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Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” ~ Walt Whitman
Astrologers call the chart of the Summer Solstice the “Cancer ingress chart”, and it is one of four cardinal ingress charts we look at every year. These charts mark powerful times in the turning of the cosmic wheel — when Sun enters zero degrees of one of the four signs in the cardinal modality — and are considered predictive for anytime from 3 months to one year ahead, depending on technicalities I won’t bore you with. Personally, I see all these predictive charts as successive waves of influence, and so, for instance, the waves of the latest New Moon chart, of the last Lunar Eclipse, of the recent Solar Eclipse and Aries ingress chart, are all breaking on or close to shore right now, creating patterns in the shifting, tide-washed sands of our personal lives and our society.
"Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden. This truth, fundamental to the position which rejects reliance on the method of war, is ultimately a religious perception, a belief that stands outside of history.”
From “Speak Truth to Power” by the American Friends Service Committee, 1955
The chart of the Gemini New Moon offers us many wonderful chances to communicate clearly with each other, and to speak our personal truths to whoever needs to hear them, but people aren’t going to be pulling their punches this month, so be ready to hear the truth as well. People will be expressing their thoughts with passion and intensity. It’s a great time to set intentions and do magical work around communication, and also to look closely at any beliefs and ideas that might be holding you back. It’s also worth taking a close look at what triggers anger in you, and why.
For astrology students: Sun, Moon and Mars are in a huddle in Mercury’s sign of Gemini, and Mercury is hanging out a little apart, having just turned direct a few days ago, at a pinnacle of strength in its own sign, staring down Saturn in Scorpio and challenging Neptune, also in its own sign of Pisces. This is a powerful combination. I’ve written in more detail about the effects of the Mercury-Neptune aspect here. Now let’s look at how it plays out with Saturn having moved back into Scorpio (in mutual reception and a tight semi-square with Pluto), and Uranus, Venus and Jupiter playing together enthusiastically in a Fire trine.
We have our work cut out for us — how do we communicate clearly, speak forcefully enough to initiate change without driving others back into the defensive emotional postures of Saturn in Scorpio or into Neptune’s realm of escapist fantasy? We will likely be faced with powerful, repressed ideas and emotions that get blurted out in often painful ways. We’ll see this in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world around us. Reacting with compassion to social blunders, verbal faux pas, and unintentional insults will be a challenging but necessary response to Mercury and Saturn’s game of truth and consequences.
A book I’m reading got me thinking recently about some of the deeper issues of the current, ongoing Mercury-Neptune square, as Mercury has been retrograding over the degrees of the aspect, dragging out what is usually a very short encounter. The square aspect generally presents as what a friend of mine called A FOG — Another Freakin’ Opportunity for Growth. (It’s never easy, might be painful.) Both arms of the square have ideas and approaches to problems that must be brought together into a workable synthesis, ‘cause nobody’s backing out of this fight....
Full Moons always set the stage for the next couple of weeks, and in upcoming Full Moon chart (June 2, 12:20 PM ET) Mercury, the planet of the Trickster God, rules from a throne sitting right at the top of the chart cast for Washington DC (predictive for the entire US) Yes, Mercury is retrograde, too, making the Trickster even trickier to handle, bringing out his sense of slapstick humor (we don’t always find it funny) and offering us some clever puzzles to work on in the first half of June.
The first puzzle that we are presented with is the enigma of ego. As individual nodes of creative life force currently functioning from the home base of a body, we develop an ego as part of the maturation process. We identify with something we call me, myself or I. It’s a necessary and — if properly nurtured and balanced — healthy part of the human psyche. But many religions and spiritual philosophies tell us to renounce, or at least keep a tight rein on our egos — and their definitions of just what the ego is vary....
"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann
This month’s New Moon features some intense aspects and planetary placements, including a station of Mercury as it prepares to go retrograde. It occurs just a few minutes after midnight on Monday, May 18th (all times EDT, find the chart here) at 27 degrees of Taurus, so anyone with placements in 23-30 degrees of the fixed signs will have some extra energy to play with this month. Opportunities and pitfalls both abound — let’s take a look at how we might chart a course towards the former and avoid the latter....
It’s an oft-repeated truism in the literature on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that it never goes away. I’m a big believer in the plasticity of the brain and the strength of the human spirit, so I’ve always felt that it was possible to fully heal, just damned difficult. Part of the problem is that trauma affects everyone differently, depending on a number of factors — genetics, environment, parenting, the ages at which trauma occurs, etc. — which means everyone’s path to healing is different. Sometimes it can be hard to see where the next step is, much less where the path leads.
I’ve had plenty of people tell me over the years about their special one-size-fits-all “cure” for PTSD. Along with various psycho-therapeutic methods and magical and shamanic techniques, I’ve been urged to try EFT or acupuncture or any of a gazillion other different treatment modalities — and I probably have worked with most of them. But in my experience and that of many people I’ve spoken to in my work as an astrologer and tarot reader, you pick up some healing here, and some there, and a bit more over there, and pretty soon you’re talking real healing. But it takes time, it takes support, and it takes a willing heart....