Monday, June 25, 2012

Poem: Embrace Uranus-Pluto

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Personal Power taut with Inspiration
Transforms every part of me the two touch
house, sign
lighting bolts to my planets
strung together aspects
electric network
jolted with the juice
to change in sudden ways
charged with insights
startled by things
that are no longer acceptable

The pain is only a moment
in the process as a whole.
I shake off shock and “come to.”

This kind of power surge is rare.
Ride it for all it’s worth!
even when the metal is “hot.”
Jolt yourself off your usual merry-go-round.
Pick yourself up.
Dust yourself off.
See life from a new perspective,
sense knocked into you.

Change mind and heart
in a power surge
exploding into manifestation
things you’ve never been able
to do before
during a time that is so on your side
to become all you are:
you see your own future
in fast forward photography.


Photo Credit: © Fenton -

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poem for Summer Solstice

 The Growing Season

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Sun mates with the Moon’s sign
Cusp of Cancer
No time for gestation.
Instant birth—

Mystery permeates
the light/dark merger
Hot, sizzling rays send us
to our 4th House womb
to seek shade,

Beaches, water, flowers full-bloom:
life calls us to play
where we learn on break
from our left brains

but in the dark
the growing season remembers
its work.

A new you beats its embryonic heart
in night movies and daydreams.
Who you are becoming next
weighs in your belly
heavy by Autumn Equinox

water breaks
you harvest your
New Self
see others renewed
all around you
fall in love:


Photo Credit: © kiyanochka -

Friday, June 15, 2012

The United Astrology Conference: UAC #4 Retrospective

One Last Déjà-UAC

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved


The presentations at UAC, overall, were the highest quality, the best of the best. You can share my experience of how difficult it was to decide which of the 15 possibilities to choose in each time slot by checking out this UAC 2012 Sessions link. Click each session header (Session 1, Session 2, etc.) to see the myriad offerings. I think these descriptions speak for themselves to give you the flavor of the quality of the UAC fare. I will share my favorites among the talks I heard and links to the speakers’ websites, if you want to learn more about them and their work:

  • Donna Van Toen, What’s the Trigger?  How the tightest square in your chart often is a key to vocational aptitudes and directions. Donna also did a talk on vocational signatures in the chart that I could not attend. I heard it was terrific and look forward to buying on CD.
  • Steven Forrest, Living Evolutionary Astrology. Hints about the distorting influences left resolved from prior life times act like an invisible magnetic field behind the surface of the birth chart.
  • Lynn Bell, Body and Psyche: The Archetypal Language of Planets and Symptoms. The body speaks to us in many ways, and when we listen with a "planetary" ear, a symptom will often lead to a particular place in the chart, and a specific theme of burning or restriction, of twists and breaks or out of control growth.
  • Donna Page, Life Coaching with Astrology: Use Astrology as a Foundation for Life Coaching. Astrology is the perfect tool for life coaching. Learn this valuable service to help your clients transform their lives into the potential and promise in the natal chart.
  • Alan Oaken, From Intellect to Intuition: The Astrologer as Healer. The function of the astrologer/healer is to unlock the inner potential of the horoscope, giving form and focus to our unfolding awareness. Healing always takes place from above to below. How do Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto function to bring about a greater awareness of the Life Force contained within us?

Best of all, recordings of almost every talk at UAC will be available on the official website by the end of June: (The exception may be the occasional instance where there were technical difficulties in taping.) Like everyone else trying to multi-task, there were more presentations I couldn’t attend than I could. I plan to purchase those on CDs. In a month, I won’t be on astrological overload anymore—I hope! I’ll be ready for more input. I wanted to buy them before I left New Orleans, but I was out of it from the flu – and pushing my 50-lb. suitcase limit!

Astrology’s “Oscars”

I learned firsthand how noisy a sit-down dinner of over 900 people can be at the Marion D. March Regulus Awards. I could hardly hear myself think, but the most crucial information appeared on big screens, including a touching posthumous retrospective about Marion March, the astrologer honored in naming these awards. You can be there now with this fabulous tribute to Marion on You Tube, thanks to the UAC techno elves: 


The 2012 Marion D. March Regulus Award Winners were:

Discovery, Innovation and Research: Robert P. Blaschke
Ena Stanley
Theory and Understanding: Nick Campion
Community Service: Joyce Levine
Professional Image: Chris McRae
Lifetime Achievement Awards: Michael Lutin, Ray Merriman

You also can search for “UAC You Tube” and find other goodies from the conference, but don’t miss Nadiyah Shah’s highly professional You Tube film of her time in New Orleans. It’s outstanding and captures way more than we’ve covered here so far  in visuals. Thanks, Nadiyah, for sharing this with the world! 

Friendship, NOLA and Neighborhoods

Meeting old friends and new is one of the biggest charms of any UAC, and as I mentioned previously, I saw some people many times and others I knew were there—not at all. I was charmed, finally, to meet Sandra Mosley who lives on Oahu who did a wonderful post on The Radical Virgo in March 2011, A Prescription for Planets in Pisces: SoulCollage ® Your Natal Chart. While we didn’t get much one-on-one time in the whirl of the conference, I was delighted to have Sandra’s company on a couple of group dinner outings, including the Regulus Awards, even if we had to wave across the table! Learn more about Sandra and her husband David’s work at their ZodiacArts site, full of images that will take your breath away, as they combine their astrological know-how with symbolic art, books and calendars.

Treme's birthplace of rock 'n' roll is now a laundromat.
My Chiron 101 Summer School of 2011 came to life when I met one if its most upbeat participants, Kat Randall. Our meeting and its context was one of the highlights of my trip! Kat and I are both fans of the HBO program, Treme. Kat and her friend Robin met up with me to do a Treme walking tour. Turned out to be one of the best ways ever to get to know New Orleans. The Treme is a historical   neighborhood, sometimes called by its proper French name, Faubourg Tremé. It’s located in the mid-city adjacent to the French Quarter. From its beginnings at the end of the 18th century, the Treme was a diverse neighborhood of Caucasians, Haitian Creoles, and free persons of color. The town square was known as Congo Square, a place slaves gathered to dance on Sundays before the end of the Civil War. [1]

Tomb of the Unknown Slave. [2]
Congo Square was also an important marketplace where slaves could sell crafts and crops to raise money to purchase their freedom. The “Creoles of Color” band gave concerts that evolved into a more improvisational style that gave birth to jazz. The history of the Treme is rich and the slice of post-Katrina life depicted on Treme, the HBO show, has given me my greatest sense of New Orleans and its rich history. Sandy, our tour guide, a walking encyclopedia on Treme, deepened my sense of what jazz and New Orleans are all about. Jazz is “down and dirty” music whose terminology is sexual in origin which gave birth to many other forms of music. Because it is so diverse, reporting the history of jazz is difficult, but I like the loose definition offered by jazz critic Joachim Berendt, " a form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of blacks with European music." [3]

It became clear to me in the Treme: New Orleans a melting pot in the most positive sense of the word, a place where people experienced, then and now, the struggles of survival and the power of their strength of spirit. There’s a sense of acceptance here that reflects the highly Aquarian chart of New Orleans (more on that in a bit). There is music, a unique brand, and New Orleans got the name The Big Easy because it was easy for musicians to make a living here. Culture is thick and meaningful, and it dips deep into the past and permeates forward from now into the future. I felt welcome and at home in New Orleans; bigger yet, it became a part of me. From everything I read and have seen, it seems like the Statue of Liberty might just as well have been placed near New Orleans on the banks of the Mississippi.

I cut my tour of the Treme short for lunch with Donna Cunningham—well worth it! Donna has been a mentor, colleague and dear friend dating back to the early 1980s. We hadn’t seen each other in person in way too long, even though we both live on the West Coast. It was great catching up with her.

My last big food splurge was brunch at the famous Brennan’s restaurant. As fate would have it, the organizer of the get-together, Deborah Smith Parker was unable to come to the conference, end the end, due to other commitments. Deborah and sister San Diegan, April Elliott Kent, are both speaking at NCGR-Sacramento Area later this year. Also invited were Anne Beversdorf, formerly of San Diego now from Austin, TX—someone I had not seen in close to 20 years. I loved reconnecting with her and meeting her friend Ricia Doren, who rounded out our “foursome in Gulf.” The three-course brunch was out of this world, as was the conversation with these bright and talented astrologers. I hope you enjoy meeting them via their links here.

New Orleans: Birth Chart and Underbelly

Bourbon Street at night.
Now comes the part that’s both hard to report yet the most meaningful for me—and maybe for you, too, because it speaks to the imprint of a place on our psyches. It also says something about AstroCartoGraphy and other forms of locational astrology.

New Orleans is actually lucky I ever set toe on its soil again after what happened to me there in 1971. I was in my mid-twenties, a time of life I consider psychological adolescence. Given that, you can know from the start that the story was high drama. To cut to the chase, if you ever heard the old song, Tennessee Waltz, that’s essentially what happened to me. T-Pluto was conjunct my Sun and offered up for my learning a painful double betrayal. My roommate, boyfriend and I were traveling together—and she not only got involved with him; they ended up getting married. Because she and I also worked together, it was not just devastating but very public.

Up to six months before UAC, I wondered if I should dare go, considering this past history, especially with T-Pluto currently conjunct my Moon. (My Sun and Moon are in wide square, so you can’t touch one without the other.) While I have long forgiven the people involved and came to terms with what happened, there is always that imprint of past pain, the five percent of me that still needed some work.

The brave thing, I figured, was to go. That’s the universal nudge I felt. I went with my gut, and I wasn’t sorry. Somehow, as a result, I was able to pluck the last of the pain like an unwanted eyebrow, root and all. I got to see the personal historical context of what happened there and why New Orleans was the perfect place—maybe the only place—it could have played out. I also saw for the first time why this particular loss was so difficult. It was the first time I had opened my heart after my final break-up with the man that took me more than 40 years to get over, all tolled.

Both people involved in this painful past experience had astrological profiles similar to the New Orleans chart. My map lines in NOLA are Mars/IC and Chiron/DSC. (Remind me in my next life to opt for something other than Chiron in Scorpio square Pluto!) Astrologer Wendy Ashley commented at a UAC long ago: Before Chiron’s discovery, Mars was our “wounder.” Both planets of wounding are activated for me in New Orleans—which may also explain why I got blisters, regardless of which pair of shoes I was wearing, from walking around the French Quarter!

The release of old tears and new insights has been enhanced by another hunch I followed before the conference that endured afterwards. Something told me to read fiction about New Orleans to orient myself to returning there. That’s when I discovered Louis Maistros. Talk about someone who has captured the soul of a place. He helped me feel New Orleans and the powerful otherworldly healing beat that exists there, a jazz that pulses with every heartbeat. He helped me embrace that beat, even when it was a pain that must be endured to purge and begin again. I recommend his work highly, especially if you are Plutonian. (If you aren’t, you many not cotton to the brink of life/death and the interweaving of the living/dead that permeates his writing.)

I read Anti-Requiem: New Orleans Stories (free on Kindle) before the trip. With only a few stories left when I got home, I could not resist buying his novel, The Sound of Building Coffins. The story takes place just before the turn of the 20th century and is masterful in conveying the mix of otherworldly presence that both motivates and sometimes decimates the struggle for survival among the odd, interwoven characters. The New Orleans he paints of back then feels like the New Orleans I just visited, more than 100 years later. There are more buildings, people dressed differently, but the beat goes on.

“Feeling my way through” seems to be the prescription for my T-Pluto conjunct Moon, as it forms a transitory T-square with T-Uranus and my natal Venus, Neptune and Mercury in Libra. I am having dreams of death and images with predominant Cardinal red. I am also dealing with my Cardinal Mars in Cancer, as this trip brought me “to the line” of Mars/IC and how difficult it is to do Mars in a nurturing sign and root house.  I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I somehow trust it will all turn out right. As I said to a friend just this weekend, “I want to blow up my Moon and start over.” I’m channeling Pluto!

With T-Chiron trine my natal Chiron, I am trusting that the waters of Pisces/Scorpio will continue to heal, including some health issues that are clearly emotional in basis, because neither Western or Eastern medicine has done much to budge them.

Of all things I could have in Scorpio, I’m grateful Jupiter is one of them. My gallows humor saves me. That’s why this is my favorite line in Louis Maistros’s bio: He is mildly self-conscious about the fact that he shares a birthday with Lee Harvey Oswald, and is currently working out a conspiracy theory about that.

I hope sharing my diverse impressions about UAC and New Orleans has been a conspiracy of the best kind, not how the word has come to be used, but in its original meaning to breathe together.


Photo Credits: NOLA at Night © Charles Aghoian - Bourbon Street at night © Sara Fisk. Other photos by Joyce. Videos as noted in clips.


1. Treme – Wikipedia 

2. The Tomb of the Unknown Slave is located at St. Augustine Church, the oldest African-American parish in the USA.

3. Jazz -  Wikipedia 

Here are links to all the Vicarious UAC Posts, if you want to read the entire series:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

United Astrology Conference: Vicarious UAC #3 – Retrospective

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Green man from OMG! The Mayans Were Right

Despite the internet woes at the hotel and getting a doozy case of the flu the last day that’s still lingering as of this writing, UAC and New Orleans exceeded my expectations—and then some.

My goal was to experience a balance of astro-education, link-ups with friends and colleagues, and New Orleans culture. I left feeling I’d met the trifecta in the week I had and was left wanting more—a good sign!

On May 24, I attended 2012 and the Mayan Calendar with Bruce Scofield, a pre-conference workshop sponsored by NCGR. It was my most enlightening experience to date about what the calendar is, how it works, and why we shouldn’t be worried about its end this December. Bruce said it’s like an odometer turning over, a reset to zero. Major moment of insight: The 260-day cycle on which the calendar is based is roughly the time it takes for human gestation. The Mayan Long Count Calendar began on 11 August 3114 BC and ends 21 December 2012. The link to Bruce’s publications offers more to study and appreciate. See Recent Articles on Bruce’s page for the key points on this material for links on more Mayan resources.

Sacramento's Ziggurat and Tower Bridge.
And we hadn’t even yet begun! The real beginning was an extravaganza—the opening ceremony. The video kaleidoscope had a UFO’s Landing in New Orleans theme, complete with little green guys run amok that would parallel Mikey Lutin’s mad musical, 
OMG! The Mayans Were Right on Saturday night. The videography was out of this world in more ways than one, and various astrology groups had submitted clips from their home turf to give a sense of the global diversity of this amazing convergence of some 1500 astrologers on the Big Easy. (This was the second UAC to be held in New Orleans.) I was proud that our video from NCGR-Sacramento Area was included. Knowing it would be only snippets from our full film, I was thrilled with the ones chosen. Right on theme, there as the clip of me talking about Sacramento’s ziggurat building, which looks like one of those Mayan flat-topped pyramids. Just as I mention how some people say these buildings were used for astrological purposes, our vice-president, Linda Byrd, popped in with “Isn’t that Chironic?” Our postcard of the lead team followed with stars falling ‘round as we shouted our capsule mission statement, “We’re ambassadors for astrology!”

The video not only introduced us to who was there but gave a preview of all 13 tracks on the conference agenda with faces of the presenters. The music and visuals were all so exciting; you couldn’t leave anything but pumped for the days ahead.

But wait, there’s more! A brass New Orleans band added the finishing touches, as it led us, conga style, to beignets and decaf coffee or wine and the opening of the Marketplace. Booths full of jewelry (my weakness), astro publications and software, t-shirts and galaxies of info. My Mercury in Libra can never make up its mind, so I gave up on booths early-on. I concentrated on the hard decision on the beignets. In other words, I had both blueberry and strawberry sauces. While I never made it to Café du Monde, the home of the “best” beignets in New Orleans, I hope sharing this recipe offers a little of the opening ceremonies—and the local ambience—to everyone. (Roomie Sara is convinced that the New Orleans atmosphere is made up of at least one layer of powdered sugar.)

In-between these openers, I looked for souvenirs and lighter fare and lighter priced food, finding all within a block or two of The Marriott. I picked up some drumsticks from The House of Blues—an odd choice for a piano player! I’m missing my mallet for my meditation chimes, and I thought I could display the drumsticks as art objects and use one to tap my chimes as needed.

There was so much music everywhere—in the shops on recordings and at night in the streets by live players—it inspired me to come home and tinkle the ivories for the first time in a long time. (I have not shaken my hips this much and danced wherever I was, no matter who was looking, ever.) Ironically, the first music that popped out of the pile was Ordinary People.

In New Orleans, no one seems ordinary. Everything feels enchanted with the roots of the Spiritworld and magic dust. Or is that powdered sugar?

More flashbacks soon ….


Photo Credits:  Green man © Sara Fisk. Mayan Calendar © olgachirkova - Sacramento Bridge and Zig © Andy -

Here are links to all the Vicarious UAC Posts, if you want to read the entire series: