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Aspects: Full Moon

Posted on December 12, 2015 at 11:55 PM

Phases of the Moon part 5

Full Moon = Opposition

When two planets are 180 degrees away from each other, the aspect is called an opposition. In the case of the Moon opposing the Sun, we see a full moon.

The symbol for an opposition looks like this:

Obviously it clearly shows the two planets facing off across the Zodiac with a line drawn between them.

When the Moon is 180 degrees from the Sun, it is receiving the full light of the Sun and reflecting it back to Earth.  Here, we see its full face, the Full Moon.  As symbolized on a calendar:

When the Moon is opposite the Sun on a natal chart, it looks like this:

Notice in other chart examples I have had the degree AND minutes match exactly.  In this chart I have shown that the aspect of opposition is still considered in effect even when the minutes (and even degrees) are not exact.

As another example of an opposition, please see the chart below:

Here is an example of an opposition that commonly occurred from 1952 through 1989 as Chiron and Uranus traveled around the Sun in their orbits directly across from each other.

Because we think of 'opposition' as a competitive faceoff word, it is often viewed as a negative aspect.  Again, the symbolic meaning of the planets, the energies they represent, and the way that the individual represented by the chart (the native) works with the energy lend a lot of influence on how the opposition works.  Some oppositions are definitely a 'push you-pull back' struggle between two planets.  Then again, many oppositions have more of a mirroring effect where the energies work together to improve each other as they reflect back and forth what they see and how to improve.  

Perhaps the differences between how oppositions can work could be seen in thinking of it as either a tidal effect or a reflecting effect.  The Full Moon effects the tides in a pull-push type of way.  But when it comes to light reflection, the Full Moon reflects back to the Earth the light of the Sun, bringing light to what would normally be hidden in the dark.


Aspects: Gibbous Moon

Posted on December 12, 2015 at 11:40 PM

Phases of the Moon part 4

Gibbous Moon = Trine

Only two more phases of the moon left to illustrate two more of the major aspects used by astrologers, Gibbous and Full.

(Reminder: An aspect is a word astrologers use when two planets are within a certain number of degrees of each other. We’ll use the familiar phenomenon of the moon passing through its phases to illustrate the aspects that astrologers study between all of the planets.)


When two planets are 120 degrees from each other, the aspect is called a trine.  The symbol for trine is again a familiar symbol:

In the case of the Moon trine the Sun, we have what is called a Gibbous Moon.  The Gibbous Moon looks like it is swelling but not yet full.  On a calendar the symbol for the gibbous moons look like this:

Here is a chart showing the gibbous moon trine the sun:

This is a waxing gibbous moon as it is moving closer towards the opposing point on the Zodiac from the Sun.

As another example of a Trine, please see the Moon Trine Pluto in the chart below:

In general, planets that are trine each other relate harmoniously.  Sometimes this means that they get a lot done.  Sometimes it can mean that they're too comfortable with each other to make anything happen.  There are strengths and weaknesses of all aspects.


Aspects: Half Moon

Posted on December 12, 2015 at 12:10 AM

Phases of the Moon  part 3

Half Moon = Square

In everyday life, we see the moon’s phases throughout a month.  We’ll use the familiar phenomenon of the moon passing through its phases to illustrate the aspects that astrologers study between all of the planets.

An aspect is a word astrologers use when two planets are within a certain number of degrees of each other. The aspect itself has it's own kind of symbol showing how many degrees are between the two planets. This connection between two planets within the circle of a chart helps show how the energies symbolized by the planets interact.

When two planets are 90 degrees from each other, the aspect is called a square. The symbol representing a square looks just as you might expect:

In the case of the Moon square the Sun, we see a half moon, also called either the first quarter moon or the last quarter moon.  On a calendar, it is represented like this:

Below is the quarter moon represented on a chart:

Notice that this particular Moon square the Sun is a FIRST quarter moon.  The Moon moving faster than the Sun is moving AWAY from the Sun through the path of the Zodiac.

As another example of a square, here is a chart showing Venus square Mars:

In medieval times planets squaring each other were considered bad omens.  

While planets 'squaring' off with each other can be a difficult merging of energies within an individual it also usually proves to be a very dynamic, if challenging, part of the personality.  Often, when a person has worked with the battling energies inside of them and come to an understanding of how to accomplish purposes at angles they have quite a bit of insight to offer in situations that follow the same pattern.


Aspects: Crescent Moon

Posted on December 11, 2015 at 12:25 AM

Phases of the Moon part 2

Crescent Moon = Sextile

An aspect is a word astrologers use when two planets are within a certain number of degrees of each other. The aspect itself has it's own kind of symbol showing how many degrees are between the two planets. This connection between two planets within the circle of a chart helps show how the energies symbolized by the planets interact.

When two planets are at 60 degrees from each other, they are said to be sextile.  The symbol for a sextile aspect looks like this:


When the Moon is sextile the Sun it appears to be a crescent.  In the sky it can look like the Cheshire cat's smile or a glowing fingernail!  On our calendars it is symbolized in one of two ways:

When the Moon is sextile the Sun in a natal chart it appears like this:

 Notice the glyphs for Sun and Moon as well as the line connecting them with the sextile glyph along the line to clarify how the two points are aspected.

As another example, here is a chart containing Jupiter sextile to Saturn:

Here, Jupiter is at 21 degrees Libra which is 60 degrees (Sextile) away from Saturn at 21 degrees Sagittarius.


A sextile is considered a more harmonious aspect as well as a slightly weaker one.  The way the planets work together will both be distinct from each other, but they will also have occasion to move towards their purposes in mutually beneficial ways.




Phases of the Moon: Aspects for Beginners

Posted on December 9, 2015 at 12:55 AM

An aspect is a word astrologers use when two planets are within a certain number of degrees of each other.  The aspect itself has it's own kind of symbol showing how many degrees are between the two planets.  This connection between two planets within the circle of a chart helps show how the energies symbolized by the planets interact.

Two planets close together are said to be in conjunction.  The symbol for a conjunction looks like this: 

At New Moon, the Moon conjuncts the Sun.  In the sky, we see no moon.  On our calendars, the symbol looks like this: 

On an astrological chart, the Moon conjuncting the Sun looks like this:

NOTE: This new moon is located on the Descendant - it occurs right at sunset.

A second example of a conjunction represented on a chart:


NOTE: Here the Sun and Mercury are shown to be at the same degree in Capricorn.

A conjunction of two planets is fascinating to watch if possible and can be just as fascinating to interpret.  Some planets energies mix better than others.  The closer the planets are together in the chart the more 'jostling' will happen.  The identity and symbolism of the one planet will interact and mix with the other planet very strongly. 

A conjunction is what is known as 0 degrees between planets.  However, planets are still considered conjunct when they are within up to 8 degrees of each other.  

The Moon Sign

Posted on December 8, 2015 at 12:10 AM

The Moon is represented in a natal chart by a glyph we are all familiar with:


the crescent moon.


Although in astrology the Moon can be referred to as a ‘planet’, it is also acknowledged by astrologers as one of the two “Lights”, the other being the Sun. This is another reason why both the Sun sign and the Moon sign are weighted so heavily when looking at a birth chart.


The Zodiac sign which holds the moon at your time of birth influences how you express your emotions, how you nurture yourself or how you look to be nurtured. It also has to do with family, roots, home, and mother. Again, approach any interpretation of your moon sign with an open mind to the powerful symbols the moon represents.


For example: someone with an Aries Moon will be pretty fiery in both their way of processing emotion as well as their way of nurturing themselves. Example, they may express emotions quickly and easily, or loud and explosively, but they keep moving and don’t hold grudges. Also, an Aries moon may require activity to process their emotions, like working out, a punching bag, or for some of the more Earthy, grounded Sun signs with an Aries moon, yoga may be more appropriate.


Cycles of emotions are necessary for healthy everyday functioning. The moon cycles through the entire zodiac once every 28 days. This means it returns to the spot where it was when you were born once a month. It hits every planet in your natal chart once a month. Any emotional baggage generated by any planets that are feeling the impact of your developing personality and growth are picked up by the moon through the month.


Quite often a generic interpretation of the Moon sign will say specific things about what your mother is like. This is misleading. Although the moon is representative of mother, it is not usually that specific. And logically speaking it’s ridiculous to assign personality of your mother to where the moon is in YOUR chart. Rather, it may be that you looked for ‘mothering’ in a certain way. In fact, it may be that your mother’s personality did not match where your moon sign is at all. Sometimes this creates conflict, sometimes it shows up in other ways that has nothing to do with the woman who gave birth to you!


For today’s practical activity, look up your Moon sign. There are plenty of sites that will give interpretations on what the moon in each sign can do.   After you have pinpointed your Moon sign, try to observe how you express emotions and what kind of things you do to help you FEEL better. If what you do to process emotions seems like it could use some help, try looking at your Moon sign for ideas.  This is one way to consciously use the astrological information for your own benefit.


Cancer - the sign of the Mother

Posted on May 10, 2015 at 3:15 PM

In the US, today is Mother's day -


In honor of the Mother archetype - Today we're exploring the sign of Cancer, the symbolic 'mother' energy in the Zodiac.  

Most encounter their understanding of Cancerian energy through the sun sign articles in the paper.

Cancer as an archetype symbolizes the concepts of mother, early home environment, comfort, emotional expression, and self-care needs.

Cancer occurs in the natal chart of  every individual.  It makes up the fourth sign in the sequence of twelve signs of the Zodiac.  It's "home" position is at the bottom of the zodiac wheel forming the foundation/nest area for individuals.

Not everyone has the Sun in Cancer - but we all have significant portions of our chart and personality that are affected by Cancer and its ruling 'planet', the Moon.

For further exploration of ways Cancer energy may be influencing you, here is a list of various planets and how their influence is modified when they are "IN" the sign of Cancer.  You will notice the repetition of the sign's symbolism - the difference in the individual placements is in how the energy is modified or expressed.

Sun in Cancer - (Sun represents individuality) These individuals shine their light by feeling intensely, expressing their emotions, seeking to nurture others, providing comfort through environment or food.

Cancer Rising [meaning Cancer was the sign on the Horizon at the time of birth]  (Rising sign represents approach to life) - These individuals approach life sensitively interacting with others but also considering their own emotional needs.  They may be oversensitive to others who need mothering and drawn into meeting the mothering needs that they see around them.

Moon in Cancer (Moon represents emotional needs and subconscious reactions) - The Moon is considered the ruling planet of Cancer.  These individuals can be extremely sensitive to the moods of others causing them to be protective, intuitive, and nurturing in response to the emotions around them.

Mercury in Cancer - (Mercury represents thinking and communicating processes) - These individuals comunicate about and with their emotions, often considering emotions in the information that they absorb from others.  They can also provide supportive nurture to new ideas - their own or others'.

Venus in Cancer - (Venus symbolizes relationships, appreciation, and affection) - These individuals are drawn to relationships that FEEL like family.  They are very protective of their own friendships and intimate relationships and express their affection in a very cautious way.

Mars in Cancer - (Mars symbolizes taking action or initiative) - These individuals take action indirectly and can often be shy or hold themselves back because of their own fear and unconscious fears.  However, they will fiercely defend family if their loved ones are threatened.

Jupiter in Cancer - (Jupiter symbolizes expansion and improvement) - These individuals grow and improve throughout their lives using the emotional sensitivity to others as well as opportunities to nurture and protect others.  They are generous emotionally.

Saturn in Cancer - (Saturn symbolizes self-preservation and authority) - These individuals often fall into the self-preservation/caution combination that Cancer and Saturn share.  On the other hand if they can accept their own emotional nature and express it comfortably, they provide great comfort to the rest of the Cancerian family.

A Note about the outer planets - because they move slowly, these planets are in one sign for longer periods of time - and therefore have an infludence on a whole generation of people.  Their interpretation will be true for a whole generation - but their expression in an individual chart will be stronger or weaker depending on placement.

Uranus in Cancer - (Uranus symbolizes uniqueness, freedom, genius.) - The generation born between 1949 and 1956.  They will play an important role in integrating emotions into the growth of the realm of ideas and communication. Example: emoticons

Neptune in Cancer - (Neptune symbolizes spirituality, dreams, inspiration, imagination.) - The generation born between 1901 and 1916. They play an important role in nurturing spirituality and providing a safe environment for the growth of spiritual/emotional connection.  They have a great amount of empathy and my hold a strong emotional attachment to their spiritual experiences. (Neptune won't be in Cancer again until 2065 - 2078.) 

Pluto in Cancer - (Pluto symbolizes powerful change, rebirth, opportunities to dig deep and confront self-darkness.)  The generation born between 1914 and 1939. They are deeply introspective emotionally and have had opportunities to redefine the social norms of family and personal growth. Often feel that their emotional security is threatened.

For more information on how the archetype of mother occurs in your natal chart and influences your expression of emotions and need for security, please contact me for a brief Sun and Moon report.

Current astro-weather update: Venus has just moved into Cancer (May 7) so babies born in the next month will have the Venus in Cancer energy present in their chart.  For those of us living through this time, it is a good time to pay attention to relationships either as a mother or to your mother. It's also a great time to be aware of how you relate to your own emotions, of your emotional health in your relationships, and of how you nurture yourself within relationships.

Head and Heart: why emotions and intellect must work together

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Emotions are often downplayed or undervalued in our society.  And that's putting it mildly.  Because emotions are so often viewed as out of control, we try to control them usually by keeping them out of site - stuffed in a corner, expressed when no one else is around, denied when their names are mentioned. 


But emotions, even the unpleasant ones, are invaluable.  They serve not only as a chemical release for the brain and body in times of stress or disorder, they also serve as red flags to our intellect if only we can view them that way.


When heart and mind work together in tandem, the brain views emotions as necessary release valves for thoughts that have accumulated regarding our circumstances or our belief system.  Quite often we will choose to acknowledge pleasant emotions, the ones we enjoy experiencing and chase after as frequently as we can.  To choose only pleasant emotions, though is actually to limit the intensity of their expression.  If we never experience the lows, how can we appreciate the highs nearly as much.  Now, this isn't to say that we should go looking for reasons to be sad and down in the doldrums.  But we don't have to run or hide from the unpleasant emotions either. 


And I do make a distinction in how I refer to emotions - rather than labeling them 'good' or 'bad' - I intentionally use the words 'pleasant' or 'unpleasant'.  All emotions are good in that they can serve us if acknowledged and treated appropriately.  It's when they are denied or squashed that they can end up taking over in ways that are quite unconscious and surprising.


It's the very thoughts (programming) of our minds in labeling our experience of these unpleasant emotions that then drives us to think up ways to avoid them.  We are driven to explain away why we would feel as we do about something.  We seek to avoid circumstances that constantly remind us or provoke those unpleasant emotions.  And to some degree that's a healthy response.  But when we build an entire thought-process, belief system, or mental program around ways to live so that we can avoid certain unpleasant emotions, we are giving over control to those emotions themselves.  They are now in the driver's seat of our minds.  So although we may be working very hard in our heads to create the illusion of control... we are unknowingly jumping to the tune of whatever unpleasant emotion we strive to avoid: guilt, shame, sadness, grief, anger, hurt, disillusionment, etc.


It's sad how creative the brain can get in telling us how to avoid the very partner that it has in navigating life.  If we could only make friends - allow the brain to value the heart's capacity.  In the same way, the heart can often want to stop listening to the brain.  It may want to just sink into feeling and intuition... soak up sympathy and throw a pity party.  And occasionally, this can be a healthy expression... but not as a lifestyle choice! ;)


When our thoughts can process our feelings and allow them to exist and be expressed, we can then create new thought processes that interact in a healthy way with our emotions.  When our feelings can allow our thoughts to interrupt and speak a few rational words - sometimes that 'tough love' that friends have a way of bringing into our most bewildering times... we can then rechannel our feelings into new expressions.  The thoughts create the channels, the feelings fill them up. 


How are you feeling today?  And why?

Mother: Role vs. Identity

Posted on February 1, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Each person is the embodiment of a unique signature of energies.  Whether we interact with that idea as 'personality', 'behavior', or purely in the physical realm of the senses, there is no denying that each individual is unique.


No one person is defined by one particular role.  Although we all start off as infants, we move through other identities and roles throughout our lives.  These ideas (from observed identities and roles) fill out the symbolic language that make up our communication, stories, dreams and thoughts. 


Although we all start out as infants, the infant is not self-aware to make its own existence the first archetype in its symbolic alphabet.  The strongest archetype and initial one that most identify with is the Mother. 


For women, this can be particularly challenging as most, if not all, have some sort of struggle with separating from the mother, choosing whether or not to be a mother, making peace or not with their mother, etc.


But it is the Mother archetype herself that I would like to explore today as we interact with it.  The mothering role can be performed by either men or women.  Mothering is a nurturing function.  Plenty of familes have a father who is more of a nurturer and a mother who provides structure and livelihood for the family.  The association with traditionally defined roles is not what we are discussing here.  Instead let's look at the way an individual identifies herself with the role of mother. 


Many people have identified so strongly with their ability to nurture and care that when the time comes for the mother/child dynamic to come to its natural conclusion (the releasing of the child into adulthood), the nurturing individual goes through a kind of identity crisis.  Being a mother is not an identity.  It is a role.   Anyone can play this role, but it is a role that has a definite beginning and an end.


To identify too strongly with any archetypal role is to become a flat character in a story.  We are made to be much more complex both in our personalities and in our interactions with others.  The mother whose child has grown up must navigate the change in relationship or risk becoming codependent with the child - looking for any way to still nurture and feel as though she is 'being a good mother'.  When in reality, there is so much more for her to explore in her own energetic growth.


One cycle of feminity notes the progression of womanhood from Maiden to Mother to Crone.  Our society currently resists old age - rejecting the value of age and wisdom because it is perceived as a loss of beauty and vitality.  Elders in our society are not often viewed as beautiful, wise, or desirable.  It is a challenge for us as beholders to fight this trend. Instead, we hold the key to our own progress just by viewing graying hair, experience, and the natural slowing of our bodies as valuable for what they symbolize in life experience.  And for those of us without as much experience and longevity - these symbols indicate people who may have a lot of insight and wisdom to offer.


In the popular Disney film "Tangled", the villain Mother Gothel epitomizes this struggle to remain as close to Maiden-hood as possible by clinging desperately to the role of Mother.  Mother Gothel refuses to let go of 'her' child by keeping Rapunzel closeted in the tower. She tightly controls the youthful power that the Maiden inherently holds.  The Maiden, in turn, yields to the Mother's perception of her own youth.  In releasing the Maiden from her clutches, this clinging view of Mother must face moving into the archetype of Crone.  Since Mother Gothel fears old age, seeing no value in the wisdom of old age but only death at the end, she resists letting go of Rapunzel refusing her any kind of independence. 


Although the story is a gross exaggeration of the dynamic, it is a helpful exercise for all of us, mothers and fathers alike, to face our own shadow fears of releasing children to independence and the acknowledgement of our own growth and moving towards the independence of an empty nest and all that it entails.  This is healthy development.  Because development of any life progression must include the return to nothingness. "For we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it."




Building a Life

Posted on January 31, 2015 at 5:55 PM

When an infant first opens its eyes, it takes in information.  It is the task of the mind to sort through this information and make sense of it.  On a fundamental level, there is no language in the brain for the child to associate with what it is understanding.  Memories, although able to be retrieved at a later time in life, are not reviewed consciously.  Interactions are repetitive and kept to simple, basic needs: food, elimination, sleep.  For most infants these needs are met by one caregiver.  By societal tradition, these needs are most often met by the mother.  Therefore when we speak of a mother archetypally, she symbolizes the meeting of these basic needs.  She symbolizes the nurturing function both in society and for the individual.  But for the individual, these needs may have been met by more than just the biological mother. 

In astrology, the moon is the archetypal symbol of the mother and mothering needs.  Emotions are wrapped into this symbology as well, because it is emotionally that an infant communicates.  The infant has no words yet, no other way of communicating their needs other than by expressing themselves emotionally.  The moon in a natal chart also indicates the individual's emotional expression and needs.  The nurturer of the child pays attention to the crying of the child, because it is an indication that something needs to change.  Many times the mother anticipates the needs before the child expresses them.  In these ways, there is both an influence by the mother on the way a child perceives their own emotional expression as well as a predisposition for how the child perceives how their emotional needs will be met. 


For adults who have moved into competent independence, an understanding of their moon sign can help them understand their own emotional needs, how they are comfortable expressing and interacting with emotions, as well as how they will most often need to be cared for or be able to receive care from someone else.