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wooden bridge to beach

If you’ve spent much time at the beach and understand what you’re looking at, you can read patterns of seaweed and sand to learn more about recent patterns of the deep ocean tides .

If you understand what you’re looking at, you can read the pattern of a fairy ring in the grass and know that, under the grass, there are certain patterns of decaying organic matter and fungal mycelia.

If you are a meteorologist, you can read patterns of wind and water and temperature to predict upcoming patterns of weather.

I don’t buy into the concept that the planets directly affect us. I don’t believe they emanate some kind of magical, mystical rays that drive human behavior, or viral replication for that matter. But decades of studying and practicing astrology have convinced me that the patterns of the planets do reflect patterns of manifest reality here on Earth.

Planetary patterns offer us visions of what is possible, and a wider awareness of the spiritual realities that drive our personal and collective creative endeavors. When the reality that humans and/or nature are creating is horrific, the patterns of the planets can help us find ways to re-pattern events, to change our reality.

We are currently caught up in stormy patterns of consciousness and psychic energy that will toss us around and demand that we take new compass readings and set a new course, as individuals, as communities, as countries. Are you ready to take advantage of these patterns? Ready to do the work that’s needed to create lasting beneficial change in your life and the world around you?

You wanted change, right? It’s a lot easier to steer changes in the direction you want to go when things are in flux. When we are cut from our anchors, when foundations are crumbling, when the stones of the Lightning-Struck Tower are piled at our feet.

And things are definitely in flux. Opportunities abound, but you will need to step up and do the work of defining what you want and then making and following a plan to create it. Here are some things to consider as you plan your journey.

(I’ll be looking mostly at how current planetary patterns are affecting the USA for the rest of the year, because the gods know we could use some perspective on the present reality of our country.)

Pluto’s Return

It won’t be exact until 2022 (though it stations within a half a degree of partile in April 2021), but we are already feeling the effects of the USA’s Pluto Return — a 248-year cycle that marks Pluto’s completion of its turn around the Sun back to the same place it was when the country was born. It’s a major wake-up call.

(Astrologers: The charts I’m looking at include current and upcoming transits and their aspects, the June/July/ November/December eclipses, the Cancer and Libra ingress (solstice and equinox) charts, the progressions and solar arcs of the USA chart (Sibly, Equal House), and all of these charts in bi-wheels with the USA chart.)

The big news of this Pluto return — which is in effect from 2018 through 2026 — is that it will require a complete restructuring of our economic systems, and indicates crises in how we handle our resources — both natural and financial.

No, the economy is not going to be “OK”. Of course there will be ups and downs, but economic realities are changing due to large, immutable forces, and change means disruption.

It must change because the current economic structure depends on unchecked and unending growth, which is simply not sustainable environmentally. Climate change, resource depletion, and pollution affect food production, infrastructure, and manufacturing. We seem to have forgotten that the planet itself is at the foundation of any economy.

We need to learn to focus on sustainability, not unchecked growth. The underlying health of the planet and the resources we depend on to live are at stake. The longer we put off making these necessary changes, the harder the economy will eventually fall.

Economic and social turmoil will affect the entire country to varying degrees in different areas. Most of us will need to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Some of these circumstances will be difficult, but can lead to dramatic improvements in our lives if we pay attention, strategize, connect with community, do the necessary work, and care for each other. (That “care for each other” part is particularly important.)

(Astrologers: This Pluto return must be looked at in context with other transits and progressions, particularly Saturn, which continues to travel within orb of both transiting and USA natal Pluto, and Jupiter as well. Keep in mind that Saturn rules Capricorn and co-rules Aquarius, which means Jupiter and Pluto are working closely with Saturn towards Capricornian goals. Watch what plays out as Saturn returns to Capricorn in early July, and then makes its second (August) and finally third (November) conjunction to natal Pluto (the first was in late February) As always, check the house rulerships, and don’t forget that all this Capricorn stuff is happening in the USA’s 2nd house.

Speaking of rulerships, note that the Cancer and Libra ingress charts both feature Scorpio rising, intensifying both Martian and Plutonic themes. And a powerful solar eclipse happens only a few hours after the Summer Solstice. This is the Aries Point — 0 degrees of any Cardinal sign — which heralds major jolts of energy that lead to new beginnings and public awareness. The eclipse is conjunct the USA Venus, and square the USA MC, which is ruled by Venus. Mars enters Aries, triggering the eclipse point by square on 6/27. And then…

There’s a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction on 6/30 which exactly opposes the USA’s Mercury, and Saturn moves back into Capricorn on July 2nd. Additionally, watch the USA’s progressed Moon, now in Capricorn, which opposed natal Mercury on 5/27, and conjoins natal Pluto on 8/25. It moves into Aquarius just a few days before Election Day. Look closely at Mercury — natal and the year’s two remaining retrogrades in aspect to the USA chart.

Oh, and check out Uranus aspecting the USA natal nodes. Not to mention 6 months of Mars in Aries squaring the Capricorn planets.

All this leads to…)

On The National Stage

The protests will continue, and unfortunately, so will the virus, which I believe will be with us for at least the rest of this year.

Trade, particularly foreign trade and resources shared with other countries, transportation, and communication networks of all kinds are undergoing evolutionary changes. There will be major breakthroughs, as well as the destruction of some of the old ways of doing things.

Our travel infrastructure — roads, bridges, ports and airports — as well as technological communications infrastructure — satellites, cell towers, miles of cable — need strengthening and rebuilding. Some of it is likely to crumble before there is a collective decision to do something about it. Keep as many options open as you can — both landline and cell phone, a couple of alternative travel routes to work for instance.

Major climate-related events are likely, particularly flooding, pollution, fires, and earthquakes. Meteorologists are already calling for an active hurricane season. Do not take weather warnings lightly, and have a plan in place for moving quickly if necessary.

Banking is another area of our society that is likely to undergo far-reaching changes. Hopefully it will be because tighter regulations are put in place to prevent bank failures, but that may well be in response to some failures.

There is also a focus on debt, particularly the national debt, and taxes. They will be a subject of considerable debate.

My major concern for the rest of the year is the likelihood of outbreaks of violence, including the possibility of an actual war. Overall, tempers will be short, and the current problems with law enforcement will almost certainly escalate — then hopefully lead to solutions.

Watch your own temper, and keep a close eye on the temper of those around you. Keep in mind that anger is a call to action, but violence, while it can make a necessary point when you’re out of other options, is rarely the most productive action one can take.

On Our Last Nerve

But anger isn’t the only emotion we’ll be dealing with. Current conditions are deeply triggering, and we the people (not to mention the powers that be) are being driven by unconscious forces, by our activated shadow selves. We can face these forces, these shadows, heal and integrate them using the tremendous amount of psychic energy they store to create a new and better reality. Or we can hurl them outward, away from us, refusing to look, releasing raw, destructive energy into the zeitgeist.

We’re all a bit on edge, understandably. The cauldron of the collective unconscious is being vigorously stirred. Our future is in flux, major changes are rolling down the pike, and we know intuitively that we can’t keep our heads in the sand anymore. The underlying weaknesses of our civilization are causing cracks in the foundation, and things are crumbling around us. Scary stuff.

Dealing with Fear

It’s imperative to face our fears, and work through them. (This is the spiritual message of Mars in Aries). This is easier said than done, particularly if you have trauma in your past, but it’s necessary work if we want to gain more agency over our lives.

Therapy can help. Meditation can help (though it can be counter-productive for some trauma survivors). But dealing with the kind of existential fear that so many of us grapple with means opening to a wider spiritual awareness.

The only way I know to do this is to look beyond the insistent exhortations of purely materialistic scientists and philosophers, beyond the fearful, fire and brimstone, “fear the wrath of the Lord and the minions of Satan” preaching of many self-styled spiritual leaders, and find a solid spiritual and philosophical foundation for our lives that allows us to stand in courage and compassion as we witness change, explore possibilities, and work towards a better future.

Since I’ve written a whole book about how to do this (Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky: Allowing the Rational Mind to Welcome Magic and Spirituality) I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, but I will say that learning magic gives us agency, and connecting with the ancestors, deities, spirits of the land and other non-physical beings gives us an expanded view of reality, as well as support, guidance, and protection.

Overcoming fear takes work. It takes time and attention. It takes courage. But if you do this work, you can live a life freed from paralyzing fears and anxieties, free to follow the path of your soul’s dreams wherever it leads.


(Astrologers: Neptune and Jupiter are the visioning planets, Pisces and Sagittarius the signs of broad visions. But keep in mind that Mars drives the actions that bring visions into reality, Venus feeds the heart and soul of our visions, and Mercury handles all those pesky but necessary details. Look particularly at how this year’s retrogrades are interacting.)

One of the first things any budding magician learns is that before you perform any magical working, you need to know what you want — what you are doing magic for. You need a vision.

I think the whole concept of “being in the present moment” is a fine thing. Learning to control and direct your mind, to stay immersed in your immediate experience, is a skill worth developing. But it’s not a particularly creative place to be, because to create, we need to look beyond what is to envision what could be. We need to peek into possible futures, and choose the ones we want to inhabit.

What are your visions — both for your personal future and for your world? Do you limit your visions with outworn beliefs and subconscious programming that says “Well, that’ll never happen” or “I just don’t have what it takes” or “I always have the worst luck”?

Pull those beliefs up, and examine them closely. Maybe it won’t happen, maybe you don’t have what it takes, maybe you’ll run into some bad luck. But don’t let blanket statements imprinted in your past steer your dreams for the future. Examine and assess current probabilities, look for the best options, and let yourself dream of the future you want. Reimagine the possible.

Sure, there are practical limits that need to be acknowledged and worked with, But without a clear vision of a better future, our actions will be reactive, not creative. The protests we are seeing across the country are happening because people have a vision of a society free of racism, intolerance, economic inequality, and violence, and they are taking creative action in line with their vision.

There are lots of people right now who are in dire straits due to illness or financial problems or hatred and violence directed towards them. For many of those people, their visioning is understandably limited to getting through the next day. Can you, will you, hold a larger vision that includes them as well as yourself, and take actions, both magical and mundane, to bring those visions into reality?

From Hatred to Compassion

(Astrologers: Looking particularly here at Mars Rx in Aries that extends through the rest of the year, squaring the Capricorn stellium, and also Saturn’s return to conjunct the USA’s natal Pluto in August and November. Do keep in mind that Mars in Aries is not just about fighting, but also about courage and trail blazing, and that the Saturn-Pluto combo can be difficult and cruel, but also indicates tenacity, resilience, disciplined work towards spiritual growth, and the work of magicians)

Hate, like anger, is a problematic emotion that nonetheless has its uses. Anger tells you when and where you need to take action. Hate tells you about who and what you don’t want to be. But both these emotions need to be quickly processed into action and change, because they turn poisonous if you try to hold onto them.

Most of the world’s great religions have come to the conclusion that compassion/love/caring is the way to go. Do you think hatred is a power that will change our world into one of justice, freedom, and respect for all, or do you think love and caring might do a better job? Are life, liberty, and happiness better pursued with anger and hatred, or through courage and compassion?

I’m reading and hearing a lot of justifications for hate and violence — which sound a lot like the justifications for hate and violence on the other side of whatever street you are standing on. “It’s necessary, we can’t have change without it”, “It’s OK to hate someone who said/did this awful thing”, “fight fire with fire”, etc. Sure, sometimes violence is the only way to set necessary boundaries. But it’s never the best option.

Facing the hard questions — like what to do about hate, whether it’s OK to hate, whether or not compassion and love are somehow weaker and less effective than hate and anger, is part of the work we do as we discover our own spiritual and philosophical foundations. But here are some thoughts and observations you might want to consider as you’re doing that work.

  • It’s been clearly established that our emotions affect our physical health. For instance, anger will raise blood pressure and risk for heart problems, depression affects the brain, the heart, and the gut.
  • Those of us who are aware of the subtle energies that surround and enliven the body understand that strong emotions carry a powerful charge of subtle energy that affects us on many levels, physical, psychological, and spiritual.
  • Holding on to the energies of anger and hate is bad for your health. If you let them simply flow through you, they will flip a few energetic switches that will help you direct your actions effectively, but if you stop the flow and nurture that energy within you, it will poison you.
  • Not only is it possible to engineer profound and lasting change without hatred and anger, it is far more effective.
  • We all radiate personal energy that affects the people and the world around us. If you carry around anger and hatred, even if you feel it is righteous, it becomes part of your personal energy signature, and you invariably broadcast that energy out into the world around you. Are hate and anger the energetic imprints you want to give to the world?

This remarkable world, the realm of physical existence, offers us options for joy, love, beauty, wonder, and creativity. Sadly, we seem to be conforming to patterns of anger and hatred that push those options away from us.

Consider how you might change your patterns. Seek out love and caring. Reach out to help others. Neutralize hate and anger with the solid strength of your compassion, your convictions, and your visions of a better world.

Yes, it’s been a challenging year for most of us, and I don’t see the challenges going away soon. But the astrology also indicates many options and opportunities if we’re willing to face the challenges head-on.

As the Sun stands still in its trajectory through the sky on June 20th, just hours before a powerful eclipse, the celestial patterns point to change. What patterns will you create in your life within that larger framework? What path will you take?

Blessings of the Solstice to you, and blessings on your journey.

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