Week of March 30th

National Museum of San Martino, Naples. Art Collection. Carved painted statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

Sun at 10 Aries
Mercury DIRECT at 13 Pisces (in it’s fall, very weak)
Venus at 25 Taurus (rulership) and Mars at 0 Aquarius.
Jupiter at 24 Capricorn (in it’s fall, or weakened).
Saturn at 0 Aquarius (rulership), Pluto at 24 Capricorn.
Neptune at 19 Pisces (rulership)

Mars (military, drive) meets Saturn (limitations, responsibility) in exactness

These are the signatures the planets are currently presenting to us. They affect each of us differently depending on where they land in our individual charts. Pluto and Saturn are effecting us on global level too, in the form of this pandemic. We have a stellium in the late degrees of Capricorn (roots of earth) … on the very edge of Aquarius (humanity). This means the “build up” of energies we’ve been experiencing over the last three months are coming to fruition – and we can see this with the pandemic in every corner of the globe.

Interestingly, an exact year ago, Mercury retrograde (weak communication) conjunct Neptune (blurred boundaries), went right over Wuhan, China. Then this December, there was a Sun/Jupiter in Capricorn square to Chiron/Black Moon Lilith in Aries over Wuhan when the outbreak first appeared. Check this out:

Sun = your Soul’s development. The “soul” of the Earth as well.
Jupiter = greatly magnifying everything it touches.
Chiron = deep deep healing of primal wound
Black Moon Lilith = the outsider or exiled. The wild, untamed feminine (nature).
Capricorn = Roots… deep Earth
Aries = the individual

Taking these placements into consideration, our planet is giving us a huge message. We are being asked to give her a rest by slowing down in our own lives, and restructuring our society so that the Earth can heal. We have to stop depleting this planet. There is NOWHERE else for us to go for chrissakes. We humans, through our greed, overpopulation and destruction of nature, have unleashed something extremely dangerous to our survival.

Last week, we had Mars conjuncting and charging up Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn. This is significant because this is the point in the skies where the Pluto/Saturn conjunction occurred on January 12th, 2020. I believe this is the astrological event that brought about the pandemic. Saturn brings discipline, responsibility and limitation, and gives us consequences for our actions. Pluto is the repressed, toxic energy in society coming up to be healed, and often creates generational and sweeping change. The two of them meeting together is an extremely rare event that has spawned, wars, plagues and the fall of empires throughout history.

Here is stuff to watch for in the coming week:

Tuesday, March 31st: Moon in Gemini, which makes us all very chatty on social media. Avoid online battles; especially because Mars conjunct Saturn is EXACT today. Mars (competition, war, drive) and Saturn (discipline, limitation, consequences) lined up together can bring a lot of competitiveness and stubbornness, or our energy and drives can be thwarted by issues around time or timing. This can bring an increase in virus numbers and projections, so don’t watch a lot of news.

Wednesday, April 1st: Moon in Cancer. Sensitive day, so step carefully around people’s feelings. Eat comfort food and nurture yourself.

Thursday, April 2nd: Moon in Cancer. Another quiet, homey day. Take it easy and avoid confrontation.

Friday, April 3rd: Moon void of course in Leo most of the day. Avoid important negotiations and big decisions. Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces makes communications go in circles and facts slip through our fingers. Lay low and focus on your own stuff.

Saturday, April 4th: Moon void in Leo most of the day, into Virgo early afternoon. Clean house and do ART. Be creative. Venus, newly in Gemini, will trine Saturn in Aquarius bringing some beauty to our home confinement. Jupiter conjunct Pluto is exact today as well, which could increase the pandemic numbers. Unfortunately, these two planets will be in close proximity in the sky for the rest of the year, which could fuel the pandemic for much longer than predicted. Please be patient and STAY HOME!!

Sun at 3 Aries
Mercury DIRECT at 6 Pisces
Venus at 19 Taurus (rulership) and Mars at 25 Capricorn (exalted).
Jupiter at 23 Capricorn (in it’s fall, or weakened).
Saturn at 0 Aquarius (rulership), Pluto at 24 Capricorn.
Neptune at 18 Pisces (rulership)

REBIRTH. The New Moon in Aries signifies the start of a new astrological year, and a new beginning in our lives. It heralds the coming of Spring. Plants and bulbs are pushing their way out of the Earth and blooming, and the land is green. Normally this would be a celebratory and enjoyable time of the year, but the majority of us now sit sequestered in our homes. Disease is so rampant in our communities, that all gathering places are shut down and we can only go outside for food.

I believe our current worldwide crisis stems from the Saturn/Pluto conjunction on January 12th. It was a seminal event that has brought about worldwide upheaval and disruption in the past. When I became aware of this last year, I knew it would be something huge, but I had no idea it would sweep across the world, crash financial markets and shut down our society. Saturn rules limitation and restriction among other things, and Pluto brings catharsis and regeneration by purging toxic energy. Something toxic has indeed risen up from the depths of nature, and our disregard for the natural world has created it’s path.

Despite the grim news, we can still embrace the Aries New Moon and go through a rebirth. We can make use of this time to be creative. We can set an example for others by taking care of our health, and putting other people’s needs ahead of our own. We can try something new, and take a different approach to our lives. Listen to what the CDC is advising you to do and STAY HOME. Get informed and learn something new. Rediscover your spirituai practice and be creative. What are you ready to let go of, and what would you like your life to be?

Destroying Nature Unleashes Infectious Diseases

Elephants move through southern Sudan’s Boma National Park

This article is from 2012, but illustrates how we currently find ourselves in lock down in our homes. Our carelessness with the environment has repercussions. If the extreme storms and wildfires aren’t going to get our attention and force us to change, then the Earth will shake society to its core by spreading dangerous, highly infectious diseases.

“If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics — AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more that have occurred over the last several decades — don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.

Disease, it turns out, is largely an environmental issue. Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are zoonotic — they originate in animals. And more than two-thirds of those originate in wildlife.

Teams of veterinarians and conservation biologists are in the midst of a global effort with medical doctors and epidemiologists to understand the “ecology of disease.” It is part of a project called Predict, which is financed by the United States Agency for International Development. Experts are trying to figure out, based on how people alter the landscape — with a new farm or road, for example — where the next diseases are likely to spill over into humans and how to spot them when they do emerge, before they can spread. They are gathering blood, saliva and other samples from high-risk wildlife species to create a library of viruses so that if one does infect humans, it can be more quickly identified. And they are studying ways of managing forests, wildlife and livestock to prevent diseases from leaving the woods and becoming the next pandemic.

It isn’t only a public health issue, but an economic one. The World Bank has estimated that a severe influenza pandemic, for example, could cost the world economy $3 trillion.

The problem is exacerbated by how livestock are kept in poor countries, which can magnify diseases borne by wild animals. A study released earlier this month by the International Livestock Research Institute found that more than two million people a year are killed by diseases that spread to humans from wild and domestic animals.

That’s why experts say it’s critical to understand underlying causes. “Any emerging disease in the last 30 or 40 years has come about as a result of encroachment into wild lands and changes in demography,” says Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth.

Emerging infectious diseases are either new types of pathogens or old ones that have mutated to become novel, as the flu does every year. AIDS, for example, crossed into humans from chimpanzees in the 1920s when bush-meat hunters in Africa killed and butchered them.

IT’S not just the invasion of intact tropical landscapes that can cause disease. The West Nile virus came to the United States from Africa but spread here because one of its favored hosts is the American robin, which thrives in a world of lawns and agricultural fields. And mosquitoes, which spread the disease, find robins especially appealing. “The virus has had an important impact on human health in the United States because it took advantage of species that do well around people,” says Marm Kilpatrick, a biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The pivotal role of the robin in West Nile has earned it the title “super spreader.”

And Lyme disease, the East Coast scourge, is very much a product of human changes to the environment: the reduction and fragmentation of large contiguous forests. Development chased off predators — wolves, foxes, owls and hawks. That has resulted in a fivefold increase in white-footed mice, which are great “reservoirs” for the Lyme bacteria, probably because they have poor immune systems. And they are terrible groomers. When possums or gray squirrels groom, they remove 90 percent of the larval ticks that spread the disease, while mice kill just half. “So mice are producing huge numbers of infected nymphs,” says the Lyme disease researcher Richard Ostfeld.

“When we do things in an ecosystem that erode biodiversity — we chop forests into bits or replace habitat with agricultural fields — we tend to get rid of species that serve a protective role,” Dr. Ostfeld told me. “There are a few species that are reservoirs and a lot of species that are not. The ones we encourage are the ones that play reservoir roles.”

Dr. Ostfeld has seen two emerging diseases — babesiosis and anaplasmosis — that affect humans in the ticks he studies, and he has raised the alarm about the possibility of their spread.

The best way to prevent the next outbreak in humans, specialists say, is with what they call the One Health Initiative — a worldwide program, involving more than 600 scientists and other professionals, that advances the idea that human, animal and ecological health are inextricably linked and need to be studied and managed holistically.

“It’s not about keeping pristine forest pristine and free of people,” says Simon Anthony, a molecular virologist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “It’s learning how to do things sustainably. If you can get a handle on what it is that drives the emergence of a disease, then you can learn to modify environments sustainably.”

The scope of the problem is huge and complex. Just an estimated 1 percent of wildlife viruses are known. Another major factor is the immunology of wildlife, a science in its infancy. Raina K. Plowright, a biologist at Pennsylvania State University who studies the ecology of disease, found that outbreaks of the Hendra virus in flying foxes in rural areas were rare but were much higher in urban and suburban animals. She hypothesizes that urbanized bats are sedentary and miss the frequent exposure to the virus they used to get in the wild, which kept the infection at low levels. That means more bats — whether from poor nutrition, loss of habitat or other factors — become infected and shed more of the virus into backyards.

It might mean talking to people about how they butcher and eat bush meat or to those who are building a feed lot in bat habitat. In Bangladesh, where Nipah broke out several times, the disease was traced to bats that were raiding containers that collected date palm sap, which people drank. The disease source was eliminated by placing bamboo screens (which cost 8 cents each) over the collectors.

EcoHealth also scans luggage and packages at airports, looking for imported wildlife likely to be carrying deadly viruses. And they have a program called PetWatch to warn consumers about exotic pets that are pulled out of the forest in disease hot spots and shipped to market.

All in all, the knowledge gained in the last couple of years about emerging diseases should allow us to sleep a little easier, says Dr. Epstein, the EcoHealth veterinarian. “For the first time,” he said, “there is a coordinated effort in 20 countries to develop an early warning system for emerging zoonotic outbreaks.”

An Adult’s Guide to Social Skills, for Those Who Were Never Taught

This is the most important thing a person an learn in their lifetime, and if you were never taught, you can learn it. Mastering this will make your life much better – in every possible way. If you struggle financially, or with loneliness, this could be part of it.

“It’s a shame so few of us are taught the basics of how to interact constructively with each other. If you never were, we’re here to help.

Learning social skills can be difficult if you weren’t exposed to traditional group dynamics as a child, if you struggle with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, or even if you just didn’t have a lot of positive role models when you were growing up. Young people tend to learn how to manage their own emotions, recognize those of other people and manage them both effectively by socializing. If these weren’t skills you developed growing up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Before we get to specific social situations, we should discuss the concept of emotional intelligence (or E.I.). Put very simply, E.I. is your ability to acknowledge your own emotions, recognize emotions in others and use that information to guide your behavior. This is a relatively new area of study in the field of psychology, and developing your own E.I. can help you understand and improve your social interactions.

There are several models of emotional intelligence, but for our purposes, we’ll look at the author Daniel Goleman. He outlines five general categories of E.I. that complement and support one another.

  • Self-awareness: This simply means being able to identify your own emotions and how they work. Are you anxious in loud environments? Do you get angry when people talk over you? If you know these things about yourself, then you’re practicing self-awareness. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but simply being aware of yourself is all it takes for this step.
  • Self-regulation: Taking it a step further, self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.
  • Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators. But in Goleman’s model, internal motivation is a key component. This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.
  • Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.
  • Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.

Every social situation is different and there isn’t always a “correct” way to handle any of them. However, when viewed through the lens of these core competencies, most social situations become a lot more manageable. We’ll go over some common scenarios even adults might struggle with, but keep in mind how these principles can apply in all situations.

Confronting someone when you have a problem with that person can be scary. If you’re the type to avoid conflict, you might rationalize it away by saying you want to keep the peace, or you don’t want to upset anyone. However, this can be a way of avoiding your own feelings. If there wasn’t something bothering you, there would be nothing to confront anyone about.

Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explained to Psychology Today that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.

Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.

Whether it’s a meeting or a party, any time you get more than a couple of people together in a group, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to get a word in edgewise. While most tricks on how to combat this involve managing how you talk — pausing in the middle of a sentence rather than the end, or finishing your sentence even if someone tries to interrupt — an often overlooked issue is managing how you react to being talked over.

It would be great if everyone was polite and let you finish or paused to ask what you’re thinking. This doesn’t always happen. If someone interrupts you and you become annoyed, that can kill your motivation to speak up again. Or you might become visibly agitated and demand to be heard, which can be off putting and make people less likely to want to listen to what you have to say.

Instead, Chris Macleod, counselor and author of “The Social Skills Guidebook,” suggests accepting that group conversations are a “vortex of noise and chaos” and going with the flow. Don’t spend all your time trying to fit in that one thing you badly wanted to say. Instead, go with the flow of the conversation and look for new opportunities to jump in. When you do, speak loudly and with confidence. More practical tricks like keeping your stories short or framing a complaint as a story can smooth over the experience, but regulating your own frustration and annoyance is the foundation these tricks build on.

When you’re young, making friends can be relatively easy. School often means that there’s a group of people you’re required to hang out with who are your age. You may share some interests, and you’ll see one another almost every day. As an adult, it can be harder. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, and time feels in short supply. Or so it seems. What really may be lacking is motivation.

As Vox explains, one of the most important keys to developing a new friendship is, well, showing up. You both say, “We should hang out sometime!” but for some reason you never do. Why? Sure, you have things going on, but you still managed to binge watch the latest “Stranger Things.” There’s nothing wrong with a little “me” time, but it’s also O.K. to spend some of it reaching out to someone new.

When making new friends, you have to start with some internal motivation. Decide for yourself that you’re going to make friends and then put yourself in situations where that can happen. Take a class, join a club, or just talk to people you know but aren’t friends with yet. More important, follow up. If you find someone you want to be friends with — and especially if there are indications that person wants to be friends with you, too — put it on the very top of your to-do list to follow up. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it on purpose.

Talking to a stranger for the first time — whether it’s at a party, a work event, or just on the street — can be complicated. You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves. So much so that, according to research from Harvard University, people will sometimes even give up money to be able to talk about themselves.

You might feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re out on your own, but practicing a little empathy can reveal a powerful truth: So does everyone else. Research from the University of Chicago found that less than 47 percent of its participants believed a stranger would be willing to talk with them. In reality, every attempt was successful. Most of us are willing to have a conversation, we just don’t always want to be the one to make the first move.

However, not everyone is open to a conversation with strangers all the time. An easy way to check is to pay attention to what they’re doing at the time. Are they wearing headphones? Do they seem in a hurry? Are they at their job and only making conversation as part of their duties? If so, you might try again later (or with someone else). If they’re not busy, start by saying hello or opening with a compliment. From there you can keep the conversation going with the “insight and question” method. Simply offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question, and let the conversation flow naturally.

These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.

Week of February 19th

Dark of the Moon: New Moon in Pisces on Sunday, Feb. 23rd.
Sun at 0 Pisces
Mercury RETROGRADE at 12 Pisces (very weak, in it’s fall).
Mars at 1 Capricorn (exalted) and Venus at 12 Aries.
Jupiter at 17 Capricorn (in it’s fall, or weakened).
Saturn at 27 Capricorn, Pluto at 23 Capricorn.
Neptune at 17 Pisces

A lovely alignment between the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn today, sets off the energy of the week. This loosely means our feelings, drive, truth and responsibility are aligned with our ambitions. We are willing to work hard to make our dreams come true. Mars also passed behind the Moon in a rare occultation today. This week, women might have the upper hand in negotiations and rewards, or men might find themselves satisfied with being in a supportive position in their relationships with women.

This week is the dark of the Moon – it’s waning 4th quarter. Take some time for solitude and to tie up loose ends. Reflect and envision what you’d like to create in March, and begin it on Sunday. Mercury has also gone Retrograde, so we are experiencing a natural “pause” at this time. What can you go back and redo or rework? Mercury Retrograde is also a great time to tell the truth about anything you’ve been repressing, as well as experimentation.

Wednesday, February 19 – Moon in Capricorn. Day of hard work and applying yourself. Privately, allow yourself to engage in spiritual practices that include discipline. Not a good day to get concessions from authority. Use caution when networking or exploring options.

Thursday, February 20th – Moon in Aquarius. Focus on groups and teamwork. Also, think ahead to the future and your goals.

Friday, February 21st – Moon in Aquarius. We are coming down to the lowest energy of our Moon cycle, and preparing for rebirth in the New Moon in Pisces on Sunday.

Saturday, February 22nd – Moon in Pisces.

The enduring traditions of St. Brigid’s Day

Imbolc, also known as the Feast of Brigid, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring on February 1. It is one of the four major ‘fire’ festivals (quarter days, referred to in Irish mythology from medieval Irish texts. The other three festivals on the old Irish calendar are Beltane…

Source: The enduring traditions of St. Brigid’s Day