Winter Astrology Café – 2014

HorseThe Aquarius New Moon, Chinese New Year, Candlemas

Deep winter is a subtle and secret time; it possesses none of the dazzling colors of fall, the bounty and beauty of spring, nor the lushness of summer. This time of year has its own magic but it doesn’t advertise or give itself easily; it requires patience, stamina, and a profound faith. It invites us to slow down, go within and find solace in the frozen landscapes and long nights. In return it offers us a refuge from this hectic world and allows us to prepare for the new life that is even now beginning to stir. It is in the silence and solitude of this private season that we have the opportunity to discover ourselves.

“In the depths of winter under the cold night of wind and stars and shut off from the garden, we look for those hidden and invisible springs that will uncoil, in the still summer air, each new, yet-to-be-imagined rose.” David Whyte (Winter)

Here in the far north our little hamlet is covered with a thick blanket of new snow. The temperature drops and the wind is fierce but there are flashes of life and muted winter sounds. Smoke rises from the chimneys. The jingle of sleigh bells ring out into the night as the horses make their way over thickly packed snow. And down in the meadow skaters glide effortlessly across the frozen pond. High above in a blue-black sky a frosty New Moon glistens like a Christmas ornament. At the edge of town there is a lane that leads to a little cul-de-sac; here, behind a big iron gate is an old house and there you will find The Astrology Café. Inside the fire roars and glasses are raised in toasts. Candlelight flickers and friendships unfold. 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)

Take off your boots and coat; pull up a chair by the fire and make yourself comfortable. There are hearty soups: smoky split pea with homemade croutons, creamy potato-leek, or minestrone. We have stews, quiches or perhaps a lentil loaf with roasted vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. There is freshly made bread and scones, a lovely baked brie and goat cheese. For dessert warm apple-pear cobbler served with double cream, a triple chocolate mousse cake, moist gingerbread, apricot crème brule or shortbread cookies. To drink there’s rich, creamy hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, herbal tea, wine, or a delicious hot toddy to warm you. Take all the time you need and when you’re ready follow me up the staircase (watch out for the cats) past the library, down a corridor, through a door, then up a narrow, winding stairway to the tower where our old friend, the crone, the wise woman is waiting for us.

Her cozy tower sanctuary is lit by candle light and filled with the faint scent of lavender and rose. There is a fire in the hearth illuminating the sacred statues; Kwan Yin, Mary, Buddha, St Bridget. Our friend is seated at her round oak table. Spread out before her are Runes, favorite stones, cards, and crystals. She greets us warmly and beckons us to join her. Slowly she sifts through her purple velvet bag and chooses a Rune. It is Sowelu, the Rune of Wholeness. Listen closely; perhaps there is a message just for you.

“Seeking after wholeness is the Spiritual Warrior’s quest. And yet what you are striving to become in actuality is what you already are in essence: it is your personal myth; that which you are to make conscious, bring into form, and express in a creative way. A Rune of great power, making life force available to you, Sowelu marks a time of recharging and regeneration right down to the cellular level.

Although this Rune has no Reversed position, there is reason for caution. You may see fit to withdraw, to retreat in the face of a pressing situation, especially if events or people are demanding that you expend your energy now. Know that such a retreat is a retreat of strength, and that it can indicate the need for a voyage inward for centering, for balance. Timely retreat is among the skills of the Spiritual Warrior.

At the same time, for some, this Rune counsels opening yourself up, letting the Light into some part of your life that has been secret, shut away. To accomplish this may call for profound recognitions, for admitting to yourself something you have long denied.

“Practice the art of doing without doing: Aim yourself truly and then maintain your aim without manipulative effort. For by our own power we do nothing. Even in loving, it is Love that loves through us.” -Ralph Blum, The Book of Runes

The Aquarius New Moon – January 30

Sun and Moon are in independent Aquarius, the sign of the rebel, the revolutionary, and the genius. Aquarius has the reputation for being unruly but it’s not about fighting against something; the high Aquarian is fighting for something. It’s having the courage to be authentic and true to ourselves. A New Moon is a new beginning and this is the second one this month; two fresh starts in the first month of this year! What will you dedicate this to?

Aquarius is ruled by “change-at-all-cost” Uranus, the planet of breakthroughs and breakdowns. Uranus (in fiery Aries) has been making a challenging square to life-or-death Pluto (in Capricorn) since 2012. We’ve all been feeling the pressure to grow and evolve. Now the stakes are raised as Venus, Jupiter and Mars join Uranus and Pluto to create a grand square (or grand cross). It’s as if these great gods (and goddess) are holding a council on Mount Olympus. What are they asking of us?

“Owning our own story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” —Brene Brown (The Gift of Imperfection)

Venus, the planet that rules love, beauty, money and values, has been retrograde (in practical Capricorn) since December 21; she moves forward on January 31. We’ve all been examining and confronting our relationships: to other people, to money, creativity and ourselves – Venus is also about self-worth. The goddess of love will be staying close to forensic Pluto for the next few weeks while she moves forward, indicating we still have some work to do with those Venus-ruled areas. Pluto is associated with our shadow or dark side; old patterns and complexes can surface now especially around shame and unworthiness. Be willing to do the deep work and face the hard truth. Transformation is possible during this time. “If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.” Brene Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead).

Add macho Mars (in Libra) into this potent mix and suddenly the pressure is turned up. It’s not enough to have the insights, says Mars, you must also take action on what you’ve learned. In diplomatic Libra you can’t simply use force and impose your will; it needs to be a win/win. Because of its retrograde period Mars will be in Libra until the end of July. We are all in training to become spiritual warriors; learning to fight with the shield and not with the sword. Generous Jupiter has a reputation for being lucky but it can also exaggerate and blow things out of proportion so be cautious. At its best Jupiter gives us the faith to follow our dreams. Uranus (called the Great Awakener) makes a sextile (a helpful aspect) to the New Moon bringing sudden insights and inspiration that can lead to a new perspective, a fresh vision, or allow us to finally let go of what has been holding us back.

This New Moon is a powerhouse; it is filled with tension but also great potential. We don’t grow when things are easy; sometimes it takes a crisis to shake us up and wake us up. Move out of your comfort zone. Do one brave thing. Be your authentic self.

The Year of the Horse begins on the New Moon on January 30, 2014

Legend has it that in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to join him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came and Buddha named a year for each animal.

Chinese New Year always commences on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice. It is a time of psychic and emotional rebirth. During the five days prior to the New Year, the Chinese clean their homes thoroughly: nooks and crannies are cleared, and astral debris is swept away before the New Year Dragon awakens. Please, no cleaning and sweeping on the actual day! During the waxing moon, (the two weeks leading up to the Full Moon) families and friends reunite and celebrate; all debts are paid, old grudges are forgiven and ancestors are honored. “Lucky money” is given to children in crisp new red envelopes. Incense is burned and offerings are made to Heaven and Earth; doors are flung open to welcome the New Year; lions, dragons, and unicorns dance in the street. Chinese New Year ends on the Full Moon 15 days later. The 15th day is called the Festival of Lanterns; this year it falls on February 14. Lanterns painted with birds, flowers, and signs of the zodiac are hung in the temples and carried in a parade under the light of the Full Moon.

“Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventures, and surprising romance. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings success. On a global scale, expect some world economics to become stronger, while others experience economic chaos and collapse. Under Horse’s strong influence, there is no middle ground.” Those born in Horse years: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918.” —We’Moon 2014

Mercury goes retrograde from February 6 – February 28: Mercury retrograde is not a good time to launch major projects or make big purchases. It is associated with delays and snags in communication, information, travel and transportation; check details and stay flexible. Be especially careful with computers, cell phones and all kinds of technology. It is not bad; this period during February gives us permission to slow down, pause, rethink and restore. Sometimes we need rest and reflection as much as we need movement and action.

The Theme for February is purification, renewal and rebirth.

The month itself is named for Februa, an ancient festival of purification. This is the time of the year when the glaciers begin to melt, rivers swell, and the rains wash away the earth’s debris. We can begin our own cleansing process, clearing away both the physical and emotional clutter to prepare ourselves for the coming spring season.

Candlemas – February 2

Candlemas is the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. The Celts called this festival Imbolc and it was dedicated to Brigid the ancient Celtic goddess of water, and fire, the holy well and the sacred flame. She presided over smithcraft, poetry, pets, and healing. The Christian Church turned the pagan goddess Brigid into St. Brigid and Imbolc became Candlemas, the Feast of Purification of the Virgin in which candles are lit at midnight to honor the Virgin Mary. Light white candles during February to invoke the spirit of Brigid and invite her to bless and enhance your creative projects. Brigid of the forge / forge for me /new creativity/light and growth aids us both. – Llewellyn’s 2005 Spell-A-Day Almanac

“China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires and bowls of violets – this is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon.” —Constance Spry

Beloved Friends, It is late here in our tower room above the Astrology Café. The fire has gone out and the candles have all burned down. Outside, the old owl has appeared on the branch of the Alder tree. Your presence has been a gift; thank you for sharing this time with me. Use the poetry and magic of this quiet month and this New Moon to reconnect with yourself and your dreams. Invite Brigid to bless and enhance your creative projects and your courageous new beginnings. Love yourself, feel good, be grateful. All is well, you are loved, Virginia

Be sure to check this website for updates on the New and Full Moon. And check out my blog:

I said to my soul be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love for the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought for you are not yet ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

—T. S. Eliot (The Four Quartets)