Recently Read: You Were Born For This

Born For This

The plan wasn’t to finish You Were Born For This in one sitting, but the reading just flowed.

So much of my life, certain events and themes, struggles and luck were obvious and maybe inevitable after looking deeply into my chart. What an awakening!

We all like to think that we have control over our own lives. We do to a certain extent. But luck and chance play big roles as well.

I needed this book in my twenties. But if it had been available then, I wouldn’t have had the familiarity with myself to receive it in the same way. I’ve never read a book with such ease and felt such gentleness towards me as the reader.

After reading some books, I’ve gotten the feeling that they really could have been essays. However, the writers got lucrative book deals. Maybe because they had a big audience. Then they had editors who massaged the hell out of that essay to make it into a book. But it really wasn’t a book and it did not feel genuine or respectful to me as the reader.

As a writer, Chani Nicholas is the exact opposite. While reading, I felt that she was rooting for me and thinking about how I might feel as I journeyed through my life reading her words. Nicholas wrote You Were Born For This as an act of kindness to her audience.

If you are even the least bit interested in astrology, I recommend buying You Were Born For This. I’m always one for borrowing books from the library, but this book is different. It’s more personal.

To get the most out of it, you need to download your chart from her website. Then use that information to fill in the pages as instructed through the book. You’re then guided through your Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Its Ruler. These are the three keys to a chart.

Most of us are familiar with our Sun sign. That’s the most basic part of our chart and determined by our birth date. I’m a Virgo, but that’s such a small part! The Sun represents our life’s purpose.

The Moon represents our physical and emotional needs. My Moon is in Scorpio.

The Ascendant and Its Ruler is our motivation for living and steer the direction of our lives. The Ascendant is also known as our Rising Sign. Mine is Taurus and the Ruler is Venus. Venus is all about seeking love, beauty and pleasure. I feel this deep into my bones. This blog is literally my attempt to notice the beauty all around and share it. It also feels like home to me.

But wait, there’s more! Just like with real estate, there are different houses and location matters. The placement of certain planets together in one house, near each other or opposite others changes things dramatically.

The luminaries, the sun and moon, are placed well in my chart and act together helping me live out my life’s purpose. Jupiter, trines my Sun, offering some protection and luck. As a kid and throughout my life, I’ve been good at winning contests.

Jupiter is also in the same house as my Ascendant which magnifies my impact on the world. Nicholas gives the example of “a bombastic laugh” and people tell me that they always remember my laugh.

Some of my life’s challenges I see in my chart too – a Scorpio Moon is not easy. She says that I will be called to “dig deep” and “transform … pain into purpose.” Sometimes that feels like the story of my life. Seeing my chart, it’s definitely part of it.

She says, “Scorpio deals with death, loss and transformation, sometimes having the Moon in this sign speaks to not only experiencing these issues in childhood but also having them as part of your professional interest or expertise.”

When I was a child, almost an entire generation in my family died and I remember being quite aware of the loss. Also when I was a child, the town’s grade school building had structural damage, so I attended school for a couple of years at a Catholic Parish. We had recess out in the back and quite literally played among the graves. As a freelance writer and lawyer, I’ve written about end of life issues.

I could go on and on, but if you do the work on your chart, you will find You Were Born For This endlessly fascinating and return to it over and over again. Because really, it’s all about you.

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If you’re interested in another book that I recently read, take a look here.

The Zodiac Constellations & Virgo Season

The Zodiac Constellation

It’s my birthday eve and I’ve been reading up on all things Virgo. ‘Tis the season! I love that astrology has its roots in science and then goes way beyond.

The American Astronomical Society explains the difference between astronomy and astrology.

Astronomy is a science that studies everything outside of the earth’s atmosphere, such as planets, stars, asteroids, galaxies; and the properties and relationships of those celestial bodies. Astronomers base their studies on research and observation. Astrology, on the other hand, is the belief that the positioning of the stars and planets affect the way events occur on earth.

Just as the phases of the moon heavily influences the tides, to me it’s quite logical that positions of the stars and planets may impact people. With more than half of our body weight consisting of water, it makes sense that the moon could impact our behavior. So why not the other planets too?

The object pictured above is NGC 4388, which is part of the Virgo Cluster, which contains more than 1300 galaxies. The center of this cluster of galaxies is part of the constellation of Virgo. It’s so beautiful!

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains Earth and our solar system. The Virgo Cluster is the closest large cluster of galaxies to us. The lingo can get a little complicated, so here are some quick definitions as I understand them.

Star clusters are groups of stars held together by gravitational pull. A constellation is a name given to a group of stars based on a pattern that appears in the sky. Stars are also the “fundamental building blocks of galaxies.”

So when does astrology kick in?

When the planets, moon and sun pass through the Zodiac constellations. The constellations correlate to our astrological sign, which is also our sun sign. But there is one additional constellation, Ophiuchus, which is not used as a zodiac sign.

What’s interesting is that when we can see our own zodiac constellation in the night sky does not correlate with the timing of our birthday. The Virgo constellation appears in late May, June and July, according to EarthSky.

The sun passes in front of the constellation Virgo each year from about September 16 to October 30. Because Virgo is such a large constellation, the sun stays in front of Virgo for longer than one month.

The dates of the sun’s passage through Virgo may conflict with what you read on the horoscope page, which probably says from about August 23 to September 22. Keep in mind that astrologers are referring to the sign – not the constellation – Virgo. Yes, there is a difference between a constellation and a sign!

A constellation of the zodiac refers to certain section of the starry sky. On the other hand, a sign of the zodiac refers to the seasonal position of the sun, irrespective of what constellation backdrops the sun at a given season.

As I approach my 56th time circling the sun, I remember the past, look forward to the future and feel grateful for my birthday present.

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Image Credit: ESA/NASA

Bruja Full Moon Magic Playlist

Bruja Full Moon Magic Playlist

Between this being Palindrome Week, with Friday the 13th yesterday, the full moon today, and my birthday being this past week, it’s been feeling like a magical time.

Also, there were lots of sudden out of the blue endings and beginnings in my life during this time. Something is in the air.

I have a playlist on Amazon that I listen to while I’m driving. Several of the songs I found on my monthly Cosmic Playlists by Chani Nicholas. I listen to Virgo, my sun sign and Taurus, my rising sign. It’s a great way to find new to me music and inspired me to create a new playlist.

There were some witchy songs that I took from the driving list and moved to a separate playlist celebrating the full moon mood and bruja magic. Below is a list of the songs and a link to it on Spotify if you’d like to listen to it too. The 17 songs take an hour and twelve minutes to play. Enjoy!

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  1. I Put A Spell On You – Nina Simone
  2. Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra
  3. Moondance – Van Morrison
  4. Black Magic Woman – Santana
  5. Brujas – Princess Nokia
  6. Sufi Woman – Jidenna
  7. That Magic – India.Arie
  8. Primavera – Santana
  9. Strange Magic – Electric Light Orchestra
  10. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
  11. Equinox – John Coltrane
  12. Shanti /Ashtangi – Madonna
  13. Witchy Woman – Eagles
  14. Destiny – Zero 7, Sia, Sophie Barker
  15. Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac
  16. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  17. Incantation – Deva Premal

A Virgo Season Photo Project: Noticing The Details

Collage for Virgo season.

Happy Virgo Season! As a proud Virgo, this is my favorite time of the year.

While it’s not yet my birthday month, today is the start of the season, which goes through September 22nd. Although some things I read say September 21st and that Libra season starts on the 22nd. So my last post for the project will be September 21st.

For the season, I’ve decided to try something newa photography project on Instagram using the hashtag #virgophotoproject.

Photography has always been a hobby and Instagram has brought me back to a purer form of it than blogging. While blogging, I always have pictures, but they are not the main thing. The main thing is the story and the pictures help tell the story.

I just read the book, Humans of New York, which is based on the blog. The blog started as a photography project and grew from there. I love how starting something small as an experiment can end up turning into much more than originally expected.

Reading the book made me think that it would be nice to try a photo project of my own. But I wasn’t sure about a topic. I read a blog post on Everyday Eyecandy about 16 different types of photography projects. They are all wonderful ideas, but none of them appealed to me.

After thinking about things that interest me and that were coming up, Virgo Season immediately came to mind. Virgos are all about the details among many other wonderful things, so I thought it made sense to focus in on that for a theme to start.

It will be interesting to see what types of things I have photographed. I’m also hoping that some others will join in and contribute some pictures by using the #virgophotoproject hashtag. I’d love to see what everyone comes up with. What are traits that you associate with being a Virgo?

Federal_Street_shoe_Boston

My first Instagram post for the #virgophotoproject was this picture from the side of the building at 160 Federal Street in Boston. I have always noticed the shoe and wondered what it was about. Turns out the building used to house the United Shoe Machinery Company.

The shoe is just a small detail, but turns out it has a big significance! I hope you’ll follow the project and let me know what you think.

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Catching a Glimpse: Boston

Boston's cobblestone streetsNo matter how many times I walk around Boston, I still find myself taken aback by the beauty of this city.

Something about the curve of the street, the cobblestones, the shadow and light, flags blowing in the wind. And even the neon Red Sox sign. It caught my breath.  This street has felt a lot of footsteps. Seen so much history along with the mundane.

Next Friday is my birthday and my driver’s license was getting ready to expire. Luckily, where I was working yesterday wasn’t too long of a walk to the Haymarket branch of the RMV. A month ago when I went to the opening of Boston Public Market, I noticed that location.

As I was leaving the RMV, I saw this street and had to double back and take a couple of pictures. All the tourists were too. Or maybe they were just like me. Locals seeing Boston with fresh eyes and wanting to keep a piece of it.

For the past few months, I’ve been reading Chani Nicholas, a really interesting astrology website. For those of us who are Virgos, we’ve been in a pretty interesting cycle.

Before I even read about it, I could feel a pull to the past. Like things were resetting and coming full circle from a few years ago. I was wondering what was going on, so when I read about Venus retrograde in Virgo, it started to make sense. Below is a portion from one of Chani’s posts.

Venus will be retrograde from July 25th to September 6th 2015.

Within our lifetimes (thus far) Venus has gone retrograde between the signs of Virgo and Leo once every 8 years. Therefore you can look to see what of significance happened in your life 8 years ago to get a feel for what this retrograde cycle could be about.

Venus deals with issues of love, connectivity, art, pleasure, pleasing, what we value, how we feel about what we value, creating culture, erotic energy, Goddess, anyone who identifies as a woman and all things to do with relationships. When Planets slow down to station retrograde, they tend to have a powerful effect on our lives (especially given the topics they govern).

This Venus retrograde begins in Virgo. Venus in Virgo is said to be in its fall; it is said to not “work as well,” meaning that all this Venus wants to do is work. That’s not what the goddess of love and hanky-panky usually likes to do though. Therefore this Venus station retrograde could have us working over time.

I suggest utilizing the energy of Venus in Virgo stationing retrograde by doing intentional ritual (Virgo loves a good structured, devotional practice) that is focused on purifying, cleansing or cleaning (Virgo wants it tidy) out old baggage from past loves. That could be emotional messiness, physical objects that are cluttering up your energetic space or habitual patterns that cause romantic casualties.

I’ve gotten back into my yoga practice and have been working hard. Figuring out some other things too. This weekend, I still have a lot to do, but definitely plan to take some time to stop and smell the flowers as I head into my birthday week.

Have a wonderful long holiday weekend!