Monday, March 31, 2014

Aries Auntie: Learning Astrology through Children

© 2014 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Robbie: "Look, Ma--one hand!"

Well over 40 years ago, my sister Janet and my brother Don made me an auntie with the birth of their children, just two years apart. Robbie was born to Janet on March 24, 1967. Dawn was born to Don and Rhonda on April 15, 1969.

At the time, I had not yet studied astrology. While I had more than a passing curiosity about it, I don’t remember ever thinking much about the fact that both these kids had Aries Sun. How poetic with the Aries penchant for being first that the child who first made me an aunt—Robbie— was an Aries. And as for Dawn, she was my first niece. How fitting they’d both be Aries, both of them firsts in my auntiehood, each in their own way.

Although I lived away from home in Madison and Green Bay, Wisconsin while they were growing up in Chicago, I spent many a weekend and holiday with the kids. I adore children and loved spending as much time with them as possible. Our time together when they were little became even more precious to me over the years, since it was not in the cards for me to have children of my own. Back then, I remained hopeful. In fact, I remained hopeful till the cusp of my hysterectomy at 45.

Auntie Joyce and Dawn, 1970
What brought this up for me, lo these many years later, was a flash insight on something I learned from my Aries niece. She went a million miles an hour, especially in her tub walker while working herself up to Aries sprinter speed. But when her energy was spent, she fell into a deep sleep. This girl and sleep were best friends. This is a relationship it took her auntie till Social Security to “get.” I’m still chuckling at how she knew how to handle her Mars. When she was up, she was going in hyperdrive, but when she was running out of gas, she docked her personal spacecraft and snoozed. She went to bed relatively early and was up at the crack of her name, Dawn. While I’m still not jazzed about the front end of the morning, I’m becoming more like her as I’m finally gaining respect for my energy limits.

From Robbie I learned to lean into life, even if I might fall. His toddler stage was scary, as he’d lean far forward into his first steps without quite having his balance built up for the task. I watched him do this while holding my breath. I wanted him to succeed going forward but was scared he’d fall flat on his face and seriously hurt himself. Robbie, of course, was unconcerned. He made these moves with total glee, and I still appreciate to this day his fearlessness and Aries pure desire to put his goal first and to keep heading out, no matter if his legs could quite carry him yet.

Children often express astrological energies in a very pure form. If you get a chance, observe your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Their little friends, too. Do their charts and watch how they express their star maps in an uncomplicated way. This might indeed be one of the best ways to learn astrology—from the human beings that are still in touch with their starry beginnings, who carry past-life wisdom without realizing it, and who simply know how to be.

Joyce - age 3
And if you want to have even more fun, do what I did. Think back on what they taught you that has personal significance from their pure astrological self-expression.

Do you have a favorite picture of yourself as a child? What part of your chart comes through? Here’s mine.

I see a Venus Girl with something in Scorpio ... How 'bout you--in mine or yours?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chiron, Marcia Clark and Other Thrills (and Thrillers) at Left Coast Crime

© 2014 by Joyce Mason

Cool Chironic necklace

What interesting times as I morph more deeply into my Chironic, hybrid career of being both a fiction and non-fiction writer. That’s on top of my other adventure in half-and-half: writer and astrologer.

My first Left Coast Crime was quite a thrill. LCC is a conference of mystery writers that moves from city to city on the West Coast annually. My 46 minutes of fame occurred when I spoke on a humorous mystery panel (the first 45 minutes). The second was a one-minute “elevator” speech, introducing my novel at a new authors’ breakfast. I got laughs at both, particularly when I likened the Crystal Ball costume gala in my book to a cross between a Star Trek convention and a New Age revival meeting. I think I accidentally stumbled onto a new marketing phrase.

The synchronicity that amused me most, though—and I know it will bring you a smile, too—came by way of the necklaces worn by Kendel Lynn, moderator of our humorous mystery panel. Kendel’s another individual with a hybrid career, both a terrific writer and publisher (Henery Press). She was wearing three items on a neck chain: a round watch, a round K for her first name, and a skeleton key. The K fell right over the key, making it look exactly like a Chiron glyph. I read the “omenclature” as, “It’s time for Chiron.” The hybrid part of Chiron’s repertoire of meanings became clear as the conference rocked on and I got home to various blog and book feedback.

As I’ve let go of a portion of my astrological writing to make room for fiction, some of my better Astro-ideas are emerging. I am blogging less, but I feel like my posts are meatier—and judging by the unprecedented volume of traffic to this blog lately—they are hitting home. By feeding my hunger for fiction, I actually keep myself from getting too stuffed and burned out on writing about astrology and related topics. As usual, Chiron gets my vote as the astrological archetype of the Millennium. I also saw the hybrid trend at the conference with many forms of fiction merging with mystery almost seamlessly. The Crystal Ball is mystery blended with visionary/metaphysical fiction. I saw so many blends of topics and other genres with mystery; I began to see mystery as the table salt of what writers cook up. It goes with everything. And our diet is so full of it, a book almost doesn’t taste right if it doesn’t have at least some mystery in it.

Radical Virgo Marcia Clark

Another thrill at the conference was seeing the extreme makeover of Marcia Clark, the prosecuting attorney at the OJ Simpson “trial of the century.” My friend and fellow astrologer, Gregg Castellucci, and I followed that circus to the point of becoming unwitting trial groupies. I can’t tell you how many charts we spun throughout the proceedings. When the verdict came down, we were on the phone together in our separate homes in separate cities, a hundred miles apart but figuratively squeezing each other’s hand, praying for a conviction. We were convinced OJ was guilty. Marcia, obviously, was too, considering the title of her memoir about the proceedings, Without a Doubt.

After knowing her in 1995 as an overworked, overwrought and completely exhausted center of attention, to see Marcia now is to see the phoenix of her Scorpio Rising in all its glory. She is upbeat, positive and simply radiant. She shines like her Leo stellium, and she looks just like her Wikipedia picture—much younger than her actual age of 60. She is no longer working as a prosecutor, something she ultimately gave up for the sake of balance in her life, particularly while raising her two sons. There’s a fabulous video from Oprah’s OWN network of Marcia telling the story of her transition from prosecutor to novelist.

Click to enlarge

In her new incarnation, Marcia now writes a mystery series about Rachel Knight, “a Los Angeles D.A. … a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division.” There are now three Rachel books, starting with Guilt by Association. Marcia Clark is currently producing a movie of the same name not yet released, starring Julia Stiles as Rachel Knight.

I saw Marcia on two panels, and she was an inspiring role model. I thought you’d enjoy this update and look at her chart. Marcia is a great example of the many lives we live within one life. So much more is possible with today’s extended life span at a time where interconnection brings more opportunity than ever.

Research: Book #2

Some of the most fun I had was revisiting one of my favorite places on the Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar Conference Center, a place that has a cameo in my next book. Turns out a dear astrologer friend of many years was raised in the area since he was three weeks old. He has given me so much material on the local color; I can’t wait to recreate my fictitious Monterey small town and the evil goings-on in stark contrast to the breathtaking beauty of this special place of John Steinbeck, sea creatures and Monarch butterflies. I plan a return trip for more research, maybe  for the annual Butterfly Parade and Bazaar in early October to welcome the Monarchs back to Pacific Grove.

Happy Homecoming

I came home to a wonderful review of The Crystal Ball by Donna Van Toen in the NCGR Memberletter. If you’re not already a member of this fine organization, I recommend it highly. Highlights from Donna’s review:

“Once you pick this sweetheart up, it’s hard to put down … Absolutely delightful.” 
~ Review of The Crystal Ball, NCGR Memberletter

The cat and house were in one piece when we got back, and my decision to write mystery novels feels better than ever. I’m already planning to attend Left Coast Crime 2015. The next one's called Crimelandia, and it takes place in Portland, March 12-15, 2015. LCC is now my favorite writing conference with its egalitarian flair—first novelists were treated the same as NY Times best-selling authors—and its purpose as a conference for both readers and writers.

If you read or write and love mystery genre, plan ahead to join the party in Portland a year from now.


Photo Credits: Kendel’s necklace by Joyce with Kendel’s iPhone; Marcia Clark © Larry D. Moore, Wikipedia common license

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Radical Virgo Blog!

Make a Radical wish!

Can it really be five years since I first launched The Radical Virgo? Born March 21, 2009 at 8:48:40 AM in Rocklin, California: The Radical Virgo blog has bloomed and shown its Aquarius-Pisces and 10th-11th house emphasis. The RV is all about sharing insights and inspiration with the world and merging minds with forward-thinking Astro friends across the globe. There have been 319 posts, an average 64 per year (weekly or more).  I have wondered more often of late if this blog has run its course.

Click chart to enlarge

However, just when I think I’ve got nothing left to say, the cosmos downloads a whole new slew of ideas to my mind. This tells me there’s still life left in this blog—and to keep my mind open, because there are probably yet more “deliveries” in store. At first I used to plan my posts months ahead. Now I’m in the moment. I post when the spirit moves, which is surprisingly often.

I thought you’d enjoy knowing:

The Top 10 Posts of All Time on The Radical Virgo

1.   Chiron Quiz: How Strong is Your Chiron? Aug 17, 2010, 101 comments (11,928 pageviews)
2.    Radical Retrospective: The 200th Post! Apr 29, 2012, 4 comments (5,701 pageviews)
3.   Chiron in Pisces: Integration and Integrity, Apr 16, 2010, 20 comments (4,727 pageviews)
4.   Emotional Maturity: The Secondary Progressed Moon ... Apr 18, 2011, 5 comments (2,742 pageviews)
5.   Celebrate This Momentous Winter Solstice! Dec 5, 2012, 2 comments (1,904 pageviews
6.   Oracular Spectacular, Aug 4, 2013, 0 comments (1,437 pageviews
7.   Uranus Square Pluto: Seven Exact Aspects, Seven Chakra Realignments Jul 5, 2012, 7 comments (1,290 pageviews)
8.   Ten Ways to Celebrate Mercury Retrograde Aug 1, 2011, 4 comments (1,204 pageviews)
9.   Humor: Gifts for Every Chiron Sign Dec 9, 2010, 4 comments (1,093 pageviews)
10.  Zodi-Yuks: New Year’s Resolutions from Aries to Pisces  Dec 26, 2010, 6 comments (1,088 pageviews)

Here’s this Year’s Radical Solar Return. Somehow, with Sun and Part of Fortune conjunct in Aries in the 9th House of publishing and Mars conjunct Vesta and North Node in Libra in the 4th House, I don’t think I’m done here. Seems like I’m still supposed to keep the home fires burning in this special place in cyberspace, publishing new ideas.

Click chart to enlarge

Some people say blogs are passé with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networking sites. Of course, blogs and social networking sites are different media. Blogs allow longer, more intricate essays. They can present the possibility for thoughtful analysis—pieces that “make you think”—in a world of sound bites and oversimplification. For someone like me who likes to “go deep,” it’s the Internet medium of choice.

One thing I miss is that the interactions in Comments have gone way down in in the past year or two. Other bloggers tell me the same is true of their blogs. I think people are busy and like the quick remarks they can make on the fly on their social networks. On the other hand, there’s an increase in readers who send me personal emails, which I appreciate. Maybe it’s backlash to so many conversations being held on the public wall.Sometimes I feel naked here, myself. It seems unnatural to have what feel like more appropriately private conversations in front of others, something I’m still getting used to with the omnipresence of cell phones. Whatever the reasons for fewer comments, I’m curious about the change and what it means for blogging. Comments are down but pageviews are up.

The hardest part of being a writer is waiting for feedback that often comes in trickles and/or far apart, if at all. For some articles that have required a lot of BS&T and what feels like a pound of my flesh and essence, I may never hear/know how they have been received.  It takes a lot of faith to keep shooting ideas into the atmosphere and wondering if anything “took.” Or if I grazed a cloud with my idea arrow, and if that means rain will come. (That's a good metaphor for what happens when something hits home so hard; I brought you to tears, which I only know when you graciously share.) As long as you keep letting me know you appreciate what I write—and my ideas keep flowing along with the time and energy to write them—I’ll be here. The Radical Virgo one of my primary vehicles of planetary service.

Thank you so much for five wonderful years. They have done more for me personally and as a writer than I could begin to describe.

Grateful and still amazed,


Photo Credit: © Ruth Black -


Monday, March 17, 2014

Equinox Poems: Haiku to Celebrate Spring


Poems © 2014 by Joyce Mason 


Aries breath of fire

Mouth-to-mouth on sleeping seeds

Life resurrected.

Taurus, womb-like soil

Accepts seeds of our visions

Nurtures gestation.

Gemini birdsong

A joyful noise to Gaia

Chirps birth announcements.


Photo Credit: © Kudryashka -