Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zombie

Once again, we have reached the end of the A to Z Challenge. Holy fuckballs! It's an amazing exercise but it takes a lot out of you. :)

On this particular post, I'm going to send you back to my post last fall on "The Zombie Tarot". I know, it seems like I'm cheating, but let me tell you: If there's one deck review you need to see again, it's that one.

Thanks for tuning in during April! I'm going to try to keep it going by posting more often in the coming months.

I thank you as always for your time, dear reader, and hope you think it is time well spent.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Youth

Hello everyone, and welcome to my "Y" post about my youth and learning tarot. 

A lot of people ask me about how I got started reading tarot. It's a pretty simple story, actually. 

It was August 1989. My mom wanted to take me to Provincetown, MA, for the day with her best friend, Linda. Now if you know anything about Provincetown--or P-Town, as the Massholes call it--it's a neat place. At the time, it had already become known as a haven for gays, but one of the great things about the town is that they were accepting of things that I hadn't had much experience with. I lived about an hour away, but P-Town is way out on the end of Cape Cod and I had never been.

We had lunch when we got there. I remember sitting in a restaurant, and in a freak accident, a class broke at the table next to mine and a piece of glass bounced right into my eye. Luckily, it bounced right out and did no damage at all. My mom and the restaurant owner were pretty freaked, as I recall. But it's interesting, looking back on it, that something hit me in my eye that day. 

Anyway, at some point that afternoon I saw a metaphysical stand in an open market; the area we were in was set up like a flea market with different stalls. One of them advertized your astrological chart for $20, and astrology was always something that interested me. Right next to it, I saw for the first time the Rider-Waite tarot deck. I asked my mom if I could have both, and she said yes. So my interest in both disciplines actually came from my mother's generosity. She didn't judge or tell me not to; she just said "OK". I have very few "heirlooms" from my youth, but one of them is a metal disc with my initials that my mom had made for me in P-Town as well. I treasure it, and it's a reminder of my spiritual journey. 

I pulled out the cards pretty much immediately and started looking over the "little white book", which is pretty craptacular, all things considered. Less than a week later I was doing readings for friends, picking my way through a totally new situation and really guessing which cards did what. I think I came to the conclusion that the only way I could interpret at the beginning was thinking which cards were "bad" or "good" and then drawing conclusions from there. 

A few weeks later I started getting letters from some of my friends I had read for. They told me that everything I said came true. Of course I was stunned and definitely scared, so I put my tarot cards and my astrology paraphernalia in the back of my closet in a sealed envelope and didn't think I would touch them again. 

That phase lasted three months, and then my Scorpio curiosity got the better of me. I pulled them back out and decided that both things were "wicked cool" and although I was still scared I wanted to continue learning them. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

The only other comment I would make about youth and the tarot is that you need to be very careful when reading for anyone who is under 17. I do it fairly regularly, but only with the permission of a parent or supervising adult. I'm very careful what I say to young people as well when I read for them, reminding them frequently that any angst they might be dealing with will likely pass, and that the reading is just a snapshot in time. 

I've never been read by a minor before, and to be honest and speaking totally personally, I wouldn't allow anyone who is not old enough to vote the opportunity to read me unless it was a classroom setting, or the person were a close family friend. 

I'd never pay someone that young to read for me, and please hear me out: It's not because I don't think that person couldn't tell me something insightful. Frankly, you need to have some life experience to read for others, and I don't think anyone who isn't driving a car by themselves should be charging anyone money for a reading. I don't care how long they've been doing it, or if it's a family tradition. I'd suggest you do the same. 

Thanks again for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my final A to Z Blogging Challenge post! :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xbox

I couldn't resist this one, folks. SERIOUSLY. :)

I'm a huge video game fan. My "G" post from last year should give you some idea of how much I enjoy games in general, but video games are a real passion of mine.

Picture it: It's February 2003, and I'm living in Staten Island, NY. My beloved Jennifer Wells, whose title as MOST AMAZING WIFE ON THE PLANET was already very much in hand, decided to get me my first Xbox. To say I was thrilled is a total understatement. It ranked only behind one other Valentine's Day gift at that time: My cat, Josephine.

I had a Playstation 2 at that time, and had played Xbox at a friend's house. This was my first experience with online consoles. As much as I loved the PS2, either they didn't have a network at that time or it was just in its infancy. Xbox Live, however, was already going strong.

I'll admit that I was a HUGE fan of the PS2. I didn't think there was a better system out there, and at that time Microsoft was new to the game console market and I don't know that I wanted them to be successful, either. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. The first Xbox and its subsequent iterations are just plan awesome.

I spent hours on that thing, playing Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six online with the friend who originally introduced me to it originally and his group of friends. I had a blast.

Later, one aspect of this connectivity that I hadn't even realized was the possibility of playing with people from other nations. Xbox Live is worldwide and you never really know who you'll end up playing with. I met lots of British folks, but I kept up my French skills as well. Most French people were stunned to find out I was American, but once they did they enjoyed playing with me. Lots of good conversations happened over the course of those games, too. I learned many, many terms that they don't normally teach you in school--like about 100 ways to say "to kill" and various military terms, like "grenade" and "sniper".

I play a lot less online these days. Sadly, after being called every name in the book by teenagers who do nothing but sit and play Xbox all day, the online aspect has definitely waned for me. But that doesn't take away the enjoyment of playing on my own.

Currently, I'm into Borderlands 2, and I've started playing Skyrim...but I'm afraid I'll be sucked into it so far that I don't play it that much. Perhaps I will play more once the blogging challenge is over. :)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back Monday for my "Y" post, which will be as much of a surprise to me as to you since I don't know what to write about yet. :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wheel of Fortune

Hello everyone and welcome to my "W" post, where I talk about the Wheel of Fortune in the tarot.

Think about how many images you can come up with that have "around" or "round" in them, or have the image of a wheel or circle. The first one I think of is the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, but there are tons of others. The Wheel of Fortune is one more of these. If you look in the corners of this card, the "wheel of the year" and the progression of time is reinforced by the images there: the bull (Taurus), the lion (Leo), the eagle (Scorpio), and the water-bearer (Aquarius). They are, of course, equidistant from one another in the astrological year, all of them being fixed signs that occur in the middle of a season.

One of the meanings of this card that resonates with me the most is the idea of time, and when I read for people and this card comes up, often it's this idea that comes to the fore. Sometimes it will come up in the context of a relationship that had a time limit. Or it may be the time to do something you've been planning. Of course, sometimes the message is right out of the Tradition of the Witches Circle: "This is your time, this is your hour."

A song that often goes through my head when I think of this card, and it's the October 1965 hit from the Byrds, "Turn, Turn, Turn." As cool as the words are, they come from the book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Bible: "To everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." I also think of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" as he talks about "this fine ol' world" that "keeps spinnin' around".

Appropriately enough, the Wheel of Fortune can indicate a positive turning point. If things have been crappy or not going your way, this card in your future can describe the break that you'll get. If this represents an opportunity, the card is also telling you that this is only for a limited time, so make your decision quickly.

Finally, the Wheel of Fortune can represent the idea of destiny. When certain things happen in your life, you may look back and feel like everything before it was preparing you for this specific moment. So the card may be asking you if you're prepared to embrace your destiny?

Astrologically, the Wheel of Fortune represents happy-go-lucky planet Jupiter, and as such can indicate the presence of a Sagittarius person, or possibly a Pisces person.

Thanks once again for tuning in! Hang in there for a few more days with me, folks! Come back tomorrow for my "X" post.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vesta

Hello everyone, and welcome to my "V" post on the goddess and asteroid Vesta!

Vesta is the Roman goddess of home and hearth. A goddess of domesticity, she deals with anything in the home and is a protector of the family, the spouse, and children. The women who tended the fires all day and night in her temples, known as "Vestal virgins", were required to remain unmarried until a certain age. Talk about dedication!

You may also have heard of Vesta's Greek counterpart, Hestia.

According to The Complete Idiot's Guide Astrology Dictionary, Vesta was discovered in 1807 by Heinrich Olbers. She resonates with both Virgo (day-to-day matters and health) and Scorpio (sexuality, procreation and joint affairs). Vesta's symbol is above.

Her house position in your chart can give you an idea of where you have Vesta's protection, and where you feel the most protective. In my case, Vesta is in the 1st house, which can indicate a lot of desire for self-protection. 

Vesta's sign can indicate how well you tune into your own body, your overall sexual attitudes, and the level of your devotion to spiritual principles. In my chart, it's in Aquarius, which could indicate an awkwardness when I tune into my physical body, for example.

Thanks as always for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "W" post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Untenanted

Hello everyone and welcome to my "U" post, where I talk about "untenanted houses" in astrology.

When you look at someone's astrological chart, you will find that a number of the houses don't have any planets in them. These houses are known as untenanted houses

This is a normal situation; there are 10 planets and 12 houses, so every house can't have a planet. Also, some of the planets will always be close to the sun...Mercury can never go more than one sign away from the sun sign, while Venus will never be more than two signs away from the sun sign in either direction. So those limitations will play a role in where everything is.

When you have one or more planets in a particular house, that area of the horoscope is going to be energized. Depending on the house and the planet sitting in it, there will be particular effects. That's where things start to get interesting, and there are whole books written on this topic.

But what happens if there are no planets in a house? A story in one of my books talks about an astrology student who was concerned because her chart had an untenanted 5th house, and she wanted to have children. She wondered if somehow she couldn't or wouldn't have children because there were no planets here. You could ask the same question about getting married, since you may have an untenanted 7th house, which rules marriage and partnerships.

The answer is that an untenanted house doesn't mean that something will or will not happen to you. Astrology gives you tendencies, but in the end, you decide what your actions are. So even if your astrological chart says that having children may be unlikely--there are such things as "barren planets" as well, for the record--that doesn't mean you should give up. 

(And for the record, your astrological makeup should not be an excuse to behave like an asshole. The loud, arrogant person who constantly craves being the center of attention shouldn't justify it by saying, "I'm a Leo, so what do you expect?" Think of your own examples at will, with apolgies to Leos since it was the first to come to mind; just remember that I thought of Leo first. But I digress.)

If you cut it all away, an untenanted house just means that areas ruled by this house may not have a lot of activity or importance in your life. For example, an untenanted 1st house doesn't mean you don't have a personality--I know there's a joke here, and please stay with me as I ignore it--but it probably means that your ego is not front and center in your life, or that your personal appearance is not of particular importance. An untenanted 10th house doesn't mean you won't be ambitious, but your career is likely not going to be your life's focus. These are just a few of the thousands of possible examples.

So how does an astrologer work with an untenanted house? Well, not having any planets there is hardly the end of the story. The sign on the cusp--the edge--of the house is an important factor in how you deal with all of the areas ruled by that house, so we look at that. In addition, we'll look at the ruling planet of that sign on the cusp as well for additional information.

As an example, let's say you've got an untenanted 6th house and you've got Gemini on the cusp. The 6th house is about health and day-to-day work matters. With Gemini on the cusp, likely you enjoy flexibility in your day-to-day job, and can multitask well, but routines might be a problem for you. In the health area, arms, shoulders, hands, and fingers might be a problem--all Gemini ruled (and in PAIRS, too, like the Twins!)--and likely you will have difficulty maintaining a healthy lifestyle over the long haul, due to your desire to change things up constantly. If Mercury (the sign that rules Gemini!) is sitting in Scorpio, then that will add a level of intensity to the house, and likely you will take 6th house topics very seriously or ignore them completely.

Anyway, I hope you don't worry about these untenanted houses in astrololgical charts. They're just a common part of your astrological makeup.

Thanks as always for tuning in! We're in the home stretch of A to Z, so please tune in tomorrow for my "V" post.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Trine

Hello everyone and welcome to my "T" post! Today's topic is the trine in astrology.

One of the most interesting parts of astrology is the aspects of the various planets in a chart, which is the relationships of the celestial bodies to each other. 

You can think of the planets kind of like a corporation: The sun is your CEO, the moon your VP of human resources, Mercury your CIO, and so on and so forth. Anyway, like people, sometimes the planets get along well, and sometimes they don't.

When two planets in a chart are around 120 degrees apart, they are trine one another. This is typically a rather harmonious relationship, since it's quite likely that the two bodies involved will be of the same element (fire, earth, air, or water). NOTE: How close to 120 degrees they must be can vary from astrologer to astrologer, but I'd say within 5 degrees of 120 is considered a trine for me.

The power of the trine really depends on the planets involved, but it's safe to say that trines to the sun and moon can have a great positive impact on a chart.

An even more powerful aspect is called the grand trine, where three planets in a chart are 120 degrees from each other. When that happens, the element that the grand trine is in is truly energized in the chart. A grand trine in air, for example, may give someone outstanding communication skills, while a grand trine in earth may make working or making money easy. It totally depends on which planets are involved in the grand trine and what houses they are in.

Having trines in a chart is a good thing, but having too many trines or other "positive aspects" can be a potential problem. Too many positive aspects can keep a person from really moving forward because things come too easily. In other words, since "negative aspects" (like squares, planets at 90 degrees apart) can be challenging, someone whose chart is very harmonious may have difficulty because there are fewer obstacles. In fact, some of the real movers and shakers in the world have some very dynamic--and challenging--aspects.

Remember, however, that in astrology, just as in life, you can only play the cards you're dealt. If you happen to know that two planets are trine in your chart, dig a little deeper and find out more about them. Use that fantastic relationship to your advantage. :)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "U" post. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Scorpio

Hello everyone...welcome to my "S" post, where we discuss the often misunderstood 8th sign of the zodiac, Scorpio. 

Now it's no surprise to many of you reading this that I am a Scorpio. It's something that I'm very proud of and take very seriously. So I'm hopeful that today I can give you some fun facts and maybe dismiss a myth or two about my sun sign. 

The first word to come to mind is INTENSITY when it comes to Scorpio. Generally speaking, Scorps are very private people, and as such you may not see the intensity right away. But you can start with the stare. Ever feel like someone is looking at you so hard they're starting right through you? That's the Scorpio stare. I used to do it more often growing up, but I try to reign it in these days because it's unnerving.

Anyway, that intensity is why Scorps can never be just "OK". We're having the best day of our lives or the worst. We love or hate pretty much everything and everybody. If we love you, you can expect our unswerving loyalty, but if we hate you...well, at best you'll be ignored like you never existed. 

Many folks are afraid of Scorpios, and with good reason. Like Scorpio Teddy Roosevelt, we usually speak softly and carry big sticks. Usually just the threat of the big stick is enough to keep most people from causing us harm. If you are foolish enough to mess with us, or one of those people who are under our protection, likely you'll wish you hadn't. 

One of the worst Scorpio traits is vengefulness, and this is why most people are afraid of us. If you remember the movie "The Untouchables" with Sean Connery and Kevin Costner, at one point in a church the two characters are talking and Sean Connery says, "He brings a knife, you bring a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." That statement is the kind of vengeance you may be in for. Many of us have become evolved enough to realize that revenge eventually only hurts ourselves, but if you encounter one of those non-evolved types, you have been warned. 

One example I can give is a Scorpio who was playing a dirty trick on an ex-boyfriend. She went into a bookstore, grabbed a whole bunch of subscription cards for gay pornographic magazines, and had them sent to her ex-boyfriend's house with the "bill me later" box checked. In a few weeks, the poor guy was inundated with gay porn that he didn't ask for. What made it worse was that now his name and address were on TONS of gay porn mailing lists, even after he cleaned up the initial mess. What's interesting is that the Scorpio in question was a really nice woman who would do anything for you. I guess her ex had done something to make her angry. 

Now before you go through your social networks and de-friend everyone who is born between October 23 and November 22, know that the advantages of having a Scorpio friend are as amazing as the disadvantages are scary. Your Scorp friend will be loyal to the very end, long after others have decided they don't want to deal with your drama. They're the type of friend who will loan you money in a pinch without a thought of when it will be paid back. 

Before I go, let me sort of dispel another myth: The sex thing. If you read astrology books, many of them make us out to be complete and total nymphomaniacs. That's not true. Sex is a topic that our sign rules, and so we're very interested in it. I've known Scorps who were sexually obsessed and those with no sex drive at all. But likely Scorps will be very comfortable discussing it with those closest to them. 

Final fun fact: Scorpio's raw willpower makes it the most powerful sign of the Zodiac, but the question is if we will use that power for good or for evil. 

Here are a few famous sun sign Scorps:

  • Gordon Ramsay
  • Billy Graham
  • Julia Roberts
  • Zig Ziglar
  • Larry Flynt
More U.S. Presidents were born under the sign of Scorpio than any other. ;)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "T" post. :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Reversals

Hi everyone...today's post is about reversals in the tarot.

One of the many choices a tarot reader faces is whether or not to use reversals. Simply put, reversals are when a tarot deck is arranged with all the cards upright, and a card comes up the opposite direction, or "reversed". When the card comes up reversed, the meaning is the opposite of the standard meaning, or, in some cases, the card's energy doesn't come through fully.

Here's what I mean. Let's take a card like the Tower, which can be "shock and awe" in many different circumstances. If it comes up reversed, maybe it's the shock and awe of layoffs, but not as many people lose their jobs. Maybe it's the shocking revelation, but it turns out you really knew it was coming.

Before I continue, let me be clear: Reversals are a philosophical choice for each reader, but in the end, as long as you received the message you're supposed to get.

I chose not to use reversals early on in my tarot practice. I found that the cards have enough meaning on their own; there are 78 cards, each with their own palette of meanings. To double it to 156 seemed to be unnecessary, in my humble opinion. But again...you choose what's best for you!

Thanks for tuning in! Come back on Monday for my "S" post.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Questions in Tarot Readings

Hello everyone! Today's "Q" post is about questions in tarot readings.

Many tarot clients ask me "Do I need to ask a question?" The query is a valid one, and the simple answer, for me at least, is "No." Every tarot reader is different, of course, but I don't believe you need to have a "question" to have a great tarot reading.

Let me explain. When I started learning tarot, I preferred questions that were more specific, because the book I was using--Nancy Garen's Tarot Made Easy, since you asked--was set up in category style so you could easily find the insights you were looking for. But I never had a philosophical conflict with open-ended readings.

Nowadays, my clients fall into two categories: Those who are looking for specific information on a particular area--love and work are my two most popular areas to work in--and those who want me to tell them what I "see" without any restrictions. Both types of readings are equally effective. It really depends on what your own needs are. If you choose not to use a question, you may find at the end that you don't get the answer you're really looking for.

Unfortunately, one other possible reason some clients--especially first-time clients--ask me to tell them what I see without a question is because they are trying to test my ability as a reader. They want to see if I'm any good or just full of shit. These are folks who will often not answer any questions I may ask them, either, because they feel like I should "know" already. 

Here are a few other pieces of advice regarding tarot questions:
  • Don't ask the question if you don't want the answer! I don't read for people who "only want to hear good news" because life doesn't work that way.
  • A lot of clients ask me questions without asking those in their lives for answers. I'm happy to provide guidance, of course, but don't be afraid to ask for what you want. For example, if you're asking me if your marriage is stable, I'm guessing 1) you already know the answer to that question and 2) did you talk to your spouse?
  • I don't answer questions with "ever" in the title; the tarot reading is a snapshot in time and as such those types of questions won't work.
Finally, let's talk tarot question ethics for a moment. You may have heard the old joke about the two psychics who call each other on the phone and one of them answers the phone saying, "Hello! You're fine. How am I?" Well, it's my ethical responsibility to only provide information about you and any other topic you like that pertains to YOU during the reading. Ethical questions may include things like:
  • [PERSON] and I are fighting right now. What can I do to resolve it?
  • I just started dating [PERSON] and want to know how it's going to go.
Unethical questions involve people that are unrelated to the matter at hand, and may include items like these:
  • Is my ex-boyfriend dating someone else already?
  • I'd like to know about my mother-in-law. What's that bitch up to?
Before you ask, the unethical "example" questions are real ones that I have received and did not answer. I have found, however, that once people know they have crossed a line, they seem to understand why I won't answer particular questions.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into tarot questions.

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "R" post.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pele

Welcome to my "P" post about the goddess Pele!

Pele is from the Hawaiian pantheon. She is known as the goddess of fire, volcanoes, wind, and lightning. At least three different legends discuss the origin of Pele, but the most popular one appears to be that she comes from a dormant volcano.

Hawaiians worshipped Pele through the early 1800s, even after the arrival of Christian missionaries.

As a fire goddess, Pele rules creativity, passion, drive, and love. Today, however, many Pagans worship her also as a warrior goddess as well.

One of the more interesting parts of Pele is that she often appears in pop culture references. Various bands and albums have been named for her, and one of my favorite video games--the "Borderlands" series--also has a character that has many similarities to "the earth-eating goddess".

Thanks as always for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "Q" post. :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

O is for Osiris

Hello everyone...welcome to my "O" post about Osiris!

Osiris is an Egyptian father god who is the husband of Isis. He is known mainly for his rulership over the underworld. What is interesting, however, is that Osiris not only acts as a fair judge of the Egyptian afterlife, but also of new life and anything associated with natural cycles, such as agriculture. As such, Osiris is often depicted with green skin.

Killed by a jealous god, Set, his body was magickally reanimated by Isis, which allowed him to father Horus with her.

Osiris is known for his just rule, and as such was not a deity that Egyptians feared. He is a great example of a kind father god. He's a god that I look forward to working with more as I grow in my role as a spiritual leader.

Thanks for tuning in to my "O" post! Come back tomorrow for my "P" post. :)

N is for Nepthys

Hello everyone and welcome to my post on the goddess Nepthys!

An important member of the Egyptian pantheon, Nepthys is a goddess who rules decay, death, magick, and the invisible. She is often overshadowed by her twin sister, Isis, who is well-known and beloved by many who follow a Wiccan path. She is known by many names, but most of the information I have seen refer to her as "The Excellent Goddess" or "The Useful Goddess". Both she and Isis are on many sarcophagi together.

Nepthys is the "shadow" side of Isis, and as such was often invoked for funerals and death rites. She provides comfort to those who mourn, and helps speed souls who have passed over to their final rest. When Osiris was dismembered, she helped find the pieces.

For me, I'd consider Nepthys a dark goddess. Death is a natural part of life, but Nepthys can help us to see the positive in the shadows. Just as we will all die physically one day, we will be reborn in millions of ways an infinite number of times.

Nepthys is not a goddess that I would work with every day, speaking personally, but I think she could be very helpful for anyone mourning someone lost, whether that is through a physical passing or the ending of a relationship. It is in those times that we learn the most about ourselves, and Nepthys can help us understand and accept these changes.

This post is dedicated to a very special woman who introduced me to Nepthys. :)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "O" post.

M is for Mars

Hello everyone and welcome to my "M" post about the astrological aspects of Mars.

So everyone knows that men are from Mars and women are from Venus...or so they say. But Mars is an important astrological planet for both men and women, because it gives us a dynamic energy that can be used both to create and to destroy.

Mars is named for the god of war, and if you remember the myth you'll know a lot about the Mars energy in your astrological chart. Mars provides the will to do battle in life when we must stand our ground, as well as the aggression and courage that we need to survive our daily battles.

Of course, Mars also provides the impetus to have sex. How many times in movies have you seen a couple have a fight and then somehow it evolves into lust? That's Mars at work. But let's be clear on this: Love and lust have two different astrological sources. Mars provides the sex drive, but love--the desire for union with another--comes from Venus.

Mars reveals the nature of the "animal" inside of each of us, both men and women, and fuels not only our desire to win and succeed, but also to strive for what we want. If you want to lead, command, or control others, you can thank--or blame, depending on your feelings on it--Mars.

Just like the position of Venus in a man's chart may indicate what type of woman turns him on, the position of Mars in a woman's chart may give some clues into the type of man she's looking for.

Careers ruled by Mars include anyone who works with sharp metal implements--surgeon, butcher, and barber, for example, anyone in the military, and all athletes since sports are just another metaphor for war, anyway. :)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "N" post!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Leo

Hi there and welcome to my "L" post, where I talk about the glorious and magnificent 5th sign of the Zodiac--Leo!

The fixed fire sign of the astrological year, Leo folks embody the spirit of their ruling planet, the sun. Their positive attitudes and "sunny" dispositions make them extremely attractive to others, and unlike many of the other signs, Leo can handle--and many enjoy--being the center of attention. Think of the sun's position in our solar system...what's at the center? Right. So Leo folks are often attracted to the limelight. The theatre is one area ruled by Leo.

You will often find them in the lap of luxury or out at play. Like the big cats they represent, Leo folks enjoy indulging in the finer things in life, and if they can afford it, then why worry about what it costs? They are exceptionally generous and love picking up the check when you go out. This can be a problem if they really can't afford it, but more on that later. Generally speaking, Leo people will do anything for those they love, and in romance, no one can wine and dine like Leo.

Some of the drawbacks of Leo are very easy to spot. They don't call a group of lions a pride for nothing, and pride is one of the major potential Leo downfalls. As kings and queens of the jungle--or in this case, the zodiac--if they decide that the rest of us are just peons who are around to do their bidding, there can be strife. Of course, a lot of your standard pride-related afflictions--egotism, arrogance, and the like--can plague Leos. While many astrology books will tell you that, they don't say why. And the why, dear readers, is the most interesting question. They're snappy dressers and usually look well put together. They're positive and nice. They mean well. So why would they have a tendency to act like spoiled children, who want to leave menial tasks like laundry, cleaning, and paying bills, to people whose time is less valuable than their own?

On the surface, Leo is a sign that loves the razzle-dazzle. The song from the musical "Chicago" called "Give 'Em the Old Razzle-Dazzle" always makes me think of Leo. One of the lines from the song is "How can they see with sequins in their eyes?" The sequins are what Leo wants you to see. They don't want you to look at them in a very deep way, because if you do you might find them wanting in some way. Many Leo people have problems with self-esteem; they want to give you the impression that everything is perfect, which of course it isn't. But it's not perfect for anyone. It's that sense of inadequacy that may lead them to seek constant reassurance from others, that they are really liked and respected. Being generous and nice definitely keeps people coming back.

What many Leo folks need to understand is that they're fantastic people just the way they are. They don't have to be at the center all the time; they won't be forgotten or neglected. The biggest challenge for them will be to make how they feel about themselves inside match the way they try to make other people feel: Confident, happy, and loved.

There is an old astrological saying: "Leo leads from the front, and Scorpio leads from behind." One of the reasons why Scorps and Leos tend to have difficulty is that Leo can project confidence with nothing behind it, and Scorpio will see right through that. Leo, on the other hand, may not take Scorpio seriously because that quiet person in the corner may not readily jump confidently into the limelight like they will. But there are definitely some challenges here: Scorpio is fixed water and the polar opposite of fixed fire Leo. 

If the differences are respected, however, the combination of the two can be amazing! My mother-in-law is fortunate enough to have Leo sun and Scorpio moon, an astrological powerhouse that makes her outgoing and fun but still intuitive and devious. And just ask Scorpio Hillary Clinton about the power of Leo! Her husband Bill and Barack Obama are both Leos, and she's done rather well with both of them, don't you think?

In addition to the theatre and drama in general, Leo also rules the 5th house and a number of other areas:
  • Creativity
  • Fun and recreation of all kinds
  • Romance and love affairs
  • Children
  • Sex for pleasure
  • Celebrities 
Thanks so much for tuning in! Please come back on Monday for my "M" post! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kapaun

Hi everyone! Today's blog is about a man whose incredible spiritual leadership helped many soldiers survive in a very difficult situation. 

Anonymous photo of Fr. Kapaun
(Anonymous/Associated Press)

Try to imagine yourself in this scenario: You're taken prisoner by enemy forces and forced to walk 80 miles to a prison camp at the beginning of winter. You don't have cold-weather gear and when you get to your final destination, you're fed barely enough food to survive. You watch helplessly as your fellow soldiers die around you each day. I think anyone will agree that's a horrific situation.

Now imagine the same scenario, only this time, you're the chaplain of your fellow prisoners. In a life-or-death situation like this one was, it would have been very easy for the chaplain to worry about keeping himself alive and letting the rest fend for themselves.

Fr. Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest from Kansas, was a chaplain in the Korean War in late 1950 and found himself in this very situation. But instead of trying to keep himself alive, he rose above the conditions and continued to support his troops. He traded his watch for a blanket and cut it into socks for the soldiers. He gave away his food, and stole food to keep his fellow prisoners alive. He could have escaped with the able-bodied soldiers before he was captured, but chose to stay with the wounded. He never returned from the POW camp, but his actions and leadership helped keep many alive.

Yesterday, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. I encourage you to read the entire story from the Washington Post. It's truly amazing. I've also included the link to the book written about him; I plan to buy it myself.

These days it's way too easy to villify spiritual leaders of every faith. With all of the negative things you can find about them to look at on the Internet, I feel like Fr. Kapaun deserves a moment of your precious time. He's the kind of spiritual leader that all of us should expect, and those of us who are spiritual leaders can learn a lot from his example of sacrifice and selfless service. I truly hope the Catholic church decides to make him a saint one day.

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "L" post!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Juno

Hello and welcome to my "J" post, where I introduce the goddess Juno! 

Juno was an incredibly important goddess for in the Roman pantheon. The wife of all-powerful Jupiter, she demanded to be treated as an equal; as such, she is known as the "Queen of the Universe". 

The month "June" is named for her, and she is the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Since ancient times, June was always thought of as the best month to get hitched because of Juno's influence, around the time of the "honeyed moon", and even today June is a huge month for matrimony. 

Roman women used to celebrate Matronalia on March 1 to honor Juno and ask for protection for their families and their husbands. Juno is a fiercely independent mother goddess who will readily come to the defense of those in need, especially women, children, and families.

An asteroid discovered in 1804 by German astronomer Karl Harding was named for Juno, which you may know. But what you may not be aware of is Juno's astrological influence.   
The astrological symbol for Juno is above, to the left of the statue.

Many of you may be thinking "Wait...what? Asteroids can have an astrological influence?" The answer is a resounding YES. Five asteroids are often used by astrologers, especially in birth charts, to illuminate activity within the different houses: Ceres, Pallas Athene, Vesta, Chiron, and Juno.

According to the Complete Idiot's Guide Astrology Dictionary--which, in my humble opinion, should be on every astrologer's bookshelf!--Juno relates to not only marriage and childbirth, but partnerships as a whole. As such she resonates with two astrological signs--Libra (marriage and partnerships) and Scorpio (sex for procreation and joint endeavors). Juno's sign and house in your chart will help you understand where you're likely to find someone "with whom you may have a long-term, committed relationship." She also can give you hints on how to make happier relationships.

The Dictionary gives a fantastic explanation of the difference between Venus, who you normally think of with partnerships, and Juno, that I'll include here: "She [Juno] is similar to Venus in effect, except that Venus rules who excites and attracts you about your partner, and Juno is about getting along on a day-to-day basis." So while Venus will show you who turns you on, Juno will help you find and retain a partner over the long haul.

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "K" post. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Isis

Hello everyone! Today's post is about Isis, an Egyptian mother goddess beloved by many Witches. 

Egyptians worshipped Isis as the ideal mother and wife to her consort, Osiris, as well as a goddess of nature and magick. She used her magickal abilities to restore Osiris to life after he was murdered, and was a patron goddess of children and the downtrodden. 

Isis' son Horus is also a beloved figure in the Egyptian pantheon, and it is said that early Christianity took images of Isis suckling Horus to model art involving Mary and the baby Jesus. 

Isis is a wonderful goddess to work with if you're in need of protection, or if your maternal instincts or compassion need a boost. She'll help you see a situation from someone else's point of view, and make you more sensitive to the suffering of those less fortunate than yourself. 

Thanks for tuning in for my "I" post! Come back tomorrow for "J". 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for House

Hi everyone...today's post is about the astrological houses. 

A "house" is a place where someone lives. In astrology, the planets "live" in the houses. Their locations give tons of information to anyone looking at an astrological chart. Here's an astrological chart below, divided up into 12 locations, or "houses". 

If the astrological planets are the WHAT, and the signs are the HOW, then the houses are the WHERE. 

The 1st House, which begins at the "Rising Sign", or "Ascendant", begins on your left, at the point that would be 9:00 on a clock. Notice that in the first house, near the center circle, there is a "1"to make it easier to find. 

Between each house is a dividing line, known as a "cusp". If you follow the wheel around counterclockwise, you'll see the 2nd house, then the 3rd, and so on until you arrive at the 12th. 

While there are many different ways to calculate the houses, which is a topic we won't get into here, each house has a particular significance. If someone has a particular planet or planets in a particular house, it can have an overall impact on an individual. 

Below you'll find a very short look at each "house" and what areas of life may be activated with planets sitting there. Keep in mind that this is just a quick intro. Whole books have been written about the houses, and I even have a book that focuses on one house in particular. 

1st house: Ego, personality, dress
2nd house: Money, stuff, security
3rd house: Communication, early education, siblings
4th house: Family, domestic matters, relationship to "hidden" parent
5th house: Creativity, drama, fun
6th house: Health, service, day-to-day work
7th house: Partnerships, (1st) marriage, open enemies
8th: Sex, transformation, joint assets
9th: Spirituality, ethics, travel
10th: Career, public image, relationship to "dominant" parent
11th: Friends, networks, clubs/organizations
12th: Subconscious mind, karma, anything hidden

Each house has a natural ruler, and if you know the signs in order you'll easily figure out which sign rules each house. Aries rules the first house, Taurus the second, and so on all the way around. If you know something about the sign's attributes, you'll find the house's properties match up well. 

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "I" post. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Gemini

Hello and welcome to my "G" post. I'm writing about the power of Gemini today!

There's an old astrology joke that goes something like this:

"What did one Gemini say to the other Gemini?"
"Wait...what did you say?"

Sometimes it can seem like there's more than one person in the Gemini's body, or maybe even more than two. At least they don't stay angry for long. 

All kidding aside, Gemini is an amazing sign. Powered by lightning-fast Mercury intellect, the Gemini is the ultimate "jack of all trades" with a fantastic ability to synthesize information quickly and accurately. They're also great to be around at parties because they have the gift of gab, and can easily start conversations with unknown people because they know a little something about everything. 

Mercury also bestows the gift of excellent writing and speaking to Gemini folks, and it's in this area that I'd like to introduce a woman who I'm truly thrilled is a part of my life, Amy Lyre Turner

Amy is a talented poet whose book, "Pieces of the Soul", is one of the most powerful poetry books I have ever read, and this is coming from a man who studied quite a bit of poetry in college. She ranks right up there with Charles Baudelaire and Alphonse de Lamartine as one of my out and out favorite poets of all time. If you haven't read Pieces of the Soul, you need to get yourself a copy. And you should read her blog, too. Shameless marketing completed. :)

Writing usually comes easy for Gemini. So Gemini folks makes excellent authors as well as poets, and have a flair for improving the writing of others. I actually know not one but two Gemini editors--Amy, and a former boss, Katje, who could be on the phone, talking to someone in person in her office and reading a document at the SAME TIME. 

Any profession where using words is paramount is where Gemini can be found. The legal professions about with Geminis, who are comfortable in both prosecuting and defense roles. They can do either equally well, and can use the other "twin" to imagine how their opponent will try any given case. Did I mention that Amy is also a mental health counselor? So we've got the brain and words. How could you ask for more Gemini than that? AWESOME. 

With all this amazing stuff comes some drawbacks. Don't expect deep emotions from most Gemini people; words are much easier for them. As such, Gemini people can be very nasty when they choose to be, and get the "bitch/bastard of the Zodiac" award for that very reason. They're also excellent sources; they know everything that's going on in any given situation, and usually they're pretty quick to dish the dirt. Just remember, though, that anything about yourself that you share may be shared as well. To Gemini, any information is interesting. 

Also, they can drive people NUTS when they show up late, early, at the wrong time, on the wrong day, at the wrong address, etc. Reliability is not a Gemini strong suit, so do yourself a favor and give them an extra 30 minutes to get anyplace and confirm all plans with them prior to heading out the door. 

Keep your Gemini interested and you will have a friend for life. :)

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "H" post. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ten Random Meanderings for My Day Off

WHEW! The first week of the A to Z Challenge is now in the books, and I'm just dying to write something unstructured. So Saturn gets shoved in a closet and Neptune and Jupiter come out to play for my blog today in my random meanderings.

1) Watching people on a cell phone at the gym makes me cringe. My workout is my time, and if my phone is present I'm listening to music on it or watching a movie. No way in hell I want you to hear me huff and puff. 

2) Relaxing is not my strong suit. The idea of watching television or sitting around staring at the walls for hours on end makes me cringe. I'm improving at this task, but the idea of saying "I'm working at relaxing" seems to defeat the point of well, relaxing. But let it not be said that I won't take on this monumental task with the seriousness and dedication to duty that I apply to everything else. 

3) I'm going away on an unexpected vacation soon, to the oldest city in the United States...St. Augustine, FL. My beloved has said I need a vacation desperately (re-read post #2 above). Don't worry, dear readers...your A to Z posts will not be interrupted. 

4) Speaking of St. Augustine, check out his bio sometime! He was a Scorpio and astrology was one of the many things he studied. IMAGINE THAT. :)

5) I haven't been on FaceBook as much lately. In some ways, that's a good thing, but in some ways it's not. Thanks to those of you who post things to my wall, and thanks for your patience as I reply. 

6) Remember when you take a class how much time the teacher has to prepare. There's a pile of astrology books calling my name as I research the newest class for the Tradition of the Witches Circle, Intermediate Astrology. I'm so looking forward to the class, but since it's the first time we're running it, I'm prepping all my notes and have some fantastic help from graphic designer sister Samantha Harvey

7) Before I forget, if you know of any good bars in St. Augustine, please let me know. I'm not planning to be completely sober as often as possible. If there are as many bars in St. Augustine as old people, we should be in good shape; I don't want to deprive my father-in-law any opportunity to buy me alcohol. Just sayin'. (Yes, the Saturn in me would have put this up with the earlier St. Augustine information, but that's why these are RANDOM. Hello Neptune...or Uranus!)

8) I've started thinking about getting another kitten. We're still in the early stages...I haven't done any serious research or anything. Josephine was my familiar and I want to give the traditional year and a day waiting period before bringing another cat into my life. MoMo and Luna have done their furry best to fill the hole, but I miss my Jo. A part of me always will.

9) I never realized how fanatical people are about Dunkin' Donuts. I had a few people I know bemoan the fact that there wasn't one closer. I love it that I've visited the first one, and being a Masshole I feel like it's part of my heritage. Maybe I need to grab one of their chocolate chip cookies today. So good. 

10) Inspirational speaker and fellow Scorpio Zig Ziglar once said "Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you." While this quote isn't in the book I'm about to mention, you can find many more Scorpio quotes that are typical of the sign from famous Scorpios in "The Quotable Scorpio" by Mary Valby. And YES, if you're one of the other 11 less fortunate astrological signs, Mary does one book on pretty much each one of the rest. Just to show you how much I respect all of you, I got Scorpio as a gift first, but plan to buy all the rest. So no hate mail, please. If you're feeling the need to write and spew venom, how about sending an email to your members of Congress? Just a thought. 

Enjoy your Sunday! Tune in tomorrow for my "G" post. I've said that already, of course, but considering that many Geminis are going to read it, it bears repeating. ;)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fool

If you've ever looked at a deck of tarot cards, you'll notice they usually number the major arcana cards with a Roman numeral. There is one card, however, that's listed as "0", and that card is the Fool.

He's not before or after any other card. He's the 0 for a reason: He can come up anywhere in the tarot.

In many tarot decks, you'll see the Fool walking off a cliff, usually with a dog in tow. How does he know that he's going to be fine? Well, he doesn't. He takes it on faith that no matter what comes his way, he can handle it. And when the Fool comes up in a reading, many times the response is "have faith."

The Fool can also represent new beginnings of all kinds. I'm sure you remember when you were the "new kid"; it can be a nervous and somewhat intimidating feeling. And it happens to us as adults all the time when we join a new group, get a new job, or deal with new or unusual situations. 

Ignorance is often an attribute that comes up with the Fool. But for me there's a huge difference between "ignorance" and "stupidity". The Fool is naive and new to many things, and he just needs to learn them. We're not questioning his intellectual capacity to do so.

By the way, ladies, I keep using "he" in this post mainly because the Rider-Waite-Smith cards have a male Fool. That doesn't mean you can't embody the Fool yourselves. :)

Overall, I like to see the Fool come up, but there are a few situations to be aware of when you see him that may give you pause:

  • He can indicate an abrupt, totally unexpected change out of the blue;
  • He can tell you that other people think that you are totally out of your mind; and
  • He may indicate that you or someone in your reading is engaging in "risky" (read: foolish) behavior. 

You won't be surprised to hear that the fool can also represent a person. I've seen it come up more than once for people's bosses at work. Just sayin'. :)

The Fool's ignorance is endearing, and he reminds us that we've all been "the new kid on the block". So as a more philosophical message, I like to think of the Fool as "the curse of knowledge". If you haven't heard of this, it's the concept that once we know something--anything--we forget what it was like NOT to know it. 

Astrologically, the Fool represents the planet Uranus, which includes Aquarius folks. So if he shows up...think about any Aquarius people--or anyone totally quirky and truly unique--that you may know. 

Thanks for tuning in! Please come back on Monday for my "G" post about the wonderful sign of Gemini and my Gemini sister Amy Lyre Turner. :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Eagle

Hi everyone! Today's topic is about a creature you don't normally think of astrologically: The Eagle.

Think of the twelve astrological signs. We've got rams, bulls, twins, crabs, lions, virgins, scales, scorpions, centaurs, goats, water-bearers, and fish. If you didn't see an eagle in there, good for you! There wasn't one.

The sign of Scorpio is one that actually has more than one symbol associated with it. Everyone knows the scorpion. It embodies some of the more negative qualities of the sign--a venomous animal that stings. Scorpio men and women that have not "evolved" embody the scorpion.

But Scorpio men and women who have evolved are considered eagles. They can rise above the pettiness, jealousy, and vengefulness. The eagle is a noble symbol, and it's something that Scorpio people should aspire to.

If you read tarot cards, check out the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot cards "The Wheel of Fortune" and "The World", you'll see an eagle in a corner of each. That's a nod to the sign of Scorpio.

Hopefully, you'll never look at eagles the same way again!

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "F" post. :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dignity

Hi everyone! Today's post is about what we refer to as "dignities" in astrology.

Every astrological sign has a ruling planet. Mars, for example, is the ruling planet of Aries, and the Sun is the ruling planet of Leo.

In an astrological chart, when the planet occupies the sign that it rules, that planet is "in its dignity" or "dignified". They're important, because the energy of a planet in its dignity flows freely, like a river running down hill. I like to think of it as "home field advantage". The planet is extremely comfortable there. For the Sun, it's in its dignity in Leo.

A fantastic position for a planet is in its exaltation. It's not completely at home, but it's like being at your best friend's house. The planet's energy is empowered here. The Sun is exalted in Aries, for example.

Opposite the sign of its exaltation is the sign of its fall. A planet in its fall is weakened, and doesn't operate very effectively. Imagine a river with a lot of rocks and other debris blocking the way. The Sun's fall is in Libra.

Finally, a sign in its detriment is in its most unfavorable location, opposite the sign of its dignity. The Sun is in its detriment in Aquarius; there, it has the hardest time showing its power.

As you look over astrological charts, keep the dignities in mind. You can find charts and explanations of the different rulerships on many excellent astrology websites and in tons of books.

Thanks for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "E" post. :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Court Cards

Today's topic is about the court cards of the tarot.

Your standard tarot deck has 78 cards. 22 of them are the major arcana, and another 40 are the pips (ace through ten). The 16 cards that remain are known as the tarot court.

The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck has four of each of the following kinds of cards, one of each of the suits of wands, pentacles, swords, and cups. While there are many different ways to interpret these cards, here are some examples to work with.

Kings are a masculine energy, and tend to be an active form of the elemental energy. For me, kings can represent males over 18 years old.

Queens are a feminine energy, and for me seem more passive. Queens can represent females over 18.

Pages are messengers, and the type of message depends on the element. For me, they represent children--anyone under 18--or immature adults, in either a good or bad way.

Knights for me are attitude adjustments. When they come up, they don't show up as people. The real question for the Knight in my view is how the client is going to use the energy of the knight.

Many people express frustration with the court cards because the palette of possible meanings for them is huge. My advice for learning to work with them is to take your time and start with very basic meanings, and then work your way outward. A good handle on the four elements--fire, earth, air, and water--will also make this process a lot easier; you can use the various court cards to represent people of particular astrological signs as well.

Thanks for tuning in! Please come back tomorrow for my "D" post. :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for BFF Astrology

"BFF", of course, means "best friend forever". Astrology can be used to help you determine if your BFF is here to stay, and if you may have difficulties down the road. And unlike synastry, where we are looking at two astrological charts to determine compatibility, for BFFs it's a simpler process.

What may be surprising is that the sun's position--your "sun sign"--doesn't really get involved here. The moon will have the influence. The moon represents your emotional center in astrology.

To get started, find out what your moon sign is. If you know the date, place, and time of your birth, a number of free astrological Web sites will be able to tell you with a few mouse clicks. Do the same for your BFF and take a look.

Astrologers will tell you that you're looking for a "positive aspect" between your moon sign and your BFF's moon sign. In other words, the moon signs have to play well together. So how do you know?

Let's say that your moon is in Aries, a fire sign. If your BFF also has an Aries moon, that's the optimal situation, and when it happens it's totally awesome. Likely you two hit it off right away, and if you didn't, well...it probably didn't take long for a deeper friendship to start blossoming.

If your BFF has a moon sign in the same element (fire, earth, air, or water), then that's another positive aspect. So if your BFF's moon sign is Leo or Sagittarius, our you will have an easier time becoming friends and staying friends over the long haul.

If that's not the case, don't fret! Your BFF may have her moon in the complementary element; in the case of fire, its complement is air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius). None of these are horrible places for the moon to be, and while it might not be as easy, you can still make it work. NOTE: Aries moon and Libra moon are opposites, and as such there might be some additional balancing that needs to happen here.

Once we get away from fire and air moons for our example, things get more complicated. The Aries moon doesn't do terrifically well with the earth sign moons (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn). Maybe that person will find the BFF too insecure, too stodgy, or too boring to hang on to long-term.

Water and fire are opposites. Our Aries moon lady will struggle in this relationship if her BFF's moon sign is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).

Anything is possible under the sun of course--don't write off your BFF because their moon sign isn't compatible with yours. But it can give you some insights into how you two will get along.

Using our example above, let's say that your moon is in Aries, but your BFF's moon is in Cancer. These are both cardinal signs, which tend toward leadership, so there may be a little bit of a power struggle for you. You may find that you want your BFF to speak up when they don't, and she may think that your ego is writing checks your body can't cash. Cancer moon is very powerful--the moon rules Cancer--so it's very comfortable and emotional for your BFF, but you may have difficulty with your own emotions.

Anyway, that's a little bit about BFF astrology! Hope you do some of your own research and check it out.

Thanks as always for tuning in! Come back tomorrow for my "C" post.