Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can U Blog? What to Look for in the Birth Chart

©2009 by Donna Cunningham
Guest Author

I’ve been a blogger for just about five months now, and have actively sought out great blogs for longer than that as a way to determine if I have what it takes to blog. The sites I enjoy most share the quality of freshness—both in the sense of originality and in the sense of being a touch sassy. My role models write like newspaper columnists, informally and personably sharing their commentaries on life in this weird millennium.

They aren’t afraid to express controversial opinions in a light-hearted way or to share a joke on themselves. A good post isn’t fine literature for the NY Times Notable Books list, but it’s fun to read, teaches me something new, and piques my curiosity. The primo blogger is somewhat of an authority on one—or ideally, several—subjects, but can make an arcane field understandable and interesting. (You can find some neat examples on my blog roll at

What placements in an astrology chart would go along with qualities like these? What planet am I describing? It would be people who are strongly mercurial in nature. They’d have a strong Mercury, maybe with a little jolt from Uranus. Mercury becomes high focus in a chart by appearing on the Ascendant or Midheaven or aspecting the Sun, Moon, or several planets. It is heightened by having planets in the Mercury-ruled signs Gemini or Virgo. Having the Sun, Moon, or two or more planets in the 3rd house of the chart, the house of communication and writing, also would help.

However, I know lots of people with several planets in Gemini—it’s what was happening from May-July in the early 1940s—and many of them have yet to write a single article. I had one friend who had six planets in Gemini, incredibly and irreverently funny, an exceptional raconteur, but despite all my urging, she didn’t write any of it down. Maybe they’re all starting blogs now—it’s the trendy thing, with millions of new ones every week. However, I’d wager you could find many of their sites in Blog Ghost Town, abandoned after a week or two of intense posting. There’s a collection of them at
One Post Wonders.

What creates stick-to-it-iveness is some help from Saturn or maybe Pluto, good aspects or even bad ones. The Virgo side of Mercury is also more conducive to regularity…on the verbal level, though it doesn’t always extend to the physical level, if you listen to their chronic complaints about constipation. (I know, I know, I ought to delete that last remark!) Many of them are more driven to write because they want to be useful and they have many practical skills to offer and to set other people on the right path.

Note: I’ll be sharing more of my observations about writing signatures in a teleseminar on Sunday evening, May 3rd. Click on the announcement below. And I’ll be teaching a teleseminar series in mid-June that guides people step-by-step through creating a blog and posts for it.

Donna Cunningham’s Teleseminar May 3, 2009
Writing Signatures in the Astrology Chart

In case you can’t make the May 3 seminar, check
Moon Maven Publications for writers’ materials and future class date announcements.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wordgo: The Virgo Way with Words

Why are Virgos in love with words?

For years, I have used the
Celestial Influences astrological calendars. There is a two-word affirmation for each sign every month. Examples: “I Am” for Aries; “I Have” for Taurus, and “I Think” for Gemini.

The I-statement for Virgo is “I Analyze.” That job would be really difficult to do without words—lots of them!

There are some main areas of life that Virgos work on: knowledge, health, and service. Note the difference between the I-statement for Gemini and Virgo, both traditionally ruled by the Thinker Planet Mercury. Gemini thinks, but Virgo analyzes. Analysis can often make the difference between information and knowledge, between facts and wisdom.

Gemini often likes information for its own sake, the reason why so many folks with a lot of Gemini in their charts are likely to beat your butt at Trivial Pursuit. They throw factoids, dates and data around like confetti.

Virgo, on the other hand, is not happy until s/he knows why the fact is important, what the data means and exactly why a date was significant. To a Virgo, this is not a party, and that Gemini can take his damned confetti and mess elsewhere. This earth sign literally wants to bring the data down to earth, to know what it’s good for, and how it will help people.

We all know the expression, “garbage in, garbage out” or GIGO when it comes to using computers or any other kind of data crunching mechanism, including our own brains. A Virgo would never put in garbage. You know how much Virgos hate dirt! “Garbage out” would never be an acceptable outcome. The Virgo’s need to sift and winnow, her proverbial job of separating the wheat from the chaff, is ever so much easier if she starts with a decent crop of wheat, preferably organic.

Mercury is also the quicksilver god of communication, the winged messenger. It’s fun to contrast the Mercury-ruled signs. Gemini would love the thrill of having to run the message to its destination lickety-split. He’d deliver it with clever conversation and perhaps report on the weather and interesting encounters on the way. Virgo would be much more worried that the right message got to the right person at the right time. She’d be looking for shortcuts to get there efficiently and the correct person authorized to sign for the article.

So, how do we make the best of our Wordgo tendencies? Many of us are writers, editors, publishers, and composers. (Music is a more math-based type of writing, but if you’re a lyricist, too, what an impressive right- and left-brain merger!) The sign of Virgo has its share of actors and news personalities, all who make their living with words.

There are many potential jobs for Virgo, one of the most employable signs of the zodiac, because we love to work! But since this is the Radical Virgo blog, I hope you’ll comment and tell us your personal way with words, especially if you were a Virgin birth (born with Sun in Virgo); or if you have other Virgo planets that bless you with these proclivities. What do you do with words? How do you love them? (Count the ways.)

I’ll go first. Here are some of mine:

Writer, publisher, shameless punster, a word game player (Scrabble, Jumble, Spellbound) … and a person who loves words in art. One of my favorite artists ever was
Corita Kent, whose words made beautiful became designs for posters, book covers, and murals. Her work includes the 1985 Love Stamp and Rainbow Swash, the 150-foot (46 m)-high natural gas tank in Boston. Her artwork, focused on messages of peace and love. That made it particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. (Have you noticed how the peace sign is coming back, and not just on The Radical Virgo’s new blog header?)

I also love to rearrange words on the
Internet Anagram Server. Some of my faves for “Radical Virgo” are Caviar Do Girl, Garlic Via Rod, A Rival Doc Rig, and Vocal Rag Rid I.

Of course, I research the derivation of words, and wear word jewelry. For my croning ceremony when I turned sixty, I was presented with a
Light Drop Jewelry necklace that says Heals on one side, With Words on the other. I covet a pair of earrings made to replicate old typewriter keys. Unfortunately, my Mercury in Libra can’t make up her mind which keys she wants. While my initials, JM, are obvious possibilities, I sure would like an exclamation mark (!) or a dollar sign ($).

Finally, I thought I’d introduce you to
Wordle, if you haven’t already met—word collages that capture the essence of a blog or website—or any cut ‘n’ paste concoction of words you want to feed into it. This Wordgo Wordle (say that 10 times!) was created by The Radical Virgo on April 19, 2009—a picture in time of what’s happening on this blog. Check out the words that stand out most:

Astrology Chiron Moon New Life Hero One Want

Freely translated: Astrology can be a healing path to receptivity, new life, and becoming our own heroes, the one thing we all want.

The Word from On High!


Word-Class Reminder: Don't forget to mark your calendar for
Donna Cunningham’s teleseminar on finding career signatures for writing in astrology charts, May 3, 2009.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Writing Signatures in the Astrology Chart

A Note from Joyce
Donna Cunningham has been my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend for nearly 30 years. As both a world- renowned astrologer and astrological writer, Donna is the perfect person to help you discover if writing is a potential career path for you or your clients. Join me on this call for a real treat—and to learn if the writing is on the Sky!

Donna Cunningham’s Teleseminar

May 3, 2009

This Sunday evening gathering will teach you to spot writing gifts in people’s charts—as well as barriers to writing success. Each author has a special niche that showcases the wisdom gained from their life experience, as well as a set of conditions that nurtures their creativity. The writing signatures in the birth chart give a clear picture of what those conditions are. Transits signal prime times for writing, finding an agent, and publication.

$15 admission includes a copy of Donna’s booklet, “So You Want to Write—Techniques and Tips from Miss Prolific.” The teleseminar will be held Sunday, May 3rd from 5:30-6:30 PM Pacific. No special equipment needed, just a phone and a willing mind. Long distance charges do apply, but inexpensive phone cards are available through the hosting service, FreeConference.

(Just so you know, we’ll be referring to the charts of famous authors rather than personal charts of those who attend.) To register or ask for more information, write to Donna at

About Donna Cunningham: Long one of astrology’s most prolific authors, Donna Cunningham’s current focus is on sharing her writing methods and experience—and her enthusiasm for the writing process—with professionals in the astrological and metaphysical fields. Donna has also edited metaphysical journals since 1984, including 11 years of Vibration Magazine, the free online educational quarterly about flower essences. As an editor, her special joy has been to seek out gifted practitioners of the metaphysical arts and guide them in writing about their experiences. She is teaching writing courses in teleseminar format. To see current listings—and some writing tips—visit her blog,


Photo Credit: SKY WRITER ©

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Moon Manifestation Ceremony

Toolbox – Rituals

By Dana Stone, Guest Author

Note from Joyce: Each month we have a Golden Opportunity to capture the energy and natural cycle of the Moon. The lunar cycle is our vehicle to create what we want in our lives for the next 28 days. By putting forth our desires at the New Moon, the time of new beginnings, we align with heavenly forces to co-create what we want to manifest. Our desires ripen at the Full Moon, when they peak to fulfillment. Then we watch those desires wane as we absorb their resolution into everydayness. Other issues soon surface and drift to the front burner for the New Moon Treatment!

Dana Stone is not only my dearest friend of 30 years, her metaphysical know-how and this New Moon Ceremony, in particular, are invaluable to me. Enjoy Dana’s recipe for getting what you want out of life, and more insight than a Full Moon could ever illuminate.

Items needed to create your sacred circle:

· 1 white mini-candle
· 1 red mini-candle
· White sage wand (or incense preferred)
· Earthen (clay) or crystal bowl filled with spring water
· An offering (a piece of fruit, coins or article of clothing etc.) for donation
· Bound notebook or creativity diary
· Colored pens, pencils, paints, art objects, pictoral magazine clippings
· One to four tarot decks or oracles

Here are the basic steps for my New Moon ceremony (about 60- 90 minutes long):

1. Smudge or sage your sacred space in a large circle.

2. Center yourself, see and open your seven chakras.

3. Light two mini-candles: one red to energize and one white, representing wisdom and vision. Say an invocation prayer of gratitude for all blessings past, present and future.

4. Sit quietly and reflect on what is most important to you right now in your life and what you would like to create or have manifest in the next 2-3 weeks. Focus on the end in mind. Where do you want to be or what you want to have changed or manifested in your life?

5. Write down what you'd like to manifest in the current moon cycle. The more specific and clear, the better. (For example: I want to be clear on my passion and purpose, without hesitation or reservation; or, I want laser clarity on the next steps I must take to discover my passion and purpose.)

6. Next, make two colorful drawings: one reflecting or representing how you are feeling now and one reflecting or representing how you will feel when you manifest or achieve your goal. Your drawing can be abstract, a picture of or impressions of your goal, creating or coloring in a mandala, making a collage--whatever comes to mind and occurs to you spontaneously.

7. Now, while holding your intent on the goal or manifestation, in your mind and in your heart, shuffle four different tarot decks. Draw one tarot card from each deck (or select four runes), to aid you on each of the four levels of body, mind, spirit and emotion. (All four tarot cards can also come from one deck or you can use a deck representing each level of awareness...follow your what “feels” best!) I interchangeably use SARK, Voyager or Motherpeace decks for the body and spirit. Goddess Cards and Medicine/Animal cards work well for the mind and emotions. However, I often switch them around, or I'll introduce another deck that I am attracted in the moment.

8. Next, reflect and write about the impressions, messages or insights that you receive from the cards or runes images in your notebook/ lunar diary. Write freely and do not stop writing for at least 5-10 minutes.

9. Place the four cards or runes on your altar or nightstand so you can stay focused during the next two weeks on your creation. This visual reminder also allows more awareness and insight to filter through your consciousness and your dreams.

10. (Optional) After reflecting on the cards or runes and recording information obtained, I pause to allow a musical representation come to me. I jot down whatever comes to mind. It can be a song, lyrics, or one or more vibrational notes. Initially, what you hear or what comes to mind may or may not make sense, but the lyrics, notes or rythym are usually clear by the Full or Disseminating moon. If nothing immediately comes to mind during the New Moon Ceremony, do not force it. Often the music or song will come to you in another way…usually in the dream state.

11. Finally, write a clear affirmation for your manifestation, say a prayer of thanksgiving and drink the water in your bowl, imagining the flow of your wish and its outcome into each cell of your body. (Optional: use the water as the base for a flower essences combination.) Do not blow out the candles and allow them to go out naturally.

12. Give the offering as guidance or insight directs, at the first available opportunity.

© 2009 by Dana Stone. All Rights Reserved.


Dana Stone is an International Coaching Federation Certified Empowerment Coach with over 30 years of successful managerial and executive leadership experience. A graduate of the University of California, Davis, she holds several leadership and teambuilding certifications along with extensive training and experience in energy principled therapies including metaphysics and quantum healing. Her unusual combination of executive leadership and experience in the intuitive healing arts enhance her value as a catalyst and coach in both business and personal matters. Dana brings a unique perspective and blend of art, science, business and intuition to help all clients achieve personal and professional success." Visit her
Astral Coach website.

Photo credit: NEW MOON ©

Next New Moon: Apr. 24 at 8:23p PDT. Adjust for your time zone in the
US or World.

DREAM DATE: Don’t forget Joyce’s appearance on Paranormal Connection on Monday, 9:00 pm PDT.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Get Guidance from Your Dreams!

Mark your calendar for your “dream date!”

April 20, 2009 @ 9:00 pm PST

Watch Joyce Mason’s lively interview with Dänna Wilberg, host of the Paranormal Connection in the Sacramento area on Comcast Channel 17.

Anywhere else, watch on the web on Access Sacramento. Click on WATCH 17.

Here's a hint: Log on early! The web stream only holds
2000 viewers - if you are unable get online, call Access Sacramento: 916-456-8600. Let them know you want to watch "Paranormal Connection."

Topics covered include tips on remembering, recording, and deciphering your personal dream code. Hear some amazing results that speak for themselves about why you might want to play with your “Dream-Doh.”

Can’t make the web- or telecast or want supplemental information on this topic? Visit Joyce’s
Dreamwork page on her Writer Joyce Mason website.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chiron’s Key Word Corner: Hero

This is the first in a series of periodic posts on Chiron’s Key Words. Since Chiron is my astrological specialty, I am delighted to share materials previously printed in “Chironicles” newsletter (1992-95) and newly developed writings about the centaur planet. Some astrologers believe Chiron is Virgo’s ruler.

Chiron was a mentor of heroes.
The New American Heritage Dictionary (NAHD) defines mentor as “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” Among the future heroes taken to Chiron as boys for his sage guidance were Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who brought the Golden Fleece from Colchis; Hercules, renowned for his great strength; and Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.

Although the key word, here is hero, it is important to remember that behind every hero is a mentor. Hero and mentor are tightly interwoven terms that need to be taken together to enhance our understanding of why the Chiron myth was rediscovered in 1977 at a crucial juncture in human history—and what it has to tell us about our own lives.

Heroes aren’t born, they are cultivated … Behind every hero is another hero.

NAHD contains three definitions of hero that can help bring home Chiron’s message: (1) In mythology and legend, a man, endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods; (2) Any man noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his life; and (3) A person prominent in some event, field, period, or cause by reason of his special achievements or contributions.

Mythical Chiron himself fits all these definitions.

In other words, behind every hero is another hero. It might be your mother, who sacrificed her life and own pursuits for her children. One of mine was a priest who told me my conscience was my most important authority, even when because of it; I disagreed with the Church.

Your hero may be a special teacher, aunt, or uncle who somehow showed you the ropes, taught you to do your best, and how to live life to the fullest. An excellent example was the teacher played by Robin Williams in the 1989 movie, Dead Poet’s Society. The hero behind the hero teaches us how to seize the day and make the most of our gifts. He or she identifies and nurtures our special skills—what, deep down, we’re really good at and absolutely must share to feel whole. Even the suicide of the young man in Dead Poet’s Society, whose father would not let him express his acting talent, is a strong metaphor. It parallels Chiron’s message:

If we do not do what we love, we die—if not literally, we die in spirit, bit by bit.

Mentoring is what astrologers are supposed to do for their clients. Even though Chiron was an astrologer, this assignment isn’t just for stargazers. We’re all supposed to get it and pass it on—develop our ability to cope creatively, to become living examples of overcoming, not just for ourselves but also for those less experienced. Heroes in training are those who have not yet conquered what we have managed to overcome.

Living on this planet is a heroic adventure, and in the School of Life, the roles of teacher and student are intertwined and ever reversing. Often, teachers learn as much from their students as they teach them, sometimes more. Their dance is a pas de deux.

Now, for the new definition of hero (mine). It is a spin-off from Barbara Hand Clow’s synthesis of the Chirotic energy and what it does for us at best:

A hero is someone who acts unselfishly from his or her Higher Self in urgent circumstances.
Nowadays, everything is urgent. As just one example, time is running out to heal our ecological crisis. Heroism is the epitome of being in the now (one Chironic concept) and fully in your body (another of Chiron’s concepts). Heroism is the ultimate right/left brain merge. It is a product of developing intuition, what Clow calls “…our lost oracular and divination skills reaching a holistic level of integration where we act without the intervention of conscious thought.” (Rainbow Bridge, p. 7.)

Imagine going through life knowing that whatever comes up, you will know instinctively just what to do—when and how to do it.

Instinct doesn’t mean you have to become Nostradamus. Instinct combines knowledge, wisdom, and those signals you get from the pit of your stomach. If you could trust you’d always know just what to do, what would there be to fear?

Life without fear is Heaven on Earth.

The real reason for heroes isn’t to create some sort of idealized knight in shining armor, a Neptunized, mythologized god we always expect to save the day and keep us codependent. Rather, heroes are there to reflect the best in us—our own magnificence. They shine the spotlight on the superlative nature of our own masculine/feminine merger, where we save ourselves by being there for ourselves and trust inspiration to flow through us the very second it is needed.

There’s a hero in everyone. Chiron is here to turn each and every one of us into a star.


© 2009 by Joyce Mason. All Rights Reserved.

Photo Credit: SUPER DAD © Dragon_fan...

Coming Attractions on The Radical Virgo Blog

Chiron’s Keyword Corner is just one of several recurring features that will appear between stand-alone posts. To whet your appetite, here are some of the others. Many of the Toolbox Basic articles are beginner-friendly, yet still helpful to those with a lot of astrological savvy as a quick review tool when scanning for interpretations while reading charts. In fact, the Toolbox series, whether Basics, Rituals, or subcategories yet to come, will tend to require little prior astrological knowledge for understanding or use.

Hope this “preview” keeps you coming back for more at The Radical Virgo!

Toolbox Basics
Getting Your Chart Done
Signs & Houses

Toolbox – Rituals
New Moon
Solar Return

High Signs
A series about how to bring out the best in each of the 12 signs and how they work together as a process for self-fulfillment.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Gene for Astrology

I think I knew I was a Virgo in utero. I can barely remember a time that I didn’t know I was born under the sign of the Virgin. (That still seems like an oxymoron to me, Catholic upbringing and The Virgin Birth aside.)

My mom was especially good at remembering people’s birthdays. While she kept a calendar, I almost didn’t need one. Once I knew a person’s birthday, it was etched forever in my memory. To this day, I can tell you the birthdays of my first pen pal’s children, a dear friend, whose now 40ish kids I only met in person once in my life, when they were 5 and 7! This was one of my earliest hints that I had an aptitude for birth data.

When I went to my 25-year high school reunion in 1990, I reconnected with a good friend of my sister’s who had married a guy in my class. I was amazed at her dominant memory of me: “You were a free spirit, always looking for that something more.” The way she said it, I could see that far-off look in my eye as a teenager, a look that had an eerie similarity to a passage I later read in Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs.

Early Influences
Speaking of Sun Signs, Linda’s book, first published in 1968, the year before I graduated from college, had an enormous influence on me. Her description of
Virgo was way more than the compulsive vacuum cleaning archetype. I know she planted the seed in me that would ultimately become “The Radical Virgo.” In something that could only be classified as a full-circle synchronicity, my article, “The Radical Virgo,” is linked on Conscious Evolution, a site that features the original Linda Goodman fan forums founded in 1999.

Linda never bought that Mercury was Virgo’s true ruler. She felt it was the distant planet Vulcan. Shades of Spock on Star Trek! He oozes Virgo. That series started in 1966. Maybe all this cool Virgo vulcanizing strengthened the image of the sign in our collective consciousness. No doubt the kick-butt
conjunction of Pluto and Uranus in Virgo had a lot to do with this visioning of the V-sign at that critical time. Peace, love, and the words from “The Age of Aquarius”—harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust.

By my twenties, I was throwing zodiac costume parties. If I knew where to track down all my guests for permission to publish their photos, you’d see some remarkably creative costumes! (
I love costumes.) How hard is it to dress like a Virgo? A white sheet and a shaft of wheat or a hyacinth in hand.

I think how we discover a passion or a gift is an important story. It is a developmental subtext in our memoirs we seldom consider. We tend to think more about where an interest took us rather than how it lured us and the pure poetry of its evolutionary arc.

Astrology lured me all right. It seduced me and sucked me into itself, like a comet being captured by the
Oort Cloud. Once I moved to California in 1973, it was inevitable that I’d be pulled into astrology’s orbit. On the Left Coast, the ‘60s and ‘70s never died, and by 1980, I found myself taking classes with two fantastic teachers, Gavin Carruthers and John Ruskell. One of their most impressive classes was Family Astrology, where we saw themes carry from the charts of grandparents to the latest generation. There was a lingering rumor in my family about the paternity of one of my cousins. Once we put his chart up with the rest of the relatives, there was no longer any question in my mind. He was an astro-genetic clone of our grandfather!

In this early experience, I learned to hand-compute charts with a calculator, thanks to a special method Gavin devised. (Did you guess he’s a Virgo?). Since I was always math phobic, I was the happiest person on earth when computers took over this drudgework and I could concentrate on interpretation.

Gavin and John weren’t just great astrologers and teachers; their passion for the art was contagious, and their star school in Gavin’s downtown Sacramento apartment was always creative to the max. I was exposed to so many great people through their classes and workshops. This is where I met Donna Cunningham and the late Jim Lewis, inventor of

Astrology Career Arc
That’s how I got hooked. By 1988, I hung up my shingle and became a pro. I did readings, wrote articles, gave presentations, went to conferences at home and abroad, published the international newsletter Chironicles (1992-95), and took 18 people on a trip to Greece in 1996 to share what we knew and to learn more about Chiron, my astrological specialty.

I also was guided to let go of it all, just as my work peaked. While this “stop work order” stunned me, I always listen to my inner guidance. My article on my Writer Joyce Mason website,
Being Chiron, tells more about my long hiatus from astrology and my current return in a new way.

Listening to inner guidance—reading the signs all around me, not just the astrological kind—is what brought me back. (For those want more details, read my article,
Your Cosmic Tractor Beam, if you haven’t already.)

Power Places
I have had some startling realizations along with this magnetic pull back to an old familiar place. My power, both as a person and a writer, is somehow inextricably linked to astrology.

On my birth father’s side, I am the great granddaughter of a Greek Orthodox priest. Our family is from the Island of
Kos, Greece where astrology was transferred from the East to the West. Although I do not know of any family member who practiced astrology, somehow this bit of history of our family’s place of origin vibrated in my DNA.

I am programmed to astrology and to “bridge work” in astrology, which is probably why I fell in love with Chiron. Chiron is the archetype of merging from one place to another, or as Barbara Hand Clow called Chiron in her book title, the
Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets.

So, that’s my astrology story, and I’m sticking to it.

I would love to hear yours, whether you’re a new stargazer, an ongoing student, or a professional astrologer. Please comment and tell us how you started your star trek and what you’ve learned from it, so far.


Photo: Joyce as Virgo, 1969.