Heavenly Truth

depth astrology

Weathering the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction: a Partly Cloudy Perspective

truthSaturn is catching up to Pluto and the two are plodding through the sky to vomit on our collective doorstep this winter (warming up from basically now to peak in mid-January).

I was in the shower, trying to exfoliate my entire personality off after another day of crippled coping, when I realized I might have more success if I could just get over myself. Then I laughed and cried, and came up with a list of things I would tell myself if I was one of my clients that would help me get a grip and take comfort in the realization that these feelings are par for the course. It ain’t pretty but it will end.

  1. You are going to feel alone. Even if you’re not (and you’re probably not) and even if you realize that you’re not. Even if you have friends, family, a partner, a therapist that are willing to listen to what you’re going through and want to help, it might feel like they can’t help, or they can only help to a point. Know that the bulk of the work is up to you. Let people help to the extent that they can unless that makes it harder for you.
  2. You will encounter more red tape, brick walls, and dead ends than usual, whether you’re forging a path that doesn’t exist and fighting your way through the brush or banging your head against the walls of a too-well-polished closed system. Try, try again.
  3. You will not see progress. Or, at least, it will seem that way. Saturnian work is not often quick, efficient, or direct. It is plodding. Progress during a Saturn time comes from persistence and stamina, often while navigating mazes full of loopholes and exceptions within systems. The relief of progress or solution won’t be here yet because you won’t be able to see it yet. Progress will happen, but you must take the long view to see it.
  4. You will need patience. You need not feel patient, but patience will be required of you, nonetheless, whether it’s the patience to try another method, go back to the drawing board yet again, or patience to wait for the dusty wheels of the system to move. Stay hydrated and take up the charge again tomorrow. Probably with a different idiot you have to explain everything to once more.
  5. You may not have a choice. When Saturn and Pluto team up, you are likely dealing with reality (Saturn) outside of your control (Pluto). You have choices, but the one you want may not be available to you. You may not be able to opt out of dealing with a situation, but you will still have choices. Find them. Whine a bit, but then get on board.
  6. You will feel drained. Not only can doing challenging things drain your energy, but you will probably feel emotionally drained, and maybe even more than the situation seems to warrant. You may feel like you can barely cope, and you may not even understand way. Saturn asks us to work harder, Pluto asks us to face our fears. So at a time when life seems to be demanding a lot of you (Saturn), you’re also going to feel a lot more scared, vulnerable, or powerless (Pluto). Courage. And wine.
  7. Trust in inevitability. The inevitability of change, the inevitability of reaching an end through perseverance. What you are facing will change and develop. You will change and develop. You will have breakdowns and breakthroughs. That’s the Plutonian component. You will not always feel drained, powerless, and alone. What you are going through now may not “always be for a reason,” but it can be used to good ends. Remember you’re carrying 100 more pounds on your back right now than usual. Take coffee breaks. Cry in the shower. Kick ass on one tiny thing. Repeat.

Keanu Reeves: The Man of the Hour

If you have eyes and wi-fi access, you are probably aware that Keanu Reeves is the talk of the internet these days. Whether he’s walking to music, avenging his dog or striking a pose on a chopper, Keanu is more popular than ever. We are living through a “Keanuissance” and I’m hopping on the I-heart-Keanu bandwagon by taking a look at his chart.

Keanu’s wealth of Virgo planets, including his Sun and Ascendant, reveals itself with his humble and sincere vibe. He tends to deflect rapidly when interviewers praise him or call attention to what a famously nice guy he is. When asked in an interview how he keeps his private life out of the press, he said, with a slight chuckle: “I have no life and I don’t answer personal questions. That’s kind of my modus operandi because … I mean … ‘who cares?’” Virgo likes to get on with things and doesn’t have a lot of ego invested in its own specialness.

Keanu Reeves Natal Chart
Keanu Reeves’ Natal Chart

What Virgo does invest in is serving a useful purpose and doing it to the very best of its ability. Keanu probably asks a lot of himself—more so than anyone else. According to several of his co-stars, Keanu is committed and focused at work. Chris Evans calls Keanu very focused, giving, and thorough, and Jennifer Connelly says he is disciplined, hard-working, conscientious, and incredibly kind. Most comment on his sweetness and humility, even after the stratospheric success of the Matrix. His intensity most likely comes not just from Virgo’s razor-sharp commitment to excellence but also Pluto parked right on top of his Virgo Ascendant, having risen just minutes before Keanu was born. With Pluto at the helm of his ship, Keanu takes life and work seriously, giving it everything to the point where it can consume him just as much as he consumes it. But just try and take a peek into his inner workings and you’ll get a dose of secretive Plutonian stonewalling.

His progressed moon is traveling through his 11th house for the next 18+ months, and Keanu’s well aware of the love and attention coming his way, humbly acknowledging it by saying he’s just “happy to be here.” The progressed moon is where our attention is often drawn, so he sees us seeing him! However, despite being an actor and in the public eye, he’s not likely to be one to enjoy the spotlight for it’s own sake with his Sun and other Virgo planets tucked away in the private 12th house. With his moon, Mars, and Venus in Cancer, he’s more likely to focus his energy through this very public house by sending the love out rather than wanting the public’s eye on him. Cancer has the urge to shelter, nourish, and protect, but typically while remaining protected itself. With all those Cancer planets in the 11th, his tendency toward philanthropy is not likely to be a gimmick and his good deeds are reportedly piling up. When his progressed moon moves into the 12th in 2021, he might find that the intensity of the Keanuissance has run its course and be relieved that he can just concentrate on doing his thing.

80s Movie Heroines and Their Venus Signs

While watching Pretty in Pink, I wondered (like many others) for the umpteenth time WHY THE HELL DIDN’T SHE PICK DUCKY which got me to thinking about what Andie’s Venus sign might have been. Venus is not the only planet that reveals our own relationship style, but it reveals how we show our desire to connect with another. It also describes what we’re attracted to, the kinds of traits in another person that draw us in and charm us. Here’s some Valentine’s Day fun with Venus at the movies.

Andie (Molly Ringwald, Pretty in Pink) Venus in Libra

Although Andie’s pretty feisty and independent overall (Aries or Aquarius Sun methinks), I think in love she might be a Venus in Libra sort. She’s certainly got tons of style and creativity and I also think she’s a bit of a romantic but she also has the Libran urge to bridge the gap. She thinks about how the other half lives and is fair-minded (even if unsure) about her crush’s background.


Ariel (Lori Singer, Footloose) Venus in Aries

Ariel has her soft side but she’s generally energetic and always looking for a thrill from her crushes. She’s impulsive, spirited, and she likes a guy who can keep up with her. She is independent and doesn’t take kindly to anyone treating her like a possession or arm candy. She likes men of action and but she doesn’t wait around waiting for them to take it – she’s just as happy initiating and going after her crush when she knows what she wants (and she always does!)


Sloane (Mia Sara, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) Venus in Gemini

We don’t get to know Sloane too well but she seems to roll easily along with Ferris’ antics, engaging in a little creative storytelling of her own quite easily (poor fake dead grandma) and I imagine she loves that he never bores her!


Buttercup (Robin Wright, Princess Bride) Venus in Taurus

Buttercup was wooed oh so slowly by the “poor and perfect” farm boy Wesley, long before he was a dashing and swashbuckling pirate type. She wanted the down-to-earth guy, unfailingly loyal and not someone to try and impress her with grand titles.


Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, Star Wars series) Venus in Leo

She may say she likes “nice men” but Leia is drawn to the confidence and even cockiness of Han Solo, maybe because she secretly sees the leader and hero he could be (if he would just get over himself!) She’s drawn to his courage, heart, and passion and could never be satisfied by just a nice guy, especially if he was weak-willed or played it too safe.


Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) Venus in Sagittarius

Although her blatant sex appeal could get her any guy she wanted (or didn’t want), she’s happily married to one of the goofiest toon rabbits! When asked what she sees in him, she  says he ‘makes her laugh,’ which says it all.


Veronica (Wynona Ryder, Heathers) Venus in Aquarius

Yes, J.D. dressed in black and rode a motorcycle, but Veronica didn’t really want the bad boy, she wanted the one who didn’t buy into the system. He was unflappable in the face of the popular kids’ superior nonsense and he was not afraid to be different and shake people up. He was not just a rebel, but an anarchist, Veronica ended up getting a little more than she bargained for but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt: that her next crush didn’t try to kill her!


Francis “Baby” (Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing) Venus in Pisces

Pisces needs a little fairy dust so it was bound to be love when the magic and romance of the dance with her summer love drew Baby in. In love she was innocent, overwhelmingly kind, and empathetic to those around her.  She always saw the best in others and never judged.


Agree? Disagree? Did I forget someone I shouldn’t have? Let’s hear it! Make your case!

I Think I Can: Jupiter in Virgo & Self-Efficacy

“I think I can, I think I can,” said The Little Engine That Could. This sweet sentiment about the power of believing in yourself gets a storybook train up a hill. A happy ending in a children’s book is one thing, but how does it measure up in real life? Can believing we will be successful actually assist in creating that success?

Self-efficacy is an idea researched and championed by psychologist Albert Bandura, and is defined as the extent to which a person believes in their own competence. A simplified version of this might be the saying “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Jupiter and Self-Efficacy Beliefs
In astrology, Jupiter is the cosmic YES. Jupiter deals in the currencies of hope, faith, optimism, enthusiasm, potential, expansion, and confidence. When we take a risk in hopes that it will lead to good things that we can only visualize, we call on Jupiter. Jupiter is the planet of luck, but it’s not always passive. Lucky people simply say yes to the Universe’s nudges more often. They open the door when opportunity knocks.

Jupiter’s location in our own chart can reveal some natural talents and even the ways in which we underestimate what we’re really capable of; it reveals how and where we need to say yes to ourselves and the Universe more often. Yes doesn’t always sound like “yes!” Sometimes it sounds like “maybe I can do this” or “what if?”

The astrological symbolism of the Jupiter principle is reflected in the power of positive self-efficacy beliefs. It turns out, when we think we can succeed, we may actually increase our chances of achieving that success.

How self-efficacy beliefs affect our success
One of the deciding factors in deciding to undertake a task or set a goal is whether or not we think we will succeed. We visualize scenarios in our minds in an effort to try and determine how likely our success is. If we have no hope of success, we won’t commit to something. These visualizations don’t determine whether we will be successful, but they illustrate whether we think we’ll be successful.

Yet, this is a critical step. Our self-efficacy beliefs matter so much because the visualizations we create can stem from our belief in our competence and in turn, our actions or inactions stem from these visualizations. People with high self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to envision successful scenarios whereas people with low self-efficacy beliefs tend to focus on visualizations which emphasize what may go wrong. “What’s the worst that could happen?” we may ask ourselves, and how we answer this question is a measure of self-efficacy.

People with high self-efficacy beliefs also tend to be more willing to undertake a challenging goal and persist in their efforts to overcome obstacles when striving for their goal because they have a strong belief in their own competence. They are more likely to bounce back more quickly from setbacks and self-doubts that setbacks may generate. People with low self-efficacy beliefs are less likely to undertake difficult tasks and are more likely to rate difficult tasks with higher levels of impossibility. They also don’t recover from setbacks as easily and lose faith in their capabilities more quickly, giving up before the task is accomplished or more readily accepting a moderate success (a consolation prize) in place of what they truly want.

Belief = Success?
Most of us realize that our own attitudes about ourselves have a strong effect on how we experience life. It’s important to realize that one’s belief about oneself doesn’t determine skill or guarantee success or failure objectively. A high level of self-confidence doesn’t create skill in the absence of training, experience, or some degree of natural talent, but our belief in ourselves and our own abilities can serve as a springboard for our motivations, which can lead to actions, which can lead to accomplishments. Self-efficacy beliefs affect thought patterns that may be self-aiding or self-hindering.

It is widely believed that misjudgment produces dysfunction. Certainly, gross miscalculation can create problems. However, optimistic self-appraisals of capability that are not unduly disparate from what is possible can be advantageous, whereas veridical judgments can be self limiting. When people err in their self-appraisals, they tend to overestimate their capabilities.

This is a benefit rather than a cognitive failing to be eradicated. If self-efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people could do routinely, they would rarely fail but they would not mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances. –  Human Agency in Social Cognitive Theory Bandura, Albert

If Indiana Jones didn’t think he could make it across the chasm in a leap of faith and take that risk, the holy grail might never have been found!

Jupiter in Virgo
Jupiter is traveling through the sign of Virgo from August 11, 2015 until September 9th, 2016. Grandiose Jupiter traveling through the humble sign of Virgo may seem like an ill fit, but in fact, this is an opportunity to grow in ways that are measurable, an invitation to increase our competence through efficient and consistent progress. Virgo has a great deal of respect for process and hard work. Jupiter in Virgo is where the rubber meets the road, where confidence and faith gain traction to actually create real results.

We can think of Jupiter as our cosmic life coach, encouraging us to reach for the stars, to try what we haven’t before, and brave that risk to make a potential, a dream, come true. In Virgo, Jupiter isn’t just a cheerleader; it has real homework for you. Where Virgo lies in your chart represents the area(s) of life where small, persistent steps will make all the difference over the next year. As astrologer Molly Hall says, “Jupiter in Virgo is a path of being happy when productive.  Some trust comes with this transit, that if there’s a regular investment in your work, the lucky breaks will come.


Enough is Not Quite Enough
With all the good things that a high level of self-efficacy seems to bring, it sounds like we would all be best served by embracing a delusional self-confidence. True, the location of this ‘gas giant’ can also reveal where we might just be full of hot air, so to speak. There are obviously problems that arise on the opposite end of the spectrum when we hugely overestimate our abilities, such as constantly promising what we can’t deliver and perpetually failing in that which we were sure we would succeed.

Our self-assessment is subjective, and a higher level of self-efficacy belief can serve to motivate and inspire us, making us more willing to stretch ourselves, try new things, and reach for our potential–all experiences that are at the heart of what Jupiter represents. Low self-efficacy beliefs actually discourage growth because we are reluctant to risk; we believe we will fail before we’ve even begun. Research seems to show that a level of self-efficacy which is just above our actual ability is optimal, because it pushes us to strive for the possible but without a delusion that we are superhuman. If you believe you can fly, strive for it! But don’t leap blindly off a building and literally expect wings to grow from your back. That’s a metaphor, folks. Jupiter in Virgo is not about inflated self-confidence but about the real ways we can turn our belief in ourselves into real action.

Apply it!
How high is your self-efficacy? How can you increase it? Here’s an interesting (non-scientific) quiz you can take to get the conversation with yourself started.

Where is Jupiter lighting up your chart? Share in the comments!

Don’t know where Jupiter is pushing you to fly? Create your free chart at


There’s a lot more nuance to this idea of self-efficacy, including more precise definitions, what kinds of things our self-efficacy rating may be based on, and the difference between self-efficacy and just general self-confidence. Check out these sources to find out more:

What is Self-Efficacy? by Kendra Cherry

Self-Efficacy by Albert Bandura

Human Agency in Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura

Generalized Self-Efficacy (GSE) is differentiated from Bandura’s definition of Self-Efficacy. The former centers on the idea of general confidence in one’s abilities in a variety of situations, whereas Bandura’s definition is said to be situationally specific. See Measuring General Self-Efficacy.

Many beliefs are tied to our self-efficacy rating, such as our self-esteem, or how much control we believe we have over the events in our lives (locus of control). 

“I think I can” canvas art is created by and available from Red Bicycle Designs.

The resilience of our belief in our self-efficacy is what’s especially important. One can always get a shot of confidence in the arm, but those who tend toward high levels of belief in themselves over the long term tend to be able to persist where others give up.

It’s also important to realize that one’s self-efficacy beliefs can be influenced in a number of ways, not just by one’s own personal belief, but also by the positive reinforcement and encouragement we get from others. This is a reason why support groups can actually work.

Uranus Opposition – Start a Revolution

Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan

The headline reads Rose McGowan is Starting a Revolution.

Indeed. And right on time.

After tweeting a photo of casting notes which instructed her to wear form-fitting and revealing clothing for an audition, instructions she said were “par for the course,” she woke to find her tweet had gone viral. That and another tweet a week later admonishing her agency for dropping her had her drawing support and encouragement to “fight on” when it comes to misogyny and Hollywood.

This may only be one of many culminating points in an ongoing awakening for Rose, which began, according to her, in the late 2000s when a lot of “Lemony Snicket” events (referring to his ‘a series of unfortunate events’ books) had her “dismantling.” The illness and death of her father and a car accident were just two of the intense happenings that kicked off this growth period (right around the time Pluto squared her own Pluto–but that’s another story).

“In the last seven years, without being totally aware of what I was doing, I was completely disengaging and separating.”


Uranus represents the rod to which we must hold if we want to navigate the tricky terrain of the ever-developing self when the external environment presses us to conform. Whether it’s a well-meaning parent’s advice, a cultural paradigm, or an authority figure’s judgment, we are always under subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) pressures to fit in.

This cannot be reduced to the simple desire to want others to like us; it is more primal and subconscious and the stakes are higher than they seem on the surface. To truly be an outcast can threaten our very survival and if we don’t play by the rules of the powers that be, we can perish by them and not just metaphorically. There may be good reasons why we ignore Uranus’ whispers, or translate them into safer, less threatening ways to display our individuality because of this.

Uranus represents the urge to live and express yourself authentically, whether the stakes are large or small. The struggle for authenticity and the stress we experience when sacrificing or embracing it is real, whether we mask our true nature to avoid bullying at school or become a whistle-blower afraid for our very life. Uranus in our natal chart represents where and in what ways we not only think outside the box, but we often refuse, sometimes vehemently, to be boxed in or defined.

Why do we dare to break the mold or risk being shunned as an outcast? Freedom. The burden of a secret, of a false life on any level, can build up like a toxin. The safe but false feeling of acceptance may be of too little comfort, having us living in constant vigilance of our secret being exposed or simply suffering the exhaustion of keeping up a façade. When we are accepted for that which we are not, we may still feel just as alone as we fear we might be for revealing who we truly are. Pluto is often involved whenever dismantling, as Rose put it, is required, but Uranus is Pluto’s bedfellow when an old skin needs to be shed; it is The Liberator.

The Uranus Opposition: the Celestial Monkey Wrench

Into everyone’s life, a little Uranus must fall but not always at the same times in our lives or with the same intensity or sequence of events. A natal chart is essentially a map of the sky at the time of a birth, revealing the location of the planets and a few other heavenly favorites at that moment. Although the planets in our natal map are frozen in time, the movement of the planets from then on are not. Uranus’ orbit may be predictable (a word which Uranus would scowl about being associated with) but depending on the orientation of the planets in your natal chart, you may experience Uranus crossing over the position of your Sun, for example, at age 2 while your neighbor may not experience it until age 62. It all depends on the starting line: your birth moment.

This variability applies to all the planets, except for one very predictable exception: a planet’s orientation to itself. Any planet will eventually return to its original location, for example. So while Uranus may cross your Sun’s position at age 2 but your neighbor’s Sun position at age 62, you and everyone who lives to be the ripe old age of 84 will experience Uranus’ return around that age. Halfway through that cycle, at about age 42, everyone experiences the Uranus opposition, the period of time when Uranus is opposite its original position in everyone’s own natal chart.*

Uranus represents things that happen suddenly and without warning, personal changes can take us by surprise just as much as they do to those around us. Uranus represents liberation via separation; the ability to see something or someone objectively is dependent on our distance from it. We may find that the idea, belief, relationship, job, or religion just does not have the same meaning or relevance in our life that it had just months before, maybe for no discernable reason.

It’s likely no accident that many of the obvious, disruptive events that take place during a classic mid-life crisis happen around this age. We may feel rebellious, angsty, or frustrated, often in response to a feeling of being trapped. These trappings may have been our own doing and even served us well once, but at the Uranus opposition, it’s time to re-authenticate and that may mean breaking up not just with a job or a partner, but our former self.

The Uranus opposition can bring about the awareness of a need to break away from something that you may have been previously in league with, even if only by default, in an effort to reveal and express something essential about your true self. “Be Yourself” is Uranus’ call to action but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes that which we were, thought we were, or thought we would always be turns out to be that which inhibits us from becoming who we are. Uranus’ opposition is the cosmic monkey wrench that stops the auto-pilot engine so we can really think about where we’re going and whether or not it’s a dead-end.

Rose’s Revolution Evolution

Rose’s own Uranus lies in a close conjunction with Venus in her natal chart, in the sign of Libra in her 5th house.


Rose’s Uranian individuality is expressed not only in her relationship needs and style, but also her creative and artistic inclinations, which can be especially revealing in a profession that revolves heavily around creativity, art, self-expression and/or performance, such as an actor and director like Rose. The expression of beauty and its manifestation through modeled gender roles is also a way Rose’s unique perspective will come through–bucking beauty standards and assumptions about women and relationships are just a few examples of something she’s born to do. To her, expression of one’s beauty may be simply about being who you are, not your gender identity. She has spoken several times about being raised in what she sees as a ‘gender-neutral’ environment. “I don’t remember ever seeing any mirrors,” she said in an interview. “I grew up without actually registering that I was a girl or a boy.”

Astrology is always understood and expressed through the lens of the current era. Traditionally, Venus has represented the feminine and this has been expressed in astrology literature and practice in the past; Venus in a woman’s chart represents the way she expresses her femininity and in a man’s chart, it represents what he wants in a woman, often with the assumption that not only does a man have any femininity to express and must project it onto an opposite gender, but that all men are heterosexual. In the current age, modern thought begins to offer us more complexity and nuance in how gender, sexuality, and femininity are expressed and understood. Indeed, this is a significant part of what has been incubating since the birth of the Uranus-in-Libra generation (those born roughly between late 1968 and late 1975) and blossoms as they hit the middle decades of life.

Although just shy of exact, Uranus has been opposing Rose’s own Uranus (and Venus) since mid-late spring. Although Rose’s tweet was self-initiated, the unanticipated reactions that resulted are right up Uranus’ alley. It’s no surprise that within the context of her life and her chart, the wake-up call comes in the form of authenticity (Uranus) and equality (Libra) in feminine and creative expression (Venus, 5th house).

Many probably hope she’s not just having a momentary rebellion but that she’s really going to spearhead change, or at least, join the cause in an active, visible way. Uranus sounds the alarm but there’s no guarantee that we won’t push the snooze button. The stamina and commitment to walk the unbeaten path is not easy and while we may be nod absently at the platitude, the magnitude of that truth isn’t always fully realized when we’re still running hot on a dose of reactionary indignation. It feels good to push back at what you feel has been oppressing you, even if (and sometimes especially if) it’s been you, yourself, in the form of internalized beliefs, judgmental voices, and so on. But the consequences, sometimes surprising, long-reaching and painful, of breaking with that ‘norm’ can be a hard burden to bear. So we won’t judge Rose too harshly if she doesn’t single-handedly change the world, or even Hollywood, will we?

Uranus breaks stuff so we can have a breakthrough. It’s up to us what we do with it from there, but our viewpoint can be forever changed, providing that ‘before and after’ perspective that is hard to forget or ignore. Even after the temporary upheaval of a Uranus opposition is over, the ripples go out to the edges.

This is the first of four passes Uranus will make to the opposing point of Rose’s Uranus-Venus conjunction. In 2016 and early 2017, Uranus will oppose this conjunction again, sending the ripple out further each time. For now, it looks like she’s taking it and running with it.

“For me, in my life, I’m just done ‘being allowed’ to be anything. I’m just no longer interested in people that will allow me to be anything because who are you to allow me to be anything? How dare you.”

Have you experienced a Uranian revolution? Please comment and share your story!

Further, fascinating reading and viewing about Rose McGowan and her extraordinary life:

Rose McGowan: I Escaped a Cult

All quotes used here are directly from Rose McGowan in this interview: DP/30 2014 Interview with Rose McGowan

*There is a small variability in the length and age of exactness of a planet’s return to its natal position and its contacts to its natal position along the way. This is largely due to the apparent retrograde phenomenon, when a planet temporarily appears to travel backward across the backdrop of the sky. But the variability window caused by retrogradation is a matter of months, not years. No one experiences a Uranus opposing itself at age 34, for example. It will also be around age 42, sometimes slightly earlier, sometimes slightly later.

Image of Rose McGowan by gdcgraphics – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This piece was originally featured in The Mountain Astrologer’s blog, Sept 2015

The Business of Spirituality: Three Things You Should NOT Do To Get More Clients

When you offer a service that one might find in the ‘new age’ section of the classifieds, it can be difficult to set a price on those services. Depending on where your offering lies on the spectrum, from massage to reiki to tarot to spellcasting, there is an ongoing debate about whether it’s ethical to charge for those services at all. Services like these and more also tend to be undervalued by society in general, either because they are considered ‘whipped cream’ (not essential), or because they offer a benefit that is difficult to measure.

Nevermind the trouble that comes with constantly trying to prove you’re not a fraud or out to bilk the elderly out of their retirement savings–let’s save that lovely topic for another day. If you’re a trustworthy, hard-working, intuitive soul who wants to offer a service that falls into the “Spiritual” category, you’ve got your work cut out for you when it comes to setting your prices.

Considerations like realizing you may offer a spiritual service but you’ve also gotta eat may help to find balance within the dilemma. Telling yourself that you’re not charging for the service, but for everything that goes along with it – such as the space to rent and the time invested on your training and in session on a client’s behalf may be strategic mental gymnastics to avoid the problem. Standard advice on this topic includes listening to your intuition, looking at the price ranges and experience levels that your colleagues offer, or offering a sliding fee scale or trade. These are all good places to start. But there’s a few additional things I figured out along the way in my own astrology practice over the last 20 years, so here’s my two three cents.

pennyIf a Client Wants to Cancel, Let Them.

Very little is more frustrating than a client who schedules an appointment with you and then just doesn’t show, or cancels at the last minute. It is a good idea to build safeguards in wherever you can so you aren’t left without compensation for work you’ve already done or time blocked out and unused. My personal method is to ask my clients to pay me electronically when I begin the prep work on their astrology reading, which is about a week before their appointment. I tell them that they can purchase their reading at any time that is convenient before xx date. This also prevents me from investing work that may not be compensated because if I don’t receive their payment, I can gently remind the client that I’m ready to get started on their work and ask if they still want to move forward with the reading.

I do not accept money at the time of the appointment. Not only does it help both me and my client avoid potential discomfort when switching from an emotional or spiritual topic to something as mundane and practical as money, but it also ensures I don’t forget, which I often do when I’m in that space with someone. We can both rest easy, knowing that part is already out of the way and we can focus on the good stuff without distraction or anxiety.

I have not had a client who had a problem with this policy and have not had a problem with uncompensated work since. However, in the past, I tried to implement cancellation policies and similar safeguards and found that they backfired. The nature of this work is most often emotional and with that intention, I don’t want a client who is resentful or one that I trapped into being there because of policy. Yes, it may be a valuable lesson for them to learn to follow through with their commitments, or maybe not to second-guess their own worth by spending money on something to feed their soul, but I’m not their mommy and it’s not for me to decide what they should be learning. I think it works best when you do what you can to insulate yourself from this hazard, and then let it go.


Stop With the Discounts, Already.

Offering discounts, coupons and sales are a staple in business. Similarly, introductory freebies or comparable offerings are a valid way to acquaint people to the spectrum of what you can offer (as long as you make your peace with the fact that many people will simply be looking for the freebie and will not go further). Yet, while a sale is a tried-and-true method to get new clients in the door, that may only be the case when price is a major and only deterrent. Yes, everyone loves a discount, but if you’re putting what you offer on sale constantly, it makes it difficult to value it at its full price.  Some people may balk at what I charge for an astrology reading, but if they’ve done their homework, they’ll know I’m on the low end of the spectrum when compared to my colleagues of comparable experience and knowledge. Frequently, those who do find my services too expensive are expecting a psychic hotline experience or a roadside carnival reading — not what I offer.

People don’t hit that ‘buy’ button for a lot of reasons; perhaps they’re window shopping or doing some research on what’s out there. Perhaps they aren’t sure what they’ll be receiving for the price. People also tend to react strongly to the way something is displayed in a store – and websites are no different. And, of course, people need to know your service exists before they can begin to deliberate on whether they’ll buy it at the price you’re offering. If you’re not getting the clients, it’s not a bad idea to consider all angles of your presentation, not just the price.

Essentially, if you aren’t getting the clients, don’t skip right to the assumption that lowering your price, even temporarily, will be a magic bullet. If you want to have a client appreciation sale, or offer a discount to celebrate your business’ anniversary, then certainly do–it’s a great way to celebrate. Offering a discount in the spirit of enthusiasm rather than desperation is often the more fruitful experience.

Trustpenny Your Instincts in Choosing Clients.

This may not be specifically financial, but it’s often for financial reasons that we might be tempted to take on a client that we feel uneasy about. If you’re getting alarm bells louder than thunder when you encounter a potential client, it may be a no-brainer to say no-thank-you. However, it’s the subtle uneasiness that may be tempting to ignore, pushing away the quiet, nagging feeling and rationalizing it away before it ever fully reaches the mind’s center stage.

In general, it’s kind practice to give people the benefit of the doubt, and valuable lessons can be learned even when a risk doesn’t pay off. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but nightmare clients are a reality and the risk is simply not worth it. You don’t have to assume that the potential client is a bad person or intends you harm; chalk it up to it being bad timing or that it’s simply not meant to be a love connection and move on. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault or a malicious rejection.

In a word, desperation or devaluing your services and yourself tends to bring starvation and diminishment, not abundance and greatness. We all want our business to thrive and in your kind of business, you’re probably a one-person show. So feed that employee good things and pay them what they deserve.

Jupiter square Neptune: Elusive Greatness

When I was in my early twenties, I was a Sarah McLachlan – Lilith Fair fan. When the last tour in 1999 skipped over my town, I took some friends and went to a neighboring state to see one of their last tour stops. As the show on the main stage was coming to a close, almost every performer was up on stage with Sarah, singing in harmony together. It was certainly a magic moment. It was so high that maybe I hit the top of the metaphorical roller coaster and had to come down on the other side. So a thought occurred to me in the midst of this great moment: “I’ll never be great.”

The thought crushed me and brought tears to my eyes. Thoughts along similar lines have occurred since, but that was the first one that really struck like an arrow. I’d had the momentum of youth and the recent discovery of my calling as an astrologer really going for me, keeping me high on dreams of the future.  At the time, the Sun, in all it’s magnificence, was squaring my Neptune in the 11th house, triggering it’s natal square to my Jupiter (2nd house).

In hindsight and on paper, it looks like that wasn’t true. When I was first set on fire by the discovery of astrology, I knew I was going to write a book about it. And 15 years later, I did. Win. Case closed. But having been post book for 3-4 years now, and entered into the dark and currently aimless forest of midlife, that seems a distant memory, almost another life. And I find myself singing a new version of the “I’ll never be great” tune, entitled “I’ll never be as great as I was.”

After these crushing blows, I’ve shaken them off, and readjusted my expectations of what Great looks like. I’m certainly not the Sarah McLachlan of astrology. Youthful expectations of grandeur have long since fallen away, but every step down from the impossible left a bruise. Although they’ve been challenging, they’ve helped me to find a level of greatness that is personalized to what I want, who I am, and what I can achieve. I’ve realized that I don’t want to prioritize my career above all else, all the time. I’ve realized that I don’t want to be a famous astrologer,* traveling to exotic locations every other week to lecture at conferences because I’m in such high demand. While I love to travel, leaving my family so often is more painful year after year, and performing for strangers nearly undoes my introverted soul every time. So I have readjusted to the reality of what I want and what I’m willing to do for what I want, and have found a happy medium for most of my career so far.

“Which brings me closer to my point,” says this little Gemini south node girl. One such adjustment actually occurred in an epiphany that was such a turning point for me, I dedicated my book to the source of it. I was at Disneyland with my husband (hello Jupiter-square-Neptune-land…the perfect setting) and to get out of the heat, we were stopping in all kinds of little booths and shows that we hadn’t ever considered before. One stop was a dark theater where they played a brief show about Walt Disney’s life and how things led up to Disneyland. As I watched, it struck me just how hungry, enthusiastic, and entrepreneurial Walt was, and how willing to risk, and how it was those things that drove him, not greatness. He didn’t want to be great, he wanted to do his thing. Suddenly, how to be great didn’t matter. Just doing my thing, in every way I can, was all I needed to worry about.

So now I’m going to admit something a lot less inspiring. I had a little-league epiphany recently while playing a video card game. I usually spend ‘coins’ to get advantages in the game, such as extra cards or hints throughout the game. I realized that I do really poorly when I used the advantages that tell me which cards to play and when, but I do really well when I just add the equivalent of rocket boosters to the natural technique I’ve already got going. I’ve noticed this in other games too. Help sometimes isn’t help, because it throws off my natural instincts. I’m looking to the advantage to tell me what to do and losing my connection to myself while I do that. I remember once I had a data entry intensive job, with lots of keyboard shortcuts I had memorized. I left it to do another job, but it didn’t work out, so I came back about a year later or so. When I stopped to remember those keyboard shortcuts or look at a cheat sheet, my fingers fumbled. But when I stayed in the path of intention, just willing my body to do what I knew it already knew how to do and just being in the moment of will, my fingers did their job perfectly.

So what’s the damn point? There might not be a singular tunnel to meaning here. But I’m thinking about Jupiter in Pisces in my 2nd house square Neptune in Sagittarius in the 11th house and how often that sets me up for “delusions of grandeur”. The fuzzy dream (Neptune) of greatness (Jupiter), measured in the public eye (11th house) and manifesting because of my sheer awesomeness of skill. of awesomness (2nd house). How I look to others to reflect that back to me (Venus opposes Jupiter and squares Neptune too) and it never quite works. How the humbling experiences of reality checks actually turn out to be my best moments (Saturn trines my Jupiter and is my chart ruler) because then I finally get some traction and feel like this dream is now with my reach to actually work on (Saturn’s in my 6th house of the daily process of actual work – the kind that’s messy, mediocre, and mundane, but really pays off in the end).

So, in conclusion, this means … stuff.

*My mentor, Steven Forrest, once said something like ‘saying you’re a famous astrologer is about as meaningful as saying you’re the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.’ Or something like that. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there.

Resisting Resistance

Note: The death and rebirth process is something that can be applied to Scorpio, the 8th house, and/or Pluto in our chart. Where you have any of these symbols is the place in your life where the phoenix resides.

My best friend and I like to have fun together, and by fun, I mean sit across from each other and try to make each other cry. Not by insulting each other, or anything involving pinching, but with armchair therapy. She is the only person I've ever met that can actually match, and possibly exceed, my stamina for relentless self(and other)-examination. I have five planets in my 8th house, and two of those planets are my Sun and Moon in Virgo, so the core of me is recharged by Looking Deeply and Figuring It Out. With four planets in Libra, I like to have insightful feedback.

So there we are today, sitting across from each other, me on my second mocha, and she asks me if I want to talk about Fall. I had made a casual statement earlier about being surprised at how hard this year's approach of Fall has been for me, since my official stance is that I Love Fall and Always Have. I've been feeling so vulnerable with the approaching winter and the cold that it just makes me want to, metaphorically and physically, curl up into the fetal position. Since nothing is ever casual with her (it's one of the things I love about her), she had detected that there was much to discuss and prodded.

"Do you think that maybe this year you're feeling too tired to deal with the 8th house?" she said.

"Huh?" I was getting stuck on the word tired. And her bringing up the 8th house. "What do you mean, specifically?"

She speculated that while I've been going through some mid-life transitory stuffs that perhaps the invigoration I normally have during Fall is absent and making the transition of Fall into Winter too emotionally overwhelming.

"Why are you linking this to the 8th house?" I said.

"You are Fall," she said. "You live your life perched on that sharp, narrow edge of transition. That's why you love fall, because Fall is home. But that home is hard. Do you think you've had so much hard this year that you're too tired to live the 8th house this Fall?"

To me, living the 8th house means to continually dive deeply into yourself, to search for your own personal truth even if it scares you and threatens to undo you at times. I have been searching hard this year for meaning and its corresponding direction so I felt I hadn't stopped using the 8th house muscles.

"Well, it depends on what you mean by the 8th house, which, of course, means a number of things. I think maybe you are referring to the part of living the 8th house where I Fuck Shit Up."


Green warrior fairy elfwood - gerlinde

green fairy by d gerre

I occasionally fuck shit up intentionally. I take something that appears to be working just fine and break it. Not by causing needless drama or in order to hurt others around me, but to upend my life to bring about needed change that cannot happen if I try to do it in a contained way, gradually or safely. Destroying and going down in the flames so that I can rebuild it properly. Initiate a drastic and mostly irreversible change and then live through the consequences it provokes, knowing they are coming.


Whether I do it on purpose or in response to a crisis in my life, there eventually comes a moment when I accept that I cannot outrun what's chasing me. And it's that moment that I'm able to summon the power to turn and draw my knives. I want it to come. I want it to devour me. I lean into it. I may have a warrior stance but I don't defend. I stand in its way. It consumes me as I consume it. And when it burns through me, I am the next me, raw and clean.

That's living the glory part of the 8th house. But those moments are moments. The bitch is the build up. When you're starting to molt, and it itches, and you're pissy and your life looks like shit, or at least, one part of it. Although there have been mini upheavals, the last time I really fucked shit up was four and a half years ago, when I quit my day job. My life isn't perfect, but I haven't needed to upend things for a while because there's nothing in dire need of destruction. It's all Pretty Darn Good.

So how does an 8th house girl grow in an 8th house way without burning her house down? I more or less believe that when you ask a question and are truly open to the answer, it floats to the surface, even if you don't recognize it. When I asked the question tonight, the answer was compelled to present itself: resistance.

Resistance to leaving the house without your family because you might come home to find them all murdered. Resistance to letting your family drive somewhere without you just in case that was the one time that your magical presence would have stopped the car in the neighboring lane from side-swiping them. Resistance to creating that thing because it might not be good and if others see it, they'll know it. Resistance to saying what you think because someone might disagree with you. These are little opportunities for everyday rebirths. That's how to live the 8th house.

Resist the urge to give into resistance, to reluctance. I don't try to live without fear – I don't see how it's possible or authentic. I live with it. We all do. But it is not me. I don't have to hold it, caress it, and give it shelter. I can lean into it and let it rip right through me to the other side.

"So you can resist resistance. I like that," she said.

"Hey, I think that's the title of my next blog…"

Fall 2013 Forecast Highlights

Leaf on waterFall
seems inherently transitional, throwing our consciousness forward into a
preparational state. As summer ends, we know winter is on its way, and
to remain fully present in the moment is challenging. As soon as we're
done gazing longingly back at the bounty of summer (some of us longer
than others), winter's necessities loom in our mind and we're urged
toward making preparations. Mars enters productive, hard-working Virgo
on October 15th for about two months, emphasizing this mood and carrying
us almost to winter's door here in the northern hemisphere.


fall begins, so does another build up of the ongoing Uranus-Pluto
square, which will peak November 1st, with the new moon in
transformative Scorpio, the sign of the Phoenix, just two days later.
This energy has been present in varying intensities since the first one
in 2012, and the last one will peak next year. This three year period
has been one of not-so-gentle change, specifically pushing us toward new
beginnings and wrenching old attachments from us, sometimes before we
think we're ready. In whatever areas of your life Uranus (in Aries) and
Pluto (in Capricorn) touch, you are compelled, through internal need or
external necessity, to pioneer radical change.


I and numerous other astrologers have written and spoken
extensively about this Uranus-Pluto square period. Astrologer Jessica Shepherd has written a
stellar guide to work with this configuration on a personal level.
Check her out at


Man woman painting heartsWhile
these two are grating on each other, Venus and Mars will come along to
further electrify it, from November 12-16 and December 25-30,
respectively. With Venus, creativity abounds but the harmony of relationships may be (temporarily) disrupted to provide room for the spark; you may find yourself or your loved one a bundle of contradictions as you both struggle to determine just what it is you really need (and it's likely to surprise and/or frighten you if you can get brutally honest with yourself about it). When Venus turns retrograde on December 21st, you may find your relationship work needs to go deeper before it can move forward. Mars will be in Libra from December 7th and although Libra desires harmony, harmony cannot be achieved by continuity, so when it triggers the Uranus-Pluto square, feathers may be ruffled to say the least. Watch any unfocused or misplaced anger, either directed from or at you, as it can be a clue to what really is trying to force its way out.


bulk of November brings a small pocket full of planetary goodies, from
the 5th to the 25th, from Venus and Mars, perhaps stabilizing the growth
that the Uranus-Pluto square is pushing for. Four harmonious sextiles
form one after another: Venus sextiles Neptune from the 5th-8th, amping
up creativity and inspiration, and also just general good will. It’s a
good time for sweet things. A Virgo Mars sextiles Saturn at relatively
the same time, extending to the 11th, emphasizing a thread of
practicality and productivity throughout.


you need a little discipline, draw it in during the Mars-Saturn sextile
because as Mars moves on to sextile Jupiter from the 16th-21st, you may
not be in the mood for as much discipline. This can be a good time for a
mini-vacation in body or state of mind. Mars will still be in Virgo so
you may still find yourself inclined toward productivity, but aim it at
pleasure not just business, especially as the fourth sextile between
Venus and Neptune, takes hold from the 20th-25th.


Plant in handsJupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio form a cooperative trine through the first half of December which combines the best of both worlds: Jupiter's expansiveness, optimism, and attunement to the possibility and Saturn's discipline and realism. Grow what you love, let go of what keeps you small.

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