Astrologer Laura Craig

The Tree of Life

In Norse cosmology, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that grows through the center of the nine realms, connecting all of time and space. At the top perches an eagle; at the bottom are coiled serpents, and in between live all sorts of mythical creatures, as well as us humans. The Norns, the goddesses of fate, keep it watered and fed. It is where men and gods go to be judged, and where Odin hanged himself to obtain the knowledge of everything. 

There is a Warden Tree, a stately old ash, in the yard of my childhood home, this special place that has been the center of my universe my whole life. No such beasts, or faeries, live within it (that I can see), but the roots, the branches and the bark undoubtedly contain memories of generations come and gone. As with most caretakers, I never appreciated it until I was grown and had moved away. Noble guardian, it had never not been there. I see it with new eyes now, and I know it sees me, and always has. 

This is a year of Major Transits for me (and I know I’m not alone in this). Uranus and Pluto are the strongest flavors in the soup, making it occasionally spicy, and occasionally purgative. But also feeding and fulfilling me in strange, new and different ways. After almost two years of eclipses on my Ascendant-Descendant axis, now they move into my 12th and my 6th, in spitting distance of my luminaries. Deep breaths. I will say though, while I’m tracking all of this with circumspection, none of it feels especially bad, just Big. And now felt like the time to pay witness to it here, amidst the unfolding of it all, and while it’s on my heart, with those of you who take the time to read the words I write.

In my nativity, the Moon is my chart ruler. She is vital for keeping my life on course. But so much of my story has been about following the light of the Sun. My solar return chart for the year has Leo rising, ruled by the rays of a Gemini tenth house Sun. I’m also in a 3rd house profection year, which is, natally, a Leo-ruled house—and that one answers to my Gemini 12th. Working with the Sun appears to be the prescription for getting through this time with sanity and a sense of Self. The Six of Cups and the Hanged Man (two of my favorite cards) were the pull for this cosmic chapter of my life. Astrology is the gift that gives me purpose and perspective, and sharing it gives me joy. 

I practice soul-centered astrology, where as it is above is as it is below, and you are not here by accident. In my world, we are all living myths, channels for the gods and goddesses who adopt us at birth. Everything is symbolic, and everything has meaning, no matter how small it might seem. If we follow Ariadne’s thread, she will lead us out of the labyrinth. If you would like to learn more about the magic woven into your birth chart, and the stories written into your soul, send me a message and let the exploration begin. 

Happy Birthday, Leo!

FX Leyendecker for Life Magazine

July 22-August 22, 2020

We have moved into the season of lights, cameras and action, and Leos can finally start celebrating. It is right that they should! All of the other signs may play home base to planets, or to the earth-bound Moon, but Leo is the kingdom of the Sun: the all-powerful, the sovereign, the Source. Those born with the Sun in the fixed fire sign are steady providers of warmth and energy for all those in their orbit, and the flame to which we all gravitate. They have an effortless magnetism and a rare generosity toward those they love. When they shine, the rest of us want to bask in their glow. And similarly, when their tempers flare, we all jump back to avoid getting seared. Leo has a self-assured manner, a natural sense of nobility, and an innate belief in their own specialness. Pride has a double meaning to the celestial lion: he protects it fiercely, and he must be careful not to let it overtake him. 

There is a heart of gold beneath the Leo exterior, which must be handled with care. This is the archetype of the King (or the Queen), the Child and the Performer, all of whom become the center of attention upon entering a room. When all eyes turn toward them, they naturally oblige, by either leading, charming, or entertaining us. But the spotlight can be a precarious place, and we’ve all heard about the hazards of royalty. Heavy indeed is the head that wears the crown, and Leo is acutely aware of the expectations that come with those roles and the identities that we in the audience project onto them. Learning to manage their solar power and developing a healthy ego are in their soul contract. The need to be liked, to be recognized, and applauded for a job well done is an important spiritual component of Leo life and of the Leo-ruled parts of all of our charts. 

Not all want to be on center stage, but diva or no, Leo must have a means of creative expression in order to be in alignment with their nature, and ultimately to feel fulfilled. It is important, necessary even, to shine in some way. Somewhere in the life, the lion must find a way to rule and to roar. 

Mythology, folklore and the human mind have long associated the lion with royalty, and its mane with the rays of the Sun. If you are born under Leo, you are a shining star; a child of Samson and of Heracles, of Sekhmet and Cybele; and your golden greatness is an inspiration to us all. 

Sun Opposite Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto: Ego Check

N.C. Wyeth “The Giant”

As the Sun moves through the late degrees of Cancer this week, it shines a spotlight across the zodiac onto the heavyweights in Capricorn that have so dominated the cosmic and cultural landscape this year: Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. The Sun, in an opposition such as this, calls up questions around our selfhood, life force and purpose. For us on Earth, pivoting on the axis of the Mother and the Father, between our great star and the collective energies of these outer planets, the tension is a taut umbilical cord, transmitting stories that revolve around identity and inheritance.

The Sun opposite Saturn challenges our sense of self in the face of responsibility, limitations and the passage of time; how our response to others’ expectations, to pressure and to fear tests our internal fortitude. Worthiness, in this case, is measured based on hard work and performance of duty, and success is a measure of achievement, dedication and persistence. 

The Sun opposite Jupiter challenges the faith we place in ourselves and our buoyancy amidst turning tides. How much of a role does social status play in your ability to believe in yourself? How much stock do you put in your own authority and prestige? The Jupiterian version of success, in contrast to the Saturnian, is a means to freedom, choice and experience. In what ways are you growing and expanding lately in spite of these restrictive times? 

The Sun opposite Pluto challenges our sense of self in the face of life and death, power and control, loss or destruction. If we bravely and carefully explore the depths of our psyches, our stories around fear and survival, the hidden parts of our natures and the secrets that hide in our family trees, then we will be rewarded with riches in the form of rebirth, wisdom and incredible resiliency. If we are resistant to transformation, then the light of our Sun refracts into the dark corners of the Underworld and the shadows on the wall become distorted and grotesque. 

Stories of the solar hero always contain lessons about sovereignty, something which has to be earned through a series of tests. This transit is asking us to think about the ways in which cultural, societal, familial and parental messaging inform our sense of identity. The Big Gods in Capricorn may be testing us right now, but what they want is to see us grow and mature into more realized versions of ourselves, more aligned with our life purpose, and more in touch with our destiny.  

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