Friday, April 22, 2016

Full Moon in Scorpio: Unapologetically Real

Georgia O'Keeffe ~ Deer's Skull with Pedernal (1936)
Yesterday, we experienced our annual Full Moon in the fixed water sign of Scorpio, harbinger of raw release and rebirth. Honestly, no other sign makes me feel so humble. I experience the energy of Scorpio searing my soul, seeing straight through me, plunging me deeper into self-honesty. When the archetypal Serpent Eagle soars through the full moon skies, we are awed in the wake of astonishing authenticity.

This stuff is not for sissies. In stepping forth as un-phony, un-repressed, and wholly ourselves, we take tremendous risks - the risk of being disliked, confronted, labeled ‘crazy,’ disagreeable – you name it. It can be mortifying to express ourselves to a person, a group, an institution and tell our truth. How do we stand up to authority, a parent, a boss, a professor, or even the superego morass – the collective “shoulds” of society – when it is downright terrifying?

This is where we draw strength from Scorpio, which, in its highest expression, has cultivated the willingness to “die” in order to truly live. Take, for example, the great Scorpio artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), who bucked the system by breaking out of the ivory halls of conventional art school in the early 1900’s. It was absolutely imperative: O'Keeffe had to do her own thing, she had to express that which she felt in her very bones, onto the canvas.

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

In 1916, Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and art promoter who was instrumental in bringing Georgia to the attention of the American public said, when he saw Georgia’s first round of breakthrough drawings, “At last… a woman on paper.” He hailed her art, because he knew that she had unlocked the code of authentic self-expression, a huge creative breakthrough for a woman in the early part of the 20th Century, her artistic coming-out preceding even the liberating Roaring Twenties.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Over the course of her long, prolific life, O’Keeffe dug deeper and deeper into that molten core to produce some of the most invigorating, honest paintings in American modernism. Unafraid of her own Scorpio shadow, she made her home at aptly named Ghost Ranch in Taos, New Mexico. Georgia quickly discovered her need to be in the desert mountains, with the wild freedom, the searing sun on her face, and the rules and regulations of organized society far, far away. Here, with Nature as her unwavering confidante, she could soar in any direction. As a result, the whole world benefits greatly from her profound courage and commitment to live – and tell – her truth.

Georgia O'Keeffe ~ Red Canna (1924)

Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

This is the magic of Scorpio: when we speak, paint, write, embody our truth – even if it scares the living daylights out of us – we will be rewarded. We will have intimacy with ourselves, with others, with life as with death. Even conflict – faced with dignity, respect, and personal responsibility – becomes a new ground for meaningful contact. As the poet-philosopher David Whyte (also a Scorpio) writes: “To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings.”

At this full moon time, we are reminded that not only do we begin to heal when the wound is lanced, the others in our lives are also relieved. And, ultimately, our very planet breathes a sigh of relief, for the truth has come up and out. Sometimes it blows up like a volcanic blast, sometimes like slow-moving lava oozing toward the sea. However it happens, just like Mother Earth needs to release, so do we. The trick is to recognize what, and how, and when. In this way, we avoid harming others in the process. With conscious self-expression, there’s less likely to be shrapnel that could cause inadvertent damage. Instead, we meet our self and the other - wholly and honestly - to experience the searing heat and glory of raw intimacy.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet / confinement of your aloneness / to learn / anything or anyone / that does not bring you alive / is too small for you.
~ David Whyte, Scorpio poet-philosopher (from a highly recommended podcast, “The Conversational Nature of Reality,” which you can download here.)
Georgia O'Keeffe ~ No. 13 Special (1916-17)
Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Take a Break! Client Appreciation Readings

Click to enlarge.

Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New Moon in Aries: Self-Actualization

This Thursday, April 7, we have a New Moon in the cardinal fire sign of Aries, the Ram. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the supersonic seed that bursts through the ground, proclaiming new life. While all new moons are ‘seed planting times’ for the next lunar cycle, April’s new moon packs extra punch. The Sun and Moon are dancing closely with Uranus, also in Aries. Uranus is the great waker-upper, the individuator, the one who does not play by the rules. This energy can feel like trรจs shaky ground if we are too stuck in our ways; yet, if we willingly heed the call of initiative this month, it will be a lot less disruptive.

A forthright Aries friend (and yes, I know “forthright Aries” is redundant) who is also an astrologer reminds me that Aries is holding that “A” for pure Authenticity. Aries’ motto is “I AM,” and is here to exist in all its potential and fullness of expression. Nothing is subtle for the fiery Ram; what’s done is done to the hilt, and with effectivity and potency.

At this New Moon-time, we are called – nay, make that provoked to be even more authentically ourselves, and to make that self even more known to the Other, to the world. If we try to hang on the bench, cling to the sidelines, then we’re bound to feel stifled, to crumple, to cave in. This could cause resentment, irritability, and – in the deepest cases of entrenchment – even illness.

And if we have this fore-knowledge, we can use it. That’s the gift of astrology. So, where are you holding back? Where are you playing it safe? Where are you afraid to ‘make yourself known’ to the world? Helpfully, this New Moon is also nicely trine to Saturn, the workhorse of the zodiac, in fellow fire sign Sagittarius. With Saturn’s practical support, we are assisted in bringing our purposefulness to earth with a useful, grounded sense of meaning. Those passions are planted in reality; they are important, even necessary for Existence. Your energy, vitality, voice, and contribution matter.

Self-Actualization and the Hierarchy of Needs

If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being,
you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.
~ Abraham Maslow

Most of us are familiar with Abraham Maslow’s psychological Hierarchy of Needs, first presented in his 1943 paper entitled “A Theory of Motivation.” While this model has been around for a long time, I find it truly meaningful, and beautiful in its simplicity, clarity, and potency – a lot like Aries. In fact, as I type these words, I have an intuitive hunch that Abraham Maslow is an Aries – for his model is energetically Aries, with a pyramid shaped like an apex arrow pointed straight up, like the glyph of Mars, planetary ruler of the Ram. So I check and boom! Wikipedia reveals he is born on April 1, 1908 – a happy, wise April Fool indeed.

You’ll notice at the top of the Needs pyramid, the mountain peak, we find “self-actualization.” Once the basic human needs (physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem) have been fulfilled, we are left with expression of the highest: creativity, spiritual enlightenment, quest for knowledge, and the desire to give back to society, to serve.

It is at this point that things that may seem like a luxury to some, become a necessity to others who have the potential, the resources, the gifts. For example, for an impoverished family in the Sudan, it would seem unreasonable to expect that such a person could have the time or energy to explore philosophical questions or desire deepened states of meditation and spiritual development. They are far too busy getting food on their table. However, if you take a well-fed, well-educated individual from the U.S., who has sufficiently fulfilled all of the other aspects of the pyramid, they are only going to be antsy if they don’t strive for a higher realm of expression. It becomes not a luxury, but a necessity – even a responsibility to self – to give back to society, to attain higher heights, to self-actualize.

This is important. We can pay attention to the temptation to lull for years at a stretch, to chunks of time where we may be trying to rest on our laurels, chilling out, cruising through life comfortably. But if we listen closely, we realize something is nagging. Something is pricking. We can’t sleep at night. We know we have more to offer, we know there's more to learn, to develop, to bring to the surface. This is indeed that Aries seed, poking through the soil. Your calling. It’s nigh time, once again, to burst forth and climb higher. Is this the moment to actualize your potential? You must, for it is Who You Are.

Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 2016 Astro-Insight: CHANGES

Change changing places
Root yourself to the ground
Capitalize on this good fortune
One word can bring you round

~ “Changes,” Yes (1983)

M.C. Escher ~ Sky and Water I (1938)
Change is inevitable.

We’ve heard it said countless times in countless ways: “The only constant is change.” “Nothing lasts.” “It’s the Law of Impermanence.” “This too shall pass.” “When one door closes, another opens.”

If all this “change is inevitable” conditioning has been drilled into our heads, our collective psyches, then why is it still so damned hard when we’re in the midst of it?

This April, we face a plethora of planets in retrograde. The practical planet of worldly transformation, Saturn, stationed at the end of March and will stay in retrograde motion until August.* This is the spring, the summer, of gear-shifting. And, sometimes, it’s tears and sweat that lubricate the crankshaft.

People in my personal and professional realms are experiencing some of the biggies: being laid off from a job that promised security; serving divorce papers; facing a transcontinental move; ending a relationship with the person who was absolutely, irrefutably the love of your life.

Of course, there are smaller, but just as significant, adjustments as well. Taking in a renter to help pay the bills; pursuing a high risk, high reward creative dream; having to find new ways to supplement earning a living.

In counseling and psychotherapy, one of the most prevalent diagnoses is that of “Adjustment Disorder,” which simply means the individual needs support to cope with a significant life change. Unlike clinical depression, the stress is caused by an outside influence and usually resolves once the individual is able to ADAPT.

To be sure, this is an astrological time of adaptation. If you are feeling it, remember, you are not falling apart, you are being asked to transform, grow, change. It can all feel like pulling teeth, and make us lose sleep at night if we’re not aware that fear and discomfort are NORMAL. 

Still, despair sometimes knocks at the door – at a most inconvenient time, coaxing us to pull the covers over our head, call it a day, give up. We’ll try again in another lifetime. Right?

Change is difficult because we have to relinquish the comforts, our known way of being. For some time – weeks, months, likely years - we’ve had some part of our worlds dialed-in. We knew what to expect, even if it was imperfect, it was working somehow. We owned the situation, were familiar with it, had learned to appreciate the best of it and tolerated the flaws.

Now, Life comes along and puts a spanner in the works. “No more,” says Saturn, the karmic taskmaster. “You have bigger potential.” It’s time for a Human Development refresher course. You need to fulfill your capacity and grow. Ugh, you say. I’d rather play small, hide out a little longer. This feels like far too much work.

When we fail to heed Saturn’s worldly coaxing, we miss the point. The new doors that are opening up are ignored and melancholic feelings of failure settle in. We fail the test of Life by dwelling only on the Death. Perspective and maturity are vital now. As a Scorpio friend reminded me yesterday, facing her own latest round of transformation, “I’m being very REALISTIC about things. And it feels good.”

With so many planets stationing and turning retrograde, we can be sure April and springtime in general are times of revising, adjusting, fine-tuning – and taking out the garbage. Some of this will be, well, uncomfortable, if not merely new or different. Not only is Saturn retrograde, but he is joined by Jupiter already in reverse, followed by Mars, Pluto, and Mercury later this month.* Things are slowing down to force us to focus, do the work, concentrate on what must be done to change life chapters.

I believe we can make it more palatable, even interesting and engaging, with a hefty dose of that Saturnian REALITY CHECK. See how this scenario is developmentally right on track for your life stage. See how this was bound to happen sometime. See the necessity – a good Saturn word - of the situation. You can connect the dots of your life. You knew you couldn’t keep going the old way for long. Heed the call of Change Agent Saturn. Humbly do what is being asked to ADJUST.

The cool thing about Saturn, as I always remind my clients, is that he’s the great reaper and harvester. So, while he cuts away the chaff, he leaves us with the wheat. Saturn always leaves a gift, some sort of grain, if we willingly suit up, show up, and – to a certain extent – shut up and do the work.

This month and into spring 2016, taste the bittersweet truth of change and know that new life is beckoning you forward.  It’s all right on time.

How are the planets affecting your personal chart? Contact Erin for an individual consultation.

*Key April Retrogrades:
Mercury: April 28 to May 22, 2016
Mars: April 17 to June 29, 2016
Jupiter: January 7 to May 9, 2016
Saturn: March 25 to August 13, 2016
Pluto: April 18 to September 26, 2016

Toulouse, France Capitole
Erin @ Aquarius

Erin Reese is an author, spiritual guide, astrologer, and modern psychic reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients all over the world. For readings and spiritual counseling by Skype, phone or email, contact her directly. She can be reached at