Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NEW E-BOOK! Astrology 101 Primer: How to Interpret Your Chart

A Beginner's Primer, A Continuing Student’s Handy Reference Notes

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

If you’re new to astrology, do you ever wish you had a shortcut to “getting” those pizza look-alikes called astrology charts? (My pepperoni is trine bell peppers! Sausage opposes artichokes conjunct bacon!)

If you’re a continuing student of the stars, did you ever wish you had a handy reference tool with key words and shortcut reminders for those times you feel on information overload for all that you see “in the round?”

Better yet, did you ever wish you had an easy way to ‘splain it all, as Ricky used to say to The Redhead on the old TV show, I Love Lucy? We all have a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or cousin we’d just love to introduce to astrology. They won’t care unless we can’t give them some idea of how it works and colors our world. 

Learn the ABCs of astrologese.
Make charts make sense.

In any of these cases, I have a new e-book for you. Astrology 101 Primer: How to Interpret Your Chart was written with newcomers to astrology in mind. It takes the complex and often overwhelming visual of a horoscope and gives you the key words, symbol translations and concepts you need to begin deciphering its messages. Everything you need is tightly woven into this 16-page reference. If you eliminate the introductory and bonus material, you only need to print out six pages to have your own condensed chart interpretation guidebook.

There are pages with symbols and keywords for Planets, Signs, Houses and Aspects.

Here’s an excerpt from the intro:

Astrology is a language, a symbolic shortcut for understanding yourself and others. Like most languages, it involves putting astrological “words” down on a page (in your astrology chart) for reading, sharing, or analysis. It’s good to remember from the start that the zodiac pie is a two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional happenings in the sky. It’s “not to scale” or dimension. Eventually, your brain will make that switch, as you learn more, going from photos of the sky or stargazing to the flattened Zodiac Pizza, as I like to think of it.

Astrological language is made up of:

  •  Planets - in your natal or birth chart, the position they held when you were born
  • Signs - the area of the zodiac where the planet was located at birth
  •  Houses - the area of life in which the planets primarily express themselves), and
  •  Aspects - the geometric angle between the planets in the sky at your birth. The aspects represent how parts of your personality get along—or not.

Astrological “sentences” are made by putting together these language bits. We speak of the meaning of a planet (Mercury) in a sign (Virgo) and house where it resides (the 7th)—and, finally, its aspects to other planets (square Moon, conjunct Venus). If the information in parentheses was from an individual’s chart in the foregoing sentence, I can tell that this person is quite communicative in relationship yet has difficulty expressing his or her deepest feelings.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the initial appearance of complexity. Astrology is both simple and complex. You gain its many gifts by learning the simple things well, which build up to understanding additional, layered messages. Think of how a child first learns to talk and grows fluent in language. If he likes talking, he may go onto become a public speaker, politician, or preacher—or she may choose any other profession where words are an important medium like acting or teaching. It all starts with the same ABC’s!

The planets and signs each have an archetypal meaning. I like this definition of archetype ...

The Astrology 101 Chart Interpretation Primer is a way in, if you’re new to astrology and a way out of those times of overwhelm, even if you’re an old hand at it. This chart interpretation primer gives references for getting free charts online and provides enough key words to help you begin to unlock the meaning of any horoscope.

You can purchase this new tool for $4.95 in the sidebar. Let me know how it works for you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Which Planet Rules Creativity?

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

You may have been told, like I was, that the Sun rules Leo and the 5th House  of children and creativity.  This isn’t hard to buy. After all, the Sun represents our unique Self, and we shine through our creations.

After six decades of expressing creativity from crayons to blogs, books and beyond, I think there’s a lot more to it than being ourselves in our most inimitable way—or replicating ourselves in a biological way. I think creativity is both personal and interpersonal—and very outerplanetary. Creativity taps into One Mind and everything that’s not new, as in that old adage, “There’s nothing new under the Sun.”

While nothing’s new as far as the basic materials of creativity are concerned, the way we recombine them is often highly original. While we’d be hard put to find an idea that hasn’t been thought of before, we surely will find many new ways those ideas have been pieced together to fulfill a need, solve a problem, bring us joy, give us a laugh, or touch us with beauty.

An example from the more ridiculous end of the sublime/ ridiculous continuum is the Chia Pet. Who’d a thunk it? Chia Pets make people laugh or groan or at least ask what the … ??? You just can’t be neutral about them. First sold in 1977, unbelievably, Chia Pets were still selling over a half million a year as of 2007. Enjoy this original Chia Pet commercial. Aries and Tauri, take note. They come in rams and bulls! (Or at least they did back then.) You even can buy a Chia of President Obama on Amazon or eBay. Could anyone dispute this is possibly the world’s most creative combination of pottery, plants, and the human desire for pet companions? (I’ve never wanted a pet President, though. Have you?)

Creativity comes from a swirling kaleidoscope of ethereal ideas, everyone’s space junk and genius, floating in the dimension of our connected minds. Some astrologers assign creativity to Mercury, others to Uranus. To me, it’s obvious that creativity has no one planetary ruler.  

I completely understand why those advocating Mercury as creativity’s ruler came to that conclusion, though, because creativity, above all, requires an open mind. That’s how we tap into the Big Think Tank in the Sky.

I live to create. If I’m not being creative, I’m dying. Since I retired from my government job almost seven years ago, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to live my creativity nearly 24/7. (I’m also counting my active dream life, where my subconscious goes hog wild mixing experiences and feelings to produce some night movies that are even stranger than Chia Pets.)

The longer I live in the center of my whirlwind imagination, the less I feel that I create on my own. I have heard the concept of co-creation with God or the universe for the last 35 years, since I officially “got metaphysical.” Yet, I never really understood in such a visceral way what it means till now. In fact, I’m not sure I create at all. Creations come through me. I birth new creations by tapping into the Cosmic Altogether. It feels very Lunar and Neptunian. And Uranian. Plutonian, and considering my bent toward that savvy centaur, Chironic.

Creativity is too big a concept to fit into a single planetary ruler. It’s universal energy, bigger than the sky.

I’ve written before about a sense that I have Manicotti Mind. You know, one of those big tubular pasta shells. It’s like this tube sits in the middle of my head, and it’s the base of a funnel through which I get information. Surely, I’ve got Uranus sending some signals, maybe through my dental fillings. And if you aren’t Plutonian, you can’t deal with the death-birth-and rebirth that all creativity demands of us. Example: The typical scene in the movie of the frustrated writer, back in the olden days of typewriters. He or she just can’t get it right, rips the paper out of the carriage, balls it up and throws it in the trash. If she’s really at wits end, she stomps on it or kicks the garbage can.

This may be hard to believe, but I never recall suffering from writer’s block—ever. (If anything, I need help turning off the faucet.) The expression itself, writer’s block, tells what needs to be healed—a blockage. (Time for Chiron!) While I know that actual manicotti is best served stuffed with delicious ricotta cheese and drowned in marinara or meat sauce (I was raised by an Italian mama, after all), the metaphorical tube in Manicotti Mind must remain completely open.

The belief that you have to fill the empty page solely from content that you draw out of yourself is the cause of writer’s block.

When you open to let to the entire cosmos whisper in your ear and stuff ideas into the noodle in your noodle—or even send wires over your dental work, anything is possible! Even these last few paragraphs.

Creativity requires a lot of Jupiter, too. You’ve got to be willing to make a fool of yourself—and to laugh at yourself. Some of the best things you’ll ever write, paint, sing, dance—name your medium—will come from being crazy, wacky, and telling Saturn to take a powder. Saturn can come back when he’s done playing fuddy-duddy and is ready to help you where he counts most—in bringing your creations into usable form.

Chiron remains a Saturn-to-Uranus bridge in this case, too. Chiron can help you translate some of the farthest-out ideas into something that the middle of the bell curve can understand, if that’s your audience. And if your audience is on the other extremes, he’ll show you how to simplify or leave the material uncut for people on the cutting edge.

The best writing exercises I’ve ever done are called Brain Warmers. Brain Warmers are a kind of morning coffee to wake up the creative juices and get them flowing. They can be adapted to any medium of self-expression. Brain Warmers more than let Pandora out of my creativity box; they blew up the box.

Brain Warmers

  1. Take any book, newspaper, magazine or printed material. At random, open any page and point at a word. This is your first word. Write it down. Omit articles, prepositions, conjunctions and all “little” words. Stick to nouns, adjectives, and verbs—but primarily nouns. You’ll need at least one noun, and you may choose to do only nouns. Another option: use a Random Word Generator.

  2. Repeat process until you have written three words.

  3. You will be writing a paragraph that includes these three words. The first word must be in the first sentence. You can modify the form of the word to fit your context. Example: I drew preservation from my Sabian Symbols book. If preservation doesn’t work right, preserving or a variation of form is OK, but stick as much as possible to the original.

  4. Set a timer for 1.5 minutes. Write fast and without worry about who will see it or how it comes out. Just let ideas flow. Edit nothing.

  5. When the alarm goes off, STOP. You can finish your thought after you reread your paragraph, if there’s a sentence that’s not yet completed.

Undressed and Unrehabilitated
To give you a real example of one of these, I drew the following words from the Random Word Generator: undress, rehabilitated, and intimation. Here’s what I got in my minute and a half:

The mannequins were in various states of undress. I don’t know why it bothered me. I guess it’s because I’m a rehabilitated nudist. I just can’t bare seeing others romp in the all together, even if they’re just big, inanimate dolls. I guess I’m tired of the intimation, even to myself, that I might be a little “preverted,” as my friend Nancy used to say. Still, I have to admit, I’m happy I’ve decided to go back to clothes. I like fashion. We’re back to the mannequins, aren’t we?

Given I’m a Virgo, the chances of my actually ever being—or having been—a nudist are nil. That’s what makes brain warmers so much fun. They can be total fantasy, silly—and no one ever has to look at them but you. They open the channel for creativity, and the carryover is contagious to your writing.

You could do the same thing as an artist: find three words and include them in a sketch concept, or write a story first and draw or paint that scene. As a dancer, dance the three words or a story you derive from them. A singer can work their story into lyrics. An instrument musician can use the words to stir up a song or choose three random notes and work them into a theme. What this exercise does is show you how to remix those fragments from One Mind and make something new from them.

I’ve already talked about Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, and Pluto. I can’t leave out Venus and Mars. Creativity is an expression of love (Venus) and many say Venus rules creativity. She certainly inspires us. Also from Venus’s realm: to touch and relate to others is a large part of why most of us create. Mars gives us the passion and desire to deliver our creativity and the juice to run that sky-to-earth interface creation requires. Creativity can take a lot of energy, and managing creative energy without burnout is a constant challenge for me—and a whole other article.

Creativity is a dialogue between your uniqueness and the unlimited potential of the universe.

Finally, all this dancing with idea fragments must come through you. You’re the other end of the funnel, the end of synthesis. You will express your creativity in a way no one but you can do. It’s a dialogue between uniqueness—yours—and the unlimited potential of the universe. Creativity, in my experience, includes all the planets, given back through your shining Sun and all the unique astrological Mandala of You.

Anyone can be creative. As with any other skill, creativity takes practice to do it well. It takes a willingness to give Saturn the boot when he interferes, and any of the other planets when they’re ornery, and a commitment to embrace them, quirks and all, as part of the process.

Creativity is simply the cosmic life force, brought down to Earth, through you.


Photo Credits: Drawing the Sun © Rozum |;
Mannequins  © marcoguidi -

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Trines: Terrific or Tricky?

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

When I was a young and eager astrology student, I used to view every trine in a chart as a kiss by Lady Luck. It was like getting one of those Community Service or Chance cards in Monopoly. “Bank error in your favor. Collect $200.” Trines seemed like marks of grace on a nativity. Back in the days of hand-calculated charts, my fabulous first teacher, fellow Radical Virgo, Gavin Carruthers, taught us to use color codes for all the aspect lines: red for squares and oppositions, black for quincunxes, green for sextiles and blue for trines. When I drew a lot of blue in a chart, I saw smooth sailing on the seas of life.

Now I’m not so sure there aren’t some other kind of blues involved. Lately, I’ve been struggling with my Jupiter trine Mars and the issue of over-doing just about everything. I guess there’s no accident in my imagery in the last paragraph, because my trine is in the Water element.

I have two friends with Grand Water Trines, and they will both tell you that they are far from a walk in the park or a joyride on a sailboat. One calls it her Grand Whine. As you can imagine, with the planets Mars, Uranus and Venus involved, she can get on a roll, throwing herself a pity party. For the other, it can be the Grand Waterworks, a Niagara Falls of Tears, given her watery triangle includes Saturn, a conjunction of Moon, Uranus and Jupiter, and finally, Mercury.

A trine does little or nothing to change the quality of the planets involved. It just allows them to interact easily, perhaps too easily—no stopping them.

Trines can amount to, in reality, anything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Example: If Moon trines your Jupiter, how easy would it be to overeat constantly? Those two together can actually be like close friends who are a bad influence on each other.

That’s the thing with trines. All they do is make the flow of energy between two planets easy and effortless to keep going. Is this always a blessing, say, with Mars/Pluto? Venus/Uranus? Neptune/Moon?

Just to muse on the few examples above, Mars trine Pluto might have a terrific sex life but become a sex addict—or have a temper beyond belief, because once ignited, it just keeps going—and blowing. Venus trine Uranus may enjoy a bevy of unusual lovers, but what about the flow of instability? And unreliability? Is this always fun for him or her? Lastly, Neptune trine Moon might be psychic, poetic, musical and mystical, but can s/he ever find a real relationship?  One that’s not riddled with illusions and projections? You get my drift.

I always recommend living on the upside of the zodiac as much as possible, but trines can sometimes be those Astrological Blind Spots we’ve covered in another article. Trines can keep us stuck in a rut. Sometimes, we dig a hole so deep; we just have fun there, oblivious to the larger impact the trine is having on our lives. With my Mars/Jupiter trine, I’ve always related to the title of the book, Women Who Do Too Much It’s only in the past few years that I’ve “gotten” how Jupiter trine Mars contributes to this chronic condition, which actually threatens my health and well-being. Why is it so hard to “cure?” Because I have a multiplicity of interests, I want to do it all. With Mars trine Jupiter, it’s easy to think I can actually pull it off. Plus, I’m having fun. (Help me before I “do” again!)

Famous People’s Trines. I thought it might be interesting to look at a few people in the public eye and their trines, to demonstrate how this aspect can be a mixed blessing:

John Edwards. With a four planets in Gemini, we shouldn’t be surprised that this born charmer has a Twin that’s a trickster. (He actually has several.) Edwards also has Saturn conjunct Neptune trine Sun. Reality always travels with the illusions he creates and vice-versa. The trine aspect allowed him to get away with figurative murder until his deceptions about his mistress and illegitimate child caught up with him. His final admission of the situation coincided with transiting Uranus approaching his Midheaven while transiting Saturn squared his natal Mercury in the 12th.

The ex-Senator might have turned his life around and caused a lot less pain to others, were that aspect a more “instructive” square. Edwards also enjoys a close North Node in Aquarius in the 7th House trine to Moon and Jupiter in Gemini in the 11th. Schmoozing’s his game, and the game is easy for him. Even if he “got off” during his recent trial for illegal use of campaign funds, John Edwards has been found wanting in the court of public opinion, trines and all. He says all he wants to do is start over. I suspect that people will forgive him his trespasses and that the schmooze trine will ultimately make it easy for him to begin anew. Question is, will he ever learn?

Nicole Kidman. This gorgeous Australian actress, probably best known off-camera for her 10-year marriage to Tom Cruise and people’s perception of the pair as a power couple, boasts a Grand Fire Trine between Moon, Saturn and Venus. She also has Mercury trine Neptune. She and Cruise adopted two children together. Six years after their divorce, Nicole married musician Keith Urban and had two biological children with him, one by surrogate. Her career seemed to flourish after her separation from Cruise, which is probably not coincidental.(It seems an even more unlikely coincidence after reading the effects of marriage to Cruise on his subsequent wife that came out during his recent divorce from Katie Holmes.)

The same Moon/Saturn/Venus trine which rewards Nicole for her hard work projecting her lunar and Venusian qualities—and surely makes it easy for her to do—may also be the fiery energy flow that enabled her to go the course for a decade with Cruise. This was amidst recurring rumors that Cruise may be secretly gay and that they had a tight marriage contract that “required” her to stick with him for at least that long. Surely, Saturn in flow with her feeling and relationship planets would help her keep up her end of the bargain, if this is true. Mercury trine Neptune would make it easy to keep up appearances—and help her make it in the illusory medium of film.

There is so much we’ll never know and so much back story and that leaves you wondering, if not mystified, available on any search engine. The blessing of Nicole’s trine is that she appears to be genuinely “settled down” in the most positive, Saturnian sense, with her current spouse and expanded family. It wasn’t easy at first with Keith Urban’s substance abuse issues. He credits his devotion to Nicole as his catalyst to seek and succeed in treatment.  Maybe she flowed with her trines until she finally found the happy ending.

Jackie Chan. Martial artist and physical comedian Jackie Chan can probably attribute his grace, flowing movements, passion for physicality and nonstop wit to a trio of trines in his chart: Mercury trine Uranus, Mars trine Pluto, and Jupiter trine Neptune. His movies like Rush Hour are always upbeat, hilarious, and full of intrigue as well as a lot of fancy kicks and footwork. He has incurred countless injuries, doing his own stunts (Mars trine Pluto overdo). My husband and I were musing, watching one of his early films (Who Am I?) about who has broken more bones, Jackie or the late Evel Knievel. (Knievel’s trines, by the way, include Mercury conjunct Sun trine Jupiter and Mars conjunct Neptune trine Uranus.)

Jackie Chan movies have trademark scenes where he’s forced to undergo torture or other physical punishment in martial arts matches. Like my own Mars trine Jupiter, it appears Jackie’s Mars trine Pluto is almost too much fun for him—at a big price to his body. He’s willing to endure physical risk and pain, including a literal hole in his head, incurred during a stunt accident. With Jupiter trine Neptune, he likes to make BIG movies and take BIG risks in them. Great for us, but I’m not so sure about him.

Get Reacquainted with Your Trines

I’m not trine to put a damper on something you always thought was one of the big boons in your chart. Indeed, trines can be just that, especially in a chart with a lot of squares, oppositions and other tensions. Your trines, in that case, can work like the valve on an old-fashioned pressure cooker, letting off steam. They can be the way out of constant demands and offer a welcome relief and release to what feels like endless inner work. The trap is not seeing their downside and whether the easy flow between two planets also creates unwanted—often unrealized—grief for you.

Take an objective look at your planets in trine, warts and all. See what you triangulate out of the exercise—and please share in the Comments any new insights!


Photo Credit: © swillklitch -