Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Munchies for Astro-Thought: Your Closest Aspect – What Does It Mean?

© 2016 by Joyce Mason

Here’s a little background on the Munchie posts.

Mother-Daughter Reunion--a portrait of Moon trine Ceres.

The importance of precision in astrology is endlessly debated among the star-speaking public. Take how many degrees of arc count to consider an aspect truly a square, opposition, trine, etc. And let’s not get started with the “minor” aspects! (I’ll buy 4-degrees for a quincunx which many would say is overly generous.) I know highly credible astrologers who consider many of these quibbles unimportant. They say if a planet is in the same sign, they’re conjunct, particularly when mining their symbolic meaning.

While you’d think The Radical Virgo would love this kind of nitpicking, the adjective radical modifies my thinking. I’m not going to debate the subject, but I do admit: your closest aspect must count for something. It’s almost like having that particular relationship between two planets zipped into your skin.

Today’s munchie: Go to your astrology software or to for a free chart and pinpoint your closest aspect. Introduce or reacquaint yourself with it. Reflect on your life so far and ponder what it might mean.

My personal example(s) are a double header, as I have two aspects at the same degree of relationship and the tightest one you can get—0o 01’. They are Moon trine Ceres (applying) and Uranus quincunx South Node (separating). Many would consider the applying aspect stronger, so let’s start there.

I admit, while I’ve looked at this in the past, I’ve never really done much more than say to myself “interesting.” Digging a little deeper, I have a huge relationship with Moon/Ceres in general. Half my chart squares the Moon. Chiron (my Astro-specialty) sextiles Moon and opposes Ceres. Both these aspects are less than a degree. Looking at how the same pair of planets involved in your closest aspect interacts in your chart and what aspects they have with other planets provides context.

How Ceres has played out in my life is indeed mythical. Ceres is the Roman equivalent of the Greek figure Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. The myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone tell us much about the issues of life’s seasons—and love and loss. Ceres/Demeter lost her daughter to Hades/Pluto who abducted her to the underground to be his Queen. In her angst and anger at the loss of her daughter, Ceres allowed the crops to die and finally cut a deal with Pluto to return her daughter for half of each year. The return of Persephone heralds spring.

I was Persephone lost to my birth mother for most of the first four decades of my life. In 1986 I found her living 90 miles away from me in San Francisco. Pluto returned me to her from the underworld where I was hidden for all those years. For both of us, the flowers again bloomed and all was well in the world in ways we never knew possible until our reunion. I can see how natal Moon (mother, nurture) trine Ceres (abandonment, grief, growth) at such an amazing degree of exactitude played into this happy ending.

For those wondering about transits at the time of my mother-find, they were intense and indicative of a life-changing event involving my mother. Among them: T-Ceres trine N-Ceres, T-Moon conjunct N-Uranus, T-Neptune conjunct N-Moon (repeating the natal pairing), and T-Pluto conjunct N-Chiron.

As to Uranus inconjunct South Node, a whole “past” I never knew existed suddenly greeted me in my return  from the underground.  What a surprise and adjustment! When I started my birth family search, I wanted to know more about myself and my roots. I was realistic, knowing that I could encounter anything from complete rejection—she might have had another family and wanted to continue to keep me secret—to total acceptance. I figured the truth would lie somewhere in the middle. Frankly, I not prepared for total acceptance to the max.

Despite adoring my adoptive family and never once wishing my life had turned out differently, the built-in abandonment issues of being given up by my original family constitutes my Chironic wound. It was a pain I never understood till my late 30s. The theme of my life revolves around healing a sense of separation and sharing with others how to do the same. I certainly learned that my Chiron opposite Ceres natal construct coupled with my most exact aspect of Moon trine Ceres had their story to tell about two different chapters in my life.

I don’t know what you’ll find, but this experiment proved to me that my closest aspects are definitely a big header in the playbill of my personal drama.

As always, if you discover anything interesting, thanks for sharing in the Comments.


Photo: Taken at my Miraculous Motherfind Open House in November 1986 where I introduced my newfound original mom to my friends.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Munchies for Astro-Thought: Are You Sunny or Looney?

Munchies © 2016 by Joyce Mason

Here’s a little background on the Munchie posts.

Tropical astrology, as most of us practice it in the West, is solar based. You “are” your Sun sign. It’s the part of our chart we use as a quick identifier. (I’m a Virgo, many of my friends are Aries, my Dad was a Leo, etc.) Sidereal astrology, practiced primarily in India and the East but growing in popularity in the West, is lunar based. Your Moon sign is considered the central light and operating point in your chart in a zodiac system that shifts everything approximately 24 degrees. In this Vedic astrology, my Moon shifts to Sagittarius—quite a different energy from my Tropical Capricorn Moon.

This is a reminder that while the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Sun in our charts may or may not be our primary Light. Good to know there are astrology systems built on a different premise. So are some individuals.

How do you know if you’re sunny/solar or lunar (looney for fun)? Why does it matter?

Determine your primary Light as a shortcut to knowing yourself and others.

Knowing Your Light. Knowing whether Sun or Moon is “bigger” in your chart doesn’t negate the importance of the lesser emphasized Light, but it certainly is a heads-up on which one is usually more influential and directive. For instance, if you go around basing your preliminary astrological take on a potential new love interest based on your Sun sign compatibility (more so if you have other planets in your Sun’s sign), you may be in for a rude awakening if his or her planets clash with your focal Moon. Knowing this helps not only with synastry but with “knowing thyself.”

For instance, while the name of this blog celebrates my Virgo Sun sign, I am a complete lunatic (Moon focal)! My Cap Moon squares nearly half of my chart. While I have as many Sun aspects, they are mostly “milder” (conjunction, trines). You might say I’m a lot more comfortable owning my Virgo Sun than I am at ease with having a Cap Moon. It took me many years to relate to my Moon in Capricorn, yet I finally came to the conclusion that if I didn’t; I would feel even worse from the fears and tension those squares sometimes reflect. My solution was to learn to find the positive in my Moon, warts (squares) and all. Since one of the squares is to Neptune, extreme sensitivity has been my blessing/curse. One of my favorite observations is that were it not for my Moon’s reserved Capricorn sign, I’d probably be out on street corners emoting and making a public nuisance of myself. Knowing about my lunar orientation also helps me realize that while I have more logic than stars in the sky as a Virgo Sun, I need to feel my way through life as my first line of navigation. Hypothesis is my GPS. I get a hunch, a visceral feel of what is true or what direction I should head—and then I analyze the situation to see if the logic matches. If it doesn’t and the hunch is strong, I’ll probably still go with it.

Subtleties.  The Sun and Moon are headlights that help us navigate life. Even if one shines brighter than the other to light the way, we need them both to be safe on the road. Nor should we toss friends, relatives or lovers who challenge our primary Light. Growth comes from those differences, but knowing whether you’re Sun-handed or Moon-handed can help you know where to find a breather and when to realize there are probably potholes in the road (primary Light incompatibility).

Look at your primary Light from more than just sign and aspect compatibility. For instance, my Cap Moon is not compatible with my husband’s Leo Moon by sign, but he has Saturn closely conjunct his Moon. This gives his Moon a strong Saturn influence, and my Moon in Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. I don’t think we could be any more comfortable together in our home life, habits and routine.

And sometimes it’s the difference of viewpoint between your primary Light and others’ that forms irresistible attractions, especially among friends. Out of my six closest friends, five have Moons that connect with mine by either square, opposition or sextile. We also have a commonality in Cardinality, making us go-getters and problem solvers. We truly enjoy figuring out life’s puzzles together.

Context.  Of course, we’re only talking about part of your chart and anyone else’s, but it’s a part that stands out and it’s a good starting point for understanding yourself and others. I’d invite you to determine and study deeper your primary Light.

What do you learn about how you operate, relate to others and how you “light up,” whether we’re talking humor or enthusiasm? Look at images and objects you favor and whether they have a solar tinge (bright yellow or gold) or lunar (silver and shiny). Where are you more comfortable? In full sunlight or at night by the light of the silvery Moon?

Enjoy the sunlight or moonlight, and please share any new and interesting discoveries in the Comments.


Photo Credit: © zsooofija –

Price Drop News! I have lowered to $0.99 the eBook version of my novel, The Crystal Ball. I want to tempt more new readers to gamble a buck on the Ball. This costume party between the pages is a fast-paced mystery with plenty of romance, action and nonstop laughs. It’s spiced with astrology, metaphysics and longevity tips! I hope it’s one of the best dollars you’ll ever spend. Lowered from $2.99, you’ll save 66%! Here’s the Amazon/ Kindle link with more details and your chance to sample and/or purchase with one click.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Epiphany: The Coming of the Three Astrologers

© 2016 by Joyce Mason

I love Epiphany, the culmination of the 12 Days of Christmas and the Coming of the Three Astrologers. I'd like to share my article Epiphanies from one of my other blogs, Hot Flashbacks/ Cool Insights. Written in 2008, I think you'll find it timeless and thought-provoking.

Whether or not you're Christian, the symbolism of a teacher who would come to save us by love crosses all belief systems. Nearly every one of them has a figure with similar qualities. It is an archetype deeply imbedded in the human psyche. Humans have always looked Up for guidance, as did the Magi who followed a star to find the newborn King. The part astrologers played in the Christmas story is one of great honor. In addition to being in the close circle witnessing Jesus's earliest days, the Magi were attuned to omens and turning points that would change the course of human events. I was lucky enough to attend a Catholic church in the past that said the Magi were astrologers, and they said it out loud, right in the liturgy, in front of God and Everyone!

I hope you enjoy this homage to Epiphany and all its symbolism that can take you places you've never been before. Just follow your Star.


 Photo Credit: © |

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year’s Blessings and 2016 Changes on The Radical Virgo

Dear Radical Readers,

I have so much to share with you about my 2015— now morphing into 2016—and all the personal evolution it has inspired. Above all, this post is from my heart to yours about how much this blog means to me and where we go from here.

Hubby’s Health. As most of you know, my husband Tim’s health took a downturn in February. He has a slowly progressive muscle disease, Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy Type 2. Due to a complex of related health issues, he lost his mobility prematurely right around Valentine’s Day. He is now in a wheelchair. His care needs are complex and even as a “radical Virgo,” the sudden reality of 24/7 caregiving has been shocking and overwhelming, the hardest work I have ever done. It is also, in many ways, the most rewarding.

I have thought many times this year, who but an extreme Virgo could give such round-the-clock personal service? Love does what love calls for. At times it has been isolating, joining (so many people want to help), and confounding as I’ve had to learn to be a nurse, physical therapist and chief cook and bottle washer for two adults and one cat. Except for wife and cat mom, I have no training in those other jobs. The learning curve has been fierce and demanding. The physicality required of helping a nearly 200-lb. man with wheelchair transfers and personal care has been a huge challenge for me at five-foot-nothing and being so not-a-jock. (I have developed biceps!) I still want time to be a wife, companion, and cat mom. To play with Kira and her nip mouse and watch her chase her laser beam. Even though my license plate says HIGH NRG, my vitality has been in the basement. I’ve had to take measures I’d never consider before just to have the juice to keep going, including medication for depression. (I’m lucky it has worked optimally at a relatively low dosage and I’m “me” again after months of being a wrung-out dishrag version of the old Joyce.)

Astrology Lessons. I have often written on this blog about my Jupiter trine Mars (in water, no less) and my tendency to overdo just about everything. This year of forced focus on family and the nitty gritty of daily living has been a revelation for me. There has been a lot of “right sizing” and release of perfectionism. (No one can be perfect at caregiving, the first thing I have ever undertaken that I cannot master and have surrendered my will to try.) I have learned to ask for help (huge for me) and to be the recipient instead of always the giver. (I’m singing a new Nep-tune.)

I “get” Pluto better than ever. Being a very Cardinal person, the Uranus-Pluto square has been ravaging me for several years. Of course, I resisted giving up the things Lord Pluto insisted upon—my beloved home of 17 years in favor of one that’s more accessible for Tim, starting with a single-level and wider doors for his wheelchair. Writing has had to be on the back burner. Astrology has insisted that I give it a vacation as a leader and become more of a follower, stepping into my lifelong star-student role. For now I’m dabbling in astrological conversations primarily on Facebook and not living every waking hour by my ephemeris. I am humbly grateful that while I have had to give up my husband as he was; his overall health is holding, and we are both still here, enjoying each other enormously. Humor has been our buoy on all these choppy waters.

What I’ve learned from all these changes, at a very visceral level, is that they represent what must die in me before my resurrection. I’ve been “threatening” to downsize my activity on The Radical Virgo for at least two years, probably longer. The Radical Reposts of 2015 have been a break and a breather to decide what to do next, and also to create an index by topic of the majority of posts. If and when I have an opportunity, I’ll create a page where the topics and related posts are up for a grand tour of the highlights of this nearly seven-year-old blog.

The Move is the Key. For now, it will take all my energetic resources to accomplish our move—the prerequisite to many more positive changes. (This year I could hardly get through the day, much less find the extra energy to prep for a move.) The sale of our home will loosen our finances, along with a significant income increase coming in autumn. These breaks will have a divine domino effect, allowing us to hire more help for Tim so I can resume the creative life and not be so tied to caregiving. We’ll be able to afford a van with an electronic ramp and increase our ability to get around with ease and as often as we want. I won’t bore you with the details of what it takes me to help transfer Tim in and out of the car at present and how stressful and tiring the job I forgot to mention—chauffeur to endless appointments—can be. What’s important is that to go forward, I have to put other things aside for the time being.

The Radical Virgo in 2016. As of this post, The Radical Virgo blog is on occasional post status. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist at least a poem at the Cardinal turning points, perhaps more if the spirit moves and an energy spurt bubbles up—or I need for a break from moving-related chores that happens to coincide with an astrological or metaphysical insight I want to share. These are likely to be the shorter Munchies for Astro-Thought type posts.

If you’ve followed the Radical Reposts, you know there is so much to rediscover on this blog before anything new is added. I read the reposts sometimes that popped up as “popular” in my statistics. They feel new to me. I rarely remember what I wrote and how it came to me! The reposts have allowed me to appreciate what an amazing body of astrological literature exists here and how much of it is channeled or co-created with Spirit. As I have captured and indexed the posts by topic, I have said “whew!” so many times. This Virgo has really earned a rest after 429 posts, most of them full-length articles.

Facebook. The more active and interactive Radical Virgo site is now this blog’s Facebook page. Even if you’re not big on Facebook, I urge you to consider learning what a positive and exciting “school” it can be for all things spiritual. When you befriend with awareness and share the good, Facebook can be a haven of love and inspiration. I post many fun and informative things and plenty of shares from other astrologers.

Visit The Radical Virgo on Facebook—often!
It’s where it’s happening now!

Hug the New Year.  Embrace change. This is the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from my Uranus/Pluto transits. Whenever I have resisted my current caregiving role and resented its intrusion on my plans (like the next novel), I made myself miserable. The more I accepted it, the more I saw its tremendous gifts, like helping me learn to simplify my complicated life. Hard as it is to imagine in the midst of anger and resistance, Pluto really has our good at heart. Thanks to being “decked” energetically, I’ve learned the value of rest and have woven it into my life as a permanent habit. I’ve certainly learned at a new level that love is all that matters.

I want to take this moment to give all my readers a virtual hug for your love and support. This blog has fed my spirit and allowed me to express my astrological ideas and creativity for the first square of a Saturn cycle. It’s one of the loves of my life! Earlier in the year, I thought I might have to abandon posting all together and put the blog on archive status … but one of my lessons in toning down my Jupiter/Mars is that things don’t have to be all or nothing. I’ve done All most of my life. It’s now time to learn to bend with the times and make the most out of the moment.

I’m glad for my astrological hiatus, as it’s helping me to avoid burnout, which gives me hope for more starry conversations and contributions in the future.

Meanwhile, see you here now ‘n’ then and on Facebook more often. Posting short, speedy tidbits works well for this era of my life.

Wishing you your best New Year ever,

Photo Credit: © penguinline -

Full List of Facebook Opportunities!

In addition to Joyce Mason - The Radical Virgo on Facebook, which focuses on astrological posts and shares, including links to posts on this Radical Virgo blog, there are four other ways to connect with me on Facebook:

Joyce Mason – Personal news, inspiration, booster shots of positivity and occasional highlights of my writing life. This is where I post the most, including a few general  audience Astro-tidbits. (The more technical Astro-stuff is on The Radical Virgo, above.)

Writer Joyce Mason – Dedicated to quotes and inspiration about reading and writing, New Ink blog posts and news about my non-astrological writing projects.

Chiron and Wholeness – News on my Chiron primer and topics that relate to its content.

Keywords to Unlock Chiron – News on my ultimate Chiron book to date and its publication path from PDF to (eventually!) paper and other formats. Keywords explores 50 words or phrases that teach us just about everything we'll ever need to know about the Chiron archetype. (Available for purchase on the sidebar of this blog.)