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by Elaine Kalantarian

autumnHow astrology works is a mystery. An ancient art honed through thousands of years of practice, it is based on the Doctrine of Unity: the notion that the universe is an interwoven fabric. The astrological concept of a celestial-terrestrial interconnection has been with us throughout the ages, reflected in many of the world's spiritual traditions, and epitomized by the Hermetic maxim, "As above, so below."

Even though there is compelling circumstantial evidence for astrology's underlying principle of interconnection, we have yet to discover the scientific mechanism that can account for it. We are living in exciting times, however, when fields of modern physics and mathematics, are moving towards interesting, parallel understandings regarding the seemingly magical interplay of energy and matter. We are beginning to see validation for some of the observations mystics have been alluding to for thousands of years.

I realize that because I am an astrologer many people will automatically brand me as a lunatic; and yet here I am sticking my neck out anyway, risking ridicule. For even though astrology does seem inconceivable, nevertheless, over and over again, I personally see it working. I see its accuracy and usefulness when I apply it to my clients' lives and my own. So however "outlandish" astrology's claims are, there does seem to be something to this crazy old art. There are many aspects to this great big universe of ours we have yet to understand, and the underpinnings of astrology, the how and why it works, is one of those mysteries. As Iain McGilchrist wrote in his book on the two hemispheres of the brain, The Master and His Emissary:

Certainty is the greatest of all illusions: whatever kind of fundamentalism it may underwrite, that of religion or of science, it is what the ancients meant by hubris. The only certainty, it seems to me, is that those who believe they are certainly right are certainly wrong.

Belonging  THE AQUARIUS NEW MOON  Jan 20, 2015

starsThe summer before my sophomore year in high school, we pulled up roots and moved 3,000 miles east from California to Virginia, reversing a migration route we had taken only three years before, returning to my old hometown. We had moved to California for my mother's health, the cold winters were hard on her arthritis, but after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, what she needed more than warm weather was a supportive circle of family and old friends. Likewise, when I started school that year, I too hoped to be reunited with old friends, but only a few former classmates remained, none of which were close. So you can imagine how lucky I felt when, two or three lonely weeks into the school year, I was plucked from obscurity and invited to join the "alpha girls" clique.

A covey of the super popular, the girls flocked together each morning in the school library — not to study, but to be seen. In our open floor-plan school, the library skirted a main artery for students to cut from one side of the building to the other. So I joined the girls at their prominent post, each of us fully preened and on alert for the cute boys to stroll by on their way to homeroom. And it was fun for a while until I learned of the group's other, darker purpose.  Read more....

Borderlines  THE CANCER FULL MOON GRAND CROSS  Jan 4, 2015

starsThere's a big, beautiful — and powerful — Moon out there swiftly waxing towards its culmination point. Late this evening, here in Pacific time, Luna will perfect an opposition to the Sun from Cancer, her very own sign.

A sensitive, intuitive water sign, Cancer, is one of the four cardinal signs, along with Capricorn, Aries and Libra. Gateposts of the year, they mark the four seasonal turnings: our two solstices and equinoxes. With the Full Moon shining from its own sign, all things Cancerian are highlighted right now: home and hearth, children and offspring, sustenance, nurture, safety and security — and all the ways those concerns can become emotionally distorted, and used to manipulate.

Capricorn, the sign of the Sun — whose light the Moon reflects at this high tide in its cycle — is also emphasized. Capricorn is the upholder of tradition; ruled by Saturn, it is a practical earth sign preferring the tried and true and the well established. So issues around ambition, power, preserving the status quo, reputation and calling are being brought to an important illumination point by this especially potent, turbo-charged Full Moon. As Cancer and Capricorn are signs of the two solstices of the year — the Sun's extremes — embedded in their zodiacal symbolism are issues associated with just that: going to extremes in all the ways we humans tend to do.  Read more....

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New
THE CAPRICORN SOLSTICE & NEW MOON  Dec 21, 2014

starsWhen the our central star glides into the cardinal, earth sign of Capricorn, it marks an important turning point in the solar year — the winter solstice and longest night here in the north; and for folks south of the equator, summer solstice, and the longest day. At the Capricorn solstice, the Sun concludes its long, half-year descent into the southern sky. "High noon" on this day, the Sun is directly overhead the tropic of Capricorn, its southern extreme: 23.5 degrees latitude, south of the equator.

The triumph of darkness over light at this time of year — and its simultaneous southern hemispheric complement of light over dark — is tempered with the knowledge of the never-ending, turning of the wheel. For after the December solstice, our days gradually lengthen here in the north until eventually our summer solstice arrives, six months from now, marked by the Sun's entry into Capricorn's polar complement: the feminine water sign of Cancer. So it is while those of us in the north huddle by the fire sipping hot toddies and peering out at a stark winter landscape, our friends in the south are enjoying the peak of the Sun's strength, the lush, high greening of the land. If there's ever a time when the fundamental, dual nature of life here on planet Earth is most evident, it is at the two solstices — the "Sun extremes" of the year.  Read more....

The Square Dance of Change  URANUS SQUARE PLUTO + VENUS  Dec 14, 2014

starsUranus and Pluto are at it once more — approaching yet another exact alignment. Number six of seven exact squares, this one will fall at 12° 35' Aries/Capricorn with Venus, newly in Capricorn, joining the dance: perfecting a conjunction to Pluto and square to Uranus on December 20th.

For this sixth square, Uranus will be in retrograde motion, but only one minute of zodiac arc away from its upcoming station direct on the 21st, the Capricorn Solstice. Pluto and Venus are both direct. It is notable that Venus conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus from the sign in which she last retrograded a year ago, a cycle which also began on December 21st, on the day of the Capricorn Solstice 2013. So this particular alignment, with Venus translating the Uranus-Pluto square, Venus-related concerns, collectively as well as in our own personal lives — crises regarding what we value, how we handle money, and how we relate to others, including that important "give and take" balance in our most private, intimate circle — are being put through the Uranus-Pluto wringer this time around.  Read more....

The Better Angels of Our Nature  THE GEMINI FULL MOON  Dec 6, 2014

starsWe are swiftly approaching the culmination point of the lunar cycle, the Full Moon, when the Sun and Moon form a perfect, dynamic opposition emphasizing two complementary signs. An opposition signifies just what one might presume: potential conflict, clashing values, contradictory and sometimes incompatible urges that can pull in entirely different directions. Yet oppositions are also complements, magnetically attracted to one another and ultimately seeking balance through some kind of creative integration and synthesis.

This fundamental relationship of opposition and integration is directly encoded in astrology through every polar pair on the zodiac wheel which share the same polarity and "mode of energy" — one of the basic building blocks of the zodiac signs, expressed in three variations: cardinal, fixed and mutable. Opposite signs also fall in elements that are compatible, either a combination of water and earth or fire and air. So this phenomena of opposition and integration is demonstrated in all six polar zodiac pairs, each pair highlighted every month at the Full Moon.

So we could say that the cosmic challenge at each Full Moon is for us all to do just that: find a way to bridge our own internal conflicts, as well as collective, societal differences — and transcend this human propensity for separation and division. Each month's pair of opposites highlighted are therefore important clues as to each month's specific integration challenge. And this time around, at this high tide of the lunar cycle, Gemini and Sagittarius are emphasized — and in more ways than one.  Read more....

The Japanese woodblock print, "Egrets on a Snowy Night," shown above, is the work of Ohara Koson (1877-1945). Koson is considered by many to be the foremost 20th century designer of bird and flower prints, or kacho-e.