Sunday, March 22, 2015

Holding the Line: Andes Mints and Channeling Saturn

Saturn would be first one to tell you that he gets a bad rap in this blog. But one of the areas where Saturn excels is setting and maintaining boundaries and restrictions.

Recently I've seen lots of situations that have gone awry because one person or another doesn't respect someone else's boundaries. On the flip side, many people often allow others to ignore boundaries, which can cause a person to feel like a doormat. 

I was told early on in life that there were "givers" and "takers", and the theme clearly was that the givers were inherently "good" and the takers were inherently "bad". And for a while, I thought of myself as a "giver". But my views have changed: I'm both a giver and a taker now. 

Sure, I'm a giving person--at least I'd like to think I am--but I enforce my boundaries a lot more than I ever have and take time and energy for myself when necessary. While it was a challenge at first, I've realized how much better I am now that I've done it. 

The Wiccan Rede actually says it very well--"Fairly take and fairly give". My mother had her own version: "Being Christian doesn't mean having your face stepped on."

It goes back to the idea of balance. Saturn helps us set boundaries so we can be successful as people. When we don't, we start to run into trouble.

So how do I set my boundaries? Well, I'll give you an example from my tarot practice. I'm very blessed with an amazing group of regular clients, and I'm humbled and honored to read for them. Occasionally, however, I'll get a new client who will ask me why they should pay me to read cards for them, since my "gift" comes from the Universe and I didn't pay for it. 

The answer is actually pretty simple: I'm a professional tarot reader. I spent lots of my time and energy learning the cards, taking classes, and studying to arrive at the skill set that I have now. I'm no different from any other professional. You wouldn't think of not paying your auto mechanic for their time and effort, right? It doesn't matter if your mechanic has a natural gift for fixing cars; even if s/he does, you don't expect that person to do the work for free, do you? It's the same principle. So my boundary is to tell people in advance what a given service costs, and if they choose not to pay it and go elsewhere, that's OK by me. But I won't work for free anymore. 

(NOTE: Before I started charging and had an open box for donations reading cards, one frequent customer gave me three somewhat melted Andes mints as a payment. So I'm glad I set that boundary.)

When I'm the consumer, I set boundaries in other ways. I establish a boundary of how much I am prepared to pay for a particular product or service. If I go to another professional and the cost is more than I want to pay, I can change my boundary and pay for it--which sometimes happens--or I can hold the line and find someone else. If I feel that I didn't receive the level of service I paid for, I will usually bring the problem to someone's attention and likely use someone else in the future. 

Let's look at a more personal example. If you have a friend who is constantly in crisis and you're always there to listen, you're just being a good friend, right? Sure. But if that friend wants to bitch for an hour a day and use up your cell phone minutes, causing you to have to pay for more minutes each month, well...that's a time to set a boundary. You're allowing that person to use your time and your resources, and eventually you will start to resent it.  

This is where it gets harder, because then you have to either 1) confront your friend and tell them--ideally nicely--that you need to talk less on the phone with them, or 2) you establish your boundary in a more subtle way, like not picking up when they call, for example. 

Depending on the situation, either one or a combination of both can work. But it's a challenge, especially if that person expects to talk to you for an hour every day, and the relationship as a whole will take a hit if you try to establish any limit at all. It can be frustrating and difficult. 

So how can you help yourself? 

1) Set your expectations accordingly. Don't expect people to allow you to take advantage of them; offer some kind of compensation for their time, energy, or resources. Note: Gratitude can be considered compensation as well under many circumstances, but to me that's basic human decency and it should be a given when someone does something for you. By the same token, expect people to respect your boundaries, and when they don't, bring it to their attention and expect a change and ideally an apology. 

2) Be careful with promises, and don't promise anything that you're not reasonably sure you can deliver. With the understanding that unforeseen circumstances occur and not everything goes your way all the time (like weather and traffic, for example), if you continually promise and don't follow through, then people will start to distrust you and think of you as unreliable. 

3) If a person repeatedly ignores your boundaries, you should question the value of this person in your life. Being a doormat is no better than being a mooch; it's just two different sides of the same coin.

In short, while Saturn can be a pain in the ass, there's a lot he can teach us about holding the line. I hope you'll channel his energy to "fairly take and fairly give", and not end up pissed off with melted candy as your consolation prize. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Venus Signs by Jessica Shepherd

Venus Signs: Discover Your Erotic Gifts and Secret Desires Through Astrology
Jessica Shepherd
$16.99, Llewellyn
ISBN 978-0-7387-4194-9

Venus is an incredibly important astrological planet, so when the opportunity came along to review Venus Signs, I jumped at the chance and I’m really glad I did. (For the record, I’m listening to Holst’s “Venus: The Bringer of Peace” portion of his suite, “The Planets”, as I write this review.)

Astrology books have to walk a fine line, because while many of us know something about our Sun signs, many of us are unaware of where Venus is in our astrological chart. (If you don’t know, this book will tell you, so no worries there; just take a look at Appendix 2.)

Before Shepherd gets started with the Venus signs, however, she gives a great overview of what your Venus sign describes. As a professional astrologer, I found it to be excellent. Overall, it’s about attraction and connection to other people.

Shepherd briefly mentions if your Venus is retrograde in your natal chart and what that could mean, which is important to at least be cognizant of. She also admits that Venus’ position by house and its aspects—connections—to other planets in the chart can affect how Venus behaves. Even though this is a beginner astrology book, I’m glad she mentioned it anyway.

The meat of this book is about your Venus sign and its attributes. It includes a look at the element your Venus sign is in as well as a mantra for each sign and various “love charms”, or the areas where each particular Venus sign excels.

The title of my chapter, “Venus in Scorpio”, has a great quote by Venus in Scorpio Jodie Foster: “Love people and stay beside them.” Ms. Foster was chosen as the “love goddess” for my chapter, and it’s perfectly appropriate. I thought the information Shepherd provided was very on point and described me well, even the “shadowy” parts. I think my favorite statement was, “If it is off-color or taboo, you delight in it.” Guilty as charged!

Warning: Venus is the planet of love, but Venus in each sign has a dark side. Venus in Scorpio’s may be bigger than most thanks to our two planetary rulers, Mars and Pluto. (And thank you, Ms. Shepherd, for also including Mars as a Scorpio co-ruler!) Be prepared for an ego hit or two as you read through your description. I know I winced once or twice; that part about “being obsessed with a partner or unforgiving” also was very accurate.

I liked at the very end where the author included a quick summary of the “good witch/bad witch” of each individual Venus sign. If you don’t have time to look through the entire book for some quick summary information, check out Appendix 1. This is perfect if you happen to know where someone’s Venus is and you’re walking out the door on a first date, for example.

In short, if you’re looking for a basic primer on the “lesser benefic” of the astrological planets, the great Lady Venus, this is an excellent one to select. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: Find Your Happily Ever After: Relationship Advice from a Professional Psychic, by Tiffany Johnson

Find Your Happily Ever After: Relationship Advice from a Professional Psychic
Tiffany Johnson
ISBN 978-0-7387-4192-5

As a professional psychic, you find that love and relationships is one of the most frequent questions asked by clients. “Is s/he the one for me?”, “Should I stay or should I go?” and “Does this relationship really have potential?” are questions I often get in my practice.

In Find Your Happily Ever After, psychic Tiffany Johnson provides a very real, down-to-earth look at the advice that she gives to her clients during relationship readings. As I read through this book, I saw a lot of good information that I’ve either passed along to my own clients or come to understand in my own life.

The presentation is simple and clear, which I’m a fan of. There isn’t any New Age feel to the work; for me, a journalist or a counselor could have written it. I was really pleased about this, because often, books written by psychics want to shoot for that “otherworldly” quality that makes them downright annoying. I was glad Johnson’s writing style for the book was practical and sensible. It’s good to find a psychic who organizes well, too; the table of contents is a good way to find what you’re looking for at a given stage in a relationship.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the very beginning of chapter 9, entitled “Change”. I liked it so much because it’s a maxim that I have known for some time and agree with totally: “Don’t try to change anyone into who you think they should be. It doesn’t work. Pushing someone to change only creates discontent and resentment. It will never work out well.” In my own practice I often hear, “I wish s/he would be more [INSERT DESIRE HERE].” It’s exactly the same thing. In short, people have to want to change on their own.

I also liked when Johnson talked about “deal breakers” in chapter 4. This is a term I’ve used for a while in relationship readings and they’re very important. Basically, you have to know where you stand on different issues and decide what you can live with and what you can’t. Some of the topics she mentions include religion and morality, politics, and sexuality, among others. You’ve got to be up front and honest with yourself and any potential partner for things to have a firm foundation. “Cheating” is one of the parts that can get thorny for couples. What constitutes cheating for you may not for your partner. I’ve heard the term “emotional cheating” thrown around quite a bit, and it can be just as damaging as sexual infidelity, and in some cases, more so.

Bottom line: You’ll really have to know what your “deal breakers” are, and if you can’t live with it, then it’s time to move on. By the way, the author follows up on this important topic in Chapter 19, “If You Think They Are Cheating”, which is often when people seek out psychics, interestingly enough.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a quick read, but Johnson provides solid, intelligent relationship advice at a level that regular people can understand and appreciate.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Random Meanderings, March 2015

It's been a while since I chimed in, folks. So here I am with some random meanderings:

1) No one gives a fuck about the speed limits on I-95. 

It doesn't really matter where you are. I was driving back to MA last week and let me tell you that while it may say "55", I was doing 70 just to keep up with people. There were plenty of police out there but no one batted an eyelash. 

Pretty much as long as you're under 80, they'll leave you alone. 

2) My beloved is back on the writing trail!

The lovely and talented Jennifer Wells is back and will be re-releasing her first book, Magick Charm, with a novella and two sequels coming. 

Follow her blog to stay on top of the details. If you're on Facebook, check out her new, improved author page

3) Congratulations to my nephew! 

A warm congratulations to Evo Fearnley on his recent confirmation. If you like video game blogs, please check his out here. You can also follow him on Twitter (@Nerd_Mash). He and I like many of the same games. 

4) My web site is down for now, so come here! 

If you were looking for and were directed here, good! I'm debating on whether or not to keep it or do a full re-design of it. If you go to that site, you will be re-directed here automatically. 

Not to worry, though! All the information you need is on the right hand side of the first page (tarot reading dates, code of ethics, etc.). Write to me at should you need anything else. 

5) The Boston accent is alive and well!

WICKED AWESOME NEWS! I had been concerned for some time that the accent was dying out. Thankfully, I was wrong. I recently spent some time up that way only to find out that it is very much still there.

When I had to tell a lady that I didn't live in the area anymore, she said, "And you dared to come back?" I couldn't help my response: "Well, I have to come back and give my parents a hard time about their accents." 

6) Don't travel with ice cream and expect it to stay frozen, even when in a cooler with ice in the wintertime. 

This may seem obvious but I had to learn this one the hard way. I was looking forward to those damn Hoodsie cups! 

7) Congratulations to the recent graduates of ToWC 501!

Last night, Samantha and I were proud to preside over the graduation ceremony of two new Advanced Priests and six new Advanced Priestesses. It's a long road but you made it! We couldn't be more proud of all of you May the Lord and Lady guide your steps! 

8) My upcoming presentation at SOTA

I've been asked to speak at the State of the Art (SOTA) Astrology Conference in Buffalo, NY, this October. I'll be discussing the role of the four Queens of the tarot. 

I highly encourage attending this small, friendly conference. I learned a ton last year and can't wait for October. For more information, check out the Web site of the organizer, Donna van Toen, and follow @SOTAAstrology on Twitter or here for Facebook.

9) This winter can end any time now...

It's been particularly cold here in the DC metro area, with more snow forecast for tomorrow. It's nothing compared to the Boston area, where I had to drive so slowly at times because the snow banks are so big you have to look around them in residential areas. Just insane. Go home,'re drunk. :)

10) Tradition of the Witches Circle High Priest/ess (HP) Program

Our program in the past has been by invitation only, but we're going to be opening it up for people to apply. You must be an Advanced Priest/ess to qualify, and will undergo an interview and application process. If you're accepted, you can look forward to several more years of training. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more details, which should be forthcoming shortly.