Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: Gemini Edition

Mercury retrograde in Gemini, Mercury retrograde, Mercury, retrograde planets, Mercury in Gemini, Gemini, girl with moxie, astrologyWelcome to the Gemini Edition of Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays! The sign of the Twins is all about lighthearted fun, expressing oneself, and boundless curiosity. With Mercury as its ruling planet, life can get even more chaotic and ridiculous when Mercury goes retrograde: plans go sideways, surprises pop up, technology can get wonky. As frustrating as that can be, if we learn how to pivot, our Mercury retrograde experience can be much easier.

Mercury: The Basics

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Hendrik Goltzius / Public domain

Let’s review what we know about Mercury from mythology. Mercury (Hermes) is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. He’s also a trickster and shapeshifter, and loves a good prank. Zeus had a lot of affection for Mercury’s cleverness and entrusted him with several tasks. Mercury was the only god who could freely move into the underworld and was a psychopomp, guiding souls to the underworld.

The dates for Mercury retrograde in Gemini are:

May 14, 2021 – Mercury enters shadow period

May 29, 2021 – Mercury stations retrograde at 24 degrees Gemini

June 22, 2021 – Mercury stations direct at 16 degrees Gemini

July 7, 2021 – Mercury leaves shadow period

Mercury retrograde means a lot of “re” activities, and in light of that, I will repeat what I’ve said before: Mercury has an excellent marketing/PR team, because so many people are aware of Mercury retrograde cycles and how it affects travel, electronic devices, and communication. Those of us with Mercury predominant in our charts (Gemini and Virgo Sun/Rising, in particular) may struggle the most when Mercury is retrograde. The beauty of studying astrology, though, is learning how how planetary transits and retrograde cycles may affect our lives, and finding ways to work with those energies. Being aware of upcoming Mercury retrograde cycles can help you prepare for them.

When Mercury is retrograde or about to go retrograde, regardless of your personal placements, it can help to:

      • Have a Plan B, C and D in case original plans go sideways.
      • Focus on listening deeply to others.
      • Ask questions to confirm & clarify.
      • Pause before responding to a challenging situation.

Retrograde periods are a time to slow down and be reflective. Since Mercury rules Wednesday, I once again encourage you to celebrate Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays for the remainder of this current cycle – and during the shadow period as well. From now through June 16 (when Mercury stations direct) and continuing through July 7 (when Mercury leaves its shadow), spend the next few Wednesdays honoring this versatile, multitalented planet with some very mercurial activities.

Activities for Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: Gemini Edition

Gemini loves a quick list, so here are some activities you can do on Wednesdays during Mercury Retrograde in Gemini.

    • Give/get hand and arm massages.
    • Give/get a manicure – either DIY or treat yourself to a professional manicure. Simply learning how to keep your nails healthy & neat is always good.
    • Write letters, cards, and notes to friends & family.
    • Visit the library – virtually or in person. Gemini rules books, reading and libraries!
    • Learn how to be a better proofreader or editor. Take it from someone who’s worked as a writer, journalist, editor & proofreader: all the grammar apps and spellcheckers in the world cannot make up for editing and proofreading done by a trained professional. Take online classes or pick up some books.
    • Practice your handwriting. Bonus points if you teach yourself how to write with your non-dominant hand! (Gemini rules ambidexterity.)
    • Re-learn how to breathe. This TEDx talk on breathing is very insightful.

 

    • Take a bike ride or short road trip.

May this Mercury retrograde cycle stimulate your curiosity, helping you find new ways to appreciate the slowdown of energy.

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May 26, 2021 – Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

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We start the first eclipse season of 2021 with a lunar eclipse in Sagittarius. This full moon goes to eleven as it ushers in plot twists and surprise endings related to our understanding of the world around us, what we think we know and understand, and where we are completely clueless. Where we see these plot twists & endings depends on where the eclipse occurs in our natal chart.

In 2021, we will have eclipses in Gemini, Sagittarius, and Taurus:

May 26, 2021 – Lunar Eclipse at 5 degrees Sagittarius

June 10, 2021 – Solar Eclipse at 19 degrees Gemini

November 19, 2021 – Lunar Eclipse at 27 degrees Taurus

December 4, 2021 – Solar Eclipse at 12 degrees Sagittarius

During last year’s eclipse season, I wrote about themes for the eclipses:

For the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, the themes are about knowledge and how we use it: are we gathering lots of information for later study and reference (Gemini) or are we synthesizing all that we’ve learned to bring about change (Sagittarius)?

We’ve learned a lot since the December 14, 2020 Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius – but how much of that knowledge is beneficial for our growth? It’s graduation season for many in the USA; are we ready to graduate, armed with all the lessons we’ve learned?

Let’s take a look at the Gemini-Sagittarius opposition to understand how these signs relate to each other.

Gemini – Sagittarius: The Quest for Knowledge

My grandfather once told me, “There are two types of people in this world: those who paint with a big brush and those who paint with a little brush. I’m not saying one is better than the other, though. You need both kinds of people.” That’s an apt description for the Gemini-Sagittarius axis: Gemini is adding in all the details on a smaller canvas with its little brush, while Sagittarius is creating broad, sweeping strokes with its big brush. Who makes the better painting? Depends on who you ask, but the reality is we need both kinds of people, like Grandpa said.

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Both signs are thirsty for knowledge, often insatiably curious about people, life, the world. Gemini seeks out information from a wide variety of sources and may struggle to parse out what’s actually of value. Sagittarius gathers information from multiple sources as well, but has the experience to know what’s worthy of further study.

While traditional astrology links Gemini to “lower mind” and Sagittarius to “higher mind”, it’s not suggesting that Sagittarius is the more intelligent sign. I find it helpful to equate Gemini to a 4- or 5-year-old who’s constantly asking questions, observing the world around them and formulating beliefs based on those observations. Sagittarius is the college graduate who has gleaned enough knowledge to know that not everything they believed as a little kid is actually true.

As a Gemini rising with a stellium in Sagittarius (meaning 3 planets in a single sign), I love these two signs and find them incredibly fascinating for their versatility, breadth of knowledge & skills, and sense of humor. I could write about these opposing signs for days. But I digress – which is oh so very Gemini-Sagittarius!

Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

With this lunar eclipse in Sagittarius, we have permission to step back from our masterpiece and assess our work. Did we paint with a little brush when we should have picked up the big brush? Or vice versa? Stepping away from the painting metaphor for a moment (is it obvious I really love this metaphor?!), can we review and synthesize all the information we’ve gathered?

If you have your Sun, Moon, or Rising in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces (especially those with placements between 1-10 degrees of those signs), these last few days may have been particularly challenging. The world is opening up again after more than a year of restrictions, and in that time we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, our communities, our deepest fears & insecurities – and our greatest hopes & dreams.

If you know your rising sign, here’s a rundown of where you may have been gathering information over the last 5-6 months, and where you need to synthesize the lessons you’ve learned.

      • Aries Rising – personal philosophy, spirituality and beliefs; higher education
      • Taurus Rising – regeneration, transformation, death
      • Gemini Rising – relationships and partnerships
      • Cancer Rising – work and work environment, service, health
      • Leo Rising – creativity & creative pursuits, children, where you find & seek pleasure
      • Virgo Rising – home, family life, your past, ancestors
      • Libra Rising – communication skills & tools for communicating with others, sibling relationships, short trips
      • Scorpio Rising – finances, material possessions, self-esteem
      • Sagittarius Rising – physical appearance, self-awareness
      • Capricorn Rising – subconscious thoughts & feelings, karmic debts
      • Aquarius Rising – friends and social groups, hopes, goals
      • Pisces Rising – career, fame, reputation

You can also read that list for your Sun sign, which would also be impacted, though maybe not as strongly. (Not sure about your rising sign? Visit https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ to generate your natal chart for free using whole sign houses.)

May this lunar eclipse provide you with some fascinating insights on the knowledge you’ve gathered and how to use that knowledge to drive you to become your best self.

May 11, 2021 – New Moon in Taurus

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Today’s New Moon in Taurus provides an opportunity for a grounded, reflective approach to how we want to experience the next six months. With several planets on the verge of retrograde cycles, plus the start of eclipse season with the coming Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on May 26, now is the time to work on setting intentions.

Here’s the planetary lineup as of today:

Sun, Moon, and Uranus in Taurus

Mercury and Venus in Gemini

Mars in Cancer

Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius

Neptune in Pisces

Pluto in Capricorn

The planetary scorecard:

      • 4 planets in air signs
      • 4 planets in earth signs
      • 2 planets in water signs

We also need to look at modalities: with five planets in fixed signs, there’s a much slower pace. No planets in fire contributes to feelings of indolence, stasis and stagnance. But the Moon in Taurus is here to remind us that sometimes the most beneficial growth and change happens over an extended period of time.

Moon in Taurus

You may remember from my November post on the Full Moon in Taurus that the Moon is exalted in this sign. Taurus, a fixed earth sign, surrounds the Moon with creature comforts. Uninterested in abstract notions of emotional fulfillment, a Taurus Moon says, “What will make you feel good right now, love? A warm bath scented with jasmine and roses? A glass of Bordeaux? How about a slice of chocolate cake?” It invites us to find emotional pleasure in connecting with sensory experiences, and reminds us that the psyche is most open to manifesting when it’s well cared for.

Here’s what Chani Nicholas writes about the Moon in Taurus in her book You Were Born for This:

Planets in their exaltation will tend to get attention for their ability to perform their duty. Here, the Moon is productive, giving, and generative.

With all of this in mind, a Taurus New Moon is ideal for manifesting and setting forth intentions. Even if you’re not planning elaborate ritual work today, you can sit quietly and reflect on what you wish to see manifest in your life by November 2021.

New Moon in Taurus – Affirmations for the Signs

Check your Sun/rising sign for affirmations you can use as a starting point for intention setting, journaling, and meditation. I’ve also included areas where you may want to consider manifesting a fresh start.

Aries Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Values, self-worth, financial resources
I create my own security.
All my actions lead me to greater prosperity and abundance.

Taurus Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Physical appearance, identity, outlook on life
Being unapologetically myself is my greatest strength.
I love, respect and approve of myself.

Gemini Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Subconscious, limitations, connection to divine
I trust the flow and process of life.
I know that divine action is taking place right now.

Cancer Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Goals, friendships, social consciousness
I am appreciated by everyone in my life.
I attract people into my life who love, respect and support me.

Leo Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Career, reputation, ambitions
I am good at my job.
I am capable of succeeding in life.

Virgo Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Belief systems, life lessons, aspirations
I bring my knowledge, skills and abilities to everything I say and do.
I am open to learning more about myself and the world around me.

Libra Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Shared resources, instincts, regeneration
My personal transformations allow me to learn and grow.
I willingly share what I have with others.

Scorpio Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Partnerships of all kinds, cooperation, relationships
People are respectful, kind and good to me, and that’s all I ever attract.
I am comfortable establishing and maintaining boundaries with others.

Sagittarius Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Health, service, routines
I am capable of creating new, positive habits and routines.
I am focused on living a healthy, happy life.

Capricorn Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Creativity, pleasure, self-expression
I am limitless in my creative ideas.
I express myself clearly and with love.

Aquarius Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Ancestral history, home, family relationships
I allow myself to release the past.
I build foundations that nurture and support me on my path.

Pisces Sun/Rising

Areas to focus on: Communication, sharing information, awareness
I have a voice that is meant to be heard.
I freely share my knowledge with others.

Not sure about your rising sign? Visit https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ to generate your natal chart for free.

Manifesting at the Taurus New Moon

I’ve mentioned Wayne Dyer’s Meditations for Manifesting before, and once again I highly encourage using this resource as part of your New Moon manifestation ritual work. I can personally attest to seeing changes in my life as a result of working with this meditation practice.

May this Taurus New Moon provide a moment of intention setting and manifestation that will see you through the coming Mercury retrograde and eclipse season.

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread here.

April 26, 2021 – Full Moon in Scorpio

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Full Moon in Scorpio can be an intense period, as the transformative power of Scorpio energy seeks release during this time. The process of transformation does not need to be a difficult one, however, if we embrace Scorpio’s desire to uncover the truth and use it to metamorphose into a better, greater version of ourselves.

Here’s where the planets are currently located:

      • Sun, Mercury, Venus and Uranus in Taurus
      • Moon in Scorpio
      • Mars in Cancer
      • Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius
      • Neptune in Pisces
      • Pluto in Capricorn

With seven planets in fixed signs, the cosmic energy tends toward more stability – and resistance to change. With the Moon in a sign known for its desire to transmute energy in order to gain more power, there’s potential for dramatic shifts and revelations. If we fight the changes, that will make the Moon’s job that much harder. My suggestion: go with the flow!

Moon in Scorpio

I have a friend who is hesitant to tell people she’s a Scorpio because their reactions often lean toward aversion. The sign of Scorpio is frequently typecast as highly sexual, gothic, passionate and vengeful. It can definitely be all those things – but what I find most compelling about Scorpio is its awareness on a cellular level of the circle of life, death and rebirth. Its intensity comes from this secret knowledge of transformation & transmutation, and that’s why I think society and pop culture often has an extreme, sometimes fearful reaction to this sign. (To be fair, I think some Scorpios like and encourage this response – it keeps away those people who aren’t ready for them!)

To understand how Scorpio embodies transformation and transmutation, we need to understand the four stages of metamorphosis for Scorpio. The AstroTwins write:

In its most basic state, Scorpio is the ground-dwelling scorpion who stings every fear-evoking passerby. Second is the serpent, who charms and enchants but can be deadly venomous when threatened. Third, comes the observant (but predatory) eagle, taking in its sweeping view from high overhead and nesting with its lifelong mate. The most transcendent Scorpio form is the phoenix, who rises from the ashes of destruction and shows you the remaining signs of life.

As I mentioned back in November, the Moon is in its fall in this fixed water sign. This luminary would prefer to keep the emotional experience on a gentle, tranquil plane of existence, where feelings can be expressed in a way that’s going to result in greater understanding and connection. But when the Moon is in Scorpio, it’s taking a much deeper dive: what’s at the bottom of the ocean?

Flashback to November 2020

Take your mind back to November 14, 2020, during the Scorpio New Moon. It was a time when perhaps you realized a transformation was necessary; that you needed to hit the Reset button and start fresh in an aspect of your life that was being highlighted by the Scorpio New Moon. Now that the Moon is Full in Scorpio, check in with yourself based on your rising sign below and ask the following questions:

      • Where did I embrace change in mid-November 2020?
      • What areas of my life did I transform or reform at that time?
      • What’s the current status of those changes?
      • Am I now seeing another area that requires transformation in my life?
      • What steps can I take to embrace new changes?

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The Scorpio Full Moon and Your Rising Sign

Aries Rising – regeneration, transformation, death

Taurus Rising – relationships and partnerships

Gemini Rising – work and work environment, service, health

Cancer Rising – creativity & creative pursuits, children, where you find & seek pleasure

Leo Rising – home, family life, your past, ancestors

Virgo Rising – communication skills & tools for communicating with others, sibling relationships, short trips

Libra Rising – finances, material possessions, self-esteem

Scorpio Rising – physical appearance, self-awareness

Sagittarius Rising – subconscious thoughts & feelings, karmic debts

Capricorn Rising – friends and social groups, hopes, goals

Aquarius Rising – career, fame, reputation

Pisces Rising – personal philosophy, spirituality and beliefs; higher education

I hope this Scorpio Full Moon illuminates where change is necessary in your life, and guides your path toward your transformation.

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

April 11, 2021 – New Moon in Aries

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Who’s felt fired up over the last 24 hours? Just me? I didn’t think so. The New Moon in Aries is the spark we need to start something new – and what gets started depends on what we most want to manifest over the next 6 months.

Before I talk about today’s Aries New Moon, let’s take a quick look at where the planets are this weekend.

      • Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus in Aries
      • Mars in Gemini
      • Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius
      • Uranus in Taurus
      • Neptune in Pisces
      • Pluto in Capricorn

If you’re keeping score, that’s 4 planets in fire signs, 3 planets in air signs, 1 planet in water sign and 2 planets in earth signs.* Can this contribute to the burst of energy we may be experiencing? Absolutely. When planets are in fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), they take on more assertive, dynamic traits. We see independent action and a tendency to make impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decisions. With Aries, that’s frequently the case. Ruled by Mars, Aries embodies courageousness and is ready to take charge of any situation. Aries’ motto is I AM.

Moon in Aries

If we associate the signs of the zodiac with human life stages, Aries is the infant of the chart: its needs and desires are self-centered and it hasn’t yet learned how to relate to others in a way that is mindful of other people’s needs. Babies don’t hesitate to let their caretakers know when they need attention, whether they are hungry, tired or need a new diaper. When someone is born with the Moon in Aries, every feeling may be treated like it’s an emergency that must be addressed immediately. Once that feeling is expressed, the Aries Moon person moves on.

When the Moon is in Aries, we all may experience a taste of this energy. Our emotional response is quick and incisive. Tempers may flare easily, but burn out just as fast. An Aries Moon encourages us to embrace and express our feelings when we feel them, whether that’s happiness, frustration, sadness, or passion. While that might seem overwhelming to those of us with our natal Moon in air or earth signs, which can lean toward more reserved, thoughtful (and possibly overintellectualized) emotional expression, there’s something to be learned from an Aries Moon: “Get the feelings out and let them go, because feelings are like buses – there’s always a new one coming down the road!”

New Moon in Aries for the Signs

Check your Sun/rising sign for questions to reflect on for today’s New Moon in Aries, and where you may want to consider setting intentions for the next 6 month cycle.

Aries Sun/Rising
What’s your outlook on life these days? How does your physical activity impact how you feel?

Taurus Sun/Rising
What hidden feelings need to be brought to the surface and addressed, then released? How can you make this process happen?

Gemini Sun/Rising
What hopes, goals and dreams feel the most important to you lately? How can your social circle help you manifest your goals?

Cancer Sun/Rising
What feelings come up when you think about your career? How does your current career path support or detract from what you most want to be known for?

Leo Sun/Rising
How does your personal belief system make you feel about yourself and the world around you? What areas of knowledge excite and inspire you to learn more?

Virgo Sun/Rising
What in your life is ready for release? How can you transmute any negative feelings into more positive ones?

Libra Sun/Rising
How do your close relationships provide emotional support when you need it? What feelings need to be addressed in your relationships?

Scorpio Sun/Rising
What can you do to create more positive feelings in your work environment? How does your physical health affect your ability to do your work effectively?

Sagittarius Sun/Rising
What activities give you the most pleasure? How do your creative projects support or discourage you from expressing your feelings?

Capricorn Sun/Rising
How does your home environment make you feel? What actions can you take to encourage healthy, positive feelings with your family?

Aquarius Sun/Rising
How are you communicating your feelings, whether it’s to yourself or to others? What can you do to communicate more openly?

Pisces Sun/Rising
How do you currently feel about yourself? How do you feel about your financial situation? What can you do to help support healthy, positive feelings about your self-worth?

Not sure about your rising sign? Visit https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ to generate your natal chart for free.

Manifesting at the Aries New Moon

I highly recommend using Wayne Dyer’s Meditations for Manifesting as part of your Aries New Moon manifestation ritual work. It’s a very powerful resource and I can personally attest to seeing changes in my life as a result of working with this meditation practice.

May this Aries New Moon bring you renewed focus and energy for the months ahead!

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread here.

*We could also count Chiron in Aries and the North Node in Gemini, but we’ll focus on planets to keep things simple.

March 28, 2021 – Full Moon in Libra

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The last weekend of March features a Full Moon in Libra and calls to mind what began nearly six months ago, when the Moon was New in Libra. During Aries season, a time when the focus is on asserting our individuality and driving forward, the Libra Full Moon is a commercial break about relationships. It reminds us that how we relate to others is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourself.

Cardinal Signs: Let’s Get It Started

I’ve previously written about fixed signs and mutable signs, and the qualities they share. Now’s a perfect time to discuss the cardinal signs of the zodiac: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. These signs mark the start of a new season and set the stage for the next cycle. It makes sense, then, that cardinal signs are known for initiative and drive. With Aries marking the beginning of the astrological new year and spring in the Northern Hemisphere, its opposing sign Libra heralds the start of autumn. Cancer and Capricorn kick off summer and winter, respectively, in the Northern Hemisphere.

I’ve also written about oppositions and how opposing signs want the same thing, but go about it differently. As a cardinal fire sign, Aries is all about movement: its high energy can be impulsive and brash, ready to take on physical challenges. The sign of the ram burns hot and fast. Libra seeks harmony and moderation, wanting to consider all the options before making a decision. Its cardinal air nature works toward diplomatic solutions and prides itself on its ability to cooperate with others. Their shared goal is staying active: for Aries, it’s physical, self-driven activity; for Libra, it’s mental, other-driven activity.

When the luminaries of the Sun and Moon are in these activity-centered signs, it can make for intense revelations about one’s inner nature, capabilities and shortcomings. Are we too self-centered? Are we thinking about others’ feelings too much or not enough? Answering those questions is the focus of this Full Moon in Libra.

Moon in Libra

Libra is the sign of justice, fairness and balance. Ruled by Venus, Libra seeks to connect with others and finds great joy in relationship and partnership. While many folks may focus solely on the romantic relationships component (easy to do when Venus is involved), Libra is interested in all relationships: business, familial, platonic, amorous. It’s happiest when relating to others.

Libra also feels very strongly about the scales being balanced. It’s said that Libra is interested in “peace at any price” and that can prove to be an issue. Libra does not like confrontation or fuss when it comes to relationships and may overlook major red flags or flaws. All in the name of love, right?

When the Moon is in Libra, relationships come to the forefront. The drive to partner up is strong, but so is connecting with friends and family. A Full Moon in Libra says it’s time to scrutinize our relationships and determine whether or not they are leaving us feeling connected and balanced, or alone and confused.

Flashback to October 2020

Take your mind back to October 16, 2020, during the Libra New Moon. Let’s think of that New Moon as the start of cuffing season, the period of time when singles are looking to find someone to partner with. But let’s expand this concept of cuffing season to include the innate drive to connect more closely with those around us, which often happens as the winter holidays approach and the weather shifts. Perhaps we’re reaching out to friends via text or DMs, calling older family members to talk and share updates, or corresponding with others by mail.

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Now consider this: we’re at the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when the weather fluctuates between cold nights and warm sunny days. We may get a spring itch to change things up in our lives – and since the Sun is in Aries, it’s highly likely that those changes will be more self-focused than other-focused. Is it possible, though, to advocate for ourselves without sacrificing the connections we value? This is the question the Libra Full Moon wants us to ask.

Some questions to consider during your Full Moon rituals and reflections:

      • Did you begin a new relationship or partnership in mid-October 2020? Or did you forge a new connection with a friend or family member?
      • What’s the current status of the new relationships/connections that began nearly 6 months ago?
      • Do you feel emotionally met in your current connections? Why or why not?
      • What would it take for you to feel balanced in your current relationships and connections?
      • Is there an underlying belief about relationships and partnerships that you need to release?

I hope today’s Libra Full Moon brings you clarity and insight into your relationship with your self and with others, and offers you opportunities to move forward in healthy, loving ways.

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Click here.

March 13, 2021 – New Moon in Pisces

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The last new moon of the astrological year offers a moment of reflection. The Pisces New Moon encourages us to sleep and dream big dreams – and when we wake up, it will be spring. But first, we need to explore the profound (and often unfathomable) Piscean nature: its ruling planets, its strengths and challenges, and the weight of the water it swims in.

Jupiter and Neptune, Rulers of Pisces

To understand the nature of Pisces, it’s helpful to take a look at the sign’s planetary rulers, the myths connected to their namesake gods, and the resulting qualities that astrology associates with those planets. Pisces’s traditional ruling planet is Jupiter and its modern ruling planet is Neptune.

Jupiter, known as Zeus in Greek mythology, ruled the skies and was considered the leader of the gods. He was intelligent, conniving, gregarious and seductive. He could be vengeful but he could also be very sentimental, showing deep concern and affection for the multitudes of offspring he sired as well as their mothers, whether mortal, goddess or otherwise.

Neptune, known as Poseidon in Greek mythology, was the brother of Zeus. He was given rulership over the sea and all within it. Poseidon also ruled earthquakes and horses (the Romans didn’t carry over these rulerships to Neptune).

Astrologers associate Jupiter with qualities of

    • Expansion
    • Luck
    • Optimism
    • Higher education
    • Leisure
    • Morality
    • Philosophic reasoning
    • Wealth & prosperity

Neptune is associated with qualities of

    • Dreams
    • Spirituality
    • Illusion and delusion
    • Mystery
    • Psychic phenomena, intuition and extrasensory perception
    • Addictive behavior
    • Ideals

When you look at these two lists, it may have you wondering how Jupiter makes for a good ruler of Pisces. Take a look at that first word for Jupiter: expansion. When we expand our thinking, we open up to possibility and wonder. We give our dreams a place to grow and transform. Pursuing philosophical thoughts and allowing them to expand our experience impacts our relationship to our inner self and the world around us. Neptune embodies what is possible when that expansion is allowed to take place – and as we know, that can lead to destructive or dangerous behavior.

In the 20 years I’ve studied astrology, I have read natal charts for quite a few Pisces folks. One of the first things I tell them is the biggest lesson they have to learn in this lifetime is whether to be a surfer or a sponge.

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A sponge soaks up water – and the more water it holds, the heavier it becomes. It wears out over time holding excess amounts of water.

A surfer rides the waves: they get wet, they fall in the ocean, they get back on the board. Their goal is to harness the power of the water to keep them upright. They respect the water’s power and work with it.

Water represents emotion and feelings. A highly intuitive, psychic sign, Pisces can easily get overwhelmed if it chooses to be a sponge over and over again, channeling that Jupiterian quality of expansion in order to hold onto the Neptunian dreams and mysteries. As a surfer, Pisces gets to be in the water, but not always of the water. The weight is lessened because Pisces has set the boundaries for engagement.

New Moon in Pisces

With a New Moon in Pisces, we are all invited to make a fresh start with our own emotional processing. We get a chance to assess whether we are a sponge or a surfer, and where we need to set boundaries in our emotional experience so that we don’t drown. Your dreams over the last 24-48 hours may be showing you where that work needs to be done.

This New Moon is also a great time to set intentions and goals for the coming months. If you know your rising sign, here’s a rundown of where the New Moon in Pisces can help you focus your attention:

Aries Rising – subconscious thoughts & feelings, karmic debts

Taurus Rising – friends and social groups, hopes, goals

Gemini Rising – career, fame, reputation

Cancer Rising – personal philosophy, spirituality and beliefs; higher education

Leo Rising – regeneration, transformation, death

Virgo Rising – relationships and partnerships

Libra Rising – work and work environment, service, health

Scorpio Rising – creativity & creative pursuits, children, where you find & seek pleasure

Sagittarius Rising – home, family life, your past, ancestors

Capricorn Rising – communication skills & tools for communicating with others, sibling relationships, short trips

Aquarius Rising – finances, material possessions, self-esteem

Pisces Rising – physical appearance, self-awareness

You can also read that list for your Sun sign, which will also be impacted, though maybe not as strongly. (Not sure about your rising sign? Visit https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ to generate your natal chart for free.)

I hope this Pisces New Moon finds you dreaming big dreams – and then using those dreams to set intentions towards living your best life.

Try my New Moon Tarot Spread here.

February 27, 2021 – Full Moon in Virgo

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Exact in the wee hours of Saturday morning, today’s Full Moon in Virgo asks us to find emotional release in service. One of the best ways we can serve ourselves is through examining rituals & routines we began last year, and determine what cycles are ready to close out – and what cycles need more time and attention.

There are currently four planets in mutable signs:

      • Sun, Venus and Neptune in Pisces
      • Moon in Virgo

(We could also count the North Node in Gemini, but we’ll keep it to actual planets for now.)

In astrology, mutable signs – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces – mark the change in seasons; it’s a transitional period in which temperatures and weather may vary by the hour or day. As I type this, we started the morning where I live in Baltimore with grey skies and rain, and now the sun is shining through the haze.

These four signs share characteristics of flexibility and adaptability. They are much more willing to go with the flow than fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio & Aquarius) or cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). Mutable signs are shapeshifters of the zodiac, and they are ruled by planets known for duality, expansiveness and transformative abilities: Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, while Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces. (Note: Pisces’s modern astrological ruler is Neptune. While many astrologers prefer to use traditional planetary rulerships for the signs, and not include Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, I like working with both traditional and modern rulers, as I think it helps in understanding how the signs, planets and houses work in tropical geocentric astrology.)

When the Sun is in Pisces, everything may feel much more nebulous. It’s a dreamy time where we fantasize about the coming spring/fall (depending on whether we’re in the northern or southern hemisphere). We may cast our experiences of the world in a soft blue light or suspend them in deep oceanic waters, because what is reality, anyway?

Fortunately for those of us who can get easily caught in the Piscean riptide, Pisces’s opposing sign, Virgo, which is a mutable earth sign, shows up in the form of the full moon and asks us to get a teensy bit more grounded in reality – and we can do that through looking at our habits, rituals and routines.

Moon in Virgo

As I wrote back in September, the Moon in Virgo is about finding emotional satisfaction in ritual and purpose-driven behavior.

This placement feels emotionally met when it is focused on usefulness. It may not always seem particularly touchy-feely, but its goal is finding bliss in practical pursuits. The Virgo Moon is the mom who says, “If you make your bed in the morning, it will feel so much more comfy and inviting when you’re ready to go to sleep.” And once you take her advice, you discover she was right.

Flashback to September 2020

Take your mind back to September 17, 2020, during the Virgo New Moon. Now that the Moon is Full in Virgo, it’s a good time to review what you began during that Virgo New Moon and see what has sprouted from those seeds you planted.

      • What did you call forth at that time?
      • What new routines, rituals or habits did you start?
      • Are the results of those new routines, rituals or habits quantifiable through any charts, calendars, before/after photos, journal entries, or other tracking?

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If those intentions have borne fruit, then it’s time to say thanks to the universe for what you were able to achieve. Something still in progress? Use this Full Moon to work on manifesting movement toward those goals.

Practical Ways to Honor the Full Moon

      • Clean up! Vacuum, sweep, dust, mop, scrub…you know what to do.
      • Organize your closet, desk, kitchen, whatever most needs some order & structure.

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      • Make a task list for March
      • Write down what you want to manifest this spring

Crystals for the Virgo Full Moon

You can place these crystals on your altar, if you have one, or in a prominent place in your home today and Sunday, February 28.

      • Rhodonite
      • Watermelon tourmaline
      • Sugilite
      • Malachite

May you have bursts of productivity and insights in equal measure during this Virgo Full Moon! I’m off to clean my kitchen and bathroom, then reward myself with a nap.

Want to try out my Full Moon Tarot Spread? Check it out here.

February 11, 2021 – New Moon in Aquarius

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The New Moon in Aquarius meets up with five – count ’em, FIVE – other planets in the sign of the Water Bearer, elevating us into the stratosphere. What happens when we get there is completely up to us.

via GIPHY

Monday was my birthday, so I’ve been paying close attention to the astrology this week, noticing all these planets coming together in Aquarius and the impact it has on the collective, both conscious and unconscious. The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are in Aquarius and it is a planetary board meeting in which each planet has original, innovative insights into what’s necessary in order for change to happen, but the focus differs between them.

In short: we are all tired of the status quo and ready for change – and knowing where to start is overwhelming and exhausting.

That’s where the New Moon in Aquarius comes in and asks us to feel our way through it. Aquarius is not a sign that’s known for emotional depth of feeling – air signs are more about intellectual processing, rationality and logic. They struggle to tap into their feelings and when they do, they are often asking “how” or “why” those feelings are present, because that analytical process is how they navigate through the world. I speak from personal experience, being an Aquarius Sun, Mercury, North Node plus a Gemini rising. It is a major challenge to simply allow feelings to exist and acknowledge them without examining them from all sides.

Chani Nicholas’ book, You Were Born for This, offers affirmations for the signs. Out of the Aquarius affirmations, the one I personally find the most helpful is

My emotions have their own logic.

The New Moon in Aquarius embodies this concept. It says to us, “Look, I know you might not fully understand why you feel how you feel. But you need to just accept that yes, you DO have feelings and yes, they won’t always be rational. Stop acting like your emotional experience has you trapped in an escape room and you have to break out within an hour.”

via GIPHY

Use this new moon energy to simply be present. Let the thoughts and feelings flow through you – write them down in one long rambling journal entry, if you’re so inclined. Meditate with amethyst, moonstone or clear quartz.

Change is all around us, and all we have to do is step into it.

Try out my New Moon Tarot Spread here.

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Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: The Aquarius Edition

We are 5 days into the first Mercury retrograde for 2021 and it’s taken me this long to finally get this post completed. That’s my life as an Aquarius Sun/Mercury, with Gemini rising, when Mercury goes retrograde: plans go sideways, surprises pop up, technology can get wonky. How about you? How have you been forced to pivot lately?

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While Mercury retrograde can be very challenging, it’s also our opportunity to slow things down and be open to changes. With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, the sign of innovation and revolution, it might be more dramatic than usual. But we can channel this energy and make it work for us, not against us.

Mercury: The Basics

Because retrograde cycles ask us to review content, let’s review what we know about Mercury from mythology. Mercury (Hermes) is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Zeus had a lot of affection for Mercury’s cleverness and entrusted him with several tasks. Mercury was the only god who could freely move into the underworld and was a psychopomp, guiding souls to the underworld. (To learn more about Mercury/Hermes, I highly recommend watching this episode of “Great Greek Myths.”)

Mercury is a trickster and shapeshifter. He loves a good joke or prank. While I’ve listed some of the things Mercury rules in a previous post, Mercury also rules:

      • Artisans & craftspeople
      • Bicycling
      • Butterflies
      • Carrots and celery
      • Clothing
      • Conversation
      • Dictionaries and encyclopedias
      • Dogs
      • Fingers, fingernails, hands and arms
      • Handwriting
      • Hygiene – personal and public
      • Imagination
      • Memory
      • Roller skates
      • Stories & storytelling

In astrology, the term retrograde refers to when a planet appears to move backward through the signs. Retrograde cycles for the planets vary – and Mercury’s retrograde cycles are among the shortest, logging in at approximately three weeks. If it feels longer, that’s due to the shadow period, an approximately two-week period when Mercury is moving along a path that it will revisit later. There’s a pre- and post-retrograde shadow period: typically the post-retrograde shadow is not as intense as the pre-retrograde shadow and is more of a final review of everything that occurred during Mercury retrograde.

The dates for Mercury retrograde in Aquarius are:

  • January 15, 2021 – Mercury enters shadow period
  • January 30, 2021 – Mercury stations retrograde at 26 degrees Aquarius
  • February 20, 2021 – Mercury stations direct at 11 degrees Aquarius
  • March 13, 2021 – Mercury leaves shadow period

As I’ve said before, Mercury has an excellent marketing/PR team because so many people are aware of Mercury retrograde cycles and how it affects travel, electronic devices, and communication. Those of us with Mercury predominant in our charts (Gemini and Virgo Sun/Rising, in particular) may struggle the most when Mercury is retrograde. The beauty of studying astrology, though, is learning how how planetary transits and retrograde cycles may affect our lives, and finding ways to work with those energies. Being aware of upcoming Mercury retrograde cycles can help you prepare for them. When Mercury is retrograde or about to go retrograde, regardless of your personal placements, it can help to:

      • Create contingency plans for events that will take place during Mercury retrograde
      • Work on communicating clearly with colleagues, clients, customers about projects and tasks
      • Focus on listening deeply to others
      • Accept that plans may go sideways and you will have to be flexible in your response

As you’ve read in my previous posts about Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde, and Mars retrograde, you know that retrograde periods are a time to move inward. It’s an opportunity to slow down and be reflective on what that sign rules. And since Mercury rules Wednesday, I encourage you to celebrate Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays for the remainder of this current cycle – and perhaps during the shadow period as well. From now through February 17 (and, if you’re so inclined, through March 11) spend the next couple Wednesdays honoring this versatile, multitalented planet with some very mercurial activities.

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Activities for Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: Aquarius Edition

Break your own rules. Aquarius loves a good dose of shock and awe, and with Mercury in retrograde in this sign now’s the time to look at the rules you live by and see if it’s time to break them – especially if those rules are keeping you stuck in unhealthy habits, beliefs or mindsets. I am NOT encouraging you to be unsafe or break the law! To borrow a phrase from reformer & activist John Lewis, consider where you can make good trouble in your own life.

Read about activists, revolutionaries, reformers, and innovators. Aquarius is the sign of revolution, reformation and innovation, and Mercury rules reading, so read books and essays written by or about folks such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Emma Tenayuca, Cesar Chavez, and Luisa Moreno. Online searches on activists will pull up even more names, so have fun with it!

Contact your local leaders. Advocate for your community by sending an email or postcard to your local, regional or national leaders about issues that matter to you.

Get outside. If it’s safe enough for you to do so, go for a bike ride or strap on some roller skates. Take a short trip by car to a place you’ve never been before. No matter your mode of transportation, make sure everything’s in good shape before you start: check tires & wheels, fill up the gas tank, have a paper map handy, bring a phone charger. And don’t forget your keys!

Write often, especially by hand. Get some paper and pen/pencil and write down what’s on your mind. Give it all to the page – it can handle what you have to rant or rave about. Read my post about daily writing rituals if you need some suggestions on how to start.

May this Mercury retrograde period bring you fresh insights into what is in need of change and upheaval in your life, and what changes you wish to bring about, whether it’s personally, professionally, regionally or globally.

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