Huffington Post Book Reviews & Olympics Injuries!

Rio Olympics injuries Brazil Zika virus


The final opposition from Jupiter in Virgo to Chiron in Pisces is now officially over, and as previously stated it created havoc at the summer Olympics in Rio. There’s injuries at every Olympics, but you gotta admit the injuries in Rio are particularly gnarly. Here’s a rundown if you can stomach it; I had the misfortune to watch the gymnast break his leg live, I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t call the police since I screamed bloody murder.


As also discussed in my Olympics post, the potential spreading of Zika virus from the Olympics in Brazil remains to be seen. At the same time that the games started under a Virgo stellium forming a mutable T-square formation in the skies, there’s been new reports of Zika in places it hasn’t been before. Keep in mind that we’re now in the shadow of the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Virgo, and information is starting to slowly but surely go awry. The truth of Zika virus is still out of reach.


Speaking of Mercury in Virgo, I mentioned in my full writeup of the retrograde that Mercury in Virgo loves books. In keeping with that vibe, I’ve just published my second article for The Huffington Post entitled 7 Books For A Better Astrology Library. Many of the readers here at Viva Combusta! are already high in astro literacy, so you might not be surprised by the books that made the list. It’s a good place to start for those who are still in the beginning of their burgeoning interest or for those who don’t know where to go after they’ve learned some basics.


Just after I submitted my Huffington Post article, I read that Arianna Huffington has resigned from her position overseeing the publication; not sure yet if this will impact who HuffPo allows to contribute yet or not. I’ll keep writing until they kick me out.


Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in the comments section and especially in the many emails after I requested feedback in my previous post, I’ll be writing my thoughts on social media, social networking and astrology soon!



Quickie Observations on the 2016 Summer Olympics In Rio & The Zika Virus Threat

Christ The Redeemer statue overlooking one of the Olympic venues in Brazil

Christ The Redeemer statue overlooking Maracana Stadium in Brazil


The 2016 Summer Olympics games begin August 5th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and already the games are known for being a “first” in a lot of ways. The first time the Summer Olympics have been held in a Portuguese speaking host country. The first time the host country will actually be experiencing a winter during the summer games (due to being south of the equator). Rio will be the first South American host city for the games, and the first host city in all Latin America since 1968. Due to the worldwide refugee crisis, [Read more…]

Harriet Tubman & Faith In Something Bigger Pt. 2


Apparently this isn’t new news but I did not hear of the original plans that the United States Treasury Department had of changing some of the faces on our currency, and [Read more…]

Real Time Astrology: March 2016


Remember how last month I said the astrology wouldn’t suck and to enjoy it while it lasts? Hope you did! Now, prepare for the ever changing month of March to wash you out and throw curveballs your way! Seriously, though, the astrology in March presents short lived and fluctuating challenges and stressors that require us to bend without breaking.  [Read more…]

2016: The Year Of Change & Transition

Painting by Stefan Nandancee

Real or illusion? Painting by Stefan Nandancee


Many people I’ve talked to, both through my blog and in real life, noticed the bottoming out of energy after the beginning of the new year. It didn’t seem so bad the first few days, but Mercury and then Jupiter turned retrograde and momentum was lost. I had planned on writing a piece about the change of pace for 2016 but even that didn’t pan out. Even now, with the Mercury retrograde over, the pace remains sluggish. I have said before that I wasn’t someone who was excited to see the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn begin to wind down; for all the headaches and tears it caused, it was a tremendous wellspring of opportunity for change and transformation.


The Uranus-Pluto square is still more or less in effect the first couple months of 2016 but losing much of its steam. After that, while Uranus and Pluto do not change signs for a while, the square between widens until it is barely there (although the retrogrades of both will briefly tighten the square this year.) What is replacing this energy? A whole lot of retrogrades and emphasis on the mutable signs. There are four Mercury retrogrades this year, as opposed to three last year. (The next Mercury Rx runs from April 29th to May 22nd in Taurus; then again from August 30th to September 22nd in Virgo; and lastly from December 19th through January 8th, 2017, in Capricorn, the same sign Mercury went retrograde in at the beginning of the year.) There’s that not particularly easy retrograde of Mars from mid April until the end of June. That’s a lot of time spent looking back rather than moving forward. One of the Mercury retrogrades and half of the Mars retrograde also occur in mutable signs.


There’s an unusual amount of focus on the mutable this year, with Neptune, Chiron and the South Node in Pisces, Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo, Saturn and an extended period of Mars in Sagittarius. Gemini gets in on the action in June to form a mutable Grand Cross. The mutable signs at the neutral level represent changeability, adaptability, flexibility. When at their best they see all sides of the issues presented to them and find the middle ground or a workable solution for all involved. While the cardinal signs initiate and the fixed signs stabilize, the mutable signs flow.


In the wake of the past few years, where buttons were pushed non stop and everyone was in crisis/survival mode, the changeover to the the less intense feeling of the mutable signs can feel alternately calming and frustratingly unproductive. When at their worst, the mutable signs see so many different sides to the issues that they never take the leap and act. Uranus in Aries squaring Pluto in Capricorn was the cardinal trigger forcing movement and that is quickly becoming nothing. The fixed signs are the ones who’ll stay the course and see things to their fruition, but their time in the spotlight is brief this year. Coming on the heels of a period of major change, there is a need to adapt ourselves and our expectations to the new paradigm, that is understandable. It becomes problematic when the urge to act on new wisdom and information does not gain necessary traction, resulting in a feeling of gridlock. The changeable nature of the mutable signs obviously doesn’t impede change in everyday life and in fact supports it, but it can continue to shift and morph in unexpected ways. Lacking clear direction or purpose is a common issue with heavy mutable emphasis. It can seem like nothing is happening one minute, only to see a flurry of activities the next, only to dissipate again.


The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces in particular will contribute heavily to losing sight of targets and projected outcomes, no guarantee of any outcome at all. Vagueness will be a dominating theme for much of the year. Discerning the real from the unreal will be a full time job. Besides squaring Neptune, Saturn in Sagittarius is closing in on its mutable square to Jupiter in Virgo, exact on Wednesday, March 23rd at 16 degrees. Jupiter in Virgo sees success in practical applications, Saturn in Sagittarius brings a heavy dose of reality about higher education. With the square between the two building, bigger issues will arise surrounding the growing difficulty in finding a job that fits your experience and education level. Many are in ridiculously deep debt from student loans, earning degrees that they find do not take them as far as they thought. On the flip side, many decided to opt out of perpetual debt and skip college, and are finding that no matter how qualified, experienced and/or competent they are, they don’t look good enough on paper to impress potential employers. This may not make the headlines but in your life and the lives of those around you, you’ll experience the rapidly growing frustration and and disillusionment with the promises of education and the reality of the job force (and the actual unemployment numbers) this year more than ever.


Saturn square Neptune is also a big culprit in the illusion of time itself running at a speed that seems out of synch with life. Saturn is associated with three dimensional time itself, something Neptune doesn’t even acknowledge in its view of otherworldly time-space dimensions. Add to it the mutable emphasis in general and the funky retrogrades, much of 2016 will feel like a lot of talk with no action and purposeless movement.


It is important to realize that the feeling of slowing down is only illusion, not unlike a speeding train creating the appearance of other fast moving trains moving backward. Retrogrades are themselves illusions of planetary bodies moving backward, which they are not. In reality, periods of emphasis on mutable signs act as periods of massive transition; no major changes as you get with the cardinal signs but constant movement nonetheless. Remember this as you’re feeling nothing is happening this year that very soon the illusion will dissipate and we’ll be whiplashed by the realization that we were accelerating all along.


The first bubble to burst and change tempo will come courtesy of Jupiter ingressing into Libra September 9th  (until October 10th, 2017). Libra is a cardinal sign associated with initiating change in the balance and fairness of most things; while Libra is most often associated with relationships, the need to correct and restore balance extends across the spectrum into most areas of life. Jupiter in Libra brings a high minded philosophy to how the balancing of scales plays out. This change in tempo will feel quite good for a while, then the friction ramps up again.


By about late October into early November, just around the time of the U.S. Presidential election, Jupiter in Libra begins squaring Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter = big, Libra = restoring balance; Pluto = other people’s money, Capricorn = government, big business, infrastructure. Jupiter aspecting Pluto is one of the biggest tip offs that something big happens around money. The square implies it won’t be easy money. Now, Jupiter-Pluto is no financial doomsday transit; matter of fact I have no doubt that a lot will see windfalls, actually. But, the square means the Jupiter in Libra need for fairness and equal balance will be thrown off by the more ruthless Pluto in Capricorn, which can and has enabled spectacular levels of global corruption in the way business is now done. This looks like some type of “market correction” to me, with not everyone being impacted equally. Think of an uptick in home forclosures or repo’d cars or similar scenarios; lots of people benefit during a “buyers market” but obviously it comes at the great misfortune of others. I don’t know for sure that the Jupiter-Pluto square will cause a housing crisis, but the last time Jupiter was in Libra was 2005 (corrected from original post where I wrote 2006), when housing prices peaked and started to decline. Jupiter in Libra in 2016/2017 will be a “full circle” culmination of events since 2005 and this time Jupiter in Libra will square Pluto. The effects, both good and bad, are deep and incisive. And no doubt tangled up in the American Presidential election.


Whatever the Jupiter-Pluto square throws at us, it too will only be a lead-up to bigger events on the horizon. We are not far away from Uranus -rebellious shocker, agent of both chaos and ingenuity- moving into Taurus, bullish earthy sign of the banker, of money and tangibles. Taurus likes to build, accumulate; it does not like change and spontaneity so Uranus in Taurus looks incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to me. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was from 1935-1942 and one only needs to look at that period of history to understand how Uranus in Taurus upsets finances and turns money on its head. We can’t repeat that time frame; the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn we’re leaving propelled us into uncharted, unprecedented territory. Once Uranus moves into Taurus (at first briefly between May and November 2018, and then it settles in from March 2019 until 2025) we will have to learn to survive at a material level according to the new and accelerating climate.


The end of 2019 and most of 2020 has me the most nervous. There, Pluto in late Capricorn will be joined by Jupiter and Saturn, and while this conjunction never “perfects” (never meets at the exact same degree) this is a major force of reckoning in matters of government and global business. Capricorn focuses a lot on consequences: good, bad and everything in between. By the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunctions in 2019/2020, we’ll likely see the consequences of the Uranus-Pluto squares we’re leaving behind. We will see just how effectively we used the major catalyst of change; whatever we ignored in the past few years will be unignorable in the coming few years. Think of the Uranus in Aries-Pluto in Capricorn squares as Martin Luther nailing his ninety-five theses to the church door, and the Jupiter-Pluto square and then more strongly the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn conjunction as the delayed fallout and reaction.  Uranus will be very much in Taurus at this time, and we’ll also have Chiron -creator of both pain and healing- in the martial sign of Aries. (I’ve got a timetable listing the movement of these bodies over the coming decades for those keeping track.) These astrological shifts are not that far off that we can ignore them now.


Which means, here at the beginning of 2016, we can see that the slowness and sluggishness and hard to pin down quality is a much needed time of adjusting and preparing. Nothing in life can fully move forward with success without reviewing where it’s been and what could and should have been done better, different. On a day to day level, the planetary retrogrades are a pain in the assignment but that is their higher purpose; replay, rewind, review, go back in time.


The mutable signs keeping things vague, flaky and ever shifting as a way of examining various possibilities and examining potential outcomes. We are not as free to do as we’d like and will have fewer choices in the future if the trajectory continues. So, this year is a period of evaluation. Self evaluation and questioning of the external world. Is want we want correct morally, spiritually? How big are the risks for pursuing particular paths? What are the risks for not pursuing them? How are we affected individually versus the affects on our family, community, country? Is what we’re doing hurtful or harmful to us in the long run financially, physically, emotionally? Are we moving in the right direction but with bad timing, bad advice or bad people? Are we going it alone when we ought to be enlisting others, and vice versa?


Remember as you’re beating your head against the wall or feeling tired and drained, listless this year that this apparent state of flux is actually a state of transition, and that in all of nature species must adapt to survive.




Real Time Astrology: December 2015

Well, we do not end 2015 on the lightest of notes. 2016 will present us with an array of new challenges and opportunities; this last month of 2015 we are bringing to a head [Read more…]

The North Node in Virgo Manifesto

The North Node is everyone’s manifesto. It is the point astrologers look to in a chart for greatest realization of potential and fulfillment. It is always opposite the South Node, that area of life that we are old pros at and do not need to further develop; in fact lingering too long around the South Node is always to our detriment. We are not static; we are meant to move and grow. The North Node is our mission statement, our declaration of intention; the path not yet travelled but a journey we need to undertake anyway. Think of it as a tree or vine: the South Node forms the roots, the soil and terrain we are confortable in, yet if the plant never leaves its roots it dies. It is meant to grow, push forward; even when lacking all the needed energy and nutrients to pull it off easily does not alter the intended purpose. Growth is necessary to sustain life itself, and the North Node is the manifesto outlining the steps.


The North Node enters Virgo on November 12, 2015 where it will remain until May 9, 2017. Along with it, the South Node will be in Pisces. (Disclaimer: I am using the True Node, which is sensitive to the inherent “wobbles” in the motion of the Moon’s Nodes. Other astrologers prefer to use the Mean Node, which averages out the rate of motion. Those astrologers use an earlier start date.) For roughly the next one and a half years, our collective mission statement will play out along the Virgo/Pisces axis, with the themes and keywords most commonly associated with Virgo as the goal we are striving for.


Discernment. Discretion. Sensitivity, but not too sensitive. Charitable, giving of our services, but not without using good judgement concerning who we help. Separating wheat from chaff, the useful from impractical or nonsensical. Separating the info wars from the disinfo wars. Seeing the interplay between the parts and the whole, focusing and honing in on the critical parts. Attention to detail. Exacting standards. Efficient, effective, streamlined.


If you think about it, a lot of what is wrong on the planet now can be traced back to simple sloppiness, carelessness, lowering of standards in some form or other. The North Node in Virgo will look to tighten up the reins. Time to pick up the slack!  Get our personal and collective shit together, or else.


Virgo is the sign most closely associated with health, but with the broad, far reaching goals of the North Node we are not only looking at health from a personal, individual place (although it will play a pivotal role.) We are looking for holistic health. All parts must be healthy. The South Node along with Neptune and Chiron in Pisces knows intuitively that if one person, place, current model, status quo is sick, then the whole is sick. One hurt, one hunger, one despair, one raw anger affects us all. Pisces makes no such distinctions. Virgo is the pro troubleshooter needed to find the fixes and solutions.


Really ask yourself and others (especially our “leaders”): What is the reason for so much unhealthy dis-ease at this point in time? Many, many solutions have already been found, many questions answered; even more in the works. We could all have a very different quality of life right now across the board if these fixes had been put in place along the way. As it is, so many great ideas remain completely, woefully underutilized, if they’re even utilized at all.


Most people are aware of a least a certain amount of the reasons why holistic health -physical, mental, spiritual, enviromental, political; you name it, it all matters- is being attacked. Not many have the excuse of ignorance anymore, not in the dawning of the Age of Aquarius when many  millenia worth of information is available to anyone with Internet access. Not everyone is as up to speed on the current status of the collective as they should be, but that is changing as conditions continue to deteriorate and people see the culmination of the end-of-Piscean-era wisdom: if it affects one, it affects all, eventually. Dominoes. Along with the sloppiness and slacking off, many issues can be attributed to things like apathy, turning a blind eye, shirking our responsibility, even feeling overwhelmed or like nothing we do matters. These things are the negative side of Pisces energy (the South Node enhances the negative traits of each sign) and unfortunately this will be on the rise as the South Node enters Pisces for the next year and a half.


Remember,  the South Node -whether in a natal chart or a mundane transit such as outlined here- forms a solid base but gets us into a lot of trouble if we spend more time than necessary there. The temptation to stay in the drifting, unfocused waters of the Pisces South Node will be quite strong, as Neptune and Chiron already in Pisces will tip the scales in the South Nodes favor. You will see this play out on the smaller, everyday, individual level but also just as much in global arenas. The temptation will be to avoid issues rather than face them head on, hoping that kicking the can down the road will allow problems to resolve on their own. Or, even worse, in the hopes that someone will step in and do the job. Waiting for a hero or guru or shiny leader to step in at the last moment and save the day. Avoiding issues can be the result of general apathy and/or fatigue, worldweariness, but also good old escapism in all its various forms.


Most think of escapism in hedonistic terms: sex, drugs, booze, gambling, and so on. But anything really can be used in their place. Escapism can take the form of over sleeping and, alternately, overworking. The North Node in Virgo will place a heavy emphasis on work and getting things done, but ironically with the South Node in Pisces work can become an excuse to ignore other priorities that need our attention just as much, if not more. Daydreaming is harmless in small doses and can, of course, be very relaxing and refreshing but can also be a big time waste if left unchecked. More intimately, limerence can be an issue. In the Aquarian Age technology and the Internet are also potential escapism routes. Nothing wrong with a little silly fun online now and then, but know when to turn it off. Are you really enriching your life and the lives of others by watching cat videos or posting memes and reading petty gossip on Facebook, or are you avoiding reality? Even though the Internet is best utilized as an educational tool, here too it is necessary to be careful of where you are getting the information from, as the Pisces South Node can leave us vulnerable to taking on other people’s confusions and even outright lies.


The positive qualities of the South Node in Pisces are not to be completely ignored: the deep empathy, the psychic sensitivity, the ability to dream and envision better worlds, better ways. But, these are nothing more than jumping off points. Things will need to be tested for efficacy in the real world, and discarded without fanfare or emotion if they do not live up to their promise. In everything we do, on every level, things must work, plain and simple. They must be healthy and produce results.


Virgo is a sign that can be quite critical, overly analytical, picky, even downright persnickety. With the North Node here, however, not only are these traits beneficial, they’re crucial. Our food and water, our agriculture isn’t clean. Our politicians and leaders and top businessmans hands aren’t clean. (Ok, not that they ever really are, but some things are just out of control at the moment.) The health care and pharmaceutical industries are only making us sicker, outright trampling on the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Animals are dying en masse from “mysterious” causes that do not seem to be a high priority to investigate.


There has never been a time in human history when things were really all that great, but that’s still no reason to accept how bad things are now, especially when we’ve never before had so much at our disposal to turn things around. Many things need and deserve to be harshly judged, criticized, and picked apart.


The North Node in Virgo gets considerable boosts from the lunar cycles and the personal planets as they pass through the sign over the course of this transit; a noticeably positive boost will be during January and June of 2016, when the North Node will be in close conjunction to Jupiter in Virgo. Those of you who have personal placements in Virgo will see a conjunction from the North Node at some point along the way (look at the degree of Virgo the placement is to time it.) Everyone has Virgo somewhere in their chart and will feel the effects of the transiting North Node wherever Virgo falls in your chart. This will be a source to write your own personal manifesto from for the next year and a half.


Real Time Astrology: October 2015

October gets off to a rather gnarly start, but unlike September the situation will not last. It is still a spicy month, for sure, but there are some truly lovely and beneficial aspects shaping up that the savvy and keen amongst you would be wise to take full advantage of.

First things first, we’re all a bit whiplashed [Read more…]