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Venus (Love) & Saturn (Endings): A Story of Two Miracles

This is a story of two miracles.

Anger having cooled, outrage quiet, I woke to a fresh-faced January morning last year with a curious sense of peace. It might have been acceptance wed to sorrow after my father’s death. For a miracle moment, I understood that I had cursed enough, cried enough, railed at the gods enough. I felt a tug of curiosity about what might come next. There is no script for grief.

Later that day, I saw my friend Robert, a fellow Sagittarian, for acupuncture. We go back over 20 years and always had an easy camaraderie. He was married to Val, an outspoken Leo, for nearly 50 years; they met in Vietnam as 19-year-old marines. I’d always been closer to Robert than Val, and not just because I saw him more frequently. As long as I’d known her, she made me nervous: the permanent line between her brows, hands often clenched, the defensive swagger of a sailor. We’d socialized a few times but never gotten close. In reflection, she was my doppleganger, although I wore makeup and heels and she did not.

Robert had just been declared clean after a fierce bout of cancer with complications. “What are you going to do now?” I’d asked last November. “Well, I’ll probably semi-retire in about 4 years when I’m 70. I’ll spend more time at our place with Val.” A healthy few acres of land in Shasta County, it suited their respective rough-hued individualism.

It was just six days after my dad died that I called Robert to make an appointment. I asked him how he was, as friends do.

His reply came after a long pause. “Well, Val’s in the hospital. She just had a brain tumor removed.”

I stuttered to shocked silence, which Robert filled with calm explanation: “It started as uterine cancer and metastasized to the brain.”

“Is she terminal?” I blurted.

With a bitter bark of a laugh, he answered: “We’re all terminal.”

Val was sleeping in the other room when I arrived at his office. An hour later, off the table and dressed, I asked if I could see her.

“I think she’d probably like that,” said Robert.

The door to the other room opened and Val, a bit coltish on her feet, rose from a futon and into the main office. “Want to see my scar?” she asked with an impish grin. Without waiting for my answer, she turned to show me the ragged tattoo arcing across the right side of her skull, evidence that she had won this first round.

“Pretty impressive,” I commented gently. With balletic grace, she sat. “That’s as far as I can get.” “That’s pretty impressive, too,” I said.

For about ten minutes I sat with her. I felt as if I were in the presence of all that was holy and whole. Val, no longer defiant. Val, weaponry cast off, vulnerable. She was beautiful and I told her so. She nodded, eyes shining, not because it’s polite to take a compliment, but because it was true.

“I have people praying for me everywhere,” she said, delighted. “Doing ritual. People I haven’t even met.” She closed her eyes, tuning into a voice only she could hear. “I can feel the love.”

The words that I’d said to my dying dad I now said again to her: “Yes, it’s always about love. Love is all there is.” I basked in her aliveness, her wholeness, the holiness of the moment.

The ultimate truth and power of that simple sentence, which never grows stale, hung between us. Then she laughed. “Yes,” she said, glowing, “that’s all there is.”

What I saw in Val was what I’d also seen in my father’s dying eyes: the Universe issuing a playful invitation to live now, love now, be now. For whatever time she, or you, or I, have left, this message is the most powerful I have ever been privileged to receive.

Two miracles in two weeks. Life is good, and so is death.

Magic & Love in Winter (Neptune in Pisces & a Dash of Jupiter in Virgo)

Magic happens (Neptune in Pisces). It happens all the time, right under our noses. It is awkward and messy. It goes toe-to-toe with strategy, structure and details (Jupiter in Virgo).

Recently Magic and I had a chance encounter. It skated in on the rain, kissing windowpanes with unabandoned mischief. Magic teased me into the Westfield Mall, a towering holiday dollhouse of shops in San Francisco’s chic downtown.  Holiday shoppers swarmed, frantic with obligation and desire.  It swept me into the arms of my nieces, whom I love with fierce devotion.

Rebecca, the eldest, is as neat and tidy as the proverbial pin. She is a Scorpio, born on her mother’s birthday 20 years ago. In her own words, she is rational, balanced and psychologically intact. “Everyone comes to me with their problems,” she assured me. “It’s because I am the sanest person that I know.” Her pure essence is that of clean linen sheets, pressed into obedient folds and ready to put on a bed. Her gaze is steady and unwavering, as is her body.

Natalie, nearly 18, is chaotic and rebellious, outspoken curls pulled back so that they don’t offend. She is a Capricorn, but four planets in Aquarius add a twist of renegade.

Natalie and her mother have locked horns many times. Rebecca, a junior attending a prestigious college in Canada, was only occasionally contentious as a teenager. It never occurred to her to throw a temper tantrum. Natalie is famous for hers. “How are things with you and your mom?” I asked Natalie. Her reply: “Better. She pretty much lets me do what I want.”

“I heard that you got grounded for life.” “Which time?” she asked, lightly. “You were housesitting, had a party and left the place a mess.” It took her a minute to remember.  “Oh, yeah. That time.” “Pause. “I’ll sure never do that again.” This was not spoken with apology, but rather with a certain thoughtful wisdom.

When we parted ways, Magic followed me home, warming the damp underground train. It rained all day, gloriously and without apology. At dusk, a dozen carolers migrated down to our home, stopping to warble “A Partridge in a Pear Tree.” Magic and I careened down the 28 stairs to the street. I wore only fake Uggs and long silk underwear and clutched a bottle of champagne.

A woman with tangles of wavy hair and eyes like dark stars shining sang and laughed when I clumsily thrust the bottle at her. She took it without missing a note, as if she were expecting it. I sang off-key to the familiar refrain and then scrambled upstairs. I ran to an open window, howling off-key with joy. The woman waved the champagne at me as we finished the last bars of the song.

A minute later, she was not to be seen, nor were her fellow carolers. Magic had tucked them under an invisible wing. All was quiet, tucked in, well-behaved. A man and his two terriers briskly moved through the rain and then they, too, vanished.

Magic is always present, but we do not stop to acknowledge it. Yet it runs through us, like blood, like air, like the pulse of life. Love is the same. Magic and love are synonymous. They are forever lovers.

Now go out and cast a spell. Then just wait, be quite, quite still. The answer is sure to come in ways you may not expect. But come they will.

Love & mischief,

Joyce

The Language of Love: Saturn in Sagittarius

I visited Paris fresh out of high school, smitten by her unapologetic passion and confidence. All I could offer her was my clumsily accented French and youthful naivete. Her perfume lingers still, a faintly remembered pleasure.

How about if we just focus on the best outcome possible concerning what has recently gone down in Paris? What if we orient ourselves towards peace, love, understanding? I believe it to be possible. I believe that we can all join hearts, look at one another and accept that we are human and stand as one. Perhaps we can stop attacking one another, whether through physical violence or judgment. Perhaps we can come together in our mutual woundedness and reach a compromise. What if we are not enemies to one another, but rather brothers and sisters (and who has ever had a sibling with whom they didn’t argue?).

Maybe it’s just about a really good conversation-a peaceful one-where everyone gets to say what’s on their mind. I don’t condone the attacks, but I sense that there is a deeper reason-disconnect. If we disconnect from one another, we disconnect from that which our souls know to be true-from that which might be called god/dess. Let’s get together and discuss rather than debate. It’s all about love. All about love. There is nothing, nothing, nothing more than love, or more powerful or more healing. It is the life blood coursing through our veins, through the consciousness of our planet. I believe that there is a great teaching in this event that can lead us to higher ground-that which is more sacred and authentic.

In wild celebration of that which is possible,

Joyce

The Progressed Moon: Your Emotional Barometer

I’m a moody critter. So are you. Minute by minute, day by day, every single person on the planet goes through a myriad of emotions. If you wake up in a boo-hoo mood, there it is, plain and simple. Sure, you can consciously change that…but there’s the undeniable truth of how you first felt when you opened your eyes. Feelings are here to stay.

In astrology, the Moon is the heart, or the emotional barometer. It tracks unconscious longings and desires-your moods. As you progress through different times in your life, certain moods prevail for as little as 1-1/2 years or as long as 3 or 4 years.

To stay happy, to be attuned to the Moon’s need for irrational joy, being true to your heart is key. My progressed moon just entered the area of one-on-one relationships (the 7th house, house of “we”) in the sign of discriminating, puzzle-solving Virgo. I feel the desire to connect with others. To have conversations that are information-rich (Virgo) and benefit each person equally (7th). Case in point, I just met with a man who offered me a shared business proposition. As we discussed the details (Virgo), there was true rapport. it was a comfortable (7th house) yet stimulating (Virgo) exchange of ideas. It felt really, really good-and utterly natural. My Moon was grinning.

The Moon needs to be fed the kind of mood food that keeps it healthy. Have you ever done something that you really didn’t want to do? For other people, for show, because a job dictates that you must? Maybe with a smile pasted on your face that says (cartoon box, please), “I’m enjoying myself.” But your heart knows better…and it’s sad/p.o.’ed/bored, etc. You know when you’re happy-your heart soars. No effort needed.

For example, if your progressed Moon is entering the 9th house of adventure, travel, meaning and learning-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, book a trip. You’ll benefit from culture shock. Sign up for an experiential class that will widen your horizons. Then watch your happiness quotient soar.

There are 12 houses in astrology, or areas of experience, as well as 12 signs. The Moon is always coupled with a sign or, sometimes, 2 signs, as it moves through a house. It takes about 28 years for the progressed moon to sweep through all of these houses and signs. If you’re true to your heart (the Moon), you’re happy. If not, a kind of discontent and dreary expectation of never getting your needs met dominates.

Where are you in your emotional journey? It’s easy enough to find out. Book an appointment with an experienced astrologer (me). You’ll learn about the timing, what “soul” (Moon) food will satiate your hunger and how to optimally respond to the emotional wisdom always available to you.

It’s an inside job, kids. Hope to see y’all soon.

Love & mischief,

Joyce

 

Finding the Right Relationship through Astrology

“I have Saturn in the 7th house,” moaned one of my clients. “I looked online and that means I’ll never get married.” A woman of 41, she’d been dating for years with no success.

“The 7th house is actually the house of friendship,” I said gently. “It’s where we establish rapport with another person. Saturn represents that type of person.”

“I don’t want a friend,” she wailed. “I want a husband!”

Leaning into my counseling table, I replied, “Just imagine this: how important is it for a 92-year-old to have sex 3 times a week? Probably not very. At that point in life, what matters is the connection, the friendship, the common values. A planet in the 7th house represents the kind of person we can optimally relate to. This is bedrock for deeper intimacy.”

“Saturn represents both fear and commitment. In the 7th house of one-on-one relationships, you might initially experience emotional lockdown. It’s scary to be vulnerable. Saturn instructs you to hang in there. To do 7th house negotiations with dignity. To have integrity. A healthy Saturn person is reliable, accountable, responsible and-this is funny, but true-someone who tends to be on time.”

Becca furrowed her brows. “But I don’t want to have sex with my friends. What about the One?”

“Look to the 8th house of the horoscope. It’s deep, intense, sexual, stripped down to basic truths-birth, sex, death, partnership. Intimacy requires courage. It’s not always easy or romantic. Sometimes we wake up in the morning and don’t much like the person next to us even if we love them. Even in the happiest of marriages, someone usually dies first-and so we’re alone again. Intimacy transforms us. It’s emotional alchemy.”

“I have Jupiter in the 8th,” Becca puzzled. “It’s supposed to be lucky. It sure hasn’t been lucky for me.”

“Wherever Jupiter lies is where we tend to underestimate ourselves. It’s the planet connected to faith. It’s expansive. Jupiter tells us to bet the house, go for broke. Say you meet a guy who’s bigger than life? Philosophical? Adventurous? Generous? That’s Jupiter in the 8th. There’s also the dark side of Jupiter-if you can’t believe that someone of a positive Jupiterian nature is out there, you might find yourself instead in a relationship with a pompous, overbearing, preachy type.”

Becca took the session to heart. Within 6 months, she realized that she was having deeper feelings for a man she’d been friends with for a dozen years. Drew had seen her through dating and relationship crises, had held her hand, stood by her side, made her laugh. They’d even traveled together internationally-expanding their horizons (a Jupiter theme).

No planet is good. No planet is bad. Each one has two sides. They’ll happily instruct you on how to reach your goals, whether personal or professional. Astrology shows you not only who your people are or who your person is…it also whispers into your heart where you might meet your significant other…and when.

I’m happy to share with you the qualities of your mate and the most auspicious timing to find them. Love is glorious, and, truly, it’s there in abundance.

 

Grand Cardinal Crossroads 4/22/2014

The other day, rain-bruised clouds muscled their way into San Francisco. The air grew taut. The fur on the cats was wiry with static. Manic winds taunted the garden and potted plants trembled, trying in vain to furl their blossoms against the onslaught. Then the storm detonated: madcap lightning lacerated the clouds and rain made a frantic break for freedom, followed by a bellow of mutinous thunder.

When the storm wore itself out, the City let out a collective sigh of relief. In its wake blossomed clear skies flaunting blue belly. Flowers, raucously stained with spring, straightened their spines. The air tasted like the first, crisp bite of a Gaia apple. There was a sense of easy camaraderie on the rain-stripped streets. People met each other’s eyes, smiling, knowing that we’d been witness to, and subtly charged, with the weird and wild magic of that event. We’re all in this together, was the unspoken thought. We are tribe.

Just like this storm, April’s Grand Cardinal Cross is building and intensifying and peaking on the 22nd. Four compelling cosmic forces-Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter and Mars-are escorting you to a crossroads. Certain things in your life are reaching the peak of tension, seeking resolution and release. It’s time to make certain critical choices. Respond rather than react. Make an appointment with your inner shrink and keep it. Be honest about those feelings you’ve been swatting away. Stop avoiding or putting off what needs to get done or be resolved. Break free of those obligatory ties and make space for bona fide relationships with people who love you just as you are. Get your hands into the rain-soaked earth and pull up the weeds of denial, excuses and procrastination. Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes, but don’t forget to step back into your own and stand your ground. Practice diplomacy, patience and kindness-first and foremost to yourself.

This configuration brings everything to the surface, for good or ill. No one’s psychological undies are spotless. That’s because we’re human. Celebrate your humanness as well as that of others. Have the courage to step into the eye of the storm. If someone pulls the trigger of blame or shame, don’t fire back. No blood needs to be shed. Let it pump fiercely through your veins and into  your good, strong heart. That’s where the power ultimately is. After the peak, these energies start to abate until the skies are clear, once again, in June.

Be authentically who you are and never apologize for what you’re not. You’re more than enough. You are golden. 

In my heart,

Joyce

The Bright Side of Mercury Retrograde

Cosmic ClockVirtually everyone I know starts talking about Mercury retrograde weeks before it begins. People sigh, roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders helplessly. Inevitably, someone moans,  Another Mercury retrograde-didn’t we just have one?  It’s like expecting to get the Mercury retrograde flu. The general consensus is that it’ll be one big traffic jam: appointments will be missed, you’ll say “po-tay-to” while someone else says “po-ta-to,” technological snags and misunderstandings will be par for the course.

There is some wisdom about not signing a contract or buying a new piece of equipment during Mercury retrograde. Why? Because it’s time to reflect, review and research. To slow everything down and think things through. This requires patience and curiosity.

Mercury’s most recent retrograde began 2/6/14, floating  through intuitive, dreamy Pisces until 2/13. Chillax. Don’t push.  Cry (or laugh until you cry). Listen to/play music. Nap. Turn your brain off. Be inspired (not motivated; that’s when you’ll get tripped up).  The world of imagination, the fantastical, is calling. Tumble down the rabbit hole again. You might land softly on a new vision.

On 2/13, Mercury double back-flips into avant-garde Aquarius. Quietly wield the baton of originality. Trek through old concepts and ideas and reconsider them-what brilliance shines through? Are any worth reinventing? Release what’s obsolete and dull-edged. Trust your genius.

Mercury goes direct on 2/28/14 at 6:00 AM PST. If you’ve done your Mercury retrograde homework, you’ve don’t have to sigh in relief that it’s finally over, dreading the next retrograde like a root canal.

Instead, you soar. You dance. Your precious time of review has born fruit. And, best of all, you have yet another Mercury retrograde time to look forward to.

Big Love: Jupiter in Cancer

No matter what sign Jupiter is in, its question is always the same: “How are you underestimating yourself? What leap of faith do you need to make in order to expand your horizons?” On 6/26/13, Jupiter moved into the sign of Cancer, the Great Mother.  The message is, “Trust what you feel. Let the wisdom of your heart show you the way. Seek the comfort of those with whom you feel safe. Those tribal members who are at your side when you hurt.” Like a flower in bud, you’re trembling with the impulse to open. You need others to help you do so. There are helping hands reaching out now to find yours. Clasp them gently and joyously and allow the happy tears of celebration to flow down your cheeks. Then, as you dive deeply into the waters of intimacy, Jupiter rewards your faith with the great gift of vulnerability.

With an open heart,

Joyce

Looking Ahead: The 2013 Planetary Dance

As you leave behind the dying embers of 2012, a flicker of flame illuminates the path ahead. Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Scorpio stand sentinel at the 2013 gateway. The gateway arch is engraved with two words: “Faith” and “Surrender.” This is the mantra you must utter as you cross into the New Year. The fever of fear then breaks into the clean sweat of faith. Dreams swim into focus, ready to be realized.

Jupiter, the cosmic benefactor, goes direct in Gemini on January 30, gifting you with a preponderance of cues, clues and coincidences. Follow them, and disparate pieces of information begin to match up. Synchronistic meetings with like-minded people are also scheduled through 6/25/13. Put your heads and hearts together and the Information Road is flooded with ideas that breathe life into your collective ideal.

The Clash of the Titans continues. Uranus in Aries breathes the fire of truth, searing away Pluto in Capricorn‘s long-standing rigidity and control. New traditions will be birthed, emphasizing freedom and integrity. Whatever outmodted rules and regulations within your own personal operating system will be overhauled. Be authoritative (in your power) rather than authoritarian (overpowering). It’s time to forgive-yourself, others, circumstances, the past-even if you can’t forget.

Sink your roots deep down into loamy soil. Stretch towards the light of truth. Abandon yourself to the winds of change. Keep company with diversity. More powerfully than ever before, you have the chance to craft your life exactly as you wish it to be. Don’t look back. Don’t look ahead. Be in the present. Have no expectations. Then, when you least expect it, the impossible becomes possible.

May 2013 make you wiser, bring you great adventures, deep insights, laughter and love.

Joyce

Saturn in Scorpio: Sex, Death & Power

On October 5, 2012 (PDT), Saturn moved into Scorpio. Scorpio scoffs at superficiality, denial and avoidance. It sees in the dark, and in the darkness lies the unknown, the unseen and, often, the feared. Ponder where our precious metals come from: the bowels of the earth, deep pockets of treasures which must be prised from that which conceals them.

Saturn wields the sword of  integrity alongside Scorpio, the bearer of shamanic truth. Together, they are unstoppable, probing for what lies buried deep inside of you, waiting to be brought into the light. These are your personal veins of gold: those parts of you that are messy and tenderly human. Exiled by shame, blame and judgment, made wrong by others who feared them, they’ve been forced underground. Saturn in Scorpio commands that they arise from the dead and be alchemized from grit into gold, to initiate you into the highest, clearest and cleanest version of power.

Scorpio is the sign that deals with the deepest recesses of intimacy. In love or looking for love? Be courageous. Plumb your depths. Invite your shadow to dinner and eat heartily. Then you’ll be able to look that someone special in the eyes and have nothing to hide and everything to gain.

If you were born between 11/29/82-5/6/1983, 8/24/83- 11/16/85, Saturn was in Scorpio and you’re experiencing your first Saturn return, moving along the path of wisdom and growth (if you do it consciously) into adulthood. Born between 10/22/53-1/12/56? You’re in your second Saturn return, exiting mid-life and entering wise elderhood (or old farthood, depending on how you deal). Through June 14, 2015, you will experience a series of pivotal life changes, often indelibly altering your life and opening up the possibility for emotional maturation.

We all emerge from darkness. Make peace with it, explore it, be rewarded by it. The choice is yours.