Friday, October 9, 2020

The Secret to Understanding your Natal Chart in Astrology

 The Secret to Understanding your Natal Chart in Astrology

Astrology is hitting the mainstream and more folks are tuning in to its energy as we head into the Age of Aquarius. In the past, astrology has gotten a bad rep as unreliable hooky. The new age practice of focusing only on the Sun sign meant we only got generic horoscopes that often missed the mark. 

This is because we are so much more than just our Sun sign. If you, like many others, have read about your Sun sign and felt a disconnect, this is not because astrology is false, but because your Sun only plays something like a 1/10 role in the shape of your personality. You really need to look at your chart to see what's at play.

But once you do open that chart and see all those lines and symbols, it can feel so overwhelming. What does it all mean? Which parts matter and which parts are minor?

There is a secret to help you sort it all out.

The Holistic Approach To Reading An Astrological Chart

What is a holistic approach? Well holistic practices take the whole into consideration. In the case of your astro chart, getting familiar with the whole picture before you break it down into details can help you hone in on which parts matter most.

Science has found that forms of play can help us retain information much faster than other study tools. Taking notes and adding relevant doodles is also said to boost your mental capacity for both remembering and understanding information. 

That's why filling a chart in yourself is the best way to really get a deep understanding of any chart you a reading. Drawing in the lines of the houses and aspects, adding the symbols for the zodiac signs and planets, and noting the degrees of each, can give you a deeper familiarity with the chart, than just browsing a printed copy. If a planet has a lot of aspects, or if a lot of planets are at the same degree, in the same sign, or in the same house, you will notice as you fill things in. Patterns that highlight what is most important will emerge for you as your pen and ruler put the planets in place.

Is the chart lopsided with planets clumped together or are they evenly spaced? Is the chart heavy with aspects or clean and direct? Are there any shapes formed by the lines of the aspects as they cross the circle? Triangles are very common, but there could also be a square, a seesaw, a basket, a kite and more.

The shapes and spacing of the planets tell us which planets are most important. If a planet has a lot of lines, is part of a lot of shapes or even part of one big shape, it can indicate that this planet matters and its energies strongly affect this person, as opposed to a planet that has very little action in the chart, which could indicate less influence in the person's life. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into your astrology study, you can download my free Circle Chart pdf that is ready for you print and fill in, by signing up for my newsletter. 

You also get a constellation of plants, planets and pdfs straight to your inbox, every month (no spam, and unsubscribe anytime).

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is also called Florida cranberry or Jamaica sorrel. Indeed, it is prized in Jamaica as a tasty, festive drink that is traditionally brewed around Christmas. But it is popular in many countries- for an upscale jam in Australia, as a fresh summer treat in northern Europe, as a sour green in African curries, as a Mexican agua fresca and so much more. Many parts of the plant, including the seeds, leaves, fruits, and roots, are used either medicinally or in foods.

Medicinally, it is most often used as a diuretic, to reduce hypertension, to treat scurvy, to ease cough, to treat anemia and to balance liver disorders, but there are many more ways it has been used as plant medicine.

As food, the leaves can be used as a cooked green, or added sparingly to salads for a fresh zing. It is a popular accompaniment to fish dishes in various parts of Asia. The seeds are high in protein and can be roasted, used as a coffee substitute or fed to chickens. But the calyx is the part of the plant that everyone is after. This fleshy, bright red cup-like structure contains the plant's seeds. The color and tart taste of the calyces makes them a good replacement for cranberries or rhubarb and useful in pies, sauces, cordials, punches, jams and even wine. I made a Sweet Roselle Syrup with just, sugar, water and fresh calyces. Roselle is high in pectin, so no additional ingredients were necessary (other than time and patience) to achieve a nice, thick consistency. I layered a chocolate cake with this syrup and it was a family hit! I think it would also be interesting on pancakes or as a tangy component in a wing sauce.
The calyces can also be used to make a delicious drink, a tea that is high in Vitamin C, and renowned in countries world wide. I'm not surprised its named after the Rose even though it produces a modest hibiscus flower, because the Rose is the most well-known flower in the world. Roselle is similarly popular, but on a lesser scale. This plant is an annual that can't handle temps below 40F. It grows in the tropics, suited best to zones 9-10, and produces fruit after about 4 months, usually in and around October. Use tender leaves and shoots for cooking throughout the growing season. Harvest calyces when they are plump and shiny. Often the tips of the calyx will scrunch together in what I've dubbed "the kissy face" when they are ripe. Be sure to separate them from the seeds before using them in recipes. The calyces can be stored frozen or dried or processed into the many delicious treats mentioned above. Astrologically, I would classify it as Venusian- ruled by Venus. The nickname, Roselle, that connects Hibiscus sabdariffa to Venus' flower, the Rose, gives us our first clue. The plant bears fruit in October- Libra season- which is also ruled by Venus. The "kissy face" the fruit makes when its ripe, is also very Venusian to me. However, its medicinal properties, are where we can see such a relationship. Hibiscus sabdariffa is often used as a diuretic, which helps the kidneys (ruled by Venus and Libra) release more urine. It has an emollient effect that can remoisten dry skin, or soothe a cough in the throat (ruled by Taurus and Venus). It also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, which all aphrodisiacs are ruled by Venus. It also used in cases of diabetes, which is a Venusian disease. Roselle also restores the blood in anemic patients, and thins the blood in cases of hypertension. The blood is ruled by Mars and Aries, the complementary opposites of Venus and Libra. Fevers, also ruled by Mars, are often treated with Roselle, too.

Most plants/planets have this complementary opposition of uses and characteristics. There are also Mars-ruled plants that treat Venus-affiliated issues. Nettles for example, is a Mars-ruled plant that puts out its blood-nourishing leaves in early spring, during Aries season. But it puts out its seeds during Libra season, and these seeds can be used to treat kidney conditions.
If you are interested in learning more about plants and planets from this perspective, sign up for my email newsletter. You will get a constellation of Plants, Planets and PDFs straight to your inbox every month.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Readings Booked Through November

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Easy 5 min Meditation for Mercury Retrograde


Mercury, among other things, represents the mind.

Your mind is like a personal antenna that transmits and receives information. It can to tune into, amplify and send out any thought.

Your thoughts directly impact your emotions (Moon), your behavior and actions (Mars), what life experiences you attract (Venus), your life path (Sun), your luck (Jupiter) and your karma (Saturn). Your quality of life literally depends on your ability to use the power of your mind. 

To control your mind is to control your destiny.This is why it is so important to be selective of the thoughts you pay attention to.

What thoughts do you choose to focus on?

We have all experienced negative outcomes from acting on negative thoughts at some point in our lives. I know I have. But it isn’t about wishing negative thoughts away. We can’t actually get rid of them. Even the Dali Lama admits to getting angry many times a day. But we can choose not to act on them.

Yogi Bhajan said we have just 3-5 seconds to process and release negative thoughts before they create karma for us. That’s nothing, a few blinks or a breath of fresh air. It can pass before you grab it.

How do we control our mind to take advantage of such a tiny moment?
You need mental self-discipline. The Mind is a Muscle that needs training. This training requires time, discipline and devotion.

But getting started is simple. A 5 minute meditation practice is all you need to begin. Right now.

Easy 5 Min Meditation for Mercury Retrograde

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

10 Tips to Twist Mercury Retrograde to Your Advantage

A mercury retrograde transit often gets blamed for things like computer crashes, miscommunications, showing up late and missed appointments. Once during a retrograde, I had to make 15 phone calls to change one thing on my insurance. I used to dread Mercury Retrograde!

But Mercury is a fleet-footed planet that goes retrograde three times a year, usually for about three weeks each time. That's a lot of time to spend trying to hide under a rock.

What if instead of being afraid, there was something we could do about it? Could we balance or even take advantage of this energy?

As it turns out, yes. Vedic astrologers typically offer remedies and rituals that can balance an afflicted planet or enhance the power of a positive planet. They also offer their clients suggestions for weathering through upcoming transits. The idea is to use the energy for something positive before it has a chance to cause random (and possibly negative) effects in your life. Whether its a natal mercury retrograde or a transit that's tripping you up, I think there is some merit to this concept of fine-tuning planetary energy. 
Here, I give my own modern take on this ancient practice. 

(This is a series! Stay tuned for a collection of rituals and remedies for each of the planets.)

Modern RX for Mercury Retrograde Natal or Transit

1. Abstain from drinking alcohol. This one is recommended for most planet problems, actually. Alcohol tends to brings out the malefic side of planets, even a neutral one like Mercury, so avoid it during any iffy transits or if you are trying to improve a hard aspect in your natal chart.

2. Drink lots of water during a Mercury Retrograde or all the time if you have Mercury Retrograde in your natal chart. Memory and other cognitive functions are diminished when we are dehydrated, making us more likely to miscommunicate, make mistakes, or forget something.

3. Drink green tea, too. It is full of beneficial polyphenols. The mind needs lots of these antioxidants to reduce inflammation, and our memory also gets a boost from mild to moderate caffeine intake. Just mind the sugar, since it basically cancels out the positive effects.

4. Red meat, like alcohol, is another common planetary agitator, so skip the steak for now. Instead, focus on brain food like fish, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, and blueberries during the Mercury Retrograde season.

5. Take a bath with epsom salts and essential oils or a bath tea made brewed from plants related to Mercury, like eucalyptus and mint. Epsom salts have magnesium, which, among many other important roles in our bodies, is responsible for relaying nerve signals from the brain to the body and aiding in brain development, memory and learning.

6. The hands and arms are under Mercury's domain. Do daily hand and wrist stretches or workout your arms. I did this three week lean arms challenge during a recent retrograde.

7. Mercury rules communication, so you might like to learn a new language or refresh yourself on a language you already know but don't use often. I imagine American Sign Language has a strong Mercury influence, since it utilizes the hands for communication. Here is an American Sign Language youtube video for beginners.

8. Mercury also rules words and writing, so you could do a crossword puzzle every day to keep your mind sharp. 

9. Journaling is another great way to channel this energy. Since Mercury also rules business, you could take your journaling up a notch by keeping a business journal.

10. Mercury also rules the local community, education and siblings.You could donate to local education or become a Big Brother/Big Sister. Speaking of brothers and sisters, you could also call or text yours, if you have one. If not, get in contact with cousins, teammates, classmates, or any mates really. 

Mercury Retrograde doesn't have to be scary or stressful, you just have to be prepared and intentional in order to use the energy to your advantage. And don't feel like you have to do all of these things, its more like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Astrology. Pick a few things and make a ritual out of them. Maybe you do wrist stretches and write in a journal every night, and take a bath once a week. Or maybe you take on a new arm workout and challenge your sister to join you. 

Check out this video where I combined some of these remedies and rituals into a three week Mercury Retrograde Challenge.

And if you want remedies and rituals uniquely catered to you, consider a Celestial Self Reading.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tracking the Moon to Understand your Whole Natal Chart and Make Positive Life Changes with Astrology

How to Make Positive Life Changes with Astrology

Astrology is great practice for learning about our inner selves. There are so many ways to use astrology out there, but I've always been a fan of practical knowledge that I can use in tangible ways.

One of my favorite tools for using astrology to make positive changes to your life is tracking the moon. The moon moves through the twelve signs in about 28 days, so in less than a month you can have an idea of how astrology affects you specifically. This is because each planet and its aspects are highlighted as the moon passes over its place in your chart, giving you a really good sense of how your natal chart functions on a larger scale. 

An astrology planner, like the  magic_of_i planner I show here, is a great tool for analyzing these patterns, because it already has a lot of the transits, including the movements of the moon, plugged into each day. All you have to do is write your mood and any major events that happen each day. 

But you don't have to use an astrology planner.  A yearly planner or even a plain notebook would work just fine. A moon map is another great option. It doesn't matter what you use to gather the information, as long as you track it long enough to see your patterns. At the end of each moon cycle, you go back over the month to see how the moon affected you as it touched the different planets in your chart.

You may notice things like:

"I tend to be more hot-headed when it goes over my Mars."

"I get depressed on the days that the moon passes over my moon."

"I get bloated after the moon passes over Jupiter."

These are just examples of what you might learn by tracking your patterns with the movements of the moon. It will be unique for each person, but once you see your trouble spots, you can develop ways to address them, pacify them and use them to your advantage instead.

That might look something like this:

"I tend to be more hot-headed when it goes over my Mars."

-Make sure to exercise on those days instead of blowing up on people.

"I get depressed on the days that the moon passes over my moon."

-Set a friend date and practice self-care during  those days to keep mood up.

"I get bloated after the moon passes over Jupiter."

-Abstain from sweets and alcohol on these 2-3 days of the month. 

-Study some higher knowledge or do a spiritual ritual to feel buoyed instead craving sweets or drinks that leave me bloated.

Likewise, you can look at where you have your best days, and utilize them to get ahead in those areas of your life. Maybe you notice that you are super energetic in the middle of the moon's cycle, so you do a big house cleaning session on the second Sunday of the month. Or maybe you notice that you feel like having fun near the end of the moon's cycle, so you plan outings with your kids or dates with your partner around that time. 

By tracking the movements of the moon, we can make decisions with intention, and use all of our energies wisely, even a Mercury retrograde or a scary Saturn. 

Here is a video where I explain other ways that you can use the movements of the moon to make positive changes in your life.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pluto Says Hi

Libra on the Ascendant, Pluto in Scorpio in the 1st, not conjunct

Behind my Libra facade (ascendant) of light and charm lurks a shadow (pluto) that constantly threatens to crack through my brightly reflective shield. I sometimes feel like I vibrate with the internal struggle that is containing my weird dark self behind the goody goody beauty front- which I call the Smile and Serve- that protects my (Leo) ego from the criticism of our blunt cruel world.

What is so dark about me? I love astrology and plants. Illicit knowledge is what hides behind the hostess smile.

I've long had a deep love for what I dubbed "Section 133." There, tucked into the nonfiction section of the library, behind the books about Christianity and other world religions, was this shelf. This illicit shelf full of books about things like sun signs, palm reading, psychic experiences, and dream interpretations. Everyone around me thought these types of subjects were either fake or evil or both. 

I was generally a good kid, but this was one thing where I actually went out of my way sneaking around. I never cared about boys or parties or sexy clothes but forbidden books? For that, I made elaborate plans to take trips to the library alone. I'd hide the books in my backpack, under my bed, in other books. Now as an adult, the secret keeping continues but on a subtler level. Instead of hiding books, I just read Section 133 EBooks. And my one recurring debt that I hide from my husband is library fines.😂 

But you can't get to where you're going by traveling like you always have. I can't keep hiding the most passionate parts of myself if I ever expect to get where I want to go. Integration is necessary. So instead of hiding, I'm saying Hi. 👋

The Secret to Understanding your Natal Chart in Astrology

 The Secret to Understanding your Natal Chart in Astrology Astrology is hitting the mainstream and more folks are tuning in to its energy as...