Author Archives: Amanda Moreno

About Amanda Moreno

Amanda is an astrologer, soul worker and paradigm buster based in Seattle. Her adventures in these forms of ‘practical woo’ are geared towards helping people to heal themselves and the world. She can be found in the virtual world at

Equinoctial Blathering

By Amanda Moreno

Sometimes I feel like I’ve said everything I can in this space. I know that’s a ridiculous thought. It’s only been two years and a few months. My colleagues have been writing for far longer, always relevant, always articulate — and yet… for me, several core themes always resurface.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

I remember when I set out on my Planet Waves adventure I had plans — to research, to dig deep, to explore themes that would benefit from having the structure and discipline of a weekly column. Alas, my pattern has by and large been to wait until the last minute.

Part of that is because relevance and timeliness seem to be tied together — writing comes with far more ease when I’m feeling in the flow and tapped into whatever is most relevant as close to publishing as possible. That flow often comes under pressure. Part of that is that life is perpetually packed.

When I add in the fact that this is a website that focuses on astrology and that my column is supposed to be about ‘spirituality,’ my job gets a bit easier. Astrology is a focuser. It’s also, as the astonishingly brilliant Len Wallick points out in his piece this week, the key to freedom and the door to responsibility.

Let me say that again: Astrology is the key to freedom and the door to responsibility.

Becoming aware of our own patterns and habits, recognizing where we might be a bit tightly wound, means that we have more choice. We have more freedom to act. Bringing awareness to our complexes, our gifts, our nature as suggested by the interwoven threads of our charts and our experiences means we have a moral responsibility to act accordingly — at least as far as my belief system is concerned.

The astrological worldview allows us to participate creatively in our destiny, but it does not concretely define it. Astrology is great at predicting spiritual and emotional trends — but how you react or respond to those is nothing I’d ever care to predict.

For some that physical ambiguity is the downfall or shortcoming of astrology, or any divination practice really. For me that is its blessing and its curse. It gives me free will. It gives me freedom. And what good is divination if it is not going to tell you concretely what to do? It leads you to shadow. And as I become aware of my own shadow, it seems to get heavier, to beg for attention, to demand integration and increased awareness.

The eclipse window that just ended was somewhat brutal for me — in a deeply flat and empty way. And yet… I used my tools. I participated in conversations with other seekers, received validation that I was not alone in my submersion in the depths, and came up with strategies to support myself in various processes of surrender.

I was able to look at my chart and see what functions of my psyche were being invited into the spotlight for examination. I got to hold onto the hope that what I was feeling was bound to a time-sensitive process that would in fact cycle out again. I got to read other astrologers’ descriptions of the shadow side of Pisces, re-introducing me to the theme of existential crisis, leading me to definitions of the concept that helped me to locate myself in the process.

Didn’t make it feel better. But it brought meaning, and at least a rational recognition that this too shall pass.

Ah, yes. Meaning. So many in our culture see the search for meaning as something immature or ridiculous or flat-out harmful. I reckon this is some strange mix of two of the three prevailing myths of our time.

First we have the myth of progress, which sees our evolutionary progression as onward and upward, out of the sludge of the primitive, unconscious mind, allowing us to reconcile our more destructive tendencies in the name of expansion and growth. Secondly, we have the myth of cosmic disenchantment, which sees everything as inherently unrelated, and sees any attempts to prove or believe otherwise as a narcissistic, anthropocentric adapting process — the universe is dead; any attempt to make meaning is ‘just projection’ and science can prove it.

What this latter myth fails to note is that its accusations of projection, of accusing the search for meaning as being a narcissistic process, are actually quite narcissistic in and of themselves. Who are we to say that crows don’t have funerals just because that’s a human construct, or that elephants don’t actually mourn their dead?


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Sometimes I understand why people avoid consciousness. Awareness can suck. Feeling like you have to pay attention to context and variance and the ultimate ambiguity of human consciousness can be maddening. But then again…

Last week a friend recognized how much I was surrendering and letting go of and processing and offered up a sphere of Sodalite, along with a protocol for using the sphere to remove strands of dead energy from the heart center. In the mythologically dead world, this would be the sign of insanity or at the very least something to sneer at. But in my world it’s a tool that can’t hurt, and will probably help — be it through an ultimately scientifically plausible connection of various forms of matter, or through the placebo effect. And besides, who doesn’t like talking to rocks and hoping they can help? Can’t hurt!

Today I asked two people — a friend who works at a metaphysical supply shop and a bartender — what themes they’ve been noticing among their friends and customers lately. Both of them remarked that people seem to be experiencing the phenomena of one step forward and two steps back (or is it two steps forward and one step back?). And yet suddenly, things seem to be feeling like they have traction again.

To me, this reeked of cardinal energy — which initiates movement only to knock us back a few steps — combined with the floundering of our submergence in the mutable signs for the first three quarters of this year. Now, it’s as if Jupiter’s movement into cardinal Libra, followed tomorrow by the Sun’s emergence into the same sign, are beacons of hope: no longer shall we be treading water in a sea of mutability as deeply we have been. Perhaps there can be forward movement, change and traction through step-by-step processes? Gotta engage that transiting Virgo North Node, after all!

For me, forward movement is going to be marked by an equinox massage. I can’t afford it, really. But this much treading water and existential crisis, letting go and moving on, have left my muscles feeling sore and sticky. A splurge feels necessary if I’m to get my wheels back in motion.

Sun-sign horoscopes are currently advising me to be wise with my finances and strategic with my to-do lists and goals. Sometimes I think the wisest option is to spend money I don’t quite have on something that assists my physical being in coping with the demands of my own astrologically predictable spiritual and emotional trends. That’s a choice I’m making of my own free will.

I suppose that’s a good example of the way astrology works — one step forward, two steps back, a little bit of freedom brought by bringing consciousness to the pattern; a lot of responsibility, and a whole lot of surrender.

In a New Way

By Amanda Moreno

I’ve recently quasi-broken up with the Tarot. I still read for clients, but I’ve decided it’s no longer in my best interests to use it for myself. You see, I haven’t been using it in healthy or responsible ways. The result is that I start looking at certain questions or areas of life compulsively, feeding my neurosis and essentially projecting all of my power outside of myself. It’s become the antithesis to developing my intuition.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

As I sat down to write this I decided to flip over a card for a bit of inspiration — to use the cards in a different way. I got the Two of Disks: Change. Change is definitely in the wind. I suppose it’s a wind that has become fairly consistent, but it seems to be gusting in hot, dry, gale forces right now. As above, so below — we can see this change at the personal and collective levels and have been able to for some time.

For me, however, the change has shifted from the realms of the Death card — emotional upheaval and transformation — to the Judgment/Aeon card. The dawning of an entirely new era after death has occurred. Both cards resonate similarly, as one corresponds to Scorpio and the other to Pluto. There is a difference, however. I see that difference in the ways it seems the world must have gone mad — the center cannot hold. The new world seems to have arrived and many don’t quite know what to do with it. Rather than an emphasis on internal transformation it sometimes seems as if the new way in the outer world is defined by chaos.

I’m finding, however, that the madness of the collective situation as well as any personal ups and downs I’m going through seem to be receding into the background in an increasingly distant hum. I’m aware that something major has shifted and I get to play with what that might look like. This reprieve is likely just a phase, but it’s a remarkable one for many reasons.

I’m also aware that my much remarked upon feeling of being untethered in time also makes it so that when anyone asks how I’ve been doing, I’m stumped for an answer — almost as if my memory is being wiped out and the present moment is all that sticks out. Hopefully that’s not a sign of impending Alzheimer’s. But it is kind of nice to be able to just respond with, “Well, I’m pretty great right now, here in this moment.”

I draw another card: Seven of Wands. In this deck, the image is depicted as a person leaping over a crevasse. Victory through making the leap — through taking the risk.

I’m noticing that being more present is also allowing me to focus more in ways that allow for more risk taking. My ‘professional’ life — which is really just my life in that my purpose, my passion and my career are deeply entwined  — tends to grow in very rapid and somewhat unexpected spurts. I’m currently in one of those phases. There has been a flurry of opportunities and openings that I can direct any sense of anxiety and dis-ease towards.

Being immersed in the calling of one’s soul can be such bliss — when it’s not isolating and painful, that is. The resulting flow of energy when the immersion is on the light end of the spectrum is always welcome.

It’s always surreal for me when I start getting a barrage of astrological emails, each of which I willingly subscribe to, that start commenting on the intensity and potential volatility of a given time — especially when I’m not feeling that at all. I’ve noticed a trend, which is that often when the collective energy seems to be reflecting the shadow realms and encouraging us to dig deep and change, pushing anger and revolution to the surface, I feel just fine — happy, even. Of course, give me a good Mercury retrograde in a water sign and I’m typically an emotional wreck. But I’m fascinated by the ways in which some challenging energies seem to force constructive transformation and rising to the occasion, whereas others pound us into the ground.

So what’s the wild card, there? Well, I suppose the wild card is all the little idiosyncrasies of our unique individual experiences. Astrology is a useful language and timing mechanism.

I draw another card: Six of Cups, which in this deck is “Desire.”  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mars moving direct erupted for me in a flurry of even more sexual energy than normal, and in an explicit conversation or two with people in my life regarding what my desires are — taking it way beyond the sexual into the arena of “you’re an important person in my life and I need you to know what I’m working towards.”

I’m also well aware that Saturn’s stationing direct seems to have added to the mix in ways that have brought all libidinal energies to the plate when it comes to focusing on taking new risks where my vocation is concerned.

Sometimes I’m in absolute awe that I get to do the things I do — and make money doing them. Sometimes I get a glimpse of what’s at stake, even just at the personal level, and I recognize why I don’t dwell on those thoughts often.

A very wise Ms. Amanda Painter once wrote an article about her first visit to Burning Man. There was a quote in the piece that I wrote down and stuck to the wall in my office. It reads: “There is a certain terror that can come when standing at the edge of what life could be if you actually show up to live it.”

Now, I found the quote to be utterly inspirational and relatable, articulating quite beautifully just how humbling standing on the precipice of what life might look like can be. But I don’t mean to cause harm or sadness to those who feel that process of showing up is too much or impossible. We are living in fucked up times. There are people in the world and people in my life who have gone through things that are soul shattering, sometimes in multiple onslaughts. I don’t know the reasons why, but the realities of the disparities here also fuel my urge to engage my oath with wit and grit and heart.

There is a grace that comes through sometimes when I find myself standing in the eye of the storm, calm and quiet, recognizing the turbulence all around me and realizing I have no choice but to try to engage with an intention to serve the highest good of my clients, my friends, my loved ones and myself. I find myself doing something I found utterly impossible just a short time ago: trusting the universe. The paradox of trusting in a world where there is so much pain is sometimes unfathomable to me and sometimes a source of absolute fuel.

Showing up to live life is a tricky thing. Showing up to live the life of your dreams has its own pressures and challenges. The risk of failure once you step out into the unknown can be a massively weighty force. We can see this playing out in the collective via our refusal to change so many horrendously physically, emotionally and spiritually toxic aspects of our ‘civilization’ because change — and striking out into the unknown — feels impossibly overwhelming.


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I wrote the above just over a week ago, and am reading over it from my bed where I have been for most of the past 24 hours. I had to laugh a bit as I read the parts about not feeling the intensity of the astrological weather. It would appear that this Mars-Saturn conjunction has knocked me on my ass. Or maybe I’m getting sick. Or maybe I overdid it last week.

My guess is that those three options are all probably linked together. What I know, however, is that I have no choice right now but to listen to the wisdom of my body. Rest. Eat well. Don’t take in too much information or stimulation.

And then there’s the wisdom of my intuition. Wait. Something is being seeded now. Sleep. Pay attention to dreams. Don’t push it, girl. Just be inside.

I turn over a final tarot card: Six of Disks. Success. It corresponds with the Moon in Taurus, where the Moon is exalted. Confidence, self-esteem and inner strength and security. Calm, grounded and centered. May we all move towards that now.

Becoming Conscious of Ourselves

By Amanda Moreno

I somehow find myself somewhat immersed in the study of narcissism and narcissistic tendencies. I wrote about it here a few weeks ago, then taught a class called “Leo and the Narcissistic Wound,” and now find myself in a position to be delivering a lecture called “Collective Astrology and the Madness of Donald Trump.”

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

I suppose narcissism is a fitting topic, it being Leo season and all. Perhaps it’s also a fitting topic seeing as what I’ve dubbed Entitlement Disorder seems to be rampant.

Labeling actions as Entitlement Disorder (ED, as I call it) is my way of coping with and organizing a more mild, more generally expressed series of traits found within our culture that I myself probably display at times. It’s a sarcastic way of pathologizing behaviors I see around me every day: people walking down the street and running into people and things as they veer everywhere while staring at their phones; demanding special treatment here and there; taking up 20 spots on the train or in the parking lot…

At my workshop the other night, we talked a bit in terms of Leo and its connection to children. A student asked about whether the trend towards people having dogs instead of children was relevant there, and how it might reflect or change the correspondence between Leo and children — particularly the act of having them.

Off the top of my head, I said that I considered ‘pets’ to be more the realm of Taurus. I then pronounced my bias, as well as the fact that some of my own judgments might be coming through in what I was going to say next, which was that I could see some Leo-style shadow coming through in the entitlement people display in pet ownership. They begin to consider their pets to be their children, and therefore acceptable companions in any space at any time in any way.

As personal context is favored over collective context, it’s like people fail to take into consideration the fact that someone might have a legitimate reason to request or demand that a dog be kept out of a shared space — like health codes or the fact that someone on the train or in the restaurant might have a fear of dogs or an allergy to them. I suppose some might have allergies to children as well, but so it goes.

The other night I escaped the city to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We found a spot at an outdoor amphitheater with many other stargazers lounging on the grass in the dark. As we approached our chosen spot, a dog started barking. It wasn’t actually a bark, but the most rabid sounding, beastial, dripping-with-venom growling bark my dog-loving self had ever heard. I was fairly convinced the dog was actually a mutant demon wolf and would break free from its leash at some point as more and more people filed past, each and every one triggering it.

I was also fairly convinced that its owner didn’t care. Then again, I don’t know the context, so who am I to judge? And who am I to judge an individual letting their dog lick its balls on a restaurant table — maybe it’s a comfort animal? Or has a hypoallergenic asshole?

That context piece is everything, though, and its right usage has to do with recognizing we don’t know everyone’s context or reasoning. This can hopefully encourage direct and assertive — if not compassionate — communication when we encounter someone doing something we’re uncomfortable with.

As we lay there at the amphitheater staring up at the stars, I began thinking about a show I recently watched on Netflix called Edge of the Universe. The episode in question was called “Planets From Hell,” which probably isn’t relevant, but is somewhat amusing.

In the show, the scientists being interviewed talk about this kind of epic cosmic drama we’ve involved in — the quest to discover how our solar system fits into the grand cosmological scheme of things. We are essentially trying to learn whether or not we are really, truly ‘special’ — one of a kind; a unique planet in all of the inconceivable vastness that is space. What a rich metaphor for the Leo-Aquarius polarity.

I recognized, then, that the last period of paradigm shift in our history that is considered to be equal in impact to the current shift was when we switched from an Earth-centric model of the universe to a Sun-centered model. We did not cope well with the realization that we are not the center. People were burned at the stake for espousing such blasphemy.

Whether the collective madness that erupted was the result of a bunch of people pouting specifically over not being the center, or just was the result of a worldview shift, is probably more nuanced; but the echoes of Leonine narcissistic themes are there. Recognition and celebration of specialness is huge, and when that gets shut down in childhood — as it must to some degree for all of us — or even at the collective level, we inflate our sense of ourselves in some way.

The integration point for an overblown immersion in Leo is the Aquarian polarity — rising above, getting some perspective, getting out of the subjective emotions and taking the objective view. What is the context? Where do I fit into the whole? What are the long-term goals?

I’ve always loved the notion that through the consciousness of humans a second act of creation happens — the first one having been initiated by ‘god’. As we become conscious, so does god become conscious of itself. As we explore the universe and understand our place within it, so do we better understand ourselves. As we get that distance and detachment offered by Aquarius, so are we able to refine our expression of the unique spark of light that is each of us individually, as well as our species as a whole. But we have to take context into account.

Does it make us less special if we discover other planets like ours? Does it make our existence less meaningful if we’re not the only ones? Can we discover our existence in a galactic community and celebrate the uniqueness of everything and everyone, at the same time as we recognize and celebrate our commonalities? We just can’t exist anymore as if we’re the center of the universe, the only ones that matter, or that context outside of ourselves is irrelevant. We have to let notions of un-fallible superiority go. If not, it’s looking quite like our stubborn attachment to rightness is going to kill us.

If we are transitioning into the age of Aquarius — and I support the notion that we are and that looking at epochs in that manner can be a helpful way of contextualizing and increasing awareness and understanding — perhaps we have the advantage of familiarizing ourselves with the shadows of the Aquarius-Leo polarity, lest we dry ourselves up and set it all on fire in a fit of tantrum and hubris.


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A core conundrum of the polarity involves how to integrate our godliness with our humanity, and how to avoid inflating ourselves in accordance with the archetypal energies we find the safest or most palatable. Instead, we must metabolize those parts into less unwieldy bits so that we can integrate them into our human tribe.

Maybe we are not going to get our way in this civilization experiment if ‘our way’ involves the refusal to give up the vast number of poisonous and toxic physical, emotional and spiritual habits we’ve been clinging to, perhaps since the last fixed age (Taurus). The Taurean age marked the birth of ‘civilization’.

So I suppose if we consider Aquarius and Leo in their square aspect to Taurus, the Aquarian age is a crisis point for what was seeded back then (4,000-1,800 B.C.) — agriculture, the rise of cities, money, banking — so many institutions we associate with our security and material well-being. We are demonstrating (a fixed-sign key word) the fruits of what was sown back then.

It can be so difficult to look outside of ourselves for so very many reasons. I honestly have buckets of compassion for all when I think about the ways we’ve each been wounded and how many people in my life have been rocked again and again by traumas of one kind of another.

I wonder, though, if occasions like the Leo-Aquarius Full Moon this week provide us with little gateways to examine how invested we are in our own dramas, and how much we cling to them or inflate them or need them in order to feel whole. I wonder how we can bring perspective back in, and maybe embrace the notion that it is possible to be special without being the only one and without bringing notions of superiority into it. I hope for moments of clarity for each of us that help us to understand how we can better cultivate the things we are passionate about and the things that have heart and meaning to us, in service to the collective and to making the world a better place in the long-term.

Escaping to the Woods

By Amanda Moreno

I went camping again this past weekend. I’m constantly aware at the theoretical level that escaping to the woods — or the ocean or anywhere that doesn’t have cell service and is surrounded by ‘nature’, really — is integral to my emotional wellbeing. But I always forget at some level just how much I need the retreat until I’m in the middle of it.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Being in spaces where city noise is absent, where everything slows down, and where I can just laugh and sit and eat and be in silence or among good friends does something to my whole being that I just can’t get enough of. I think the groundedness these retreats provide are particularly helpful as a retreat from world events, and a return to re-centering.

This time around, the occasion was a good friend’s birthday, and it was a group of 12 humans I don’t know all that well. Going was a difficult decision for many reasons, one of which was that although my extrovert self has been reigning pretty supreme lately, the knowledge that my introvert self might not quite like adapting to strangers with fairly different lifestyles (mostly all monogamous couples) kept me non-committal.

That is, until I was sitting in my bedroom and heard the Blue Angels flying overhead, rehearsing for their yearly weekend shows. The thought of having to listen to war machines flying overhead in order to spend millions of dollars while people gawk upward forced my decision: to the woods I would go!

Alas, the camping trip was fairly perfect. Low key, laid back… but a few things really stuck out for me, only one of which had to do with humans.

First of all, there was the white noise of wind and river. The nighttimes were windy, and being able to listen to the intense rustling of the trees — at first distant and then just above and throughout the campsite — felt like it swept all that wasn’t working in my nervous system right on out. The wind transmuted it to joy or abundance or whatever light matter my being could imagine. The river noise was a constant backdrop, and frequently throughout my life I’ve been heard saying that there are three things that stop the monkey-mind chatter of my brain: the white noise of rushing water, dancing at a live show and sex.

Second of all, there were the stars. Oh, the stars! I will never get over the wonder that floods my whole body when I can look up, away from the light pollution of the city, and gasp at the magnificent sky above. I could see some planets, I could place some stars and I stood under the Milky Way in totally humble reverence for the vastness of the space we live in.

I am awestruck every single time. Not just at that vastness and how many little glimmering points of life there are, but at just how floored I am when I try to grasp the fact that those twinkling lights are massive three-dimensional objects that exist incomprehensible distances away.

A friend remarked to me as we stood in the pitch black, craning our necks to look upwards, that she is afraid that someday soon people will stop seeing the stars. Whether because of light pollution or inability to get out of the city, or just because we become so unaccustomed to seeing stars and incapable of seeing them — or even just uninterested — that we lose our concept of them and our ability to communicate about them. I agreed and felt a shudder down my spine.

We spend so much time looking down at screens or our own navels. What about the mystery beyond? Such a natural humility occurs when we tap into how much we don’t understand by doing something as simple as looking at the stars. A humility very different from the humiliation it seems too many people experience when trying to fit into a world that tries to define so much so concretely.


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Finally, there was a kiddo there with us. At five years old, he was a sight to behold and to hear. He was inquisitive and hilarious and full of piercing insights and fun little songs. Listening to his narrations of his own perspectives was incredible.

We’d be talking about something and spell it out — “There’s a B.A.T. flying overhead!” And we’d ask him, “What does B.A.T. spell?” And he’d respond, “B.A.T.!” Of course it does.

He’d sing little songs, and slide his trucks and his behind through the dirt. He immediately chucked his clothes off to go swimming in the river. He pronounced the marshmallows that all of the adults were so excited about roasting for him to be sour and icky, and pronounced the dog that accompanied us to be one of his best friends. Slowing down and seeing the world through the eyes of a five-year-old was the perfect accent to an already low-key weekend.

I returned to the city feeling calm. De-stressed. Stable. Quiet. I keep thinking about a world where things are calm. Not stressful. Quiet. I also keep thinking about a world where no one looks at the stars, be it because they can’t be seen or because no one cares. It makes me sad. I hope that doesn’t happen, while I know that it might.

In the meantime, however, I’m going to keep looking up. I’m going to keep enjoying my life in my urban wonderland while still seeking excursions out. And I’m going to keep remembering my little five-year-old friend, and his astute observations and singsong approach to curiosity and presence. Because there’s a lot to learn from that, and a lot to celebrate as well.

Lovin’ Leo Lions*

By Amanda Moreno

Writing here has been such a pleasure for many reasons. Sometimes, however, I have to do the highly responsible thing and turn to Facebook for crowd-sourced ideas of what to write about. Today, someone requested that I talk about how we can use the energy of the Sun in Leo to help overcome energetic blocks. Leo energy is pretty darned incredible — fun, playful, expressive, creative — so I figured I’d go that route.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

In summary, I associate Leo with creative self-actualization and the celebration of self; fun, loyalty, romance, generosity and heart all come to mind. The free doling out — and receiving — of appreciation and love.

Leo also casts shadows, like anything else. The Leonine shadow of narcissism fascinates me, especially as I tune into the world stage and our collective social media frenzy, in a culture where so many of us portray ourselves as the perfectly crafted avatars and stars of our own social media shows.

Leo is ruled by the Sun and it is unique in that way. Although Cancer is also ruled by a luminary rather than a planet, the Sun is unique in that it is the center of our solar system. Wherever the Sun is in our chart tells us about our purpose for being here and about the spark we can cultivate to come into alignment with our purpose.

We can look at the astrological wheel as a developmental progression. Aries is the birth instinct and related impulses. Taurus relates to our internalized sense of security and resources based on how we’re held. Gemini is the phase where we begin to link together the perception, thought and speech processes to communicate about experience. Cancer is where we first begin to develop an ego identification based on the constructs of our blood tribe and our emotional self.

In that context, Leo can be seen as where we begin to express the ego identity. It’s akin to the phase of development occurring between four and five years old — coming into contact with other kids, moving into Kindergarten and expansion out of the home environment.

It is perhaps during this stage, when we’re learning to creatively express our ego identity from a place of joy and innocence, that we’re prone to the perils of being shut down by others and by internalized feelings of shame or inadequacy. We need validation in this stage. Our Sun needs to shine and be seen as we are. It’s during this phase that we need recognition for being unique, and there are so many ways — both subtle and not — that this need can be shut down.

In Leo, we have a need to be seen in a particular way. Narcissism is defined psychologically speaking as “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and craving for recognition and admiration,” or diagnosed as a personality disorder that is characterized by “self-centeredness arising from a failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.” Narcissism is a trait in which we might essentially choose our godly qualities over our human ones, privileging one role over another, typically in an inflated way.

Perhaps we all have areas of our life in which we inflate ourselves or become one-dimensional, clinging on to an identity that we think is better than another or that we feel a strong need to have recognized. We become overly identified with an image, perhaps to cover up something we are lacking or feel loathing about. We become consumed with proving our specialness, or denying the parts of ourselves we find painful, lacking or inadequate.

The narcissistic process, then, is perhaps trying to save something, or to cover up a wound. And what do we talk about here on Planet Waves over and over again? The need to hold space for people’s wounding to come out in non-judgmental settings. We greet wounding with compassion.


Our exciting new 12-sign Midyear Reading on forthcoming astrology, including Jupiter in Libra (plus much more!) is available for pre-order. Get all 12 signs here for $57.

We’re all living right now during a time of incredible transformation and often turbulence. What this time period needs is for each of us to get in touch with the spark of genius inside of us, to rise to the occasion of cultivating that spark — while not getting lost in artificial facades that we can hide behind.

We need to express our identity while understanding it is fluid. Perhaps part of that is owning our need for validation and recognition — and doing a little digging to understand how those needs might have been shut down when we were young.

Through its trine to Aries, the spark of Leo sunlight in each of us can be accessed through the bravery and courage it takes to tap into our own mode of self-expression, to listen to what our heart is calling us to do. Leonine creative self-actualization calls on us to express the currents of the divine, of the mystery, as they flow through us in our own unique ways — while understanding that we are not the source of the spark, just the fortunate recipient.

How might we harness the bravery of the fire signs to wade into the mystery, knowing that it is not something to fear but to embrace in wonder? Is it about recognizing that, despite the fact that we are each unique manifestations of something greater, we are not alone here?

We have tribe and there are others on the earth who are as confused, frightened and unsure as we might be at any given point in time. Similarly, there are likely others who are ready to dance and sing and celebrate their way through the madness as well, heart to heart, hand in hand. Because love is the only sure medicine, and the heart is the true source and power of the divine.

Tearing down the walls we’ve built to protect the child in us that was shut down or unrecognized might be tender work, maybe even best done within the container of a therapeutic or other form of relationship; there is an innocence in that Leo function that can feel raw and vulnerable. But that innocence is also a gift. I believe it is often referred to as ‘divine child’ energy. That part of us that believes and that is untarnished by the world lives within us all the time and, I believe, can be a source of great healing…if we can only let it shine.

*Title inspired by Harvey Sid Fisher.

The Non-Monogamous Projection Train

By Amanda Moreno

Today on the train I ran into a friend — one of those friends with whom it’s nearly impossible to have a mundane conversation. The best kind of friend as far as I can tell. We launched into 30 minutes of catching up with some pretty incredible depth than ran the gamut of richness and intrigue.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

I was talking to my friend about brainstorming topics for workshops and classes and how I’m feeling increasingly drawn to teaching more relationship-oriented classes (for example: “Queering the Myth of the Soul Mate” or “Poly Lovin’ in Astro Land”).

I’m struggling a bit, however, with how to keep the clichés out, knowing full well that the basis of what I’d likely be communicating is: build your relationship with yourself; love yourself first. I don’t know why I’m cliché avoidant — they’re clichés because they’re true, after all — but there you have it.

My friend and I are both part of Seattle’s ‘alternative relationship’ communities, although non-monogamous identities aside we relate through the shared languages of depth psychology, astrology and several others as well. The sheer number of people I know or am connected to who are exploring new ways of doing relationship is absolutely awe-inspiring to me — being well into the thousands — and is one of the primary reasons I can’t imagine ever moving away from Seattle.

Breaking down internalized notions of how relationship should look is daunting work, as is navigating the territories of the heart without clear-cut models. Having a robust network of people to talk to, to socialize with and to date, for that matter, is vital.

In the process of the discussion with my friend, I articulated a brand-new insight that’s just coming to the surface for me. I’ve said it twice in my life, both times in the past four hours: although there might be some small parts of me that need or would likely do better within a monogamous container (not a new revelation), there are parts of me that are absolutely defiant when it comes to the prospect of monogamy.

Not because I think it’s bad or wrong for everyone. In fact, I believe it’s one very valid choice of many. It’s the cultivation of the conscious awareness that it is a choice not a default, and not the best or most intrinsically desired by all, that is more important to me.

That sense of defiance surprised me. I don’t think it is defiance that is based in defensiveness, although I have more reflection to do there. Rather, it is based in a core belief that if we as a culture don’t engage in and create new models of relating that are based in an emphasis on self-awareness and ever-improving communication skills, we are fucked. Perhaps I could state that more articulately, but there you have it. My own personal bias. If this paradigm is going to get shifted or busted or bridged, human relationships have to be at the crux of it.

There are so many unquestioned assumptions and so much ignorance in the world as to the history of monogamous constructs. In so many ways these assumptions and the institution of monogamous relationship sometimes seem like a direct threat to our cultural wellbeing. The more I’m exposed to that, the more consciously questioning and somewhat defiant I get.

I feel a form of righteous indignation when I consider how many people internalize feelings of shame and self-hatred simply because they cannot abide by a model of ‘this is how you shall be forever’ that is just not realistic at all. And although it goes beyond the urge for sexual diversity, that urge does provide an example. I have had several lovers talk to me about the intense guilt and self loathing they felt when trying to engage monogamous relationships while realizing that they wanted and needed more sex than their partners — but were trying to shut those instincts down in favor of trying to do relationships ‘right.’ The number of ways we learn to feel shame about healthy instincts is maddening.

As someone who is well equipped and willing to deconstruct the absolute, largely unquestioned notion in society that monogamous pair bonding for life is superior to any other mode of relating — the ultimate of ultimates to be desired, the industry of all industries to be bought into — and as someone who feels utterly passionate about hashing out and exploring new ways and models of relating, I feel this is work I have to do. Not as a slave to my calling, but because I want to. Most of the time at least. It’s part of my spiritual path and part of my own process of working through my karma.

At the same time as this devotion to ‘alternative’ relationship models — be they labeled as non-monogamous, solo, anarchistic, etc. — swells to the surface, I’ve been reading a book called Masochism: A Jungian View and joking to a friend or two that it is quite possible that my polyamorous identity is an expression of my more masochistic tendencies. Gotta stay humble, after all. I’m well aware, however, that the parts of me that crave more consistency and the ‘primacy’ of a closed-container monogamous bond get pretty anxious and worked up by my romantic choices, and have not received the memo that safety is relative and that I am in fact trying to build something that lasts, even if it’s taking some intense work.

I’m also aware, however, that the ‘safety’ those parts seek is relative and largely an illusion and that so many modern relationships are based on a psychological projection or displacement of the inner child’s unmet parental needs. We tend to take all of our unresolved childhood material and project it onto our lovers in hopes that we can be their chosen one, the one they love more than anything — their child.

I type that out and cringe at the simplicity, but there it is. I just can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we stopped projecting mommy and daddy onto each other and instead let each other be who we authentically are without the weight of that misplaced responsibility. That said, the act of reclaiming projections in relationship can totally rock the boat — the object of your projection might falter without the container of the role you’ve placed them into. Not everyone copes well with being forced in on themselves to uncover who they really are.

On a perhaps more tangential note, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be non-monogamous, to have multiple lovers, while also exploring the notion that we essentially absorb by osmosis the karma of our lovers and their lovers when we have sex with them. I’ve been resistant to this theory, although increasingly aware of its potential truth. If I accept it as potential truth, it means I’m currently linked into a pretty huge network of ‘other people’s stuff’ at a very visceral level, and my first thought is that that makes energetic hygiene quite tricky.

I was, however, talking to yet another friend about that subject the other day, and she brought her own take to the table, which I probably don’t yet understand well enough to articulate in the way she meant it. But I’ll try anyway.

She mentioned what she sees as the potential for non-monogamous relationships to transmute karma faster and more efficiently, and therefore the importance she sees in non-monogamy. She spoke to how much more quickly you can work through stuff when you’re relating to someone at the sexual level, as you become immersed in them — in her words, in the mix of chemicals and DNA that help us ‘get’ each other at levels that are deeper than words.


Our exciting new 12-sign Midyear Reading on forthcoming astrology, including Jupiter in Libra, is available for pre-order — and you can get all 12 signs for just $47 until Wednesday, July 27.

I wonder, then, about the interplay of projection, sexual osmosis and energetic convergence. People and experiences are drawn into our lives through energetic resonance; at least that’s my language for what happens. The most basic way of understanding projection in the psychological sense is that we project our unconscious onto others who then mirror it back to us so we can learn.

When asking a teacher once whether that meant the thing we are projecting does or does not exist in the other person, he told me it likely did, as the projection needs a hook to hang on, but that it was likely more of an 80/20 or so split. I’ve realized that I tend to think quite a bit about what I’m projecting onto others — but not quite as much about the hooks within me that others try to hang their projective hats onto.

Reclaiming projections, relating honestly and learning about ourselves takes work. I’m loathe to say one form of relating is more difficult than any other.

The friend from the train quoted someone who had recently told them that “conscious monogamy” is far more difficult than any other form of relationship, as if that made it a higher or better choice — an insinuation that non-monogamy is about simply giving into the animal/primitive/lesser urge to just fuck, and instead one should choose the ‘higher road’ and The One. My friend and I laughed and rolled our eyes a bit, both of us feeling strongly wary of any hierarchical models of relating while knowing full well that sometimes hierarchy is warranted, wanted or just implicit.

But relationships can be difficult be they familial, romantic, friendly or professional. They take work. The relationships I’m most interested in are with people who are doing their own personal work, who are owning their own shit and at least trying to reclaim their own projections, who can offer consistency and long-term investment while respecting my and hopefully their own need for a lot of freedom. Which, unfortunately, seems to strongly limit an already limited pool of people to choose from. But, as I said, it seems worthy work for me to do personally. And so…I stick with it…

Behind the Veil

By Amanda Moreno

Well, my dears, the surreality continues. Sometimes I wonder if there actually is a man sitting behind a curtain somewhere, perhaps named Oz, who is orchestrating this whole show — and that I have a chance to interview him some day to find out what the hell he’s been thinking during this massive puppet play.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Speaking of curtains…a wise woman recently wondered aloud to me if perhaps what we’re experiencing now is the lifting of ‘the veil.’ She mentioned the thought to me in direct to response to either the Pulse Nightclub shootings or one that happened shortly after.

I was kind of shocked at the thought at first. I’ve always kind of thought of ‘what’s behind the veil’ as a mystical-romantic concept or otherworldly reality. Home of intuition and goddess — the High Priestess’s realm.

I like it when someone says something that sparks an insight that makes me cringe or otherwise question my assumptions. Her remark made me realize: we really don’t know what’s behind ‘the veil.’ That’s the whole point, really, whether it’s referred to as the process of transitioning into death or the division between this world and the other, or whatever. Furthermore, it is perhaps technological advances that will illuminate the other side of the veil far faster than, say, an initiatory, esoteric or magical system, prayer, religious lineage, ecstatic dance work or any of the other systems that have been passed down through the ages.

All at once, events hit closer to home for each of us; partially because they’re happening in seemingly more rapid succession, but mostly because they are broadcast instantly, permeating our consciousness all the time through television and internet, and with even more impact through social media. Our faces are constantly being smashed up against a ‘reality’ that is at times shocking and maddening in its inhumanity, and at other times punctuated by flat-out ridiculousness; it’s bringing a constant state of incredulity to consciousness for many.

As our faces get smashed time and again, our defenses are being stripped away by rapid-fire social media inundation. Are our filters strengthening or disappearing? Is our discernment increasing or being dulled?

In the face of everything it seems like people are fumbling, stumbling and reaching for meaning — perhaps to mediate such rapidly increasing consciousness and awareness — in increasing amounts, at the same time as rampant, violent racism, sexism and hate are exploding into view all around us. Has the increase in both facets just always been there and is now projected more? Or are they increasing?

I think about the world immediately surrounding me. I’ve been teaching “AstroCircle” workshops once a month for about two years now. I recognize the increasing enthusiasm and wonder of the participants as we sometimes sit around a built, three-dimensional zodiac wheel with images and symbols laid out so that people can, for example, ‘sit where there Mars is’ and see the full wheel and corresponding images laid out in front of them. I recognize that I taught an intro to Shamanic journeying workshop recently that brought in a host of new (to me) participants who were buzzing about what they learned after the class ended, sharing phone numbers with each other. Reportedly they were heard around the neighborhood the next morning talking about how excited they were to learn such a thing.

I posted something on Facebook yesterday, acknowledging the emotional intensity of the current Moon cycle, with the reminder that it is in fact a cycle, and drawing people’s attention to that. So many people ‘liked’ it and thanked me for the reminder or validation that I had to double check and confirm — it wasn’t just the usual fans of astrology acknowledging the simple statement, it was people who I often think of as total science/atheistic types.

I’m always careful not to put too much emphasis on ‘blaming’ the Sun and the Moon for reactions and events. There’s plenty going on in the world other than an intense Moon cycle that might cause an emotional reaction or twelve. But seeing life in terms of interlocking and interconnected cycles has always been helpful for me, and sharing that with others seems appropriate.


Our exciting new Midyear Reading on forthcoming astrology, including Jupiter in Libra, is now available for pre-order — and you can get all 12 signs for just $47.

What an incredible tool this astrology thing is for transitions and initiations — a construct and map that helps us navigate the revelation of what’s behind the veil. Because of that, I’m increasingly coming down more firmly in my belief that to be effective and relevant, astrology does indeed need to be rooted in a spiritual belief system of some sort.

It isn’t mundane. It is magical — and practical.

I’m really just pondering some things in free-flow form here. But if I bring it back to my wise friend’s comment, to the cringe-worthy notion that perhaps for some of us, exposure to things like racist homicide is akin to a lifting of the veil — of delusion and illusion perhaps — there is a shock element that compels me. It’s almost as if I’m grasping a new understanding of what it is to die ‘unconsciously’ — to be taken into some weird bardo, purgatory or nightmare state from which I have no idea how to escape and in which I have no idea how to navigate. Stunned into disbelief.

There’s an often-paraphrased notion that goes something like: when the darkness seems to be getting darker it’s only because the light is getting brighter. It’s been an intense few weeks. But I reflect on the seeming increase in people using tools like astrology to understand and orient, and I see some light.

I read Fe’s column this week, so beautifully and humbly real and yet optimistic, and I can’t help but re-state and reaffirm something she closed with: it’s time to throw ourselves into the magic that is our lives — our art, our music, our sex. Our self-awareness and growth. Question, express, dissect, live as honestly as we can as our filters change and our hearts get torn open time and time again. Dance through it, love through it, cry through it, tear down walls that need trampling and continue to question and revise.

Something huge is in fact being revealed, and I do believe our best course of action is to live from the heart and embody the passionate, compassionate qualities of our incredible human hearts — even when the process of opening them feels unbearably painful.

Quiet in the Woods

By Amanda Moreno

There are a few simple facts in astrology that I’ve never really understood, or that just don’t make sense to me in light of my experience. Maybe I just get tripped up through over-thinking, but the correspondence of the sign Cancer with the summer (northern) solstice is one of them. The sign that represents internal processes, latent emotions, subtlety and home seems so awkwardly positioned to initiate the season of light.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, the season of light definitely corresponds with a major increase in social activity as well. Not to say Cancerian energy isn’t outgoing, but so much social activity can be taxing to the Cancer-type.

As a Cancer Moon-type myself (by virtue of my natal Moon residing in the 4th house), I tend to get a bit cranky when the autumn storms are late in coming, as I’m more than ready by mid-September to retreat back into my cave for a spell — a six-to-nine month spell at that.

Cancer is a sign of psychic sensitivity, probably underscoring a need for retreat from others. Isabel Hickey says:

…Cancer responds to life through his feelings… As they are extremely psychic they find it difficult to separate what they feel from what they think. They are at the mercy of their moods, up one day and down the next. They are psychic sponges, absorbing any atmosphere around them without realizing it. If they are in the company of happy people they bloom; if depressed people are in their vicinity they droop and wilt and do not know why.

Now, my personal bias about the meaning — or shall I say feeling — of the sign and the season is probably colored by the fact that during Cancer season, the Sun is falling through the 12th house of my own chart. A planet moving through the 12th house often indicates some kind of dying-off process. My energy ebbs more than it flows; my longing for quiet time, alone or with kindreds with whom I share strong bonds, increases greatly.

This past weekend, I realized it was the first time in seven or eight years I was not on vacation or at least ‘staycation’ for the July Fourth holiday. In fact, I’ve taken extended time off over this period consistently — and have almost always left to go camping or to a cabin. Through some fault in planning, I missed the boat this year, and I’ve been feeling that call towards silence in some very loud ways.

Luckily, a friend and I were able to take a little last-minute camping trip to the Olympic Mountains, which offered a small dose of retreat that felt incredible.

Here’s the thing about this mountain range / national park. It’s one of those places that is very much untouched — due largely, I would imagine, to the fact that it is home to several rainforests which ensure that wintertime rain levels are in the hundreds of inches.

The silence in places like this is so complete, even with the sounds of water, wind and birds. Sitting on the banks of a river in the sun, I was able to let that stillness wash over me and bring my attention to my senses and let myself drop in — and away from screens and phones and everything else my busy, busy brain wants me to fixate on.

And then there are the trees. I am, in fact, a tree-hugging individual and have a very cherished relationship with trees. I love them. I love that you can lean against them and they won’t go anywhere. I love talking to them and listening to them and watching them and learning about them. I love looking up and being stunned by how tall they are. I love seeing how one fallen tree plays nurse to five others.

Trees in this forest can range up to 1,000 years old. Standing amidst them, tuning in, you can start to feel the strength of that slowness and sense the wisdom of beings that have existed, holding space, sticking it out, for such lengthy swaths of time. It brings a sense of awe and much-needed perspective.

There among the trees and the water and the slowness, I was able to unwind and decompress a bit. We wandered around. We built a fire. We attempted to fend off hordes of mosquitoes. And we ate freshly caught crab.

Coming back the next day, we drove through many miles of forest, the only car around. I couldn’t bear to listen to music, still needing more immersion in the silence. I let my mind wander to fantasylands where elves were watching us and mossy trees became creatures. We extended the road-trip portion a bit by driving to the coast to get a glimpse of the ocean.

Life in the city, in this world, is so busy. So cranked up. So constantly, consistently loud in so very many ways. Retreating — by myself, or with a few select others — is something I’m lucky to be able to do from time to time, although I’m aware that I need to do it far more. Slowing it down, shutting off the screens, giving myself permission to stop thinking about the little things and just be present, sitting on the side of a river listening to the water or observing the way the afternoon’s golden light plays with moss and fern as it trickles through the branches…

To me, Cancer in essence represents home and identity. Having written so much in the past months about identity crisis, I’m aware that although connecting with home and family are good medicines for my soul, reminding me of who I am and who I want to be, my constant identity questioning often needs a rest. I need the white noise of water and wind to run through my mind and soothe all the rigid places.

I need to go to places where I can just sink into the deepest parts of myself and exist for a while, just another creature living among the trees.

Attention anyone with a Cancer Sun, Cancer Moon or Cancer rising: Eric will be recording your birthday reading for the next 12 months -- nicknamed The Cancer Illumination Kit -- shortly. You can secure the lowest price we offer by pre-ordering now. Not familiar with Eric's audio or visual readings? You can listen to last year's reading here, as a gift.

Attention anyone with a Cancer Sun, Moon or rising: Eric has recorded the audio portions of your birthday reading for the next 12 months — nicknamed The Cancer Illumination Kit. You can access them by ordering now; the video will be released after July 4. Not familiar with Eric’s audio or video readings? You can listen to last year’s reading here, as a gift.