Saturday, January 29, 2011

Moonwalk: Aquarius

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

I barely had to seek an image for this month’s Aquarius Moonwalk; this one found me. The dramatic combination of moon, lightning and especially the monolith reminded me of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was in my early 20s when “2001” came out. I needed to read the book to have a clue what that mysterious monolith meant. Recognized by many critics as one of the greatest movies ever made, “2001” vibrates with Aquarian themes: human evolution, artificial intelligence, and technology. To punctuate why it might have reminded me even further of New Moon in Aquarius, the main-character astronauts were traveling to the Moon.

Stanley Kubrick’s dramatic movie is a journey of man’s consciousness. According to famous Chicago movie reviewer, Roger Ebert, the Star Child at the end of the film symbolizes man’s ultimate passage into a new level of consciousness. What could be more Aquarian—or Age of Aquarius?

Strange things happened whenever and wherever the monolith appeared—and in every era of history. People changed. The monolith seemed to be a catalyst—yet highly unusual and inexplicable. (Are any of you natal Aquarius Moons getting misty to hear someone finally “get” you?) As far as I’m concerned, we could almost call it Moon in Monolith.


Perhaps as a kid, you visited Disneyland and one of its main attractions, Tomorrowland. That’s where Aquarius Moon lives. She is a monolith throbbing signals of evolution and living to feel the thrill of those kinds of high-pitched impulses. According to the Disney website, Tomorrowland represents the vision and fantasy of futurists such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and, of course, Walt Disney. Guests can zoom through Space Mountain, experience 3-D fun in "Captain EO", travel through the galaxy in Star Tours, drive race cars and enjoy so much more as they experience the “future”.

Aquarius Moon does this sort of thing when she comes out to play.

Lonely Little Petunia

If you live with a strong Uranus or planets in Aquarius, you probably relate to the children’s song, “I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch.” I hope you still don’t cry all day, but this lunar energy can indeed feel lonely, isolated, and isolating. The space man on his mission in “2001” talks to a computer as his companion. It’s so Aquarius Moon.

Grounding the Charge

How can we bring down to earth these high-vibrating energies that, like the lightning bolts in the picture, are almost too hot to handle? Whether you’re a natal Aquarius Moon or just basking in the Aquarian vibes of this month’s lunar cycle, here are some ideas for maximizing this month’s New Moon energy. And when you check out the stellium in Aquarius in the New Moon chart, you’ll see that we’re all going to be soaked with the sign of The Water Bearer. Suggested ways to sing in the rain, thunder and lightning:

==> Meditate on what makes you different—and learn to love it. If it’s hard to be objective about yourself, ask your friends what makes you unique. How can you turn your “oddity” into an asset? Some of their answers may surprise you, because they may already see those unusual characteristics as your unique talents or contributions. Vow to see your differences from appreciate eyes. Watch how it changes everything. Write about it.

==> Create a safe place for your mind to run wild this month and let your craziest ideas and fantasies come out of the closet. Even if it’s only in the safety of your journal, let the sky be the limit on brainstorming. No matter how impractical, write it down. Share at some point with a trusted friend or friends to learn which of your crazy ideas might just be strokes of genius, waiting for someone’s input or the incubation of your next idea on how to turn them into practical realities.

==> Observe how you, like the “2001” monolith, by your mere presence evoke changes. Another way to do this—and another movie reference—is to imagine yourself the star of It’s A Wonderful Life. Open a document on your computer, start with your birth, and imagine how your family would have been different if you weren’t born. Write about it.  Continue with school, work, and community. If you’re not surprised, I will be! 

==> Do something far-out, however you define it. This New Moon isn’t for the feint of heart, especially with that big line-up in Aquarius. If you’ve always wanted to try your shtick on open mic night at the local comedy club, this is the time. Bungie jumping, anyone? (Double-check all the safety gismos and routines. This is, after all, an energy ruled by erratic Uranus.) Afraid to speak up on a cause you care about? Make that placard and walk that picket line. Sign that petition. Take a stand on your blog. 

==> Nurture through freedom. That includes nurturing your freedom to be the one and only you. Let up on the kids’ or grandkids’ curfew and tell them you trust their judgment. See for yourself how responsibly they handle freedom with just a little faith in them. Celebrate yourself and the other “unicorns” you know. Find ways you can spend more time in their heady and open-minded company. If a group doesn’t exist that creates community of people who think along the same lines, whether it’s astrology, your spiritual viewpoint, or some activity that you really love, create it. That’s what MeetUp is for … and all the social networking tools. 

==> Rent 2001: A Space Odyssey. Watch it and write about it in your journal. Google some of the major critical reviews of it. They are awesome! After the way it took over this month’s Moonwalk, it’s now #1 in my Netflix queue.

Click to enlarge
This Aquarius Moon – Feb. 2, 2011

High-Octane Stellium. The chart of this New Moon is almost as an exciting as that “2001” trip to outer space. If Uranus is the Awakener, this month is a six-shot cappuccino with six planets pulsing in Aquarius, domain of the Big U. That’s one huge cup of “leaded.” If your awareness isn’t heightened and your consciousness catapulted over the next 28 days, have someone take you to the nearest emergency room. You might be in a coma!

Into the Mythic: Let’s Get Ceres. I have recently turned on Ceres as a point in my Solar Fire software because of its significance in my own chart. There’s another reason. Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet and Ceres has been promoted from an asteroid to the same class of planetary objects. They are not only related by type as dwarf planets in the most recent changes to the astronomical classification system; they are related by mythology.

Micro-mythology recap: Ceres was the Roman Goddess of the Grain, called Demeter in the Greek version of the same myth. Ceres’ daughter, Prosperina, is the Roman Persephone. While it’s not exactly correct, people interchange the Greek and Roman names, so it’s never all Greek to anyone—and certainly not a practice for letter-perfect Virgos. (I don’t care. I’m Radical.)

At any rate, Pluto is gaga over the P-girl and abducts her into Hades, leaving her mother Ceres in such grief; Ceres avenges the dastardly deed by cutting off all growth on the planet. Starvation has a lot of leveraging power. Demeter/Ceres demands her daughter back and is able to cut a deal to bring Proserpina/ Persephone home for half the year.

As you can see, Ceres the dwarf planet joins the Sun/Moon/Mars conjunction, and it is a powerhouse alignment.

As Pat Paquette on Realastrologers notes in Serious about Ceres, Ceres was the only god or goddess in mythology that went up against Pluto and won, even if the prize was only a compromise.

This powerful Ceres/Sun/Moon/Mars in fixed Aquarius suggests the sudden meeting of immovable objects and irresistible forces, to quote the Lyrics of Something’s Gotta Give. Ceres in the mix suggests to us that we must hold our ground for a solution that meets everyone’s needs at least part of the time. With Chiron sextile Venus on the far end of the stellium in Aquarius, the forces, indeed, may involve love, as Sammy Davis sings about so eloquently.

Heal an impasse with your honey, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

One more thing about Ceres brought to light by Alison Chester-Lambert in The Future in the Stars: The Astrological Message in the Stars for 2012 and Beyond. Ceres is connected with losses that are made right to some degree. Persephone comes back, even if only half time.  If Aquarius devotes itself to group good while celebrating our freedom to be you and me, what has seemed lost in your world and ours that might be somehow reclaimed this month? At least in part? Health care reform in the U.S. comes to mind as Republicans begin their “repeal and replace” strategy. Will the two parties find a solution that pleases all of the people some of the time? For yourself, think about what stubbornly stuck situation you might move at least halfway to resolution.

Back on Earth. I love Saturn trine Ceres/Sun/Moon/Mars in this New Moon chart, because it provides the grounding those multiple planets in Aquarius desperately need to keep from going airy-fairy instead of being down to earth and applying genius to practical problem solving. Mercury’s sextile to Uranus makes the atmosphere very inspiration friendly. If there’s a puzzle you need to unravel, energy you need to shift, or creative approaches you need to find, do that second bullet, above, on journaling this month for sure. As we know with sextiles, they can be very fortunate, but they require us to “work it.” This reminds me of folks who think you can sit around with your feet up, repeating affirmations, without the God Helps Those Who Help Themselves part. Engage.

Parting of Ways.  Uranus and Jupiter are finally separating. Say good-bye to the conjunction that has wired and tired many of us in the tight tango these two planets have been dancing together since last year. How did this conjunction play in your life? If you’re like me, you’re too busy living it to notice as much during a transit as you do in retrospect. Later, you can quietly contemplate what was that? The Jupiter/Uranus conjunction exaggerated (Jupiter) everything astrological (Uranus) for me and, took me places I never even knew I wanted to go. This is mostly good—I think! Jupiter expands us, Uranus awakens us … and if you need help deciphering what just hit you, it would be a great time to read Anne Whitaker’s book, Jupiter Meets Uranus or read her blog of the same name. As Uranus moves into Aries on Mar. 11-12, depending on your place on the globe, consider the impacts on innovation both personal and planetary. Futuristic, insight-flashing Uranus enters the sign of the pioneer and joins that Martian energy to do it now. Life, no doubt, will be full of surprises. Who knows what’s next?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s multi-media, monolithic view of Moon in Aquarius and February’s New Moon cycle. Same time, same place—different Moon—next month.


Photo Credits: Strange Monolith on a Planet © Rolffimages |

Are you a New Moongram reader? This month’s special, available only to people on the New Moongram newsletter mailing list, is $25 off an Astro-Tarot reading with Joyce. Her normal $100 fee is $75 through March 3. To join the mailing list, click on the icon in the upper right of the sidebar.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Books by the Fire: Winter Astrology Reading 2011

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

January 2010’s, Winter Astrology Reading: Five Astrologers Share Their Faves was a popular post all year long! There’s nothing like curling up with a good astrology book when the weather outside is frightful, preferably in front of a blazing fire. In fact, the idea felt so good, I thought we’d try a second round of winter book recommendations, and if your interest holds, we’ll make it an annual tradition. (For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, these tomes make equally good beach reading—don’t forget your plastic bag to protect your reads from sand and surf! OK, sometimes I’m a traditional Virgo.)

This year, I got extra help. I belong to an astrology bloggers group on Facebook. I asked my colleagues to recommend their favorites. As with last time, I have decided not to link astrologers to their specific recommendations. They are all fine practitioners and authors themselves and a thumbs-up from any of them on this biblio has equal footing—in my book.

For your convenience, the titles are linked to Amazon for more info—or if you can’t resist purchasing. (Typical conversation among astrologers: “I need to build an addition onto my house for all my books.” This is why I got a Kindle.)

Favorite Books

(An asterisk* means it was mentioned twice by members of the panel.)

Arroyo, Stephen – Relationships and Life Cycles

Ashman, Bernie – Sun Signs and Past Lives

Blaschke, Robert – Relationship Analysis

Cunningham, Donna – Healing Pluto Problems

George, Demetra – Asteroid Goddesses

Hall, Judy – The Hades Moon *

Hand, Robert – Horoscope Symbols

Herring, Amy – Astrology of the Moon

Koval, Barbara – Time and Money

Spiller, Jan – New Moon Astrology

Spiller, Jan – Astrology of the Soul

Sullivan, ErinRetrograde Planets

Sullivan, Erin – Saturn in Transit

Tarnas, Richard - Cosmos and Psyche

Tenzin-Dolma, Lisa – Take Control with Astrology

Tompkins, Sue – Aspects in Astrology

Favorite Astro-Authors Mentioned by Name

Arroyo*, Hand, Rudhyar, George, Blaschke, Tyl, Leo, Carter, Forrest, Tarnas, Green, Sullivan, and Levine/Jawer.

Our Distinguished Panel of Astrologers

I hope you’ll get to know these wonderful star people on their blogs and websites. If you know them already, here’s a chance to get to know them even better. They’re very well read. Here’s your chance to return the favor!

My Current Reads

And just in case you’re curious, I’ve been proving I’ve got Uranus in Gemini by reading Blain Bovee’s Sabian Symbols in Astrological Analysis on my Kindle and in paper,  Alison Chester-Lambert’s The Future in the Stars: The Astrological Message in the Stars for 2012 and Beyond about the newly discovered dwarf planets, the category to which Pluto was demoted. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds that laughable. Has Pluto ever been small in your life?)

Happy Learning!


Photo Credit:  © Darya Petrenko |

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Auntie Joyce: “Love Thy Astrological Neighbor—You’re Alike!"

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Most of us learned “love thy neighbor” as the Golden Rule at our mother’s knee. It was repeated to us at Sunday school or catechism and/or by other relatives and teachers till our ears burned with boredom. “Do unto others as you would have others to unto you.” As kids, many of us couldn’t figure out what doing unto meant, but eventually, we deciphered that we were supposed to be nice to others … and at least not sock someone just because they pissed us off on the playground.

Then many of us grew up and took up astrological, metaphysical, New Age, or some combo of new-fangled spiritual beliefs. (This must be true, otherwise we would not be meeting like this on The Radical Virgo.) We still have our Golden Rule. We’re told we are each other! Life is supposed to be some big Pisces picnic.

Auntie Joyce was driving her car the other day, paying attention to the voices in her head more than the road, for which she is ashamed but grateful she was Touched by an Angel and didn’t drive into a ditch. Or, God forbid, cause someone else to swerve because she was wool gathering.

Auntie was musing on the old “we are each other” thing when the truth of it came to her like a direct pipeline from the Divine. She realized how similar we are to our preceding, next-door neighbor in the zodiac! Since this is The Radical Virgo, this revelation starts with Virgo and spins around the circle of twelve. Enjoy this new way to love thy astrological neighbor!

Virgo -  A Virgo is just a Leo with stage fright.

Libra A Libra is just a Virgo who wants the perfect relationship.

Scorpio -  A Scorpio is just a Libra who wants the perfect relationship all to him- or herselfor else.

Sagittarius A Sagittarius is just a Scorpio who wants to learn and blab about the mysteries of life, not keep them secret.

Capricorn A Capricorn is just a Sag who wants to make money, corporations and/or institutions out of everything s/he has learned.

Aquarius – An Aquarius is just a Capricorn who wants to tear down the walls of the corporations or institutions and let everyone make the money and make a difference.

Pisces – A Pisces is just an Aquarius who lives in the world without walls and doesn’t know the difference.

Aries – An Aries is just a Pisces who got fed up living with everyone and took off on his or her own.

Taurus A Taurus is just an Aries who’s tired of pioneering, crusading, and getting there first who just wants a lazy, luxurious sit.

Gemini A Gemini is just a Taurus who luxuriates in yakking and is too fidgety to sit.

Cancer -  A Cancer is just a Gemini who only wants to talk to family.

Leo A Leo is just a Cancer who’s sick of talking to family and has taken his or her act to the stage where s/he can be admired and actually listened to.

We all know Leos fancy themselves kings and are connected with the color gold, so what better place to end this love-in on The Golden Rule. (Should we sing Kumbaya?)

Now go love your neighbor. Just be sure his or her partner doesn’t find out!


Auntie Joyce is the alter ego of astrologer Joyce Mason. Auntie comes out of mothballs or trance any time Joyce has to write something too goofy or mean for her Virgo/Libra sensibilities.

Photo Credit: Fortune Cookie © Terrance Emerson |

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be A Hero: The Radical Virgo Wants YOU!

The Radical Virgo is both a person (Joyce Mason) and a thing (an astrology blog). We have some news we’d like to share! (I’m starting to sound like one of those split-personality Geminis!) While most behind-the-scenes updates at The Radical Virgo go to subscribers via the monthly New Moongram, occasionally, updates are of interest to the entire readership.  This is one of them. Thanks for sitting through the announcements!
Chiron Research Volunteers.  The recent Chiron quizzes really got us all going on how Chiron works in our lives. A number of you have already volunteered to participate in research for my full-length Chiron book in progress. Like everything I do, inner work is a huge part of my “process.” I ruminate and let cosmic signs lead me. I have been led in a direction different than I anticipated!

I want to use short anecdotes as examples of how people experience Chiron in the signs, houses and by transit. I am particularly interested in your experiences of Chiron’s transits to itself: 1st square, opposition, 2nd square, and Chiron Return. Other examples of Chiron’s transits to other planets are also welcome. Your identity will be protected, and while I can’t offer anything but the exciting knowledge that you might become part of the “Chiron literature,” I need many volunteers. Please see Chiron Research for all the details on how to participate. I am on a fast track with this book. The sooner the better, and may Chiron bless you with his healing. Be a hero!

Sacramento Area Astrologers.  I’ve been helping revive our local astrological organization in the Sacramento Area. I’m the President and CEO (catalyst, enthusiast and organizer). If you’re a reader anywhere within driving distance of California’s Capital, you’re invited to participate in our newly resurrected chapter of the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR), previously active in from the late ‘80s through the early-to-mid 2000s. See our blog or Facebook page for more details. What a warm, eager, and simply wonderful tribe of stargazers! Contact me if you’d like to learn more about us!

Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights on Hiatus. After three years, I’ve put my “spirited living” blog on the back burner to focus on my books in progress and to make my writing available in multiple formats including print and e-readers. Hot/Cool was my first-born blog and has held a special place in my heart. It has given me the opportunity to write about many things dear to me in a broader spiritual perspective. Mine the Archives to see what I mean!

New Version, Chiron and Wholeness.  Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer has had a face-lift with some new graphics, minor corrections, and a few new thoughts added in. Anyone who  purchased a copy of this e-book is entitled to free updates, anytime there’s a new version. (Previous updates have been too minor to mention.) If you’d like to have this newer version dated November 2010, please e-mail me with Update E-book in the header. If you purchased your e-book in November or later, you already have the latest edition.

Closed Comments.  A few comments on Closed Comments. The Chiron Quiz had over 101 back-and-forth exchanges before I closed the dialogue. It’s the only time I’ve had to do so, and I will only exercise that option when comments come in avalanche proportions! I’m still working on Neptunian boundaries, especially when it comes to my time. A number of people sent comments after the Comments Closed notice was up on the post. If you missed the comment window, I want you to know I still read your comments, but I don’t publish them for continued conversation. Once I’ve closed the comments, to add others isn’t fair to those who wanted to comment, but didn’t because of the Closed Comments notice. Just wanted you to know you’re not being ignored. Here’s the part where I say if I were really a Gemini, there would be two of me and I wouldn’t have to close comments till we got to 202! Thanks for your understanding.

Radical Road Trips

It’s time for the Radical Virgo to hit the pavement on the Interstate instead of the Info Superhighway! Here are her stops so far this year:

Arizona (May 2011). I will be doing presentations in Phoenix and Tucson in May—hopefully in Sedona as well. If you live in any of these cities or are within driving distance of them, please contact me, if you’re interested in a reading while I’m in town or knowing the details on my presentations and workshops, as they develop. I am looking for local information to set something up in Sedona, as well. I’ll be in Tucson May 13-14 and in Phoenix May 20-21 with the possibility of extended days before or after to meet with clients. I hope to do an evening talk in Sedona sometime between May 17-19. Thanks in advance if you can help me create something Radical on the red rocks!

Chicago/Milwaukee (June 2011). I am planning to be in Chicago and Milwaukee in June. No firm dates yet, but I am available to speak to your astrology group and would love to hear from you and welcome your suggestions.

Speaker program offerings has details on the presentations I’m ready to give, but if there’s any topic you’ve read on The Radical Virgo or another custom workshop you’re interested in having me do, let’s talk!

Hope you’re all having a great New Year, and because you were good enough to not squirm during the announcements, the next post will be a humorous treat from Auntie Joyce who has some things to say about how “we are each other.”

Blessings All,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Magi and My Last Jupiter Return - Part 2 of 2

Coming Home to My True Beliefs

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

  ow that I’ve shared my previous post with set-up and background, I can finally tell you the details of what happened during my last Jupiter Return and everything it set in motion. The exact date was October 28, 2006, but as I said in Part 1, I started sensing it coming as early as June of that year.

By August, I was in full spiritual quest mode. I felt what I was missing was ritual, as much as that can be missing for a Radical Virgo with a Cap Moon who works hard to make mundane, repetitious acts almost holy. I had been leading celebrations at the solstices and equinoxes for almost two decades, even performing marriages with my Universal Life Church credential. Suddenly it wasn’t enough.

Happy Epiphany!
The Coming of the Three Astrologers …

The Church Steps

My first stop was my local Greek Orthodox Church. This would be an opportunity to better explore my Greek roots, as everything revolves around church in the Greek community. If ritual was what I wanted, Orthodoxy had it in Jupiterian proportions! My birth mom had already exposed me to the complete pomp and circumstance of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and its extreme length, 1.5 hours. I treasure liturgical music, and this would remain the hook to get me to look at anything that provided me with that sacred sound.

Of course, I should have known anything with “orthodox” in the name could not pass muster with my Uranian Sun, even though my Saturn-ruled Moon was in hog heaven. I even took a class and read a book my mom had bequeathed me in her large collection on the history of Orthodoxy. After three or four class meetings, the rigid ideology crossed the line of my sensibilities. Everyone was warm and wonderful to me, and I definitely loved singing the liturgy in both Greek and English. I got that ritual was still “it” for me, but I knew it was time to bless this brief experience and move on.

Next stop: An Episcopalian service, the church comedian Robin Williams calls “Catholic Light.” There I could go to communion just for having been baptized Christian as a baby, no strings attached. In the Greek Orthodox Church, I could not, because I was not baptized into Orthodoxy. We second-class spiritual citizens did get to have blessed bread at the end of the service, a consolation prize unless or until we decided to join the fold. In Catholicism, I’d have to go to church and confess four decades of “falling away” and every sin I could think of. This would be difficult, as I lived my life by a strict moral compass in my own mind, and anything I had learned to confess as a child would truly be trivial compared to the real issues of my life.

The Episcopalians were also warm and welcoming, but the Protestant version of Mass just did not feel right to me. It was like drinking near beer. I guess I’m not a Bud Light or a Catholic Light. I finally figured, if I’m going to do ritual, I may as well do the real thing. I knew it was time to face the biggest abandonment I had ever experienced, even bigger than my birth mom giving me up for adoption … the abandonment I felt by Mother Church. My inability to rectify my sense of what was right with the church of my childhood was a bitter loss to me. It never stopped hurting.

St. Godsend’s

I had known for decades that if I was ever going to be whole, I’d have to heal the residual pain from my Catholic childhood. I dreaded it and put it off as long as possible. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Me, Joyce, the Queen of Reunions. If I could only have one t-shirt with one word printed on it, it would be Gutsy. Yet I trembled emotionally at facing and healing this last loss.

Most but not all my negative experiences with the Catholic religion happened at the hands of the “good” sisters. They were well meaning spinsters who often practiced child abuse in the psychological, if not physical sense (some did both), thinking they were doing God’s will. To be fair, I had gone to two schools in communities forty miles apart. One had a much more painful impact on me, particularly at the most raw-nerve time of life, puberty. I was a very sensitive child, serious about being in good with God. That’s the problem. While other kids could let a lot of the doublespeak nonsense roll off, I took it way too seriously.

When the moment of truth came and I knew I had to “just do it,” to borrow the Nike slogan, I was ready to put on my cross-trainers to pound the pavement and find the right parish. I had to feel safe in the right place to put a toe back into the holy water.

Then I remembered a church I’d heard about more than once, supposedly very liberal. To protect the privacy of everyone concerned, I’ll simply call the church St. Godsend’s or St. G’s and change the names of individuals associated with it. A friend had attended St. G’s in the past and raved about its open-mindedness. She also turned me onto Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Edward Hay, a book of often cosmic poems, prayers and rituals by a Catholic priest that got me in touch with the idea that Catholics might have changed since 1966, when I had last set foot in a church unless forced to because of a wedding or funeral.

By then the exact date of my Jupiter Return was days away. I talked a friend into going with me to the weekly Taizé service. For those not familiar with it, Taizé, it is an ecumenical community, started in France, that brings together people of various faiths and beliefs, primarily though a unique and simple form of meditative chanting. Churches all over the world offer Taizé gatherings. Here’s a sound clip to give you the idea. My birth mom loved Taizé and had lent me several audiotapes with the chanting. As I’ve already mentioned, the word enchantment is very literal for me.  
However, being out of touch with the liturgical calendar unlike the days when I had it memorized, I didn’t realize that I was arriving on the doorstep of St. G’s on November 1, All Saints Day. (If you also realized it was the anniversary of Chiron’s discovery in 1977, go to the head of the class!) When we arrived on the church steps for the 6:00 singing, I learned that Taizé would not be happening that night, but rather a regular Mass. It was what they affectionately called at St. G’s a holy day of opportunity. I stayed anyway. They had me at opportunity instead of the traditional holy day of obligation. St. G’s passed my Uranian test in the first five minutes.

Not only that, I’d learn that they had a ministry supportive of gays, fed the homeless, and walked the talk of the life Jesus asked us to live more than I had ever experienced in any church of any denomination. I was in love. I dove into the deep end of the baptismal font.

In nothing flat, I had helped restore a Returning Catholics program that had not run for years. I was soon on several important committees, including welcoming and communications. The people I met were beautiful, and the community was amazing—everything I’d ever hoped for.

By Christmas when they read a version of the Gospels that actually referred to the Wise Men as astrologers, I felt I’d found my own Bethlehem Star.

In 2007, Tim and I had our marriage blessed or convalidated in the Church, repeating our vows in the Sacrament of Matrimony. I am still touched to this day by that step. It’s our favorite wedding. (We’ve had three: eloped to Reno in ‘98, vows repeated with a Unity minister at home the next year with closest family and friends, and our sacramental marriage in late ‘07.) Both the wedding and after-party were perfect, attended and in part created by our closest intimates. (My small women’s spirituality group, the metaphysical one, provided the music.) I think we both felt “more married” after that because of the Catholic view on divorce. It completed a circle. We had met and fallen in love as adolescents in a Church-run school. Now we finally had the wedding I had dreamed of back when I was a young girl in a place with stained glass windows where sacred things had happened for nearly a century. I truly did feel my marriage was more blessed. We had done the ultimate marriage ritual!

The Church Ladies

Around the same time, I also became involved in an online group of women bloggers I’ll call the Bloggirls. It wasn’t long into this adventure that I realized they were primarily conservative Christians. There were more prayers flying than howdy do’s, and sometimes I actually felt like I was at a revival meeting. (I’m not kidding, we’re taking “Praise the Lords” and talk of the devil!)

The atmosphere was so Jerry Falwell; one Jewish woman who joined the group asked innocently if it was only for Christians. I was learning a lot about my new career as a blogger, and I was willing to let this experience stretch me for the education, including the expansion of my tolerance for religious conservatives, the one place my own relationship to the Golden Rule could have used a little tune-up.

Ultimately, I found many warm and creative people there, despite our differences in spiritual expression. However, it just got too hard to muffle myself. I felt I couldn’t be me. It was one of the primary reasons I decided to leave the group after less than six months.  I dove in. I swam. I jumped out.

Evolution—Written in the Stars

I truly thought I’d found my permanent, spiritual home at St. G’s. The retreats and workshops were so liberal and liberating. We did Soul Collage and Sister Angie even mentioned openly the parallel between these self-created spiritual art cards and tarot cards. Another nun, Sr. Meg, had studied with the likes of Brian Swimme, cosmologist and director of the California School of Integrative Studies. She even hinted at astrology’s role in the huge cycles of human evolution. Nuns had really come a long way from the penguins who taught me the 1950s! When their habits came off and their street clothes came on, some of them became both more worldly and more cosmic.

During this time, I discovered a book by Rev. Scotty McLennan called Finding Your Religion. The Introduction was written by cartoonist Garry Trudeau, an old friend of Scotty’s. Scotty was in part the inspiration for Trudeau’s Rev. Scot Sloan character in Doonesbury.

Finding Your Religion was all about the struggle I was having between my childhood faith and adult spirituality. One of its most helpful chapters contains a Faith Stage Checklist. It describes seven stages of spiritual development from Stage 1 (Magic, full of spirits, demons and a God that makes everything happen, good or bad) to Stage 7 (Unity, a sense of community with all traditions and seeing God in everything).

Another evolutionary idea I picked up in one of Sr. Meg’s retreats: As we grow in spiritual consciousness, we tend to evolve in three broad steps. First, we identify with God the Father (more childlike). Second, we look to God the Son (a mid-step that literally brings heaven down to earth). Third and finally, we perceive God more in his/her Holy Spirit persona. (God is everywhere and in everything.) I was so Scotty’s Stage 7 and Sr. Meg’s Holy Spirit Stage. Free as a bird/dove—still. [1]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Magi and My Last Jupiter Return - Part 1 of 2

Coming Home to My True Beliefs

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 very twelve years, Jupiter returns to its natal position in our charts. My last Jupiter Return was so dramatic; I want to share it as a case study. In doing so, I hope that you’ll Comment and share some of your own stories about your Jupiter cycles and the personal impact of these homecomings. My latest Jupiter Return was very relevant to the ultimate creation of The Radical Virgo, even though I had no idea where I was headed at the time. You can almost think of this pair of posts as an extended “About” section that tells the background of this blog and how I got here. I’ve coined a word for this mixed genre of writing, “astro-memoir.” The only way I’ll ever know if it works for readers is to try it. These posts are also about as open as I’ll ever be on the public wall about who I am, because who I am is directly related to what I believe. Any form of memoir takes courage. Thanks for being gentle!

My Jupiter is at 24+ Scorpio on the Sabian symbol, An X-ray. There can be no Jupiter in my life without deep probing into life’s mysteries. With its placement in the 7th House, my “religion” is relationship.

But it is so much more. Before we launch on my Big Journey (everything with Jupiter is BIG), I want to talk a little about how beliefs are the most central factor that color our world. This may be the reason why Jupiter also rules travel and multicultural influences. Mixing it up with others different from us expands our minds to consider other ways of living and being. Travel widens our world, challenges our beliefs, and reminds us that our view isn’t the only one in town or on planet.

January 6, The Feast of the Epiphany: The Magi were Zoroastrian priest-astrologers said to practice magic in its highest expression …

Beliefs are central to who we are and affect how we organize our thinking, as well as how we feel. My mind operates in overdrive every waking and sleeping moment, judging by my dreams. What would I do with all that swirling raw input without some beliefs to organize it and put it to good use? Life would be utter chaos. Observing my double Gemini birth mom helped me see how much thoughts are related to feelings. (She was plagued with mind chatter and feelings out of control.) It’s what we believe about what happens that triggers our feelings. Perhaps you’ve experienced this at a family get-together when someone brings up an incident from the past. Your siblings may each have a different memory or take on it—and often a completely different set of emotional reactions. Sometimes I think we couldn’t possibly be talking about the same situation!

Finally, before I tell this tale, I have to make this disclaimer. No transit happens in a vacuum. When I sensed the beginning of my Jupiter Return Journey, transiting Jupiter wasn’t even close to the “official orb” of home plate. It was 15 degrees out—a whole half sign away. Pluto was squaring my Sun and I was zeroing in on my second Saturn Return. Chiron was conjunct my Part of Fortune and waxing into the lower square to itself for the second time in my life. T-Neptune was exactly trine my Mercury. All these transits were instrumental to the symphony of growth taking place. They all orbited around my Jupiter Return which felt very much like the center of the universe to me at the time. It's the Jupiter story I want to share. The reasons will be obvious.

Longing for Something More

In 2006, my first year of retirement from my 31-year government job, I was still on a long hiatus from any public work in astrology, doubtful I’d ever be back. That summer I began to feel an emptiness and need for something new or something more from a spiritual perspective. Maybe I finally had time to deal with the pain of my losses. There had been several long years of hard times with my husband’s health that also affected us economically and in every conceivable way. They were rough times for us both. During those dark days, for the first time ever, I felt totally out of touch with Spirit. My sense of connection to All That Is wasn’t. This was highly unusual for me—the first time ever. It scared me. My sense of faith, hope, and joy all tanked. I guess when the worst of the hard times lifted, I felt a need to plug back into something even more spiritual than ever in hopes this horrible sense of disconnection would never happen again.

Personal and Spiritual History

When going on a spiritual quest, an individual has to consider the context, namely his or her background—religious or spiritual—and personal history. Raised Catholic and adopted through Catholic Charities as an infant, my religion was both a lifeline to my new future and the mechanism that cut me off from my roots and heritage.

I went to parochial school through 8th grade. There I met my future husband when we were only 12 years old. His mom would force us to break up two years later, worried we were too serious for our tender age and concerned an early marriage would derail her  promise to her husband on his deathbed that Tim would go to college. After 36 years, following a dream I had in 1996, I looked Tim up via the White Pages on the Internet. He lived near Dallas and within a year, he moved to Sacramento. We married in 1998. It was my third major reunion with a lost love.

The other reunions were with my birth mother in 1986 and my other long, lost love, “Keane” in 1987. Keane was the love of all my awakenings, the one after Tim—the one  I never got over. To say I had a lot to work through regarding him is the understatement of the millennium, maybe of all time. My relationship with Keane was as Plutonian as his exact Pluto/Moon a degree from my natal Pluto in my 4th house. For better and worse—combined in a sticky gob of pain and pleasure—both being with him and losing him rocked my world for decades.

But Keane and I didn’t end up together; Tim and I did. It was the happier ending, even during its most challenging times. This story isn’t about Venus or Mars; it’s about Jupiter. Yet they are somehow related.

When Keane and I first saw each other in 1988 after nearly 20 years (I found him on the same day he started looking for me—and he worked for the FBI), our differences in belief were stark. If you can imagine an FBI guy with a “metafoofoo,” you can begin to imagine the comedic possibilities.

I was at the enthusiastic beginning of my public career as an astrologer at the time. Never known for subtlety, Keane asked, “Doesn’t it bother you that most people think you’re crazy?”

“It doesn’t bother me an iota,” I responded and meant it. Ultimately, the gap between what we believed by then and who we were was just too wide. He had grown into a very conservative person who wasn’t exactly open-minded on issues of diversity of any kind. His religion was himself.

Tim and I, on the other had, were born in the same city only ten days apart and were reared in the same religion, parochial school and value system. Even though neither of us had been practicing Catholics for years, we looked in the same direction—and still do—on everything that matters. We value family, devotion, fidelity, and ritual. We are an odd pair, both freedom loving Uranus-square-Suns yet traditional in some of our most basic values because of his Saturn conjunct Moon and my Moon in Capricorn. Living with someone whose ethical upbringing is so similar to mine—plus coming from the same time and place in history—creates a shorthand between us that rarely requires explanations. At some level, we are each other. And we certainly are grateful for having what we would have quaintly called “our morals” in our baby boomer youth.


Now it’s time to talk about other belief systems I have explored in the past, so the Jupiter Return I want to tell you about has its own specific context. I grew up Catholic in a Jewish neighborhood. (Double your pleasure and guilt). I was spiritually bicultural. I attended seders and bar mitzvahs. My language was peppered with Yiddish expressions, and I was usually as up on the high holidays as the holy days of obligation.

During high school, after Tim, I rarely had a gentile friend or boyfriend. I would have married “Marshall Lefkowitz,” but his mother wouldn’t let me. Seriously. I was Charlotte on Sex and the City. Conversion wasn’t good enough for Marshall's mother. The only thing that would do in her eyes was being born Jewish, something I couldn't go back and fix. And unfortunately, Jews aren't into the concept of "born again." Marshall's mom would have made his life miserable had he married me. Not only was I not born Jewish, but who “knew from” who I was, really? I was adopted and my background was sketchy in her eyes at best.

I have often wondered why I didn’t just convert anyway, Marshall or not. I have always been attracted to Judaism in a big way. Jesus was a practicing Jew. To tell the truth, I finally figured out recently that I’m most like a Judeo-Christian, the Jews who practiced the new ideas Jesus introduced, before Christianity split off into a separate religion. Tim actually came to this conclusion about himself before me. He, too, had many Jewish friends and we share a deep appreciation for this faith. When I found my birth mom, I found out within minutes that she, too, deeply resonated to Jewish people and culture. My best Jewish girlfriend growing up reacted to this information by saying, “Oy! Another Jewish goy! It’s genetic!”  In fact, I was surprised to find out there weren’t Jews in my family tree.

Instead, there were Orthodox Christians. My birth father was Greek Orthodox. My birth mom was Byzantine or Greek Catholic. Byzantines practice the same rituals as Greek Orthodoxy while remaining part of the Catholic Church. Because they practice a different rite, they are not considered Roman Catholic but have their own modifier, Byzantine or Greek.

New Aged

By 1977, the same year Chiron was discovered (later to become my astro-specialty), I longed for something to fill the hole in my heart left by my inability to relate to my childhood religion. I met a woman—a true catalyst—who turned me onto my first spiritual teacher, Betty Bethards, and to Unity Church.  Betty was a down-to-earth modern mentor of meditation and generic spiritual principles. I was on my way to being metaphysical to the max. I had no idea that there was a metaphysical version of Christianity. The name of Betty’s non-profit organization also portended the new view of spirituality I would develop, The Inner Light Foundation.

I also did a five-year stint as a Unitarian. I sang in the choir of my local Unitarian Universalist Society, something that remains one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Our local UU Society was full of drop-outs from Judaism and Catholicism. I felt at home. I loved having all the positive aspects of a “church"—community, events, a built-in network of caring people. Ultimately, I missed spirituality. At the time, the Society was also heavily populated with intellectuals, agnostics and atheists. The services were more head than heart. I needed Neptune!

That brought me back to Unity. I guess I like churches that begin with the letter U because it's shaped like a smile. Eventually, even Unity did not quite fit for me—at least not as a steady fare. I kept finding myself in the painful place of having to be a freelancer when it came to spiritual pursuits. I found small clusters here and there of other astrologers and generically spiritual people that gave me glimmers of hope that some day, I might find a larger community where I could really belong. These feelings of finding a spiritual home were always short-lived. Their fleeting nature left me sad. During those times, spirituality didn’t feel very Jupiter, upbeat, and expansive at all.


Tomorrow, Part 2:  The Church Steps, the Church Ladies and the Stars at Church

Photo Credit: Nativity Scene, Adoration of the Magi © Zatletic |


Magi, Wikipedia