An Elemental Afternoon

Tuesday in Toronto. Cold. A high of 11° C for a mid-October day. The sun is brilliant, cutting the sky with golden light. Not much wind. Just enough to rustle the trees and shake orange, yellow and red leaves one by one to the ground.

Shirt, sweater, jeans, sturdy sneakers, hat, half-gloves, double fleece jacket on in a flash. Grab the dog, car keys and sun glasses. Out, out and out into the light. Traffic on the Gardner uncomplicated and light, making our way to the outskirts of Etobicoke. Drive down Brown’s Line to a deserted park with a wide expanse of Lake Ontario.

Merlin and I together in solitude, except for a stray squirrel and a distant biker dressed in spandex red on the paved trail. We turn to the water, full sun high in the southern sky warming the expanse of field, beach and suburban forest. Oh Lake Ontario. This living, breathing body of water is crystal clear today and shimmers in waves of blue sapphires, gently breaking on the shore.

The elements of fire, earth, air and water surround and pulse with life. A stray Monarch butterfly dips by. Merlin buries his nose deep in a patch of ground, throws himself down and rolls belly up over and over again. Comes up for air with a loopy grin, tongue to one side and eyes bright. He disappears among a patch of trees and vegetation and I turn once more to the lake. A pair of geese flies low, honking in near unison as they merge with the horizon.

Gazing into the southern sky, closing my eyes against the sun’s full gaze. The fire signs leap to mind: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. All alit with solar radiance. Earth signs follow: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Each grounded into some degree of the material. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius chatter and declare their resolve on the breeze, while Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces bob on the lake in emotional resonance. Twelve signs dancing on the rim of the horizon forming a sacred wheel of fire, earth, air and water.

The reverie is broken as Merlyn dashes out of the rustic grove and tumbles towards me covered in burrs and brambles. Patiently, he stands still as I take one, then two then a half dozen out of his wiry coat. We move on.  The magic of the day shatters with our motion.

The echo of it remains.

IWD 2018: Six Women To Celebrate!

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 with me!  Here are six special women to discover or reclaim: 

Buffy Sainte Marie (b Feb 20, 1941) and Tanya Tagaq (b May 05, 1975) are indigenous women of rare grace and artistry. Buffy sings her universal truth under a Pisces Sun while Tanya brings a Taurus Sun to life through Inuk throat singing. Both defy indigenous stereotypes while empowering any who would listen. Their latest collaboration was “You Got To Run (Spirit of the Wind)”.

Lorri Neilsen Glenn (b Nov 16, 1947) is a Prairie born poet now living in Nova Scotia. For a great read pick up her latest book, Following The River: Traces of Red River Women. This Scorpio author with persistence and passion writes about the life of her great-grandmother, Catherine Kennedy Couture and other Cree and Metis foremothers, while exploring the legacy of Red River history and culture. This hybrid memoir weaves story, historical accounts, poetry and personal testimony in ways that tug the reader’s heart.

Cristy C. Road (b May 26, 1982) is a queer Latina who is a well-known graphic artist and punk-rock performer living in New York City. The versatile, Gemini born Road illustrated the Next World Tarot – a queer and people of color, archetype-smashing deck that challenges users to rethink their world view.



Yayoi Kusama (b Mar 22, 1929) is a Japanese contemporary artist who’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition can be seen at the AGO museum in Toronto. With her famous red anime wig, this dynamic Aries has pushed through personal turmoil and psychic disarray to create a body of work that serves to obliterate the ego while expanding cosmic consciousness.

Annie (b Jan 31, 1979) is an anthropologist, public administrator, academic and one of my dearest friends. Under an Aquarian Sun, she builds community by empowering those around her to seek their truth. She has graced me with her patient understanding, her native intelligence and warm smile. She celebrates IWD every year, understanding that the world grows richer when women are honored for their social, political, academic, financial and cultural achievements. Love you Annie.

Celebrate these and ALL the special women in your lives. 


A Sagittarian Winter Solstice: Jupiter’s Time of Year!

In the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas is celebrated under a Sagittarian Sun, culminating in the Winter Solstice and a seasonal handoff to Capricorn. Jovial Jupiter raises a glass and recognizes dour Saturn’s return, even as the party is in full swing. In Celtic myth, the Holly King bows and recognizes the Oak King’s dominion, as the longest winter’s night gives way to daylight’s return. So let the yule log burn, for the New Year’s sobriety is nigh.

The Spirit of Christmas Present is an updated Jupiter archetype in my favorite British film adaption of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Filmed in 1951, this black and white production stars Alistair Sim as Scrooge who over one night, comes to know the true meaning of Christmas through his experiences with 3 spirits: Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Francis de Wolff, (born Jan 07, 1913) a Capricorn mostly known as a character actor depicts Christmas Present with true Jupiterian bravado. The Spirit is garbed in a velvet robe with fur collar, enthroned before a roaring fire and surrounded by bountiful food and drink. Jovial in spirit, Christmas Present reacquaints a reluctant Scrooge with those who are not financial secure but who share the good will of the season.

At the very end of the Spirit’s time, he pulls back his robe and allows Scrooge to see the two thin and ill-dressed children who search for comfort there. “The boy is ignorance and the girl is want. Beware of them both, but most of all, beware of this boy,” gravely cautions the Spirit of Christmas Present. Then in mocking tones he says, “But have they no refuge, no resource? Are there no prisons? Are there no work houses?” Words used by Scrooge in defense of his own miserly philanthropy.

Jupiter challenges us to celebrate the best in this life while meeting the need that is hidden in plain sight. This leads to questions of justice, resource allocation, and other philosophical and cultural questions that many people struggle with in public and private life. In any Jupiter inspired tale higher education, the rule of law, philosophical queries and spiritual yearnings will play a major role. Look to the planet’s restless mutable quality for clues as well as to the inspiration the fire element lends.

A native born with a Sagittarian Sun finds Jupiter calling the individual to place their edgy feet on a journey in search of the highest ideals that the world aspires to while lending a helping hand for those coming behind them.    A Sagittarian Moon will need to nurture a belief system that defeats skepticism and doubt. A Sagittarian Ascendant will physically gallop into life, traveling far and wide to discover truth and inspire others to follow their lead.

Look to your own natal chart and observe where Jupiter sits. The house placement will offer a clue as to what sphere of life Jupiter themes will echo in. A 10th house placement puts Jupiter in the public spot light while a 5th house placement will signify a merry and creative sense of play. Excess is always possible…so too inevitable deflation and is part of Jupiter’s role of the dice in the area of life it influences. Jupiter will return to its natal placement roughly every 12 years and signifies a reorientation in ethics, morals, worldly outlook. It is not accidental that the first Jupiter return in many spiritual traditions, around age 12-14, centers on recognition of the young person’s beginning journey towards full adulthood.

Jupiter’s natal zodiacal sign will offer descriptive context. A Jupiter in Capricorn will be quite sober and perhaps miserly, while a Jupiter in Leo purchases another round for the whole bar. Jupiter moves through each astrological sign in about 13 months. Currently, the planet entered Scorpio in October, 2017 and will remain there until November, 2018 when it enters Sagittarius, the sign which represents its purest energies.

Review natal Jupiter’s relationships with other planets. Consider the consolidation of energies in a conjunction, the seesaw swings of an opposition, the pull this way while pulling that way of a square, the ease of communication in a trine and the hey, let’s talk of a sextile.

All of these preliminary musings will illuminate the current Jupiter transit in Scorpio within the context of your natal chart. In the larger culture, it is not surprising to see the conversations around psychosexual power dynamics between people have come to the fore. Use the laser like Scorpio energy to transform the area of your life where Jupiter now transits in your natal chart.

Most importantly of all, embody the best of Jupiter during the holiday and into the new year. Extend a hand to those in need and much like Scrooge experienced with Tiny Tim the joyful blessing of the season.

Merry Solstice everyone!


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…..




Scorpio Sun: The Power of Desire


For people born under a Scorpio Sun (October 23 through November 21), their solar energy flows as currents of deep desire. Personal transformation is their birthright and many will spend a lifetime searching for it. The most publically famous will create success in their chosen field or sphere of influence, often overcoming personal crisis. Much like a phoenix rising from the ashes of despair, all Scorpios have the power to transform into a truer version of their authentic self. The less fortunate will flex their Scorpion tails in vengeful, sometimes violent arcs, wounding those around them until the final thrust stings themselves.

Scorpios dive deep and refresh themselves through the element of water, while displaying a fixed, often intense character. They are unusually passionate about something and will with laser like precision gather the resources needed to achieve their goals. Pluto, the god of the underworld, is this sign’s planetary ruler. Scorpions are adept at penetrating Pluto’s hidden realm to return with secret treasures brought forth to share under their Sun’s light.

Many Scorpios unconsciously gravitate towards the deeper mysteries of birth, sex, death and taxes, seeking careers in medicine, psychiatry, social work, or politics. The Scorpio police detective will operate undercover to foil a drug deal, while the Scorpio scientist may spend a lifetime discovering a cure for cancer. The soul standing in the shadow of their Scorpion Sun may be the crime boss living around the corner or the sex worker pursuing a college degree. Often the Scorpion native simply has an air of the unknowable, leaving you to ponder over the intense jealousy uncovered during a casual lunch with your Scorpion lover. Or a best pal born in early November may surprise you with a sarcastic comment that cuts to the truth of the matter.

The Plutonian actor Mathew McConaughey (Nov 4, 1969) won an Oscar for Best Actor in 2013 for his passionate, disciplined performance in the movie Dallas Buyers Club. Playing Ron Woodroof, McConaughey transformed himself physically into the rodeo rider suddenly diagnosed with AIDS, losing 22 pounds for the role. With brilliant artistry, McConaughey convey Woodroof’s struggle to obtain treatment along with the character’s renewed sense of human dignity even as death neared. This role capped McConaughey’s own Scorpion transformation from playing unremarkable romantic comedy characters to portraying complicated dramatic personas. Perhaps McConaughey powerful Scorpion Sun’s desire is best left in his own words: “I don’t want to revolve. I want to evolve. As a man, as a human, as a father, as a lover.”

Other famous Scorpions:

Hilary Clinton                       Oct 26, 1947

Leonardo DiCaprio             Nov 11, 1974

Future                                    Nov 20, 1983

Bill Gates                               Oct 28, 1955

Caitlyn Jenner                      Oct 28, 1949

Diana Krall                            Nov 16, 1942

k.d. Lang                                Nov 02, 1961

Lorde                                      Nov 07, 1996

Joni Mitchell                         Nov 07, 1943

Pele                                        Oct 23, 1940

Willow Smith                         Oct 31, 2000scorpio-rising


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:

Leo: Let the Sun Shine!

pablo Leo ZodiacEveryone needs to have a Leo in their life!  These big cats shine in life’s spotlight, craving audience approval.  Creative, passionate, dramatic and filled with laughter and tears, a person born under the summer sun basks in the heat of a lover’s regard, a child’s amazement or a teacher’s glare.  They are usually in the middle of their own personal show:  Leo Prime Time.  Come along for the romp if you dare and be willing to participate in the performance.  Your pay off will be romantic star light, chilled champagne and fancy treats.

Leos are best when they guard their inner child and remain in awe of the universe.  When insecure or feeling unloved, a Leo will literally pout and flounce about.  Have pity on this big feline, stroke a fury paw and tell them the sun will come out no later than tomorrow.  Help them chase their fears away by telling them they are marvelous!

They usually are marvelous at something:  artists, actors, teachers, politicians, athletes or any profession that they are passionate about.  Leos have the intensity and intent to achieve that which they put their whole heart in to create.  Children adore them, lovers crave their attention and life-long partners are amazed they caught them.

A Leo in your life is a sun drenched adventure, a dramatic soap opera, a steamy romance novel and sometimes all three rolled into one.  Rock and roll with the big cat and you’ll always have a bit of Sun shinning in your life!

Big Cats in the Public Glare:

Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Viola Davis, Buddy Guy, Kylie Jenner, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, Madonna, Shawn Mendes, Barack Obama, Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Rodriguez, J.K. Rowling, Young Thug.


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. 

The Sun and Adele in Taurus

The seasons have turned with the Sun moving into Taurus today, April 19th where it will remain through May 20th. The bull charging against a perceived enemy or simply standing still upon the far hill symbolizes the stubborn, enduring strength of this fixed, earth sign. Wise friends and partners of those born in Taurus will present their suggestions or arguments cogently, while always allowing the bull to say no before attempting to change their mind.  

There is a sensuous, pragmatic appreciation for the pleasures in life with the Taurus soul stoically gathering those items they believe will sustain their comfort – whether it’s money, a house, social status or career success.   Venus, who knows a few things about personal pleasure, rules Taurus and confers artistic gifts or tactile appreciation of form and function.

The area of the body associated with Taurus is the neck, including the thyroid and larynx. The melodious Taurean voice may erupt into song (Adele, born May 5th) or peal with laughter at the slightly off color joke just told. Either way – there is an unpretentious charm when they laze about or stride forth through life. Make room or get out of the way- Taurus is in the house.