You Talkin’ to Me?

On September 17th, the planet Mercury moves into Libra for a couple of weeks.  If you recall your mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods; he is usually represented with winged feet.  In astrology, then, he represents communication.  How do we communicate with others?  With ourselves?  How do we perceive, reason, and make sense of the world?

Mercury is one of the faster moving planets in the sky, and so it doesn’t stay in any one sign for very long–generally two or three weeks each.  So that means in a one-year period, we here on Earth will experience twelve different communication styles.  (If you are thinking that my math doesn’t add up, you will need to figure in the Mercury Retrograde periods.  When Mercury is retrograde, it can stay in one sign for up to ten weeks.)

So, this messenger planet goes through twelve  different styles of communication each year. Plus we each have our own natal Mercury sign (where Mercury was at the moment of our birth).   Hmmmm. . . .  Perhaps this explains why we humans have such a difficult time getting along!

One simple way to help us all communicate better is to think of the four Element categories of the signs.  This way, we only need to remember four main styles of communication, rather than twelve individual ones.  Here are the Element categories and their signs:

FIRE–Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

EARTH–Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

AIR–Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

WATER–Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Fire signs emphasize action, intensity, and identity  Earth signs focus on stability, practicality, and sensory input.  Air signs are intellectual, logical, and social.  Water signs operate in emotions, spirituality, and transformation.

As someone with prominently placed Mercury in her chart, I am fascinated by communication and am always thinking of ways to make it better.  When I listen to or read others, I try to determine their bias–does the speaker have a Fire, Earth, Air, or Water Mercury sign?  That way, I can be more objective in my listening and stand a better chance of understanding and being understood.  Next time you interact with others–whether it’s a big presentation at work or just chatting with your buds–think about the different astrological “languages” and how they shape your communication.

The Nodes Know

One of the reasons I am so drawn to astrology is its ability to be an infinite source of information about ourselves.  We can get information from each of the planets and signs and houses in our natal charts.  Then we can look at the symbolism of the angles that each of those bodies makes to the others.  Then we can look at the top half of a chart versus the bottom half, or right versus left.  And then then we can compare our own birth chart to what is going on in the sky at any other time.  And on and on and on . . . . It can be a textbook that serves us our whole life.

On September 2nd, there will be a shift in the Moon’s North and South Nodes.  The Nodes are mathematical points and not physical bodies, but in astrology we can use them in a way that is similar to the planets and signs in our chart.  (For you scientifically-minded readers, the Nodes are the points where the Moon’s orbit intersects the Earth’s ecliptic.)

Now, many of us know our Sun Sign, our Rising Sign, and some might even know the Mercury or Moon signs.  But the Nodes are less commonly known, which in my opinion is a shame.  The Nodes are a wealth of information for those of us on a spiritual or wisdom quest.

In short, the South Node tells us our spiritual starting point in this lifetime.  It represents our unconscious patterns and past-life habits we continue to carry on in our current incarnation.  The North Node is its opposite, symbolizing our spiritual destination.  It is our path to spiritual enlightenment and can bring great fulfillment.

For the past year and a half, the South Node-North Node combination has been Gemini-Sagittarius.  This pairing has given us humans the collective experience of understanding that busy work, spreading ourselves too thin, and multi-tasking may not be the answer; it has been encouraging us to find meaning in our lives instead.

When the Nodes move into the Taurus-Scorpio arrangement, they are nudging us toward deep transformation.  Taurus is strongly attached to stability and security, but Scorpio says that change is the only constant.  We can keep the vision and philosophy we learned from the earlier Nodes, and we can incorporate a surrender of sorts to the natural birth-death cycle of life.

Be open to change, Wisdom Warriors!  Remember that real growth takes “full circle” experiences, so be willing to let some things die in order to live fully!


Blue Moon

This month, we will experience the astronomical phenomenon known as a Blue Moon.  A Blue Moon occurs when there are two full moons in the same month; the second full moon is known as the Blue Moon.  It happens only once every three years, so its rarity marks it as a symbolic event of note.

The first full moon appears today, August 1st, and is a Moon in Aquarius (specifically at 11 degrees).  One of the symbolic interpretations of this particular degree of Aquarius is “a man receives new inspiration which may change his life.”  Since Full Moons in general symbolize completion and “coming to fruition,” we can say that this particular Full Moon is asking us to realize that our spiritual inspirations can impact our lives more fully when we translate them into practical manifestations.

The second full moon, or the Blue Moon, is a Moon in Pisces on the 31st (specifically at 9 degrees).  Sometimes, this particular degree of Pisces is represented by a jockey or an aviator.  In other words, we can be a guide.  In this instance, we can be a guide who carefully develops our gifts to share with the world if we make the most of our opportunities.

So what do we make of this Blue Moon energy?  You could say that a lot of our hard, inner work of the past couple of weeks/months/years could be coming to fruition now, and we need to be ready to undertake our upcoming missions with integrity and power.  Are you ready to make the most of your opportunities this month?

Cardinal Grand Cross

On July 17th, the planets and signs will position themselves into a Cardinal Grand Cross.  As the name implies, a grand cross involves four planets lined up in a “+” shape.  In this arrangement, some of the planets will be opposite each other and some will be squared up against each other.  In astrology, oppositions can signal “perspective and balance” and squares can symbolize “action.”

So how do we know where we are meant to take action and find perspective?  We look to the signs for each planet.  Here are the four planets/signs involved in this particular grand cross:

  • Uranus in Aries
  • Moon in Cancer
  • Mars in Libra
  • Pluto in Capricorn

(In case some of you are saying “yo, the moon and Pluto aren’t planets,” just remember that they are considered such by astrologers for symbolic purposes.)

Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are categorized as Cardinal Signs.  The Cardinals are concerned with identity and with initiating new beginnings.  Taking all of the symbolic meanings together, then, we can see that the skies are giving us an opportunity to re-examine our identity and perhaps even a chance at a “do-over.”

If this sounds good to you, then you might want to look more closely at the specific “identity” symbols for each of the signs in this grand cross:

  • Aries:  How do I think of myself?
  • Cancer:   Who is the inner emotional me, the inner child me?
  • Libra:  Who am I in a social setting?
  • Capricorn:  How would others (at work or in some other public forum) see me?

Lots of energy out there, nudging you to ponder, wonder, and examine.  Hang on to your hats!  Stay strong, stay focused!  And check back in at the end of the week for a Friday Fun column inspired by the cardinal grand cross!

Mercury Retrograde: Time to Reflect

This weekend, Mercury goes retrograde.  In astronomy terms, retrograde means that the planet’s orbit appears to us here on Earth to move backwards.  In astrology terms, a retrograde period symbolizes a time to review and reflect.

Mercury is in Leo for this retrograde period, which will last until August 8th.  So what do Mercury and Leo mean?  What should we be re-evaluating in these next few weeks?

Mercury represents our communication style, the way we look at the world.  It is an intellectual and dynamic energy.  If you recall your classical mythology, Mercury was the messenger to the gods.  Think words, quick-wittedness, learning, and such.

Leo, a fire sign, is the king of the zodiac wheel.  It represents the heart, ambitions, and authority.  Leo can also be quite childish and demanding of attention.  Think of it this way:  when Leo has its act together, it is the regal and dignified King of the Jungle; a Leo who succumbs to his own self-centeredness ends up just being a show-off who can never have enough attention.

Putting those symbols together, then, we can come up with our astrological homework for the next few weeks:

  • Am I communicating clearly, creatively, and from the heart, especially in areas where I am the leader?
  • Am I expressing warmth and generosity?
  • Do I love the sound of my own voice so much and I really want you to hear it too? Or am I confident enough to allow you to speak as well?
  • Am I being joyful and child-like, or just being childish?
  • In situations where I am the leader, am I paying attention to details, conducting myself with dignity, and following my heart?  Or am I simply in it for my own gain?

Some astrologers caution that we should never sign contracts or travel or make important decisions during a Mercury Retrograde.  I usually don’t go so far as that.  For one thing, I’ve learned “never say never.”  For another, life still keeps rolling along no matter what, and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  So I would just say to keep these symbols in mind and be thoughtful in your decision making.  Listen to your heart and choose wisely.

Jupiter in Gemini

On Tuesday, June 12th, Jupiter moved into the sign of Gemini. Jupiter stays in any one sign for about a year, so this move will have some significance for us.  Here’s the symbolism for both Jupiter and Gemini, and what it might mean for you.

Jupiter represents expansion.  To me, Jupiter is a teacher who lets you learn by giving you just enough rope to hang yourself.  I always keep this image in mind because it helps keep me in check whenever I’m tempted to say “Oh, I can handle it!”

Gemini is considered an Air Sign, or an intellectual energy.  It represents cleverness, curiosity, learning, multi-tasking, and versatility.  When it’s not careful, it can be restless, scatterbrained, scheming, and lacking in follow-through.

So what do we make of this Jupiter in Gemini energy that’ll be around for a whole year?  I would say that the Universe is giving us an opportunity to learn how to think and grow intellectually, and to learn how to use our words and mental energies for good.  Thinking of finally writing that Great American Novel or taking an online class?  Go for it!  Thinking of taking on your twentieth task at work or promising something you may or may not be able to do?  Maybe time to think again.

Either way, enjoy the ride and remember to breathe!

So What’s a Venus Transit?

You may have noticed news stories about the upcoming Venus Transit of the Sun this week.  The event is newsworthy because the last time Venus traveled across the face of the sun was 243 years ago.  And it won’t happen again until December of 2117.  So we have a unique opportunity!  Locally, we should be able to witness the transit on Tuesday evening.

(To be accurate, Venus Transits actually occur in pairs.  The first of this set was eight years ago.  The next set will be 2117 and 2125.)

As seen from Earth, Venus has a pattern that lasts 584 days.  For the first 263 days, she is visible as the Evening Star.  Then she disappears for 8 days.  Venus is visible again, now as the Morning Star, for another 263 days, before disappearing once more for 50 days.  Because of this cycle, the ancients bestowed several symbolic meanings on Venus.  She was the goddess of love and relationships, but also sometimes a sign of war.  (I’ll let you ponder on that one.)  They interpreted her disappearances as her time in the underworld.

So what does all this mean for us now?  Well, as always, perception is reality, so you can give this Transit lots of meaning, or none at all.  However, if you are interested in symbolic thought, you would want to consider these things.

In astrology, Venus represents love, relationships, harmony, and balance.  Right now, Venus is retrograde for us Earthlings (that is, appears to be going backwards).  During a retrograde, one would review and reflect on the symbolism, rather than act on it.  So right now, are you where you need and want to be in your relationships?  Are your desires in harmony with your values?  Are your relationships authentic?

A transit symbolizes new beginnings.  Since Venus is transiting the Sun, which represents the masculine, it is a perfect time to analyze the male-female relationships in our lives.  (Note: these can be any significant male-female relationships, not just romantic ones.)  Take stock, review, and decide the best path of balance.

No matter your view of astrological symbolism, enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event!

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Perhaps it is my Scorpio Sun Sign, but I am drawn to symbolism like a vampire to a silky smooth neck.  We Scorpios love to interpret symbols and untangle a good mystery.  For example, I am looking back over my first two sentences here and noticing all the “s” words (like a snake hissing, and snakes are a Scorpio symbol).  And don’t even get me started on the vampire symbol. . . . blood and death and regeneration.  Doesn’t get more Scorpio than that.

One of my favorite symbolic languages–other than the obvious one of astrology– is that of animal totems.  Many cultures look to nature for messages, and if we can learn the “dictionary” of animal symbols, we too can receive these messages.

Now, first let me state that I don’t necessarily believe in “signs” or “omens” the way you might think.  I believe too strongly in free will to think that there are set-in-stone meanings.  Rather, I believe that one should pay attention to the symbol that appears, and then ask what that symbol means for oneself.

Here are two examples of animals and their symbolic meanings:

Squirrel:  Are you planning and preparing properly?  Are you too busy or not busy enough?  Are you balanced in gathering and giving?

Snake:  Are there areas of your life that require transformation?  Are youpaying attention and being discriminating in what’s going on around you?

Just for today, why not be open to the messengers that appear to you?  Observe, research, and reflect.  Just by the very act of wondering, you will be inviting new possibilities into your world.