Do You Have “Joyful” Planets In Your Chart?


This has nothing to do with how joyful you are as a person, but brownie points to you if you automatically replied “yes!” before you even read beyond the post title!


“Planetary joy” is something of an older, traditional thing that’s not used as often anymore. It designates each of the seven traditional visible celestial bodies a house that they are/were purported to really express their inherent qualities the best in. A planet in a house it “rejoices” in gives that planet a type of dignity. A lot of people know what essential dignity is: a planet in its domicile, for instance. (Mercury in Gemini -the sign it rules- would have essential dignity.) Planets can also have dignity if they are in a house of their jollies. These things did not come about by guesswork or accidents; there was good reason underlying the matchmaking or it wouldn’t have stuck around for long.


So, what houses do the traditional planets find “joy” in?

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Why You Should Keep Up With Your Progressed Moon


The Moon, more than any other body in our astrological orchestra, gets personal. The Moon’s job is to sensitize us to the larger planetary activities; “bringing it home” you might say. Most people who read here started by reading my regular writeups on the mundane lunar cycles that affect us all. The new and Full Moons help us see in real time how the Moon synthesizes big things and then dumps them into our individual laps. The natural ebb and flow of the perpetual lunar cycle sets the rhythm in our lives that feeds into and off of the long riffs of the slower moving planets.


The progressed Moon is no exception. Most people who know a little about astrology beyond their Sun sign know what sign their Moon is in. This does not change. However, your progressed Moon changes signs quite frequently, at the rate of approximately one sign every 2.5 years. The progression of the Moon acts as a natural unfolding in our lives; while transits may feel like something is “happening” to us (for better or worse), the progressed Moon changing signs on a regular schedule acts Lee’s as something being done to you and more as something growing, ripening. A person can look back at transits as a chunk of life where “something happened”, whereas a person will look back at progressions and say “I’ve changed a lot since then”. Since the progressed Moon gets personal and hits home, the progressed Moon changing signs as frequently as it does means it is worth paying attention to for cycles of growth, maturity and emotional changes.


Newbies to astrology can easily figure out their progressions. Go to and put in your birth data, including your time of birth. Save to create your birth chart. Now, go to the “Extended Chart Selection” page. Where it says “please select a chart type” you will just select “Progressed Chart” and click to show the chart. All done!


Here’s useful information to keep in mind when doing your progressed Moon:


  • The progressed Moon moves at the pace of about one degree per month. When it touches something in your chart, you will feel it for about 3 months: one month moving towards the exact aspect, one month in exact aspect and one month separating.
  • Since it changes signs every 2.5 years, your progressed Moon will return to the place of your birth Moon after it passes through the other 11 signs of the zodiac. You’ll have a progressed Moon conjunct natal Moon somewhere between the ages of 28 and 56. This roughly precedes the Saturn Return cycle at the ages of 30 and 60, which is a major cycle of growth and maturity and realism about the direction of one’s life. The progressed Moon conjunct natal Moon represents a temporary state of either emotional overwhelm or emotional fulfillment, depending on how one is handling their Saturn Return.
  • The progressed Moon will square the natal Moon much more frequently, at the ages of 7, 21, 35, 49, 63, and 77. This too roughly corresponds to the Saturn cycle, though this is the Saturn square Saturn transit at these ages. Progressed Moon square natal Moon around the times of the Saturn squares creates moments of frictional frustration that forces emotional maturity, whether you’re ready for it or not. You can see this as the times we first enter school, leave school and become independent adults, reevaluate our lives as adults, and either hit midlife crisis or midlife satisfaction and reward.
  • The progressed Moon opposes the birth chart Moon at around the ages of 14, 42 and 70. Age 14 is another Saturn cycle we’re being sensitized to, this time it is the opposition and the Moon sensitizes the maturation process here as growth spurts and physical maturation in the form of full fledged puberty (the Moon rules hormones), and the process of moving away from childhood and developing our adult personas.
  • When your progressed Moon changes signs, look to the planet that rules that sign as you’re more sensitive to that planet now. Progressed Moon in Aries? Look for transits to natal Mars or from transiting Mars. Progressed Moon in Sagittarius? Look where Jupiter is transiting in your chart, or what is impacting your natal Jupiter. These transits you’d feel anyway, but you feel them more up front if the planet rules the sign of your progressed Moon.
  • Those with progressed or natal ascendant in Cancer will feel the change of their progressed Moon as strongly as if it were a transit; usually with distinct demarcation points. In other words, they will look back at the periods their progressed Moon was in a sign as distinct “chapters” in their life.
  • A New Moon, Full Moon or eclipse in the sign of your progressed Moon feels similar to these lunations happening in the same sign as your birth Moon.
  • The progressed Moon will also conjunct and oppose the natal and progressed Sun, which effectively creates a progressed New Moon  (at the conjunction) and a progressed Full Moon  (at the opposition).


When my progressed Moon was in Aquarius, I connected for the first time with family I had never met before, and it was quite shocking. Even though I had initiated it, I was still surprised by it. My social circle also fluctuated. When my progressed Moon entered Pisces, my social circle was basically me attracting people using substances I had never used, because even though I’m a sober teetotaler I was spacey enough during this time that I probably seemed stoned on occasion. When my progressed Moon hit Aries, I quite literally nearly worked myself to death, culminating in a physical collapse at the last degree of Aries. When my progressed Moon hit Taurus, I immediately found an easier job and also learned how to cook everything from scratch. It was a quiter, easier time until the end, because I have natal Mars in Taurus conjunct Algol and while I’m not one to lose my temper I did end up in major arguments with people testing my patience, quite out of character for me…


What can you see from looking back at the cycles of the progressed Moon changing signs?



The 3rd House And Depression (And Other Quirks)


Mental health issues -whether something we were born with a propensity for or aquired through our lives- come in a wide variety of flavors, each with different root causes and paths to healing. Mental health in astrology is equally varied, and can be attributed to many different combinations of planetary aspects, transits, and so on. Astrology is a fairly reliable tool in getting to the source of the problem and pointing out the deeper philosophical and spiritual reasons for why one is going through such an experience. It’s been interesting to me throughout my years of astrological observation that the relationship between the 3rd house and mental health, specifically depression, doesn’t seem to be as common knowledge as some of the other astrological influences. So, I thought I’d make a brief overview of the 3rd house, depression, and some of the different ways this plays out in real life.

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Astrology readings now available, and other stuff…

Saturn enters Sagittarius this Thursday, and good riddance.  I’ll be the first to vouch for the necessity of the brutality of that particular transit, but enough is enough.  I was no more immune to the effects of Saturn in Scorpio than anyone else, particularly since I have this in my natal chart. You thought the past three years was rough?  Some of us have lived life in this mode. I’m actually living on my astrocartography Saturn/Ascendant line, which wasn’t a great idea… Anyway, among the other ways in which Saturn in Scorpio had its way with me was delaying one of the main reasons I started Viva Combusta! to begin with: to offer individual paid astrology readings.

Now, as we are nearly at the beginning of a new Saturn era, I am finally at a place where I can offer my services.  Mercury turns retrograde at 15 degrees Libra this Thursday as well; I can’t say I’m thrilled to be starting a communication based business so close to a Mercury Rx period. I’ve written before that these things are logistical nightmares and that this particular one will likely be more grating than usual. I have Aries, however, so I do whatever I want.  I am also going to assume there is some sort of synchronicity/serendipity in the timing brought on by the nearly exact Jupiter – Neptune opposition that I just can’t see yet. What I can see is that I was able to start my services only once Mercury – planet of mental and verbal functions, communication etc- entered the Via Combusta, that sizzling area of the zodiac between 15 Libra and 15 Scorpio that I obviously named this blog in honor of.  Not just Mercury, but the Moon is in the Via Combusta also as I write this. I certainly didn’t plan it that way,  as I’d hoped to make readings available well in advance of the Mercury retrograde. Methinks some sort of “full circle” thing is going on here…

With all that said, here is the current menu of readings available. As I stated there I am working a full time day job (in the health care field, mainstream at that ughhh) until that point in time when I can make astrology my full-time day job, which I absolutely plan on doing.  So, if you’d prefer a phone consultation to an email please be patient in understanding there may be schedule conflicts to resolve first. I will still make every effort for a phone reading to happen!  As I grow my business and can begin to cut back on my day job hours, the scheduling conflicts should decrease.

I will still continue to write as much as possible on the blog and keep it continually updated. I actually hope to start writing much more. I will always keep all articles on the blog free and accessible. I have been astonished by what I’ve seen in just under a year of writing; at this point,  there are only a tiny handful of countries this site hasn’t been seen in, but of course everyone everywhere shares the same hopes and fears and looks for the meaning behind all of it. Not so long ago you were limited to whom you could turn to; the ever increasing awareness of each other and our commonalities  can only be a good thing in the long run, in my mind. So, I aim to keep this free for those who cannot afford readings and are trying to find the meaning of the times we’re living in through astrology. Everyone who comments here and shares their stories is helping more people than you’ll ever be aware of.

I will continue to invest my energy into the free articles here as much as time allows. If you’d like to give a money offering to assist in this endeavor I’ve set up a subscription/”tip” page where you can do so. The options start at only $3 per month;  as a thoroughly working-class girl (raised even poorer) I understand even that is a lot of money for some. Every cent is appreciated,  as it is less about the dollar amount and more about valuing (Taurus/Scorpio) what I do here and, to an extent,  valuing astrology itself, which is so often devalued. (Heartfelt gratitude to those who have already contributed! !)

It may just turn into a hot mess that ends in tears but it’s here now…

Real Time Astrology: March 1 – 16, 2015

Feeling the tremors of barely contained seismic activity yet? March packs a whole hell of a lot of heat into such a small time frame. Nearly every day of the month brings to a head the frictional power of one transit or another. All four elements- fire, earth, air and water- are under intense pressure to perform at their highest potential. Not the time to expect to relax, OK? Even if you feel nothing but optimism, a lot will still be asked of all of us.

First off, the dates and transits (times given are Central Standard Time):

– Sunday, March 1: Mercury @ 14 Aquarius sextiles Uranus @ 14 Aries, exact at 9:55 A.M. and opposes Jupiter Rx @ 14 Leo, exact at 3:15 P.M. Venus @ 10 Aries opposes the North Node in Libra/South Node in Aries @ 10 degrees

-Tuesday March 3 Jupiter Rx in Leo trines Uranus in Aries @ 10 degrees, exact at 6:25 A.M.

-Wednesday March 4 Venus @ 14 Aries will trine Jupiter @ 14 Leo, exact at 9:14 A.M.; conjuncts Uranus @ 14 Aries, exact at 12:46 P.M.; and square Pluto @ 15 Capricorn, exact at 9:17 P.M.

-Thursday March 5 Full Moon @ 14 Virgo, exact at 12:05 P.M.

– Saturday March 7 Moon in Libra conjunct Libra NN/Aries SN; Sun in Pisces conjuncts Chiron in Pisces @ 17 degrees, exact at 10:21 P.M.

– Sunday March 8 Moon in Libra opposes Uranus-Pluto square

– Tuesday March 10 Mars in Aries trines Jupiter in Leo @ 15 degrees, exact at 1:04 A.M.

– Wednesday March 11 Mars conjuncts Uranus @ 15 Aries, exact at 11:06 A.M.; squares Pluto @ 15 Capricorn exact at 5:41 P.M.

– Thursday March 12 Mercury enters Pisces at 10:52 P.M.

– Saturday March 14 Saturn retrogrades @ 4 Sagittarius at 9:02 A.M.

– Sunday March 15 Moon in Capricorn squares the Uranus-Pluto square exact at 4:21 A.M.; squares Mars in Aries at 8:56 A.M.

– Monday March 16 Mercury @ 5 Pisces squares Saturn Rx @ 4 Sagittarius. The final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn is exact @ 15 degrees at 9:53 P.M.

Hot damn!! That’s not even the rest of the month…

The last in the series of seven exact squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto Capricorn will, without a doubt, be the most dominating factor. The psychosphere will be drenched in this. A feeling of a vice tightening that will only increase the closer we get to the exact square. The series of squares has been engaging in epic cosmic warfare these past few years – since June 2012- to reshape life as we know it, on personal and global levels alike, so you can bet your ass that this series will not end on a whimper. You cannot fight this energy. The best you can do is look for the path it is trying to forge for you, your family and community, your fellow human beings the world over, and use this energy to fight for you instead.

March is not without its pitfalls, but it isn’t without its opportunities, either. There is a Grand Fire Trine in effect from the final week in February until about the third week of March; consisting of Venus, Mars and Uranus in Aries, Jupiter retrograde in Leo, and Saturn in Sagittarius. Zoom zoom! There is certain optimism and warmth from this Grand Fire Trine, which will peak around the Jupiter-Uranus trine March 3. Creative potential abounds with this, provided you take advantage of it and do not allow the good times to make you feel too good and pass you by. Some “lucky” unexpected breaks may come from this, both large and small, but don’t expect this to happen without effort. More likely, the “luck” won’t be luck as much as it will be the ability to seize any opportunity that comes knocking.

The emphasis on Venus and Mars will keep the pot stirring in our personal lives, especially regarding money, love, sex, relationships, values, and new directions taken in these areas. Venus and Mars in Aries aspecting Jupiter in Leo and the Uranus-Pluto square represents a fresh breeze blowing through our lives, revitalizing our most vital energies and providing the vim and vigor to make the changes we want to see happen now in the aforementioned areas. Venus aspecting Jupiter and Uranus can bring unexpected news and developments in our romantic lives. Squaring off with Pluto, though, may also dredge up lovers or heartbreak from the past that we’d prefer to forget. New relationships and partnerships of every kind can form from this and will most likely be transformative in some way (though, not necessarily stable or long lived.)

Once Mars in Aries begins its aspects to Jupiter and the Uranus-Pluto square, optimism and warmth will overlap with sudden changes of direction, impatience, and arguments, and not necessarily for bad reasons. We will all be feeling excited and stimulated in the best and worst of ways, and there may be less time and energy to devote to tact and diplomacy. The theme here is breaking new ground, fighting for freedom and independence, throwing off shackles and being released from control via gaining our own control. As life speeds up it may be inevitable that some toes are stepped on in the process. Caution should be used as these energies heat up, as there is very real potential for danger and accidents.

A wrench gets thrown in our plans mid month as the Grand Fire Trine begins to break up; Mercury enters the sign of its detriment, Pisces;  and especially as Saturn slows to station retrograde. Saturn is the buzzkill of the party. As it begins its retrograde period at 4 degrees Sagittarius (until August 1, with a brief dip back into Scorpio mud and muck), our outlook may suddenly feel less sunny, more pessimistic as we are faced with the bare bone reality of our lives. As I’ve said in my previous articles, Saturn in Sagittarius wants to know better so that it can do better. As Saturn retrogrades, the “knowing better” part involves retracing the steps we’ve taken since Saturn first entered Sagittarius late December 2014 and seeing whether we really got off to the right start. We have to know that we have been building on solid ground. After so much distinct forward-looking energy, the Saturn retrograde can be a heavy crash for some. Especially after Mercury enters Pisces, and our mental and verbal functions and communications become a little fuzzy, a little murky and frustrating. It is important to remember that plans formulated with passion at the beginning of the month may lose steam or change shape at the middle of the month. This only means a second look, more sober and restrained, needs to be taken.

Expect the unexpected, and expect anything and everything. Plan for change as best you can, and be ready to shift gears if necessary.

Real Time Astrology: January 3 & 4, 2015 / Full Moon in Cancer

In my previous article on the Taurus Moon we have for New Years Eve, I wrote: “Take a deep breath, create quiet time to calm your nerves, and find your center”. It is advice I hope is followed, as the first weekend of the new year, January 3 & 4, will see many tense planetary aspects, sign changes, and a highly charged Full Moon in Cancer that will be rocking all our centers. A quick rundown:

Saturday the Sun at 14 degrees Capricorn will square Uranus at 12 degrees Aries at 2:40 a.m. and conjunct Pluto at 13 degrees Capricorn by 5:34 p.m.

Sunday Mercury enters Aquarius at 7:08 p.m. followed by Venus’ entry into the sign at 8:48 p.m., ending the Capricorn stellium we had through the end of December and at the beginning of the new year. Mars at 24 degrees Aquarius will still be in opposition to Jupiter at 21 Leo.

The Full Moon @ 14 degrees Cancer takes place at 11:53 p.m. Central Standard Time Sunday, January 4. (Of course, depending on your time zone, it may take place in the wee hours of Monday, January 5.) The Moon is the natural ruler of Cancer and this alone will increase the strength of this Full Moon. Its magnetic pull will dominate the entire weekend. Normally I would like a Full Moon at its home in Cancer, however this Moon will be in a very agitated state. It will be squared by the North/South Nodes along the Aries/Libra axis shortly before the Full Moon is exact. It will also be at an exact square to Uranus at 12 degrees Aries at 7:18 p.m. and in opposition to Pluto at 13 degrees Capricorn at 8:34 p.m.

There will be a spooky feel, then, to this Full Moon weekend. Cancer is a cardinal sign, and as this Full Moon takes place at 14 Cancer, we will rehash many of the friction points set off by the Cardinal Grand Cross at 13 degrees from April 2014. Think back to that time frame, any unresolved issues from then will arise again. As both the Full Moon on Sunday and the Sun on Saturday will be in hard aspect to Uranus and Pluto we will also see the themes of the most recent exact Uranus-Pluto square on December 14, 2014 brought to a head. If you felt unscathed at the Uranus-Pluto square, you may feel the effects of it here.

Many issues brought to light by the Full Moon will of course be typical of Cancer: women’s issues; issues regarding home, family, heritage, our roots and our past/our family’s past; mothers/maternal instinct; issues of our collective family, our countries, patriotism; and emotional and financial stability and security.

A Full Moon in Cancer of course takes place in opposition to the Sun in Capricorn, and as both will be squaring the North Node in Libra, important balancing acts will be asked of us. Balance between our home/family life and our professional life. Balance between sentimental thinking and nostalgia for the past, and the ambition and drive into new territory. Balance between our very real current need for emotional and physical security, and the reality that we must forego some of our current desires in favor of long term successes. Are we sacrificing too much, or not enough? The Sun-Pluto conjunction Saturday will heighten our  awareness of power dynamics, either that we control or are controlled by us, that are restricting and thwarting this balancing act.

Answers to these questions are possible now, but they may come from some very deep and weird places. The Moon full in watery, psychic Cancer is a strongly intuitive Moon, and the aspects to Uranus and Pluto will help bring the otherworldly into our world, heighten any natural ESP abilities, give flashes of insight. Along with this will likely come sleep disturbances; insomnia, nightmares etc.

Those who have planets in their natal chart in cardinal signs -Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn- will feel particularly revved up and agitated this weekend. Mood swings and emotional outbursts will be likely; it may even be you, even if you typically aren’t the type. It would be wise to give people lots of space and quiet time to process the inner turmoil in healthy ways. Give yourself space as well! Patience will be pretty thin now, and maybe justifiably so. Many will see rapid changes in plans and circumstances; even if the need for change has existed for a long time, it may still be a shock to the system when it happens.

Monday January 5 Mercury at zero Aquarius will sextile Saturn at 1 degree Sagittarius at 4:21 p.m. This will afford many the chance to take a step back from the turmoil of the weekend. Our thought processes will be serious without being weighed down; we can reflect on all that was dredged up and rid ourselves of what will not serve us any purpose as we move forward in this new year.

Real Time Astrology: December 16-25 / Christmas Day

Some very significant changes are underway as we close out 2014. If you’ve been reading here so far ( well, thank you!) then you know that much of the planetary activity in October, November and early December was in preparation for major changes on the horizon. As these changes now begin to take flight, there will be some turbulence on the takeoff, as we leave behind 2014 one one note and enter 2015 on another.

Venus entered Capricorn Wednesday, December 10. Mercury will join her in Capricorn Tuesday, December 16 at 9:53 p.m. CST,  followed by the Sun’s entry into the sign Sunday, December 21 at 5:03 p.m., shortly before the Capricorn New Moon at 7:36 p.m. With Pluto also in the sign, we will end the year with a Capricorn stellium, and the themes of the sign will be dominating the psychosphere. Underscoring the theme will be an intense conjunction of Venus and Pluto in Capricorn Saturday, December 20, the same day Venus squares off against Uranus in Aries. Uranus then stations direct the next day, still revved up and manic from its most recent exact square to Pluto December 14, warming us up to the long awaited entry of Saturn into Sagittarius Tuesday, December 23 at 10:34 a.m.

That’s a lot of activity and change in a fairly short amount of time. If you’ve had a feeling of a levee about to break, you’re absolutely right, and this time frame is the kick starter. Anyone keeping up with world events has noticed the recent uptick in expressions of dissatisfaction with the current status quo on many, many different levels. People sense that things cannot continue as they are and they’re right! This will play out in obvious ways on the global stage, but this changing tide will be affecting us as much, if not a little stronger, on a personal scale.

As I wrote in my last article: “It is usually more accurate to remember that the image for Capricorn was initially the Sea-Goat, not the Mountain Goat. The Sea-Goat had the body of a goat with a tail attached that was a strange mix of serpent and fish. It was a subterranean sea creature that was evolving into a land creature. It swam in deep, murky waters but became able to place its hooves on solid ground and climb upwards and onwards, without losing the psychic memory of where it came from. Everyone has heard that to know where you are going, you have to know where you have been, and this personal evolution will be the message of the Capricorn New Moon. We take what we have learned with us while we begin forging out a new path in the wilderness.” This is a good thing to keep in mind, as the New Moon will be made potent not only by its occurrence at zero degrees of its sign, but also by the Capricorn stellium we will close out the year with. Our focus will be on our ambitions, our drive to get ahead and survive the changes around us, our financial security. Particularly the financial part. Capricorn is a sign that deals with checks and balances; the conjunction between money and relationship planet Venus and power player Pluto in Capricorn will leave no doubt as to our financial stability now, for better or worse. Those that have will be fixated on maintaining; those without will become even more concerned on obtaining.

Amid the other influences, there is likely to be a degree of people jockeying for position at this time as people ambitions are heightened. Both Pluto and Capricorn are concerned in their own way with reputation, public image and perceived power, so be mindful of this. Stay out of power struggles and I highly recommend not starting any drama of your own.

As the Venus/Pluto conjunction will be squaring off rebellious upheaval planet Uranus, its possible to see reversals in financial situations, power and relationship dynamics flipped, and changes in public image. These changes may be for better or worse, major or minor but its unlikely they will remain completely unchanged. On another note, I would not be surprised to learn of another well known public figure scandal coming to light at this time and involving the themes mentioned here.

As Uranus turns direct on the 21, just after the recent exact square to Pluto on the 14, and Saturn changes sign, many will feel a sudden restlessness, feeling a fire lit under them. Some of the aforementioned changes in personal and financial dynamics may actually come as a result of positively inspired optimism and a sudden need for independence or autonomy. For those unable to do much about their current situation, though, the heavy Capricorn influence may leave a feeling of being left behind, ignored, unable to achieve their potential as they would like. The Mercury/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn Thursday, December 25 will be a potential trigger for depression. Thought processes may run a little too deep and dark at this time, obsessing over our current lot in life. Again, financial matters will be a major sore point. Particularly as this happens in the wee hours of Christmas Day, when we are sometimes most aware of how much we lack in comparison to those around us, or compared to years past.

Overall, I don’t really like the look of Christmas this year. I’m sure many will have a lovely time, but I’m certain just as many will find it rather hard. In addition to the Mercury/Pluto conjunction and the Capricorn stellium, Mercury will be squaring Uranus, with the Moon  squaring Saturn and conjunct Mars. That’s a recipe for a foul mood and bad communication. A sense of isolation and loneliness will be strong, whether people are actually alone or in a group of people. If emotions are disturbed angry outbursts or arguments could result. The Moon will be void of course in Aquarius for most of the day; trying to keep the tone dry and detached may help diffuse tense situations. The Moon will move into sensitive, emotional Pisces at 10:07 p.m.,  so by then even those who kept their cool may have the sads by nighttime.

Lots of ups and downs then, with more downs at certain times… but seen from a higher perspective we will really be trying to put our feet on stable ground and evolve with the times. New realities are shaping up for us now.  Many of these changes will be for the better and are worth enduring the friction we face along the way. Capricorn season teaches us a lot about emotional resilience. Learn how to be happy for yourself, what you’ve survived and what you’ll eventually achieve, even if for the moment it seems no one else is happy for you.

Astrology and Depersonalization

We have certainly experienced some intense, frictional transits here on Earth lately, and this will not let up as we segue into the next chapters in our personal and collective lives. There will be tempo changes along the way, and moments of breakthroughs along with the moments of breaking down. As I write this, we are heading into another square between rebellious freedom fighter Uranus in Aries and controlled, austere establishment figure Pluto in Capricorn, exact at 12 degrees on December 14. This is the sixth exact square in a series of seven that began June 24, 2012, and again we feel the mounting tensions approaching breaking points. We are also trudging through the final degrees of hard-assed Saturn’s transit of Scorpio, shortly before its entry into more extroverted, cause-fighter Sagittarius on December 23. Not long after this transition Saturn will begin a potentially painful square with Neptune in Pisces, creating struggles when we attempt to clarify what’s real and what’s illusion.


While books could be written about the impact of these transits on our external lives, I thought I’d devote a little time to explaining one way this will likely manifest in our quiet, interior lives.


Depersonalization and derealization describe two distinct states of dissociation. Depersonalization describes a state of disassociation from the sense of self or body; it is an alteration in experience or perception wherein you feel detached from yourself and/or as if you are an outside observer of your own life. Derealization is this same disassociated feeling externalized; the distortion/detachment is instead in relation to the environment. The environment itself may not feel real, or your relation to your surrounding may not feel real, or feel distorted. It is an alteration in experience or perception with the physical world, time and space.


Literally, most everyone will experience this to a degree at some point in their life. It is far from rare. Sleep deprivation is enough to trigger an episode. The moments in our lives that we experience acute crisis, stress and anxiety are very often accompanied by depersonalization episodes. Though it can be very disturbing, for the most part the feeling is fleeting. Ongoing crisis can extend the duration, but even then the feeling usually resolves on its own. Drugs, alcohol and other substances that cross the blood/brain barrier are known of course to be disassociatives. It is also a common symptom of many neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, sleep disorders and migraines, as well as a common side effect of the meds used in treatment. There are some people who experience it frequently throughout their lifetime, some often enough to be considered a disassociative disorder, though for most it isn’t disruptive to their daily habits and responsibilities. For those who experience it on a somewhat more regular basis, it is usually internal conflict and anxiety that is the source.


Astrologically, I look to the following for someone describing bouts of depersonalization without major external upheaval: any planets in the 12th house, a highly stressed Sun, Saturn or Pluto, and aspects to the Sun from Saturn or Pluto. In people who do not usually experience depersonalization, stressful transits involving Saturn, Pluto or Neptune can still give way to this experience for the duration of the transit(s).


As you can see, many of the usual suspects involved in depersonalization and derealization are and will be dominating the psychosphere. I think, as a result, these uneasy internal experiences described here will become more common on a broader collective scale. It will calm anxiety considerably to know what the feeling is as it happens, so you are not caught off guard. By no means is this an exhaustive list of the many complex feelings associated with the phenomena, these are just some common feelings associated with depersonalization and derealization:


– Experiencing life in the third person

– Feeling unreal, like a visitor to your life or to Earth

– Feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed to see your reflection in mirrors, electronic screens, store windows, photos; you may not recognize yourself as you and feel startled that you have a physical body or shape

-Embarrassment at others treating you as if you are real

-Discomfort with making eye contact

– Feeling unreal, invisible or overlooked completely

– Affecting a flat, monotone voice or a change in syntax

– Feeling emotionally flat, empty or dull; feeling that life has no significance

-Hyper awareness of your behavior and others behavior with intense observational detachment: “I am a man/woman, I am talking to someone right now, they are looking back at me, the clock is ticking on the wall…”

-Hearing your speaking voice in the third person, or sounding different than usual


Not everyone will be experiencing this, obviously. Even those that do will usually experience one or two symptoms, not all, and the feeling will pass quickly on its own. If you do experience it, for the most part it is nothing to worry about. Strange as it sounds, in some cases the feeling serves a purpose. It is a survival mechanism of sorts; an “off switch” to our psyches when we are overloaded with fear, anxiety, worry, agitation, crises, and stress of our environments. Who among us doesn’t live with all these things? As the world changes around us and we struggle to adapt and survive, it will be crucial to remember -paraphrasing Dave Chapelle here!- that its often the environment that’s sick, not us. It will be necessary for all of us to do what we can in our personal and collective lives, give it everything we’ve got, but do not do more than that. Learn when to hit the psychic “off switch” and allow yourself time to heal and regenerate.