Friday, February 25, 2011

Quotes for the Signs #7

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Long time, no quotes! Here’s the seventh batch in a growing line of quotes and Sun sign pairings, one of the more popular features on The Radical Virgo. Don’t forget; you can submit your favorites for future Quotes for the signs—even your own good words that have a certain sign’s name on them. You will be credited! Meanwhile, enjoy these latest words of wisdom.

ARIES: Practice fire safety—watch what you heat.  ~ Author Unknown

TAURUS: In a gentle way, you can shake the world. ~ One of Cesar Chavez's favorite quotes from Gandhi

GEMINI:  To be able to pretend to be something that I'm frankly not is very liberating and exciting. ~ Hugh Laurie, Gemini

CANCER:  The family—that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.  ~ Dodie Smith

LEO: A dramatic thing, the first time you stand up to your dad. ~ Lenny Kravitz

VIRGO: In the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. ~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

A physician without a knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician ... There is one common flow, one common breathing, all things are in sympathy. ~ Hippocrates

LIBRA: You'll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.  ~ George Michael, "Kissing A Fool"

SCORPIO: There are chapters in every life which are seldom read and certainly not aloud.  ~ Carol Shields

SAGITTARIUS: Moderation is a fatal thing; nothing succeeds like excess.  ~ Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance, 1894

CAPRICORN: The difference between a boss and a leader—a boss says, “Go!”—a leader says, “Let’s go.” ~ E.M. Kelly

AQUARIUS: "Being who we are rather than becoming who everyone says we must be is the ultimate simplicity. Nothing is more difficult to acquire in life."  ~ Joan Chittister

PISCES: What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience? ~ Rollo May, The Courage to Create


Photo Credit: And I Quote © Zitramon

Want More Quotes? Plug quotes signs in the Search Box in the sidebar to pull up all the previous Quotes for the Signs posts. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Five More Plutos?

The Dwarf Planets

© 2011 by Alison Chester-Lambert
All Rights Reserved

Guest Writer, Round Blog-In

We don’t need astrology to tell us that life is getting more complicated, but we do need an astrology to describe it. And when, in August 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced a re-shuffle of the terms used to describe the objects orbiting the Sun, it started a whole new adventure in astrology. There are those who will prefer to stick with the few planets used in astrology for centuries, but there others who, like me, sense that this new frontier offers pioneers a glimpse into a Brave New World.

Kuiper Belt and Buzzing Bees

From 2003 until 2008, the Palomar-QUEST sky survey was scrutinising the edge of the known Solar System and finding masses of new rocky objects beyond and around Neptune in an area called the Kuiper Belt. Some were as big as Pluto and this brought up questions about the Dark Lord’s position in the planetary line-up. Since Pluto is also rocky and at a steep incline to the plane of the Ecliptic, he was a bit of an oddball. However, he fits right into the Kuiper Belt family since those objects are like a swarm of bees buzzing around at all angles. After it was decided by the IAU that the term “planet” could only be applied to those objects that have cleared their orbital path and patrol alone, Pluto had to be stripped of this designation and given another.  Hence, the term dwarf planet was born and Ceres from the Asteroid Belt was included, since she, too, orbits with a group and yet otherwise has planetary characteristics.

Ceres—a Bridge by Sky and Myth

The inclusion of Ceres into a group which otherwise is comprised of Kuiper Belt objects makes the Dwarf Planets particularly interesting.  She forms a link from the Asteroid Belt to the Kuiper Belt and certain associations can then be noted and explored.  Firstly, there is the myth of Demeter and Pluto (Demeter was known as Ceres to the Romans), in which the maiden emanation of Demeter, known as Persephone, is married to Pluto and becomes the Queen of the Underworld. Secondly, it was argued by astronomers in 2008 that Ceres and Pluto have the same origins since they are similar in composition and could therefore have pin-balled apart in a Solar System shake up 3.9.billion years ago. Strange that their mythological counterparts also have strong connections!

Ceres’ position, so much closer to Earth, symbolises her protectiveness and loyalty to the human race, which was very obvious in the transits of August/September 2007. Sedna (symbolises hurricanes, rain) was in a two-year long square with Neptune and it rained…….a lot!  Vast areas of England were flooded and the crops were rotting in the fields.  The news reports were dire and there was no hope.  Then planet Ceres moved in front of Sedna and a miracle happened.  The rain stopped, the Sun came out and a few days later the farmers brought the harvest home. 

Ceres is known as a grain goddess. She is as much about the care of the human seed from embryo to child, to maiden, to mother, as she is about the care the farmer gives to the corn seed. In parallel, the corn emerges from the dark, soil underworld to become a seedling, ripen, be harvested and then returned to the underground grain silos to await planting again. 

Ceres is there in death, loss and grieving, but she also emerges with us in birth, fecundity and growth again.  Ceres’ promotion to dwarf planet not only indicates a huge rise in matriarchal, goddess energy.  She is a source of close-to-home, familiar, protective comfort and provides a stern reminder to honour planet Earth and the cycles of the seasons.

Pluto-Charon of the Kuiper Belt

Those who ignore the re-classification of Pluto to dwarf planet, miss the opportunity to explore rich new facets of his buried treasure, whilst resisting the very change and evolution that he represents.  And although this is a contentious issue, it is now prudent to look for the astrological meaning behind the IAU’s August 2006 surprise announcement, which included the suggestion that Pluto’s moon, Charon, should also be called a dwarf planet, making them a binary dwarf planet.  Charon qualifies because he and Pluto are a comparable size and they orbit each other; the centre of gravity of each planet is in the space between them instead of within the planet.  They are locked together like a giant dumbbell spinning in space.  However, Charon’s proposed status as Dwarf planet was not popular and fell from grace after my book on the Dwarf planets had been written, so it is arguable as to whether we should take it into account now.
Pluto-Charon was responsible for flagging up the presence of the Kuiper Belt, which was eventually revealed because their odd angle of orbit to the classical planets necessitated further investigation.  They were, therefore, early indicators and a gateway to the Kuiper Belt. This context makes Charon’s symbolic presence more important now.  In Greek myth, Charon was the ferryman who took the souls of the dead over the River Styx to Pluto’s realm.  Before him, the Egyptian Pyramid Texts of c. 3,000 BC told of a ferryman for the winding watercourse, and 1,000 years after that Mesopotamian myth told of a boatman on the Waters of Death.  The ancients knew that immense journeys of discovery into other realms required a spiritual guide.

The whole Trans-Neptune experience is a metaphor for discovery and we need some guidance from deity on this potentially difficult passage.  Charon the ferryman was not just the oarsman, he decided who got on the boat and whether or not they were sufficiently spiritually prepared to board.  He was a stern over-seer, who demanded coins for his ferrying.  The coins are possibly a metaphor for the wisdom gained in an appropriately conducted lifetime.  They indicate the proper preparation. 

Traditionally, Pluto describes the decay and transformation part of the life cycle, but he also represents nuclear and atomic power and so governs particle physics’ quest to discover the hidden secrets of the atom, with its invisible, ghost or “dark” particles.  Pluto’s discovery ushered in the “Miracle Year” of British physics, with the splitting of the atom and the theoretical discovery of dark matter and energy.  However, the science was so hard to understand and explain; the public gave a yawn and turned to the sports page. 

Science has now built the Large Hadron Collider to investigate what exists in the invisible dimensions that spawned our creation.  They will learn about the formation of our dimension from quantum-ruled pure energy to matter and form.  The human race will learn of the Big Bang or “Fall” of mankind to the earthly Upperworld, and science will cross from this dimension into others.  For this, we will need a guide and Charon looks like a suitable candidate.  

Healing and the Concept of Duality.

One last point, before we move on to the other dwarf planets, concerns that of duality.  NASA says that “Pluto has a dual identity” and this throws up some intriguing spiritual comparisons.  The Egyptians used the serpent to represent duality and one cannot help but ponder on the serpent’s many associations with Scorpionic and Plutonic matters throughout history.  There was a serpent in the Garden of Eden who invoked huge change and there are serpents associated with kundalini, magic and healing, such as those on the Caduceus, the staff of Hermes. 

It is likely that Pluto’s healing potential will become much more widely recognised as it was over 2,000 years ago when it was called magic.  For after all, to heal a boil, one first has to destroy it before the skin cells can regenerate.  Pluto’s energy is needed for the destruction and the growth.

The dual dwarf planet image of Pluto-Charon makes a lovely symbol for the super-symmetry theory of science.  Putting it simply, the atoms in your skin appear to be empty.  Today’s powerful microscopes have tried to find the solid bit in the atoms that make up skin molecules and cells, but they pass right through.  Atoms are made of particles and these are just spinning vortices of energy.  Your skin feels solid because of the resistance from the extremely fast vibration.  Think of a bicycle wheel that looks solid as it spins, but you can pass your hand right through the spokes when it stops.  The theory is that every particle of matter has an equivalent “dark” or “super” particle attached to it that gives it mass or presence but is undetectable in our dimension. This means you have a dark, “super” body as well as the one you know about. (Well, we could all do with a super-body!) This seems to be beautifully symbolized by Charon’s emergence from behind Pluto, whose accredited size had to be reduced after we discovered he shared his mass with Charon. 

Eris, Goddess of Resentment and Revenge

And now we must move on to the dwarf planets that were actually discovered.  An interesting row broke out between astronomers over the discovery of another dwarf planet, Haumea, as two groups claimed to have found her at the same time.  One was the American group in the Palomar-QUEST survey and the other was a Spanish team headed by Jose-Luis Ortiz.  The voluble and maverick leader of the American group, Mike Brown, (a Gemini with an apparent strong Sag or Jupiter influence) accused the Spanish of computer “hacking” without “scruples,” believing that they had used his research without citing it.  He was anxious to protect knowledge of Eris, his team’s most prestigious find in the Kuiper Belt, but up until then top secret and unannounced.  Eris was thought to be bigger than Pluto and should have been called the 10th planet, but this caused a rumpus over the term “planet,” which unbelievably had no official delineation.  The result of this was a decision to call the classical planets on the ecliptic “planet” and no longer apply that term to any new discoveries.  This would establish stability in school textbooks.  The Kuiper Belt, along with Pluto-Charon, is at an angle to the ecliptic, so this made things easier to split up.

Eris’s nickname before being officially named was Xena (from the TV series Xena, Warrior Princess) and both these names can be seen as important since a set of considerable coincidences tie them both in.  Eris is known as the Greek goddess of chaos and strife who calls forth war and runs amok on the battlefield.  Whilst this might be one result of her involvement, we have to be careful not to dismiss Eris as a mere leather-clad thugette intent on causing WW3, for her meaning is oh-so-much more complex than that. 

The ancient Greeks believed that the god/desses were the feelings and energies of the living, the natural responses of human beings and nature.  They could be part of the personality or the archetypal feelings and responses that we all experience.  In one account, Eris is a primeval goddess, being the daughter of Night and Darkness and the mother of Trouble, Toil, Pain, Carnage, Brawls and Dispute, to name just a few.  As such, she describes an abstract concept that will be useful in psychological astrology.  Eris is that part of us which feels envy and resentment towards “those-who-have” or those we feel might be taking something that is not morally or rightfully theirs.  Personal or collective outrage and revenge ensues, which brings in Mars, a companion of hers in myth.  She will also take a situation that should have been sorted out and introduce exposing circumstances that will get it out of the box for resolution.  For instance, the proper categorizing of Pluto was long overdue and it was right to begin the debate of “planet” or “not planet.”  And maybe the American astronomers who discovered Eris should have ensured computer security before they entered secret data regarding her movements, thus driving the Eris-enraged Mike Brown to have a go at the Spanish for going into accessible web logs.

An example of Eris working in the collective could be found in the row over bankers and bonuses.  The public and press became Eris-enraged when they felt that bankers were gorging themselves on the public purse and taking much more than was fair or morally theirs. The public fury was about “if I can’t get that, why should they have it?”  and recriminations and public condemnation were rife.  Here we see how Eris energy will work in a fair and ordered society to control the excesses of the group and this is a natural law of civilization. 

However, Eris is strong and she can be volatile, vicious and spiteful.  In “Works and Days,” Hesiod warned of “slanderous-tongued Envy, with look of deadly hate….,” but he also gave us a careful and enlightening explanation of how to live positively and take advantage of Eris’s competitiveness.  His “good” Eris supports the worker in the race for wealth and prosperity by stimulating him into industry and determination.  “Bad” Eris would engage him in acts of envy that would waste time and prevent his own success.  Hesiod demonstrated clearly the duality of Eris, which is common to the dwarf planets, where things are not what they seem on the surface.

So, Eris is part of the natural justice system, a divinely instigated and policed moral system of repercussions and encouragement, inherent in the DNA of humans and the larger group.  As such, this article can’t really do her depth and complexity justice, but further research and assessment can be found in my book.

Makemake, Pandemics and Seafaring

Eris, Ceres and Pluto are all useful symbols for psychological astrology, but the early indications are that Makemake, the Great Sea Spirit of Easter Island in the South Pacific, is going to be the preserve of mundane.  His geographic isolation from western civilisation illustrates his distance from our cultural mentality.  The biggest barrier to our affection for him will be his name, since no one wants to sound dumb or disrespectful when trying to pronounce it. (Maki-maki or meke-meke will put you in the ballpark!)

The Polynesians who colonised Easter Island were incredibly skilled oceanographers who travelled thousands of miles around the Pacific Ocean in giant double-hulled canoes.  Makemake was their adored chief god whose priests presided over seasonal fishing taboos and various other crop-planting and sport related festivals.  Sadly, the Island’s population suffered a terrible holocaust brought about by illegal slaving and European introduced deadly diseases.  It went from tens of thousands to just 111 in the late nineteenth century.  Then it became fashionable for scientists in the 1990’s to proclaim that Easter Islanders had brought about mindless, ecological devastation of their island, but this was later proven to be inaccurate and speculative over-reading of the facts.  However, he does symbolise the reduction or growth of population numbers by natural or unnatural causes.  Earthquakes and tsunamis feature in his history, whilst in 2009 the WHO declared a worldwide pandemic situation over Swine flu, which had interestingly originated in South America and travelled to Europe.  In Easter Island’s history, it was the other way around with the Europeans taking small pox into the Pacific.  Earth’s current over-population is very much Makemake’s bag and he was active when David Attenborough was appointed patron of the Optimum Population Trust, an organization that supports human endeavours to reduce populations. 

In 2009, Makemake began to show strong resonance with the issue of Somalian piracy, which was making world headlines.  The pirates are skilled and stealthy sailors who operate over hundreds of miles of ocean and it is interesting to note that the world’s navies have a hard time locating the pirates whilst the pirates have no problem evading the navies and locating suitable ships to board.  The Easter Islanders had formidable pilfering skills and thieving was one of their greatest delights with codes of conduct and social acceptance that we do not understand.  Piracy seems to be a mixture of thievery and seafaring skills.  Fishing quotas and fishing stocks in general are also Makemake’s thing. 

Haumea, a Hawaiian Goddess for a Hawaiian President?

When the American discoverers made the courageous decision to break away from the tradition of naming new planets after Greek and Roman god/desses, they may have symbolised an emerging respect for Eastern or alternative spiritual beliefs.  This is possibly one of the most fundamental messages of Haumea’s and Makemake’s appearance. 

Haumea is the Hawaiian goddess of fertility, childbirth, wild plants and nature.  She also represents fire and the rock that is formed out of it on her volcanic islands.  Such a simple example that Fire forms Earth, just as energy forms matter.  The old islanders said that the Hawaiian Islands rose up out of the sea as the body of the spirit and, in fact, everything about Haumea is quintessentially Mother Nature with no dividing line between the islanders and their island.

There are a couple of synchronicities worth mentioning here and the first concerns the election of President Barack Obama.  Haumea’s name was chosen 2 years before it was announced to the world, and at that time, no one would have guessed that a Hawaiian-born mixed-race senator would run for the office of President of the United States of America and win it. At the same time, the announcement was made abut Haumea.  Another startling coincidence was the announcement that the planet was surrounded by five icy chunks and two moons, which seem to have been knocked off her body by a collision. (The moons were found using the telescope on Hawaii.)  With Haumea herself, this makes eight.  The state of Hawaii also comprises of the main island and then seven other islands that surround her, making a total of eight.  Myth says these islands were formed from parts of her body.

Haumea has deep and profound resonance with creational energy and her volcanic origins, so this is key to understanding her.  It is possible that she may symbolise discoveries in evolutionary science, so her future role in astrology is likely to be mundane, although this remains to be seen.  In conclusion, we should read the words of Beckworth, who wrote this in 1940:

“Behind the (legend) is the Polynesian mythical conception of a dark formless spirit world presided over by the female element, and a world of form born out of the spirit world and to which it again returns, made visible and active in this human life through light as the impregnating male element.” [1]

Why the Arrival of So Many New Symbols?  What Are We Being Introduced To?

Haumea, Makemake and Eris were all respected by races who believed that the god/desses were the feelings, energies and natural responses of the living and nature.  They believed that all things on Earth are imbued with magical power, force and energy—a fact that science now knows to be true.  But this concept was alien to the West, which has worshipped a single god and not nature.  We lost our relationship with the environment, tuning in to technology and tuning out the sacred feminine and natural rhythm.
“The Key” from the Hermetic Texts gives a hierarchy of deity, putting a single almighty creator God at the top, with multiple and specific god/desses underneath and nature under that.  Humans are at the bottom of the pile and they control “arts and science”.  The trouble is we took control of “arts and science” and then took them too far.  We introduced more and more gadgets, systems and complexity, which requires a great amount of planetary resources.  But worse, we stopped believing in the god/desses.

In the last two thousand years, world religions tried to cut out and exclude the middle ranking god/desses, believing that we could report straight to the top guy who is arguably represented by Uranus or the Higher Universal Mind.  This monotheism took us into misguided spiritual beliefs.  It doesn’t work like that.  There is no quick fix straight to the top leaving out the middle management.  You have to work with them or they will complain--as they are doing. They will protect this dimension and humanity for its enviable, independent self-governance (which they tap into), but they do demand homage.  If not, they will disrupt the whole shebang.

Astrologers who have been around a while are firmly attached to the old classical planets paradigm and quite happy with the astrology they get from that, thank you very much!  It will take the new generations of astrologers to begin to use the dwarfs regularly, just as the new generations use Twitter and Paymobile. 

So why do we need the Dwarf Planets? The dwarfs may be smaller in scale to the classicals, but small does not mean insignificant, as we know from our experience of Pluto’s power.  The dwarf planets represent god/desses from the middle rankings just as the classical planets do and this makes them of equal importance.  That said, the biggest reason is the one I used at the beginning of this article--we don't need astrology to tell us life is getting more complex.....  but we do need an astrology to describe it!

Alison Chester-Lambert has written a book, The Future in the Stars, describing each of the Dwarf planets in detail. Alison lives in England, but is available for readings by phone. (She calls you). Visit her website, e-mail her, or phone: +44 7767 810889 or +44 1827 68288.



[1] Beckworth, M. (1940) Hawaiian Mythology; Sacred Texts (accessed 31 January 2009), p. 309


Alison's US West Coast Tour - May 2011 

Friday, May 13-15:  The Buddhist Wesak Festival, Mount Shasta.  Non-astrology talk.

Monday, May 16: 6:30-9:30 pm. Astrology talk, Sacramento Area Astrologers

Wednesday, May 18 : Evening non-astrology talk. Mystic Journey Bookstore, Venice, Los Angeles

Thursday, May 19: Evening astrology talk. NCGR, Tarzana, Los Angeles

Friday, May 20:  Evening astrology talk. Oregon Astrologers Association, Portland

Saturday, May 21: New Connections TV show. Portland, Oregon

Sunday, May 22: Afternoon non-astrology talk. New Renaissance book shop, Portland.

Alison is available for readings at different times during the tour and these can be booked now by e-mail--or you can contact her for additional details on her tour:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Humor: Love's Many Aspects

© 2011
by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved
This is the time of year we tend to be fixated on synastry. You’re probably poking around your beloved’s chart right now, trying to figure out which of his or her many aspects to your planets are favorable. That way, you can “work them” and maybe get lucky on Valentine’s Day. Here’s what you might experience if those aspects between your charts were talking to each other like lovers. Doesn’t matter who owns which one; the pillow talk will be similar.

Venus conjunct Sun

“You are the sunshine of my life” (with apologies to Stevie Wonder).

Mercury opposite Mercury

I just don’t know how to tell you how I feel. Words get in the way.

Venus trine Venus

I can’t stop saying “I love you,” over and over and over and over and over and over ....

Mars square Mars

Let’s fight and have make-up sex.

Jupiter square Jupiter

Roses are red
Violets are bluish
Oy, what can we do?
You’re Christian; I’m Jewish.

Saturn square Jupiter

I want to lock hearts and swallow the key. (This is the last correspondence Jupiter opens from Saturn.)

Chiron conjunct Mars

I love you so much; it never stops hurting.

Uranus square Venus

I dig you the most.

Neptune conjunct Venus

 Drunk on Us.

Pluto square Venus

I vant to bite your neck and leave marks.

Venus square Jupiter

I hate long-distance romances.

Neptune trine Venus

A rose is a rose is a rose—and is even better in colored glasses.

Happy Hearts Day from the Radical Virgo! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Got Questions on Chiron? Get Answers!

A Time-Sensitive Announcement

Dear Radical Readers,

As mentioned in my monthly New Moongram (subscribe at the top of the sidebar if you don’t already get it), I’m in the midst of two guest Q&A sessions about Chiron on Donna Cunningham’s remarkable blog, Sky Writer. The first session on February 5 focused primarily on natal Chiron. It was a lively exchange with excellent questions by a very engaged audience. These little centaur kids are my symbol for having the right playful spirit in learning. Bring yourself and your inner centaur-child to the festivities!

Chiron Transit Q&A. The next session on Saturday, February 12 begins at 1:30 pm PST and focuses on Chiron transits. Donna’s Chiron Alert announcement has all the details including a link to view the February 5ths Q&A. While it’s not necessary to be there in real time to read the next exchange (you can always visit Sky Writer later), to ask a question, you need to be on Sky Writer at the appointed hour, ready to pop your question into the comment box. I’ll only take 25 questions, so if you have one on Chiron transits that’s burning for you, get there early for a better chance to get your question into the queue.

Chiron 101 Summer School. And by the way, here’s something to start pondering. I’m planning to do a Chiron 101 Summer School for six weeks in July and August. It will be an online class conducted by group e-mail. I have taken writing classes this way and just love the format. The idea: I write a “lesson” on Mondays and Thursdays, sent to the class via the group e-mail list. There are always questions at the end for response and comment. Each individual Replies All, and we have ongoing dialogue—and, at the end, an e-mail “book” of our learning together. (Just keep a folder for the class in your e-mail box.) There will be a generous discount for early sign-up by mid-June. If you’re interested in this offering and want an e-mail when registration is open, please contact me (joyce at with Chiron Class in the header.

Till the next offering on my Mobile Mt. Pelion,


Photo Credit: Cute Toon Centaurs Playing in the Snow | © Algol |

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is the Semi-Sextile a Good Aspect or a Bad One?

©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Guest Writer, Round Blog-In

Have you read or been taught much about the semi-sextile?  I’m guessing that you haven’t—in most astrology writings, it tends to get shrugged off as a minor aspect after a half-hearted sentence or two of description. 

It’s a 30° aspect, plus or minus 2-3°. For instance, a planet in Aries may form a semi-sextile to a planet at approximately the same degree of either of the two adjacent signs, Pisces or Taurus. 

Briefly, the aspect involves planets in neighboring signs. But are they good neighbors or bad? That is to say, are they harmonious or at odds, do they support each other or bicker, and do they bolster each other’s efforts or sabotage them?

My answer is: all of the above…depending on the signs and planets involved. There aren’t really any good or bad aspects, you know—just evolved and unevolved ways of using the two planets in the combination. The ultimate effect depends on the choices you make about how to use them at any given moment. 

However, I’ve been watching semi-sextiles in my own life and the lives of friends and clients for 40 years, and for the most part I like them. The good traits of one of the signs can usually offset the less than wonderful traits of the other, especially if we learn to use them consciously. I have several in my chart, and they tend to pull me back off the ledge when I’m about to bungee dive into the worst qualities of the signs involved.

Two of my four are in Gemini-Cancer, so let me tell you what I like about that combination. Gemini can too often be glibly cerebral, and when I get that way about something that’s going on, Cancer reminds me of the emotions I’m glossing over.

On the other hand, one of Cancer’s worst traits is to be hypersensitive and to take someone else’s remarks too personally, then withdraw in injured silence. Gemini teaches to me laugh at myself nd communicate with the person about what was meant. All too often, they didn’t mean what I thought they did, but were off on some track of their own.

Here’s a full list of signs that are semi-sextile to one another, so you can check for this aspect in your own chart. Remember, the degree numbers of the planets should be no more than 2-3° apart. For example, a planet at 23° of Libra could be semi-sextile to planets between 20-26° of either Virgo or Scorpio. If you have a chart with the aspects printed out, look for the symbol shown at the side. 

 What about some other next-door-neighbor signs?  

Aries’ powerful urge to take action can offset Taurus’ typical inertia, but Taurus’ patience in bringing things to fruition can counteract Aries’ impulsive tendency to abandon projects when they don’t get immediate results. Pisces’ compassion can temper Aries warlike qualities, while Aries can provide the initiative to realize Pisces visions.

Libra can tone down Virgo’s criticisms and deliver those essentially well-intentioned corrections with a spoonful of honey. On the other hand, Virgo’s discriminating analyses can offset Libra’s tendencies to fall for a pretty face and charming line. 

Sagittarius can lend optimism to Scorpio’s cynical outlook, but Scorpio can discern what’s really going on underneath that charismatic new guru’s message that Sag is prone to take on faith.  Capricorn’s capacity to create structures, and administer them, can take Aquarius’ theories out of the ivory tower and into the planning stage.

Did you notice how many cans there were in the examples given above? Can presupposes that only one of the signs is showing its rotten side at the moment, and that the other sign is trying to help them evolve out of the murk and mire. What would happen if both signs were taking the lower path? To be perfectly fair, these two signs can also aid and abet each other in mayhem if the combination is misused.

Perfect example: With my Cancer/Gemini semi-sextiles, before I got so bloody evolved, I was capable of firing off some fairly devastating written commentaries to people who offended me. I’d detail what they did, why I was so deeply wounded by it, exactly what sort of worthless human being they were, and what they could do with themselves from here on out.

And I allowed no comeback—this was in those dimly-remembered days when people still wrote letters rather than emails.  Any written reply was returned marked “refused delivery.” No exaggeration. Nope, you wouldn’t have wanted to receive one of those poison pen letters of mine. After a LOT of work on myself, I foreswore that behavior quite some time ago. (It also helped when my progressed Mercury moved into Libra.)

Still, when the positive qualities of both signs are carefully cultivated, next-door-neighbor signs like these can prop one another up like good neighbors do in real life. A solid sense of respect for your own and other people’s boundaries is part of what makes the difference with this aspect, as in so many other areas.  Be guided by what Robert Frost wrote: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Incidentally, folks, my series of articles about aspects that ran in The Mountain Astrologer in 2008-9 is now available as an e-booklet, Aspect Analysis. It’s designed to teach the nuts and bolts of analyzing aspects–the real building blocks of chart interpretation, whether you’re studying natal, transits, chart comparison, mundane, electional, or horary.

Now that I’m done sharing what I’ve garnered about semi-sextiles over the years, here are some additional perspectives on this aspect found in an internet search today: 
  • Annie Heese at Cafe Astrology delineates tons of examples—a quality sadly lacking in most writings about this aspect.

  •  Semi-Sextile from AstroDienst’s AstroWiki

  •  Semi-sextile from a collection of articles on aspects at

  •  In AdZe’s Classroom

  •  Rhudyar lovers will be interested to know that there are actually a pair of distinctly different semi-sextiles, as articulated by Michael R. Meyer: the waxing aspect and the waning aspect. (Of Virgo’s two semi-sextiles, the sign afterward–Libra–would be the waxing one and the sign before–Leo–would be the waning one.)
Completely unrelated but a find anyway at Wikimedia Commons is this collection of astrological aspect symbols available to use as graphics:    The semi-sextile glyph used here is from that collection.

More Articles from the Series about the Lesser-Known Aspects
Photo Credit: © Madartists |

About the Author: Donna Cunningham, MSW is an internationally-respected author of books, articles, and columns about astrology, flower essences and other metaphysical topics. Her insights reflect her dual background in astrology and psychotherapy. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and over 40 years of experience in working with people. Her ebooks can be found at Moon Maven Publications Visit her blog, Sky Writer.

Auntie Joyce's recent humor post, Love Thy Neighbor, was all about semi-sextile neighbors. You might want to revisit it with Donna's insights in mind. It might be even funnier the second time around!

Friday, February 4, 2011

In and Out Blogger: Mixing It Up on The Radical Virgo and Beyond

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Radical Readers! I've had more announcements than usual, so far, in 2011. Here are more about what’s up in the months to come.

The Round Blog-In

I’m pleased to announce a new feature on The Radical Virgo, the Round Blog-In. I’ve always invited the occasional guest to post in these here parts, but I’m putting out the welcome mat on a regular basis this year for as long as I have willing visitors. Not only are guest appearances a good way to mix it up and bring variety to a single-author blog; the breaks from personal posting will free up some of the time I need to research and work on my book this year.

I’m making a concerted effort to bring you top astrologers for your continued learning and entertainment, starting with one I’m sure you already know and admire, Donna Cunningham. Donna will kick-off the Round Blog-In on February 7 with a post on an astrological aspect that you may not know that well and whose potentials are bigger than you think for balance in your chart. Watch for it!

“To Question is the Answer”

Speaking of Donna, she has an amazing Q&A series on her blog, Sky Writer. Here are some examples that I find exciting and think you will, too:
There’s a reason why the title of this post is In and Out Blogger. We’ve covered others coming in. Now it’s time to share how I’m going out. As part of the interactive research for my Chiron book, I’ll be doing guest Q&A sessions on Donna’s Sky Writer on February 5 and 12. The first question-go-round on the 5th will cover anything you ever wanted to know about Chiron (and I hope you won’t be afraid to ask). The second on the 12th will focus on Chiron transits, particularly the key aspects of Chiron to itself (first square, opposition, second square, and Chiron Return).

The quote that’s the header to this section is from a bumper sticker I used to see on a large number of cars in the parking lot of my local Unitarian church. I have always thought it was both amusing and profound. I’m sure I’m not the only person who, as a kid, kept asking, “Why, Daddy?” (or Mommy). It’s nice to be in environments as an adult where this kind of curiosity is not considered pestering. Dialogue is one of the unique features blogging offers us. Please come by Sky Writer with your Chiron questions on the first two Saturdays in February.

The Suggest Box is Open

If you’ve got a favorite astrological author you’d like to get to know better, feel free to suggest him or her to me. I’ll consider all suggestions.

Meanwhile, have a great Valentine’s month, and enjoy these special happenings both on and beyond The Radical Virgo!

Photo Credit: Woman Out of the Box © Viktor Levi |