Shukra’s Magha

I worked on a collage piece in anticipation of the eclipse::with Sun and Moon both stationed in The Lion constellation.  The portion they’re in is called Magha, 0 – 13 degrees roughly of the whole constellation.  While The Lion constellation is ruled by Sun, the three portions have their own rulers, and within each portion there are four smaller portions, each with its own planetary ruler . . . the whole constellation thus has as many variations within it as the family of felines::from lion, mountain lion, leopard, puma, panther, siamese cat, tomcat, to cheetah.  The area that the Sun and Moon will be stationed during the eclipse is Magha, governed by Ketu or the South Node (interestingly the North Node, Rahu, is what’s generating the eclipse) and the portion of Magha they’re in is ruled by Shukra, the planet Venus.

The event brought to mind generous gathering of raw energy, potentiality, a birthing pregnant feeling . . . earth body in watery dark womb or seed in dark moist earth being warmed and fired up into cracking and sprouting through, growing into breath and light, ‘awareness’ and ‘consciousness’ being covered by intuition guiding the labor and birth:: out and roaming at large, giving space to delve into depths inaccessible with the bright sun always out . . . even at night, it is not concealed nor hidden, not the way it is veiled during an eclipse . .. at which time the moon does not reflect the sun’s light the way it does at night, the moon simply slips infront of all that light, small and lightless, and manages to completely block illumination for a short period before passing . . . but those short moments are full moments, during which the moon takes advantage of the light shining from behind to cast out shadow, to cast out moon-ness instead of reflecting, reflecting, always reflecting facing Earth, in the eclipsed moment:: to cast out . . . the only reflection occurring will be facing the Sun, Sun’s light shining on Moon mirroring reflection back on itself, a curiousity from which this collage came  . . .




I love being with dragonflies by the pond.  They dart about so swiftly, landing briefly before gliding up and around again, playing games of chase and tag.  Their shimmering wings make a funny rustling sound, like tissue paper, when they bump into one another.  Sometimes a hummingbird zips to and from the jewelweed patch, beak needling speckled orange blossoms between them and I marvel at how fast life moves around the pond; except the trees reflected on the watery surface where even the sky is in motion, and there sitting still and hidden upside down is a great blue heron!  Interesting where dragons fly, elegantly delightful, body blue the color of sky, no clouds gathering wool . . . dreamy days flashing by . . .

There’s a story by Doris Stickney that from time to time I tell with slight alterations and embellishments, her tale goes like this:

“Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?”

Up, up, up she slowly went …. even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Her friends waited and waited but she didn’t return…

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.

No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

“We promise”, they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into his wonderful new world of sun and air…….”

There’s a dragonfly snippet from a larger poem I like called The Two Voices by Alfred Lord Tennyson that says . . .

“Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.”

Fairy Tale Charting

I’ve been studying astrology.  I began with tropical but shifted into sidereal placements and study of the 27 nakshatras (indian jyotish astrology) after comparing both my own charts and those of people I know . . . have found sidereal offers a closer picture and a deeper story, sort of zoomed in.  It positions information against constellations where they are above rather than against signs, named after constellations when once upon a time there was an overlay, but over time have shifted about 25 degrees due to the way the Earth moves with a wobble, so they’re no longer representing ‘star’ stories but have evolved into having their own story, sign stories.  The two systems result in two zodiacs with degrees of difference; as they are tools, depending on the interpretation, both systems can be simultaneously valid . . .

As an example, the Spring Vernal Equinox occurs on March 21st, give or take a day here or there, and in tropical astrology this marks the beginning of Aries . . . however, were we to step outside on that day and LOOK at the sky, it is not the constellation of The Ram, from where Aries once derived name, horn, and tale, that is presenting but The Fish . .  . that is to say, 0 degrees Aries in tropical astrology is against a backdrop of fixed stars where 6 degrees Pisces is present in sidereal astrology.  Depending on perspective, one could say that 0 degrees Aries is the same as 6 degrees Pisces, in a certain way, both offer information .  .  . one viewed from here offers this, and move to here and look and it offers this instead.  A combination of the two offers a whole lot, and right now the degree of difference is not so big that the entire chart shifts in a huge way . . . mostly placements may move from one sign to another, some stay in the same place depending on when in a month one was born . . . so a 3 degree Pisces Sun would shift to about 27 degrees Pisces, still in the same sign, maybe in the same area or house, but with nakshatras this makes an interesting difference, as these lunar mansions or asterisms (smaller areas within a mass of fixed stars) carry a tale specific to the degree within a sign rather than as an overall sign based interpretation.

I like to toggle between both zodiacs, see what changes happen to houses and planetary visits; feels like the tropical is more immediate as to day to day but the sidereal digs deeper into purpose . . . kind of like handpicking nits or threading a fine tooth comb and catching them . . . either way it’s nitpicking but the results are a little different!  This blog post offers a bit more detail on the topic of sidereal and tropical systems, an easy read should you be interested.

Anyway, where I’m going with this is:: I’ve been studying astrology for a few years now, am still engaged in study.  Often I have wondered, how would I draw up a chart for someone, firstly without and secondly, without a birth time or place or even date?  How could I draw a chart without programs or a methodical mathematical approach?  Is there a way that’s immediate, where I could go into the woods with someone and draw a chart for them with a stick on the earth . . . but what would it be based on?  A reply came in a marvellous dream that showed me visually how this is possible . . . fairy tales.

So someone wants an astrological chart interpreted, which requires a chart be drawn up first. Now let’s say they don’t know birth time or place, maybe they don’t even know their birthday (while this may seem far fetched, my great grandmother and grandparents didn’t know their birthdays, more like they had a general idea of time of year and so they picked a date and that was it . . . . ), yet they want a chart for interpretation.  They don’t know what they don’t know, but they’re curious to discover.  On my end I don’t know how to draw an exact degree specific chart on my own to begin with (no computer available in this reality with all the data); so here’s where fairy tales enter . . . I ask them their favorite fairy tales, myth, legend, fable, story, no less than 3, no more than 9, and these become the clues and cues by means of which to fill in the circle, feel toward energy and activity in the wheel of houses with planets and signs, and draw up their ‘chart’::kind of necessary as it’s what gets interpreted, and it’s doable anywhere with ‘tools’ that are available wherever one is.

In dreaming, I was whirling through space atop a pegasus on a mythic ride amidst Cassiopean stars with Andromeda and Perseus and in waking when I examined the fairy tales that showed up I was able to draw up my own chart based on the information in the stories . . . . that said, I know my own chart so potentially this exercise was colored by knowing what I know and I was making things fit to match what I know.  I don’t know but I want to, and that’s where you come in as people whose charts/signs/etc. I know nothing about therefore there is no bias involved.

Once I began thinking about it, other variables began suggesting themselves as to how a chart could be drawn with additions and alternatives to fairy tales.  What I’ve come up with as a starting point is this ::

Leave me a comment or use the correspond form with 3 – 9 of your most beloved fairy tales/myths/gods/goddesses/legends or personalities from the aforementioned . . . the ones that come to mind immediately in the same order they come up in.

I will draw up a chart based on these stories and share with you what it is.

Here’s the more involved part that I’m asking you to do after I share what I find with you . . .

Would you please go to and on the free horoscopes, click on extended chart selection.

Here you would enter your birth time and date and place information (as much as you do know, if you don’t know the time, pick a time based on when you feel most alive/lively/’born’).

On the chart page, under Options select Whole Signs, and leave it at Tropical first and take a look at your chart, compare it to the fairy tale one . . . . then go back and change Tropical to Sidereal, and where it says Ayanamsha, select Hindu/Lahiri and view the chart, compare this also to the fairy tale one; and theennnnn let me know whether I was remotely close or way off in space!!

If you’d like to try this out but don’t want to do the bit and don’t mind sharing your birth details with me via Correspond or Comment, then you could give me the information and I can compare the difference afterward on my own.  This is vital to validating the effectiveness of this ‘method’!

Your participation would be of great assistance to me in figuring out this fairy tale charting dream, and in return I’d like to send you a print of my art as a token of gratitude . . .

. . . you can select the one you’d like from the images below::  they’re 5 x 7 or 7 x 5 in size, prints are either of my plant creations or paintings, and all are Giclee’s on archival paper with white borders; some have deckled edges, some are straight cut . . ..

. . .tell me it’s name as well as your name and mailing address  . . . .  should none of the available prints be to your tastes, I’m happy to make you a unique work of art based on your story selections coupled with my findings (Comment or Correspond with me about your preference).

I’m not entirely certain how long this will require to get done once I’ve gathered your information; I’m guessing 2- 4 weeks, could be more could be less!



Garden of Life

The garden is popping and lively now at the height of summer.  Echineacea and zinnias provide a place for butterflies to convene and sip while sitting.  The zinnias are beautiful.  I love how their petals curl open from the center, forming swirl upon swirl of soft tongues that shape a whole flower head.  Amidst them the zucchinis and squashes are growing bigger than ever, thriving off the straw and shavings we spread in the beds last autumn from in the chicken coop, and the bees are heard and seen climbing around inside their bright yellow blossoms.  Lamb’s quarters are sending silvery powdery seed clusters out and the mint is running rampant.  When we walk through the bed and brush against them, they release refreshing scents all around.  This year the broccoli and cauliflower grew big but bolted right away into bitterness; feels like it’s the year of squashes, beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, as the lettuce did much the same as the brassicas, and the peas kind of grew and dried up really fast as well.  So far, this year’s medicine is showing up as lots of yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace where ants climb about; less bee balm than ever, hardly any prunella.  Changing climate in these mountains, after eight years of feeling out the growing pattern, it’s shifted.

Eight years it’s been since we found our homestead and moved to make our abode here.  It’s been an experience with much learning and unlearning too.  The past two years we’ve shared our hens eggs with black snakes.  This year we found one had moved in again, and it was eating all the eggs.  We disturbed it enough to keep it going before coming back again and again to the nesting box, eight feet up off the ground in the chicken run; it would lay coiled up hissing and striking at the long pole we’d poke in there.  We’d hoped to scootch it out and into a bucket to relocate, but it got the better of us every time, all seven feet of it lunging out before it would drop and slither away into the underbrush.

While I wrestled with how to get it out of there without ending its life, it sealed its own fate when one day Layla went to feed the chickens and found one of the chicks that Goldie had hatched out, eight weeks old, stretched out in the shape of a snake from head to shoulders; the black snake coiled up above having regurgitated it probably after constricting and attempting to swallow it . . . .was it too big to gobble past the wings or had Layla interrupted it while it slowly sucked, I don’t know, but this was a bit too much for Layla.  She’s been caring for our chickens since she was around seven or eight, and is now, at fifteen, our primary chicken keeper.  When she found the chick in this state, she took the pitchfork in her hand and went for that black snake with murder in her eyes!  She stalked it for a half an hour before she got it, after which Anousheh spotted a second one coiled up in a nesting box!  Layla stabbed that one too, her outrage at the dead chick greater than seven feet of hissing striking intimidation coming at her and this time when it dropped out and tried to get away, our dog Clover had come by to see what was going on, and was on that snake in a second.  Her method is very interesting:: she throws the snake in such a way that it falls hard and is somewhat dazed from the impact.  She does this repeatedly until the snake is too stunned to do anything and then she gets in there and bites it quite dead.  Two snakes in one morning.  We moved their extremely long bodies to a bower of bee balm and yarrow to lay to rest intertwined with respect.

I feel a twinge of regret every now and then, wondering whether there was another way, and then I realize this is part of unlearning and learning:: an attitude perhaps around death and endings and beginnings and life that meets you in your face and shows you that it’s all part of a whole, and how you greet it is where an essence lives, what comes after springs from that, coiling and uncoiling, neither this nor that but this and this and a bit of that as well.  I wrote a short poem afterward, may work on it some more, later . . .

It comes together
At the tip of a pitchfork
Thrust just so and it whips
Like a Rudyard Kipling tale
Wrapped around the tines
Mouth open wide fangs bared
Hissing and striking
Until there’s no more
Thinking, grappling, or hooks
Only dueling
Only deliverance.

. . . . in the meantime I am thankful for the eggs we now enjoy and find it ironic that our hens flew into the peach trees and ate up all the peaches, save the ones ripe enough to pick and ripen a bit more in a brown bag.  They have moved on into the boughs of our laden apple trees, where they’re pecking at the fruits.  Snakes eat eggs and die, do we eat the chickens now that they’re eating up the fruit?!  Fair trade for eggs laid?  Many questions, how many variations of response, is there reconciliation?  Sooner or later we go to the river and swim with trout and in those fluid moments there are neither questions nor answers, just so many leaves fluttering above in layers between us and the blue sky floating by, snakes on rocks nearby sunning, and we are all together in a spiral, dancing with and part of a garden of life.