Author Archives: Amanda Painter

Boy in a funeral procession flashes the peace sign; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Ringing in the Eclipses

By Amanda Painter

When this column publishes, it’ll be within a couple minutes of the Capricorn New Moon and annular (not total) solar eclipse. The New Moon is exact at 12:13 am EST (5:13:00 UTC), with the eclipse peaking about four minutes later. You likely have some idea already what the event signifies for you.

Boy in a funeral procession; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals are a big celebration. Karma and dharma are a strong part of their Hindu beliefs. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Boy in a Hindu funeral procession at Pura Goa Lawah; the Balinese do not mind strangers witnessing their ceremonies, and funerals celebrate reincarnation. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet even if you were not sent a bright star in the east last night to follow — or some other massive, impossible-to-ignore sign from god — chances are you can look back over the past year to gather some clues. After all, this eclipse is happening in Capricorn, the same sign as the year-defining Saturn-Pluto conjunction that’s exact in a few weeks.

Saturn-Pluto has been the long game: the gradual building of pressure, the progressive dismantling, the ever-increasing awareness of a need to restructure. Its manifestations on the world stage have been obvious and dramatic. Possibly it’s been showing up in your life more subtly — kind of like insistent, repeated nudges in a particular direction, or something coming apart in stages.

Eclipses, on the other hand, tend to be a more focused process. Usually there’s one solar and one lunar eclipse bracketing a two-week span. (The corresponding partial lunar eclipse of this pair arrives Jan. 10, almost aligning with the 12 Days of Christmas and the arrival of the three Magi with their gifts.)

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Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, shines above Bear Lake, Alaska. Photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Cosmic Breath that Quickens Capricorn

By Amanda Painter

I was thinking recently about how, each year, the Sun moves from its alignment with the Galactic Core in late Sagittarius (today) to its ingress of Capricorn (Saturday) within the span of a couple of days. I’m fascinated by this juxtaposition of energies, and what it might mean.

Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, shines above Bear Lake, Alaska. Photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons.

Aurora Borealis (northern lights) above Bear Lake, Alaska. Photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons.

Even though our Milky Way galaxy and its center are far from the most massive things in space, they’re still too huge and too far away for most of us to comprehend.

How do you relate something like that to your job or your breakfast, or your life’s goals, or even how long it takes you to fly on a plane from one continent to another? You can’t. And yet we’re part of the Milky Way.

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Male dancers performing the Tedung Agung, a dance evoking a protective umbrella, in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painte

Body and Soul, After the Full Moon

By Amanda Painter

By the time you read this, the restless Gemini Full Moon will be separating. However, I’m writing this piece in the thick of it, and it’s been a challenge for me to stay focused on the Sagittarian arrow of the Sun and not get mixed up in the less-conscious mental chatter of the Gemini Moon. Thankfully, today you may notice certain interpersonal situations begin resolving, even if other feelings are intensifying.

Male dancers performing the Tedung Agung, a dance evoking a protective umbrella, in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painte

Dancers performing the Tedung Agung, which evokes a protective umbrella, in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Mental activity should ease this evening, after the Moon enters Cancer at 6:23 pm EST (23:22:58 UTC). With the Moon in its home sign, emotions are more likely to be felt for what they are.

Yet they might get verbalized less, as the Moon opposes the impressive collection of objects in Capricorn over Friday and Saturday.

While the Moon oppositions act as mini tidal shifts (either with people you encounter or entirely within you), you’ll want to notice whether there’s anything deeper going on for you.

Emotions that intensified during the recent Full Moon likely still have depths calling for exploration — or excavation. Venus makes its exact conjunction to Pluto tomorrow. Venus is the planet of feelings and the senses. Pluto represents not only change, but also all that exists ‘below’ — such as below consciousness, below the Earth’s surface (as in Capricorn), or below the proverbial belt.

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Thoughts Like Shooting Stars, Mysteries Like Home

Tomorrow (Monday) Mercury finally leaves Scorpio, where it’s been since Oct. 3 thanks to last month’s retrograde. It enters Sagittarius at 4:41 am EST (9:41:26 UTC). Mercury being the planet of the mind, this activates awareness of what else is happening in Sagittarius, and other activity that relates to it.

Planet Waves

Composite image of shooting stars taken near Munich, Germany, during the 2018 Perseid meteor shower, with the Milky Way. Photo by Luis Calçada (flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0).

Notably, the Sun is currently traversing the second half of this sign: the zone between the Great Attractor at 14+ Sagittarius (a deep-space phenomenon toward which our region of the universe is moving) and the Galactic Core at 27+ Sadge (the center of our Milky Way galaxy).

These are both very large features of space, far enough away that we cannot see them directly. It’s no wonder the natal placement of Mercury in Sagittarius tends to describe focusing on what is far-off and/or broad in scope, sometimes to the detriment of the details.

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Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Seeking without Hiding, to Stand on New Ground

By Amanda Painter

I completely missed Neptune’s presence in aspect to the Sun (a square) when writing the daily Written in the Planets segments for the second half of this week. Neptune often has this property of slipping under the radar and evading notice, so it’s not entirely surprising.

Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud, Bali. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Exploring the Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia last month. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Yet Neptune’s an important factor to consider, not least of all because its little disappearing act in my awareness this week demonstrates part of why it matters: what we fail to notice can make a difference — in what we choose to do, in what we think our options are, and in how we feel about all of it (and about ourselves).

Although the Sagittarius Sun does not exactly square Neptune in Pisces until Sunday, Neptune has a wide orb. In other words, its influence on consciousness has been part of the picture all week.

With this square happening right at the midpoint of the signs involved, there are two very interesting things to be aware of. One is that the Sun is conjunct a deep-space phenomenon called the Great Attractor. The Great Attractor (GA) is the focal point of a supercluster of about 100,000 galaxies stretched out over 520 million light years. Everything in our region of the universe seems to be contracting toward it (though overall, the universe is expanding).

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Raising the Roof? Jupiter Enters Capricorn

Dear Friend and Reader:

Jupiter wraps up the past year in its home sign Sagittarius tomorrow, Dec. 2, entering Capricorn at 1:20 pm EST (10:20 am PST / 18:20:03 UTC). Capricorn is the home sign of Saturn (and Saturn is there, moving into its big conjunction with Pluto, in January). Jupiter moving through Capricorn merges a planet and a sign with quite opposite tendencies.

Planet Waves

Composite image of Jupiter’s South Pole, as captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft in 2017. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles.

Think of this as a little like mixing oil and water. Jupiter and Sagittarius relate to such things as expansion, vision, spiritual concepts, wisdom and optimism. Saturn and Capricorn relate to themes like structure, containment, discipline, practical application and conservatism (even pessimism).

Yet like emulsifying a salad dressing, there are ways to find some balance and interplay between the two rather than just having one sit on top of the other. You can use the qualities of one to enhance, focus or flesh out the other.

Such is a rather more modern take on the dynamics of this situation. Jupiter is said to be “in Fall” in Capricorn — the term for when a planet occupies the sign opposite that of its “Exaltation” (which is different from the sign a planet rules).

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Tending a Grateful Space

By Amanda Painter

Jupiter is currently making its way through the last degree of Sagittarius, bringing to a close this year in its home sign. Before you look ahead to what Jupiter in Capricorn is all about, you might take a little time to consider the area(s) of your life where expansion, broad or far-reaching vision, acquisition of new knowledge and experiences, adventure, distant travel, attainment and sharing of wisdom, increased optimism or faith, religious or philosophical zeal (including fundamentalism), or self-indulgence have been prominent.

Chimes and frangipani tree in Padangbai, Bali; photo by Amanda Painter.

Wind chimes and frangipani tree in Padangbai, Bali, Indonesia; photo by Amanda Painter.

Where have those themes intermingled in your life? What new vistas — inner or outer — have you encountered as a result?

What now feels like a distant daydream (emblematic of Jupiter’s long square to Neptune in Pisces this past year)? In what ways do you feel like you’ve mastered — or at least gained a foothold in — a new life-level?

I ask, because when Jupiter enters Capricorn on Monday, Dec. 2, the emphasis will shift to the practical application of whatever you have learned, envisioned and acquired.

Saturn rules Capricorn. And while Saturn/Cap can have a dampening effect on some of Jupiter’s traits, it’s also possible for Jupiter to infuse some optimism, humor and breadth of perception into the more conservative, rigid and dry realm of Saturn and Capricorn.

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Mars Square Pluto, Under a Scorpio Sky

As the Sun approaches the midpoint of Scorpio this week, that sign’s two ruling planets come into contact. Mars (traditional ruler of Scorpio) is in Libra, making a square to Pluto (the modern ruler), which is in Capricorn. These are two powerful planets making an action-oriented aspect — which should immediately put you on notice to pay attention.

Planet Waves

Red dahlia, blue vase, salt lamp; photo by Amanda Painter.

Astrologer Isabel Hickey describes Mars in Libra as “Alternately as meek as a lamb and as angry as a hornet.” That gives you some insight into the extremes of expression it can take.

All planetary placements have their ‘shadow’ manifestations and their more constructive expressions. Yet there’s something about this depiction of Mars in Libra that succinctly illustrates the potential for vacillation that sign is famous for, and takes it up a notch.

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