name='keywords'/> Dance of the Phoenix: October 2013

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saturn in Scorpio - Take Two

I am a Scorpio experiencing my second Saturn Return, so this subject is very timely and intensely personal for me.  I am also in a place where I feel like I am finally finding my tribe through various group associations with like-minded people who share my struggles and goals and with Jupiter in 20 degrees of Cancer in my 10th house, I am sensing that this is an ideal time to share my second Saturn Return as part of my Phoenix experience.  My life is still in a major transitory phase and at times it feels like it is collapsing as I seek to establish a new career as an astrologer.  I need to keep sight of the fact that my foundations of the last twenty two years were no longer solid and it is time to build a new solid foundation.  It is very much a part of the dance of the phoenix as I set a clear intention and surrender to the process of creativity. Saturn’s nickname is the “Great Teacher” because it rules responsibility, structure, commitment, discipline and authority.  It is currently at 12 degrees of Scorpio conjunct my natal Saturn. This is it for me—do or die! 

And on this Saturday, October 26th, I will be teaching my astrology workshop Knowledge is Power: Understanding Relationships Through Astrology at Unity Boston Church in Brookline.  Please see this link if you are interested in attending:

Saturn entered the sign of Scorpio on October 5, 2012 and will remain in the sign of Scorpio until December 24, 2014.  Fear of endings is a big theme with Saturn in Scorpio.   Many Scorpios will experience Saturn in Scorpio as cutting ties with the past and being honest about people and places that they have outgrown. This needs to happen in order to clear the decks to make room for new positive changes to occur.  Scorpio, ruled by Pluto, the planet of power and transformation, is in mutual reception now with Pluto in the sign of Capricorn, which rules Saturn.  Pluto in Capricorn can definitely indicate potential for abuses of power, but rest assured that Saturn in Scorpio will expose them.

I began my study of astrology during my first Saturn Return in 1983.  I am dealing with a lot of the same issues that I faced during my first Saturn Return—financial worries, job and health concerns, and relationship issues.  I couldn’t help wondering why I still have the same issues in my life with a slightly different cast of characters.  Hadn’t I learned anything in the last 29 years?  Then I read Elizabeth Spring’s book Saturn Returns: The Private Papers of a Reluctant Astrologer and was blown away by her explanation—that these issues are back because you have almost resolved them and that last straw can be the hardest.  So I have learned that if things happen more than once, it means that you are holding some energy that is creating the experience, even if you are determined not to have that experience. Elizabeth Spring said that the hallmark of the second Saturn Return is that if you deal maturely with the old pockets of unfinished business you can gain the gift that will last until the end—the gift of wisdom so that you become an elder.  It also requires surrender and humbleness, which is no small feat.  Saturn is known as the Teacher, and I couldn’t help but note the irony in my picking up that book during my second Saturn Return! Be open to the possibility teachers will “spring” up for us when we need it most.

Saturn transits are also known for giving us the choice of exhaustion or depression.  Either you can become exhausted by the hard work that Saturn demands of you or you can become depressed from procrastinating and doing nothing.  The bottom line is that Saturn transits indicate a time to take action and ultimately those actions can bring rewards.  The big BUT is that Saturn can also delay those rewards; we can’t control the timeframe in which the rewards will come.  Saturn, like the Lord, works in mysterious ways.  Things never happen quite how you expect them to and certainly not on our desired timetable.  Saturn controls time, not us.  And that may be a bitter pill for many of us to swallow.

Saturn is the Spirit of Father Time and we need to make peace with the transits of Saturn, especially the returns, as an opportunity to accomplish the goals that our soul set forth for this life.  Saturn doesn’t like quick fixes; Carl Jung advocated the need for holding the tension of the opposites and conflicts within yourself until you can see the birth of a new idea.  I love what Elizabeth Spring said about Saturn transits having a “bridge effect”-first there is insight, then action and finally change.  Waiting and patience are the hard work of Saturn.  You gotta hang in there until you can see what needs to be done and then expend the energy to do it.

I was born in 1954 when Saturn in Scorpio symbolized paranoia, a common Scorpio trait of those times, which the Cold War vividly represented.  I am repulsed by the repression that existed in that era, especially that unsavory chapter of McCarthyism.  It was definitely not the America that our founding fathers envisioned during the American Revolution, which was the last time that Pluto was in Capricorn.  

Does Saturn in Scorpio in mutual reception with Pluto in Capricorn mean that things will be easier for Scorpios than the last time Saturn was in Scorpio (1983-1985)? That was my first Saturn Return, and it was not pretty. I survived a health scare and averted cervical cancer (how Scorpionic can you get) thanks to early detection despite my lack of health insurance, but some other Scorpios were not so lucky.  Richard Burton died in 1984 of a brain hemorrhage during his second Saturn Return.  He also suffered from kidney and liver disease.  In 1985 Rock Hudson died of AIDS during his second Saturn Return and AIDS emerged as a major health concern.  Saturn in Scorpio in the 1980’s also uncovered many sex abuse scandals. Scorpio is known as the sex sign, so none of this is a huge surprise.

So, how will Saturn in Scorpio play out in the 21st century?  Well, since Scorpio is the sign of transformation, it can definitely mean that things could indeed get worse before they get better.  Surrendering to the process of deep change will bring personal power and the strength to set boundaries.  But the sticky part is the potential for hitting bottom so that transformation (Scorpio) can occur by building new foundations (Saturn).  Saturn in Scorpio can teach us to be fully responsible for our power. New approaches to old problems are required.  For many of us, that may seem easier said than done. Trusting in the process is difficult, and Scorpio issues involve trust, betrayal, feeling guarded, intensity, resourcefulness and last, but definitely not least, vindictiveness.  Didn’t anybody ever tell you not to cross a Scorpio?  Scorpios are known for their loyalty and their memory.  They can be your best friend, but if you cross them, they can also be your worst enemy.  I recall a line in the movie Prizzi’s Honor: “A Prizzi never forgets.”  This was a movie about the Mafia (something Scorpio rules, by the way) that came out in 1985, the last time Saturn was in Scorpio.  Are we seeing a pattern here?  Saturn in Scorpio is associated with the Saturnian hard won Scorpio transformations.   

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leap of Faith - Black Moon in the 9th House

In July of 2013 the transiting Black Moon was conjunct my south node of the moon in my 9th house.  The Black Moon (sometimes referred to as Lilith or Black Moon Lilith) is the energetic point between Mars and Jupiter that represents the shadow side and primary fear that blocks or undermines happiness.  It truly is our own personal saboteur.  The Dark Moon represents the darker, more negative side of our nature. It is the shocking truth about ourselves that we frequently deny and project onto others.  It encompasses guilt, shame, hatred, envy and the vengefulness that arise out of our personal wounds.  It also shows how we let go. It frequently has a negative connotation as a dark and malefic astrological symbol, but it is important to remember that the “dark feminine” is also where healing and re-creation occur.  Awakening to the shadow side helps us to reclaim our personal power.

How did this transit play out for me?  The transit of the Black Moon to the moon’s south node tends to make us uneasy or uncomfortable with routines or anything that is outworn.  After all, the south node is our karmic baggage, the path of least resistance.  The transit of the Black Moon through the 9th house recreates our sense of spirituality, casting a shadow over our connection with our Higher Self.  I was on vacation for two weeks in July and realized how much more centered and peaceful I felt away from my job of 17 years. Ironically, I was working in a university, which is another area of life representing the 9th house.  Higher education is the 9th house, in addition to spirituality, long distance travel, religion, the law and philosophy.   But my administrative job was clearly not aligned with my morals or life goals.  I really wanted to be doing astrology and I just didn’t have the energy to pursue my passion while I was working.  It became clear to me that a “leap of faith” was required.  I learned that I could resign and take my retirement money because I was over 55. I opted not to take the whole thing to avoid massive taxation, but I figured out how much I would need to survive until I turned 59 ½, when I could withdraw more funds from my rollover account without penalty.  Of course, I was hoping that I wouldn’t need to use the money in another nine months.  Essentially I had nine months to give birth to a new career and way of life.  Otherwise I would have to go back to doing admin work full-time again to survive. 

I was really stretching out of my comfort zone, taking a leap of faith that I could earn a living doing work that I loved. The south node of the moon is definitely the comfort zone, and with my south node in Cancer, that comfort zone involved taking care of others in an educational institution.  But I was no longer happy doing that and I questioned if I really was serving the highest good in others because I just didn’t have the commitment to it.  I tried to remember that the 9th house also represented spirituality and maybe I could manage the shift between enabling and empowering.  The idea of empowering versus enabling had become a pervasive theme in my life.  I also realized that I had to access that north node of mine in Capricorn, which had been getting heavy hits from transiting Pluto in Capricorn for the past two years.  Capricorn is all about taking responsibility and that meant I had to take steps to create the reality I desired.  I couldn’t just sit back and whine about how unfulfilled I was; I had to do something to improve my life.  I had to be a grown-up and strike out on my own, taking full responsibility without blaming others for my unhappiness and be willing to take some risks to create a new life. And that terrified me! But I really felt that I had been guided to make this move, so I planned my resignation for August.  Learning about financial planning was daunting, to say the least.  But a few phone calls and a lot of paperwork got me started on my leap of faith.

Taking that leap of faith also entailed overcoming my seemingly endless reservoir of fears.  In addition to the fear of financial failure, I was dealing with a major fear of technology.  I have Mercury square Uranus, after all.  I may have occasional inspirational flashes but attending to the details of using technology to implement them has always caused me tension and anxiety.  In an effort to reduce my expenses, I switched cable and internet providers.  In the process I nearly had a major meltdown trying to figure out how to deprogram my TiVo from recording shows that it recommended I would like.  I felt like I was losing my mind and control of my life whenever I saw that recording light go on.  I finally figured it out how to deprogram it and I had a new level of sanity and order in my life.  Then there were all of the technical aspects involved with setting up a blog; I was well aware of my limited computer skills.  All that nervous energy is not exactly well suited to the painstaking details involved in working with templates, layouts, etc.  

I am also a true Scorpio, an intensely private person, yet I made a conscious decision to reveal my innermost feelings.  What was up with that?  I can only say that I felt compelled by the energy of that black moon transit to move forward, let go of what was no longer serving my highest good and stretch out of my comfort zone.   I was releasing that steady paycheck and embracing the concept of multiple streams of income.  I wanted to write, teach and do astrological charts to empower people.  I had found astrology to be an incredible tool for insight and I was determined to find a way to share that with others and make a living in the process.  In short, I wanted a more authentic life with a sense of purpose and spiritual fulfillment.

In addition to having the Black Moon conjuncting my south node, I also had Jupiter conjuncting my south node.  I like to think of Jupiter as Santa Claus, big and jolly, bearing gifts.  What was the gift in this situation?  I was somewhat comforted by reading that one interpretation of this transit is that is time to reassess your connections with individuals and groups with a view to moving on with your life’s purpose. And I realized that it is not easy to let go of links from the past, particularly if one feels frightened of new experiences without the safety of past alliances. I tried to focus on the future rather than the past and have faith that as one door shuts another opens.

I am also taking a leap of faith that my upcoming astrology workshop on October 26th will attract some people who have a genuine interest in learning how knowledge of astrology can empower their relationships.  I have been trying to spread the word about it and believe that those who are meant to be there will come.  If you are interested in learning more about it, please go to this link:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Reflections on Eclipses

Next week there is a lunar eclipse and Mercury goes retrograde a few days later, but this week seems to have less tension than the past month.  I know that some astrologers are referring to October as “Rocktober”, but the calmer energy that I feel this week has given me time to reflect.  The fact that Venus has left the sign of Scorpio and entered the sign of Sagittarius may be partially responsible for my sense of optimism and philosophical bent.

Lunar eclipses are described as supercharged full moons and their effects can be felt for about six weeks before and after they occur.  Solar eclipses are the supercharged new moons and one can feel  their effects for up to three months before and as long as one year afterwards.

I have been reflecting on how the eclipses of the past two years had hit my chart and impacted my life, and there was quite a story.  On July 1, 2011 there was a solar eclipse in 9 degrees of Cancer conjunct the south node of my moon.  I was apprehensive because an eclipse to the south node of the moon can be a predictor of health problems.  I tried not to dwell on that negative connotation and instead I continued my study of Reiki and obtained my Reiki Master certification in late July 2011.  But in October 2011 I suffered excruciating pain in my back and hips which was eventually diagnosed as a bulging disc and sciatica. When physical therapy offered me no relief for the pain, I opted for acupuncture.  It healed me physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. 

The lunar eclipse of June 4, 2012 in 14 degrees of Sagittarius exactly opposed my moon in Gemini in my 8th house.  This played out for me by getting hired in June to teach my first astrology workshop.  I wouldn’t be teaching the class until February 2013, but that was due to scheduling issues and it gave me ample time to prepare.  But it meant that I was getting paid to teach something I was passionate about and that was encouraging.

The solar eclipse on November 13, 2012 in 21 degrees of Scorpio conjuncted my Sun and Venus in the 2nd house.  A solar eclipse that conjuncts your sun is a strong predictor of significant changes in your life in the upcoming year. An eclipse to your sun can also indicate health issues coming to light.  As a reaction to increased demands and stressors at work, my health took a significant turn for the worse.  I suffered from headaches, insomnia and what I thought I were chest pains.  My doctor assured me that my discomfort was actually heart palpitations, not chest pains.  I was still not reassured.   I continued with my acupuncture sessions because acupuncture, in addition to meditation, had proved to be a valuable source of spirit calming and stress relief. In hindsight, I can see that this eclipse set in motion, combined with the impact of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the changes that would permanently alter the course of my life.

On May 10, 2013 there was a solar eclipse in 19 degrees of Taurus in my 8th house exactly opposing my sun in the 2nd house.  I was totally stressed out at work and frustrated that I did not have the time or energy to devote to astrology.  Ten days later there was the third of seven Uranus/Pluto squares.  Uranus in Aries was transiting my 6th house of work and health and Pluto in Capricorn was transiting my 3rd house of communication still conjuncting my north node.  I was feeling the pressure and knew that I had to find a way to get my health back on track and find a way to transform the way I made a living.  That is when I began thinking that I needed to consider accessing my retirement money to support myself while I attempted to launch my career as an astrologer.  It was a leap of faith and it terrified me.  But the reality of feeling stuck and the negative impact on my health were strong motivators for change.  And eclipses are all about change, no doubt about it.

And what about next week’s eclipse?  How will that play out for me?  It will be in 25 degrees of Aries in my 7th house opposing my Neptune in Libra in the 1st house.  I am choosing to believe that this will mark yet another spiritual adventure for me.  This eclipse will also be trining my Pluto in Leo, so I am not ruling out an encounter with my shadow side. And it will be squaring my Uranus and Jupiter in Cancer, so I suppose that I should be prepared for quite an adventure and my own personal version of “Rocktober”!

Speaking of adventures, I will be teaching an astrology workshop on October 26, 2013 called Knowledge is Power: Understanding Relationships Through Astrology from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Unity Church in Brookline.  I hope that you can join me.  If you are interested in registering, please go to this link:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rising from the Ashes

I became obsessed with the Phoenix in July 2013 during a meditation.   I saw an image of the mythical bird that consumes itself in flames to be reborn from its ashes and received a message that fire can be as cleansing as water.  By jumping into the fire we can actually land in the water. This intrigued me, but I also realized that it represented the core of the phoenix myth.  Hesitating to let go for fear of the pain letting go involves keeps us bound to the past.  

I think that the phoenix has always been a part of me because it is also the third and most evolved symbol for the sign of Scorpio.  I am a bona fide Scorpio, with my Sun, Saturn, Mercury, Venus and Saturn, along with the asteroids Ceres, Pallas, and Lilith (also known as the Dark Moon).  I have often remarked that Scorpio is born to be reborn; no other sign has the strength to endure such tremendous loss, survive and regenerate itself.  Scorpio is the comeback kid of the zodiac.  Scorpio instinctively knows that something old must be destroyed and transformed to make room for the new.  But making that sacrifice and letting go is particularly challenging for the fixed sign of Scorpio. The phoenix must literally destroy its nest and sense of security in order for that transformation to occur.  In its most enlightened form, the phoenix symbolizes the ultimate act of creative destruction, sacrifice and rebirth within the realm of mind and spirit.

But what is the dance of the phoenix?  Essentially it is a dance between the ego and creativity that is navigated from the heart. The masculine ego sets a clear intention and surrenders to the process of female creativity. The ego must be transformed to nurture creatively by letting go of attachments to the past that no longer serve a purpose.  I have read that people in their late 50’s and early 60’s approaching the traditional age of retirement are prime candidates for the dance of the phoenix because they are prone to feel that they have missed something in life or that there is more to be experienced.  It is an optimal time for rebirth and the freeing of one’s creative spirit. This is certainly my reality.  I am approaching my 59th birthday and undergoing my second Saturn Return.  On many levels, I feel that I am entering the most creative period of my life.  I began my study of astrology during my first Saturn Return and it has evolved into a passion that has proved to be an incredible tool for insight into my life and those of my clients over the years.  In order to honor that passion, I have taken a huge leap of faith by resigning from my full-time administrative job that I held for 17 years and using a portion of my retirement money to live on while I launch my new career as a full-time astrologer.
I have also come to realize that the journey of the phoenix takes time and that transformation is grown, not forced.  That is the most difficult thing for me to wrap my head around because I am extremely impatient by nature and these days my growing pains are pretty intense.

But what really triggered my dance of the phoenix?  In all honesty, I would have to say that the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15, 2013 held my dance card. It was the event that changed my life and rocked my world.  On that day, I had taken the train to the coastal town of Rockport to escape the crowds gathered in the city for the marathon.  It was a new tradition that a friend and I had started last year.  We had a leisurely lunch overlooking the water and did some shopping.  We arrived back in Boston in North Station a little after 5:00 p.m.  and heard an announcement that the Green Line was not running and to take the Orange Line to Back Bay Station.  We emerged from Back Bay Station around 5:30 p.m. and instantly knew that something was very wrong.  My friend said that I commented “this is not just the Marathon.”  We had no idea what had happened and tried to walk towards Boylston Street in an effort to walk home to Brookline.  That is when I heard, “No, you can’t go down Boylston Street.  It’s a crime zone and the FBI is on its way.”  Streets were blocked off and we were constantly told where not to walk.  It was several minutes before we learned that a couple of bombs had gone off at the marathon shortly before 3:00 p.m.    I remember asking someone if there were any fatalities and a man told me that two people were dead and about 20 injured.   As we all know, it was much worse than that.  We were shepherded through back streets up to the Boston Common and eventually made it to Beacon Street so that we could walk home to Brookline. I know now that I was in shock; it looked like a war zone to me with all of the streets blocked off and the constant warnings that there could be more bombs going off.  At one point I got a text from a friend inquiring if I was all right, and I texted back that I was right in the middle of it and would get back to her when I got home.   

When I did make it home, I turned on the TV and was glued to the set for a couple of hours until another friend sagely advised me to turn off the doom box.  Then it hit me—I was incredibly fortunate to be alive and not to have witnessed any of the carnage.  If I had returned to Boston two hours earlier, I might not have been so lucky.  I remember writing in my journal that night that April 15, 2013 would change my life forever.  And it did.  I started thinking that if life could be snatched away from you so quickly, why waste it?  I had been unhappy in my job for some time with its escalating demands and the accompanying stress had taken a toll on my health.  I believe that night I decided to find a way to spend whatever time I had left doing what was important to me.  And that was my astrology work.  I felt like I was done with the enabling phase of my life and I wanted to shift into the empowering phase of my life.  Astrology was my vehicle for empowerment. 

A few days later I summoned the courage to look at the astrology chart for the Boston Marathon Bombing.  The chart for 2:50 p.m. on April 15th had the Sun and Mars conjunct in Aries, the sign of war ruled by Mars, in the 8th house of death, rebirth and transformation.  Mercury and Uranus were also conjunct in Aries in the 8th house.   What a theme for sudden violence, death and shocking news that rocked the world!  

Then I looked at how that chart impacted my own natal chart.  Mars in 25 degrees of Aries opposed my natal Neptune in 26 degrees of Libra in my 1st house, providing a catalyst for my own spiritual transformation.  Yes, I was profoundly affected by the tragic events of that day and felt like I was reverting to my psychic sponge persona in terms of feeling everyone’s pain, but in addition to the Boston Strong theme that became the mantra for the city, I realized that it was high time for Linda to be strong.  Other aspects of the April 15t’s chart significantly impacted my chart.  The north node of the moon was in 18 degrees of Scorpio that day conjunct my Sun in 19 degrees of Scorpio in my second house; my values and the way I earned a living had to change.  The north node represents our soul’s mission in life and to have it transiting your Sun on a day of death and rebirth lights a fire under your butt to fulfill your soul’s mission.  And in the sign of Scorpio, how much more phoenix can you get?  I had literally walked through the ashes, so the next logical step was the rebirth.  Transiting Saturn in 9 degrees of Scorpio was also conjunct my natal Saturn in 12 degrees of Scorpio, so this was no ordinary Saturn Return.  Saturn was clearing the decks of what no longer served my highest good in my life.  Sometimes Saturn can be a little rough in getting its point across.  But I think what really saved me on that day was transiting Jupiter in 14 degrees of Gemini exactly conjunct my natal moon in the 8th house, heralding my own personal rebirth.  It protected me and gave me the inspiration and courage to think about planning a more positive, meaningful future for myself.  Jupiter and the moon were in the 10th house for the April 15th chart, so it was no accident that the tragedy in Boston brought out the best in people around the world, just as it was no accident that I was in Copley Square that day.