The Sixteenth Nakshatra: Vishakha

potterswheelThe sixteenth of the 27 Nakshatras is Vishakha, which spans from 20°00′ in Libra/Tula to 3°20′ in Scorpio/Vrishchika in the Sidereal Zodiac. The symbol for Vishakha is the potter’s wheel, which represents the whirlwind changes and illusions of life. Yet life, the clay, is shaped and molded both by the hands of destiny and of karma, and by our own hands, our choices and free will. The clump of clay is given, but it is up to us what we choose to do with it. 

Being in both Libra, ruled by Venus, and Scorpio, ruled by Mars, Vishakha has a very dualistic quality. This is also reflected by the fact that it has two ruling deities: Indra, the luxury and comfort loving god of the gods, and Agni, the god of fire. For those born with natal Moon under or influenced by this nakshatra, this can ignite great opposing forces within the psyche, causing stress, inner turmoil, and feelings of emptiness or restlessness even though life may be full of sensual and material enjoyment. Depending on if one is born in Libra or Scorpio, the molding to one extreme (materialism, affluence, luxury, and the arts) or the other (restlessness, self-righteousness, endless drive, and activity) is likely.

The ruling planet of Vishakha is Jupiter. Depending on other aspects, yogas, and influences in one’s birth chart, Jupiter/Guru can bring in success and prosperity, as well as guide in learning lessons and growing, or he can add an expansive quality to the extremity or fluctuations of the duality of this nakshatra. The Guna qualities can also fluctuate and vary within Vishakha, though the main motivation, or Purusaartha, is towards Dharma, righteous action. It is through the internal trials, struggles, and turmoil that we take action towards great personal and spiritual growth.

Saturn is exalted here at 20° Libra, and the Moon is debilitated here at 3° Scorpio. Those whose natal Saturn is here may experience the extremes of his influence – tremendous restriction in early life, which however then allows tremendous growth later in life (in what area specifically will depend on which house this lays in). Those with *natal Moon in the Scorpio part of Vishakha will likely struggle more with the dissatisfaction and restlessness within the psyche.

*Do keep in mind that there may be other aspects and yogas in your chart that ease or alleviate debilitation, so if your Vedic Astrology Moon is here (this will be different from your Western Astrology Moon sign), you are not necessarily doomed to emotional and psychological distress. And remember that you too, through your choices and attitude, have a hand or two in how the clay of your life is molded.

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Animal Spirits: The Salamander

One of the surprise salamanders!

One of the surprise salamanders!

Yesterday morning before meeting with some Tarot clients, I went to refresh my pups’ water bowl in the office garden for them. To my surprise there were two very tiny young salamanders underneath the bowl. Oddly, this past week, I had been thinking about when I was a child and how I’d lift up some rocks in the garden and find salamanders. I had wondered if I’d still be able to find salamanders in city gardens. Though with all the fog, San Francisco is a moist city, there is no pond or regular water source or watering in the office garden. I knew that this most unexpected surprise was very meaningful for me in this intensely transformational time of my life.

Salamanders are amphibians who live in cool, moist, wet, and watery environments. Mostly they are active at night, which connects them to the Moon. Their Moon and water connections symbolize intuition, the psyche, the soul, psychic abilities, dreams, and the shadow self.

However, salamanders are also solar and fire creatures. Medieval and alchemical legendary beliefs thought that the salamander’s cool dampness could put out fires, and that salamanders could not be harmed by fire for the same reason. So powerful was this belief that their skins were made into clothing that were thought to be inflammable. Many salamanders are also very poisonous, which can cause burning hot rashes.

The salamander’s ability to both create “fire” and withstand fire is why they are associated with the suit of wands (the suit of fire) in the Tarot. (Interestingly, the lion, another symbolic animal spirit for the suit of wands, is also both a solar and lunar creature.) In the more traditional Rider-Waite deck, salamanders appear on the Page of Wands, Knight of Wands, and the King of Wands:

Biologically, the amphibious quality of salamanders make them able to adapt to different and changing environments. This too is reflected in their comfort in being both a solar and lunar creature. They are also well known for their ability to regenerate and grow whole new limbs and tails if severed, which is an ancient ability that only a few life forms today are capable of. Salamanders can adapt to change and loss to evolve, re-new, and grow.

The salamander symbolizes:

  • Change, Transformation, Re-birth, and Renewal
  • Connection to early times/life on earth and past lives
  • Being comfortable in both light/heat/fire and darkness/cold/water
  • Adaptability to change
  • Visions, Dreams, & Secrets, and Awareness & Enlightenment
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Butterfly Journal 8th Month: Expansion (Entry #1)

dianaAs compassion for ourselves, others, and the planet develops and grows, we begin to feel ourselves expand. Just by our decision to embark upon this journey of spiritual transformation, we took the first steps to leave the state of contraction and selfishness behind. By now we are growing and expanding so much that we are bursting out of the bonds of the cocoon.

For the eighth month, stretch your wings! That is, let your mind, heart, and soul reach out into the world. Focus on feeling the different ways in which you are connected to everything, both near and far. Notice the interconnectedness of all things.

In the last journal entry I discussed the difference between compassion and empathy, and how our empathic ability and understanding allows us to find compassion for others. It is through both empathy and compassion that we learn, or remember, that we are truly all connected and interconnected. It is this awakening and awareness that clears the way for each of us to expand.

However, challenges can arise as we expand, as we open ourselves to empathically pick up on others’ emotions and states of being, and as we extend compassion towards others and in turn ourselves (as we learn to face, accept, and understand our own pains and suffering). A question was brought up in the last entry’s comments about how to face the challenges of “moments of empathic build-up,” and what to do. The protective and instinctual thing most of us would do is shut down, withdraw, or become emotionally numb. However, this leads to contraction, which inhibits our spiritual growth and often makes us feel alone in the world.

In order to be open and expand without becoming overloaded by what we pick up empathically and without allowing ourselves to be so open that we become drained by others, firstly we need to be grounded. When grounded, we are centered in our Be-ing, and it is easier to differentiate between our own emotions and others. Being grounded helps to turn the focus and awareness within, from the heart and soul, instead of the ego/mind’s over-thinking and illusions of the external circumstances. When grounded we can observe both ourselves and others with clarity and compassion.

There are many ways in which we can ground ourselves. Some of these I have mentioned in other posts, but here is a list of some practices that help us stay grounded and bring us back to center while at the same time bringing to our awareness the interconnectedness of all. They are also good for our health and spiritual growth:

  • Breathe! Stop for few minutes to take some deep breaths when feeling overloaded with emotions or overwhelmed by others’ emotions. Breathe deeply or do some Pranayama practices. 
  • Meditate or just sit quietly clearing the mind of thoughts.
  • Do some gentle moving meditation such as walking, tai chi, or yin yoga.
  • Engage in intense exercise to help burn off and release extra steam so it’s easier to ground.
  • Visualize roots coming from your feet growing into and connecting to the nourishing support of Mother Earth.
  • Do devotional practices, such as chanting Mantras, prayer, or reading sacred texts.
  • Physically connect to the earth: walk barefoot on the earth or beach, garden, or be in nature.
  • Staying well-hydrated also helps. Water, like earth, is a feminine element, and they help us stay connected to our divine-feminine within (men and women) which is intuitive, empathic, and compassionate.

When in the midst of an empathic build-up moment with others, we may not be able to stop and walk away to do some grounding, but remember that we can always breathe. Our breath connects us to the universe, and every other human, animal, and plant on the planet. It both clears the clutter of the mind and opens the heart to connect to all with compassion. Like the butterfly free from the contracted confines of the cocoon, open up, stretch, and fill your wings with breath!

To read all previous Butterfly Journal entries, Click Here.

If you are interested in embarking on your own journey of transformation, you can purchase Butterfly Journal for under $10 from Create SpaceAmazon (and international stores), or Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about and read reviews for Butterfly JournalClick Here.

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The Fifteenth Nakshatra: Swati

coral2The fifteenth of the 27 Nakshatras is Swati which spans from 6°40′ to 20°00′ in Libra/Tula in the Sidereal Zodiac. Swati, स्वाति, is the Sanskrit name for the star Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in the sky in the constellation Boötes, the herdsman. The symbol for Swati is coral, a sea creature that has a hard outer shell and reproduces from within this casing. The coral represents man, whose soul is encased and restricted by the physical sheaths yet continuously is driven towards expansion.

The ruling planet of Swati is Rahu, the North Node. Rahu can be very materialistically driven, and along with Venus, the earthly desirous and luxury-loving ruler of Libra, those with natal Moon in Swati are usually drawn to seek wealth and material success. The ruling deity is Vayu, the god of wind and prana/breath, who controls our intellect and desires. Through prana, Spirit flows through and within the physical forms to experience the physical/material world. Being in Libra, the Scales, the material side becomes over-laden causing dissatisfaction with accomplishments. The lesson is to find equilibrium between the physical and spiritual.

The main motivation, or Purusaartha, of Swati is Artha. One born here or under the influence of this Nakshatra will seek meaningful and goal-oriented activities related to work, career, and finances; and will also seek to find a balance between the Guna qualities of Tamas (luxury, illusion, sluggishness) and Sattva (purity, harmony, piety).

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A Very Special Visit

Me&SunnyAbout two weeks ago I had the joy of visiting a fellow blogger and fantastic photographer, Jo Danehy at the Sundog Drift Ranch. Here is her post about the visit. We all – 3 humans, 2 horses, 5 adult Golden Retrievers, 9 7-week old golden babies, my 2 Alaskan Malamutes, 1 Burro, 2 Manx cats, and several goats had a wonderful time!

This was the first time I’ve gone to visit a blog “friend” and am so happy that we are now “real” friends. :-) Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell if bloggers are for real, but many, many of us are. I also met another fellow blogger who came to San Francisco on a trip last Fall, so if any of you are in or visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, or Northern California (heck, I drove 8 hours round trip in one day for this special visit – so worth it!!!) I’d be happy to meet you.

Do click on over to The Sundog Drift and see the many pictures from this wonderful visit! Happy Spring to All!

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April Tarot Tuesday!


Gilded Tarot

On the first Tuesday of each month, I will offer up to 5 free one-card tarot readings. If you are interested, you can contact me privately from the contact form here. Let me know if there is a specific question or area of life you’d like me to focus on. If not that is fine too. Readings will be scheduled in the order received. I will respect your privacy and only use a first name initial in the post.

Here are this week’s queries, spreads, and readings:

1) From A: Confusion has swept in regarding my relationship…can you help with any clarification?

hermitThe Hermit (reversed)

Either you or the other person in the relationship has an unexpressed desire or soul calling to be alone to do some soul searching, self-study, and seeking of the light within rather than be in a relationship. You could stay together and allow one of you to go off on this spiritual quest for a while if you so choose. It may be that it is actually what you both need.

2) From M: Where to go with my back and forth relationship confusion issues?

3pThree of Pentacles (reversed)

I feel there is a swaying between what your mind thinks it wants and desires and what your soul/unconscious self is trying to tell you what you need to do. This card indicates you do not yet have the foundation – emotionally and/or materially/physically – to build a solid and stable relationship upon. If emotional, spend some time working on this. If material, work with setting aside the ego’s fears. Loving relationships aren’t built upon material things.

3) From R: A blind reading.

kpKnight of Pentacles

Slowing down, taking some time to rest, and having stability, especially financial is what you need and what you seek right now. Set all the superfluous and time-wasting activities aside to focus on the things you really want to do in your life and the things that you desire to commit to.

4) From E: How will my new job work out?

images-4The Magician

You have the education and skills you need for this job. You are ready and will perform “magic”. This is an excellent and auspicious card for anything new in life. The new job should work out very well and set you up for greater growth.

Sessions and Readings: I am available for private spiritual counseling and life coaching sessions and readings, where I combine Intuition, Empathy, Clairvoyance, and Energy Healing with the tools of Tarot and Astrology to assist you to:

  • Explore and learn about your personal astrology
  • Gain insight and understanding into your soul’s dharma and karma
  • Connect with your greater life purpose
  • Gain clarity on the lessons and challenges in your life
  • Understand your relationships and career path
  • Discover your potential experiences in this lifetime
  • Tap into the messages of your dreams
  • Find a path for healing from within

If anyone is interested in my life coaching/spiritual counseling sessions with in-depth personal astrology (Vedic or Western) or Tarot readings, you can email me from the Services page here.

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गुरुस्तोत्रम् Gurustotram (3 & 4)



Art by Josephine Wall

अज्ञानतिमिरान्धस्य ज्ञानाञ्जनशलाकया ।

चक्षुरुन्मीलितं येन तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ।। ३ ।।

स्थावरं जङ्गमं व्याप्तं येन क्र्त्स्नं चराचरम् ।

तत्पदं दर्शितं येन तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ।। ४ ।।

(3) ajñaanatimiraandhasya jñaanaañjanashalaakayaa

cakshurunmiilitam yena tasmai shriiguruve namah

(4) sthaavaram jangamam vyaaptam yena krtsnam caraacaram

tatpadam darshitam yena tasmai shriiguruve namah

(3) Free from the slavery of ignorance by anointing with awareness, 

that made visible to the eye, praise in the name of the radiant teacher.

(4) The permanent/unmoving, the impermanent/moving, that which is omnipresent in all that is created

has been revealed to me, praise in the name of the radiant teacher.

(3) The eye now sees, freed from the bonds of ignorance by the blessing of awareness. Praise in the name of the Guru.

(4) All that is created, the animate and inanimate, is the All that is omnipresent. This has been revealed to me. Praise in the name of the Guru.

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