Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Winter Signs

A Quiet Contemplation of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces

Article © 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

If you covet your alone time and replenish yourself with things such as meditation, quiet reading, or writing your innermost thoughts in your journal, you are an introvert. If you charge your batteries among people, the more the merrier, you are an extrovert. Vive la différence

I call these distinct orientations Innies and Outies.  Some of us are a bit of both, but the true test is the battery charger. If the last place you want to go is to a party when you’re tired and need replenishment, you are an Innie. If you avoid crowds like a computer virus--Innie. Can’t stand to be alone for very long, even when you’re blue? Outie.

These perspectives have a lot to do with managing winter.

The Innie 500
Extreme introverts usually have no problem identifying themselves as such. All their lives they have been called shy, wallflowers, reserved or withdrawn. People more in the middle of the two extremes, but who are introverts by the recharge test, often don’t realize this fact about themselves until later in life. I know many people, myself included, who tested in their younger days as extroverts on the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.  Later, as they individuate and express who they really are, they are surprised to go from an “E” to an “I.” The Inventory tests your preference on four personality pairs:
  • Extraversion or Introversion E or I
  • Sensing or Intuition S or N
  • Thinking or Feeling T or F
  • Judging or Perceiving J or P

The reason some introverts ever tested as extroverts is because the Western world rewards extroversion and most introverts adapt their behavior toward outgoing to reap the rewards of their culture. Go-getters get the job, not those who are a man or woman of few words who enter the interview in a calm, meditative state. Americans, especially, love people with big personalities.

The majority of introverts become very adaptable, feigning extroversion to survive. This switch of orientation is rarely asked of extroverts—unless they become inner seekers and learn the value of stillness and listening to their own thoughts. The great gurus and avatars tell us every truth we ever need to know is within us.

Going within is the reason for winter, the most introverted season of the year.

Annual R&R
Winter asks us to slow down, regardless of whether we’re Innies or Outies. It’s a time everyone needs to recharge, even if society doesn’t support it—and even if you’re an extrovert with little experience directing energy inward. I’m not saying you need to quit your job or go on a retreat from Winter Solstice till Spring Equinox; however, a retreat sometime during these three months isn’t a bad idea, and creating at least mini-retreats during this time is crucial to remaining a well-functioning human being.

It occurred to me that the winter signs would have some hints about ways we can do that in an optimal way, complementing the Sun’s movement through each sign during the dark months of the year.

Winter into Spring is not just the name of one of my favorite New Age albums by George Winston; it’s a good tagline for the winter signs, as it grounds us clearly in the process Capricorn through Pisces represents, going from most dark to the cusp of increasing light—from slowdown to “springing” into new activity. Here are some thoughts on how this works.

Capricorn.  (Dec. 21, 20012 – Jan. 18, 2013.) As the Cardinal sign that “opens” for winter in the carnival of animals in the sky, a Goat greets us as we plunge into the darkest night of the year. It’s a great time to learn more about the mythology of Capricorn. You’ll learn about Pricus, father of a race of sea-goats who live near the seashore. They are intelligent creatures who think, speak and are said to be favored by the gods. (Hear that, Caps? You’re smart and lucky!)

Chronos, the god of time, created Pricus. Chronos is also Father Time, the old man dressed as Death as another year passes and the baby New Year is born. I’ll leave it up to you to read the full tale in the link, but it has to do with manipulating time. When the Sun is in this sign, every January 1, we change calendars to a new year. It’s a great time to ponder where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing with the days, months and years you’ve been allotted—and if the sand is more on the bottom than the top of your hourglass, a time to prioritize and ponder if you’re going to get done everything you set out to do this lifetime. Touching base with time is very therapeutic and important to pairing your purpose with progress.
My New Year ritual includes a systematic review of the year that just passed. Capricorn (my Moon) loves organization, structure and getting serious about things. As an Innie, I keep a journal, writing down dreams and observations throughout the year. I relish New Year’s Day, when I review the previous year’s journal. It is often revealing about where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I’m often too busy in the doing to understand the nuances of what I’ve been through and how much I’ve grown. This annual review is the literary equivalent of my height recorded periodically as a kid in pencil on the pantry door. I recommend this or any other kind of evaluation of where you stand in time against what you want to accomplish, modified by asking yourself the most important final question, Am I happy? Happiness trumps any amount of shoulda’s.

Aquarius.  (Jan. 19, 2013 – Feb. 17, 2013) This time of year suits extroverts, since the sign of Aquarius is friendly, communicative and loves groups. As the middle month in the winter cycle in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the best time to take a bit of a break from the slowdown to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day and to think about your friendships and community relationships. Both Outies and Innies do this best by being with people, then taking some contemplative time later to ask if your friendships and community are serving you well—and how you’re serving them. This would be an ideal time for looking at synastry between your chart and your closest friends. The same works for groups. If you volunteer for a charity, it had a start date (usually when it filed its nonprofit papers) and a birth chart. Same with your neighborhood or community. When was your city incorporated? Are these friends and communities of various kinds in your life still a fit? Are there areas of stress that need repair?  Sometimes the detached, astrological viewpoint can be a guiding light for making changes during the livelier months of the year, if you reflect on them during the most natural season of downtime.

Pisces.  (Feb. 18, 2013 – Mar. 19, 2013) When the Sun is in Pisces, it’s “the dark of the Sun,” parallel to the dark of the Moon—the last weeks before the darkest season of the year fades and life bursts forth into the light of spring. It’s a time of endings and dying. This is perhaps the most important time all year for quiet and rest. It is the end of the cycle of the natural year which is born anew on Spring Equinox. Think of the Pisces Fish and go underwater.

This is a time to contemplate your emotions, sensitivities, dreams, and whatever brings you bliss—meditation, prayer, music or silence. What ingredients do you contribute to the cosmic soup? How do you lose yourself in others or because of them? How are you doing with saying those necessary noes? And what does it feel like to be lost? Let yourself be directionless and egoless for a while; allow yourself time in the fog. You’ll pick up all kinds of information on intuitive levels that you’ll bring with you into spring. It can be a true balm to simply float and let information come to you from the inside out. Innies are probably already very familiar with this process. Outies may be surprised at what you’ll discover.

Late winter can be a time when we’re more prone to illness and need much more rest than normal. Plan your life to embrace this need and postpone new projects and amped up activity until late March. Relish this time of final gestation before for nature’s rebirth—and yours on the Spring Equinox.

Whenever you honor the wisdom of winter, your spring is bound to be a clean slate and a true, new beginning. This cycle of beginnings, fulfillment and endings is the continuous gift of life.

Photo Credits: Winter Sky © THesIMPLIFY -; Zodiac Signs ©  stokkete -

Postcript: The Jung Typology Test or Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, like astrology, can explain a lot about you. I’d encourage readers who haven’t already to take the test and read some of the write-ups about your configuration. I’m an INFJ. Please comment and share your four!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Gift of Uncertainty

The Presents of Uranus-Pluto

Article © 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

I have written for two decades about Outerplanetary (Extraordinary) People. We’re people with the outer planets prominent, and I also call our community of unicorns PUNCs, which stands for Plutonian, Uranian, Neptunian Chironics.

In general, PUNCs have an ear to the ground of impending change and bring back news of what’s coming from the leading edge. But when the natal job of Change Messenger is combined with personal transits of one or more of the PUNCs, being a lightning rod for rapid evolution can become almost so overwhelming; it’s hard to share what you’re experiencing when you’re mid-morph.

But share we must. It’s our job, our calling—the vocation of outerplanetary people.

These times are rattling and disorienting, even to the most metaphysically and/or astrologically aware. I just was part of a deep sharing among sister unicorns, and I’m bringing back my observations to share with you.

For over 10 years, I’ve belonged to a small spiritual support group. We’re five women “on the path,” and all of us are PUNCs. Our December meeting was a testimony to what people are going through as we each are being forced to face deeper layers of ourselves and our issues. We’re facing losses, letting go in ways we did not invite and do not necessarily appreciate—and at the same time, we’re sensing with excitement the inventive Uranian future that may come out of all this.

The biggest challenge is uncertainty. We are bright enough to have figured out that we don’t know what the flip is going to happen—today, tomorrow, even five minutes from now. This is amusing as an astrologer, because while most of us no longer do “parlor trick” predictions, we at least like to think we have some sense of what topics are coming down the pike for our personal growth curriculum. Nowadays, we’re lucky to be privy to which department of life will host the course. Three times in our conversations that night, the Tower card in the Tarot came up—either as cards several of us had literally drawn recently or the fact that we were feeling like we were living that very Plutonian, oracular image.

I saw my friends and I allowing ourselves to be in I would call “positive vulnerability.” It’s a kind of openness that’s not an invitation to victimhood but rather the bedrock of honesty. Nothing but another person’s truth can enter the space once this “truth of your being” is expressed. It’s an environment that catalyzes deep change, because it goes to the heart of your issues and how your own heart will deal with them. There’s an energy around it that is post-traumatic, the part where the pain or strain is “venting” off your body and spirit like a mist, leaving behind only a pure and empty vessel of new creation.

This place is sacred. 

Bedrock honesty with yourself and others is one of the gifts of Pluto. The gift of Uranus is to be inspired by it. As the five of us shared around the table our mostly intense experiences with life, death and rebirth, I felt a saturation of oneness I had not felt in a long time. It was intimacy, another of Pluto’s greatest gifts. Perhaps Pluto in Capricorn’s sign helped me to see more easily the structure, how our stories held a pattern of the human story itself. We climb, we reach the summit; it’s scary and precarious; there’s vertigo; perhaps we fall. We are reborn and climb again.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” could have been the lyrics to our Song of 2012. The gift of uncertainty is radical possibility. My own challenges at this time with transiting Pluto on my Moon (the apex of transitory T-square) has forced me to use my creativity to find new solutions and ways of seeing a number of important areas in my life. Uncertainty is the child of fear, yet every child, ultimately, must leave home in order to truly grow up. One of the biggest epiphanies I’ve had in my Uranus-Pluto transit is realizing how much fear I live in, even for an optimist. One of my decisions to come out of facing fear is that I don’t want to live there anymore. One by one, I watched my friends coming to the same conclusion.

Another gift of this Plutonian emptying is strength. This refers to of my favorite concepts from A Course in Miracles (ACIM): In my vulnerability lies my strength. While this channeled material is Christian in its orientation (through a Jewish medium/nonbeliever for irony), the principles of ACIM still hold for practitioners of what I call freelance spirituality. Many, if not most people who are “spiritual” see God, higher power or the universe as a loving energy or force field, a spiritual glue that holds everything and everyone together. When we empty ourselves, we allow that power to rush into us, unfettered by our “stuff.” We literally let go—and let God (in).

This is how can we be both strong and vulnerable at the same time. 

We seldom are willing to work on ourselves when everything is just fine. Reflection comes with the down cycle, with troubles, with worries—yet it is the foundation of future visits to the OK Corral or our Happy Place. Strife gets our attention in a way nothing else does. It activates our internal reset button and gives us the courage to press it.

The only thing certain about these times of uncertainty is that our future blessings will come from the inside out, as they always have. Everything we’ve ever valued is within us—love, respect and esteem.

Traveling together now with the emptying called for by Pluto is Uranus in Aries. In this sign, the gifts of Uranus—breakthroughs, insights, inventiveness—are concerned with self and self-image. From the place of vulnerable strength we meet ourselves in a sign of courage in a dynamic of radical personal makeover. This is our cue to visit that love, respect and esteem—and to apply it, first, to ourselves. 

When we do, we have authentic power and have tapped into the Second Coming of Awakened Consciousness. We are there for ourselves while at the same time knowing that others will be there for us, too.We will become the one-hearted people the Hopi prophesied, beating new life into the arteries and veins of Creation. We will become the “Hopey,” filled with hope for an evolving future. And as the Hopi tribe has long told us, we will know at last: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.


Photo Credit:  © Pei Ling Hoo |


A blessed Holiday Season and 2013 from The Radical Virgo!

Postcript ~ The gifts of vulnerability are also featured in this article. Don't miss this this Ted Talk for more on this topic, twenty of the best minutes you'll ever spend:

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayer for Winter Solstice 2012

Poem © 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 Winter asks a lot:
the most drastic changes
severe conditions
inner work

Winter asks a lot:
slow down
listen to yourself
hear the heartbeat
of the planet
everyone, everything
divine symphony

Winter asks a lot:
faith in the dark
trust that the long night
will be over
the Sun will be reborn
you with it.

Winter asks a lot
but it takes so little
to love it
dive into a snow bank
make snow angels
snow people
throw snowballs
retreat to a warm hearth
feeling the contrast
the rush.

Winter asks a lot
gives a lot
the season of the most
dramatic shifts
some winters more than others

Give winter what it wants.


Photo Credit: Snow on Red Winter Berries © Minerva Studio -

For more Winter Solstice poems for your gatherings, see these previous posts:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Celebrate This Momentous Winter Solstice!

Article © 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

As I’ve shared before on The Radical Virgo, I have been doing celebrations on the solstices and equinoxes since 1988 with a groovy group of urban goddesses. We call ourselves the Solsisters.

I’ve shared with them—now with you—that this Winter Solstice marks the most dramatic turning point of our lifetimes. Not only does the Mayan calendar end on Dec. 21, 2012, coinciding with Winter Solstice; it is also the time when Earth is most aligned to our Galactic Center. It is an end/beginning of cosmic proportions!

In her mind-blowing presentation called The Galactic Embrace,[1] astrologer Linea Van Horn talks about how a corner of our tropical zodiac is currently passing through the zone that aligns with the center of our galaxy, and that this opens a gateway during which the Earth—everything and everyone on it—will be flooded with intense cosmic energy from the Galactic Center. We are currently in the maximum opening of this portal of time and space. It’s not the end of the world, as many worry the Mayans meant. Instead, it’s time for an evolutionary leap.

As I heard Bruce Scofield explain in a presentation at the United Astrology Congress (UAC) in New Orleans last May, the end of the Mayan calendar is like an odometer turning over in your car, going back to zero. The combined symbolism of a new start and this cosmic energy shower are momentous.

Cleanse and renew in this flurry of cosmic change!


First, ditch any ideas of shower cap or umbrella! This alignment is something you want to bask in, drink in and use as a tonic to help your next leap in consciousness and personal growth. A grounded body and open mind and heart are the best things you can bring to these moments of a lifetime on our upcoming Winter Solstice. When the Solsisters meet at winter, we do a lot of inner work. It’s the most elaborate of all our ceremonies and also the most quiet and sacred with plenty of joy and laughter in-between. 

Winter is the season that takes us into cave time of quiet contemplation. It’s ironic that our Western society is so yang at this yin time with all the tinsel, merry and shop till you drop.  The disconnect between the natural cycle of the winter season and how we celebrate it, overall, is a dramatic example of how we have lost our rhythm with Earth and Sky. It’s up to us to get it back.

Winter Review and Release

There are two processes that I recommend highly every Winter Solstice: The Ceremony of Recognition and Burning the Old. I like doing them in that order, Recognition first. You can do these as an individual or even more powerfully with one or many others.

Ceremony of Recognition. Many people, women especially, tend not to acknowledge themselves enough. Grab a pen, paper and go to a quiet place. Ask yourself the following questions about 2012. Consider each one thoughtfully, and take whatever time you need. 
  • What was your proudest accomplishment?
  • What baby steps did you take toward something new?
  • What giant leaps?
  • What did you do that you deserve credit for?
  • How did others recognize you?
  • How did others not recognize you in ways you wish they would have?
  • How were you disappointed? (It's important to recognize our disappointments.
  • If 2012 had a name or a title phrase, what would it be? (This can be very powerful. I call mine The Year I Was There for Myself.)
You can expand on this exercise and continue to recognize yourself after the holidays. Some ideas: 
  • Start a scrapbook of your annual accomplishments. Embellish it with photos, cut-outs from magazines, letters and mementos about the things that were special.
  • Make a Certificate of Recognition each year. Frame it and put it on your wall to give your personal recogniton practice continuity. As you're living 2013, seeing your greatest accomplishment of 2012 honored on your wall will remind you where you've been--and how it connects moving forward.
  • Put your accomplishments in a special box on slips of paper. When you're in a blue mood or just need a lift, draw one like a tarot card. Add to the box as you achieve things you're proud of during the year. By next Winter Solstice, you'll have your "notes" for repeating this exercise!

Burning the Old. This practice is popular in many spiritual services during late December, approaching the beginning of a New Year.

  • On a piece of paper, make a list of everything you want to get rid of in your life, what holds you back or clutters your forward movement. Things you really want to let go. It can be something tangible, emotional, or metaphorical—no limits, except that it’s not good karma to want to get rid of people, no matter how irritating your mother-in-law is capable of being. Examples: “I want to lose 20 lbs., or “I want to be more upbeat and less negative.”  “I want to heal my early childhood wounds” or “I want to let go of anger so I can forgive Tom, Dick or Harriet. Whatever they are and no matter how long the list, keep writing till you feel a sense of completion. (It’s often amusing at each Winter Solstice ceremony to see some of the women writing furiously while others have already burned get-rid-ofs and are resting in the lull.) 

  • In a safe place—fireplace or fire resistant bowl or barbeque outdoors—burn your “dross.” Watch it burn! (Another amusing, regular occurrence is when someone’s paper is slow to ignite. Some Solsisters all but beat it into fiery submission with various fireplace tools.)

Meditation on the Center of the Galaxy

I have written this meditation especially for Winter Solstice 2012.


1.   To prepare for this segment of your celebration, find some soft, cosmic or wintry meditation music. Ambient/New Age works best for me. Some ideas: Any of the Windham Hill Winter Solstice albums are good choices. Choose the tracks that help you feel the most nurtured by the heart of the galaxy on the cusp of winter. Steven Halpern’s Transitions may help you let go and open to the incoming cosmic frequency. (If you’re lucky enough to own any format of his older Zodiac Suite, start with Sagittarius, where the Galactic Center is located, followed by Capricorn, the Cardinal crossing-point we celebrate at Winter Solstice.) If you like crystal bowls, I just bought Chords of the Cosmos (2003) by Deborah Van Dyke, which also fits into the chakra balancing of the Uranus-Neptune square. Whatever feels right to you is right for you.

You might want to pre-record the meditation in your own voice, if you’re doing it alone. Get in a comfortable meditation posture, where you can start your music at the touch of a button. 

2.   Start with the affirmation, a tradition in Spring Forest Qigong:

I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I combine together.

    3.   Chant three oms. Om or aum is considered the root mantra of all mantras. [2] It is considered by many spiritual traditions to be the sound of the universe itself. It’s the perfect way to start and end a meditation joining us to the cosmos on the cusp of change.

    Now onto the meditation.

    Meditation on the Center of the Galaxy

    You are a star seed on an ever-evolving journey. Imagine yourself, gently launched from Earth, floating in the stars above it. You are attached to the Earth by an invisible, magnetic cord. You can float wherever you want, but you will always be floating in rhythm with the movements of Earth. You are attached to Mother Earth with a cosmic umbilical chord, one you will only break on your final day on this planet, when you go back to the stars. This cord allows you to be safe in your travels to any otherworldly dimension.

    You are celebrating a very special time—Winter Solstice 2012 and a unique alignment of Earth to our Galactic Center. This is an awesome ending and new beginning. Float above the Earth, magically connected to it, watching stars and constellations in the quiet of deep space.

    As you float, know that things are ending in our world that no longer work—things like duality, selfishness, and isolation. It’s time to let these things go that no longer work for a peaceful, evolving world.

    Those are the global things … but you have things to let go of, too. What are they? Take several minutes to let the galaxy speak to you about those things that you may now release. There are some things you must release, in fact, to move forward. What whispers do you hear in this immense quiet? (Pause a minute)

    Float, float. Keep floating till you align yourself between Earth and the Center of our Galaxy. Imagine you are in a great beam of light that contains cosmic love, inspiration and information. Float in this portal. What does it feel like? What do you hear? See?  Pause to drink it all in. (Pause 30 seconds)

    Now, as you bask in the beam, see yourself showered with energetic gifts, gifts that will help you embrace a new beginning. What are they? (Pause 30 seconds.)

    Soon you’ll have to return to Earth where you will take all this energy with you. Call out to the Center of the Universe for a word, catchphrase or idea that will guide you in your new beginnings. (Pause 20 seconds.)
    Now, take this information and this feeling in your body and float gently back to Earth. Welcome to the rest of your life, to a time of change and evolution for which you are now completely prepared.

    What magic was there for you in the heart of the galaxy? Bring it forward.

    Wrap Up
    1. Repeat the affirmation: I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I combine together.
    2. Repeat three oms.
    3. Take a moment to make notes from your meditation.
    4. If you are meditating with others, share your experiences. If you are meditating alone, journal your experience.

    This ceremony is my holiday gift to you. May it continue giving from this cusp of rapid evolution and keep you resonant with the earth and the stars.

    Peace on Earth and a Deeply Momentous Solstice Celebration!

    Every blessing on this and every new end/beginning,



    Photo Credits: 

    Hidden © Anei -

    Mayan Calendar © olgachirkova -

    Meteor Shower  © Argus -

    Human Being Asking Universe  © CLUC -


    1.   If your astrology group has an opportunity to invite Linea to give this or any of her other well-researched, highly visual, and always highly entertaining presentations, I recommend her highly. Visit her website, Astrologer at Large.