How astrology works is a mystery. An ancient art honed through thousands of years of practice, it is based on the Doctrine of Unity: illuminationthe notion that the universe is an interwoven fabric. The astrological concept of a celestial-terrestrial connection has been with us throughout the ages, reflected in diverse spiritual traditions the world over and epitomized by the Hermetic maxim, "As above, so below."

Even though there is compelling circumstantial evidence for astrology's underlying principle of interconnection, we have yet to discover the scientific mechanism that can account for it. We are living in exciting times, however, when fields of modern physics and mathematics, are moving towards interesting, parallel understandings regarding the seemingly magical interplay of energy and matter. We are beginning to see validation for some of the observations mystics have been alluding to for thousands of years.

There are many aspects to this great big universe of ours we have yet to understand; and the underpinnings of astrology, the how and why it works, is one of those mysteries.I realize as an astrologer many people will automatically brand me as a lunatic; and yet here I am sticking my neck out anyway, risking ridicule. For even though the claims of astrology do seem inconceivable; nevertheless, over and over again, I see its accuracy and usefulness when I apply it to my clients' lives and my own. However outlandish astrology's claims are, there does seem to be something to it. There are many aspects to this great big universe of ours we have yet to understand; and the underpinnings of astrology, the how and why it works, is one of those mysteries.

We live in an era with a troubling lack of respect and tolerance for the unknown, the wild and the mysterious. If some idea or notion has not been proven, it must certainly be bunk, garbage. This judgmental (and actually unscientific) narrow-mindedness is exactly what Carl Jung was getting after when he stated: "I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud." It also reminds me of something Iain McGilchrist wrote in his book on the two hemispheres of the brain, The Master and His Emissary:

"Certainty is the greatest of all illusions: whatever kind of fundamentalism it may underwrite, that of religion or of science, is what the ancients meant by hubris. The only certainty, it seems to me, is that those who believe they are certainly right are certainly wrong."

blue moon art

What is a Blue Moon?

"Once in a Blue Moon" — we've heard the phrase and know its colloquial meaning implies something improbable, something rare, absurdly rare even — an event with the probability of occurrence falling at slim to none, as likely as pigs taking wing or hell freezing over.

Yet a Blue Moon is more than just some improbable event. Officially — and yes there is an official Farmer's Almanac definition — a Blue Moon is the third Full Moon in a season that contains four. Seasons usually sport three Full Moons, one each month, but every couple of years or so we get a bonus Full Moon due to the roughly 11-day difference in the number of days between the natural, lunar month (28 days) and the calendar month, which is, as we know, on average 30-31 days, excepting February of course.

But why is it the third Full Moon and not the last one designated as Blue?

The answer is complicated and due to the Christian ecclesiastical calendar which is, surprisingly, lunar. The dates for Easter and other Christian holy days, those moveable feast observances, are calculated in reference to the Moon rather than a set calendar date. And a year with an extra, 13th moon skewed the calendar, and so the solution was to call it "Blue" and not count it.

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A Better Way  MARS STATIONS DIRECT  August 27, 2018

artAs I write, Mars is currently moving at snail's pace inching its way to station direct. A mere two minutes of zodiac arc (one degree = 60 minutes) separates the God of War from station standstill, but it will take Mars two days to get there.

Gliding in retrospective, retrograde motion since June 26th, Mars has brought frustrations, irritations, and an omnipresent, vitamin-deficient lethargy. Like a furnace shut down with only the pilot light burning, a healthy portion of our normal heat and fire has been lost; for Mars represents the stamina and energy we need to compete effectively, to be active and assertive, to blow through obstacles, run the course, and deal effectively with our adversaries. The outward pulsing vigor and courage that this "planet of success" symbolizes is absolutely fundamental to life.

But here we are! Forward Ho Mars! We've made it through the swamps and bogs of a two-month, slogging-backwards God of War. We now stand at another major turning point in this long and arduous uphill retrograde process. While energy levels will gradually return to normal from this point onward, and you won't feel so much like you're driving with the parking brake on, the retrograde work, however, is not yet done.

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Turning Point/Boiling Point

artThis Friday, the Sun will perfect an opposition to Mars signalling the midpoint — and significant turning point — in the current Mars retrograde cycle, when Mars issues tend to flare up big time. This year, the opposition coincides with an amplifying Full Moon, which also happens to be a total lunar eclipse, plus the Sun-Mars opposition squares Uranus forming a super-combustible t-square! The Sun-Uranus square perfects today (11:35am UT at 2°29' Taurus/Leo), while the Mars-Uranus square will be exact next week, Aug 1st (at 2°32' Aquarius/Taurus).

And that's not all. Mercury — which rules communication, commerce, transport, computers and other "circulatory systems" such as those in our bodies — is stationary TODAY as I post, beginning a three-week retrograde cycle in Leo (retrograde station at 23°). Adding further to the week's already high tide of intensity, a stationary God of Connections will add a thick layer of confusion, misunderstandings, plus a higher potential for accidents and other mishaps, which the Sun-Mars-Uranus t-square also indicates big time.

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In Times of Trouble

artThis week's New Moon falls in compassionate (sometimes touchy) Cancer, our special guide over the next month. A sign that can heighten moodiness, ruled as it is by that ever-changing nightlight of ours. With Cancer at the helm, we can be charming, sweet and considerate one moment, and cranky, out of sorts and irritable the next. This shifting, dual nature is a distinct aspect of Cancer, represented in its crab-shaped "yin-yang" glyph.

When Cancer is a strong influence, we can easily confuse what we are feeling with what others are feeling, which can make relating a very tricky ordeal. Thus when the New Moon falls in Cancer, we can have more trouble objectively dealing with challenging situations, especially emotionally charged ones. When Cancerian sensitivity is working well, however, and we are surrounded by loving family and friends, a wonderful feeling of connectedness and sympatico can flow. It is much easier to feel at home somehow, and to know just the right way to make others feel at home too. Cancer is the archetypal Mother, symbolic of divine Mother Mary and her unceasing, unconditional love.

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The King and the Knight

artWe are just a couple of days away from Mars' station retrograde. The God of War is moving at a snail's pace, inching its way to a stationary halt. By now, you are probably feeling the slowdown in yourself: a definite drop in energy, motivation, get-up-and-go.

As I mentioned in a previous post, during Mars retrograde cycles, we often see, not just a drop in energy, but a rise in misplaced hostility and anger, cowardice, wishy-washy behavior, passive-aggression, and many other manipulative and devious maneuvers. The weaker one's personal power — the ability to assert opinion and needs, to push back when others have stepped over the line, the courage to deal directly and honestly in life, to not let the bullies lead one around by the nose — the more these issues will come to a crisis point over the course of this summer. Especially so this year with the retrograde cycle dovetailing powerfully with sweeping-change, crisis-producing eclipses.

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Where the Wild Thyme Blows THE JUNE SOLSTICE  June 21, 2018

artWe are fast approaching summer solstice, for those of us who live topside Mother Earth. Marked by the Sun's entry into the cardinal, water sign of Cancer, we've reached the culmination point of Sol's yearly journey north. At this Northern Hemisphere peak of life-giving solar power, the masculine Sun glides into the arms of the feminine Moon, entering Cancer, the sign she rules — a blending of our male-female luminaries, adding to the potent love magic at this almost too heady time of year.

For the Celts, summer solstice did not mark the first day of summer, as we now observe, but Midsummer, the heart of the season, which stretched from early May through early August, from Beltane (May Day) to Lughnassadh, the beginning of the harvest season. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still), and explains quite clearly what a solstice is: the Sun appears to come to a halt and for three days rises in the same spot on the eastern horizon. There are two solstices each year and they mark the two "Sun extremes" — the Sun has reached its furthest point north at the Cancer or June solstice, and furthest south at the Capricorn or December solstice.

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No Words For

artAlready at a slow crawl approaching station retrograde on June 18th, Neptune links up with the New Moon through a compelling, siren-like square. Connecting rational Gemini with dreamy Neptune in Pisces, the square is somewhat wide, but still a predominant influence, given Neptune is particularly potent right now nearing its station. Denoting challenge and cross-purpose in need of integration, a square, on the positive side, can release tremendous, pent up energy and dynamism when the two ends find a way to collaborate. And therein lies the trick.

The two signs involved in a square are important clues as to the special nature of the challenge. Gemini is concerned with relevant information, essentials: facts, ideas, and knowledge; whereas Jupiter- and Neptune-ruled Pisces' natural affinity is with quintessentials: the big ideas and ideals.

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Sailing Into the Doldrums

art Mars' retrograde cycles are neatly bookended by two Sun-Mars trines, and tomorrow, the first glides into place. Unlike other Sun-Mars trines, which fly past without much notice, this one, however, is an important signal. For we are moving into a special period of time, and it's helpful to know what to expect and to plan accordingly.

This pre-retrograde trine is unique to Mars, as astrologer Erin Sullivan noted in her book, Retrograde Planets, for all other "superior" planets (Jupiter and beyond) are already in retrograde motion when trining the Sun. This seemingly trivial detail is in fact significant because of what a Sun-Mars trine can bring: gobs of energy, and often at inflated amounts. This can lead to a shocking surprise when the sudden withdrawl of energy and enthusiam kicks in, from this point onward, as we move closer and closer to the retrograde station on June 26th. While you may feel you can take on the world right now, beware: you are sailing into the doldrums. The biggest decline in vital energy and enthusiasm, in a two year period, is sweeping in; and if you aren't prepared for it, the down shift in energy over the next four weeks will be very difficult.

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