I have been an astrologer for over 30 years.

When I first heard of astrology, I thought it was the same as astronomy, and in a way it is. Astrology started when ancient humanity gazed at the night sky and watched the movements of the lights in the sky.

Actually, astronomy came from astrology. I wasfascinated by the fact that the planets and the stars mean something other than what I was taught in my science classes.

I studied and watched as my family and friends went through their dramas and joys. I have read thousands of charts for friends and family, and I am absolutely thrilled that the chart will show what will happen in someone’s life.

Occasionally, I study a chart with sadness, but comfort comes from the fact that the horoscope shows a purpose for events and how to work with them. The cosmic scheme of things make sense in the long run.

The astrologers of the early 1900’s were some of the best. Isabel Hickey and Fran Sakoian put it all into order, Ivy made you think, and reading Barbara Watters was like gossiping about the secrets of astrology with a friend. Even crusty old Dane Rhudyar was useful, he made you slow down and think. As a matter of fact, the first lecture I ever heard on astrology was by an astrologer whose practice was based on Rhudyar’s philosophy.

Frequently I hear people say that so and so, “will not do anything without astrology” as if this is negative or a dependency. To me it is a matter of doing things “with astrology”. To those people who love to use astrology I say, “Good! You are now driving through life with a dependable map”. Whether you are going in a Rolls Royce, a Range Rover, a Corvette, a Carmen Ghia, a hybrid, or a little Ford, you now have a map that will show you the best way to get to where you are going. And what a journey it will be with your astrological roadmap beside you.



An Advanced Reading

If you know nothing about astrology, this requires at least one prior reading with me. We go deeply into why you’re here, what your meant to do, what you can do about it, the seven levels of evolution, spirituality, and any important issues you’re facing.

This includes a Life Cycle Reading, the analysis of the birth chart and the Update of current events. This is a coaching, mentoring, and a soul reading. We cover your questions and concerns and what to do about them.

2 1/2 – 3 hours. $650

Contact me


If you have had your chart read and would like to know what is going on for the next twelve months, this yearly reading is for you.

Find out what’s in store for you in the next twelve months. Be prepared for what’s ahead, know what’s going to happen. This will tell you when you can expect windows of opportunity and when to expect challenges so that you will be able to take advantage of current and future events. This is an update, not the interpretation of the birth chart. This is done every six months to one year.

All readings are prepaid.

$200 – One hour

From the Blog

HORARY – A Question

Do you need an answer to one specific question? Ask for the Question Chart.

Example questions:

  • Where is this relationship going?
  • Will I get the job?
  • Will I get a raise?
  • Will my profits go up soon?
  • Do I need a second opinion?
  • Is it time to retire?

Should I buy this car, house, take the trip, etc?

$80 for each question.

Do you have an important decision? Ask the stars a question.

5 Affordable Luxury Items for your Home

In my previous life (i.e. pre children) I used to do a lot of charity work – from summer camps for seriously ill/ recovering children to Samaritans to providing some Christmas cheer to homeless. I have never really been sure “where this need to help” has come from, but I guess it stems from the recognition, that my life is good.

My family is healthy. We are lucky enough to have a nice home in a nice area. I have two gorgeous children (I am bias of course). All is well.

So I guess charity work is my way of giving a little back. Helping others who have been less lucky than me.

At the moment I have less time for charity work, but I know that once my children are in full time schooling I will look for some charity work of sorts again. In the meantime I do adhoc things like “tea parties” for the elderly in my area or just bringing some goodies to an elderly neighbour. I hope to brighten her day a little, whilst teaching my children to take care and be thoughtful of others.

5 Affordable Luxury Items

Sometimes in life it is very important to be able to get home and relax. Whether you have had a gruelling shift in the warehouse or a soul destroying day in the office, sometimes it is nice to be able to come home to one or two luxuries.

Though most people presume that luxuries have to break the bank, this is simply not the case and with that in mind, here are five very affordable luxury items that you might very well be able to afford:

A Corner Sofa

With furniture becoming cheaper and cheaper these days, especially on the internet, more people are being able to indulge in a luxurious corner sofa; something that maybe twenty years ago was simply unheard of.

With the offering for more than one person to put their feet up while having the maximum amount of space, a corner sofa makes the perfect piece of furniture for couples or those with large families.

Of course, if you enjoy having a few dinner parties, these sofas really make entertaining not only easy, but also very enjoyable. Retailers such as overstock.com make this a more affordable option.

Blow up Hot tub

Though a personal in-built hot tub can cost thousands of pounds, you can for a relatively small fee of around £500, buy your own blow up hot tub that takes only ten minutes to set up!

Great for summer parties and BBQs, you can buy a hot tub which seats up to four to six people and heats the water up to 40°C. Lay-Z-Spa has some affordable options and some very stylish blow up hot tubs.

This means at a price which is roughly two to three thousand pounds cheaper, you can enjoy your very own hot tub and the best thing about it is the fact that it is also portable; great if you’re planning a trip to the coast at the weekend!

Portable Library

Carrying thousands of books with you isn’t easy, but you can for a relatively cheap price, carry their digital forms with you for as little as £69.

With the advent of Kindle Fire however, besides having an entire library at your fingertips, you can also access the internet, check emails and stream movies, practically turning the Kindle into a personal computer; at a much cheaper price than the overhyped iPad.

Cinema Chair

With cinema prices seemingly skyrocketing at a rate of nearly every visit, more people are taking to the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm. To support this, and themselves, people are now indulging in their very own cinema chairs.

For as little as £450 you can for your living room, buy your own leather cinema chair with a storage compartment and 3-channel wireless audio system.

Of course, if you’re a gamer and enjoy spending more than just a few minutes indulging in your favourite game, these kind of chairs are also perfect for you!

Outdoor Griddle

No one likes a rusty old barbecue sat in the corner of their garden for most of the year, but with your very own mason barbecue you can not only add a valuable cooking tool to your garden but also a very beautiful piece of architecture.

One of the hot new trends for 2019 are griddles, rather than the traditional BBQ. Don’t ask me why but the food just tastes a whole lot better on a griddle, rather than the old BBQ. Maybe it’s that authentic restaurant flavor that you´re getting.

Striking from top to bottom, brick barbeques are often the highlight of many Mediterranean gardens and with that in mind, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t enjoy that kind of luxury here in the UK, right?

There are a whole bunch of great affordable options out there for an outdoor griddle and they cost about the same as a grill. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you haven’t because you’ll be the talk of the town if you do!

For around £150 there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t.


What can astrology do for me?

Astrology can be used for many purposes. It can give you valuable self-knowledge, i.e., greater understanding of yourself and deeper insight into your problems. It can analyze a relationship, provide assistance in choosing a career, select an auspicious wedding date.

Some astrologers specialize in finding lost items, such as a lost piece of luggage. As a predictive tool, transits to the natal chart shows the possibilities and timing of future events. There are many ways in which one can benefit from astrology.

One of astrology’s greatest applications lies in the area of psychology and self-help. As a method of self-analysis, it is incomparable in its ability to quickly uncover deeply embedded mental patterns that impact our lives. It is a very powerful psychological “search engine”.

One or two focused readings can raise a person’s self-awareness to a level that would take much longer by traditional methods, such as psychotherapy. Astrology cannot solve your problems for you, but the information delivered in a focused reading can be used as a foundation upon which the person can make intelligent choices, and thus gain more control over their lives

Which type of reading is best for me?

It is really a matter of personal preference and logistics.  Unless you are in the general Sacramento, CA area an in-person reading is probably not feasible.  Readings which are provided via phone are personal and can be interactive; however, a one hour interactive reading may not yield the volume of information available on a one-hour audio tape, plus an audio tape allows you to review the reading multiple times at your leisure.

There is much detail in a one-hour reading, and even a good note-taker may not be able to absorb everything from a reading delivered in-person.

An audio tape of a telephone reading is available if requested at the time the order is placed.  A shipping and handling charge is added to the total for this service.
Note: PoleStar does not have the equipment necessary to record both sides of the conversation during a reading, so you will only hear our side of the reading.

How important is an accurate birth time?

An accurate birth time is VERY IMPORTANT.  If there is any other way of expressing the importance of an accurate birth time, I don’t know what it is.  A difference of only five or six minutes can change the birth chart significantly, resulting in an inaccurate reading that does not reflect you!  Your best source for the correct birth time is your birth certificate.

Can’t find your birth time?

Even if the time isn’t on the birth certificate, sometimes the state recorded the time. eMailArbutus and she will provide you with information for your birth state which will point you in the right direction to obtain your birth certificate.  Make sure to include both your place of birth AND date of birth in your eMail.

What is a Natal Chart?

A Natal Chart, or horoscope, is simply a diagram of the heavens as it appears from the earth at the moment of your birth at the place where you were born.

Physically, the horoscope consists of a circular diagram, or flat wheel, which is divided into twelve sections, or areas of life, referred to as houses.  Each house, or area of life, is influenced by the zodiacal sign (or signs) that was appearing in that house at the moment of birth.  The Sun, Moon and Planets are distributed around the wheel, according to their position at birth, and are indicated on the flat wheel by glyphs.

This diagram or map is used to determine the characteristics of the person and to ascertain what is likely to happen under certain astrological conditions.  The exact time of birth and exact birthplace is absolutely vital to erecting an accurate horoscope.

Planetary positions change quickly, and an error of only four minutes may result in a chart that does not match the person.  This can cause the client to doubt the validity of astrology, and result in hours of wasted effort on the part of the astrologer.  The time of birth is best taken from the birth certificate.

A Quick Definition of a Retrograde

This article is an introduction to the astrological event called the retrograde. This is an overview of the phases and the mechanics of the retrograde, explaining what it is, the stages, and the effects it brings. Although it helps to have a working knowledge of astrology, those of you who are new to astrology will be able understand quite a bit.

The most common retrograde is the “Mercury retrograde”, but the other planets go retrograde as well.

A quick definition of a retrograde

A retrograde (Rx) is the apparent backward movement in the sky of a planet. This is how it actually appears when you look up in the night sky over a few weeks or months. The planet looks like it’s going backward.

The only planets that don’t have a retrograde, or backward, motion are the Sun and the Moon, but they have special phases of their own called eclipses. The planets that go retrograde are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. As we learn more about our galaxy, we have become aware that many other bodies go retrograde, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

How it affects your personally

Just as a planet is going over the area in the sky that it has already traversed when it goes retrograde, it is going over the same area in a natal chart and we must go over the events in our lives prior to the retrograde that relate to the planet.

In general, a retrograde means doing things over, re-focus, and connecting to an inner level, or our intuitive side. We are often warned not to do anything new. It is a time to re-do, re-vise, and re-integrate the qualities of the planet that is retrograde. If Mercury is Rx, we go over thoughts and communication; if it is Saturn, we look at the structures in our life; if it is Venus, we review relationships, and so on.

The meaning of the word retrograde

Conversations about retrogrades are getting to be as common as talk about Sun-signs, even if only in the context of the dreaded “Mercury Retrograde”. Most people don’t have a clue as to what this really means — other than “don’t sign papers or buy anything” in a Mercury retrograde!

The word retrograde comes from the Latin “to drive back”. The ancients thought the planets were gods who drove their chariots across the sky at night, and sometimes it looked as though they went back in the opposite direction. In mythology, they were always cruising around, fighting, creating havoc, but generally having a great time. Sorry to have to burst your bubble if you like the idea of gods racing around the night sky in their chariots of fire – there is no one up there in a chariot! Who knows — maybe the ancients were right, science is coming up with some pretty far out theories, and someday they won’t seem so far out.

Motion of a Retrograde

Backward Motion

When a planet goes retrograde, it may look like it’s going backwards, but this isn’t true, — this is an optical illusion.

Think of a racetrack. The Earth is on the inside track, Mars and the other planets are on the outside track, and there is a big Sun sitting in the center. Since the Earth is on the inside track, it has a shorter distance to go around, and eventually it catches up to Mars, and passes it — Mars looks as if it isn’t going forward anymore. Mercury and Venus, closer to the Sun, and on an inside track compared to the Earth, have the retrograde motion, but from a different perspective. They are going faster than the Earth and catching up with us.

The retro motion is the “train syndrome”. Do you ever remember sitting on a train when it suddenly started to move and the train next to you looked as if it was going backward? You probably got a little dizzy; this isn’t a normal perception in our world. Now you know why retrogrades make you a little queasy and anxious. They aren’t normal.

Blueprint for Manifestation

I have been asked to explain what I mean by blueprint, and how to make one. A blueprint is a map of what you would like to manifest, whether it be in the physical or spiritual world. The latest buzzword is Cosmic Ordering. As an analogy, I use the blueprint an architect uses to build a house.

Creating a Blueprint – Getting Started

Create your personal, physical desires by putting a blueprint of those desires on paper. This will ground your desires so that they are easier to manifest. Go somewhere quiet and spend time creating your personal blueprints; you are the architect of your life.

Get a couple sheets of paper, pen pencil or other writing and drawing materials, and be ready to block off sections as though you are building a house. Be creative, play, and have fun. I know at times when you really need something, it’s not as easy to put yourself in a good frame of mind. Pretend you are a child with a coloring book. Create the forms to fill in. Put on your favorite music whether it be Mozart, Madonna, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Gerry Garcia, Bruce Springsteen, whatever’s current, or just enjoy the silence.

Creating a Foundation and Mapping Out Your Blueprint

1. Level One – the Foundation

Saturn stands for the foundation and that is where the architect starts.

On your first piece of paper represent a clean level ground by making sure the paper is clean and without creases.

Build the basement floor with quality materials. Just as you build the foundation of your home or business with lasting, durable materials, do this on paper by making solid black lines with a marker, or use a favorite dependable fountain or ink pen, or a pencil that never lets you down.

Fill your basement with the things that will personally support you by  writing down words such as, strong desire, continual energy to pursue goals no matter what, help and support to keep going, responsibility, increasing talent, knowledge and experience. For instance, if you want to be a successful photographer add words such as unique and incredible vision, successful composition, and technical expertise. You may want to draw things such as a huge darkroom, or needed storage space because you are so successful.

2. Level Two – Eating

Most people forget how important eating good foods are for your ability to properly manieft your reality. My good friend Jennifer, who helped me with this website, is an amazing chef and runs a blog griddlechef, where she gives advice on healthy cooking. For those of you that want to really get more manifestation in your life, you need to eat healthy and cook with good materials.

In ancient times they used to use a lot of silver and gold and were able to manifest more easily. Now, we use teflon and other chemical materials to cook and our powers our diminished. After I began using my indoor smoker to cook my foods and tossed the teflon in the garbage, I have been slowly healing and feeling like my old self again.

I really think eating plays a huge role in life and people that eat healthy are generally happier, at least I know that I am. You need to make sure the foods are organic and make sure your using clean silverware. 

3. Level Three -Intuition and Dreams

Going up a level, and using a new piece of paper, build the kitchen, symbolic of the things that feed your career. Get creative, add such things as a good food processor to blend and combine the elements of your design, a great stove to heat up and transform ideas, or cookbooks with recipes on how to feed the soul and sustain your vision. Write a phrase to go with each item. 

In the living room draw figures to represent socializing with people who will help your career, or put in a comfortable chair where you relax and be refreshed at the end of the day so that the creative juices keep flowing.

In the dining room, draw a table with friends and relatives sharing your food [symbolic for the wisdom, joy or whatever your photos are about]. Have fun make it a round table like the one written about at King Arthur’s Court, or a long banquet table, or an intimate cozy table for dining with close friends, mentors, and supporters.

Other rooms to add – an  office with quality modern equipment to make your busy life easier, faxes, computers, printers, desk with two or more chairs in front of the desk for your clients, or maybe a home studio to take portrait photos.

On the third level build your bedroom suite, the room where you will go to refresh, dream of the future, and get any answers you need.

4. Decorating and Refining

Now go back and do more decorating. Drawing well-built solid furniture will pull in the energy of Saturn; gold and yellow will pull in the successful energy of the Sun; unusual things and electronics will pull in the creative genius of Uranus; books, periodicals and the latest communication equipment, such as phones, brings in the energy of Mercury, [Mercury keeps you connected to other people, the higher realms, and stimulates your curiosity about life]. Something large, regal or expensive will pull in the protective and successful energy of Jupiter; your photos or other art will entice Venus, the planet of art and society; a fountain, or pictures of water or the Moon will make it personal, and touch your emotional nature to keep your positive feelings flowing.

One thing I did not mention when I first posted this article is money. For the rich and continual flow of money add something green, such as a Money Plant or something flowing such as a fountain, in the room that you frequent.

You do not have to follow the instructions exactly; you may wish to use something other than paper. I know one person who used a doll house. If you feel like being creative and have ideas for your own blueprint, follow your instincts. You may wish to use Feng Shui to place the rooms in a special way.

When finished put it away in a safe place, then look at it again after a few days. At that point you may want to add things, do some refining, or start over.

Pull out your blueprint every so often and make changes, note what has happened, or just enjoy what you have created.

Say What You Mean … Mean What You Say

One thing that destroys trust in a relationship is when partners say one thing and do another. Or … they say one thing, but really mean something else. It’s so important for both partners to be honest with themselves and with each other. Sometimes, we may not know what we really mean, and maybe our partner can help us figure that out. That’s okay, too. The critical thing is for partners to do their best to be “true to their word” so that they can build a trusting relationship that both of them can count on.

In some relationships, partners use words to test each other. For example, in the heat of an argument, one will say: “That’s it! I’m out of here!” Or the word “divorce” is used repeatedly, most often as a threat to the other spouse or to manipulate the other so that we can have our way. Remember this: We can’t unring the bell!Words can do great damage to a relationship, and once said, it is impossible to take them back, even if we would do anything not to have said them. Testing each other’s love, commitment, patience, etc. rarely works; it usually only builds resentment and destroys trust.

Timing is Everything

The best time to discuss something with your spouse may not be exactly when you want to talk about it … for a variety of reasons. He or she may be tired (or not feeling well or distracted or in the middle of something else or just leaving or coming home, etc.) and not want to or be able to give you their full attention.

Although there are times when something has to be addressed immediately, most often we can be flexible in our timing and take into consideration what may be going on for our partner. Especially when it is likely to be an important and/or lengthy discussion, letting our spouse know that we want or need to talk about something and asking when might be a good time to do this sets a positive tone for the discussion. Together, you may want to set some guidelines (not answering the phone, for example) for the conversation. It is a good idea to plan, when possible, for a time when both of you can be attentive to the other and not be distracted.

Avoid Statements or Actions that Create Defensiveness

There are a variety of ways that we can unintentionally cause our partners to feel and behave defensively. When this happens, the discussion may end abruptly or escalate into an unwanted argument. If this happens repeatedly, it can eventually lead to a breakdown in communication in the couple relationship. There are several ways to avoid this:

• Avoid the use of absolutes: “You never talk to me anymore” “You always get angry with me!” “You’re late, as usual.”
• Avoid laundry lists in which you bring up everything you don’t appreciate about your partner’s behavior in one conversation (or sentence!). Stay focused and sensitive to your partner. You can be assertive without being aggressive.
• Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements. For example, instead of “You make me furious when you don’t call me and let me know you’ll be late coming home!”, you might say “When you don’t call me and let me know you’ll be late, I worry about you … or I get upset …” You can then make a request of your partner, such as: “and I’d like for you to call me when you are going to be late.”
• Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm is hurtful and it doesn’t help when its effects on our spouse are dismissed or discounted in any way. Statements like: “You’re too sensitive” or “You’re overreacting” are not only not helpful, they cause resentment and defensiveness in our partners.

What is a Lunar Standstill?

A lunar standstill is based on the measure of the highest and lowest distance of the Moon from the Earth during a two-week period. This distance is called declination. When the maximum difference between south and north declination of 57 is reached, a standstill occurs. The Moon is either as low as it can get in the sky, or as high as it can get. The difference in the Moon is noticeable by its size, and how close or far it is to the Earth. Go out and look up at the sky at night. For instance, in the summer of 2006, as the Moon sinks, it looks like a huge ball, skimming the horizon.

This year (2006) is a lunar standstill year. Southern standstills for 2006 are 3/22, 5/16, 6/12, 7/9 and 9/29. The major northern standstill is 9/15/06.

Standstill happen every 18.6 years. The next standstill year will be 2025. The beginning of the September standstill is within two days of a Lunar eclipse. The 9/29 standstill is 7 days after the Solar Eclipse.

It has been found that many of the ancients set up stone structures to follow the standstills. The Anasazi  carved out a cave as a calendar of the Moon and its standstills. Callanish in the British Isles has another standstill calendar.

Standstills, like all unusual astrological events, bring intensity, powerful reactions, and sometimes extreme weather conditions. When all the aspects look decent but drastic events still occur, look to the the lunar standstill for answers.

During a standstill year, you’ll notice a difference in your emotions all year, but especially at the standstills. At times they’ll be unusually quiet, and at times they act up.

If you meditate or channel, there will be a difference as well; sometimes things come easily, and at other times you’ll feel as if you’re alone. Our Moon is a satellite and amps things up. Notice how it works for you. For some people, the highest point will bring a flood of information and connection, while for others the lower points bring more. One clue is your feelings when the Moon is low, do you feel low? When the Moon is high do you soar and feel closer to spirit? Or is it vice versa? And some people frequently feel calm, but disconnected.

Notice where the standstill is in your chart, and what aspects it’s making. That will be the area of your life that is highlighted.

Try to stay emotionally balanced and connect with source. Major mishaps at this time have to do with the emotions more than mental or physical errors

Listen to Understand!

Listening takes work. It is not the same as simply hearing what someone has to say. Sometimes we’re so busy planning what we’re going to say in response, that we aren’t really listening to what our partner has to say. Or … we think if we let our partner know we understand what they’re saying (and thinking, feeling, wanting, etc.) they will think we agree with them … but this isn’t true!

Listening well and letting our partner know we’ve heard them and understand what they’re saying makes them feel VISIBLEVALUED and VALIDATED… and much more likely and willing to listen to us when it’s our turn. When we feel understood, we are far more open to hearing what our partner has to say.

Communicate with Respect

This may seem like a simple thing to do, but when we’re angry or frustrated with our spouse, or even just busy with something else, we sometimes forget to be kind and respectful to one another. How do we communicate respect for our partner and his or her feelings, thoughts? If you watch and listen to couples who are kind and respectful to each other, even in the midst of a heated discussion, you begin to observe the following behaviors:

• They listen without judgment.
• They avoid saying things like: “That’s ridiculous!” “You’re crazy!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” “That’s stupid!” “You don’t really feel that way”, etc. They don’t say things for the purpose of hurting, humiliating, shaming, or diminishing their partner … and if they unintentionally say something that does make their partner feel bad, they take responsibility for that and validate his or her feelings.
• They refrain from calling each other names.
• They don’t order each other around. They ask. They make requests.
• They avoid using things that their partner has shared with them in confidence (things that may make him/her feel vulnerable) against their partner at another time. (i.e. during an argument)
• They don’t make assumptions or mindread. See below for more on this.
• They don’t tell their partner why he or she is doing something. Usually when we do this, we are attributing a negative motivation to their behavior. “You didn’t remember my birthday on purpose!”
• They don’t get in their partner’s space/face and scream at him/her or in any other way try to intimidate their partner.
• They don’t mimic their partner or make fun of him or her.
• They don’t use humor/jokes as a way to belittle their partner.
• They are respectful of their partner both in front of others and while they’re alone.
• They think about what they’re going to say and the impact it will have.


Sometimes we think we know what our partner is feeling, thinking, wanting, needing, etc. when we really don’t. It’s amazing how often a husband or wife will say to the other: “You don’t know me at all!” It’s important that we not assume that we know what’s going on with our partner, but that we try to find out instead. It’s also important that we don’t feel or say: “If you really loved me, you’d know what I want … how I feel” … etc. We can never really be sure what another person is thinking or feeling.

We also can’t expect someone else to know how we feel loved and cared for. Most people try to show love and care for their partners in the ways that they themselves feel loved and cared for. We need to find out what makes our partner feel special, valued, loved, etc. This doesn’t take the romance out of a marriage … it does just the opposite!

Communication Skills for Couples

Lack of meaningful and effective communication is the #1 complaint of most couples who come to me for counseling. Either the partners don’t have the skills, (After all … who teaches us how to communicate in an intimate relationship?) the skills they do have go out the window in the heat of an argument, they’ve reached the point where communication is “functional” (talking about what the kids are doing, what they’ll have for dinner, who’s going where and when) but not “intimate” (sharing feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc.), or they’ve given up even trying to discuss anything meaningful because doing so has led to repeated escalation, with no resolution of their conflicts. 

By the time many couples get to counseling, they are hurt, disappointed, exhausted, angry, overwhelmed and certainly, frustrated.

I believe that most marriages that end in divorce do so because the husband and wife are not communicating well. They don’t understand each other. And … after a while, they stop trying. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! I have seen dramatic changes in couples (their attitude towards each other, their general demeanor when they come back for their next session) after they learn some basic communication and conflict resolution skills and put them into practice, first in my office, then at home.

A skilled therapist/counselor or coach can see the negative patterns of communication that the couple doesn’t recognize (usually because they’ve become so entrenched in their style of relating to each other). Much of what I do in my practice is educational: in this case, after I discuss with clients my observations about their communication patterns, I begin teaching them more effective ways to communicate with each other.

If you and your partner/spouse are having problems communicating with one another, what I have written below may give you some food for thought and will hopefully, be helpful to you. Some couples can successfully learn healthier techniques on their own. However, most couples benefit from several sessions with a skilled couples counselor or coach to guide the process as they learn new ways of relating to each other.

We are always communicating

Even silence is a form (and a very powerful one!) of communication, but it can mean different things depending on the situation. It can mean we’re tired, angry, hurt, overwhelmed, etc. It can mean that we’ve shut down (whether purposefully or unintentionally) and are not taking in anything our partner has to say. So … how do we know what’s going on with our partner?

Honest, open communication sets the foundation for a “best friendship” and a happy, healthy marriage/relationship. It builds trust in the relationship and in each other. Most of us have to learn to communicate well, especially in relationships that mean a lot to us and in which we are very emotionally involved and vulnerable.

What is Healthy Loving?

Healthy loving is creating opportunities to grow individually and together by making a continuing commitment to foster patience and kindness, and making conscious choices to respond to each other as lovers and friends.

Healthy loving is setting priorities in your life so that there is time to create a safe and intimate environment for the ongoing discovery of each other.

Healthy loving is appreciating, respecting, and valuing your partner’s thoughts and feelings, even when you don’t approve or agree with each other.

Healthy loving is encouraging your partner to grow as an individual even when you may feel threatened by their new directions. It is believing in them even when they don’t believe in themselves.

Healthy loving is being responsible and accountable for your own life; the degree to which you experience happiness, love, joy, and growth both for yourself and for your relationship.

Healthy loving is recognizing the need for playfulness, spontaneity, and providing pleasure for each other, thus creating moments that nurture, encourage, and support the relationship.

Healthy loving is choosing not to manipulate or control each other.

Healthy loving is recognizing that being open and vulnerable makes a relationship intimate and special. This requires a willingness to risk being hurt, rejected, and even feeling unloved.

Healthy loving is trusting your love for each other so you can see beyond anger, fear and disappointment and overcome the obstacles inherent in any loving relationship.

Healthy loving is recognizing that love is never enough. It is being willing to learn the skills that are necessary for nurturing and sustaining an intimate and mutually satisfying relationship.

Healthy loving is creative problem-solving through negotiation which leads to a mutually acceptable agreement. It is sharing in decision making and taking equal responsibility for the results.

Healthy loving is aspiring to live in truth and harmony. It is giving freely, receiving graciously, and being thankful, day after day, for the opportunity to be together.

What to do During a Retrograde?

The periods between the retrograde and direct stations are a time that the energy is held back, so it is a time to re-do, re-vise, and re-think. For example, with Mercury Rx, it’s a time to be internal, to do more inner thinking or revising. It’s time to think about yourself and the manner in which you think about the issues life and how you talk about them. It’s easy to blame others for what is going on in your life, that is called being external.

Now it’s time to see what these things say about you, that is called being internal. What we see in life is a mirror for who we are. Mercury Rx is also a time to rewrite, revise, and re-communicate with others. With a Mars Rx, you may notice that your energy is low, that it takes more effort to do new things, and effort and activity becomes a struggle.

Once the retrograde is over, you’ll notice that these matters are easier and you have the desire to pursue new things, but you may not be quite up to par. This has to do with the shadow phase. Once the shadow phase has completed you’ll be eager to go, and you’ll find you want to do things in a slightly new way.

The best retro advice I can give you is, don’t go out and start any new ventures involved with the planet until it’s over and the energy begins moving again, which is a few days after the retrograde, but some people may have to wait until the shadow phase is over. It depends on your chart.

However, life goes on and we can’t always avoid buying things, traveling, or making deals in a retrograde. It is possible that you are supposed to go through problems that are created in a retrograde to learn something. If you are open and willing to learn, the problems will be resolved. If the retrograde is not affecting your chart, a problem is not caused by the retrograde.

The shadow phenomena is the reason many people feel a retrograde way before it starts, and this is why those who are affected by shadows still have problems after the retrograde. Some people are affected even more by a retrograde if the planet is retrograde in their natal chart, but some have an easier time.

To determine how each retrograde will affect you consider what the planet symbolizes, where it’s located in your chart and the aspects it makes both by transit, progression and in the natal chart. If the planet is making good aspects in your chart, you should have an easy time. If the aspects are difficult, be prepared and watch what you do.

What it all boils down to is that some people sail through a retrograde and others have a heck of a time; to figure it out get your chart done.

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