The Dark Moon May 10 – 13

The Dark Moon also called Lilith is astronomically the three days before the New Moon appears. The Moon, of course, cycles around us and appears with different “faces”, the full Moon, half Moon, quarter Moons. A new Moon is when it lies directly in the path between Earth and Sun, and appears to us to be in conjunction with the Sun. However, the three days before the Moon goes “new” every month it disappears totally from our view. To the ancients, it was a dark, mysterious time. Unfortunately, over the years as we moved from matriarchal religions to more male dominated religions, the dark and mysterious Moon has become demonized. It became the symbol of the “bad girl” and the baddest of them all is Lilith.

First mentioned in Sumerian mythology about 3000 years ago, Lilith was seen in Hebrew stories as the first wife of Adam. She was not too happy with the plan that she should submit to Adam and be that happy helper stuff that Eve fell for so she said “bye bye Adam” and went off to make her own way in the world. So forevermore, she was called the bad girl – the fallen woman – of the Hebrew Bible. Because the Moon has always been associated with the feminine the dark Moon, the time of mystery and secrecy eventually bore the name of Lilith.

Astrologically, the time of the dark Moon is the time when we should get in touch with the hidden side, with the side we hide from society because it is not acceptable. This is the time we need to assess why we keep the side hidden and why we dance to the rules of society.

Where Lilith is on your astrological chart indicates the area where we will often have a spiritual crises because we are hiding a part of our true self so as not to risk disapproval. Is it in Aries? Well, where is your fear of charting new courses? Gemini? Well, always seeking the unusual in travel is fun but are you running away from something? Scorpio Lilith brings passion and pushes us to be free of sexual inhibitions.

So use those dark days to see what you have kept hidden from yourself for fear of repercussions and assess if that is still working for you.

If you feel a little loopy on April 13……

blame it on aspects….or the lack thereof. On April 13 few planets will be in “aspect” to each other. An aspect is simply the appearance of planet orbits intersecting one another. For instance, have you ever looked up and spied Mars and Jupiter shining brightly in the sky together? Well their orbits are in conjunction with one another at that time. As planets zip around the Sun, their orbits can appear close to one another – a conjunction — or be in total opposition to one another. There are other aspects such as trine, and square…but the thing to remember is that aspects really impact how those planets play out in our lives. If you are born with Pluto conjunct the Moon, then the influence of Pluto – the need to change and transform – will cause you to feel the need tear down your emotions. You will always question your emotional response to issues and always double guess your reactions.

If you have no aspects to a particular planet that planet will run wild in your chart. For instance, someone born with no aspect to their Sun (our life force) will often not develop a strong sense of self. A famous unaspected (also known as peregrine) Sun person is Hillary Clinton. I always laughed when I saw her thousands of hair style changes while first lady…that is classic unaspected Sun. Who am I? How should I appear to the world?

For years she battled with the concept of am I a “traditional first lady” or do I want more? Then she seemingly settled into a role of Senator she decided to run for President. Remember what happened when her Presidential campaign started to go south? She became a chameleon and in the end was a populist stumper! Who was that masked woman? Unaspected Sun under pressure -manifesting in almost a textbook style.

On April 13, 2010 the planets will be making no exact aspect to one another. If you are born with an unaspected planet you are going to feel it big time that day — you won’t be able to find any grounding. If you have an unaspected Mercury you may find yourself babbling away or unable to concentrate, unaspected Mars people – watch your temper. It will be a day of free reigned energy!

Happy Equinox and the origins of the word Easter.

Tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox, a time for renewal and resurrection. Astronomically and astrologically it is when the Sun is at zero degrees in the constellation Aries. Astrologers call Aries, the baby of the zodiac, the first sign of the twelve…the beginning of things anew.

I remember being shocked at the first Passover Seder I attended when I saw hard boiled eggs on the table. Eggs? Isn’t that for Easter? How little I knew. We all have the same concept- eggs, fertility, rebirth and resurrection – they are all celebrated at the Equinox.

It is all about eggs – The Druids dyed eggs red – the color of the “returning” Sun. The Celts dyed their eggs blue in spring and the Ukrainians started dying eggs thousands of years ago. Spring is the time when the Earth comes back to life. It is symbolized by the goddess at her youngest – sowing seeds that will bloom in a few months.

In fact the word Easter comes from the Anglo Saxon goddess Eostre. Now there are two stories about Eostre. In some parts of the ancient Saxon world she was a goddess in the maiden stage who wandered the country side with her hare sowing seeds. This is also the beginning of the Easter bunny legend. In other parts she was a goddess who transformed herself from maiden to hare as she brought the return of spring and promoted the growth of crops. However, you get the general drift – spring is the time for renewal and growth.

The concept of resurrection was not new to the Christians – check out Osiris and Isis for the Greeks and Oden for the ancient Norse. Sorry, but there just is nothing new under the Sun – in any season.

But be a part of the ancient tradition, dye some eggs, plant some seeds – it is SPRING!

Dolley Madison – A Total Taurus.

Recently, the local PBS channel ran a biography of Dolley Madison, a woman who ruled Washington, D.C. in her day and still lives in our folklore (and kitchen cabinets in the form of cupcakes) to this day. This First Lady, married to one of the most reserved and bookish of our Presidents, transformed the White House and Washington society both physically and psychicly, twice.

While watching the show I chuckled when the spoke of how she scandalized her Quaker family by wearing dresses that were low cut and revealed what they felt was too much of her bosom. “Taurus” I said to myself. “She had to have a lot of Taurus in her.” Taurus rules the chest and many people with Taurus ascendants and Suns have strong well-developed bodies and chests. When I looked at her chart, I was stunned at how strong was the Taurus influence on her!

Born May 20 1768 at 3:45 AM at Guilford, North Carolina – we see the first taste of Taurus in her Sun Sign, which was in the first house of her chart. In addition, her rising sign – the sign on the first house cusp – was also in Taurus. Remember that the ancients paid much more attention to the rising sign (or ascendant) than the Sun Sign. So even had her Sun been in another sign, they would consider her a Taurus. In addition, her Mercury, Ceres, Venus and Uranus were all in Taurus and all clustered around the first house and first house cusp. She could not help project Taurean qualities!

Taurus rules the second house, the house of possessions and how they relate to our self worth. Taureans seek comfort and warmth in their homes — the key is comfort. Think of the Bull (the symbol of Taurus) sitting in the pasture on the comfortable grass just soaking in the beauty of life and nature.

Yes, she was a sparkling hostess but look deeper. What was the first thing she did as First Lady? She charged James Hoban, the architect of the White House to redesign all of the public rooms. It was she who made the Blue Room blue – the Red Room red -etc. and who decorated them to ensure the best use for socializing and the comfort of her guests. Do you see the Taurus influence? She was not just a great hostess who made her guests at ease and then introduced them to her shy husband; she transformed the possessions around her. She changed the surroundings.

When the War of 1812 broke out and the British were marching toward Washington with torches in hand, Dolley reacted in a total Taurean way. She ordered the dinner table set with the finest of china. She was not going to appear afraid and harried. According to William Seale’s “The President’s House”, “Several kinds of wine in handsome cut-glass decanters were cooling on the sideboard; platters stood by the fireplace, filled with dishes and plates awaiting immediate use; everything in short was ready for the entertainment of a ceremonious party.” No matter how terrified she was of capture, Dolley Madison would not betray those fears to the British and reminded them that this was a home of comfort and grace.

Of course, before she left the White House, she had the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington taken from its frame and removed. That was the most prized possession of the White House – and that good old Taurus knew how to save it! She had a sixth sense about what had value. (Of course, she also stuffed silver and china in the carriages before they escaped but hey, a girl has to have her bling.) That too was Taurean- she was not saving papers or mementos — she was saving the good stuff.

When the War was over, and the White House just a shell, she and Hoban started from scratch and redid the interior. Could we have had a better-equipped First Lady to do the job?

Sadly, Dolley would lose all of her possessions to an unscrupulous son and his gambling debts. She lived long enough to see the invention of photography and in all of those shots, she is wearing the same dress and blouse -he literally took the clothes off her back. She has an intercepted fifth house, which vibrates to creativity and children. That means that the sign on the cusp of the house does not extend through the whole house and another sign cuts the house in half. That is always a pause for karma. She has Leo intercepted in the fifth house indicating in past lives she was placing her needs about others and always got what SHE wanted regardless of how. There was no idea of WE it was all about ME. Sadly, her son chose to pay back that karma in spades. I just hope they do not continue on that cycle.

With her Moon in Cancer, the ultimate sign of mothering, gave into him and smothered him with a love that did neither one of them any good. It was not until the very end of her life when her friends in Congress passed legislation to pay for her memoirs on the condition that he could not get access to that money did she wise up. Her son was furious about losing the gravy train and when he attached her verbally for it, she finally had enough of him. I just hope that at some point they get over this tit-for-tat anger and stop following each other in lifetime after lifetime playing the game of give me your money!

Dolley’s North Node (the indicator of where a soul should progress) is in Capricorn in the ninth house and boy did she progress into it. Capricorn is the sign of the government power – power structures in general – and the ninth house is all about reaching out to people beyond our immediate environs. Stories are legendary about her diplomatic efforts. Again, I quote Seale. “Washington life was greatly spiced by the diplomatic community…the diplomats entertained frequently…touches of foreign finery came to characterized Washington interiors.” She brought the world to Washington and Washington to the world – bingo –North Node Capricorn ninth house.

Ceres -Mother Earth


Ceres is the original Earth Mother. During good times she and her daughter Persephone wandered the Earth spreading seeds and making all things grow. One day, Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, tricked Persephone and took her into the Underworld. So aggrieved and annoyed was Ceres that she stopped all vegetation from growing. The Greeks were terrified of starvation and begged Zeus to mediate between Pluto and Ceres. Soon a bargain was struck whereby Persephone would be released but Ceres would have to go spend one half of the year in the Underworld. When Ceres did this, plants no longer grew and thus came winter. What a great story to explain the cycle of the seasons.

In astrology where the asteroid Ceres lies in a chart is the area that we see two things. One is parental relationships – loss, separation – and nurturing – how we nurture and how we feel the need to provide nurturing to others. Someone with Ceres in the 3rd house will likely nurture others by providing exposure to new ideas whereas Ceres in the 6th could produce a mother who runs an orderly and well structured family.

Ceres is a natural fit with Cancer – because they both are “motherly” but she also resonates with with Taurus. Taurus the Bull is the ultimate Earth sign and shows how we use resources – natural and otherwise. Also, because Taurus opposes Scorpio on the astrological wheel and Scorpio is ruled by Pluto – the guy whose tricks started all of this – there is a delicate balance between the power of Scorpio and the resource husbandry of Taurus.

By learning how Ceres fits between these planets we get a better outlook on how we deal with our Mother issues.

Vesta – The Fire Inside

The smallest but most determined asteroid goddess is Vesta. To the Greeks, she was Hestia who is actually the woman pictured in the Virgo the Virgin glyph. When the Romans took over the world, they renamed her Vesta and depicted her as the goddess of the hearth and the keeper of the sacred flame. (Remember the Vestal Virgins?) I, like a growing number of astrologers, assign Virgo rulership to Vesta. Poor Virgo doesn’t have its own ruling planet…Scorpio finally got Pluto but Virgo and Taurus are so far without rulers. However, Vesta’s dedication to a cause despite the hardship it causes her, the organized way she goes about keeping the fires burning – all sound Virgoan to me – and why else would the ancients make Virgo Virgin the picture of Hestia?

Simply, Vesta in a person’s horoscope indicates where their burning heart’s desire rests — some inner burning fire…for me it is in the 12th house. Duh — twelfth house our connection to the universe– astrologer – hello! Seen in the first house, it would be a dedication to self-goals -often to the exclusion of long-term relations with others. In the fifth house, it will give a dedication to artistic and creative goals. The eleventh house placement would lend a person to be dedicated to group humanitarian efforts — remember Jane Addams?

Vesta is the little but bright asteroid that keeps our inner passion and inner dedication burning. Someone with a strongly aspected Vesta will give up everything to achieve their goal – family, sex, society— everything! Now that doesn’t happen in too many charts but it gives you some idea of how intense she can be.

Girls will be girls. Don’t mess with them when they are set on something!

Another One of the “Girls” – Pallas Athene

Pallas Athene is one of the most interesting albeit confusing asteroid goddess. This is because of her basic duality. I am not talking duality like Pisces the Fish or Gemini the Twins. It isn’t that stark, however, she is the goddess of war and power as well as healing and wisdom. I guess, like most women, she figures she will have to clean up the mess others make so might as well get on with it. In her honor, the Greeks named their major city, Athens.

In classical Greece, this virgin goddess of wisdom was second only to Jupiter, king of the heavens, in importance. As the goddess of war, she was invincible in battle. In times of peace, however, her wisdom enforced the law and made sure justice prevailed. She was also patroness of the arts, architecture, cooking and weaving. Yes, insert your goddess multi-tasking joke here.

In the sky, Pallas Athene lies between the constellations Libra and Aquarius and opposes Leo – so when we use her in chart analysis, we see the flash of intelligence (Aquarius) and the driving originality of fiery Leo modified by Libra balance and fairness. For instance, someone with a well aspected Pallas in Taurus will have the ability to see beauty in new ways. Taurus is ruled by Venus – and is associated with the arts and beauty. A strong Pallas Taurus person is able to perceive art in a new way- with all senses – they might even “see” colors.* They could also be a fighter for the Earth – an ecological warrior. Taurus is the Bull, grounded in the Earth and earth resources (see my entry on Al Gore’s North Node in Taurus.) They will use the fire of Leo and the advanced mind of Aquarius to fight for Mother Earth.

Well aspected Pallas in Sagittarius people can become shamans or healers because the can actually see the big picture of someone’s health arc. Remember, Sag. is expansive in nature. Unfortunately, we also see Pallas Sag. people who have negative aspects and who can take that warrior energy and combine it with Sag’s belief in religious truth and become religious crusaders.

The main thing to remember is that Pallas packs a wallop of creative, fiery energy and high perceptive abilities. She was the original androgynous woman who competed quite well with men in the political and military arena.

*For more information on this see “The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense ” by Michael Jawer.

Me and My Shadow – Scorpio

I have a friend into whom I have tried to pound the basics of astrology for months. Being born with a Scorpio South Node, she constantly gets lost in the minutia of each astrological concept despite my urgings to see the big picture. Scorpios are the detectives of the Zodiac – they love to root out the secrets – all of the details. (The South Node, remember, is where our soul has come from in previous lives and from which we need to evolve.)

So this Scorpio South Node, Moon Child rising friend is regaling me in the many projects in which she is immersed right now – providing food for friends, shelter for people coming in from out of town for a political campaign and battling bureaucrats over the building of a new church. Does it surprise you that Moon Child are the mothers of the zodiac? At the end of the list she said with exasperation, “I wish I weren’t addicted to the rush of doing all this stuff.”

“That’s it! That is Scorpio South Node – addicted to the thrill, addicted to the drama and the passion – that is what I have been trying to explain to you!” I think she got it.

All signs have their flowing and shadow aspects — Scorpios have a tremendous talent for connecting with nether worlds – they are physic antennae beaming out to all of those frequencies and worlds others can’t even imagine. They are also passionate warriors for justice especially for the underdog. However, the shadow of Scorpio is a lust for, often inappropriate, passion and an unnatural pull to the unusual and dramatic — the passionate fight.

This particular friend is addicted to fighting for her church and being the uber mother (remember, she is Moon Child rising) on all political campaigns. I have another Scorpio South Node friend who married twice –both times to difficult men with whom she battled for years. One husband was foreign – feeding her attraction to the unusual. Recently, she has met another man whom she describes as unusual and bizarre and the warning signal went off in my head again.

We tend to live in the shadow of our South Node because that type of existence worked for us in the past and in this lifetime we want to go back to it. However, like old shoes, our South Node identity no longer fits us in this lifetime. We need to evolve.

Scorpio South Node people have Taurus as a North Node. So instead of seeking other worlds and passionate fights, they need to ground themselves on this planet and find their creative heart.

Next time – a South node that I know so well – my own….Gemini.