Thursday, August 31, 2017

Short Shrift: The Season Summer and the Sign Virgo

© 2017 by Joyce Mason

In the Northern Hemisphere, summer ends early in most people’s minds, either on Labor Day (first Monday of September) or when school starts, whichever comes first (nowadays highly varied by locale). In fact, until I studied astrology, I considered myself to be born in autumn. Only then did I learn my exact chart and the difference between 29 Virgo and 1 Libra—the fact that I had a very late summer birth (8 hours from the cusp).

What does this shortened sign and season mean symbolically? Opening thoughts as I started to think about it this morning:

I consider the purest essences of the Summer Signs to be Cancer – nurture and family; Leo—shining of self; and Virgo—serving others. In a perfect world, this sector of the zodiac gives us the loving foundation ultimately to shine ourselves, and then to go on to give back. When we cut summer short, we are truncating Virgo and the season of service, not to mention digestion. I’m not sure we leave enough space to “digest” those summer activities, some of which can be deeply transformative like summer romances, before we’re jumping headlong into fall, skipping up to a third of Virgo. 

I believe we have a subconscious tendency to match our activities with the seasons. Summer is full of family picnics and swimming in the Cancer element water. The family gatherings peak on the 4th of July in the USA, birthday of our bigger family, country. During Leo we catch even more sun on top of our new tans and go on adventures or participate in fiery sports events. Come Virgo, we are usually fixated on summer’s end (wah!) and getting the kids reoriented. Even if you don’t have schoolchildren, Labor Day brings the sobering realization that vacations and play time are over. It’s time to get back to work or school. It’s a psychological adjustment, and it seems to occupy us till the real summer ends at Autumn Equinox. At least the beginning of school matches Virgo’s well known mental pursuits—and maybe her picky planning given all those pencils, books and educational paraphernalia there is to buy.

I think we lose something being focused on these mundane events and how they interrupt the late summer’s Virgoan flow. And I think there’s a solution for overcoming it. Some thoughts:

Set aside 3-5 days, sometime after Labor Day and before Autumn Equinox, to tend to your inner Virgo. (We all have Virgo somewhere in our charts, even if only by house placement.) Think of it as a personal Mercury Retrograde with lots of review and reconsideration:
  •     Review your diet for any changes you might need, especially your digestion and how various foods make you feel after eating them.
  •     What’s the state of your charitable giving, whether financial contributions or volunteer work?
  •     When it comes to “doing for others,” are you doing enough or overdoing? (See The Converse Golden Rule.) Are you suffering from compassion fatigue?
  •     How are you feeding your mind? Set goals for new habits if changes are needed. Meditation and yoga are superb for integrating body, mind and spirit.
  •     How is your health and how are your health providers? On my checklist is getting a second opinion on an upcoming surgery.
  •     How are your small animals? How is your relationship, their health?

These are just a few ideas for celebrating Virgo rather than shorting her. I’m sure you can come up with many more.

I’d love to hear from people in the Southern Hemisphere to find out if you have any challenges in glossing over any sign with your flipped seasons.

And thanks for any thoughts you have on giving Virgo her due.

Photo Credit: © meon04 –

PsychKicks© returns on or about September 11.

Related Posts:

The Summer Signs

The Signs Do Summer--in Pictures

Sunday, August 27, 2017

PsychKicks©: Are Metafoofoos Still Hokey?

Psych yourself up with like-minded sidekicks by exploring the symbols all around us—together.

Source of Inspiration
Art, a bumper sticker,
and my day in court

I laughed till I cried the first time I saw a bumper sticker in the ‘80s at a massage school that said Metafoofoo. Here is was, finally: Metaphysical pride! The crystal users’ way of laughing at how others think of them as woo-woo. When I was looking for art depicting a psychic for one of my posts here, I could barely stand how hokey and stereotyped most of the pictures were. Talk about caricature and hyperbole. The photo here’s a sample of what I mean. It made me wonder, do Muggles still think we’re hokey, or worse yet, that we look like this lady?

The psychics, astrologers, tarot readers and related practitioners I know look like your garden variety neighbors. Some of them might wear a celestial t-shirt or star earrings but few look like they came straight home from a circus. Many of them have day jobs in respectable professions or have made their esoteric art their respectable full-time job. The vast majority of people I know who do this work are well-dressed, well-spoken, caring, responsible and honest.

However, the entire world hasn’t quite caught up to this modern view of “New Age” phenomena and those who tap its wisdom. I put New Age in quotes because these arts are as old as the hills. For instance, astrology in the west goes back at least 12,500 years. [1] For as long as humankind has existed, so have psychics. [2] Tarot is the new kid on the block who moved in around the year 1440. [3] The only thing new about these tools is a modern day revival of them since the last quarter of the 20th century that seems here to stay.

I prefer the word metaphysical to describe these arts and all that is implied in that term, namely things that transcend or go beyond the typical reach of the physical senses. Thus, metafoofoo tickles me in an ironic, self-deprecating kind of way. People who had direct experiences with God and the heavens used to be considered mystics, but today a surprising amount of prejudice still exists for us spiritual freelancers, especially in the name of religion. (I’ve given up trying to explain that astrology isn’t a religion and does not involve giving up your will to serve any master.) What I do appreciate is that the times are so much better now than they were when I was casting my first horoscopes in the early ‘80s.

Past Trips to Hokey

When I first moved to Sacramento in 1973, it was still illegal to practice astrology here. Astrologers could not get a business license and were lumped together with fortune tellers. This blessedly shifted the following year and had been kosher for more than a decade by the time I hung out my shingle in 1988.
Some of my more memorable encounters with stereotyped reactions include the response of an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in at least 20 years. He is a writer and playwright, someone different enough himself compared to the middle of the Bell curve. When he heard I was an astrologer, his first question was did I wear turbans? (He wore a cape!)

I have a great sense of humor and I never needed it more than when jury duty threatened to interfere with my living as an astrologer. I had dropped my time base at my day job to 4/5ths so I could do readings on Fridays. That was 20% of my income, and if I had to do jury duty on a long trial, that’s what I’d lose. The judge wanted to know if I had a black cat. I was sorry to disappoint him. I had cats but neither was black. (Now I could say I have such a raven-furred familiar.) He cracked me up and let me off. Judging by the laughter at my banter with His Honor, the whole courtroom seemed to enjoy these lighthearted metafoofoo moments.

Other than a lot of eye rolling and not being taken seriously or considered somehow immoral by certain individuals, I didn’t have it all that bad … but I learned that for others to respect what I do, it’s mandatory to view my work as valid myself. And to let people know I do. (Their opinion of me is none of my business.) Standing up to the judge as a small businesswoman, never mind what the business was? That was a real personal turning point. I doubt I’d flinch telling the Pope about my modern-day mystical adventures. Take yourself seriously and so do others.

Reminds me of the time I explained to someone that I had a different last name from my husband because I elected not to change it when I married. The response was, “Oh. One of those.”  Indeed! Back then, that individual’s obvious response to me as a fanatic bra-burning Women’s Libber pissed me off. Today I’m more likely to be the one who needs to resist eye rolling when I am lumped into one of those of any kind. These caricatures just amuse me and I feel no need to explain or defend myself.

Going Forward

How can we be good representatives of the metaphysical, astrological and mystical arts community? Not by proselytizing for sure. We have learned from the Jehovah’s Witnesses that zealous invasions of privacy hurt more than they help public image. I doubt the Witness conversion rate could come close to matching the PR damage and automatic duck-and-cover response upon seeing someone bearing The Watchtower come down your street. I have even included religion in my No Soliciting sign.

What has worked for me, so far, is not to duck a conversation about beliefs if it comes up outside the sanctuary of my home, but to respond with respect for my beliefs and the other person’s. If there are misconceptions, I give a short response stating the facts. I stay positive, happy and considerate. Often these conversations are relatively sweet, and  I suspect I’ve scored one for the team. Meeting an astrologer/psychic who clearly doesn’t have horns or breathe sulfur makes an impression. Enough of those impressions and people begin to use you as a reference point when others demean what you do or people who do it. Positive impressions spread as easily as negative ones, especially if you make people laugh—as I did in my day in court.

One last caution: Know when this kind of conversation is futile and don’t touch it with a ten foot pole. While I thank the LGBTQ community more than anyone for showing us how to come out of the closet with dignity, which applies to nearly anyone living outside the "accepted" norm, there are times when it just doesn’t pay to share who you really are. While I’d have that conversation with the Pope (OK, maybe only because Francis is the coolest Pope ever), I wouldn’t have it with a neo-Nazi. The situations where we encounter this are likely to be less black-and-white than lovers versus haters. My last landlord was what we used to call in the day a fanatic Catholic. I should have known better than to discuss the bad bathroom Feng Shui with him. He told me my immortal soul was lost and I should get back to The Church ASAP. He didn’t kick me out of my digs, but I could have kicked myself for having too much Metafoofoo Pride in front of someone so unable to comprehend who I really am. (I told him my soul is just fine, excellent in fact.)

I would love to hear your experiences with metaphysical stereotypes and/or prejudice and how you deal with them … and your opinion on whether things are getting any better in this regard.

This Week’s Questions

  • Do you have any good stories about people who consider your work or interests in the “occult” as stereotypically stupid or evil? (Do share!)
  • How about comebacks? What worked to help people reorient their thinking about “you lot,” one of my favorite British expressions that, without much subtlety, lumps people into an unsavory group of some sort.


Photo Credits: Kids side kicking ~ keigo1027yasuda –, Female gypsy fortune teller with crystal ball ~ © Scott Griessel -

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  1. Astrology Horoscope Readings, “How Old Is Astrology?”
  2., “A Look at the History of Psychics,”
  3. How Stuff Works, “Tarot Card History: Are they Really That Ancient?” by Lee Ann Obringer, 

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Sunday, August 20, 2017


Poem © 2017 by Joyce Mason

We travel the world
to stand under its path of totality.
We risk our sight to see the Light blotted out.
Dramatic total darkness—it’s lore and legend,
hopes and fears—captivates the entire planet,
brings life to a standstill
necks craned, eager to watch the Cosmic Lack of Light Show.

Back in everydayness, smaller versions of this divine shadow,
This light/dark reset, occur at least daily or whenever we want them:

the solstices
and any time we close our eyes
To enter into the holiness of darkness and silence
which does not eclipse our light
but renews it.


Photo Credit: © Creativa Images  -

PsychKicks© will be back next week.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

PsychKicks©: Radical Rituals

Psych yourself up with like-minded sidekicks by exploring the symbols all around us—together.

Source of Inspiration
Life experience, childhood faith

Make your day rite! I’m talking about rituals. Repetitious habits, sayings, prayers or practices that anchor us in the choppy, ever-changing waters of life. Habits that, by their mere “mindless” repetition, put us in a relaxed and receptive state of consciousness. They help organize our lives and temporarily disconnect us from our chatty minds.

One of my favorite aspects of maturity is the ability to see the good in even the most painful parts of my past. I had a number of unfortunate experiences in Catholic school that I’ve grown beyond. Now I’m delighted to realize some of the greatest rewards of my childhood religious practices. The biggest one for me is the value of ritual.

Ritual defined by Merriam Webster
and some great sample uses:

The priest will perform the ritual.
He was buried simply, without ceremony or ritual.
The daily ritual of preparing breakfast ...
His day-to-day life is based on ritual. 

While I learned ritual in the priestly and religious ceremonial context, it’s the daily mundane rituals of my life that provide texture, stability and often a sense of home, belonging and joy. (You can travel or move anywhere, but if you take your rituals with you, you're always home.) I’ve pondered often about that transfer of spirituality to the mundane. This is what I’ve come up with.

As a child, I could not understand the usefulness of repetitious prayers, particularly the Our Fathers and Hail Marys of the Rosary. Show me a Catholic who didn’t mumble them by rote and I’ll show you a saint. How could something work that was so mindless?

Back then I didn’t absorb the value of singsong mumbling or the things that would keep me from stumbling in the morning. (I have a hard time getting up and into my body, much less cranking up my activity level. Rituals are the crank on my Model T of Me. They help me get started, especially making and drinking coffee.) No matter how little you concentrate on the meaning of prayers or a mantra when meditating, the meaning seeps through, maybe even more when you don’t “pay attention.” Again, these mantras, including the rosary, quiet the mind to let spirit and inspiration come through.

My dad was not a church-goer, and from him, I got the idea that God could be found anywhere. Back in the days where I saw God as the Ultimate Father, my earthly father was as close to divine as I can imagine a human being. So something was planted in me to see spirit in everydayness. (My dad was a double Leo with a number of Virgo planets and a prominent Saturn.)

But the truth is …

I Learned the Most about Ritual from My Dog

My husband and I had a big, loopy Yellow Lab named Bear. He was the most
Bear as Groucho Barx
ritualistic being I ever met in my whole life. When Tim and I first got (back) together in 1997, I sang to Bear when he was just waking up from sleeping in his crate. From that introductory moment on, he was hooked on my songs, which led us to a wacky and wonderful nighttime ritual.

Bear always slept in his crate in our bedroom. For him, it was like going back to the womb, his place of comfort and retreat. I created a special tuck-in song that I sang and then gave him a cookie (dog biscuit) before he went in. I usually put him to bed at 9:00 pm. If I hadn’t started the ritual by 9:05, he’d sigh, harrumph, and quickly rise up and lower himself on his front paws to show his impatience. When I got up to start the song, he’d run down our long hallway ahead of me, galloping to his bed. This was the song—to the tune of Rock-a-Bye Baby:

Rock-a-bye, Beary in your sweet crate.
Mommy will tuck you, she won’t be late.
Gallop to dreamland—pills, cookie, kiss.
Isn’t it heaven, nite-nite like this?
(Spoken: Nite-nite, sweet Bear!)

I never saw a being—human, canine or otherwise—who got so much joy out of a custom ritual. On the horrible day we had to euthanize him, I whispered Bear’s song into his ear when we sent him to Dreamland for the last time.

(Astro info: Bear had a stellium in Capricorn and due to his very clownish nature, I’m positive Jupiter was angular, either on the ASC or MC. What a clown. Wish we had a birth time: Jan. 12, 1997.)

From Bear’s Nite-Nite, Sweet Bear song, Tim and I ultimately formed our own bedtime ritual where we say nite-nite to each other and all the pets we’ve raised together. It ends with:

And nite-nite to all the pets and people we have ever loved and ever will love, wherever they are. Peace on Earth. Amen.

Like Bear we can hardly sleep without it.

Holy Everydayness

One of my favorite quotes is by author Anne Lamott, “Laughter is carbonated holiness.” This is an example of how the mundane and spiritual intersect. Rituals can become portals to living a spirited life. I think of my own rituals as percussion instruments that help me keep the beat in the flow of living.

When a habit becomes a ritual, it is energetically raised to that connection with the All. It’s like plugging ourselves into the linked network of heaven and humanity. Rituals don’t have juice in and of themselves, but when their two-pronged plug of mundane and spirit are pushed into the Grid, life is electric and hums the cosmic tune, Om.

Larger Rituals

The rituals we’ve been talking about here are personal, one-on-one or at the most family-involved. We also need community. The rituals we participate in as larger groups, whether it’s at church or other organizations of like-mindedness, are just another way of practicing the mundane-to-spirit connection. For people like me who are more spiritual than religious, my article, Astrology and Ritual, tells how I co-created a ceremonial community and how anyone can do the same.

Why Radical?

In one of the earliest posts on The Radical Virgo in March 2009, I shared how the word radical is derived from the Latin word for root. Rituals root us. Their mundaneness plants our feet fully on earth and with that grounding, we increase our ability to bring spirit down to earth and to grow optimally.
What’s not to love?

This Week’s Questions

  • Can you identify your existing rituals? How do you feel doing them?
  • What new rituals would enrich your daily routine?

Photo Credits: Kids side kicking ~ keigo1027yasuda –, Bear as Groucho Barx by Joyce

"Ritual." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

PsychKicks© ~ What If I Haven’t Got a Psychic Bone in My Body or I Can’t Pay My Intuition?

Psych yourself up with like-minded sidekicks by exploring the symbols all around us—together.

Source of Inspiration
Life experience, intuition,
spiritual teachers

© 2017 by Joyce Mason

In my last post, Psychic Impressions, I talked about my own intuitive and psychic experiences. I believe everyone has access to these capabilities. It’s a matter of learning how to tap into them.

For now you may not resonate to “resonating” and “feeling things” outside the normal range of your five senses. But if you’re psych curious—even if you consider yourself clueless for the time being—I’ve got a lot of ideas to help you build your intuitive muscles. But first, let’s take a trip down Terminology Lane and cover some of the basic vocabulary of the 6th sense.

Terms of En-seer-ment

The following link to will be a valuable dictionary of terms as we discuss various heightened senses on PsychKicks. Consider bookmarking it and returning often.

I feel strongly about one point that’s not necessarily a universal view. We live in a body. Psychic phenomena are enhanced senses, why they are often lumped together in the term 6th sense. They are not beyond the five senses but rather intensified senses that feel like they’re in a class of their own because they’re not your everyday experience of the Big Five. It’s like seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching--off the charts. As long as you don't have a major sensory loss, you can probably enhance your intuitive powers. And sometimes sensory loss doesn't even tinge capabilities. Many true seers have been blind. It seems the lack of outer sight can heighten inner sight in many cases.

Do I Even Want to Know?

Now that we know what we’re talking about and have a link to some words that enable the conversation to stay grounded, here's an important question. Do you really want enhanced perception? Take it from me. It’s a blessing/curse. Let’s talk about some pros and cons. There are probably many others, but here are the key ones from my own experience.

  • Heightened sensitivities create empathy. You’ll be able to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. This leads to greater intimacy in relationships—and great gift-giving skills, when it comes to both tangible and intangible giving. This is especially true when acute listening is one of your superpowers. People will tell you what they want but not always in a direct way. Yet a sensitive notices a glassy-eyed look when your BFF spots a certain handbag or when your relatives’ passions are woven into most conversations. 
  • You’ll have a feeling when something’s coming, even when you don’t know the particulars. You’ll sense when “this could be the start of something big” or when there's a big change in the offing. You’ll know when to avoid people or things that are bad news. 
  • You’ll have enhanced attraction abilities to find the perfect greeting card, dress, new home, relationship—and synchronicities will abound. Syncs are often hilarious and reaffirm the connectedness of everything and everyone.


  • Sometimes you’ll feel like a raw nerve. The world can be overstimulating to someone with hypersensitivity. It’s great when we’re talking pleasure, but sometimes pain, especially emotional pain, can be overwhelming. Feelings can be so intense; overwhelm can turn into vapor lock.
  • Speaking of overwhelm, it’s probably the biggest drawback. A sensitive must learn to take adequate alone time to meditate, recharge and simply rest. Your typical day is many more times intense than that of someone whose senses are toward the middle of the Bell curve. Not just overwhelming, being psychic or intuitive can be exhausting.
  •  Foreknowledge isn’t always fun, especially when you’re sensing bad news afoot such as someone dear passing or a crisis brewing for someone you care about.

Only you can decide if you want to go there. Some of us cross the bridge to sensitivity very early in life. In my case, there was never a choice but to roll with it. It’s just who I am. For others it’s optional. Do what feels right.

Who’s a Natural? Who’s Not?

The single most important aspect of developing intuitive skills is ample alone time. I was raised as an only child until I was six. I was also the oldest kid in the neighborhood. A five-year-old tires of a three-year-old quickly. The two years that separate them are like centuries. I had to learn how to entertain myself. The wide open spaces of our budding suburb and the great kid shows on early TV gave me a fertile environment to activate my imagination. In fact it ran wild. I’m surprised I didn’t have an imaginary friend.

While you can’t redo your family structure or how you spent your time as a child, you can embrace the necessary inner time as an adult—any time. Things like meditation, spending time in nature, yoga and t’ai chi are all practices that heighten sensitivity. They slow us down from the din and swirling energies of modern, urban living. That way we can hear more subtle signals and our own inner voice which is connected to All That Is. If you’re lucky to live in the country, this may already come natural to you.

Speaking of naturals, intuition is the realm of introverts—only 25% of the population. [1] One reason why psychic and intuitive gifts may seem rare is that 75% of people are extroverts. This doesn’t mean an extrovert can’t develop these skills, but it does mean that their wiring is less conducive to slowing down and letting in subtler stimuli. Extroverts are too busy with people and other kinds of experiences and action. They can often balance their lives by developing a rich inner life as well as their outer one they already love. However, they may be more difficult to convince that the charms of slowing down are worth a major reorientation to become an innie/outie switch hitter.

While extroverts can often snag a quick psychic impression on the fly, it’s the Tortoises that win the psychic info race over the Hares. They slow down and take their time ingesting stimuli, and their slower pace allows them to process it and figure out its meaning for them.

Thinkers who are at least as much visionary as they are concrete, if not more, are also the most receptive to intuitive information (right-brain dominant). They regularly live outside the little boxes of perception, so they don’t toss things “out of left field” as aberrations. They tend to think they are valuable. Besides,very concrete thinkers often dismiss anything that they can’t hear, see, taste, touch, or smell outright. Their vision of what’s possible conforms to consensus reality. Visionaries are “reality” busters. They stretch possibility.

How to Open to Intuition and Extra Sensory Experiences

Other than ample alone time and some of the practices already mentioned, the fastest path to raising your PQ—Psychic Quotient—is by following your dreams. Why? Because writing down or tape recording your night movies brings your subconscious to consciousness. Your psyche, connected to everything in the Invisible, is where subtle information comes from. When you have an ongoing dialogue with your Inner and learn your own personal dream symbols, you are on your way to living in the world of hunches, inklings and a sense of what’s next.

I’ve written much about dreams on this blog and offer these links as a Dreamwork 101 course:

Here’s to the best level of intuitive openness for you. Whatever you dream of! If you try any of these ideas and you find your psychic senses sharpening, I’d love to hear your experiences in the Comments.


Photo Credits: Kids side kicking ~ keigo1027yasuda –, Clueless~ © Séa -


“Intuition 101: Developing Your Clairsenses” by Rebecca Rosen

Related Material

Astrology and Intuition
Outerplanetary People Ebook
People with the outer planets prominent are prone to heightened intuition and psychic skills.

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