Friday, March 24, 2017

We Get Knocked Down, But We Get Up Again: Regressive Transportation Policy Under the Mercury-Pluto Square

On March 22, as transportation planet Mercury in Aries formed a square to "illegitimate power and hierarchy" Pluto in Capricorn, the neo-conservative Brad Wall government in Saskatchewan, my home province, announced in its budget that it will be shutting down the province's bus system. 

Yes, that's right. No public debate, no public consultation, no transportation alternatives offered. It's just over because Brad Wall and his buddies say it is. 

This government, full of "one car per person" drivers, decided that it can unilaterally eliminate (Pluto) a mass transportation system (Mercury) that people throughout the province have relied on for over 70 years. ("'It's going to be quite a nightmare': Passengers outraged by STC closure" by Jason Warick of CBC News) 

The Pluto in Capricorn bulldozer strikes again, creating a nightmarish and potentially deadly (Pluto) transportation scenario (Mercury) for many...

The Wall government was much beloved by conservatives in the heavily oil-dependent province of Saskatchewan when oil was at $100 U.S. a barrel. And this government spent and spent and spent keeping itself in that golden position. No thought for the future.

Then, of course, the price of oil crashed. As it always does. Oil is a highly-manipulated, highly-volatile, boom-and-bust commodity. This really should have come as zero surprise. But there is a strange amnesia that sets in when people are riding an oil high. They somehow believe it's going to last forever and spend accordingly. The Wall government was no different. 

The price of oil has now been halved and sits around $50 U.S. a barrel. 

And now this government has decided - as so many governments do - to make up for its own spending sprees on the backs of the poor and sick and vulnerable in society. All to save $17 million a year, which in the scope of a provincial budget the size of Saskatchewan's is a drop in the bucket.

Saskatchewan is an agriculturally-based province, meaning it has many small communities and farms spread throughout its land mass as people go about producing food to feed the world (among other activities). It also has many remote northern communities.

Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) is the only bus service that goes to many of the smaller, rural communities. It connects the little places with each other, and it also connects the little places to the cities, where people can access essential services that can't be found in the smaller communities. Many people use the bus service for doctor's appointments and medical treatments, and this decision leaves them stranded. Around 300 people used STC to access cancer treatments alone in 2016. ("STC shutdown leaves cancer patients looking for a ride" by Adam Hunter of CBC News.)

STC is also often the only company that will deliver freight to the smaller communities. 

There is a Greyhound run in Saskatchewan, but it only goes along major routes, missing the more remote and rural communities in the province.

In short, this bus is an essential service for many seniors, disabled people, sick people, rural people, students, people living below the poverty line, and people who do not drive. 

I've used buses my whole adult life. I've used STC more times than I could count, primarily traveling to and from my parents' ranch. Without this mass transit system, I would have had few to no transportation options, and it fills me with dread to now have this option eliminated so unceremoniously. 

But there is something more that is being destroyed here by this short-sighted, mean-spirited little man and his short-sighted, mean-spirited little cronies, something broader, something that really hits me where it hurts. 

The Wall government is dealing a major blow to the strong collective spirit of the people of Saskatchewan, a place where people have traditionally chipped in to help each other.

Saskatchewan is the province where universal healthcare was born. The Canadian system is terribly flawed, some would even say irreparably broken, but the fundamentals remain: if you break your arm, need medication, or need to see a specialist, you can get treatment regardless of your income level. You know how Canada's health care system is often held up as one to be emulated, particularly by the U.S.? Well, it started in Saskatchewan. It started because the people in Saskatchewan didn't want to see their fellow human beings suffer. They wanted everyone to have the care they needed when they were sick or injured, regardless of income, regardless of ability to pay.

Saskatchewan is a hard place in which to survive. The climate is harsh, but it's more than that. Since the beginning of civilized humanity, independent farmers and ranchers have been under attack by the establishment. The establishment doesn't like people being self-reliant, growing their own food, feeding each other, sharing, making decisions in their own communities. In current times, the rules and regulations and bureaucracy, the manipulated markets, the high land and machinery prices coupled with low commodity prices (and now weather modification) have squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until only the true die-hards (or the people with other income streams) are left trying to make a living doing it. Because of this constant attack and lack of support, it's damned hard to make a living farming or ranching. Damned hard. 

So no matter how many generations removed they are from the family farm, in the hard-wired soul memory of the people of the agriculture-based province of Saskatchewan is the knowledge of what it's like to not have two dimes to rub together, no matter how hard you work, no matter how exhausted you are. Built right into the DNA of the people in Saskatchewan is the memory of the horror of not being able to pay for a doctor or a hospital stay when it was critically needed. The shame, the frustration, the anger, the hopelessness, the despair. Built right into their DNA is the memory of the horror of medical care being inaccessible, too far away, too far from home. Being too late to save someone they loved. All this is running through the people - not just in Saskatchewan, but definitely also in Saskatchewan. And all this has been motivation to say: no more; never again.

As the Wall government now makes it more difficult to access health care for many people in the province, as it destroys (Pluto) a transportation safe guard and safety net (Mercury), this soul horror (Pluto) is stirred. The Plutonic threads are plucked. 

The likelihood that people will not get the care they need is increased, including alternative health treatments. The likelihood that a person will put off a check-up or doctor's visit in the city for another year is increased. The likelihood that people will just put up with symptoms rather than go through the hassle and embarrassment of finding transportation is increased.

(Yes, in a country that is so dominated by "one car per person" transportation, there is often shame and embarrassment in not having transportation, in being reliant on someone else, in having to ask for a ride.)

Saskatchewan has a long history of grassroots collective struggle, of joining together and fighting for better conditions for everyone.

In the horrifying (Pluto) decision to end the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (Mercury), the Brad Wall government is disconnecting people from each other in my home province. It is striking a major blow to the collective spirit that has underpinned life in Saskatchewan for so long. 

Aside from the essential services people are being cut off from in the cities and elsewhere, this decision destroys a valuable part of Saskatchewan's culture and history. It damages a transportation network, a web, that brought us together.

This decision ends much-needed restorative and celebratory visits to family and friends. It ends the excitement and renewal of a trip to the city after many months of nothing but lonesome prairie. It ends new faces coming through your small town. It ends spontaneous conversations being struck up between strangers meeting on the bus. 

"So where are you headed?"

"Where are you from?" 

"How far till Saskatoon?"

It ends the classic smokers groupings outside the bus terminals, those transitory karasses formed and temporary connections made as the bus makes its stops along the highway. It ends the pile-ups in bus station cafeterias, like clockwork, with greasy fries and cups of coffee and the relief at being motionless for half an hour. It ends so many possibilities for non-drivers to go to new places on their own. It ends the independent travel of many, even just the knowledge that you could go somewhere if you wanted to, the spiritual freedom of that.

It also ends the jobs of 224 people, leaving them at the mercy of a very tough job market, making them vulnerable to poverty themselves.

This is regressive transportation policy at its finest - eliminating efficient mass transit while making people more reliant on resource-heavy individual vehicles.  

As many of you know, I'm anarchist, and I don't believe in the mechanism of government. This is a prime example of why. This government is not doing what's best for the people it claims to serve. It's harming the sick, the disabled, the poor, and the vulnerable in order to prop up its own bullshit facade as a "fiscally responsible, no deficit" conservative government.

Imagine what we could do on this planet if we were not being constantly attacked, eroded, and hamstrung by these establishments and institutions, by illegitimate people in positions of illegitimate power.

A better world for everyone is not only possible, it's necessary. We all deserve a world that does not prop certain human beings up on the backs of other human beings. We deserve a world that does not benefit some by hurting others. 

Imagine this world, and keep it in your mind's eye always. Because that's what we're working for. That's why we're here. That's why I'm writing this.

I know the people of Saskatchewan - myself included - will find a way. We will because we have to, and that's always been the way of it in Sask.

We'll all find a better way through these times together, no matter where we live - as we're being "ruled" by power-hungry, outdated, and treacherous beasts - because we have to find a better way. There's no alternate option.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Actual Signs of Spring at Spring Equinox? What a Novelty!

These photos were taken one day apart, and spring has apparently sprung in between. I have to say how much of a novelty it is to experience actual signs of spring at spring equinox. In previous Canuck living locations, spring often doesn't roll around until late April. It's not unheard of to have a blizzard in early May. So these sweet signs of spring were quite delightful to discover. 

Happy Spring in the northern hemisphere! And Happy Fall in the southern! Just in time for the Sun-Venus interior conjunction to rain its benevolent rays down upon us March 25, followed by a New Moon at 7 degrees Aries on March 27. 

Let the good Venusian vibes carry you into something fresh...


March 22, 2017



March 23, 2017



March 22, 2017



March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Uranian Mercury Retrograde: Grounding Electric Insights About the Way Forward







"A Uranian Mercury Retrograde: Grounding Electric Insights About the Way Forward" is an article available to Willow's Web Astrology patrons


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

21 Questions for a 21st Century Tarot Reader

Deb and her best pal, Apple, see what the tarot has to say


Since she's a fan of Lifetime movies (sometimes heavy on the sap), I'm going to say here that Deb Steinberg, AKA TarotGoodness, is not only my go-to tarot reader but she's also someone I consider a solid friend and an overall wonderful human being, despite never having met her in person. (Hopefully, one day that will change!

Deb's tarot interpretations are clarifying, helpful, intuitive (even full-on psychic), supportive, uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging all at the same time. She has a down-to-earth, no b.s. style that I really appreciate (being of a similar nature myself). 

Oh, yeah - and she's hilarious.

Her tarot updates and reading information can be found at her site, Tarot Goodness, and she also has a simply fantastic Twitter feed, updated almost daily with her card-of-the-day interpretations and much more. (She is epic at Twitter's word play games, and her gifs are pretty fabulous, too...)

I have a little "getting to know you" project here called 21 Questions for a 21st Century Tarot Reader, and Deb has been kind enough to participate. I'm happy to introduce her to those of you who have not come across her tarot goodness in the past.


1. How and when did tarot first come into your life? 

I learned about tarot when I was maybe seven or eight-years-old, from visits to a little bookstore in the Bronx (where I grew up).  My mom and I would go there on Saturdays mostly.  She would easily get lost in the occult section, flipping through astrology and tarot books for hours.

One day I decided to explore her interests and, before I knew it, I became a fan of them! 

2. How did you start doing readings for people? 

I was about nineteen when I started reading for others, for fun really!  I started by drawing a card or two for close friends.  This quickly turned into readings at coffee shops throughout New York City and even over the phone for colleagues.  (Levi’s crew, I miss you!)


3. How would you describe your particular style of tarot?

Right now, I’d say it’s flowy… and funny (sometimes)… and comforting and empowering and compassionate… with sprinkles of possibilities.  I like to look deep into a card, really explore it, really focus on details as well as the feelings it stirs within me, and write down everything it could possibly mean to me or someone else.

This planet is full of possibilities.  No one should instantly freak out at the sight of, say, Death or the Tower.  Tarot isn’t black-and-white!

4. How do you think your upbringing or background colours the tarot you practice or your outlook as a tarot reader?

I grew up in an infested, eroding one-bedroom apartment in the ‘hood with my parents and two siblings.  I slept in a corner of our living room, privacy found only in our bathroom.  Our home was hostile and violent, with a few happy moments and fond memories mixed in.  I also helped take care of my mother and younger brother.

Encouragement and a social life were pretty much non-existent.  Friends never came over.  Relatives wouldn’t stay long.

School (and work) became my outlets.  I still remember writing reports for school at 3:00 AM because my dad was asleep, my brother was… somewhere, and it was finally just calm and quiet enough in the apartment to focus on my assignments.

I’m not sure how I managed to envision possibilities in life at that time, but I did.  Maybe because I needed to, had to… in order to keep going.  I also learned to appreciate my own company, to make the most of skills/resources-- and I guess all of this has influenced my outlook as a tarot reader.   It’s an honor to be able to remind people that they’re worthy of being appreciated by themselves, that possibilities can flood these cards (and their lives), and that their skills are fabulous.

5. Were family members of yours into tarot or similar practises?

My mom was into astrology and tarot.  She would watch Walter Mercado on TV every night; occasionally order tarot readings from a neighbor; and purchase washes, oils, saint statues, amulets, and more from a spiritual store (or bot├ínica) down the block.  Her grandmother was an herbalist.

My dad, older brother, and some of my religious relatives referred to these practices as acts of the devil, though.

6. Are there any other tarot readers out there whose style you particularly appreciate or who you enjoy as people?

I haven't explored others' material for a while now, probably a few years. I've wanted to continue to stay focused on how I feel and what I think about the cards.

Still, I've befriended several tarot readers on Twitter since 2012, and, although we aren't close (and my opinion of them shouldn't matter), I find them interesting. Goddess Dix, for example, is a tarot reader with a great sense of humor. She has also shared her interests with us - from colorful yarns and bacon to her adorable cat. How cool is that?

7. Which deck (or decks) do you use?

I have used a Romany deck in the past but have remained with the Rider-Waite.

8. What is it about this deck (or decks) that you like?

As a “basic bitch”, I guess I like that the Rider-Waite is a no-frills deck.  A lot of people are familiarized with it, too.

9. If you had to choose one card that best represents your life, what would it be and why?

I wanted to pick a certain card, but the Magician kept popping into my head like a pushy asshole.  And all I could think was, “gee, how original”-- who wouldn’t pick the Magician?

But, the Magician is a realistic card to me (not about abracadabra-ing sh*t out of thin air), and a reflection of my life.  It can be about the face one puts forward and one’s attitude.  I serve as the face of a certain company, and I wind up convincing people that we’re the best.  Luckily, I believe in the company I work for!

I’m in the middle of collecting “tools”/data now for moves I’d like to make in the next year or so, too.  I need to work on a strategy and become better at planning, time-management, and the execution of ideas as well (which involves cojones-- I could go on and on about the Magician but will stop here!)

10. What is one thing you would like more people to understand about tarot or tarot readers (or one misconception you’d like to clear up)?

There isn’t a single set-in-stone interpretation or analysis for any card.  Images can come with numerous stories/interpretations—so can tarot images!

11. What advice would you give students of tarot who are just starting out?

I won’t say “journal” because it sounds like a daily obligation (ugh) but… write!  Write down (or type) thoughts that come to you as you look at cards from a deck you love.  Consider shuffling your deck and pulling a card every so often as well.  Stare at the card.  Study it.  Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings about it (especially the first thoughts and feelings that come up).

This will not only be entertaining/fun/interesting for you—it could serve as your practice for reading for others.

12. What is your favourite food?

Hmm, I don’t eat it often enough but I love a good plate of comfort food—fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, collard greens, and corn bread!

13. What are three of your favourite books?

I need to read more books!  I don’t have three favorites but am currently enjoying A Man Called Ove.

14.  What are three of your favourite films?

Coming to America, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day.

15. What are three of your favourite TV shows?

Superstore, The Mindy Project, and Family Guy.

16.  Who are three of your favourite musical artists?

This is a tough question because I listen to music all the time but…  Missy Elliot, Rick Astley, and Carlos Vives.  Kind of a weird trio here, huh?

17. What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Veg out!  I work/tend to responsibilities a lot, so I appreciate spending spare time watching TV with our dog for a bit while sipping coffee or eating a snack. 

18. What is one thing you find intolerable about life on Planet Earth? 

Loud chewing and slurping, close talkers, the fact that Cheetos Hitler is our president… (Definitely that last part.)

I don’t care for *elitist* types/groups.  I understand that some people are green, vegan, vegetarian, yogis, fit, intellectual, religious, spiritual, super moms, awesome dads, and even activists in certain realms.  And it’s nice to encourage more socially (or otherwise) responsible behavior.  But, guilting and attacking people into behaving a certain way is just… bizarre.   It’s not informative.  I also think a lot of details and circumstances tend to be overlooked or ignored, and a sense of superiority winds up being the goal of these folks.  Ew.

19. Where is your favourite place on Earth that you’ve been to so far?

I really enjoyed Venice a few years ago, but I’m gonna stay committed to New York City.  I grew up in the Bronx, and have spent a lot of time in NYC.  Still, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.  It is a melting pot.  Yes, the train tunnels smell like pee in the summer.  But, I can eat almost anything I want in NYC, and so many neighborhoods are always ready to be explored.  I love wandering aimlessly in the city in any weather.

20.  Where is one place you hope to travel to in the future?

If overseas, Iceland.  If domestic, New Orleans, baby!

21. What is something that people may be surprised to learn about you?

I like my left eyebrow more than my right eyebrow.

Hmm, I don’t think anything I’ve done or been is surprising—I’m not even interesting now, to be honest!  But, I guess my relatives would be surprised to hear that I’m an atheist.  Can’t wait to mention that over a big family dinner someday.

Generally, I try to make the best of circumstances—not because I’m an optimist or happy person, but because I appreciate the challenge of it.  I actually need the challenge!  It fuels me, not to mention I suffer from certain things and don’t like to drown in the suffering all the time (shocking, I know).

Alas, sometimes I get pissy.  Yeah yeah, I’m human, and I get pissy just like everyone else.  And while this shouldn’t be a shocking development, some folks (colleagues) are surprised by this!  It’s as if they expect me to smile all day.  Isn’t that… creepy?

I’m never surprised by another person’s changing moods.  Humans are complex, not statues.  Bring it.  Bring it all!

Thank-you very much for your time!

Thank YOU for putting up with me! :)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Full Moon in Virgo: Hold Yourself to Your Own High Standards...But Don't Expect Perfection Under This Mutable Lunar Madness

We're moving to a highly-mutable (changeable) Full Moon at 22 degrees Virgo on March 11/12 opposite a whole whack of Pisces placements (Sun, Mercury, Chiron, Pallas Athene, and Neptune) and square Saturn in Sagittarius.

These bodies form a mutable t-square configuration under the Full Moon rays, indicating that a transitional period is now coming to a head.

We have to put our best foot forward now in order to secure a desirable place within the new order that will form coming out of this Virgo Full Moon. Show your work ethic, your organizational skills, and your attention to detail (Virgo)...but also your compassion, your humanity, and your willingness to go with the flow when necessary (Pisces) in order to fully rock this.

The Moon reaches its fullest point in the sign of the virgin on March 12 at 7:54 a.m. PDT.

(Note to self: remember the change to Daylight Savings Time on March 12, as well!)

Keep working, keep pushing, and keep perfecting despite fatigue. It's ultimately your own standards that must be met here.

Our daily efforts are being pushed to a high point, a peak moment, and as we coast over the Full Moon hump, we should start to see some concrete results from systematic hard work. The refining and improving and streamlining we've done starts to come together into a fully-operational whole system, and we're relieved of some of the most painstaking detail work as things start to gel a little.

Conversely, if people have already been coasting and letting details slide, now is a time when daily operations could get very glitchy, becoming severe pains in their asses. IE. chaos prevails

Virgo is a sign that knows the benefits of maintenance as well as the pitfalls of letting that maintenance slide. It also knows how very much the small details matter in the operation of the whole system. If there are long-term flaws in the system or areas of neglect, full-on breakdowns could occur under the pressures indicated by these aspects.

The dispositor of the Virgo Full Moon is messenger planet Mercury in Pisces. Mercury is currently in the sign of its fall and will be in exact square to Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the Virgo Full Moon on March 12.

The Sun-Mercury-Pallas Athene-Chiron in Pisces will be opposite the Virgo Moon, and all those bodies will be in square aspect to Saturn in Sagittarius, forming a massive mutable t-square. Changeable, changeable, changeable. Things will be coming apart at the seams a little ahead of new order, so stay flexible under the lunar madness...

Damnnnnn, all the Pisces in the astro atmosphere at the moment can be draining.

This is especially the case with the communicator planet in the sign of its fall (not its preferred territory), and even more so the case with the communicator planet in the sign of its fall in tight square aspect to seeming slave-driver Saturn.

We're really being hammered on all those fine details at the moment, battling the slippery-slidey material reality that is prevalent under a strong Pisces contingent. But never fear: the job is done just as we hit our exhaustion point.

Hold yourself to your own high standards, but don't expect perfection under this glut of Pisces within mutable t-square. It's even more apparent than usual that the universe has a will of its own and is apt to throw a monkey wrench or two into the works for its own mysterious reasons. The concrete systems and processes and perfectionism of Virgo must also allow a crack or two to let in the magic and mystery and meandering workings of spirit.

So focus on making loving corrections when necessary rather than demanding perfection as we keep this train on track, and maintain a sense of humour and good will about the mysterious monkey wrenches that are beyond our control.

Most people are doing the best they can under aspects that indicate some level of struggle and challenge for everyone. Help people to do better if you are able. Let others suffer the inevitable consequences of their own shoddy work/efforts. But don't nitpick on every little detail, and don't demand utter perfection under the current astro conditions unless you are a big fan of disappointment!

Stay flexible, and make adjustments and corrections on your end whenever possible to flow through this mutable t-square Virgo Full Moon. 

Mercury enters Aries on March 13 (2:07 p.m. PDT), and that fiery placement starts to dry us out from some of the Piscean sog as we look actively toward spring in the northern hemisphere.