What does your Natal Mercury Placement say about your Communication Style?

I originally posted this on Instagram on Tuesday night, just before the New Moon in Virgo (occurring opposite Chiron). I believe this is the only time I have ever posted a series of astro “cookbook” style descriptions for each sign – and it might be the last time I do it! However, on Instagram, it became less about the post and more about the dialogue in the comments I think.

For those of you who are reading this post for the first time here, I’ll offer a disclaimer: For the same reasons I can’t bring myself to provide regular sign-by-sign horoscopes, most of the time I’m extremely reticent to offer sign by sign, planet by planet, generic piecemeal type interpretations because an individual’s natal chart holds an immense amount of information that is intricately woven together. A single placement can express itself in a dramatically different way then anticipated – which will make perfect sense once it is interpreted in light of the entire chart’s beautiful complexity. However, piecemeal descriptions are obviously really accessible, they can be fun to read, and they do often contain a seed of truth. I’ll let you decide for yourself though! Continue reading “What does your Natal Mercury Placement say about your Communication Style?”

An Eclipse Primer

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The eclipse frenzy on social media is a little overwhelming to say the least – both astro-related and otherwise! Everything from ominous and dire apocalyptic predictions, to enormously inspirational messages about how this is going to be the month when your life transforms beyond your wildest hopes and dreams.

When I first plugged into astrology news years ago, there was such intensity around eclipse reporting that I got the impression eclipses were this really rare event. And different types of eclipses certainly are rare and particularly significant at a global level – like the long-awaited Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st. But I think it is important to note that eclipses (including partial eclipses) occur at least twice a year, six months apart. Eclipses may only be personally significant or life changing for you if they land within 2-3 degrees of a personal planet or angle. That’s not to say you won’t feel the intense heightened energy during eclipse season – eclipses just might not have the same level of potent ripple effect in your life as they do for others or vice versa.

I hope to publish a post later about the symbolism of the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius (since as some of you know, I’m a little obsessed right now with analyzing the Leo-Aquarius axis; my natal chart horizon line), but before I do that, here are all the nitty gritty details beginning with the absolute basics, up to more advanced descriptions of what is actually happening and how to interpret eclipses according to how they activate your natal chart. I hope you find it grounding and informative!

Here we go, in point form:  Continue reading “An Eclipse Primer”

Astrological Autoethnography: My Saturn Return & Chiron Rx

There are over 7 billion people on this planet. Can global planetary transits really be correlated with the daily lives of each one of them? On any given day there are people experiencing horrific tragedies, and others who are riding waves of blissful happiness.

The skeptic would look at me incredulously, but I would argue… yes, global transits are globally correlated to daily (monthly and yearly) life on Earth. Mundane astrologers, who apply an astro lens to international world events, political and economic developments, would also agree.

Of course, it is complex. Global planetary transits interact with a person’s natal chart and their individual circumstances in widely diverse and unique ways. And yet I would argue that the archetypal energy of a transit, its inherent symbolism, will still show up for everyone. I would also argue that it depends on which transit is making “the most noise” in your life/chart. Some transits will activate many of your chart’s hot spots and will be correlated with major events and shifts in your life, whereas others will make a much more subtle appearance. Some transits breeze easily through your natal chart, leaving only a quickly vanishing whisper in their wake. Some transits will show up externally, while others will be expressed more internally.

At an individual level and case-by-case basis, an astrologer is able to weave together the various multiple transits to provide a more accurate depiction of what might be occurring in a person’s life.

I try to consider the broad range of transit manifestations when I write forecasts and I always hope that bits and pieces at least, will be applicable to readers. I would hope that by centering on certain keywords and descriptive phrases you would be able to pick up on the “vibe” of the day and notice where this is appearing in your life.

But the honest truth is every astrological forecast written for over 7 billion people will inevitably be generic and only partially relevant at best. This does not make general forecasts worthless whatsoever. General astro forecasts can still provide inspiration and guidance, but they always run the risk of becoming stale.

Astrologer April Elliot Kent wrote a wonderful article in 2005 called “Putting the Self Back in Astrology”. She calls for a revitalization of astrology through autoethnography; a qualitative research method that originated in the field of anthropology. It involves the researcher reflecting deeply on their own personal experiences with a sharply analytical eye, while connecting their autobiographical narrative to broader (e.g. cultural, social, political, symbolic, astrological) meanings and understandings. Subjectivity and researcher vulnerability are embraced in autoethnography.

It’s basically a fancy research-based term for sharing one’s story, but I love the idea of “astrological autoethnography“, probably because anthropology forms a significant part of my academic background and because it involves intentionally contextualizing personal individual experiences within broader systems of meaning (such as astrology).

Here are some excerpts from April’s article:

“How can we re-imagine astrology, keep it fresh, and ensure its ongoing relevance, without including our real-life observations? When we maintain an artificial separation between astrology and our daily lives, astrology suffers. And when we astrologers use astrological knowledge to maintain a separation between us and our readers, our writing suffers — and so, quite possibly, does our astrological research.”

“…At best, generic, cookbook-style interpretations provide a framework for stimulating creative interpretation of individual chart factors. But honest, astrologically sound, and well-written accounts of an astrologer’s unique experiences with astrology can provide the same kind of stimulus — and are fun to read as well.”

“…We can never present an interpretation of astrology that will be completely meaningful for all of the people all of the time… But by writing about our own experiences as honestly and richly as possible, we can at least attempt to present an accurate account of one person’s astrological experience.”

…As astrologers, we are in a unique position to observe life with unparalleled perspective. By engaging in an ethnographic approach to astrology, we are invited to participate in the astrological journey with our readers and clients instead of simply observing it, to embrace our own humanity instead of standing apart as omniscient interpreters of texts. Perhaps the greatest contribution we can make to astrology is simply to write about it — honestly, with enthusiasm, and from our individual experiences.” – Read the full article by April Elliot Kent here, first published in The Mountain Astrologer, April 2005. 

So on that note, here is an excerpt from my astro transit journal; a piece of astrological autoethnography about the transits and symbolism of Chiron and Saturn in my recent life history… [Click below for the rest of the post] Continue reading “Astrological Autoethnography: My Saturn Return & Chiron Rx”

Pluto Transits: Don’t confuse the mission with the side effects!

I will preface this post by stating that my life experiences and study of astrology have led me to believe in a purposeful Universe that is continuously working toward positive growth and ultimately good outcomes (granted, in a very mysterious big picture kinda way). That’s a simplistic sentence for which I can point to no hard proof, but I am stating my biases regardless 🙂 This belief shapes my worldview, my philosophy on life and astrology, and my writing. Someone with a different worldview would perceive the planetary archetypes/energies differently.

Yesterday as Venus squared Pluto, I saw a lot of online warnings about Pluto’s side effects, as I call them. This happens during any Pluto transit, or Scorpio / 8th House related transit – since Pluto is the landlord of the 8th House and the modern ruler of Scorpio, they all share similar energies.

I think it is important not to confuse Pluto’s mission with its (often uncomfortable) side effects! The side effects occur when our psyches, emotions, bodies, and soul react to Pluto’s movements across the sky (or Pluto/Scorpio/8th House in our natal charts) – especially when Pluto is making a more challenging aspect to another planet (such as a conjunction, square or opposition). But let’s not get stuck with the side effects and ignore Pluto’s intended medicinal action!

Stay with me while I personify our dear planet of Hades.

Pluto wants you to be fearless. To reach fearlessness, you must face your fears. Facing fears often involves experiencing them – you have to touch them to conquer them.

Pluto wants you to transform and change. But transformation and change is scary because it involves letting go of what is familiar to us. Thus some of the side effects kick in as we try to maintain control in our lives – a hunger for power, manipulating others, obsessions and possessiveness. The challenge is to see a Pluto transit as an invitation to transform and move beyond the resistance which produces the side effects.

Steven Forrest writes that “Pluto forces us to stare into the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence… and to face the elemental futility of life.”

I’ve been doing a lot of abyss-gazing into the gaping hole of absurdity these days, and it can be a painful and dark, soul-wrenching experience.

Humans need meaning in life like they need oxygen. When we are forced to face existential questions of meaning (questions which often emerge following loss in our lives), we have access to the potential gifts of insight, self-awareness, and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than we have ever known before. There are few things more valuable than that. But the side effects? Despair and hopelessness are common risks on route to these gifts.

Pluto wants you to acquire an inner peace that will not be shaken – no matter how volatile, unpredictable and chaotic the world becomes.

Pluto wants you to confront the shame and secrets you carry and bring them to the light where they will wither, freeing you from their chains and ushering in a much deeper sense of self-compassion and self-worth.

But as always, there are no shortcuts. These precious gifts must be earned. On route to inner peace and self-acceptance we encounter Pluto’s uncomfortable side effects again. We may feel acutely vulnerable, ashamed and anxious; aware of our mortality, faults, and weaknesses.

I’m not denying the uncomfortable side effects, or their association with Pluto’s transits, but I believe it is beneficial to remember that the side effects are not the point. They are not the end-goal. Perhaps struggling with some of these side effects may be a necessary part of the journey toward the destination, but keeping your focus on Pluto’s ultimate mission will prevent you from being completely overtaken by the medicine’s side effects.

And once you come through Pluto’s underworld? You are like the Phoenix; the highest expression of the Scorpio archetype. No longer crawling on the ground like the Scorpion, you have walked through Pluto’s fires. You have died and been reborn with wings. Newly armed with spiritual and emotional resilience, you now have the fortitude to walk with others through their own dark journeys.

Sounds dramatic? I’m speaking in mythic terms and what we experienced yesterday was a fleeting Venus-Pluto transit that will dissipate quickly. However, Pluto remains in orbit, Scorpio still claims 30 degrees of the zodiac wheel, and the 8th House finds its niche in each one of our birth charts. Pluto’s invitation to transform is always a constant call. It’s just that some days this call is more piercingly sharp than other days.

As Pluto challenged Venus on Thursday – our planet of love, relationships, beauty,  pleasure, art, self-worth, and finances, currently moving through the sign of Aries, asking us to courageously pursue our heart’s desires – did you feel any side effects? I did. Fear, doubts and insecurities, vulnerability, withdrawal, discouragement, and intense emotional reactions were all present for me yesterday.

Transiting Saturn (opposite transiting Mars) is also forming an exact square to my natal Sun and Mercury cazimi today. Saturn too,  has its gifts and its trials; its mission and its side effects. I’m wading through the swamp, scanning the murky waters for submerged jewels as my toes sink into the slime and the warm glow of the opposite shoreline beckons in the distance.

Stay the course loves, the astro weather is pretty rough until after Monday. Moderate and bear with the side effects while plumbing the depths of these transits for their gold. Remember that all transits are temporary and we all get to share in the experience of global transits together 🙂

Learning Astrology is like Learning a Language

“Hello. How are you? I’m fine. Bye.”

These are the types of basic words and sentences we might learn how to say when first learning another language.

Astrology, is a language. When someone says “I’m a Pisces”, this is equivalent to being able to say the above sentence in Arabic when you are not a native-speaker. It’s fun to be able to know a few words in another language so you can exchange a basic greeting with a native-speaker of the same language, but really, it won’t get you very far! It is only the beginning. Most people don’t move beyond this point. They learn how to say some basic phrases just for fun, or to be able to navigate their vacation trip with less frustration.

I’m not a language expert. I’ve tried to learn French, Spanish, and Arabic, but I haven’t come close mastery. However, I have learned a few things about the process of learning a language, and learning astrology. Here are 6 steps that will get you well on your way to learning astrology! Continue reading “Learning Astrology is like Learning a Language”