2021 Recap

I spent most of 2021 in limbo.  I wasn’t ready to move forward but I also don’t sit still very well, so I was moving, slowly, figuring things out while also doing a lot of waiting.  Then things got a little crazy at the end of the year.

I haven’t written a blog post in forever.  I am still not feeling exceptionally eloquent but sometimes you just have to get back on the horse, even if it feels weird, or you will never get back on.  So here is a (not exceptionally eloquent) summary of my 2021:


2021 felt like a continuation of 2020.  I didn’t even start a new Bullet Journal until March because it didn’t feel like a new year. (déjà vu right?)


I lost my job and decided I had ZERO interest in taking another corporate job and would take the rest of the year off to study astrology (which did not happen) and dabble in building websites (which did!)


I applied for co-op board approval to renovate my apartment which was supposed to take two weeks (spoiler alert, it took a lot longer than that).  I avoided committing to anything big while I was waiting because I knew that at any minute, I would have to drop everything, pack up my place and move out for at least six weeks.  (Limbo)

I volunteered to help a friend update her website and it went well.  She loved it and I learned a lot!


The day after I got my second Pfizer shot, I broke my ankle. While everyone else was excited to get back to living a hot vax summer, I was laying low, healing.  (I did eventually get out of my walking boot, reconnected in person with friends and family, and left NYC for the first time since 2020 later in the summer.)


While I was in limbo and laying low, I continued to explore my interest in building websites and discovered Squarespace. I spent most of my summer and early fall taking courses and learning how to build Squarespace websites and start a web design business.  I loved learning something new that used a mix of my technical, creative, and business skills.  I built and launched TWO websites in the summer/fall (check them out here and here if interested) and started building an infrastructure and processes to launch a web design business.  I set a goal to build 2 more sites for my portfolio and launch my own website and business by the end of the year.  Those things have not happened yet, because….


….at the very end of August, I FINALLY got approval to renovate my apartment and that, as expected, derailed me from getting very much else done for the rest of the year.


Before the renovation got going, I did squeeze in two trips to Albany, attended an unexpected family funeral, walked with my family in our annual suicide prevention walk, and packed everything I own into three closets and multiple suitcases.


In mid-October, I moved out of my apartment and into an Air B&B for six weeks while my renovation kicked off.  I thought I would be able to get stuff done there, but it was very unsettling and uncomfortable not to be in my own space, so I wasn’t very productive.


Right before Thanksgiving, I moved out of the Air B&B and into my sister’s basement for 2-3 weeks while waiting for the renovation to be complete.  (I didn’t really live in the basement, but I did sleep there, because they had their own construction projects happening, and it was very cozy!)


After two weeks in Pennsylvania, I was unexpectedly diverted to Albany for two more weeks to help my dad, who had been having some health issues.

After getting my dad back on his feet and set up with some help going forward, I headed back to NYC the Tuesday before Christmas exhausted and looking forward to being in my own, newly renovated home!

The renovation was not completely complete, unfortunately, so the crew kept working and I wasn’t able to get really settled until the week AFTER Christmas (and there is still a bit more to do in January, so I am not feeling totally settled) but I am mostly unpacked, loving my bathroom and kitchen upgrades, and happy to be home!

Now What….

I had an astrology reading in April where I learned that my progressed moon (which represents our inner emotional self) was in the 12th house (the house of endings) for all of 2021.  Astrology says that 2021 was the end of a 27-year chapter of my life.  I was shedding my old self before starting a new 27-year cycle which starts on January 8th, 2022.  (Leaving the corporate world is definitely a big change, so Astrology might have something here….)

Since my new cycle does not start until January 8th, I am giving myself a few more days before I dive into 2022. Plus, the world is just very weird right now so it’s hard to know what to do exactly.  I was also told that even at the beginning of the new cycle I might not know exactly where I am headed and will still be figuring things out (phew..no rush!)

So instead of writing a bunch of goals and forcing myself to get this post out before the end of the year, I have just been taking it easy.  2021 was a lot. (That last 27-year cycle was a lot!)  I need some more time to recover from all of that before I re-commit to actually getting things done.  I did commit to watching all of the Harry Potter movies (that I have actually NEVER seen) before my HBO Max month runs out on January 16th so I plan to make that happen! (Three down, five to go)

You might hear more about me starting my own business soon or maybe things will take a different turn or maybe it will take me a while to get going.

I did set up my 2022 Bullet Journal which always starts with a cover page and theme for the year.  For 2022 my theme is….. Just Be.  That is my current vibe.

Goodbye TiVo, Welcome Back TV List

I grew up watching a lot of television. I watched soap operas after school and dramas and sitcoms at night. I love getting lost in the stories of other people and laughing at/with my television friends (the ones inside the box). When you are watching TV, you can cry with imaginary people without being REALLY vulnerable and go on wild adventures without leaving your couch.

In the early 2000’s I used to create recommendation lists for my friends at the start of the fall TV Season based on my extensive research of the reviews of new and returning shows.  (Really, I loved television!)  Those were the days of five major networks (and HBO) when the television season aligned with the school year and things predictably heated up during “sweeps” season when ratings were tracked by Nielsen four times a year (yes, only four times a year). A lot has changed!

When I lived with other people, I was always the one who knew how to program the VCR and I was all over it.  I had one of those special VCRs that would automatically fast forward though commercials.  I loved that VCR….until I met TiVo.

In my first year of business school (2001/2002), I learned about TiVo from a guy at a party. I must have been trying to impress him by talking about my cool VCR that fast forwarded through commercials and he one upped me by telling me about this magical new machine he had that would record things digitally that could be played back from a menu IN ANY ORDER!   This “DVR” did not automatically speed through commercials like my cool VCR (although a later model eventually would), but I could quickly fast forward through them myself with a cute peanut shaped remote that made a unique TiVo sound.  This magical machine would also let me start watching a show from the beginning, even if the same show was still recording!!

Before my first year of business school was over, I had my first TiVo.  In my second year of business school, I sewed a homemade TiVo costume for Halloween (shown below with my friend Toby who is dressed as himself.)

I have owned many TiVos since then.  When I had a corporate apartment in Chicago for work, I had one TiVo in NYC and one in Chicago. My TiVos got more cool features along the way like being able to watch recorded shows from my Ipad in a hotel room or set up recordings from my phone, which came in very handy while sitting at the airport reading about some new show in a magazine.  I could even record up to FOUR programs at the same time!  (This was HUGE before everything you wanted to watch was just waiting for you at all times, remember?)

When cable companies started building DVRs into their cable boxes, people didn’t understand why I still paid extra for a TiVo box + TiVo service + a special cable card.  It’s hard to explain if you’ve never had a TiVo.  If you have had a TiVo, I don’t have to explain. The TiVo remote makes that unique “ba-doop” sound I mentioned earlier that we TiVo owners know and (most of us) love. Maybe those “ba-doops” have hypnotic powers that makes it hard to part with your TiVo! Or maybe we just have mad, loyal respect for the company that invented the DVR.

The TiVo is the least successful, most significant consumer electronics device ever. – IEEE Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame  

In recent years, I did get frustrated with my Tivo because it would randomly not record things I had scheduled and the guide was often missing things that should have been there, making it challenging to set up recordings.  But I did not abandon TiVo until I finally cut the cable cord last summer and became a full-time streamer.  Even then, I held on to that TiVo box while it collected dust, unused, for almost an entire year because it made me sad to part with it.  I had used and owned a TiVo for almost 20 years!!!

Last month, as part of a massive apartment de-cluttering project, I finally dropped my TiVo Premiere off at Best Buy to be recycled and said my good-byes.  I later felt horrible that I didn’t try to give it a way or sell it.  I hope the TiVo gods (and the environmentalists) forgive me.

The name of this blog was inspired by my desire to spend less time with my imaginary television friends and more time in the real world, with real people.  The original sub-title of the blog was “City Chick Tries to Separate from her TiVo”.  I have officially separated from my TiVo (you may have noticed the sub-title has changed) and my world has gotten a lot bigger since I started this blog, but I can assure that I still watch quite a bit of television.

Granted, this was an unusual year (to say the least), so I have to cut myself some slack, but I am way above the 10 hours I was trying to limit myself to when I started this blog.  Pandemic or not, I feel like a shlub if I park myself in front of the TV before 8pm. But as soon as the clock turns 8, I allow myself to stop trying to be productive and just veg out until its time for bed (which is 10pm because that’s how I roll).  I clearly still have some TVaholic in me.

When I started the blog, I used to track what I was watching on the TV List tab which eventually stopped getting updated. This past year, many people have asked me what I have been watching and I keep drawing a blank when they ask.  It felt very weird to not be the person who helps people decide what to watch on TV and even weirder to not even remember what I was doing between the hours of 8-10pm all year!

After this came up again recently, I decided to spend an entire day reviewing my watch histories and writing down everything I watched in 2020 and 2021. (I did this in my bullet journal, using lots of colorful markers, as shown above.) It was like a walk down memory lane with all of my imaginary pandemic TV friends!

I am not sure it was the MOST productive way to spend my day, but I DO feel a sense of accomplishment.  And because I spent SO much time documenting what I watched, I decided to bring back the TV list tab ! Now that we can finally leave our houses and get out on the real world again, the you probably want nothing to do with your TV, BUT if you are looking for something new to watch, feel free to check out the TV list and maybe you will find something you missed this year that looks interesting.

My TiVo days may have come to an end, but the TV list is back…at least until I start having exciting adventures again and spend more time with real people. (Since I fractured my foot the day after my second vaccination shot, there has been a delay on getting out and about, which I have used to consume many seasons of Outlander on Netflix!)

I am sure that my imaginary TV friends will always be a part of my life and my TiVo doll is still hanging out in my television cabinet to remind me of the the old TiVo days.

Who Do You Want to Be?

It’s been almost a month since I revealed on the blog that I was no longer employed and planned to spend some time exploring my passions to see where they might lead.  This post was met with wild acclaim and people were inspired by my bravery.

That was cool.

It also put some pressure on me to continue to be inspirational and brave.  Please be aware that I am not inspirational and brave on most days.  Less than a week after I wrote that post about exploring my passions, I came VERY close to moving back in the direction of just taking a job to pay the bills.

I got nervous about completely relying on my savings and the stock market to survive.  I got sad about not renewing my expensive Pilates reformer membership. I panicked about moving forward with my apartment remodel now that I have no income.  I ended up on an email list that was reminding me daily how much work it is to be a freelancer.  I told a friend I would help her with her website and then realized I knew nothing about Word Press page builders. (I didn’t even know they existed.)  I got in my head about how crazy it was to learn new things and try to make a living doing those new things so late in my life when so many other people already know how to do those things and are so far ahead of me.  I started questioning whether I really wanted to do those things. I wasn’t feeling passionate about anything. I was spiraling.

I did what I often do when I am spiraling. I Googled.

“How do you know if you are afraid or if you really just don’t want to do something?”  This is not the first time I have asked the internet this question but apparently whatever answers I found in the past had escaped my mind. Serendipitously, I got some amazing and helpful responses this time.

The first one came from a Hypnotherapist on Quora

Genuinely not wanting to do something means you have experienced it, it made you realize “well, this is or isn’t for me,” and you understand what that experience felt like. If it didn’t make you feel good, then you choose not to do it because you don’t want to feel that way again.

Scared is just fear of the unknown…. Until you experience something, you honestly have no idea how that experience will affect you. So to keep you from doing it and stay feeling ‘safe’, you create scenarios in your mind to validate your fear instead of taking action on the opportunity. This is why we cling to the worst-case scenario (instead of the million other, mostly good, possible outcomes) so we can validate our own fear and not feel accountable for experiencing these new feelings and exploring new opportunities for ourselves.

I like to say the courage you use to leave the thoughts and circumstances that no longer serve you, become the confidence needed to embrace a new beginning.

Thank you, Kristen McPike, the hypnotherapist on Quora, for these wise words that Google presented to me exactly when I needed them and reminded me that I can’t give up before I try!!! (And she has a very nice website if you are in the market for a hypnotherapist or a courage themed coffee mug.)

I didn’t stop there.  After watching a Marie Forleo video on Fear vs Intuition, You Tube presented me with a Ted Talk about Hard Choices, by Ruth Chang, a philosophy professor at Oxford.

Ruth explains that hard choices are hard because there is no clear best choice.  If it were obvious that you should do A over B, you would just do A and it wouldn’t be a hard choice.  She sees hard choices as opportunities for us to use our agency to decide WHO we want to be. Instead of looking for external reasons to validate our choices, we should look inside ourselves and become the authors of our own lives. In her words, “hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate the power to become the distinctive people that we are.”

She really got me when she talked about drifters.

“People who don’t exercise normative powers in hard choices are drifters. Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let mechanisms of reward and punishment, pats on the head, fear, the easiness of an option to determine what they do.”

Whaaat!! How are so many random women on the internet looking into my soul??? (Sometimes internet algorithms are working for our benefit!)

So I asked myself…..”Do I want to be the person who drifts back to a safe job where she does not have to do hard things and is not worried about money or do I want to be the person who puts in the effort to figure out what will make her happy and build a life around things she enjoys doing (but might have to make some sacrifices along the way)?”

These inspirational words reminded me that I don’t want to drift anymore and saved me from running back to safety before I explored new possibilities.  I may decide that I want to take an easy job that pays the bills as part of my future life, but I have to make sure something else won’t make me happier first!

Once I was back on track, I continued on with my explorations and spent three weeks learning a Word Press page builder and helped my friend (and former spiritual life coach) upgrade the look and feel of her website!  I was definitely in a flow while I was working on the site (which is a good sign that I might like to do more of this) and learned a lot about color wheels, font combinations, image editing, and responsive design.  (A lot has has changed since I learned HTML in the 1990s!!) There were moments of doubt when I looked at beautiful sites made by professional designers and moments when I looked at not so great sites and knew I could do better.  Most importantly, I enjoyed figuring it all out!  My friend Kelli is officially re-launching her site soon but you can get a sneak peak here.  I went from having no idea what I was doing, to creating something she and I were both pretty happy with!

After wrapping that up, I had grand plans to write this blog post and shift my focus back to astrology projects for a bit (the planets are calling me), but instead I spent most of this week reading news, scrolling through social media, and binge watching Tell Me Your Secrets on Amazon Prime (so good)!  It’s hard to be an unemployed person with lots of interests who wants to keep up with what is going on in the world and also sometimes doesn’t want to do anything and is often anxious about one thing or another.  I am pretty sure I make it much harder than in needs to be (and I am probably not the only one who does. Who’s with me?)

What finally got me to re-focus and get some writing done was that question Ruth Chang inspired me to ask……“Who do I want to be”?

Do I want to be the person who consumes useless information on Twitter all day? (Yesterday, I watched a movie review by Mandy Patinkin’s wife.  Something about Judi Dench and the theatre.  She loved it.  I also read every single response in a twitter feed about J&J vaccine side effects, even though I am half way through the Pfizer vaccine, and I consumed a lot of unproductive political snark.)

Or do I want to be the person who makes the most of this precious time and continues to explore and create, because who knows what is coming next???

If you are feeling stuck or unmotivated or are making a really hard choice, give it a try……Who do you want to be?

PS: If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, sign up  to get an email every time I publish something new! Scroll up and enter your email on the top right (under the search bar).

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

The Genie is Out of the Bottle

After a trial run last summer, I find myself officially unemployed again.  It took me by surprise, but only because I had my head in the sand.  Organizational changes this past year, the departure of my long-time boss and mentor, and the arrival of a new boss with new ideas about how to structure the team resulted in me signing separation papers at the end of February.

If you know me (or have been following along), you are aware that I have been on an eternal quest to live a more fulfilling life. When I say “eternal quest,” I mean years of therapy and career/life/spiritual coaches, writing the same questions over and over in my journal, trying new things,  getting glimmers of ideas that I get excited about and then making a million excuses for why I shouldn’t pursue them and retreating back in to my unfulfilling career where the paychecks kept coming and the volume of work keeps me numb so I can ignore the eternal quest for a while.  (The proof that this quest has been happening for what feels like an eternity can be found on this post I wrote ten years ago.)

I took this most recent job with the hope of better work-life balance so I could finally have some space to figure out what I REALLY wanted to do with my life.  My strategy was to ride it out for a couple of years, hoping to cash out a small piece of equity and comfortably take some time off before I launched in to a new magical, fulfilling life that I would have all planned out by then.  It did not exactly turn out that way.  The new job got as stressful as the last one, the goal post of cashing out kept moving, and I just kept holding on for dear life.  In February, the Universe got tired of waiting for me to make a move on my own and it gave me a big PUSH.

Astrology Interlude: You may remember me mentioning that a main theme of the astrology of 2021 was the battle of old vs new inspired by a Saturn square Uranus transit happening three times this year (most likely you forgot, but I did mention it!)  When Saturn and Uranus square off in the sky, we see tensions between the old structures that are not serving us anymore (Saturn) and new, innovative changes we need to make to improve the structures in our lives (Uranus).  Uranus represents sudden, unexpected changes that help us break free of the old stuff we need to let go of. The first of those three 2021 squares happened in February when all of this was going down in my life. Probably just a coincidence?  #astrologyisreal

Initially, I pushed back on the Universe.  I tried to find a way hold on to the job (Saturn), not because I wanted to keep doing it, but so I could continue to avoid figuring out what was next.  It didn’t work, Uranus won.  It was time to let go, and once I accepted this, I felt a huge sense of relief.

I did get angry with myself for not being prepared with my “next thing”. How could I have spent so much money on therapy and career/spiritual/life coaches and end up out of a job and still have no plan!!!

Then I took a step back and realized that all of that work I have been doing for the last three years has actually prepared me for this moment. Taking this job in 2017 shifted my energy and inspired me to try 100 new things.  Those 100 new things led me to a CRAZY unexpected journey that opened me up to a whole new world of spirituality, creative entrepreneurship, and astrology!!!  That journey also sparked lots of other ideas that tied back to passions I had explored and abandoned earlier like website design,  financial planning, and writing.  I kept those sparks on a slow burn in the background while I continued to earn and save money, which has put me in a much better place financially than I was at the start of 2017.

So now what?

I have options to take similar corporate jobs that will bring me safe paychecks (and healthcare), but I can’t bring myself to pursue them.  It’s definitely scary not to consider those options, because they may not be there in the future, but the genie is out of the bottle and she does not want to go back in!

My heart (and the Universe) are telling me that it’s time to take action on those glimmers of ideas that I have abandoned, avoided, or talked myself out of along the way.

I have been consuming tons of blog posts and podcasts about entrepreneurship.  I have always wanted to be my own boss, but I didn’t know what kind of business I could create and the idea terrified me. Now I realize that I have lots of creative ideas and I have built a life that gives me some freedom to take risks.  Are these ideas going to make me any money?  Can I create something that will help the world?  Will being my own boss really make me happy?  Do I have what it takes be an entrepreneur? (This is the type of stuff I write over and over in my journal. Welcome to my inner world.)

Listening to those entrepreneurship podcasts is an emotional rollercoaster.  The beginning of the story sounds so cool when the person bravely quits their job to pursue their passion, then we get to the part where they have no idea what they are doing and are working all the time (that sounds fun) and then they talk about networking and marketing to sell themselves, and their products (yuck!!!).  If no one wants to buy what I create, I am not sure how hard I will work to sell it to them, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  First, I have to start creating things!  (Creating this blog post was a war, so if you are reading it, congrats to me for finishing it and thanks for reading it!)

The genie has been out of the bottle for two weeks and I can tell you that the resistance is real.  In my first week away from work, my screen time was up to 5 hours a day.  I am pretty sure no one fulfills their dreams by getting sucked in the rabbit hole of celebrity gossip, cute dance videos, and ads for anti-aging eye creams.

After I get freaked out by the entrepreneurship roller coaster and waste some time on my phone, I switch over to blogs and podcasts about financial independence and early retirement.  I have spent hours crunching numbers and running “what if” scenarios to figure out how much time I can spend creating stuff that doesn’t actually make any money (or avoiding creating things and also not making any money).

The good news is, I have bought myself some time with those unfulfilling paychecks, my exceptional savings skills, and a well performing stock market (although I am anxiously waiting for that bubble to burst). If I move out of the most expensive city in the world, I will have even more time.

Net-net, I have no excuses anymore.  The only thing between me and my soul’s purpose is ME and all of my fears (so many fears).  I realize how privileged I am that this is the only thing standing in my way which makes it feel even more important to keep taking those scary steps. One thing I have learned on my spiritual journey is that when one person spends more time doing things that light them up, it raises everyone’s energy and makes it easier for them to do the same thing. (That sounds so corny, but it also makes complete sense, right?)

To help me push through my fears (and in turn, help light up the world), I am going to do my best to embody this advice from a beautiful Museletter written by one of my favorite, famous humans, Josh Radnor:

“Follow the charm. Cosmic forces will unfailingly rise up to meet and support your bravery.”

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

The Astrology of 2021

I kicked this series off by explaining why 2020 was an unprecedented year in astrology.  There were an unusual number of rare planetary alignments that correlated with hard times in history. Astrologers knew it would be crazy and intense, even if they didn’t know exactly how, and it was.  We experienced a global pandemic, racial injustice protests, extreme political polarization, conspiracy theories that went mainstream, massive unemployment, deception, corruption, delusion, grief, loneliness, and anxiety.  Some people managed to pull off amazing, positive life transformations while many others have been suffering.

The calendar year of 2020 is coming to a close, but the astrological intensity we felt in 2020 is not quite over yet. None of what happened in 2020 has been resolved, but we are starting to move out of the muck.

We began the year with a Saturn-Pluto conjunction that accelerated the unearthing of darkness that needs to be transformed to heal the world (especially here in the US).  At the end of the year, we kicked off a new 200-year cycle of socio-political growth focused on ideas, communication, and social connection.   The Great Conjunction was a symbolic shift that brings hope of new things, but it can take years for change to really kick-in.  Most of that change we won’t even see in our lifetime.  We have to figure out what we want to bring with us into the future and what we need to leave behind.  And we are very far from agreeing on what to pack, exactly where we are going, and how to get there.

In 2021 we will see glimmers of hope, while still working through all of the unpleasant stuff from the old cycle.  Astrologers are saying that it will be a bit of a bumpy ride, especially in this first year of the new cycle.  But we won’t have as many intense things happening like we did in 2020. Yay!!

The Big Picture

January and February of 2021 will still feel a lot like 2020, but by the end of February or beginning of March we will feel like we turned a corner.  After February, we are back to the normal number and intensity of planetary happenings that we are used to here on earth (except for some Uranian jolts I will get in to).

If you recall, the intensity of 2020 was primarily focused on our biggest planets of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto hanging out and bumping into each other in Capricorn (with Mars heating things up for a while).  Most of those planets are out of Capricorn (structures, government, responsibility, business) making moves in Aquarius (freedom, new ideas, humanity) EXCEPT Pluto.  Pluto will be hanging out in Capricorn until 2024 continuing to transform the structures of our society.  AND the United States is approaching its Pluto Return in February 2022 which is like a healing crisis for our country – a metaphorical (hopefully) death and re-birth.  You might be thinking, didn’t we just go through that?  Can’t we be re-born now?  Pluto moves very slowly so what we have been through IS part of that, but we are not done with it yet! Sorry!

The Battle of Old vs New

The biggest theme of 2021 is a battle of old vs new.  There are planets and signs that want change and new ideas and there are planets and signs that like to keep things they way they are.  There are planets and signs that like to move carefully and cautiously and there are planets and signs that want things to happen NOW and will cause chaos to force change.  These are the main energies battling it out in 2021.

The big kick off of the year will happen right around inauguration day (there have been a lot of big planetary events related to our election calendar this year.  Coincidence?)

On January 17th, Jupiter will “square” Uranus.  Jupiter expands what it touches and makes it bigger and in the sign of Aquarius, it wants to expand things like freedom, humanitarianism, and new ideas.  (Seems like a good vibe for swearing in a new president!).   But on the other side of the square is Uranus in Taurus (remember squares cause tension between planet/sign combos that want different things).  Uranus also likes big changes and loves to shake things up (Uranus and Aquarius are on the same page!) BUT Uranus is in the sign of Taurus which really doesn’t like change.  Taurus is the stubborn bull who likes to lounge in the shade.  If you can convince Taurus it will be worth it to get up, it will (and once it’s up it is a force to be reckoned with) but it would much rather just chill.  So on January 17th, we have Uranus totally on board with Jupiter and Aquarius to bring some big, bold, fast change, but Taurus is hard to budge.

A few days later, on January 20th (Inauguration day), Mars joins the party with Uranus to heat up the chaos.  Mars will also be in Taurus which means it’s harder to get that Mars energy going, but once it does, watch out for the angry bull!

This conjunction is a spark that heats up this battle we are already in between the forces who want to get going and make change, and the forces who don’t want to move.  We never know what Donald Trump will do (he has Uranus, the planet of chaos, conjunct his Sun which represents his ego in his birth chart – you are probably not surprised to hear) and his supporters are fired up (and many are also delusional).  This astrology lines up with Trump not bowing out gracefully and a huge MAGA march (“the biggest you have ever seen”) on January 20th.  But some astrologers still think Trump might be president or some other crazy thing might happen, so who knows!  Its not going to be a chill time, no matter what Taurus would prefer.

Also note that this planetary line up is very similar to what we had in March of 2020 when COVID hit the US and our stock market tanked (Taurus rules money). There is a high likelihood of a lot of financial market turmoil this year and the next few years (and maybe in January).  I personally am getting my asset allocation in order and have been keeping a bit more in cash, just in case.

The Battle Continues – Saturn Square Uranus

The January action might cool down a bit at the start of February but then the battle continues when Saturn squares Uranus on February 17th.   This is similar to January, but with this square, we swap out the big, expansive, hopeful energy of Jupiter with the more disciplined, cautious, and serious energy of Saturn.  Saturn is working in Aquarius, to make careful, disciplined changes that will lead to freedom and equality for the good of humanity.  But Saturn will still have that tension with Uranus who is continuing to push for fast change if it can get Taurus to get up off the comfy old couch.  (Mars will have moved on at this point to do other things).

This Saturn-Uranus square will happen twice more on June 14th, and December 23rd. This seems to say that we will have a lot of conflict, frustration, and protests throughout the year that could potentially get out of hand.  We had a taste of this last year when Saturn dipped into Aquarius from March to July, but this year Uranus is in an “exact” square with Saturn so the astrology says that we can expect the social unrest to be more intense.  The birth chart of the US does not have a planetary line up that indicates a civil war, but there are other countries where this could be possible. Buckle up and keep an eye out for conflict and chaos especially around February 17th, June 14th, and December 23rd.

What does this mean for you personally?

The astrology impacts us all differently depending on where in your personal birth chart it is all going down.  You can use the instructions in this post to get your own birth chart from Chani Nicholas. The house where you have Aquarius is the place where you are starting a cycle of growth for the next 20 years (that is your Great Conjunction spot).  The house where you have Taurus is where Uranus might be causing some chaos and trying to make change (its been there since 2018 and will be there until 2025).  This year, that Uranus / Saturn / Jupiter squares  will be causing tension that my force changes in the structures of these two areas of your chart.  These are two big parts of your life being “stimulated” this year.  (Chani has a new app you can use to follow your astrology all year long or you can buy her course The Year Ahead for Your Sign.)

What About the Rest of The Year?

At least one astrologer predicts that society will “open up more” by late Spring/early summer (which aligns with what scientists say could happen if we get enough people vaccinated and behaving like responsible humans.)  In general, the astrology seems to say that the Spring and will feel better.  We may not be back to life like it was before 2020 but compared to where we are now, it will be better.  Jupiter will dip into Pisces for a couple of months which brings a romantic, artistic, dreamy, feel good times (it will be there all of 2022!). It won’t all be roses and rainbows, but the astrology says we might be able to have some fun.

The energy of the fall is more intense (but not 2020 intense).  There is a lot of dark Pluto, Scorpio, Mars energy apparently which could lead to more conflict or perhaps a financial crisis.

Summary (and my Political Forecast)

There is a ton of other astrology in 2021 that I am not getting in to.  There is always more astrology because the planets always keep moving in cycles as we evolve.  I have personally spent many days this year refreshing Twitter obsessively waiting to see what would happen on the exact day some big astrology was happening and ended up disappointed that no wild news hit on that day.   But when I step back and look at the big picture, 2020 delivered the big themes that the planets said it would.

I am still dubious of Astrology at times, but I do get comfort from this idea that we are moving into a new age that is focused on community, new ideas, and humanitarianism.  I am biased, but that feels to me like the liberal, progressive ideas will win this battle with the conservatives fighting hard to hold on old ways and traditions, but ultimately losing the fight. There may also be battles between the extreme progressives and centrists if the progressives don’t feel that change is happening fast enough. I am not naïve enough to think only one side is corrupt or that one side has all of the right solutions.  In the age of new ideas, there will be new solutions we can’t see yet and we have to work together to find them.

There is a lot of pressure on Biden to manage this all very carefully so we don’t implode. I hope he is the healer we need. His astrology says he could be, but it also says he also might be hiding some dark secrets or have some health problems coming up.  I wonder if he has an astrologer?  Kamala’s astrology is incredibly rare and powerful showing a high sense of purpose and the ability to do great things.  Maybe Biden does have an astrologer who helped him with that pick!

I will leave you with this bonus read from Raymond Merriman, who I got a lot of my 2021 intel from .  He sends out a free weekly newsletter and this week he did a Q&A on what is next for Trump, the financial markets, and the world.   I highly recommend his 2021 forecast book if you want to go deep on the astrology of 2021 (or sign up for his free weekly newsletter!)

Happy New Year and may the astrology of 2021 support you in having a better year than you did in 2020 OR if your year was amazing, continuing on that journey.  You have free will to use the energy of the planets and stars in any way you choose.

PS: The image for this post is a painting done by my friend Leslie Howett!  She makes beautiful things. You can find her here.  2021 does not feel like a falling star having fun yet, but I am hopeful that more fun is on the way at some point in 2021.

The Great Conjunction of 2020

You have probably been hearing about the Great Conjunction that happens tomorrow, December 21st, when Saturn and Jupiter will meet together in the sky for the first time in about 20 years. Or you might remember that I wrote about it in the third installment of my “Unpacking the Astrology of 2020” series this summer.  A lot has happened since then but what I wrote still holds up, even with new context (go me!) I am repeating a lot of that post here, with a few additional insights I have gathered since then.

Before we get into The Great Conjunction, a reminder of the big astrological themes of this year.

Our three big, heavy planets Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter have all been dancing close together in the sky for most of this year in the sign of CapricornPluto has been bringing the dark side of Capricorn out in to the open – including abuse of power in our governments and businesses and extreme conservatism at the expense of others (sexism, racism, xenophobia, nationalism).  Saturn is teaching us hard lessons around responsibility and which structures are working or not working (in our personal lives and in the collective) but also giving us the patience and fortitude to keeping working through it. And Jupiter has just been expanding all of that hard stuff. It’s been fun!

This week, we got a breath of fresh air, when Jupiter and Saturn both moved into Aquarius.  When these huge planets move into a new sign, the general vibe changes.  We are moving out of Capricorn energy (building a solid foundation, doing the right thing, being conservative, working hard) into Aquarian energy (freedom, new ideas, change).  See why it might feel a little lighter?  On a recent Astrology Hub podcast episode, Rick Levine described 2020 in Capricorn like being stuck in Groundhog Day.  We have been trying to move forward all year, but we kept getting sucked back in to the muck by Capricorn over and over again to do more work.  When two of those three big planets shifted into Aquarius, we finally started moving into something new.  Yay!!!

Unfortunately, Pluto will stay in Capricorn until January 2024 so the work of exposing the dark stuff in our governments and societal structures (and our own personal structures) is not done.  It will continue to be in the background of everything for a few more years, but Saturn and Jupiter will be helping us find new solutions.

This brings us to The Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn come together in the sky, which happens about every 20 years.  This is happening tomorrow, December 21st. (The last time it happened was May 2000)  Great Conjunctions usually indicate new cycles of socio-political growth and change.  Some say they mark the rise and fall of empires. (queue ominous music)

This specific Great Conjunction is extra special because this is (almost) 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). And it is happening in the very first degree of that air sign AND its happening on the Solstice which both make it more powerful astrologically (just trust me on that).

(Technically, we had a preview of a great conjunction in an air sign in 1980 when they met in Libra, but then in 2000 they met in earth again.  This time they will be in air for good, for the next 200 years so this is really the big shift.)

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 into its darkness (greed, overindulgence, extreme ideology), Saturn brings out the discipline and restricts Jupiter to reign it back in.  (Hence the “rise and fall of empires”)  We humans go through cycles of expanding and contracting and finding a balance between the two.  The sign the planets are in, gives the theme of those cycles.

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.  As we 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 cycle is in the sign of 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.  They can also fall in to group think (like the Borgs on Star Trek that have “hive minds”)  (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 (perhaps space travel).  We will (hopefully) build new societal structures that are better for humanity and less hierarchical that shift more power into 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.”

The balance of Saturn and Aquarius is about setting up the right structures that support all of humanity equally and allowing us all to have personal freedom, that does not come at the expense of others. Jupiter is in the mix  asking us to look at our higher ideals as we explore those structures and freedoms.

The Great Conjunction kicks-off  this Aquarian 20-year cycle on December 21st, but Saturn and Jupiter don’t stay in Aquarius for 20 years.  We get the big bang in the beginning and then this theme lingers in the background, mixing with lots of other themes and happenings in the cosmos in the years to come.  Life is so complex!

Saturn and Jupiter are both in Aquarius for most of 2021 which will give us an extra boost to start re-building things in new ways (like a Super Mario  power up !) Pluto has been exposing, for all of us, the dark stuff in our structures that need to change. Perhaps things have been revealed in your own life that are not working (a relationship, a job, a living situation, your health).  Maybe you have started to make changes already or maybe you are still resisting.  (Unfortunately, in our US politics, there are different ideas about what the dark stuff is and there is certainly a lot of resistance.)  We have been in this energy for six months and we will feel it all through 2021 so its not all about this ONE DAY.  This next year, should give us all that extra “power up” to help us re-build what is not working in new ways. (For those not familiar with the Super Mario video game, the mushroom image I used for this post is the most famous Super Mario power up, The Super Mushroom, that gives him special powers!)

Everyone has been asking me what 2021 looks like and I will talk more about 2021 in another post, but from what I understand, we are not really done with the energy of 2020 until the end of February 2021. (Sorry!). 2020 had an unprecedented number of rare planetary cycles all happening together in the same year which correlated (as predicted) with a lot of intensity here on earth.  In 2021, we are back to a normal level of planetary action which should correlate to less intensity (if astrology is real). Hang in there and if you can see Saturn and Jupiter in the sky enjoy it!!

Here are a few of other interesting facts about Great Conjunctions if you are not tired of reading this really long post yet:

    1. In the United States, eight presidents have died in office. Seven of those presidential deaths happened when the election or inauguration year was the year of a Great Conjunction (which I learned from Jessica Lanyadoo)
    2. During the presidential terms that started with the last two Great Conjunctions (1980 and 2000), there were presidential assassination attempts (Reagan and Bush) that were not successful
    3. It is believed that the Star of Bethlehem was also a Great Conjunction and the first in a 200-year cycle of Pisces
    4. The Great Conjunction is NOT starting the Age of Aquarius. We are getting closer but ages are based on the precession of the equinox  not planetary alignments.  I am told we will enter the Age of Aquarius around 2160. But ages are over 2000 years long so we may start to feel their vibes about 200 years before they start, which explains why we are starting to feel that Aquarian vibe!

The Donald Trump Eclipse of 2020

There is a pretty big eclipse happening tomorrow, December 14th, 2020. It also happens to be the day the electoral college votes here in the United States and it’s a big astrological event for Donald Trump, personally.  Let’s do a deep dive on eclipses in general and why this one is a big deal.

What is an Eclipse?

Eclipses happen when the sun, moon, and earth are lined up in the sky.  During a lunar eclipse, the earth is blocking the sun’s light from the moon so it is in shadow and we can’t see it (the moon is eclipsed).  During a solar eclipse, the moon is between the sun and the earth so we can’t see the sun (the sun is eclipsed).  FYI – The moon is always full during a lunar eclipse and new during a solar eclipse.

In astrology, the sun and moon represent the biggest parts of who we are.  The sun represents our ego, sense of purpose, and who we are right now.  The moon represents our emotions and sense of security and our past. When the biggest parts of who we are line up in the sky (with the earth) and start obscuring each other, it’s kind of a big deal.  The “planets” are inviting us (or often forcing us) to look at what’s going on with our emotions and our ego.  Things might come up from our past (moon) that need to be resolved or we might be faced with challenges to our ego or questions about who we are (sun).

As you can imagine, this might make us feel especially triggered, or agitated, or exhausted.  We might have trouble sleeping. Feelings may erupt suddenly or things may suddenly become clear.  Pay attention to what is coming up for you because it’s probably a message about something that needs to change for you to evolve.  You may be pushed into a change whether you like it or not.  The change could be amazing and wonderful, or it could be hard and not so fun (but usually, for your greatest and highest good).  Eclipses can bring about sudden, dramatic shifts or they may trigger something that is not revealed until later.  We usually start to feel them before things line up exactly in the sky and we can feel their impact for 6-18 months.

Everything happening in the sky will not impact us all in the same way.  Some eclipses you might feel because they are also lining up with planets in your personal birth chart (the map of your soul in this lifetime) an others not so much.  An eclipse might not directly impact YOU (because you have your shit miraculously, completely all together OR this eclipse is just not meant for you), but it might be impacting other people around you and likely lots of other people in the collective. (I know, that’s a lot of variables.  I can’t convince you it’s real. If you feel something and its helpful to know it might be part of something bigger, cool.)

When I say “in the specific area of your life where the eclipse is happening” I am referring to house in your birth chart that lines up to the eclipse.  The eclipse happening tomorrow, on December 14th, is happening at 23 degrees of Sagittarius.  Find 23 degrees of Sagittarius in your birth chart.  (I explained how to get your birth chart in this post).  The house where 23 degrees of Sagittarius lives is where you might feel the eclipse in your life (family, relationships, career, etc>).   And if there are planets close to that 23 degrees OR at 23 degrees anywhere else in your chart, that amplifies the impact on YOU in its own unique way.

Why is This Eclipse a Big Deal?

This particular eclipse is an especially big deal for a few reasons.

    1. It is a total solar eclipse making it more powerful
    2. Mars (the planet of aggression and anger) and Neptune (confusion) are involved (in specific angles to the Sun and Moon)
    3. The eclipse is happening in the sign of Sagittarius which is a fire sign (fire, as you know, is hot and explosive)
    4. It is happening during this crazy time with a ton of other stuff going on and we are ALREADY tired and agitated and stressed
    5. It is happening on the day of the electoral college vote here in the US where our president has launched a massive disinformation campaign (with no evidence) that the election was stolen from him and he refuses to concede
    6. It is happening directly on President Trump’s moon which happens to be right next to his south moon node and he is having a nodal return. Let’s unpack that…
How Does this Eclipse Impact Donald Trump?

When an eclipse happens at the exact same spot as the moon or sun in YOUR birth chart, its likely to be pretty intense for YOU.  Tomorrow’s eclipse is a solar eclipse which means the moon (emotions, the past) will be blocking the sun (ego).  This is happening for Donald Trump right on top of his personal moon (emotions, the past) which makes it pretty powerful for him and extra emotional.  Is he getting a sign that he should be letting go of some stuff from his past?  Is he getting a sign that his ego needs to be put in check?  Is his pubic persona going to be blocked? Will he snap out of his delusion that he won the election?

Also, Donald Trump (sometimes called the Mad King) was born on a full moon eclipse making him. It is said that “kings are born and die on eclipses” (because they often do).  I will just leave that here.

Not only is this eclipse happening on top of Trump’s moon, it is also happening on top of his south moon node. You might recall that the south moon node represents the karma you brought into this lifetime.  This is your comfort zone and the stuff you are good at but if you get stuck here it can can keep you from evolving. Trump’s south moon node is in Sagittarius.  Sagittarius likes things BIG.  They like to have fun and be optimistic and go on adventures and expand their horizons.  They can also be dogmatic, think the know all of the answers, wear rose colored glasses, over-indulge, be judgmental, and exaggerate.  What is being illuminated for Donald about his karma and what he needs to get unstuck from?

Finally, Donald is having a nodal return.  That means that his south moon node and his north moon node (which represent his karma and his destiny) are returning to where they were when he was born.   A nodal return (which happens to everyone about every 18.5 years) is a time when you can step into your destiny OR get sucked back into your karma.  As with all things astrology, this can play out in many ways.  Is it Donald Trump’s destiny to pull off a second term through chaos, corruption, and lies OR will he have a huge shift in his life (perhaps because he can’t escape his karma) and move out of the white house on to whatever is next for him? (I am clearly biased and hoping for the latter.)

In Summary

Net net, on the day of our electoral college vote we have an eclipse that could cause sudden, explosive things to happen in our lives or in the collective that is also hitting our president’s chart in a HUGE way.  Maybe its already played out for him with the Supreme Court rejection or maybe there is more to come.  It seems likely that the eruption will involve more protests (Mars in Aries) from the people who are holding the illusion (Neptune in Pisces) that this election was stolen from Trump (both planets in prominent angles to the eclipse).  The astrology says it’s not likely smooth sailing for us all just yet.

The mix of planets and signs are making this eclipse especially intense and overwhelming for everyone (not just Trump).  Pay attention to what you are feeling and what signs the universe is sending you about your own life.  Journal, meditate, and take some quiet time to yourself if you are feeling it.  The good news is that is will pass!!!  The planets always keep moving.

And there is better energy on the way!!!  Our big planets are starting to move out of Capricorn and in to Aquarius which is a whole new vibe.  Then we have the Great Conjunction next week (which I wrote about at the end of this post in July).  I hope to get into it more with the additional insights I have gathered from various astrologers before it happens.  But for now, stay safe out there, be nice to each other, and if you live in a place where you can see stars (and you stay up later than I do), check out the Geminids Meteor Shower.

Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

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.


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)


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 Chani Nicholas’s course (The Year Ahead for your Sign).  Every year, she gives the high-level themes for everyone in the same “rising sign” and where in your life they 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.