Brilliant Mars

October 16, 2020

Mars is unusually close to the Earth right now. Look for it overhead around midnight (it’s in opposition to the sun now). It will appear a bit more to the west every night (it’s retrograde until November 13th). Mars is so bright at the moment that you might mistake it for Venus: the “red planet” now has a blue or greenish cast.

Mars was technically closer to Earth last year, but dust storms on the planet hid its shine. You won’t be able to view Mars this close for another fifteen years.

Photo: David Craig

Aries Rules!

October 1, 2020

Moon is full in Aries through Friday, October 2nd. Aries is the feel good full Moon of the year, also called the Harvest Moon. People are outgoing, energetic, social, spontaneous. Like any other Moon only more so. Aries moon can also be headstrong and combative, but the Sun in Libra balances that somewhat.

Mars, ruler of Aries, is retrograde now in Aries, until mid-November. A retrograde in its own sign is felt more intensely. The inner planets retrograde (Mercury, Venus, Mars) shake things up. Mars represents energy more than anything else, so prudence, reflection, and calculated inaction may be appropriate now. Not the best time for moving forward.

Mars rules dentistry, so I’m wondering what my checkup this month will reveal. I keep putting off diagnostic x-rays, thinking it’s senseless to pay for information about a problem I can’t afford to fix right now. I promised to have them done this time. Should I?

I do think of retrogrades of the inner planets as times when things get fixed. Mercury retrograde, especially, points to areas of life that have been neglected. Mercury, ruler of machines, health, and communication, is also retrograde starting the middle of October.

When both planets are direct again in late November, we can check back in and see if we’ve had twice the fun.

Is this Mercury retrograde intense or what?

June 26, 2020


I don’t like eclipses. I find it difficult to get anything done during the eclipse, and there are always bumps in the road. The period between a lunar and solar eclipse is especially dicey, and we had a lunar, then a solar, eclipse, and we’re gearing up for another lunar. Penumbral rather than full, to be sure, but still.

Mercury retrograde usually doesn’t bother me as much. It happens three or four times a year, for one thing, so I’d be biting my nails a lot if I got too hung up over it. Things also don’t progress as usual during Mercury retrograde, but I take it as a time to devote energy to neglected areas of life.

This Mercury retrograde, coinciding with eclipse season, has jarred me a bit. I had a serious car breakdown on the road yesterday and the car had to be towed. Something structural went wrong, and I was lucky not to crash or be hurt. I’m biting my nails waiting for the verdict, hoping the car can be repaired, because I don’t think I can afford another one.

I haven’t figured out how to get the car back. The garage is 25 miles away, and normally people are willing to offer rides, but we have a pandemic going on and nobody wants to be close to anyone else. What a bother! There’s a huge mountain between the valley and town, so a bicycle won’t work. We don’t have Uber here. Ugh. County public transportation has been discontinued until further notice, again for the pandemic.

I have been worried about my car for some time. I really need to start making some money. I’ve been stubborn about not giving up my writing, and I don’t have the constitution at this stage of life to work a full day and then come home and write in the evening and weekends. Really, I never did. I’m one of these sorry people, ill equipped for this age, who come home from work tired in mind if not body, and I need eight hours of sleep to function. Getting a job with longer hours to get a car would mean giving up writing and this blog, at least for awhile. That’s provided I could even get a job that would pay enough to buy a car. We’re in a pandemic.

I named the car I have now Greatest Love. I don’t want to part with it yet.

Full Moon Eclipse: It’s all about me

June 5, 2020

Full moon eclipse in Gemini this week, and while a partial eclipse in this sign isn’t necessarily the most powerful, other astrological features are intensifying things. The longer-term square between Saturn and Uranus is magnified by retrograde Venus squaring Mars, inching up to a Venus-in-retrograde conjunction with the Sun.

The dominant social feature of the moment is protests against police homicides of Black people, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Law enforcement has remained stuck in its abysmal patterns, racism being the pattern highlighted by the protests, and people of all races are sick of the willful refusal of this segment of society to change. This is a widespread issue, social in nature, not really about any one person (although it’s important that certain high profile people in the incendiary event be held accountable).

The trouble is that eclipses, even though wide ranging in effect, are personally felt. The moon is the quintessential personal planet, ruling and fueling emotions, and detachment in favor of the greater good is almost impossible. I have felt myself being drawn into my frustration with White people on the Left, particularly the “Right-on Lefty Dudes,” for the self-aggrandizing way they capitalize on other people’s pain. I’ve seen others become distracted over the stupidity of Trump’s comments in response to the protests or the clueless-as-usual way the elite journalist class tries to interpret the situation for us. Trump’s decision to involve the military should be roundly criticized, but the heart of the protests can be whitewashed by focusing on tangential issues. Troublesome moon energy demands attention to personal feelings, however inappropriate or inconvenient they appear to the intellect. I believe the best way to handle this is to recognize the myriad of personal issues surfacing and prioritize what belongs where and what is important now. The personal is political, but not every personal issue belongs in every political response.

Of course, other important things besides the demonstrations are happening on the planet. There’s still COVID-19. I’ve seen people complain that Americans can’t think about more than one issue at a time because the attention of the moment in the US has moved from the pandemic to homicidal racist police. Well, we get to decide where we put our attention. At the same time, a popular medical vlogger in England got pulled up by Americans for ignoring police brutality on his vlog about COVID-19! Did I mention this is a self-centered transit? Me-me-me. With a solar eclipse at the Solstice, and another lunar eclipse on July 5th, expect the emotionally intense self-absorbed energy to last until at least the July new Moon on the 20th. Remember: your emotions are valid; you only need to be mindful of how they’re directed.

Desolate Places

August 22, 2019

It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman
Which gives the stern’st good-night.

~ William Shakespeare, MacBeth

Two of the most forsaken places in popular imagination are cemeteries at night and deep outer space. I spent an evening earlier this week at Norton Cemetery stargazing with a friend who has a really good telescope.

Photo: Greg Smith

As we waited for twilight to deepen, a bat flitted over our heads. Eastern Coyotes wailed in the distance. As the night got underway, a Long-Eared Owl began her subtle one-note song.

The Ojibwe call death “crossing the owl bridge,” and the Tohono O’odham bury owl feathers with loved ones. The association in Western Europe of owls with death is thought to carry over from the pre-Indo-European practice of excarnation, the placement of dead bodies on platforms to be devoured by birds. But all the bodies in this cemetery were in the ground.

Photo: Rawastrodata

I heard the territorial scream of a Long-Eared Owl a few years ago, and I’ll never forget it. A friend and I were camping and awakened in the night by the sound, so piercing that we scrambled out of our sleeping bags trying to place it. In contrast, the single long note of the placid Long-Eared Owl could easily be missed if not repeated.

The stargazing was great. We looked at Saturn with his rings and Jupiter with his moons and debated how “Io” should be pronounced (I say EE-oh, you say EYE-oh).

One of the most awesome sights through the telescope, six thousand light years away, was the Wild Duck star cluster. It was discovered in 1681 by Gottfried Kirch and included in Charles Messier’s 1764 catalog (M-11). It is supposed to resemble the tale of a duck in flight. Honestly, I couldn’t see it, but it is a beautiful cluster.

Event Chart for Notre Dame Fire

April 16, 2019

In the wake of the fire that gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, there have been many articles and blog posts describing the spectacular blaze as well as the tumultuous history of the 850 year old cathedral. I’m going to interpret some astrological data for the event.

I don’t have a time for the dedication of the building, so I’m going to look at general astrological data as the fire started. According to Paris police, the fire was discovered at 6:50 p.m. local time on April 15. The fire could (and probably did) start earlier than this, but since this is an old wooden building, and therefore a tinder box, it is doubtful that it smoldered for long. Moon sign is probably correct.

Events of far reaching destruction and change are generally driven by outer planets – Pluto, Chiron, Jupiter, and (especially) Uranus. Inner planets Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars trigger the timing of the event.

Looking at the outer planets, using sign-specific orb of 5 degrees or less, there is a hard aspect (a square) between a Pluto-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn and the Sun in Aries. Saturn is the planet of karma and slow, difficult growth. Pluto is a planet of transformation, rebirth, and inevitable change. This difficult conjunction reflects uncomfortable events happening in the world in general right now. Again, these planets are squaring the Sun. Squares generate energy through resistance, and in this case the square involves a fire sign, Aries.

There is another square involving Jupiter in its home fire sign of Sagittarius and a Mercury-Venus conjunction. Again, this is triggering conflict, resistance, and energy.

While squares generate energy through resistance, there has to be accommodating aspects for that energy to be expressed. In this case the planet most associated with sudden, disruptive change, Uranus, trines the planet closest to the Earth, the Moon. This is the aspect that facilitated the flames. This, and a trine between Jupiter and the Sun, both in their home fire signs.

An accommodation of destructive energy is reflected to a lesser extent in the sextile between Chiron, an asteroid also associated with deep change, and the aggressive planet Mars. The 9th House placement of Mars is significant, since this house is associated with religion and government. Of course the Ascendant is not completely reliable here, since it is impossible to know exactly when the fire started, but even pushing the time back to 5:00 p.m. keeps Mars in the 9th House.

The astrological data in the event chart is potential, not predictive, since it describes influences on the whole earth at the time in question. Looking at planetary transits in the context of a chart specific to the Cathedral could shed additional information.

Year of the Pig

February 8, 2019

Elephant seals next week.

The Chinese Year of the Pig began this week. The pig in Chinese astrology is a calm, prosperous, gentle animal, generous and focused. Here are some brief horoscopes for Year of the Pig.

A roundup of world folktales about pigs can be found here.

A four-part article I wrote several years ago about the sow in Western mythology is here.

I read once that you’re not supposed to clean the house for the first three days of the Chinese New Year, so as not to clean out the good luck. It seemed like good advice, and I started applying it to the Gregorian new year as well. What a boon to have days when you not only don’t clean, you don’t feel like you should be cleaning. I decided that the no-cleaning days should apply to Halloween (the Celtic new year) and Yule (the Heathen new year). Then I started celebrating Diwali and Rosh Hashana, by not cleaning of course. Now if I don’t feel like cleaning, I can say “It’s New Year’s somewhere.”

The Change in Progress

July 27, 2018

I have a lot on my mind right now, but the astrologers say this is not the best time for sharing, with a super lunar eclipse in progress and so many planets retrograde.

Until next week, Hearth.

A New Moon

January 19, 2018

NASA photo

A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.

–Rumi

The moon has recently turned to its waxing phase. Both the full and the new moon exert a strong gravitation pull on the earth’s waters, but the energies are different. I find that things seem to slow down at the new moon, so that progress being made is difficult to discern. We tend to be detail oriented and to research things at this time, rather than expressing ourselves spontaneously. Next month, at the solar eclipse, this energy will be even more pronounced.

New Webinar for October

September 8, 2017

I’m excited to announce that I will be leading another webinar in October.

MASTERING MOON ENERGY
How the Moon Effects Your Magic

A Webinar with Hearth Moon Rising

How does moon energy enhance (or inhibit) the effectiveness of your spells? What rituals work best for various moon phases? How do moon phases and sun positions interact magically? This class will help you use moon and sun energies more effectively in your practice.

The five week class will cover:

1) Dynamics of the moon’s path. Why does the moon effect life on earth so profoundly?
2) How do moon phases and signs influence a ceremony, spell, or activity?
3) How to handle void-of-course and eclipse energies.

The webinar is open to women and men and is appropriate for all levels of experience. Witches, druids, heathens, ceremonial magicians, and shamans will find this class helpful.

The webinar will meet Mondays October 9 to November 6 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time. Meetings will be recorded and registrants will be able to access the lecture portion of the recording whether or not they attend.

Cost is $80.

More information here.