A Pox On Our Houses: Solar Eclipse at 0 Degrees of Cancer, June 21, 2020

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When? Jun 21, 2020,  2:41 AM

What? New moon, Solar Eclipse at 0 degrees of Cancer

A new moon solar eclipse occurs at 0 degrees Cancer on June 21, 2:41 am, and represents great shifts happening in our homes, our family lives, and our emotional selves. New moons have always been a great time to start new projects, but this new moon’s intense energy and proliferation of retrograding planets make new projects both daunting and difficult to maintain for the long term. A square from Mars and Neptune in Pisces confronting our emotional Sun and Moon also throws a wrench into our plans. More so, Cancer is a cardinal sign of beginnings and endings, with the mother of all events when it comes to beginnings and endings: the new moon eclipse.

We have Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto retrograding. It should be understood that the larger planets have regular retrogrades that form the background of our day to day lives and are not generally intrusive in the same way that Mercury, Venus, and Mars are. It is Venus and Mercury’s retrograde that will make the launch of any new project more difficult than usual. And while no one need let the stars stop them from signing contracts and making important decisions that cannot be put off, you may well end up having to go back over these or re-doing them.

Complicating matters is that Cancer is also a sign that oversees breakups, endings and beginnings. There are going to be people moving out of homes, finalizing divorces, or breaking up. Given the pressures of the pandemic that have been building up between couples at home, if partners were able to avoid each other’s difficult traits because they could distract themselves with entertainments and trips before, all that began to unravel once everything was shut down. Now, as things open back up, people will be wanting to reassess what their relationships are going forward — and they may not resemble what they were before.

The square from the sun and the moon in Cancer contacting Mars and Neptune in Pisces will also come into play with these watery signatures. Don’t fight against the tide, or you will only wear yourself down. It is better to go with the flow and stay with the trends. Mars in Neptune is having difficulty finding his path clearly, and is bound to get angry if he feels lost — which of course, he will. Mars in Neptune will not express well, and in an effort to avoid responsibility, looks to perpetuate cycles of abuse to avoid confrontation.

Saturn, at 0 degrees of Aquarius in retrograde, is turning back around to take care of something he forgot, and he intends to address the situation with our potentially abusive Mars. The sextile from Saturn provides not only a stabilizing force, but an energy similar to a father who is tucking his head inside a door to check on the unruly kids. The law will hold when Mars tries to get away with breaking things. The only problem here is that Pluto and Jupiter are conjunct in Capricorn, at 24 and 25 degrees. They have increased potential for amplifying destruction during this period. How much damage will they do by the time Saturn comes around to check on things? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Lay low for this lunation until the storm has passed.

Mercury in retrograde at 14 degrees of Cancer is going to rewrite the way we conduct our relationships. An obvious part of this is how people who are doing online dating are choosing to facetime or make video calls rather than meet in person. Double check your appointments, schedules, contracts, and look into any home maintenance you’ve neglected. Now might be a good time to fix that plumbing issue that’s been plaguing you.

Venus is still forging her retrograde path at 5 degrees of Gemini and trining (loosely) Jupiter and Pluto while she’s at it. This will quicken the complications of Venus in Gemini’s chatty sign, increasing communications and increasing potential lovers – choice paralysis may be a feature of this contact as we struggle to find the balance between too many options — with difficult results.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury, and so any love affairs that are not only impacted by Venus’s troubles will also be impacted by the miscommunication exemplified by Mercury in retrograde. In Gemini, this should be a double dose of difficulty. Additionally, if your romantic life isn’t highlighted, Venus may show up as losses or bad investments. Keep an eye on your resources and made sure more isn’t going out the door than you can handle.

Uranus in Taurus will continue to shake things up, speaking of resources. Restaurants, arts and entertainment — all those lovely luxuries that Taurus loves to enjoy, are still dealing with the fall out of the pandemic. But as more of them are reopening across the country, we are going to be faced with a new way of doing business for these venues — or no business at all. Expect more people to save money by staying in and learning how to make their own lavish dishes, but on the bigger stage of our lives, we may be watching a huge shift in resources that is affecting our lifestyle in a big way. Everything has changed, including the way we reckon with money as a nation and the free time we find ourselves with as a result from working from home.

(Post edited to reflect that Venus in Gemini trines Pluto and Jupiter, as opposed to originally reporting that it was opposing. Thank you to Antony for the catch!)

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Stars By Design Now Has A Video Channel

We posted out first video over on YouTube. The crazy lady with the multi colored hair is me.

You can watch me talk awkwardly on camera about the latest new moon post here:

This is my first real foray, and I’m learning a lot about what goes into making videos. This is just the initial splash, so there’s already a lot of plans to improve things. My bigger plan so far is also to take these videos down once they are no longer relevant, so they won’t be available for longer than a certain period of time yet. I hope you’ll join me in the new part of my media journey!


Libra Full Moon of 4-11-2017

4-11-2017 Full Moon

The emerging theme of this moon is how an abundance of relationships moves into a process of elimination, as the full moon in Libra at 21 degrees, moves into Scorpio hours later at 6:42 pm, EST.

This Libra moon retreats from a conjunction with Jupiter Rx at 17 degrees of Libra, while this moon also squares Pluto in Capricorn at 19 degrees. We are blessed with sociability but the Pluto square overshadows our connections with the flavors of Scorpionic intensity, particularly with moon’s looming passage into Scorpio. Friendships have their good times, their bright, happy moments in which we perceive people who make us feel good as angels — yet, as we move past the superficiality of relationships and delve deeper, our relationships maturing in the process, we can often discover our angels have their dark sides, and at our worst, find we are surrounded by pernicious demons instead.

Of course, those are very stark, binary terms to describe the human experience of friends and the relationships they provide — but this is often how we perceive things in relationship to the self. What does not please us is evil, what supports our self-esteem is instantly good. It takes strength, time, and tempering of the soul to recognize and forgive both others and ourselves when our ideals are not met. The person who matures in a truly soulful way, is not a person who insists on looking at their friends with rose colored glasses, but who can identify what kind of relationships they can live with, and what kind they can live without, and can do so without the need to demonize or idolize those that rise or fall short. Pluto speaks of transformation — and we are always in an act of transformation, for if we do not, we are eternally stuck in the process of elimination. As we transform, the kind of relationships we choose — or fail to choose — will transform along side us.

Transforming relationships can sometimes reveal more than we expected, with Uranus in Aries opposite this Jupiter and Moon in Libra. Perhaps we shock our friends by not adhereing to the role they assigned to us — perhaps our friendships are hiding secret desires (Venus Rx) or perhaps we become too attached to how good our friends make us feel, distracting us from our troubles and inviting us to try to coerce or control (Pluto/Moon square) the good times that are no longer there. The moon will invite emotional attachments to rise to the surface.

These relationship dynamics, how we come together, fall apart, navigate and maintain, is all under the domain of Libra, Venus in her current retrograde, and 7th house matters. Friends and connections belong under the scope of the 11th house, of Aquarius and Uranus — expect these subjects to be key features under this moon. Uranus at 24 degrees of Aries, also squares the Libra moon.

Saturn’s gravity will help to reign in Jupiter’s over the top expansion, providing a soft anchor. Venus, even though in retrograde, is in Pisces and will be better positioned for compassionate love than she was in masculine Aries. Saturn’s trines underlies the current, more prominent features of this chart, trining the Sun in Aries, Uranus in Aries, and Mercury in Aries, as well as the North Node at 0 degrees of Virgo — like the kind hand of a father, directing the child (Aries) back to a rational path with hard work, foundations, and clear sight.

Full Moon Eclipse In Leo on 2/10/2017, Impressions


Buckle up for this eclipse. I’m excited — are you?

We have a Leo-Aquarius polarity between the sun and the moon — the king and the fool standing on opposite sides of the court, the regal and revolutionary powers. Yet, with the moon in Leo, by rulership, this moon is happy to work with the sun. Politics are on everyone’s mind, so this amplifies the mood already at hand.

What’s interesting is that the Moon is fast approaching Regulus and there’s a good post that touches on what those fixed stars in that constellation of Leo means here. What is also prominent is that Regulus figures in Trump’s natal chart, so this eclipse might be ushering in truly unexpected changes in Trump’s character — or priming him for a fall. Either way, we little people outside the realm of influence in the political world of presidents and kings are dealing with our revolutionary troubles at home, at work, and in community. Lines are being drawn and people are being pushed in directions that heretofore were not prime issues in life. No one is allowed neutrality, anymore, and so this friction will likely bubble up during this eclipse.

In addition to the fixed star Regulus, we have a rather interesting conjunction of Jupiter at 23 degrees in Libra, sitting right on top of fixed star Spica. Jupiter, while often considered “benevolent” is really neither good nor bad, but a planet of expansion, which means it makes both the good and the bad bigger than they were before. Amplification does not always work in our favor, after all. However, rejoice, because Spica is a fixed star of wealth and good fortune joining forces with Jupiter!

Another aspect that leaps out from the chart is the arrangement of parallel and contra-parallel planets. The moon, Uranus, Sun, and Jupiter share in this arranged from their signs of Leo, Aries, Aquarius, and Libra. That’s quite a foursome of signs, criss-crossing their energies with regards to self-interests and community interests, between relationships and individuals.

Uranus in opposition to Jupiter in Libra is, as I’ve mentioned and will continue to, touching off those who were born with Pluto in Libra in the late ’70s, early ’80s. For them, these years will be defining points in their lives. Changes will be felt by all, but for this generation in the prime of life, what they do now will have severe consequences in the future, and those are, of course, political issues as well as personal ones. For those born outside of that time frame, things are no less heated, but the ramifications will be different. Everyone is being pushed into change by Uranus in Aries, but for the younger generation, there is still time yet to change course, refine purpose, and go beyond fixed fate. For the Pluto in Librans, age often closes windows of opportunity in our lives because we can’t suffer changes and surprises with the same fluidity as we could when we are young — and that’s hardly an astrological issue, but rather, one that is the evolving pattern of life. The clock is ticking. During this eclipse, choices will be determining the personal and collective future in a big way, and I’d be curious to know what executive orders, what bills, and what laws might be changed under its influence. Finance in our personal lives may also play a part, for while Spica is a fortunate star, the influence of Jupiter crossing over Pluto’s generational tracks may be revealing debts that need to be repaid, problems in spending, possessions being divided, or windfalls.

We also have a grand fire trine. I was born under a similar fire trine, so to say I’m supercharged and excited by this pattern is an understatement. Our trine comprises of Uranus in Aries, the Moon in Leo, and Saturn in Sagittarius. A strange arrangement of energies anchored in the moon and crossed over by the sun, Saturn in its detriment in Sagittarius plods away slowly though the 25th degree. His slow and steady gait will eventually over take electric Uranus in the sign of the Ram, while the moon in her swiftness dances around them all, but for now at their triangular points in fire signs should give us a sense of urgency in our individual tasks and matters, galvanizing us to meet challenges with extra vigor, even if the road is bumpy and our challenges unanticipated.


Public domain image of the moon provided by the Graphics Fairy.

April 2016, Retrogrades


Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto by Caravaggio

Today, we greet the world with a Pluto in retrograde in the 10th house sign of Capricorn and Mars in retrograde in the 9th house sign of Sagittarius.

We’ve had several significant events gaining momentum in the cosmos, beginning in 2015. I started by jotting down some thoughts, so I’d ask that readers bear with me if I flub up here and there. Ultimately, I tend to think in long term, big picture sweeps of time, so when I examine astrological events, I desire a larger context for their placement in where we stand in history.

To better understand the Pluto/Mars retrograde, Saturn in Sag, and lest we not forget, the Saturn/Neptune square, I turned to the rulerships to get a better hold of how the energy is moving through the pinball machine of the cosmos. (I still have much to learn, but this, I decided, could give us a better dimension to events.)

  • Pluto in the 10th house of Capricorn, is throwing energy to Saturn
  • Saturn is currently in Sag, Mars is in Sag, so Saturn and Mars are working in concert to feed expansive Jupiter
  • Jupiter is currently in Virgo, at detriment (and we could even take it further and say that all these rulerships form a breadcrumb trail to Mercury, who rules Virgo, and will be going retrograde shortly!)

 Mars, Saturn, Pluto, together combining a large momentum of complementary forces from Sag to Capricorn, expanding forces of military, authority, gambling, institutions, media, publishing, career and public face, etc.

 My gut tells me the things set down now for this cycle, in the larger stages of government and political theater will not be uncovered for years to come, as this is a ripe time for deception under the influence of the Sat/Neptune square, and the contracting force of Saturn will encourage those whose mettle is lacking to make poor choices and opt for laziness over hard work, deception over conflict.

 (The Panama Papers may well ring a bell here as a nexus of 9th house media and 10th house authority, as aside from the general outcry of the unfairness of tax havens — Plutonic themes — there are other voices weighing in that the Panama Papers is a political instrument [Saturn’s control] to make examples of some, while letting others slide through the Neptunian fog.)

With three gods lined up in this fashion, the personal egocentric God of War, the constraining authoritarian force of Saturn’s disciplinary spirit, and Pluto’s reaping presence, and these forces in retrograde, we should expect on both micro and macro stages, a succession of conflicts in our personal and exterior lives. Think the drunk (Neptune) who gets behind the wheel (Mars/Mercury) and kills someone (Pluto) and is then brought to trial (Saturn). Loss of money will feature as a result of poor long term thinking in finances, as this is certainly a recurring theme with Pluto in Capricorn and will have extra punch with Jupiter in Virgo (at its detriment) where the North Node has been transiting degrees. We will be entrenched in years long battles unless we use our Mercury cleverness to think a better way through, and thinking clearly will be encumbered with the Saturn-Neptune square, with a Mercury Retrograde looming just ahead, making this doubly difficult. Expect people to articulate their intentions, desires, and motives poorly or not at all, and fail to communicate responsibly.

As someone with a Pluto-Mars contact in the nativity, if you have such contacts you may find yourself galvanized, as I do, and taking on a thousand projects. You may even find the superhuman strength to finish them out. Most astrologers caution against this, but if this is something in your nativity, take advantage of the turbo-charged aggression by funneling it into projects that will bear fruit in the long term, as short term plays are proving to be unprofitable for many and it will be those building strong foundations (Saturn twined with Mars) who will be able to stand on their feet while others fall.

Harnessing happy go lucky Mars in Sag and the Earth trine through April is good way to bring sense to the mire and the mixed signals we may well find ourselves. Because the gears and cogs of the mind are being thrown into chaos by the fog of Neptune, Mercury’s impending retrograde, consider that physical endeavors in an independent setting may bear more fruit because less interactions will mean less chance of being undermined by those around you, whether they be institutions or friends who were once reliable but now are letting you down through sheer flakiness. Take some time off with a model airplane, building that garden (Earth trine, anyone?) for the spring, or attempt to engage Neptune by learning an instrument (also Saturn’s discipline), where you can bend him to a productive service (Virgo) instead of letting him empty all the bottles of wine in your fridge. You know what I’m talking about.

On a global, generational level, short term thinking in politics, economics, and environment has been undermining the quality of life for many all over the world, and with the North Node transit in Virgo earlier in September of 2015, the cracks are beginning to show; the role of Mars, Pluto, Saturn, Neptune in their hard aspects will be to exploit these cracks and show them to our faces, and in some cases, things we took for granted will blow up in our faces, such as political inequities or outrages, or acts of war and terrorism. On a smaller lever, it could be something as personal as perhaps getting away with a bad habit at work for years and suddenly, the boss is selectively focusing on us while ignoring all the bad behavior of our peers who are doing the same.

 On a bigger picture level, despite being shown that this short term way of thinking will lead to great losses and suffering, most will not be able to change the course set down. Dominant generations and institutions set in place during Pluto in Virgo through to Pluto in Sag phases past, will not be able to shift gears or lifestyles to do what is necessary for the good of the global population or the planet. They are locked in the past, even if it means running full tilt into a brick wall. It will be those who come after the 2012 Regulus from Leo into Virgo event who will rediscover service for true underlying value — as opposed to speculation and superficial fool’s gold plays, such as the stock market and economic bubbles — who will be tasked to do the cleaning up of the generations before.

(Perhaps here, we see the movement of Democracy Spring in Washington D.C. as being an echo of that; for now, it appears small, using passive resistance and non-violence service [Virgo] as guiding principles. It barely receives coverage through the media — but in history’s grand sweep, we may well look back and recognize it as the groundswell of fixed star Regulus moving away from the era of worshipped royalty-autocrat to an era of selfless consideration in goddess Virgo.)

Despite talk of “working toward a higher purpose” it will not feel positive, it will be hard and dirty work with little to no reward — but by using these energies in play now, we might be able to pave the road ahead of time for those who come after and make it less bumpy. While this doesn’t sound like particularly uplifting concepts, the message is that we must remind ourselves what we are thankful for, not what we do not have — to cultivate gratitude in our lives. If we do not and continue our program of endlessly taking without giving back, we can expect Pluto to reap with enthusiasm in decades to come.

Astrological Portraits: BBC’s Sherlock as Virgo

Mythology  and storytelling — its place in astrology — is a never ending fascination of mine. While watching the recent BBC special the “Abominable Bride” over on my side of the pond, it occurred to me that there’s few characters who so embody an astrological symbol more than Sherlock. Having read Doyle and seen various interpretations, I think it’s fair to say that the modern revision has probably single handedly launched Benedict Cumberbatch’s career and suddenly made the dour detective sexy again.

Virgo probably isn’t the sign that comes to mind when people think “sexy”, but Virgo’s alignment with the concept of “virgin” is no indication of their actual sex lives. When we understand Virgo’s generalized characteristics, it’s fascinating to see how well BBC’s Sherlock is intertwined with it. From the detective’s manic attention to detail, interior sense of organization (mind palace, anyone?) we see the light of Mercury infusing nearly everything this new, retold Sherlock does, able not only to use every new device and gadget available to him, but to also communicate across social strata and various landscapes. All the while, Sherlock maintains a well-defined sense of identity that is never porous. When this sense of identity is threatened, as in the “Hound of Baskerville”, all systems shut down and he reaches a level of near hysteria, before order is restored and Sherlock’s identity is once again salvaged by rationality. Virgo, or the Virgin, earns its names in many respects, but also for the virginal quality of identity, through which nothing will penetrate.

Even the creators seemed to hit on this, albeit subconsciously. In building the modern character, they leave it in the air as to the nature of his sexuality, preferring to let things play out later on when the story warrants it. No better descriptor for a visual representation of the Virgo concept is given than when Sherlock manipulates his way into Irene Adler’s residence in “Scandal in Belgravia” — disguised as a priest, no less. In older definitions of what it meant to be Virgin, it meant a woman who owned her sexuality without answering to anyone, rather than a state of intact virginity. The concept of Virgin taken to its extreme is evident in Sherlock’s donning of the Roman collar. To the viewer, the character smacks of sexual naivete, but his mastery over his work suggests vast experience, titillating the viewer by these opposing contrasts, for we sense the Roman collar is a facade, a sham. His work smolders with funnelled libido.

As it is with many perfectionists, one need not be a Virgo to see how intense people become when focused on the details of their life’s work, often at the expense of the rest of their lives. It’s more apparent to us in public displays like the arts, where we can appreciate the violinist who has mastered his art through years of rigorous study, though we may only view the result. We can see it when we fall in love with a work of fiction, swept away by the heady illusion which often comes at the expense of years of perfectionist devotion to the word.

Naturally, the usual inclination is to perceive Sherlock’s character as being that of Scorpionic influence; after all, delving deep into the occulted is what this character builds his reputation on. That cannot be discounted. While Sherlock’s occupation speaks to Pluto, it would have no serious force without Virgo’s mastery in craft and attention to detail to bring it to bear. But I also think it’s no accident that as fixed star Regulus moved into Virgo in 2012 from its home in Leo, it’s interesting to wonder if our cultural values will reflect this in such heroic — or anti-heroic — characters. Certainly, it weighs heavy on my mind as the North Node prepares to conjunct Jupiter in Virgo at the start of 2016.