Summer Astrology Café – 2017

The Leo Solar Eclipse, the Courage to Shine

Summer is a magical time, lazy and lush, slow and succulent. There is something in the world and in us that has reached its fullness and is exploding with new life. In summer we have permission to do everything or nothing. The tomatoes and zucchinis are bigger, the peaches juicer, the flowers brighter and the sun stronger. This is the season for picnics at the beach, skinny dipping, sleep away camp, ice cream cones, afternoon naps (preferably in a hammock), farmer’s markets, fire flies and falling stars.

Oh summer night has a smile of light and she sits on a sapphire thrown. 
– Barry Cornwall
Here in the far north there’s been a great deal of rain; the fields and meadows are thriving; the scent of honeysuckle and night jasmine fill the air and the woods are overflowing with wild raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Outside the Astrology Café folks linger in the courtyard, around the fountain or sit at the stone tables under the old apple trees sipping Bellini’s (fresh peach juice and champagne) or chilled lemonade with mint. The garden is alive with wild roses, day-lilies and overhead brightly colored lanterns hang from the trellis. It is late but still light and there is magic in the air but also a sense of unrest. The atmosphere feels charged and electric, the way it does before a storm, or in this case, a total solar eclipse of the sun. 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-er,
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 Russian sage and lavender on the mantle above the fireplace, soft jazz playing on the stereo and in the air is filled with the aroma of vanilla, butter, and maples syrup. We have summer soups: Tomato-Mint Gazpacho, Lithuanian Cold Beet, and Smokey Roasted Corn Chowder served with homemade breads and creamy goat and sheep cheeses. There are salads: Orange, Olive, and Romaine Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette; Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Arugula Salad or Vegan, Kale Cesar Salad. For dessert we have a Coconut Layer Cake with Homemade Peach Ice Cream, Frozen Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites, or non-gluten Macaroons (hazelnut, orange-blossom, salted caramel or rose). There’s wine, Prosecco, Bellini’s and iced herbal teas.

Take your time and when you’re ready, follow me up the stairs, through the library (watch out for the cats), down a narrow corridor, under an arch, then up another flight of stairs to the tower room where our friend, the crone, the wise woman waits for us.

Our friend is sitting at her round wood table wrapped in her midnight blue velvet cloak. Outside the Bay window a slender silver crescent rises in a blue-black sky. Inside the candles illuminate the sacred statues (Mother Mary, Kwan Yin, and Buddha) that are placed around the room; the air is perfumed with the scent of jasmine and rose. Here time seems to stand still. Can you feel it? Our friend smiles warmly and gestures for us to join her at the table. Let the conversation begin. On the table before us are Runes, cards, crystals and sacred stones. Our friend picks a Rune; it is Mannaz, The Self; the first Rune. Listen closely; perhaps there is a message just for you.

     The starting point is the self. Its essence is water. Only clarity, willingness to change, is effective now. A correct relationship with your self is primary, for from it flow all possible correct relationships with others and with the Divine. Remain modest – that is the Oracle’s counsel. Regardless of how great may be your merit, be yielding and devoted, moderate and correct, for then you have a true direction for your way of life.

     Be in the world but not of it. That is implicit here. And yet do not be closed or narrow, or judging. Remain receptive to impulses flowing from the Divine within and without. Here you might contemplate the words from Hamlet: To thine own self be true. And these words, too, may be contemplated: strive to live the ordinary life in a non-ordinary way. Remember at all times what is coming to be and passing away, and focus on that which abides. Nothing less is called for now. This is a time of major growth and rectification; and as a rule rectification must come before progress.Nothing in excess was the second phrase written over the gateway to the temple of Delphi. The first counsel was Know Thyself. With these words, the alphabet of the Viking Runes begins. –

Ralph Blum (The Book of Runes)

 A General Overview of Eclipses

Every month we have a New Moon and a Full Moon. Eclipses, on the other hand, happen four times a year. An eclipse is a New Moon or Full Moon on steroids; super powerful and highly charged. We all experience the energy of the eclipse but only those of us with a planet or an angle within a couple of degrees of the eclipse will feel its full force. If an eclipse falls on our birthday, then it will be an eventful year.
  • Eclipses are dramatic; they shake us up, wake us up and exert a formidable influence when located in a prominent place in the chart.
  • Eclipses are powerful catalysts and bring life’s big events; births, deaths, marriages, divorces, promotions, and big moves.
  • They coincide with breakdowns and breakthroughs. They can “eclipse” someone or something out of our life. Or reward us for hard work and catapult us to fame.
  • At a New Moon (solar) eclipse we end one cycle and begin another. All possibilities are on the table. It’s the best time to start something.
  • A Full Moon (lunar) eclipse is more emotional. It can mark endings or culmination points.
  • Eclipses shine a light on an area of our life. Look at the house where the eclipse is taking place. That’s where you need to pay attention to. Eclipses ask us to look at our life from a new perspective. In the end, they can make us more whole and balanced but first they have to shake things up. They act as course correctors.
  • Eclipses repeat themselves every 19 years. What was happening for you 19 years ago; what is going on now?

Why is the August 21st Eclipse Such a Big Deal?

Ring the bell that still can ring / forget your perfect offering /
there is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in. 

–Leonard Cohen (Anthem)

Called The Great American Eclipse, this is a total eclipse of the Sun and is visible across the continental U.S. That doesn’t happen often. The last time was 99 years ago. This eclipse, at 28 degrees of Leo, is opposite the Aquarius Moon in the chart of America. It also falls on the Ascendant (rising sign) of Donald Trump and his Mars (also in Leo). Eclipses are associated with the fall of kings, leaders, and dynasties. The momentum has been building and something has reached a tipping point. Astrologer Steven Forrest wrote in his superb article on the eclipse: “Something has reached a breaking point in our country. Something needs to die so that something new can be born.  And the impatient sky is pressing us to choose what to do about it.  We are about to reach a crossroads.  The choices – but not the timing of those choices – are in our hands.”Not only is the Sun and Moon in Leo but also Mars and the North Node. Fiery Mars turns up the volume on both the positive Leo themes: leadership, creativity and joy as well as the Leo shadow; arrogance, pride and self-importance. The Leo stellium is part of a grand fire trine with Uranus and Eris in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius. This potent aspect can help us breakthrough old issues and manifest brilliant new plans but this much fire can turn reckless and over confident. And with high-voltage Uranus involved we can “expect the unexpected.”

There is also a grand cardinal cross (a challenging aspect) involving Uranus and Eris in Aries, Ceres and Pluto in Cancer, Jupiter in Libra, and Pluto in Capricorn. In mythology, when Pluto kidnapped Persephone and brought her to the underworld, her mother Ceres (the Greek Demeter) punished the earth. Issues around the earth, the environment and the feminine may escalate during the eclipse. The Sun and Moon in Leo make a quincunx to compassionate Chiron. Finding new ways to heal old wounds are also possible during this time. This is not an easy time but it’s an alchemical time and transformation on deep levels can take place.

What does this eclipse mean for us personally?
Remember who you are.

–The Lion King

Leo is the sign of the performer, the artist, the lion and the king. Leo is more than simply an artist or an entertainer. As Liz Greene writes in The Astrology of Fate; “It is not really about creating something other people can applaud. More profoundly, it seems to describe the development of unique individual essence and its quest for its source.”  At the very heart of Leo is the search for the Self and the journey of actualizing it. It is the hero (or heroine’s) journey.

The myth of Parsifal and the Holy Grail is the story of Leo but it is our story as well.  In mythology Parsifal (the name means “Pure Fool”) was a young knight, inexperienced and naïve. One day Parsifal meets some knights and decides to join them. After travelling for a long time Parsifal comes across the Grail Castle where the Fisher King is dying from a wound that will not heal. The entire kingdom is under a spell and is waiting for that one person who can redeem it. That person must pass a test by asking the right question. Parsifal is granted an audience with the King but obeys his mother (who told him to keep quiet) and doesn’t speak up.

He goes off determined to find a way to break the spell. He has many adventures and learns a great deal but is not successful. He has basically given up all hope but eventually finds himself back at the Grail Castle. He has an audience with the King and this time he answers the question; “Whom does the Grail serve?” “The Grail serves the Grail King” (The Grail worshiper who lives in the castle’s central chamber) and not the Fisher King who represents the ego. The Fisher King is finally able to die, the kingdom is restored and Parsifal becomes a hero.

In a sense, our kingdom, our country, has become a wasteland and is under a spell. New leadership, new heroes will appear but it will take time and not from the old guard but from the new energy that is gathering and growing on the side lines. This time, this eclipse is a wake-up call for all of us.

Can you become yourself in a way that adds a blessed roar to life? Can you make a leap and land on the feet of our soul? –Michael Mead

Can you find your authentic voice; can you speak your truth? Can you let go of the ego and become the hero in your own story? Eclipses are portals from the great above. They open a window where there was a wall and something new can take place. This is a rare second New Moon in Leo and the most powerful New Moon of the year. As the saying goes, “You use the energy or the energy uses you.” Use the power of this eclipse to plant a seed, make a new choice and initiate a plan. Much that is seeded now can come to fruition.

Mercury is retrograde so don’t be in a rush to push your agenda forward. All the information is not available. Instead, be patient and use this time to prepare. The seeds we plant now will unfold over the next six months and even the next 19 years. Mercury goes direct on September 5 at 28 degrees of Leo (the degree of the eclipse); much will be revealed then. The Virgo New Moon on September 19-20 is an excellent time to move forward with your plans. In the meantime: Stay open and teachable. Do the inner work. Like Parsifal, be brave but humble. Remember, it takes courage to become who you really are.

Dear Friend, It is getting late here in the tower above the Astrology Café. The old owl has appeared on the Alder tree outside. The candles have all burned down. The room is filled with your divine presence. Thank you for visiting. Be kind to yourself (and others). Give yourself lots of self-love and self-care. You are worthy. All is well, you are loved, Virginia

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?