Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Flowering: A Summer Solstice Poem




© 2018 by Joyce Mason

The Sun
stops what it's doing,
poses before moving onto
give birth to the blooms, 
a selfie capturing the turning point.

We gather at Summer Solstice,
the pause that reinvigorates us
before bursting into full flower.

Cusp of Cancer:
the beat before
the final push
to be fully alive.

~~~

Photo Credit: © zphoto83 - Fotolia.com


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Signposts on the Spiritual Journey




 "We are made of star stuff”~~ Carl Sagan

Post © 2018 by Joyce Mason

I walked into a metaphysical store recently and, to my surprise, the only thing I walked out with was a thank-you card for a friend. Nothing rang my chimes; I felt there was nothing there I needed.


In direct contrast to the early days of my spiritual quest, I would walk into one of these stores wishing I was as rich as Oprah so I could buy the entire lot. Every crystal, every inspirational plaque, every stick of incense, bottle of essential oil and sage called my name. And let’s not get started on the jewelry and t-shirts. I craved reminders and symbols of what I knew, instinctively, would help me feel better, loved, less anxious, and cured of past relationship pain. At one with a divine essence that didn’t feel ominous or a life that seemed to demand such difficult psychological work.

The day/night contrast made me look back on 40+ years of finding myself through my relationship with God/Goddess/All That Is, or my shortcut word for the Invisible, the Universe. I guess that’s the first big takeaway from years of studying mysticism, Edgar Cayce, astrology, tarot, meditation, and religions, among other tools. God and the Universe are One.

Science and spirituality are not enemies but simply the visible/invisible twins that run the Earth Show.

Reflecting on all this, I now realize that the accoutrements, whether they are crystals, Mala beads, statues or mantras, are simply keys to help us get inside ourselves—to unlock the God Within. That’s what Jesus meant when He said we could do anything he could. I don’t need another crystal necklace to help me find God; I just need to get quiet and open my mind to the Infinite. I can speak or listen or just hang out in the Divine Oneness.

This small observation with big ramifications feels like a good report card. I’ll never know everything (who could?), but in this part of my life, I have passed many tests and am comfortable in my own soul, just like I’m getting more comfortable in my own skin. The skin is just the shell that houses spirit, so it makes sense that there is penetration between the two.

Another sign of how I’m doing is that religion or spirituality has become integrated into my life. They are no longer separate quests or subjects in Earth School. I use the tools less, including astrology, and I find All That Is in my everyday interactions with my fellow humans. Gone is the snobbery of only wanting to hang out with “people who are evolved,” an idea that now is now laughable. As the Dalai Lama says, “Kindness is my religion.” I try to meet every body-and-soul wherever they are and find ways to bridge any language or belief barriers.

Lest I start sounding too angelic, rest assured I still fight with my husband, say things I regret, cut a little too sharp with my witty remarks at times and observe my own pride, envy, jealousy, vanity and a host of other imperfections. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about finding the divine in human form—in every one of them.

I invite everyone reading this to take out the scrapbook of your spiritual journey. Look where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you are in this moment in time. What do you love? What is embarrassing? What came as a surprise?

If you’ve grown even an inch in loving kindness and in breaking down the barriers of Them and Us, you deserve a star on your forehead, just like the good sisters used to give me as a kid.
If you find your evolution needs a boost, do some random acts of kindness for others to show yourself you’re made of star stuff in more ways than one. Just as I finished this piece, I found this posted on Facebook that seems to frost the cake of this conversation:





 ~~~

Photo Credit: © gustavofrazao - Fotolia.com

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Making Tracks: A Spring Equinox Poem




Poem © 2018 by Joyce Mason

High-speed railroad
Chugging, clanging
Picking up speed
Whisking down the tracks
Bursting flowers
Velocity out of control
Rounding the bend to Spring Equinox
Brakes squealing, slamming to a halt
Just making the station
Grab your suitcase.
Meet me for coffee on the corner
of Aries and New Beginnings.

~~~

Photo Credit: © augusta16 



Friday, March 16, 2018

I Take This Day: A Mercury Retrograde Poem




A Poem for Mercury Retrograde

© 2015 by Joyce Mason




I take this day:
to rest, relax, review, research
to revive myself
for more active living.

I take this day:
to honor the god Hermes
who energizes
my quicksilver mind,
who wings my messages
across the world.

I take this day:
to let my biological hard drive crash
or at least idle;
to open myself up
to the gift of silence
and the gear “park.”

I take this day:
a day at a time
every Mercury Retrograde
till I can believe nature
and the cosmos in symphony
about the real rhythm of life.

I take this day:
and with each day I take,
I grow more tolerant
of days and weeks
of downtime,
till I put every day
of Mercury Retrograde
on my calendar
and plan ahead
for three-and-a-half weeks
of what the Divine
knows best:

Every creation needs days
of rest.

~~~

Photo Credit: © Rolffimages | Dreamstime.com - Hermes Photo



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Valentine's Day: Love in the Heart of Winter and Aquarius




Article © 2018 by Joyce Mason


Is the placement of Valentine’s Day in the heart of winter under the sign of Aquarius just a Gregorian calendar coincidence? Or is there some symbolism in this sweet day’s Aquarian “birthday” that would enrich us to ponder?

For starters, Valentine’s day is a very old tradition. The first Valentine’s Day was celebrated in 496. It’s believed to have originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia.  The celebration was in the middle of February, as it is now, then considered the official start of springtime. On further examination of the switch from Julian to the Gregorian calendar in the 14th century, there is only a 10 day difference between the two. No matter which calendar was being used at the time, Valentine’s Day still in what we now call February in the heart of winter. For more background, enjoy The History of Valentine’s Day.

Aquarius—Really?

At first blush, Aquarius seems like a strange Sun sign for a holiday that is often intimate and somewhat predictable in its patterns of observation. Aquarian people are often detached, freedom-seeking, anything but predictable and friendly to the point of riling up partners with their “flirtations” and nonconformist ways. (In my youth, most of the men in my life with strong Aquarian placements were bound to embarrass me at least once, often more, at every social occasion. They seemed to relish ignoring the boundaries of consensus behavior, getting a great bang out of watching people squirm with discomfort over their open slaughter of sacred cows.)

If Aquarian people’s tendencies translate to Aquarian holidays, this hardly sounds like a guy or gal ready to pledge his or her undying love in a traditional way with hearts and flowers or romantic dinners. Aquarius might be more likely to forget the Day, focused on saving the world, or let any mention of celebration slip until s/he’s about to deliver a unique, unusual or perhaps downright weird surprise. If s/he believes in celebrating it at all. But just as people are more than their Sun sign, Valentine’s Day is more complex. What’s really interesting:


Many Aquarian characteristics enhance if not solidify relationships. Some Aquarian tendencies are hidden code to making a lasting love work.


The Code and the Dance


Friendship. We often hear close couples refer to each other as “my best friend.” Love has been my teacher in life, and I don’t mind sharing that it was a bumpy road almost all the way to my Chiron Return. One thing I’m sure of: good relationships have a strong component of friendship. When things get rocky, ask yourself how you’d treat your dearest friends, and if you aren’t applying this treatment to your partner, apply relationship first aid instead. Leave all his or her annoying habits behind and your vicious circle reaction patterns, take a deep breath, and remember this is your most intimate friend who deserves the royal treatment we reserve for the people who support us most. Aquarius values friendship above all. Valentine’s Day holds that hint for happiness.

Independence. Another Aquarian characteristic that plays firmly into making a relationship work is independence. To those who are young or less experienced in love, that sounds like a complete conundrum. Isn’t true love supposed to be about merging?

Yes and no. Committed relationship is the agreement of two individuals to be there for each other, to support each other in life’s ups and downs. To travel down life’s highway together, to make the trilogy of clich├ęs complete.

When my husband and I decided to have our marriage “blessed” in the Catholic church, our spiritual adviser, a hip Franciscan priest, drew us this great illustration of what is a relationship. It is simple and profound when seen on paper.



The circles don't subsume each other or blend into a common pool. There is you, me--and there is the living entity of the relationship--you and me interacting and sharing goals or direction together. It isn't all of you. It's part of you.

The Both of Merging and Separating. Thanks to fairy tales that promise happily ever after and various kinds of romantic melodrama that have been around since before villains tied maidens to railroad tracks, our concept of love is frankly warped. We are addicted to the romance and honeymoon and initial high of the merger but the work it takes to be a couple and still be you? Not so much. Like anything else in life, relationship requires balance. Merging and individuation are a dance, one that’s essential for a partnership to work. If your beloved changes so much to merge into the soup of Oneness, you lose the person you fell in love with in the first place. He or she loses self, and eventually, that leads to bitterness and erosion of the relationship. Anyone who has ever experienced feeling smothered in love knows just what I mean. No breathing space. Aquarius bears water (feelings) but is an air sign (breathing). Relationships must come up for air and give breathing room or risk drowning.

Unique Relationships, Not Necessarily "By the Book." Finally, the individualistic tendencies of Aquarius are another hidden hint about relationship successes. If we pattern marriage or any other kind of “institutional” partnership on a pattern that’s too traditional, we again smother individualism. Experts find that the most successful ones have some tried-and-true, universal values like faithfulness, honesty and mutual encouragement. Otherwise, make marriage or marriage-like commitments fit you. It’s risky to try to make your partnership fit into a box that society packed eons ago. For instance, some couples do dual career, long-distance relationships just fine. Others would prefer separate residences and living together in short spurts. Childlessness has been a more accepted option for a long time. Take the legal protections and other goodies from the piece of paper and custom design the rest of the elements, just like most of us would do with our homes. In fact relationship is our home more than the four walls, because you take it with you wherever you live.

May your Valentine’s Day be full of the best of Aquarius Sun: innovation, communication, mutual intuition, tolerance and unexpected delightful surprises.

~~~

Photo Credit: © Elena Arsentyeva - Fotolia.com; Relationship Circles by Joyce



Monday, January 29, 2018

The 500th Post: The Radical Virgo—So Far



© 2018 by Joyce Mason

In 1990, after I wrote an article for The Mountain Astrologer taking a new look at the sign of Virgo at its evolutionary best; readers started referring to me by the name of the article, The Radical Virgo. “The Radical Virgo” went on to appear in several other publications. It was an article, as well as the person who wrote it—and on Mar. 21, 2009 The Radical Virgo also became the name of this blog. This is our 500th post. A lot has happened.

But before I run down the blog’s history on the cusp of nine years running, I want to share how big an omen it was that The Radical Virgo came to symbolize both a major piece of my astrological work and me. After all, there are few Virgos, radical or otherwise, who don’t identify (more likely over-identify) with their work. “Radical Virgo” also became a term to apply to a certain kind of Virgo, who can be described as a Uranized Virgo, whether or not she has specific Uranus to Virgo Sun aspects. (I have Uranus square Sun, but anyone with a relatively strong Uranian influence and Virgo Sun might express these qualities more than others.) That means a Virgo whose modus operandi spans from inventive or shocking to a reformer or humanitarian--and lots in-between. I knew the term had made its way into the astrological vernacular when I began seeing articles that referred to people in the spotlight, who fit the description, as radical Virgos.

These Virgos are not the old fussbudget stereotype—no Felix Ungers or Adrian Monks here. Radical Virgos have the potential to change the world through their ability to discover their unique pattern, becoming true human beings—not “human doings.” Radical Virgos give service in a whole new way by contributing to their community and world what they were designed to give. When we each do that, we have made heaven on earth. It’s like having all the cogs in the great wheel of creation turning like they were just oiled.

Surely, anyone of any sign has this potential, but what makes the more radical Virgo so well-equipped to make the leap?

First, Virgo is self-contained. With Virgoan inner reliance, there is ultimately less need to bend to accommodate others. This quality helps the journey toward accepting and projecting one’s own uniqueness.

Second, if you subscribe to the theory that Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury, Virgo’s ruler, a Virgo would grow more Uranian than Mercurial with time and life experience.

Third, the workaholic Virgo can either have a heart attack or evolve past the need to justify his or her existence through service that too easily can turn into servitude. Once “enough” is reached, the natural consequence is to learn that who you are is even more important than what you contribute. That’s because who you are is what you contribute. 

The Original Vision

Like many if not most people, I have been highly influenced by Hollywood and pop culture. I’d always counted on having at least 15 minutes of fame, and with Jupiter trine Mars, I have a hard time thinking any way but big. As it says in the sidebar:

This blog is a place where all signs—not just Virgos—learn how to express their star map and are encouraged to do their best for the evolution of the planet.

If being you is your work and calling, that idea is the logical outcome of evolution. We grow. As a result everything we touch or everyone we interact with, including our environment, community and planet—they grow, too. Big thinking. I even thought that maybe we might get into conversations here leading to group service projects or at minimum, try mind-melds of prayers and intentions for healing the earth.

Like most ideas that come down to Earth, the blog took on a life of its own. I can say that most of what I have written over the years is mostly about being the best you rather than joining forces to change the world, largely in response to readers’ interests. There has also been a lot of humor, because I don’t think modern times—or any time—is survivable without it.

RV in the Middle

The mid-years of the blog covered an array of topics, ones where I thought I had something to share or contribute. A sampler:
  • Planets in retrograde (how to thrive during Mercury or Mars Retro)
  • Major cycles (Neptune in Pisces)
  • How the signs work in depth
  • Live reports from the United Astrology Conference in New Orleans, 2012
  • Astrology and aging, tarot and other oracles, flower essences and many other healing-tool combos
  • Readers’ personal healing stories from an astrological perspective
  • Outer Planetary People and outer planetary influences
  • Inspiration: poems, quotes for the signs and humorous takes on the Tribe of Twelve
  • Psychological aspects of astrology
  • Revisioning Chiron as the “wholeness weaver”

With Chiron and the outer planets my specialty, these topics have been highlighted with tools for working with your own planetary configurations. Often these were experiential processes. To have some real fun and discover anything you might have missed, click on Blog Archive low on the sidebar. There you can click a year, and then a month and, one month at a time, see all 500 offerings.

The Radical Virgo Now

Regular readers already know that The Radical Virgo blog has been on occasional post status for some time now. Since my husband lost his mobility in 2015, the adjustment to being a 24/7 caregiver has consumed most of my energy, especially since I’m far from a kid anymore. Nurturing two aging boomers, one with significant disabilities, is the hardest work I have over done. My biggest take-away is that caregivers need to be fierce about their own self-care. They are the planet around which family life orbits. Their insights, strength and coping skills create the quality of life for both care giver and receiver. As long as we both have various medical needs compounded by the changes that come naturally with aging, our care and keeping is seldom as easy as tea for two. I do my best with our challenges when I realize that our current adventure is yet another place to apply my creativity.

I am not complaining about this major change that keeps my healing skills at home and less in the limelight. To my surprise, it has allowed me to own my true nature as an introvert with frustrated nesting instincts. What I have noticed is that day-to-day life is where the rubber hits the road on all we have learned from astrology, various other oracles and spiritual systems and metaphysics in general. I think I am applying many things I have learned unconsciously. There is more on my plate than any other time of my life. For the first time, my responsibilities and concerns are bigger than I can handle without help of various kinds. This is humbling, especially to a Virgo with or without the radical modifier. Figuring out how to make it work for now within my resources of money, time and energy, draws on every mental, spiritual and physical skill I’ve got. I also know I live in a shifting landscape. We aren’t get any younger and there’s a slowly degenerative disease involved on my husband’s part.

While I don’t want to say we live in the first chakra in total survival, we definitely are not in our heads—something I’ve oft complained that astrology in general can make us prone to. Quite honestly—and this may sound sacrilegious to some—astrology has been of minimal help at this stage in my life, which is probably why I’m not feeling as much like writing about it. (I check my transits every few weeks instead of every day.) In the broad brush, for example, it has helped to know its position as Pluto contacted each planet in my Cardinal cache. There were some hints on duration and subject. Knowing the last planet he is visiting is Mercury sensitized me to my need to change my mind about some things and to let my old view blow up with new ideas yet to arise from the ashes. (We just rewatched the Harry Potter movie where Dumbledore’s phoenix explodes and is reborn in the ash pile as a bird chick. It really hit home.)

This blog isn’t dead or dying; it’s just changing. I admit it sometimes feels a little like it has narcolepsy, but I trust, at worst, that it’s semi-comatose working up the energy for a vivid resurrection.

Along with retiring from personal consultations, I have retired from any sense of being an authority, which I never really owned anyway. Rather than an astrological teacher, I see myself as a perpetual student of life and the stars and anything else  that guides us back to the One. I love writing with my whole self in the PsychKicks posts from the full spectrum of my spiritual and astrological learning. Perhaps I am becoming the Wholeness Weaver, taking all the threads of what I know and weaving them into new tapestries. What I finally “get” is surrender. To use energy for faith and not worry. To know that whatever is happening will lead to a better Self. Figuratively, I married Chiron and am learning that no matter what our physical and emotional wounds, we need to turn them into medicine for ourselves and others.

Where this blog will go in the future is also a matter of trust—and most likely, surprise. I’m sure I’ll always have my two-cents worth to give about living life to its fullest, just as long as anyone wants to read those pennies for my thoughts.

Since I have become a daily meditator, I realized that “inspiration,” derived from “inspire” or breathing in, says it all. Meditation involves deep, mindful breathing—the source of life. Our opportunity on Earth is to breathe in all of it we can. I love to inspire and inspire myself as much as others in the process.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the energy of The Radical Virgo in all her forms. If you’ve found comfort or insights here, visit me on Facebook on my Joyce Mason page for near daily shots of more inspiration and better you/better world thinking. You might also want to like the Radical Virgo Facebook page where I post more things relevant to an astrological audience, while my Joyce Mason page is geared to everyone. 

I can’t close without sharing my reaction to watching that helpless new phoenix bird as he cheeped his first hello from the ashes in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets . He reflects the vulnerability I feel as so many aspects of my life have gone up in smoke. I like to think I’ve got my personal Dumbledore, a godlike but invisible mentor, always behind me as I step out in faith yet again.

And as soon as I know where I’m going next, you’ll be among the first to know. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy and be part of The Radical Virgo adventure whenever I’ve got a chance to send a “post”card.
~~~

Photo Credits: 500 candles - © vladvm50 - Fotolia.com. Joyce as Virgo by Sara Fisk, NCGR-Sacramento Open House, 2012.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year! Don’t Resolve; Review Your Relationship with Saturn




© 2018 by Joyce Mason

In our Gregorian calendar, every New Year starts in Capricorn, one of the four Cardinal signs of the zodiac.  The Cardinals represent turning points and are the beginnings of each new season. January 1st marks not just a New Year. With every New Year starting in the sign of the Goat, new years activate the Capricorn principles of hard work, responsibility, endurance and self-sacrifice that morph easily into those dogged resolutions.

2018 starts out with four planets in Cap: Saturn itself in its home court where it’s comfiest, Mercury Sun and Pluto. That’s quite a herd of four-legged mountain climbers. It’s enough to make two-leggers feel like they might not be fully equipped for this Everest of potential achievement. That’s with a backdrop of other goings-on, Mars in Scorpio with its power and might square the nodes and Uranus still square Pluto before it shifts into Taurus. Chiron is on the cusp Aries. Venus and Mars will be retrograde with an opportunity to review and revise relationships. That’s just a sampler. For most people I know, 2017 was a very difficult year. By making Saturn an ally rather than a mean taskmaster, 2018 is bound to improve. And don’t forget Saturn’s purview over certain body parts: knees, bones, teeth and skin.

This year I challenge you to have some guiding principles you’d like to live by and review them often. Instead of driving yourself to death at the gym or going skeletal on a Spartan diet, consider reviewing your relationship with Saturn’s principles. It may work out for you far better than difficult-to-keep and often unrealistic resolutions. This exercise will help you use this planetary energy for its better possibilities. Saturn’s charms are rarely touted for its less likable principles of seriousness, control, authority, severity, restraint and rigidity. But don’t forget these:

 Some Key Words for Saturn at Its Best 
  • Wisdom
  • Good timing
  • Down-to-earthiness
  • Being grounded
  • Good foundations or structures
  • Being dependable
  • Being efficient
  • Ability to control yourself when the situation calls for it
  • Success in politics or government
  • “Adult spirituality” rather than dogma
  • Getting better as you get older

You don’t have to have trines and sextiles between Saturn and your other planets or your Capricorn/Saturn-ruled planets to get on his brighter side. My Cap Moon squares four planets. My life’s work has been learning to overcome anxiety to let in the Saturn and Cap positive principles. The choices are (1) fight tooth and nail against what you’re “supposed” to do, beat your head against brick walls, get nowhere and be miserable, or (2) find how to integrate the best of Saturn into your life with minimal bodily and psychological injury.

Who couldn’t use things like grounding, earthiness and efficiency? And for a bonus, people with a lot of planets in Cap or aspects to Saturn have what I call a Capricornball sense of humor. Because of the tendency to be uptight and proper, when they cut loose, the most ultra conservatives among them blast open their stuffed shirts; and they are hilarious. One of the guiding principles of comedy is the unexpected. You don’t expect the otherwise loyal, buttoned-up office secretary to blurt out a pointed joke about the boss out of his earshot to most of the staff. The prohibitory nature of the conspiracy is what makes it so funny, along with its unlikely source.

Don’t belittle yourself. Be-big yourself.”   Sister Corita Kent, Artist

The Inside Out Method to Get to Saturn Light

This is both the easiest and most difficult exercise to improve your relationship with Saturn. Stop judging yourself and others. If you want to experience Saturn Light, be Saturn Light.

For most of us, starting with others might be the easier jumping-off point. Go a whole day without thinking negative thoughts or judging others with Saturnian authority or austerity. Be the best father they ever or never had. After one day, go for two … then more.

When you’re got your courage up, do this for yourself. Not a thought or a negative word. I live with someone who curses himself on a regular basis. It used to spin me into a knot of judgment about what he was doing to his self-esteem. I finally gave up my lectures that fell mostly on deaf ears. Now when he damns himself I bless him in my mind. If everything starts with energy, maybe I’ve at least canceled out the worst effects of shoulding on himself. Besides, his growth rate is none of my business.

Other Saturn Resources

The have been a number of articles on Saturn on The Radical Virgo. Here are some that might help you become that loving dad to yourself.

Although this two-part series focuses on Saturn in Libra and its implications in relationships, the exercises will still be helpful to many people, especially if you have Saturn aspects to Venus … or just want to learn about the structure of your relationship history, which is often full of revelations.



On Saturn's Relationship to Time
A New Timepeace (11-Nov-09)



Happy 2018! “Friend” Saturn this year.

~~~

Photo Credits: Saturn cartoon - © corythoman; 2018 - © Iveta Angelova, Fotolia.com