Saturday, December 21, 2013

Silver Solstice

25 Years of Celebrating Life’s Cardinal Turning Points

© 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

strology is based on the seasons, and the when the Sun enters 0o Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, we greet Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. These changes are as certain as the sky itself.

You don’t even have to be into astrology to “go by” this orderly march of time. People the world over have read the Old Farmer’s Almanac since 1792 to find out the best Moon signs for planting certain crops. There’s nothing we can do to stop the seasons from changing. As the old saying goes, since we can’t beat them, I suggest we join them.

As I’ve shared in many previous posts, I’ve celebrated the solstices and equinoxes for many years with a groovy group of women. We call ourselves the Solsisters. It started with my metaphysically-oriented workmates at my government agency for waste management and recycling. We shared a natural love of Earth and Sky. Since Winter Solstice 1988, we have been focusing on how these outer seasonal changes herald inner changes inside us—and our rituals focus on welcoming these shifts with open arms.

I consider the practice of doing rituals at these Astro-turning points—many add the cross-quarters —to be the most practical and experiential astrology we can practice. Ceremony takes astrology out of our heads and brings it down to our earth and into our hearts and  hearths—the latter, especially at Winter Solstice, when we burn pieces of paper in the fire with lists of what we want to let go of in our lives.

These celebrations are all about synchronizing with the way the planets are moving and life is reliving itself, with every passing year at a higher octave of the previous spring, summer, fall and winter.

Of all the seasons, winter has in many ways become my favorite, though it’s neck-and-neck with autumn, the cusp on which I was born and whose blatant beauty takes my breath away. I co-facilitate the Solsisters events with my friend Christy. Over time, we’ve found our natural groove. She’s an Aries who loves the light and does the Spring and Summer rituals. I do Autumn and Winter. My first astrology teacher, Gavin Carruthers once said that men grow into their Moons as they age and women into their Suns. There’s no sign at its highest expression more ritualistic than Virgo, and when you add my Cap Moon that’s such a wintry “feeling” sign, I get why I have become fonder of winter the longer I’ve lived in a climate free from snow.

As time has marched on, I have come to love Winter Solstice for its invitation to “go inner” and how it has taught me the beauty of darkness.  If you aren’t already doing it:

Don’t let another year go by without creating Cardinal rituals, even if they’re only for yourself. Better yet, do what I did and create a circle of celebration that sustains you—ours for more than a quarter century.

At our 25-year celebration (see my Facebook page for photo), I told those present, “Solsisters is a gift we’ve given ourselves.” This is absolutely true, and it can be true for you, as well. I encourage you to take astrology out of your mind only and to enliven your life with it by embracing the changes it represents in various rituals and celebrations, all of which you can craft yourself with our greatest gift of all—creativity.

You can search The Radical Virgo under a variety of key words for tips about what we do: solstice, equinox, ritual, celebration or the season names themselves. Search the Internet for every kind of suggestion, poem and activity imaginable. Many of ours are drawn from what’s publicly published, and watching our creative process as great minds merge to celebrate life is one of the sustaining highs of being a leader of this circle.

Of course, I thanked the Solsisters present profusely for all our years together at our silver anniversary celebration this week. I want to thank your for our circle on The Radical Virgo, too. Even though it has been less than five years, in over 300 posts, we have celebrated life together. A poet popular in the 1970s, Rod McKuen, once wrote, “Love is a season and holidays like signposts mark the time.” The same can be said of the solstices and equinoxes, but they do even more than ring in the new. They confirm the rhythm of life and a cosmos in a never-ending cycle of re-creation.

Here’s to marking these times by using all our senses and all our parts—body, mind and spirit—for as long as we’re still standing to embrace life.


Photo Credit:  © glopphy-

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And the Sun Stood Still

 A Winter Solstice Poem

© 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

And the Sun stood still.

In a moment so magical
it happens only twice a year:
the Sun balanced light and dark
so perfectly
it stopped.
 It invited us
to do the same.

And the Sun stood still.
It turned down the lights
for the long soulful nights ahead.

And the Sun stood still.

Darkest Day
Herald of the Inner Time
your stark beauty
forces us to a window
to look out from inside.
Better to sit before a fire
contemplating our own
spark of the Divine.

And the Sun stood still

to remind us
 we’re each as unique
as a snowflake
yet together
we blanket the world
with beauty--
we are visible
even in the darkness.

And the Sun stood still

to get our attention
to ask us to be quiet
to return
to where all the answers lie
inside us

And the Sun stood still

so we can see, hear and feel
our heart connection
to every single person
in every carol and candle
and the truth
we already know
the glad tidings
we only have to get quiet enough 
to hear:

Peace on Earth.



Photo Credits: Snowflake/Sun:© Leonid Ikan - 
 Heart Ornament: © soleg -

Note:  In Latin,  solstice means  sun set still.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Shopping by the Stars—and for Your Favorite Stargazers

Featured Author: Mary English

It’s not too late to find just the right gift for your stargazing friends or one that matches their astrological make-up. With our enquiring minds, books are made for the astrologers or Astro-curious on your shopping list.

Of course, I would love for everyone to buy copies of The Crystal Ball for friends who would appreciate a literary eggnog, mixing humorous mystery with astrology, flower essences, longevity and a New Year’s Eve party (talk about timely). And we’ve had some past fun here shopping by people’s Chiron signs.

There are a couple of my colleagues who have fantastic offerings that would be great gifts under anyone’s tree. I’m starting in this post with Mary English, whose How to Soothe a Virgo is featured in the Radical Virgo sidebar.

Mary’s Books

Virgo is just one of the twelve signs featured in her complete series, and they’re available in various formats. These Astro-gems are best displayed on Mary’s Amazon author page. These titles are available in paperback in Kindle, and other eReader versions. They offer to show you how to:

  • Survive a Pisces
  • Cheer Up a Capricorn (just in time for your favorite Goat’s birthday, too)
  •  Soothe a Virgo
  • Love a Libra
  • Win the Trust of a Scorpio
  • Bond with an Aquarius
  • Listen to a Gemini
  • Appreciate an Aries
  • Satisfy a Taurus
  • Care for a Cancer
  • Lavish a Leo
  • Believe in a Sagittarius

As you can tell from this delightful title round-up, you may want to gift your friends the book(s) for their significant other as much or more than their own sign’s guidebook—though, on days I can’t stand myself (and don’t we all have them?), How to Soothe a Virgo would surely be an invaluable reference, all kidding aside.

If you shop at Barnes& Noble, this link will take you to Mary’s twelve books there. Her books are also available on iTunes and for Mac devices.

Excerpts from Mary’s Books

Want to know more about Mary’s books and writing style? Donna Cunningham has excerpted several of them on her Sky Writer blog and was kind enough to share the links with us. Here are some posts from the series, starting with the sign we’ll be entering just before Christmas:

How Do You Wrap an eBook?

As a purveyor of eBooks myself, I have pondered this question as electronic reading has become increasingly popular. Even with all the eco- and other practical reasons for avoiding paper and tangible goods, it’s still fun to have something under the tree to unwrap or goodies in your stocking by the mantle to discover.

The easiest way to gift books available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.  would be to give a gift card from that retailer in a red, green or other holidayesque envelope. You could include a printout of this or other articles with suggested Astro-reads. An alternative: Type up in fancy script an Astro-Bibliography and email the original with the live links after your recipient sees what his or her gift is going to be from “the envelope, please.”

Similarly, you might print up the description of an eBook you want to gift a friend or relative on fine paper, pulling from their Amazon or other electronic sales channel, and folding it in a fancy envelope. Or you can make a card of it, if you’ve got the software and graphic skills. I like to borrow the cover art, print it out on cardstock, with a box in one corner that says, Your eBook Is on Its Way—or something to that effect. I put standard 8.5 x 11 sized “card” into a two-pocket folder in a holiday color, or when I can find one, a colored version of a manila envelope.

The last idea works best for PDF eBooks. I still sell many of them, as does Donna Cunningham. Speaking of Donna, she’s got a new book that will be of great interest to Radical Readers, and we’ll be featuring it this month, too.


Mary English was born in London and educated in Switzerland at the American International School of Zurich. She comes from a large family and is one of 5 children. Mary has been writing since she was 13 when her sister Lucy (a published author of fiction) gave her a diary for her birthday. Mary lives in Bath, UK with her husband, son, and her black cat.

She sees clients face-to-face and writes personal Birth Charts for visitors to her website. It was these consultations that inspired her to write about the Sun Signs to help her clients understand their motivations and learn about their Astrology profiles. Mary is a member of the Society of Authors, The Astrological Association of Great Britain and The Association for Astrological Networking. Visit her website

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Twelve Days of Solstice—and Other Cracked Carols

Years ago, I was the primary scriptwriter for the holiday entertainment at my wild and crazy workplace. We were all twenty- and thirty-somethings. It was the ‘80s and many of us drank too much, among other youthful indiscretions. Our anything-goes entertainment was double-over hilarity.

One of the traditions I started was to create what I called Kinky Carols, where we twisted the verses of traditional holiday tunes to suit our whims. This is an example, hot off the presses, just in time for this ChrismaSolstiHanuzkaa. (OK, late for Hanukkah, but it started so early this year!)

To avoid the annoying repetition referenced in Carols and Tinsel Time Tunes ‘Round the Zodiac, this just gives the 12 gifts once. You know how it’s done, but in case your non-Astro friends don’t know what you’re talking about, a handy dictionary decoding the Astrobabble is provided at the end. Feel free sing it at the top of your lungs during your astrology group social events this season. Your plus-ones will probably appreciate the translation, so they can laugh at the jokes with you.

The Twelve Days of Solstice

On the first day of Solstice my true love gave to me,
a Star for the top of the tree.

On the Second Day … Two Vedic gems

On the Third Day: Three sextiles

On the Fourth Day: Four Grand Trines

On the Fifth Day: Five TMA’s

On the Sixth Day: Six UAC tickets

On the Seventh Day: Seven Venus Transits

On the Eighth Day: Eight Astrodramas

On the Ninth Day: Nine Parts of Fortune

On the Tenth Day: Ten Exaltations

On the Eleventh Day: Eleven Jupiters

On the Twelfth Day: 12  Mercs Unretro-ed


Vedic gems:  Stones worn in Vedic or Indian astrology to strengthen the energy of a certain planet. For instance, Jupiter is supported by yellow topaz.

Sextile:  A geometric angle of 60-degrees between planets that makes the pair compatible and these parts of yourself complementary.

Grand Trine:  A 120-angle between planets that results in flowing sympathy between them and parts of yourself operating easily together.

TMA:  The Mountain Astrologer, the premier astrology magazine on the planet.

Venus:  Planet of love and money, among other things, its transits often bring good things in those categories.

UAC Tickets: The United Astrology Conference (UAC) occurs every 4 years in rotating cities and is the international gathering of astrologers from all over the planet.

Exaltations: A planet considered to be in its best placement in a certain sign. Good stars!

Part of Fortune:  A point in an astrology chart considered fortunate.

Astrodrama: A fun way of learning from astrology by acting out planets in their signs and their interactions with one another. Similar to the psychological practice of psycho-drama. The planets dialogue with each other, and insights are gained from the actors embodying the planetary energies.

Jupiter: Often called the Great Benefic, Jupiter transits can bring wonderful opportunities, blessings and chances for expansion.

Merc Unretro-ed. Refers to Mercury Retrograde, a period of 3.5 weeks that occurs 3-4 times a year where communications, short trips and thinking are often glitchy, “off”—or mistakes are made or caught. Astrologers (and most people) really find Mercury Retrograde annoying.


Photo Credit: Christmas Fir Water Color © soleg –

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Joyce Mason’s New Inkarnations: A New Blog for Everyone

Dear Radical Readers,

We all read, write—and create. This statement is true more than ever in our fast-spinning, electronic world. Our fingers do the talking day in and day out.

Reading, writing and creativity are what my new blog is all about. Called “New Ink” for short, Joyce Mason's New Inkarnations is an oasis, a water cooler where we can take a break and share how language and the connections it allows us contribute to our quality of life …

… not to mention the contribution to life of the God/dess stuff itself, creativity.

Whether it’s a book review, feedback on a movie, tips about the writing or artist’s life, or ideas for pumping up creativity, NewInks is my newest hangout. You’re invited!

With the flurry of the release of  The Crystal Ball, I have not had a chance to introduce you to New Ink in a more formal way. (I just footnoted it in another post.) Even though New Ink doesn’t focus on astrology, astrology is often mentioned. (I’m an astrologer. Can’t help myself!) More importantly, New Ink is a place where you can chill and enjoy a spa break in the swirling idea pool. Of course, it has my signature insights sprinkled with humor.

New Ink debuted on October 15 , 2013. There have already been some meaty posts, linked here for your pleasure:

Joyce Mason’s New Inkarnations

Coming Dec. 28: Why It Took Me till Social Security to Write My First Novel

Stop by! Sign up to receive it. Tell your friends who will like it … and thanks for being my readers—here, there or anywhere!

Every blessing,

For more fun--and literal games!--visit the totally new