I’ve been navigating considerable political despair the last few days leading up to and following the elections in the U.S.
I’m so grateful for all the folks amplifying the many victories to be celebrated all around the country, and I’m also feeling the grief of the losses, both in Ohio and at the national scale, the promises by the current administration that cannot be delivered because of the congressional losses, and what it means to live in a state that re-elected a governor and elected a senator who are viciously opposed to bodily autonomy and reproductive justice. If you’re feeling any of this too, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
To be honest, I’m not through the despair, but here are a few things that are helping:
-Remembering that other possible worlds already exist within our communities of practice and ecosystems of justice that are growing in emergent ways regardless of any government or nationstate
-Contributing to the healing and well-being of those who are closest at hand—my loved ones, folks in my communities, and the clients and students with whom I work
-Moving, dancing, breathwork, walking—all of which keep me connected to the felt sensation of change (Goddess is change, to paraphrase Octavia E. Butler)
-Going outside and spending time with the sun and moon and stars who hold stories that are so much more expansive than this political moment
-Spending time with rocks who hold histories and possibilities that will outlive us all
-Apocalypse Potion and Yes Liberation Elixir from Dori Midnight
-Remembering that the problems we are facing have been hundreds of years in the making, and the solutions will be as well (Angela Davis). We will not see the outcome of many of our struggles, and so we are struggling not only for immediate victories but for worlds and lives we will never see.
-Returning to the work of the artists, writers, and witches who have taught me how to envision elsewhere and otherwise in the here and now
Today is Samhain, often called the Witches’ New Year. It is the final harvest sabbat, one of the ancient Celtic cross-quarter days marking the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Although the exact midpoint is no longer on October 31—this year it falls closer to November 7—many witches still observe the traditional date as a sacred time in the Wheel of the Year. It is an in-between period as the nights are growing longer, the trees are surrendering their leaves, and the last fruits of many crops are gathered.
It is also a time when we honor our beloved dead, those who have passed back into the great cycles of decomposition and regeneration.
We are always moving with the dead.
Go for a walk, and every place your foot falls is full of those who have come before.
We can know this, even as we also know that death is a great mystery. In some sense, there is no death, only life, the endless transformation of states. And yet we also know loss, we are broken apart by grief, losing some parts of who we were when we lose those we love.
As the nights continue to grow longer, we descend into this realm of darkness, this mystery, this blackness of all that came before and all that is yet to come and all that we cannot perceive in excess of the visible and the present.
This is a time for surrendering certainty, for sitting with deep questions without answers, for feeling our way into the dark.
If you feel so moved, you might create an altar to your ancestors—of blood, of path, of possibility—the ancestors of the land, the more-than-human ancestors reaching across deep time.
You might think of this time as a moment in the spiral of time inflected with ending/beginning, letting go of what is no longer needed and opening to what you don’t yet know that you need.
I hope you are staying warm, soft, and slow. Those are some of the spells I am casting today.
Mars stations retrograde on October 30 and will be retrograde until January 12. This retrograde cycle is at the heart of Mars’ extended journey through the sign of Gemini from August 20, 2022-March 25, 2023. As Mars moves retrograde, we may need to revisit and reconsider points of contention or conflict, both in our own thinking as well as in our conversations or connections with others.
Black feminist activist and scholar Angela Davis—who has Mars in Gemini in her natal chart—writes in an essay entitled “Difficult Dialogues”:
“We fight the same battles over and over again. They are never won for eternity, but in the process of struggling together, in community, we learn how to glimpse new possibilities that otherwise never would have become apparent to us, and in the process we expand and enlarge our very notion of freedom.”
This feels like valuable wisdom to bring into this Mars retrograde cycle in Gemini: the battles in which we are engaged are never won for eternity. We fight them again and again, and in doing so, as we engage in these struggles with one another, we learn how to glimpse new possibilities that we would perhaps never have known if we had avoided the conflict or turned away from the fight.
If during this period of the year you find yourself revisiting and rehashing conflict—particularly around the topics of the house that Gemini occupies in your chart—consider that rather than struggling to win or to be right, a possible goal for engaging in such conflict can be to come to recognize what we could not recognize in any other way. What are you learning about yourself, one another, the situation, or the world in which we live because of this clash of perspectives? What is becoming more possible because of revisiting and reviewing this conflict again and again? And how might these lessons expand or enlarge your very notion of what it means to be free?
On October 25, there will be a Solar Eclipse at 2º Scorpio.
Eclipses bring the kind of change that comes from an interruption of expected patterns, sometimes interruptions that come from witnessing the shadow of something we have not previously been ready or able to see. Every solar eclipse is part of a Saros Series, a family of eclipses that gradually spiral from one pole of the planet to the another over the course of hundreds of years. This eclipse is part of Saros Series 6 South, which began on March 6, 1049. At the origin of the series to which this eclipse belongs, the Sun and Moon were conjunct Venus in Pisces—where Venus is exalted—suggesting that eclipses in this series may bring some kind of dramatic new developments or disruptions related to love, desire, pleasure, or artistic pursuits. At the same time, Mars in Leo was opposing Pluto in Aquarius, which can describe conflict or struggles with power or those in authority, challenging the misuses or abuses of power that we are witnessing.
At the time of this eclipse on October 25, the Sun and Moon will once again be conjunct Venus, now in Scorpio where Venus is in detriment. This concentrates the Venusian themes of love and relationships, perhaps coming to major turning points once we acknowledge ways we feel under-resourced or deficient in our loving connections, perhaps requiring going deep into areas that might feel uncomfortable or difficult to face. There may be challenging power dynamics that we have to confront in order to truly love in the ways that we need. This eclipse is likely to be most personal for folks who have visible planets at 2º Scorpio, and we may also see events related to these themes reverberating throughout public life.
Altogether, I am reminded of several quotes from bell hooks:
“Trust is the foundation of intimacy. When lies erode trust, genuine connection cannot take place.”
“To be loving we willingly hear each other’s truth and, most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.”
“Love can never take root in a relationship based on domination and coercion … there can be no love when there is domination.”
Whether you experience this eclipse in a deeply personal way or not, I hope it reminds all of us to examine how we are loving—affirming truth and trust, refusing domination and coercion, in all of our relationships.
The Sun ingresses into Libra at 9:03pm eastern on Thursday, September 22, marking the equinox and the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere. It is a time when the hours of day and night are equal in length, as the Sun crosses the celestial equator. Libra is described as the sign of the Sun’s fall or depression, in part because as it moves through this sign, its light and power diminish. Libra is also a sign concerned with cooperation, collaboration, and holding the needs of others together in balance and harmony, whereas the Sun is a singular, centralizing force around which all others orbit. In Libra, the Sun is challenged with distributing attention away from the one and toward others, building relations rather than blazing ahead alone.
This year as the Sun enters Libra, it moves immediately into a conjunction with Mercury, still in its retrograde cycle. Their conjunction will be exact on September 23, a condition known as cazimi when Mercury is in the heart of the Sun. The equinox is likely to bring some fresh flash of clarity or understanding amidst weeks when communication and the transmission of ideas have a tendency to go awry.
At the Sun’s ingress, its ruler Venus is in the sign of its fall as well, in Virgo, in aversion to the Sun and applying to an opposition with Neptune which goes exact on September 24. Venus opposing Neptune can be a time when our relational boundaries feel blurry or eroded, when the practical details of how to love well may be drowned out by projections and unachievable ideals. As we start this new season focused on cooperation, collaboration, and building relations with others, remember that boundaries support our capacity to love and that love is more than a feeling or a fantasy. bell hooks writes, “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.”
On September 9, Mercury stations retrograde for the third time in 2022. The retrograde station is at 8º Libra, and Mercury will move back to 24º Virgo where it will station direct on October 2.
There is a theme across the majority of Mercury’s retrogrades this year, starting in an air sign, then stationing direct in an earth sign—a pattern that could invite us to consider the tangible, material implications of our thoughts and ideas, grounding our perspectives in the material conditions of our lives. When Mercury stations retrograde in Libra, it is opposing Jupiter in Aries, trine Mars in Gemini, and exchanging signs with Venus in Virgo. Mercury in Libra can describe connecting with collaborators, being in conversation with co-conspirators, and finding ways to translate across our differences to find ways of moving forward that take many voices and needs into consideration. With the opposition to Jupiter in Aries, we may find the task of collective action overwhelming in some way or struggle to make connections between the small scale and the larger scale. The trine with Mars in Gemini could indicate that it is through struggling with our fundamental interdependence and wrestling to find the words with which to meet one another that we might finally come together. With Mercury and Venus exchanging signs in aversion to one another—unable to witness each other—a theme of this retrograde could be asking whose voices are left out because they seem to share nothing in common with us? The retrograde is a time of reflection, review, and re-evaluation, returning to terrain we’ve already covered to discover a different way forward.
Mercury and Venus will meet up in Virgo on September 26, finally having found common ground. Then when Mercury stations direct on October 2, it will be time to make the most efficient use of our available materials to put our plans into action. When Mercury returns to 8º Libra and clears its retrograde shadow on October 17, it will once again be co-present Venus, suggesting that it is possible to reach some kind of alignment with those who may have seemed entirely incongruous at the start.
[Image reads: 9 September 2022 Mercury stations retrograde at 8º Libra, 2 October 2022 Mercury stations direct at 24º Virgo, in light lettering on a dark green starfield]
What if the “fate vs. free will” debate in astrology is a framing that risks obfuscating other philosophies and models for understanding what astrology is/does?
I prefer instead contemplating astrology as an assemblage of agencies both human and more-than-human that is always emerging from a cloud of determinacy and indeterminacy.
Astrology is a human practice of co-creating meaning with that which is more than human—most notably the sky, the planets, the stars, the asteroids, light, motion, and our place on earth, but also the body, language, myth, archetypes, technology, social systems, cultural biases, etc.
None of these forces are static, stable, resolute, or lifeless. They each have their own movements, their trajectories without teleologies, their irresolvable aggregations of affects, impressions, and relations—all of which conspire to generate the possibility of cosmic stories in which we implicated.
Astrology is co-created, always made, never found, even if it is made from what is found. Astrology is not simply what we find in the world or sky but what we make of what we find—and this is a “we” that is never only human and making through which we are also made. In this assemblage of forces, materials, and intelligences, much is made possible while much remains impossible. Some things are determined in advance, not simply BY the planets but WITH the planets, and also with social systems rooted in domination, exploitation, oppression, and violence—for example—that enable some ways of living while foreclosing others.
Any notion of radical free will that does not account for the constraints of social systems and power acting on and through us—let alone the larger ecological conditions including the cosmos which vastly exceed human control—is naïve at best and willfully delusional at worst.
But any notion of an entirely deterministic fatedness that does not recognize the multiplicity of possibilities within even the most seemingly predictable systems misses the exuberant potentiality of life itself. The planets and other celestial bodies describe powerful currents within the assemblage we call astrology and demonstrate an uncanny capacity for correlation with terrestrial experiences and events.
Yet all throughout the astrological traditions, the planets (and signs and houses, etc.) remain persistently multivalent, irreducible to any single signification or delineation. Even at its most precise, predictive astrology remains inherently unpredictable, and this is in part because the relations we center within our astrological awareness are only ever part of the assemblage.
Rather than fate or free will, we are always one movement within a much larger choreography that is always partially constrained yet never fully determined in advance, a constellation of emergent possibilities that must be met in the living moment, irreducible to calculations or representations but to which we bring our calculations and representations and our felt sensations and intimations and breath and WiFi and two-dimensional charts of the sky and all our shelves and stacks of books and our late night conversations with loved ones and the words of our teachers and glimpses of shining lights between the clouds and our grasping at the ineffable and our sparks of recognition and and and and and this is where astrology happens.
On August 20, Mars enters the sign of Gemini where it will be until March 25, 2023. That is over seven months, which is a long time for Mars to remain in one sign. This extended stay is due to Mars’ retrograde cycle in Gemini. Mars will be retrograde from October 30-January 12.
Gemini is a mutable air sign ruled by the planet Mercury, a sign associated with sociality, dialogue and discourse, gathering the data, analyzing and synthesizing multiple points of view, and adapting one’s perspective to account for new information as it becomes available. Gemini is driven by seemingly boundless curiosity, the desire to learn more, to engage in conversation with others, and formulate a clear, critically-thinking analysis. In general, Mars in Gemini can be assertive, argumentative, prone to debate or verbal conflicts, aggressive speaking as well as mental frustration.
Mars’ journey through Gemini can be an invitation to acknowledge, address, revisit, and reconsider points of contention or conflict, both in your own thinking as well as in your conversations or connections with others, doing repair where there has been harm, and exploring where there may be potential for partial alignments or agreements between seemingly irreconcilable positions. Especially during the retrograde period, we may find ourselves returning to difficult or even painful conversations, re-engaging with ties that had been severed, expressing frustration or injury where needed, and doing our bests to listen well and also to be heard clearly.
[Image reads: 20 August 2022: Mars ingresses into Gemini, in light lettering on a dark red and yellow starfield]
In case you missed it, within the last week, the Supreme Court has:
-ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, with no requirement to demonstrate any need for carrying a gun, a radical interpretation of the Second Amendment (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen)
-overturned federal protections of abortion, compromising the bodily autonomy of millions of Americans as dozens of states have immediately moved to criminalize or severely restrict access to abortion (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health)
-ruled that Christian public school teachers have the right to pray and lead students in prayer, despite the separation of church and state on which this country is said to be founded and despite the First Amendment (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District)
-ruled that states have the authority to exercise jurisdiction in Indian country because “Indian country is part of the State,” potentially violating hundreds of years of treaties that protect Indigenous sovereignty, a ruling made on the heels of the overturning of Roe v. Wade which Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt specifically linked to fear that reservations would make access to abortion available in ways that dissent from state law (Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta)
-limited the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency in regulating greenhouse gas emissions—on a planet in the midst of climate collapse and rising global average temperatures—which has potential implications for other regulation agencies (West Virginia v. EPA)
This list is devastating.
These are the decisions of an extremist court determined to eviscerate bodily autonomy, Indigenous sovereignty, and ecological survival in service to a Christian theocracy. This is a death cult protecting mass shootings while compelling forced birth into a country that does not protect the lives of the living. All of this is in the context of over 300 pieces of anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ legislation being argued or going into effect all across this country—so miss me with the “LGBTQ folks are next” rhetoric, they’ve already come for us—as well as assaults on educational freedom that includes teaching the racist colonial imperialist histories and presents of this country.
There are many moments throughout the days in which I feel like I am drowning in grief and rage, and don’t know what to do.
I am trying to remember that these institutions were never going to save us; it is up to us to create livable lives with and for one another.
So I hope you are organizing (in ways that don’t include social media surveillance apps), contributing to community funds for reproductive and environmental justice, voting for the most radical justice-oriented lawmakers, making art, casting spells and saying prayers. Ride the waves of rage and grief into new possibilities for how we will create just worlds at the scale of every relationship and every community, in resistance to state apparatuses that are designed for our subjugation and destruction.
At 12:13am eastern on Monday, May 16, we will experience our first Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio with the Moon conjunct the South Node since 2005, the first in a series of Scorpio eclipses that extend from now until May 2023. With the Moon at 25º Scorpio—in the sign of its fall—and the Sun at 25º Taurus—just one degree from the fixed star Algol, the head of Medusa in the constellation of Perseus—this eclipse is likely to demand confrontation around heavy emotional experiences.
The Moon in Scorpio can feel as if it is drowning in feelings of being overlooked, misunderstood, ignored, or neglected. Conjunct the South Node, we may become acutely aware of just how much energy we lose from wrestling with these feelings of disconnection and unworthiness. In the myth of Medusa, she was raped by the god Neptune in the temple of Minerva. Minerva considered this to be a desecration of her temple, and instead of holding Neptune accountable, instead sent Perseus to slay Medusa. She was punished for the harm she had endured and survived. With the Sun conjunction Algol, this eclipse is likely to stir the rage, indignation, and passionate fury that comes from having not only experienced immense harm, but then having been punished by systems that blame you for your own suffering.
Eclipses are fundamentally an interruption of the usual cycles of light, and thus often describe intense or dramatic change, specifically the kinds of change that precipitate from interruptions in familiar or established patterns. In the intervention, we are faced with the shadow—things that have been hidden or that we maybe have not wanted to witness. In this eclipse, we may be facing the shadows of deep harm and fury as well as experiences of disconnection and unworthiness that deplete our ability to show up fully in our authenticity. There are ways of avoiding the pain and denying the rage that are no longer possible. There are patterns of internalized neglect that we can no longer accept. These experiences will likely be related to the Scorpio house in your chart, especially if you have any planets around 25º Scorpio.
Be gentle with yourself, and also give yourself whatever context you need in order to feel safe and held through deep inner emotional confrontation and purging. This is not a lunation for setting intentions and casting spells; this is a time for feeling deeply and surrendering to emerging possibilities.
[Image reads: 16 May 2022: Lunar Eclipse at 25º Scorpio, in light lettering on a dark purple starfield]
On May 10, Jupiter ingresses into Aries for the first time since 2011. Jupiter in Aries is fiery and assertive, driven to pursue the enactment of belief, asserting freedom, and understanding that hope comes from our actions. Jupiter in Aries teaches us that our beliefs and aspirations mean little or nothing unless we are willing to put them into action. Jupiter in Aries understands that freedom is not something we seek from others, but it is something that we assert for ourselves, exercising our power to insist on living in ways that allow us to flourish and grow.
Trans pioneer Sylvia Rivera—who had Jupiter in Aries—co-wrote in the “Street Transvestites for Gay Power Statement on the 1971 NYU Occupation”:
“Do you really want Gay Power or are you looking for a few laughs or maybe a little excitement … If you want Gay Liberation then you’re going to have to fight for it. We don’t mean tomorrow or the next day, we are talking about today. We can never possibly win by saying ‘wait for a better day’ or ‘we’re not ready yet.’ If you’re ready to tell people that you want to be free, then you’re ready to fight. And if you’re not ready then shut up and crawl back into your closets. But let us ask you this, Can you really live in a closet? We can’t.”
As Jupiter moves through Aries, ask yourself: what do you really want? Are you truly ready for freedom, and if so, are you willing to struggle, to fight, to engage in generative conflict whenever necessary in order to create the freedom that you seek?
Jupiter is the nocturnal triplicity ruler of the fire signs, and so has a particular dignity in Aries. When a planet is in its own triplicity rulership, it has the support of its allies, followers, communities, and supporters. While we often describe Aries as a sign that can be fiercely independent, when Jupiter is in Aries, it reminds us that our pursuit of freedom is never something we accomplish on our own but something that we do with and for others as well. There is no personal or individual pursuit of freedom that can be separated from our collective pursuits of freedom.
[Image reads: 10 May 2022: Jupiter ingresses into Aries, in light lettering on a dark red starfield]
Today Mercury stations retrograde at 4º Gemini. During the course of its retrograde cycle, Mercury will regress into Taurus before finally stationing direct at 26º Taurus on June 3. Mercury is in its domicile in Gemini, a sign where it has access to everything it needs in order to review the available data, reframe the questions we are asking, revisit conversations that perhaps have not been resolved, and try to see things from a different point of view. As a mutable air sign, Gemini can be adept as adaptation, remaining flexible in our ideas and ideologies as new information becomes available. Over the next several weeks, don’t be afraid to rethink your perspectives and positions as you reflect on how it is you came to those conclusions, now with more experience and hopefully greater insight.
As Mercury regresses into Taurus on May 22, we will need to ground our theories in practical, material, embodied experience. How do the conclusions you’ve come to hold up when you apply them to the lived realities of your physical and perceptual world? What wisdom do you uncover when you start from the felt experience of your own body, the rich soil of your senses, and the tangible relations of the earth itself? This Mercury retrograde cycle brings us from the intellectual down into the material, perhaps unlearning some of what we think we know so that when Mercury stations direct on June 3, we have the opportunity to craft new understanding on the solid foundations of what we can know in embodied ways.
As always, remember that Mercury retrograde periods are not times for panic or fear-mongering. They happen several times a year and provide us with opportunities to reflect, review, revise, and question. This might not be an ideal time for launching new ventures, but do what needs to be done, re-reading, reconsidering, and revising before you press send—and following up as needed to clarify where intentions may have been lost in translation.
[Image reads: 10 May – 3 June 2022: Mercury retrograde from 4º Gemini to 26º Taurus in light lettering on a dark starry background]
Today Venus makes a conjunction with Neptune at 24º Pisces. Venus—the planet of love, desire, pleasure, and beauty—is exalted in Pisces, and Neptune—the planet of fantasy, dissolution, altered states of consciousness and non-ordinary realities—has many affinities with the watery mutability of this sign. Together we might find ourselves carried on tides of possibility that exceed our limited and limiting notions of love and pleasure. This is an excellent day for allowing your imagination to guide you into greater awareness of all the connections in which you are already held and all the delights that may be available to you if you surrender rigid or static ideas of who you are or have to be. How much more love and pleasure become available to you if you let go of parts of your identity that foreclose the expanse of what is possible?
Then this weekend on April 30, there will be a solar eclipse at 10º Taurus just as Venus is perfecting a conjunction with Jupiter at 27º Pisces. Eclipses can mark intense or dramatic change that comes from the interruption of the familiar or predictable. They compel us to face the shadows of what may have been previously hidden, and in doing so, parts of our lives can no longer remain the same. As a solar eclipse, this could describe a significant ending and new beginning in the areas of our charts occupied by Taurus. This eclipse is ruled by Venus who is in extraordinary condition, exalted in Pisces and conjunct Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces. Together, these dignified benefics support us in feeling the immensity of what must change and reassure us that as parts of what has been fall away, we are more capable of becoming more of ourselves. And as we each become more of who it is that we’re here to be—in this moment and in the days ahead—we become more capable of allowing our whole selves to be loved.
[Image reads: 27 April 2022: Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, 30 April 2022: Solar Eclipse in Taurus, Venus conjunct Jupiter in Pisces, in light lettering on a dark blue starfield]
Around April 12, Jupiter will be conjunct Neptune at 23º Pisces. Jupiter conjunct Neptune can be an initiation into the mystical, affirming altered states of consciousness and expanding our perception of non-ordinary reality. This is a really beautiful alignment for visioning, for dreaming, for tapping into greater imagination that exceeds the limits of our linear or rational thought, and for finding how imagination and even fantasy can facilitate greater freedom.
Judith Butler writes in an essay entitled “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy”:
“… fantasy is a part of the articulation of the possible; it moves us beyond what is merely actual and present into a realm of possibility, the not yet actualized or the not actualizable … The critical promise of fantasy, when and where it exists, is to challenge the contingent limits of what will and will not be called reality. Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible in excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home.”
As we approach this period around the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction on April 12, you might explore:
-How does your existing model of reality limit who you can be or what you can imagine?
-What fantasies allow you to experience and embody more of yourself and more of the kind of world in which you desire to live?
-What ease or satisfaction becomes available to you when you imagine yourself otherwise, and what would need to change in order to make that imaginary version of yourself more possible?
If there’s a caution around this time, it’s to be careful that you do not indulge so fully in fantasy, dreams, and imagination that you become detached from reality or swept away in illusions, projections, intoxication, or even something like conspiracy theories. Jupiter and Neptune together can facilitate powerful altered states, eroding the limiting structures we impose on reality, and that can be a source of freedom, but it can also tend toward overdoing or over-indulging.
This week holds one of the most challenging astrological aspects of the year and the start of one of the most beautiful periods of astrology in all of 2022.
On April 4, Mars makes a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. Both Mars and Saturn can indicate challenges or difficulties, and when they are together, these experiences can be compounded. Fiery, confrontational Mars can describe anger, conflict, or even harm, and cold, distant, slow-moving Saturn can describe constriction or paralysis, like charging against an immovable barrier. Together, we might find ourselves stuck in antagonisms that seem both unavoidable and irreconcilable. The best we can do might be to slow down and learn the lessons we can only learn when we stay with what feels difficult or impossible.
Then on April 5, Venus departs Aquarius and ingresses into Pisces, the sign of its exaltation, joining Jupiter and Neptune. Venus will be in Pisces from April 5 until May 2. With both benefics together and dignified, this is a time for indulgent pleasures, allowing yourself to be swept away by aesthetic riches that encourage you into greater and deeper feeling. Make art and make love, fill your life with experiences that inspire your own creativity, spend time watching dance or listening to music or visiting art galleries or museums or reading poetry that stirs your emotional life with a sense of profound connection with whatever enlarges your sense of what is possible. You may find that the Pisces area of your chart blossoms and flourishes during these weeks with Venus and Jupiter together, especially around their conjunction on April 30. Whatever goodness we experience while Venus is in Pisces won’t eliminate the challenges instigated by Mars and Saturn, but it is likely to provide us with opportunities for pleasure and relief amidst or alongside those difficulties.
[Image read: 4 April 2022: Mars conjunct Saturn, 5 April 2022: Venus ingresses into Pisces in light lettering on a dark brown and teal starfield]
On March 28, Venus makes a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius, finally ending several weeks of enclosure between Mars and Saturn, and also initiating a new Venus/Saturn cycle. At the same time, Venus and Saturn are also both conjunct the asteroid Juno within less than 1º. Venus and Saturn together can push us to examine our commitments to love and those we love. They can also ask us to face our fears around love and longevity, desire and distance, connection and constraint. There is also a kind of freedom that comes with this conjunction as Venus is no longer held between Saturn and Mars, inviting us to assess what commitments will allow us to be most free.
With Juno also in this conjunction, the topics of commitment, compromise, and fidelity get further emphasized. Juno is the Roman goddess of the feminine, marriage and commitment, the counterpart to Jupiter and protector of the community and the state. Hera—the Greek goddess with whom Juno is syncretized—is often depicted in myths as the jealous and long-suffering wife of Zeus, who time and again entangles himself in adultery and infidelity. Venus was last conjunct Juno on January 7, 2022, while Venus was retrograde in Capricorn before its first conjunction with Mars on February 16, and so this second conjunction with Juno could be following up on stories that were started the first week of January.
This triple conjunction between Juno, Venus, and Saturn may ask that we return to the compromises and commitments we’ve made, acknowledge where our boundaries and agreements have been violated, and take responsibility for the ways we have participated in the crossing of our own boundaries as we bring one cycle to a close and begin another. This may require renegotiating our agreements with loved ones, repairing injury and reasserting our boundaries, or finally separating from situations in which we have been stuck in dissatisfaction, jealousy, or bitterness. For all of us, this could be a time for recommitting to our own love and desires, initiating a new cycle in which we choose to prioritize that which brings us into more enduring relations of connection and care.
[Image read: 28 March 2022: Venus conjunct Saturn + Juno in light lettering on a dark green starfield]
Today Mars in Aquarius is making a square with Uranus in Taurus. Mars making an overcoming square with Uranus can be like setting the charge to a landmine or a match thrown into explosive materials, but even if events aligning with this square are sudden or unexpected, they are also likely part of a longer story. Mars was last conjunct Uranus in Taurus on January 20, 2021, in the midst of the ongoing Saturn/Uranus squares. That conjunction was the start of this Mars/Uranus cycle within which we are now in the closing square, a cycle of disruption, destabilization, charging off into new directions, and innovating new ways of addressing topics like anger, conflict, harm, and violence. Now in Aquarius, Mars compels us to commit to ideologies and social systems that can take the lessons of the last 14 months and use them to devise blueprints for the worlds we are making together. When we look at the headlines from January 20, 2021: Biden and Harris were sworn into office; U.S. COVID death toll rose beyond 400,000 (we are now around 972,000); charges were filed against extremist militants involved in the January 6 insurrection at the capitol; 155+ people were killed and 50,000 displaced in Sudan’s West Darfur as U.N. troops withdrew from the region; ICE was separating families from one another as asylum seekers in Mexico appealed to the Biden administration to adopt humane immigration policies. With this square between Mars and Uranus, we might see developments or decisions related to these kinds of world stories.
You might also think back to your personal headlines from January 2021: where were you feeling the push or impulse toward radical changes? Where were impelled into personal revolutions? How was conflict or anger teaching you about patterns in your life that could no longer remain the same? And how have you witnessed the development of those stories over the last 14 months?
This kind of aspect can be disruptive, agitating, and perhaps even overwhelming, so take some time to slow down, reflect, and ground throughout today and the rest of this week.
[Image read: 22 March 2022: Mars square Uranus in light lettering on a dark red starfield]
On March 19, Venus in Aquarius will make a square with Uranus in Taurus, both at 12º. This is the closing square of this Venus/Uranus cycle which began on April 22, 2021. At the time of that conjunction, something was initiated, perhaps related to revolutionary acts of pleasure and embodiment, breaking from established conditioning in order to move deeper into your own felt experiences of desire and satisfaction. This was in the midst of Uranus and Saturn’s ongoing squares, a time when we were asking what happens when insistently revolutionary change collides with unwavering and potentially limiting beliefs about the world as it is or as it can be?
Now as Venus forms this square with Uranus on March 19, we are entering the final quarter of this cycle, bringing the lessons that began in the felt sense of the body into articulated ideologies, translating the somatic into the systemic. Venus has been in a potentially stressful condition enclosed between Mars and Saturn since March 6, which can feel like being cut off from others, isolated between a rock and a hard place. But at the time of Venus’ exact square with Uranus, the Moon in Venus’ second domicile intervenes, breaking up the enclosure temporarily by making an aspect between Venus and Saturn. It is almost as if the Moon’s intervention offers us the breathing room and perhaps meaningful connections with others to recall all that we have learned over the past 11 months.
How have you dared to follow where your desires have led? How have you shared experiences of sensuous pleasure that have pushed you toward greater authenticity and freedom? What have those experiences taught you that you can now implement into more sustainable structures for moving into more livable futures? Venus will still be more or less enclosed by Mars and Saturn until March 28, except for the days when the Moon intervenes. But in the midst of whatever might feel challenging during this period, a larger story of revolutionary change is advancing as well.
[Image read: 19 March 2022: Venus square Uranus in light lettering on a dark teal starfield]
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]