Neptune on The Galactic Center

I recently paid a visit to my mentor, who is part of a co-housing establishment (I.E. a very organized hippie commune) and a professional astrologer. My family was originally involved with the planned community, but the price tag eventually became too high for us and we were forced to look at alternative home-buying options. It was a huge disappointment to my hippie family. Still, despite never living there, entering the Co-housing property always feels like coming home to me: a home I had in some alternate reality.

As we sat and talked about my chart and my aspirations as an astrologer, she shared some interesting information with me.

“Did you know that your Neptune is exactly at the Galactic Center?”

“What’s the Galactic Center?”

On top of the literal definition, Astrologers also consider the Galactic Center (roughly 26° Sagittarius) to be an extremely sensitive and powerful point in the zodiac. It’s where your truth lies, where you’re exposed to the purest, more cosmic forces in the universe. It’s where your nuclear reactor is, your magnetic core, where the all the atoms of your life come together in a particle accelerator and KABOOM explode into pure energy.

Neptune was at the GC during a few months in 1982, 1983 & 1984, so obviously I’m not the only one who has this aspect in their charts, but my mentor looked at my Pisces Sun, 12th house Moon and asked if I ever “felt” things were going to happen. I nodded, a bit in shock. You don’t really talk about these things. Especially when you have so much Saturn (doubt) and 6th house (mundane) action in your chart.

“I mean, I don’t spend much time on it.”

“Well you should. You should really focus on developing this connection. I mean it’s right there in your chart. EXACT!”

I used to think my mom was psychic. She had an uncanny way of knowing things before I told her (including my pregnancy), and when confronted by her, lies would dry up in my throat before I could even utter them. I was so convinced that my mom knew everything that was going on that I waited until I was 1000 miles away at college to experience anything she wouldn’t approve of. Maybe that’s just how all moms are, you can’t fool them. You came from them, so of course they know everything about you. Or maybe, it’s something else.

Neptune is the planet of dreams. Its the mystical ocean of secrets waiting to be tapped. Its the uncharted depths of our souls; the mysterious, dangerous, unfathomable world of our intuition and psyche. It’s art and music and film and imagination. It’s creativity and compassion. It’s where you cross the desert only to find that your destination has been a mirage. It’s delusion and drugs and escapism.

Sagittarius is the spacesuit you put on as you ready to enter orbit. He is Star Lord from Gaurdians of the Galaxy. She is Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. Sag is a soul-searching, higher-learning, time-traveling badass, eager to tap into the next mind-blowing party favor. Add Neptune to that mix, and things get straight-up Orbital.   Oddly enough, I think of my Neptune in Sagittarius generation as the “Rave” generation: Using music as a spiritual tool to immerse ourselves in sensory stimuli and float away into the ether.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I have always said “going to a concert was like going to church for me”. Must be Neptune on the GC speaking.

So if I’m supposed to tap into my “connectedness”/awareness/inner voice/intuition/ psychic ability/galactic center..whatever you may call it.. I guess I better put on some music and get to meditating???!!

You learn something new everyday..

Aries moon and self-compassion

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One awesome thing about Astrology is the ability to understand inexpiable and/or contradictory aspects about yourself. Perhaps you grew up in a very nurturing family, where you had tons of support and were very loved. You have a strong sense of confidence in your abilities, and portray a shiny perfect exterior, yet you are plagued by self-criticism and and judgement.  Why?  And how do you find congruence with this fact?

As my favorite astrologer Anne Ortelee says, “If it’s in your heart, it’s in your *natal* chart!”

My sun is in Pisces, and I’ve always identified with being compassionate, kind and understanding of the world around me, yet I am extremely harsh on myself. Like, zero tolerance policy harsh. It’s a total contradiction and I hate it!  Ugh why can’t I be more compassionate with myself? My chart offers the following:

  1. My moon is in Aries. The planet of sensory input, emotional sensitivity and perception is in the hottest, quickest most reactive sign in the zodiac. I get enraged very quickly, my temper flares up in a snap, and when I feel attacked, I get instantly defensive.
  2. My moon is also in the 12th house. It took me a very long time to realize and accept the above about myself. The 12th house is the most difficult house to access and understand. Things stay hidden here, and often they’re the things that secretly holding you back, blocking your way, or keeping you stuck in the fog of illusion.

Since I identify so strongly with being a gentle Pisces, its hard to accept the harsher Aries side of myself. Especially since I’m so “other” (people) oriented, and I try to keep the peace (I blame my Libra stellium in the 6th house). I also try very hard to present a thoughtful, understanding option to every problem, and when that goes unnoticed, unappreciated and otherwise spurned, I get pissed lol.

What’s funny is that I denied being defensive for a very long time. I was getting defensive over being called defensive! OH the irony! lol

Aries is the sign of fiery action, but since it’s my moon, it’s expressed as reaction. And being in my 12th house, its unable to escape or be consciously realized- so it stays below the surface and turned inward.

I get very mad if my well-intended message is misconstrued or rejected. Aries is war.. and it really DOES feel like war when someone disagrees with me. My Pisces sun & Libra stellium don’t like war, and will take all measures to avoid such horror (lol). To stop an outward battle, I turn that war on myself, in order to prevent it from happening in the real world (Pisces are known for being self-sacrificing.. go figure).

Why do I do this???

I’ve been listening to Kristin Neff’s research on Self-Compassion, and how our inner criticism is really a survival tactic : We want to avoid failure in the future, so we go through all the problems, errors and mistakes we’ve made in the past. Our brains are wired this way so we can move up in our social hierarchies and become as successful as possible. We have to actively combat the negative voice in our heads that say “Why’d you do that, you moron?? You better not screw up again!” It’s a basic instinct, which also happens to be the driving force behind the sign of the Ram.

“Do we want to be an inner ally or an inner enemy?” – Kristin Neff

Aries is quick to jump to conclusions, draw battle lines and fire the first shot, but what if I’m shooting at myself? How is that damaging my self-esteem and self-worth? As a Pisces how am I able to give compassion to others, but none to myself? To overcome that (Aries) reaction, Ness says we have to become aware of it happening, acknowledge it’s painful presence, and actively comfort & empathize with ourselves. Comfort oneself as we would comfort a close friend or our child.

Ironically, all of this awareness is coming together right as Venus stations EXACTLY on my Moon at 13° Aries. Venus is love, and she seems to be hinting at my Moon to *ahem* start showing yourself some compassion.. ie: self-love!. Venus will be traveling backwards into Pisces, which conveniently gives me a chance to weave my fiery emotional state into my watery sense of self: a little sun & moon marriage counseling, or perhaps creating a spiritual hot springs. Whatever astrological metaphor you use,  Venus is saying, “OK you two, it’s time to combine forces and work together already, instead of his polarity bullshit.” So here’s to hoping I come out of this Retrograde cycle with an Aries moon ally instead of enemy.

*BTW you can take a quiz on Kristin’s website to see how self-compassionate you are. Happy Venus Retrograde! Let me know how you’re all feeling this next month & half!

Libraries

There’s a meme/graphic floating around on Facebook about the importance of libraries and how they are safe havens for the vulnerable. I felt inclined to share it because it resonated with me so much. As I started to really think about it, it occurred to me that in every stage of my life, the library has played an essential role.

  • As a child it was a place for us to kill time after school when our parents were still at work. I remember the 19th century brick of the Bennington Free Library: probably the first place I felt a sense of independence. I could snuggle into the pillows of the children’s section, and borrow movies for FREE! I learned about the Birds & the Bees by a particularly humorous educational cartoon from this library lol . Before entering, I had to gather my courage to pass by the gaggle of teenagers who had laid claim to the front steps, drinking cokes and skateboarding off the handrails. I celebrated each tiny victory
  • As a teenager I would sneak off to the Romance section and peruse through the naughty parts of each book, too ashamed to check one out, but powered by hormones nonetheless. The thrill of hiding among the stacks while reading adult things was  kind of simple pleasure for a 14 year-old. As a young artist, I would wander through the community-featured paintings that libraries often display, wondering if my art would one day be on the wall. As a young writer, I was overjoyed to be invited to recite one of my poems (in front of an audience!) at the library. In the days before Siri, I knew the answers to any question I had could be found beyond those walls.
  • As a college student, I learned how to navigate microfilm, studying an America almost alien to my modern self. Like Indiana Jones, I delved into the ancient tomes: detective to a different era. Before Wikipedia, libraries were key to my success in college. They were also an escape from the chaos of the dorms. The ONLY place that guaranteed quiet.
  • As a homeless, unemployed pregnant 20-something, the library was literally a godsend. I had no money, no healthcare, no resources of my own. I was scared, uneducated about pre-natal care, and was living 1000 miles from home in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana. Very few basic services were available, and the library was one of them. I was able to apply for Medicaid, find a doctor, a job, and most importantly read books about taking care of myself and baby. I am eternally grateful for the vital role the St. Tammany Parish Library played in me & my daughter’s life.
  • As a thirty-something single mom who eventually started WORKING for the Jefferson County Public Library System, the 2nd largest library system in Colorado, I discovered how diverse, vibrant and extensive library services were. Until then I had no idea the amount of programming goes on, how many non-profits are involved, how connected schools, teachers, parents, social workers, government officials, national organizations, local support groups, and dedicated individuals were to their community libraries. They were energy hubs, buzzing with all types of people and brimming opportunities. Yes, it wasn’t all candy and rainbows. Like any public space, libraries deal with struggles, criticism and misuse.

We may be living in a digital age, where people can download any book they want to their phones, tablets or computers. We can search the internet for any answer we want, and at the blink of an eye can access multitudes of information. But libraries provide more than that. They are safe havens. At every stage in my life, libraries were important to me in essential ways, beyond books and magazines. My life & (now) my daughter’s life are better because of libraries. I was a vulnerable kid, teenager, student, mom-to-be, and worker. And I’m eternally grateful for the resources available to me. Thank you libraries. I’ll always be happy to pay taxes that support you.

 

Mega Transit- Heightened Awareness

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together on the epic week I had, starting with the full moon last Wednesday.  I don’t know if epiphany is the right word, or if you even believe in those (it made me think of the below movie..haha).

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I experienced sudden awareness, feeling “woke”, a heightened sensitivity, extreme receptiveness on an issue that was brought to my attention in one physical, mental and spiritual moment. As crazy as it sounds, I felt like I was receiving a message. The energies were that strong.

It began with a cake pop (lol).

Continue reading “Mega Transit- Heightened Awareness”

Old Soul

Happy 2017! As I scroll through Facebook, I see my friends overcome by a passionate determination NOT to repeat 2016; to put that hellish year behind them, to give the previous 12 months the proverbial FINGER. I want to get on the FU train as well, but unfortunately I’m “blessed” by the astrological knowledge that we’re not out of the woods yet. The major cosmic consensus is that 2017 is going to be 2016: Part 2. F.O.L, right?

My astrology group meets tomorrow and we’re going to have a 2017 round table. I’m excited to discuss the planetary movements, and expand my skills and knowledge of the upcoming transits. I’m also psyched to tell my group that I’ve been awarded the 2017 AFAN scholarship, to attend the NCGR astrology conference in Baltimore. Woo hoo! Hopefully there will be someone else attending and we can maybe split the cost of the hotel. I mean, so what if I’m 34 and they are all in their 50s and 60s? Don’t they know that deep down I’m practically ancient?

Since moving to Albuquerque almost 2 years ago (wow), I’ve been struggling to connect. There seems to be an odd gap in my peers: Either straight out of college or nearing retirement. Where are all the 30 somethings? Oh right, blissfully married with kids and buying houses. They aren’t looking to “make new friends”.  Honestly, until I branched out into looking at astrology meet-ups, I was pretty isolated in couplehood and motherhood as well.

I was working on a chart one day and I heard an exclamation from behind my desk.

“I love astrology! You do natal charts?”

I looked up to see snow white hair cascading down from a lined face. The woman was easily my mother’s age. Even so, it’s always exciting to find someone else who is interested in the same fringe topic as you, and we chatted for a while about the planets and our past loves (damn those Scorpios!). So I had made a friend. A friend twice my age, but EFF it.

It’s a good thing I’m an old soul, cuz I can’t wait to mingle among the silver-haired crowd at the conference in February. Maybe it’s not just friends I should be looking for at this point, it’s mentoring, wisdom, networking and guidance.  I hope I don’t look like too much of a newb.  And whatever 2017’s got in store for me, I’m ready to bring it too.

Post Election 2016

I had to go home from work yesterday because I started crying during Hillary’s (and then Obama’s) speech. In a government office where CNN is constantly on, I couldn’t escape it. I cried for my sister, who (due to pre-exisiting conditions) will probably lose her health care in the coming months, if Obamacare is repealed. My boyfriend (a mechanic turned student) would also lose his.  Like many Millenial couples, we’re not married so he can’t be added to my health plan.
I know many, many people in our country are unhappy with the state of their lives. We all had to face harsh realities in the past 8 years. But the key word was REALITY: the USA had a mess to clean up, serious economic, environmental and social issues we had to address. And we were, but the growing pains were VERY apparent. I understand that Obama was asking A LOT of from a country that was entrenched in the way things were.
But I really believe this country was moving forward. Thousands of people finally were able to get insurance. Love was no longer being discriminated against, and my own sister (plus many other friends) was able to finally get married to her partner. We had a president who was actually addressing the fact that our environment was collapsing, and for our kids to literally have a viable PLACE TO LIVE in the future, a major overhaul of the current dependence on fossil fuel was not only necessary but MANDATORY.
And yes, these things changes were extremely difficult for a lot of people. Jobs based on oil, coal and gas were going away, insurance premiums were going up, and people were suffering the brunt of that. I know this. I’m not ignoring this. I see my friends struggling with this everyday. I wish insurance companies and oil corporations had stepped up to offer a cushion for their employees, giving them incentives for being healthy, and ways to transition to green energy careers.  But they weren’t willing to take the financial hit the government was forced to hand out, and it ended up falling on the people. I don’t blame the government for trying to make us healthier and our environment cleaner. These are things that will benefit us in the longer run. But for half of our country, the immediacy of these decisions felt like an assault on their very livelihood. It was like a punch in the gut, which triggered a lot of anger.
For me, when faced with this reality, I had to ask myself “What’s more important? My personal finances or the viability of our planet? My bills, or a very sick person’s health?”  I suppose it all comes down to “me vs. them.” Are we willing to sacrifice parts of our lives in order for others to have a better one? I think that those 2 schools of thought are really the driving force behind what happened during this election. Are we able to look beyond our own struggles, or is the pain, loss, anger and hardship too much for us to bear? I think that when we are in a state of panic over the thought of eviction, bankruptcy, default and poverty (of our children!) we are unable to see beyond those psychological blinders. And as many Trump supporters might say “Why should we?”
But some of us really believe that if we pay our due then the government will return the favor. I am evidence of that. When the housing market crashed, and the economy was so bad I couldn’t afford my own rent, I moved in with my mom and saved until I could find a place (with government assistance). I relied on Head Start (a government funded child care), I lived off food stamps and did what I could (including donating my own DNA to a childless couple) to finally get where I could support myself. It was a combination of hard work, luck (or the planets :P), government help and support from family and friends. I used government programs the way they were intended. I watched my mother in her job as a Social Worker, and saw how our taxes went to work to help people. I saw the struggles, the defeats, the cheaters, but also the success stories (me).
 
I am not an island. I would not be living a reasonably comfortable life without the help of my family and friends and YES the GOVERNMENT. As a head of household and primary breadwinner, I know I cannot do it alone. I too have a family relying on me to support them. I have bills to pay like everyone else. I think both sides of the divide can understand this!  However, I do not blame my struggles on minorities or “illegals taking our jobs” or those who abuse the system. I don’t blame Obama for having to face almost a decade of problems to fix and making some of the most difficult decisions a president can make.
I don’t care that if taxes are high if that means a better education, health care and community resources for our kids. Some people do. I think racism, sexism, classism, and bigotry are behind a great many American’s decision making, but I know that good people voted for Trump too. People who’s lives were thrown into total chaos because of the changes Obama was making. I feel for all who suffered.
But I’m scared. I see people unwilling to be understanding and compassionate. The IDGAF attitude that elected Trump wanted to set a bomb off in our country’s face. OK, but how are we going to deal with the fallout? Who’s going to clean up (if possible) the mess? I feel like lines will be drawn, and innocent people like our children will suffer. There doesn’t need to be a war, but it’s almost as if people would rather see our country become an episode of the Walking Dead than continue the way it was going. And that scares the shit out of me.

Baby Astrologer

Happy Halloween! Gather round ye children and let me tell you the tale of how I discovered the ancient art of Astrology  at the tender age of….

My mom always said I had an old soul. She also said it was my dad’s first time on Earth ….

When I was a young and impressionable tween in rural Vermont, I made the switch from public school to the crunchy granola establishment which I fondly refer to as “Hippie School”. At this school we had the freedom to choose any independent study we wanted.  It literally could be anything from Shakespeare to Klingon. Naturally, this loner was drawn to books. In particular… THIS BOOK:

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I was OBSESSED with this book and it’s weirdly intriguing illustrations. At age 11, I read it almost every day. After memorizing each sordid tale of the Gods and Goddesses, I started connecting the dots between Greek and Roman names and our own solar system.  You know… Zeus = Jupiter,  Ares = Mars, which eventually lead to discovering the names of other stars and constellations in the sky.  Independent Study led to book reports, which led to theatrical adaptations (the crown jewel being “The Abduction of Persephone”), which led to toga designing and epic hair braiding, which led to Julius Caesar, which led to the CD recording of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. 

I was also simultaneously reading YM and Tiger Beat at my friends’ houses, where I was introduced the infamous sun-sign horoscopes. Throw that juicy slice of pop-culture on top of my nerd-fueled obsession with Greek Myths, and it’s no wonder I threw myself wholeheartedly into the “New Age” world. Before you know it, I was buying crystals, burning incense, making dream catchers, writing  semi-erotic mythical fan fiction.

It didn’t help that my dad was a free-spirited musician and my mom a anti-establishment feminist. Until my 8th year of life, I don’t remember my dad wearing anything but sandals and shorts. My mom could not have cared less about my dabblings in the occult. As long as I wasn’t watching consumerist filth on TV and getting pregnant by age 21, I was the perfect child in her eyes. My

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1993- Fish outta water

father was generally uninterested in anything other than sheet music and guitar strings, so I took my freedom and ran with it.

Upon my entrance to teen age,  I started reading tarot cards for friends at school. I found out I was a Pisces, so naturally I bought my first astrology book to DUH.. learn more about myself!  I was in full blown self-discovery mode, and I was going to explore all possible avenues. Mostly it involved reading young adult romance novels with a sci-fi/fantasy theme, and studying magazine horoscopes. This was pre-internet, so I didn’t have the luxury of daily star reports. But I wanted more! How was I supposed to learn about the stars and planets and keep my place as the resident Middle School Fortune Teller?

Then one day my wonderful hippie teacher said the magic word: Ephemeris. She, being the utmost example of encouragement to a young weirdo, opened the pages of the dusty tome:

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OMG. It was incoherent to me. It looked like MATH! Ew. Wayyyyy too intimidating for a 13 year old fish like me. I didn’t open another Ephemeris for 10 years, but I never lost my interest in Astrology. I eagerly filled anyone’s ear who would listen, talking about modalities, elements, compatibility, personalities. It was mostly superficial, but hey it was more than most people knew and understood I discovered!

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1996-Me (in pink), with my Freshman peeps

As you can probably predict as well as any astrologer, my high school years were not filled with football games and pep rallies. I was the studious freak who shopped at thrift stores, listened to Loreena McKennit, played Penny Whistle, and spent my time hanging out the New Age store with people 3x my age. I had a circle of close friends, but by normal high school social standards, I was NOT cool. I was a 90-year old trapped in a teenage girl’s body. People kept telling me I was born in the wrong decade. HA! Try millennium! Astrology  became my solace, where my oddities were affirmed and explained.

I had a brief period of “cool” from 21-24. I was thin, I wore everage-24y horrible Y2K fashion trend out there (including trucker hats),  I went clubbing. I traveled. I got engaged.  I tried to pretend I wasn’t a strange little Pisces. The facade ended abruptly with pregnancy and single-momhood.

So here I am now, 34 with entire bookshelves full of Astrology books. I’ve studied, complied, written, calculated, graphed, and produced bits and pieces of the zodiac arts for indulging friends and neighbors. I’ve gotten astrology readings, and mentored with a family friend who is a professional astrologer. But how do you admit you want to do something “laughable” for a living? How do you reconcile all the practical, responsible, 9-5 job-holding (Capricornian) parts of yourself? How do you get over the fear of not being able to support your own child because of a selfish career choice you made?

Well.. That’s where I’m going.