David R. Roell died a year ago this month, and the loss to the astrological community was enormous. For me, it was incalculable.
Dave ran the Astrology Center of America, an ambitiously-named online astrological bookstore, which operated at various periods from southern California and New York, then later in Maryland, where I met him. Ambitious, certainly; but also accurate: if an astrological tome was in print anywhere, Dave knew about it and could get it for you; if it wasn’t in print, he might angle for the right to republish it. He was like that: he believed that information should be readily available, and he did his damnedest to make that happen. Most of my astro-library came from Dave’s store.
Dave was an astrologer’s astrologer, which is to say he knew his stuff AND that of almost everyone who’s ever written about it. He was a lover of arcane astro-lore, and he had opinions on all of it—expressed weekly in the newsletter he began in 2007—crossing swords in words as witty as they were wise (and sometimes downright cranky). The two slim volumes he produced, Skeet Shooting For Astrologers and Duels At Dawn were distillations of those columns, which ranged from the topical (he had it in for the Royals) to the philosophically speculative (the Star of Bethlehem, frinstance); and they are wonderful. (Go look ‘em up, and read them, cover to cover. Or dip, as Dave did, into a bit of everything anywhere in the books.)
Dave died on July 29th, 2014, of a heart attack; and left the world at large—and me, personally—a lot poorer. I miss being able to call him up to ask who was writing what, or where I could find more information on this or that—Dave always knew.
So long, Dave. RIP.
Reviewing the heart. That’s the whole purpose of Venus Retrograde—from July 25th until September 6th. That we may feel lonely or rejected is incidental—we need to take stock every so often to know exactly what it we DO feel.
Venus is about to enter Virgo—briefly. We get two weeks of this much-maligned transit, before it retrogrades back into Leo on the 31st, there to languish, backwards and forwards (on the 6th of September), until October 8th. So why does a Virgoan Venus have such a bad reputation, and what can we learn from its brief sojourn in the sign of Mercurial Earth?
Astrology is only as good as the astrologer. That’s right, you heard me: in fact, I’ll say it again. Astrology is only as good as the astrologer—and we vary. In philosophy; in training; in expertise; in empathy. Some of us know our stuff, but can’t talk; some are extraordinary counselors, with only a smattering of astrological knowledge. Some of us write better than we speak. Some have extraordinary insights, but no ability to communicate them.
Some have impressive credentials; others are self-taught.
Some of us believe in free will. Some of us hint darkly at fate. Most of us mean well, most of the time; and almost any of us would be delighted to have you as a client.
So how do you KNOW? After all, you are entrusting your birth data to us to unlock your life’s secrets, and you are paying down your hard-earned shekels for the privilege; how do you find the right astrologer for YOU?
Trust your instincts. Ask around. Check with a local astrological society or school. Do some background reading. Ask questions about the astrologer’s process BEFORE you book. (Did I say trust your instincts?) If you don’t like what you’re hearing, or feel comfortable talking with the person, choose someone else.
And once you’ve chosen, if the reading doesn’t sound like you, try a different practitioner. (It SHOULD be familiar: it’s about you, after all.)
Astrology WORKS. It’s a map of your life. But it’s only as good as the astrologer you choose.
Wednesday’s New Moon at 24• of Cancer is all about relationships, and figuring out new ways to play them. It’s a heady mix of emotions, well-laced with passion and outrageous enthusiasms—not much practicality here. But for whatever we lack in groundedness, we more than compensate in creative work-arounds—we literally invent as we go along. And we begin to look beyond our own concerns, to the wider world and its needs.
What dominates this chart is the exact opposition of Pluto to the conjunction of Mercury and Mars. Lunations are the start of the monthly cycle, and this one challenges privilege in all its various forms. The Mercury-Mars Sabian degree is 15 Cancer: “In a sumptuous dining hall, guests relax after partaking of a huge banquet.” Pluto at 15 Capricorn answers with a demand for generosity towards those less fortunate: “In a hospital, the children’s ward is filled with toys.” It’s worth asking ourselves the questions: “What do I owe my neighbor?” “How are we taking care of each other?” And Saturn—which rules the sign Pluto occupies—rests at 29 Scorpio: “A First Nations woman pleads to the chief for the lives of her twin sons.” Love as a principle of redemption and commitment.
In other news, Venus and Jupiter are still traveling closely together, altho’ Venus is about to move into sober Virgo. Never mind, says defiant Jupiter, I’ll go it alone. The party is not the same, however, particularly later in the month when Venus retrogrades back into Leo: the snazzy show tunes will suddenly sound tinny and false. After a summer of gorgeous excess, we grow uneasy, longing for more mundane fare. (And we shall get it, come September.) But for now—that extravagant last call before closing…
And that still, small voice, clearly begging for compassion and charity.
In the 1970s, when I wrote sporadically for a downtown paper, I used to drink wine with the editor and passionately plot astrological murder mysteries, which I never did get around to writing. My editor-friend was bemused by my detective-astrologer, whom he dubbed an “antic mantic”. “Mantic?” I asked. “You don’t know the word? Look it up,” he replied. So I did; and discovered, belatedly, that that is what I am.
A mantic. According to The Free Dictionary, “Of, relating to, or having the power of divination; prophetic.” From the Greek word mantikos, meaning seer. You betcha. I LIVE in the realm of divination.
What is a solstice?
“Either of the two times a year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator: about June 21, when the sun reaches its northernmost point on the celestial sphere, or about December 22, when it reaches its southernmost point.” (http://dictionary.com)
In other words, when it’s hanging around the North (summer) or South (winter) Pole.
“Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)" – Dorothy Parker
July’s Astro-Weather is dominated by Venus and Jupiter in late Leo, squaring Saturn in Scorpio. We will be gloriously self-indulgent and decadent all month—but we will have to pay for it eventually—probably on or around the 25th, when Venus goes retrograde. Suddenly those expensive impulses (egged on by Uranus in Aries, trining the Dynamic Duo all month) won’t seem like such a good idea…
Part of this dramatic dabbling in decadence is likely to be gastronomic: Mars in Cancer likes food, and lots of it, particularly if his feelings are hurt. Which they probably WILL be: Mars is not comfortable in sensitive, homey Cancer; and spurred by the prevailing permissiveness, we could all gain weight—which we’ll deal with when Jupiter moves into stringent Virgo next month. (Venus is retrograde for all of August, so we will have much leisure to repent the sins of July.)
All in all, July looks to be the forerunner to reform—a month in which we are made increasingly uncomfortable and even embarrassed by past and present excesses. Saturn WILL extract his price towards the end of the month, unless we have heeded the early warning signals and been prudent.
Unlikely—so expect to gear yourself up for a frugal fall.
Ariel Harper Nave
“I believe that there is NOTHING sent us that we cannot handle if we know ourselves well enough and that’s why I do what I do.”