Youngblood Blog

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Under the Wire: November Writing Retreat, Celtic New Year’s style

Insecure Writers’ Support Group [IWSG] Corner

November 5th 2014 weather anomaly Eastern/Central U.S. CA basks in eternal sunshine, map ©NOAA

November 5th 2014 weather anomaly Eastern/Central U.S. CA basks in eternal sunshine, map
©NOAA

Many times this eventful year, I have longed for time/space to write—at least a few lines at my leisure—within my comfort zone. Events have a way of redirecting our otherwise good intentions, don’t they?

So far, 2014 has been short on leisure.

November heralds Celtic New Year and I’m no farther forward than last Samhainn.

Astrochart for now: 11:11p.m. EDT 11/05/14 Saturn leads pack of Starhounds to Orion's chase

Astrochart for now: 11:11p.m. EDT 11/05/14 Saturn leads pack of Starhounds to Orion’s chase

And, now that fall is well and truly here, my writerly output—like my garden shed—is showing its leaks!

Driving our Engines into the Ground
It’s not that we writers aren’t driven to distraction by our need to put graphite to tree pulp; extract or express some primeval desire hidden in the God-given Word; even one in our own God-driven engine-mind. I have known a fellow scribe who went into catatonia for a fortnight—today we call it ‘withdrawal’ or ‘having a bad hair day’—because she couldn’t find her high school propelling pencil.

Like losing a cell phone or iPod, our sudden disconnection fuels our dependency.

Change of season usually alters our work pattern, anyway. Deep inside, we must be akin to swallows, electromagnetically programmed to changing home base. Bureaucratic daylight manipulation makes it worse: disturbs our brain and sleep patterns, resulting in near-writer’s block.

Heaven forbid. I hope my mind hasn’t also flown the coop, along with my summer projects.

All Fall In

Rainstorms bring water, turn grass green again

Rainstorms bring water, turn grass green again

If I’m honest, this is the time when I sometimes admit defeat, float around in ‘can’t cope’ mode for a day or two with the change in weather, or, paradoxically, don ‘wellies’ (Wellington boots, rain gear), grab a pair of lethal secateurs and get forceful with a blackberry root.

Needless to say, I’ve found the culprit: something I can blame. It’s easier to point a finger at retrograde Neptune, floundering in his own exalted sign of Pisces, or beg deathstar Pluto to release his vice-like grip on his fellow planet, Mars conjunct in restrictive structure-driven Capricorn! The ancient SeaGoat rises from the waters to vanquish all malingerers…

Under the Wire
We are, I do believe, supremely grateful for excess H20 which fell from the heavens just in time to save us from a fiery death by 2014 heatwave. Water saved us from our (continuing) careless treatment of our planetary home.

It’s mot for me to criticize. William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle has shown us the way for a decade. We are still playing games with water. I merely add my comment—and gratitude. And pray that fewer hours of light may bring me time to relax, allow me to retreat into inner worlds.

And thanks Alex, as always, for doing what you do.
Dragon of the Stars, indeed. 🙂
©2014 Marian Youngblood

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November 6, 2014 Posted by | astrology, authors, culture, earth changes, environment, fantasy, gardening, nature | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wrapping Troubles in Fog-Ocean Dreams

POWER OF A Piscean Stellium
Monthly IWSG Corner
Many times during a new transition, a house move, rearrangement of one’s life, writing has to go on the back burner. Much though we would like to keep up the pace, our stamina—our ability to get through it—flags and we feel the need to let it all go.

Ocean pulls in her skirts gracefully

Ocean pulls in her skirts gracefully; see poem below

So it seems poignant and synchronous that some of us IWSGers over the last month have felt ourselves swayed, influenced—in our writing flow and in other ways—by a huge swelling wave, a virtual convocation of planets and heavenly bodies in the astrological sign of Pisces, the Fish. It is the ultimate watery sign of duality, emotional excess, unbridled boundlessness—some say chaos. A return to our primeval form.

Stellium in Pisces
With the present swing in public fancy to the ‘Astroview’, it will astonish nobody to learn that we are currently midway through a major stellium in Pisces. For the uninitiated, this is astrospeak for turmoil of the heart/emotional mayhem throughout the run-up to the new moon [in Pisces] March 10-11th, 2013.
On those nights, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Chiron, Venus, Mars, Neptune are held in a crucible within the bosom of Pisces—the most emotional, watery, spiritual sign of the zodiac. These bodies already stand in close conjunction, waiting for the Moon.

Following in the wake of the recurring potent three-year-long stress of a Grand Cross, it isn’t surprising that we now feel like a wet dish rag.

March 2013: bowl astro-chart: Piscean emotion holds 7 planets suspended in a 'stellium', as Jupiter & Saturn maintain balance

March 2013: crucible astro-chart: Piscean emotion holds seven planets suspended in a ‘stellium’, while Jupiter & Saturn maintain balance on either side

Psychic Piscean ‘Go with the Flow’
Life-affirming Piscean tendencies include:
Compassion, forgiveness and healing without sacrificing your self-esteem
Using the energy of the dream/fantasy to create something that touches people
Faith in what’s healthy for you
Letting go of what drags you down
Seeing what lies beyond the mundane world
Allowing things to happen

Less-than constructive qualities include:
Compassion, forgiveness and healing that drains you
Using the energy of the dream/fantasy to become addicted to someone
Faith in anything/everything, whether it’s healthy or not
Letting go of all boundaries
Denying the mundane world
Passively waiting for things to happen

For those who like specifics,
Neptune entered its watery home sign two years ago and will remain in Pisces through 2024;
Mars moved into Pisces: February 1st
Mercury into Pisces: February 5th
Sun into Pisces: February 18th
Venus into Pisces: February 25th
Moon stood in Virgo (full) on February 28th and
will move (new moon) into Pisces March 11th.

The immediate window extends through March 21st, equinox. So, brace yourself!

Being guided by one’s heart and following one’s intuition seems the only way. Or, to translate that in psychiatric concepts: allowing the left hemisphere to dominate—right handedness—will only lead to grief. By allowing our right hemisphere to guide us—left handed creativity—we may pull through this massive—planet-wide—emotional storm.

Sometimes, during Insecure Writers’ Support Week, we get to throw out a little nugget of a favorite subject—astro being one of mine—and our tolerant Ninja Cap’n Alex allows us the liberty of rabbiting on about matters unrelated to the honored art of writing. Such is this post; but since it DOES have a ‘space’ theme, and gives us a little insight into what we’re currently experiencing, never before having been exposed to such a degree of cosmic force, may I wish us all Godspeed and stamina to sail these choppy waters in uncertain times.

Cassini's fragile image of Venus cradled in Saturn's G-ring

Cassini’s fragile Venus cradled in Saturn’s G-ring


To end on a (positive) romantic note, when in trouble, dream…
… and a poem-let of inspiration by my nine-year old muse, inspired by [Neptune and] her ocean vista, top.

The Ocean by Oriah
The Ocean’s waves gracefully in the sunset
Where the seagulls fly
Pink clouds gently float away while the Moon rises
Then the Ocean comes back

No doubt our SpaceCaptain feels mucho at home in the rarified reaches of planetary atmospheres—Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all familiar territory; so maybe wishing ourselves well through this emotional roller-coaster is the best support we can give each other. May all our blogs be guided by superlative cosmic forces… sounds like a phrase from his forthcoming CassaStorm.
Thanks again for being there, fellow IWSGers and Alex.
©2013 Marian Youngblood

March 6, 2013 Posted by | astrology, authors, blogging, poetry, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Out Like A Lion: Mad March & June’s Grand Cross

Leo - Lion constellation of the spring and summer skies

‘In Like a Lamb – Out Like a Lion’ – Anon
Traditional wisdom surrounding weather in March Farmers’ Almanac

Lord Byron – whose mother Catherine Gordon was born at Gight in Aberdeenshire – had a healthy disregard for British weather – possibly one of his reasons for self-imposed exile in Italy and Greece. Genetically a Scot, his lineage shows in his:

“English winter – ending in July
To recommence in August”

After my previous long blog on weather, particularly the singular non-summer of 2009, I promised myself I wouldn’t allow it to dominate my consciousness. But circumstances never quite follow the rules and as I’m not alone in experiencing a return to winter over the March 2010 full moon, I think I’m allowed to empathize with others in our shared predicament:

‘What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen’ William Shakespeare

While the extreme North of Scotland may have had all the ‘freezings’ it can possibly endure, I feel sorry for the people of Perthshire who tonight, under this March full moon’s anomalous influence, are being subjected to their seventh storm of sleet and freezing rain this winter/(spring). It certainly fosters strength of spirit.

Human Race in for a rocky ride - Colorado highway blocked by rockfall, fueled by March snow conditions


Colorado – at this time of year the so-called Recreation State, because Aspen welcomes thousands in ‘spring break’ from school – has had yo-yo conditions: similar to those experienced by Vancouver for the Winter Olympics in early February. That means no snow on the Aspen runs (expensive snow-blowers and snow-creation turbines hauled in to coat ski slopes), while a few miles distant at Mount Evans, highways have been blocked by mammoth snowdrifts, rockfalls from heavy snow and, essentially, a return to January.

Snow is currently descending again on Mount Fuji in Japan, at the same latitude as Los Angeles in Southern California.

But it’s nearly over.

American poet Wallace Stevens talked of the ‘distant glitter of the January sun’ and yet we know its light is coming closer now. Days are getting longer. Global clocks have sprung forward.

John Masefield spoke of our challenges during ‘Mad March Days’ in his exquisite poem on ocean traders: ‘Cargoes.’ Metaphors mixed with gold moidores, amethysts and topazes borne by his Spanish galleon, and his peacock-bearing quinquereme take his reader to heights, only to bring him back down to earth with the salt-caked smokestack of his ‘dirty British coaster’ ‘butting through the Channel.’

His spirit could fly, however, in spite of his description of ‘wind like a whetted knife’. He may have felt the chill of British isolation amid a ‘grey mist on the sea’s face’, but he had presence-of-mind to dream of far-off places to stave off the chill days of Mad March.

‘… all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’

In these long drawn-out days between winter and spring, we in sodden Scotland do indeed need a star to steer by.

The Moons of Saturn combine to influence the coming Grand Cross in June

Since Autumn 2008, along with Mars, the solar system’s three largest planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus have been slowly moving into position to form a Cardinal Grand Cross in mid June 2010. A series of Crosses follows on, including one in June 2012 and another in June 2014. This June should give us a taste of what’s to come.

In astrology the cardinal signs signal the beginning of each new season: Aries stands at spring equinox; Cancer at summer solstice; Libra at autumn equinox and Capricorn, at midwinter. Energy in cardinal signs is characterized as active, outgoing, taking initiative. Its negative side is associated with lack of stamina or staying power.

Cardinal zodiac signs stand at the hinges of the seasons

Cardinal equals primary, fundamental, an energy standing at a hinge or doorway in time. People whose astrological charts feature cardinal zodiac signs are unafraid to try something new. A cardinal cross signifies a meeting of great influential heavenly bodies at a hinge of the seasons and the upcoming Grand Cross begins on June 25th (three days after solstice) and lasts until August 5th. Its second phase stretches from November 1st until December 26th.

In an individual’s zodiac birth chart, the presence of a Grand Cross – or four ‘squares’ – represents a potent combination of conflicting energies. If/when resolved, it can create a determined, dynamic and forceful personality with a strong sense of purpose or destiny.

The individual in the middle of this year’s Cardinal Grand Cross in June is the planet Earth and we earthlings perched on her surface are in for a rocky ride.

At this Cosmic Doorway we the human race will be stretched, pushed, pulled, tested, chewed and, possibly, even spat out by the Cosmic Forces. It will take all our fortitude, peace-of-mind, spiritual discipline and love and devotion to our fellow beings to guide us through this challenging time.

An astrological Cross occurs when four (or more) planets connect in a giant square: two in opposition to one another at right angles to two more, also in opposition. The configuration brings energies into conflict, a period of tension, but is often a catalyst for (spiritual and societal) growth. It is certainly a time of great change.

This June, against a backdrop of Uranus squared Pluto (the planet of birth and death), three days after summer solstice at a time considered sacred in all formative cultures, Jupiter and Uranus will stand in early degrees of Aries in square polarity to a Full Moon standing conjunct Pluto in Capricorn, opposite the Sun.

Special respect traditionally shown to the Moon closest to Summer Solstice

Age-old superstition and tradition show especial respect and awe for the Full Moon closest to the longest day and this Moon is no exception. Its synchronicity suggests an urgency for Mankind to pay attention.

In the third corner Saturn stands alone in late Virgo (on the cusp of cardinal Libra) while the Sun and Mercury in Cancer form the fourth corner of the Great Square or Cross. Polarizing Saturn in a square is the planet Mars (in Cancer), which, since March 12th this year has turned once more to direct motion. This implies a tendency to act rashly and sometimes without discipline: a trait which in the coming Cross could lead to difficulties.

The planets form a cross-grid. Think of it as four people sitting as partners at a bridge table, opposite each other and at right angles to their opponents. Opposing sides use the tension of their position to intuit and understand what hand the other is playing. After a series of push-pull negotiations, a ‘contract’ is reached and the four parties find a meeting place in the middle – a point of balance – where all four may use their skills and unique talents to focus on a central point of force, pave the way for a final resolution.

Slowly, inexorably, dragging their great bulk to stand in giant opposition within identical degrees in the four cardinal zodiac signs come the huge ‘partners’ in the ‘game’: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto – with the Moon and Mars adding spice.

These powerful entities – representative of expansion, discipline, spiritual growth and death – want to express and release their energies fully but are restricted (by the squares) from doing so. The tension thus created will be enormous. However, as the Grand Cross does indeed bring great change and eventually the spiritual strength to grow beyond our narrow vision, there is a powerful message of hope in the configuration.

Psychologist-linguist-astrologer Jessica Murray writes most knowledgeably about a 20-year prelude to this massive shift in human consciousness. Her work includes detailed analysis of the changes society went through starting with the great astrological conjunction – New Age ‘Harmonic Convergence’ in Aquarius of 1987. It continues through the 1989- 2007 conjunction when Saturn held hands with Neptune: from the ‘melting’ of the Berlin Wall (seen as Neptune’s softening influence on rigid societal structures – Saturn) through massive floods in New Orleans and Bangladesh, earthquakes and global warming. She sees this prelude as ‘softening up’ society to prepare ourselves for the coming confrontation.

About the imminent Grand Cross, she writes:

‘It is from the vast, slow-moving outer-planet cycles (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) that we expect the most far-reaching effects; and when these make major aspects with the social planets (Jupiter and Saturn) as well as with the personal planets (such as the Moon and Mars) at the same time, the rarity of the patterns that result puts them into a category that deserves a unique degree of awe, respect and attention.’

She sees us as having to come to terms with the contrast of the ‘real’ world (Saturn) and the ‘surreal’ (Uranus/Neptune, the ‘quantum field’, ‘Spirit’) in our lives.

Dedication and staying power to follow through on projects and activities are not the strong suit of Cardinal Grand Crosses. And the two oppositions suggest external challenges – our motives and deep beliefs questioned by others. We shall need all our faith, our self-belief and a will to be consistent in our personal connection to Spirit; to show loving intent, a calm center and compassion in dealing with others, possibly amid derision and disbelief.

Both Neptune and Uranus have been traveling in each other’s signs of exaltation: Neptune in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces (each rules the other’s sign). They’ve been paving the way for the last seven years asking us to open our minds and hearts to our spiritual selves, to incorporate spiritual principles into our everyday lives.

The coming Grand Cross will test our resolve. With planning and forethought, we may still succeed in achieving our goals, but tried and traditional avenues may not be available. Above all, we shall have to take each day as it comes, live and enjoy our increasing awareness of our place in the great unfolding, and be true to who we really are.

The good news is that a Grand Cross involving the outer giant planets brings with it enormous energy which, if used with the power of intention, in loving ways, will open new doors, provide unprecedented opportunities. It may be a time when many will be able to reconnect with their Inner Knowing, their guiding star.

A time to reinvent ourselves.

So while the Lion of March roars outside, dispersing the last ghosts of winter, we may look to the months ahead with hope that we mere mortals may, with the assistance of giants, find a portal through which to step; to create a better world.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | astrology, consciousness, culture, New Age, seasonal, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Astrological Giants move us through our Changes

Jupiter the giant ruler of Sagittarius

In the Western zodiac, the month of November is often one of change: the early part of the month is ruled by powerful Scorpio, the life-and-death sign with a sting in its tail. It is an ancient symbol of huge changes and upheaval – fixed water, or ice – and almost totally unforgiving. If you’re not ready now, November will make you question everything you’ve ever been taught, heard or assumed was real.

This year the heavy burden of change in earth’s systems, world governments and weather patterns is sometimes laid at Scorpio’s door. But a much greater force was at work: Saturn, the great planet of sidereal change, slowly and inexorably moved out of the communicative and meticulously-ordered earth-sign of Virgo, where he has ruled, written in stone, made careful lists and acted in a predictable manner for the last three years. On October 29th 2009, he entered Libra, the zodiac sign of partnerships, cooperative ventures, balance and – above all – change.

Solar system hemmed in by the planetary giantsChanges at the end of the year are expected as we in the Northern hemisphere descend into winter; but Saturn’s influence is huge. Just as the moon affects earth’s ocean tides, the ringed giant’s great orb reaches from its distant position in the sixth solar orbit to touch and move this little world of ours in the third planetary belt round the sun.

At the beginning of November this huge astrological catalyst of change had already joined forces with the sun in Scorpio and world mayhem, freak weather systems, and cultural upheaval were apparent: floods, tsunamis and out-of-season storms added to wars and conflict, famine and a breakdown in communications in both Old and New worlds. We are only now recovering from the effects of drought and starvation in some African regions and deluge and homeless scenarios in the North.

Saturn the planet of change and upheaval

Saturn’s move to Libra affects physical, mental, emotional realms. We were being given a nudge of giant proportions to move out of our physical, earthbound concepts and into the spiritual.

It is a surprise and relief when, following the double Scorpionic portion dished out to us in mid-November by the New Moon, that Saturn’s new position in Libra should be accentuated by the sun’s transition on November 22nd into jovial Sagittarius. This zodiac sign is ruled by abundant Jupiter. It allows us a respite, a time to remember our place on the planet, our blessings, our way forward. But it, too, heralds change.

Sagittarius is a fire sign, sent to melt the icy waters Scorpio dragged in with its lethal tail. The archer, sunny of disposition and sending arrows presaging abundant flow to come, allows the glow of Thanksgiving and a glimpse towards the festivities of midwinter, but he reminds us that more work is round the corner as we are moving into a New Age. It helps to know, however that his ruler, Jupiter presently stands with Neptune, the planet of change and the spiritual, the mystical and unknown in forward-looking Aquarius; so our path, while difficult, is overseen by angels.

A trusted astrologer friend says:
“November 22-30: This is a highly creative time. Pay attention and focus on the little signs. Push the boundaries of what you perceive possible. Stretch your imagination. Resist the temptations of the status quo. Ask the right questions, ‘why not’ and ‘what if’. Be brave.

“Mostly just be in your own spirit, take time to meditate, try to remember that the Universe is ordering things in right timing; that in moving from a place of trusting, your own ability and power to create will open up. Spend time with others you like to be around and keep cutting clutter and non-essentials from your life.”

As the month draws to a close, we are being challenged to seek even greater clarity and depth of meaning in life, in our relationships, in our day-to-day interaction with others, work colleagues, family and strangers alike, so that we start to evolve in spiritual understanding of our place on this special planet Earth.

And at month-end, as we move into December, Mercury aspects challenge us to release stress and restore clarity of thinking. Mercury the messenger and communicator-par-excellence may get us through the hard part.

December begins with a powerful double-whammy: a Full Moon in Gemini on December 1st coincides with giant Uranus’ turning direct.

Changes and new directions are on the cards – in spades.

But we have help. Angels and giants are around to help us through.

This is an occasional astrological blog posting, as we move through the year. I am aware that many are familiar with the Western zodiac and its implications. However I hope to encourage a friend who understands the ramifications of the Vedic astrological system of the Indian sub-continent to join me in the next blog post. It is a fascinating system, with many parallels with Western and even Chinese texts. I think it will be something to look forward to.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, consciousness, culture, New Age, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments