Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mercury Retrograde in the Sign of its Detriment: D'oh. (Yes, That's As Articulate As I Can Be Right Now.)

Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of its detriment November 24 at 20 degrees Sagittarius, stationing direct again December 13 at 3 degrees.

This retrograde has us mentally taxed - more so than a regular Mercury retro - and there is a great impetus to get away from communication - anything that isn't necessary, meaningful, or enjoyable - whenever possible to give our poor, stressed synapses a rest.

Don't push your exhausted self into going into that one last store to find that one last gift, and don't put any more pressure on already pressurized service staff unless you'd like a candy cane stuck somewhere funky. If you're employed in retail sales, this holiday shopping season will require even more meditative survival tactics than usual, though this eases gradually beginning December 14.

The influence of pressurized Mercury in Sagittarius means people are going to be itching for a chance to shoot their mouths off so as to release a bit of the mental stress. Those who don't have the knowledge of a holiday season Mercury retrograde in their back pockets are going to be a bit snipey. You can just sit back and watch or, if they're really asking for it, snipe back. If you do snipe back, though, make sure you damn well mean it and that you damn well have a point that can't be refuted. Don't exaggerate (Sagittarius) the issue, as words can come back to haunt us here.

Verbally, things could get feisty.

Luckily, Sagittarius, in general, is a "don't sweat the small stuff" sign, and this is the kind of Mercury placement that will only deal with so much frustration until saying, "Screw it. Let's go get an eggnog."

We're given the freedom to let it go and to let the big picture deal with it to a certain extent until January 8 when Mercury moves into Capricorn, and we get down to business once again.

All in all, this winter holiday season is a great time to get away from cell phones, Blackberries, Facebook, Twitter, and the like to enjoy some face-to-face revelry, relaxation, and merriment. In fact, with the North Node in Sagittarius until the end of August 2012, curtailing the use of these things a lot more in general is a good idea. Electronic over-stimulation increasingly leads to exhaustion, and this Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, moving back and forth over the North Node, is a mental re-wiring on this front.

Venus and Mercury came together in a conjunction with the North Node November 13/14 before Mercury started to slow for the retrograde station and Venus pulled out ahead.

Now, with the Mercury retrograde, we get a second (and third) chance to figure out what that conjunction was all about.

There's some insight we need in order to successfully navigate our way forward from here related to that Venus-Mercury-North Node conjunction, and Mercury deposits some more of it December 2 in its second pass over the North Node. The final conjunction to the North Node is December 27 with Mercury moving direct.

This is all good as long as we can decipher what it is Mercury is trying to tell us through the filter of one of its more difficult placements (Sagittarius). The big picture Sagittarian truths are not all that easy to break down into easily digestible Mercurial words, concepts, and phrases, though this is our challenge. Sagittarius is often more of a "vibing on the silent inner wisdom" kind of sign - although it will certainly shoot an arrow of truth or two when it thinks it has a clear shot. Let's hope it does here.

The Mercury retro in Sagittarius also has us thinking about those who aren't having such a relaxing, revelry-rich time on this planet, and we honour all angles of this, aware of the facts, holding a loving space in our hearts and minds for anyone in this category. Many won't have gifts to unwrap or a holiday feast to eat, and finding new ways to share the wealth is a fine use of this retrograde energy, creating a holiday season that fits personal ethics.

In my mind, the ultimate goal is to make "charity" unnecessary, ensuring that every living thing on this planet has full access to the necessities of life. But in the meantime, local food banks and charities need help. My Sagittarius Sun Mum always finds new and interesting ways to share the holiday spirit. One way she does it is by purchasing gift donations for Unicef that buy Survival Gifts: things that have practical aims like funding new school supplies, water treatment, or vitamin-rich snacks to help prevent disease. This can obviously be applied in local societies, also. Anything that has a direct result is good with Sadge. Sagittarius likes direct.

By winter solstice December 21, Mercury is back up to full speed direct.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Venus-Saturn Mutual Reception November 26 - December 20: Ants Get More Play Than Grasshoppers

Venus enters Capricorn from much more ebullient Sagittarius November 26 (6:36 a.m. Central) and immediately squares Uranus stationing direct at zero Aries - the birth point of the zodiac.

This is a tense, jarring, electric reminder of the Uranus-Pluto square series just up ahead (2012-2015) that forces us on our way immediately by initiating necessary and radical new directions, truer to individual courses, within established relationship structures.

The monthly Moon-Venus conjunction at 10:27 p.m. that night provides grounding and soothes the emotional edge, though it does not relieve us of our responsibilities or alleviate the serious tone.

Saturn is just clearing its beneficial conjunctions to fixed stars Spica and Arcturus and moves back into full-on Via Combusta zone until next May.

With its dispositor ingressing Capricorn, the uplifting Sagittarian wind beneath Saturn's wings also peters out, and we settle in for a landing.

Whether that landing is harsh and depressing or validating and sustaining depends to a certain extent on how well we've been learning and applying our Saturn lessons in the sign of the scales. That's not to say Saturn only lays its particular brand of reality-based smack-down on irresponsible n'er-do-wells. Everyone goes under its thumb at one point or another. But people who have been actively attempting to wriggle their way out of Saturn's squirm-inducing, step-by-step relationship and relating lessons will certainly be getting a reality check here as well as one last chance to get it together.

We're running out of time, see?

We have less than one year remaining with Saturn in the sign of its exaltation, Libra. Saturn can get things done in the sign of its exaltation. It can make progress that sustains over the course of time, as long as we don't waste time. Wasting time is a distinct possibility with Saturn in Libra as the Saturnine proceedings in this sign often have a less arduous weight about them and a more social, less serious tone.

Wasting time while Saturn is in Libra is a big mistake, though.

Saturn in Scorpio is coming, and that one isn't going to let up.

Venus in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra will be in mutual reception - that is, inhabiting a sign the other rules - until winter solstice, creating a close and interwoven energetic relationship, and this has a sobering effect on relations of all kinds. Love is serious business here. Love is business. We're going to be made aware of how important it is to get on top of every action item Saturn has flagged. Issues that have been pushed aside will come to the forefront again to be dealt with by amicable (as amicable as possible, anyway) adults before things take a distinct turn for the not-so-amicable October 5, 2012 to November 23, 2015 as Saturn moves through sticky, tricky, potentially ass-biting Scorpio. Anything left on our plates during Saturn in Libra is stirred then in ways that can be truly nasty, so it's in our best interests to keep noses to grindstones.

Luckily, Venus in Capricorn comes out of its square to Uranus in Aries and catches the tail-end of the grand earth trine formed in the zodiac by Jupiter Rx in Taurus, Mars in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn. Venus in Capricorn trines Mars in Virgo exactly December 5. We're assisted to get things done on all fronts, especially in and through relationship.

Venus conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn December 1, giving us a further energetic reminder of just how nose-to-the-relationship-grindstone we need to be, kicking up distortion in any relational areas that require more laser-sharp awareness and honing from us.

As we close out 2011, we're looking for relationship resolution and are doing our best to make peace with relationships past and present. Progress needs to be made in and through current relationships to put us in good position for what's up ahead, and as clean a slate as possible is needed for Saturn in Scorpio. This Venus-Saturn mutual reception keeps us sober, serious, grown-up, and pragmatic as we make big strides toward that and is especially good for the progress of women (and the feminine influence, in general) in business.

There's a solid groundwork that should have been built by now - new relational rules and standards, a heightened command of social responsibility, the ability to maintain equilibrium under pressure, as well as a new maturity in the tone of our relationships, especially between the sexes. At this point, people either have it or they don't, and this mutual reception serves as a status report.

This far into Saturn's transit of Libra, we start to see the social and professional results of having put this groundwork in. We also see the results of not having put it in, as well as the areas that contain hazardous holes and breaks in structure. This is especially apparent when we relate with those who have shirked the full effort.

Under Saturn in Libra, we've determined who makes for a favourable partner and who doesn't, and now these standards must be applied across the board.

The free-wheeling, boozy, philosopher king who spends his free time at the track might have been attractive under Venus in Sagittarius, but his debts are being called as Venus enters Capricorn.

We're looking for long-term pay-off in relationship here and nothing less than that is worth the time or energy. Those who prove they cannot be responsible toward us, in relation to us, are not worth the time or energy.

Only take on the responsibility toward others that feels absolutely right to take on, and don't give anyone a level of responsibility in relation to you that he or she is not meant (or equipped) to take on.

With the influence of Venus here, there is definitely such thing as too sober, serious, pragmatic, number-crunching, and dry. Love, beauty, and romance need to be worked into the mix. However, it's a person with solid integrity, with some financial savvy, with a nose for legitimate advancement, with expertly handled personal responsibilities, and with the ability to dig in and get the job done even if it means defering personal pleasures who is most attractive under these astro energies.

Venus in Capricorn is seeking partners with strong shoulders who bear their burdens well, partners who act their age (even older than their chronological age). Venus is seeking a partner who understands the full realities of life, including the difficult, sombre, or "unfun" aspects, who understood them early on, and who worked with them pretty much from the get-go rather than sloughing them off.

All this reflects, in mutual reception, what Saturn has been requiring of relationships and potential mates throughout its transit of Libra.

People who are obviously playing catch-up on this front are not going to hold as much appeal. We're looking for the results of long-term efforts - what a person has built and what progress has been made over the course of the lifetime.

Charm is a quality with a decreasing amount of value the closer Saturn gets to Scorpio if it is not also attached to absolute integrity and authenticity. Those are the qualities that make bank under Saturn in Scorpio. People who have skated by on looks, charm, charisma, or social prowess and facade are going to find these qualities don't get them nearly as far as they used to.

Playboys (or girls), those who refuse to grow up, the skittish, the cheaters, the fibbers, the non-commital, those who can't manage limitations, restrictions, or adult responsibilities - these people become less and less attractive.

Flaky artist types also fall out of favour with Mars now entering a two-year Virgo-flavoured cycle. People who have been let out of many practical, adult responsibilities because they're so talented or so interesting or so tortured are going to have many fewer people hot for them.

Mars relates to desire, and in Virgo, only those with shit together - and with a history of having shit together - need apply.

This is all part of the shift out of Piscean era relationship and partner ideals - a shift that gets a super charge this spring with the Venus Transit and Venus retrograde through Gemini. Relationship changes dramatically over the next while, and we can either move with the show or cling wailing and pining to old forms and old ideals that no longer get the job done and never really did.

That said, there are a lot of people who are being kept out of relationship at this time so as to sidestep the harshest of the tail-end Piscean era relationship detritus.

This Venus-Saturn mutual reception can be emotionally difficult for those who are not in a relationship and would like to be as it indicates the beginning of yet another cold winter with no one to keep their toes warm in bed.

Again, though, this is Saturn we're talking about, and we have to be aware of the positioning of ourselves (going on right now) for long-term relationship success rather than for short-term toe-warming gratification. (If you can get both, more power to you!) It doesn't necessarily make it easier, but there are times when it's actually in our best interests to not be in relationship, and in many cases, this is one of those times.

Friday, November 18, 2011

White Men Can't Sweat Lodge: A Slap on the Wrist

James Arthur "Death" Ray was sentenced today to two years in prison after being convicted in June of three counts of negligent homicide stemming from a faulty sweat lodge he performed in Arizona.

This means, of course, that there are people in United States prisons serving more time for robbery than Ray will serve for the deaths of these three people.

Many other participants suffered health damage - some permanent - from the faulty sweat lodge.

Prosecutors had requested three consecutive three-year terms (nine years), the longest allowable sentence for Ray's crimes. The defense requested probation.

The families of the dead more than likely will not even be able to recoup their losses in civil court. It was declared in court records during the trial that, despite living in a Beverly Hills home, Ray is $4 million in the hole. All those people bilked and not a dime to show for it.

Pretty depressing all around that this scheister is getting off so lightly.

Background articles on James Arthur Ray

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Black Moon Lilith in Leo Would Like to Say Something...


Painting: Black Moon Lilith by Willow

I don't believe in celebrity. It's from the age of the dinosaurs and big, clunky, gas-guzzling cars, in my mind.

There's no credential, accolade, or association that could really impress me all that much.

We all star in our own lives, and every minute we're not doing that is a minute wasted, a minute diverted.

I know how good this blog is. I know I'm a good astrologer. And that's all I need to know. I'm not sure why I would need the validation of anyone else to prove that to myself or to my readers. It should be apparent by now, yes?

It's always nice when someone enjoys your work, but it doesn't really change anything. I'm not being discovered. I've been here all along, doing this work for a good long while now, and I imagine I will be here doing this work for a while to come. I don't need to be put under anyone's wing. I don't need to be taught anyone else's style of astrology. I don't need to fit into anyone else's scene. I'm not looking for a teacher or a mentor or to be someone's protege or muse. I'm not looking to kiss any asses or prop up any egos. I'm no one's clay to be moulded. Chronological age has very little to do with it.

These are all things I've encountered in subtle ways over the past few years when coming into contact with other astrologers, mostly well-meaning older men who consider themselves better established than I.

Perhaps on this earthly plane...

The truth is, I don't fit into any existing established scene, astrological or otherwise, primarily because most of them are hierarchical/patriarchal and do not permit the true radical feminine perspective or the true radical woman as equal within their confines. The egalitarian Aquarian thing is a very, very early work in progress across the board at this point, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise...

This is difficult on one hand. On the other hand, though, it's pretty fucking great, as it keeps me free, developing on exactly the right trajectory, doing exactly the right work and exactly the right readings, and that's the only way it can be. If I can't speak freely, there's absolutely no point in continuing. I won't alter myself or what I say in any way to fit a role, and I won't accept readings that aren't mine to do for the money.

I'm unaffiliated because I really believe that's the only place for me to be.

I don't think there are many astrologers who go to the depths I do, who see and communicate as clearly, who are as unencumbered.

And the more unencumbered I am, the more potent the work.

I don't court a big scene because, honestly, it's not worth the hassle. The size of the audience is not necessarily the prime indicator of success, in my mind, and the fact that this blog grows very slowly is not an indicator that it is in any way a failure. The slow growth is actually a good thing. Things are being very carefully cultivated, plain and simple. I'm not a highly prolific astrologer, either in writing or in readings. When your perspective is deep and under pressure, extricating and exposing embedded things, it's not possible to run wide open. I think very gradual and sustained growth is the best foundation for me to be a professional astrologer with staying power.

It's important for me to hit my marks, to do the work I'm here to do and to do it well, and to say the things that need to be said - anything outside that is not really my need to know. How many people are reading is not much of a concern. It's more important that the right people are reading, the people who can appreciate and utilize the writing and astrological perspective here and the people who can benefit from my readings. I think I have that, and it's increasing over time, so, to me, the blog is already (and always has been) a complete success.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mars in Virgo Retrograde: Precise Re-direction Within Grand Earth Trines

November 10, 2011 - Mars enters Virgo
November 18, 2011 - Mars enters the retrograde shadow
January 23, 2012 - Mars goes retrograde at 23 degrees Virgo
April 13, 2012 - Mars turns direct at 3 degrees Virgo
June 19, 2012 - Mars leaves the retrograde shadow
July 3, 2012 - Mars enters Libra

The Mars transit and retrograde through Virgo involves an eight-month period of mutable, transitional energy that requires our precise and active participation to direct, re-direct, adjust, and re-adjust our courses. Throughout this time, we'll be directed down only the most pertinent and effective channels in our lives, honing and refining our courses and withdrawing personal energy from anything that is not necessary, valuable, or vital moving forward. This process is happening, specifically, in the house or houses where Virgo falls in your natal chart. That's the area where things need to be tightened.

Virgo is one of the quieter placements for Mars. Mars is active here but only in the ways that count. No excess of motion, exertion, words, mental function, or use of will. Small movements, adjustments, and re-direction have big effect, and temperance rules, as too much effort in one direction results only in energy expended for self-correction.

The energy on the planet will be getting very bizarre and out of control at times over the next years, and things can really go haywire if we allow them to. This is why we need the Virgoan qualities applied through the iron will of Mars to set our courses now, doing battle on the fine points.

If we're oh-so-careful and diligent, smoothing every screwy detail, critiquing every glowing illusion, attending to every nagging issue, we set a tone with this retrograde that can keep us grounded and out of the worst of the hyped baloney and utter bullshit being amped up on this planet.

Clean, crisp, clear. In Virgo, every detail matters. Virgo is a sign that needs things to be just right, and with Mars here, we're going to have to take it personally when they aren't.

If it hits our ears as incorrect, it's rejected, no matter how many people are saying it, doing it, or believing it. Anyone trying to fill our minds, bodies, societies, or environments with useless crap is viewed as an enemy of our health.

Enemies of our health. There are many. Under Mars in Virgo, we're consciously fighting to maintain health in a world increasingly toxic to living things. Our systems are quite literally being attacked on multiple fronts. There's an immediacy with this Mars transit. There's no more time to put off the changes necessary to fortify our health. It's on. In order for our systems to continue processing and metabolizing what's going on, they need to be in tip-top condition.

Diet, exercise regimes, habits, routines, work conditions, the quality of our food and water, our mental and emotional environments - a crucial analysis and refinement is on the docket during this transit, fighting to maintain systemic health while preparing us for the next years on the planet. This involves the removal or at least strong limitation of anything that weighs our systems down: excess alcohol, drug use, cigarettes, perfumes, air fresheners, chemical cleaners, electromagnetic pollution, noise pollution, pesticides and additives in food, refined sugar, artificial colours, genetically modified food, fluoride, excessive internet, TV, music, shopping, socializing.

Mars is a hard-ass in Virgo, and with good reason.

Even things touted as healthful should be gone over with a fine-toothed comb. With Virgo, less is more. Be careful what you add to your life and to your system. In most cases, Virgo is about what needs to be taken away.

There is a sexual element (Mars) to health (Virgo) here. A more precise application of sexual energy is required. A new understanding of the effects of sexual activity on health and on the surrounding energetic environment as a whole comes about here. The "too much, too fast, too soon" sexual ethic constantly shoved down our throats is rejected by those who use this transit well, and the application of sexuality is streamlined with a new awareness and focus on the health of the individual, the partner, the relationship, the immediate social groups and society, and the spirit, in general. There's a re-wiring of attractions and sexual habits here, a clarification, and a removal of toxic sexual connections. Holistic sexual health.

Our work is infused with a necessary level of fight during this transit. We fight to overcome the redundancy, uselessness, and listlessness forced upon so many through mass institutionalized unemployment, underemployment, and lack of meaningful paid employment.

Charting the course for the next two years correctly requires our absolute focus over the next eight months.

Mars entering Virgo sets off a grand earth trine with Jupiter Rx in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn that will be in effect most strongly November 16-23.

Mars retrogrades back into this grand earth trine in March when the configuration will be exact. Jupiter in Taurus, Mars Rx in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn will be exactly trine each other at 9 degrees of the earth signs from March 12-15, 2012.

Mars in Virgo will trine Pluto in Capricorn one last time May 15-17, 2012 with Mars moving direct. At that time, Jupiter in Taurus will be out of range.

Needless to say, within these grand earth trines, the application of specific choices and actions - including what we choose not to do or say - has big ripple effects, creating real, concrete, structural changes.

Previous post on Mars in Virgo retrograde from August 29, 2011: New Moon in Virgo Sets a Preparatory Tone For the Upcoming Mars Retrograde

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weeping Willow Designs with Mars in the Last Degrees of Leo Opposite Stationing Neptune in Aquarius and Closing Out a Creative Cycle

Industrial Romantic necklace with onyx, hematite and Bali silver.

Before Pluto entered Capricorn and the wrecking ball was unleashed on independent businesses (as well as non-independent), I started working for a cool little Jewish man in his cool little store called Art of My Heart, which I've written about on the blog.

It was at this job I learned that I know how to make bead jewellery designs. In the same way I discovered that I know how to practice astrology, I was given the opportunity to draw something to the surface that had been there all along, and I'm ever-grateful.

Art of My Heart was an art and curiousity shop that a man I'll call Harold had been running by himself (with supplemental help from various colourful part-time employees) for a decade-and-a-half. Harold was a world traveller and importer and an art and beauty lover. He travelled to various countries over the years, buying art and curiousities and bringing them back to sell in the store. His favourite place was Bali, Indonesia.

Art of My Heart was located in the downtown mall and was basically an anachronism. Harold had moved in many years prior when mall culture was vastly different - ie. independently-owned businesses were still being allowed to operate. That was changing very quickly. The Pluto in Cap writing was on the wall, and as time went on, indy-owned businesses were having their rents increased to unsustainable amounts or were not having their leases renewed at all. They were dropping one-by-one, and as the plans for wide-scale gentrifying renovations in the mall drew nearer, Harold and his wonderful little store, among the final independent hold-outs, were increasingly unwelcome.

The squeeze was on.

I was traipsing through Canada's most cleansed and corporatized city, Calgary, at the time like a refugee ghost trapped between worlds, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. Astrology had taken me over a few years prior. I was sure of the path I was taking on that front. I was committed. I just wasn't sure how I was supposed to sustain myself financially along the way.

I was between a rock and a hard place (with a fixed t-square on the angles, one will often find oneself there), in a temporary living situation that was increasingly tense and overwhelming. I was drowning and desperately needed to find my own place to live.

The vacancy rate was hovering around 0.7% at the time. There was very little to rent and what there was was highly inflated. I went to see one dirty, rickety, studio apartment that should have been condemned with a $750/month price tag. Without a steady source of income (ie. my fledgling astrology business wouldn't cut it), I was hooped.

One day in late fall, I officially gave up on life and decided to get a job at the mall as holiday help - any job I could tolerate doing, which was a tall order.

I went to Customer Service and asked if the girl manning the desk knew of any stores that were hiring. This was at the height of the housing and labour shortage, and the girl told me something that would turn out to be profound. She said, "I think they're pretty much all hiring right now. Just look at the directory and see where you'd like to work and apply."

Of all the jobs I had done up to that point (and there had been many), it had never once crossed my mind that I could work somewhere I wanted to work. And that I might actually find something. This was revelatory.

I looked at the mall directory and saw something that seemed interesting - a store called Art of My Heart. I located Art of My Heart on the map and went to find it, resume in hand.

I walked down the hallway where it was supposed to be, but it appeared there was nothing down there. I turned to go back to the directory but decided to go just a bit further and saw it.

There was an overwhelming amount of stuff in the store, so I pushed through a little goat trail through it all to a counter located at the back of the store. There, behind a sort of ornately-carved wooden confessional nailed to the counter, was a fifty-something man in a ball cap sitting on a stool. I ducked my head down to peer through the opening of the wooden confessional thing (maybe it was a puppet theatre?) and asked if he might be hiring help for the holidays. He said maybe.

I went back the next day and asked again. Again, he said maybe.

I went back again, and that time, despite his resistance, I was hired on a part-time basis.

This guy needed my help. Badly. And I needed the work equally badly.

Art of My Heart was full of rich, gorgeous, delightful items from around the world - if you could find them.

The place looked like a hoarder's garage sale, albeit a culturally-rich one. There was no rhyme or reason. Everything was thrown together, piled on top of each other, topsy turvy. Only about half the stuff was even priced. Everything was dusty.

The dingy, gray carpet hadn't been vacuumed in ten years. Yes, ten years. The floor was coated in a layer of dust, dirt, grime, old price tags, and packing material.

If the store looked like a hoarder's garage sale, the back room was the hoarder's official lair. Parting the curtain made out of a sarong, I saw broken furniture, puppets with missing limbs, tangled shell curtains, chipped masks, cracked ceramics, dirty, handmade carpets, crumbling terra cotta candle holders, glass mosaics with lost squares, pieces of leather, fur, straw, paint, shellac. Harold hated to throw any beautiful thing away, convinced he would some day be able to fix it. Everything was stuffed in to the rafters, and, as in the main store area, there was a narrow goat trail leading to the bathroom.

Ah, yes. The bathroom. The bathroom, too, had not been cleaned in at least ten years. A layer of grey-black filth covered the toilet and sink. The toilet bowl itself was orange-brown. I was actually a bit in shock when I saw it. Cleaning that thing was one of the first tasks I set out for myself (Harold never would have asked me to do it), and later, after the Willow-style transformation of the store was complete, Harold said, "It all started when you cleaned that bathroom."

Ornate sterling Bali bead with turquoise earrings.

On my first day of work, my assignment from Harold was to show people jewellery. He had four or five lovely, old display cases full of jewellery that had to be opened for customers. And I would have been happy to show people the jewellery - it was gorgeous - if I could find it. Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings - everything had been dumped into the display cases by the handful, just tossed in like the tangled, gnarled mess of a child's costume jewellery box. One earring would be in one display case, and its match would be found in another display case across the store. A lot of it was not priced, nor were the stones labelled. So I started the intricate work of putting these display cases in some type of order.

At the end of the day at the store, there was more fun. The massive floor-to-ceiling screen door to close the shop was basically falling off the hinges. You had to drag the thing along as the steel screeched and moaned, making sure you didn't pull too aggressively or the whole thing would come apart.

Harold was a music fan, especially Bob Dylan. He would put the same song on repeat and listen to it all day. All day. The same song. Until finally, I couldn't stand the song boring into my skull any longer and would change it. Eventually, we got into a rhythm. Harold would open the store in the morning and put his song on repeat. I would come in at noon and take it off repeat.

Sometimes Harold would bring mini-buffets of Chinese food up from the food court for us to eat. He would make the poor employee take four pieces of this, three of that, five of that, creating a combo plate that didn't exist on the menu.

Harold didn't believe in making anyone do anything he or she didn't want to do. This made him an extremely easy-going boss, but it did create some problems in the running of the store. One of his previous employees was a hippie girl who would be scheduled to work in the late morning but had a problem getting up before 1 p.m. Harold just worked around it.

The chaotic look of the store reflected the chaos of the way the store was operated. After many, many years in retail, Harold had a strong aversion to dealing with people. It didn't help that people often made outrageous demands, trying to take advantage, and that Harold was too scared of them to stand up for himself. (The bourgeois who fancy themselves artsy and cultured are a very specific breed of pain in the ass.)

I didn't blame him. I had had a bellyful of customer service by that point myself. The problem was, he was your standard passive aggressive Libra who would make promises to customers just to make nice and get out of the interaction and then not deliver. The customers would then call me or come in repeatedly, making me the middleman, and I had to field it while trying to nail Harold down. This would be carried on to a ridiculous extent. So many excuses and weaselings out that we could have been on a British comedy.

That's how good this guy's stuff was, though. He had lasted 15 or so years in business with people barely able to locate the goods to purchase, being strung along with all kinds of promises he couldn't keep.

And I was in my element. My Virgo/Scorpio was made for that type of assignment. I gently woke dormant energies in the store, getting gears moving that hadn't moved in years. I cleaned, sorted, organized, labelled, displayed, priced, created new store policies, and tried to set 15 years of creative chaos to some type of order without losing the original charm. Some felt I failed on that front, but I did the best I could.

The thing was, I knew things were coming 'Pluto in early Capricorn' unglued. I knew we had to get the store's act together if we were to have any chance of staying in the mall. So I tried to get things moving in that direction. Harold, however, was freaked out by the sense of change in the air and dug his heels in on every issue. I had to inch forward, bit-by-bit, and if I pushed just a bit too far, there was a meltdown. The way of Scorpionic transformation.

We fought like a son-of-a-bitch. It was almost cliched. Two strong-willed, blazing-eyed, tempestuous creative types who really didn't give much of a fuck anymore having it out, yelling at each other as the ship starts to go down. It was old school.

Can you imagine such a scene going down in the ever-more-homogenized malls of today? It's a good thing Art of My Heart was located in the middle of nowhere, down a hall almost no one ever used.

I wanted more hours. He wanted to give me fewer.
I wanted an employment contract. He refused to give me one.
He wanted me to take apart one of the necklaces I made to use the beads for a bracelet for a customer instead. I said I wouldn't. He did it himself.
He wanted to keep all the broken stuff in the back room so he could (one day) fix it. I knew this was not going to happen and nagged him to clear it up.
He said he would do things by a certain date and didn't do them, forcing me to nag incessantly.
We had cultural battles.
And on and on.

Turquoise and Bali silver bracelet and earrings.

Throughout it all, I was making jewellery like a house on fire.

Harold found gorgeous beads on his trips. Unpacking the crates after he came back from his buying trip was like finding treasure. I would make new designs, put them out in the display case, and most of them were purchased within a couple weeks. Sometimes I would put something out, and it would go the next day. It was a winning combination, Harold and I.

So I was pouring all I had into making sure Art of My Heart made the transition. If we couldn't stay in the mall, I was going to do my damnedest to put us in good position for a new location. I was going to make Art of My Heart run like a well-oiled machine. This was the plan.

I gave it my all, and I thought we actually might make it. The mall gave us a new and coveted spot on the ground floor as our old space was gutted. The jewellery was selling well. The furniture was doing well. People were all over the masks and art. We were actually starting to make some money.

And then they booted us. They told us when the current lease was up, which was a couple months away, we were out.

And then one day I walked up to the mall entrance and saw an ambulance parked outside, lights flashing. I knew who it was there for. I went into the store and saw some paramedics in the back room, surrounding Harold. A customer was there in tears and said she thought he had had a stroke. He'd been talking to her, sipping his coffee, when it started dribbling out of his mouth.

A paramedic came out of the back room and told me Harold was refusing to go to the hospital. There was nothing they could do. They couldn't force him into the ambulance. They left the store, and I locked the front door and went into the back.

Harold told me he was fine, that it was no big deal. His mouth was drooping on the left side.

I told him he was not fine, that he had probably had a stroke, and that he needed to go to the hospital.

He insisted he was fine, that nothing was wrong.

I knelt down in front of him and told him to smile.

"I can't," he said, mouth drooping.

I made him squeeze my hand. His grip was weak.

He got up and started searching for his drill to work on a cabinet.

"You're going!" I shouted, starting to cry a bit in frustration.

I called his wife and told her Harold was having a medical emergency and refused to go to the hospital.

"Oh, no!" she said, "You have to be kidding me. My dog is sick right now, too!"

These people had five aging dogs that were like their children - literally. Harold had spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years trying to keep his senior citizen canines alive.

I convinced her it was really sort of a bad situation, and she came to pick him up.

I kept the store open over the holidays, working alone, and managed to stay on top of the rush. I visited Harold in the hospital on Christmas Day. He was weak but looked pretty good. He was going to be OK, though he had a long recovery ahead.

Amber and turquoise earrings.

When I realized Art of My Heart was truly no more - that there wasn't going to be a new location, that there would be no resurrection - I was devastated, not to mention at a huge energy deficit. I'd worked there for two-and-a-half years. This was the first and only job I'd ever loved, and I was good at it. We were just starting to make some headway, and Harold deserved to have a profitable, successful store. But it wasn't going to happen. Yet another one of those Plutonic life lessons.

A lot of people are having those right now as far as work and career go...

Working there almost feels like a dream at this point. Like I dreamed up the coolest place I could think of to work with the most interesting, kooky, funny, insane, kind-hearted employer I could imagine.

I bought back some of my designs from Harold and made some new ones, carrying on up until now as Weeping Willow Designs. Harold has mostly recovered from his stroke, though he has not opened a new store.

Now, Mars is opposite stationing Neptune in Aquarius, moving through the last degrees of Leo before entering Virgo November 10. A two-year creative cycle is complete.

The price of silver has now made it prohibitive to continue making jewellery with sterling beads, and I'm not sure what will happen moving forward. What I do know is I loved every minute of making this stuff.

If anyone is looking for a special item for a gift (or a personal treat) for the holidays or just because, please peruse the wares:

WEEPING WILLOW BEAD DESIGNS

They're my well-loved original designs, made with semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls and handcrafted Bali silver beads. All findings and earring hooks are sterling silver. And they all have a little bit of Art of My Heart energy in them, which is now priceless.

I also have a few new designs I haven't photographed yet, so check back later if interested.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Neptunian Sobriety Tests Brought to You By the Astrological Aquarian Era

Neptune is currently stationing and will go direct at 28 degrees Aquarius November 9 before making a final pass over the 29th degree - the degree of the astrological era shift - in January/February, 2012.

Neptunian concentrations are running very high.

Considering the dangers associated with the tail-end Piscean era, Neptunian sobriety tests will be collected over the next few weeks in order to make the public aware of who among it is hitting the sauce a little too hard.

"I'm sorry, Sir, but have you been inhaling tail-end Piscean era ether and then operating your life? You know that's a danger to the public as well as to yourself, Sir."

Anyone found to have excessive amounts of tail-end Piscean era Neptunian ether in their systems will be asked to postpone any and all major life decisions (and even some basic daily tasks) for at least 48 hours until he or she has sufficiently sobered up.

The following are some tell-tale signs of excessive imbibing:

1) A bad case of the Spirit Eyes. Sometimes erroneously referred to as 'enlightened' or 'unconditionally loving.' Really, they're just glazed.

2) A slip of stale Piscean era terminology. Examples include "creating reality," "manifesting abundance," "releasing limiting beliefs," "awakening," "transcending," "chakra clearing," "indigo," "spiritual warrior," "twin flame," "Pleiadian royalty," "fifth dimension," "oneness," "harmonics," "kismetic," etc.

3) Inability to carry on basic conversations without quoting at least one guru type and getting a far-away look in the eyes indicating "I've checked out." (variation: see Spirit Eyes)

4) Inability to complete mundane daily tasks such as bill paying, washing dishes or making it to appointments on time due to being excessively hopped up on Ascension, Awakening, Enlightenment, Rapture, or 2012.

5) Reaction to basic facts and realities of life with accusations of "negativity," "darkness," "ignorance," "unenlightenment," or "vibe-killer."

6) Delusional commentary related to oneself or one's group being "the chosen ones," "enlightened/awakened/ascending," "moving to 5D," or any variation of spiritually hierarchical Messiah Complex that triggers knee-jerk reactions of eye rolling and "You have to be fucking kidding me" from onlookers.

7) Inability to utilize the following basic skills: discernment, critical thinking, judgement of character, saying no to multi-level marketing schemes.

If you have a tail-end Pisces Neptunian ether problem, please do not attempt major life decisions while under the influence. Seek help, and for the love of all that is holy, do not seek it from the New Age establishment.

If anyone you know has a tail-end Pisces Neptunian ether problem, do not take the individual's word at face value while he or she is under the influence, as cognizance cannot be guaranteed.

This has been a Public Service Announcement brought to you by the astrological Aquarian era.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scorpio on Not Letting It Go Too Soon

There's a lot said about the "letting go" and "releasing" related to Scorpio and its ruler Pluto, and that's certainly a part of it - eventually.

The thing is, though, that letting go too soon screws Scorpio over a second time.

Scorpio energy has a tendency to trigger the worst in people and to be on the receiving end of the worst in people. Until, that is, it learns to make and use the enriched fuel that will get it the hell out of there.

Once it has gotten on top of the energetics, Scorpio has the ability to turn every betrayal, every mistreatment, every dis, every screwing over into something that propels it further. It can empower itself through being disempowered - as long as it gives itself enough time to complete the process, which can be lengthy. Scorpio doesn't just metamorphose itself. It turns shitty energy into something it can use.

Hatred and anger - the results of those betrayals, mistreatments, and screwings over - become slow-burning, high octane fuel, propelling it out of the dynamics and away from the types of people that fed it shit in the first place. Nothing but these emotional extremes - and Scorpio won't pretend it doesn't feel them - has the potency, depth, or enrichment to get it where it needs to go. Scorpio is co-ruled by Mars and Pluto. Anger (Mars) fuels the metamorphosis (Pluto).

It would be nice if people knew this before telling someone in full meal deal Scorpionic murk to "just let it go." This is an oversimplification, one of many applied to the sign of Scorpio, and following that advice could be to the person's detriment.

To "let go" of the difficult emotions too soon is to squander the fuel source, keeping themselves stuck eating shit sandwiches from inferiors.

From a previous post: "Yes, it is necessary to let go of everything we can. To just disengage. To not allow ourselves to be drawn into the figure eight dynamics with the other person/situation trying to get our goats.

But there are also times when one needs to face down his or her opponent and show it who's boss. To get rid of it once and for all. To "let go" in these instances is actually counter-productive. It just allows the dynamic to circle back and bite you in the ass from another angle. So in these instances, we wield the sword and shield, and we cut our way out of the entrapping garbage. We clear our path. We don't wait for it to clear on its own."

Scorpio will let it go, but first it'll hold it, feel every harsh angle, gain understanding of it inside and out. It'll let it go, but only after it has benefited fully from it, after fully harnessing the roiling, pitch black emotion threatening to do it in, after it has turned it over and over, drawing out absolutely everything that could possibly be useful.

And when that fuel is, at last, completely spent, it'll let it go and never look back.

For the sake of all those dealing with Scorpionic scenarios like these, who have been dealing with them for a good long while, I hope Venus and Mercury completing their transits of Scorpio this Scorpio season involves a lot of people dropping spent fuel...

Willow's Web Astrology on Plutonic Consciousness

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Venus Lightens the Tone in Sagittarius and Trines Uranus Rx in Aries, Colouring the Last Leg of Saturn in Libra

Mercury and Venus, still travelling conjunct, move into Sagittarius together on November 2, and almost immediately, the dense, complex Scorpionic tone we've been experiencing starts to lighten.

Both Mercury and Venus in Sagittarius trine Uranus Rx in Aries during the morning of November 3. We're palpably at the cutting edge here, moving into a fresh and freaky astrological Aquarian era future after Scorpionically severing ties to any Piscean era backsliding.

Intellectually (Mercury) as well as in our relations with other people (Venus), we're there. The knowledge of where we're going and of where we've been adjusts our orientations to the new coordinates accordingly. Though, with Mercury in Sagittarius in the mix in the sign of its detriment along with a Mercury retrograde in Sadge November 24 - December 13, trying to communicate what we're going through won't necessarily be easy.

Also November 3, Saturn enters its upcoming retrograde shadow (the degrees it will move back over during its February 6 - June 23, 2012 retrograde) at 22 degrees Libra. Saturn will station retrograde on the anaretic (29th) degree in February.

Just like that, we're more than two-thirds finished Saturn's transit through Libra.

The last leg of the transit of Saturn through Libra is strongly influenced by the Venus in Sagittarius trine to Uranus Rx in Aries. This continues a theme of relationship disruption as sometimes shocking elements of personal identity, new direction, beliefs, and philosophy emerge as we shift further into astrological Aquarius. As we move forward from here, people we thought we knew are going to surprise us - in pleasant ways and in not so pleasant - and radical relationship breaks can come almost out of nowhere, especially if people have been putting things off.

Saturn is looking to shore up only long-term, sustaining, and sustainable partnership material - partnerships with legs - while Uranus is looking to push us way out there into our most real, raw, radical, and instinctual selves. The conservative, step-by-step building nature of Saturn will necessarily have to leave room in its blueprints for the wild Uranian effects busting things loose and demanding freedom, independence, and individuation at almost any cost.

Being ourselves, our whole selves, right down to the last jagged edge is necessary for survival, for direction, for perspective and orientation now, but there are mercilessly rough, disturbing, even violent and heartless elements to the way Uranus works through our relationships. All those with Venus-Uranus contacts natally or by transit can relate. The fact that this is a Venus-Uranus trine softens the edges and makes things less traumatic, allowing us to philosophically rise above, but the disruption is there. Some relationships survive this emergence of raw, new identity and direction, and some don't. Kind of exciting, though, isn't it?

Detached, radical self-acceptance as well as detached, radical acceptance of those we love is required as humanity is pushed to its breaking points and beyond and we all do what it takes to survive it.

The matter-of-fact acceptance of sudden, blind-siding Uranian relationship breaks is certainly a shift from the "keeping it all together" relational Piscean era vibe. We're being shaken loose. Any relationships that cannot survive the shift and sustain our increasing individuation start to break apart now or at the very least undergo a complete re-orientation.

A whole new relationship ballgame is underway, deepening dramatically with this spring's Venus Transit. What people desire in a relationship and in a mate shifts radically. How people interact as a lover or mate shifts radically.

Let's just say there are going to be a whole lot of Piscean era love songs on the radio sounding very, very stale. Almost overnight, the glut of pining, hurts so good, "Why don't you love me? Why didn't you love me how I wanted you to love me? Are you The One?, Where is The One?, When will I find The One?, Why aren't you The One?" songs are going to sound decades out of date. Love itself is different, though don't let the music industry execs and their manufactured celebs try to define that for you, either.

As it is trined by Venus and Mercury, Uranus is on its way back to zero Aries - a point indicating the birth of the new astrological era - where it will station direct December 10. There's no dipping back into tail-end Pisces. We're here. We've planted the flag.

Pisces' ruler Neptune stations direct November 9 and will make its final pass over the 29th degree of Aquarius January/February 2012 - the degree of the era shift - before re-entering its domicile Pisces for the following 15 years. This is the degree of the physical constellation Aquarius where the Sun is at the vernal equinox, coinciding with the beginning of the astrological Aquarian era.

Of course, the era shift isn't all fun and frivolity. (Understatement of the millenium.) Uranus was just crossing into the zero degree of Aries from 29 Pisces on March 10/11, 2011 when the earthquake was unleashed in Japan, triggering the massively deadly tsunami and creating the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima. From a previous post: "You think the Gulf of Mexico is bad? That was so last era. This is the Aquarian Age, baby. This one's going to push your survival skills and your levels of detachment to points so extreme you didn't know they even existed."

With a Mercury-Venus-North Node conjunction in Sagittarius November 13/14, there's an emphasis on truth guiding our way forward. It's just a little matter of determining what the truth really is as applied to the heavily manipulated and obscured situations at hand - as well as who's speaking it. We know (Sagittarius) things are bad in Fukushima, probably very, very bad, despite the almost complete media blackout and lack of official information (shadowy Gemini South Node). Under a Gemini South Node, the media is almost entirely diversion.

What's real and true is down to a trickle. We have to draw it to us strongly, even keen for it a bit, to avoid being put off course by the cacophony of diversionary shit coming at us from the Gemini South Node.

There sure is a whole lot of slick fucking language out there these days. Memes enveloped in the cool and fresh and edgy, pulling out all the slickster hipster pseudo-bad ass tricks to gain a foothold. Silver-tongued Gemini South Node words, phrases, tones, sounds, stimuli that draw you in, mesmerize, hype you up, enthrall. Words that really seem to have your number - until you realize it all leaves you hungry. That it was all packaging designed to be nothing more than an empty calorie quick fix, to draw your attention and use up a few moments (or more) of your precious time on this planet.

The movement of Venus into mutable fire Sagittarius and out of the sign of its detriment, fixed water Scorpio, does influence the cosmic proceedings quite measurably, however. The movement and position of Venus as dispositor of Saturn in Libra has a strong influence on our ability to make concrete progress, flavouring the nature of our Saturnine challenges. Determining wisdom and truth from diversion, maintaining foresight and a sense of optimism, and keeping Dionysian hedonistic tendencies in check all factor in here. Venus moving out of tougher Scorpio territory and into Sagittarius infuses the proceedings with more buoyancy, levity, optimism, expansion, movement, and enthusiasm, but it's also in our best interests not to gorge ourselves.

So despite the heavy circumstances we find ourselves in on this planet, Saturn is a little lighter in its step this month, trying on a stylish new dispositor in Sagittarius until November 26. Saturn also moves through conjunctions to highly fortuitous fixed stars Spica (23 Libra) and Arcturus (24 Libra) in November, shielding it from the fiery, combustible, shit-hitting-fan nature of the Via Combusta and protecting its hard-earned progress.

It's all coming up roses for our man Saturn, and how often can you say that?

Saturn conjunct Spica and Arcturus this November indicates the potential for strongly beneficial structural progress and strategic positioning. The grounding frameworks we've been developing on personal and professional relationship fronts can be strengthened here in ways that benefit us long-term, then deepened dramatically and quite suddenly next spring and summer, so long as we've heeded and applied our Saturn lessons well in the sign of the scales.

This means getting on top of the many Libra tricks, some of which include:

- taking on more than we can successfully balance, thereby dropping the load and letting people down
- abnegating personal responsibility by constantly deferring to others
- using social prowess as a shield, deflecting from personal issues
- relying on slick social skills, people pleasing and artificial social facade, never getting to the meat of the situation
- not knowing oneself well enough to take a stand or form an independent opinion on anything
- leaving true feelings and thoughts subverted, throwing relationship energetics way off
- accepting situations that are not fair in order to keep the peace
- over-promising and under-delivering
- co-dependence
- passive aggressiveness
- inability to stand on one's own two feet
- vacillation, fence-sitting, wishy-washy behaviour, indecisiveness that screws other people over
- remaining in an unbalanced, chaotic state so that other people cannot rely on you or your word

There's a lot to balance during these times on the planet, but Saturn in Libra requires that we take on only what we can successful keep at a state of controlled equilibrium. Any overload of the scales must be remedied over the next 11 months or we suffer the consequences (as well as the results of continued Libra tricks) for the next 27 years until we get another shot at it.

So soak up all the Sagittarian optimism and glow you can this month.

Venus enters pragmatic, status-conscious Capricorn November 26, and we're pointed toward nose-to-the-relational-grindstone yet again with a Venus-Saturn mutual reception in effect until winter solstice.