New Year, New Me

It was my birthday yesterday and I have been playing around with my Solar Return chart. This is a chart that you can draw up of the transiting sky as the Sun returns to the exact degree of your natal Sun. The chart represents your intention or focus for the coming year. It can provide another layer of information for us.

Astrologers have many ways of gathering information that reflects our ongoing personal dynamics. We have the Natal Chart showing us the energy we  carry for our entire life. Transits express the sky as it is at any point in time.  They can trigger experiences when they resonate with aspects of our being by aligning with qualities we were born with, or by being so foreign to our innate qualities that we feel impelled to adjust our normal responses. Then we have progressions which show how we evolve and unfold on an inner level  over time. They map the process of the seed as it transforms into the unique individual potential.

Compared to the swathe of time involved in these tools, a solar return just visits and focusses the energy for a year. It is like a subscription you get given for your birthday that lasts a year and then stops. One year you may get National Geographic and be filled with beautiful photos and wondrous stories of the world, next year you follow fashion with Vogue. You never lose what you gleaned or the sensibilities that the year added to your cache of experience, but it is transitory.

I don’t normally play much with the Solar Return but this year it has captured my imagination. In my post The Elephant I spoke about the transit that is defining our times. This is Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. The energy of this connection can be expressed in many ways and at this moment I am looking at it as the future versus the past. Many philosophies at the moment are urging we relinquish the past as irrelevant to the future. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of our life’ was a popular quote from the sixties the last time Uranus and Pluto came together. We are all powerful, free beings who can create what we desire as long as we don’t get stuck in the beliefs of the current reality. If we focus on what is or what was we will just create more of the same. This idea is very different from the alternate wisdom that states that ‘history repeats itself’ and it is only by an intimate knowledge of what came before that we can create change. We are encouraged to be fully steeped in the full tradition of a discipline we wished to operate in before breaking with the past to find a new approach. The Capricorn view is that effective progress is only possible by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ that came before us.

I have been weighing this conundrum for awhile. On the one hand, our birth chart offers a wonderful resource and map for self knowledge and becoming. On the other it can become a sticky web of self definition and outmoded concepts getting in the way of  the free and true birth of a unique individual. Gemini, the energy we are experiencing, is the sign of paradox. This contributes to their reputation for being fickle or amoral. Today the twins may agree with your proposal as sound; tomorrow they may be equally excited by contradicting ideas. The one thing Gemini knows is there is not one truth but an infinitely giddy array of truths to discover and gleefully play with.

Recently I came across someone who claimed to be a walk-in. That is a soul who has inhabited an existing body in adulthood. This concept takes the idea of no past to new levels. If one was to draw a horoscope for such a being, when were they born? The birth of the body or the birth of the soul? Delicious Gemini questions, truth is irrelevant.

Now with my Solar Return I see the possibility of inhabiting it in a totally new way. What if I embraced it? Usually when you read transits or progressions, you place the circle of the natal chart in the centre and read the other energies in relation to this core. For a Solar Return it is suggested that you place it in the middle and the natal chart around.

For the first time I am considering becoming this new chart, living with its wisdoms and energies. I would be like an actor assuming a new role. I have butterflies at the possibilities. What would it be like to be this new person born in the now? Isn’t this the question we are all asking in this time of change? What if? What if my Gemini Sun was in the fourth instead of the ninth? What if I became comfortable with my shining self like a Leo Moon and approach life with the visionary zeal of an Aquarian instead of the cautious containment of my Virgo Ascendant.

OMG…really embrace the new?…I have goosebumps!



Image: The album cover of ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ by Emerson, Lake and Palmer illustrated by H.R. Giger

 ‘Today is the first day of the rest of our life’  attributed to Charles Dederich

‘History repeats itself’ Anonymous, popularised in the mid 1800

‘If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.’ Isaac Newton

The Gemini Eclipse – Ascension Anyone?!!

I am a Gemini. Does anyone else smart at the qualities that people throw at you when they discover your sun sign? I feel offended when I am accused of being fickle and two faced. I have Sun, Venus and Ceres in Gemini with Saturn, the planet of authority, responsibility and limitation, opposing them from the third house. It seems I have taken on Saturn’s approbation and disapproval of my Mercurial nature. My Virgo Ascendant and Taurus Moon weigh in to ground some of that Gemini whimsy. It may feel more comfortable but not always so merry. I have been horrified to be thought of as a party girl, social butterfly or light weight…no way! I am one of those that will get defensive for other notorious Gemini’s like Marilyn Monroe. ‘She is a great comedienne! You need intelligence to pull such timing and wit!’

I remember when I was first with my partner, I started playing the fool, pulling faces and generally mucking around. I was shocked and amazed at my levity and very delighted. I think at that point I knew I had found a safe haven with someone I could frolic with irreverently.

Still, no matter how often I indulged in childlike behaviour, I always felt it would not be condoned by the ‘real world.’ My core qualities were those I could not openly value causing a rift between my private and public self. Gemini is after all a sign of duality. Therein lies a feeling of alienation from my neighbours, of not belonging, because of my naturally errant ways.

My Gemini Sun has therefore, always felt eclipsed, which brings me to the subject of this post- the Solar Eclipse in Gemini. We have a day more in the Taurus energy before quite suddenly the New Moon and the Eclipse coincides at zero degrees Gemini. Anyone who has been reading my posts over the last Sun/Moon cycle through Taurus would have witnessed and likely felt for themselves, my ‘sinking into the earth’ sensation, slowing down almost to a standstill. Over the last few days my sleep has been very heavy and when I wake I have experienced my consciousness as almost physical, taking effort to pull my awareness up through my body where it had been captured by slothful slumber. Everything has been very sensate. Now the Sun will move into the bright light of Gemini and the Moon will shift from its dark slumber and will embrace the golden orb so enthusiastically, that for a time it will blot out the Sun’s bright light allowing the dross to be burnt off in a ring of fire.

Mercury, the God of the mind, is the only planet that can dart around and go safely to places where the other gods cannot. He can enter the underworld and negotiate for the release of those held there. He is capable of tricks that allow him to conceal his whereabouts by appearing to turn backwards. My Gemini self is much amused as her ruling planet displays these antics during this eclipse. Mercury’s trickster qualities come in when the path of the full eclipse can be viewed over Southwest China and Japan on the 21st of May. It then travels over the Pacific crossing the International Dateline so it arrives in the USA on the day before on 20th May. (Much mirth at mercurial magic :D) It enters the USA at the California/Oregon border and travels in full fire through to Texas. And so the Messenger God does double duty going back in time to rescue us from whatever paralysing dilemma we have been experiencing in the underworld during the Dark Moon in Taurus.

As I matured I began to really appreciate the value of my Sun sign. What I was judging as lightweight and bubble-headed, I now perceive as de-light-ful. What I perceived as feather-brained I, now see as nonjudgemental, more like the feather that is used to measure the purity of the heart in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. I appreciate and engage curiously with whatever I encounter, allowing it to be the perfection that it is, no matter how contradictory. I am curious to know, and without preconceptions allow the paradox to lead me into further discovery. I have learnt to value my lightness and know that it is a gift I have to share with others. At my best I become the light-bearer bringing good vibes and the tinkle of joy wherever my essence may shine.

This Gemini Eclipse promises to bring light to our underworld wanderings, illuminating the path of ascension to our rightful place amongst the stars.

Image: FredericLeighton-The Return of Persephone (1891) Here we see Mercury/Hermes returning Persephone to her mother, Demeter on the surface after her abduction into the underworld. A perfect echo of this eclipse.

Venus, In Flagrante Delicito

Venus, the planet of love, has turned retrograde.

Over the last few weeks I have recognised the signature of many Goddesses playing out in the world around me. I have been immersed in this energy and found myself too fey to engage Mercury, the God of language, to communicate my discoveries in the strange misty lands where I dwell. Venus is now flowing with Saturn, the God of commitment and so I stir to express this journey in time and express how this is playing out in life.

Venus is the ruler of Taurus, the sign we have been buried in over this past month. She is Aphrodite in Greek myths, and was married to Hephaestus, the lame blacksmith to the Gods. He was not valued due to his deformity but manages to redeem himself with a genius for invention, creating magnificent things in his forge. Thus, where we feel inadequate and  lacking is often the stimulus we require, to spark the desire that produces our true gifts. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’

Hephaestus’ creations are greatly valued by the Gods and Aphrodite herself adores beautiful things. Although the smithy is a worthy provider. Aphrodite is not sexually enamoured with her husband and lusts after Ares/Mars. Beautiful, golden Venus is always able to attract whatever she desires.

The cuckold, Hephaestus goes to work and creates a fine net of golden filaments and uses it to trap Aphrodite and Ares ‘in fragrante delicito’  much to the bemusement of the Gods.

During the retrograde phase, Venus aligns with the Sun and disappears from our night sky. She cannot be seen because her light is swallowed by the Sun’s radiance. This is a  time when our Venusian desires are captured by Hephaestus’ golden net and are ready to be exposed in a way we cannot normally see when seduced by Venus’s delicious allure.  Eventually Venus will be reborn as the Morning or Dawn Star, pregnant with the Sun’s seed ready for another cycle round that great orb.

Venus  went retrograde on the 15th May at 23 degrees Gemini and will continue to move backwards, (or so it seems from Earth), till she reaches 7 degrees Gemini and recommences her forward movement on June the 28th. She will then cover the same ground till she returns to  23 degrees on the 21st of July and having absorbed her inner experience moves on with a new sense of divine purpose.

We are already versed in the themes of Venus’ absence from our sky as she has already travelled this ground since April 12th when she  was at 7 degrees Gemini. Going back to review this period I find my Mars in Training post. In this I spoke about Mars finally moving direct as Pluto moves retrograde. It is only now with Hephaestus’ net that I can see that Venus was also present in this meeting. It seems Mars and Venus, the archetypal male and female lovers were actually having an illicit meeting at this time. Pluto, the underworld God of sex, shadow and secrets was present, indicating the nature of their merger.

Hephaestus and the inhabitants of Olympus may be well amused at my unconsciousness. I tell the story in that post of my detached participation in my friend’s medicine circle.  I was unaware at the time that I was participating in a Dawn Star circle. I was conscious of the presence of Venus at the time but thought it  lay simply in the gifts that I contributed to the altar; pink roses and crabapples. Also a Taurean maiden that sat beside me. We actually sat in the East as we ignorantly mimicked the Morning Star.  It was only later that it dawned on me that  the whole event was dedicated to the Goddess of Love in her many guises. This event heralded the entry of Sun and Moon in Taurus.  Since this time there has been a sinking in and honouring of many Goddess archetypes in my life. I have felt absorbed by the Earth as I have been steeped in the Goddess stories that echo in my life.

Venus is in Gemini at this time and I associate Gemini with teenagers, as they venture out from their families to engage and explore with increased independence. During this time I have had the honour of hearing many tales of first loves, infatuations, sudden break-ups and betrayals. Through them I recognise the delicate touch or fragrant desire of Aphrodite, intensifying as she is absorbed by the Sun.

To participate more consciously in your Venus retrograde journey, go back to my Mars in Training post or employ other markers of the time to trigger your memories. Discover what trysts you were engaged in and what dance has led you to this eve. We have the opportunity to tend the garden we have planted over this period as Venus and her true desires resonate on an inner level. With Venus in Gemini I see the opportunity for love’s hi-jinx to play some out of season Midsummer’s Nights Dream with us all, as we succumb to Oberon’s love potion. Like the characters in this play we may find the object of our love surprising.


… as I finish this post I receive a bouquet of red roses on behalf of my daughter. A Venusian token of appeasement from a thwarted lover.

And so the play continues …


‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,

And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.’



‘And those things do best please me,

That do befall preposterously.’



Image: ‘Scene From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania and Bottom’ by Edwin Henry Landseer (1802–1873)

Scorpio Full Moon- The Bare Essentials

Tomorrow is the Full Moon in Scorpio and we are packing and flying to Melbourne.  My partner’s mother is having a minor operation and we will be there to offer  moral support and care. In my case, the Moon in Scorpio will take me away from our comfortable Taurean setting in the countryside and have three people squeezed into a one bedroom flat, sleeping on the floor. All routines will be broken. Scorpio does like to break things up, releasing the familiar and provide an intense experience of the unknown.

Over the last year I have established very comfortable routines. I have the mornings to myself to write, to read and to generally meditate. I nurture myself with a delicious breakfast, my dog snores at my feet. I was sent a lovely quote the other day.

“My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet.” – Edith Wharton.

The epitome of grounded Taurean comfort. Bliss!

I learnt that introverts need solitude to recharge their energy, and have since claimed the mornings as mine, guilt-free. I emerge in the afternoon with great energy to honour appointments and participate in the world. This form of self-care has made me ‘one contented babe’ and my general effectiveness has risen accordingly.

Scorpio likes to shake things up a little and take away your crutches to show you what you are really made of . This travel is a perfect manifestation of ripping away my securities and seeing how I fare. I will get the opportunity to live life as it comes to me, rejuvenating my energy in the moment. It is true, I have become too attached to my habits, feeling as if they are essential to my wellbeing. Life is about change and my future is unknown. This Moon will be a gentle reminder of what I am capable of and will allow me to see what treasures may be available if I allowed myself to shake up my cocoon a little.

My mother in law and I have in common my lovely man – her son, and also a Taurus Moon. Both of us will be breaking our regular pattern and merging to find a new form of nurture. She is the perfect hostess and has always generously fed us and taken care of our needs as much as we allow. This time I have the opportunity to return her abundant hospitality and make her comfortable in a situation that is challenging. An operation no matter how minor and liberating is not something we welcome. Scorpio rules surgery.

This will be the first time we will travel without our daughter. This was unconsciously foreshadowed in my last post when I discussed the myth of Persephone’s abduction. Now here we are at the Full Moon with Demeter, the mother being separated from her daughter. I love how everything is reflected in life.

Visiting this myth over the last week had me researching (also ruled by Scorpio) other underworld myths. One has been Inanna’s descent into the underworld to visit her sister, Ereshkigal, who was mourning her  husband’s death. On her journey, there were seven gates to pass through.  At each gate something was taken away from her so that she eventually arrived completely naked.

What can be released this Full Moon that allows you to become more authentically you?

On the plane we are only taking carry-on luggage. Inanna took: turban, wig, necklace, dress, pectoral, mascara, ring and measuring rod.  Mmm, I need to go and decide, what are the bare essentials for my trip to another world.



Image: Full moon rising… by Michael Ward –