Author Archives: Planet Waves

Dear Madame Zolonga: Will Saturn Save a Saggo Slump?

Dear Madame,

I have a Sagittarius problem, I think. I am a Sagittarius rising person and the mother of a high school-aged daughter (a sophomore this year) with a Sagittarius Sun. She’s one of those sparky kids who is bright enough to have whizzed through a lot of early years in school with minimal effort. So school has never been a real problem, but it also has not seen as relevant.

I think we took this success for granted in the past, but this year it caught up to us. Last winter was a real challenge. Everything that seemed easy before wasn’t anymore, even though she’s always been in advanced classes. Her grades dropped because she didn’t hand in assignments, or handed them in late. We had to take her out of a sport because she couldn’t keep up with everything.


I feel this was the right choice, but it was so hard on all of us. The new school year starting, and now I hear Saturn is returning to Sagittarius. I wonder if there’s anything hopeful in store for us Sagittarius types? Saturn doesn’t sound good.

— The Centaur’s Mother

Dear Momma Centaur,

You sound as if you’re mothering along well enough. These tough decisions are undoubtedly part of the parenting game, and whether it’s a sport or a friend, or a habit gone awry, we occasionally have to step in and reshape the scene. You must use that word no teenager likes – ‘boundaries’.

That’s the Saturn bit. Right? So, well done. Saturning is part of parenting, as uncomfortable as it may be.

Saggos (as you probably know already) have no particular use for boundaries, though. “Fly and be free!” they say. And bright little Saggo types who easily clear all the low-level hurdles of grammar school and sail through the higher hoops of middle years have not a clue what their apparently less fortunate peers are feeling. While the other kids struggle daily to remember their math facts and presidents, dearest Saggo is frequently the autodidact out blazing her own trail toward truth, charming the teachers, and throwing together amazing presentations on the Constitution two days before the project’s due.

The problem here is as much in natural social development as it’s in the stars. It’s ‘a stage’. As a former high school teacher, I can assure you the changes that happen to students over the course of their sophomore year are typically more obvious than those in the later years. It’s as if freshman year is just a dress rehearsal for high school, and somewhere around the second semester of the sophomore year many students figure out they’re in the building for more than gaping at one another in blatant exchanges of hormonal hysteria. Finally, the academic educational show begins.

Contrary to your concerns, I see the astrological moment of Saturn’s arrival in Sagittarius as actually very positive for both of you. Saturn’s limitations mean that Saggo Jr. can’t cruise through her class work like she used to. Why? Because the material may actually have caught up with her abilities. Like many bright kids, she may never have had to work at learning. You, as a parent, have never been forced to make strict homework time boundaries, or limit activities or friends coming over. Why? Because she has ‘succeeded’ at everything with few challenges.

Saturn might also be a teacher who won’t let her get by with easy answers or old habits. She’ll probably hate this teacher at first, but time will tell another story. In short, with Saturn’s arrival and the sophomore year ‘hump’ she’ll face more than a few opportunities this year to mature, get organized, and figure out her own limitations.

It’s time to get Saturn-friendly. Saturn always feels like a drag at first, but it wouldn’t hurt your little Saggo to slow things down, and for you to accept the added responsibility as well. Saturn will be around through the rest of her high school days. Yes. That’s right.

Saturn represents more than limitations; it is fundamentals and foundations, too — like good bones, or a strong framework. We build bodies and buildings on Saturninian principles. So take this time to get to the fundamentals of what’s wrong right now.

For instance, develop and stick to a homework routine after school. Show up at school and talk with her teachers. What’s really in the syllabus? What’s really expected? What behaviors or habits have already appeared this year? Accountability is a big-time Saturnian thing. If you’ve set appropriate expectations at home and at school and hold her accountable, she’ll mature and become more self-regulating. Never having to do this before, you might get some pointers or support from the teachers, your friends or a counselor who knows the score.

However, in your investigations you may find that your daughter’s actually missing some key skill, or masking a learning disability that’s finally caught up with her. There’s no shame or blame here. Bright kids with learning deficits or differences often slip through the usual screens that flag potential problems. They can ‘fake it’ better — until they can’t. If you’re even remotely concerned this is true, please consider getting your daughter tested through the school or with a neurodevelopmental psychologist. There’s no sense holding your kid to a standard she can’t yet reach or will need help in attaining.

And that’s how you start. No more last-minute projects. No more sliding by and charming the teacher into extra credit at the last minute. No more easy-peasy worksheets that take little time and even fewer of her brain cells. She’s playing in a different league now and has to know the rules. You are, too, Mama. Stick with Saturn and you’ll both be a better team two years from now.

Pedagogically yours,

Madame Z

More Lesson Than Test

The current season is nearing its formal end. For many, new activities are already underway. Most students in the U.S. have started their school year. Summer vacations are yielding to harvests in the Northern Hemisphere; for temperate and colder climates in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s getting time to plant.


On the whole, things are predictably busy this time of year, no matter who or where you are. Even as urbanized as the world has become, a change of season involves transition of some sort for nearly everybody.

You may already have started to make a transition in the type and amount clothes you wear. You have probably noticed a change in the produce most affordable and available at your local market.

It’s a transitional time in what, for many, has been a transitional year. That alone can make things seem more trying or threatening than they really are. It’s not an exceptional time so much as it’s the climax of an exceptional year, when the nature of change has changed.

The quality of change can challenge attachments you have held. To cite an extreme example, witness how municipal clerks who issue marriage licenses in the U.S. must now actually practice the separation of church and state.

Admittedly, most of you now reading are more flexible and compassionate than to impose your religious beliefs on others. Nonetheless, all of you can also probably think of something you have had to release attachment to recently; you likely have had to allow compassion for those unlike you to be the result of having to live through letting go.  

The sheer quantity of changes can make you feel overwhelmed. Not just in the U.S., either. Australians, for example, are today adjusting to their fourth Prime Minister in two years. In Europe, a crisis of conscience regarding refugees has come on the heels of financial crisis.

And it’s not just a season changing in the latter half of this month. The current astrology reflects the world, especially the next two weeks. It’s complex. It’s diverse.

We are in the ‘eclipse zone’ again, between the Virgo solar eclipse last weekend, and the Aries lunar eclipse on Sept. 27 (or Sept. 28, depending on where you live). It’s a time when you can depend on the pace to quicken. You have seen its like before. You know it will pass, and astrology gives you the extra advantage of knowing when.

In addition, as tomorrow segues into Thursday, Jupiter will make its only exact opposition to Neptune for the first and last time in a long time. What goes with that will probably be something you don’t see very often. Thanks to astrology you will be able to recognize it as such so long as you remember to make the correlation.

Later on Thursday for most of you, Mercury will begin its last retrograde of 2015. Only hours after that, Saturn will finally complete the 9-month transition from Scorpio to Sagittarius, which in many ways has symbolized this whole year. In fact, those are just some of the cherry-picked highlights. A lot is bound to be going on this week and next, but nothing you can’t handle.

Anybody who has returned from vacation to have the homework piled on (or to face an overflowing in-basket) has seen it’s like. All those who have had to quickly dig out the rain gear, sweaters and overcoats know the feeling. It’s time to let go of old and familiar patterns, and participate in making new ones. It’s nothing you haven’t seen some version of before.

Just as with any period of time when things might seem overwhelming, you know what to do. Break big problems or situations down into smaller parts as best you can. Then, focus only on what you can handle, one day at a time. Do your best, and be the first one to give yourself credit for that. If nobody else can fully understand your situation, know at least you are not alone in that. Whenever the ride allows you to be more excited than afraid, enjoy the thrill. You got this.

Don’t go for the baited hook of sensationalist pandering to panic. The world is not about to end, you can depend on that. Persevere, knowing that this phase of the astrology and your life is more lesson than test. All the anxiety over what might happen, and the reality of what does happen, will probably include at least some times you will someday miss — or at least reflect on with a different perspective years down the road.

This is your time to have. It will be your era to tell about. Participate as you can in shaping the nature of this time to give as good as you get to all that is contributing to shape you. What you learn this month and next will come in handy. Of that you can be sure.

Offered In Service

Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Danielle Voirin’s Photo of the Day for 09.03.15

Aquarius (Verseau in French) place mats for sale at a flea market in Ganges, France.

Aquarius (Verseau in French) place mats for sale at a flea market in Ganges, France.

Paris-based photographer Danielle Voirin travels the world and documents her experiences in photographs. She takes street photography and photojournalism a shade beyond even art, to the level of mysticism. You may see more of her work on her website, or her alt website,

Planet Waves Daily Oracle for Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

Today’s Oracle takes us to the Pisces weekly for Feb. 27, 2004


You’ve come through the eye of the needle, and your life is a bit rearranged. On balance, I would say you trusted your faith a shade more than you trusted your doubt. While this was not a test, you did pass, and it’s time to claim the reward. It may be in the form of an idea or an opportunity, and it may be a big perk of something really fun. Whatever the case, I suggest you keep your creative discernment at full throttle, that is, rather than ever treating life like a chocolate bonbon, remember that every decision counts, and every bit of information counts toward every decision. Trust me, this is more fun than slacking, even if it’s more work.

The Daily Oracle offers a horoscope selected randomly by our Intelligent Archive Oracle program, unique to Planet Waves. It’s also a database of my horoscopes going back to the late 1990s. You can use the Intelligent Archive Oracle to answer questions and give you ideas for how to handle problems and situations you cannot see through. This feature is available to our All Access and Core Community members. See this link for more information.

Dear Madame Zolonga: How to tame your dragon

Dear Madame,

I hate my boss. Can I say that again, please? I hate, hate, hate my boss. He is a loathsome, foul-breathed, close-talking, beetle-browed, tyrannical dragon of the worst sort. And while he’s not come on to me outright, I suspect that’s not far from his teeny little reptilian brain each time he comes ‘round with his daily office inspections.

Harsh, I know. But the innuendo and subtle aggression is no longer tolerable, even if this position gets me the kind of professional credit I wanted when I first got the job. My jaw hurts from clenching it just trying to keep my disdain from flying out at an inopportune time.

I’m sending you birth details so hopefully you can judge if it’s time for me to safely get out of this situation. As you will see from my Capricorn rising, I’m not easily deterred, but this is the end of my rope here.

— Consternated Cappish.

Dear Consternated,

No one enjoys working for a dragon. They’re just not the right kind of leadership material. They hoard and heave, and fly around blowing hot air for the sole pleasure of terrifying creatures they perceive to be smaller than themselves. Displease them and they will flame you like yesterday’s shish-kebab.

The upside of working for a dragon is that close in, they’re more manageable. Like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, they often have tiny, helpless arms, which require others to carry out their plots. Helpless is the key word. Can’t do anything on their own. Which gives you a degree of agency. And that commanding ass-end? It’s hardly subtle when it begins to twitch. Easy enough to dodge.

I recognize you’d rather not become more intimate with your current boss. Barring any illegal behavior on his part, however, just this moment is not the most advantageous time to flee the cave. But I can offer hope.

You’re a Virgo Sun, Capricorn rising, with an Aries Moon. Tough work — and ‘dirty’ work — doesn’t frighten you, but bullying would be intolerable in your workplace. I get it.

However, if you jump ship now, you may risk significant reprisals against your reputation and future prospects. Saturn’s sitting at the last degree of Scorpio, high in the sky of your natal chart, i.e., your public service zone. And Mars, Scorpio’s agent, sits in your 7th house opposing you. The pressure’s on to stick it out for a bit, at least until Saturn shifts signs Sept. 17 and switches his allegiance to Jupiter, who has just moved into your Sun sign, Virgo.

But for now let’s look at Saturn in the last degree of Scorpio. It’s also important because of its association with your rising sign, Capricorn. In one sense it represents your own frustration of wanting a situation to just end, already. The story’s nearly over, so can’t we just rush to the last paragraph, find out what happened, and close the book?

Nope. This is Saturn, after all, and Saturn work requires no shortcuts if you want a reward at the end — like, say, a well-paying new position elsewhere. Saturn, particularly in Scorpio, also sounds a bit like your dragon boss — reptilian, hoarding, constipated, and secretly obsessed with and repulsed by human naughtiness.

So the story is not as simple as it first seems. Saturn’s grasping hold on that last degree of Scorpio could easily represent some aspect of both your dragoneering boss and YOU. There’s a very good chance you’ve got a bit of dragon within you, too. And as the sign says, “Those who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by them.”

What does that mean to you? Sit with that idea for a half-hour or two. Please.

Leaving before Saturn’s exit from this sign could lead to an entrenched attitude of resentment and vengefulness in both parties, one you won’t easily shake for a long time. Like a bad break-up, it could color your next relationship or job with negative feelings and dark expectations.

While you can do nothing about the boss, you can do something about yourself. For starters, these next three weeks might be better spent forgiving yourself. All those “why did I do this to myself?” conversations in the middle of the night need a different approach. You earned; you learned. You’ll move on, or your boss will move on, soon enough.

Besides, Jupiter will cross your Sun in a few days. Positivity, expansiveness and new opportunities won’t necessarily come flying in the door, but this is an optimistic rebirth of a 12-year cycle for you. What will you do to make use of it?

Are you sending resumés out, networking a little? Mercury in your 9th house now suggests it’s time to offer some charm to folks who may be outside your usual connections. (Get work out of town? State? The country?) But just as Saturn changes signs, Mercury will also station retrograde. If you’re throwing lines out and getting bites, you may not reel in your bona fide winner until late October.

Until then, might I suggest a stylish asbestos suit?

Happy Solar Return,

Madame Z

Danielle Voirin’s Photo of the Day for 09.02.15

Waiting for the bus on rue du Faubourg Montmartre, Paris.

Waiting for the bus on rue du Faubourg Montmartre, Paris.

Paris-based photographer Danielle Voirin travels the world and documents her experiences in photographs. She takes street photography and photojournalism a shade beyond even art, to the level of mysticism. You may see more of her work on her website, or her alt website,