Tag Archives: Environment

Demonize the Eco-Wise

By Jen Sorensen

By Jen Sorensen

If you have a Capricorn Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights about the challenges and opportunities life is sending your way, your relationships, career and more, pre-order the 2020 Capricorn Astrology Studio by Eric Francis Coppolino. Now available for instant access! Some of the most era-defining astrology has been centered on your sign in recent years, and that includes the biggest current astrological events. It also makes an amazing gift for your Cap loved ones.

Photo by Amanda Painter; Orkney, Scotland, 2018.

Breath and Butterflies, Blue and Beltane

By Amanda Painter

On Saturday, we have a New Moon right at the midpoint of Taurus — the Beltane zone, when the ancient Pagans celebrated the fertility of the Earth by having sex out in the fields. I’m supposed to tell you all about this interesting chart, and I will; but to be honest, I’m still ruminating on some of the events and recurring themes I encountered last week while I was away, during the Sun’s first conjunction to Uranus in Taurus.

Photo by Amanda Painter; Orkney, Scotland, 2018.

Photo by Amanda Painter; Orkney, Scotland, 2018.

So if you’ll pardon the indulgence, I’m going to start there and will make my leisurely way to the astrology. You know how a Taurus hates to be rushed.

With the gracious support of my Planet Waves colleagues, I was just immersed in a weeklong intensive class in Orkney, Scotland — a particular method for freeing the breath and voice for theater — taught by its 83-year-old originator (and fellow Taurean) Kristin Linklater. It was a rather spontaneous opportunity, though it built upon my 2018 trip there for the same purpose.

During last year’s class, Uranus — “The Awakener,” the cosmic sparkplug — made its preliminary ingress into Taurus. During my trip this year, the Sun made its first of its annual conjunctions to Uranus in Taurus between now and 2025. I already knew before I got the email for the class (three weeks before it started) that it was exactly the way I wanted to return to the sense of ‘being in process’ that had marked last spring; the moment I noticed the Sun-Uranus conjunction would be occurring, it was like a bell rang.

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The Day of Curiosity: Birthdays and Planet News

If Your Birthday is March 23
The Day of Curiosity | Pre-order Your 2019-20 Aries Reading | All Other Signs

Get ready to dive deep into the mystery of you, to find information that will point you toward your next phase of personal growth and possibly thorough healing. Note that you will make all the more progress if you can meet any fear or self-judgment with some detachment, which will help keep them from interfering with your ideas and understanding. Approach every new fact with an open mind, and a willingness to learn more, and you’ll probably free up a lot of power within you.
— By Amy Elliott

Written in the Planets

As we head into the final week of Mercury’s current retrograde in Pisces, a couple of aspect patterns are calling for your awareness. The more pressurized one is a square between the Sun, Chiron and Salacia in Aries on one side, and Pholus and Quaoar in Capricorn on the other (exact today and Sunday). There’s a lot of energy here looking for a way out into the world, and that happens through action. Some of it may have been tapped and released by Wednesday’s Full Moon, but it appears there’s still more to go. It’s asking a question: who are you (including sexually) in relation to your family’s behavioral patterns?

Consider for a moment that the identity you came into the world with has been molded and re-directed by your family as you grew up. What might happen if you took steps to reassert who you feel yourself to be at your core? It’s easy to assume that we’ll encounter strict limits to our self-expression if we do. Yet, has it occurred to you that the expectations and seemingly set reactions of family might not be so iron-clad as you thought? Or, at least, that you’re capable of standing in your center regardless? Pholus here is both a reminder of how little it can take to ‘keep us in our place’ and an indication of how little we may need to do to shift family dynamics toward a place where we can stand out for who we are in a more integrated way.

Meanwhile, retrograde Mercury’s two-week conjunction to Neptune is exact tomorrow. Keep tracking your intuition and other subtle senses, but also be sure to check facts. Notice carefully all facets of your environment — the external surroundings, the moods of others (both expressed and unexpressed), and your inner emotional/mental landscape. A disturbance or distraction in one is likely to affect the others. Even though Mercury retrograde in Pisces might not feel as scattered or harsh as some others, the presence of Neptune is a red flag to keep your mind as clear as possible this weekend (and for the next week-plus), and to be extra-careful with things like purchases, commitments and what you may be projecting onto others.
— By Amanda Painter

View of October leaves from below; photo by Amanda Painter.

In These Days, Do Not Play Dead

By Amanda Painter

We’re in the midst of the Days of the Dead (a Catholic celebration of departed souls that has pagan roots, and echoes in many ancient indigenous cultures), and I have a question: How does one honor one’s ancestors when so much of what they helped to build is being dismantled, perverted, mocked and cut down?

View of October leaves from below; photo by Amanda Painter.

View of October leaves from below; photo by Amanda Painter.

I’m not referring to past institutions that we’ve come to realize are systematically racist, sexist or in some other way oppressive; the process to recognize and dismantle those strikes me as being one of the reasons we’re all here at this time.

I’m talking about cultural advances that were made to lift up and empower as many people as possible, and which now appear threatened. I’m referring to past cultural lessons about things like fascism, which many people seem to have forgotten or somehow never learned in the first place.

If you are someone who chooses this time of year to honor your deceased ancestors, how do you bring your meditation and ritual intention into action? How might you choose to connect the past and your place in your familial lineage with serving the highest good for all concerned?

I have a couple thoughts on that, especially this week, in view of the pointedly anti-Semitic murder of 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue (including one survivor of the Holocaust), and Pres. Trump’s declaration that he intends to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship (which is protected by the Constitution). Trump’s refusal to denounce outright the violent actions of ‘white nationalist’ extremists, and his repeated, toxic, inflammatory language whipping up that demographic, is having visible — and measurable — effects.

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Street art in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.* Photo by Amanda Painter

Neptune on My Mind

By Amanda Painter

What’s on your mind? Or, perhaps a better question might be: how is your mind behaving this week, especially in response to the unexpected or the unclear? I ask because Mercury in Virgo (a sign it rules) is making some aspects that could well be affecting your thought processes and perception.

Street art in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.*  Photo by Amanda Painter

Street art in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.* Photo by Amanda Painter

The primary aspect in question is Mercury’s opposition to Neptune in Pisces — exact today, though it’s been in effect for several days and will continue to be so for several more.

Mercury is also in a square to the rather mysterious Great Attractor (a deep-space phenomenon in mid-Sagittarius), exact today. And between now and Sunday, Mercury is making a trine to Pluto in Capricorn and a sextile to Jupiter in Scorpio.

But first: Mercury and Neptune. At its best, this can be an aspect of heightened spiritual sensitivity and awareness. With Pluto offering assistance with investigating deep issues and mysteries, and Jupiter lending a hand with seeing how things fit the underlying patterns in your life, you may very well uncover some profound truths with this astrology.

Here’s the thing, though: in our mainstream culture and everyday life, it’s relatively rare to witness or experience Neptune in its higher manifestations. More often, we encounter Neptune’s glamour, cloudiness, slipperiness, confusion and outright deception.

One look at all the clickbait online, glossy magazine ads, the proliferation of ‘fake news’, Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing, and the escapist nature of most of our entertainment options will tell you where we, collectively, stand with Neptune — not to mention the many forms of mundane denial so many people live in, covering everything from the truth of our desires and most intimate relationships, to things like climate change and the abuses of the Catholic church. Which is to say, Neptune is great at obscuring where one really stands in relation to almost anything, including in relationship to oneself.

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Earth Day 2018 — Order out of Chaos

Editor’s Note: Apologies for not managing to get this posted in time for Earth Day! But then again, EVERY day needs to be Earth Day. — Amanda

By Steve Guttermann

I was a high school senior when the first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. I remember thinking at the time, “Maybe we have a chance.” Founded by U.S. Sena-tor Gaylord Nelson, the day gave voice to an emerging national consciousness, “channeling the energy of the anti-war — i.e. Vietnam — protest movement and put-ting environmental concerns on the front page,” as described on the Earthday.org website.

Mountain apacheta; photo by Jennifer Sadhana.

Mountain apacheta; photo by Jennifer Sadhana.

For the past forty-eight years, however, many things have kept our country focused on a divergent national consciousness. These can create distractions that stop us from being the kind of people we would like to be and living the kind of passionate life we crave. Each of us has or will experience soul-darkening and light-extinguishing loss.

So, we may agree that Martin Luther King, Jr. was right when he wrote this in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail: “It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively.”

In other words, by itself, time does not heal anything.

For many of us, a major part of any lasting solution to acute pain and loss resides with our relationship to the planet; or, more specifically, through an intimate relationship with the natural world. It seems it takes right action, within the contexts of time and space, for anything positive to occur, whether it is societal progress, healing or personal evolution, all of which are intimately connected. And all of these are tied to our relationship with the planet. Life is rife with examples of people who found and find healing and purpose through a deepening soul connection with the land.

I know Middle East and Vietnam war veterans who recovered both sanity and sanctity after their service in the military through passionate service to the natural world, and share that with others. I know parents who have lost children who do the same. Often, earth-honoring ritual is involved.

Ritual, or ceremony, is a way to bring order out of chaos and healing out of loss. A ritual might be traditional, part of a cultural response that has been around for centuries. Or, it might be entirely personal. Yet, it seems to always entail a release of something within us that no longer serves us. The Quechua/Inca word for this is hucha. Hucha is energetic density, spiritual dis-ease generated through discordant actions and interactions. It is not viewed as inherently “bad” or negative. Think of its release as spiritual manure that is willingly absorbed and transformed by energies of the earth.

Ilya Prigogine won the 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the thermodynamics of non-equilibrium systems. His studies also brought two opposing views together, these of classical physics: chaos and order. Prigogine’s work suggests what other scientists thought impossible — that order could come out of chaos. I won’t get technical but the point is that his work suggests how the two great themes of classic science, order and chaos, which coexisted uneasily for centuries for scientists because they were simultaneously observed, are being reconciled in a new and unexpected synthesis.

This is a game changer. Basically, Prigogine mathematically showed that when systems break down, some reorganize at a higher level, which means they can sustain a higher energetic input than before the breakdown. Some social scientists embrace his findings because of their applicability to human systems.

Joshua Tree Apacheta; photo by Yola Dunne.

Joshua Tree Apacheta; photo by Yola Dunne.

Systemic breakdown is scary, but without it a system might do a patchwork repair on itself and continue to function “normally,” while limping toward total dysfunction and entropy. Think of political and economic systems or human relationships as examples.

Should we intend to get back to normal or intend to get better? How many myths, legends and heroic quests revolve around getting back to normal? I think we know the answer, and doubt the following conversation would ever be uttered in any tale of renown or with a first grader.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: Normal.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: Get back to normal.

What if there is a better way?

As Joseph Campbell explained in his book Hero with a Thousand Faces, the heroic journey is a journey of breakdown through the Dark Night of the Soul to break-through. The secret to the success of the breakthrough is to be cognizant that the breakthrough is not just more of the same at a higher level, but a totally different way of handling energy through greater awareness and right action. Paradoxically, the journey breaks us down and gives us what we need to break through to break free. We can’t get back to normal, not even in a quantum anything-goes universe. That is why earth-honoring ritual can be a crucible of healing and a cocoon of metamorphosis. It creates new and highly energized connections.

Understanding the heroic journey will help bring more light to the order out of chaos quandary. In the scheme of conscious evolution, everyone and everything is journeying back toward the Source and everything is temporary. So breakdown is temporary, and much of how long a breakdown lasts depends on our actions and us. This applies to wanting the Dark Night to end. We have to go through it to get out of it. As we go through it, we often stop wanting and let go of what drove us there.

The correlation between Ilya Prigogine’s work and the Dark Night of the Soul is that breakdown is natural. It is a requisite for our evolutionary journey. Without the sacred space of ritual we may break down and stay down because we never release what needs to go. Within sacred space we release, recover, re-assemble, re-organize, get up, and, if we do this with an emerging conscious intent of not just appreciation but self-reflection and evaluation, the journey will extend in multiple directions. It will take us to the below and inward to recover our soul or discover any other revelatory treasure, then bring us back to the light and beyond, dispelling victim consciousness for hero consciousness.

Our entire planet is going through a Dark Night right now. Our reconnection with it requires intimacy rather than mere sustainability. An intimate reconnection will channel the necessary outside energy via a new state of consciousness. It is a neces-sary step before we can stop systemic breakdown and rebuild at a higher level. Putting the planet’s needs before our own is the rite of passage we need to willingly accept to attain true adulthood and become fully human.


For those interested in a fantastic “Earth Day” ritual that’s great any time of year, here is a link to how to build an apacheta.

Mini-apacheta made of crystals; photo by Steve Guettermann.

Mini-apacheta made of crystals; photo by Steve Guettermann.

As Justine says in the video, an apacheta is a “multi-purpose” sacred rock cairn. Apacheta is a Quechua word that means, “bring together.” Awahoo and Justine used some large foundation stones. It is not necessary to use stones that big; the size of the stones and of the apacheta itself is up to you. If you have questions about this video, please contact me. I can also put you in touch with Awahoo and/or Justine.

Building an apacheta is a great communal, school, family or individual ceremony. It really is a happy time! The joy and charisma brought to ceremony enhances the release of dense energies and invites lighter energies to join in.

Steve Guettermann is a freelance writer and “teaches” critical thinking at Montana State University. He is currently studying Peruvian shamanism under don Oscar Miro-Quesada, and published an article in the 2016 Planet Waves annual edition, Vision Quest. Steve’s email is migratoryanimal@gmail.com; you can also visit his website.


The Sacred Space of Self, the brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. This set of 12 video presentations will cover Chiron’s transition into Aries, and Mars retrograde in Aquarius over the summer. Pre-order soon for best value.

Democracy Now! — Friday, Aug. 26, 2016


What is Turkey’s real motivation for intervening in Syria? Image from Democracy Now! website.

As the United States backs a Turkish military incursion into Syria targeting ISIS-held areas along the border, Turkey says it’s also concerned about Syrian Kurdish militias at the border who are backed by the United States. Today’s show looks at the conflict, how it relates to the recent thwarted coup attempt, and the government’s subsequent arrests of journalists on terrorism charges with an acclaimed scholar who has followed the region closely for years: Vijay Prashad. He is a professor of international studies at Trinity College and columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is “The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution.”

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Democracy Now! — Wednesday, June 22, 2016



Hillary Clinton theatrically criticizing the Drumpf and looking all regal and stuff. Image: video still

In a major economic address in Ohio on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton warned the election of Donald Trump would be disastrous for the U.S. economy and result in what she dubbed a “Trump recession.” “He’s written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at Chapter 11. Go figure,” Clinton said.

But Hillary Clinton’s economic policies are still facing criticism from her own party. Last week, in an address to supporters, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told supporters he planned to go to the Democratic convention next month in Philadelphia to push the party in a more progressive direction.

Thomas Mair, the British man who killed British parliamentarian Jo Cox last week, reportedly yelled out “Britain First” during the attack—a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant political party of the same name which is pushing for Britain to leave the EU in tomorrow’s Brexit referendum. In court on Friday, Mair gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” Cox was a vocal advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union.

More information is coming to light about Mair’s ties to neo-Nazi groups in the United States and Britain. Meanwhile, a former paid FBI informant named Todd Blodgett has revealed he met Thomas Mair at a neo-Nazi gathering that the informant set up in London in 2000.

In a major victory for environmentalists, California is going nuclear-free, ending atomic energy’s more than half-century history in the state. On Tuesday, one of the state’s largest utilities agreed to a proposal endorsed by environmental groups and labor unions to shutter California’s last operating nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, by 2025.

California is the world’s sixth largest economy, and it was among the first states to embrace nuclear energy in the 1950s. Diablo Canyon began operating in 1985 and stirred controversy from the start. For years, anti-nuclear activists called for the plant’s closure because of safety concerns over its precarious location near several major earthquake fault lines.

We are honored to offer this broadcast as part of our affiliation with the Pacifica Network. Find out where the Democracy Now! crew is visiting next during the show’s 100-city tour, celebrating 20 years on the air.