• My New AstroMap

    When you move or travel somewhere other than your birth place, your Astro Map changes too. Ok, that’s my nickname for Astro*Carto*Graphy, which is quite a mouthful. The more I get to know my chart as it relates to travel, the more amazed I am. This last year was my biggest year of travel in a long time. I went to India to receive my award in New Delhi. Then I spent the summer in Barcelona, Spain. Being in two new places gave me a good chance to see how different I felt in each location.

    First I want to explain a little bit about Astro*Carto*Graphy. It’s a technique that shows where your planets were around the world when you were born. It’s like your birth chart on a map.  So when I was being born in Tucson, where was the Sun rising in the world and where was it setting? Where was Venus or the Moon rising and setting? The Astro Map easily shows that and much more.

    People typically use Astro*Carto*Graphy to decide where to move, or where to travel for holiday, or where to start a new business. If people are interested in finding love or have an interest in the arts, I look at their Venus line. If they are asking about business, I would look at their Jupiter line. I call the Moon line a home away from home, so your Moon needs to be in a safe place where you are drinking tea in someone’s cozy kitchen. An unprotected Moon would lead to being insecure in that location, especially if it’s a big city and you don’t know anyone there. Depending on your chart, there are places in the world that are good to visit and some places not good to visit.

    So what were the planetary lines was I on in these different locations: Tucson, India and Barcelona? I was born in Tucson with Jupiter rising, so the main line for me here is the international planet, Jupiter. I find it interesting that I worked at Canyon Ranch as an astrologer for 32 years. I stayed here in Tucson and greeted people from all around the world as my clients. It’s a successful planet to have prominent in a location and explains my stay at Canyon Ranch as well as my international presence as a full-time astrologer. But most of my planets are below the horizon here and add to a private lifestyle. My clients are almost all over the phone or the internet, so I don’t see many of them in person.

    Let’s go to India in my chart. Saturn is the planet on my horizon in India. How perfect for this ancient and well-preserved culture. Saturn relates to the past and structured patterns. It’s a male-dominated society, which is also very saturnine. I was one of only two women who received awards with about 50 men receiving awards at the conference. So it was an honor for the both of us. The other woman, by the way, is Sasha Lee, an excellent Korean astrologer. I felt quiet and not very adventurous in such an unusual environment, which was also a Saturn style.

    Barcelona called to me, even before I knew my AstroMap there. Well, the Sun was rising in Barcelona when I was being born in Tucson. I went to my sunrise there. No wonder I felt so alive. Somehow I felt like I have been dreaming my entire life and all of the sudden – I woke up! I was outgoing and met lots of new friends easily. My style changed drastically since I really loved how the Spanish women dress. I even got a new, fun haircut. Hey, I lost 10 pounds too. Since Barcelona is a pedestrian city, I realized I was walking miles each day just getting around the city.

    So when you change your latitude – you do change your attitude. But it depends upon which is your predominant planet as to how you change. Moving to a Saturn line would bring a rooted, serious life. On a Mars line, you would feel very energized or impatient and restless. You would change on your Neptune line, but might not understand the change. So the planetary line you are one makes all the difference.

    Maybe it’s because I spent most of the summer in Barcelona or maybe it’s because I got to know my sunrise line, but I’m different and will never be the same. I want to thank this fabulous technique of Astro*Carto*Graphy in helping me see a new part of myself come to life. I feel like my Sun is rising now.


  • Astrology During Libra

    The Sun enters the sign of Libra on September 22nd at 6:56 p.m., Mountain Time. Libra is an air sign and is associated with Venus, the planet of love. Libra is all about relationships. This sign just knows how to talk to people in a personal way. Libra, who is associated with Venus, loves the arts, music and social interactions with friends. A night on the town after an art gallery opening is a fun evening for Libra. That’s why I’m named this sign, The Lovely Libra.

    The sign of Libra always marks the Autumn or Fall Equinox. The year is divided up by four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Spring and Fall are named the Equinoxes while Summer and Winter are named the Solstices. On the Equinoxes, the Sun shines on both hemispheres equally, creating the day and night to be of equal lengths. The Solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year, depending if you are in the northern or southern hemisphere. Regardless, many celebrations occur on these seasons, like at Stonehenge. The Fall Equinox encourages rest and celebration after the crops have been harvested. The Full Moon on September 24th is the Harvest Moon. Many celebrations include apples and the root crops that were recently harvested. This is the time for gratitude for the abundance in your life.

    Venus will be doing a retrograde starting on October 6th and not ending until November 16th. Where Mercury retrogrades are matters of the mind; Venus retrogrades are matters of the heart. This retrograde of Venus is in intense Scorpio until October 25th and then finishes her retrograde in romantic Libra. All retrogrades are times to regroup, rethink and redo. This just happens to be on the inner realm. Many will be looking at their primary relationship in a new way. Change what isn’t working. Even though it’s not easy, it’s the time for change during Venus retrograde. Venus only does this once about every 1 ½ years, where Mercury retrogrades three times a year.

    Here is one of the tricks of astrology: the rarer the event, the more important it is. So a Venus retrograde is more important than Mercury retrograde. Don’t think you’ll miss this retrograde if you’re not in a relationship . . . it will still change you somehow. It might be a need to change up the art in your house. Or maybe you’re having a clothes crisis, which happens to me often. Are you in the mood for a new style or haircut? Do you want to paint that wall a bright color? These are all Venus retrograde questions. Instead of being surprised, plan for it so you can use those dates effectively. Have as much fun as you can!

    About the visible planets, this is another fabulous month of seeing them in the evening sky. Right after sunset you will see brilliant Venus above the western horizon. Make sure to watch Venus now, because as soon as she turns retrograde, she will disappear in the glow of the Sun. But now right above Venus is bright Jupiter. They are getting closer together and will reach their closest proximity to each other right before Venus does her retrograde. Their closest dates will be from September 22nd until October 5th.  The Moon will move past them both on from October 9th – 11th for a magnificent sight. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks!

    See you next month in Scorpio!


  • What's Up for Your Sign During Libra?

    Libra

    Happy Birthday, lovely Libra! Mercury, the planet of communication, will be in Libra until October 9th. Use this time now to reach out to your friends and loved ones. If you have a birthday celebration, invite talkative people who are fun!

    Scorpio

    You have quite a month coming up, dear Scorpio. Venus will be doing a retrograde in Scorpio from October 6th – 25th. This will be the best time to rethink your relationship patterns and replace them with new routines. Be bold.

    Sagittarius

    You might feel like being more quite this month than your usual outgoing Sag. Take plenty of time for yourself and learn how to say No. You just won’t be excited about going to big parties. It’s ok to take a break.

    Capricorn

    This middle of October is your power time this month. There are several planets in Capricorn now which will make you feel even more Capricorny and business-minded than usual. Plan to meet influential people for power talks.

    Aquarius

    You are on fire this month, Aquarius! Mars has been retrograding and now is racing forward in Aquarius to open doors for you . . . and fast! Be as physical as you can now. Mars likes being strong and going forward and it’s your turn now.

    Pisces

    You are in for a sweet month, Pisces. The end of September will be a great time for to spend time with your friends.  Have a little gathering and talk about your memories. Have photos handy will make for a memorable evening.

    Aries

    The Full Moon will be in Aries this month and will happen on September 24th. This will be the Harvest Moon and is the time to be grateful for your incredible life. Make a list of your blessings on this Aries Full Moon.

    Taurus

    The planet of sudden changes, Uranus, is now doing a retrograde in your sign of Taurus. You are undoubtedly feeling restless, but wait a bit to make any huge changes until Uranus turns direct in January 2019. Now is the planning phase.

    Gemini

    There will be a sudden and very positive surprise for you during the last several days in September. Other people will be involved and it will be much larger than you can imagine. Be ready for a new change in your life.

    Cancer

    There might be slight delays to your plans in early October. Even though you will feel frustrated, these changes are needed to ensure the success of your project. Meet with your consultants after that for new strategy.

    Leo

    You will end up being the hero in a sticky situation during the first week in October. This look rough and then you come in to save the day. You will make new fans with your leadership style. Hooray for you, Leo!

    Virgo

    There is a perfect triangle of planets in earth signs now that is helping your Virgo Sun now. This will last for the next couple of month. Great time to make life decisions that will set you up for a long time. Opportunities and the solutions will be appearing at the same time.


  • Change in Latitude = Change in Attitude

    Barcelona was my home for the summer and I knew the long trip would be life changing. The rebel planet, Uranus, is playing with my chart a lot now, which always creates something new. It can be a new home, a new style and a new haircut. But it also goes much deeper to bring a new awareness of who we are inside and how we connect with the world. I was expecting a new lifestyle, new friends and new clothes, but I wasn’t expecting a new relationship with the sky.

    As many people know, I have a big backyard where I watch the sky, especially the planets, every night. It’s my meditation to watch the sunset and then one by one to see each of the planets “Pop” out along the Ecliptic as it gets darker. The Moon is first, of course, then brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter. Mars is very easy to see now, since it’s close to the Earth and very bright and red. Except for Mercury, Saturn is the hardest to see, since it’s never very bright. Sometimes I’m on my chez lounge for 2 hours just watching the sky. All you have to do is just sit there and watch and you will see lots of movement in the night time sky. You might see a ring around the Moon, which is always magical. You might see a blinking satellite slowly traveling the celestial sphere. Of course, you can also see the occasional falling star. For me, the night sky rivals TV.

    While I was in Barcelona, I lived in Gotico, which is a medieval barrio with very narrow, winding streets. Two blocks from my place was a 2000-year-old Roman wall. My apartment was on the 3rd floor of a 5 story building, with no elevator, oh boy! As I walked through the city at night, I could only see a little sliver of the sky at a time. It is the first time I understood who people is big cities don’t connect with the sky. You can’t see it! Yes, you might get a glimpse of the Moon, but not relative to the other planets, which is my focus. I like seeing all the planets and see how they move each night relative to each other. It’s called Relative Velocity. I have to say I’m pretty obsessed with doing that. Living in Tucson, the huge, open sky is always there so I can see my planetary friends, and nightly.

    Not being able to see the planets or knowing the directions (North, South, East and West), was more disorienting that I ever expected. For the first few weeks in Barcelona, I was getting lost in the narrow, winding, streets of the barrio. I have an excellent sense of direction and Never get lost, but I just couldn’t get oriented. Then, on the evening of my birthday, I got a present from the universe. I found an open plaza, late at night, and could see the Moon and Venus. I sat there long enough to see their movement, which showed me the directions. Ok, I got my bearings. So funny, after that, I never got lost again. I felt my connection with the sky again. It made all the difference in the world for my trip and truly showed me how important the sky was to me. Here is my birthday present of the Moon and Venus over Plaza Catalunya. 

     

    The Ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun and is also where all the planets are at night. All the planets travel along the Great Highway in the Sky, or the Ecliptic. An Eclipse of the Sun and Moon can only occur along the Ecliptic. Once you see where the Sun is during the day, you can always see where the planets will be at night – on the Ecliptic.

    Now that I saw where the Ecliptic was in Barcelona, I noticed something that was different that I am used to seeing in Tucson. The Sun wasn’t very high in the sky at noon! Why was that? Barcelona and Tucson are at different latitudes! The definition of latitude is “the angular distance of a place north of south of the Earth’s equator”. Tucson is at 32 degrees north latitude. Barcelona is further north and is at 42 degrees latitude.

    One fun astronomical fact is that the North Star is the same number of degrees above the northern horizon as the latitude of your location. So the North Star is 32 degrees in Tucson and in Barcelona, it is 42 degrees about the horizon. Here is the trick: The North Star is always 90 degrees from the Ecliptic. So since Barcelona is located at a higher latitude, the Ecliptic is lower in the sky. I know all this visualizing is tricky, but you can do it.

    There was a Total Eclipse of the Moon on July 31st, which was visible in Barcelona – lucky me! So I had to have an Eclipse party on the beach, of course. There were lots of people of the beach there just to watch the Eclipse. Somehow, there was plenty of room for everyone and with great vibes. According to my calculations, the Moon would rise over the Mediterranean Sea already eclipsed. It was a very special Eclipse for a couple of reasons. One, because of a nearly perfect alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth, it was almost the longest Eclipse possible. In addition, Mars was the closest to the Earth at the same time and was an intense, very bright red. To our luck, Mars was exactly conjunct the Moon during the Eclipse. Ok, all this is worthy of an Eclipse party.

    Unfortunately, there was a cloud bank along the eastern horizon, which blocked the Moon and Mars. But luckily, when both the Moon and Mars emerged above the clouds, the Moon was still eclipsed and we had a great show. But we had to wait about half an hour for the Moon to rise above the clouds. So, I was watching the horizon eagerly for the first glimpse of the Moon. Watching, watching, watching – but in the wrong place. Ok, this is where the difference in latitude between Tucson and Barcelona comes in. Since I was used to seeing the Ecliptic higher in the sky, I was expecting the Moon to rise where it would have in Tucson. I was wrong. Of course, the Moon rose along Barcelona’s Ecliptic.

    One of my new friends, Olivier, who lives in Barcelona, was the first person to spot the Moon. He got the prize because he was used to see the Moon rise further south than I was used to. It inspired an exciting conversation about traveling the latitudes lines to see the Ecliptic from different locations on the Earth. In Sweden, the Ecliptic would be very low in the sky. In Ecuador, where you are on the Equator, the Ecliptic would be overhead. In Australia, the Ecliptic is in the north, which will reveal a completely different southern sky. Thanks, Olivier, now I have another reason to travel the world!

    My stay in Barcelona made me realize that . . .  a change in latitude absolutely created a change in attitude. I was reborn as a new person with a surprisingly fresh knowledge of the sky.


  • Astrology During Virgo

    The Sun enters the sign of Virgo on August 22nd at 9:12 p.m., Mountain Time. Virgo is an earth sign and is associated with the messenger, Mercury. Virgo is the perfectionist of the Zodiac and likes things just right. I call Virgo “The Fixer” and this sign has a critical eye for what works and what doesn’t. Being the best editor of all the signs, ask your Virgo friend, but only if you want an honest answer to your question.  Typical professions for Virgo are dentists, graphic artists, nutritionists and computer programmers. Another style of Virgo is the protector of the earth and therefore, many are great organic gardeners.

    Last month we had two Eclipses and had both Mercury and Mars retrograding. That combination brings a lot of change in our lives. So, I’m hoping your started fresh in several different areas. This month, the main news is about Mars. That red planet is about the closest to Earth that is possible and, because of its close proximity, is much brighter and redder than usual. Make sure that you see Mars while he’s still this bright. Mars will rise in the East mid-evening and will transverse the sky all night long. It’s so bright that it looks like a big, red plane landing. The retrograde phase of Mars will last from June 28th until August 26th, when he will turn direct. Most of the retrograde was in Aquarius, which also likes change. Switch things up as much as you can now to be in the flow of Mars. If you plan it right, your changes will have occurred by the time he turns direct on August 26th.

    Right after Mars turns direct in the last couple of degrees in Capricorn on August 26th, he enters revolutionary Aquarius on September 11th. Mars will stay in Aquarius all the way until November 16th. Mars is all about action and moving forward and since we had two Eclipses and some Mars retrograding time to rethink our plans, mid-November would be the time to start new.

    There are two slow planets, Uranus and Saturn, who are now forming a blue line or trine between them, which is a harmonizing angle. Uranus is the Rebel while Saturn is the Businessman. When they trine each other, often new changes are implemented more easily than other times. This positive alignment will occur this entire month and is the perfect top to these recent Eclipses and retrogrades. We have no excuse to not move forward and in an organized fashion. Just plan it and do it!

    Regarding the visible planets, we’re in for a treat this month. Right after sunset you can see all the visible planets, except Mercury. If you watch the sunset, look up in the western sky to see bright Venus. Getting closer to Venus is Jupiter and higher in the sky is the dimmer, Saturn. To top them all off is brilliant red Mars in the western sky. For a real show, the Moon will be joining Venus and Jupiter from September 11th – 14th. The Moon will join Saturn on September 16th. Make sure to see the Moon joining Mars on September 18th – 20th. By this time, Mars will be much less bright than during July and August. It will be interesting to see the difference in how bright Mars will be in comparison to getting dimmer in September. Ahhh, the dance of the planets is so fascinating to watch.

    See you next month in Libra for the Fall Equinox!


  • What's Up for Your Sign During Virgo?

    Virgo

    Happy Birthday, Virgo! This will be a good birthday month for you! Your planet, Mercury, will be going through Virgo from September 6th – 21st. This will be a great time to catch up on your communication to your friends and family. Be as social as you can be during that time.

    Libra

    The planet of love, Venus, will be in your sign of Libra until September 9th. Venus is your planet and shines brightly in Libra. This is a very creative time for you. Are you ready for some new art or colors in your house? Now is the time to switch things up a bit.

    Scorpio

    Dear Scorpio . . . you will have quite a powerful 4 months coming up. Venus will enter Scorpio on September 10th and will be there all the way until January 7th, which is a very long stay for Venus. Why will she be there so long? Venus will be doing a retrograde in Scorpio. Plan for changes now. More on this next month.

    Sagittarius

    During the middle of September, you will have some important decisions to make. You might feel confused at first, but then more ideas will emerge after some time for deep thoughts. You will want to make a schedule to accomplish your plans.

    Capricorn

    You have been working on some projects for quite a while that will be coming to completion. Plan it tso you can finish around the third week in September. You will likely be working with a Virgo to make sure it's done just right!

    Aquarius

    Your power dates this month are September 19th - 22nd when the Moon will be joining Mars, both in Aquarius, to giv you heightened energy. Don't be surprised if you change your mind on a situation that isn't going the awy you want. You have to trust your intuition on this one!

    Pisces

    There is a party of planets in Virgo opposing your Pisces from September 3rd - 16th. The Virgo influence will help you organize your creative projects that you are currently working on. Pretend you are a Virgo and see how much you can get done.

    Aries

    There happens to be a big grouping of planets in your house of career now, dynamic Aries. This will help you if you are involved with any legal or business situations, which means that it's time to fix them. You might want to consult with professionals about them this time.

    Taurus

    Radical Uranus is in your sign of Taurus now, which is bringing a bit of chaos to your life now. Embrace the change, which isn't easy for you, Taurus. But now is the time to be as bold and adventurous as you can with these new beginnings.

    Gemini

    Your home is the main area of focus now, dear Gemini. You might have been traveling lately, but now is the time to settle into your new surroundings. What changes need to happen? This is a great time to give things away . . . e generous!

    Cancer

    This is a month for relationships, dear Cancer. You will likely run into lovers from your past that will need addressing. Are you ready to release them or is there more work before they can be completed? Now is the time so you can feel liberated!

    Leo

    You’ve had quite a month, dear Leo. You had two Eclipses and Mercury retrograding, all in Leo. Do you feel like a new person? How much did your release or do you have anything else to finish?


  • The Tribal and Pagan Side of Barcelona

     

     

     

    Barcelona is an ancient city and still observes many of the traditions from long ago. The city can be dated back to the Neolithic times and was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC. The colony only had about 1,ooo citizens and was defended by a wall, which there are remnants that can still be seen in the oldest Barrios. Barcelona was a major port for the Mediterranean and still is. It was under Muslim rule for hundreds of years and then was followed by the Christians being in control. Interestingly enough, the medieval times brought success to Barcelona when it became the economic and political center of the Western Mediterranean. The Gothic Quarter, which is where I’m staying, still has many sites dating back to the 13th century. Then the 15th to the 18th centuries brought a time of decline and ended when the city was taken by the Bourbon troops, who suppressed the rights of Catalonia. The mid-19th century brought a revival to this ancient city through the success of its textile industry.

    Looking at the political unrest that is happening today, many could say that proud and outspoken Catalonia is still fighting for its independence. As an example of the Catalan spirit, ALL of the public signs are in the Catalan language and not in Spanish. Since Catalonia is partly in Spain and the rest is in France, the Catalan language is a sweet combination of Spanish and French. Hey, now that I’m getting my Spanish down, I realize now how important learning at least the basics of that language, could have really helped me. Even the sign outside of Starbucks is in Catalan.

    There are demonstrations happening here all the time. There seem to be two types: one for Catalan to leave Spain and the other to free the political prisoners who have recently been arrested. The police are politely standing by in case there is any problem. But they all seem to be demonstrating in a civil type of a style. Here is a picture of one right down the street from me.

    The Tribal Side

    Living here for 2 months has made me realize how important community or maintaining the tribe is here in Barcelona. The Barrios, or neighborhoods, were originally little villages that eventually grew together. Even though they are all now part of the metropolis of Barcelona, they absolutely maintain the identity of their barrio. Neighborhood fiestas are the way that people get together and they do it on a very regular basis. There seems to be a fiesta every week and sometimes several in a week, especially during the summer. 

    So, what actually is a fiesta? For an example, the family I’m staying with in my Airbnb has a 10-year old daughter whose class just graduated from a school year. The parents and children got together at noon on a Sunday next to the famous Santa Caterina Mercado. They set up many tables, brought food to share, cervezas were flowing plentifully and of course, the music. There is always a band with people dancing in the streets. Always. I stayed for a couple of hours, but they didn’t return from that fiesta until 11 at night. Their fiestas always seem to last almost 12 hours and I’m sure some last for days. What are the fiestas for? The reason for fiestas is so the neighbors can get to know each other as well as the kids, with everyone playing and dancing in the streets. They are very close, like extended family. This is the way they preserve their tribal connections with each other. Barcelona takes their fiestas very seriously and they are a very important part of their lives together.

    One of the fiestas I was fortunate enough to experience was the procession of the gigantes, or giants. Every barrio makes their own giants, according to the style of their barrio. For example, in Barcelonetta, which was once a fisherman’s village, their gigantes are a fisherman and his wife, who has fish on her hat. Other barrios have different gigantes that reflect the history of their neighborhood. There is evidence of processions of gigantes as early as 1424 in Barcelona, starting with religious figures such as processions of Corpus Christi. In recent centuries, they have taken on less of a religious and more of a cultural style. 

    The procession I saw started in the sweet Plaza of El Born with all the gigantes on display for people to see up close. They were made of fiber glass with amazing clothing and gowns of incredibly rich fabrics. Once the procession started, it meandered through very narrow ancient, winding streets and ended up at the Santa Caterina Mercado. Several barrios were represented in the procession, which lasted for about 3 hours. (I’m sure they had food and more fiestas in private areas after the actual procession ended). Every barrio had different gigantes that were accompanied by their neighborhood band. Yes, the gigantes all danced with each other to their band and all the barrios had different gigantes, dances and music, which reflected the flavor of their barrio. 

    One of the things that fascinated me was how the entire family was involved. The large gigantes were carried by grown men. But there were chickens, fish and dwarfs who were handled by children. Under each gigante was a structure that looked like a large wooden chair with big pads so they can carry then on their shoulders. They sure looked heavy to me! Each gigante had about 5 people ready to carry it, once a carrier got tired.  The chicken had several kids to carry it who were only about 4 years old! So, you can see how they grow into the larger gigantes as they grow up. Once the chicken walked for a bit and did its little dance, everyone clapped and celebrated their display, then they changed to another child carrier. The entire family is included in their fiestas. There is no age gap here and I bet no babysitters. 

    One thing to note is the difference between gigantes and dwarfs and what they call the deformed ones. They seem to honor all types of individuals, including dwarfs and oddly shaped people, by making gigantes that look different, like the diversity of people. Dwarves are heads with a person inside that appear to have shortened human bodies. The peephole for the carrier is on the forehead or the hat of the figure. On the other hand, the bigheads are a prosthesis in the form of a head, usually human, that is worn on the shoulders of the carrier, giving the impression of being a deformed person, with a huge head. In this case, the carrier sees through the mouth or double chin.  Many of these smaller heads were worn by children or teenagers. I have to admit that I couldn’t tell the difference between the dwarves and the deformed ones, as they all looked a bit strange to me. Then there were those who were there to lead and maintain order in the procession. They wore cowhides, whips and bladders, which I’m sure gave them authority. I loved all the gigantes, whether they were Kings, Queens, Chickens or Dwarves. 

    The Pagan Side

    Now for the wilder, more raw side of Barcelona -- which they proudly call their Pagan ancestry. There are many fiestas, especially during the summer, but nothing compares with the Fiesta de Sant Joan. This year it occurred on Saturday June 23rd and celebrates the longest day of the year, (In the Northern Hemisphere), or the Summer Solstice. The origin of this celebration is pagan and is part of a group of holidays coinciding with the Equinoxes and Solstices, like Christmas. The tradition goes back to the Romans with their festival honoring their Goddess Pales, a deity of fire. Bonfires are built in all the Plazas of different Barrios with the ancient belief that the fire would scare away any evil spirits that were present. One of the honored traditions was to jump over the bonfire three times to ensure good health and happiness. There are still those who jump over the fires.

    Although pagan in origin, this festival was borrowed and integrated into Christianity and renamed as the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist, who was said to have been born six months before Jesus. He was of course known for baptizing Jesus. Even though this fiesta was incorporated into the Christian festivals, the pagan traditions remain strong.

    The eve of Sant Joan is full of magic rituals. There are three pagan parts to this celebration: Fire, water and herbs. Tradition holds that the fire frightens away all the bad spirits and it is said that those who burn objects during this festival will be cleansed of all their sins. Fire is for purification.

    Then there is the water element. As the custom goes, many wet their heads, arms and legs at the water spout on the boulevard of Passeig Sant Joan. Others jump in the sea at midnight to wash away old energy. It is said that the Barcelonian grandparents took embers and logs from the ceremonial fire and at the stroke of midnight, they threw them down the wells to purify the water. In the writings of folklorist, Amades in his book, Costumari Catala, he said that, “St. John the Baptist, apostle and evangelist, by the power vested in by God, delivers the water in this well from evil witches”. Water is for cleansing.

    The other ritual done a few days before the Eve of Sant Joan, is the gathering of sacred herbs. It is said that these herbs will have strong medicinal powers if collected and used on this sacred night. The herbs are for healing.

    Ok, I thought I was prepared for this evening of festivities . . . not really. It was much, much wilder than I could have ever imagined. Each Barrio prepared their plaza with their huge bonfire and then it all started. I was having a lovely dinner in Barcelonetta, a Barrio by the beach and all of the sudden I heard these loud fireworks and saw the parade lead by the Diablos, or devils. There were grown up Diablos and kid Diablos leading the wild parade with major firecrackers. Ok, what are the devils all about? 

    I talked to a local Barcelonian who told me that this is also a celebration of fertility and the Diablos and wild beasts were there to remind us of the potency and fruitfulness of this season. After the lead Diablos were many people in different animal costumes as well as drummers. Amazing drummers, also in costume. Hey, I’m a big lover of parades, but this topped all the parades I’ve seen, including the incredible Dia de los Muertos procession in Tucson. Ok, I finished my dinner quickly and had to follow the parade, that was heading to the beach.

    Oh my, what a scene it was on the beach! There were bonfires everywhere with firecrackers and fireworks going off in the streets, on the beach and everywhere. I  have to admit it was a little disconcerting to see two-year old kids running around with firecrackers exploding all around them. Of course, clothing is optional on the beaches of Europe, so many were naked running around with fireworks! It was quite a sight to see. Ok, this party lasted all night. It really didn’t start until almost midnight and lasted until dawn, kids and all. I didn’t make it that long, but long enough to experience the wildness of this pagan night of ritualistic celebration.

    Once again, I talked to my friend, who was born in Barcelona, and asked him about the danger of the fireworks and kids. He said that the parents want to teach their children about fire and fireworks early in their lives so they have no fear of fire. I laugh about when my fire troupe does a performance in Tucson. We need to meet with the Fire department and get an official approval to do our show. One of the rules is that no one can be closer to 30 feet from the fire. Ok, that sure doesn’t hold true for Barcelona!

    I found a great vista where I had a view of the beach and the fires with fireworks going off constantly. The only other party that rivaled this wild event was Burning Man. But I do think that the Fiesta de Sant Joan was much, much crazier than my experience at Burning Man, which I thought was impossible. 

    Here’s hoping that the pagan in all of us can feel free to experience life, fire, water and herbs fully. Thanks to the pagan side of Barcelona, I want to get even more wild and free in my future.  


  • What's Up for Your Sign During Leo?

    Leo

    Happy Birthday, amazing Leo! This will be quite a birthday for you with two Eclipses during this month. This will be one of the most powerful birthdays for you in a long time if you want to change your lifestyle. What do you want to release? How do you want to change? Now is your time! You can do it!

    Virgo

    Venus is in Virgo until August 7th and now is the time to add some sweetness to your life. Feng Shui is favored so make your life more comfortable and start with your bedroom. Open it up and add more space to make it more beautiful.

    Libra

    Once Venus leaves Virgo she goes into your sign of Libra. You will have from August 8th – September 9th with her in Libra. For a real treat, the Moon will join bright Venus from August 13th – 15th. Make sure you go outside and watch them. This is a set up for romance, loving Libra.

    Scorpio

    Do you want to take a little holiday? Then you’re in luck because you have a perfect get away weekend on August 16th – 19th. You can either travel somewhere or you can just hide and hibernate that weekend. Trust your Scorpio intuition, which always knows the right thing for you to do.

    Sagittarius

    The Sag in you always loves to travel and now is a great time. Pick a new destination and be bold and adventurous. This window won’t come again soon, so go for the exotic . . . why not?

    Capricorn

    Mars is in Capricorn now and is doing a retrograde in your sign from August 12th until September 11th. Use that retrograde phase to take care of any old and unfinished business. The older and the more resistant the better. It might not be easy, but you will be free when it’s all cleaned out.

    Aquarius

    Mars is doing a retrograde in Aquarius now and won’t leave until August 12th. This is a strong retrograde to rethink and release old themes. Once you let them go you can redirect your energy in a new and fresh way.

    Pisces

    Your power time this month is the last few days in July and the very beginning of August. You will see old relationships in a new and different way. Make sure to tell your partners exactly how you feel to make a needed change. This will only take a little tweaking to fix.

    Aries

    The first few days in August will be your best escape window. If you can possibly get away . . . please do it! If you can’t escape, at least take some special time for yourself and try something new. Even going to a matinee movie does wonders to switch the energy.

    Taurus

    If you haven't already, early August will be a perfect time for you to change something big. With the great changer, Uranus, in your sign of Taurus now, you are restless and ready for a new life. Maybe you need a new hairstyle? Or be fierce and get a tatttoo . . . you know you want to get a bit wild!

    Gemini

    This is your month to do some writing, smarty-pants Gemini. There is a group of planets in your house of writing now, so if you put on your thinking cap . . . amazing words will come out. Now is your time for brilliance, Gemini!

    Cancer

    Creativity is coming to you, dear Cancer. Plan to take some time the week of August 6th and you will be surprised at the beautiful results. You may want to look at a new color scheme with a more tranquil and serene feeling to it. Blues and blue-greens are favored.


  • Astrology During Leo

    The Sun enters the sign of Leo on July 22nd at 2:02 p.m., Mountain Time. Leo is a fire sign and is associated with the one and only Sun! Leo knows it is the center of the Zodiac, just like the Sun is in the middle of our Solar System. Leo is the entertainer and loves being the center of attention, of course. Not surprisingly, the heart is the part of the body that belongs to Leo. The heart is the focal point of the body and is also perfect because of the love and generosity exhibited by this dramatic sign. Leo has a youthful spirit and loves to play, even though this sign likes being in control.

    This month is filled with exciting celestial events, starting with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on July 27th. This will be a wild Eclipse of the Moon because the Moon will be joining feisty Mars during the Eclipse. It will be visible in the Eastern Europe, Middle East, Australia and Antarctica. For those enough lucky to see the Eclipse, make sure to notice the obvious Mars right next to the Eclipsed Moon. It should be quite a sight. For those who are just seeing the Full Moon, make sure you see Red Mars close to the Moon!

    Since Mars is close to the Earth, it is very bright and red now. Mars will rise mid evening in the east and will be up in the sky all night. Make sure you take the time to notice how easily Mars can be seen now. The best months to see Mars will be July and August. Take your family and friends outside and point out Mars. You will be the hit of the night and my little astrologer at large. Remember all the planets are along the Ecliptic or the Great Highway in the Sky. Where the Sun is during the day is always, always where the planets are at night. So, take notice of the Sun’s path and you will know where to find Mars at night. It’s easier than you think.

    This is quite the time for Mars, because not only will he be the brightest, he is also retrograding during this time. Mars will be retrograde in Aquarius and a bit of Capricorn from June 26th through August 27th. All retrogrades are times to rethink, regroup and remove old themes in your life. This is a slower planet than Mercury and will have a stronger retrograde than we’re used to. Mercury is about changing our mental attitudes, where Mars is more about changing our actions. Old patterns will become obsolete and you will realize many of your efforts from the past are now unnecessary and outdated. You will strive to become more efficient and will not want to waste your precious time with situations that no longer serve you. Be bold about changing patterns as this window doesn’t happen often.

    Not only do we have a Lunar Eclipse, we also have a Partial Solar Eclipse. This will occur on August 11th and will be in the sign of Leo. This partial Eclipse of the Sun will only be visible in Canada, Greenland, the North Atlantic Ocean and Russia. Even though we can’t see an Eclipse, we can all feel it. All Eclipses are a time to look at your life in a new way. This month is quite special with two Eclipses and Mars doing a retrograde too. No matter what your sign in, take time this summer to let go of old patterns in your life and it will be easier than you think. Start with the simple stuff and when you feel more accomplished, then tackle the more entrenched patterns.

    The visible planets will put on quite a show for us this month. Mercury can be seen for the first week or so in the sign of Leo until it gets lost in the glow of the Sun. In addition to Mercury, we can see All of the visible planets in the evening sky this month. Venus is bright and above the western horizon. Higher in the sky is big Jupiter with dim Saturn being to the east of Jupiter. Bright red Mars will top it off by looking further east. All of these will be in an easy arc in the sky called the Ecliptic. You can also use your smart phone with an app like Google’s Sky Map to spot the planets. But then put down your phone and see them all with your naked eye. The very best way to see the planets are not through your phone, binoculars or a telescope. Train your eyes to see them, as they have done for thousands of years. Remember this tip: Stars twinkle and planets shine. There is more of a steady light coming from the planets and once you can tell the difference, you will know if you are looking at a star or a planet. Easy.

    See you next month in Virgo. Are we going into the autumn already?

     


  • My Summer in Barcelona

     

    Hola amigos, como estan? Si, estoy en Barcelona!

    Yes, I’m speaking Spanish 24/7 now that I’m living in Barcelona for the summer. Since the Sun is entering the sign of Cancer now, I thought it would be perfect to talk about my new home here. Not only is the Sun entering the sign of Cancer on June 21st, but the rebel, Uranus, has just entered the stable sign of Taurus. Since Uranus is such a slow-moving planet with an 84-year orbit, that’s a rare phase and will be with us until 2026. In fact, it is so rare that I wrote an entire article on Uranus’ ingress, or entrance into Taurus. If you haven’t read that article, please do, so you will be up to speed with this exciting time in humanity. Here it is, just in case you haven’t read it yet. http://www.susiecox.com/blog/uranus-in-taurus-barcelona-is-beckoning

    For a brief summary of Uranus entering Taurus -- it’s going to bring excitement as well as uncertainty to us all. Uranus is associated with the wild sign of Aquarius, who loves change, just for the sake of change. Uranus is the planet that welcomes the future as it breaks old patterns with the past. On the other hand, Taurus doesn’t do well with change at all. That earthy, earth sign loves routine and stability. Yes, it’s an odd combination. Since Taurus relates to the earth, many astrologers are predicting earth changes. It has been interesting to see the massive volcanic activity in Hawaii as well as in Guatemala since Uranus entered Taurus. We can expect more of that.

    One fascinating thing to note is that astrologers see a cross section of what the world is experiencing, through our clients. I’m noticing that almost half of the readings with my clients now are Astro*Carto*Graphy interpretations. They all want to see where they might want to move. I’ve done AstroMaps for many years, but suddenly, almost everyone wants that technique to help them made decisions. Astro*Carto*Graphy is a map showing your planetary lines and indicates your power spots around the world. Where was your Sun rising when you were born? That will be a place for a personal rebirth. Where was your Moon rising? That is a location I call “Your home away from home”. Your AstroMaps tell that and much more.

    Typically, my clients have used it to decide where to travel for their family holiday or maybe where to move their business. But now it seems they’re using Astro*Carto*Graphy to decide where to move their home.  This transit of Uranus in Taurus will bring an exodus to the world. Or if you don’t want to move, you can make changes to your home and to your life. Are you bored and want a new career? Do you want to remodel? My Taurus sister is totally building a new kitchen, which has been exciting as well as completely disruptive for her. Yes, chaos is a keyword for Uranus. So, if you are having some yearnings for change . . . I’m writing this article for you.

    Back to Barcelona -- after high school, I traveled here for the first time and have since then visited this beautiful city about a dozen times. I’ve always had a dream of spending more time here one day and it seems this Uranus transit was the trigger that allowed that to happen. When Uranus entered my 4th house of home, I rented a sweet Airbnb here from a lovely Italian woman and her daughter. It turned out to be the perfect arrangement for my first time really living here. Her home is in the Gotico neighborhood which is one of the oldest barrios in this medieval part of the city. The streets are pedestrian and are barely wide enough for a car, thank goodness. We live on the 3rd floor and with no elevator. (I counted 54 steps to get to our apartment). Hey, good for daily exercise. Here is my street in Gotico. 

    La Vaca

    While I’m here I am renting a co-working space at the very cool, La Vaca. It used to be an old dairy, which is why they chose the cow theme. They have created a great space for people who want to work with others. There are dozens of Vaqueros who are working on their laptops on individual desks. There is a shared kitchen, printer and scanner, lots of plants, a bar, pool table and a place to chill downstairs. One Vaquero brings her dog, so we have a resident pooch. Upstairs is a Skype booth which is where I’ll be talking to my clients. This is the first time I’ve been in a co-working space and it is very inspiring. I’m finding it a great place for me, since there aren’t as many distractions as I have at home. Yes, I’m an official Vaquero!

    One exciting part about La Vaca as well as Barcelona in general is all the different languages spoken here. As with much of Europe, maybe with the exception of France, most people speak several different languages. The 10-year old daughter of my Airbnb host speaks 5 different languages! So I’m not only speaking Spanish, but they slip in a lot of Ciao in Italian too. My brain synapsis are working overtime, which is a very good thing! 

    Lifestyle

    One of the first things that I noticed was that I walk about twice as fast as everyone here. Even though it’s a big city, people almost stroll as they walk down the street. The first few days I tried to pass people walking but realized the people in front of them were walking just as slowly. Ok, I guess I have to slow down or walk in the streets. As I walk slower, my breathing also slows down. Since this is a pedestrian city, walking is the main mode of transportation. In addition to walking, there are Lots of bikes, scooters, skate boards and those little push scooters that we’re used to seeing only for children. Not here, plenty of adults use those cute little scooters too, which are adult-sized and some even have a little motor. Of course, mass transportation includes a great bus and subway system, they call the Metro. Spain makes the tickets for the Metro and buses quite inexpensive, in comparison to other countries. Yes, I’m a Metro girl now as I travel that way to go to La Vaca each day.

    Another thing that was strikingly different from the US is that people are very slender here with hardly anyone over weight.  I'm sure that the natural food and so much walking contributes to the healthy bodies. Even though many people smoke and drink, they seem to handle it quite well. There aren't many street people or beggars, but there is one guy always in the same spot. He has four paper cups for donations. This is how they are labeled: "Beer, Weed, LSD and Disneyland". I guess food wasn't as important. Hey, at least he's saying what he wants! 

    Yes, Barcelona is a foodie city. Almost every block has fruit and vegetable stands that make Whole Foods look sad. I’m walking to the famous historic Mercado, Santa Caterina, for my grocery shopping about 3 times a week. Instead of shopping for the entire week, people here shop only for a couple of days. Then they shop again for their next few meals, which adds to the healthy lifestyle. Here is a typical picture of a Tapas sign. A bit tricky to figure out what you're eating.

    I do admit that I’m a fashionista and wow, the fashion here is truly stunning. The Spanish women typically wear little kicky skirts with an off the shoulder almost peasant style blouse. Lots of lace cutouts for their fabrics. I would call the style sassy chic with an edgy flair. Many women, no matter the age, have very colorful hair. Pinks, purples and multi-color hair is common. And a huge percentage of people have tattoos. There are so many majorly tatted bodies. Speaking of tattoos, I decided that since I am being reborn here, I needed a tattoo also. So here is my butterfly or mariposa in Spanish. 

    Arch de Triumph and Park Ciutat Vella

    It seems that most countries have an Arch de Triumph and Barcelona has one at the entrance of their big city park, complete with a Zoo. Families are having picnics with their well-behaved dogs, mostly off leashes. The dogs seem as mellow as their owners. The park has a lake in the middle with row boats and ducks. As I walked through the park, I came to their grand fountain, topped with golden horses. They really know how to do fountains and statues here so beautifully! Notice the interesting modes of transportation!

     

     

     

    Gaudi

    The skyline of Barcelona is dominated by Gaudi’s huge unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia.  Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926) was a Spanish architect best known for what is called Catalan Modernism. He used broken tiles to make mosaics in his creative style with no square corners, which I’m sure was unsettling at the time. His main passions were architecture, religion and nature, which he wove seamlessly into his buildings. His masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, is the most-visited monument in Spain. Much of Barcelona is what I would call Gaudiesque as the city is filled with art, music and geckos crawling up the side of buildings!

    La Playa

    Oh yes, Barcelona is a major port of the Mediterranean and La Playa, or the beach, is a main attraction of the city. Many of the fiestas happen on the beach as well as yoga, meditating and just playing in the water. I went to La Playa and the first thing I noticed it that most of the people on the beach weren’t wearing any clothes. No one was flaunting it, but quietly doing yoga with a bare bottom. Somehow it feels natural here….not so in Tucson. This picture is of my bag with my poi that I'm spinning on La Playa.

     

     

    The Planets

    The only problem that I've had here is that it's hard to see the planets with all the tall buildings and small winding streets. I'm so used to seeing them each night from my big back yard inTucson and it threw me off, I admit. That is until I found Plaza Catalunya. This picture was taken on the evening of my birthday as I saw both the Moon and Venus. it was truly a birthday present from the Universe for me!

     

    I know that this summer will somehow change me, in addition to the Uranus transit triggering off my chart. I do know that my already good relationship with food is different. I’ve gotten spoiled with all the organic mercados here. For sure my Spanish will get much better….mucho mejor. We’ll have to see what else will change by the time I re-enter Tucson as a new person. Que Bueno!



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