About Simone Butler

Simone Butler has been a professional astrologer for 30 years. In addition to a worldwide consulting practice on astrology and Astro Feng Shui, Simone offers New Moon collage classes, and writes for The Mountain Astrologer. She also wrote for and edited the Starscroll for many years. Simone’s book Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life fuses Western astrology and Western feng shui into one unique, transformative system. Sign up to receive her entertaining, informative bi-monthly blogs and learn about her monthly rituals and tips.

Capricorn New Moon: Hope with Legs

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In 2007, David Oyelowo had a profound experience shortly after receiving the script for Selma – the soon-to-be-released movie of Martin Luther King Jr.’s crusade for voting rights. The British actor was relaxing at home when suddenly, he says, “The voice of God popped into my head and told me I was going to play MLK.”

Unfortunately, the director at the time didn’t concur with God and someone else was cast in the role. Yet Oyelowo remained hopeful. He began studying the civil rights leader’s life, poring over his speeches and interviews and memorizing his accent and gestures. Then, three years later, another director took over and lo! – Oyelowo was cast. Still, it was still another three years until the film got green-lighted.

By spending seven years preparing for his dream to come true, Oyelowo was demonstrating the kind of hope that has legs. According to researcher Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection, hope is not just a warm feeling of optimism and possibility. It’s also an active, grounded process of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in one’s own abilities.

This sounds very Saturnine to me. Yet hope has a Neptunian element too, that’s closely akin to faith – whether it’s the voice of God speaking to us, or an inner spark of knowing that things will turn out okay.

Auspiciously, the worldly and the otherworldly merge at the upcoming Capricorn New Moon (Sun. Dec. 21 at 5:36 pm PST). The Sun and Moon join in the sign ruled by practical Saturn, as magical Neptune makes a supportive sextile to them. Even more importantly, the New Moon coincides with the Solstice – a potent turning point as the old season makes way for the new (here in the Northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice lights a spark in the dead of winter – foretelling brighter days to come).

Change-agent Uranus in fiery Aries stations direct at the Solstice/New Moon as well, jumpstarting a burning desire and momentum that’s been held in abeyance for five months. In fact, the three-hour period from 2:45 pm to 5:36 pm PST on Dec. 21st is one of the strongest portals for release and rebirth that I’ve seen in a long while. This is especially true wherever zero degrees of Capricorn (New Moon) and 12 degrees of Aries (Uranus SD) fall in your chart. I’ve been telling all my clients to get out into nature or at least light a candle and do a ritual to celebrate the rebirth of the light within. Whatever intentions we set at this time will be supported by Saturn’s shift into Sagittarius on Dec. 23, which will help us cultivate and sustain hope, and stay on track to manifest our New Year’s goals.

Yes, hope can be cultivated – even if you’re still struggling to emerge from the wreckage of Saturn in Scorpio and the Uranus-Pluto square (which completes in March). Brene Brown assures us that we can develop hope by becoming more patient and realistic. “The new cultural belief that everything should be fun, fast and easy is inconsistent with hopeful thinking,” she notes. “It also sets us up for hopelessness.”

Although some worthy endeavors may indeed be fun, fast and easy, adds Brown, others will prove to be difficult, time-consuming and not enjoyable at all. “Rather than saying, ‘It’s only hard and slow because I’m not good at it,’” she advises, “hopeful talk sounds more like: ‘This is tough, but I can do it.’”

Like Martin Luther King Jr. and David Oyelowo, we can have a dream – and cultivate the hope to make it come true. If you need help believing in yourself and your dreams, check out this Capricorn New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life.

To find out what’s up for you in the New Year, contact me for my annual Holiday Special Reading – only $150 for a 75-minute phone consultation (reg. $195). Must be purchased by the end of December, although readings will be booked into January.

Image by Claudia Fernety. View more of Claudia’s work at her website.

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Ask Luna -November 22, 2014

Hello Luna, I have gone my whole life thinking I was Gemini, trying to do Gemini-like activities & jobs, beating myself up when I did not show all those great Gemini qualities such as communicating well, going with the flow, showing quick-wittedness… and so on!

Then, after being diagnosed with an illness, I became very interested in astrology and decided to look further into my chart. Turns out I am a Cancerian!!! I am right on the cusp… but it seems to me I have been denying my homely, nurturing cancer-side… which has in turn made me quite ill.

Do I have a bit of both signs? It feels weird to identify suddenly with a different sign. Who better to ask about this than Luna? Many thanks!–Gillian 

Dear Gillian, That must have been quite an identity crisis for you when you discovered (determined by your time of birth, no doubt) that your Sun was in Cancer! Yet you are indeed a blend of the two signs – and much more – as determined by the other planetary placements. You have a need for the Gemini social and communication outlets, as well as the Cancerian private, inward time and nurturing, home and family. A wise astrologer (Zipporah Dobbyns) once called this type of air-water mix the “freedom-closeness dilemma,” as you may feel pulled toward autonomy at one moment, and intimacy at the next. Integrating the two – or at least making room for both of them – will be your life-long task.

Since you’re technically a Cancer, however, it would behoove you to develop that side of you more. You’re a  babe in the woods with the Moon Child energy, being at the first degree of that sign, so go easy on yourself as you develop your homey, nurturing side. And by all means start with nurturing yourself – which can be the Cancer’s toughest challenge, as you discovered with your recent illness.

It’s wonderful that you’ve created an altar to me! As you continue to do rituals at the New and Full Moons, asking for my help and guidance, you will begin to feel more comfortable with your Cancer identity. Be sure to spend plenty of time outside when the Moon is full – that’s how I’m best able to send you the magic and blessings you deserve.

Love, Luna

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Sagittarius New Moon: Taking the Long View

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Can you imagine being so happy with your job that you wouldn’t want to retire – even at 95? To round out my trilogy of extraordinary women who embody the current planetary theme of female power, I give you spunky Elinor Otto, the last working “Rosie the Riveter,” who answered the call for women factory workers during World War II – and has continued to build airplanes at Boeing ever since.

The 95-year-old great-grandmother is finally retiring, not because she wants to, but because the C-17 planes she has always worked on are being discontinued. A vivacious redhead with provocative purple nails (watch the short video here), Otto remained every inch the lady despite wielding a riveting gun. “I thought, well, I’m going to do men’s work, but I’m not going to try to look like a man,” she explained.

Otto’s colleagues say it’s her larger-than-life attitude (a hallmark of her upbeat Sagittarius Moon) they will miss most. “She’s an inspiration to keep people moving forward,” said Sal Gutierrez, a Boeing production manager. “She’s a trooper,” he added (which reflects her loyal, determined Scorpio Sun.)

Lovely Venus just sauntered into Sagittarius, where she will join the Sun and Moon next Saturday for the New Moon (Nov. 22, 4:32 a.m. PST), to lighten spirits all around. Yet another lunation catalyzing Venus! While the last two involved life-or-death Scorpio, this one inhabits the cheerful, adventurous sign of the Archer. Anyone up for a little travel, or learning something new? This Sagittarian emphasis foreshadows Saturn’s entrance into that sign on Dec. 23, where it will remain through 2017. Saturn’s shift tells us to start taking a long-range view. Whether it’s, “What can I do to help arrest climate change?” or “What steps do I need to take to improve my business?” being a visionary is now the cool thing to do.

This is especially true for women, with Venus in Sagittarius through December 10. Let’s take our cue from Elinor Otto, who embodies the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image – long a symbol of female power. Yet becoming an icon was never her intention. “We just knew this war had to be won and we had to help because the men were gone. Not until years later did we think we did anything special.”

Treasure-Mapping is a fun way to engage your subconscious mind in envisioning your future. For inspiration, check out this Sagittarius New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui, Making Magic in Your Home and Life.

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Scorpio New Moon Solar Eclipse: Girl Power!

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Thunderous cheers erupted from the audience at a recent Jon Stewart show when guest Malala Yousafzai declared that a woman’s power is not just equal to a man’s, but superior. A shocking statement from a young woman raised in Pakistan, where, under Taliban rule, females are not only forbidden to go to school but cannot have their names written on any documents – effectively denying their very existence.

Exactly two years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head for her activism, last week 17-year-old Malala became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Following her recovery in a British hospital, the preternaturally poised young woman had authored a best-selling book, I Am Malala, and had been touring the world speaking out for female education.

Malala credits her supportive father, Ziauddin, for making her such a strong warrior. At Malala’s birth, he dared to write her name in the family tree – a 300-year-old document that had never mentioned a female. And, he defied Taliban restrictions by putting Malala in school – urging her to “unlearn the lesson of obedience.”

The younger Yousafzai received news of her Nobel Prize just prior to the upcoming Scorpio New Moon (October 23, 2:56 p.m. PDT), which is also a potent solar eclipse exactly conjunct Venus. Scorpio is the sign of female empowerment, and the New Moon’s conjunction to Venus symbolizes the Goddess arising from darkness and obscurity to reclaim her rightful place in the world.

The eclipse is in Malala’s third house (life-changing information coming through), just as lucky Jupiter transits her brave, colorful Venus in Leo (ruler of her career point).  As a caring Cancer with the Moon conjunct warrior Mars in peace-and-justice-oriented Libra and courageous Leo rising, Malala says she intends to keep championing the rights of women, no matter the consequences to herself.

The Scorpio season can often be a heavy time of anger, loss and grieving. These dark emotions, however, are like the muddy water from which the beautiful lotus arises—much as the incandescent Malala arose from a dark, repressive regime (and near death) to bravely speak out for change.

If your darkness is related to financial lack, take heart that a Wealth New Moon is upon us. Try this ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life, to bury the past and make way for an influx of blessings and prosperity.

Image by Claudia Fernety. To see more of Claudia’s work, visit her website.

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Ask Luna – October 8, 2014

Why do I keep having dreams where I cheat on my significant other? The dreams carry with me through the day and have impacted my life. I recently learned a lesson regarding intimacy, fidelity, and trust, though every time I have these dreams I feel I haven’t learned anything at all! Your guidance is welcomed.—Tara

I’m not surprised to hear that your dream life is heating up, as Uranus the Awakener has just entered your 12th house of dreams and the subconscious mind! You’ve also got Neptune, ruler of dreams, squaring your Mercury (conscious mind) in the seventh house of relationships through mid-January. This transit suggests that you’re unclear or undecided about this relationship or your role in it, and may be overlooking or denying what’s really going on. Not to say you should be cheating, but I would advise having a heart-to-heart talk with this person to make sure you’re on the same page with what you want and where you’re headed together.

The approaching October 8 lunar eclipse should shed light on things, although with your ruling planet Mercury in retrograde (you have Gemini Rising) most of the month, you may not feel ready to take action on whatever is revealed just yet. By the end of the year, commitment-oriented Saturn enters your seventh house for a couple of years–a time in which you’re bound to have a serious relationship. In the meantime, dialog not only with your partner but also with your dreams–they’re obviously trying to tell you something. As Saturn passes over your Sun and Pluto in Scorpio this month on its way to your seventh house, the lessons around fidelity, intimacy and trust are likely to continue. This is a significant time of gaining greater maturity which is necessary before you’re ready to make a deeper commitment.

 

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Libra New Moon: Reset Your Love Vibe

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Are you connected to your core love vibration? Did you even know you had one? According to relationship expert Arielle Ford, we are all born with a unique signal that we broadcast, attracting those of a similar vibe. That’s how soulmates and best friends find each other. Yet, says Ford, most of us have been knocked out of sync with this natural vibration through fear, insecurity and life’s slings and arrows. We therefore end up attracting people and situations that don’t match our true essence.

It’s easy to get back in touch with your love vibe, however. Try this HeartMath technique right now: Put your hand over your heart and breathe in deeply while imagining a person or pet you adore—past or present. Really feel into the love. Once you’re blissful and serene, you’re tuned in to your love frequency. I tried this for the first time at a recent salsa festival in Long Beach. Wandering around in the blistering heat, I radiated my love vibe to all. Nobody seemed to notice—but I was on top of the world (at least until the heat got to me!)

Ford recommends tuning in to your love vibe as often as possible to attain greater harmony within yourself, which is the prerequisite for finding your soulmate. She says it took her six months of doing various things—including tweaking her love vibe and going to a few therapy sessions to overcome her fear of commitment—before she attracted her husband Brian. (Read her inspirational book, The Soulmate Secret, to find out her winning three-step formula—which includes getting clear on what you want, releasing energetic anchors to the past and feeling grateful.) Arielle and Brian have been happily married for 16 years, and she is now dedicated to helping others get in touch with their true selves, manifest the mate they were destined for and improve relationships.

We’re coming into a stellar time to reset your love vibe and/or manifest your mate. The Libra New Moon (Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 11:14 pm PDT) falls right on the heels of the Fall Equinox, or Sun’s entry into Libra, the night before. Libra is all about beauty, harmony, fairness—and most of all love. Also on the 22nd, Pluto stations direct after a long, hard backward slog through Capricorn since April. Pluto’s retrograde was for the purpose of generating internal heat and combustion to burn away old habits and beliefs. Now that the Lord of the Underworld is turning forward, we’re ready to give birth to our true selves. At the Equinox, key soul contracts can be broken if necessary and new ones formed. Take advantage of next week’s potent window of opportunity for shifting the energy in your relationships.

At this New Moon, set intentions, perform rituals and create a vision board showing what kind of relationship energy you’d like to bring in (hint: if you can feel it, you can manifest it!). And, you’ll certainly want to clean, clear and enhance your Love gua (furthest right hand corner of your home as you enter the front door.) For help with this, as well as opening your heart and strengthening your love vibe, check out this Libra New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. At the bottom of that page, you’ll also find a mini-video showing how I helped one woman transform her bedroom to attract more love within and without.

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Ask Luna – August 25, 2014

My husband and I are contemplating selling our house and moving in with his 83 year old mom.  I would like to know if it would be for all our greater good or is this a bad idea….especially for me.
—Sarah G.

I cast a horary chart for your question, and it didn’t look favorable. There’s a lot of confusion and/or self-sacrificing energy around you, while your mother-in-law holds all the power—even financially—in the situation. Even if you have a good relationship with her, you’re bound to feel constricted living in her home. And constriction is the last thing you want at this point in your life.

Turbulent Uranus and Pluto have been activating your Libra Sun to the max for over a year, so change is in the air. This transit will peak in Jan.-Feb. of next year. Because your Sun rules your sector of home, there could indeed be a move at that time, or some other major change at home. But I’d think very carefully before you move in with your mother-in-law, as the Uranus-Pluto transit is all about standing up for yourself, and making choices based on your own needs and desires (which isn’t easy for someone with both the Sun and Venus in other-oriented Libra). From your chart, I can see that your husband is pretty opinionated and very much a man of action used to getting his way, so it may not feel natural to go against his wishes—but if you don’t hold to your own inner knowing on this, you’re likely to regret it.

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Virgo New Moon: What is Healing?

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Ninety-nine-year-old Lillian Weber is on a mission. Each day in her Bettendorf, Iowa farm house she makes one dress for a young girl in Africa. By next May, when she celebrates her 100th birthday, her tally will reach 1,000 handmade dresses. In the past two years she’s finished more than 840 of them, all created from a single pattern but adorned with different decorations, ribbons or ruffles. Her donations are distributed to schools, orphanages and churches by an organization called Little Dresses for Africa.

Sewing is Weber’s sacred service. She admits she’s fueled by her need to stay busy, but also by the love she pours into each dress—knowing how happy it will make the girl who receives it. “When I get to that thousand, if I’m able to, I won’t quit,” she told WQAD-TV.

When I was in Houston a few months back, I saw a chiropractor who’s also on a healing mission. A Christian radio station was broadcasting as I entered Dr. Chapman’s office. “Do you mind if Iet Jesus do the work?” he asked. I acquiesced, even though I don’t put much stock in traditional religion. He laid his hands on my shoulders and absorbed everything he needed to know within a minute. It was the best treatment I’ve ever had. Not only did he release the headache I’d had since my recent stroke, but he also greatly relieved a long-standing shoulder injury that no other treatment had been able to touch.

How did Dr. Chapman get such awesome results? By channeling love in a skillful manner. To heal is to connect and bless by applying one’s intention and skills—whether it involves African children or Houston chiropractic patients. Richard Carlson’s anthology, Healers on Healing, reveals that the most essential factor for achieving results with illness or injury is the presence of unconditional love. The attitude held by both practitioner and patient turns out to be more important than the technique that was used.

During the time when the Sun passes through Virgo, we’re called to heal ourselves and others through simple acts of love and service. This is especially true at Monday’s Virgo New Moon (August 25, 7:12 a.m. PDT). The Sun and Moon join in opposition to mystical Neptune in Pisces, while Mercury in Virgo opposes Chiron (the Wounded Healer) in Pisces. This double dose of the Virgo-Pisces polarity joins sacred service with unconditional love. Also, Mars conjuncts Saturn at this New Moon, adding a note of finality, decisiveness and commitment.

What sacred service are you ready to commit to or expand? How about committing to your own healing by giving your body more love, healthy food and exercise? Or, perhaps you’re feeling drawn to volunteer for a cause you believe in. This New Moon is perfect for beginning a new regimen or committing to whatever will help you and/or others to feel better.

As for me, I’m expanding my sacred service by giving more local talks. If you’re in or near Escondido on Friday evening, Sept. 19, please join me for a fun and enlightening talk on Astro Feng Shui for Love, in which we’ll be tapping into the powerful Libra New Moon and Fall Equinox! (Click here and scroll down to the bottom to see my flier).

If you could use a little focused relaxation during the sometimes-hectic Virgo season, check out this Virgo New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. You’ll also find a mini-video at the bottom of that page, showing how I helped one couple make a clean sweep in their kitchen (Health gua) – that led to a whole new life for them!

© 2014 by Simone Butler.

Painting by Claudia Fernety. See more of Claudia’s work at her website.

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Leo New Moon: Vein of Gold

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When you think of Julia Roberts, do you remember her scowling face in Ocean’s Eleven – or her radiant, megawatt smile in Pretty Woman? She tried her best to transcend the romantic comedy genre (and won an Oscar for her terrific role as bombshell-turned-investigator in Erin Brockovich), yet the world will always remember her as the pretty woman who got the guy despite the odds.

It’s her vein of gold. Consider Robert De Niro, who turns in brilliant performances bonding with other men in tough circumstances, dealing with loyalties and betrayals and wrestling with his own dark side. Romantic comedies are not his forte.

As director Martin Ritt, who coined the term “vein of gold” explains, “All actors have a certain territory, a certain range, they were born to play. If you cast an actor within that range, he will always give you a brilliant performance. Of course, you can always cast an actor outside his vein of gold. If you do, that actor can use craft and technique to give you a very fine, creditable performance, but never a performance as brilliant as when he is working in his vein of gold.”

Julia Cameron writes about this phenomenon in her book The Vein of Gold. She states that we all have something at which we excel—because we have a passion for it. “It’s very important,” she says, “to make art about what we are really interested in, not what we should be interested in. All too often, we aim at writing a script we should write, and when it’s done with, that’s exactly how it reads—like a noble effort, well-meant but somehow hollow. The same holds true for dutiful paintings, meals, poems, letters, even curtains.”

You may not be an artist or an actor, but you can feel when you’re working in your vein of gold—you’re in the zone. Time stops, creativity flows, you feel in charge of things. Your unique spark of the divine springs forth.

That spark is about to be lit at the imaginative, outgoing Leo New Moon (July 26, 3:42 p.m. PDT). Tightly conjunct expansive, enthusiastic Jupiter, this New Moon fully releases the Year of the Horse from its starting gate, where it’s been champing at the bit for months. Creativity and passion are running high, with artistic Venus opposite potent Pluto. And, with Saturn recently direct, we’re able to start hammering out a structure to contain our creative efforts.

So the question is, What do you want to create? That would depend, to some extent, on what house the New Moon activates for you. If it’s in the first house, you’re creating a new image and direction. A fourth house New Moon prompts you to beautify or expand your home. A seventh house New Moon could bring new love, or take your existing relationship into new territory. A tenth house New Moon signals that it’s time for your business to take off. No matter where it falls, make the most of this exuberant fresh start. Find your vein of gold—and have fun bringing forth something that you’re passionate about!

If you need help lighting your spark, check out this Leo New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. You’ll also find a mini-video at the bottom of that page showing how I helped an artist friend transform her Creativity and Children gua to bring in more creative flow.

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Cancer New Moon: Wrapped in Love

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In the Daily Guides of last month’s Science of Mind Magazine, Cynthia James shared about her rescue dog, Rusty.  Abused as a puppy, Rusty was an anxious mess—tearing up furniture, barking incessantly, running away. For nine years James and her husband put up with Rusty’s difficult behavior and loved him anyway.

Then a friend told them about Thunder Shirts—a garment that wraps around a dog’s (or cat’s) midsection and exerts steady pressure which calms the animal, even in the face of thunder storms. James was skeptical, but thought it worth a try. She put the garment on Rusty and within a day, he was much more relaxed. “It was amazing,” she reports. “It was like he was wrapped in love.”

This story reminded me of the Squeeze Machine, which the autistic Temple Grandin devised as a college student after seeing cows calmed by the pressure of a holding device. Plagued by acute anxieties and unable to tolerate a human touch, Grandin found that spending time twice daily in the Squeeze Machine calmed her and provided a sense of safety—as it did for others in her research project.

With four planets in security-loving Cancer, the idea of such a device appeals to me. (After all, our loved ones can’t always be there when we need a serious hug). In her Daily Guide, James imagines wearing an invisible Thunder Shirt. What would it feel like, she wonders, to be wrapped in love all the time? “That would mean we would feel safe, whole, nurtured and comforted in every situation. We could walk out each day with confidence that love guides our paths and handles every experience.”

The upcoming Cancer New Moon (Friday June 27, 1:08 a.m. PDT) carries the potential for such a wondrous embrace. Magical Neptune trines the Sun and Moon in nurturing Cancer, heightening our powers of visualization and ability to give and receive love. If you’re lucky enough to have a significant other, hold each other tightly at this New Moon. If not, just imagine yourself being held within the arms of the Divine—the ultimate Squeeze Machine. Later that day, the Moon opposes Pluto and squares Uranus, which could present a few emotional hiccups. And, Venus squares Neptune early Sunday morning, promoting higher love but also veering toward melancholy or confusion—which could be accentuated by Mercury’s current stationary status as it prepares to turn forward on July 1.

So it’s a deep, emotional weekend in which we could all benefit from a hug. Gather friends and family around you now. The Cancer New Moon trine otherworldly Neptune is also an exceptional time to contact your ancestors for support. Check out this ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. At the bottom of that page, you’ll also find a mini-makeover in which I helped one woman transform her Family gua and improve relations with her daughter.

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