Thursday, March 29, 2012

Retrograde Wisdom: Waiting is Fullness

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved


Waiting is fullness.” ~ Valentine Michael Smith,
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

No matter how many positive articles I write about Mercury and Mars Retrograde [1], the pair have been murder on me. My Cardinal, hurry-up Mars does not like this waiting around and uncertainty that’s thicker than thieves or thugs blocking the doors. I feel like I’m in an invisible prison. It combines with some other personal chart factors that have me banging on the bars of my poky. I want out!

If you’re a kindred go-getter, you’ll probably be relieved when Mercury goes Direct on April 4 and Mars on April 14. Back to what I said in the Retrograde Rest Stop section of my latest Mercury Retro article, this early year downtime is likely to be the calm before the storm, the rest before the work, the boring days before life becomes the fulfillment of the “Chinese curse,” living in interesting times. I like to think of the times not as a curse but as a double-edged sword, combining challenge and opportunity, a time that promises to keep me on my toes and grow me to my fullest possible height.

When I reacquainted myself with the Heinlein quote from  Stranger in a Strange Land, a cult classic in the ‘60s and ‘70s, my curiosity was piqued by a discussion in one article about the book. It focused on how waiting in fullness is not procrastination. In fact, it’s the antithesis of putting something off. It’s surrendering to the necessary, underlying development of foundations for anything you’re building. You can’t push the flower to grow or the egg to hatch. It seems more obvious when the example is a literal, natural process, but when it comes to the birth of an idea or project, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we can’t see everything yet. Decisions and directions need to be based on sound infrastructure in order to succeed, just as if you were building a highway or bridge.

For now, the work probably isn’t done in the invisible yet for you to move forward on whatever you’ve been contemplating. We’ve only got a bit to go before the pressure of waiting is off. My suggestion? Don’t leap, even then, but initiate the test balloons and preparation for new projects, practices, and important beginnings. Added to the retrograde mix and elongating the process: Saturn, planet of structure and foundations, has been retrograde since early February and does not go direct until June 25, 2012. In the sign of Libra, it has been asking us to take others into consideration. In the three planets retro mix, it may be asking us to wait till everyone’s on the same page before mixing the cement for a new cornerstone.

Why, then, is waiting fullness? Maybe the better analogy is eating, an activity where we know what full feels like. In order for the idea or project to reach its full potential, we have to feed it enough nutrients to build the bones and cartilage on which our skeletal ideas will hang in the world and form enough flesh to be real.

Westerners are not very good at this sort of thing. That’s why my best friend and both rankle when we’ve used the I Ching oracle. Its hexagrams seem more like gobbledygook than wisdom to Marsy people. (She’s an Aries Sun.) The Eastern perspective on life is much more astute about the need for waiting till the time is right and yin and yang are balanced.

The Western Way is the yang, male-energy path—the same one that often ends in destruction, the path from which the adage was spawned, Fools rush in.

Part of what makes waiting in fullness even more ironic is that Valentine Michael Smith, the guru character in Heinlein’s novel, is a Martian—literally a Man from Mars. I don’t know what, if anything, Heinlein knew about astrology, but juxtaposition is a great teacher. Another thought: In its day, Heinlein’s novel was futuristic. In 1961 when it was first released, people often thought of extraterrestrials as coming from Mars. It was our concept of far out, of strange and exotic, maybe even of the limits of the universe. Those limits have expanded as astronomical discoveries have increased exponentially in recent years.

So now, as we broach the finish of the first pair of the retrograde trio’s backward motion this year, focus especially Mars, your can-do planet. Visit the limits of what your Mars moving backwards and inching toward a halt can teach you, before you move forward in mid-April on your next courses of action. Make them appetizers until Saturn can support your fuller meal of new efforts in early summer.

If waiting is fullness, there’s a feast in store for us by mid-year. The hunger for action may be just the appetite we need to whip up for the bounty of juicy, summer fruits that really give us something to sink our teeth into.



Photo Credit: © GoodMood Photo -

Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Astrological Blind Spot

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

We all know the danger of the blind spot at the sides of our car when we’re driving. It’s amazing how an entire vehicle can fit into this small patch of our visual field that’s out of eye-shot of mirrors or craning neck—unless, of course, you happen to be possessed like the girl in The Exorcist with her 360o head spin.

I’m finding I have blind spots in my astrology chart, too. How ‘bout you?

My most recent episode startled me into awareness of how important it is to share your chart with trusted others. They might put you onto a spot in your horoscope that you can’t see or conveniently ignore. Of course, no surprise, mine has to do with Neptune.

It isn’t as if I didn’t know this particular Neptune aspect was there; rather, I had stopped really seeing it or focusing on it. It reminds me of those times you walk into a familiar room but suddenly notice a painting or piece of furniture that has been there all along. It jumps out at you after months or years of receding into the background.

My chart has a triple conjunction in Libra at the following degrees: Venus (5), Neptune (10) and Mercury (17). My Moon is at 8 Capricorn. I feel my natal Neptune-Moon square acutely, and I think that’s what makes me Neptunian—or at least, that’s what I talk about.

But what about Venus conjunct Neptune?  I certainly experienced Neptune conjunct Venus full boar in my single days. I dated men that all seemed to carry a trident dripping seaweed. Then there’s one Pisces  ex-husband and the current one with his loaded 12th House and Neptune on the Ascendant.

It took the following to reawaken me to certain features of my natal Venus/ Neptune conjunction. The current Pluto-Uranus square, with T-Uranus opposed my Venus, is forming a T-square to my Natal Moon conjunct Transiting Pluto. Yep, Venus/Neptune is still there in living color. I guess it had blended into the wall. You know how Venus and Neptune love art, especially in Libra! (My Venus conjunct Neptune had become a mural.)

Venus rules love and money, and it’s my chart ruler (duh). When the change-happy Pluto-Uranus square entered the picture to form that T-square with my Venus, I was shocked into realizing how I’d been ignoring the money part of my Venus. Venus conjunct Neptune was threatening to crash, like a speeding vehicle in the blind spot beside my car.  I was about to cut in front of it! I’ve been fogged over about money before, as you can well imagine with that natal aspect. But just as Neptune tends to make us feel that every new love is like the very first time, to quote a song made popular by Madonna (who has her own Radical Virgo chart features); so Neptune can make us feel gaga about our delicious spending habits. We are happy to metababble about prosperity consciousness without organizing or disciplining ourselves to merge the law of attraction with the law of common sense and the laws of the material world. (Now I'm hearing Material Girl. This post has a Madonna soundtrack!)

I’d love to hear from you. Is this only a Neptune thing? Or do you have blind spots about other parts of your chart that have come to light?

Now that the fog has lifted, I’m reading The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth, and I’m reorganizing my finances in a major way before someone has to call the paramedics. One can only hope with Uranus involved that the shake-up is only a fender bender instead of fatal accident. A friend told me recently that she didn’t see Transiting Uranus coming to a significant point in her chart, either. I have to wonder if some of this “forgetting” isn’t a defense mechanism. It’s really difficult to deal with too much at once. Even when driving, if we couldn’t let some of the traffic sounds and potential dangers fade into the background, we’d be too nervous to drive safely—a danger to ourselves and others when we’re behind the wheel.

If this share gets you thinking and helps bring to light some part of your chart that needs routine maintenance, consider it an astrological defensive driving course. During this combo of Mercury and Mars retrograde, it’s the perfect time to review how we’re driving our planetary energies and what mental patterns—including denial and distraction—are providing the potholes, obstructions and potential accidents on the road ahead.

Fasten your seat belts and adjust your mirrors! And do share, if you have other examples of missing what’s going on with your fifth “wheel,” your astrology chart.


Photo Credit: Rear View Mirror © TheSupe87 -

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Celebrate Spring Equinox – 2012

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

A Dedication and Naming Ceremony for Your New Births

Spring is the time of new beginnings—or rebirth. When babies are born, in the Christian tradition, they are baptized or christened. This confers both the gift and symbolism of the child’s name but also brings him or her into the community of those who care, implying that you and yours have a back-up support system. Whether it’s a new pet, a new relationship, or a new project, you can do the same for your particular new rebirths this spring. I did this ceremony in 1995 when I brought my kittens Duffy and Darrin into my family. The ritual can be applied to anything, including a new attitude! Here’s how to do it.

The Naming

Naming is serious business, for the name of any being or idea carries the resonance of your intention. Especially when naming human beings or pets, be sure you know the background or any mythology connected with the proposed name. Projects and new attitudes work best with an upbeat name that reflects the positive outcome you seek. For instance, keeping your house more tidy for better feng shui or energy flow might be called Home Energy Flow rather than reiterating the bad habit with a title like Clutter Busting. You could call an effort to see things more from the upside Operation Optimism.

The Dedication Ceremony

Gather at least two friends or family members who represent your support system. The more the merrier, and this is a perfect ceremony to do in a group during a Spring Equinox celebration. If you are dedicating a pet, bring it with you. I suspect most people would dedicate their children at a separate family gathering, but we have dedicated children in our Solsisters group in addition to their baptism or other traditions.

Create an altar, and place some objects on it that symbolize spring, rebirth and new beginnings: wildflowers, Easter eggs, plant bulbs, and a candle to represent the Aries fire and the new beginnings we celebrate at this threshold.

The leader lights the candle and declares: “Let our rebirthday celebration begin!”

Each individual comes forward with a symbol of their new birth or new beginning. If it’s a child being dedicated, you might use a bonnet or bootie--for an animal, a collar or favorite toy. For a project, you can become much more creative. For my new book, I’ll bring a printout of the cover concept or a bound copy of the manuscript. The individual launching Operation Optimism could bring a picture of a happy individual—best, one of her smiling.

As each person comes up to the altar, s/he faces the gathering, lifts up the actual being s/he is dedicating, if a child or pet. Bring the symbol, if it’s anything else, or if it’s impractical to bring the real thing. S/he says:

“Behold, ______ (name of new birth)!” Now say a few words about your “baby,” whatever it is, and what this new beginning means to you.

Bring the child, pet, or symbol back down from an elevated position. Share your promises and commitments—to love and support him, her or it. Ask your circle, “Will you help me grow and support me in this new beginning?”

The circle responds, “We will!”

Onto the next person.

Darrin & Duffy
Of course, the words can be altered and the ceremony stylized to suit your needs. I’ll never forget the teary moment when I held up the first of my kittens and declared, just like his parents did for Kunta Kinte in Roots, “Behold, Duffy Kyle!” That moment symbolized my commitment to a companion who has owned my heart for sixteen years. The community of my friends has supported me me during every challenge and loss with the Tabby Brothers, especially when Duffy’s littermate Darrin (the redhead) died of cancer at age 12. Darrin will always own major real estate in my heart, where he lives forever. The depth of our bonding no doubt had something to do with the ceremony and seriousness of my promises to be there for him always. I still am, even if one of us is no longer in a body.

While Spring Equinox holds the ultimate timing for new beginnings and rebirths, doing this ceremony any time during spring is still very potent. You can also convene a Dedication and Naming Ceremony at any time, for the beginning of anything new is like its own spring.

Blessings on all your new births! And thank the universe for the birth-death-rebirth cycle that is the Circle of Life.


Photo Credit: Vernal Sun - © yurumi - ; Tabby Brothers photo by Joyce

Happy Birthday, Radical Virgo Blog! On March 21, The Radical Virgo turns three years old. What an odyssey. Love and thanks for your part in making it so!

The Cardinal Quarterly is about to arrive! If you aren’t on my newsletter email list, don’t miss this quarter’s inside scoop and a brand new article on Chiron, a preview from my forthcoming book, Keywords for Unlocking Chiron. It’s on one of my favorite Chironic concepts, making lemonade out of lemons. This preview is exclusive to the mailing list. Sign up at the top of the sidebar, if you’re not already a subscriber.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day on March 17! Revisit St. Paddy’s Day Quotes for the Signs.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Neptune in Pisces: Sharing Our Visions for Astrology

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

~The Night Before Christmas

In the classic poem and children’s story, The Night Before Christmas, excited little ones anticipate Santa’s morning arrival and dream of sweet things that dance in their heads as they sleep. What a Neptune in Pisces, kids in the candy store vision!

Neptune re-entered Pisces, after a retrograde dip back into Aquarius, on February 3, 2012. Neptune will remain “in its own sign” until January 2026. It’s the perfect time to let sweet things dance in our heads, whether our dreams are the sleeping or waking variety.

This post is for the purpose of sharing my visions about astrology—and asking you to share yours. How would astrology look in the best possible world?

Neptune in Pisces is a time when visions, too, are in their own sign, when what we see is what we get. If we work that idea to its highest potential, we can visualize and create positive changes in the best possible way. If our manifestations are truly an outcropping of the seed thoughts we plant, this is the time to think big, beautiful things—things that join us and nurture our functioning as the whole organism of humanity.

Imagination is a beautiful thing. When imaginations are joined for good, anything is possible. Please jump into the Comments and respond to my visions and share yours!

Precise Birth Times

In my dream world, nations pass laws that require accurate recording of birth times. This precise record keeping is done out of respect for the beliefs and spiritual perspectives of families and covers the infant, too, in case he or she comes to hold a belief in astrology in the future. (Birth is a one-shot deal in any life time. You’ve got to plan ahead to anticipate needs.) Birth times are recorded by a standard, agreed-upon protocol about what constitutes the first moment of life. Birth times are part of the public record, easily accessible according to the same rules of release for any vital statistical document.

Overcoming the Astrological Language Barrier

Astrologers are taught early in their studies to speak about astrology with non-astrologers in a way that allows people new to the subject to understand them, even if they have never taken a single astrology class. With this language bridge, more people will walk across it to see what astrology is all about. Simple language would go hand-in-hand with teaching astrology with crystal clarity. In my world, initial studies would be so basic yet colorfully presented, any child could grasp them with ease. Astrology teachers would add to those building blocks, bit by bit, toward helping their students understand more complex concepts. To achieve this, teachers could look to models of children’s books and exhibitions on science and other complex topics, to see how it’s already done. The model of building on simplicity toward understanding increasingly complex ideas is necessary in any multifaceted topic, especially one that has a language all its own.

The engine of this effort to mainstream astrology is the idea that astrology is only as helpful as it is accessible. I see a new era of demystifying the science and art of the stars. The best teachers—and there are many of them!—know how to build on simple principles, so that by the time a student is intermediate in his or her studies, concepts previously thought to be complicated nearly grasp themselves.

Astrology Starts in Middle or High School

In my Neptune in Pisces vision, astrology is taught in tandem with astronomy. Students can take one, both, or an integrated track. When I was in college—and this could certainly apply to middle or high school—there was an option called Combined Studies. CS offered broad areas of study, rather than limited subjects. Looking back, the brainiest students seemed to go for it. That should have told me something! With the option of making astrology a part of other educational tracks, rather than teaching it only as a stand-alone, more access and subject integration would result.

Students who don’t hold astrological beliefs are exempt from astrology classes; however, Astrology 101 and Astronomy 101 would be recommended together as a first course in star studies, especially since astrology preceded astronomy and is important from a historical perspective in the development of astronomy. Once exposed to it, some “pure scientists” might be surprised at what they discover about astrology’s potentials and astrology students would be grounded in the science portion of the art/science of astrology.

Higher Education

In my new astro-world, there are many astrological colleges and certification programs available and accessible worldwide, along with government-approved programs for easy financing via scholarships and student loans. Astrology is treated just like any other subject in this regard. As with my suggestion for middle and high school above, courses would be offered in tandem with astronomy, social studies, history and any other curricula that place astrology in the context of the areas it affects—all of life.

ZNN: Zodiac Nonstop Network

This is my “coop de hoop,” as my ex-husband used to say. I think that was his pidgin play on coup de grace, a French way of saying the finishing blow or touch—or an idea that knocks me out, in this case. I have had conversations on Facebook in astrology groups about it, and I think its time has come—far fetched as it may sound at first.

My concept of ZNN is a cable network with 24/7 programming from an astrological perspective. Newscasters would tell the news with current transits in mind, and the day’s planetary positions and movements would run on a ticker like the stock market fluctuations on the bottom of the screen. News magazine features would include a look at the chart of major characters in the headlines, and these “specials” would heat up during significant events, such as elections, to speculate on the leadership style of the nominees and their chances of winning.

Sitcoms and dramas would have characters that play on their astrological make-up. Classic shows could be rerun as astrological cinema lessons. Example of TV Guide type blurb using I Love Lucy:  Pisces musician Ricky Ricardo loses his cool and beat when his spotlight-loving Leo wife causes chaos, posing as a dancer in his show.

Travel features could include the astrological charts of countries and what each nation's horoscope suggests about individual compatibility for tourists. The ZNN travel team would have an Astro*Carto*Graphy expert on staff who gives shows, periodically, that are a live reading, demonstrating how this tool can be used to plan travel and major geographical moves.

Gemini: Yakity Yak
My favorite aspect of this astro-cable TV network would be its educational potentials. While the parallel of this part of the programming is obvious with PBS, the American Public Broadcasting System, I see ZNN as being even broader, yet starting with teaching astrology to young children.

Similar to the Muppets, I have an idea for 12 puppets called the Zodi-Yaks. Yaks are furry, horned bovine critters that would make adorable archetypes for the 12 signs. Technically, yak refers to the male. The female being called a dri or nak. In English, and in most other languages, "yak" is commonly used for both sexes. So, the horns can be removed for the girl yaks. [1]

I’m already naming them, but this is still in pencil:

Meet the Zodi-Yaks

Aries – Flash
Taurus – Luxury (Luxy for short)
Gemini – Yakity
(I know Yakity Yak is redundant, but what else?)
Cancer – Moody
Leo – Starr
Virgo – Picky
Libra -  Lovey
Scorpio – Vavavoom (Vava for short)
Sag – Blurt
Capricorn – Briefcase
Aquarius -  Rarie
Pisces – Dreamy

How Do We Make This Dream Come True?

We keep talking about it, build on it, and count on the astrological grapevine and six degrees of separation to bring us the resources to turn these concepts into reality. Someone knows somebody who’s in television, education or a cousin twice removed of the late, great Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets—or Jeff Dunham’s dummy  maker. Maybe we even form a committee.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

We might have to start with a track of programming on an existing network before creating one dedicated exclusively to astrology. I could see the Zodi-Yaks on public TV and an astro news segment on any major news network, except for perhaps the most ultra conservative.

Miti Manifesto. Miti (Mee Tee) is a nickname my birth mom had for me, short for my original name, Maria Teresa. When we were reunited after 38 years of separation, Helen and I discovered we were both very metaphysical. She felt I was an amazing manifester. (The story of how I found her is so synchronistic, you’d think I made it up.) Thus, she rechristened me Miti Manifesto. Another one of my friends says I have “magic dust.”

It’s true; I do know something about the law of attraction, but it’s universal law combined with a small group of committed citizens that changes the world. Those world-changing groups and committees often start with just one person. Here comes an example.

Call Me Lazarus.  One of my favorite manifestation stories, besides finding my assorted lost loves, was raising our local astrology group from the dead. I’m a Virgo; so, naturally, I don’t mean for this to be a brag. It’s evidence of how one committed person with a strong Mars can decide to do something and, through the law of attraction, magnetize those other committed citizens to make it so.

I made it so in less than a month. I’m sure I’ve mentioned parts of this story before, so mea redundo, if it’s a repeat for you. It’s such a classic example, it’s worth retelling to those who have heard it before and worth introducing to those who haven’t.

In 2010, I went to two Rick Tarnas events at NCGR-San Francisco on September 15 and 18. San Francisco is 125 miles one-way from where I live in the suburbs of Sacramento. The first event was a Wednesday night lecture; the other a Saturday workshop. By the second event, as much as I love Rick’s presentations, I started adding up the fees, food, tolls, and parking charges. I said to myself, “This is ridiculous. There have to be enough people to resurrect the old astrology group in Sacramento. I’m not doing this anymore—or at least not often.” The Sacramento chapter of NCGR had been “dead” for nearly a decade.

By October 17, I had managed to “herd cats,” as many people joke about how hard it is to get astrologers on the same page or in the same room. Thirty people met at a local metaphysical store, our first “resurrection” meeting. I contacted dozens of people, activated the grapevine, and the game was afoot. From the beginning, all I did was plug into the longing for astrological community that already existed. It existed acutely because people had been starved for it for nearly a decade. From there, it took off like wildfire. After a few organizational get-togethers, we started planning speakers and had a full program for 2011 in no time flat. At Spring Equinox, March 21, 2011, we recharted with NCGR and the Sacramento Area Chapter was reborn. What a Plutonian story!

I managed to attract the best leadership team in the galaxy, and while they give me more credit than I probably deserve for my organizational and professional skills, it just took one person—me—to get it going. Sure, I’m astro qualified for the job. The strong Mars and being a Triple Earth help a lot. (Several of the team members thought about it for years, but say they don’t have enough Earth and couldn’t get from idea to action.) But I’m not the only person on the planet with skills and astro-compatibility for organizing big projects.

How about you? I’m not sure I’ve got enough juice and magic dust left in my wand to pull an astro-TV network out of a hat, but if I could attract the right committed team …

… like a lot of people of a certain age, I’ve learned by experience never to say never.

If you’ve read the original article on which this blog is based, The Radical Virgo, you’ll note it contains a call to action. Could these dreams—and yours—possibly be one of the reasons we’ve been meeting like this on The Radical Virgo blog?

Dying to hear your Comments!



[1] For more on yaks:

Photo Credits:  Dreamer - © Patrizia Tilly -; Felt Yak Illustration- © texxi -

Congratulations to Mads Elung-Jensen of Berlin, Germany, winner of the Valentine’s month Comment Contest on The Radical Virgo. Mads is a regular reader and frequent commenter. Even though the actual drawing is done by my husband Tim, who isn’t into astrology and knows none of the people on those slips of paper, I’m sure the fact that Mads commented in a limerick somehow made his name magnetize to Tim’s fingertips. Mads won a free mini-reading with me by email. Thanks to all who participated! ~ Joyce