The Wisdom of Saturn


It is the first New Moon of the New Year: A time of beginnings, of resetting one’s life clock to a new pattern.  Like the farmer in winter who sorts the seeds he will plant in spring, it is a propitious moment to set goals in order to better cultivate one’s patch of planet Earth.  For this New Moon in the Saturn-ruled, earth sign of Capricorn is the perfect moment to put into practice the deep wisdom inherent in the Hermetic axiom: As above, so below.  As within, so without. Cultivating our souls, we cultivate the soul of the world.

Astrologers don’t typically associate magic with the pragmatic sign of Capricorn. But no sign practices earth magic as deftly as Capricorn, who, through mastery of the secrets of time, yields forth the miracle of material manifestation.  The name Capricorn, for instance, means “horn of the goat.” Used as a symbol of the crescent moon in ancient myths and art, it came to signify the cornucopia or horn of plenty overflowing with the abundant fruits of the Great Goddess.

The key to understanding Capricorn lies in its planetary ruler, Saturn. I like to think of Saturn as the legendary Wizard of lore: Tall, old, grizzled, white-haired, with penetrating eyes that can see through to the core of life itself. Think Merlin, Gandalf, or Moira, the Greek Goddess of Fate. Saturn in this aspect as sage magician is skilled in the time wisdom of cycles, phases, endings, beginnings, ups, and downs.  How does Saturn do this?

Through patience—the quality that is learned as we mature from impulsive youthfulness to mature adult. Saturn is master of time because Saturn is master of patience: The wizardry of Capricornian magic is attained by standing outside time, eternally centered in the consciousness of what really matters—rather than being pulled off one’s path by the distractions of everyday life like restless mice in search of crumbs. Saturn succeeds where others fail because the old Wizard knows how to wait. Anyone who has endured a Saturn transit, for example, knows the hard lessons learned that come from enduring limitation, frustration, and delay: in other words, the discipline that comes from delayed gratification.

“In your patience is your wisdom,” goes an old alchemical saying.  “Haste is of the devil,” is yet another.  What otherworldly dreams we have the patience to wait and work for, we will one day see manifest in mundane reality. So this New Moon, take time to pay a visit to old Saturn’s cave for a lesson in the magic of time.

Imagine that you have drawn Saturn’s hooded mantle about yourself. Withdraw from the harried demands of your life into the depths of Capricornian solitude. Climb the mountain peak that lies shrouded in mists far above and beyond the affairs of humanity. Take refuge at the feet of the old Wizard whose eyes convey a knowledge far beyond your own. Go deep into the Goddess’ wisdom that says that all things that are born, must die, and will be reborn once again. The sun that rises, also sets. The dark moon empties, then waxes bright and full. The tide that rises falls back into the waiting arms of the sea.

In the cave with Saturn, gather your seeds—your ideals, goals, hopes, dreams, and fantasies for the future.  Design the garden of your life: what flowers will bloom, what trees will grow? Commit yourself to their cultivation, despite the vagaries of good or bad weather. Then, gifted with Saturn’s staff of patience, steadiness, and discipline, climb down from the mountain and go back out into the world: Mistress of magic and the secrets of time.

Taurus Full Moon: The Money Fountain

Fountain Flower

This summer’s Venus retrograde delivered much needed slow down time -to enjoy the bounty and beauty of summer, to get firmly reacquainted with pleasure again- which, for me, also coincided with diminished clients, and therefore less money. Like others who run their own business, I’ve learned to ride the cyclical nature of cash flow like a surfer waiting for the next wave. There’s no point in fighting it, falling into abject depression over lack, when the next wave will eventually come. I use down time to realign my energies so the money can find me again. It is called flow, after all.

So I gardened. Inspired by a trip to a local Victorian house, circa the Great Gatsby era, where I saw a moon garden worthy of F. Scott and Zelda, I had to attempt to replicate my own version. A moon garden of silvery greens and white blooms designed just so that when the full moon shines, the garden lights up the shimmery moonscape, setting everything aglow in a silver-white cast. It took a little cash to create, but not much. A tour from the master gardener of the house yielded gifts of succulents, volcanic rock, and bags fresh redwood chips. “Ask and you shall receive” is more than a motto for my second house Neptune. So is “have faith”. Along with: “Isn’t this an utterly impractical way to pay the bills?” Over the years I’ve learned to dial down the anxiety and just trust my intuition.

Because every Cancer truly needs both a moon garden sanctuary and the sweet gurgle of moving water throughout the day, we built a fountain, too, decorating it with sea glass and shells I’d retained from a trip to Baja several years ago. I relaxed deeply into a new daily routine of twinkling water at my every turn. And several days later, a funny thing happened -people suddenly wanted to pay me money for my services again. After two months of finding my flow at a very slow drip, my hands were busied, and not with dirt, flowers and fountain assemblages – but with new clients.

What happened? I asked Google. Google told me that, according to Feng Shui, I had added the most powerful symbol of prosperity and abundance, a fountain, to my home. Not only that, I had placed it in the north, next to the front door. North rules the career and life path sector… and the door, well, people and their money were now walking through it. Coincidence? Magic.

Money is often a source of fear, insecurity and craving for humans; so many people in this world hunger for things and opportunities money allows. Yet we are provided for in endlessly creative ways, and in my experience, the Universe rewards our attempts at co-creativity. It may take work, but not too much. Taurus Moon wrote the lazy (wo)man’s guide to happiness. If there were such a book it would certainly read: To have more of what you want and need, start with what you enjoy. It’s a Venusian credo, to be sure, but for those who successfully practice bliss, joy, relaxation, creativity, enchantment… it’s not wishful thinking, but thinking from a more intelligent place. It’s what I call thinking with your Venus. 

Taurus has special resonance with abundance, the natural world of our senses, and the animal longings of our bodies. Like animals, we are each unique in the particular comforts that bring pleasure. From a twinkling fountain, to biting into a cold, crisp autumn apple; from the smell of homemade caramel bubbling on the stove, to a deep kiss from a lover or a lick on the nose from a pup, right now we can relax into simple pleasures.

Taurus Full Moon heightens our love for pleasure, creature comforts and abundance. This can bring up our longing for material security –and its lack. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try taking inventory what you do have (for instance, I had a swath of unused land). Then, from a perspective of abundance, ask: What can I do with the resources I already have? Fix that broken clock you’ve been meaning to fix. Get your oil changed. Polish your silver. Appreciate the satisfaction these small fixes bring. With Venus and Mars in Virgo already lining up for a rendezvous on November 2, the God and Goddess of Small Miracles are standing by. Co-conspire with them…then watch how your garden grows.

Meditate with the Virgin


It is important for women to have the experience of living a “virgin” existence: a maiden alone, complete in herself, belonging to no man. –Tsultrim Allione

Virgo’s Virgin Goddess is an archetype of the Divine Feminine found in myths and religions since the beginning of time. She is the Egyptian Isis, “She Who Gave Birth to the Universe.”  She is the Roman Diana, “Lunar Virgin,” goddess of the sacred grove and Mother of Animals. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Divine child.

Virgo in Latin means “unmarried,” and, as Esther Harding has written,* the title of Virgin Goddess did not imply physical virginity, but the quality of being “one-in-herself.” Thus the Virgin Goddess is not the feminine counterpart of a male god, or even his partner. Instead she is the Mother of the World who stands alone as a divinity in her own right. This is symbolically reflected in the temple priestesses who eschewed marriage in order to perform the sacred rites and rituals of the Virgin Goddess they served.

MEDITATION: To attune to the Virgin Goddess, you may want to choose an image from history that is particularly meaningful to you. She may be the loving-hearted Virgin of Guadalupe, whose hands stream forth the light of compassion. She may be Isis nursing Horus on her lap, crowned with the crescent moon, or Diana in her torch-lit grove caring for her lively forest creatures. You may receive an image of her from your own imagination: your Virgin Goddess may be veiled with stars and mystery, or, like in a dream I once had, appear as a young, laughing, long-haired goddess who was the joyful embodiment of unconditional love.

When you have a clear image of the Virgin Goddess, imagine her seated within the temple of your heart. Like a holy rain, her qualities pour out from her, filling your being with grace, loveliness, simplicity, and, most of all, love. Experience her as the vital source of life itself, for though virginal in her integrity and completeness, she is the Mother of all creation and the original source of every being. She is the mother that you never had, or that your mother or her mother before her never had, as well. She is the one who heals you of your imperfections through the generosity of her forgiveness, and who contains you in the wide embrace of her acceptance. Her gift to you is healing love; the kind of happy, healthy affection that makes whole all that had been hidden in shame and woundedness.

After you have spent some time in communion with the Virgin Goddess, imagine that, out of love, you have dedicated yourself to her as a priestess or priest. In your devotion to the qualities that she represents, you may wish to create a ritual that celebrates her being throughout the month of September. Like all rituals, this rite will serve to remind you of that which is truly meaningful in life, marking a boundary between the sacred and the profane. Your ritual may be a silent moment each day at a certain time; words of prayer outside in nature; or an act of loving kindness for a creature in need. When you have finished designing your ritual, close your meditation with loving gratitude for your reconnection to the Virgin Goddess who is ever-present within and without.

Pisces Full Moon: Zen Moon


As a writer, I experience periodic blocks. I don’t think creative blocks are exclusive to artists. People experience life blocks all the time, periods in your life where despite your best efforts and intentions (or maybe because of them) the things you try to do just don’t seem to get traction or go anywhere. It’s as if, as I described the downside of a Neptune transit to a client recently: God presses the pause button. Then patiently waits for you to figure out that you can’t repeat the same thing you’re doing and get different results. Since you don’t have an answer, or know who or what to be yet, you might as well draw a picture, noodle around on your ukulele, chant mantras and play at being Zen. Till one day you wake up to discover you’re in a place of self-acceptance, you no longer have the same problems you once did… and you’re actually enjoying your self.

Amidst this productive, mentally-oriented Virgo season we experience a reset button in the nonlinear, emotional, visionary Pisces Full Moon. Pisces is the siren call to set your carefully laid plans aside, at least temporarily. To nurture the mystic, dreamer and poet in your self. Daydream. Go for a swim. Do yoga. Write poetry, paint a picture, play with your pets, read a novel, Pisces urges. Especially if you’re feeling stuck, impatient, or feel the fire of God at your back, urging you to get a plan, get your life together, why not take a nap instead? Paint your toenails. Let go. There are certain times in life when doing exactly the opposite of what you think you should be doing actually works. That time is right now.

Periodically abandoning your to-do list, your Sisyphean tasks, and heading for the nearest day spa may sound counterproductive to productivity but science now says the opposite. People who take naps are actually more productive and successful, and so are people who daydream, says Daniel Levitin, Neuroscientist, author of “The Organized Mind” (who also says we have become so bogged down with information, yet feel if we stop we’ll get left behind). “There’s a reset button for sensory overload: daydreaming mode. Daydreaming mode is the reset button. It allows you to refresh and release those neural circuits that get all bound up when you’re focused. It’s good to focus on one thing, practice mindfulness, Zen mind etc. but not for too long. You’ve got to give your brain a break.” If you don’t, he adds, daydreaming actually hi-jacks your brain. For instance, if you’ve ever had the experience of driving from point A to B, and having no recollection of the trip, or reading but not digesting the words, that’s daydreaming mode hi-jacking your brain. You may think you’re losing your mind, when in reality it’s just the brain’s way of saying: Don’t push me. I need downtime.

Granted, you can turn daydreaming into another strategy, another key to efficiency, organisation, more Virgo fodder for your life. Consider this: in America, we’re programmed for productivity, pushing ahead, striving. We continually edit our life, adding new things in, eliminating others, striving to make our life more elegant, improved. We work so hard. There’s nothing wrong with striving, but it does get in the way of having a nice aperitif while sitting on a picnic blanket on a moss green lawn, gazing at the azure blue sky, doesn’t it?

Pisces is a spiritual teacher, a master of disillusionment, reminding us that the happiness we experience in the external world is temporary and will eventually disappoint. Only harmony within our inner self can bring us lasting peace. This Full Moon is the perfect time to bring your inner world into a state of harmony. How? You might start by taking a cleansing Epsom salt bath. Retreat, even just for a few hours. Dance. Abandon your mind and its anxieties. Visit a body of water. Drop into an experience of timelessness. For zany, instructive help in shifting gears, and making joyful peace with life’s hurdles and blocks, SARK has a fun series of instructional books like Eat Mangoes Naked, my favorite. Seek the feeling of limitlessness and joy that you have available to you at any time, inside.  Then, maybe, and probably long after you’ve let go of needing to know all the answers, you’ll create the right conditions for Pisces magic to find you.

Calling Leo


It’s another new moon: when the magically minded make wishes and astrologers attempt to divine this cycle’s intentions. The wishes you make now may indeed be super-powered, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with the archetypes, don’t expect special favors. If you rarely play your cello, don’t expect a starring role in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. New Moons are potent times to forge new alliances with the gods. Visit the invisible world. Bow and open yourself to their touch. Make an offering. Humans have been rendezvousing with these archetypes for thousands of years. When you call out to the gods, they do respond!

Calling Leo

Leo carries finger paints and a portable sandbox wherever he goes. He plays at everything, having never learned that life’s no fun. When he buys his groceries, he wheels his shopping cart with the passion of a diva singing to a sold-out crowd. He invites me to lunch and serves summer fruits in vibrant colors, arranging them thoughtfully on the plate, like a painter. His salad looks like the Eiffel Tower. Everything he does is worthy of applause.

Some say that admiration is all he lives for. But I know this isn’t true. He has known fame. He’s lived in grand houses with opulent gardens, but he’s also stayed in one-room dirt-floor cabins and been just as happy. “Love is everywhere,” he explains. He means the kind you give—which more than makes up for the love we’re all dying to receive. Leo’s heart is as wide as the Grand Canyon. His joy knows no bounds. His smile is constantly radiant. “What’s your secret to happiness?” I once asked him. He thought for a moment, “That’s hard… because I keep discovering new ones. But here’s a current favorite: Let everything you do be as carefree—and important—as a rose blooming in the weeds.”

Leo is star power. That we hunger for this gift explains our fascination with celebrities. Onto their canvas, we paint Leo qualities that are missing from our lives: importance, playfulness, childlike joy. We love to see people richly rewarded just for expressing themselves. They’re living the dream: playing big, being special, andhaving fun! But Leo is a little grumpy these days. He says our obsession with fame has gone too far. “Why appreciate just a few, when everyone has the special stuff? Doesn’t everyone have my Lion in their charts? Feel the love and roar!”

One summer years ago, on Leo’s dare I put fuschia and purple streaks in my hair. “A desperate attempt to look young,” quipped my partner. I understand why he’d say this to a woman nearly sixty years old. But the truth is, I liked these colors and didn’t care much what people thought of them. I felt a need.

I was surprised by what came next. People got friendlier. Their eyes were a little brighter when they looked at me, their smiles more genuine. Handing me change, the cashier at the health food store enthused “I love your hair!” Outside the movie theater an eight-year-old skated by and shouted “Excellent hair!” Women my age confided “Your hair looks great… wish I could do that.”

Every day I see people whose choices inspire me too—like the local bank teller who always wears an amazing array of rings, one on every finger, including her thumbs. This little creative detail gives me a boost every time I see her. She also wears a radiant smile and really seems to enjoy her work. That lifts my day too. Then there’s the opposite experience, when the pizza boy glumly drops off the pizza and how that stains the whole meal.

When we love ourselves, and love what we’re doing, we make the whole world happier. The entire field is energized by the vitality of many individuals joyously being themselves. Though we’re often warned against thinking too much of ourselves, our hearts get stronger when we do. When we know we’re good at something, when we express our passions and our joys without apology or fear, when we put crazy colored streaks in our hair just because we feel like it, we’re calling Leo into our field.

Leo’s Response

Waiting for the response is the fun part. No way can I predict it for you. But in the next few days and weeks, keep your eye out for lions, bright colors, a burst of courage, or the simple delight of feeling the Sun on your skin. You may be praised at work—or get a surprise invitation to a party. A child might run up and hug your knees. Maybe you’ll find yourself singing at full volume in the shower. Leo could arrive as a belly laugh, an artful salad, or maybe it just hits you in a quiet moment—that you’re falling in love with your life all over again.

Leo New Moon: Vein of Gold


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.

It’s Leo time!


Today the Sun moves into his own sign—ripening his favorite qualities! The Leo season celebrates love, self-confidence, generosity, romance, dignity, joy, enthusiasm, pride, courage, and passion.  This is the month to see life through the eyes of a child.  Children live in the moment; having fun is their primary goal. Especially when they’re feeling safe and seen, their hearts are wide open—to the joy of being an energetic being in a magical world. During Leo’s month you can discover magical powers, if only you’d surrender to its spirit of playfulness. Let yourself flow with the fresh, quick spirit of a child, ready for anything. Let worry and duty fall aside. Leo is the month to be creative, to stand in your own spotlight, to celebrate your life force.

I wasn’t always such a cheerleader for Leo.  In fact, before I knew much about astrology, I knew one thing: I didn’t like Leos. My ex-husband had a Leo Sun, and so did many of the creative types we hung out with—dancers, musicians, and performance artists—energetic show-offs, always grabbing center stage. Leos, I decided, were just tap-dancing toddlers disguised as adults, forever crying “Look at me, look at me!” And throughout my childhood, I hated Leo’s month. It seemed an incredible waste of time—the dreariest stretch of my summer vacation, spent watching Divorce Court and reruns of Father Knows Best, when all I really wanted was to get back to school.

Imagine my surprise when years later when I discovered I had a Leo Moon. It was hidden in my chart’s Twelfth House closet, where what the psyche rejects is held. My dislike of Leo was my own deficiency:  I was blocked in expressing its spirit. Perhaps I paid a steep price for being too kingly in a past life. As a child, whenever I won a school election or an award, I wanted to crawl out of my skin when my mother (the stand-in for my Leo Moon) dramatically ooohed and ahhed, calling me “The Big Cheese.” I wanted attention, but when I got it, I squirmed. And so in later years, when I saw others soaking up the spotlight, I considered their exhibitions shameful.

I have a friend who believes the answer to all life problems is a night on the town, full of drinking and dancing. That’s not how I have fun. But having fun—however one does it—is indeed Leo’s secret. When you can enjoy life, and enjoy yourself in the midst of life, your problems shrink and your confidence grows. I’ve since learned how to tap into the gifts of Leo’s season. I now relish the opportunity each Leo month brings—to be more fully alive, doing what comes naturally, when I enjoy being me. May you enjoy what’s special about you this month too!

If you haven’t been feeling appreciated lately, perhaps the outer world is offering a reflection of your inner world.  Perhaps you haven’t been in much of a mood to appreciate anything, let alone what’s special about you. One way to reverse this trend is to start noticing all the gifts in your outer world–the people, places, and conditions that support you.  The more you recognize what’s wonderful around you, the easier it is to start thinking about your own fine qualities.  Appreciation is good heart medicine all the way around.

© Dana Gerhardt

Scorpio Full Moon: Vital Bonds


Love always involves a dance between closeness and putting up walls. We love each other, hurt, annoy and frustrate each other. Lately I’ve been doing the latter, tainting the precious time we have together with emotional jujitsu. I feel irrational when he talks too long and laughs too hard with the wait staff on date night, so I pick a fight goes something like “I’m not enough for you?” though as I am saying this I know I’m being dishonest. Those aren’t my true feelings, but an excuse for a clingy-ness I don’t yet understand.

Then one day I remember to look at my transits (just as “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”, I often forget). A-ha! Saturn is trine my Venus. Our pair-bond is maturing. I think about how slowly the kids have left for college – our youngest will go this fall, we don’t have a full house anymore and it seems, almost imperceptibly, we’ve each started to fill that empty space. I’m nestling into my domestic haven, pets, spiritual work; he’s surfing and socialising. He is visiting Inca ruins in Peru; I’d rather be meditating. I can see this bothers us both. We each want the other to be doing what it is we’re doing. We both want closeness and our freedom.

Saturn is the crystallized structure of habits and patterns we’ve developed, a garden container, Venus, the intertwined roots of our partnership. “We” are ready for more space. We’ve outgrown our Saturn pot. The truth is, I don’t want certain things to change.  As having kids around will do, we’d cultivated our relationship patterns and pleasures around domestic life, making family meals together, and stealing non-kid time for the joys of togetherness. I didn’t like having to steal time but I enjoy domestic life: cooking family meals, our weekend plans revolving around the house. I have Venus in Cancer. I also want freedom for everyone (me, too) to do whatever the heck they please (Venus square Uranus in Libra). It’s a conundrum and as Saturn shifts the biological timeline of life, our connection, our shared pleasures must mature, too.

Even during robust Taurus Sun springtime season, we must face the reality of change. This Scorpio Full Moon wants us to face the things we don’t want to face, connect with our strong emotions, and to honestly communicate what we feel. The terrain is our most intimate relationships, the people we most care about…hence the difficult emotions. Scorpio Moon’s shadow is moody self-absorption and self-isolation, i.e., what you feel when your emotions are so intensely charged with old wounds, insecurities, perceived threats and abandonment fears that you lash out or hole up. And then: what if the honesty required is too painful to admit, even to ourselves? With Venus in Aries now square Pluto, the distancing strategies we’ve been using to avoid addressing real topics have grown stale. We need to reveal more of our humanness, our vulnerable, naked feelings to partners, to our self. We need to stop hiding the truth of our humanness, our pain, our raw hurt and fear, behind drama and avoidance.

Saturn is joined with the Moon at this Full Moon.  Maybe, like me, you have outgrown a stable “the way things have always been” pot in your life. Maybe you can, with awareness, transplant what’s alive and salvageable into a new container and avert bigger, darker issues down the road…or maybe the pot will not so delicately splinter and breaks wide open so Spirit can grow. Liberating Uranus is joined Venus: the bonds of connections and pleasure need to be refreshed, renewed and revitalized. People need to be valued, relationships need to be restored, pleasures redefined. To Uranus, it really doesn’t matter how this happens, but that it does.

The gift of this Scorpio Full Moon is an ability to honestly see the truth of our reality and act on that insight. When we feel and communicate the personal and interpersonal fears that have been holding us back, we’re freed up to more fully live, and enjoy each other. Brooding gives way to the awe-ful, sometimes tragic, always deeply moving dance of life, death, change.  Dark moodiness releases into the deep gratitude we have for life, and those we love. As we restore emotional integrity to our vital bonds, we’re free to enjoy the beauty in life.

© 2014 by Jessica Shepherd

Image: Ourobos photo collage by David Adams

Ask the Oracle – April 29, 2014

For the past 4 years, my marriage of 32 years has been on the brink of collapse. We just could not get along. With the pressure of an empty nest after raising 4 kids and major philosophical, political and spiritual differences; basically, it appears that we have very little in common. And, of course, this led to some “knock down, drag out” fights, very painful. Finally, after 4 years of this I said to myself “this is enough, I’ve had it, we’re splitting!” He flatly refuses to go to counseling and I know he was ready to separate also even though he still  says he loves me. Just lately the discord has almost vanished. Now a time of peace but the wounds are still open and I can’t even get my feelings back on track to “love” him. I just play this gun shy, uncommitted wife trying to let our love flow on. What do you see in our charts? Thank you so – my birthday is March 5, 1954 and my husband’s birthday is February 7, 1955. (MC)

The complete Saturn cycle of approximately 29 years is always a critical time to reevaluate, review and be willing to release what we committed to at the beginning of that cycle whether that is a marriage, a career, a belief system or any other important structure in our life. The question is “does this serve me, my growth and my joy any longer?” and is there a more conscious, desired structure I have evolved toward, can  and desire to choose for my future.

If you believe in karma and/or destiny, this is the time when you are not only free to make a new choice, to trust that you have completed your responsibilities in the previous structure but the time when you are called by your soul/life journey to make a new choice if that is the healthiest and most satisfying choice or to renew and recommit to the past situation if it can be reborn for the present and future.

Your marriage upheaval arose at 28 years of partnership, led to a near split and though the battles have calmed, nothing has improved in the marriage. No counseling, very little in common now other than a significant history which is in the past and painful, open wounds. If you can’t get your feelings “back on track to love him” maybe you are just done, complete. Your husband probably does “love” you though you do not describe feeling love for him anymore. Perhaps, your family and children were the purpose of your years together. If you had shown me this chart comparison years ago asking if this man was your ideal mate, life partner, I would have said no.

Yet, your husband’s Jupiter is conjunct your South Node of the Moon in Cancer which is an indicator of the potential, even the karma or destiny to have a family together. His Saturn trines your Moon in the 7th house of marriage and he has supported you, had children with you, raised a family with you which you both wanted (South Nodes in Cancer, the sign of family).

Relish what you have accomplished together. I suspect that you have been done with this marriage for at least 7 years due to progressions and transits that would be complex to describe here. While it is rightly your decision to stay or go, I can see a new and different future for you in your chart if that is what you choose. Offer yourself the freedom to choose, trust your excellent Pisces feelings and intuition to guide your choice.

I was born November 18, 1970. I have had a lot of upheaval in my life the past 3 years; falling in love, starting a new job, quitting that job months later to  move to Hawaii with my fiance, getting married, and then 2 years later finding out that my husband cheated on me. We are now back on track with our marriage after going to counseling, but I still feel confused about my life in general. Where is it  headed and what do I do to find fulfillment? I feel like I’ve just been spinning my wheels since we moved to Hawaii. Later this year my husband is retiring after which we will both be moving to another country and have been discussing having a baby or doing volunteer work. I guess I’m wondering if this drastic change will somehow help me find my life purpose? (MA)

Wow, yes, you have indeed had 3 or more years of upheaval in your life  which we can see in transiting Neptune squaring your natal Sun, transiting Saturn  conjuncting your natal Mars, transiting Neptune squaring your natal Neptune, transiting Uranus opposing your natal Uranus, transiting Pluto squaring your natal Uranus, transiting Uranus opposing your natal Pluto, and transiting Saturn in Scorpio moving across your Scorpio Venus/Jupiter/Sun and squaring your natal Moon as transiting Pluto squares your natal Uranus.  Upheaval, change, challenge, confusion, disappointment, disillusionment, yet also, falling  in love, getting married, going to counseling, getting your marriage back on track and   looking toward an amazing number of choices for your future. When we see all 3 of the trans-personal planets challenging our identity, life and future in a few years you can expect to see your life turned upside down. This is the good news. It was time to let go  and change/challenge everything in your previous life, to open every door making each   choice for your future a conscious one.

Congratulations to you and your husband for your courage to make so many changes, to go into counseling and to now be willing to consider these new possibilities for your future together. Your marriage was a crucial piece of your destiny as it occurred when your progressed Moon, ruler of your 7th house of marriage, conjuncted your Ascendant while the potential for the improvement and healing of your marriage is visible in Jupiter’s transit into your 7th house.

A move to another country should be beneficial and successful during this next year as your progressed Venus (ruler of your 9th house of long distance moves) conjuncts your natal Sun. Fulfillment is the most   important question for this time of your life as transiting Pluto reaches its conjunction to  your Ascendant opening the door to your deepened, empowered awareness of yourself,  your desires, your potential, your independence (the ability to be yourself not the need to  be alone),  and your ability to initiate what you most want/are called to be and do in this life.

Pluto will be your challenging companion for the next 2 years as you begin, experiment,  risk finding your fulfillment through following your intuition and desires. If you truly want a child, this is the time (the next 2 years as transiting Venus, the ruler of your 5th house of children, conjuncts your natal Sun) to become pregnant yet I would also suggest you seek a role in the world through which you can make a contribution in the world that is meaningful to you. Born with your Sun/Jupiter/Venus in the 10th house and your chart ruler, Saturn, in your 4th house makes both your 10th house role in the world and your 4th house home/location/family equally important to your fulfilled life.

Pisces New Moon: Soulful Communion


Kristi Rodriguez’ ten-year-old son Sean was struggling with reading in school. One day Rodriguez, a program coordinator for the Animal Rescue League in Berks County, PA, had an inspiration. She decided to bring Sean in to read to the shelter’s cats. He loved it so much – and so did the cats – that she knew she was onto something. So Rodriguez launched The Book Buddies Program in August 2013. Since then Sean has shown great improvement in his reading. And, over 20 children grades 1 to 8 visit the ARL on a weekly basis, where they enjoy reading to and bonding with an appreciative feline audience.

The program is a win-win for all concerned, especially kids struggling in school, who receive small prizes for each book they read aloud. And, the shelter’s cats enjoy the rhythmic vocal sounds, while they get some much-needed company and socialization. “One little boy has autism and his mom home schools him,” says Beth Ireland, the shelter’s marketing director. “He’s blossomed while he’s here. It’s so sweet to watch.”

Soulful communion, interspecies bonding, joyful learning—all depicted by the upcoming Pisces New Moon in exact trine to expansive Jupiter (March 1, 12:00 am PST). Watery Pisces connects us all at the deepest level, while stationary Jupiter in connective Cancer brings the urge to bond as it prepares to turn forward within a week. Plus, messenger Mercury turns direct on Feb. 28, just prior to the New Moon, bringing greater mental clarity and helping us release internal frustrations from the last three weeks. Sounds like cause for celebration, eh? Yes, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Tough love planets Mars and Saturn turn retrograde on March 1 and 2, respectively. Mars’ retrograde turn in Libra (through May 19) demands that we review and re-evaluate agreements and partnerships, while Saturn’s backward turn in Scorpio (thru July 19) plunges us into deep waters to heal old wounds and reassess emotional or financial commitments we’ve made since last fall. This combination will require finesse and patience, especially through May. Yet the transcendent nature of the March 1 New Moon suggests that great blessings are coming if we just keep the faith, stay centered in our hearts and have compassion for one another. Still, it’s wise to be extra cautious this weekend, especially when it comes to travel, finances and relationships, as Mars and Saturn both station retrograde.

To tap into the mysterious, psychic nature of the Pisces New Moon, try this Water Gazing ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. On that page you’ll also find a mini-video of my Health gua makeover at the center of one couple’s home – which led to a whole new life for them.