My Sabbatical Has Come to an End

My four-month sabbatical/furlough is almost over.  I return to work on September 1st. It feels like a lifetime since I closed my work laptop on April 30th. Four months ago, I had no idea what the world would be like at this time or whether I would have a job to return to.  I am grateful to be returning to a paycheck and continued health insurance during a global pandemic, but it feels surreal after four months away.  It feels kind of like I quickly left my home in the middle of a war, not knowing when or if I would return.  Now the war is over (but not really) and I am returning home after a long time away.  I have heard that my house is still standing but I don’t what condition it is in.  What will my house feel like when I go back inside? Will I dust everything off, set things back up, and forget that I ever left? Or will it never feel quite right again?

In the physical world, I am in literally the exact same place that I was when I left.  My body has not traveled more than two miles from my home office desk, and I have spent most of the past four months sitting at this desk.  This year feels like a weird, time warp.  It will be a very strange adjustment, even though I will still physically be in the exact same place where I was when I left. (I expect to be working from home for the foreseeable future.)

So what have I done with this amazing gift of time that the Universe gave me?

I spent a lot of time studying astrology, and you might have noticed, I did some writing about it.  I love that astrology can help us understand ourselves better so we can live happier, more meaningful lives.  Every birth chart is like a beautiful puzzle of a person’s soul.  Astrology is a passion that engages my analytical mind and my compassionate heart.  If you had asked me a few years ago what I would do if I had four months off with so much time on my hands, I probably would have panicked. I am so grateful that astrology found me before my quarantine furlough/sabbatical. I am sure some of you think I am crazy (but secretly you are also really curious about the puzzle of your soul, aren’t you?)

I also spent a lot of time this summer trying to understand what was behind the angry content from Trump supporters that started showing up in my social media feeds after George Floyd was murdered.  I was getting passive aggressive messages that I was a “brainwashed liberal” so I went down a rabbit hole for many weeks to confirm for myself that this was not true (Spoiler alert: It’s not true). I won’t share everything I learned in that rabbit hole, but if you have any questions about QAnon, I probably have the answers. I didn’t find any magic solutions to the problems we are facing, but I am much more informed and engaged. And I have a much better understanding of the feelings behind the anger and why so many people support Donald Trump. We are going to need a lot of compassion and empathy to get through whatever comes next.

No matter who wins this election, we will still all be living together in this country. The forces that are dividing us won’t go away.  The angry voices will probably get louder and more dangerous. The issues we are fighting about are complicated and do not have simple answers.  We need to work as hard as we can to get honest, compassionate, intelligent, and capable leaders into our government.  Then we need to fix our political systems so they better represent the people (check out RepresentUs who is doing just this!)

We have a lot to do and we have to stay engaged. Make calls to swing states. Listen to each other. Ask people why they believe what they believe and why they feel what they feel. Get everyone you know to vote and to vote as early as possible. (If you are not sure how to vote early in your state, read this.) And be nice to each other! Be especially nice to the people who are the most angry.  They are the ones who need the most compassion. And if you can’t be nice because YOU are too angry, just walk away and use your Mars energy where it will make the most difference.  Yelling at angry people is not usually effective.

I digressed. Back to me and my sabbatical (which is really completely irrelevant in the context of our world right now, but I will continue.)

When I was not trying to understand our country and the depths of everyone’s soul (which is clearly how I like to spend most of my time), I did the same boring, quarantine stuff as everyone else. I finally had time to organize my recipes (highly recommend Paprika) and have cooked every one of my meals since April.  (This was a HUGE change for me. I rarely cooked pre-COVID/sabbatical).  I have become really good at making pizza and I even started roasting almonds (I will never eat another unroasted almond again.)  I miss the Pilates reformer, but I replaced it with this weird thing called PVolve that I don’t hate, because it is kind of easy (which probably means I am not doing it right). I did lots of projects around the house and collected zillions of pictures of clouds on my long, daily NYC walks on the East River (hence, the featured image on this post!)

I went back and forth between being super productive and feeling completely unmotivated to do anything.  I am amazingly good at being a quarantine hermit (that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me) but I called my family in tears a few times, because sometimes being a hermit is HARD (no matter how good you are at it) and 2020 is bringing a lot of really hard, sad things.  I also had a lot of inner turmoil about whether to travel this summer since I had all of this time. Ultimately, I decided that it was not worth the extra COVID risk, hassle, and cost, so I stayed put and streamed beach views on my television.

I don’t have to tell you that this is the strangest, hardest year of our lifetime.  I did not totally reinvent myself during my sabbatical (as I hoped I might when I kicked it off), but I did REST and let my body and my mind go wherever they wanted to go (within COVID limitations).  That is exactly what I needed to do.  I am so grateful that I had this time and that I was healthy and that my family was healthy so I could just relax (when I wasn’t anxious).  Many, many people are the opposite of relaxed right now, so I know how lucky I am.

The story, for all of us is still very much unfolding. My next chapter is returning to work, but there are many more chapters to come.  I have told you that astrology says there are big changes coming that we can’t really see yet, and that is what it feels like for my own life as well.  I have no expectations about what my future chapters will hold.  I think right now, we all have to let go of any expectations, pay attention to where our hearts are leading us, wear our masks, and go with the flow. (and vote!)

Mars is Heating Things Up! What Does this Mean for You?

In my last post (Unpacking the Astrology of 2020: Part 3), I mentioned that Mars in Aries was going to heat things up this fall.  The extra heat is already  kicking into gear so I thought this might be a good time to get more specific about dates and what this might feel like.  I will also explain how you can figure out where you might be feeling all of this in YOUR life and how to use this heat to your advantage.

Quick reminder that we have those three really big, powerful planets (Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto) that are all hanging out in Capricorn, the sign of authority, government, structures, integrity, and social ambition.  They are coming together at various times this year, which they RARELY do, and they are bumping into other planets along the way.  This is the stuff that is putting pressure on our systems and structures to tear down what is not working and support us to start building something new.  Mars has rejoined the party which is turning up the heat.

Mars is the engine in your car and the fire in your belly. It is the planet that represents what lights you up and makes you want to DO things. It is also the energy that makes you want to fight. You may fight for what you believe in, for what you want, or to protect yourself or people you love. You may fight from a healthy place and be strategic in the way you use your energy (good trouble). OR you may lash out from a place of insecurity, hurt, or fear and make a lot of noise, waste a lot of energy, not get anywhere productive, and/or take things too far and hurt other people (bad trouble).  When Mars is in Aries, it is super charged and as you might recall, Mars is in Aries for over six months this year, which is a big deal.

Mars kicked off a cycle with those three powerful planets last March in the sign of Capricorn.  That was right around the time the pandemic really started going global.  You could say that the energy of Mars lit a fire under the virus and basically started escalating the process of tearing things down in the world.  Most of our lives have changed, drastically.

Mars then got super charged in Aries at the end of June and will now meet up with those planets again three times in the next six months, at an angle called a square.  A square causes so much tension that you have to take action. It’s like someone pushing you to do something really scary but for your own good.  This series of squares is a STRONG PUSH for us to make changes that need to be made in the structures of our lives and our world. We are actually in the middle of the first set of squares now.  You might be feeling it!

In my last post, I focused on how this is all impacting the world. Personally, it plays out like this.  You built the structures in your life at one point because they were what you needed or wanted at the time.  Those “structures” include where you live, your relationships, your job, the things you have, your daily habits, etc…  Do you still love these things?  What does your heart want now? What needs to change in your life to follow what your heart wants now?  Things have probably bubbled to the surface since March about what is REALLY important to you and what might need to change.  Don’t ignore those messages.  Now is the time to act, but it will probably not be smooth sailing.  Here is why:

    • When Mars squares Jupiter, our intense Mars energy is expanded, for better or worse. We could over-extend ourselves or what is inside us may explode in something like jubilation or rage. (the Beruit explosion happened on August 4th which is the first time Mars Squared Jupiter in this cycle. That was a “for worse” example.)
    • When Mars Squares Pluto you may feel that Mars energy even more intensely (it’s a war vibe) or things may be revealed to you (probably not fun things) that were hidden that now need to be dealt with.
    • When Mars Squares Saturn you may hit some obstacles. You are moving along at warp speed with your excited, ambitious Mars energy, following your heart, and you literally run in to a Saturn wall.  Or you are ignoring the messages inside yourself to follow your heart’s path and you get hit over the head to get you to pay attention. If you are not on the right path or you are doing something that is not for your greatest and highest good, Saturn will knock you down to send you a message to get you to adjust or rethink how to take action in a better way.

So what can you do to make the most of this energy?  This is what the point of astrology is!  Astrology helps you understand the energy that is happening around you (and inside of you) so you can use it in the best way possible to live YOUR best life.

You may already know exactly what needs to change in your life or maybe everything is awesome, so you don’t have to make any changes.  (If that is the case, congrats on kicking ass at your life.)  If you are curious about where in your life astrology says you might need to change your structures and/or focus your Mars energy, I wrote up some instructions to help you figure that out.

Keep in mind that whenever you get a simple astrology answer on the internet, it can’t take in to account the specific details of YOUR birth chart.  We don’t all feel everything that is happening in the sky in the same way. We each have our own path and our own timing.  So you might dig in with my instructions below and it won’t make sense and you will decide its all bull shit OR you might nod your head because it’s spot on OR it might trigger you think about something you weren’t aware of yet.  If its helpful, use it, if not, don’t.

How to Check Your Birth Chart

    1. You need to know exactly where and what time you were born, to the minute. This is probably on your birth certificate but sometimes it’s not. You can google how to possibly get a long form birth certificate or find and astrologer who might be able to back into it for you, but you need the exact time and place to understand the “where” in your life part of Astrology.
    2. Go to Chani Nicholas web site and plug that information in to display your birth chart. There are lots of sites you can use, but this is the clearest one I found for this purpose.  When she asks for the house system, select Whole Sign. (Astrologers do use different house systems which is a tricky subject that I am not going to get in to here!)
    3. What you are looking at is a map of exactly where the planets were in the sky at the moment and location of your birth. Mine looks like this chart below. This is a map of your potential in this lifetime which is pretty cool, but at the moment, we are just going to focus on where you might be feeling this restructuring and Mars energy.
    4. This circle is divided in to 12 sections of the sky called “houses”. Each house represents a different area of your life (it may be your inner life or your outer life).  In the middle of the chart, you can see the number of each house.
      • The house labeled Capricorn, is the area of your life where the “structures” are being transformed.  Make a note of what that number is.
      • The house labeled Aries, is the area of your life where Mars is hanging out for MANY months and giving you a TON of energy to take action that will likely support that transformation in the Capricorn area. Make a note of what that number is.
    5. Check this page on Café Astrology for definitions of the houses and which areas of life they represent. (Ignore the stuff about the ruler and cusps. Focus on the name of the house and the last paragraph that lists the topics for each house).
    6. If you have planets in the Aries or Capricorn houses (those are the mysterious symbols you see under the zodiac names, you may feel the impact more strongly because this is an area of your life where you have some specific lessons. (It’s much more complicated than that, but we are keeping it simple for internet self service.)
    7. One last note – depending on your specific chart, if you use a different house system, the impact may be over TWO areas of your life because the signs span multiple houses. If the first two life areas seem WAY off base, you can go back and run your chart again on Chani’s site using Placidus house system.  Now your Capricorn and Aries might span TWO houses.  Maybe one of the second houses might be where you are feeling the impact in your life?  (Astrology is not an exact science)

If you have questions about this shoot me a note (if you know me) or leave a comment.  I am still learning astrology myself but  I will do my best to help you!

  1. When is all of This Mars Restructuring Stuff Happening?

Now you have some clues about where in your life your structures may need to be transformed and where you have Aries energy behind you to take action that will may help you transform those structures.

Here is a summary of the dates when Mars will be causing extra tension to push you to take action in the Aries and Capricorn parts of your life. Mark your calendars! (And remember these planets are big so we feel things before and after these exact dates!)

    • Aug 4th – 24th The First Pass – We are in the middle of this now. You are starting to really get a nudge to do something. Things are being revealed. You may not know exactly what to do or where you need to end up, but start making a plan and start moving in some direction if you can.
      • August 4th – Mars Squared Jupiter (Expansion)
      • August 13th – Mars Squared Pluto (Intensity/Big Reveal)
      • August 24th – Mars Squares Saturn (Blocks) – Chani says that Mars and Saturn stay close until the second pass so this might last a month. Good times.
    • Sep 9thMars goes retrograde and its harder to DO stuff and we will get frustrated.
    • Sep 29th – Oct 18th Second Pass – We are TRYING to move full steam ahead but it’s probably not going great. More is revealed and we may need to shift gears and change course.
      • Sep 29th – Mars Squares Saturn (Blocks)
      • Oct 9th  – Mars Squared Pluto (Intensity/Big Reveal)
      • Oct 18th – Mars Squares Jupiter (Expansion)
    • Nov 13th – Mars goes direct so we are (hopefully) less frustrated (phew!) (And hopefully we will know who our next president is!)
    • Dec 21st – The Great Conjunction – Saturn and Jupiter meet in Aquarius to start a new age of growth around ideas! (Read my last post to remind you what is up with that and we can regroup on it when its closer)
    • Dec 23rd – Jan 22nd 2021 Third Pass – by the time we get here, lots will have changed in our lives and the world so this stuff we are working on should be clearer. We can make some final adjustments before we move forward into something new.  We are less frustrated.  The Great Conjunction has happened! Planets are moving into new signs and out of this heavy Capricorn.
      • Dec 23rd – Mars Squares Pluto (Intensity/Big Reveal) still in Aries/Capricorn
      • Jan 13th – Mars Squares Saturn (Blocks) – BUT now Mars and Saturn have moved on to new signs (Taurus and Aquarius) so this will feel different than the Aries/Capricorn vibe (we can discuss that when we get there)
      • Jan 22nd – Mars Squares Jupiter (Expansion)– also in new signs of Taurus/Aquarius

New Moon in Leo

I rushed to get this post out because another VIP date in our astrology right now is the New Moon in Leo which is happening TONIGHT, August 18th at 10:41PM New York time.  New Moons are usually a good time to set intentions but apparently this is an exceptionally good time to do so.  With all of this harder stuff coming up (frustration, tension, change, “war energy”, obstacles) and this PUSH to take action, this is a REALLY good time to go deep and think about what you heart wants.  (Leo is all about the heart!!!)  Take out a piece of paper on Tuesday, August 18th (or Wednesday or Thursday are ok, too, I am told) and write down what you want for yourself.  What changes do you want to make in your life?  What do you want the Universe to work with you to you create for yourself and the world? Let it spill out of your heart.  (If you are woo woo, get out your crystals and light some candles.  But this is not necessary. All you need is your heart, a pen and paper, and some quiet space.)

Wrap Up

I will leave you with some final advice about Mars inspired by the many podcasts I have consumed recently. I am sure you feel that Mars energy rising up inside of you (and all around you) already and remember that you can use it in many different ways.  Don’t fight useless battles that you can not win.  Focus that energy on things you have the power to change in your life and in the world.  Don’t get tangled up in heated fights with people who won’t listen because they are stuck in an angry place of insecurity, resentment, or fear.  They are on their own healing path. Wish them well, and don’t feed their negative energy.  Direct your Mars energy at solutions that will make the world a better place for you, and for everyone else.  Think about what is important to you, and fight for that, in a strategic and productive way.  THAT is how we can best us this Mars energy. You don’t have to save the WHOLE world, focus your energy on where YOU can make YOUR life better and that will help change the world.  And if it is in your heart’s path to put that energy directly towards solutions that will help everyone, do that, because the world is in need all of the positive energy and solutions that we can get!

Michelle Obama said it beautifully last night in her speech at the opening night of the Democratic National Convention (and I’ll bet she didn’t even realize she was talking about using our positive Mars energy!)

“When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight. But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.” 

Happy New Moon in Leo!! Set your hearts intentions in the next couple of days, channel your Mars energy to co-create them with the Universe, and try your hardest to fight for good and for a better life for yourself and the people you love!

PS: Here is some additional listening/reading on this topic where I learned a lot of what I shared with you:

Photo credit: unsplash.com/@salijareer

Unpacking The Astrology of 2020: Part 3

This is the final chapter of my compelling, three part series that breaks down the biggest astrology of 2020.  (Go back and read Part 1 and Part 2, if you haven’t yet!)

When we left off at the end of Part 2, I was explaining that things would heat up in July.  Enter the planet of war in the sign of war….

Mars in Aries (June 27th – Jan 7th 2021) 

Mars is about ambition, action, aggression, violence, and anger.  Mars is what gets us to DO things and it is also the planet of war.  On June 27th, Mars moves in to the sign of Aries.  Aries is ruled by Mars which means they have the same themes that will be SUPER SIZED during this time.  People will feel extra ambitious and driven to get things done, but they might also be extra pissed off. Mars usually only stays in one sign for 1-2 months.  But this year, Mars is in Aries for six+ months.  I think you would agree that things have been pretty heated this year already, and Mars is not even in Aries yet.

July/August

Once we get through the eclipse on July 5th, things seem to be relatively chill for July and August???   There is nothing astrologically NEW and HUGE added to the mix.  We will still have the Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter vibes that are with us all year (destroying structures, exposing the darkness that needs to be transformed, spreading Coronavirus) AND Mars in Aries firing us up.  BUT MAYBE we will be in a steady state so we can adjust to the “new normal” and get our bearings before things heat up more in the fall.

A lot of the powerful planets (Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter and Neptune) are also retrograde for most of the summer, which feels like it MIGHT be a time to regroup and reflect (because they are not doing their thing full force, they are kind of puttering around in the dark) OR everything will continue to be a non-stop shit show.  Honestly, I have no idea. (My astrology sources are not saying much about this time.  I am hoping no news is good news.)

Whatever the rest of the summer feels like, it WILL be even more intense in the fall.  So in your moments of possible relaxation, make the absolute most of it, AND get your house in order for the wide ride ahead.

Mars Retrograde (Sep 9th – Nov 13th)

On September 9th, Mars goes retrograde.  When Mars is retrograde, you might get especially frustrated because you are trying to take action and things keep getting in the way.  Or your ambition might be stifled so you don’t feel like doing anything.  People may get really irritable and snap at each other.  And this retrograde is double trouble in the sign of Aries.  All of that super sized energy will get quadruple sized.

What makes this retrograde important collectively, is that Mars will have some tense interactions with those planets bringing us all of the hard stuff this year.  Mars will “but heads” with Saturn, Pluto AND Jupiter during this time.  While Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter are working their (not so fun) magic, a retrograde, frustrated Mars is trying to pick a fight with them.  AND Mercury will be retrograde again (Oct 13 – Nov 3) during this Mars retrograde which is kind of a big deal.  Our communication might be all messed up while we are dealing with anger and frustration.  There will be power struggles (Pluto), miscommunications (Mercury), fighting (Mars), obstacles (Saturn) and we might be overextending ourselves (Jupiter). Everything will be coming to a boil during this time.  (This is why we need to rest and prepare this summer?)

Lesson Plan for Mars Retrograde: How can we work through conflict in an effective way so we come out the other side in a better place?  (You are going to really want to have your meditation practice going before we get here!)

Deep breaths…

Mars will be retrograde leading up to, and until right after, our election in the United States on November 3rd. We will be making a REALLY big decision that will impact the structures of our government and society for the next four years, at least.  AND Mercury Retrograde will be ending ON election day.  The last time Mercury was retrograde during an election was the 2008 chad situation in Florida when we had a contested election.

All of this energy sounds scary but there is always a potential up side with astrology.  This energy could put extra pressure on us to take action and do everything we can to make sure this election turns out for the greatest and highest good of all. 

There are actually astrological reasons, for why this is all hitting the United States extra hard.  We are coming up on something called our Pluto return in February 2022. This means Pluto is coming back to exactly where it was when our nation was born.  Think super sized destroy/transform/rebuild energy directed at the US.  We are facing the shadows that our nation was built on (you know what those are).  This is already in the air now. You can read more about the Pluto Return of the US here if you are interested.

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (December 21st)

This is the FINAL piece of big astrology for 2020 and what we are working towards all year (Thanks for sticking with me this long!).  On December 21st, Jupiter and Saturn will come together for  The Great Conjunction, which happens every 20 years.  When Jupiter and Saturn come together, they kick-off a new cycle of growth.  This impacts us all individually in different ways, but collectively, these are cycles of socio-political growth and change.

This specific Great Conjunction is extra special because this is the first time in 200 years that it is happening in an air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) instead of an earth sign (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo).

Jupiter is the planet that wants us to grow and expand and pursue our highest ideals.  Saturn helps us put structures and discipline in place so we can achieve that growth.  If they are working together in a positive way, they can get A LOT of good stuff done.  On the flip side, if we take Jupiter too far and cross in to its darkness (greed, overindulgence, extreme ideology), Saturn brings out the discipline and restricts Jupiter to reign it back in.

Saturn and Jupiter have been coming together in earth signs (Taurus, Capricorn, and Virgo) for the past 200 years.  Earth signs are about material things that we can see and touch and practical solutions rooted in common sense (food, shelter, money, the actual earth, our bodies, systems, structure, rules, caution, responsibility).  For 200 years we have been going through cycles of growth and excess around themes of government, hierarchies, laws, capitalism, making stuff, buying stuff, building stuff, growing stuff, using earth’s resources, and our physical health.  We have placed a high value on wealth, status, beauty, and power.

We used that earthy Saturn-Jupiter energy to lay a solid foundation in our societies and build some great stuff, but we also took some things too far.  Global warming, the economic divide, growing authoritarianism, etc.  As the end of this cycle approaches, Saturn is reigning things back in with its tough love, and Pluto and all of the other planets are joining in to help.

The Great Conjunction is bringing us the opportunity to re-build things differently.  On December 21st, we will kick off our next 200 year cycle of socio-political (and individual) growth in air signs (Aquarius, Libra, Gemini) that all have themes involving ideas, communication, and social connections.

The first 20 year air sign cycle is in Aquarius.  The themes of Aquarius are freedom, innovation, science, technology, facts, and humanitarianism (and astrology!).  Aquarians want to try new ideas and to fix things to make the world a better place.  They want freedom and revolution.  But, at their worst, Aquarians can be detached, like mad scientists, and lose track of the humanity behind their ideas.  They can play god and get fanatical, opinionated, selfish, and erratic.  (Watch out for the dark Aquarians!)

For the next 20 years, we can expect to see growth and changes in our socio-political systems based on Aquarian themes.  This will bring lots of new ideas, new ways of thinking, and advances in technology and science (space travel will be big, is what I am hearing).  Power and decision making will shift from organizations and hierarchical structures, in to the hands of the people. We are being asked to completely re-think everything from the bottom up, instead of top down.

We will, of course, have to watch out for the dark side of Aquarius which could include extremism and revolution based on herd mentality without critical thinking behind it.  And, our freedoms may continue be constricted by Saturn, until we prove that we are responsible enough to be set free. Astro Butterfly explains it like this

“Saturn will ask Aquarius to ‘uplevel’ and transform from a rebellious and spoiled adolescent into a responsible, society’s-interests-first citizen of the future.”

Saturn has been giving us a preview of how it works with Aquarius from March 23rd to July 2nd.  During this time you may have noticed that majority of the world had their freedoms (Aquarius) taken away (Saturn), we are having massive protests (Aquarius) related to the societal structures of police and criminal justice (Saturn), we are balancing isolation (Saturn) with connection through technology  (Aquarius) and debating restrictions (Saturn) vs freedoms (Aquarius) of information and facts (Aquarius).

Saturn will move back in to Capricorn on July 2nd where it will resume its focus on lessons about our governments, authority figures, business, and all societal and financial structures, until it moves in to Aquarius for the Great Conjunction in December, where it will stay for 2.5 years.

As we move in to this new astrological era, people who are feeling secure with the status, wealth, power, and the current structures (earth themes) will not let go without a fight. They will continue to dig in their heels and play out the dark side of their own personalities to hold on to their safety and power. Everyone is learning their own lessons and is on their own path. It may not only be people “at the top” or people who have risen to power by not acting in integrity who are digging in their heels.  Anyone who feels safe in the current structures or is uncomfortable with change or new ways of thinking will have a lot of adjustments to make as we move in to a whole new world (I put myself in this category!)

(You might be wondering, is this the beginning of the Age of Aquarius?  No one knows for sure!  There are many theories on this and we may not know until we can look back on it.  Some say yes!  A topic for another post, perhaps)

Summary 

The planets are aligning in the sky in ways that have not been seen for  hundreds of years.  The line up of the cosmos in the second half of 2020 is heavy, and it will be hard, but it is also leading us in to a time of great change and possibility for something better.  Many people believe that our souls chose to come to earth at this time because we all have a part to play in this transformation. We are all being asked to look at the cracks in our lives and in the world as part of our life lessons.  The seals we have been filling them in with won’t hold any more.  We have to tear things down and rebuild in new ways.  If we ignore this mission, we will just keep getting hit over the head with it even harder.  I don’t want to keep getting hit over the head with it, do you?

There will always be a mix of light and dark in the world (and inside of each of us), we are just WAY out of balance right now.  So how do we re-balance and bring more light in to the world?  Because WE make up the cosmos, we have to start by getting OURSELVES in to balance.  Really, the only thing we CAN control is ourselves.  Be your BEST you and work your ass off doing that.  If that catches on and enough of us lean in to our light, we WILL get through this and build a better world. This will look different for everyone.  Some of that work is out in the world.  Some of that work is at home and in our families.  And everyone has work to do on themselves.

Your “best you” gets information from may sources, keeps an open mind, listens more, and has compassionate conversations.  Your “best you” does what lights you up, as much as possible.  Your “best you” works through conflict effectively and fights (constructively) for what you believe in.  Your “best you” lets go of what is not working for you any more and replaces it with something better.  Your “best you” lets love in and asks for help when you need it. Your “best you” remembers that we are all part of a larger community working together. Your “best you” takes care of YOU. Your “best you” takes time to get quiet and pay attention to what your heart is telling you.

That’s all I got.  Be your best you, for yourself, for everyone you love, and for our planet.  Help others be their best selves when you can.  Fight for the light in your own life and in the collective.  The stakes have never been higher in our lifetime (no pressure).  Love will literally save the earth.  Love yourself.  Love everyone around you.  Meet fear and anger with love and compassion. I believe that the cosmos has our backs if we pay attention to what it is asking of us.  Pay attention. Stay woke.

PS: Your individual birth chart will show you where all of these huge things are impacting YOU this year and the areas of your life where YOU are being asked to be more curious (Gemini), take action (Mars/Aries), release and let go (Eclipses), destroy and transform (Saturn/Pluto) and start a new cycle of growth (Saturn/Jupiter).  I may attempt to explain that in a future post OR you can book a reading with an astrologer (let me know if you want help finding one) OR you can check out this course by Chani Nicholas (2020 the Year Ahead for your Sign).  She gives the high level themes for 2020 for everyone in the same “rising sign” and where in your life them might be playing out. (And it might go on sale if you wait until July and the year is half over!)

PSS: This is a great Astrology University podcast episode with one of my favorite astrologers Jessica Lanyadoo about How to Be Present with – and Respect – Your Fear Under Saturn-Pluto.  One of our big lessons this year is to learn how to work with our fear!

Photo credit: ME! These are the zodiac signs on the ceiling of Grand Central station taken with my amazing Iphone skills on one of my recent corona-walk in NYC.

Unpacking The Astrology of 2020: Part 2

The world has gotten even crazier since I wrote Unpacking The Astrology of 2020: Part 1  (if you have not yet read Part 1, go catch up before you continue).  We are tired and overwhelmed and have no idea what is coming next.  The astrology says that we are going through a HUGE transformation here on planet earth, so our lessons this year are HARD.  (Transformation is no joke.)

We are moving in to a new astrological age at the end of 2020 (yes, this is huge).  Everything happening now, is leading up to this.  All of the upheaval and chaos is happening to wake us up, get rid of what is not working, and get us moving in a new direction.  Every planet and sign has themes that can play out in the light or the dark, and the result depends on us.  The more we know about the themes coming our way, the better choices we can make.  This is why I have felt compelled to learn as much as I can about this and share it with all of you.  

I will focus on the biggest astrology that impacts all of us collectively for the rest of 2020.  It’s not everything, but it’s still a lot!  I decided it was too much for one post, so there will be a Part 3.  It has been hard to focus on this with everything going on in the world, so this Part 2 astrology has started to kick in already. 

Let me catch you up….

Astrology of the Racial Injustice Protests

The back drop of everything this year is the Saturn/Pluto conjunction that kicked us off in January (See Part 1 ). The vibes of “destroy structures that are not working in government/business/society so we can rebuild them in a better way” will be with us through November.  Three times this year, Jupiter, the planet that expands everything (and also has a theme of social justice!), bumps in to Pluto (destroy/transform) to add fuel to the fire.

I mentioned in Part 1 that Uranus, the planet that brings unexpected chaos to encourage change, is also in the mix. Uranus is hanging out at an uncomfortable angle in the sky (called a square) across from the Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter situation and this is randomly bringing in bursts of chaos to shake things up.  If you have been wondering what the astrology is that caused everyone  to “suddenly” have racial injustice brought to the front of their consciousness and for a global revolution to rise up and start to bring change that some people (#blacklivesmatter) have been working on for years with little traction – meet Uranus dancing with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter.  AND this all erupted right at the start of eclipse season AND Saturn is giving us a preview of what it can do in Aquarius AND Venus Retrograde was involved! I will get in to all of that in a bit.

Let’s take a step back….

Nodes of the Moon Shift from Cancer/Capricorn to Gemini/Sagittarius (May 5th)

On May 5th , the nodes of the moon shifted out of Cancer/Capricorn in to Gemini/Sagittarius. The south node of the moon shows us the patterns and habits that it is time for us to let go of.  The north node of the moon shows us behaviors we need to embrace more to move towards our destiny.  Every 18 months, the nodes of the moon shift in to a different pair of zodiac signs, urging us to focus on a new set of themes as part of our lesson plan. (FYI – you also have a north and south node in your personal birth chart that are a huge part of your personal life lesson plan.)

For the last 18 months (Nov 2018 – May 2020), the nodes were in Cancer  and Capricorn.  One of the themes of Cancer/Capricorn is to let go of working SO hard and striving for success out in the world (south node in Capricorn) and focus more on nourishing and taking care of our emotional selves and focusing on family and home (north node in Cancer).  Near the end of the 18 month Cancer/Capricorn cycle, you may have noticed that the universe shut down a lot of workplaces and/or took away jobs (Capricorn) so people would HAVE to stay home, face their emotions, and focus more on themselves and their families (Cancer).  I assume that the universe really wanted us to learn that lesson to prepare us for what comes next.  (FYI – In the fall of 2018, astrologer Eugenia Crock  called out that a “plague” might happen during the Cancer/Capricorn time because several plagues have happened historically during Cancer/Capricorn nodal placements!! I think she blew her own mind at how spot on that was!  She has a lot of great insights on the nodes of the moon and 2020 in general.  Check her out.)

In May, the north node  shifted in to Gemini and south node shifted in to Sagittarius.  One of the main themes of the Gemini/Sagittarius nodes is to embrace the curiosity of the Gemini (north node) and not get stuck in the “dark” side of the Sagittarius  (south node) which can be dogmatic, judgmental, and opinionated, and can get easily sucked in to propaganda.  Gemini’s pay attention to details, listen, and ask lots of questions.  The lesson plan: don’t just accept what you hear/read as truth. Be curious. Ask questions and don’t get so wrapped up in any ideology that you close your mind to other points of view.

I think we can all agree that the dark side of Sagittarius is taking hold. We have huge divisions here in the US that are being fueled by access to so much information.  It’s getting harder for people to know what is true, and some people are blatantly distorting the truth for their own agenda.  The judgement and dogma are fueling hate, which will continue to pull us in to the dark. We need to question everything and listen more.  We have to stay informed and think critically to make our own decisions.  Instead of un-following and de-friending, keep people in your circle who have different views.  Have compassionate conversations.  Get inputs from many sources (not just the ones that align with your beliefs).  Question the intentions of the people you are getting your information from.  Stay open minded and curiousThis article from Rolling Stone has suggestions for being careful about what you consume on social media.  

Also, Gemini (our destiny) is about neighborhoods and local travel, versus Sagittarius who likes to explore far away lands and new cultures.  Probably not a surprise, but we might not be travelling too far from home for the next 18 months or so.

Venus Retrograde (May 13th – June 25th)

Venus is more of a personal planet and not as tied to global/society events, but it is a big astrological event that might be impacting YOU (and we do make up society), so I decided to include it.  When Venus retrogrades  (which means is looks like it is moving backwards in the sky) Venus “things” may not be functioning properly.  Venus themes include how we love and connect to other people (relationships) and what we value (material objects, beauty, art). The advice during a retrograde is to not take any BIG actions in the areas related to the retrograding planet. For Venus that means don’t get married, buy luxury items, or cut your bangs,  During this time you can reassess Venus “stuff” and think bout what may need to change and what actions you might want to take later, when it starts moving forward again (June 26th).  Things that might SEEM like a good idea during a retrograde, might be Venus messing with you (sorry I did not warn you sooner).  Venus retrograde will not start issues in a relationship, but if it already has some cracks in it, it could fall apart at this time.  Astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo did a podcast episode on Venus and Venus Retrograde if you want to have a listen.

After I published this post, I learned that Venus Retrogrades have been tied to Civil Rights movements in history.  So, I was flat out wrong about Venus not being as tied to global/society events.  Still learning!

Eclipse Season (June 5th – July 5th)

We have three eclipses this summer.  The first eclipse happened on June 5th (on a full moon, but we started feeling in with the new moon in Gemini on May 20th.  The next one will be on June 20th/21st (the date depends on where you live.  This is on the solstice which makes it very powerful) and the last on July 5th.  A series of eclipses happen twice a year.  We usually only have two eclipses in a season, but 2020 is special so we get THREE this summer.  The moon’s themes are about our emotions and our past.  The sun’s themes are about our identity and our purpose.  When the earth and the sun and the moon start getting in each other’s way, it stirs things up around your emotions and your identity and purpose.

Eclipse season can be intense and emotions can run high. Eclipses can bring things out in to the open that we haven’t been paying attention to that need to be resolved or released.  (For example, hundreds of years of racial injustice).  Things may happen suddenly or new information may be revealed that we will work through over a longer period of time.  These things may happen collectively on a larger scale but they also happen to us individually. (How they impact YOU depends on your own personal birth chart.)  A lot of people could be going through some intense shifts personally during this time AND/OR some big stuff could be revealed to all of us (yes, on top of everything else). You can read more about these eclipses here.

PSA: The last two eclipses will happen during a Mercury retrograde (June 17th – July 12th).  While you are juggling intense emotional/identify stuff,  Mercury themes may not work properly (communication, ideas, and travel).  Be extra careful and pay attention to what comes up because it might be special lesson for you.

Part 3 Coming Soon

You are all caught up with the biggest things that are happening through the end of June.  We will tackle the second half of the year in Part 3 and I will wrap it up with my advice on how we can best get through this (for what it is worth).  As a heads up, things will heat up in July (I know!! It’s already so hot!) and even more in the fall (deep breaths), and then we will hit the BIGGEST astrology of the year, The Great Conjunction in December.  Stay tuned, be careful out there, and be kind to each other!

Photo credit: James Lee 

Unpacking The Astrology of 2020: Part 1

At the end of 2019, astrologers started talking about the wild astrology that was coming in 2020.  (They have actually been talking about it for YEARS, but I was just catching up).  At an astrology conference I attended in November, I learned that WORLD JUDGEMENT was coming in January 2020 (See my Instagram story here from November 23rd, 2019)

I took detailed notes at the conference and listened to a few podcasts, but didn’t think too much more about it. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sold on the fact that astrologers can make predictions.

Then as the astrological events started to kick in, with an eclipse on January 10th and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12th, and I noticed things were starting to get crazy around me.  One friend was diagnosed with cancer, another friend had an attempted suicide in her family, relationships around me were getting explosive, and there was an unusual level of drama at work.

When things got even CRAZIER in the world, I started to pay more attention to the information coming in from astrologers.  I am definitely more convinced that astrologers who know what they are doing, are on to something.  It took me forever to research and write this post, but I wanted to share this with my non-astrologically minded friends who might be curious. If that’s not you, feel free to abort!

So how DO astrologers make predictions about what might happen in the world? I talked a little bit about how astrology works in your individual life when I explained How I Became Obsessed with Astrology.  Those same general principals apply to all of us, collectively, too!

Astrology is the study of correlations between the movement of the planets (and other celestial bodies) and our lives here on earth. Astrologers don’t believe that the planets are controlling what happens to us, but they believe that we are interconnected with the cosmos in a mysterious way that is far beyond our understanding.  They believe this because they have observed that similar things play out, over and over again, when planets are “aligned” the same way.

So why can’t astrologers tell us exactly what will happen?

Each planet has its own “themes” that it brings to the table.  (Saturn has an entirely different vibe than Venus, for example.)   The themes of each planet have a “harmonious” and “shadow” side and either side can play out in many different ways.  The actions we take, also influence how those themes play out.  It’s a two way street.  The planets do not decide our fate, we work together with them to co-create our futures.  Astrologers can not tell you exactly what will happen, they can only interpret the themes and lay out the range of possibilities for how they might play out.

Everything in nature moves in cycles, including the planets. When the planets line up in the sky, the same way as they have in the past, similar things have been observed to happen here on earth. But we are evolving and changing, so the general themes are the same in each cycle, but the experience will be different.  If you were supposed to learn a specific lesson, and you didn’t, you may get hit harder with it the next time.  If you were paying attention and learned a lesson and grew from the experience, you may get a new lesson OR it may be smooth sailing.  Astrologers don’t know what the mystery is of the interconnection, but they all agree that we are here on earth to learn lessons and to evolve and the planets are showing us the lesson plan.

Let’s get in to our lesson plans for 2020.  There is A LOT going on in the cosmos this year, so I am going to focus on the biggest astrology to date  and save the rest for a future post.

I mentioned earlier that on January 12th, we had a SaturnPluto conjunction.  (A “conjunction” means the planets were right on top of each other) This was HUGE.  These specific planets, only come together like this every 30+ years.  And when they do, wild stuff happens (not usually good wild, unfortunately)

Saturn represents the structures we put in place and the especially hard lessons we need to learn in order to grow – our karmic lessons. When Saturn is hanging around, we feel things like responsibility, discipline, patience, security, restrictions, scarcity, reality, fear,  isolation, and depression.

Pluto wants to destroy things so they can be reborn in a better way.  It asks us to go deep to find the darkness under the surface and bring it to light so it can be transformed and transmuted in to something better.  It’s intense and it ALSO magnifies the themes of the planets it comes in contact with.

When these two planets come together, the combined theme is that  Pluto wants us to destroy the structures that are not working for our greatest and highest good and rebuild them in a better way.  It asks us to look at the darkness that has been lurking underneath our societies and societal structures.  What is the reality (Saturn theme) of the consequences of our actions? If the structures we have built can not hold up to the pressure that Pluto is putting on them, they will implode.  Karma.

Pluto is also adding intensity to the themes of Saturn, which I mentioned include restrictions and isolation.  Saturn restricts us and takes things away from us to help us learn lessons (kind of like getting grounded).  Pluto+Saturn = Quarantine (a BIG grounding of millions of people).

In the past when these planets have come together, some big stuff happened including World War I, World War II, the AIDS epidemic, and the bubonic plague.  The last time they were across from each other in the sky (which also causes some un-fun stuff) was right around 9/11.  Now you see why astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time.  Some actually predicted a pandemic and others predicted war and others overall  world judgement (time to pay the piper).

Saturn and Pluto are spending most of this year together in the sign of Capricorn.  The sign where planets meet in the sky, gives us more information about how the planetary themes will play out.  Capricorn rules over governments, authority figures, business, and all societal and financial structures.  These are the areas where can expect destruction and transformation in to something better.  These planets haven’t met in Capricorn since 1518 which aligned closely with the Protestant Reformation.

These are the themes everyone has been talking about around the pandemic and our governments, but most of those people know nothing about astrology.  Isn’t it fascinating that the planets are saying the same things they are? #astrologyisreal

This sounds scary and hard. (And now we are living it,  so we know how scary and hard it is).  But remember, that every planet brings positive and negative energies to the table.  Saturn brings hard lessons but it also gives us the strength to do the work that is needed (responsibility, discipline) to learn our lessons and grow.  Pluto tears everything down, but it also heals and puts things back together in a better way.

Saturn and Pluto started coming together in 2018, were right next to each other on January 12th of this year, and they will stay very close until November.  So these strong Saturn-Pluto vibes will be with us for most of this year.  Then the planets will start moving apart again (which dilutes the strength of their combined energy) but these themes will stay with us until they meet again in 30+ years.

If you are still with me, there is more.

Jupiter is the planet of expansion. It expands everything it touches, either good or bad.  Jupiter is dancing with Pluto this year which is making the destruction and transformation EVEN BIGGER.  More global.  More dramatic.

AND Uranus, which brings change through chaos and fast, unexpected changes, is also in the mix this year, which is likely contributing to the instability in the financial markets. Cuz Capricorn rules business and financial structures.

Phew!

That is a lot of stuff.  And it’s heavy. But the planets always keep moving and changing formation.  It’s an un-fun cycle we are in, but change is constant.  Nothing lasts forever. Good or bad.  Unfortunately, there is more intense astrology this year, so we are not out of the woods anytime soon. I plan to get in to that more in Part 2, but be aware there is more coming. (The  astrology agrees with the people who say the virus may calm down in the summer and be back again in the fall.)

My advice…. take good care of yourself physically, emotionally, and financially.  Get your house in order so you can ride this out for a while.  Take deep breaths. Rest when you can. Start meditating.  If you have some extra energy, think about what your role might be in this big transformation that’s happening.  We each have our own role to play.  Some of us are saving lives or keeping people fed or collecting garbage or governing.  Some of us are learning a lot more about our roles in our families and relationships. Some people are creating art. Some are ramping up their activism. Some are learning how to sit still and listen to their hearts.  (Some are watching The Bachelor: Listen To Your Heart)  Some are secretly loving quarantine and don’t want it to end. Many are just trying to keep their heads above water.

Richard Tarnas, a very famous astrologer who wrote a very famous book about the connection between us and the cosmos (which is currently sold out almost everywhere FYI) gave an amazing talk in April titled What’s Happening in the Stars Right Now (highly recommend for my friends who ARE in to astrology).  His advice for each of us is to find what lights you up and do that.  What makes you feel amazing, whatever that is, is what you are supposed to contribute to this transformation.  (It might be hard to find anything that makes you feel amazing right now, but keep an eye out for it.) He also advises to look for signs and pay attention to random synchronicities.  These signs will help point you towards what the cosmos is asking of you during this time.

Hopefully, I will get to the rest of the Astrology of 2020 before 2020 is over!

I Am Officially on Sabbatical

You might recall, that last year, I really wanted to rest.  What I didn’t tell you was that I also read, not one, but TWO books about taking a sabbatical:

I was craving a looooong break. I devoured these books and was inspired by the idea of a sabbatical, but I didn’t have the guts to actually take one (despite how the first book tried to make it simple for me).  I didn’t think I could leave my boss high and dry. I was afraid to walk away from gainful employment at the age of 50. What if I get sick? What if I run out of money? What if  I can never find a job again because I am so old? (If you have been listening to Cuomo’s daily briefings you may have heard that 51 is the new 81.)

So I kept working. And more work was piled on top of the work I already had. And I kept working.

Earlier this year, I wrote down some things that I really wanted but seemed out of reach. This sabbatical idea was still very much on my mind, because this was at the top of the list:

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

But was still too scared to actually DO anything about it.

When I was in my 20s I quit my job TWICE with no other job lined up.  I don’t remember what I was thinking or how I got the nerve to do that, but BOTH times, I found new jobs that led me in to new careers.  Clearly, as I have aged, I have become a chicken shit.

Fast forward to Spring 2020. My plans to re-enter the world, and interact with humans again were thwarted by a global pandemic.  I found myself hunkered down at home, feeling grateful that I still had a paycheck, but it was harder and harder to focus, because I was completely burned out and the world was on fire.

Then, not long after I wrote that last post, I found out that my company would be furloughing people.  One thing led to another, and on May 1st, I found myself on a four month sabbatical.

Whaaaaattt!!!!????

I wish I could tell you that I got the courage to make this happen for myself.  I did not put my hand up to volunteer. I was still clinging to the security of my job, certain that I was too important to be let go, even just temporarily. But the Universe knew better.  My ego was hurt for about 5 seconds, and then I quickly transitioned to being grateful that the Universe took over and forced the issue. (Excuse me, you said you wanted this. WTF. It’s go time!)

If you somehow still don’t now what a furlough is in the age of COVID-19, it is an up-paid leave of absence.  The company intends to bring you back after a period of time, but there are no guarantees.  You often still have health insurance (I do!) and you are eligible for employment. It is basically, a pretty suite sabbatical situation (aside from the whole quarantine/global pandemic thing.)  And assuming one has some savings, which I do and am very grateful for.

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

I manifested it!!!  Kind of amazing, right?

So here I am, with four months to do anything my heart desires, within the confines of my budget and my tiny NYC apartment (at least for a while). In week one, I have been full of energy and have worked through a long list of personal “to dos”.  Now I am feeling called to just chill out and rest. I need to create some space in my mind to see what is lurking under all of the “busy”.

I have no idea what will happen next. Four months is a looooong time. I have no idea whether I will still have a job in four months or whether I will want to go back to it or not. None of us has any idea what our lives will be like in four months.  I am feeling some internal pressure to do something AMAZING with this opportunity and come out the other end a whole new woman with a whole new life. That might happen. But I will start by just getting quiet, listening to my heart, and following it where ever it leads me.

Today, my heart wanted to take a Zoom yoga class with my dear friend Erica and she mentioned this quote by Dov Seidman which was absolutely perfect, not just for my sabbatical, but for all of us who’s lives are on pause right now:

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start. You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, to re-imagine what is possible, and reconnect with your most deeply held beliefs.”

Let’s get started….

Pandemic Thoughts from NYC

Just as I was starting to pick my life back up again and “go direct” after my 2019 Retrograde, the world fell apart.  We were all sent to our rooms to reflect on who we are and what the f&*% we are doing.  But even I, who am on an eternal quest for self growth am having a hard time focusing on that.

As things were unfolding here in NYC, I was in a complete state of anxiety. I am a Meyers Briggs SJ who is ALWAYS prepared so, of course, I started acquiring things early (not hoarding because SJs also follow the rules and think about others.)  I would have mini moments of panic and run out to CVS in the middle of the day to get something I was running low on and then pop in to the grocery store just to make sure it was still stocked.  I worried about my brother who has been sick for two months and tried to convince my Dad to stay home while sending him lists of things to stock up on. I had a cough that I would normally write off as a chest cold or allergies but of course I googled symptoms and worried about it constantly.

The first week of March, I had a colonoscopy I had been avoiding for a year (super fun activity to go through while the world is devolving around you). While I was waiting to get rolled in to the procedure room, I overheard my doctor  say “It’s everywhere. It’s too late to stop this from spreading.”  I already knew this.  We are literally on top of each other here in NYC.  There is definitely no hiding from something we don’t know is coming after us.

Two weeks later, I went in to a panic when I got an email from my doctors office saying my follow up appointment was cancelled because the doctor was “not feeling well”.  Whaaaattt did that mean????!!!  Within an hour, my temperature was 99 degrees.  Cough…temperature rising….freaking out!  I took an Advil (before I heard you are not supposed to take Advil for COVID-19) and texted both my energy healer and sister in a panic.  They were both super helpful and within two hours, my temperature was back to normal.  Did I have Coronavirus for a minute and then it passed?  Or did my brain freak my body out?  We may never know unless I get sick or get an antibody test, but I am fairly certain I am not the only anxious person who is going through this a few times a week right? (BTW: I have not heard a word from my doctor’s office. No news is good news, I hope!)

Five days after the “fever” incident, a friend convinced me to go outside to get some fresh air.  After walking for an hour and climbing seven flights of stairs to avoid sharing the elevator, I was pretty sure that I was not sick.  Since then I have been (mostly) calm, working from home like I have for most of the past 10 years , with a ton more video calls than usual so I have to actually shower and put on a bra now. I continue to order in food so I can save my non perishables…just in case. (This grateful SJ, does not  mess around with being prepared AND she really hates cooking.)

It’s hard to focus on anything for very long. There is so much news to read and so many family members and friends to check in with.  It takes more energy to figure out how to safely get food and do laundry and exercise. Then I feel guilty that those are the only things I have to worry about so I write out all of the things I am grateful for over and over in my journal.  Then I do more scrolling and searching for what else I can do to help while listening to sirens outside and siting safely in my home so I don’t get sick or make anyone else sick.  I make online donations and share things on social media that are helpful or completely irrelevant.  I go for walks on the empty streets of NYC and have to remind myself that this is not a quiet Sunday morning in August. I can’t touch anything, I have to dodge people who get too close, and I can’t touch my face.

I can’t even bring myself to focus on TV.  Nothing seems worth my time and nothing has been able to keep my attention.  I haven’t had the energy to read or write.  It’s even harder to stay off social media now. We are all going through this together and that is the only place where we can all BE together.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  I have watched a surprising number of ex-bachelor contestant’s Tik Tok videos  and spent last Friday night watching three hours of an influencer’s blind date and the aftermath on an Instagram Live.  What is wrong with me?

We are all still processing the shock of what has hit us and adjusting to what (I believe) will be a long period of isolation and grief.  If it hasn’t hit you yet, don’t get complacent. It’s coming. Be careful and get ready.

I finally got myself focused to do some writing because these questions are constantly going through my mind behind  all of the noise:

    • What the f&*^ is going on?
    • What are we supposed to learn from all of this?
    • What are we going to differently when we get through this?

This is a wake up call.  Things will not (and should not) “go back to normal” when this is over.  I don’t have the answers.  We are all going to have to figure this out together. The people who are governing like adults or saving other people’s lives or making sure we all have food to eat or taking care of kids while trying to work from home or trying to make ends meet with no income or out on the street because they have no home, are kind of busy.

So if you have energy and time to spare, go inside for a few minutes and see what your heart has to say about the bigger picture of what is happening here, so we can figure this out.  Then you can watch Tiger King and Tik Tok’s.

 

I Went Retrograde in 2019

It’s been a minute, I know.  I once again fell off the face of the earth but I am making another come back! I have committed to write 12 blog posts this year and now that I have officially shared that with the handful of people who will read this post, we are in this together and I will make it happen!

It’s always so hard to re-start after a break.  I know that I want to start writing again but I am not entirely sure what I want to say.  I struggle with how much to share and why I am sharing anything at all.  My perfectionist self wants every post to be amazing and insightful.  Especially after a long break.  I am not sure I can muster up “amazing and insightful” right now, but I want to get this rolling again (and I am continuously working on letting go of my perfectionism) so here we go.

To start, I am not an astrologer yet!!! (surprise!)  I still love Astrology. I have acquired many more astrology books. I listen to Astrology podcasts weekly. I follow a zillion astrologers on Instagram. I went to an astrology conference in the fall. I think in the language of astrology. I post Instagram stories about the moon and astrological events that move me. I have done some mini readings for friends.  But I haven’t been able to invest the time to take it to the next level and I am not sure exactly HOW to take it to the next level. (I don’t think I can get a master’s degree in Astrology?)  It’s still a passion. I am pretty sure its part of my life’s purpose in some way. I just have to figure out what to do next. More on that to come!

Speaking of the language of astrology, I feel like I went retrograde at the end of 2019.  The official definition of retrograde is to “move backward”.  Planets go retrograde, but they don’t technically move backward.  They appear to be moving backward because the earth and the planet are moving at different speeds in different orbits.  (This video explains the astronomy of it, or just trust me).  When planets go retrograde, astrologers have observed that things can go a little haywire down here on earth.  Astrology says that the disorder retrogrades can cause is trying to show us something – to force us to pay attention or see things from a new perspective.  We don’t usually make changes when everything feels good in our lives.  We humans usually need challenges to push us to evolve.  It’s kind of the whole reason we are here.

There were some great moments in 2019, but there were a lot of challenges too, and things devolved for me as the year went on.  I started out in Hawaii, then got to celebrate my birthday with people I love, and followed that with an amazing trip to Ireland.  But I also had multiple health issues, went through some crazy family drama, got attacked by a dog, and worked a lot. By the end of the year, I found myself right back where I always end up, working around the clock with no time for myself, or anyone else in my life.  Things culminated into a work tornado of stress that was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  (I know I have had a lot of work stress in my life so, I kind of feel like Chris Harrison on the Bachelor who insists that every season is the most dramatic one yet!  But really, it was the craziest yet! The Universe could give those reality show producers a run for their money.)

(Side note: My Year of Creativity kind of fizzled. Unless you count spreadsheets as creative?)

Everything could have been so much worse, and I am grateful that it wasn’t. My health issues were not life-threatening, the dog “bite” did not break the skin, my family is (mostly) holding it together, and I did not lose my job.  But there were messages being sent, and I was listening!

Universe to me:  Hello!!! I thought we were moving in the direction of our life’s purpose?  What are you doing?  You are not taking care of your heart! You are not taking care of your body! You are not feeding your soul!  OK, I am going to throw some stuff at you to make you pay attention!!

It was not fun.

In January, the smoke cleared. Things lightened up at work in a way that was definitely for my greatest and highest good, but there were some hard lessons in there about my ego and letting go, and about paying attention to where I put my energy, that helped me shift my perspective. (Nice work Universe!)

At the end of a retrograde, after a planet goes “direct” again, there is a shadow period (called a “retroshade”) as the planet is adjusting to the shift in direction (or the illusion of the shift in direction, I guess.)  January was my retroshade period.  Things were still a little weird and then I took some downtime to regroup and recover.  When February started, I was ready to go “direct”.

To get the energy flowing back in the right direction, I decided to bring “New Things” officially back in to my life!  I don’t have a specific number new things I want to do this year, I am just going to try to get out and do new stuff and hopefully, write about it!  I managed to knock out five new things in two weeks, so I am off to a good start!  You can find the list on my lists page!

Happy (very) belated new year!! It feels good to be “direct” again, and on the right path, and to have this 2019 wrap up post complete so I can really get started with 2020.

PS: Ironically, as I was writing this post, Mercury went retrograde and will be retrograde until March 9th, 2020.  Metaphorically, I am “direct” but in reality, we are all now experiencing Mercury retrograde which may cause some disruptions in communication, perception, and thinking (which are all related to the energy of the planet Mercury).  Be careful out there.

How I Became Obsessed with Astrology

If you have had any contact with me in the past year, you probably know that I have become obsessed with astrology. This is the story of how and why that happened.

Last year, when I was on a pilgrimage to the UK, there was an astrologer with us on our trip and I asked her how I could be a Pisces and not be a fan of baths, hot tubs, swimming or boats. Pisces is a fish (two fish, actually)! How could I not like water? (For some reason, this was the only astrological question I had at the time.)

She instructed me to enter the date, time, and place of my birth into a website to pull up something called a “birth chart”.

What happened next blew my mind. From looking at a bunch of cryptic symbols on a wheel divided in to 12 “houses”, this woman I had just met started saying some very accurate and profound things about me and my life. She also said that this wheel contained some guidance about what I was supposed to be doing with my life!!! How had I never heard about this beautiful, mysterious, magical wheel????

[Before I go on (because I am sure you are dying to know), being a Pisces is not really about actual, physical water. Each sign is associated with an element (fire, water, air, earth) that represents one of four personality temperaments. Water is the “feelings” temperament. Pisces don’t necessarily want to take baths all the time, but they do feel things very deeply. I have a lot of feelings. Mystery solved.]

So how does this crazy, magical wheel (aka birth chart or natal chart) have all of this information about who we are and what is happening in our lives?

Hang on now, because this gets a little woo woo.

First, you need to be open to the possibility that you have a soul and that this soul has lived many lifetimes with the purpose of learning and growing. (Souls love to learn and grow.) What’s the end game? I like to imagine that after you have conquered all of the hard things (without creating any new shitty karma) you can do cool stuff like relax on a hammock all day, look out at the universe, drink margaritas, and never get hungover. Some might call it… enlightenment.

In order to get to this relaxing hammock in the universe, you have to learn A LOT of stuff. To help you get there, each lifetime is perfectly crafted so you have the POTENTIAL to learn your next set of lessons. You might not successfully master all of the lessons, but your life is set up to give you the opportunity to do so. (It’s like a choose your own adventure book!) My astrology teacher believes that each of us has a soul advisor that we meet with before each lifetime to discuss the lessons we want to learn. Or it might make more sense to you that there is a divine being that sets this all up because she has a bigger plan.

Once the lesson plans are decided, your soul advisor (or the divine being) selects the exact time, place, and family you will be born in to, to give you the opportunity to learn those lessons. The location of the planets (and other celestial bodies) in the sky at the exact time and place of your birth, is your natal birth chart. Think of it as a map to your soul’s purpose in this lifetime. And this map is somehow coordinated with the maps of a bunch of other souls that you are supposed to interact with in this lifetime so you can learn some lessons together. (This soul advisor/divine being is super smart.)

But, how did anyone get the idea that the planets in the sky would have anything to do with what happens in our lifetime?

A long, long time ago (before electricity and television and Instagram), people had A LOT of time to look up at the sky. They paid very close attention (because they had nothing else to do, but survive) and noticed patterns between the locations of the stars and planets in the sky and people’s personalities, behaviors, and the events that happened in their lives (and in societies and on the earth overall!) For thousands of years, astrologers have been observing, confirming, refining and expanding on these observations and they prove to be true, over and over again.

This sounds crazy, I know, until YOU get an natal chart reading and you are blown away by what the position of those planets says about you.

This map (or lesson plan) is not like Google Maps which gives you specific routes to get you where you need to go and tells you how long each route will take. It’s more like a very complicated puzzle that has to be decoded. And it’s not like a jigsaw puzzle that can only be put together one way. Each symbol can be brought to life by different people in different ways. And the relationships between the planets create even more options. And the map might actually say something different later in your life as the planets continue to move through the sky and as you take different paths on your “chosen” adventure which will provide new contexts. Souls are complicated. Life on this planet is complicated. Unpacking all of that with astrology is complicated.

So you may be thinking, “If there are so many ways to put the pieces together, how do I know my astrologer is putting it together the right way?”

Excellent question. Even the BEST astrologer can’t tell you EXACTLY what will happen to you in your lifetime. If they have a lot of experience (and intuition) they can pick out the pieces that fit best with who you are and they work with you to put it all together. But only YOU will know in your gut if it feels right to you. I have only started to dabble in telling people what their charts say (and I know just enough to be dangerous) but so far I have a lot of peeps nodding their heads when I tell them what the planets and stars have to say about them.

Worst case, you dismiss it as nonsense and go on with your life. Best case, something really important becomes clear to you that you had never thought of before. Or something is unlocked inside you that you didn’t know was there. Or it brings you comfort to you to believe that there is a plan and all of the hard things you have been through (or are still going through) are lessons that you created for yourself and it might actually make sense! And it MIGHT be fun to believe that when you finally conquer your lessons, you can relax and drink margaritas ALL DAY with no repercussions!

All of this “best case” stuff is what happened to me! Learning about my own chart made me so curious that I took an astrology class, started reading astrology books, and have been viewing everything in my own life (and in the lives of everyone around me) through an astrology lens.

I mentioned above that my chart has some guidance about what my life’s purpose might be. I will spare you the play-by-play of my chart analysis (for now), but the net-net is that it appears my destiny might be to use astrology to help people. As much as I love understanding my own chart, I really want to help other people figure out what their lessons are so they can get through them and on to the next level of their own enlightenment (which may or may not involve a Universe hammock and margaritas.) The planets and stars (and my astrology teacher and dear friend Kim) keep telling me that I was born to do this.

I have a lot to learn before can hang up my shingle and call myself an astrologer. It takes many years to really learn astrology and I do have a full time job that I need to keep to support my new astrology book habit. So if I have your birth deets and I have not yet given you the full analysis of your chart, be patient! It feels right in my heart that this is what I am supposed to do, so I will get to it! I also plan to write a lot more about astrology, so hopefully, I have piqued your interest enough to keep you tuned in.

You may be wondering about the picture above. My amazingly talented mother drew this beautiful picture of me as a baby surrounded by my Pisces fish with a few astrological symbols in the mix. I have always loved this picture. Maybe it was because I knew deep down that it represented my destiny.

Full disclosure, she also drew a similar and equally beautiful picture of my brother who is, so far, not super interested in astrology. But he is a Leo so he is doing his own thing.

My Winter of Rest and Relaxation

As the end of 2018 approached, I was craving rest.  November and December had been crazy busy and I was really looking forward to some time off.  But before I could rest, I had a last minute work project to finish, a trip upstate to celebrate Christmas , and a sleepover planned with my nieces.  As all of that approached, I started to feel like I was getting sick, but pushed through it. I got the work done. I got the pre-holiday errands done. I got the packing done. I got the cleaning done. I thought I was maybe fighting off the sickness, but as I got on the train to go upstate, the worst sinus infection of my life set in.

After spending Christmas on my brother’s couch feeling like I got hit by a truck, I managed to get myself on a train back to the city and cleared my calendar for the rest of the week.  I didn’t have the energy to read but I did muster up the energy for an Audio book. Audible had recommended a book called My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, because I was a Pisces. It sounded very relaxing and exactly what I needed.

Not too far in, it became clear that this was not a book about rest and relaxation. This was a book about a young woman who wants to sedate herself, so she doesn’t have to live life or feel anything. She has decided that if she sedates herself for a year, she will be “re-set” and can then go on with her life and leave all of the stuff she didn’t want to deal with behind. But it’s a also a comedy. This book was seven hours of a lot of this….

”I took a Valium, two Benadryl’s, when to the Egyptians and got two coffees and a Klondike bar, watched Jumping Jack Flash and The Fugitive and drifted off to sleep.”

I listened to the whole thing.  (Spoiler alert, I am going to give you the play by play.)

Interspersed with reports of the medications she was taking, and the movies she was watching (starring her heroes Whoopie Goldberg and Harrison Ford), we did learn about the life of this no-named woman. She was beautiful, and she believed that no one really wanted to be her TRUE friend because she was so beautiful. She did have one friend she did not really like, who insisted on coming over and complaining about her life while the un-named woman made it very clear she did not want her there.  The main character’s parents gave her almost nothing emotionally and they both died while she was in college.  She was obsessed with an older man who was a complete ass.  She had an insane psychiatrist who kept forgetting her parents were dead and had no idea the woman was lying about having insomnia to get more meds.  Did I mention this was a comedy?  I had read a review that said the ending was worth reading the whole book.  So, I kept listening.

Every month or so, the un-named woman would go to her insane doctor to get more prescriptions.  At about 6 months in, they tried a new drug called Infermiterol (not a real drug) that would make her sleep for three days straight (score!), but she learned that during those three days, her subconscious would do crazy things, like go out partying, buy things online, order Chinese food, drunk-dial the older man, and get bikini waxes.  She wanted to stop doing these things, because they were counter to her goal to do NOTHING, so she tried to avoid this new drug. But after the Infermiterol no other sleep drug would work!  She was screwed!  It was painful to listen to her take more drugs and watch MORE Whoopie Goldberg and Harrison Ford movies and still not be able to sleep!!! But I kept listening.

She finally came up with a plan to have this creepy artist dude lock her in her apartment and make sure her basic needs were met (i.e. food) so she could take 40 of these pills in a row to finish out her “year of rest and relaxation” and NOT leave her apartment and not DO anything or FEEL anything.  In exchange for helping her with this, the creepy artist dude, got to make creepy art of her while she was “sleeping”.  (There is a whole undercurrent about the ridiculousness of the art world in this book that was sort of over my head because I am not in the art world.) Did I mention the no-named woman is independently wealthy because her parents were rich and left her all of their money? This was why she could sleep all day, not work, and still pay for drugs…in case you were wondering.

I kept listening to the book, because now I really had to see how it ended. And we were almost there.  Just three more months of sleep to go.  And luckily, they went quickly because she slept through most of it.

Here is how it ends. (Reminder…spoiler alert!) When she wakes up from her three months of slumber (somehow surviving on diet Sprite and some occasional light snacks and vitamins) she is emotionally healed!  AND she has NO drug withdrawal.  She does have to regain her strength with an egg salad sandwich so she can walk, but she does it.  She is now a person who can tolerate living in the world. And she is still, miraculously, beautiful.  She literally erased all of her angst by sleeping for a year, and then just woke up.  The book ends on 9/11 and she loses her one friend (who she didn’t really like) in the attack on the World Trade Center.  She records the footage of a woman jumping out of one of the towers and watches it over and over because she is sure this woman is her friend. And she thinks her friend is finally feeling alive in that moment. That is how it ends.

My first thought was… “That was a waste of seven hours of my life.”

I know there was all sorts of poignant commentary on our society in this book that I was supposed to pick up on. (I read about it in the literary reviews.) I didn’t pick up on any of that stuff. But it definitely, left an impression on me.  This was a CRAZY book and I could not stop thinking about it.  

I was thinking about how much I really needed to REST and how much I wanted to shut everything and everyone out and do absolutely nothing for a very long time. In those days, feeling sick and tired, I could totally relate to wanting to sleep and just ignore everything else.  And that freaked me out. 

I felt sad for this imaginary woman, of course. (I AM an empathetic Pisces sun/Cancer rising.) She had no tools to deal with her parent’s death. She had beauty, money, intelligence, a job in a cool art gallery (that she eventually lost because she kept taking naps there), but she was deeply unhappy. She didn’t want to face that, and she didn’t know how to fix it.  She did all the WRONG things to make it better. But then it WAS better.  And that freaked me out.  Life doesn’t work that way!!!

What was this book saying to me?  Why was it hitting me so hard?  I honestly wasn’t sure.  I continued to hibernate for the rest of the week and recover from the sinus infection.  I started this post about the book but had no conclusion, so I filed it away, incomplete.  I re-entered the world and went on with my life.  Things got crazy busy again.  I started flying around the country, working long hours, and squeezing in “creativity” on the side.

Then my body revolted on me again with another sinus infection. Whatever the message at Christmas, I didn’t get it.  My body loves to send me messages and if I don’t listen, it yells REALLY LOUD and the timing usually sucks.

This time it was my 50th birthday and my sister and my college friends were coming to town to celebrate with me. I managed to rally through the weekend with a lot of Sudafed, Advil, Augmentin, and Prednisone, but then I had to go back in to semi-hibernation to rest.  I felt a lot like the no-named beautiful, sad woman…with slightly fewer drugs and better entertainment.

The book and the unfinished blog post were haunting me (and not just because I am an ISTJ and hate having things incomplete.)  I think this book represents my own ongoing conflict between wanting to just “sleep” and hide out and wanting to be awake and alive – which is often scary and a lot harder.  And how much rest do I need? Am I resting enough?  I am not good at resting.  I am a type A person who always has a list of things to do, but maybe I need to just chill out more often. Does every weekend have to start with a to do list? Do I need to watch more movies and eat more Klondike bars?

I have been getting sick a lot the past few years, so I know something is out of alignment – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  To get back in alignment, I know I have to be IN the world more and go more deeply in to what I need to work on. But when I am sick, ALL I want to do is rest and hide out.  See the conundrum?

I have been debating all of this, thinking about my next move, and pondering how to end this blog post.

Then, last night, I had a dream about egg salad sandwiches. I think that was my sign that it’s time to wake up and come out the winter hibernation.  I have to figure out what my body needs to get healthy (and stay healthy) and find the right balance of resting and being in the world. What is out of alignment is probably some crazy shit that’s been building for 50 years (or maybe 50 lifetimes!) so this is not going to be easy, but I am going to figure it out. I might take a few naps along the way, and I will need to be patient, but I will get to the bottom of it. 

I did put my spiritual journey on the back burner a bit during this crazy time but its still simmering on the stove. All of this resting and being sick, ties in to the astrology stuff I have been studying but I will save that for another time.  If you are interested in my spiritual journey, you are in luck because I will be jumping back in hard core this spring.  Lots of good stuff coming up! I will be going deep. 

I learned this week, that between the full moon and the new moon, you should close things out, let things go, and make room for new stuff. I am letting go of this book.  I am letting go of this sinus infection. I am wrapping up this blog post and putting it out in to the world.

Bring on Spring and lots of new stuff!!!