As an enthusiast of the art of comics, one that I’ve kept taped to various incarnations of vision boards is, of all things, a Christian Jack Chick-inked pamphlet, “Hi, There!” featuring a winking grim reaper, scythe in hand waiting around the corner for a wise-cracking construction worker who is shocked to meet his maker. When I was handed this propaganda about 7 years ago, it was truly auspicious timing and little did the proselytizer know how I received this comic strip as much needed tongue in cheek humor, nudging me to make a major decision in life because time waits for no one. 7 years later, a cycle of Saturn, and at a new crossroad in life, I’m preparing for my favorite holiday/s, Yule (Winter Solstice) and Christmas, which neatly syncs in with Saturn, good old Father Time firmly planting his trunks in his most natural placement, Capricorn, for the next 2 ½ years (December of 2020). Like that grinning grim reaper, Saturn’s big business, commitments and visions are serious as a heart attack and Saturn suffers no fools.
For my one-year wedding anniversary I escaped to Woodstock and experienced the starry night sky: a cabin surrounded by woods complete with sherbet colored sunrises and falling leaves. For a brief moment, frenetic city life and work-centered commitments were on pause and for two days only pleasure mattered. I breathed in air scented with beeswax and burnt wood. From devouring an apple endive salad to sipping hot coffee next to a table of Golden Girls-esque women — one wearing a leather jacket emblazoned with Gandhi’s face — the joyful spark of Sagittarius season was lit.
A life lesson for me this fall has been about knowing when to take these pauses along with consciously acknowledging what nourishes or depletes my mind, body and heart. Sagittarius kicks off the holiday season and offers a much-needed reprieve from the bombshells dropped during Scorpio’s season of deep revelations. Women telling their stories of sexual harassment and abuse have sprung forth from the underworld, like oil spewing up from a well and a new chapter in the fight for women’s rights has begun. Sagittarius shoots for the stars and the sign of the archer awakens our deep thirst for discovering what lies past the horizon, providing us with an opportunity for discovery, in foreign places or in one’s own imagination. Ruled by Jupiter, who I always see as the King of Mardi Gras, he possesses a regal demeanor, a man of spiritual wisdom, benevolence and always full of laughter, throwing out treasures from his float and dancing with gusto at every second line parade.
To me, Jupiter mythology was a masculine ideal, perhaps because my father is a Sagittarius and he was always brave, wanting to know more and blessed with a style and flair for the dramatic. Yet, Sagittarius is also a wild centaur attracted to the flame, and my father always seemed to be galloping towards other pursuits, not available at critical times, which only made me crave his attention more. Sagittarius’s shadow side can be arrogant, full of bravado that can be downright laughable, and have a brazen approach to honesty that can either liberate or cause deep insult. Like many girls who look up to their father to be an example of “how men should be,” we’re often horribly let down. Jupiter’s jovial, warm and loving image became quickly tarnished. Perhaps it is part of a broader lesson for all children initiated into adulthood seeing their parents as the flawed adults we all are.
With the #metoo revolution in full gear it has had me thinking about how the relationship between fathers and daughters can quickly turn into their own type of five alarm fires if not handled properly. Like most women, I’ve had flashback moments in the last month remembering a multitude of events that I felt weren’t that big of a deal, in comparison to much greater traumas. It’s the devils I’ve made deals with to “forgive and forget” that have been hitting hardest. I’ve wondered if my father had been able to be involved more in his daughter’s life, could it have prevented a rollercoaster of events? Sounds naïve and the answer is probably not, but there is a part of me that can’t help and ponder would I have been different in my relationships with men if we had a stronger bond? There were some gem moments like when he got really into Hole and we would play “Live Through This” in the car or when he revealed stories of his days as an 18 year old paratrooper all in his thick accent; “it was no big deal, you just jump.” These literally precious moments were always brief and then the suit of masculine armor was donned again. Sagittarius enjoys having a mythology about them but this left an aching distance and my father felt more like an archetype rather than someone who would protect, love and defend me despite such legendary tales.
I saw Tori Amos in concert a few weeks ago and did not have the waterworks and hysterical release of tears that I once had in high school. I was starting to feel a little cheated but an unexpected highlight showing off her Goddess-given power came through crystal clear when she covered “Real Men,” by Joe Jackson, singing “what’s a man now, what’s a man mean.” I thought about my Sagittarius father and how life has changed him. Less prone to violence and quick judgements, I guess you could say he’s mellowed out. What’s a man mean is a question for serious thought and during this powerful time of reckoning, it will be enlightening to see who can admit their past entitlements and abuse of powers. Fire, after all, is the greatest purifier and during this season, only truth will remain.
Originally published at Slutist
“The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept, the fires glow red. We shall welcome them out of the night, our home-coming dead.” ~ Hallow-E’en 1917 by Winifred M. Letts
The Celtic celebration of Samhain, popularly known as All Hallow’s Eve, is the high holy day of witchcraft, which marked the Celtic new year and is an evening of reflection, honoring the dead and receiving their wise messages from the underworld. Along with magnanimous planet Jupiter firmly placed in Scorpio for the next year, the Sun and Mercury are also residing in the sign of metamorphosis, mastery and regeneration. Heavy, man, as my older hippies friends would say, barely begins to explain how deep the vibes are penetrating this Samhain season.
The importance of light, in both the magic and mundane world, has been on my mind frequently and I found myself having visions of golden lanterns at my usual 4:00am awakening. For some reason, my personal magic hour seems to be at dawn, just before the sun rises, as glimmers of light creep from the East. I find that magic works best during the “in-between” times of day and Samhain marks the beginning of winter and the waning light. Without light, we are forced to rely heavily on our senses and this creates an opportune time and atmosphere to work magic. Many magicians work strictly in a cloak of darkness and this time of year reminds us of the power of light, whether it be a single flickering candle or a blaze of carved pumpkins.
Jack-o-lanterns are a beloved Halloween tradition for all ages and while I partake in it with glee, this year I’m approaching it in a solemn and more ritualistic fashion, since the Scorpionic nature of worldwide events have forced us all to face the bleeding wounds of our soul in order for a revelatory transformation to occur. Originally the Celts in Ireland would carve turnips or gourds, as pumpkins were not local, for protection and warding off evil spirits, placing them on porches and in windows.
The name Jack o’lantern comes from the lore of Stingy Jack, a trick-loving blacksmith who toiled with the Devil, chasing and trapping him up in an apple tree. When Jack died, he would not be admitted into heaven or hell and roamed the earth carrying an ember that could never burn out, courtesy of the Devil, and placed it in a carved out turnip, his favorite food. Jack o’lantern is also referred to as the will-o’-the- wisps, a mysterious misty ghost light that resembles a lantern over swamps, bogs and marshes appearing at night. Scientifically, it is some kind of phosphorescence believed to occur due to a spontaneous combustion of chemicals such as methane or from decomposing matter. Magically the will-o’-the-wisps conjures up faeires, ghosts and all kinds of unexplained phenomena and science can’t exactly explain the entire pale flames dancing above the marshes.
On October 31st after the frivolity of trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples and other parlor games has passed, let the night envelop you and commune with silence. Be aware of the sensual world and light a flame. Carve occult symbols of protection into a pumpkin, rutabaga, potato or gourd, whatever you have access to, and if possible surround yourself in a circle of lanterns. Their light should be the only light illuminating your space and imagine yourself descending towards the bowels of the underworld. If you have a witches flying ointment or oils of mandrake, henbane or belladonna anoint your temples and feet. Incense, oils, or balms, and a glass of good red wine will often set the mood. Think back on last Halloween, how your eyes have opened and what you’re still grappling with one year later. Honor those loved ones who have passed and raise a glass to their memory, perhaps they will visit you in a dream or through a sign of life. Revel in the warmth, guidance and light that these lanterns and the season of Samhain provide.
Originally published on Slutist
When the sky holds a pink hue along the horizon line a few moments before or after sunset, it’s known in stargazer circles as the Belt of Venus. We’ve ushered in Libra season in the Northern Hemisphere with the Autumn Equinox, and much like Venus’s rosy belt, this time of year briefly holds the Sun’s waning glow before we fully descend into fall. For the next month we are asked to dance the delicate choreography of the “in-between” seasons and work on how well we can relate. Dion Fortune wrote about how “the months of the Equinoxes are periods well known to occultists as being times of psychic stress,” which seems to contradict Libra’s outward appearance of being able to multi-task with a smile. Like a stealth ballerina, all children of Venus know how much discipline goes into making things appear harmonious and balanced.
In Greece she’s known as Aphrodite but the Romans called her Venus, and she was a goddess of victory, prostitution and fertility along with her more famous qualities of beauty and love. Venus wear many shades of lipstick and by no means is simply another pretty face. Over the weekend, I was exposed to Venus in all her aspects by way of the 15th annual NYC Burlesque Festival, in which I found myself seduced and electrified by incredible acts of beauty for every palate in the room. My sister by destiny, The World Famous * BOB * has been a personal Venus to me, and watching her host the show, with flawless wit and style, brought me back to a place of abandonment that often comes from watching people reveal. As a former burlesque performer, I will never forget a specific feeling of power and honesty that comes from owning a stage and holding the audience’s eyes, hearts and loins in the palm of your G-string. That evening, all sides of beauty were showcased with a multitude of interpretations, from the brutally handsome butch to voluptuous femmes and everything in between. Onstage the performers proudly shared their own relationships with love, sex and glamour along with political statements, triumphs over abuse, and steamy personal kinks.
As the audience cheered, I thought how appropriate it was that we’ve entered Libra season, famous for her ability to be receptive to everyone’s story, inviting all to the party because she knows it would be boring otherwise. Libra time is about understanding relationships and watching these powerful seductresses onstage made me think about my own relationship to the elusive and subjective meaning of beauty. Who’s your personal Venus and how does she inspire artful, meaningful moment of love in your life? I’ve heard some astrologers say that Leo is a director while Libra is the actor because they want to fully understand the opposite side of the story. Like an actor, take a few moments each day to observe, appreciate and broaden your definition of what makes something or someone beautiful. To act in service of beauty has nothing to do with vanity, although Venus understands that feeling beautiful is a universal desire and need. As my evening of what felt like a Goddess convention ended, I found myself fulfilled with new interpretations of what makes something sexy, funny and otherworldly. Whether it’s by lending a helping hand to someone and seeing their smile or by giving someone a genuine compliment, use Libra’s grace to fill yourself with the spirit of Venus, in all her forms, this season.
Photo Credits: Cat Cabral
Butterfly that flutters in the morning light, you have known many forms before you ever took flight.” —Jamie Sams and David Carson, Medicine Cards.
The last days of summer always contain feelings of bittersweet reflection along with perpetual “back to school” anxiety. For me, summer always meant the freedom to create and to live purely for the moment. Regardless of our fall plans, we are all enrolled in different grades of the school of life. Smack dab in the middle of Lammas season, these final days of summer tell the myth of John Barleycorn, the living spirit of the grain being cut down and sacrificed for the greater good reminding us that everything will die in due time and that seasons of change are unstoppable.
The Total Solar Eclipse feels much more ominous, exposing plagues, chaos and grotesque locusts under average faces. From the Lunar Eclipse earlier in the month up until today’s, we’ve experienced shocking and not so shocking reveals, a Band-Aid that has been hanging on, now ripped wide open unable to conceal the horrific afflictions ailing our nation. Mercury retrograding in perfection-obsessed Virgo only highlights these atrocities and if there’s anything this eclipse season has taught us is that it’s only going to get worse before the healing can begin.
As I write this, I think of history and wonder how much worse will it get. Or has it always been this brutal, and now we are hyper aware of everything happening in real-time and have less time to process, understand and truly think before we act. As the Moon passes the Sun, the divine feminine meets the divine masculine and lightness will be blanketed by shadows. There can be cohesion between opposing entities and a caustic clash of egos. Eclipses are all about the grey area and living within it. This eclipse season has shaken up the personal and political, conscious and unconscious, macro and micro, every level has been asked to stand up and state their truth. What’s yours? It’s time to reveal.
Eclipses are revelatory in their ability to unify and coupled with the New Moon in family oriented Leo; it took a random interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy to remind me of this most important truth. “Let’s celebrate being alive right now, in this universe, and marvel at humankind’s ability to observe this phenomenon, and to understand the cosmos and our place within it.” Our planet and the daily political climate that we live in is changing and challenging us at a terrifying pace. Yet rather than let it paralyze us into a well of hopelessness lets use this magnificent eclipse to remind ourselves of how imperative it is to stay connected in our desire to continue our lives on this beautiful planet that we are so lucky to grace.
All of this was on my mind when an orange butterfly landed directly in front of my face as I strolled to get a morning bagel. This literal symbol of transformation stopped me in my tracks and slowly opened up her larger than expected wings. As we took each other in quietly, I entered into a silent dialogue with this mythical creature. Her wings fluttered ever so slightly and I thought how powerful this silent moment is. Animals appear to us as signs of life, signs of medicine and signs that cannot be ignored. Like the eclipse, the butterfly emerging from its cocoon does not know how the changes will affect her until they have taken place. Like the butterfly we are all in the stage of chrysalis and only with time, awareness and due diligence will our full transformation and liberation take place.
Eclipse Photo Credit: Bill Sollee
Originally published on Slutist
What’s in a name, one might ask? My name, Cat, like the animal, was first a happy accident and then a deliberate choice. I tried out Kate, Cathy and Katie, all perfectly fine derivatives of Catherine, but none felt quite right. As a girl, I was always uncomfortable so I tried to make everyone else feel comfortable — except in ballet class. There was something about losing myself in dance that made me find my confidence. My ballet teacher, Miss Kim, was a Leo and one day at the barre starting calling me Cat, first by mistake and then she said, “I like that name for you.” Immediately something shifted. Cats always felt sassy, bold and glamorous; as a Batman nerd I worshiped Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt’s versions of Catwoman, so the moniker stuck. Miss Kim was the classic embodiment of Leo the lioness in her highest vibration.
As a working, professional ballet dancer, Miss Kim famously chose to decline a small role in Cats, instead furthering her already growing ballet school empire with numerous students, many who went on to successful careers. My memory of her is so vivid, from her dedication to proper technique, her bubbly laugh and of course her long luxurious locks. Like most performer Leos, when she took center stage you were in for a treat. From dancing sequences from Swan Lake with her perfect chignon, not a hair out of place, to transforming into a whirling dervish where she let her black hair down, Miss Kim was full of fire, life and love, groomed to perfection, yet wild with abandonment. A lioness queen, I too, could be.
Anahata, also known as the heart chakra, is green in color and translates from Sanskrit as meaning “unhurt, unstruck and unbeaten.” Despite being different systems from East and West, it’s no surprise that Leo, ruled by the Sun, also represents the heart in Western astrology. Anahata is all about compassion, loving openly and learning how to forgive others rather than holding on to resentment, fear and jealousy. Anahata radiates self-love and respect for oneself and therefore others. Leos are naturally lovers, passionate about protecting their partners and cubs. One of their life lessons is to avoid getting “green with envy.” Cats, of the large and small variety, all have undeniable presence, and now that we’ve entered Leo season along with a New Moon and Mars (all in the big cat’s sign), it’s time for bold behavior, big hair, and taking chances in confident fashion.
Miss Kim was in a horrifying car crash before opening up her ballet school and had a significant scar on her cheek, faded by plastic surgery and make-up, and she proudly told her students about the importance of overcoming our fears whether it be dancing on pointe or making friends. She often spoke about how before the accident her sole desire in life was to become a principal ballet dancer and many of her daily rituals involved altering her appearance severely so she could fit into the expectations of what a ballerina should look like. This woman, of course, was in peak physical condition, yet I remember her stopping herself when she started to complain about her “large” muscular calves. She was so candid with her students in these moments saying things like, “girls look how silly I am even though I know better.” Miss Kim made every size feel graceful and powerful, but by being honest about her own struggles with beauty she felt like a relatable big sister while remaining a tough instructor.
With this Leo season, challenge yourself to overcome a fear and commit to working on it through August 21nd which brings a second New Moon in Leo which also happens to be a Solar Eclipse. What an opportune moment in time we have to focus our energies of whatever is plaguing our heart chakra. This doesn’t have to be your all time biggest fear but something significant enough that it currently makes you doubt your own talents, intelligence or self-image. In my ballet studies I was one of the last girls in my class to dance “en pointe,” where a dancer is quite literally dancing on the top of their toes. I had weak ankles and Miss Kim patiently worked on building up my muscles, reassuring me that it was wiser to build up the physical strength because it takes a leap of faith and ultimate self-confidence to perform such an intricate and challenging style of dance. That day, lacing on satin dance slippers and going up en pointe was among one of my bravest and proudest moments.
Find those specific moments of courage in your own personal history and use them as matches to light the fire in your heart this Leo season and dance forward with unbeatable strength.
Images: NYCB Firebird Ballet; Slutist Tarot by Morgan Claire Sirene
Originally published here