The Places You Will Go

So, we’ve entered the shadow phase of the Mars retrograde that kicks off in mid-April. For some reason this Mars retrograde really has my attention. This is at least partially because I haven’t been tracking transits as an astrologer for an incredibly long time, so every time I get to consciously navigate a transit I get pretty excited for the layers of experiential learning in store (so superior to learning from books!).

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

I recently sat down to read the written portion of Eric’s Vision Quest reading for Leo (my rising sign), and upon reading the first line, “Your charts this year vibrate with one theme: vulnerability,” I let out a dramatic whine and began to pout and whimper. No more vulnerability!

My initial response was to run away screaming in a bit of melodrama that I find so entertaining. Especially when I’m alone. Later on, I decided to ask another Leo friend about what vulnerability means to her.

She said the first thing that came to her mind was “exposure.” When I asked whether that was a good or a bad thing, we launched into a discussion about how it is something that feels desirable, but when it goes awry — when it is accompanied by betrayal or loss, for example — it can be hard to imagine ever going to that place again. Because vulnerability in this context often involves exposure of our softest parts to another person, the things that happen in those deep places have a bigger ripple into the rest of our lives. The choice to be vulnerable can represent a softening process, an opening up of the emotional body, and there can be insecurity there.

Many years ago I rushed heart-first into a journey to uncover my emotional body. I got what I wished for via Saturn’s transit through Scorpio and my natal Moon. The result was one of the most profound healing journeys I’ve been on. I also did in fact uncover my emotional body, and it was writhing and raw at the surface for a good long while. I had to figure out what to do with it. Now it seems to have integrated quite a bit. I’ve also had a break from intimate, committed relationships, so I’m feeling much, much better.

In many ways, I am quite good at vulnerability. I share lots of stuff here; I’m a pretty open book when it comes to many facets of my life as shared with friends; I often find myself sharing stories in the workshops I lead; and I know that that sharing and opening up is an important part of my path. So what’s the hang-up about vulnerability?

Last summer I was dating a gentleman who told me about something that he really enjoyed. We were in his car, holding hands while he was driving. As he went to shift gears, breaking our handhold, I just let my fingers trail down his arm, and then we went back to holding hands. He told me that something he really loved, and needed, was that level of really simple contact that came back even after he had to break away for a moment.

He then told me that it felt really vulnerable to share that with me — that asking for what he wanted or needed was something he wasn’t comfortable with. I had never thought of vulnerability that way. I recognized that sharing could be a vulnerable thing, but I’d never connected that asking for what I need could be. And yet…I’ve since realized that the act — the art, really — of sharing my needs and wants is something that can shake me to my core in an intimate relationship.

Over the past nine months or so I’ve taken a break from emotional intimacy. I needed to find my center again after so much change. I’ve felt the option for depth and emotional intimacy entering my field lately, though; and although I am aware that I want to cultivate those kinds of bonds, I am also aware of the fear that ripples through the desire, and through the mandate that I embrace the opportunity when worthy partners appear.

It dawned on me shortly after pondering the vulnerability thing that another reason I’m likely so drawn to this Mars retrograde period is that during the cycle, Mars will be re-visiting the same territory as Saturn’s retrograde through Scorpio last summer. There we go. Those last degrees of Scorpio are somewhat of a karmic hot spot for me personally, so — yippee! I get to revisit whatever unresolved morsels of goodness arise from that oh-so-fun period, and take the initiative to heal it.

The written readings for all 12 signs of Vision Quest are available, and do are the audio astrology and rune readings! Order all 12 signs here, or individual signs here.

The written readings for all 12 signs of Vision Quest are available for instant access, and so are the audio astrology and rune readings! Order all 12 signs here, or select individual signs here.

That last Saturn retrograde was also, however, a transit that coincided with Venus’ retrograde through Leo. Translation: many astrologers were touting it as an opportunity to really dig deep and get clear about themes of self-worth and value, particularly in the areas of sexuality, sex, emotional self-reliance and our individual expression of these themes. The personal is the collective, and our collective certainly has a lot of fucked up views about sex and sexuality — we’ve had some really powerful opportunities to heal.

I decided long ago that my highest priority in life is authenticity — striving to be true to the core of who I am, over and above relationships and anything else. That doesn’t mean I’ve forsaken relationship, but it does mean I prioritize those in which that focus of self-discovery is enhanced and enriched, and in which I can be the most myself, whatever that means. I suppose vulnerability is a pretty major part of authenticity. And perhaps the title of Eric’s Leo reading is applicable here: In Search of Surrender. Leaning into vulnerability. Letting go.

This upcoming Mars retrograde period invites us to connect our emotional bodies with our ego’s desires. Or you could say it has to do with taking care of, nurturing, or shepherding what needs to be defended or given a voice. I think that speaks to the importance of being in touch with our own vulnerability in order to take more effective action in the world, or to determine our most appropriate contributions, large and small. What that looks like for every individual will, of course, be different.

I write that and realize I’m applying to everyone something I took out of a personal astrological reading. Seems pretty typically Leo. Alas, there are some things that just seem to ring true as gems of insight for living an authentic life in general. And so I’ll leave it be and trust that you all continue to take from these pages what has heart and meaning for you.

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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

21 thoughts on “The Places You Will Go

  1. Amanda Moreno Post author

    To amp up the theme of connecting with our emotional bodies, I’ll submit for your deepening understanding a little piece that we chose to leave out of this column:
    All of the planets in the sky move through cycles and phases of descent and rebirth. This can be seen as we track them through the night sky. Stars are visible at night for a period of time, and then become invisible, and then reappear some period of time later in the morning sky. The last time Mars was ‘reborn’ in the morning sky was last August, when it was in Cancer. It is therefore in somewhat of a Cancerian phase of its journey through July of 2017 when it disappears once again. The Mars retrograde period marks the midpoint of this journey, meaning we can blend the archetypes of Mars and Cancer to add to our understanding.

    Hence the ‘shepherding’ metaphor above. I try to use that word instead of ‘mothering’ when it comes to Cancer.

    Also, for anyone who is interested in a bit more of the random bits, I always have a heckuva time coming up with titles, and so the title for this piece is based on a song I can’t stop listening to this week, which can be found here:

  2. zlatka

    Thank you Amanda for this post. I am presently being called to expose my vulnerability in a very public forum not just for me but for all the women in my line. Your piece speaks to me of encouragement. Bless you.
    In my heart, I know that I have always been authentic even when it was inconvienent to do so. I was born and schooled in the west and I have experienced deep in my soul just how wicked and painful the patriarchal meme can be for all concerned. And not only for the women.
    Your words are like droplets of faith to truth speak with a clear voice, so that it can all be finally laid to rest in the past where it really does belong.

  3. Amy Elliott

    Amanda, you are incredibly brave and undoubtedly an inspiration to many.

    I consider this state of being vulnerable, of facing my fears, and inside I’m a child cowering under the nearest available piece of furniture. I want to stay where I’m safe, even though that means remaining in a world where I don’t matter, where I don’t really exist, or where I try just to be a useful factor in other people’s stories, so that I can justify my presence on this planet.

    I can attest to the fact that being open and frank with one’s feelings as you do – and as Eric does – is terrifying. It takes a special kind of courage. Thank you for being a leading light. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have just enough chutzpah to peep out of the shadows.

    Zlatka, I admire you too, so much, for being willing to stand up and speak out.

    With love

  4. Lizzy

    The issue of vulnerability has come up so strongly for me in these days, so was so thrilled to read your wonderful piece, dear Amanda. I work in a place where people are for the most part terrified of appearing vulnerable to others – and this make for a very tough place to work in at times, especially when I’m feeling intensely vulnerable – which is the case right now, as my mother slides down the slippery slope of dementia and illness once again. Trying to really work with and open up to this stuff, what came to me was that my task was to BE the pure vulnerability and sensitivity I feel . that this is where healing and release is, and much more besides. Confirmed by your wonderful words, and great astrological heads up (more of that Scorpio stuff, ugh!). Thank you ((())))

    1. Amanda Moreno Post author

      I’ve worked in a place that is predominantly staffed by therapists, and I’m always a little shocked when something will come up in a meeting, and one of them will start to cry and then apologize for crying, or say something like “I’d say more but I don’t want to cry.” It can be a difficult thing to do, even when we know at some level that the release is important.

      Sorry to hear about your mum. Dementia runs in my family and it’s always so rough…

      1. Amanda Painter

        I’ve experienced a similar phenomenon in acting — sometimes the instinct to repress tears so as not to be seen like that trumps the actor’s job of letting authentic emotion through for the purpose of fully embodying a character’s emotional reality. It’s so startling when I notice myself doing it (not so often these days, but it can still happen), and I have to give myself a little talk about how I have permission to express that emotion in the scene, on stage — to be seen and vulnerable and real — and then in fact *invite* it.

  5. zlatka

    Lizzy, my mother died of dementia nearly three years ago. I do not know what your situation is nor that of your mother. I can only speak of my experience.
    Vasilka, my mother, was traumatized when she was placed in care and no longer capable of speaking English. As her only child, I wanted to do all I could for her. I became her companion and her nurse and after some time the nursing staff supported me in doing so.
    She lived in the nursing home for five years. I know that she was happy apart from the first year in the home and then those final months when she was close to death.
    I believe the key was hydration. If she was hydrated, she was calm and able to feel my love for her. Music helped a lot ( common to many dementia sufferers) and when I discovered that she loved to dance that is what we would do. It gave her a new lease on life and she became interested in other things.

    I learnt so much during that time but loving each other was the best thing for us both.
    Even if you have dementia, feeling loved is a game changer.

    PS Thank you Amy for those kind words.

  6. Lizzy

    Thank you for sharing your difficult, but beautiful experience, dear zlatka. I’m sorry that you went through this, too. It’s very diffiult, because my mother is in the UK – while I’ve lived in Italy for the last 30 years – but she is still living at home with my father, and now has round the clock care. But I spent three solid weeks with her during Christmas – and I had the same experience as you – that beyond all the pain and hardship there is this unbelievable love between us, and you’re right when you say, “Even if you have dementia, feeling loved is a game changer.” She’s barely mobile now, but music does help a lot, and I often sing to her when I’m with her – and she loves massage, too.

  7. P. Sophia

    Thank you Amanda.

    I also see Mars is/will be moving in and out of an opposition to the Dark Goddess, Senda during this cycle. So identifying, and/or futhur embracing the cut off, or exciled parts of us carries the theme and potential to be resurrecting.

    I do believe, (and have also recognized in a personal relationship) the deep inertia and even dis-ease that can accompany self rejection.

    Love yourself and have courage to always say what you want , respect and need. It can be a life changer for yourself and others equally.

  8. P. Sophia

    “..Sedna has no choice but to surrender herself to the icy depths. Stripped of everything and left with pitiful stumps for hands, Sedna literally hits rock bottom. At the bottom of the Ocean, she realises her fingers are transforming into seals and her palms into whales and dolphins. Sedna becomes the Queen of the sea creatures, finds her life purpose and ultimately her serenity. However, when her mass of unruly hair gets tangled she becomes enraged again and the threatens to withhold her bounty from the sea. All good shamen of the sea know that in order to ensure an abundant supply of fish, they need to soothe and comfort Sedna by brushing her hair.”

    So you see the story ends well.

  9. Glen Young

    My surrendering, letting go, occurred in my late forties- my Chiron Return. Barbara Hand Clow book described this connection with ourselves in amazing details. I have heard Mr. Eric talk about her book often. It seem like you can already see through the veil of your moon in Scorpio, and how you are already helping others. Thanks for the link to Austin Coppock: The Monkey Crown.

    1. Amanda Moreno Post author

      Yes, I love that book. It’s been a very helpful resource when it comes to framing my own transitions, as well as the transitions of clients going through transits I’ve not yet experienced.

      Glad you liked the link 🙂

  10. Alison Billings

    Thank you Amanda.

    Your piece was beautiful. I too, have a Leo Sun. And Leo rising. The theme of vulnerability and surrender is so wildly appropriate for me right now. But it’s unsettling and so scary at times – being vulnerable.
    I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was afraid of… Until I read that awful, awful story about the baby dolphin in Argentina. It just resonated with me so completely. When we are being vulnerable, perhaps choosing to be trusting or inquisitive, we never know how people will respond.
    And an important reminder for me to treat the tender parts of myself, those down deep, with great care and tenderness when they arise.

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