Deb McBride

Labyrinth in Costa Rica

It’s been an interesting few days, leading up to an interesting time ahead. We are beginning a new 2 year cycle that has great significance. In the last few days, we had a Full Moon in Libra, opposite a retrograde Mercury sitting with the Sun in Aries. Communication, new ideas, intuitions and events have all been revealing and significant since March 31st. These aspects are connecting to the meeting of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn, which is major ambition, success, plans and building something new. All of this is extremely powerful, not only because it’s happening at the same time, but the Sun is at its exaltation in Aries – very well placed. As is Mars, which is at its exaltation in Capricorn and conjuncting Saturn, which rules Capricorn. Seeds are being planted now, seeds that will bear fruit in about 2 years. These last few days and this week are moments for us to sit up, take notice and recognize exactly what we are building now. 

There are deeper reasons for this. Mars and Saturn are ambitious planets in an ambitious sign right now. The only join together like this once every two years, as this is the cycle of Mars, which takes two years to go around the zodiac. Mars is energy, action, confidence and willing to fight the good fight. Saturn focuses, clarifies, commits, restructures and builds solid foundations. It may seem slow, it may seem like nothing is happening, but actually you have had some information in the last few days that is revealing the direction you are now headed. Since Mercury, the planet of communication is retrograde, it may have come while reflecting on your life, it may have been revealed through intuition, but somewhere in these last few days you were pointed in a new direction. Or at least a direction you knew was an option, but now is becoming more clearly the right path. Once you own it and commit, you will be surprised how quickly it develops. 

This is not the only reason. Saturn has entered its own sign of Capricorn and will stay there for 2.5 to 3 years. You may recall that Pluto has already been in Capricorn since 2008 and will continue to be there for many more years. Saturn will eventually catch up to Pluto towards the end of Capricorn and they will conjunct on January 12, 2020. The last time these two planets met in the same place at the same time would have been 36 years earlier. It’s not too early for me to start talking about this, as it is a major configuration that will profoundly affect the world at large in a collective sense and each of our personal lives. These are two power planets that have the keys to a great transformation. It is likely that we will leave behind old structures that we have outgrown and that are no longer necessary for our lives. This is not a superficial experience, as Pluto especially makes us go deeply, deeply into the most hidden areas of our lives and confront our shadow side. The more we connect with this unconscious realm, the more information will be available to us. See this as positive change, embrace it and know that you are already on the road towards this new life. 

As I mentioned, Mars takes 2 years to travel around the zodiac and join Saturn again. The next time Mars makes this aspect we are having this week will be when Saturn and Pluto are together in 2020. Additionally, Jupiter, planet of abundance, will be joining them. This is a rare and extraordinary group of aspects we are looking ahead to and is a major turning point in everyone’s life. Jupiter will expand the transformative power set off by Saturn and Pluto. Mars will provide confidence and action. This is all a culmination of what has presented itself to you in these last few days. However, this may not be easy. It depends upon how you handle it. Saturn and Pluto often bring power struggles and on some level we are all resistant to deep changes. It’s important to remain open, not judge yourself or others and keep moving forward. 

I’ve mentioned that Pluto is a planet of the collective, the cultural and historical waves that we experience together. One era will end at that time and another will begin. However, when we look at the themes of our culture and what is happening in our world, we also need to relate that back to our personal lives. Meaning that some large scale themes will weave themselves through our lives, but on a personal scale. For example, if your country is under attack, where are you feeling under attack in your life? How can you own the dark side of this in your own life and come out healed and in a better place? 

Two years away is not a long time. What are you seeing in your life now that has the potential to blossom? What keeps nudging you from the recesses of your unconscious mind? What are the obstacles to getting to the goals on the other side of this transit? Sometimes when we are just embarking on a new path, it’s important to not announce it to the world until we can see real progress. No need to disperse the energy and lose our momentum. Wherever you feel your life has shown you a path opening, listen closely and perhaps keep it very close to your heart.

A short video about today’s full moon…

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

February 15, 2018

We are now at the second eclipse of the year, a partial Solar Eclipse at 27° Aquarius! A Solar Eclipse is a New Moon, meaning the Sun and the Moon are in the same sign, in this case, it is the sign of Aquarius, the next to last sign in the zodiac. This is an interesting set of aspects, different than the Lunar Eclipse we had 2 weeks ago. That eclipse was mild in comparison, though the Sun and Moon were close to the Nodes, there were some relatively smooth aspects. This new one, however, includes Mercury and the South Node in Aquarius, traveling along with the Sun and Moon and all three planets make a challenge to Jupiter, the planet of abundance and expansion. We are being asked to expand, to look outside ourselves, open our minds and be highly aware with our eyes wide open. Since Mercury is right on the eclipse, the theme is about communications, ideas, thinking and our intellect. What new ideas do we have and where can they take us? 

Aquarius is the sign of the unconventional, the innovator, the rebel genius, the revolutionary. It is about freedom and independence. But the North Node of destiny is in the opposite sign of Leo, meaning that we need to take the Aquarian energy and direct it towards the North Node – where our passions can be pursued and realized. This involves some expansive insight from that Jupiter aspect and the use of Leo’s creativity. Think bigger than you have been. How are we unique and free (Aquarius) in the way we express ourselves (Leo)? This is an eclipse at the South Node which is where our old habits lie. We are ready to release old and unnecessary patterns that are standing in the way of our creative goals. 

Looking at the rest of the chart for this eclipse, Mars, the planet of assertion is in a challenging square to Neptune the planet of the visionary or what is seen or unseen. This means that in our efforts to move forward, all may not be visible, and so we must be cautious and tread carefully. It’s trying to move forward into the fog and taking one step at a time without being rash or impulsive. This can be tricky as Mars is in Sagittarius, a brazen fire sign where it tends to act before it thinks. Neptune is the caution here, because not only can we not see what’s right ahead of ourselves, but Neptune and Mars together are a slippery duo. We can be fooled into thinking a certain situation is something that it actually is not. We’re being told to use insight and intuition here and not make rash assumptions. Also, when it is time to assert oneself, it is best if one takes the route that comes through the back door, asserting oneself in the most indirect way. Attacking a situation or problem head on in that brash, fiery manner will not win the day. Pay attention to your intuition and you will know when it is time to take gentle action.

New Moons bring new beginnings and this one is surrounded on one side by Venus and the other by Saturn. Venus and Saturn are in sextile to each other, a smooth aspect that implies there is work to be done, which is our own important work that we love and that fulfills us creatively. Venus and Saturn are acting as supportive influence to this eclipse and encourage the release of obstacles to our creative work while nurturing the new path we are on. 

Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, which is making a smooth aspect to the eclipse. This is also a supportive influence to the Sun, Moon and Mercury. It opens the doors to making greater changes in one’s life, as Uranus is an outer planet that creates longer term shifts in consciousness. It is not a stressful aspect, therefore it is easy to manifest one’s desires. A New Moon with Mercury is an excellent time to focus upon our wishes and what we need for our lives now and do a lunar ritual. Light a candle, write down what you wish to manifest in your life now and meditate upon it.

The effects of the eclipse are strongest in the next few days, but continue until the next lunation, which is a Full Moon two weeks from now.  

And as is always the case every year, the first New Moon after the Sun enter Aquarius is the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Earth Dog. This year holds a lot of the same principles as our eclipse: focus on what we have created and now build upon that and improve it.

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

January 30, 2018

Photo by Deb, Escazu, Costa Rica, 1/30/18

The January 31st Lunar Eclipse takes place in the sign of Leo, with the Sun in Aquarius. This indicates a need for balance between what the self desires and needs and the greater needs of the group or collective. The immediate gratification vs. the bigger picture. In each life, that could indicate the needs of your family, your colleagues, your friends. Or just what you want now as opposed to what long term goals in your life are satisfied by staying focused and not getting impatient or upset with what you can or cannot have just yet.

This eclipse shows us a few other details. Venus is prominent in Aquarius as it is sitting with the Sun and the South Node. This is absolutely the desire nature and indicates how we need to gain mastery over ourselves by not overindulging. This can appear anywhere – spending, eating, gossiping, worrying about money, putting too much pressure on relationships. It’s best to cultivate a middle ground, to have a certain lack of susceptibility to anything that could have driven us over the edge. Eclipses are notoriously emotional and this one is no exception. We can freak out at a loved one, but then realize it isn’t going to get us anywhere, anyway. So, don’t use the energy like that, use it with wisdom and understand where you feel some sort of lack. Seek to heal the lack with the Leo North Node qualities – self love, self care, passionate expression of one’s creative energies.

In the chart of the time of the eclipse, Neptune is also strong, which is an indicator of dreams, intuition, allowing creative juices to be flowing and following your heart. It’s best to remain open to the spiritual and healing energies that are available to you now. All may not be entirely clear, but in time if you follow the flow of your life and stay focused on your goals, the guidance will make itself known.

Uranus also makes unusual aspects to the Moon, Sun, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn indicating the need for innovative thinking, fresh perspective, taking risks and being open to what comes unexpectedly. This is one of those eclipses where we can feel free to say “I don’t know where this is taking me, but I’m going to trust myself and go with it.” Uranus rules Aquarius and the fact that it is speaking so much to the other planets while the Sun is in Aquarius in an eclipse is pointing to the need for detachment. See situations for what they are, keep moving, expressing your creativity and passion.

There are always shifts and changes with eclipses, things that come to the table that require our attention. Look for these consciousness raising experiences and be open to them. And watch what happens in your life between now and the next eclipse on February 15th!




The Year Ahead 2018

January 10, 2018

This New Year of 2018 promises to be an interesting one with a variety of experiences. 

We started the New Year on January 1 with a Supermoon, meaning that when the Moon is Full it is closer to the earth than normal. This was very powerful as the Moon was in its own sign of Cancer, which could have easily produced a very emotional time for many of us. It was coupled with the fact that Uranus, the planet of chaos, unexpected events and genius turned direct from retrograde on January 2. All of these aspects may have created new circumstances in your life that enabled you to move forward. It may have felt a little shaky for a few days as well, as Uranus stabilized after shifting direction. 

On January 9th, we had a triple conjunction of Sun, Venus, Pluto in Capricorn at 19° and this aspect will last all week. This is an extremely powerful aspect, because it’s the three planets coming together. Both the conjunction of Venus and Pluto and the conjunction of Sun and Pluto are annual events. Since they are all happening together, this is an event that will transform our relationships with one another and with ourselves. This is powerfully creative and a wonderful time to be inspired and do work that brings people into their feelings. The aspect receives a blessing from a Mars/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio and therefore helps us connect with an experience that could transform us. This is the best use of this energy, rather than get into Plutonian power struggles and jealousies. 

The first of 5 eclipses of 2018 will occur on January 31st, a Lunar Eclipse at 11° Leo. This is also a Supermoon and the 2nd Full Moon in January. Eclipses are always powerful and this one is no exception. Remember, it’s a Full Moon, so the Sun is opposite at 11° Aquarius, so if you have anything at these degrees, you will profoundly feel the effects of this eclipse period. The North Node of destiny in in Leo, while its equal and opposite point, the South Node is in Aquarius. the closer eclipses are to these nodes, there powerful they are in our lives. Eclipses always bring emotions to the table, so whatever has been brewing in your life may reveal some new feelings or show you emotions of which you were not necessarily aware. The second eclipse occurs on February 15, a Solar Eclipse at 27° Aquarius. 

The third eclipse will be a Solar Eclipse and occur on July 12th at 20° Cancer, which will oppose Pluto at 20° Capricorn. This eclipse does not occur close to the Nodes, but can be potent because of its relationship to Pluto. The fourth eclipse on July 27th is a Lunar Eclipse at 4° Aquarius. This is extremely powerful as it will be very close to the Nodes, with the Sun in Leo at the North Node and the Moon in Aquarius at the South Node. An additional kick of energy in this eclipse is the presence of a retrograde Mars at the lunation point and South Node. This is one of those times when I will be reminding people to keep their head and not lose their tempers, as we will all have our patience tried. The fifth and last eclipse is a Solar Eclipse occurring at 18° Leo, which is still in the sign of the North Node, but not too close, so it will be less potent than the eclipse of July 27th. 

We will have three Mercury retrogrades this year, March 22nd – April 15th in Aries. This will trigger and help us recall a lot of what we have been experiencing and learning in the last 7 years with Uranus in Aries. Especially since Uranus is finishing up its journey in that sign.  The second retrograde will be July 26th to August 19th in Leo. This will help us connect with the energy of this year’s eclipses and what information they hold for us. Mercury will direct itself at 11° Leo, which is where the eclipse of January 31st will occur. So, whatever you are experiencing on that eclipse will come back to give you new information in mid-August. The third retrograde is November 16th until December 6th from mid-Sagittarius to late Scorpio. This could also bring reminders of Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius, which will have ended just a year prior.  

The personal planets Mars and Venus will each retrograde this year, which is unusual to have both happen in the same calendar year. Mars only retrogrades every two years and this time is particularly interesting because it will retrograde in Aquarius. It has not retrograded in this sign since the summer of 1971, due to Mars’s unusual orbit, it retrogrades the least in the signs of Aquarius and Sagittarius. Two years ago in 2016, we had the retrograde in Sagittarius, now it’s Aquarius’s turn. This retrograde will begin at 9° Aquarius on June 26th and continues until August 27th when Mars turns direct at 28° Capricorn. Remember when we are dealing with Mars retrograde, we are dealing with any dormant energies ruled by Mars: anger, frustration, aggression, passion. Anything that has been laying under the surface of our life that is Mars-like in nature will come forward for expression at that time. Additionally, Mars will retrograde at the South Node of destiny, which means that whatever comes forward will be almost inevitable and have a karmic feeling to it. 

Venus retrogrades on October 5th at 10° Scorpio until November 16th when it turns direct at 25° Libra. A retrograde Venus happens every 18 months. When Venus performs this cosmic dance, it usually brings forth issues of money, love, friendship and anything very social. We know Venus and Mars retrogrades are not the best times to initiate new love relationships, but best to work on ones already in existence. It is also good to note what comes forward during these times, what surfaces in your personal life. 

Jupiter is in Scorpio for most of the year, before it enters its own sign of Sagittarius on November 8th for a year. I have written about Jupiter in Scorpio here. We will then have Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune each in their own signs that they rule. We know that Saturn has recently entered Capricorn and I have written about this here. 

The big news is that Uranus will enter Taurus for the first time in 84 years on May 15th. Uranus stays in a sign for 7-8 years and therefore will begin to create a new path for each of us where we have Taurus in our charts. It will retrograde on August 7th and then bounce back into Aries from November 6th for the rest of the year into 2019. Taurus is a fixed earth sign and a force such as electric Uranus will be exciting, foreign, bring upheavals and unexpected events. This seems like earthquake energy to me. Where it’s possible we have become complacent in the Taurus house in our charts that needs an earthquake to refresh and restructure what’s there. If we are not so complacent and are looking for and inviting changes in that area of our chart, we may be weeding our garden – Taurus rules gardens – to make room for something new. 

There will be a period during the August and September months where Saturn and Uranus, both in earth signs, will be making a smooth aspect to one another. This is a continuation of how they were aligned in fire signs in 2017, but now in earth signs, therefore bringing crystallization to creative ideas that were initially sparked last year. Neptune will remain in its own sign of Pisces while Pluto stays in earthy Capricorn. But they will still play parts in the stories of 2018 as they make their stations and retrogrades. Fortunately there will be no yearlong continuous harsh aspects as we have had in the past. 

The year ahead will not be dull. On the contrary, we have a lot of exciting moments ahead, especially around the eclipse periods, particularly the summer ones. I will continue to write about what we can expect in 2018 as the aspects come forward. So, please continue to join me here for new information. 



Deb trying to not get bitten by feeding the goat. Photo by John Cook.

Saturn has changed signs as it does every 2 1/2 – 3 years. It entered Capricorn, an earth sign, on December 20th where it will stay until December 2020. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, so this is a profound experience of Saturn ruling the heavens for the next 3 years. Saturn and Capricorn are practical energies and rule the patriarchy, the governments, the banking and finance systems, commerce, authorities, bureaucracies, and reputation. Saturn always brings lessons, karma, endings – and sometimes new beginnings. Depending upon where Saturn has taken up residency in your chart you may be starting a new job, a new project or a new healing or exercise protocol where you could be committing a lot of your time and energy.

Whatever the case, Saturn in Capricorn is a climber. We will all want to accomplish a lot by taking one step at a time and setting goals to reach the top. Life may take on a more serious tone, as matters may require more hard work than originally thought. But we will all be concerned with getting the job done, so we won’t mind rolling up our sleeves and keeping the nose to the grindstone. In the end, if we do keep our eye on the tasks at hand and achieve our goals, Saturn usually rewards us with more than we expected.

You may find the need to restructure your life as Saturn will have moved into a new arena of your chart. This may be an area where you feel need some cleaning up, some paring down, or some eliminating of the unnecessary. The last time Saturn entered Capricorn was during February of 1988, but then stepped back into Sagittarius for a few months that year before re-entering Capricorn in November of 1988 until February of 1991. If you were around back then, what were you doing in your life? What were you learning? Where did you feel the need to structure or restructure your life? Where did you feel limited? Where did you use your energy in a disciplined way?

This is no ordinary Saturn transit because of Pluto’s presence in Capricorn since 2008. As we have experienced, Pluto is the great transformer as it tears down old structures so they can be rebuilt. All structures mentioned above have been experiencing a complete death and rebirth since 2008. The most important astrological events that will happen when Saturn is in Capricorn is when it conjoins Pluto in 2019/2020 which will bring in some profound issues to be reckoned with. They are both very controlling energies and power struggles are often the norm during their conjunctions. The last time Saturn and Pluto were together in the same sign at the same time was the early 1980’s when they traveled together in Libra and Scorpio. We can hope that Saturn will begin to rebuild the structures that Pluto has transformed since 2008. But we can expect this will not happen easily. If you experienced these transits back then, you may have had some challenges to overcome that you can reflect upon to prepare you for the coming experience. Pluto and Saturn will also be traveling closely with Jupiter in Capricorn during that time. The three planets together is a very rare aspect and will make this whole matter even grander.

As far as government and politics, I will be honest and say I am not optimistic that policies will be kinder and more agreeable for the working classes or for most people in general. Capricorn is about conservatism, wealth and the upper classes and I believe the tides will continue to turn in their favor in an out of balance manner. Considering the themes we have been seeing in the last year, I expect more austerity, control and limitations. We may expect policies to become more harsh as Saturn in Capricorn is a taskmaster. If economic situations continue to be out of balance, not so distant future themes in the sign of Aquarius can indicate revolutionary tendencies. But more on these aspects as they arrive over the next 3 years.

What are we to do with these Saturn in Capricorn energies? The best actions are to take responsibility for ourselves, use moderation and attentiveness and move forward in life with great intention. Most important is to practice discipline. Scorpio is not the only intense sign in town. Capricorns can be intense, too. Intensely focused. Intensely committed. Intensely disciplined, because without discipline, nothing creative gets accomplished. And nothing valuable gets created. We’re used to discipline being defined as rules that others place upon us or some sort of punishment we’ve received. Believe it or not, discipline is a fiery energy in our soul that we need to create all we desire, our life’s work. The seed of discipline is the seed of creation, of nature within us to become what we are supposed to become in our life. The very essence of our being, our presence and our intensity to do what we are here to do on this earth. Saturn is the lord of time, nature does everything in its own time, perfectly, not rushing. You don’t see flowers rushing to bloom. And you don’t plant rose seeds and an apple tree grows. This is the discipline of nature, its own time and its own purpose. So it is with we humans as well and the best thing we can do is remain true to ourselves.

Mercury, Saturn and Sattva

November 28, 2017

Here in Costa Rica, I have the great fortune to be studying Yogic Philosophy with a wonderful teacher named Simon Haas. Simon has written a book called the Book of Dharma, which describes the four qualities of dharma and how to use them to make enlightened choices. He is British, spent many years studying and living in India, but now lives here in Costa Rica. This and the fact that I am able to study with him, I consider miracles. 

Simon is now teaching us about the Bhagavad Gita and the other day he explained the Four Gates of Discipline of speech in Sattva. For those who are not familiar, Sattva is one of the three Gunas, or qualities of behavior patterns of individuals. Ideally we would like to stay in Sattva, because it is characterizes lightness, purity, peacefulness and balance. It’s where we are undisturbed, compassionate, humble and wise. Healers and true spiritual leaders have the quality of Sattva. The other two Gunas are Rajas, the quality of passion, action, ambition and what are typically known as the seven deadly sins and then Tamas, which is self-destruction and other negative feelings such as vindictiveness and disorder. However, Tamas does rule the area of sleep, which we all need, but really it’s ideal if your only state of Tamas is when you are sleeping. 

So, if we stay in a state of Sattva, we are detached, but connected to Source. We do not react wildly when someone hurts us. We are clear, grateful, meditative, at peace and loving. In a perfect world, each of us would strive to remain in such a calm, connected state, despite what life throws our way. 

If you wish to remain in Sattva when speaking with others, it is important to recognize and exhibit the Four Gates of Discipline of speech. This is from chapter 17, text 15 of the Bhagavad Gita: 

Words that do not disturb others, that cause no agitation

Words that only speak Truth

Words that are Kind or loving

Words that are Helpful

Now, here is where I pause to bring in the astrology of the moment. Mercury is in the sign of Sagittarius and is about to turn retrograde (oh joy!). As we know, Mercury rules all speech and communications. In its retrograde and then direct journey, it will conjunct Saturn three times. The first time is November 28, the second time is December 6 and the third time is January 13. This means Mercury conjuncts Saturn, moves past it, goes retrograde on December 3rd and then comes back again to conjunct Saturn, both times in the sign of Sagittarius. It will eventually turn direct on December 22, move forward through Sagittarius, into Capricorn and then conjunct Saturn again, as both planets have changed signs. 

Saturn is often harsh, critical, judgmental and can be unkind. The fact that Mercury will join it three times can easily cause us to speak words that are like Saturn in flavor. We may be thinking harsh thoughts, we may wish to criticize someone or lash out at them for how they have treated us. When in Sagittarius, Mercury and Saturn are fiery and can speak in a frank manner. People often don’t think before they speak. Therefore, this is a time when people may be hurtfully honest or just plain hurtful. During this time, we can be self critical as well, which is also not helpful and is actually counterproductive. 

While Mercury is joining Saturn, it would be wise to follow the Four Gates of Discipline in speech. Think about any message you wish to convey – does it meet the criteria of the Four Gates? If you answer “no” to any one of them, then you need to review and change what you wish to say before you say it. Or perhaps not say it at all. It’s important to pay attention now. Mercury and Saturn are also “disciplined speech” and this is a great use of the available energies, instead of using them to criticize. It’s also a perfect time to mentally focus on a project that needs your attention to detail. And this could be a very fitting time to start a meditation practice. Mercury and Saturn lend themselves to a disciplined mind and one can learn a lot about calming one’s own mind through meditation.  

There is also an evolving story at this time, as there always is with Mercury retrograde. It would be starting around now, the end of November and would continue through the last conjunction with Saturn. Perhaps it’s something you are trying to figure out in your life that will go through its stages until it is cleared. This is an important time, as Saturn will be leaving Sagittarius, where it’s been for 3 years and going into its own sign of Capricorn. Since Mercury will connect twice in  Sagittarius and then move ahead to a different sign, you may have an entirely different perspective on the matter once the last conjunction occurs in Capricorn. 

Whatever the case, make your best effort to stay in Sattva – not easy, but quite possible. 


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