June 2019 Forecast

When I look at the aspects for June of this year, I see two overarching themes playing out. One is shown through the mutable energy of Gemini, Sagittarius, and Pisces: gathering knowledge and remaining open to change, and therefore resilient. The second theme is a reason to cultivate resilience: the lead-up to our especially hard-hitting Cancer-Capricorn eclipse season in July.

June, then, is a time to stay flexible and shift course a bit if necessary, in the spirit of resilience. What challenges you in these next two months will be similar to the challenges you faced in January of this year, when we had our first round of 2019 eclipses. Trust your intuition to tell you whether it’s better to move to high ground or stay and ride out the storm.

If you follow other astrologers and people who occasionally reference astrology in their writings, you will hear them talking about the challenges of this cycle. Be aware that June and July will probably be hard, for some more than others. If you have seen me for a personal consultation this year, you will remember that we talked about this! But also be aware that active cycles are not always “bad,” and tranquil cycles are not always “good.” For example, I have some exciting personal commitments scheduled for this month. Self-development like this always requires effort. My hope is that my endeavors will change my life in positive ways, but I also know that inner work is challenging. A lot of productive change happens in the grind of active astrological conditions. This is an active cycle. Consider that for a moment in a neutral light, and decide what sort of action you need to take. Stay agile. Cultivate resilience.

On June 2, Venus in Taurus is trine Pluto in Capricorn. Take stock of the resources at your disposal. Trust in your ability to change the status quo and overcome your obstacles. Early in the morning on June 3 (at sunrise in Brooklyn), we have our astrological new moon at 12.34 Gemini. This moon is ruled by Mercury, also in Gemini, so it’s all about gathering information, questioning what we know, and communicating ideas. With the moon square Neptune in Pisces, we do have to take care with the information we receive, asking ourselves: is it accurate? Does it come from a reliable source? Is there self-delusion here? However, with our critical faculties in use, this can be an excellent new moon for imagining original, dream-worthy intentions to act on throughout the lunar cycle.

Get ready to say goodbye to that brief period when we had Mercury in his home sign of Gemini AND Venus in her home sign of Taurus. On June 4, Mercury leaves Gemini for Cancer. Mercury in Cancer is empathetic and emotional, able to speak the languages of poetry and feeling. Mercury will also be involved in this strong series of Cancer-Capricorn oppositions, so sometimes those feelings are going to be intense. On June 8, Venus leaves Taurus for Gemini. Venus in Gemini is attracted to variety and inspired by good conversations. She’s here to show you all of the many attractive options that will help you stay agile and resilient.

Both the sun and Venus in Gemini are involved in a series of mutable T-squares, squaring Neptune in Pisces while opposing Jupiter in Sagittarius. The sun makes this T-square first, on June 9 and 10. Venus follows on June 23 and 24. This series of aspects bookends our second exact Jupiter-Neptune square of this year, on June 16. So all throughout this month, you are being asked: is your optimism helping you to manifest a dream or are you engaged in self-delusion? Use the information you gather to make thoughtful choices that help you to actualize your dreams...not just dream them. Regarding the first Jupiter-Neptune square on January 13th, I wrote: In its most positive form, Jupiter square Neptune will spur us to seek out our dreams. This can actually be a wonderful transit to pair with all of Capricorn’s structure. Anchor yourself with a plan that keeps you from floating too far out to sea.

Speaking of anchoring yourself with Capricorn’s structure, we get a whole lot of Cancer-Capricorn opposition mid-month. Mars meets the north node in Cancer and makes an opposition to Saturn in Capricorn, as well as a trine to Neptune, on the 14th. Then Mercury follows suit on the 16th. This is all happening at the same time as the Jupiter-Neptune square, so mark mid-June for “hot” spaceweather. Anything involving Saturn in Capricorn is going to be a reality check. Delusion is not an option in 2019; we are dealing with reality like true adults. Remember that as I have said before, “The north node points the wise way forward. It is a council of wise elders convening; the matriarchs speaking up to remind us what we care about.” Orient yourself in the direction of practical wisdom.

Early in the morning (EST) on June 17, we have our full moon at 25.53 Sagittarius. This lunation is conjunct Jupiter in Sagittarius for some excellent luck, and still involved in that dream-seeking Jupiter-Neptune square. While you’re orienting yourself in the direction of wisdom and making all those thoughtful choices to realize your dreams, why not do a little magic for some good luck to help you out? Seeking knowledge, understanding, abundance, good fortune, and glamour are all options for this lunation.

It doesn’t stop there. Mercury and Mars form an exact conjunction in Cancer on June 18 and make an exact opposition to Pluto on the 19th. Pluto in Capricorn is all about old-fashioned power. With the planet of communication and the planet of action in a sign that deals with emotions, we have some potentially powerful, emotional talk happening on these days. It could also be a struggle to communicate. There could be barriers to action, since Mars in Cancer is less potent than Mars in other signs. For mastery of this transit, look to empower yourself and protect those who are vulnerable.

On June 21st, we have the summer solstice, when the sun enters the sign of Cancer. Neptune also stations retrograde on this day. Neptune will appear to travel back over the degrees from 19 to 16 Pisces before stationing direct on November 27th. As with all outer-planet retrogrades, this happens once a year and is unlikely to feel personal unless you have personal planets or points between 19-16 degrees of mutable signs, in which case you may encounter some additional “fog” on your course.

Saturn makes another exact conjunction to the south node on June 23rd. This happened on May 20th. Look to that day for an indication of what might be coming. The cycles repeat, but always in a spiral, so that you receive the lesson in different variations as you learn. Saturn with the south node in Capricorn is about dealing with the shadow-side of tradition. We haven’t finished yet, and we’ll still be doing it in July. So continue to ask yourself, which traditions must be protected, and which ones need to evolve? What’s lurking in the shadows of our traditions? And again, listen to wise elders who can show you the way forward.

Lastly, Mercury enters Leo on June 26th. Mercury here is a creative communicator: loud, performative, and fun. Yay for some fun! In the last week of June, use what you’ve learned to prepare for our upcoming eclipses on July 2 and 16, as well as the next Mercury retrograde in Leo-Cancer, from July 7th through the 31st. The biggest challenge comes in July. Use June for preparation, agility, and resilience.

Some Thoughts on the Gift Economy

A few weeks ago I was making a page to invite people to support the work. I started writing about how my weekly horoscopes and other writings are presented in the spirit of the gift economy. And then I started thinking and writing about how the idea of the gift economy has been exploited by corporations in the information age, so that we no longer understand how to participate in it. It was getting pretty long, so I turned it into a blog post. Here’s a quick explainer on what I mean by the gift economy:

The gift economy differs from the market economy in that gifts are given, rather than traded or sold, without an explicit agreement for immediate or future reward.

A gift always needs a willing recipient. If you are happy to receive these horoscopes every week, you are already supporting the work.

If you feel genuinely moved to exchange something in return, there are many types of valuable exchanges in a gift economy.

The gift exchange can be reciprocal: a voluntary monthly subscription in exchange for the gift of weekly horoscopes.

The gift exchange can be circular: you forward the horoscopes to a friend who could use some inspiration, or donate to support horoscope creation for those who cannot afford to financially support the work.

The gift exchange can ripple out: an insight from the horoscopes inspires you to do something kind for another person.

The gift exchange can spiral into a new circle of exchange: you book a consultation because you like the horoscopes.

Artists and writers have always relied on the gift economy, because art and writing is rarely assigned value in the market economy. So those independent creators who have not been assigned commercial value by an arbitrary market continue to create anyway, in the spirit of the gift. People who create are often called “gifted,” having the ability to invoke some creative power. If we think of creativity as a kind of invocation, the gift moves from spirit or muse, through a creator, and out to a larger community. It is not a commodity. It is something more than that. Artists and writers still need to eat, so various cultures have historically valued their gifts through a gift economy. That might include patronage, artists’ grants, and non-monetary gifts like loaning an artist space to work. The same gift economy, in various cultures, has often benefited spirit workers, shamans, healers, and their communities.

Anarchism and gift exchange share the assumption that it is not when a part of the self is inhibited and restrained, but when a part of the self is given away, that community appears.
— Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property

The gift economy does not run on data, advertising, or exploitation.

The internet started with the ideals of a true gift economy: information freely exchanged in the spirit of strengthening community and making knowledge more available to everyone. But we all know that didn’t last. The ideal of truly free exchange gave way to global capitalism. Now we get a lot of “free” information and services in exchange for our privacy, our data, and our attention on advertisements.

The information economy that we have right now exploits the gift economy. It’s taught us that online services should be faux “gifts” with hidden terms and hidden costs, but no conscious exchange. It’s taught us to devalue information to the point where we expect to take whatever we can find for free (or “free”) without considering the other end of the exchange. It’s taught us to pay a lot less than we used to for information and art. When was the last time you bought a musician’s album? How about a book from somewhere other than Jeff Bezos’ ruthless empire? It’s taught us to devalue our own attention and privacy. And perhaps the saddest part: it’s taught us to mistrust gifts.

This system is based on exploitation from all sides. Corporations exploit us by collecting and selling our data, manipulating our attention, and publishing biased brand-sponsored content that people don’t immediately recognize as advertising. Corporations have exploited writers, designers, producers and other creators by driving down the value of writing, design, and video with their endless hunger for marketing content. Corporations exploit independent creators by maintaining the rights to creative work that we post for free on their social media platforms in the hope of attracting an audience. In turn, audiences have learned to exploit independent creators that still participate in the gift economy by taking the information we offer and ignoring our requests for reciprocal exchange. Individuals even exploit each other, by stealing and curating others’ ideas and images without providing credit. The high expectations for productive online engagement and original content creation from corporations, small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, creatives, and regular people just trying to be social exhaust all of us by exploiting our time and attention.

How did this happen? The exploitation of the gift/information economy is a direct result of the exploitation that’s coded into capitalism. We take what is available to us without considering how much we’re taking, and without considering the worth of what is freely given, with the same mindset that we use to exploit the earth’s gifts. The scarcity mindset of capitalism tells us that there is never enough—never enough posting, never enough time, never enough likes or attention, and certainly never enough profit. So everyone is competing for whatever they can get.

This means that independent creators are often out here trying to participate in the gift economy, and finding it in need of repair. Because we’re not big brands. We don’t want your data. We just have creations to share. We’re often sharing with the hope that our audience will be moved to give something in return because they love our work, even in some cases without an explicit agreement to exchange.

Why am I writing this post?

I’m not saying all of this to motivate people to become supporters out of guilt. I don’t want your guilt money! I only want what Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, calls “blessed money”: money exchanged with positive, conscious intention. If money is not among the resources that you can share easily, there are non-monetary ways to support the work in the spirit of genuine reciprocation.

The reason I’m saying all of this is to make the invisible work of independent creators more visible. That includes the labor that activists and healers like astrologers often do outside of the market economy as a way of offering accessible services to a range of people. I’m writing this because by offering opportunities for conscious reciprocation from my audience, I am making it clear that the horoscopes are a gift of my time, labor, and intention. Social custom usually dictates that a gift is given without a request for exchange, but that custom also assumes an unspoken agreement about the nature of gifts. That agreement has been exploited by the current market. My explicit request is an effort to restore the gift agreement.

I’m writing this because it’s worth thinking about how we might heal our existing economic system. It often does seem like information is free and available online for the taking. That’s just the way it is, right? Why should we exchange anything in return for a creator’s writing, art, or insights? Hasn’t social media made all of us into creators, freely giving our ideas and images to anyone who will pay us in likes? Doesn’t every business have to provide a lot of quality content for free to attract clients these days? Isn’t someone who tries to make the gift economy viable just kind of a sucker? Well, maybe. But I’d like to think we can change the way we think about exchanging value.

Can we change the way we think about exchanging value?

What happens in a world where all information is “free,” is that the cost is offloaded onto someone else: often, your future self, who will have to face the consequences of giving up all rights to data and privacy. And/or the cost is offloaded to a future self who has consumed so many subliminal advertising messages that they are mysteriously drawn to purchase brand name products, without a memory of why.

In the case of independent creators, the cost of you taking information without actively participating in some kind of exchange is offloaded onto the creator, who spends a lot of time making gifts that people freely take without reciprocating. In the best-case scenario, the cost is offloaded onto other people who choose to reciprocate financially, making it possible for the creator to continue making gifts. In a world where all information is “free,” we expect the creator to go get paid by someone else, like a corporation that publishes their work and makes a return on their investment by advertising to the audience (us) and mining their (our) data. In fact, that’s usually how we define “success” for creators now. But you only need to listen to YouTubers to know that this doesn’t work. Publishers exploit content creators, who don’t have unions to help them fight for their rights.

Probably most independent creators would prefer to participate in the gift economy or the person-to-person marketplace, without involving corporations. But since the default expectation we have now is that creators will either find advertisers to pay them, get enough attention for their free content to get hired by a corporation, or use their creativity to build a business, the gift economy seems like a quaint idea. The only entities who really benefit from our current information economy are corporate executives and shareholders.

Independent creators have some other options. They can bring their information and creations to the market economy with freemium membership models like Patreon. I think creators originally hoped that Patreon would function as a home for a gift economy, with people choosing to support whatever artists chose to create. But because of the pressure to incentivize patronage, and the fact that Patreon is a for-profit business that charges creators 10% of their earnings, it’s now a platform for membership businesses run by creatives. Even though Patreon calls subscribers “patrons” and the money they give “donations,” I would argue that subscribing to a membership in an explicit exchange for premium content is in the realm of the market economy, not the gift economy. Creators can also choose to use a different platform to host their membership content, open a store to sell their work, or offer services for payment. This requires scaling up from independent creator or artist to small business. This is obviously fine by the way. It’s been great for a lot of people, and I think it’s important for creators to own their worth in a market economy. Business is a very creative endeavor.

However, even if a creator chooses a different economic model, merging art and commerce, participation in the “free” information economy is not optional. A relatively new creator can have a shop, courses, workshops, or a membership, but they will still need to share free content on social media platforms owned by Big Tech so they can build an audience, so they can sell their wares, which means nobody (except maybe the independently wealthy creator and the already successful creator) is exempt from participation in the exploitative information economy. Social media was originally more focused on gift exchange. At its best, sharing on social media is about building relationships and strengthening community. Algorithms, data mining, and paid social have made these platforms more complicated. We have to think about the value of the time we spend sharing on these. What are we giving away and what are we receiving for our gifts?

I have a lot of gratitude for the good that has come out of the internet and social media. I would not be able to connect with a global audience so quickly and so easily if it were not for the technology available to me. Because of the speed and relatively low cost of setting up an online business, I was able to create a website and host all of my own content here. I see the gift economy operating well all over the internet, from crowdfunding projects to nonprofit donations, to support for independent creators and genuine sharing. I also recognize that just because somebody calls themselves an independent creator, that doesn’t mean they’re entitled to an engaged audience. Artists and writers earn audiences (and patrons) by demonstrating consistent excellence. Astrologers earn clients by participating in the marketplace and demonstrating consistent excellence. These questions aren’t coming from a cynical place. They are coming from a place of critical thinking. I think that we always have to ask what is being exchanged and who benefits from that exchange. I think we should expect a world where we can exchange value without exploitation. I think we can create that world if we think critically about the sickness in the systems we have now, and seek to heal them.

What happens if a gift economy made up of artists, writers, and thinkers is allowed to thrive on its own terms, alongside a market economy?

Most importantly, reciprocation moves full circle, so that participants in the gift economy give and receive. In a true gift economy, exploitative corporations are not involved in any way. Your future self does not have to pay for information with data or the share of your “heart and mind” that advertisers so creepily aim to “win.” (I’ve been at those conferences and that is the rhetoric: brands want to conquer our hearts and minds.) Choosing to revive a gift economy also probably means that you have to think more carefully about what information you want to consume, once you’re fully participating in an exchange. If you decide to consciously reciprocate gifts from creators whose work you often enjoy, you will find that you are more discerning about where you give your attention.

Astrology done well is worth a conscious exchange in return.

The problem of the “free” information economy is doubled for disciplines like astrology, which is already devalued in our culture. People love astrology, but they often seem to feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for it, because they have been told so often that it is not valuable. And it’s easy not to pay for it, because there is so much information available online for free (and “free”, i.e. in exchange for your data or attention on advertising). This is a big tension for me as an independent creator, between wanting to be of service to people and wanting my services to be appropriately valued. So I’ll say this once more: astrology, done well, is worth a conscious exchange in return.

The horoscopes I write here are the result of my skill with astrological techniques, skill in interpreting symbolism, skill as a coach, and skill as a writer. I want my weekly horoscopes not only to make predictions, but to coach people to lead thoughtful, authentic, wholehearted lives. I make space to open myself to the channel that brings me the right kind of wisdom for these, every week. Just like I only want to participate in a gift economy of blessed money here, I only want to give you blessed horoscopes, by which I mean horoscopes written with total focus and conscious intention.

I’ve chosen to give the horoscopes freely without expectations.

Really. No expectations; I just enjoy writing them for you. Writing them has made me a better astrologer and a (slightly) better deadline-meeter.

I realize that I am also running a business, and that my horoscopes are functioning to market that business. But if this was just my marketing plan, it would be an inefficient one. I could create consistent astrology content without the hours that I put into the horoscopes every week. Marketing is not the number one reason that I write these. I have other content to use for that.

While I don’t have expectations, I do have hope.

My hope is that the people who come to rely on these horoscopes, who look forward to them every week and find insight that helps them improve their lives, will choose to participate in this exchange in the spirit of the gift economy. I hope that the people who come back again and again will feel compelled to support this work in some way, whether it’s by becoming a monthly supporter, or booking a session, or sharing my writing with other people who will love it too.

If you have chosen to participate in this exchange, thank you. It makes me grateful to know that my gift has been received with intention.

Here are some more resources for thinking with economic healing:

Proposals for the Feminine Economy

The Gift Economy

Bari Tessler & The Art of Money

Money Witch

The Soul of Money Institute

You can choose to support the work here.

May 2019 Forecast


The lusty month of May is packed with active aspects all the way through. We begin with cardinal squares from Mercury and Venus in Aries and Saturn, the nodes, and Pluto in Capricorn, from May 1st – 9th. In the first third of this month, the drive to act independently comes into conflict with powerful structures. We have to find a way to express our original thoughts and assert our independence within the finite limits of time, or despite the limits imposed by global or national systems. In a helpful way, Mercury sextile Mars in Gemini on May 1st sparks some ideas, and Mercury trine Jupiter on the 2nd inspires us to think even bigger. We can change existing systems of power, and we’re going to need lots of independent, original thinking to get there.

On May 4th we have a new moon at 14.10 Taurus. The Taurus lunar cycle is always a nice time to ground ourselves and remember that we are embodied. If it’s spring where you are, this may also be the very beginning of a season when you can actually go outside and put your bare feet on the earth without freezing your toes off. The new moon, exalted in Taurus, is sextile Neptune in Pisces. This friendly exchange from earth sign to water sign echoes throughout the month, with the sun sextile Neptune on May 8th, Mercury sextile Neptune on May 15th, and Venus sextile Neptune on May 30th. It’s a reminder of your capacity for manifestation. Everything that is now real first existed in the imagination. This cross-fertilization of the real and the imaginal is the cycle of creativity. Consider what you will create in this lunar cycle.

Mars, still in Gemini, opposes Jupiter on May 5th. Mars opposite Jupiter speaks of big enthusiasm, impulsivity, and increased drive. Lots of ideas begin to flower following the new moon! Just exercise caution so you don’t overdo it. On May 6th, Mercury leaves Aries for Taurus. Mercury really slows down in Taurus. In this sign, he takes a lot of time to think over things, and even more time to speak. That old saying, "Don't speak unless you can improve upon the silence,” applies here. Mercury meets Uranus here on May 8th. When the sun met Uranus in Taurus just a couple of weeks before this, we celebrated Earth Day, had conversations about the urgency of climate change, and discussed the radical proposal that the U.S. government address income inequality partly by forgiving student loan debt and providing debt-free higher education. Expect these topics to be relevant through 2026, and expect a spike in conversation every time there is a major aspect like a conjunction involving Uranus. Throughout May, we’ll be discussing the sensible, radical innovations we can make around Taurean themes of money, earth, pleasure, sex, food, possessions, and value.

Venus trine Jupiter on May 9th is a fun aspect that somewhat augments the Venus-Pluto square happening on the same day. A fire trine (unlike a cardinal square) is an invitation to adventure, passion, and joy. Assert independence and refuse to engage in Plutonian manipulation. From May 11th through the 31st, we have a series of earthy trines from planets in Taurus to planets in Capricorn. Following the tension of the cardinal squares in the first third of May, this is the opportunity to change the systems that were cramping your style. With a trine, there is always the possibility of taking the easy route or ignoring the possibility, so how you use it is up to you. If you take what is offered, then you can use your creativity to sculpt some of the realities you want to see in the world. Earth trines are excellent supportive aspects for real, practical, embodied action.

At the same time, aiding us in our practical endeavors, we have a series of sextiles from planets in Taurus to the north node in Cancer, starting with sun sextile north node on May 11th, then Mercury sextile the north node on the 16th, and Venus sextile the north node on the 31st. That north node points the wise way forward. It is a council of wise elders convening; the matriarchs speaking up to remind us what we care about. When personal planets make contact with the north node from the sign of Taurus this month, it’s a call to create and nurture what you care about in a very real, practical, embodied way. Mama Bear what matters to you.

Venus in Aries sextiles Mars in Gemini on May 14th, signaling a fun last fling before she moves into her home sign of Taurus on the 15th. Venus in Taurus loves natural beauty and physicality. She’s sensual in this sign, but she also values dependability and stability more than anything else. It’s not just about stopping to smell the roses while she’s here – it’s about growing a rose garden that she can sit in to smell the roses all. day. every. day. Venus meets Uranus on May 18th, so we have another little spike in the conversation I mentioned above, about those radical, sensible innovations of Taurean themes.

On the 15th, Mars leaves Gemini for Cancer. Cancer is the sign of Mars’ fall, which means that he has difficulty expressing himself in his naturally assertive/aggressive way here. Mars in Cancer usually doesn’t want to fight, which can lead to passive-aggressive behavior instead of assertive action if we’re not self-aware. But a planet in fall is not always terrible—Mars in Cancer can be peaceful, and uses his drive best to protect others. This ingress represents the very tip of the Cancer-Capricorn season that’s going to hit hard in July’s eclipse-season, so pay attention to what comes up for you mid-May.

Our full moon is at 27.38 Scorpio on May 18th. The moon opposes Mercury in Taurus, making this a balancing act for the head and the heart. Scorpio is Mars-driven and passionate, constantly engaged in a process of transformation, while Taurus is all about creating beautiful, unchanging surroundings. Your heart may want to burn it all down and start over, throwing yourself into the next phase, but your head may be telling you to hold on to what you have. If you can listen to both, this is a dynamic full moon for magic, celebration, and creation.

On the 20th, Saturn meets the south node in Capricorn. We will need to deal with the shadow-side of tradition, which is something we’ll be doing a lot over the next couple of years, and especially in July. Which traditions must be protected, and which ones need to evolve? What’s lurking in the shadows of our traditions? On the 22nd, Mars in Cancer sextile Uranus reminds us that sometimes protecting what we care about requires us to make changes.

The sun moves into Gemini on the 21st with Mercury, who rules this sign. While Mercury in Taurus is more of the strong, silent type, Mercury in Gemini is a total Chatty Cathy. Mercury here loves smart conversation (sometimes including juicy gossip), jokes, wordplay, and reading anything and everything. Mercury echoes some of the aspects that Mars will have recently made in Gemini, squaring Neptune on the 29th and opposing Jupiter on the 30th. Mercury square Neptune is an aspect that could be parlayed into fantastic, imaginative uses of language or signify outright deception. Mercury opposite Jupiter, with both of these planets in the signs they rule, is all about the healthy tension between belief and questioning, Truth with a capital T and multiple perspectives, philosophical knowledge and trivia.

And still we see our aforementioned earthy trines and earth-water sextiles continue to play out at the end of this month. There is a very strong, stable theme running through May that is about protecting what you care about, and taking practical steps to give your imaginary creations real form. Embody your values. Bring the imaginal into the material. Enjoy the beauty that life has to offer right here, right now.