Astrologer Laura Craig

Venus Enters Virgo

Illustration by Walter Crane

July 21 - August 16, 2021

If Virgo is the sign of the initiate, then Venus has just been sent to finishing school (an odd name, if you think about it, to impose on lives only just beginning) It’s a chore, to be sure, but chores bring their own kind of rewards.

This type of charm is about polishing and preparing. It is about analyzing the Feminine (money, material goods, creativity, emotions, the body, and food, for example). In Mercury’s earth sign our goddess keeps busy, as idle hands are the devil’s workshop—and Venus normally loves idle hands. But here, relationship is worthwhile work. The dance of love is a technique to learn and perfect, a balance sheet of giving and receiving. And so, her carnal, luxury-loving self sets to cleansing and purifying, improving and fixing where needed, in order to eventually enjoy the fruits of her labor. With such high standards, and an ever-critical eye, the challenges she faces are grappling with disappointment and managing expectations—both of herself and of others.

During Venus’s time in Virgo, you might ask yourself, how does your garden grow? We are tending our beds of love and friendship, with silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row. With nine pentacles on the vine and a bird in the hand. Under this influence, we remember small details, perform humble acts of service, show up when needed, and even give the shirt off our back. We process our feelings by talking things through and we keep trying harder— all to show our devotion. No grand gestures, just honest, evident efforts. A blossoming life and the best buds are proof of a happy heart and a job well done.

Lilith Enters Gemini

Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”

July 18, 2021 - April 14, 2022

Tomorrow, the spectral Black Moon Lilith moves into youthful, shapeshifting Gemini for the next nine months; jumping into, and out of, the pages of storybooks and fairy tales; moving between cartoon and caricature and something altogether more mischievous and sinister. In my imagination, I see our Lilith in the form of Peter Pan—guide, trafficker and captain of the lost boys, the babies who fall from their prams and disappear when their nurses are looking away. J.M. Barrie, his creator, describes Peter as “a free spirit, betwixt and between human and bird”, who comes in the night to visit sleeping children, and to recover his missing shadow. Lilith’s place of exile, then, is Neverland, the island of the child’s mind, mapped out “with astonishing splashes of color here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose.” In this place, we choose childhood over old age, boys over girls (with exceptions), eternity over endings, and cleverness over wisdom. Who wants to be tied down to life and love anyway? Forget the heart, forgo feelings—who needs ‘em.

1904 Illustration of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”

We can also find Gemini Lilith in the magic mirror between Snow White and the Evil Queen, in the face of the innocent beauty that is so threatening to her stepmother. Or, in Cinderella, who manifests a Fairy Godmother, and with her, another version of herself and a life away from the ashes and the abuse. Lilith is at once alive, and dead, in Toni Morrison’s Sethe and Beloved: mother, daughter and the ghost that consumes them both. Lore, literature, and life itself, constellate this archetype wherever we find the dark twin, the outcast, or the scapegoat; the black sheep or the red-headed stepchild; the changeling switched by fairies, the child raised by wolves, or the baby delivered by the stork. 

Lilith in Gemini is a champion of the misunderstood mind. She holds a space for lost, and found, children; for the gender non-conforming, the neurodivergent, the developmentally disabled, the adoptees, the non-native speakers, and the imaginary friends. Lilith asks us to look at—and when ready—to tell, our stories of grief, separation, rejection and abandonment and, given that she will be traveling with asteroid Ceres for much of this time, the particular traumas of childbirth, stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal nightmares that so many silently live with. 

Lilith in Gemini challenges us to think beyond the binary and accept a spectrum of multiple truths. She warns us not to reduce people to stock character tropes of heroes and villains, or to fall into dualistic thinking. She holds a mirror that will show us, should we look into it, where we have abandoned or rejected aspects of ourselves, relegated them to the hidden depths of our psyches, cast them out, or projected them onto others. Like Wendy reattaching Peter’s shadow, she offers us an opportunity to bring those fragments out of the closet and out from under the bed, and to make peace with the things that go bump in unconscious. The trolls, fairies, bogeymen, fairy godmothers and evil queens are all somewhere within. Hell is empty and all the devils are here—inside each one of us, asking to be seen, accepted, and loved.

John Bauer “The Princess and the Trolls”

Mercury Enters Cancer

Edward Henry Potthast “Starry Night”

July 11 - July 27, 2021

Mercury in Cancer is a Moon-mind, a diary of impressions and feelings, a record of reflections. It is intuition and active imagination; it’s animal familiars and nocturnal transmissions; bedtime stories and old wives’ tales; recipes and reminiscences. It stores the lyrics to songs you haven’t heard in years, or the phone number of your childhood best friend. It holds special smells and tastes, deep in the recesses of our bodies and our psyches. It remembers people (to paraphrase Maya Angelou), not by what they say or do but by how they make us feel. 

And so, as Mercury starts to internalize, process, and digest our experiences of the past three weeks of Cancer season and of the recent New Moon, words may feel insufficient to describe our emotional state. They feel fickle, or fluid, coming in waves or escaping us altogether. Out of caution, we ration our words, sharing them when, where and with whom we feel safe. We know their power to comfort and console, as well as their power to wound more deeply than any sticks and stones. Mercury in Cancer knows that conversation can be a vulnerable thing, and so for the next two weeks, cultivate close encounters as well as personal space, check the vibe often, and have a care with each other. 

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