As war escalates in many places around the world, I’m thinking about Mars. War, violence, and anger are some of the oldest significations of Mars in astrology, in sources such as Teucer of Babylon, Vettius Valens, and Ptolemy, forward to Abu Ma’Shar and William Lilly, and even into 20th and 21st century sources. How am I to make sense of this within a framework of feminist astrology?
If Mars speaks of war, anger, and violence, then it requires us to question our socialization toward war, anger, and violence, the ways we have been conditioned to think of war as a legitimate form of engaging with conflict capable of producing outcomes that are legitimate because they were accomplished through violence. The ways in which anger is so often discouraged or suppressed, especially for folks who are socialized as girls and women, or projected as a deficiency onto those who carry incendiary rage after centuries of injustice, like the stereotype of the “angry Black woman.” Or the ways that anger is often times the only emotional expression acceptable from people socialized as boys and men, to the detriment of their emotional wellbeing and their connection to themselves and others. Mars in someone’s chart can provide us with important information about how that person might deal with conflict, how they may internalize or externalize frustration, whether their temper might be fiery or subdued, intellectualized or practical. But a feminist astrology would never allow someone’s Mars placement—or Mars transit or Mars progression—to function as an excuse or endorsement for someone’s violence, for their mishandling of anger or conflict. Rather, it can provide us with a sense of where and how to concentrate their own efforts toward generative conflict and channeling their anger in alignment with their values.
If someone’s Mars placement or Mars’ influence in dynamic timing techniques coincides with experiences of violence, that is a tragedy, but I refuse to accept that it was necessary that the archetype of Mars find expression in those ways. Rather, we must understand that violence is never an isolated event. As Miriame Kaba once said on How to Survive the End of the World, citing Danielle Sered, “No one enters violence for the first time by committing it … If that’s true, then all this shit that we talk about—these binaries about victims and perpetrators—that explodes it all." She expounds on this idea in an interview with Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement: “It is absolutely true that people who harm people were also harmed. I know people sometimes don’t want to hear that. I know that makes people mad, people feel like that’s an excuse, whatever. But I, with every fiber of my being, the both/and harm and survivorship really sits with me all the time. Cause there’s not one person I’ve worked with who harmed other people that was not also deeply and profoundly harmed themselves in some other context. So, it just makes me much more patient, it makes me much more empathetic, and it just gives me the real understanding that we have to live with the complexity of how harm plays itself out in ourselves, in our community, and in our world” (298). If no one enters violence for the first time by committing it, if every person who causes harm was also harmed, then we must understand every event of violence as an expression of a cascade of violence. This does not eliminate individual responsibility and the need for consequences, but it does suggest that the consequences for violence and harm must include healing for the person who inflicted violence or harm in order to end such cycles.
Bringing this back to astrology, Mars can indeed describe experiences of violence and eruptions of war, but only within social conditions that permit such expressions because we have not adequately done the work of personal and collective healing. And we are still living within such systemic conditions. What if rather than accepting Mars as descriptive of violence as an inevitable outcome, we instead choose to interpret Mars as descriptive of where and how harm must be addressed, where and how anger must be felt, where and how conflict can no longer be avoided? What if a feminist astrology insists on interpreting Mars as descriptive of where we must exercise our most fervent commitments to nonviolence, to refusing abuse and war? I believe this has potential for mundane astrology as well as natal astrology, and perhaps for astrological magic as well.
None of this is to naïvely suggest that simply by interpreting Mars different, we will avoid violence and war. Rather, it is to suggest that the archetypal powers of Mars are capable of more than the proliferation of endless war and senseless violence on this planet, and when we dare to articulate those other possibilities, we do indeed contribute to movements that carry us away from those narrow possibilities. Indeed, even under the conditions of wars that are already underway, how might the interpretation of Mars as a place where we must exercise our most fervent commitments to nonviolence generate more possibilities for how we might navigate war astrologically?
There is so much more to consider here. I feel drawn to return to Judith Butler’s Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable and The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind as resources within which to think more deeply about feminist analyses of war in relation to Mars. I want to return to Audre Lorde's essay, "The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism" for the ways that it so clear articulates how we might work well with anger. But these were my initial thoughts I wanted to share, part of a larger ongoing project for thinking critically about feminist astrology.
On March 5, the Sun will make a conjunction with Jupiter at 14º Pisces, a condition in which Jupiter is said to be in the heart of the Sun or cazimi. This is really lovely because it marks the start of a new solar cycle for Jupiter, a moment of purifying and clarifying the purpose of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations, perhaps even some kind of revelation or realization related to our faith and what we believe about the nature of freedom. This conjunction also happens in Jupiter’s own bounds, which adds even more affirmation to what Jupiter will be able to accomplish this cycle as it becomes a morning star.
For this whole month, Jupiter is technically not visible due to its proximity to the Sun, what ancient astrologers called being “under the beams of the Sun.” When a planet is hidden under the beams, it is often working behind the scenes, in the background, out of the public eye in some sense. This can also be a condition of depletion, a planet scorched by its proximity to the Sun, but because Jupiter is in its domicile, it is said to be in its own chariot, protected from the Sun’s rays—like an oasis in the desert, where it has all the resources it needs in order to provide itself with shelter, hydration, shade and relief. It doesn’t change the blazing, scorching heat that close to the Sun, but it has the resources with which to mitigate that condition.
All of that said, Jupiter making this conjunction with the Sun is like two royals having a meeting or congress with one another, extending favor to one another, and marking the start of a new journey as Jupiter will then appear as a morning star in a few weeks (around March 25). Jupiter is being renewed and refreshed during this conjunction on March 5, which has the potential to be really excellent for the Pisces and Sagittarius parts of our charts that Jupiter rules. Something is getting reborn at the close of one cycle and the start of another. How can you make yourself more available for this renewal?
[Image read: 5 March 2022: Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in light lettering on a dark teal starfield]
On March 3, both Mars and Venus will make conjunctions with Pluto at 27º Capricorn, with the asteroid Vesta less than 1º away. As they each conjoin Pluto, the push-and-pull, together-but-separate dynamic that has been unfolding between Venus and Mars since their conjunction on February 16 could get intensified or magnified in some way. It could also be a time when we must confront the power dynamics operating within those kinds of entanglements, the potentially toxic or even abusive ways in which desire can be exploited or manipulated. Where are you disempowered, undermined, or even harmed by following the thrall of relationships that fueled by compulsion rather than care? Transformation and even healing are possible, but only if we are willing face the shadows and bring light into our own underworlds. With Vesta close at hand, this could be a reclamation of your own sexual agency and power, erotic healing that comes from committing to sacred forms of sexuality in which you honor the abiding flame of your inherent worth—even if doing so requires refusing the machinations of others.
This could be a time for going deep into the conflicts in our relationships, knowing that moving toward conflict rather than avoiding it is a bid for greater intimacy. It requires courage and vulnerability to be truthful in your needs and desires, to listen and respect the needs and desires of others, to acknowledge and explore how those trajectories diverge as well as finding where and how they might align. I often think of a quote Kazu Haga shared on the Finding Our Way Podcast with Prentis Hemphill: “Conflict is the spirit of the relationship asking itself to deepen.” As Mars and Venus conjoin Pluto, what are the depths of relating to which conflict is calling you?
[Image read: 3 March 2022: Mars and Venus conjunct Pluto in light lettering on a dark starfield]
Secondary progressions is by far one of my favorite astrological timing techniques, due in no small part to the teaching and mentorship of Kelly Surtees.
Secondary progressions—often simply called progressions—looks to a day of life to describe a year of life, such that the 90 or so days following birth foreshadow the 90 or so years of an average life. The transits—or the real-time movements of the planets—on the days following one’s birth provide a microcosm of the macrocosm of one’s life, like a fractal unfolding across multiple scales of time. These scales of time are fundamentally solar in that both a day and a year are defined by the movements of the Sun—a day demarcated by the Sun’s rising and setting, a year demarcated by the Sun’s journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac. The Sun’s journey through the zodiac correlates to the cycle of the seasons, the Wheel of the Year, which is qualitatively similar to the warming and cooling of each day and night. Sunrise is like springtime, noon like summer, the setting Sun like autumn, and midnight like winter. Progressions recognizes a kind of equivalency between these solar cycles in order to describe the developments and becomings that compose a life. While we can look at any planet by secondary progression, the framework for this technique is defined by the motion of the Sun. Even the progressed lunation cycle—arguably one of the most popular and useful components of working with secondary progressions—is defined by the progressed Moon’s relationship to the progressed Sun, a matter of condition relative to the synodic cycle.
Why is the Sun so central in this technique? Perhaps because the Sun is the source and sustenance of all life in our solar system. Our lives are the unfolding of living thermodynamic processes that begin with the Sun. Astrologically, the Sun also describes a central organizing principle in our charts/lives, as I recently discussed with Kelly Surtees in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=573Nd32Gcf8
Progressions are also entirely personal. Unlike transits that we are all experiencing in our own ways simultaneously, progressions are specific developments from the origin point of our unique charts. That uniqueness also reflects a solar principle: the Sun is the only star in our solar system, the only celestial body that generates its own light. It is unique in these ways, and similarly progressions describe developments that are entirely unique to us.
In working with progressions, along with the progressed lunation phase, we can pay attention to when progressed planets change signs or bounds, when they make aspects back to the natal chart, when they station retrograde or direct, or when they make conjunctions with fixed stars. We can also look at the movements of the progressed angles—the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven, and IC—but know that there are a number of different ways to calculate the progressed angles. Some people also interpret progressed planets aspecting progressed planets, but I prefer there to be some direct connection back to the natal chart.
If you would like to learn more about progressions, here are a few excellent courses that Kelly has available:
-Intro to Progressions: https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/live-webinar-introduction-to-predicting-with-progressions/
-Predicting with Progressions: https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/predicting-with-progressions-workshop/
-Professional Predictive Power (blending progressions and transits): https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/professional-predictive-power/
Kelly also had a great discussion about secondary progressions with Chris Brennan on The Astrology Podcast in 2018: https://theastrologypodcast.com/2018/02/22/secondary-progressions/
I use secondary progressions in all of my Year Ahead + Timing astrology consultations. If you would like to learn what is developing in your own secondary progressions, you can book a consultation with me on my Bookings page.
If I am currently fully booked for consultations, you can join my Mailing List here, and you will be notified when I am booking consultations again.
I was very excited to be invited as a guest co-host with Vanessa Montgomery for The Cosmic Eye Monthly Forecast on the Astrology University Podcast. We chat about all things Pisces, classic Pisces folks Kate Bornstein, Amanda Gorman, and Simone Biles, PLUS the new and full Moon, the Venus/Mars marathon conjunction, Venus enclosed by Mars and Saturn, Jupiter in Pisces, and this month’s cosmic movements so you can plan your month ahead in alignment with the energies unfolding.
We also talk about TGIJP—the Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project—as this month’s featured nonprofit. TGIJP is an advocacy and support organization for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated transgender, gender-variant, and intersex people. Learn more and donate to their work today at http://www.tgijp.org/about-us.html
You can listen to the podcast here or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Erotic Ecologies + Embodiment: Maps for Making + Revelation
A Threshold Event hosted by home—body
I was delighted to be part of this public conversation “Erotic Ecologies + Embodiments” at 1:30pm eastern on February 13, 2022. This event was hosted by Mary Grace Allerdice with guests Alkistis Dimech, Anicka Austin, and myself.
We explore connections between the erotic and creative embodiment, the erotic as a way of seeing and knowing the world(s) of which we are a part, the power of the erotic, and more.
February 16 is the first of two conjunctions Venus and Mars will make this year. Venus stationed direct on January 29, and is still moving rather slowly, allowing Mars to overtake Venus in this first conjunction. For the next month, Venus and Mars will be moving within 1º of one another. This could be a tense but passionate dance between these two planets over several weeks. Then they will make their second exact conjunction at 0º Aquarius as Venus builds speed to pass Mars, just minutes after they both ingress into Aquarius on March 6. Venus draws us toward connection with beauty and grace; Mars severs and separates, cutting ties or charging off on our own. At their best together, Venus and Mars can describe the erotic thrill of intimacy and distance, pulling one another close, backing away, then coming together again. Mars keeps us from merging, and across the space between us, we are enraptured with longing. When more troublesome, this dynamic could describe relationship dynamics that are on again/off again, the uncertainty of are we together or are we separated, and the anxiety that comes with unstable attachments. Try to be mindful of these dynamics and make choices during this time that both align with your values and honor your boundaries. These two conjunctions and the weeks in between could also describe a weaving together of the areas of your life ruled by Venus and Mars. Look to the parts of your chart occupied by Taurus, Libra, Aries, and Scorpio, and consider how those areas of your life might be described by this dance of arousal, connection, separation, and reconnection.
[Image reads: 16 February 2022: Venus Conjunct Mars in light lettering on a dark starfield]
I’m so excited to share this episode of The Strology Show hosted by Kirah Tabourn with guests Mo Olufemi, Jason Kei, and me discussing the earth signs—Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo—in astrology!
This was such a rich and satisfying conversation, and it was an honor to be talking with such brilliant and thoughtful colleagues. Whether you have significant placements in one of these signs—like your Ascendant, ruler of your Ascendant, Sun, or Moon—or you are a student or practitioner of astrology interested in hearing some old and new perspectives of these signs, I hope you give it a listen.
[Image 1 reads: Season 3 Episode 2 The Strology Show Earth Signs with Michael J. Morris, Jason Kei & Mo Olufemi with images of Michael, Jason, and Mo in the middle of a light blue background. Image 2 reads: Season 3 Episode 2 On this episode – Kirah is joined by Michael J. Morris, Jason Kei, and Mo Olufemi to talk all about the Earth Signs. Listen as they deep dive into qualities of each earth sign, address stereotypes and explore the nature of the earth element in astrology and society.]
I am very pleased to release the video and audio recordings of a presentation entitled “The Atomic Age, Urgency, Danger, and Kinship: Astrology and Climate Collapse” which I co-presented with Drew Levanti on December 12, 2021, at the Astrology and Climate Change Conference, hosted by the Mayo School of Astrology. The recordings are available for immediate download here.
The threat of total annihilation pervades the discourse on climate change, significantly entering public consciousness with the cataclysmic initiation of the Atomic Age. Following threads of prominent configurations between the Moon and Saturn in the inception charts of the atomic bomb, we examine features of not only the ecological realities of climate collapse but also relational complexities for mitigating the relentless acceleration of extraction, consumption, and extinction endemic within these global crises.
-90-min video recording (mp4)
-90-min audio recording (m4a)
Imbolc—one of the eight sabbats in the Wheel of the Year—is the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, traditionally observed on February 1. Imbolc is often translated as “in the belly,” describing the forthcoming spring germinating beneath the cold ground of winter. It is a time when we cultivate hope and honor that which is yet to come.
This year on February 1, we have a New Moon in Aquarius, just 3º from a conjunction with Saturn—the ruler of Aquarius—and closely squaring Uranus in Taurus. After a year of Saturn and Uranus moving in and out of exact squares with one another, this New Moon has the potential to mark a new beginning, planting the seeds of systems and structures for supporting the worlds to which we aspire. In the aftershocks of all the disruption and destabilization we have experienced, what are the ideas and ideologies that we are gestating capable of carrying us into the futures to which we are devoted?
The Sun is in its antithesis or detriment in Aquarius—sometimes called its exile. It is a place that is far from its home sign of Leo, a territory where it must make use of the unfamiliar resources of distant places in order to accomplish that for which it is responsible. Whatever perspectives and plans we are developing must come from the margins, emerging from the spaces far from those currently enshrined at the center of our social values.
At the same time, Venus is conjunct the asteroid Vesta in Capricorn (see previous post). It is a time for asking: what do you consider to be your sacred calling? What if the altar of your sacred calling burns with the flames of your truest desires?
May we all follow the flame of our hearts’ desires—especially those that are excluded or marginalized within our current world—to discover the blueprints for the worlds we will build together.
[Image 1 reads Astrology of the Wheel of the Year Imbolc 1 February 2022 in gold letters on a background collage of stars and flowers. Image 2 shows the chart for Imbolc on 1 February 2022 at sunset, 7:44am in Columbus, OH, USA]
Vesta is the Roman goddess of the hearth fire, the keeper of the sacred flame, the goddess of hospitality and the home, as well as principles of ritual and sacred sexuality. As a virgin goddess who belonged to no one but herself, Vesta symbolized self-determination, choosing one’s own path, even if doing so requires rejecting the expectations of others. In the myths of Hestia—the Greek goddess with whom Vesta became syncretized—the gods Apollon and Poseidon both sought her hand in marriage. Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin, not in the sense of sexual chastity but in the sense of belonging to only herself. Zeus agreed, and she took her place at the royal hearth of Olympus. Hestia chose her own calling and in doing so committed herself to a life of sacred devotion.
As Venus makes a conjunction with Vesta—just days after stationing direct, and in a close trine with revolutionary Uranus in Taurus—you might consider: to what are you devoted? In what ways have you acquiesced to the expectations or desires of others—particularly in your relationships—and how might you commit yourself to a more authentic path? Venus is just emerging from its retrograde cycle, and it seems that one of the first ways we will be integrating the lessons of the last 42 days will be to return to our own desires, our sacred hearth fires, and commit to our own self-determination, even if doing so requires refusing or disappointing other people’s expectations. This does not mean a refusal of relationships or even partnerships with others, but it does invite us to no longer abandon ourselves and our desires, whether or not we are in committed partnerships.
What do you consider to be your sacred calling? What if the altar of your sacred calling burns with the flames of your truest desires? In other words, you will know what you are here to do as you choose to devote yourself to your heart’s desires, trusting that they will light the path to which you are called.
[Image reads: 1 February 2022 Venus conjunct the asteroid Vesta at 11º Capricorn in light lettering on a dark starfield]
Erotic Ecologies + Embodiment: Maps for Making + Revelation
A Threshold Event hosted by home—body
I am very excited to be participating in this public conversation “Erotic Ecologies + Embodiments” at 1:30pm eastern on February 13, 2022. This event will be hosted by Mary Grace Allerdice with guests Alkistis Dimech, Anicka Austin, and myself.
We will be exploring connections between the erotic and creative embodiment, the erotic as a way of seeing and knowing the world(s) of which we are a part, the power of the erotic, and more.
In addition to the live discussion, we'll dedicate 20-25 minutes to answer questions specifically from the live audience.
This event is FREE and open to the public.
You can sign up here.
I hope you join us!
I was recently delighted to sit down for a conversation with Kelly Surtees of Kelly's Astrology. Kelly is one of my astrology teachers and mentors, and I am a teaching assistant in many of Kelly’s online courses. We sat down to discuss what the Sun and the Ascendant mean in a birth chart, and ended up discussing differences between ancient and modern astrology, the nature of personhood, the foundations of a feminist understanding of astrology, and more. The video is available on Kelly’s YouTube channel, and I am so grateful to be able to share a conversation I found so rich and satisfying with you all!
On January 11, Mars in Sagittarius will make a square with Neptune in Pisces, both at 20º. Mars often describes fiery, assertive, driven, and even divisive action, and in Sagittarius, this can be directed toward expanding one’s territory, striking out beyond familiar borders, and conquering that which demands courageous adaptation. However, as Mars squares Neptune, we may find ourselves charging into a tidal wave that sweeps us off our feet, swirling us around and disorienting our plans. It might be challenging to accomplish your intentions around this aspect. At best, you might surrender to the current, adjust your plans to move with the tide, even if it takes you off course. With Jupiter in Pisces ruling both Mars and Neptune, it does feel as if there is some oversight, some promise or potential that even if you find yourself wrestling with the waves or surrendering to their force, this confusion might lead the way to something greater than you could have anticipated.
[Image reads: 11 January 2022 Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces in light lettering on a starfield that fades from a reddish tint to a teal tint]
As Venus moves into the heart of the Sun on January 8—a condition known as cazimi—we are halfway through Venus’ retrograde in Capricorn. What this retrograde cycle holds and describes for each of us will be unique to our own charts, but Venus’ general significations of love, desire, pleasure, union, beauty, aesthetic harmony, and justice are under review in the cardinal earth domicile of Saturn. This may be a time when you have been reflecting on what it means to love in ways that are sustainable and enduring, reviewing the deep structures of your commitments, and reassessing the boundaries that allow you to love well. As Venus makes its inferior conjunction with the Sun, it finds favor and resources that may have felt scarce over the last several weeks. This is a moment of renewal as Venus becomes a morning star, even as it continues to move retrograde over the next several weeks, still hidden beneath the beams of the Sun. The lessons of this retrograde may come into some measure of greater clarity or focus today. Pay attention to the dynamics unfolding in your relationships, your desires, and your sense of beauty and justice. Venus will not emerge from under the beams of the Sun until around January 18 and will not station direct until January 29—so this journey is not yet over and all that has been undergoing review beneath the surface has not yet been revealed. But as Venus makes this conjunction on January 8, we are moving through a significant turning point along the way.
[Image reads: 8 January 2022 Venus Cazimi at 18º Capricorn in dark lettering on a bright spot within a dark starfield]
Juno is the Roman goddess of the feminine, marriage and commitment, the counterpart to Jupiter and protector of the community and the state. Astrologer Demetra George describes Juno as “the principle of relatedness and commitment to the other,” “one’s capacity for meaningful relationship and commitment to another person.”
On January 7, Venus will make a conjunction with the asteroid Juno as part of Venus’ longer retrograde journey. Our capacities for commitment within our most significant partnerships are being woven into the larger process of reflection and review described by this Venus retrograde.
Feminist philosopher Judith Butler writes on the subject of love and commitment:
“Commitment would be the agreement to commit oneself anew, time and again, precisely when circumstances change. And this would mean changing the concrete meaning of commitment as circumstances change … if commitment is to be alive, that is, if it is to belong to the present, then the only commitment one can make is to commit oneself again and again. ‘I love you and I choose you again and again.’ I did not just choose you once, but I continued to choose you, and what there is of me in my speech is given to you again and again through this speech act, declaration, vow, and promise, one that binds me to you in the present, whatever present that happens to be.”
As Venus makes this conjunction with Juno, you may find yourself assessing your commitments, committing yourself anew, once again, making your commitment to those you love alive in this present moment, choosing those you love again and again. Doing so may require considerable reflection, asking the questions: why is it that I choose this love, this commitment, now again? How can my love be more than simply a habit or pattern and instead emerge as a clear choice under these current conditions?
Venus will make another conjunction with Juno this year, at 21º Aquarius on March 28. You may notice reverberations between these two connections on January 7 and March 28.
[Image reads: 7 January 2022 Venus Rx conjunct the asteroid Juno at 19º Capricorn in light lettering on a dark starfield]
Today is the third and final exact square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus, both at 11º. These are degrees where they have already been: Saturn was here around March 28 and July 21, Uranus was here around May 8 and will be here again on February 12, 2022. So, not only is this the third of three squares, it is happening on familiar territory. While Uranus can be unpredictable, it is unlikely that this third square will break new ground. Rather, this aspect may be more like an aftershock, the ongoing reverberations of internal and external events that have been in motion since at least the first square in February.
Where have you been experiencing the collision of insistently revolutionary change with unwavering and potentially limiting beliefs about the world as it is or as it can be? How have the longings of your body propelled you toward a path of liberation this year, despite the constraints of rigid ideology? Where are you feeling destabilized or disrupted, and what structures might you build to hold the changes you have been experiencing? These conflicts that have been set up and intensified throughout 2021 will continue to unfold throughout the remainder of Saturn’s time in Aquarius and will no doubt play an important role in defining Uranus’ transit through Taurus until 2026. While this is the last exact square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus, they will come very close to an exact square at multiple points in 2022.
If you would like to learn more about how this story continues to unfold in the year ahead, my Astrology Guide for 2022 is currently available for immediate download.
[Image reads SATURN SQUARE URANUS 24 December 2021 in light green letters on a dark brown background.]
As the Sun enters Capricorn on December 21, we observe Yule or the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere—the longest night of the year, as the Sun crosses the degree of its maximum southern declination, when the north pole is inclined furthest from the Sun. It’s a time for turning inward, for honoring the fallow period of winter, for drawing close to those we love and creating light and life with one another to see us through the darkness. It is also a moment of rebirth for the Sun, as from this point the days will gradually grow longer.
This year as the Sun enters Capricorn, it joins Mercury, Pluto, and Venus, just a few days into its retrograde and still closely conjunct Pluto. This Venus retrograde invites us to reflect on our commitments, examine the ways that power operates in our most enduring relationships, unearth the ways in which we re-enact our experiences of trauma or harm in our patterns of relating, and build foundations that can support our ability to love well. At the time of the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn, Mercury is also conjunct the asteroid Juno, the queen of heaven and goddess of loving commitments. How do you express you love to those with who you are committed? How do you commit yourself in words to being in practices of love, even when they require work or facing what might be difficult? This is the context into which the Sun is moving as we mark the start of winter.
The brilliant bell hooks, who is now a Black feminist ancestor, writes in All About Love: New Visions, “Love is an action, a participatory emotion. Whether we are engaged in a process of self-love or of loving others we must move beyond the realm of feeling to actualize love. This is why it is useful to see love as a practice. When we act, we need not feel inadequate or powerless; we can trust that there are concrete steps to take on love’s path. We learn to communicate, to be still and listen to the needs of our hearts, and we learn to listen to others. We learn compassion by being willing to hear the pain, as well as the joy, of those we love.”
May we all recognize love as an action, moving beyond the realm of feeling to engage in the practice of loving, learning to communicate, to be still and listen, to hear the pain as well as the joy of our own hearts and the hearts of those we love.
[Image 1 reads: Astrology of the Wheel of the Year Yule Winter Solstice 21 December 2021 in gold letters on a dark green background of flowers and stars. Image 2 shows the chart for the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn on 21 December 2021 in Columbus, OH.]
Several months ago, I had the opportunity to discuss one of my all-time favorite artists, Meredith Monk, through the lens of her natal chart with astrologers, colleagues, and friends Drew Levanti and Òscar Moisés Díaz.
You can listen to our whole conversation on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G43kSBGrtA4
While no longer the mathematical midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, Samhain is a time at which we celebrate the symbolic passage from the point at which daylight and nighttime were equal through the increasing darkness toward the longest night of the year. It is the witches’ new year, the ending of one cycle and the beginning of the next. It is a time when the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, when we honor our beloved dead and the inescapable truth that death is part of Life.
This year as the Sun sets on October 31, the Moon in Virgo is in the Waning Quarter phase, surrendering its light and moving deeper into shadow. It is also separating from a trine with Uranus in Taurus. Sometimes the process of letting go of what is no longer necessary for our journey leaves us trembling, shaken and unsettled as we part ways with what is no longer ours to carry.
The Sun in Scorpio is separating from a square with Saturn in Aquarius. What comes into view as you move beyond the places you never thought you would pass? Sometimes the only way through the barricades of rigid ideology is the swim deeper beneath the surface into the depths of where our established logics no longer hold.
Mercury in Libra is applying to a trine with Jupiter in Aquarius. How can you practice your most generous communication—both speaking and listening—with the living and the dead? What becomes more possible when you not only speak in a voice that is already more than your own but listen that way as well?
Venus in Sagittarius is conjunct the asteroid Juno, the Queen of Heaven and wife of Jupiter. You may find that as we move farther into this dark season, you long for the commitments capable of holding the wildfires of your passions. To whom are you devoted, and how do you sustain the blaze of love and desire within the partnerships to which you are committed?
May you release what is no longer yours, dive deep beneath any unyielding formations of your rational mind, practice listening and speaking in ways that are larger than any individual self, and devote yourself to love that can carry you through the long nights ahead. Blessed Samhain.
[Image 1 reads: Astrology of the Wheel of the Year Samhain 31 October 2021 in gold letters on a dark green background of flowers and stars. Image 2 shows the chart for sunset on 31 October 2021 in Columbus, OH.]