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Book Review- Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life by Virginia Bell

April, 2019

Book Review
Midlife Is Not a Crisis
Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life
by Virginia Bell
Published by Weiser
Pages: 242

What others call a midlife crisis, Virginia Bell calls a Mid-course correction, saying, “Whatever we’ve left out of the equation, whatever we’ve ignored, begins to rise up and can no longer be disregarded. This cycle involves four planets and is spread over a decade.”

With that, she welcomes readers to understand life’s most important cycle.

As she began to study astrology in her early-50s, Bell came to realize it wasn’t about something happening in the sky, but something happening within each of us, “and could be a valuable tool for self-discovery.”

In the introduction, she explains the Chiron Return takes place between 49-51, when the comet returns to its place in the birth chart.

“In mythology, Chiron was a great healer and teacher, and this passage is one of the best times to become fully conscious of whatever has not been healed. For many of us, our lives take off in a different direction from what we had anticipated, and often there is failure or loss that serves as a catalyst for this,” she wrote.

She had had my full attention. That’s when I got divorced, moved and changed jobs.

On the next page she notes that Uranus takes 84 years to come back to its place in the natal chart, and that in our early 60s, it makes the last aspect, giving us a second wind.

“There’s a sense of freedom that comes from this edgy aspect, provided we are willing to take some risks and extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone. It’s worth doing, because the actions we take now will impact who we become at eighty-four when Uranus comes full circle,” Bell wrote.

That aspect happened as I made a commitment to find a school bus, renovate it to be an RV and make my future a life on the road, a witch on wheels. That will finally come to fruition this year.

Now I was hooked. I wished I’d had this book starting with my Saturn Rerun around age 29, because “Midlife Is Not a Crisis” serves as a guidebook to the landscape on the second half of our journey. She explained, “[I]t helps to have some knowledge of the terrain, so you can prepare and pack accordingly.”

At the beginning of the book is a concise overview of astrology that introduces beginners to astrological terms, and the concepts of planets, signs and houses.

Bell paraphrases Carl Jung, writing, “Anything born a moment in time has the characteristics of that moment. The birth chart is a picture of the sky at the moment of birth. It is a snapshot of the heavens and all the planets. It is frozen in time. In the next moment, everything moves, but that picture is yours forever; it is eternal, a piece of cosmic DNA.”

Equating power places on the planet to power years in our lives, Bell lays out the lifecycle we all share at the same age.

29 First Saturn Return (Growing up and getting real.)
37-45 Midlife Journey (Breakdowns and breakthroughs.)
49-51 Chiron Return (The youth of old age.)
58 Second Saturn Return (The new elder.)
62-63 Closing Uranus Square (A second wind.)
70s The Seventies (Real problems, real possibilities.)
84 Uranus Return (The homecoming,)

She presents information in a gentle and encouraging manner, always pointing to the gifts, strengths, lessons, vulnerabilities and tools. She’s like a tour guide, helping you navigate the map of your life.

“These cycles or power years are the great turning points in life; at every juncture there will be challenges, lessons, and losses – in this we have no choice. Our freedom lies in how we respond: consciously or unconsciously, awake or asleep, with fear or with love,” Bell wrote.

She sums up the astrology chapter by saying, “It’s all good. There is no such thing as a bad chart or a bad aspect. Hopefully, we all have some great aspects in our birth chart, as well as some challenging ones. Why challenging ones? We’re here to learn. The hard aspects are the ones that push us to grow, change, and achieve. Too many ‘easy’ aspects can make us lazy. Nothing is written in stone. We all have free will. The chart represents potential. Ultimately, it is up to us what we do with it.”

I intend to keep this book until I’m 84.

Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life on Amazon

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review: How to Read Your Horoscope in 5 Easy Steps by Chrissie Blaze

April, 2018

BOOK REVIEW

HOW TO READ YOUR HOROSCOPE IN 5 EASY STEPS –
Stop Reading (Except This One…) and Start Reading Charts

By Chrissie Blaze

Chrissie Blaze has created a deceptively simple “introduction” to astrological chart reading. Yes, the book covers the basics of chart interpretation and how to work with each factor as an entry point into chart analysis. But Blaze takes us into advanced “seeing” by moving past these individual factors into what I call “the blend” – she teaches us to weave the parts into a greater whole that reflects the creation story written in each birth chart. If you have ever looked at your birth chart and wondered how to make sense of your Venus in Aries AND your Mars in Libra opposing each other, Blaze’s book will help you sort it out! As she points out, all of the elements of the chart combine as if they are playing in a symphony. Parts are harmonious, parts are discordant – and you can teach yourself to make a whole out of all the parts.

Blaze’s “five easy steps” are not simple! Each step contains many baby steps that culminate in leap forward. I have studied astrological charts for many years and found her process outline to be clear and quite useful, with each step building to a sense of competence. Suggestions for weaving the many parts together are excellent. Blaze tells us that working with what seem like a bunch of disconnected pieces is like learning a language. We have to learn the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Once we practice putting them together, we speak effortlessly! And like getting the “gist” of a language we don’t yet understand, we can work with our first impressions to find a way into the chart. In fact, Blaze starts out in Step 1 by taking us into deep waters – chart shapes! We look at the overall pattern the planets make in the astrological wheel – are they “splashed” all over or in a “bucket” in one part of the chart? The shape tells us something about the overall energetic design of this person’s lifetime. Identifying chart shapes can be tricky, but Blaze wades right in and use our intuition to feel into the chart as life’s destiny blueprint. She asks us to see and to trust what we are seeing. So, in Step 1, we begin reading the chart without any feeling of overwhelm!

(Photo by Diego on Unsplash)

Blaze is correct – you can stop reading other books and use the great technical information in this one to dig deep into your chart. She addresses all of the key factors – chart shapes, planets, signs, houses, chart angles, elements, modalities, nodes – and more. And you can add to the technical information the ability to weave the multiple factors together into a creation story. There are short descriptions of the signs and the qualities of the Sun and Moon in each sign that you can use as references and an excellent discussion of using the Sun, Moon and Ascendant to identify themes and characteristics in a person’s inner and outer selves. But this is no ordinary cookbook of canned interpretations. Blaze shows us her process of analysis in discussing examples of each factor, which I found invaluable. These discussions are a great reference as reading and re-reading them will teach you to think in “astrological language.” And as with learning a language, you will begin to recognize the energies and metaphor that the symbols convey. Blaze emphasizes fluency, rather than rote memorization, and offers practices that will help you achieve it.

At the end of each of the five steps are a “jargon” list and a set of exercises that almost trick you into chart reading without a sense of overwhelm. At the end of Step 1, you are already identifying chart shapes, looking for empty and “full” houses and listing “missing” and predominant elements. Blaze asks you simply to sense how these factors might affect you. You are encouraged to study Sun signs, but not to memorize a list of meanings. She also encourages you to be curious, wide-eyed, to explore and to trust your instincts. It’s a shamanic approach – ask the living energies of the planets how they are working through the houses and signs they occupy! By Step 5, you will know enough to look for themes, using Blaze’s list of interpretation guidelines and working with your findings in the very useful interpretation outline. The outline is a fantastic starting point for looking at your life as a whole through the lens of the chart. Do you want to know about your character and leadership potential? Blaze suggests that you look at placement of the Sun, Saturn, Mars, the Ascendant, what sign and planets are in the first house and how these relate to each other. Blaze will tell you that this is not a hard and fast “rule,” but a good place to start. You will evolve your own way of seeing into these destiny patterns, but these guidelines are a fantastic place to start. I printed them out to use!

Learn the “jargon,” use your intuition and work with “the blend,” and you will be reading a chart by the time you finish this book!

Click Image for Amazon Information

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

June, 2017

Attracting the Fae

 

 

Merry meet.

The summer solstice – along with Beltane and Samhain – are traditional times to honor the fae, fae folk, faeries, or simply, fey. They are magical creatures with powers given them by nature. They are guardians of botanicals, water sources and other natural elements. Others live in a magical underground kingdom.

Fey exist in all cultures, from the little people to elves, and from gnomes to leprechauns. They appear in art, music, folklore and movies. Fey have magic, and magic in and of itself is not good or bad, it’s all about how it’s used.

For some reason, many Americans think of faeries only as cute, tiny, harmless winged creatures. While there are some who look like that, there are many who are ugly and fierce. They can be playful and mischievous or annoying and frightening. If you’ve ever left a pair of earbuds out, the fae will be attracted to come and tangle them. Keys left out can also prompt fey pranks.

The fae like sugar, milk, honey, flowers and miniature people things like fairy houses.

 

 

 

 

Tess Ahlberg makes houses for them from bark, mushrooms and other gifts of nature.

From a young age, she said she was immersed in nature. She’d collect moss, pine cones, mushrooms, animal skins, shells, feathers and discarded insects during her travels in woods, meadows, marshes, swamps and on beaches. Listening to the messages whispered in the leaves, she was inspired to begin making faerie houses out of birch bark she found decomposing on the ground.

I ask permission from the forest, if I can harvest the bark, mushrooms, plants and moss. I also give the spirits a token offering,” she explained.

Milkweed pods and acorns, along with ferns, leaves and wild flowers that she’s pressed also found their way onto pieces of birch bark. She continued making houses, painting cured mushrooms for roofs and adding some details.

They add whimsy and magic when placed in a home; if left outside they will slowly decompose.

To encourage others to appreciate nature, provide homes for the fay, and an escape from the chaotic world, Ahlberg makes kits available. But you can gather all the materials yourself and make a home to invite the fae to visit.

 

 

 

 

In today’s society there is a disconnect with nature,” she said, hoping to help change that by reconnecting people with it.

Faeries are inter dimensional beings. If you go back to remembering your innocence of youth, a time when perhaps as a youth, some of us had glimpses into other enchanted worlds. We saw faeries and other enchanted beings in our peripheral vision,” she said.

You can connect to that magical world by being fae friendly. Houses and other inviting spots can be portals into enchanted worlds.

Try building a cave out of pebbles in a hidden spot in your yard, such as under bushes or in a flower garden. Set out a miniature wooden table and chairs, painted bright colors or wrapped in vines if you wish. Making a circle of stones, shells or pinecones can create a magical space. Hang tiny bells from branches.

 

 

 

 

Flowers such as daisies, cosmos, tulips, honeysuckle, lilac, sunflowers, lavender, snapdragons, pansies and heliotrope are all said to attract fey, as are herbs such as rosemary, mint and thyme.

Fey are also said to be partial to oak, ash, holly, willow and hawthorn trees

 

 

 

 

My three favorite spots in the yard where I was grew up were a stand of lilacs with a narrow space in the center, the small space between two large oak trees, and a willow tree I loved to climb.

To feel close to the fae now, I plant cosmos, sunflowers, rosemary and snapdragons in my community garden plot, leaving the center wild and untouched, seeded with wildflowers that attract hummingbirds, a mugwort plant and morning glories that reseed themselves. I leave offerings there from time to time, and know the fae are present because if I make the mistake of brining my cellphone, they download apps while I work in the garden.

 

 

 

 

They also bless me with joy. May they do the same for you.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

Check out Tessimals Celestial Faerie Houses and Faeries on Facebook or at https://www.etsy.com/shop/tessimal.