Behenian Fixed Star Font

Kent and I made a font a few months ago featuring the glyphs for the Behenian fixed stars, used by medieval astrologers to do magical workings. Well, I drew it, he did all the rest with his mad genius tech skills and unerring Virgo eye for alignment. I’ve been playing with it ever since, layering it over some pictures I took awhile ago when we went for a long hike through Forest Park.

Here is the symbol for Sirius, a fixed star that “gives honor, the goodwill and favor of men and the airy spirits, and the power to pacify nobles and others.” It currently resides at 14° Cancer 18′, which is roughly a degree or two away from where the Sun was when the United States was founded (for you astro nerds reading this I’m not using parans for my breezy pop culture analysis partly because we don’t have the correct time of birth for the US, but also because no one else practically is either and honestly it’s just easier – and yes, I’m aware that the star has changed location since 1776, but DUDE, come on, I made you a font! #getoverit).

ANYWAY, here is Sirius floating above the graceful tendrils of moss growing towards the light of our Sun. The day Kent and I took this walk in the park was before our the POTUS acted to sell off publicly protected lands the size of the state of Connecticut to the highest bidder, in an unprecedented reversal of two centuries worth of conservation efforts because, apparently, these lands afford “no purpose for taxpayers”. I’m not sure I can put into words how peculiar and fantastical this statement seems to me from both a historically mythic and practical standpoint, but maybe we can expect little else from a man who can’t abide stairs and likes to affix his name in gold onto everything he can.

But perhaps you are a fan of number 45, in which case you may want to use the glyph for the fixed star Regulus, which is rising alongside Mars in his natal chart, to suit your own ends (just google “Donald Trump Regulus” to see how many astrologers are doing just that – 74,000 hits and counting!). This could come in handy if you have any revelations you’d like to share regarding August’s eclipse over that point in his chart! I’ve chosen to color Regulus in pink here in honor of number 45’s whole sign twelfth house conjunction of Saturn and Venus, and his pussy-grabbing ways, but perhaps you would prefer a royal purple or blue to go with your political leanings.

The great thing is that being a bleeding heart liberal I’m all for open source, so I’m making this font available for all you to do with it whatever you like, you can download it here, or if you are not even reading this (like Kent claims he wouldn’t) then just keep scrolling to the bottom where I’ve made a Captain Obvious download button to make it suuuuuper easy for you.

Kent went a bit wormholey after he made the font and arranged all of them artfully on the image above in the order we find them on the zodiac. If you want to download the image above but in a handy black on white for printing out, just click here (The straight up astro font he used above will be available sometime this year, sign up for my newsletter to get alerted for that). Also, Kent made the font so that you can learn the glyphs by switching between lowercase for the name of the star and upper case for the glyph. Here’s a handy legend for that, just click on the image below to download it in black on white for printing out:

Use these magical symbols wisely, Little Ducklings, and be sure to credit this page for the font – unless you just can’t with my political ramble here, in which case let’s agree to disagree until we’re through the Pluto return of the US and the Saturn Neptune conjunction of 2025! In any event my prayers are with you and consider this font (you can download it below!) an expression of that.

May you be peaceful

May you be happy

May you be free

Venus Retrograde: Breaking Hearts & Shedding Skins

Venus as an evening star, setting after the Sun. I shot this at Joshua Tree a couple years ago less than an hour after sunset.

“I used to think a broken heart was something you had to put back together, like a favorite dish that fell on the floor and would never be the same again. Now I see that heartbreak often comes from the need to expand. Like a snake shedding a skin, your heart is just too big for the cage you’ve been keeping it in.”

I wrote that June 5th, 2014, six months after a Venus Retrograde that coincided with the last time my heart was broken. A year and four months later, one month after the Venus Retrograde of 2015 I met the love of my life and left LA to move in with him in Portland.

 

Venus goes retrograde about every eighteen months and during that retrograde period she makes a conjunction with the Sun. A conjunction is when a planet occupies the same degree of the zodiac as another from our viewing position on earth. With the Sun a conjunction has a heightened meaning because when a planet conjoins the Sun it disappears from our view, it becomes eclipsed.

During these planetary eclipses the planet ceases to reflect the light of the Sun to us here on earth and engages in a private dance with the Sun. Traditionally the loss of light is seen as a death, and the emergence of the planet on the other side of the conjunction as a rebirth. It’s as if the planet is reseeding itself. In the endless cycle of becoming, it is at this point that the planet and its significations must die in order to be reborn.

Venus is no exception to this phenomena, but because her orbit, like Mercury’s, lies between us and the Sun, she appears to us to make two sets of conjunctions with the Sun in her orbit around it. One conjunction happens when she is on the other side of the Sun, and hence, as far away from us as she can get. The other conjunction occurs during her retrograde cycle, when she is as close to us as she can get. The conjunction at the farthest point away from us is called a superior conjunction because it is considered closer to the heavens and the closer conjunction is called an inferior conjunction, because it lies closer to us, and hence to earthly, or base matters.

Traditionally the superior conjunction is considered, well, superior, as if the effects at this point were granted a sort of celestial, and hence more profound significance. In practice, I have not found this to be the case. In fact, there is something to be said for the deep earthy significance of reconnecting Venusian powers to our immediate, pressing, and selfish concerns. Venus is a planet concerned with the arts of love, both ethereal (superior conjunction) and sensual (inferior). It’s impossible not to read a deep mistrust of lust and the senses in traditional texts, which connect Venus to women and femininity.

Classically the conjunction of a planet to the Sun is considered the beginning of its cycle, which stands to reason, because of the death/rebirth cycle represented by an eclipse. However, in the cases of Venus and Mercury, which each enjoy two conjunctions with the Sun in their orbit, there is a question about which conjunction starts the cycle. Traditionally the superior conjunction is considered the beginning of the cycle, but more recently astrologers, notably Adam Gainsburg, have questioned this, placing the beginning of the cycle with the inferior conjunction during the Venus retrograde.

Adam’s model rescues the morning star Venus (when Venus emerges from the inferior conjunction she will rise as a morning star before the Sun in the mornings) from traditional disfavor. Traditionally, you see, a morning star Venus is considered to operate against her more favorable traits. She is considered a warrior Goddess in this incarnation, which is less about love and more about a fight. Adam’s take is that a morning star Venus is engaged in personal rather than collective concerns, and as an evening star she is engaged in collective concerns. Because those collective concerns are the ones Venus (and women in general) are rewarded for, passivity, receptivity, appreciation, and gentleness, it stands to reason that when Venus stands up and demands to be recognized for her efforts she would be considered unruly, selfish, and base.

In our current time, however, the effort to rise up and protect all female identified peoples and our bodies could be considered a question of the survival of the species. The fact that women are organizing around these principles to fight for healthcare, the right to choose, and a host of other considerations is a necessity, and if that makes us base, well, I’m pretty sure I speak for a whole lot of us when I say, SO FUCKING WHAT.

Honestly, I’m less interested in which conjunction starts the Venus cycle and more that her cycle actually provides the choice of either. Talk about messing with the binary. What if her cycle (and Mercury’s too, but that darling bi/trans/othering planet really deserves their own post) actually represents less a chronological continuum with a beginning and ending point but rather an inward and outward breath? What if it has less to do with getting somewhere and more about being with wherever you/we are actually at?

I am, of course, writing this on the very day Venus approaches the inferior conjunction with the Sun in Aries, which is the sign in which she is in detriment, because Aries is ruled by Mars, and God forbid Venus ever gets, you know, actually angry. God forbid she ever rises up and protects herself, sets a boundary, or says NO. It’s sort of double whammy, this particular retrograde cycle and against the backdrop of all that is happening in the world the stakes feel especially high.

As I write this my chest feels very tight, as if these are words I’ve been longing to share for a long time. I keep sighing and brushing tears from my eyes, trying to clear them so I can see the screen in front of me. There will be people who disagree with my take entirely, and that is fine. I’m not actually talking to you. I’m talking to the women who contributed to the epic emotional labor thread on metafilter the last time Venus went retrograde in 2015. I’m talking to everyone who ever had their heart broken and saved themselves and lived to fall in love again. I’m talking to everyone who’s ever been abused, abandoned, or diminished and had to cut people out of her life in order to survive and overcome her trauma. I’m talking to her, but that means you, because we all have a Her inside us, we all have a Venus, and She needs protecting.

She is worth fighting for.

We need to love her and honor her and to do that we need to start with ourselves. There is no better time to do that then at the inferior conjunction of the Venus retrograde cycle. There is no better time to do that than right now, and to keep the practice going throughout her Morning Star phase, especially as she begins her trek back through Aries from April 29th through June 5th.

On a global scale we are watching the effects of what happens when we do not attend to the needs of the people and the people are feeling it. Those in power are feeling it too. Collectively we are all fed up and ready to riot. Nations are preparing for war.

This is a frightening time, and the outcome is uncertain, but there is no backing away from it. As of March 31st Venus will be rising before the Sun in the pre-dawn sky, glowing faintly there at first and then with increasing brightness as she gains her strength for the fight. As of April 30th she will re-enter Aries, the sign of Mars, the God of war. Whatever your part is to play it is time to play it and play it well.

What have you been swallowing against your will in your own life? Where have you been giving up too much of yourself and not getting enough in return? Stand beside yourself and be an ally now.

Goddess Speed, my little dumplings. Let’s make it so.

 

 

NORWAC – Saturday AND Sunday!

12th house

I’m not even sure where to start now that I’m finally at the end of editing all the photographs I got at NORWAC a couple weeks ago. I first started this project at the ISAR conference in the fall of 2014 as a way of documenting my beloved astrological community and I swear I’m more in love with it now than when I started. This time it took much longer to edit the pictures than I expected, there were just so many. I’m grateful to be at the close of another wonderful round, and I’m humbled by this community and the generous way people shared themselves with me, played with me, and made this project their own.

I’m going to highlight some of the pictures and the people that made them with me, and made this weekend possible, striking, and full of possibility. There are links to the rest of the shots at the end of the post.

The shot above features Corina Dross, Mubeenah Mughal, and Rhea Wolf embodying the nature of the 12th house – the last of the twelve houses to rise because it has just risen! Think about the golden hour when the Sun has just crossed the horizon at dawn, things are suddenly visible but most of us are still asleep and unable to appreciate it, hence the 12th house is all about hiding in plain sight.

Daizy October Latifah

And hiding in plain sight has pretty much been the fate of astrologers of color and queer astrologers for a very long time, but this NORWAC marked a change in that. I saw more astrologers of color and queer astrologers then any astrology conference I’ve ever been to as well as just a whole crew of younger astrologers, in large thanks to the diversity program started by Laura Nalbandian, who organizes NORWAC every year. Sam Reynolds wrote about the program last year on his site, UnlockAstrology.com, making the case for its necessity. NORWAC has always been known for it’s family-round-the-table feeling and to see that table expand and grow to include a new and upcoming crew was a really welcome experience. For those of us who’ve been waiting and longing for more diversity in the astrological community it was deeply moving to see the dream beginning to be realized. I won’t lie, tears were shed.

But not in the Synastic Snaps photobooth! I’m choosing Daizy October Latifah as my poster girl for this outreach program because the way she holds that Libra glyph stick so proud and righteous and PRESENT delights me all the way down to my toes. Libra is usually known for reflecting others, so it’s especially meaningful to see Daizy here reflecting herself with such love. Daizy is one part of Wild Seed Astro, formed at NORWAC by several of the attendees as “a transformative collective of melanated magic” to keep the spirit and momentum of the spark they lit there going. Follow them on their youtube channel to catch what they’re throwing down. They’re just getting started.

Chartreuse Tembo Barriere

What am I gonna say about Chartreuse Tembo Barriere that this picture doesn’t say so much better? Another member of Wild Seed Astro, Chartreuse won my heart with her Leo rising and Capricorn Moon combo. She’s not holding the glyph stick for Leo because it’s SELF EVIDENT, duh. Also, please take a look at the book she’s holding, because this woman is radiating self-healing realness and she’s written a book to help all women do the same by creating a blueprint by which we can own all our parts, especially the dis-owned ones. Only a Capricorn Moon could break that subject down in a way that makes the integration possible, get your copy here.

Jessica Painter and Anders M Renee

OH. MY. GOD, you guys. THESE TWO. I knew when we were creating these images that they would be some of my favorites, and they did not disappoint. There’s a slew of them, each better than the last and I may have lost my heart to them a little. Jessica Painter and Anders Renee, you two made my day! Part of the tribe at Portland School of Astrology, these two could be the poster children for it, the joy and fun they’re emitting is exactly the vibe that school is becoming known for, under the expansive vision and guidance of founder Jayson Paulson.

Tracy Quinlan

I’m going to close out the images from NORWAC with this shot of Tracy Quinlan, who wins the prize for best tee shirts that weekend, and who never took a picture with me without making me split my gut laughing. Her playfulness and camaraderie represent my experience with my astro tribe in the best way. Also, this shot was one of the last ones I took that weekend and damn if it wasn’t exactly the encouragement I most needed to block off all other distractions to finish these images and bring them to you all.

Below you will find links to the images from each of the three days. There is an option to buy images off the site I use to host them, but you can also just drag and drop them to your computer for freeeee! I’ve set the price point for buying them at the lowest setting so I don’t benefit from the cost of the images if you do buy them off the site. However, I happily accept donations, so if you want to contribute to the cost of renting the equipment and the time it takes for me to edit the images feel free to use the donate button at the top right of this page (or scroll to the bottom if you’re on your mobile).

Thanks again to everyone who helped make Synastic Snaps what it is, a direct reflection of this ever expanding community we all love, and the tribe we are creating in every shot. Feel free to share, and please tag #synasticsnaps as you go!

Synastic Snaps Friday

Synastic Snaps Saturday / part one

Synastic Snaps Saturday / part two

Synastic Snaps Sunday

Synastic Snaps at NORWAC – update!

You guys, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and Saturn is mad at me!!! Here’s Kent acting it out for me in our synastry so I don’t get bogged down thinking it’s, you know, reality. I know I said I would have the pictures up by mid last week, but the truth is there are so many of them! Which is AMAZING AND AWESOME, by the way, I just didn’t anticipate the demand, it’s much bigger than the last time I did it. So between that and having other life commitments, I’ve only been able to get through Friday’s images thus far.

However, if you participated in Synastic Snaps on Friday, I’m happy to report they’re up and you can find the images following the link below. I’ve made them web friendly, but if you want a better resolution, just contact me here and I’ll be happy to send you a higher rez image. Just drag and drop or use the download button next to the picture.

http://www.wonderbrightphotography.com/NORWAC-2016/Friday/

NORWAC not a test!-1283

I figure I’ve got about 30 hours of editing left, but I’m feeling wildly optimistic, so I’m going to say I’ll have Saturday’s up by Friday and Sunday’s by the end of the weekend. Wish me luck, and if you see Saturn will you tell him for me I think he’s mad sexy and I’m grateful for all his nagging.

I’ll see you on the other side!

 

Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius

Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius

Mars goes retrograde Sunday, April 17th. It’s bad enough when any planet goes retrograde – when any path we’re on gets murky and unclear and we have to retrace our steps – but Mars! Mars is all about having a clear directive to go after what we want. Something in our sights. A goal, a plan, a way forward.

And you know that joke about how to make God laugh? “Tell him your plans.” The Mars retrograde is the punchline to that joke. Not because our plans are laughable, exactly, but more because the execution never looks the way we think it will. The universe isn’t just listening to what we say, It’s listening to what we DO. And if there’s anything a Mars retrograde is good for, it’s for showing us all the places in our lives where those two things are out of alignment.

So whatever shiny, beautiful thing you have in your sights right now, get ready for it to start shifting before your very eyes. Don’t stop looking at it! Don’t give up and walk away. But it’s time to ask yourself some questions. Because Mars demands excellence. It’s where we fight FOR things, not against things. It’s our ability to pluck up our courage in the face of no agreement and take a stand for what we believe in. For the lives we really want to live.

So as Mars begins to drift backwards over the next ten weeks it’s time to check in and ask yourself, “am I being true to myself?” “are my actions consistent with my words?” “Is this thing I want truly what I want or is it just a substitute?” “Can I do better?” “How can I do better?” “How can I be better?” Take heart Chickadees! Be bold! Be daring! Be brave! Bring snacks! I’ll see you on the other side!

Ask Wonder

Coming Soon!

An astrological advice column for the heartbroken, lost, and deeply perplexed. Have you lost a lover, a cat, or your favorite necklace? Are you wondering if you’ll get that man, that house, or that job?

Wonder no more! Ask her instead! Just fill out the form below! If your question is chosen it will soon be answered!

What are you waiting for?! Ask away!

Lovelandia

Lovelandia

For my going away party Kent and I found some letter balloons at a great party supply shop in San Diego. We agonized over what to say initially but when we finally strung them up I felt confident it would be the subject of an Instagram post in the future.

I didn’t anticipate it would take me over a week to get to it, and honestly it hardly seems possible it’s barely been a week since I took it. At the time my apartment with the the downtown views of LA was bare, the movers had come and gone and left me with an air mattress, and I was living out of my suitcase wearing jeans and a tee shirt pretty much 24/7.

Now I’m in Portland with the heat ON, I’m still living out of a suitcase but fortunately I packed all the sweaters I owned (that would be one) and I’m bundled up in that too. My movers can’t get my stuff to me till the middle of January, it’s been raining since I got here, and I caught a cold.

I’ve never been so happy. Well, maybe when I was a year and a half old, but I didn’t KNOW I was happy then, I just thought that was the way it was.

Now I know better. Happiness isn’t something I can take for granted. At least I don’t think I can. But something strange has been happening to me the past week, so I can’t entirely be sure. Because being able to wrap my arms around someone I love who loves me back pretty much whenever I want and laughing so hard I almost wee myself two to three times a day isn’t something I can intellectualize.

I mean, I know it could all end in a second – one of us could be hit by a bus or taken out by a virus or a madman or a tornado – but I don’t KNOW KNOW that. My body doesn’t know that. My body, which is where I live, is starting to get comfortable. Which is frankly really weird.

I don’t know who I am if I’m happy. But I have the feeling I’m about to find out.

End of an Era

Have a great time in Portland

I’ve been waiting tables for fifteen years at a wonderful restaurant on a magical little corner on the east side of Los Angeles. Today is my last day, and I purposely didn’t wear mascara, in preparation for all the goodbyes I have to say. All weekend I’ve been giving my favorite regulars hugs and discounts and loving looks as they hold my hands and get tearful.

People are usually surprised when I tell them I like waiting tables, and it’s probably because most of us have a hard time doing repetitive work that requires you put other people’s needs above your own. But I’ve learned that being humbled is one of the best things that can happen to a person and the love I’ve experienced on this corner isn’t something I can easily put into words. I’ve been laughing and crying and sharing stories with people here for years that I would never have met otherwise.

I’ve easily fed over two hundred thousand people in the last fifteen years, many of them hundreds of times apiece. And yes, that’s gotta be my ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in the field according to Malcolm Gladwell. And for me that’s been about way more than multi-tasking and being able to carry multiple plates at once.

It’s an incredibly intimate thing to feed people. To be with them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. To give them caffeine and booze and the fried chicken they’ve been looking forward to all week. To soothe people who are low on blood sugar and cranky as hell, to say no to unreasonable requests, to manage pleasing people with being efficient. To accept responsibility even when it’s not your fault. To live in the every dayness of the day to day, foregoing goals and ambition in pursuit of the excellence of the moment.

This gig has been one of the best things that ever happened to me and I’ll never get over it or forget all the people I’ve worked with, for, served, and fed. Thanks for fifteen amazing years, Kitchen! I may be leaving you, but you will never leave me and for that I can only be grateful.

One Door Closes

these boots were made for walking

I bought these boots shortly after I split from my ex years ago. They fit me perfectly the first time I tried them on, with plenty of room across the bridge and a low heel for long walks. I wore them to work so much the grease from the restaurant worked its way into the leather and cracked it. I didn’t care. They were perfectly distressed, stubborn, worn in, and wholly beautiful. I loved them.

I resoled them seven times. I found my current shoe smith after another guy refused to work on them again. My new cobbler earned my undying loyalty, saving my precious boots from the rubbish pile another two years, always laughing when I brought them in and promising to do his best. Finally, however, it’s time to say goodbye. The leather has cracked so much it’s flaked off in bits and left only a soft worn skin that stains and tears easily. I still love them, but I can’t wear them anymore.

Besides, I met someone and I’m moving to Oregon to be with him. Boots with holes in them might be all right for an LA winter, but it won’t do for the PNW.

So I bought new boots last week. They’re a little stiff. They pinch slightly in that way new leather shoes often do. The shaft of the boot is a little higher, the leather a dark chestnut instead of the burnished gold of my old friends. They have that sheen that comes with the promise of something new and unknown.

I know they won’t always be like this. Someday they’ll be worn and soft in all the right places, something I both cherish and take for granted, but that’s not today. Today they look like someone I’m going to be but haven’t quite worked out how yet. Today they’re only full of tomorrow.

And tomorrow can wait.

Venus Retrograde in Leo: Worry About Yourself

City lights

the sky was so purple last night I had to try to catch it

I don’t know about you guys, but this Venus Retrograde has been kicking my ass. I’ve tried to write about it a dozen times hoping I’d be able to locate some light in this hall of fun house mirrors, but no dice. Venus is the planet of love and relationships, so whenever she goes retrograde (about every year and a half) the traditional advice is to pay attention to your relationships and work it out. This time she’s going through Leo, though, so that advice is squared by a factor of about ten.

This is because Leo is the sign ruled by the Sun, so wherever it falls in your chart is the source of whatever light you have to shine. With Venus Retrograding in Leo it’s time for us to square our core mission and intention in life with those we love. If Leo or the Sun in your chart is well placed then this period is likely to be a pretty good time for you, with maybe a few bumps along the way while you adjust your ability to translate your enthusiasms to other people. But ultimately this is the time when the people you care about most will notice your shiny beautiful self and embrace it.

Congratulations! You’re like mini avatars of self evolution and becoming. Now kindly fuck off. Oh, don’t take it that way, I don’t mean it. But the truth is you’re probably not even reading this, you’re too busy cuddling with your lover, because, like I said, FUCK OFF. For reals, this post is really for the rest of us.

Venus Retrograde Jazz hands

I was inspired to make a self portrait but first I had to take some test shots of my invisible hand

Because for the rest of us… well, there’s a reason “this summer has been like Christmas on steroids to divorce lawyers in Hollywood.” It’s because for a lot us locating that place where we shine doesn’t come so easy, and more often than not it’s wrapped up in all sorts of heavy baggage that looks like co-dependency, projection, and buried resentments. It’s that last one that will get you right now, though, because Venus retrograding through Leo is like a giant heart shaped shovel unearthing every last word you’ve kept bottled up for however long you’ve been doing it.

And Mars joining Venus in Leo two weeks ago raised the stakes significantly. Now is no time to be pretending you don’t care whether your significant other makes jokes at your expense, forgets your birthday, or simply doesn’t exist because you’ve been single for that long. Now is no time to shove your head underground pretending you don’t care. You care, all right. And no one is ever going to love what you love the way you do, so trying to get someone else to do it when you can’t even do it yourself is a very tough sell.

Venus Retrograde in Leo love yourself

What this time is good for is getting to the heart of what really matters to you. Who you are for you when no one else is listening. And then for shouting it to the rooftops. Or that person or people in your life who don’t seem to see it the way you need them too, whether it’s your boss, your sister, your father, your kid, your best friend, your business partner, the PTA, or your lover.

Now, they may not listen, and that’s ok. I know it doesn’t seem so, but you have to trust me on this. It really is ok. You’re not telling them how great you are for them. You’re not sharing your light with them to change them, fix them, or diminish them. You’re sharing your light with the world by way of them. This person, place, or thing that isn’t listening and doesn’t see you isn’t the obstacle here. The obstacle isn’t that anyone else can’t see the light you shine. It’s that you, yourself are getting in the way of shining your brightest by attracting people, attitudes, and ways of being that actively diminish your starshine.

This is your chance to change all that.

Will you lose people who want to see you one way and find your self-assertion disruptive? Maybe. I encourage you to think of those losses as dead weight. Necessary dead weight you’ve been carrying too long that it would be super awesome to let go of. Will you lose outdated attitudes about yourself and who you are that are not serving you? LET US HOPE SO. For the love of the Gods, make it so.

Venus Retrograde in Leo cannot delete

When I was taking all these pictures at my window last night I went through them to delete the ones I didn’t like. When I came to the one above I found that it was saved it on my camera as a “protected” image, meaning that I couldn’t delete it until I changed the protection on it.

Because I was thinking about all this stuff at the time, the image really struck me. The rawness of my core belief that I will never be loved by someone who stays with me is really potent and every time I get in there to delete it there’s some tiny sliver of it I find really tough to get out. But what if this sliver in my paw was the grain of sand in my oyster heart? What if, instead of backing away from the pain of it, from the agony of it, I chose to embrace it instead? What if it was the key to my kingdom rather than the locked door of it?

Pema Chödrön talks about this heart wisdom eloquently:

“When I was about six years old I received the essential bodhichitta teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved and mad, kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.”

Right there, I received this pith instruction: we can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.

Venus Retrograde in Leo

So I don’t know about you, my little Chickadees, but I’m going to ride out the remainder of this Venus Retrograde through Leo determined to open up every time my instincts tell me to shut down. Leo doesn’t ask us to hide. Leo asks us to shine. It’s the least we can do.

And as of yesterday Venus has emerged from inside the disk of the Sun. If you go out in the early predawn hours tomorrow you will see her hanging in the sky above the horizon in her guise as the Morning Star. It’s now that she begins her journey towards a self-loving healing, turning her attention to what serves her own purposes best. Don’t fight it, consider that she knows better than you do.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, well, with Mars and Venus heading up to a conjunction at the end of August we may not have much of a choice in the matter. Things will come to a head then, no joke, so whatever and whoever you’re struggling with be prepared to surrender to it in a big way then. It’s no time to back down, my dumplings, don’t let the planets do all the work for you, get in there and work that shovel yourselves. I promise it’s easier that way.

For the record, as I discovered studying Gary Caton’s excellent article on the cycles of Venus and Mars in The Ascendent, it’s the first time Venus and Mars have conjoined in Leo since June of 1991, so if you can remember that far back you might check in with the younger version of yourself to see what lessons you learned then you’re having to re-remember now. Let’s put paid to them this time!

And if you need some help working out which direction to dig don’t forget I’m available for one on one consultations to strategize how to have that conversation with the person in your life you’re practicing these hardcore life/love lessons with.

Book a Heart to Heart with Wonder

Best of luck, Precious Treasures! I will see you on the other side!