Sun, Moon, or Personal Planets, you will likely feel its theme more strongly. It may be a lesson you are heeding or a truth that you are becoming aware of, so that you can shift your mindset and behavior, and something significant may be changing in your external circumstances, as well. The relationship I referred to above ended on the evening of an eclipse. We are at a bar, having a drink and a bite to eat, laughing one moment and crying the next. Something the guy I was dating said triggered a frustrated and emotional response from me and I challenged him about his living circumstances; I didn’t believe that he was sleeping in a separate bedroom from his wife like he had promised. We had had many arguments about related subjects over the past couple of years but this one felt more intense and like we had hit a dead end. He broke his glasses at the bar and we got the check. Outside, he punched the air and started crying. We both knew it was over. Eclipses can bring endings and, also, beginnings, like the birth of a child or the debut of a book.

In the approaching Eclipse (on April 30, 2022), Uranus has joined the mix, and Uranus signifies change and freedom, adding to our theme of potential change. The upcoming New Moon Eclipse is in the sign of Taurus, therefore the Taurus/Scorpio polarity is activated, which signifies your self value, what you own and what you do in the world to make a living (Taurus) versus your intimate relationships and shared resources (Scorpio). Is one side out of whack (down low or precariously high?); if so, what can you do to create greater balance and peace in your life? At the New Moon, both the Sun and Moon touch down in the same sign (Taurus), as opposed to the Full Moon, when the Sun lands in the opposite sign of the Moon. In my view of Astrology (a Psychological perspective), we are always working with polarities; when one side of a pair is triggered the other is, too, by default. The Full Moon Eclipse, which follows the upcoming one, will land in the opposite sign and house in your chart; for example, the New Moon Eclipse, on April 30, 2022 is in Taurus, as stated, and a few weeks later, on May 15th/16th, the Full Moon (Eclipse) arrives in its opposite sign (Scorpio). Usually, the Moon lights up the opposite house in your chart (or close to it).

The saying “opposites attract” points to an important truth that within each experience, theme, or archetype lives its opposite. It’s common, for instance, to be drawn to the so-called opposite personality traits of your own because the ‘opposite’ lies dormant within you like a buried treasure, waiting to see the light of day. You can connect to the latent traits, feelings, or emotions within yourself through the other. Opposite traits can create balance in a relationship dynamic, if you do the work (it can also, obviously, be combustible if the opposite energy is extreme with no middle ground), whereas too much of the same trait or theme can create imbalance; this is a core principle in Ayurveda.

The New Moon Eclipse lands in my 6th House, ruled by Virgo … so, I will reflect on the lessons of the 6th/12th axis (ruled by virgo and pisces, respectively) energies, which are something of a theme in my life (due to Pisces on my 4th house cusp and Virgo on my 10th, and Chiron in my 6th house). The forest versus the trees is the metaphor that comes to mind for this pair.

I will also list the themes you may be working with for all other sets of houses (i.e., 1st/7th houses, 2nd/8th houses, 3rd/9th houses, 4th/10th houses, 5th/11th houses) for this Eclipse season, or any future ones.

The 6th house, Virgo’s domain, represents the minutia of life. It reflects daily habits and routines, work/day-job, and health, which includes one’s daily health/self-care regimen. The 6th house teaches lessons about the practical aspects of life while the 12th house, its opposite, points to “the beyond” — the magical or spiritual aspects of life. In the 12th house, we learn how to “be.”

There was a bee inside the store I work at. It was a warm day and I had the door open. He flew in and could not find his way out. I heard him buzzing around and slamming his small insect body into the front window, unable to understand why he could see “the outside” in front of him but could not reach it. I am an animal/being lover, but since little I have had an irrational fear, more like phobia, of bugs (it is not as bad as it used to be). I fretted over what do; how could I trap him momentarily so that I could lead him to the door? Was it a bumble bee, was it a wasp? Would he sting me? He grew quiet for a long time and I almost forgot about him as I tended to things at work. I prayed he had found his way out and I wouldn’t have to “deal,” but when I walked over to the front window to investigate the situation, I saw that the little guy was just sitting listlessly on a window display. I remembered we have a tool in the store that looks like a giant bug net (it is a sieve used for making herbal and skin remedies) and contemplated how I would trap him until I could get him to the door. I didn’t have to think on it long; in his weakened state, he simply climbed on board and stayed there for the ride to the doorway. Once he sensed the outside, he flew to a tree in front of the store and landed on a flower, where he, I imagine, received the nourishment he needed to survive. I watched him for a few minutes, overwhelmed with emotion, relieved he had found his way … and mad at myself for not helping sooner, for allowing my juvenile fears to get in the way of offering a lifeline to this small creature in need.

I am at a life crossroads that feels more like a permanent stoplight. Like the bee, I feel trapped. I see everyone else through the window, living their lives and moving onward, but I am stuck behind, what feels like, an insurmountable wall. It is not lost on me that one of the stores I am currently employed at, a business owned by a family member, is a place I had worked at many years ago, when I first moved home from California. It was, similarly to now, a transitional phase of my life, a period in which I felt lost and lonely and unsure of my next steps. I had left a dead-end and wildly unhealthy/inappropriate relationship (the horse on the tightrope), as well as a job in the Financial world that felt the same way. When I moved home with a broken heart, I loathed working at my family member’s clothing store; it seemed to highlight all my failures. I had spent so much time on my education and had big (unclear) goals and nothing had worked out. Landing at a retail job — the type of job I worked at in high school — felt like rock bottom. I bided my time there and felt pretty much miserable each day … then I’d go home and pig out on take-out and ice-cream: escapism behavior (the distorted side of the 12th house). Suffice it to say, I was not a dedicated employee. I was barely present, lost in my thoughts and job searching on the computer every chance I could get, rather than thinking about what might need to be done in the store, like cleaning or putting together gift boxes: monotonous chores (6th house). I didn’t like talking to customers because I despised small talk and the role-playing; it all felt phony and hopeless.

So when the opportunity arose last summer to work at the same store for the same family member, it dawned on me that  it was something of a “do-over.” I didn’t have to force myself to be the devoted employee I once wasn’t — it just happened naturally. After so much time at home (during the pandemic) and a lot of “growing up” over the past decade plus, I genuinely enjoyed chatting with customers; people seemed much nicer and more genuine than they had back then (interesting, right, how your reality can shift when your mind state does?). I was also tackling my health/addictive behaviors — eating better and getting more sleep as a result. I had much more energy than I did back then, which was key to focusing on small tasks and helping customers. I felt good/balanced instead of exhausted and miserable. Although this is not what I expected (or want) to be doing at this stage of my life, and if I allow my mind to dwell on my mistakes and failures it takes me to a sad/low place, I mostly focus on my connection with each customer and doing chores with presence (rather than wanting to escape). In the the 6th house, we learn to be of service in the world and to be humble, to put aside our own (perhaps misguided) desires and tend to our responsibilities. Although the 6th house is associated with chores, when we give ourselves fully to these chores, when we perform them with care, we can connect to something bigger (the 12th house). In the 6th house, we “practice” while in the 12th house we create.

In life, there are often opportunities (if we notice them) to circle back to experiences left incomplete, or experiences in which we failed lessons that there were there for the learning. The first time around, at the clothing store, I failed big time. I rationalized that I loathed retail and while it’s true that Sales is not my forte, I understand now how important and crucial taking pride in your work is, whether you are sweeping the floor, entering a sale, doing inventory, or watering plants (“chopping wood, carrying water” as the Zen saying goes). The first time around, I focused on my escape plan. I was missing the point that if you do your tasks well, you feel the satisfaction of a job well done, even, and especially, if it is not a job you feel suits you, or that you would like to do long term (or even for another week). We create opportunities and new paths for ourselves by embracing our reality rather than running from it.

Candy Land was one of my favorite childhood board games. When I think about my past, I imagine sliding down a backward ramp to where I just was, getting stuck in a swamp, or re-routed to the beginning of the game, when my teammates are making their way through the lollipops and gumdrops to the finish line (I don’t really remember the order of the candy trail but you catch my drift). When we learn the lessons, we get to move forward in life.

In the 6th house, we learn to commit … to our responsibilities and to ourselves. We mature.

The 12th house, on the other end of the wheel, is where you can deceive yourself into thinking that “somewhere out there” is a utopia, but if you don’t fall into that trap it is also full of beauty.  The lesson of the 6th/12th houses is that you create your own utopia by doing the work.

If, on the other hand, life becomes so focused on the nitty gritty of the 6th house, it can feel like “all work and no play” or Ground Hog Day. That makes me think of Jack Nicholson’s terrifying character in The Shining, when his wife discovers that the hundreds of pages of the novel he has been writing are nothing but the same sentence over and over: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I digress. If you wake up joy-less with nothing to look forward to, you may be in a 6th House rut. And that is exactly what happened to me recently. I am working 7 days/week (two part time jobs, plus teaching yoga). At home, I am preoccupied with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and taking care of my fur babies. I don’t have time for anything but work and chores.

At work, a couple of weeks ago, my emotions hit a boiling point (it was a few days before the last full moon). It felt like an internal breakdown. If I wasn’t at work, I would have crawled into bed. I was tired (from not sleeping enough) and wasn’t making time for exercise and yoga. Additionally, I have been diligently applying to full-time positions (that might lead me to a career path) for a long time with no results; the applications take a lot of time and effort, and in return I receive mostly formulaic rejection emails or, even more depressing, no response at all. I couldn’t help but feel like all my effort was for nothing … that I was spinning my 6th House wheels and getting nowhere. Why couldn’t I get out of this dead-end situation and find my way to where I needed and wanted to be? I was nearly in tears.

Amidst all the chores I was doing, I had no time to just be. I was on the heavier end of the see-saw, stuck on the ground.

The 12th house, Pisces territory, is where we find meaning in life … and unicorns and fairy dust. The stuff dreams are made of. A ferry ride on the top deck under the bright full moon and inky sky. A moon-lit walk on a pier with water on either side and twinkling lights in the distance. Fleeting moments of otherworldly beauty. These 12th house moments connect you to something greater than the self and your everyday reality … these are moments that fill the soul.

I had been neglecting my yoga and breathing practices because it was hard to squeeze it in in the morning and I was tired at night, but after the mini inner-breakdown I made time for my practice and noticed the feeling of space it created. I took a walk by the water a few days later on Sunday afternoon. I felt refreshed and renewed after my walk, and vowed to find the time for my well-being (6th house) so I could connect to the feeling of “being” (12th house).

What I also realize is: the more I focus on feeling trapped or stuck, the more frustrated and out of sorts I become. I know this lesson well, but we often need to go over the same lessons many times in a lifetime before they really stick. On the day at work when I felt emotional and exhausted, I was avoiding any tasks I had — I couldn’t focus and just wanted to go home. And that is more than understandable sometimes … I usually complete all my tasks. When I returned to work the next day, with a different mindset and less exhausted, I tended to the details in a calm and focused way — I vacuumed, swept, watered the plants, and communicated kindly with customers. I felt satisfied and lighter. Nothing in my external reality had changed: I hadn’t gotten the job overnight, or received an acceptance letter from a literary magazine (something else I have been working on for eons), but I felt the freedom that comes when you accept “what is.” My main man/guru, Eckhart Tolle, teaches about acceptance; his wise and simple teachings were my introduction to this truth many moons ago and life-changing. I continue to work with and re-learn the lesson of acceptance. Acceptance lives in the 12th house. Interestingly, so does addiction, which makes perfect sense if you think about: addictive behavior is used to resist your present life situation; when you overcome addictive or avoidant behavior you are met with the utopia or bliss of acceptance.

The way out is always through (the doorway, not the glass window, dear bee).

A distorted 12th house mirrors avoidance and escapism behavior, falling into the trap of thinking the magic is always elsewhere. It’s easy to fall into that mindset if your daily life feels disconnected from your bigger goals and dreams or life purpose (like mine do), and there may be something that needs to shift so that more 12th house magic can enter your days, but it is also up to us to create the magic and meaning even and, especially, in the dull moments and periods of life. My career path  (if I ever get there) will likely contain as many or more headaches as the “day job.” It will be worth it, I’m sure, because I’ll care about my work but I also know my salvation is not the dream job. My salvation is the present moment.

First find the magic in the “day job,” in the ordinary, in all the annoying chores that make up your everyday reality. And then, perhaps, by the grace of god (or a kind soul), you will be guided to the doorway that leads to the flower that will nourish and sustain you.

***

*Note that if the Eclipse hits your Sun, Moon, or Personal Planets, you may feel it more powerfully. If the eclipse, however, does not make hard aspects to your natal planets it is likely that it will pass without much ado.

To reiterate, the New Moon Eclipse is in Taurus. In the case of a New Moon, the sun and moon shine in the same sign as opposed to the Full Moon, when the sun and moon reside in opposite signs. The upcoming Full Moon Eclipse, in May, arrives in Scorpio and therefore highlights the Taurus/Scorpio axis. In the case of the Full Moon, it is common to feel more emotional or unbalanced than at the New Moon because your inner self and outer selves can feel at odds; the moon represents your needs and feelings (it’s the feminine energy) while the sun (the masculine) represents your drive and ego (i.e., what you want versus what you need). At a New Moon, the energies of Sun and Moon tend to blend better, while at the Full Moon they can feel disparate, with a need for integration. I often point out in my yoga classes that we are, via the union of breath and movement, bringing together the disparate parts of ourselves, the parts that may have gone offline.

Scorpio is the opposite or underbelly of Taurus, and vice-versa. The opposite side of something is always part of the picture whether or not it is in our awareness. Taurus represents things you value, including yourself, and on a more practical level the way you earn money or “worth” in the world, including your level of self-sufficiency. Scorpio symbolizes your intimate relationships and the things you don’t see, i.e., the stuff under the surface. If Taurus is your physical stuff (what you have built and accumulated – the stuff you may feel attached to), Scorpio points to what is buried underneath that stuff (there is usually a lot of dust underneath stuff, waiting to be cleaned). Scorpio is about intimacy and shared resources, as mentioned above, and releasing “stuff” so it doesn’t drag you down — it also represents digging for meaning and healing wounds.

Below, I list the Pairs of Houses. You can read for the New Moon Eclipse in Taurus (April 30th in Taurus), the Full Moon Eclipse in Scorpio (May 15/16 in Scorpio), and any future Eclipses — and, also, for House Themes in your Natal Chart (e.g., the IC/MC, Ascendent/Descendent, North Node/South Node).

Eclipse in your 1st/7th House Axis: You will likely face issues around your identity versus your relationships. What you need and want versus what others need and want. The 1st house represents the self and the 7th house symbolizes your connections, and how you see yourself through other people’s eyes. What side of the see-saw are you on when it comes to self versus relationships? Are you stuck on the ground, weighed down by a dead-end relationship or one that is stunting your growth? Or are you floating, untethered, in one that likely won’t lead anywhere? Or, perhaps, you are alone and wondering where everyone has gone? If you are feeling disconnected or unsupported, it may be because you have let go of a relationship that is no longer appropriate for you and are now in a transitional phase that will lead to a more balanced life. On the other hand, you may have self-isolated due to carving your own path, for example, and did not want to be bogged down by others. Or, perhaps, you have fears around commitment and would like to have more genuine and fulfilling relationships in your life. Whatever your truth is look at it in the face, reflect on what you can do to move forward in a more fulfilling way … and then do it.

Eclipse in your 2nd/8th House Axis: You may be dealing with issues of self-worth reflected by your income, business, and possessions (or lack thereof) versus intimacy and shared resources. What does the see-saw feel like in this area of your life? Are you more of a “taker,” fearful of sharing with your partner or loved ones, or do you perhaps rely on your partner or family too much for support and would feel more confident if you created your own source of income? The 2nd/8th house axis is, like the 1st/7th houses, a “me versus we” theme; in this case it is you and your stuff versus you and your partner and your joint stuff. Of course, the “stuff” I speak of may be emotional/non-physical and, usually, it is both; our physical stuff mirrors our mental stuff. In the 2nd house you develop your self-sufficiency, and in the 8th house you learn to share and to build important relationships or partnerships. If the Eclipse is in this house axis, you have a double dose of the Taurus/Scorpio theme, discussed above, because Taurus rules the 2nd house and Scorpio rules the 8th house.

Eclipse in your 3rd/9th House Axis: Themes of your daily thoughts and words/communication versus a wider perspective or higher mind, publishing your work (perhaps), and a sense of freedom versus being in a smaller neighborhood or area could be coming up for you. In the 3rd house we do a lot of thinking and absorbing of information, and this pair of houses is connected to your belief system, which is made up of information you receive or have received and repetitive or ingrained thoughts. If there is an area of life where you feel stuck or unfulfilled, you may be called to examine your belief system and determine if that is, at least in part, at the root of the current circumstances. The 3rd house represents teaching and learning at a more cerebral (or sometimes mundane) level, while the 9th house is all about bigger-picture topics and subject matter, like religion and philosophy, and points to teaching and learning that is inspirational or has a wider scope. Maybe you are considering going back to school or take some type of online education program that will enhance your day job or daily work. You may also be working on a writing project and are considering publishing. Another manifestation of this house polarity is that you do a lot of local travel and are tired from all the commuting and want more freedom/ “space” in your schedule; a move somewhere further away could be part of the story.

Eclipse in your 4th/10th House Axis: This is the axis (called the IC/MC) that runs vertically down the center of your chart. The signs on the cusps of these houses are usually recurring themes in your life (as in my story above). The 4th house reflects your home and private-life — the inner you — while the 10th house symbolizes your place or standing in world — the outer or more visible side of your personality/identity. The 4th house is connected to your home or nest, childhood, parents, and memories while the 10th house is connected to your career, outside life, and social standing or place in the world. When this house axis is highlighted during the New Moon Eclipse, you may face themes (we tend to feel the eclipse in the days and even weeks beforehand, btw) involving your home or inner self versus “where you stand” or how you are seen in the world, including your worldly accomplishments. How do you balance your home (and, perhaps, family) with your career or outside life and obligations? Usually, one side of the spectrum needs more attention and, if this is where the eclipse makes itself known in your chart, you likely know which side needs to shift for greater work/life balance.

Eclipse in your 5th/11th House Axis: This pair of houses is about your need to shine in the world versus being a part of a community or collective effort. In the 5th house, you share your creative gifts with others (you seek recognition for your talents), while in the 11th house you use your gifts for the greater good, in the name of higher-minded pursuits or worldly-responsible goals. This house axis, like the 1st/7th and 2nd/8th, highlights the “me versus we” theme. What are my natural gifts and talents and how can I receive recognition or accolades for them, versus how can I use my gifts for bigger picture pursuits? In the 5th house, we strut our stuff and want to take center stage, while in the 11th house our creations may become an integral part of a bigger movement or cause, which can bring even more satisfaction. Another way this house pair energy plays out is in friendships versus romantic involvements. The 11th house represents your friendships while the 5th house depicts your lovers. In some cases, friends become lovers or lovers become friends; the most fulfilling love relationships are often those that began as friendships.

Eclipse in your 6th/12th House Axis: See above for my story and ton of info. on this polarity.

I cannot sugarcoat my experience; the following description is intense and true, which are both qualities of the planet we call Pluto.

Pluto is the archetype that depicts the underworld, i.e., our demons and deepest fears. Pluto is: traveling to the depth of darkness and despair. Pluto also is: resurfacing renewed and transformed, worlds stronger and more resilient. Your fear is gone because there is nothing left to fear, and that, in a nutshell, is what is behind the empowerment we speak of when we speak of Pluto energy.

Pluto symbolizes the breaking down or destruction of something and the regeneration that follows.

Yes, exactly what you are thinking: Yikes.

In my 2nd house, the house that symbolizes income, possessions, values and self-worth, Pluto is working his way through, having his way with me. This transit through the 2nd house is more significant and intense for me because that is where my Sun, Mercury, and Venus live. The Sun represents the core of who you are, while Mercury reflects your mind and communication style, and Venus your relationships and environment.

This is what happened when Pluto went mano a mano with my Sun and personal planets, through my 2nd house:

My mother was diagnosed with liver cancer.

I lost my main source of work/income and community, due to the pandemic. The closure of the yoga studio I taught and worked at for years, and with it the community that had become an integral part of my life, happened just a few months before the worst of my mom’s illness.

I cleaned house, getting rid of everything that felt superfluous.

I moved from my apartment, which I owned with the help of a guy I was in an undefined relationship with for way too long; someone who ultimately added to my feelings of being stuck and overlooked.

Finally, after many failed attempts, I cut the cord on said undefined relationship/situationship.

***

In the weeks leading up to my mother’s death, I half carried half dragged my frail (formerly strong/active) mother to the bathroom, holding her up on the toilet, redressing her like a child, begging her to let go of the towel bar she was clinging to so we could “move forward” and get her back into bed.

Calvary was the next stop on our hell ride: the creepy and nightmarish (sorry to those who feel differently) Catholic hospice, in the Bronx, where people go to die. The window in my mother’s room looked out to a dank, abandoned parking lot, the kind where I imagined people getting murdered. I know Calvary is considered one of the good ones, as far as hospices go, but it is cold and sterile and ugly (not cozy or home-y) and it felt, for me, devastating and heartbreaking to leave my mother there. Numbness was the main ingredient that got me through each day (and my family and friends – so much gratitude for them). Two and half weeks felt like two and half months, as I watched my mother suffer in the silence; with Pluto in her 12th house and a Capricorn moon, my mother did not express emotion easily, or at all for that matter.

Each evening before bed, I obsessively checked and doublechecked the phone numbers filed in my “favorites,” so that calls from my mom, the hospice, and my brother would come through (I had to shut the rest of the world out). Adrenaline shot through me each morning, and I almost needed to catch my breath as I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that my mother was dying, alone, in a hospice – a place I did not know existed a few weeks prior to the ambulance dropping her there, and a place I pray I will never return to.

Because this was during the pandemic, visiting hours were limited; we were allowed to be with her for only four hours/day, starting at 1 pm, and there was only one person allowed in her room at a time. We took turns waiting outside, on a bench, while one of us sat with her, staring at the TV or the photographs of family we had taped to the wall, which confused her — “Let’s take those down,” she’d say, looking for her travel bag.

Finally, her organs gave up. She was barely able to hold her head up as she struggled for each breath. I will never forget the sound of her body attempting to pull in the last drops of oxygen. As difficult as this was to witness, there was relief in knowing that her suffering was easing up, that she was fading away from reality and less aware of her dire circumstances.

We received the call from the hospice late on the evening of October 5th. I knew it was coming but I still wasn’t prepared; I had told myself I had one last day to say goodbye. I paced around my mom’s home (where I had been staying), as I struggled to get air in my lungs — it reminded me of my mother’s laborious breaths earlier that day, the last day of her life, and also the way I used to cry for her when when I was a child. She worked full-time when I was young and my sweet grandmother took care of me; it was like I had amnesia each morning as the tears came and Yiayia reminded me that mommy had left for work. I loved my grandmother with all my heart but I was desperate for my mother; no one compared to her. Our relationship had been unstable since I was born (my mother was either distracted by her dysfunctional marriage or working full-time to make up for my father’s gambling habit) and it created deep anxiety and fear of separation within me, which I was revisiting now in its most extreme form. I was being left behind. The finality of it felt something like claustrophobia. My mother was gone and I would never speak to her again. Just like that, she had left the planet.

In the days that followed, I had the task, with the help of my mother’s sister, of cleaning out her home. My mom had a lot of stuff neatly packed away in her closets and drawers, and it was overwhelming when I realized how much there was to go through; it was remarkable how much she managed to store in a one-bedroom apartment. She had never gone through the process of clearing out things from the past, things she didn’t need or was not going to use. She held onto it all with the fantasy that she (or I) would use it “some day” (e.g., fancy chinaware and glasses, my beautiful baby clothes). Some day. A phrase she used often when she referred to my future, even though I was past the age of a “some day.”

When we realized that my mom’s health was declining fast, my brother and sister-in-law drove to my mom’s home with my 4 year old niece, 2 year old nephew, and brand new baby nephew. My niece and nephew were playing in my mother’s bedroom while my mother lay on the bed. My niece, Giuliana, peeked under the bed and slid out a big clear bin. “What’s in here, Yiayia?” she asked as she opened it. Before my mom could answer, Giuliana was removing the delicate and ancient little garments that I had worn in my baby years (my mother worked for a French fashion company when I was little). She had stored them all of these years with the hope, I imagine, that I would have a daughter. Giuliana giggled and threw the clothing around as she dug further into the bin. I tried to explain that they had been mine, but one look at my mother’s face stopped me. I saw in her eyes the pain of lost time, the realization that “some day” would never come. We would have no happy ending. My mom, who used denial as her main defense mechanism throughout most of her adult life, could not handle this right now, I could see. I pretended everything was fine, but inwardly my heart was shattering and I was on my knees sobbing. I grabbed the top to the box and said, “Let’s put this back,” glancing at my mother, who nodded quietly and said, “Yes, let’s put them back.”

Also stored under the bed and in the closets were boxes and boxes full of memorabilia. I spent many nights reading, with tears running down my face, old letters, notes, and postcards … many of them were cards and drawings I made for her when I was a child. I pored through old photographs for hours at a time, texting friends and family the gems I found, laughing and crying. I spent a season sorting through it all, processing an entire lifetime and the end of one of the most defining relationships of my life: the mother/child bond.

It was, in Pluto fashion, a necessary process.

As I made my way down memory lane, I remembered the adoration and pure love I had for my mom when I was a child. It was all coming back to me. But as I grew, and by the time I reached my young adult years, I had accumulated a boat load of anger and resentment toward her (join the club, right?). My mother’s disappointments and anger at staying in life situation that wasn’t right for her overshadowed everything in her life, including me. When I was young, she did not support or encourage me in the way a child ideally needs to be because, as I understand it now, she was not fulfilled in her own life. Instead of support, I received criticism that weighed on my shoulders and dragged me down, and because my mom presented a cheerful face to the world, no one saw this or would have suspected it. It was confusing. My mother and I share a Neptune Moon in our composite chart, and Neptune is a symbol for things appearing differently than they actually are — it also rules compassion, idealism, and spirituality.

My mom’s 12th house (symbolizing things that are hidden) Pluto (depth, truth) and Capricorn (stoic, strong) Moon (feelings) made it difficult for her to express emotions or, even, to discuss sensitive or intimate issues; we never had an honest or “real” conversation about anything that went down in our family life, or really at all for that matter; most of our conversations revolved around practical matters and surface issues, or other people’s affairs (a diversion). All the dysfunction and pain of our family life (which included guns, hospitals, and homeless shelters at the worst stage of it) was brushed under the proverbial rug. And like a Roto-Rooter, Pluto has the job of clearing that shi* out.

Pluto is also the symbol for abuse and power. My mother’s only outlet for her anger was in her home, so my brother and I received the brunt of her emotional turmoil (raging over something accidentally breaking, for example), which was hidden (12 house) from anyone outside the home — her Leo Rising personality was sunny and warm. Needless to say, my relationship with my mom was complex with unresolved emotions and issues simmering under the surface. Throughout my entire life, I felt the weight of my mother’s disappointments, her unfulfilled hopes and dreams and talents, represented by my Capricorn Sun; we mountain goats often hold the weight of the world on our shoulders. I made myself small in response to her emotional needs, which I felt on an intuitive level (that joint Neptune Moon).

The process I was going through now was helping me to release what I was holding, energetically, for my mother. It was also a way of reclaiming my personal power.

When I was ready, I bagged up all the photos and letters and cards, saving a few special ones and taking photos of many of the other ones I was discarding. My friend/the undefined relationship guy (mentioned earlier) couldn’t understand why I was getting rid of my mom’s stuff, especially photographs and memorabilia. He thought I could keep it all, but that is not what you are meant to do during a Pluto transit. I could not shove things back under the bed; putting stuff back into storage and holding onto it would have been like drinking poison. As I packed stuff up and brought it to my car for my next donation/recycling/garbage run, the heavy energy was palpable. I felt irritated and angry and stuck with the stuff in my car. It was overwhelming, suffocating, and icky. After dropping the bags off, my whole body and being felt lighter — it was a big, fat relief.

Pluto is about rites of passage. It symbolizes a cleansing and healing process. As I let go of these items that my mother was attached to (due to regret, sorrow, and fear), I was freeing up space in my own heart and life.

When my mother was dying and I helped her through those last excruciating weeks of her life, I experienced the most important rite of passage of my life. It was horrifying and life-shattering. The saddest and hardest thing I have ever faced. During the worst of her illness, I had an emotional breakdown on my way to the store to buy her chocolate protein drinks (the only thing she could still, partially, consume). I said a silent prayer to my father, who had died several years earlier, to help me through the next weeks so I could take care of my mother. After that, a calm washed over me and I was able to put one foot in front of the other, to do what I needed to to get through the worst experience of my life.

I have been fearful most of my life of suffering and I think, similarly to my mother, I have avoided situations or important experiences, including intimacy, because of this. Pluto brought me face to face with my fears.

Pluto is death. It is also rebirth.

I cleaned out my own closets, next; an easier process than the task of cleaning my mom’s closets because I had been through the process a few times already at pivotal stages in my life, however there was still a lot I didn’t realize I was holding onto, and also things I had left at my mother’s home which I had forgotten about. I went through the last of “my stuff,” whittling it down to the essentials: everything else was going the way of the dumpster (or Green Drop, as it were).

Next, I moved from my apartment, which I owned with the help of the aforementioned guy. Moving from the apartment was like severing ties with him energetically and the first step in moving on from a relationship/situation that was dragging me down. I knew I was worthy of so much more than he was giving me (basically nothing) but old habits die hard and there were elements of “anxious attachment” (a field of research on relationship dynamics) and addiction in this bond. As Taylor Swift wrote, “[he] kept me like a secret, but I kept [him] like an oath.”

So at the ripe age of 43, I was starting from scratch.

Pluto burns away what you no longer need … right down to the very core of your being.

Uranus has been transiting my natal moon for the past few years, which also symbolizes the separation (Uranus) from my mother (Moon) and freedom (Uranus) from the past (Moon). There are typically a few significant transits happening at once during pivotal times in life that symbolize and reflect the events you are experiencing.

I have nearly one more year of the Pluto Transit. Pluto is a slow-moving outer planet so his journeys are long. But Pluto is now on the other side of  my Sun and personal planets, meaning the God of the Underworld is starting to move past the natal degrees of my Sun, Venus, and Mercury, so he will perhaps be more gentle for the next several months, as I make the rest of the necessary changes to move forward with my life (one can only hope). *Addendum: I forgot when I wrote this part that Pluto was soon to move into his Retrograde phase (April 28 – Oct. 8, 2022), and so as Pluto moves backward he will hit my Sun and Venus again (oh boy) before he finally makes his way forward. Pray for me. 🙂

Because Pluto moves so slowly through the zodiac, you only experience his powerful presence in certain areas of your natal chart, life, and psyche.

If you are facing a Pluto transit, hold on … but know that, ultimately, you are learning how to let go.

The moon represents mother and the feminine. It’s connected to our intuition, feelings, memories, and dreams.

What are your experiences of mother? The moon in your natal chart provides insight about your mother and/or care-taker and how you experienced her (or him) … starting in the womb (aspects of the moon go even further back than that to past lives!).

My brother was nearly born in the car! It was a race to the hospital. My mom’s friend, Maryanne, relayed the story many times: she had her hand on his head, she was shouting at their driver to hurry! (Their driver was my mother’s midwife, who had apparently never asked which hospital they were going to and assumed they had more time than they did). “Hold on Matthew,” Maryanne coached my brother. After arriving at the hospital, he was born within minutes.

I, on other hand, got stuck. I was detaching from the placenta and an emergency C-section was performed. (The emergency part of my birth is also reflected in my Scorpio Ascendant.) My moon is in the sign of Taurus, an earth sign that is slow-moving, admittedly stubborn, and can easily get stuck: I’m not ready! My brother’s moon, on the other hand, is in the freedom-loving and fire sign Sagittarius: Let me out of here!

My Taurus moon also reflects the soft blankets I was wrapped in, the delicious home-cooked meals being made in Yiayia’s kitchen (where we lived when I was a child), the goodies (my mom had a sweet tooth), and my beautiful clothing (my mother worked for a French fashion company when I was young). Taurus is ruled by the sign Venus, which represents beauty and the nice things in life. My mother was also beautiful and had been an aspiring actor when young (the acting is a reflection of her Leo Ascendant).

I can’t speak, fully, to my brother’s experience but when he was young, our mother worked in real estate; those were the days of driving clients here, there, and everywhere. My brother was her driving companion when she brought customers to see homes, and she often took him to work, where he had a good time playing with her work colleagues and once drew mustaches on their faces with eyeliner (well, that was Maryanne’s doing. 🙂 Please note, Maryanne also has her moon in Sadge). It’s true that the sign of Cancer is connected to real estate, not Sadge. My mother indeed was a Cancer Sun, but Sagittarius indicates, if you recall, the need for freedom and travel (e.g., meeting new people, exploring new scenery). My mother worked in one place when I was little, but when my brother was little she was on the road, so the speak, which describes the freedom and varied experiences of Sagittarius. Plus, they drove cross-country together to visit Maryanne when she moved to Florida.

My brother and I have our moon in the same house: the 6th house, Virgo’s house. I think we both saw my mom as, ahem, particular, e.g., “Why are you using that pot to boil the spaghetti?” “Why don’t you use this one?” If you wanted to leave something out, in the kitchen, say, that you planned to use in a bit, you’d better announce it or else it would vanish to the sink or dishwasher before you could say boo (which is a term my mom used to use). Everything I did, from small to big, was nit-picked — sorry, Virgo friends, but we know you have that tendency, along with all your wonderful traits, such as being of service and hard workers.

In true Virgo/6th house fashion, my mom was always there for me when I needed her, and always willing to help a friend. When Maryann’s mother died, my mom helped with the big job of cleaning our her home. My mother was practical (Virgo/6th house all the way) and detail-oriented, and if she was doing a job she was doing it well. One of her bosses came, unannounced, into his store early one morning, before opening time, and my mom was already there cleaning the tables where the clothes were folded. He was impressed and made her the store manager.

Another interesting layer, or aspect to consider, is the composite chart, which is your natal chart joined with another’s. My mom and I had a Pisces moon in our composite chart. Pisces rules the surreal and spiritual, addiction and escapism, and it symbolizes things that are hidden and abandonment. One of my biggest fears, when I was a child, was losing my mother. I always wanted to be with her. I cried in the mornings when my grandmother woke me to get me ready for school. It was like I had amnesia; each morning I asked Yiayia, in tears, where my mom was. Poor Yiayia had to explain to a distressed little girl that mommy had left for the train and then watch me break down. Yiayia cheered me up with tea and honey, home-cooked breakfast, and braiding my hair just how I liked it, but I still felt abandoned every morning – it was, as symbolized by the moon, an ancient feeling connected to my subconscious. In the evening, I was happiest when our siamese cat was at the front door, which meant my mother would be pulling into the driveway soon (animals and their heightened senses), or when I took the trip with my grandfather to pick her up at the train station.

Pisces symbolizes heightened  intuition and even psychic abilities. My mom I shared a close (albeit difficult) and, I would say, nearly psychic bond; for example, we knew things without having to speak them. When she got very ill and eventually died, I felt like I was dying, too. That’s the Pisces connection; you feel one another’s pain.

The moon in your natal chart is a doorway to your soul and psyche; the experience of mother is intrinsically linked to our roots and all the women who came before her. If your experience of mother and the feminine principle was not a positive one, and you want to be a different kind of mother to your child, you can be the one in your family who paves the way for the future generation (and hence changes unfavorable moon aspects of the natal charts of those who come after you).

Below is a list of all the Moon signs and a brief description of your possible experience of mother (or mother figure). It’s interesting to ask siblings what their experience of their mother was like and listen to how their perceptions differ, and how that matches up with each of their moon signs. In my descriptions, I use words like “likely” and “may have” because this is one aspect of your natal chart out of many; other placements and aspects could affect the more general interpretation. As you are reading the descriptions, keep in mind that we integrate our experience of mother and the feminine, so as much as your moon sign is a reflection of mother it is also a reflection of you. *I mention the birth process as related to your moon sign; your Ascendent sign is also an indication of your debut into the world (as I noted earlier, my Scorpio Ascendent symbolizes the Emergency C-section that brought me into the world.)

If you don’t know your Moon Sign, you can get a free Natal Chart HERE.

*Please note that I wrote these descriptions in the past tense since I am, mostly, referring to your childhood memories and perceptions of mother as you grew up – for the sake of fluidity, I have kept each section mostly in the past tense.

Aries Moon: Lunar Aries likely experienced mother as active, “on the go,” a “do-er,” and, perhaps, argumentative — even volatile at times. Yours could have been a speedy or urgent birth, and it could have been a fight for survival. Mother, in your eyes, may have been courageous, proactive, impulsive and a wee-bit selfish (the sign of Aries is known for putting the self first). She may have been into fitness, yoga, or sports since Aries rules the physical body. You probably saw her as quite strong; a force to be reckoned with. Likely with an Aries moon, your experience of mother was not bland or boring. It is also likely that you argued with each other a lot. Aries is the sign of passion, so the relationship was/is, likely, a strong one – hopefully, leaning more on the passionate than combative side of things. PS. As I am writing the description for each Sign, I see that I wrote more in the following paragraphs, which is apropos because Aries likes things short and sweet. Aries energy does not have time for long-winded explanations; give an Aries person the most direct and simplified version of something or you will lose their focus and probably annoy them! It’s important for Lunar Aries to have independence and the freedom to carve out their own path.

Taurus Moon: See my description above for MY Taurus moon experience of mother. Lunar Taurus’ birth process could have been slow and there may have been an experience of being stuck. The birthing may have been in a serene or beautiful setting (not mine but when I got home that was true). As a lunar Taurean, you probably felt protected by mother (she may have been affectionate), and you could have been lavished with the finer things (for example, beautiful and soft clothing and blankets) and decadent food (this Taurus moon girl loves a blend of gourmet and fresh/healthy food). Taurus is the sign of the tangible world, so even if your mother leaned on the earthy side of Taurus (grassy picnics and nature), she likely introduced you to the world of things (especially things that please the senses) – I have to say my clothing addiction (since quelled) started with my fashionable mother. She may have been (or is) a business owner or someone who enjoyed earning money. She may have also been (or is) a gardener or had an affinity for plants. She could have also been an advocate for the environment. It’s important for Lunar Taurus to connect to what truly nourishes you (i.e., probably not sweets and overindulgence).

Gemini Moon: Lunar Gemini likely had a busy mother. Your birth could have been a bit chaotic! Or it involved movement. Maybe your mom read to you daily in the womb. Gemini is the sign of the thinking mind, communications, electronics, and short-distance travel. It is likely that all or one of these themes relates to your experience of mother. My friend has her moon in Gemini and she mentioned once that her mom was always doing a couple of things at once, like emailing/texting or perusing a magazine while having a conversation. Gemini is the multitasker of the Zodiac, so it is likely that you experienced mother as juggling a few things at once. It is also one of the signs related to children and humor, so your mom may have worked with kids (or been good with kids) and she probably enjoyed a good practical joke. As a lunar Gemini you probably love to laugh and make jokes, and this is very likely connected to your experience of mother. Your mom may have been (or is) a writer or in the field of communication, or she may simply have liked to talk (read:gab) with you, family, or friends. Gemini is a lively energy so you may have experienced mother as fun and lively, and also scattered. It’s important for lunar Geminis to communicate their thoughts and be “heard,” and to have fun.

Cancer Moon: Lunar Cancerians may have been a home birth, birthed near water, and/or with lots of family awaiting your arrival. Cancer is ruled by the moon, so the moon is “at home” here, as Astrologers like to say. This is the moon sign of deep family roots (and ancestors). You likely experienced you mother as strongly connected to her family or tribe and, likely, “home and hearth” was very important to her. She was, perhaps, a homebody. You may have seen her as “maternal,” a true care-taker, nourishing you with home-cooked meals and tending to you when you were ill. My Dad had a Cancer moon and his mom was known as the best cook in town – I can attest to that; I still long for her chicken parm. and lemon potatoes. I will say, as noted above, that this depends on other aspects of the natal chart; I have a friend who’s moon is in Cancer and he claims his mother didn’t have a maternal bone in her body (which is interesting b/c he also has his moon in Aquarius’ house, which symbolizes detachment, independence and freedom), although this same friend’s mom certainly has a nurturing side in that she feeds and cares for the neighborhood kitties. Mother of lunar Cancer could have readily expressed emotions and/or was moody. She likely was viewed as kind and compassionate and may have loved or cared for animals (like my friend’s mom, the neighborhood cat lady). It’s important for Lunar Cancers to be connected to their roots, home and some form of family or tribe, and to both give and receive emotional nourishment.

Leo Moon: Lunar Leo may have come into the world in a show-y way. Your birth could have been the talk of town, or your mom had fans awaiting your arrival. You may have seen your mother as somewhat dramatic, and she may have been a performer of some type. She was likely creative and connected well with children because of her own child-like spirit. The mother of Lunar Leos, no doubt, loved attention even if another side of her personality shied away from it, and she may have been a bit, ahem, self-centered. Leo is ruled by the sun and since the sun takes center stage, with all the planets revolving around it, you could have felt, at times, eclipsed by your mother. You also likely felt showered in her love, affection and adoration. The sign of Leo is connected to the heart, and those with Leo prominent tend to lead with their heart; you likely saw your mom as big-hearted and, possibly, brave. Leo is the sign of the leader, so your mother may have easily taken control and you probably felt protected by her. There is also an innocence about the proud lion and you may have seen that in your mom. It’s important for Lunar Leos to nurture their creativity, have an outlet for it, and share it with others – to be “seen.”

Virgo Moon: The birth process for lunar Virgos could have been a lot of hours or hard, tedious work! Mom was criticizing your process already, in the womb (sorry, I couldn’t resist). A Virgo moon birth may have been in a very clean and tidy setting (hopefully the case for most hospitals), and perhaps it was a birth without painkillers. You probably saw your mother as organized and efficient; she had a tidy desk and clearly marked calendars and to-do lists. I am laughing as I write this because, although, this would be the case for many lunar Virgos, if you recall I have my moon in Virgo’s house and my mother did not even own a desk, and there seemed to be a perpetual mountain of unopened mail on the kitchen counter; my best friend in High School remarked years later that when she thought of my childhood home, she thought of a pile of mail on the counter and my mother cleaning the kitchen floor on her hand and knees. As you can see, these descriptions can vary; cleaning on your hands and knees would conjure up Virgo, for sure. Lunar Virgos may have perceived their mothers as focusing on the minutia of minutia at the expense of the bigger picture, especially if there was a lack of Pisces (the opposite sign) or a projection of the Pisces energy onto others, which often happens with the polarities. Pisces represents the big picture while Virgo is the small stuff. Lunar Virgos’ mothers may have been called saints for their capacity to help and be there for their friends and family; they were the responsible ones and the ones you could count on (unlike their Pisces counterparts – sorry, Pisces, I love you, too, but we all know you are not the best in that area). Lunar Virgos’ mothers may have worked or been involved in the health and wellness field or been focused on diet and nutrition. It is important for Lunar Virgos to take care of their health and wellbeing in every way, from the food you eat, to the thoughts you feed yourself, and the people you surround yourself with. This is important for everyone, of course, but for moon Virgos a healthy lifestyle is connected to security and safety … this said, if you become too regimented and rigid with your routine you won’t have time or space to enjoy life (it can be a tricky balance for this placement but you can do it).

Libra Moon: The birth process of Lunar Libra. Hmm. Perhaps you were born under fashionable or high society circumstances. 🙂 It’s likely that your mother’s partner was by her side (unlike my poor mom who said my dad came to visit once in the two weeks she was at the hospital – the aforementioned emergency c-section was followed with her running a high fever). Libra is the sign of balance and relationships — both friends and foes. You may have seen your mom as a partner or friend (hopefully, not an enemy but it could have been both). You may have experienced her as beautiful, fashionable, or refined. Since Libra rules the scales of balance and the law, you could have played the role of restoring balance when things got out of hand, and she may have done her best to keep the peace within the family. Perhaps she was a lawyer, as mentioned above, or involved in the arts. Libra represents manners, pleasantries and appearances. If you have the signs Scorpio or Aquarius strong in your natal chart, you may have called her out (or wanted to) on caring more about image than the truth, or what you felt was important. Libra is also the sign of politics, so although we think of Libra as a nice and friendly sign (and like to  villainize Scorpio), it is often those subtle Libras that know exactly how to manipulate a situation or person in order to get what they want. Perhaps your Libra Moon mom was more complicated than you realized, or than she let on .. but she sure was (is) lovely. For those with a Libra Moon, connection and relationships are important; cultivating a sense of fairness and harmony in relationships (and life) allows you to feel at peace.

Scorpio Moon: Ah, lunar Scorpio. This may have been a difficult birth process. Scorpio reflects the birth process, in that it is the sign of birth and rebirth and transformation. Scorpio also rules trauma, healing, and intimacy. With the moon in Scorpio, your relationship with mom was likely complex and deep. You may have perceived her as protective and, in some cases, very attached to you. Scorpio reflects extremes so she may have run hot and cold, so to speak. Since Scorpio rules joint resources you may have been supported by her in the way of money and resources and, possibly, inheritances. Scorpio is a magical sign that is associated with esoteric subjects (like Astrology!), so she may have been a good witch (and, due to the aforementioned extremes, sometimes a not-so good one). You may have viewed her as secretive or withholding of emotions, and she probably had some good detective skills. No one could pull the wool over her eyes and she was, probably, perceptive and keenly observant. Scorpio can be viewed as intense, thorough (similarly to Virgo, Scorpio is a stickler for details), and powerful. She may have worked or been involved in the healing arts and therapy.

Sagittarius Moon: See above for my brother’s Sadge moon birth process – almost in the car! He was rearing to go and nothing was going to hold him back; they nearly didn’t make it to the hospital in time and he was born, I am pretty sure, within 15 minutes of their arrival. My mom couldn’t even sit properly in the wheelchair that was rushed out to her because his head was partially out. There was no time for painkillers, that’s for sure. Sagittarius is a bigger than life energy– full of enthusiasm and, in some cases, hot air (meaning lots of big ideas but not necessarily the follow-through – we need “earth” energy for that). Sadge births may involve spirituality or religion (my mother was very religious), foreigners, or living in a foreign country. When my brother was in the womb, my mom and I read lots of books together; every night before bed, we embarked on adventures to places like Camazotz (from a Wrinkle in Time). Sagittarius rules travel in the mind as well as actual trips, and symbolizes, as mentioned above, religion, spirituality, philosophy … the higher-minded subjects that broaden one’s horizons and open the mind. The mother of lunar Sadge may have offered wise advice and insight and had just the right thing to say at the right time. That said, there can be a preach-y side of this energy (perhaps mom was a preacher): a “do as I say, not as a do” quality, or beliefs that don’t match up with one’s actions (note: this is a less evolved manifestation, which each sign and planet have). Sadg-y people tend to take the high road and they can see from a more objective angle than most, so your mom may have been able to help you put things in perspective, to see how all the trees in the forest are connected, so to speak. I am not sure this was the case for my lunar Sadge brother, I must admit; his placement is symbolized more by the religion aspect of the sign. Our mom, dutifully, attended church most Sundays. She grew up in a tightly knit Greek community and the church was her only outlet for socializing on account of her strict and overly protective father. For my mom and her sister, church was like a second home and an integral part of their foundation. My mother dragged us to church when we were young; most of the service was in Greek, so we found it boring and Sunday school felt oppressive. Since Sagittarius is a fire sign and the moon is symbolized by water (i.e., emotions and feelings), these two energies may clash in the sense of emotional needs being met. A person with a Sadge moon could have felt emotionally abandoned in one way or another, and perhaps mother did not have naturally maternal instincts. Sagittarius reflects a free spirit, which can be seen as the opposite of domestic life, so that could be where the clash existed. In my brother’s case, our mother felt trapped for a long period of her life in a marriage that wasn’t working and that she wanted to break free of, but did not know how to. As a result, she worked a lot when my brother was young and coming of age (if you read the opening, she had changed careers at this point and was now a store manager); my brother would often come home to an empty house after school. This moon sign can point to a lack of domestic structure and security, and/or emotional needs being met. It is also likely with this placement that despite any of the aforementioned issues, one still holds positive feelings toward mother. For Lunar Sagittarius, your deepest needs are met when you have the ability to explore new territories (whether physical or mental), and a sense of freedom, expansion and wonder in your life. Sagittarius represents life-long curiosity and learning, and with moon in the sign of the Archer  it is what allows you to feel truly nourished.

Capricorn Moon: I am not going to sugarcoat it (Capricorns don’t like that, anyway); this is not an easy placement. Capricorn is the opposite of moon energy (Cancer, the sign ruled by the moon, is Capricorn’s opposite). Capricorn is hard angles, concrete buildings, big companies, and rising to the top as a result of painstakingly hard work. The moon is soft evening light, a mother’s embrace, the warmth of home/a cocoon, your favorite comfort foods. Gestation and birth were serious business with this placement, and there may have been a somberness or heaviness about it for one reason or another. My mother had a Capricorn moon. I was told that my grandmother became pregnant with her after a miscarriage; the prior pregnancy was with a boy and they had already chosen a name. Apparently, my grandfather was deeply disappointed and, as a result, my Grammy must have been stressed. I heard bits and pieces of the story, and it makes sense to me in terms of my mother’s personality. She had a deep fear of abandonment and rejection and it is what, I believe, kept in her relationships that were not good for her. She was drawn to people who were not available. At her core, she felt unworthy. Capricorn is the energy of proving one’s self over and over and not giving up in the face of failure; it is the sign of hard knocks and life obstacles. My mom’s mom was a Capricorn, so in this case my mom’s moon clearly represented the mothering energy in her life. My Grammy was kind and gentle, I am told, but she was not affectionate or demonstrative, nor did my mom and she have deeper/meaningful communication or intimate moments; there was a formality to their relationship, as I understood it. Grammy had it rough growing up and, as a result, I don’t think she was able to make an emotional connection with her children — emotions were not easily expressed or acknowledged. As a result, for my mother and for anyone with a Capricorn moon, emotions can get pushed down or “swallowed,” which is very unhealthy, from a holistic perspective, and can lead to dis-ease in the body. It is important for lunar Capricorns to find a way to connect to their emotions and have an outlet for them. On a more positive note, Capricorn is the sign of hard work, stability and reliability —  perhaps you saw your mother this way. She was likely stoic, strong in the face of challenges (depending on other chart placements as well) and there for you when you needed her (on the physical plane, at least). The mother of a lunar Capricorn might also be career-minded or an authority on a subject or field. My mom’s mom was good with numbers (a Capricorn trait) and worked for a short period as an accountant, but it was frowned upon for women/mothers to work at that time. If you have a Capricorn moon, self-care and nourishing is very important; this includes, as I noted above, allowing yourself to feel and express emotions.

Aquarius Moon: With Uranus, the co-ruling planet of Aquarius, involved there is a good chance your birth was sudden or that there was something surprising or erratic about it. Excitement is in the air with this sign. Aquarius represents a lively energy, friendship, community, freedom and broad minded and innovative pursuits (thinking outside of the box). Because Aquarius, in its best form, is focused on activist/humanitarian causes it is not an energy that naturally meshes well with the moon. The moon is about feelings and memories and Aquarius is about detaching from feelings in order to focus on a cause or calling. You may have seen your mother as somewhat aloof or distant. She was, likely, also friendly and may have had the signature Aquarius sparkle. Aquarius is co-ruled by Saturn, Capricorn’s ruling planet, which denotes fathers and bosses — there is a paternal or tough love theme, but the moon wants intimacy and the soft touch of a mother. Just like our Cappy moon friends, those with this placement might have felt that mother was not totally available and most likely inconsistent. Mother may have wanted and needed freedom at the cost of family life, and she my have been erratic with her care or presence, or even unstable. She may have been an advocate for the underdog or the zany professor type. Likely with this moon placement, mom was a friend and she may have been an integral part of her community. With this moon sign it is important that you have grounding and balancing tools and practices, like yoga and meditation, because you may be prone to nervousness and anxiety. It’s also important to have a sense of freedom in your life, to not to be too “boxed-in,” and to be able to do things your own way, which is a bit (or more than a bit, depending on other aspects) unconventional.

Pisces Moon: This is a dreamy, elusive, and romantic placement. With a Pisces moon, you may have been born near water or in a soothing environment and perhaps mom played music or painted when she was carrying you in the womb. There is also a chance that there was something hidden or unclear about the pregnancy or birth. Mother was likely creative and compassionate, and there may have been a fuzzy aspect about her identity or who she was to you -perhaps something that was concealed. Sometimes, a Pisces or 12th house moon mother was unavailable or not in your life. A friend who has both her sun and moon in the 12th house (Pisces’ house) lived with her brother from her young teenage years because her parents had retired and moved across the country (she is the youngest of three); she had a life that she didn’t want to leave behind when her parents were ready to move, so she opted to stay with her brother. Pisces is represented by water, depth, the psyche, music/creativity, and spirituality. There is often a  lack of solid boundaries with this sign, so you may have been emotionally enmeshed with mother in some ways. Mother could have been an artist, poet, musician, or someone who felt and cared deeply about all beings -it is a highly sensitive sign. She may have been into esoteric subjects and she was probably highly intuitive and, perhaps, in touch with the world of spirit. Pisces represents all there is beyond the mundane world; for this reason it is a beautiful and, sometimes, surreal energy, like a fairytale. With a Pisces moon, it is important for you to develop firm boundaries to protect yourself from negative energies.

When I sit for meditation, my mind resists for a time, bouncing from one topic to the next. On a good day, my mind eventually settles and stills. I begin to feel grounded in my body, connected to a world beyond my meandering thoughts and ‘small self,’ i.e., the self that is only concerned with details, issues and problems. In this more expansive state of mind, rebel thoughts pop in to test me, but the space around them is bigger now and I am at peace, i.e., the thoughts no longer have a grip on me and I am not as invested in them.

When I sit down to write, I am purging my thoughts and feeling (sorry, computer screen). It feels messy at first. I am not always sure where, if anywhere, the writing is headed and, in some cases, what it is even about on a universal or bigger picture level. As I continue to write and craft my piece, I begin to see something that wasn’t there before, like an etching. I am connecting the dots; the life experiences I write about begin to make more sense and take on a deeper meaning. This process of organizing my thoughts and feelings helps me to get in touch with the big emotions stirring in me; in the Astrology world, I am a Scorpio Ascendant and if you know anything about this sign you know we feel deeply but tend to keep our feelings inside, hesitant to express them. Writing feels like a safe place to express.

As I move into the polishing stage, I feel a writing “high,” like the space that opens when I meditate. The writing process creates objectivity around a situation or experience that I was enmeshed in. As I complete a piece of writing, it is a ceremony of freeing stuff I was holding onto that was, undoubtedly, creating holding patterns in my mind and body.

Like a fire ritual, with each essay I write, I throw my emotional baggage into the flames and watch it burn.

I’m a Capricorn, so that makes me a child of Saturn (Saturn rules Capricorn, and co-rules Aquarius).

One of my favorite Astrology books is called Ruling Planets by Christopher Renstrom. It has beautiful illustrations — it’s a big book. He devotes a chapter to each Ruling Planet, e.g.,”Child of The Sun,” “Child of the Moon,” and uses mythology, stories, and examples to describe each “child.” At the end of each chapter, there’s a section on the Retrograde placement. If you are a Child of the Sun or Moon your “planet” does not go retrograde (lucky you), but for everyone else there is the possibility your ruling planet was in its retrograde phase when you were born, and so the interpretation for that planet changes a bit – it’s kind of  inside-out, as I like to say. For example, if Saturn “direct” represents hard work and effort, Saturn Retrograde natives may feel that something or someone is working against their best efforts. They may be tempted to give up; giving up (in the face of overwhelming limitations) can be themes for Saturn Rx, but for all children of Saturn (retrograde or direct) there is the nagging need to keep going – it’s almost as if giving up is not an option. And, so, you get up, dust yourself off and try, try again.

Saturn, besides being the planet of hard knocks, stands for long-lasting success – the success of truly fulfilling life-work that you have worked hard for. So, my Saturn Rx children, hang in there because for us it takes longer and there are more delays, no doubt; we’ve got it two-fold, or a double whammy as my mom used to say; Saturns itself is about delays AND the retrograde energy is indicative of delays and do-overs  … and, yet, we are as strong as nails, patient and resourceful; we find a way around all those roadblocks thrown in our path.

In the book, Stephen Hawking is used as an example for Child of Saturn with Saturn Retrograde. I came across a Stephen Hawking quote, one day, that resonated with me and I brought it with me to read in my yoga class. As I read his words aloud, my voice caught and if I hadn’t been in a room full of people expecting me to lead a class, I would have started crying like a baby. I hadn’t expected this.

The quote was from an interview in which Hawking was asked how he felt about his life, meaning his physical limitations. If you’re not familiar with his disease, he had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes all of one’s muscles to atrophy. He was confined to a wheelchair from a young age, and he communicated through a computer and a voice synthesizer and, later when he lost the use of his hands, he moved the muscles in his face to communicate.

His answer to how he felt about life with a a progressive neurodegenerative disease: “Who could have asked for more?”

It hits me in the core every time I read it. Who could have asked for more.

There is something in his experience I can relate to. His answer exemplifies, perfectly, the child of Saturn Retrograde; he was dealt a difficult hand, one that there was seemingly no way out of, and yet he not only learned to work with his physical limitations but he transcended them in that he found great peace and fulfillment in his life’s work. He also lived for an astoundingly long time with this disease, beating the odds. There are different interpretations and explanations of why he may have been able to live so long. Saturn is about hardship and, also, longevity, success, and fulfillment .. even, and especially, if Saturn is retrograde in your chart.

In my Natal Chart, Pisces is on the cusp of my 4th house, meaning this watery and creative sign flavors this aspect of life. The houses of your natal chart represent different sections of the sky and, on a personal level, your life.

The 4th house symbolizes home and family. It also represents emotions and childhood memories. I am extremely sensitive to my environment — Pisces is a highly intuitive and sensitive energy — and especially any negativity in the home; it’s almost unbearable for me. My home is creative, aesthetically speaking (colors, design), and I love living and being near water; I feel “at home” when I visit the ocean. Each sign is associated with an element and Pisces is a water sign. Neptune rules the ocean.

There was addiction and confusion and, even, deception in my childhood home. Pisces also symbolizes addictions and things that are hidden or hard to decipher.

What sign is on the cusp of your 4th house? If you are not that familiar with your natal chart, the sign that rules each house is dependent on your Ascendent (AKA Rising) Sign. It is an insightful and fun exercise to look at which sign is flavoring each house or aspect of your life.

As you know, from my last blog post Mercury was rewinding through Sagittarius, which rules faith, optimism, and the ability to see the bigger picture and opportunities.

As of Saturday, December 1st, Mercury Rx has shifted into the deep Scorpio waters, and will toggle back into Sagittarius on Thursday, December 13th.

Mercury Rx is a period for reassessing and re-evaluating, and your attention may shift now to Scorpio matters: shared resources, other people’s money (including bank loans, mortgages, stocks/bonds, etc.), intimacy/relationships, releasing clutter, freeing yourself of emotional baggage from the past, esoteric subjects and detective work/research (e.g., psychology, astrology, mythology, tarot), rebirth/transformation. Scorpio energy lends itself well to focused, intensive work, and “digging beneath the surface” for meaning. Since Mercury is in Retrograde, any projects or subjects you are focused on will likely be connected to something from the past, or you are re-starting something you began or have wanted to begin.

Scorpio, as most of you know and have heard me say, is an intense sign. I should know: it’s my Rising Sign :). We, Scorpios, are not fearful of diving deep and uncovering sensitive issues (of course this varies with each natal chart) because something in the Scorpio personality understands that in order to heal, in order to be empowered, and move forward in life unencumbered by heavy emotional baggage, s(he) needs to first face this “baggage” aka demons.

You cannot free yourself of emotional baggage without the first step of facing and acknowledging what is there. Because of this “Roto Rooter” quality, Scorpios are the most misunderstood sign of the zodiac: people, usually, will either “love or hate” a Scorpio and feelings toward them may fluctuate wildly. Most people don’t want to “look at their stuff,” and for this reason the Scorpio person can seem (usually on a subconscious level) threatening and will even be scapegoated. These are all themes to be aware of with Mercury and Venus in this powerful sign.

Venus will be in Scorpio from Sunday, December 2nd through Monday, January 7th. Venus rules, to put it simply, love, beauty, and money–this includes one-on-one relationships (romantic, friendship, business partnerships, and so on), self-love, self-esteem and your ability to receive love, earned income/the money you make for the work you do in the world. With Venus moving back into Scorpio, after her Retrograde period (which ended on November 15th, however we are still in the Venus Rx Shadow period through December 17th), issues/themes that come up now will, likely, be connected to the recent Venus in Scorpio Rx transit; for instance, there may be final pieces coming together in your process of resolving old wounds when it comes to matters of the heart.

To re-cap, Scorpio rules Rebirth and Transformation and Venus symbolizes our relationships and ability to give and receive love; when Venus Rx was in Scorpio, ancient issues connected to love and self-esteem may have resurfaced. Now, with Venus in Direct motion, back in Scorpio, the issues that were festering are ready for transformation.

Now is you chance to discard, for good, the junk that is taking up precious and valuable space. If repeating themes come up in relationships that are not serving you and/or creating dysfunction that is a clear sign that stuff from the past is clouding your present. When you disconnect from the present you lose your power. One way to know if this is happening is to “look at” your day-to-day to life (i.e., the moments that make up a day). Do you tend to dwell on small things that make you feel bad? Do you get caught up in things that didn’t go your way or something that offended you, for example? These are signs that you are focusing energy on the past; even if that “past” is only an hour ago, it is still the past and reflects your larger mental and behavioral patterns. When this happens, point it out to yourself (say “thinking about the past”) and then breathe deeply and re-focus your attention on something that feels positive, proactive and/or supportive (i.e., something that does not drain your vitality).

One part of the Scorpio energy is about moving through the muck, yes, and negative feelings will come up that need to be processed, but that is different from spending time ruminating on perceived slights and insults (a Scorpio tendency), i.e., things that are not truly important, waste your precious time, and hold you back rather than aiding in your transformation/empowerment.

Perhaps a chapter in your life is closing, which will lead to a greater sense of empowerment and freedom. Keep in mind that we are in the Venus Rx Shadow period until December 17th, so you may still be sorting things out and working your way through; Since Mercury is Retrograde, a slower process is well-supported now. Venus in Scorpio can be intense and, yes, challenging, but it is also beautifully empowering once you get through the weeds.

Mercury is the planet of communication and learning: it, essentially, represents the thinking mind (among a few other areas, such as your vehicle or mode of transportation, local travel, neighborhood, siblings and relatives).

In your Natal Chart, Mercury resides in a sign and a “house” and this gives you insight into how you learn, take in and process information, and communicate and interact with others. For example, if ‘your’ Mercury is in an Earth Sign, your thinking tends to be slower and thorough and you need concrete/real-life examples to fully understand something; on the other hand, if ‘your’ Mercury is in a Fire Sign, you take in and digest information like rapid fire.

If Mercury was in Retrograde Motion when you were born, you will likely experience, from young, challenges around learning and communication and need more support in this area. As you grow older and mature, there is potential for deep and lasting fulfillment in this area of your life (for example, you may have a career in teaching or supporting, in some way, young people who struggle in this area.)

When Mercury “Goes Retrograde” by Transit (as it does, 3 or 4 times per year), it is time to slow down, to hit the pause button and reflect on where you are, how you got there and where you would like to go next. What you are reflecting on, reviewing or reassessing will be indicated by the sign that Mercury is retrograde in and which House(s) of your Natal Chart Mercury is traveling backward in.

The current Mercury Retrograde phase for November 17 through December 6, 2018 (the shadow period ends December 24th) is in Sagittarius. (Note: I will update this for each Mercury Retro. phase). You may now question your belief system and your relationship with faith and trust, especially in the house/area of your chart where Mercury rx in Sagittarius is traveling in. For example, in my Transit Chart, Mercury rx in Sadge is moving backward in my 1st house of self/image/physical body. If you are a late degree Scorpio Rising or an early to middle degree Sagittarius Rising you will currently have the same transit. Mercury Retrograding through the 1st House reflects how I perceive myself and, in turn, how others perceive me. It is a call to reassess my beliefs surrounding self image. Here are some questions to ask myself: What do I believe to be true about myself, and is it serving me and others? Do I trust myself? Do I trust others? How do I communicate with others about my beliefs? My beliefs about myself and faith, or lack thereof, in myself will affect how others see me and how they interact with me. If you, for example, have Mercury Rx in Sagittarius journeying through your 2nd house of earned income and self esteem, similar questions may arise, or be helpful to ponder, and will be more closely connected to the money you are earning in the world and your sense of self-worth. Keep in mind that all the houses of the natal chart are, of course, inter-connected.

Additional themes that may be highlighted, and come up for review during the November – December 2018 Mercury is Rx in Sagittarius are: Teaching and Learning, Religion/Religious Beliefs (be aware of this one during T-giving, please!), Travel, Sports, Other Cultures, Expansion and Opportunities. I will add that there is a Neptune/Mercury Rx Square to be mindful of now because Neptune can bring confusion and, sometimes, deceit (at its lower end); when Neptune is involved situations may seem dreamy/romantic/beautiful because you are wearing the proverbial rose-colored glasses … and that’s okay, however you may want to internally note that this could be the case. If you are experiencing a rose colored situation, enjoy the moment and also know that your perception of said experience may shift drastically in the near future.

Mercury Rx is, generally, not the time to plunge forward with new projects and endeavors because you are still gathering information/insight/clues and there may be missing pieces to the puzzle that will come to light when Mercury is in direct motion. That said, if you are re-starting something from the past then that, actually, may be well supported at this time. There are always exception to these Mercury Retrograde “rules,” so if something transpires that truly feels right or that you must begin at this time due to circumstances, my advice is to first make sure you are in line with your truth/intuition (i.e., do your due diligence and ‘sit with’ the decision for some time, if possible) and then to trust your decision. By the way, I leased a car during the Mercury rx phase 10 years ago and have since bought and paid it off; and my friend got engaged during Mercury rx and is, several years later, happily married. I do not believe we cannot do or commit to anything during the Mercury Rx phases.

For me, the Mercury Rx symbolizes a time to slow down, reorganize and reboot your “system” so that you can begin again stronger and clearer. I don’t attach a plethora of “do’s” and “don’ts” to Mercury Rx because that kind of thinking, I believe, leads us away from the beautiful and enlightening art of Astrology and into superstition and fear.

You can BOOK A MINI READING with me to learn more about what Mercury Retrograde means for you during this phase.

Mars is taking a long and uncharacteristic summer nap. The MARS RETROGRADE period officially began on June 26th, however you may have felt it’s impending reversal as early as May, when the “shadow” period began.

In December I began a new job and moved to a new apartment, so I have been regimented with my time: my weekends have been full of teaching, class planning, setting up my new place, regular life chores, and getting in my own yoga practice.

Over the last few weeks, however, I find myself on random excursions, like a long, unexpected hike, when I was on my way to a coffee shop to class plan. Last Sunday, I decided to go for a “quick” lunch after teaching my morning yoga classes and then get back “to it” (i.e., to “doing” mode”), and instead I walked to the Ritz Carlton and plopped down on one of the comfy sofas in the lobby restaurant and had a glass of wine and a burger; I kept thinking how random it was that I was there (it’s not exactly my ‘go to’ spot), having wine in the afternoon, and then to make the experience even more surreal, the classy looking business woman (or so I thought) sitting next to me kept pouring, surreptitiously, what looked like champagne from a funnel that was attached to her tote bag to refill her glass as she drank it. I digress.

When I was driving to work last week, I was listing (out loud) the things that I needed to do after work. I stopped at a traffic light and saw the license plate in front of me said “Be.” During the Mars Retrograde period, something within us (maybe the child within) wants to explore and experience life. Mars is the planet that symbolizes action, and if you know anyone with Mars prominent in their natal chart, you know that they cannot sit still for long; they are restless and somewhat intense, “doers” by nature and achievement oriented, and that’s generally an admirable trait.

My friend, who has a lot of Mars energy in his natal chart and fits the description above, went to the city yesterday and wandered around all day with no plan, exploring and walking (11 miles) and eating good food; he said it was totally spontaneous and a really nice time. The Retrograde periods are about releasing plans, goals, and control and experiencing life through the lens of a child.

After all, what is it all for if you don’t take a pause once in a while? The “pause” can take the form of lying down outside on the grass (careful of tics, please) and watching the clouds go by or playing frisbee (I played a few times recently at the school I teach at — I forgot how fun it is). If you’re able to schedule a getaway, it may be the perfect time for it. Mars Retrograde is probably not the time for the “To Do” list; you have permission to put it away for the summer, although that does not mean that you cannot be productive during this period. You may find yourself circling back to old projects or tasks that you had abandoned (for me, writing is one of these ‘tasks’ I tend to circle back to), especially things that connect you to your more creative, right-brain hemisphere. If you were born with Mars retrograde then, for you, this may be an uncommonly productive time when you are in the flow of life and accomplishing tasks and projects that have alluded you.

Mars Retrograde can play out in different ways, as is always the case with Astrology, depending on your own natal chart and what is happening in your life. If you are trying to move forward with actions that don’t seem to be coming together or gaining any momentum then that’s probably your signal that now is not the time for it. Mars Retrograde can be a time when you reassess how you use your energy, and if its productive and effective for you, and it can also be a time to explore your masculine side and questions regarding balance (of masculine and feminine). For example, are you able to assert yourself in a healthy way? Do you ‘over’ assert yourself and get aggressive? Are you usually able to create the results you want with your actions, or do you believe your actions will not produce results? Are you very achievement oriented but neglecting other parts of your life? Do you tend to take the passive or more active role in relationships? Mars retro can also be a time when repressed anger comes to the surface – if this is the case, it may be the time for you to connect with this anger (e.g., therapy, writing, yoga, art, etc.) so that you can finally release it.

The Moon is conjunct the Sun on February 15th, at 4:05 PM EST – this is called the New Moon. This is also a Partial Solar Eclipse.
 
This New Moon is in the sign of Aquarius — quirky, lively, friendly, cutting edge, different/unique and, sometimes, rebellious. Aquarius people do not want to be told what to do – they have their own ideas and a lot of them!
I have Uranus, Aquarius’ ruling planet, right on my Ascendant (the Ascendant represents your image or how others see you), and the family story goes that at the age of 4 I told my aunt, who I was staying with while my mother was on a business trip, “Now my mommy is back and I don’t have to listen to you anymore!”
Besides being known to defy authority figures, this sign is innovative, inspirational, sees the bigger picture and can easily grasp mental concepts. Aquarius also represents friends, groups, and communities. It is the Robin Hood archetype; these people are advocates of the underdog and humanitarian causes they believe in.
The New Moon cycle is the baby moon, not yet even visible to our eyes; it’s when the sun and moon join forces in the sky and it’s a time for new beginnings, for starting again. You may feel a burst of energy, or a feeling of rejuvenation. There may be a new project or endeavor that you are beginning. If so, it’s likely a good time for it, especially if the new endeavor is related to the sign of Aquarius (i.e., groups, communities, friends, humanitarian causes, and cutting edge/progressive type of work – see above).
Because this New Moon is also a Partial Solar Eclipse (when the moon comes b/w the sun and earth but is not completely aligned), there is a lot of energy surrounding it and emotions can be strong. It’s best, if possible, to hold off on making big decisions on the day of (or days surrounding) the Eclipse due to the high emotional factor. Eclipses tend to bring in big changes and news, and we can feel their energy for up to 6 weeks beforehand and in the weeks following as well. Since this is a Partial Solar Eclipse it’s not quite as intense as a Total Eclipse, however there is still potential for big changes and emotions to be stirred.
 Most people don’t love change and so it can feel daunting if you are currently face to face with it; try to keep in mind that change is necessary for growth and for your health/well-being, and in most cases once you get through it you are happier. If you have access to your natal chart (you need your birth time for that), look to see where the New Moon is in your chart; the house it falls in is the area of life that will be in focus for you.
Venus symbolizes love, beauty, and money/earned income. It reflects how you relate to others and your environment, and also how you see yourself through another’s eyes.
 
When Venus moves into Pisces (the unseen realms of life; the divine) we see the world in full color. There is so much more to this vast, mysterious universe than the meets the eye. This transit can inspire you to connect with something bigger than yourself and your everyday routine (Virgo, the opposite sign of Pisces rules the day-to-day stuff). You may do this through a walk in nature, spending time with an animal friend, meditation, yoga, listening to or creating music, creating art, going on an adventure – whatever it is that inspires you). 
 
Like the “App,” Snapchat, Venus in Pisces can adorn you with a pair of cool-looking, rose-colored glasses – keep in mind, especially if you have met someone new, that sometimes things appear “rosier” than they actually are. You want to see the beauty in everyone and everything thing now, and it’s easy to overlook details. (Pisces is not, ahem, known for their detail work – anyone who is friends with or married to a Pisces will probably laugh, knowingly, at this).
 
You may feel more compassionate now and able to forgive more easily; this is a “live and let live” transit. Speaking of living, I once shared an apartment with a friend who had and abundance of Virgo and Aries in her natal chart; she had many positive qualities (e.g., proactive, energetic, reliable and disciplined to name a few) and she was also hyper in tune to details (at the expense of the bigger picture), and quick to criticize others – she seemed to see the world in black and white. I often found myself saying, during that year, the phrase “Live and let live.” Pisces is like a soothing balm in that way; it’s a non-judgmental and open-minded, and it’s shadow side is that it is susceptible to slipping into the role of the victim, which is often more subtle than we realize. Pisces is like a sponge, super sensitive, absorbing everything, including pain and negativity, and so people with Pisces prominent in their charts need to learn to create firmer boundaries in order to protect themselves. Pisces is also the chameleon of the zodiac; they can become what they think you want them to be (many talented actors have this sign prominent; they are able to step into someone else’s shoes, so to speak).
 
These are all themes to be aware of when Venus enters Pisces. Are you honoring yourself and your needs in relationships, or are you giving your power away? There is a soft and, often, foggy quality to Pisces and boundaries can play tricks on you now, or people you love and are in relationships with can seem out of reach. Relationships with composite Pisces or 12th house energy strong are often hidden relationships; they can also be beautiful and soulful.
 
You can use this Pisces in Venus Transit to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way, to enjoy romance and beauty, to forgive past hurts and see situations from a wider perspective, and to create (e.g., art, poetry, music) from your heart — basically, to realign with what really matters to you.

Jupiter in Scorpio is squaring the Sun in Aquarius today until February 11th.

What does this mean? I will break this down into its parts and then give you an overall idea of how this energy may play out in your life.

Jupiter represents a bigger than life energy; it’s jubilant, carefree, brimming with ideas and potentials. Those who have Jupiter prominent in their natal charts like to kick their shoes off, throw a care to the wind and enjoy life. They don’t want to be tied down to too many responsibilities and commitments.

Ok, now we will look at the sign our freedom-loving Jupiter currently resides in: Scorpio. Jupiter will be in Scorpio until November 9, 2018 (due to Jupiter turning retrograde next month), so what I am about to describe applies for the next several months. Scorpio has two distinct sides: the Scorpion, crawling on the earth, and the Eagle, flying with expansive wings, above it all. Jupiter expands the sign it’s in and so can bring energy to either the “lower” end of Scorpio (e.g., fears, trauma, grudges, resentment, deep emotions connected to past trauma and pain) or the “higher” end (e.g., healing, empowering yourself and others, a deep understanding of the subtle layers of life, focus and determination, inner strength). You may be feeling, lately, old emotions and grievances coming to the surface. You may also be drawn to esoteric subjects or involved in research. Scorpio is also about merging resources/partnerships, intimacy, sex, death and taxes (ya know, the lighter subjects of life).

The Sun represents what we want; our drive and ego. It’s like a light shining on our life-path. Where do we want to go and how do we get there? The Sun is lighting up quirky and friendly Aquarius these days. Aquarius themes and archetypes are groups, friendships, communities, the bigger picture of life, getting involved with humanitarian causes (it’s the Robin Hood archetype), the rebel (doing things your own way/being non-conventional), the underdog, freedom, the mind/intellect, the internet and technology (anything future oriented), a spark of insight. When the Sun is in Aquarius we may be focused on or driven by any of the above.

So, as I noted, Jupiter expands like a balloon whatever it touches, usually in a positive way, in order to open us up to potentials and opportunities connected to that sign; it can also expand areas we need to work on for the sake of inner and outer growth. Since Jupiter wants us to grow beyond our perceived limitations, it can blow up Scorpio baggage (yikes). This does not feel so good at the time. If you have, however, done a pretty good job of cleaning out your closets (“I’m sorry mama…”), this Jupiter Scorpio arrangement can enhance or bring into your life partnerships that enable you to be stronger and more effective than you could be on your own. It may be a time when you are merging resources with someone, such as a business partnership or moving in with someone you love. For some lucky peeps, this can be a time when you come into money (Scorpio rules money from the intangible realms, such as stocks and bonds).
 
Ok, getting there …
 
The Sun represents what we want; our drive and ego. It’s like a light shining on our life-path. Where do we want to go and how do we get there? The Sun is lighting up quirky and friendly Aquarius these days. Aquarius themes and archetypes are groups, friendships, and communities, the bigger picture of life, getting involved with humanitarian causes (it’s the Robin hood archetype), the mind/intellect, the internet and technology (anything future oriented), the rebel (doing things your own way/being non-conventional), the underdog, freedom, a spark of insight. When the Sun is in Aquarius we may be focused on or driven by any of the above.
 
When the Sun is SQUARE Jupiter, it is creating a so-called challenging aspect. Squares can bring tension and friction. Squares mean the planets involved are working at cross-purposes like a tug-of-war; thus the challenge is to figure out how we can best work with these two sides that do not want to compromise in order to create balance. If we can “figure it out,” squares can result in fulfilling and dynamic outcomes. They can sometimes result in forced change, like a breaking point. A great way to deal with a square is to look deeply at both sides of a situation (especially the opposite side that you are aligned with) and to create lists of pros and cons.
 
Tying this all together (finally!). The Sun in Aquarius wants freedom, to connect to big picture pursuits and do things in a unique, maybe unconventional way, and, most importantly, to stand in one’s truth/be genuine. This drive to be yourself is somehow at odds with Jupiter’s super sizing of Scorpio. Remember that Scorpio feels things deeply and wants to study things thoroughly, to inspect and probe beneath the surface and, ultimately, purge anything that is no longer needed, anything that blocks you. It’s like a Roto-rooter. Scorpio is known, ahem, for dwelling and can at times make the good ole’ “mountains out of mole hills” (for instance, Scorpio can go down the rabbit hole of fear and resentment based on a look someone gave them or a perceived insult). Aquarius is above all that petty stuff and doesn’t do emotions well. Aquarius would like to remain in the mental realms of life, safe from all that murky junk. Both are, at their core, genuine and haters of BS.
 
The question is how do we free ourselves from baggage that creeps up and causes negative feelings and the tendency to dwell, which can create a feeling of being stuck, while honoring our drive to move above all of that and see the bigger picture of life, and (ideally) use our visions to serve others/humanity? Whoa. My head is spinning. I am sure yours is, too. Who the heck knows, really, (these are big questions) but I think we can start by facing our fears. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my Aunt MaryAnne, when I told her I was scared, was: “So, do it scared” – meaning don’t let your fear rule you. That stuck with me and I have a done a lot of things scared – some worked out splendidly and others seemed like failures … still, “I did it” rather than avoiding my fear, which always feels worse in the long-run and covers up our authenticity.
 
There is one more layer (wide eyed emoji). In your Natal Chart, these planets fall in specific houses (the “where” or area of life you may feel this energy coming up). You can easily access your natal chart (if you have your birth time) on astro.com or contact me for a reading!

A few days ago, I had an exact conjunction between Venus in the sky and my natal Chiron. I didn’t realize it until I checked my Transit Chart halfway through that day, thinking to myself what the heck is going on with me today? 

It started with a wayward paycheck. I sent a third email to the person who was supposedly in charge of payroll to ask when I could pick up my now 3-week late check. There were a few other minor work issues I was trying to sort out and as I spent the morning trying to track down money I was owed or pinpoint things that didn’t seem pin-able at that moment, my rising emotions took on a life of their own and I got swept away. (Note: the moon was going to be Full in two days, when emotions tend to swell.) I have had a recurring dream, on and off for years, of tidal waves and tsunamis and I remember one in particular in which I was in a canoe with an old friend in the middle of the ocean (ya know, just chilling) as an oncoming tidal wave roared toward us, turned our little boat vertical and we rode down the side of the wave. Interestingly, the canoe never capsized and maybe this is a sign of my internal strength even as I have navigated the turbulent waters of life.

I digress.

The issues I was facing this particular morning were, on the surface level, of money/income/getting paid for my work and also of receiving support I needed to complete tasks. On a deeper level, this was about supporting myself in the world and feeling valued for the work I am doing, for what I am giving. Chiron wounds have deep, deep roots. The spot in the Natal Chart where Chiron dwells points to the wounds that we have trouble even looking at; we bury them well. It’s the place where we feel inadequate and cut off from ourselves and we may attempt to compensate in some way, by either proving ourselves again and again (an endless cycle), or giving from an empty place (the giving is, therefore, not genuine/pure), or withdrawing and taking ourselves out of the game altogether because it feels safer than the rejection that may come if this wound was revealed or activated.

I have Chiron on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and so issues of self-worth, confidence, and valuing myself run deep. Taurus rules, among other things, the material world and earning an income, which is intrinsically connected to how we value ourselves. Aries rules the self and the physical body. Somewhere along the way I learned not to value myself and my own needs, and that to do so was somehow inappropriate. It’s no surprise then that I have often faced circumstances of not being paid enough (or at all in some cases!) for my work.

And so my emotions were running high this morning.  I decided to do a yoga practice. Note: if you have Chiron in Aries, yoga and other types of therapeutic body work are excellent for you. I use Yogaglo (online yoga classes) when I can’t get to the yoga studio and I’m in the mood to be guided. I have a few favorite teachers on Yogaglo and as I searched for a class to take, a new class taught by one of “my teachers” popped up. It was, amazingly, a class on Artha, the Sanskrit word for having the wealth or resources to fulfill your dharma or life purpose, i.e., using your innate gifts for service in the world. I felt like he (the teacher) was speaking directly to me. I have to pause here to say how cool is that? The universe was supporting me. Recognizing this inherent support is the first step in healing/integrating my Taurus/Aries Chiron wounds. It’s no coincidence that when I teach I often hear myself asking students to accept support, to feel the support of the earth underneath them, etc. We teach the lessons we are learning ourselves.

It’s interesting to note that I currently have Saturn transiting my 2nd house of earned income/material resources/self-value. I liked the way my Astrology teacher/mentor whimsically described Saturn Transits: “Wherever Saturn is in the chart, you know he’s going to be busting chops.” The chart house Saturn visits usually calls for some restructuring, discipline, hard work/effort and facing whatever it is you neglect in that area of life, so that you can fully utilize your resources and create something solid, something lasting. Once you get used to looking at Natal and Transit Charts, themes begin to pop out at you; if you see something significant (like, Venus making a conjunction with my natal Natal Chiron) chances are that theme will be highlighted elsewhere in the chart. Saturn is pushing me to face and organize this area of my life (my material resources), so that I can receive the support I need and, in turn, support others.

When Venus and Chiron get together in the Natal or Transit chart, ancient wounds connected to relationships (how we relate to others and our environment) can resurface and fester, and there is also a chance to clean them out. I love the idea of the wound actually being the gift, which is why I resonate with the Rumi quote: The wound is the place where the light enters you. The wound remains a wound, I believe, because we cover it up and emotionally cut off that area of life or ourselves. You can look to the sign and house Chiron is in to learn more about your ‘wounds’ and how you can learn to re-integrate them.

If you recall, my Chiron is on the cusp of Taurus and Aries and it sits in my 5th house, right near the cusp of my 6th house. I am learning to care for myself (I have an Ayurveda daily morning practice) and to support myself in the material world (building my business). I teach yoga and it has taken me a long time to free up my creative energy (5th house) and voice (Taurus) so that I can be “myself” when I teach. When I connect to my own creative flow students can connect to theirs. I notice that if I am “in my head” too much when teaching or when doing anything in life, I don’t give others the space they need to be in their own “flow.” It’s a good thing I started teaching yoga later in life, as I was beginning to face my Chiron wounds and lessons, or else I would have believed I was no good at it and have moved on AKA quit (6th house Chiron), which is what I did, work-wise, throughout my twenties and early thirties (tried something, deemed myself unfit and jumped ship).

I can only do my work and service in the world when I face these wounded pieces of myself because it’s difficult to give when operating from a place of lack. Once you “own your Chiron,” it’s as if you have a new found, unshakeable power that comes from those dark experiences. We can then use this power, this strength, to support others who have similar wounds. This is why Chiron is called the Wounded Healer.

I am learning how to play the harmonium and it’s a whole new world for me. I didn’t play instruments as a kid and have a memory of a Middle School chorus teacher insulting my voice (Chiron in Taurus). After that, I pretended to sing, mouthing the words, which is sad because I loved to sing as a child and always sang in the shower. I said to my Harmonium teacher, who happens to be interested in Astrology, “I have my moon in Taurus and I have read that this placement can indicate a hidden gift of singing or using your voice.” I said it with a chuckle because although I can carry a tune, I am clearly not a gifted singer and I didn’t want her to think I was delusional. She seemed to understand and confirmed, without hesitation, that it was indeed “a gift.” By singing and playing the harmonium I am healing my wound (freeing up my voice and my creative expression).

It’s no surprise that my throat is one of the most vulnerable places in my body; when I get sick I get a sore throat first. For most of my life, I felt I didn’t have “a voice,” that I couldn’t express myself well and clearly. I didn’t know how or have the capacity to express what was on the inside, what I really felt. For this reason, I never felt “heard.” Although I longed to be heard and seen, I deeply feared being heard and seen: my Chiron block. Leo rules the 5th house, where Chiron lives in my chart, which is about being seen and heard, how you shine, and using and expressing your creative gifts.

On the vision board in my bedroom, which I created at the beginning of the year, it says “I am enough.” Although I think the phrase is a little corny/cliche, as I spontaneously cut the words out of a magazine I knew it was an integral component of my “vision” for this year, without fully understanding why. Now I know.

“I am enough” is a good mantra for a Chiron/Venus aspect. With this aspect, there can be a feeling of giving a lot in relationships and not receiving in return what you need, hence the feeling of support needs to first come from within. We can do that through daily Ayurveda and yoga practices, for example, or any other form of self-care that keeps us feeling balanced. Taking the time to provide ourselves with care and nourishment is self-love. The key is to love ourselves enough in order to feel that we are worth this effort (something I am learning). As I cultivate self-love, I believe I will continue to draw situations and dynamics into my life that feel supportive and enable me to do my dharma. I am learning that my dharma is using and sharing my hidden gifts (creative self expression, being playful/joyful, teaching children) to support others in their creativity, in whatever form that may take.

If you’d like to know more about where Chiron is in your Natal and/or Transit Chart, please book a Reading with me. 🙂

We currently have four (soon to be five) retrograde planets in the sky, through the end of May. To take a step back, Retrograde refers to the appearance of a planet, from Earth, to be moving backward in its orbit. It is said by Astrologers that the illusion of the backward motion turns the energy of that planet inside-out, so to speak. In other words, if Saturn (when in Direct motion) is about responsibility, structure and discipline, when Saturn is in Retrograde motion these themes are reversed. It’s not that Saturn Retrograde is about being irresponsible or undisciplined, although it can show up in your life that way; it is, instead, a time to reassess, review, re-do (anything with an “re” prefix, basically) or fine-tune your responsibilities and your relationship with discipline, so that you can make sure that your life practices are in line with your true values. For this reason, the Retrograde energies urge us to pause, to slow down, and to go inward (a time for self-work/self-awareness) in order to re-align any aspects of our lives that may be out of whack.

My friend shared an article yesterday on her inspiring Blog that illuminates the deeper meaning of the Retrograde planets. The author of the article, Tanaaz, writes: “Retrograde energy is also highly feminine and in these patriarchal times, on a subconscious level, many of us struggle to accept and integrate feminine energy into our every day lives.” This was an AHA moment for me. I had never thought of it this way. When many of us, who know something about Astrology, think of planets in Retrograde, we understand that life can feel more chaotic, less smooth or productive, during these times. Why is this so? As Tanaaz expresses, it’s because we are meant to take a step back from our worldly pursuits at this time in order to align with the “feminine,” the non-doing side of life. So, it seems, if we resist this energy and try to force our will because we want to see immediate results for our efforts, we will be presented with obstacles that show up in various forms and frustrate us. The antidote is the act of, good ole’, Letting Go.

How do we let go? Well, we can start with breathing practices and meditation and yoga. I noticed today, as I was reading my book, a nagging feeling that I was wasting time because I wasn’t doing something that was going to produce tangible results, at least not right away. These feelings and patterns are not easy to unwind because they are so ingrained, however just being aware of them is, I believe, an integral step in making shifts. Letting go our our agendas, of how we think things should be and look frees up a huge amount of energetic space. It frees up our creative energy. The Feminine is not attached to a gender: it is our creative energy, the force behind our inspiration and passion. The purpose of the Retrograde periods is to restore balance in our lives, so take a breather. 🙂

I have four Retrograde planets (well, five, if you count Pluto in Shadow Period) in my Natal Chart and one of them is Mars. Retrograde planets, as I discussed above, turn the energy of that planet inward thus the fiery and fierce energy of Mars has been, for me, internalized and I have had difficulty expressing my strength and power, moving it out into the world. I see now, in a moment of integration, that I have been on a path of learning how to own my ‘Mars’ energy, to use it in a fair and balanced way (past-life karma likely at the root of this one: I have my South Node in Aries), so that I may lead/teach in a strong yet loving and compassionate way. True strength comes from compassion and this is the lesson of Durga, the Warrior Goddess.

Yesterday, I re-visited (during retrograde periods you may naturally find yourself re-visiting things from the past) one of my favorite books and teachers: Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton. I like to teach my yoga classes around themes, so I was looking for inspiration on what to teach next. According to Kempton, Durga is both the Goddess of Battle and the Divine Mother. Her ferocity and commitment, her ability to overcome obstacles, comes from a true inner strength (core strength) and compassion.

Our lives are full of connections and synchronicities when we are present to notice and absorb them. It dawned me, after reading Tanaaz’s article about the Retrograde planets, that it was no coincidence that I was re-reading my book about the Divine Feminine Energy in all of us (Shakti). With all my Natal Retrograde planets, I have embodied a more passive and gentle nature, or at least I think I have been seen that way throughout my life. In my family of origin (I’m sure the roots are deep), femininity was linked with being modest and not going after one’s needs and desires. I learned to be the “good girl.” I also believed that if I was not the “good girl” I would be shunned. This created a chasm within me and trapped energy (Shakti) inside me, waiting to be freed, to roar (Durga rides a lion). This trapped energy has come out over the years in bursts and eruptions, built up frustration and anger that I haven’t quite understood and that has caused me to feel shame. Like Persephonne, the Queen of the Underworld, who starts out in the story as the innocent maiden, before being captured by Pluto/Hades, King of the Underworld, I have a dark side too. We all do.

When, some years ago, I was immersed in my second Yoga Teacher Training, my mentor, after watching me practice teach one day said, matter-of-factly, “You’re a good teacher,” to counter my evident self-doubt, and “It’s time for you to step into your authority.” I have thought of these words often. I used to find myself in situations with women who embodied the shadow side of Durga: controlling, harsh, quick to anger. My immediate response was withdrawal. This is an ancient feeling, a core reaction: I’m like my cat when he hears the doorbell and zooms under the bed, as if the person at the door plans to kill him. Jungian psychology posits that when we disown a part of our personality, it appears in our lives as the shadow side of the energy. I was always surprised that I seemed to attract these fierce and, sometimes, harsh women. A yoga teacher who lost her temper because I had stepped the ‘wrong’ foot back; a boss who was controlling and, therefore, disempowered her employees. I understand that I am meant to reclaim my power and am in the process of doing so now in my life’s work. A different type of woman and mentor has entered my life now; one who shows and feels deep compassion and seems to ‘see’ me in a way that I have not previously felt ‘seen.’

In  Sally Kempton’s beautiful book, the myth of Durga goes like this: the Devi gods, who represent light and joy, convince her that she must fight the battle against the Asuras, who represent the ego gone astray and corruption, in order to restore balance in the world. She is the only one who can defeat the demon kings because those wise guys made a pact long ago with Brahma, the Creator, that they could not be defeated by any man or god, but there was no mention of a goddess. When Durga meets the demon kings, she is disguised as an innocent, beautiful maiden goddess and they, of course, want her. She tells their servants that she made a vow when young to only marry a man who can defeat her in battle. They laugh and think this is absurd but she persists and they become impatient. They send their men to go and get her, to drag her into their palace by her hair. Durga raises her sword and the men’s bodies are dissolved into thin air. The devil kings finally realize who she is (Shakti) and they remember the loophole. They know that they must defeat her in battle or die. Durga has the powers of all the gods and goddesses within her and so they don’t stand a chance against her. When she defeats them, they are returned back to source, the heart of the mother, and the balance in the land is restored. The stories of the goddesses are about integrating dark and light and finding our way back home.

The Retrograde planets are calling for a similar energy: by slowing down and releasing the need to produce something tangible in the world, we will reconnect with ourselves, with nature (get outside and take more walks during this time!) and with divinity (the connection to all that is), so that when we create things in this world it comes from a balance of heart of mind.

For 2017 Retrograde timing, check out this website (scroll down for 2017).

Tonight, I picked one of my Osho Zen Tarot cards for inspiration. I chose Innocence. Here is what Osho has to say: “The old IMG_1667man in this card radiates a childlike delight in the world. There is a sense of grace surrounding him, as if he is at home with himself and with what life has brought. He seems to be having a playful communication with the praying mantis on his finger, as if the two of them are the greatest friends. The pink flowers cascading around him represent a time of letting go, relaxation and sweetness. They are a response to his presence, a reflection of his own qualities. The innocence that comes from a deep experience of life is childlike, but not childish. The innocence of children is beautiful, but ignorant. It will be replaced by mistrust and doubt as the child grows and learns that the world can be a dangerous and threatening place. But the innocence of a life lived fully has a quality of wisdom and acceptance of the ever-changing wonder of life.”

An astrologer once told me that I was aging backward. As a Capricorn, he clarified, I become more youthful with age. “You are old when you’re young and young when you’re old,” were his exact words. Sounds about right, I thought. I was a cautious and shy child. My parents both worked full-time when I was young, and I missed my mother with urgency and desperation; in fact, I cried every morning when I remembered that she had already left for the train. My sweet grandmother, my Yiayia, soothed me and braided (and re-braided until I approved) my hair, made me breakfast  which included tea with milk and honey, just how I liked it.

I associate my warmest childhood memories with Yiayia and Papou. I was deeply loved. But nothing compared to having my mom around and I pined for her during those years. My dad was absent so often (he worked in the restaurant business) that I was accustomed to it, but it was a treat when he was home; we always did something fun, like searching for the Banshees, the magical, little creatures who lived in the woods, or going on a drive to Sleepy Hollow to catch a peak of the Headless Horseman (sometimes, he let me sit on his lap in the car and help steer) or even shopping (I once, around the age of 5, randomly requested a maroon colored woman’s purse; I still remember the scent of the leather and my mother’s disapproval.).

But as a young girl, I had, in true Capricorn form, the metaphoric weight of the world on my shoulders. Intuitively, I knew that something was very wrong in my parents’ lives and I carried that with me, a heavy backpack full of fear. I questioned my mother at a young age about the man in the moon. I could see the round, luminous globe in the sky and had spotted the outline of a figure inside it. He was an evil entity who would prey on us, a force threatening our safety and security. I wasn’t satisfied by my mother’s flippant response: “The man in the moon? Who told you that?” she laughed. She didn’t seem to understand the weight and urgency of the subject. “So he won’t hurt us?” I repeated.

When you live in a fearful state, the world is dangerous. The moon is not bright: it’s ominous.

As I age, that backpack lightens and I begin to see again, as if through a child’s eyes, the wonder around me. I have taken to placing my hands on trees when I pass them just to feel their tree-ness, looking up at the sky as often as possible, connecting with children and animals. I have no problem barking like a dog when I’m teaching a children’s yoga class; something you would have never caught me doing in my teenage or even young adult years; I would have felt too embarrassed, too self-conscious. I’m letting go of old, outworn items in my backpack. They were never my items to begin with. Pretty soon, I might even lose the backpack all together and, just possibly, replace it with wings. Wheeeee.

Here is the second card I picked:

IMG_1666