Saturn Introduced

Somewhere in the middle of life, I was sitting with John Marchesella, a skilled New York City astrologer, for one of many astrological counseling sessions he graced me with over a 20 year period. Though aware of astrology basics, the finer points eluded me back then. He kept repeating basic themes of discipline, mastery, overcoming fear and rising to the occasion and pairing it with the planetary energy of Saturn. Finally, in a fit of impatience I said “Saturn, Saturn, Saturn – what is it about this planet that makes it such a prominent part of life?”   He chuckled and gave me a line or two that smoothed my edges away…but not my curiosity.

Upon the 2017 Fall Equinox, Saturn sits at 21° of Sagittarius and will soon move into Capricorn around the Winter Solstice. This numinous, planetary energy was given form and structure in ancient myth by the Titan god Kronos who swallowed his children in an attempt to avert his eventual removal. Zeus and other Olympians gave battle, forcing generational change.

In modern myth, Saturn is often depicted as an older man in a long robe holding a staff or scythe. The tarot hermit card is an older but wiser archetype worthy of weaving into a more holistic, conscious consideration of Saturn’s energy. Liberating the planetary energy from myth, cultural and gender bias loosens up the many positive possibilities inherent in each of us. Saturn’s many themes include: mortal reality, the aging process, limitations, depression, mastery through discipline, shouldering responsibility and plain hard work.

In the birth chart, Saturn’s themes will be expressed through the lens of an astrological sign and in the sphere of life signified by house placement. For example, Saturn in the mutable, air sign of Gemini will find day to day communications challenging or limited in some way. Place this combination in the public and career 10th house and this may be the executive who enrolls in a speech class to overcome their childhood fear of public speaking.

Saturn takes 28-30 years to cycle through all 12 signs of the zodiac (about 2 ½ years in each sign) and will return natally 2-3 times in the course of a person’s life. These Saturn returns are bellwether moments, where life experiences are tallied and the wheel is set for the next spin of time. An individual’s return will be uniquely sensed and processed either in full awareness and increasing mastery or within the shadows of doubt and lurking disappointment. Either way the celestial taskmaster’s presence will be felt; if not in the day’s waking moments then in the night’s dream world.

The first Saturn return as a person nears 28 to 30 is the final hurrah of youth and the journey towards mature adulthood. Responsibilities normally increase, relationships grow or wither away and life’s purpose continues to be shaped by Saturn’s call to authenticity.

The second Saturn return between 58 and 60 will reflect wisdom hard won through the course of the adult years. Shamans of experience, the wisest among the second Saturn returnees will walk into their elder years laying foundations for future generations.

At the age of 88-89, the third Saturn return signals culmination, an approaching mortality, a final opportunity to bring talent, wisdom and a bit of hard work to relationships and life projects the ancient one loves and cares about.

Weaving Saturn into the larger picture will bring definition and clarity along with the passage of time. Wisdom is always hard won and bittersweet – to be treasured as well as shared for the benefit of all.


Mars into Virgo Getting Stuff Done

Mars moved into the versatile, earth sign of Virgo today.  Low and behold, my clothes closet got reorganized:  unloved items off to the community thrift store and summer clothes into storage.  It wasn’t a planned activity, it simply felt absolutely right that this was the morning to tackle the task.  This was me physically playing out a manifestation of dynamic, get-it-done Mars in one of the more practical, curating signs of the astrological cosmos.

Mars in Virgo energy can be expressed in the most obvious of ways through military service or more subtlety by the lab researcher searching for a cure through the night.  It is the ambulance driver rushing to save a life or a community activist promoting the local farmer’s market.

Sexually, Mars in Virgo will not necessarily fall head over heels in love, but will review the partnership possibilities, fastidiously research the pros and cons, and critically choose the lover with the best potential.  Condoms are placed in a purse or wallet before a Friday night out and personal hygiene before and after a lusty and skilled romp in bed will be attended to.

Mars in Virgo requires flexible alternatives, organizational flow, discriminating choices, intelligent action, community service and laser-like focus.  Anger is expressed towards themselves or others when standards have not been met, goals not reached or service not properly provided.  Imperfections are not tolerated and fools not suffered when Mars is in Virgo.

Mars will remain in Virgo until late October.  Take a look where this practical earth energy is placed in your natal chart for a clue as to where in your life to use it.  Note if there is a hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) to a natal planet or angle and make the necessary adjustments.  If you are lucky enough to have a Mars in Virgo trining one of your natal planets, don’t let it slip away from you!  Use the smoothly flowing energy to get done the project, job or activity the aspect suggests.

Clothes closet organized!  Now how about preparing the garden for winter…..




Solar Eclipse Thru Mercury’s Retrograde Wisdom

The mid-August Mercury Retrograde motion turns comprehending light upon the Aug 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse, bringing reexamined clarity when the planet conjoins in conjunction force with Mars in early September.

The great communicator goes SRx in Toronto on August 13, 2017 around 10 PM at 11° of the analytical, earth sign of Virgo.  Time to reevaluate your thinking, communications, speech, and understanding in a practical, no nonsense Virgo like way.  Reassess your own natal chart, identifying where Mercury Rx at 11° of Virgo falls.  This is the area of life that will require your hands-on reexamination. 

The solar eclipse will occur at 2:30 pm here in Toronto on Monday, Aug 21, 2017 at 28°52′ Leo, upon the new moon.  Sweeping, sudden change is possible with all eclipses.  Once again, take your natal chart and observe which house this solar eclipse at 28° of Leo falls and consider what possible transformation may occur.  Be mindful of any natal planets in tight aspect to this eclipse degree point.  Consider the planet’s myths, archetypes and meaning to help you intuit the potential life alterations.

Both Mercury Rx and Mars will transit to the solar eclipse 28° point on Saturday, Sep 2, 2017.  Mercurial reexamination and reassessment will pair with Martian ‘forward ho’ action and suddenly the meaning and manifestation of the summer solar eclipse will shine as brightly as a Leo Sun.  Normal communication patterns commence when Mercury stations direct in Toronto on Tuesday, Sep 5, 2017. 

August 7, 2017 Lunar Eclipse

Image resultCo-creation is a basic tenant of my astrological practice.  “As above, so below” when reversed becomes “so below, as above” and the polarity is brought to life with active intent.  The lunar eclipse energies of August 7, 2017 bring into private and public life the possibilities for new understanding and external change.  The personal planets of Mercury and Mars bring into focus opportunity’s knock while the outer planets hold their collective breathe.

The August 7th partial lunar eclipse sows the subjective seeds of change with the Sun at 15 degrees of Leo and the Full Moon at 15 degrees of Aquarius.  The dramatic, self-centered and creative will of the ego is in contrast to the humanitarian needs of the collective.  The Sun’s dynamic partner is and will remain  through August the planet Mars, who roars with fixed desire to create alongside the ego’s need to shine.  Note that diminutive Mercury in Virgo will soon turn retrograde and calls for repeated analysis to underpin the passionate script of the solar self and cosmic will.  Venus as a morning star in Cancer, ebbs and flows in sextile to Mercury, adding the value systems of care and nurturance in the ever shifting scrum.

Jupiter in Libra directly squares Pluto in retrograde Capricorn conveying tension between society’s desire for balanced justice against entrenched plutocratic entities struggling with the winds of change.

Uranus retrograde at 28 degrees of Aries loosely trines retrograde Saturn in Sagittarius and will remain there to trine the Solar eclipse later in the month.  This is a wiser, late degree Uranus reevaluating the revolutionary deeds needed to move society along.  In harmony, retrograde Saturn asks for similar reassessment in areas of law, education, philosophies and spiritual value systems.  Talk and walk personal philosophies when Saturn retrogrades in Sagittarius or risk moral doubt and confusion.

The Dragon’s Head beckons at 24 degrees of Leo to those who would reach in acts of creative compassion towards the North Node’s point of possibility.  Acts of empathy and kindness are the keys to unlock the door to this lunar eclipse as the Sun in Leo attempts balance with the full moon in Aquarius.  Choose to see what new opportunities exist when the needs of the individual artist balance with the essential desires of society.

You Are Invited To Walk Through Venus’ Looking Glass

Come one, come all to a workshop presented by Joanne, celebrating Venus in all her Divine Feminine glory!

  • Astrology Toronto
  • Saturday, April 8, 2017
  • 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
  • at The Centering Space, 59 Cambridge Ave, near Broadview the Danforth.
  • more info:

Venus Through Her Looking Glass

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Does the outer image reflect your core values, tastes and preferences or does a stranger return your gaze?  Take a walk through Venus’ looking glass and explore via myth, archetype and astrology how this planetary force shapes individual concepts of value, pleasure and desire in everyday life.

  • Explore the many expressions of Venus in a natal chart by sign, house placement and aspects formed.
  • Look at lovers and relationships through Venus’ lens of pleasure received and desire fulfilled.
  • Connect issues of worth and value to how money and personal resources are used.
  • Discover how different planets forming aspects to natal Venus refine and influence this ‘personal’ planet’s expression.
  • Delve into Venus’ shadow and see the areas of life where envy and disillusionment may be experienced.

Integrate Venus into your life and see a beautiful and complete individual reflected in your looking glass.


Fireworks: Mars Conjuncts Pluto Oct 19, 2016

pablo-2-fireworks-mars-plutoTaking up its sword and shield, the planet Mars prepares to join forces with transformative Pluto in a galactic pairing of energies peaking on October 19, 2016 here in Toronto early in the morning at 4:51 AM. Using a 7 degree orb before and after the exact conjunction, this twosome was within arm’s reach on Friday, October 7th and will completely separate by Saturday, October 29th.

Mars’ energy is active, assertive at best and aggressive at worst, with a boundless sense of energy and initiative, often associated with sex. Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn, harmonizing with the goat’s pursuit of earthy, hard won achievement. Pluto’s transforming power secretly builds until in an unguarded moment, the energy bursts forth in a regenerative crescendo. It too has sexual undertones, but ones that may lie buried in phobia or obsession or erupt forth in unexpected transformation. Pluto in Capricorn represents both the ultimate “plutocrat” as well as balanced community leader. Together, Mars and Pluto energies are fused together as a dynamic duo shaking up the complacency of the staid, sustainable Capricorn climb towards riches, power and authority.

There was cosmic synchronicity on Friday, October 7th when the Washington Post unearthed the Donald Trump and Billy Bush video from obscurity and forever changed the U.S. presidential race dynamics. Coursing with the blunt force of a Plutonian tsunami, the video shows Trump aggressively verbalizing his predatory intent towards women based upon his Mars-tial sense of fame and fortune. Recorded in 2005 and hidden away, this radioactive bomb has blast open public censure from all areas of society.

The Mars/Pluto fusion is uncovering women who have directly suffered from Trump’s unwanted sexual behavior. It is also forcing public figures from both the Republican and Democratic parties to repudiate Trump’s language and in some cases his presidential candidacy. More importantly, the painful regenerative and transformational Mars/Pluto energy will lay the foundation for tangible change in the objectification of women in American society.

Run for cover and let the sparks fly. This Mars and Pluto firestorm will continue to blaze through the end of October – and Americans will be left to rebuild what’s left of civil society with the November election.


Autumn Equinox, Jupiter in Libra and Justin Trudeau at the UN


For the northern hemisphere, Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:21 EST is the moment of the Autumn Equinox, when the sun is directly over the earth’s equator and night and day are an equal 12 hours. In a heavenly balancing act, astrology moves into the zodiacal sign of Libra at the same moment. The only sign not represented by a mythical or animal figure, Libra attempts equilibrium among the stars. Its quality is cardinal, its element is air:   Libra is uniquely qualified to marshal the resources of Virgo’s harvest of data and public opinion and diplomatically apply it to create harmony in face to face relationships. It could be two people working out a business or personal relationship or two countries attempting a dialogue around a shared problem. Where negotiation and communication is needed to support a joint identity of you and me, there is Libra endeavoring to bring social equity to the “we”.

Jupiter highlights these shared social equity issues as it begins its journey through the sign of Libra. This big gas giant moves through a sign in approximately 12-13 months, with this current stately dance begun a few days ago, September 9, 2016 to be exact and ending in October of 2017. Jupiter grabs center stage and grandly airs its beliefs around higher law, philosophy, spirituality and academics. Jovian energy encourages a broad view, long distance travel and shared excess.

When the tactful character of Libra is applied to Jupiter’s larger than life energies grand social schemes and endeavors that embrace parity and fair play abound. In current global affairs just look to the United Nation’s 71st annual General Assembly and Justin Trudeau’s September 20th maiden speech calling global members “to choose hope over fear, and diversity over division.(1)”  CBC report Matt Kwong calls this a “rebranding of Canada as the progressive, liberal voice of international diplomacy (2)”, while The National Post’s John Ivison states in realpolitik form “The lesson from both Obama and Trudeau is that if everyone just did more nice things, and not so many awful things, things would be much nicer (3).”  Jupiter in Libra steps up to the global affairs plate, swings and… was it a homerun or a ground out?

As Prime Minister, Trudeau is experiencing his own singular transit of Jupiter conjuncting transformative natal Pluto in the 2nd house of personal values, resources and ethics, followed by a square with his natal 5th house Capricorn Sun all in September 2016. Pluto elicits elimination, followed by a state of emptiness leading to renewal and transformation, normally in a person’s deep unconscious. Triggered by larger than life Jupiter amplifying Pluto life lessons, Trudeau’s UN speech may be deeply felt and reveals personal beliefs acquired over a lifetime. He voices these beliefs even as he balances the tensions of public leadership. He is both a private Canuk and the leader of Canada bringing to the global forum a plea for sustainable, shared social justice.jpeg-biw-j-trudeau-natal-transits-sep-26-2016

Take a moment tomorrow to ponder the balance between the light of day and the darkness of night. Tangle with the Librarian scales of fair play, parity and equality in your own personal relationships whether with a particular friend, intimate partner or colleague. Ponder Jupiter’s robust role in your life through the lens of your experiences in higher education, spiritual life, run ins with the law or philosophical outlook. Fall into autumn with the gusto demanded by Jupiter and the delicate balance diplomatically suggested by Libra. Cheers!

(1) Complete speech:

(2) Full article:

(3) Full article:

Mercury Retrograde: One Day Late!

Pablo Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

In cosmic synchronicity, this post goes up one day into the Mercury retrograde cycle which began in Toronto on August 30th at 9:04 am in the critical 29th degree of Virgo. There must be important unfinished business for Mercury to almost leave Virgo and then decide to station retrograde. From our earthly perspective, fleet of foot Mercury will methodically appear to move backward (no planet in our solar system actually orbits backward) until it stations direct at 14 degrees of Virgo just before the Vernal Equinox, September 22nd at 1:31 am.

Consider then, in August what appeared to be finished. Was there a joint project at work that appeared to be all wrapped up, ready to see the light of day and suddenly now there is a glitch? Did you breakup with a summer sweetheart and today have second thoughts? Just gone off to college and regret leaving family, friends and the deep end of the pool? Take a moment, consider what you’ve experienced, achieved, gained and conquered in summer and do all the important ‘re’ words: reconsider, revisit, rethink, revise…etc.

This Mercury retrograde cycle wears the garb of the zodiacal sign Virgo, who is particularly good at logically harvesting the bumper crop of life and separating the wheat from the shaft. Yes, there may be technical issues with email, important contracts should be signed in late September and your usual double espresso in the afternoon may not clear the mental fog associated with Mercury retrograde.

Really, though – life doesn’t stop in a Mercury retrograde cycle, so be smart, like Virgo (aka Demeter in Greek myth, Ceres in old Rome) and gather your wits about you! Take a critical look at yourself, the downstairs closet that hasn’t been opened in months and perhaps your bank account and ponder “what should I keep, what should be recycled or composted?” When the Vernal Equinox does roll around on September 22nd, you’ll be ready to “fall” into autumn with the elegant balance that a Sun in Libra demands.



Cancer: Summer’s Cardinal Water Babies

Pablo Cancer ZodiacHappy Birthday to all those born under a Cancer Sun! Truly Summer’s cardinal water babies, you thrive when nurtured with love and understanding, building around you a family, home and tribe that you call your own. Sensitive, emotional and intuitively intelligent, you require private space to recharge, away from the stress and hustle of your everyday life. 

That space – whether a country cottage, an urban condo or better yet, a beach bungalow – will have all the creature comforts you require.  Not to mention the pot of chicken soup (or something like it) on the back burner just waiting to fill the belly and warm the soul. 

Material wealth may be yours for you naturally know rainy days arrive sooner or later.  You may protect and smother with affection those you care about. There may be secret insecurities, or depressions that ebb and flow like the tides.  With maturity and life wisdom, these tendencies may transform into generational nurturance that leads your family, friends and community into an independent, healthier tomorrow.