Astrology Café – Spring 2015

ButterfliesThe brooks are unlocked at last. That rush of water, foaming over the rocks, dark browns, alive, bursting with small waterfalls over boulders, that is what says “spring.” -May Sarton

First there are the baby crocuses, fragile yet brave, pushing through the moist earth. Then the forsythia and daffodils appear as if overnight; a frenzy of golden, buttery yellow followed by a procession of hyacinths and tulips in their Easter pastels; pale pink, lavender, creamy white and ruby red. And along the country roads, boulevards and parks the flowering pear trees, dogwood and cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The days are longer now, the sun is warmer, and the air is filled with elusive scent of new grass, spring flowers and wet earth; nature, confident in her creation, holds nothing back.

I am in love with this green earth. –Charles Lamb

Once again we meet at the Astrology Café, our secret refuge, our cozy sanctuary. It’s evening now in the courtyard outside the café. Folks gather around the fountain or sit on the stone benches under the old apple trees sipping wine or tea and talking. The soft evening air is filled with the scent of lilacs and hyacinth. Music drifts out from the café. Above, the lush Buddha Full Moon rises in an inky blue sky, promising magic and deep conversation. Welcome back, dear friend; you have been missed.

If you are a dreamer come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer. If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in! – Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Come inside and make yourself comfortable. There’s a big vase of pussy willows on the mantle and bouquets of daffodils, forsythia and tulips on the tables; the cider is sweet, the coffee is strong, and there are friends both old and new. We have a selection of lovely organic salads (roasted beets, radicchio, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts or Bibb lettuce, crunchy radishes and fresh asparagus or kale, quinoa and fennel with lemon vinaigrette). There’s soup, quiches, an assortment of cheeses and homemade breads still warm from the oven (sour dough, olive loaf, chewy seven grain or buttermilk biscuits). For dessert we have chocolate babka, hazelnut pear frangipane tart, raspberry scones with crème fraiche, and non-gluten cupcakes (coconut, carrot cake, banana-nutella or chocolate chip. To drink there’s rich Viennese coffee, Chai, herbal tea, cider, or wine.

When you are ready, follow me up the winding stairs, through the library (watch out for the cat), down the corridor, and up to the tower room where our wise friend, the crone waits for us. Our friend greets us at her round wood table with her Runes, Medicine Cards, stones, and crystals spread out before her. The sacred statues, Kwan Yin, Mary and Buddha glow in the candle light; there is a faint scent of rose and lavender in the air and behind her, through the bay window, the luminous Full Moon rises. Our friend smiles warmly and motions us to join her at the table. Sit down and make yourself comfortable; the night is young and there is much to discuss. Our friend reaches for her Runes and chooses one. It is Berkana: Growth, Rebirth, A Birch Tree. Listen closely; perhaps there is a message just for you.

Another of the cycle Runes, Berkana denotes a form of fertility that fosters growth both symbolically and actually. The growth may occur in affairs of the world, family matters, one’s relationship to one’s Self or to the Divine. A Rune that leads to blossoming and ripening, Berkana is concerned with the flow of beings into their new forms. Its action is gentle, penetrating, and pervasive. What is called for here is going into thing deeply, with care and awareness. First disperse resistance, then accomplish the work. For this to happen, your will must be clear and controlled, your motives correct. Any dark corners should be cleansed; this must be carried out diligently and sometimes with expert help. Modesty, patience, fairness and generosity are called for here. Once resistance is dispersed and rectification carried out and seen to hold firm, then, through steadfastness and right attitude, the blossoming can occur.
Ralph Blum (The Book of Runes)

The Month of May

O still miraculous May. –E. E. Cummings
April celebrates Easter, the resurrection and the life of Jesus, but May belongs to Mary. There are several festivals during this lavish month devoted to the feminine: Beltane (May 1) is the Celtic festival of fertility; Mother’s Day takes place on the second Sunday of the month (May 10); and finally The Feast of Mary on May 31. In fact May was named for the Mother Goddess, Maia or Maya; in Northern Europe she was called Maj or Mai, the maiden. Both mother and matter come from the same Sanskrit root – maat. During May we have an opportunity to honor the sacred feminine, deepen our connection to Mother Earth and get in touch with our own bodies as well.

Beltane (May 1) is the spring midpoint, one of the four power gates of the fixed signs, and the Celtic festival of fertility, abundance and sacred union. In ancient times this 8 day celebration was known as the festival of Good Fire or Bel-Fire, named after the solar deity Bel. Bel-fires were lit on hilltops to celebrate the return of spring, life and fertility.
According to Shamanic Astrology Mystery School there is a rare occurrence of Solar and Lunar Beltane happening very close together in 2015. Astrological Beltane occurs every year on May 5 when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of Taurus. “Many ancient Celtic traditions began their celebration of Beltane on the Full Moon or New Moon nearest astrological Beltane, and often the celebrations lasted until the next Full or New Moon over a two-week period. This year Astrological Beltane is within a day or so of the magical Lunar Beltane Scorpio Full Moon on May 3. We will not have a Full Moon this close to Solar Beltane until 2020.” This turns up the magic and the power of this sacred holiday. “If you are not experiencing the pleasure of life, now is the time to consider what you can do to change within yourself so that life is more enjoyable.” –Shamanic Astrology Mystery School

The Scorpio Full Moon – May 3-4
Called the Buddha Full Moon or Wesak Moon
Also known as Flower Moon, Frog Moon, Planting Moon or Bright Moon

The greatest event upon our planet, from the stillpoint of spiritual verities, is the Wesak Festival. It has been there always, but unknown to the majority. Now its influence is to be recognized and consciously utilized. –Esoteric Psychology, Alive Bailey

It is said that Buddha was born, died and received enlightenment on the Full Moon in Scorpio and many consider this to be the highest spiritual day of the year. In ancient times groups formed in circles, equal arms crossed to receive the power released by the Buddha during the eight minutes around the Wesak Full Moon. Each year this great being returns to earth at this time to help humanity toward enlightenment. It is an opportunity for us all to get in touch with our own Buddha nature.

Taurus, the first earth sign, harnesses the fire of Aries and brings it into material form. When the Sun is in Taurus the ground is rich and fertile; birds and flowers are thriving, the air is sweet and nature is bursting with new life. Those born under the sign of the Bull are sensual, earthy and natural and have a strong connection to what is physical and real. Taurus is the magic of the ordinary world. Scorpio’s alchemy involves the hidden and taboo; this complex sign rules the mysteries beneath the earth and what is buried in our unconscious. Full Moons bring to light the shadow (or dark side) of each sign; Taurus tries to create stability through external means such as food, money and material possessions. Scorpio’s shadow includes destroying old forms in order to rebuild, sometimes demolishing everything in its path.

I know this territory well since my Sun and Moon are in cozy Taurus in the 8th house (the domain of Scorpio). There’s a part of me that craves the simple and familiar (long walks, naps, warm scones with jam and tea) but another part that hungers to explore the forbidden and the unfamiliar. The Taurus/Scorpio axis is a powerful one for it can bring up our deepest fears but it also has the capacity to transform them. Ultimately it teaches us that in order to have real security and stability in life we must be willing to sacrifice who we are for who we can become.

Who understands why spring is born / out of winter’s laboring pain / or why we must all die a bit / before we grow again? – The Fantastiks

Expansive Jupiter (in colorful Leo) makes a square to this Full Moon creating what is known as a T square. This aspect can operate like Kayne West, all ego and no boundaries, hogging the spotlight and tempting us to overextend. It would be easy to create dramas and crises (Scorpio) to distance ourselves from the deeper issue or take refuge in pleasure (Taurus). Instead, we need to have the ruthless courage to look beyond the obvious and face some truth about ourselves and an ongoing situation. This aspect can also empower us to dream big and anchor that vision in a new reality. But first we must do the necessary work. Use the power of this lunation to release what is dead and dying in your life and make room for something new.

On March 16 we experienced the last of seven Uranus/Pluto squares which took place between two potent eclipses. Their story isn’t over for they will continue to dance together in the sky, but they are no longer holding each other in a fiery and passionate Tango; they are slowly pulling away. Something is beginning to shift. Can you feel it? Saturn (boundary builder) and Neptune (boundary dissolver) are strong in the chart of this Full Moon and all during this year. They are like the cleanup crew that comes in after Uranus/Pluto, dissolving (Neptune’s specialty) and breaking down (Saturn’s job) our defenses and exposing our addictions. In a sense we are all on the precipice of the next chapter in our lives, a powerful threshold. We are leaving something behind and although we may not know what comes next we can feel the pull of a new reality.

No threshold needs to be a threat, but rather an invitation and a promise. Whatever comes, the great sacrament of life will remain faithful to us, blessing us always with visible signs of invisible grace. We merely need to trust. –John O’Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us)

It is an interesting time for we are in that liminal space, that in-between period, no longer the caterpillar but not yet the butterfly. The term called liminality comes from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold.” I call it The Hallway as in “When one door closes another one opens but it’s hell in the hallway.” But I have found that it’s also holy in the hallway! It’s when we are in that malleable, fluid, confusing place and the very things we depended on for our security are dissolving that magic happens, seeds are planted and new life begins to take root.

Ask yourself every day, what do I really, really, really want? –Elizabeth Gilbert

Years ago, when Oprah was still on ABC, I watched an interview she did with Elizabeth Gilbert (whose book Eat, Pray Love was a current bestseller). The one thing that stood out for me and that I never forgot was something Elizabeth Gilbert said. “Ask yourself every day, what do I really, really, really want?” “Three reallys!” she reiterated.

That is a great question for right now. Ask it often, listen deeply, and keep moving in the direction of your dreams. It can feel shaky and unsettling, especially for those of us who like order and certainly. But birth is messy and everything new is born out of chaos. It takes courage to acknowledge a threshold and to make the journey. Trust this time, trust your process. This is the season of becoming.

Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation. We never suspect a thing. Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold. –John O’Donohue

Dear Friend, It is getting late and our evening has come to a close. I am deeply grateful for our time together. Outside the old owl has settled on his perch on the branch of the Alder tree. The Full Moon, high in the night sky, glows brightly. Remember, dear one, we are in the world of sensual and laidback Taurus; learn from this natural sign. Turn off the cell phones and computers. Slow down; go out into nature, near the water or in the garden. Get out of your head and into your body. Do something physical. Give yourself pleasure. Smell the roses, the lilacs and the peonies. Be happy (for no reason), feel good. You are loved, all is well. Love, Virginia

One Vision

Day and night, no difference.
The sun and the moon: An amalgam.
Their gold and silver melt together.

This is the season when
the dead branch and the green branch
are the same.

Nightmares fill with light like a holiday.
Humans and angels speak one language.
The elusive ones finally meet.

Good and evil, dead and alive,
everything blooms
from one natural stem.

You know this already. I’ll stop.
Any direction you turn
It’s one vision.

-Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)