Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Longest Winter



Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason


We avoided winter like the plague

until a plague gave us a winter so long;

there was no escaping it.


We cannot dodge, deny or wish away

the All-Year Winter of 2020.

We cannot avoid the present.


The effects that go from zero to death,

the bodies in makeshift morgues,

the devastating symptoms that linger for some.

We can no longer in good conscience escape orders to stay home,

to bask in enough quiet to hear ourselves think,

or to mask whatever smiles we have left.

We live in a prison of care for ourselves and others

with no promise of release short of

a one-year sentence.

Some of us are in solitary.


But do we really want a jail break?

To turn down the present,

the gift of an adventure in inner space?

This year, so winter-like, casts its shadow

over the other seasons magnifying all of winter’s qualities,

quadrupled in time to prepare us for what’s next

as our whole world falls apart for reconstruction.


Winter prepares us for the energy burst we need

to go from dormant seed to wildflowers

from death and dying to resurrection.

We overlook this season’s benefits for our manic need

to keep moving, duck the least bit of discomfort,

to look away from the ice and snow artwork or

turn a deaf ear to the sanctity of silence.


It is time to revel in winter as the Dark before the Light,

the Silent Night of the Soul,

the archetypal step before we save ourselves

and truly create Peace on Earth.


In this year of the longest winter,

Jupiter and Saturn conjoin to form a Star of Bethlehem.

History repeats.

Prepare your soul ground.

Your masks, quarantine and centering at home and hearth

are cleansing you, making way for a new epidemic of love.


Photo Credit:  ©




Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Taste of Autumn 2020

Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason


Choking on the smoke of environmental backlash,

I smell autumn beyond the notes of ash and human misery.

A nascent fall breeze sneaks into late summer to say hello.


My toes curl at the prospect of clean air blowing dried leaves

in eye-candy colors.

My heart skips a beat as childhood adages ride the wind.

“All good things come to an end.”

All bad things, too.


We sit on Libra’s Scales of Balance savoring a tiny appetizer of tomorrow.

Autumn, the Season of Fruition lets go everywhere in Technicolor and Panavision as we must for new winters, springs and summers to recur; their lessons from both beauty and tragedy to revive and rebuild us once more for another thrilling ride on the Roller Coaster known as the Wheel of Life.



Photo Credits:  Autumn Wheel © Kaedeenari |; Libra Scales © Tatianakost |

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Saved by the Sun

A Summer Solstice Poem
Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

The original god
proves his power
to his worshippers.
Every summer he boils us in our own oils
add a little Coppertone.
At the Equinox he merges
with the Moon’s natural sign Cancer
at the light fest Summer Solstice.

This turning point:
A time for merging Light and Dark
within our split selves knowing
we just can’t live without each other.
We have to own it
stop throwing our shadows at others
like a Molotov Cocktail.
not even a refreshing drink
in this heat.

Hot Summer Sun:
A cosmic floodlight and spyglass
to all our secrets.
burns away all the things we hide
saves us from ourselves
with the strength of acceptance
and love of our Selves--
the best summer romance ever.


Photo Credit:  © Svetlana Orlova |


Monday, March 9, 2020

Spring Chickens: A Vernal Equinox Poem

Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

Deep inside me
seeds are desperate to crack open
as the Sun warms the earth a bit longer
every day
inching to the Equinox.

The seedlings are chicks pecking at eggshells
from the inside out.
New hopes, dreams, goals, changes:
Resolutions to revolutions.

No one knows what work it takes
to mount or withstand this energetic build-up.
It’s dark, jabbing into the unknown.
It is disconnection and disorientation at their cruelest.

Yet one day like the Tortoise and the Hare,
the slow chicklets of resurrection 
crack the shell as we do the crust of our winter malaise.

Like the slow results of escape with inadequate tools,
We make our jailbreak.
All heaven breaks loose.
Holy Aries!


Photo Credit:© 1evgeniya1 |

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Uranian Intimacy

A Valentine for People with Planets in Aquarius or Aspects to Uranus

© 2019 by Joyce Mason

Welcome, fellow weirdos! We know who we are and why we can’t give up who we are, even for our sweet dream of belonging. We are the people with planets in Aquarius or close aspects with Uranus. We are ahead of our time, hear a different drummer—or as my late husband used to say in extreme cases; some people hear a whole different orchestra. (Uranians could use some new metaphors. These are getting old, and you know how we hate that.)

Like most people who are on a different wavelength from the general public, I have spent my life trying to figure out how to fit in while retaining my own unique identity. Sound familiar? Recently I had the pleasure of traveling home to Chicago and spending time with many friends and family that still live where I grew up. I had been unable to travel for years due to my husband’s care needs. As Tim got close to passing last year, I began getting strong feelings about spending more time in my original home sweet homeland. In fact the sensation was so strong; I wondered if I was getting a cosmic nudge to move back after 46 years in Sacramento.

Two weeks in the cold climate and I was over any ideas of moving, but I discovered many interesting things about intimacy on this trip. First, being adopted, I was reminded that all my formative relationships were based on heart and mind connections. There were no biological likenesses to feed my sense of belonging. But I have to say, I never even recognized that I was different in some essential ways from my relatives until I was in my twenties. To their credit, my family never made any distinctions about me based on adoption. I was one of them. In fact, I was in utter shock and disbelief when, at 8 years old, I learned that my parents weren’t my biological mom and dad.

My family was as loving as I could possibly imagine. Then why did I still feel somewhat like a misfit? One thing is clear. It wasn’t them; it was me.

We all have needs on a continuum of independence to interdependence. On top of that, sometimes those needs shift at different times in our lives. Like many things in my life and chart loaded with Libra planets,  I am generally split almost down the middle on that scale—until something of substance comes up and I have to tell my truth or suffer severe cognitive dissonance, a great discomfort, when what I believe and do are not in harmony. Integrity might as well be my middle name. I cannot abide doing anything but “what’s right” according to my own inner compass. In those times when my truth is tested, I’d say go from 51% indie and 49% inter to 75/25, high on the side of independence.

Why are we so scared of being ourselves, especially when we’re a bit unusual or on the far ends of the bell curve? Rejection, of course, made more obvious by certain early life experiences like the sense of abandonment that comes naturally with adoption. I feel like a bell weather on this issue. Will they still love me if they know the “real me?” Worse yet, will they love me and leave me?

The truth is, it is impossible for anyone to really love you unless or until they know the real you. Warts and all. After seven decades of living, I have discovered that most truths are conundrums. They are paradoxical. Acceptance is one of the biggest paradoxes of all.
Second point of vacation learning: We saw the Disney animated version of The Adams Family. Expecting something a little scary (is this OK for my five-year-old great grandniece?), all of us were pleasantly surprised at how sweet it was and what a powerful statement it made about belonging and accepting differences.

To blurb the plot without giving away too much (it’s a must-see), there’s a real estate agent bent on creating a homogenous community full of Stepford- like compliance, using all kinds of questionable methods to ensure conformity. Enter the oddball Adams Family who takes over the deserted insane asylum on the hill. Through a series of interactions and exposure to one another, the paradoxical truth is revealed. Conformity doesn’t lead to great community. Each person being who they are, with acceptance by others, does that. To get acceptance, you’ve got to give it.

Think of every small town you see on your favorite TV shows. (Examples of mine are Stars Hallow in Gilmore Girls, Cabot Cove on Murder She Wrote, and Cicely on Northern Exposure.) The characters are quirky, some of them truly annoying, and all of them in their way pretty lovable once you get to know them. This ideal is presented to us in show after show. It is achievable. We just have to quit being scared of people who are different from us. Do we really want Stepford lives—or the adventure of discovering all kinds of interesting people and ideas?

Besides our concerns about being rejected, what other fears drive leaving others out? Many people do a lot of work to form their lives around a certain worldview. People whose very being challenges some of our foundational beliefs feel threatening. (What if I’ve got it wrong? What would be the domino effect on reorganizing my life?) Yet how else do we learn about our options? As a bumper sticker popular with Unitarians at the church I used to attend states, “To question is the answer.” The quote “Religion is the opioid of the masses” does not refer to all people who have religion. It refers to those who buy religion hook, line and sinker, without using the blessing of their brains to examine what parts of the chapter and verse are truths for them personally and what parts they can leave alone. Nothing is one size fits all. No religion. No philosophy. Are the hardliners lazy and change-o-phobes? Maybe. But you can choose not to be one.

My Catholic background is the foundation of all the spirituality that has enriched my life, even though I am not religious. Jesus hung out with lepers, whores, the dirt poor and treated everyone with love and respect. (And to those you may encounter with anti-Semitic leanings, a reminder that he was a practicing Jew who did not invent Christianity. People after him did that. And did I mention his dark skin?) WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) is still a pretty good thing to ask yourself regardless of your beliefs. The story may be ancient, but his message was for the future—a vision of the people we could be if we open our hearts, mind and ears.

The biggest challenge for intimacy for Uranians is to become so comfortable with yourself; you just go into situations without hesitation and carry on. You don’t have to put your differences in anyone’s face to prove something. You just have to love yourself first and others will follow.

But what if they don’t? I am not so naïve or airy-fairy to believe that we can love ‘n’ light everyone into seeing how much more alike we are than different. Some relationships demand to be let go—the toxic ones, the draining ones, the ones that diminish us. There is nothing sadder than an adult who is still broken-hearted that the fairy tale family is not theirs. This is a hard disappointment to overcome. When we do, we create our own family of friends. I am living proof that you don’t have to be related by biology to be family.

Finally, one more truth, another conundrum. To get along with others, you have to get along with all the different parts of yourself. This takes work—getting over perfectionism, talking yourself out of putting yourself down, even in the middle of what the world defines as a major failure.

Uranians are supposed to be afraid of intimacy. There is nothing more intimate than forgiving yourself your trespasses and oddities. Maybe the sometimes “distant” behavior of Uranians and Aquarians is just a council meeting of their complex parts. They have a lot of segments of themselves to check in with, and while they’re at it, maybe one of those bolts of insight they are also famous for may come out of their “parts exchange” at the summit.

And, besides, ever wonder why Valentine’s Day occurs when the Sun is in Aquarius? Everyone has something to learn about love from those Uranian inner summit meetings. It’s called integration, respect and equality for every aspect of yourself. A really great foundation for being able to do that for all the parts of another person.


Photo Credit: © Sergey Krotov |