Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cusp





A New Year’s Eve Poem


© 2014 by Joyce Mason


 Winding down:
quiet as snow falling
Calendar switching
hushed as a church
before midnight
Darkness
awaits
dawn
A patient lover
at the train station 
of tomorrow.

New Year’s cusp:
no party
champagne
streamers
confetti
Kissing only Change
at midnight
Tenderness
relishing the pure
white landscape
of infinite possibility.

~~~



Friday, December 26, 2014

Coming in 2015: A Radical Rest, a Blog Bibliography, and Theme Repost Links








Dear Radical Readers,

After nearly six years of posting six times per month on average, I’m going to do the most radical thing I’ve ever done yet on this blog. I’m going to give blogging a rest. Of course, not working is very radical for a Virgo. No one can say I’m not being true to the title of this blog and the nickname people have called me since my article offering a new vision of the V-sign was first published in 1992, The Radical Virgo.

As you might guess; I may be giving new blog posts a rest, but I’ll be doing other work. First, with 369 posts to date here, there is a library of material on The Radical Virgo, tantamount to at least a half-dozen free astrology books, maybe more.  Even if you’re a regular reader, chances are you haven’t read the full breadth of what’s been posted since 2009, or in the rare case that you have, there are posts you might like to revisit. Given the journal style of blogs, it’s difficult to highlight and group together like topics that have been published over time. That’s what next year will be all about.


The Plan for 2015

We’ll start the New Year out with the Top Posts of All Time, the most popular articles. After that, twice a month or more, I’ll repost links to previous articles in subject groupings. Some examples are specific planets (Sun, Chiron, Pluto, Saturn), signs, transit patterns (Grand Trine, semi-sextiles, Cardinal Cross), and Astrology Plus (astrology and other related oracle systems such as tarot, dreamwork or flower essences). There will be blurbs on each article, a link to it, and an overall topic paragraph. Since some articles cross topics, they’ll be mentioned again under each topic.

I hope 2015’s offerings become a concordance of all things Radical Virgo. If time permits and the spirit moves, I’ll pop in for the occasional short post or poem.



Personal Notes

Many of you are on my mailing list. If not, it’s free and easy to join at the upper right of the sidebar. The Radical-New Ink News is named after both my active blogs. It’s quarterly with occasional emails in-between. You may have already read about my personal adventures, as I share more of what’s going on behind the scenes with the mail list members. There’s a move of home on the horizon, an effort that now needs my full-time attention for both prep and “pulling it off.” My husband’s decreased mobility means he needs my helping hand more often. In-between these full-time jobs, I have to snatch whatever minutes I can for my sanity saver and happy place—writing—which is taking a new direction toward fiction.

On that note, I’d like to share a bit about where I expect to be on the other side of re-nesting. Our move will be a new start on multiple levels and allow me to concentrate, once more, on my true calling as an author. Even when I’m writing fiction, my topics still have a huge dollop of the cosmic. 

If you like my writing here, I think you’ll really enjoy my fiction and where I’m going next. In case you haven’t read The Crystal Ball, purchase links are in the sidebar. You can read a free excerpt on my website, and the Kindle edition is only $2.99. The Crystal Ball is more than Book #1 in the Micki Michaels Mysteries. It’s the bridge to the entire series. It chronicles, in an outlandish setting of a futuristic costume party, how an astrologer—she’s also the head of a longevity association—ends up—with a whole new calling, solving crimes. Starting in Book #2, astrology will always play a part in Micki’s offbeat case-solving techniques, which are as apt to involve intuition, tarot, and the collective knowledge base of her ex-FBI boyfriend, Curt Stern, and his law enforcement friends.

Book #2 is about the revenge fantasies of six women in a divorce therapy group and how they relate to a recent murder. There is humor, healing and a link back to book #1. Given my personal full plate, I currently project publication in late 2015 or sometime in 2016. However, I’m open to a pleasant surprise, if the stars align sooner.


What Happens with The Radical Virgo in 2016 and Beyond?

Good question. The honest answer is I don’t know yet. (Same goes for doing astrological consultations again.) Whether I’ll be back in a major way depends on how life unfolds between now and then. I suspect that if I return to regular posting, it will be in a new format. My life for the foreseeable future doesn’t support the in-depth articles I have been publishing and the commitment in time and energy it takes to bring them to you. I have several other ideas in the back of my mind. There’s at least one that I suspect could be big hit to an even broader audience, though I have some tinkering to do to figure out how it’ll work on a practical level. No promises yet, but lots of promise!

Other Considerations

I’m at a stage in life where I have to use my time for what supports me both emotionally and economically. As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t have the stamina I did at 25, or even in my 40s for that matter, now that I’m a bona fide seasoned citizen. I have learned, the Virgo hard way, that I pay a huge price for overwork. Ironically, my day job was in the conservation field for decades, yet I’m only now beginning to understand how personal energy conservation is a big must, especially for someone wired for overdo (Jupiter trine Mars). There’s another important factor. Quite honestly, I’ve been immersed in astrology for so long; I prefer to coast and enjoy being a perpetual student of the subject for now. I need to do less astrological writing or risk burning out and not wanting to do it at all. I think that would be a tragedy. I hope you agree.

Sales of my books enable me to keep writing. Publishing—even blogging—has its costs to cover. Thank you, as much as you are able to support my work by purchasing books or telling your friends about them. After years of sharing much of my work free via blogging, it’s time to concentrate on putting more of my writing into book format, so it can become self-sustaining. It is sobering to be closer to 70 than 60 and to realize that my physical body has its energetic limits despite all the positive thinking a Jupiterian can muster. Yet one great thing about being an author is that as long as my brain still works, I can keep doing it all the way to the finish line. One of my models of cool aging (I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before) is a woman who wrote an award-winning memoir at 84 and is still going and writing strong into her 90s.

Stay in Touch

I’ll still field comments and respond to your emails, as much as possible, though sometimes I may not be as quick on the uptake as I used to be. I’m on the brink of a new life, much of which is still a mystery to me, directed by my Inner GPS. If you enjoy reading mysteries as much as I do, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter where all the inside scoop will be revealed as it happens. Also, explore my new blog on writing and creativity, New Ink, short for Joyce Mason’s New Inkarnations, named after my publishing imprint.

I am so grateful for our community here and your interest in my work. My readers are a gift I never take for granted. Thank you for keeping The Radical Virgo alive and thriving since Spring Equinox 2009. I hope you enjoy the topical recaps, too.

Love and blessings,
Joyce

~~~

Photo Credit: © magann - Fotolia.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Silent Night


 A Winter Solstice Meditation


© 2014 by Joyce Mason 



Silence.
Holy.
Between your thoughts
a winter without words
hums a love song,
a lullaby.
Peace is reborn.

Joy!





Photo Credit: © roger ashford - Fotolia.com



Sunday, December 7, 2014

What’s Your Instrument of Peace?





Play It this Holiday Season

© 2014 by Joyce Mason



W
  inter is a sacred time for people in nearly every tradition. We often complain about the crass commercialism this time of year, but consumer sales are still trumped by increased kindness and generosity, often more abundant late in the year than in all the other months combined.

During November and December, we tend to pray more in mind, heart, words and song, even if our only prayer is to thank God for loved ones. After just finishing another November Prayer Month on The Radical Virgo, I received a quiet whisper from one of my all-time favorites, The Prayer of St. Francis. (“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”)

The message was to write about ways we can be instruments of peace. Whether or not we believe in God in traditional terms, Goddess, the universe (fill in the blank with your viewpoint); aspiring to bring the music of peace to the world is a universal sentiment as we inch toward winter and its wonder-filled holidays.

I thought we could go around the zodiac and look at the various “instruments of peace” that might be played by the 12 archetypes of the zodiac—one for each of the 12 Days of Christmas, if you like. (The universe does love the number 12.) This, of course, involves seeing each sign in its highest potential.  And, of course, read with your combo of astrological influences in mind, not just your Sun sign.

Join me in meeting the orchestra! While I offer some ideas on how each sign can be an instrument of peace during the winter holidays, related to its special gifts to give, great musicians also improvise …

ARIES: Plays the hero and pioneer, instruments that take the practice of foresight and fearlessness to play well. Protects those who are “less Aries” and more vulnerable. Takes risks including being the first in the line of fire. Can play the heavy instruments for his or her physical strength and do “heavy lifting,” both literal and figurative.

    Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Do something for someone less able. Visit a nursing home or a program for people with disabilities, and give a lift, literal and/or figurative, to someone who is less gifted in the physical realm. “Save” one child or family through delivering gifts or doing some heavy lifting for them in one form or another.

TAURUS: Plays wealth and beauty, relishing the tactile and tangible aspects of being human. Tauruses also play their senses and completely immerse themselves in the fruits of the Earth and earthiness. Their song reminds us to appreciate the simple ecstasies of physical form. In today’s world of electronics, spinning minds overwhelmed with Information Indigestion and minimal grounding, being brought back to earth is a god(dess) send.

    Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Give a back rub to an elderly relative. Give or arrange manicures to the ladies at a local nursing facility. They’d love to have their hair and/or makeup done, too. Bring the men homemade baked goods and hugs. Take along and contribute some beautiful decorations—holiday flowers or plants. (A Christmas cactus blooms on for years.) Beauty soothes and unites us.

GEMINI: These versatile musicians play nearly every instrument in the orchestra, at least a little. They love a variety of music and people—and, of course, talking! Their biggest gift is communication.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Volunteer for a crisis hotline or other social service where your gift for gab will be a big blessing. Visit a homeless shelter to distribute meals, but mostly to share kind words in the process. Befriend some elderly folks on park benches who are probably starved for a good conversation. Hang out more often on social media for the express purpose of giving supportive responses to those who seem lonely or struggling during the holiday season. Give an older relative who doesn’t live online a gift certificate for “x” number of hours’ of computer services. (I am my 88-year-old uncle’s travel agent and internet researcher.)

CANCER: You are the nurturers of the zodiac. You play the instruments of home, hearth, family and ancestry. You are the nesters and create the “home for the holidays” where people want to return every year.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Not everyone is blessed with a loving family, so consider opening yours to those in need this year. They can be friends or a needy family you learn about through church or work connections. Do “family history” kinds of gifts for your relatives—scrapbooks or written genealogy reports. My husband converted all his family 8 mm. movies to DVD for his sisters one year. I gave several relatives a gift book containing a postcard history of the town where they were raised. Research your family crest or coat-of-arms. The places that provide them offer all kinds of gift options. Your baked goods and homemade Christmas ornaments or accoutrements will wildly bless those without such homey touches. A well-known astrologer who happens to be a Cancer once told me she is sure Santa has some Cancer in him, so enjoy this time of year where just being yourself is easier than ever and even more appreciated.


LEO: You are the Sun! And on a cold or lonely winter day, your mere presence can light up a room and everyone in it. Whatever you play, whether it’s your own voice, an actual musical instrument or when you are just playing around; you belt it out from the heart and with gusto. You help others find their own heartbeat and shining self, especially on dark days when they’re losing their spark.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace:  You’re well known for your capacity to entertain, so consider volunteering at a hospital and doing skits, a clown act or leading some holiday carols. It’s all about being your shining self in darker corners of the community. The places you could take your show on the road—and you can recruit others into your troupe!—are nearly endless: children’s homes, elder care facilities or veteran’s homes to name just a few. You’re great at Toys for Tots distributions, being a big kid no matter what your age and spreading happiness like a wildfire. Your local library might need some story tellers for the kiddies, and if you have one of those Leo, radio-announcer type voices, you might have a gig for every winter holiday season to come.

VIRGO: Much like Gemini, words can be your instrument of healing and helping, especially the written variety. Service is so important to Virgo, and you don’t shy away from any fussy details that might be involved in delivering. You’re also great with your hands and crafts. You’re so good at separating what’s good from what’s not; Santa could recruit you for his sort-it detail to figure out who’s naughty or nice.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: You’re the Chosen One of the Zodiac for writing heartening letters to soldiers during the holidays. With your flair for detailed description, you can give a glimpse of your life and express your appreciation to the servicemen and women who make it possible. Don’t undervalue how much healing and help you can give people in your annual holiday letter, which can be much more intimate than the “standard” and more stale fare many of us receive. In sharing your inner struggles and triumphs, you truly connect with others and bring them the peace that comes from feeling more related to someone cherished but far away. Offer an essay to your local paper on what the winter holidays mean to you. And volunteer for the holiday committee for your organizations, where your writing skills will be appreciated for skits and rewriting the words of Christmas carols to customize them according to what matters to your group. Don’t forget how Virgos love small animals. Help your shelter this season. You can write the copy that will draw people to adopt all the fur babies that need homes—or take home a couple yourself.

LIBRA:  Relationships, beauty and peace itself are your turf, and you have such talent for bringing people together in harmony. Never underestimate the value of beauty. I learned this from my cat Duffy who, along with his littermate Darrin, had Libra Sun exactly conjunct my Venus in Libra. He was the most beautiful being, inside and out, and this gave my life such a touchstone of serenity, just being in his presence. Your instrument is “getting along” and your song is Let’s Get Together.

         Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Your holiday decorations and personal adornments (seasonal sweaters, earrings, etc.) will bring more joy and goodwill than you can imagine. They delight! Be the impetus for getting old friends together, especially the ones you haven’t seen in a long time. Sponsor an “orphan’s holiday dinner.” This is something I still plan to do someday, an idea I got from the too-short-lived TV show set in Alaska, Men in Trees. The local bar owner—it was a place that also served food—held this dinner every year for people who didn’t have family to go to. Especially people who are recently single would likely appreciate being adopted by a family for the holidays. Volunteer for peacemaking organizations or for your favorite politician who supports these principles.

SCORPIO: You have the gift of depth like no other, and you know emotions 10 feet beyond their normal parameters. You understand death, dying, birth, rebirth—and living with pain. These are among the most unique gifts of the zodiac. Even though you often play your music and instruments in a minor key; your contribution can be major.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Become a hospice volunteer. There’s no time more difficult than losing loved ones during the holiday season. Your ability to understand and empathize with grief will be such a blessing. Many, if not most, people have limited experience with the death and dying process. You have the stuff to ensure them it’s all part of the amazing circle of life. On the birth side of this equation, volunteer to help a new single mom who needs support, especially if she has few family or friends on hand. Like Leo, you also have the gift of drama and can star in any of those meatier holiday plays, the kind that make you think and grow like Scrooge. Volunteer for a crisis line or any way your ability to listen and empathize in depth will heal hearts during the holidays.


SAGITTARIUS:  You play all the exotic instruments of faraway lands, and you have a gift for bringing people the blessings of other ideas and customs. You can be the ambassador for an idea whose time has come--letting go of the concept of “political correctness” in favor of “loving inclusion.”  There is so much richness in multiple traditions. Those who practice them have the right to be heard and included in our winter wonderland.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Throw a holiday party with the explicit purpose of mixing it up among many different kinds of believers and people. You love a party, and who knows what kinds of interesting entertainment and learning will result? Play some games around how each culture’s tradition has parallel ideas this time of year. This isn’t hard to do, as it all started with the stars, Sun worship and the Winter Solstice. Send greeting cards that are inclusive and be willing to be a “professor” on all these things as questions of both differences and likenesses of celebration come up this time of year. Invite people to a film night, a holiday movie that’s not just all-American Christian. Maybe a documentary on winter celebrations around the world. Have fun with it!

CAPRICORN:  You play stability and tradition. You join Cancer on the axis of home/hearth and worldly concerns, often bringing home the bacon for Cancer to cook—an oversimplified, archetypal way of saying how you “provide” at so many levels. You’re a natural leader, both at home and in the office. Your organizational skills and how you hold the energy and space for family business and rituals is a treasure.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: Be the logistics guy or gal this season. Not everyone is good at mapping out how to get the job done, even if they’re good at doing it. Plan the store runs and shopping lists, the schedule for getting the decorations up and who’s doing what. Same goes for parties and family calendar. I personally have six holiday events this year to attend within two weeks. How does that multiply in a family of four? There aren't enough days in December! If you’re the boss, bring joy to the workplace by letting people off early, giving generous bonuses and reminding yourself and everyone around you that the best work comes from a “work family.” Let people look up to you to take the lead, and be in your element. You are the epitome of the good father archetype, regardless of your gender. Since you’re so good at providing, open your checkbook in the spirit of the season to causes that need your support.


AQUARIUS: Your love of progress and all things unusual spice up any holiday gathering along with your gregarious nature. You play percussion, the instrument that sets the beat and often surprises.  You’re the life of any party with your interesting views, and you are devoted to many causes and can help them raise funds and awareness during this most charitable time of year.

         Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: You have a gift for upsetting the applecart and are fully capable of doing it in the most positive way. This time of year, that can be more fun than being Santa himself. Go on a Pay It Forward campaign. Pay the toll or buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive-through. Hand out dollar bills (fives or tens if you can afford it) at random at the mall and wish the recipient a happy holiday from their secret Santa. Show up at the doorstep of an estranged friend or relative with a peace offering. With your excellent computer skills, you can volunteer to run an e-donation program for any of your favorite charities or fund a family with a heartfelt story in need of help via website donation programs such as Go Fund Me. You’re very good at building “buzz,” so make a YouTube video and help your cause go viral. Blog about the results of your giving experiments and inspire others, while you’re at it.


PISCES:  You are music itself, dancing to the beat of the cosmos and sensing both every need of humanity and the love that binds us with All That Is. Your compassion is legendary—your giving so complete, you don’t need a special holiday to celebrate “doing unto others.” You are an expert at blissful states and the experience of Oneness. You’re what this season is all about.

Ways to Be an Instrument of Peace: If you have literal musical talents, use them to bring peace and joy this Yuletide. “Music is the universal language and love is the key.” You believe in music! Start a sing-along at the mall of favorite carols or tunes such as the aforementioned classic by Mac Davis or John Lennon’s Imagine. With your love of spirit and all things spiritual, it’s a great time to volunteer at churches or churches without walls, such as the more “freelance” celebrations of spirit many people hold during the holidays to celebrate Winter Solstice and/or multiple holidays and belief systems. You are a great meditation and ritual leader. At this time of year, your talent to bring bliss and multiply it are the loaves and fishes of an uprising of spirit to carry this feeling into action for months to come.



Merry Everything you celebrate!
Peace, Joy and Love.




Photo Credit:  © Comugnero Silvana - Fotolia.com