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Ideal and Real fall in love

When two beings fall in love, there is a tightrope alchemy of unsung support that enables that otherworldly whirl of emotion and magic: chance encounters; electrified air; an infinity of synchronicity and circumstance; an endless stream of previous what-if's leading back through generations and transmutations creating an unquestionable yet fragile certainty in the amoebic now of love, desire and satiation intermingling. You know the feeling, right?

It's not just two humans that can fall in love. A human and an instrument can fall in love. Or a writer and an unwritten novel. Or a writer and a single, precious word. Or a gorilla and a kitten. Or a community and an idea. Or a piece of land and the building or garden or tree or hedgehog that resides there. Or the Earth and its moon.

Normally, we see ourselves as being at the center of the love story, with dreams and realities colliding around us, supporting our great big romantic moment. This month, the astrological influences suggest we flip the roles around. Let's watch our dreams and our reality fall in love. Let's be the electrified air, the what-if's and synchronicities and circumstances that help those two would-be lovers unite in earthy, ethereal ecstasy. Let's be the fly on the wall who gets to see that happen, and also the wall, and even the space the walls contain. Let's be the very fabric of this great passionate happening.

The handy chronological summary of the month's events now lives at the end of these posts.

Sun in Virgo: 8/22/16 - 9/22/16

When the sun transits through the sign of Virgo, it's harvest time, a busy time. Fruits - both actual and metaphorical - are ripening. In the northern hemisphere, we scurry around like squirrels, tie up all the summer's loose ends, and gather up whatever we need for the colder seasons. We get things in order.

Virgo has an unfairly lame reputation in popular astrology. Although criticism of self and others can run amok through this sign, it's less perfectionistic than believed. That's more the realm of the idealistic signs of Libra and Pisces. Virgo in and of itself wants things done well, and put in order. That's realism, and rather the opposite of perfectionism. I mention this because we have strong Virgoan, Libran and Piscean influences this month, with a leaning towards Virgo. If you understand what the impulses are and where they're coming from, you'll be able to work with them better. Virgo attends to tasks in a step by step manner until the greater work is completed. Perfectionists can get caught in the chasm between their flawless, painless dream and the flawed, plodding and sometimes painful aspects of manifestation. They can get trapped in minutiae, and never quite get to the end of their work. This month, keep moving forwards, even if the going is slow and the endpoint seems to recede. You'll get there, one step at a time.


Virgo's goal is being one who is whole unto themselves, so there is an element of purification to this sign. It's a good time to scrub both our interiors and exteriors. Herbally, I recommend a little gut-cleaning by chewing on fennel seeds and/or dill seeds, ideally twenty minutes before meals, but during or afterwards works too. These will both scrub things out, promote more efficient digestion, and eliminate gas and parasites. Both of these herbs help us to

D I G E S T - not only food, but also experience, information and emotion. You may also mix fennel seeds & lavender flowers with coarse salt and a little olive oil to make a detoxifying & nourishing body scrub.

Mercury Retrograde: 8/30/16 - 9/21/16 (PDT)

The couple weeks before Mercury stations retrograde (i.e, now) is the time to update and back up your devices, tune up your vehicles, and finalize your travel plans. Once Mercury stations retrograde on August 30th, it's time to be flexible, open-minded, and meticulously curious.

Mercury, the ruler of Virgo, retrogrades through the second half of Virgo throughout almost the entire solar month of Virgo, in the midst of a Virgo solar eclipse (new moon on steroids) and a Pisces lunar eclipse (full moon with exclamation points opposite the sun in Virgo). Meanwhile, Jupiter finishes up its yearlong transit in Virgo during this time. That's a whole lot of Virgo going on. Here are some thinks to think during this rethinking think-torium:

How do you organize things - your space, your possessions, your time, your ideas?

Is there a more accurate or effective way to organize any of the above?

Is there any clutter you feel ready to jettison from your space, time or mind?

What does the absence of that clutter reveal?

Solar Eclipse in Virgo: 9/1/16 at 2:03 AM PDT

The first eclipse of this season is the biggie of the two - an annular solar eclipse, which is a special kind of new moon that looks like a ring of fire - the sun glowing like a halo behind the moon. From our vantage point, planets, stars and luminaries in the sky seem to be moving across a flat screen, but we're actually in three dimensional space. When the sun, Earth and moon align perfectly during a solar eclipse, the moon blocks our view of the sun.

We won't see this eclipse in North America, but we'll still feel its effects. A more average new moon is a time to quietly go within and connect our intuitive knowing with our outer vision, aligning us with a fresh direction of growth and action. A solar eclipse takes us to a deeper place, requiring that we first release something (usually something big) in order to allow for something new to grow. On the night of 8/30 and the morning of 9/1, engage in whatever practices you enjoy that take you to that deep inner place - dreams, automatic writing, drawing, improvised dance or music, meditation, yoga, etc.

Some prompts for your meditations, creations and improvisations:

What brings you a sense of wholeness?

Is there anything you need to release that blocks you from your wholeness?

What other steps do you need to take to move towards greater wholeness?

What does wholeness look like, sound like, and most importantly feel like for you?


This is an excellent day to make sun tea. We're still in summer, the season of the sun's strength. The sun represents illumination, vitality, and a strong centering force, so using that energy to infuse your herbal tea is potentizing. Make your sun tea AFTER the actual moment of the solar eclipse, while the moon is building. I use a quarter cup of dry herbs or half cup of fresh herbs in a quart mason jar of filtered or spring water (room temperature or slightly warmed), covered with mesh or a cloth to keep bugs out. Let steep 4-6 hours, depending on how much direct light you're getting. Use any herbs you like, and add some fennel seeds and marshmallow root for their assimilating assistance, which is so crucial at this time.

Jupiter enters Libra: 9/9/16

Jupiter brings expansion, growth, opportunity, and a renewal of belief to whatever sign it touches. Jupiter gives us not only opportunities, but also the confidence we need to transform our dreams into reality. In the past year of Jupiter in Virgo (8/11/15 - 9/9/16), we've had opportunities to increase our skills and expertise, our confidence in our abilities, the amount of work we engage in, and hopefully also our personal health and self care routines. In the coming year of Jupiter in Libra (9/9/16 - 10/10/17 - notice those repetitions of numbers, suggestive of the balance of the Libran scales), we'll receive opportunities to increase all things Libran - our experience of relationship; our experience of justice; our experience of social engagement; anything relating to aesthetics; and for artists, growth in our work and its reach.

Notably, this planetary ingress occurs about a half hour before the quarter moon, halfway between this month's two eclipses, a time of great strain. You may find out more about this influence and the other major astrological & herbal trends of this autumn in my September 8th class at Homestead Apothecary in Oakland. It'll be a healing and nourishing way to meet the half-way point between the two eclipses this month.

Saturn squares Neptune: 9/10/16

Saturn (effort, building, materializing) makes the last of three exact squares to Neptune (letting go, imagining, dissolving) on September 10th. The first two passes occurred on 11/26/15 and 6/17/16, but the overall effect of this influence is felt from roughly October 2015 through November 2016. At this point, we're moving into the resolution phase of this at times inspiring and unifying, and at times despairing and disillusioning influence.

Revisit these questions from November 2015's post:

In which relationships, projects, paths, and endeavors do you feel ambivalence?

In which relationships, projects, paths and endeavors do you feel conviction?

And to help you embrace the resolution phase of this influence:

What is/are the unifying principle/s in your dreams?

What real life goal/s resonate with those principles?

What is the next step you can take towards those goals?

Lunar eclipse in Pisces: 9/16/16 at 11:54 AM PDT

Let's call this moon the almost moon.

The second and last eclipse of this season is a penumbral lunar eclipse, also not visible in North America. Even where it is visible, it won't look that different from a normal full moon. The sun, Earth and moon are almost more aligned in three dimensional space than on a normal full moon, but only so that the outer edges of the Earth's shadow only partially darken part of the moon.

But you'll still feel this moon more intensely than a normal full moon, partially because the moon is almost at its closest pass to the Earth, which means it's almost a super moon.

This moon is in Pisces, the sign most comfortable and familiar with the word almost. Pisces is almost of another world and almost fully present in this world. We are invited to explore various faces of the Pisces shadow through this moon - ambivalence, victim-hood, martyrdom, escapism, addiction. We are invited to take our Pisces expression to a different level - compassion, presence, imagination, insight. With the moon aligned with the centaur, Chiron, there is some deep healing available at this time. With the sun in Virgo, and the continuing influence of Saturn square to Pisces' ruler, Neptune, there's also a need to take responsibility and take action. If we follow these planetary promptings, we can turn our almost's into actual's.

What this all adds up to is let go. There is something to surrender at this time, something you still carry that you've almost let go of, but not entirely, not quite. Let it go.

If you forgive what's in the past, how does that shift your experience of the present and your sense of the future?

If you allow yourself to feel compassion for yourself at the same time that you feel compassion for those whom you struggle with, how does that shift your relationship with them and with yourself?

What happens in your mind and heart when you name your experiences without judging them?

Is there an old dream that no longer fits with who you've become... and who you want to become?


Again, I recommend sun tea. Follow the recipe above, but this time, you can start steeping BEFORE the actual eclipse, and let it steep right through that potent moment and on for a total of 4-6 hours.

In addition to the Virgo herbs listed above, I recommend throwing in some Piscean herbs as well - mugwort to stimulate dreams and improve your travels between dream world and reality; a little kelp or dulse for fluidity, detoxification, and nourishing minerals; passionflower to relieve pain (physical & emotional) and calm the mind. Not an herb of Pisces, but potentially useful at this time is burdock if you need to let go of old anger in order to let in some deeper layers of forgiveness.

I do not recommend a lunar infusion for this moon. You want the Virgo sun to light the way right now.

Next month...

In the Libra month, we will mostly be making sense of this wily Virgo month. We'll get some spice from a super full moon in Aries, and a renewal of our inner reserves and our deeper truth from Pluto's direct station.

As always, feel free to contact me or schedule a private consultation. You may find further healing support on my referrals page. Thanks for reading, and here's wishing you a happy and healthy union of your truest dreams and the most nurturing bounds of reality,


The Chronology of the Solar Month of Virgo 2016:

8/22 - Sun enters Virgo: learning and mastering through active engagement

8/30 - Mercury stations retrograde: slow down, attend to your breath, be curious and flexible

9/1 - Solar eclipse in Virgo: a truer order follows letting go of what no longer serves

9/9 - Jupiter enters Libra: put your faith in that which feels balancing

9/10 - last square of Saturn to Neptune: identifying the real dream enables a dreamy reality

9/16 - lunar eclipse in Pisces: letting go of false worlds & dreams; re-constructing with care

9/21 (PDT) - Mercury stations direct: give it a week to get back up to speed

9/22 - Sun enters Libra, autumn equinox: time to read next month's post

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