Thursday, January 28, 2010

Comment Contest! A Radical Virgo Valentine

Check your Jupiter transits and let’s go for a magical ride on a road lined with hearts and stars!

In honor of Valentine’s month, The Radical Virgo is sponsoring a comment contest. What a great way to hear more from readers and feel more connected to one another. The object is to get as many comments as possible flowing … and while we’re at it, to reward you for your participation.

Weekly Chance to Win!

Each time you make a substantial comment on The Radical Virgo with specific response and reference to blog content (any post), your name goes into a hat for a weekly drawing. (What I’m trying to say here is that comments like “nice blog” will not qualify.) You have four chances to win during February. The contests weeks begin February 1, 8, 15, and 22, with the final week wrapping up on February 28.

Drawing Period

The drawing period will run from Monday through Sunday, starting on February 1. I’ll draw the winner, then announce who won at the bottom of the next week’s post. Names will not carry over from one week to the next. Your name will only be in the drawing for the week(s) you comment. To maximize your chance to win, comment once a week in February.


The prizes for Weeks 1-3 will be a copy of my e-book, Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer. The Grand Prize, drawn at the end of Week 4, will be a mini-reading with Joyce by e-mail. Your credit for the reading may be used for yourself or given as a gift to someone else (gift certificate provided), and it’s good for a year.

But Wait—There’s More!

Want more chances to win more prizes? Visit my other blog, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights for a separate contest during the same time period—same rules, different prizes.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, my amazing, supportive readers. Good luck in the contests, and I hope our February is full of heart connections.

Blessings All,


Photo Credit: HEART © Alexroz  Enhanced for Valentine's Day by Joyce

Monday, January 25, 2010

The 1st International Astrology Day Blog Carnival

Welcome the Aries Ingress

The Cardinal T-Square

Personal Challenges - Practical Solutions

A 3-Day World Wide Web Blog-a-Thon

March 19-21, 2010

Keys to Effectively Handling the Cardinal T-Square Challenges

Find out how you and your loved ones may be affected by the T-Square!

A blog carnival is an internet-based event featuring a large, permanent collection of informative articles on a given topic. Several blogs host pages with article descriptions linked to sites where articles are posted. This particular carnival celebrates International Astrology Day and presents a variety of useful essays about ways individuals can contend with the cardinal T-Square during 2010-14.

The three host bloggers showcase articles on how transiting Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will affect individuals’ lives and what they can do to integrate the useful side of each of these energies. Authors for each day give readers ideas and problem-solving tools to tackle the inevitable challenges and get back on solid ground.

Friday, March 19:

So you’ve STILL got Pluto Problems?

Saturday, March 20

Take Care of Saturn and Saturn Will Take Care of You

Sunday, March 21

Uranus in Aries: Claiming a Self-Reliant Future

For more information or to submit articles, contact: either of the Coordinators:

Donna Cunningham at

The Radical Virgo is joining the festivities.  Look for a special post here during the event.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Astrology Reading: Five Astrologers Share Their Faves

Recently, the owners of my favorite spiritual bookstore in Sacramento, Sunlight of the Spirit, asked for my recommendations in stocking some “good astrology books.” I was more than happy to oblige, but it occurred to me that the list would be a bit slanted as my sole personal opinion. That’s when I decided to invite some of my other friends and colleagues to get in on the act.

The next natural step? Share the list with The Radical Virgo readers. I had no idea that Gavin Carruthers would mention the importance of “reading some good books” on astrology in my interview of him in my last post. These synchronicities were like stars aligning to bring you this bookworm Winter Solace article!

Your Book Panel

Participating astrologers in this collective reading list were Gavin Carruthers (US/Arizona), Joyce Mason (US/California) Georgia Stathis (US/California), Anne Whitaker (UK/Scotland), and Lana Wooster (UK/England). While we admittedly comprise a small opinion pool, I believe our combined years of experience and diverse perspectives have resulted an interesting and eclectic list.

How the List Works

Books are listed alphabetically by author. For your convenience, titles are linked to Amazon, the author’s site, or other online stores where they are available, in case you want to purchase them. The number of stars indicates how many people on the panel recommended that particular title as part of their “half dozen or so” favorites.

I limited the main list to 25, figuring I’d lose you much beyond that number. I hope you’ll bookmark or print out this post and keep it, not just as a winter reading list, but also as a reference for years to come. Personally, I can’t wait to dig into some of the books that are new to me!

Your Astro-Bibliography

*Arroyo, Stephen ~ Chart Interpretation Handbook (1990)

****Arroyo, Stephen ~ Astrology, Karma and Transformation (1992)

*Arroyo, Stephen ~ Person-to-Person Astrology (2007)

*Baigent, Michael; Campion, Nicholas; and Harvey, Charles ~ Mundane Astrology (1992)

*Bell, Lynn ~ Cycles of Light

**Carruthers, Gavin ~ Astrology Course on DVD (2010)  (Not a book, but offered for those who prefer a different medium.)

 **Cunningham, Donna ~ Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness (1994) Original paper edition is out of print. Updated e-version (2005), with chapter by Joyce Mason on Chiron, can be purchased at Moon Maven Publications

*Cunningham, Donna ~ Healing Pluto Problems (1986)

**Cunningham, Donna ~ E-books: Any of Donna’s collection of practical e-books, including Outer Planets as Vocational Indicators (The Outer Planets and Inner Life, V.1), Outer Planet Aspects to Venus and Mars, (The Outer Planets and Inner Life, V.2), Aspects Between the Outer Planets (The Outer Planets and Inner Life, V.3), Counseling Principles for Astrologers, and Astrological Analysis: Selected Topics in Chart Interpretation.  Buy one of Donna's e-books by Saturday, January 23, and your purchase price will be donated to Haiti relief efforts.

*George, Demetra and Bloch, Douglas ~ Astrology for Yourself (2006)

*Greene, Liz ~ Astrology for Lovers (formerly Star Signs for Lovers) (2009)

*Greene, Liz ~ The Outer Planets and Their Cycles (1996)

*Greene, Liz ~ Relating (1978)

**Greene, Liz ~ Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil (1976)

*Hall, Judy ~ The Karmic Journey (1991)

Harvey, Charles ~ Anima Mundi: The Astrology of the Individual and the Collective (2002)

*Kempton-Smith, Debbi ~ Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook (1999)

*Levine, Joyce ~ Breakthrough Astrology (2006)

*Marks, Tracy ~ Astrology of Self-Discovery (2008)

* Oken, Alan ~ Alan Oken's Complete Astrology (2006)

*Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA) ~ How to Start, Maintain, and Expand an Astrological Practice (2001)

*Orr, Marjorie ~ The Astrological History of the World (2002)

*Rudhyar, Dane ~ The Lunation Cycle (1967)

*Schulman, Martin ~ Karmic Astrology: Joy and the Part of Fortune (1978)

**Stathis, Georgia ~ Business Astrology 101: Weaving the Web Between Business and Myth (2001)

Special Section on Chiron

Since Chiron is my specialty--and many people look for information on Chiron here on The Radical Virgo-- I’m listing three books that have influenced me in my Chiron studies:

Mini-Biblio on Chiron 

Clow, Barbara Hand ~ Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets (2002)

Reinhart, Melanie ~ Chiron and the Healing Journey (1999)

Stein, Zane ~ Chiron: Essence and Application (See bottom of sidebar)

And, of course, here’s another chance for shameless promotion of my new Chiron e-book and its hearty recommendations by other astrologers:

Mason, Joyce ~ Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer (Purchase here in Radical Virgo sidebar)

List Synthesis

In order to be properly Virgo-ized, the list must be synthesized! This post is illustrated with the book that “got the most votes,” Stephen Arroyo’s Astrology, Karma, and Transformation. You’ll see several authors’ names repeatedly—Stephen Arroyo, Liz Greene, and Donna Cunningham. These are by no means the only astrology books of merit out there. However, if you’re looking for a place to start or catch up on your astrology reading, I think you can’t go wrong with this list or any of the authors whose names appear multiple times.

Publication dates can be helpful in terms of getting “the latest” ideas on planetary influences … or the newest insights about more recently discovered bodies like Chiron and the other centaurs. However, many of the oldies are still goodies.

Other Astrology Blogs

Some of the greatest sources of current astrological information are astrology blogs. You’ll see some of my favorites in the sidebar, but you might want to bookmark this link to the Top 100 astro-blogs on PostRank and visit it often.

I can’t rave enough about Donna Cunningham’s Sky Writer. This is a frequently updated blog, and Donna’s treasure trove of vast experience as an astrologer, writer, and wise woman with a great sense of humor shine through her easy-to-grasp and completely engaging articles. She often introduces fabulous new talent as guest bloggers. I consider it a can’t-miss.

Your Turn

Please let me know in the Comments if this kind of post is helpful to you. If yes, I may do others like it in the future. And if you have other favorite astrology books, please share them with The Radical Virgo community.

Now curl up in front of the fire and have yourself a good read!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet Gavin Carruthers, Transformational Astrologer

It’s a thrill for me to introduce and interview on The Radical Virgo one of my favorite all-time Radical Virgos, Gavin Carruthers. Gavin holds a very important place in my heart as my first astrology teacher and mentor. He started it all for me, and he did such a good job, I’ve been at it ever since taking my first class with him in 1981. We’re so vintage; those were the days before computers, when we had to hand draw charts! (I remember yours were always so artistically cool, Gavin—beautiful and informative!)

I’m thrilled to report that Gavin has recently begun creating a DVD series where you can get the same amazing core education in astrology as I did at the School for Cyclelogical Studies with Gavin and his School co-founder, John Ruskell, nearly three decades ago in Sacramento. How fondly I remember those classes in Gavin’s small apartment. They felt so intimate, like a conspiracy of inspiration ready to break out and enlighten—maybe even enliven—the world!

Joyce: Gavin, before we tell our readers about your new course, I thought we might start with your philosophy of astrology. Your view had a great influence on me and how I have always used astrology to mentor my own inner growth and that of others. What’s your perspective?

Gavin: Hi, Joyce. It’s great to reconnect after all these years! My view on astrology is that it’s a spiritual tool that can help me to see what it’s like to be inside another person’s skin. It reveals the challenges they are facing in their spiritual growth, their strengths and weaknesses, their life purpose, why they chose their parents and their childhood conditioning and it provides a meaningful framework for understanding the mysteries and personal subtleties of their lives. The older I get, the less I focus on the events of people’s lives and the more I focus on the process of awakening and growing, and using the birth chart map to empower them to create a better future for themselves. I try to come to every chart without preconditions and expectations and let it reveal itself to me through dialogue with my client. So, in a sense I rediscover astrology through each person who shares their chart with me.

Joyce: I’m sure many people come to you for classes who are drawn to astrology, but it doesn’t “grab” everyone. Can you sense the future astrologers in your classes, compared to perpetual students or even dabblers? How does studying astrology benefit people who don’t “go pro?” Certainly, there is more than one goal in taking classes, and I’m sure what you offer is helpful to a variety of people and their needs or motivations for study.

Gavin: To be honest, most of my students are more interested in learning about themselves than becoming astrologers, possibly gathering some new perspectives on life, but there’s also that rare person who is so captivated by astrology that they are willing to spend the time it takes to develop into a full-time astrologer. My experience is that astrologers are mostly self-taught, and over the years there have been a few that have gone off on their own and put the time in to polish their skills, and it’s always gratifying to know that I helped get them on that path! Several of my students have already been dabbling in astrology by the time I meet them, and then I see it as my role to shore up their basic knowledge and help them fine-tune their interpretive skills and develop some confidence. When I moved to Sedona in 1994, I discovered that most people weren’t prepared to make the commitment to lengthy courses like the one I used to teach in Sacramento. As a result, I choose a topic for each week and then depending on who shows up and their level of knowledge, I improvise a class to fit the participants. As much as possible, I use the birth charts of all students throughout the classes to illustrate the subject matter, always trying to balance theory with real life experience. At the very least, a few classes in astrology help people to know themselves a little better, and to understand why other people are different, and once in a while a few students get bit by the astrology bug and keep coming back for more!

In a sense I rediscover astrology through each person who shares their chart with me.

Joyce: I’ve wanted to do more features for beginners on The Radical Virgo, and I see interviewing you as a great start toward meeting that goal. You are one of the first teachers where I’d send a beginner—or even an ongoing student—if they were local to you near Sedona, Arizona. Your DVD series now makes you accessible to anyone. What made you decide to do it—and how to you see it extending your mentor role?

Gavin: Well, I’d always assumed that one day I’d write an astrology book, but as the years went by I realized that I work so much better with the spoken word than as a writer, so I pretty much let go of that fantasy. The way the DVD series came about is that I moved to a small town south of Sedona a few months ago. Partly because of my distance from potential students, and partly because of the depressed economy, I found myself struggling to get students and clients and realized I needed to come up with some more creative ways to get my business flowing again. Up until then I seemed to always have enough of a flow of students and clients to make do, mostly through word-of-mouth and referrals. So, I decided to explore two options, doing teleclasses on the internet and making the DVDs. The teleclasses are still on the back burner as my focus this past few weeks has been on creating the DVD course. So, what initially seemed like a crisis in my financial world has actually opened up the opportunity to reach out to a much wider audience. As I connect with more potential students who like my style of astrology and teaching, I hope to start doing some teleclasses and some personal tutoring. Since leaving Sacramento I have become very comfortable working over the phone, something that was very necessary living in a town as small as Sedona.

Joyce: Give us the details of what’s available and the scope of the DVD series.

Gavin: So far, I have completed the first three DVDs in the series. I hope to do more than twenty altogether! The first one is on the basics of the birth chart, using the visual of a chart to explain the structure, and very simple psychological and spiritual interpretations on planets, houses, aspects and transits. It also includes a bit on my basic philosophy and approach to astrology. The second DVD covers the elements and qualities and how they are the building blocks that create the twelve signs. The third one is on the Moon, looking at the relationship with mother, the inner child and emotional security needs, as well as aspects between the Moon and the other planets. Next up is the Ascendant, followed by the Sun, in which I’ll not only look at Sun aspects but also the relationships between Sun, Moon and Ascendant. After that, I plan to create a DVD on each planet. Other planned topics include aspects, transits, chart synthesis, and two or three DVDs on relationships. Of course, things may evolve as I move through the process of creating the next few DVDs, but that’s my plan at the moment. I’ve also had the idea of doing a DVD using famous people’s charts as examples, maybe one on the astrology of the USA, and even a DVD that is a full interpretation session with a real live person. One step at a time, though!

Joyce: Astrology breeds perpetual learners. After all, what we need to learn is as big as the sky! At yours and John’s classes, I met some very significant influences on me—the late Jim Lewis, creator of Astro*Carto*Graphy, pairing geography with astrology, and Donna Cunningham—just two examples. Donna went on to mentor me as an astrologer, writer, and flower essence practitioner. What other astrologers have been your major influences, the ones you’d want to share with others as they initiate or expand their astrological education?

Gavin: Well, my earliest influences were Alan Oken and Noel Tyl, but things really opened up for me when I discovered the writings of Stephen Arroyo and Liz Greene. That’s when things shifted from astrology being a fascinating hobby into the awareness that perhaps this was my true calling. I went to some tremendous conferences with Stephen and Liz in the early 80’s in Berkeley, where I also met Donna Cunningham, Tracy Marks, Dennis Elwell and Jim Lewis, and I’d already been turned on to Richard Idemon’s work a few years earlier. The greatest personal teacher for me was John Ruskell, who I worked with for more than 10 years during my time in Sacramento when we taught classes together and co-created the Star Experience workshop series, which has now morphed into the Aspire Foundation, recently renamed
Center of  Consciousness. There’s nothing like teaching to help one learn a subject more thoroughly, and John has some unique perspectives which quickly became incorporated into my own awareness. Before I left California I also studied with healer and teacher Michael Tamura and his wife Raphaelle, and they both went through my 32-week course, which enabled me to integrate more psychic and spiritual perspectives into my astrology work.

Joyce: If you had one or two major bits of advice to pass onto students from the get-go of their astrological studies, what would they be?

Gavin: Read a lot of good astrology books, go to some conferences and find other astrology students to share with. It’s also a good idea to do some simple readings early on, to help build confidence. When I started out, I charged a few dollars for a hand-written chart interpretation. I would read my Arroyo and Greene books and extract some of the most relevant information and make a 10- page analysis for my first “clients”. I think I did about a hundred “readings” this way and it really helped cement those ideas into my being. Before long, I had discarded the books and was flying free, and from then on, it was just learning through experience. It also helps to find a good teacher, and for me at least, as I suggested earlier, teaching astrology to others is what really helped me develop ways of articulating these ideas to others.

Joyce: Give us the purchasing details on your DVD series. I’d like to add that compared to the overall cost of my many years of studying astrology via classes, conferences, and books, this is a genuine bargain!

Gavin: Thanks, Joyce! Sold separately each DVD is $25 in a slim CD case (with $4 shipping), and I am also offering them in sets of three in a 3 DVD case for $70 (with $5 shipping). These are USA shipping prices and it will be a few dollars more to ship to other countries. Anyone wanting to purchase them can send a check or money order to: Gavin Carruthers, 4925 Dandy Dude Drive, Rimrock, AZ 86335. If they need more information they can call or e-mail ( me personally.

Joyce: Gavin, thanks for your time in visiting The Radical Virgo. Any final comments?

Gavin: Well, one thing that comes to mind has to do with the responsibility of being an astrologer. What I’m really getting at is the difference between “giving energy” and “taking energy” in interactions with astrological clients. Astrology is a powerful tool and it can create great harm if used irresponsibly and without awareness.

There is a difference between “giving energy” and “taking energy” in interactions with clients.

I had the good fortune of being confronted with this issue at an early age by a more experienced astrologer who prompted me to examine my deeper motives for being an astrologer. Since then what I have learned is that if I am doing a reading to impress someone, to score points, or to make myself look good, I am actually “stealing energy” from that person. On the other hand when I use my communicative skills to serve my clients and to create clarity for them from a place of humility I am “giving energy”. It can be a subtle but extremely important difference. This issue can be challenging for students when they are trying to prove their worth as astrologers, but if faced and integrated it makes for a much better kind of astrology. In the end it’s not the quality of techniques that the astrologer uses but rather the quality of their consciousness that makes the real difference.


Gavin Carruthers has been a full-time astrological consultant and teacher for more than 30 years. His love for astrology began at an early age, and by 1981, he was living in Sacramento, CA, where he co-founded the School for Cyclelogical Studies and The Star Experience workshop series with astrologer John Ruskell. Gavin has lectured at AFAN conferences in California, and at 1998’s Steps to Awareness in Telluride, Colorado. In 2008, he was interviewed on the Dr Pat radio show, and was a featured speaker at Finding the Gift in Shift in Sedona in 2009. Gavin is committed to expressing a positive and spiritual astrology as his life’s work. He can be reached at (928) 204-2277 and His new website is . You can also network with him on the following sites:
Facebook (Members Only) or Gavin’s Transformational Astrology Facebook Group.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Humor: Auntie Joyce’s Astro-Aphorisms

© 2010 by Joyce Mason

I channeled these original aphorisms for you! Unless otherwise noted, they are original quotes by yours truly. Please be sure to credit me, if you share them. That means miming quote marks by crooking two fingers on each side of your mouth before saying.

Speaking of saying, I say if you can’t have wisdom, have fun!

~Auntie Joyce

Aries: Dive in head second. Use first.

Taurus: Find the sense in sensuality.

Gemini: If at first you don’t succeed, change personalities.

Cancer: Look before you weep.

Leo: It’s nice to be king, but you'll get crowned.

Virgo: You, de-serve more.

Cultural Dictionary
aphorism [(af-uh-riz-uhm)]
A concise and often witty statement of wisdom or opinion, such as “Children should be seen and not heard,” or “People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.”
Libra: “It takes two to tangle.” ~ Mary Mason, my mom (a Libra)

Scorpio: Just once in awhile, pass-shun.

Sagittarius: Only God and Google know it all.

Capricorn: Let Goat and let got.

Aquarius: Spare the lightning rod and spoil the riled.

Pisces: Pack a first aid kit in case of mergency.

Photo Credit: USE YOUR HEAD   Danabeth55...

Want more of Auntie's Aphorisms? Visit #2 and #3.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chiron’s Key Word Corner: Teacher and Wounded Healer—and the Reason for Winter

©1994-2010 by Joyce Mason

The Chiron of myth was both a teacher and a wounded healer because our wound is our best teacher.

Few of us come to the quest for wholeness when everything is hunky dory. In the knot of our pain is everything we need to work through in order to feel at one with ourselves—and everyone else. Many of us—maybe most of us—would never have bothered to do any deep, inner work if it weren’t for emotional or physical agony.

Maybe coming to Earth where pain gets stuck in your body, and hurts like hell if you don’t do something with it, is only way to get us to deal with our stuff. I’ve heard it two ways. One of my teachers says they cry on the Other Side when someone has to come to Earth and rejoice when they die and “come home.” From another, I’ve heard that no matter how hard it is, souls are lined up to incarnate here. It has something to do with our planet’s unique attributes as a boot camp for emerging souls.

The holidays and winter often bring depression because it is a time of dying.

Like the trees and flowers, we have shed our leaves and feel barren inside. We must hibernate. This is as close as we come to feeling the separation again that we first experienced when we came to Earth—being literally wrenched from our mother and the disorientation of feeling alone in the world.

Winter is a Chironic time when we feel painfully misfit and unrelated. Yet, Chiron’s time in the cave—alone—is where he turned to his teacher within and gained enough wisdom to tutor future greats.

This winter, relish your cave time.
If you are in pain, wallow in it until you hear what it’s trying to teach you. The illusion of separation must be felt acutely so that, like Chiron, we will reach out to others and foster their greatness, just as we discover our own when we finally slow down enough to face ourselves.

That’s what winter is for.


This Key Word Corner was first published in Chironicles in December 1994.

Photo Credit: WINTER SCENE © 4dings

Celebrate Epiphany, Jan. 6th! The Coming of the Three Astrologers. Visit my post, Epiphanies, on Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, full of information about the Magi, their role as astrologers, and the deep symbolism of this holiday. Three astrologers were among the privileged few to witness the newborn Christ child.