Writer’s Block and Mercury Retrograde

What do you do when you can’t think of anything to write?

More than likely, you’ve experienced writer’s block at least once in your life.  Perhaps you had a great idea but couldn’t think of how to start.  Perhaps you couldn’t even think of an idea, great or not.

Right now, we are in a Mercury Retrograde.  This astronomical event occurs when it appears to us, from our perspective here on Earth, that Mercury is going backwards in its orbit.

Mercury is the planet that rules communication, mental activity, and writing.  Symbolically, then, we interpret this retrograde phenomenon to mean a time for delays, interruptions, and reflection.

Perhaps, then, writer’s block isn’t all bad.  After all, isn’t reflection what writers do best?  Nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned deep thought.

Consider letting yourself relax into the retrograde for the next couple of weeks.  Go with the messed-up flow.  Chill out instead of freak out.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You might just find that you have a fresh perspective.

Astrological Symbol for Mercury


SFLP: Part 2

Guilt:  the gift that keeps on giving Erma Bombeck

This part of the journey toward being Simply Fit begins with the end.  Well, really, it begins with a notebook.  So, go get one, now.  You’ll need it.

Now we can begin at the end.  In this instance, the “end” is the last planet:  Pluto.  In astrological terms, Pluto symbolizes transformation, rebirth, destruction, and change.  It can also, according to some astrologers, represent that which we need to let go of in order to be renewed.

Think of “old baggage” that you have been dragging around with you.  (For the purposes of this program, please feel free to consider past lives too, if you so choose.  It’s not a requirement, though.)  Very likely, you’ve got some shame and guilt stuffed into that baggage.  “I shouldn’t have eaten the whole box of cookies; I’m such a loser!”  ” Julie stayed late at work to finish up the Jones file, so I should have too. . . . now everyone will think I’m a slacker.”  “I can’t believe I said that to my child; now I’ve messed her up for life.”

Shame and guilt pack a powerful one-two punch that can take us down for the count.  And with heavy burdens like that, we are not free to be Simply Fit.  So let’s look at an astrological explanation and solution for guilt.

The sign that Pluto was in at your birth describes the specifics of the baggage you need to transform.  Check the list below to see what sign Pluto was in when you were born:

June 15, 1939 – October 19, 1956  (Leo)

October 20, 1956 – January 15, 1957  (Virgo)

January 16, 1957 – August 19, 1957  (Leo)

August 20, 1957 – April 12, 1958  (Virgo)

April 13, 1958 – June 10, 1958  (Leo)

June 11, 1958 – July 30, 1972  (Virgo)

July 31, 1972 – November 5, 1983  (Libra)

November 6, 1983 – May 18, 1984  (Scorpio)

May 19, 1984 – August 28, 1984  (Libra)

August 29, 1984 – January 17, 1995  (Scorpio)

January 18, 1995 – April 21, 1995  (Sagittarius)

April 22, 1995 – November 10, 1995  (Scorpio

November 11, 1995 – January 26, 2008  (Sagittarius)

Now that you know the sign that Pluto was in at the moment of your birth, you can stare into the abyss, as it were, and uncover the deep, scary things that you might need to transform and release.  First, read the explanation for your Pluto placement below.

PLUTO IN LEO KEYWORDS:  youthful, spontaneous, powerful, autocratic, self-indulgent, fear of aging, self-respecting, confident, status conscious, pretentious, dramatic

PLUTO IN VIRGO KEYWORDS:  efficient, modest, perfectionist, logical, hypochondriac, judgmental, obsessive, service oriented, healthy, practical, critical

PLUTO IN LIBRA KEYWORDS:  balanced, refined, compromising, social, charming, indecisive, vacillating, superficial, cooperative, artistic, vain, flattering, fair

PLUTO IN SCORPIO KEYWORDS:  insightful, passionate, vindictive, intense, mysterious, secretive, paranoid, powerful, magnetic

PLUTO IN SAGITTARIUS KEYWORDS:  optimistic, restless, commitment phobic, inspiring, dogmatic, philosophical, procrastinating, ethical, outspoken

Okay, got your notebook?  Then jot down a few of the keywords from your Pluto that resonate with you.  For example, I have Pluto in Virgo.  So in looking at the Pluto in Virgo Keywords, the ones that jump out at me are efficient, perfectionist, judgmental, healthy, and critical.

Now that you have your keywords, write a few sentences using those words which sum up your “old baggage.”  Again, using myself as an example, I might write this:

I feel absolutely horrible when I make a mistake, no matter how big or small, and then I criticize myself harshly.  And when I see others make mistakes, I am judgmental and critical of them too.

You might need to take some time to choose your words and write your summary.  Maybe you might even want to observe yourself for a couple of days to see what things you notice.

Once you feel comfortable with your summary statement, you can begin to work on your “redemption” and transformation.  In many ways, transformation lies in finding balance, or the other side of the coin.  For balance, then, I like to look at the sign directly opposite mine.  Look at the list below to see the sign and keywords opposite your Pluto placement.

AQUARIUS KEYWORDS TO BALANCE LEO:  open-minded, rational, humanistic, reformer, innovative, holistic, unique

PISCES KEYWORDS TO BALANCE VIRGO:  forgiveness, compassionate, mystical, imaginative, transcendent, dreamer, serene, spiritual

ARIES KEYWORDS TO BALANCE LIBRA:  assertive, courageous, enterprising, initiating, confident, pioneering, energetic, independent

TAURUS KEYWORDS TO BALANCE SCORPIO:  grounded, patient, loyal, dependable, creative, practical, earthy, artistic

GEMINI KEYWORDS TO BALANCE SAGITTARIUS:  adaptable, versatile, communicative, bright, inquisitive, social, witty

Using your notebook again, write down the balance keywords that catch your eye.  In my notebook, keeping my own Pluto in Virgo in mind, I would choose Pisces words such as forgiveness and spiritual.  And once again, as you did above, write a summary using your balance words.  Here’s mine:  When I make mistakes, it’s an opportunity for me to forgive myself and understand the spiritual value of failing and learning and growing; in this way, I can have compassion for myself and others when we make mistakes.

Now the tricky part. . . . It’s one thing to “get it” in theory.  It’s another thing entirely to put that theory into practice.  So here’s your homework!  Keep your notebook with your for the rest of the week.  Now that you’ve got both your summary statements, keep track of all the opportunities you have to put your words into action.  Use your notebook like a diary to record instances where your Pluto stuff comes up.

Please feel free to share your statements, to ask questions, and to pass along your observations from the week!










Summer Solstice

The Sun enters the sign of Cancer on Friday the 21st at 1:04 am (Eastern Standard Time in the US), heralding a new summertime.  Lots of light and lots of sun are in store!

In astrological terms, Cancer represents our emotions, the mother, water, the home, and memory.  It likes a cozy home,  a family dinner, and caring for others.  As a Cardinal sign, it symbolizes new beginnings.

Mercury is also in Cancer right now, and Jupiter will join them toward the end of the month.  With all this watery, emotional energy about, what can you do to understand yourself a little better?  Can you find better ways to express your emotions or show someone that you care?  Jupiter can sometimes give us enough rope to hang ourselves with, and Mercury is known to be a bit of a chatterbox, so how will you wade through these charged waters?

For me, I like to remember that emotions are just messengers; we don’t have to BECOME them.  Just because I have an emotion, doesn’t mean I need to act on it or act it out.  I can just use it to understand myself better.

Happy Summer Solstice!

The Uranus-Pluto Square

Have you noticed that everyone and everything seems to be breaking down to the foundations lately?  That structures (both literal and figurative) are cracking and crumbling?

It has seemed this way to me for a while now.  In my own life and in that of my friends and family, I have seen some serious rug-pulling-out-from-under and some big upheavals.  Divorces, deaths, career shakeups, you name it.  Of course these things are always present, but in this case I am noticing that the EFFECTS have been rattling people to the core.  These events have been creating such havoc that the persons involved have been thrown into Major Overhaul mode.

Right now–and since 2012 actually–Uranus and Pluto have formed a square.  They are literally at a right angle to each other, and in astrology terms this arrangement means friction.  The Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn square can be interpreted to mean great shakeups and major transformations in both our personal AND our social structures.

First, Uranus in Aries represents big changes in the Self:  Uranus means upheaval, and Aries means the individual.  So that translates into big turnover in how we view ourselves and in what is REALLY important.  Second, Pluto in Capricorn means transformation in authority figures and in society.  And that translates to big changes in what we individuals want and expect from our leaders.

This square will last until 2015.  My takeaway from this is that we should all be very careful and discriminating in what we want our new foundations to be.  What about you?  Have things been stripped down to the concrete slab for you?  What will you use to re-build?  What should our collective foundation be as a society?  Can we build something that honors both the individual and the group?

Uranus: The Puller of the Rug

On this date in 1781, William Hershel discovered Uranus.

There is an expression about getting the rug pulled out from under you.  We use this expression when our world is unexpectedly turned upside down.  In astrology, Uranus plays the part of the rug puller.

According to astrologer Kevin Burk, at this stage of human evolution we are living in a Saturn-ruled world (Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart, p. 38).  Saturn is a very structured, concrete, Earthbound sort of planet.  It represents the physical world that we can see and touch and hear.  Uranus, though, as the first of the so-called outer planets, symbolizes our first and often traumatic realization that there is more to the universe than we believed (39).

Uranus reminds us about our attachments.  It sends us messages, usually in the form of an unpredictable upset or a bolt from the blue, that cause us to re-examine the foundations of our lives.

The orbital cycle of Uranus is 84 years, and so it spends about 7 years in each sign.  Right now, Uranus is in the sign of Aries.  It was last in Aries during the Great Depression (1927-1935).  Aries is a fiery warrior who isn’t afraid to take chances and create new beginnings.  During the Great Depression, it took a pioneering spirit and a self-motivation to survive.

What structures could you re-examine in your life?  Where could you let loose your individual drive and release yourself from restrictions?  Some herald the Age of Aquarius as a boon time for humanity where we will all coexist peacefully in a harmonious “oneness,” but I think that we also need to remember that we are still unique individuals within that group.  Use the “eureka” energy of Uranus in Aries to find YOUR spark.



New Moon

It’s a New Moon in Pisces today.  New Moons traditionally represent a new beginning or a fresh start.  During the two weeks of the New Moon phase, then, it’s a good time to start new projects and put things into play.

The Sabian Symbol for this particular New Moon is “A prophet bringing down the new law from the mountain.”  Pisces is very concerned with spirituality, and so if we take the two meanings together, this is a good time to look at our spiritual beliefs and articles of faith.  Are they serving us well?  Is it time for a new law?

The next two weeks are a good time to ponder your connection to the Universe and your true self.





2013 Resolutions

At the end of every year, I write New Year’s Resolutions based on my astrological chart.  I look at the 12 houses and come up with goals for each, according to the sign that is on the house.  Then, I take stock of the previous year’s resolutions.  I have them written down, and I carry them around with me in my wallet all year, to remind me of my stated goals.  Sometimes I’m really pleased with how well I did; other years I sigh and put my shoulder back to the wheel.  For 2012, looks like I’ll be doing the latter.  Of the 12 goals, I would say that I was successful with five of them, I began working toward six of them, and I had a change of plans with one and scrapped it altogether.  On to 2013. . . .

Here are this year’s resolutions:

  1. I tend to get mad too quickly, so I will focus on being more humble and gracious.
  2. I need to address my finances, so I will find a better balance between work and parenthood.
  3. I will learn one new skill this year.
  4. I will go on adventures with my child, and we will learn and explore together.
  5. I’ve been coaching a long time, and sometimes get frustrated, so I will focus on finding joy in leadership.
  6. I will complete at least one public service act this year.
  7. I will make one new friend.
  8. I’ve been putting my own fitness time to the wayside, so I will change my lifestyle to accommodate exercise again.
  9. I will take all the hard lessons I’ve learned the past year or two and make them a real, concrete part of my new life.
  10. I will find an agent and editor and get published.
  11. I will give back to and take care of my friends as they’ve taken care of me this past year.
  12. I’ve held on to some things that should stay in the past, so I will let go and focus on joy and wonder instead.

Whew. . . .  An ambitious list.  Good thing I’m pretty focused. . . .  🙂

Happy New Year!


New Year’s Resolutions

Calvin & Hobbes

It’s only December 10th, but already I’m thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.  For most of my adult life, I have written out my resolutions every year and then carried the list around with me in my handbag.  I take my resolutions seriously, and this year is no exception.  I think I have good company in saying that I am really ready to put 2012 in the rearview mirror.

Several years ago, I came up with an astrological way to write out my resolutions.  I write one resolution per zodiacal sign, so I end up with twelve goals for the year.  Each zodiacal sign has a general theme, and put together, they cover just about every area of life.  Here are the general symbolic meanings for each sign:

ARIES–assertiveness, identity, expressing the self

TAURUS–security, patience, material things

GEMINI–communication, versatility, adaptability

CANCER–emotions, motherhood, connection, the home

LEO–creativity, generosity, heart, playfulness

VIRGO–efficiency, organization, public service, humility

LIBRA–balance, harmony, diplomacy, relationships

SCORPIO–passion, transformation, power

SAGITTARIUS–higher learning, meaning of life, adventure, travel

CAPRICORN–authority, structure, discipline

AQUARIUS–groups, society, friends, reform

PISCES–forgiveness, spirituality, compassion, dreams

So, with this list in hand, I write one resolution or goal based on each theme.  For example, I might come up with a Cancer Resolution of “focusing on being a great mother and making a warm, happy home for my child.”  Or I could write a Virgo Resolution of “giving at least one day of volunteer service per month.”

Do you write resolutions?  If so, how do you choose them?


Full Moon Tonight!

Moon phases

In astrology, the Moon is considered so important that it is counted as a planet.  If the Sun is the archetypal masculine, or yang, energy, then the Moon is the feminine or yin.  It represents emotions, receptivity, water, women, motherhood, and memories.  From ancient times, the Moon has been associated with the Goddess in all her phases: the waxing Moon as Maiden, the full Moon as Mother, the waning Moon as Crone.

The Moon has an orbital cycle of just over 27 days.  In other words, it will pass through all twelve astrological signs in those 27ish days.  So, since the Moon represents our emotions, you can see why we human beings are sometimes temperamental.  Every two days, we experience the moon in a different way!  (If you are thinking  “the Moon can’t possibly influence me,” remember that the the Moon does indeed influence the ocean tides and that the human body is about 60% water.)

This afternoon’s Full Moon is in Taurus–coincidentally the arrangement I was born under.  Knowing the current Moon, as well as your own natal Moon, can give you insight into your inner emotional life.  Here is the symbolism for each Moon sign:

Moon in Aries:  Impulse control, overreacting, self-expression, taking action

Moon in Taurus:  Comfort and security, stability, sensuality

Moon in Gemini:  Restlessness, sociability, connections with others

Moon in Cancer:  Mothering, expressive, nurturing

Moon in Leo:  Confidence, playfulness, self-indulgence

Moon in Virgo:  Logic and precision, analysis of feeling, inhibition

Moon in Libra:  Diplomacy and balance, people pleasing

Moon in Scorpio:  Intensity, compulsion, jealousy

Moon in Sagittarius:  Independence, impulsiveness, outspokenness

Moon in Capricorn:  Emotional control, dependability, authority

Moon in Aquarius:  Unpredictability, independence, difficulty with intimacy

Moon in Pisces:  Sensitivity, compassion, escapism

The stormy weather here on the US East Coast will likely prevent us from seeing the Full Moon tonight, but maybe give her a nod as you curl up on the sofa under a warm blanket with a cup of hot apple cider and a good book.  I think Taurus would like that. . . .

Saturn on the Move

Poor Saturn.  He gets such a bad rap from some astrologers.  I can understand where this reputation comes from.  After all, some of the words associated with Saturn are “limiting” and “restrictive.”  No one likes a party pooper, right?

My astrology teacher had a much more balanced view of Saturn, though.  She imagined one’s spiritual path as a train route and called Saturn the karmic conductor.  Saturn keeps the train and us on track and helps us reach our destination.  (For more on this, read her book:  “Discovering your Soul Mission” by Linda Brady.)

Saturn has an orbital cycle of 29 1/2 years, and so, astrologically speaking, we do not even become adults until Saturn returns to the same sign of our natal chart (called a Saturn return).  In other words, Saturn spends 2ish years in each sign, and after we’ve experienced Saturn in all twelve signs, we should have reached some maturity.

On October 5th, Saturn will leave the sign of Libra and head into Scorpio.  Saturn in Libra asks us to take responsibility in relationships.  We need to understand our actions and their consequences in relationship.  However, it also reminds us to learn boundaries in relationships, i.e. this is where I end and you begin.

Reflect on your past couple of years.  Have the lessons of responsibility and boundaries come up in your relationships?  How have you responded?

When Saturn moves into Scorpio, then, we will be asked to turn anger into passion and chaos into intensity.  Scorpio is all about emotions and transformation.  All too often, we forget that emotions are meant to be messengers, and instead we BECOME our emotions.  But with the solid and concrete qualities of Saturn on our side, we can take those emotions and transform them into something useful.

Enjoy the ride!


Transformational Scorpio