GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 15 May 2022

Stay Alert and Doors Will Open.
You can never know when and where a magic door will open for you,
so pay attention, stay watchful, and never give up hope. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie


Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon

)0( )0( )0( )0(
Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
)0( )0( )0( )0(

Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.


Current Moon Phase: FULL MOON

Time: Approx. 14 days after New Moon (Energy lasts from three days before to three days after actual full moon)

Goddess Aspect: Mother

Associated Goddesses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis

Magickal Attributes: Fruition, Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination, “extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money, and dreams.

Goddess Month of Month of Hera runs from 5/16 – 6/12

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ May 13th to June 9th ~ Hawthorn

Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association

What’s Happening in MAY
May 10: Jupiter enters Aries
May 10: Mercury turns Retrograde
May 15/16: Scorpio Full Blood Moon Eclipse (May 16 East Coast time)
May 15/16th: The Vesak, the birthday of Buddha
May 15: Mokosh is the Mother Goddess in Native Slavic Paganism
May 15: Green Corn Dance
May 16: May cheeses were traditionally made at this time. A French summer cheese: Nettle Cheese, wrapped in fresh nettle leaves for ripening.
May 19: Canadians celebrate the birthdays of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Day is also the unofficial beginning of the warm season north of the border. Canadian gardeners, raise your trowels!
May 20: On this day in 1810, Dolley Madison is said to have served the first ice cream at the White House–strawberry, it is said. Not so: Thomas Jefferson beat her to it, but the myth lives on. For the real scoop, check out this post.
May 23: The birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, born in 1707. A Swedish botanist, Linnaeus helped us keep things straight with his binomial system of plant names.
May 27: Today is the birthday of Rachel Carson (1907), writer, ecologist, and marine biologist. Her courageous 1962 book Silent Spring alerted the world to the dangers of pesticide poisoning.
May 30: The Southern Ute Bear Dance (Memorial Day Weekend)


Reiki III and Advanced: 1 PM – 3 PM – May 22
Black Hat – May 28 – 7 PM – 9PM
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – June 5
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – June 12
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – June 19

Join us at


High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon

The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.

Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord

You Might Also Be Interested In:


Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!

There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!

During this course, in addition to the online lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.

I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!

There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.

For more info or to join my class, click here!

The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 for the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!

Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course

Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.


The Goddess School Grimoire
Hardcover: $39.45
Softback: $26.95
eBook (PDF): $6.25

The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School ( has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.


Join Our Cat Community on Twitter! The Cat Philosophers! Must Love Cats!

Three Rules

  1. Be kind and respectful.
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  3. Explore and share.


Full Flower Moon in Scorpio and Lunar Eclipse on May 15-16!

The Scorpio Full Moon brings powerful energies for changing and transforming our lives. It is a good time for releasing, clearing, and cleansing the darkness of hidden, unspoken conflicts and a time of quietude to get deep with ourselves. Sun is in Taurus, and Scorpio-Taurus interplay brings forward a tension between signs polarities and requires some intelligent balancing. While self-oriented Taurus enjoys stability, certainty and security supported by materials possessions on a physical plane of existence, passionate Scorpio represents more mystical concepts of life focusing on intangibles, changes, and inner emotional and spiritual workings.

In this esoteric dance of Light nature of Taurus and a Shadow nature of Scorpio, we need to find a balance and uncover the path to healing from inside out. The best way to do that is to acknowledge our own shadows and start cultivating self-love by accepting our dual nature.

The lunar eclipse offers the ways to transform heavy emotions into expanding awareness of the new realities. It is important not to resist to transformative changes even when they cause discomfort and uncertainty of the unknowns.
The name for this Full Moon was inspired by wonderful colors and fragrance of blooming flowers gifted by Mother Earth as a celebration of Spring. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Full Milk Moon.

Text: Rivers in the Ocean


Heartwings Love Notes 1034 Friends of the Heart

Heartwings says, “Friendships form an important part of life.”

Because I have lived such a long life, I have had many friendships of different kinds. I have certainly experienced the truth of the saying “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I’m glad for any kind of friend, whichever she or he has been. I even have special friends I never have and may never meet face to face, but know through my computer. But the lifelong friends are the most special. I have a couple of the lifetime sort that go back close to fifty years! Sometimes the connection has taken place at a distance, sometimes large chunks of time have passed between contacts, but the friendship endures.
There is a very special paperweight on my coffee table. Upon it is written, “The loveliest flowers in the garden of my life are my friends.” The one who gave it to us is now dancing with angels, and I know this because she was such a special person, not just to me but to many others. I miss her, and Stephen does too. Once upon a time our phone would ring at nine o’clock every morning except Sundays. I’d pick it up and hear the cheerful voice of our friend. She and I would chat briefly about our lives and doings before hanging up and getting on with our day.
She lived downstairs from us in the same building and suffered from pains in her legs. Many evenings I would visit her in her apartment. I would sing to her and do healing work for her pain, and she always said she felt better afterward. It was my joy to do what I could for her. We spent time in one another’s company, chatting or just visiting. She was very clever with her hands and made me some sweet dolls I cherish and keep close.
A good friend of mine, also a writer, recently wrote this: My mother used to say, “Friendships are like flowers, if you don’t give them regular water and sunshine, they die.” When I read this, I realized the way my late friend and I had nurtured our friendship. My mother, too, provided me with a good example of friendship nurturing. She and her friends used to meet twice a month at each other’s homes for lunch. They’d bring their mending or whatever handwork they might be working on and sit together in friendly conversation, after lunch.
In today’s world with its many distractions and complications, friends are more likely to meet at the gym or other exercise facility after work. But the intent is the same: the nurturing of friendship. You never know when someone will fall ill and leave the earth, and there need be no regrets if the friendship has been well tended. My friends are very important to me. I maintain a large email correspondence, occasionally telephone to chat or perhaps text a friend to see how she or he is doing. Watering and tending my garden of friends is vitally important to me.

May you find good ways to nurture your friendships.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

PS I am so thankful for those who read my column and write to me with comments and considerations. Please feel free to do so. My poetry chapbook, Poems and Prayers is available from me for $10. Postpaid. Just drop me a line at . For more love notes, please visit


Llewellyn’s Spell A Day

Divination with Spring Flowers

“He loves me. He loves me not,” she says as she plucks the petals from a recently picked flower. It sounds cliché, but flowers are a lovely way to do a little springtime divination. Flowers don’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, so this works best with questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” For best results, pick your own flower, preferably in the early morning hours, when the possibilities of a new day are at their strongest.

Before plucking your flower, say:
Spring flower picked in
the morning dew,
Show me my future, may it be true!

Hold whatever question you have in your mind as you pluck off the petals, beginning with the affirmative answer (“Yes, it will happen!”) before moving to the negative (“No, it will not.”). The last petal will give you your answer. If the answer you receive is positive, save the petals and keep them for good luck.
May Flowers

There is a saying “April showers bring May flowers.” The saying, however, doesn’t specify which flowers or what you should do to make the most of that abundant May energy. I suggest turning your attention to flowering herbs, which can be made into healing teas, tinctures, and ointments and, of course, used for magic. Which herbs are in flower will vary depending on where you live, but you can either plant them in your yard or garden on purpose or take a walk and see what has sprung up without human intervention. ( Just make sure that any herbal flowers you pick are safe and readily identifiable.) When you have found some lovely May flowers you wish to use, put them in a vase or bowl on your altar and say this spell:

April showers bring May flowers.
May those flowers bring me
healing and magic and joy.
So mote it be!

Harmony in a Bottle

Friday the 13th is typically a day filled with superstition. Today, try to bring harmony into your world. Create a magickal water to boost your spirits and keep you in balance.

You will need distilled or spring water to mix with your essential oils, herbs, and crystals in a container. Some possibilities of herbs or oils to incorporate include heather, lilac, and thyme. Crystals or gemstones to use could include quartz and moonstone. Use what works for you. When adding your ingredients to the container, say:

When my days are in disarray,
allow me to find harmony today.

Store this in a container with a tight seal on it. If you have a small spray bottle, transfer some to it for easy use. Once you have the spray mixed up, use it throughout the day as needed. If there is any left over, you can use it whenever you feel like you are in a state of imbalance.
Springtime Love

Who doesn’t feel the love in th e air after Beltane? That celebration of love and fertility can last all month. Are you in the mood for love with someone who’s near you? Someone far away? Are you feeling May’s currents of passion?

Set up your altar with all the love trinkets you can find—candy hearts, chocolate kisses, bright jewelry, photos of the one you love, cut flowers in a vase, or anything else you’re inspired to add. As you light a pink candle (of course), recite these lines from the poem “The Bait” by John Donne and fling them out toward your desired beloved:

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.

Collect some of that golden sand (in a heart-shaped dish) and visualize those silken lines and silver hooks on your altar. Invite your desired beloved to create some special springtime love.

Prove some new pleasures. And go to a good concert. (Be sure to extinguish the candle.)
Shower Song

Some people get their best ideas in the shower. It’s a great place to get physically clean, but all that water can also wash away fogginess and stress.

Turn your morning (or evening) routine into a refreshing ritual. Chose a soap scent with meaning (and that uses real herbs or essential oils). Mint is refreshing, citrus is happy, and vanilla and cinnamon are warming. While in the shower, as the water pours over you and you’re enveloped in soap, sing this simple song and visualize what you want out of the shower (brightening, wakening, clarity, etc.):

Bubble, bubble
Shower and scrubbable,
I feel _!

Fill in the blank with your desired outcome (Awake! Refreshed! Calm! At peace! ).
Nurture Nest Spell

It can be difficult to manifest a goal that doesn’t have something easily tangible for you to work with (such as love, truth, health, etc.). This spell will help make your goal more physical for you.

Locate a small roundish pebble (about one to two inches long) that feels good to you. After cleaning it, draw a symbol on it that represents what you’re looking for, or write the word itself. This is now the “egg” containing the idea you will nurture. Create a little nest for it. This can be as simple as a little box that you decorate, a swath of fabric, or a nest largely formed of dried herbs that align with your goal.

Set your egg in the nest upon your altar (or a safe place) and visit it daily, even for just a couple of minutes. Add little items that inspire and feed your idea until it has manifested! Afterward, you may return the pebble to the earth and recycle your nest as necessary.
Make a Port-a-Pagan

Doing ritual in our own spaces is always simple, but what if we’re caught in a new location, burning with the desire to carry out ritual or spellwork but without the tools to do so? Of course, you may say ritual doesn’t absolutely require any tools—and that’s true. But sometimes we want the tools. The answer? The Port-a- Pagan, a miniature set of spellcrafting materials.

Start with a small lidded tin, one that closes snugly. Add items to it, considering which tools you typically use for ritual and spellwork.

These might include:
• A small altar cloth, such as a bandana or handkerchief
• Birthday cake candles
• Bits of dried herbs
• Small stones or crystals
• Divination tools: miniature tarot cards, small rune stones or sticks, coins, small dice, a scrying mirror, etc. •Vials of salt, oil, and charged water
• Large beads in basic colors
• A collapsible cup/chalice
• Chalk
• Strike-anywhere matches
• Other items as desired

Carry this with you for use anytime.


Nine Ways to Help Others Awaken to Consciousness

By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see a living example of consciousness.

  1. Living by your values allows you to become a positive source of inspiration for others. Don’t hide — express yourself and embrace life without reservation. By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see how one person can make a difference by being a living example of consciousness.
  2. When you communicate your views, do so casually and in a nondogmatic manner. Allow the people you speak with to ask questions. Offer only as much information as they are ready to hear.
  3. Igniting the spark of consciousness can be as easy as giving someone a gift. A favorite book, a medicine bag, or a beautiful gemstone can pique your loved ones’ curiosity and prompt them to begin an exploration of the soul.
  4. Teaching a friend, relative, or colleague to meditate or chant can put them on the path to consciousness while simultaneously reducing their stress levels.
  5. Others may want to know more about living consciously but are unsure of how to begin. Starting a discussion group — even a virtual one — can help you reach out to individuals that are eager to learn.
  6. By recognizing and acknowledging the inherent value in everyone you encounter, you can teach them how to value others. Sometimes, the easiest way to encourage people — even challenging ones — to respect others is to respect them first.
  7. Invite people from your personal and professional lives to join you in attending a ceremony or ritual. The experience may touch them in a profound way or introduce them to a new spiritual path.
  8. Casually point out the interconnectedness of all living beings using concrete, everyday examples. Many people are unaware of how their actions affect the world and are intrigued when they learn of the power they hold.
  9. Introduce your loved ones to conscious living in a lighthearted and enjoyable way. Serve delicious organic recipes at gatherings, volunteer as a group, and show them how wonderful it can feel to be truly aware and connected to the universe.


More Benefits Of The Great Outdoors
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

It doesn’t take a scientific degree to know that spending time outside can make us feel good. Now, two recent studies add to what conventional wisdom has long suggested: Nature is good for both body and mind.

For one study, researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health looked at the effects of living near greenspace (grass, parks, trees, gardens, etc.) on nearly 13,600 women with an average age of 61. After measuring the women’s memory, attention, and learning abilities, along with the estimated amount of greenspace in their neighborhoods, the investigators found that women who lived in areas with more greenery had better cognitive function.

In another recent report, researchers from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions surveyed more than 300 adults about their connection to nature, as well as their estimated daily fruit and vegetable consumption. They found that people who reported feeling more strongly connected to nature also reported eating a more varied diet and consuming more healthful produce than their peers.



A Labyrinth: Celebrating Life’s Twists & Turns
Celebrating Life’s Twists and Turns

by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Interested in how a labyrinth has influenced Dr. Weil’s life? Learn more from the man himself, as he discusses labyrinths…

Life involves many twists and turns. Why not celebrate them?
That is one of many lessons taught by the labyrinth, an ancient form that has fascinated people for millennia. I had one on my ranch in southeastern Arizona (I’ve since moved to a smaller home in Tucson) and I must say, I miss it. When I travel, I seek out labyrinths and always find a slow walk through the turns and curves worthwhile.

A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is often made of tall hedges that obscure the route and offers multiple paths; it is designed to confuse and challenge. A labyrinth has one way in, one way out, and lets you see where you are at all times.

The idea of building the one at my ranch came from a friend, Jace Mortensen. He used the Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France as inspiration, copying the pattern of the famed labyrinth laid into the floor sometime around the year 1200. He used a center stake and string to mark the 11 concentric paths and the central chamber, making a pattern 80 feet across, roughly the same size as the one at Chartres. H then placed stones on the circles.

So what’s the attraction? Labyrinths were traditionally seen as representations of a pilgrimage – people who walk the path were said to be symbolically retracing heroic journeys to salvation or enlightenment. But in recent years, they have been regarded as ways to reach a contemplative state, and this is how I see them. Because the path is complex, it requires one’s full attention – which means the everyday cares that normally nag the conscious mind fall away. The walker becomes quiet, absorbed in this moment, freed by the fact that there is nothing to do now but walk, slowly and deliberately. It is at least restful; at most, transforming.

If you would like to realize the advantages of a labyrinth, an organization called The Labyrinth Society maintains a “Locate a Labyrinth” tool that lets you find labyrinths in your community or in places you may choose to travel. Also, labyrinths are not difficult to build – there are many resources on the web. Enjoy!



Just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people, extending the cycle and giving back.

Behind each of us stands at least one supporter. This was once thought to be the spouse who ran the home while leaving the other spouse free to work. While this is still one valid scenario, most of us will find that we have other kinds of supporters in our lives. In some cases, our supporters are the people whose help allows us to do the things we’re best at, see to our obligations, or pursue or dreams. In other cases, our support may come from the people who are there to help us through life’s challenges by offering us their strength and bolstering our spirit.

Our support may come from our families and friends or from the people we hire–nannies, assistants, gardeners, healers, therapists, and advisors. Our supporters may be the mentors who help us express ourselves by listening to us as we share our thoughts and feelings. Our supporter can be the person sitting next to us at a networking meeting or the teacher from our childhood whose words still resonate in our minds. We have always had supporters around us whether we noticed them or not. No matter where the support comes from, few of us can make it through life without assistance.

As we take the time to acknowledge everyone that has ever supported us, we can’t help but feel grateful. Understanding our place in our human support system helps us see that just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people. By gratefully accepting the expertise and assistance of our supporters, we can consciously and more easily build a life that we love. Thanks to our staff, groups, friends, and loved ones for all their support. We all need each other’s support to thrive in this world.


Music As Medicine
~Andrew Weil, M.D.

For this study, researchers at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine recruited 350 patients who had a heart attack and soon after suffered subsequent chest pain, known as early post-infarction angina. Half the patients received standard treatment with medication. The other half were tested to determine which type of music their body was most likely to respond to positively, and then received standard treatment plus regular music sessions. They were asked to listen to their musical selections for 30 minutes daily whenever it was convenient to sit and rest with their eyes closed.

This continued for seven years after which the researchers reported that music therapy proved more effective than standard treatment alone for reducing anxiety, pain and distress stemming from pain. On average they found that anxiety among the music therapy patients was one third less than among those on standard treatment, angina was about one quarter less. The research team also reported an 18 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure, a 23 percent lower rate of subsequent heart attack, a 20 percent lower need for coronary artery bypass surgery and a 16 percent lower rate of death in the music group.

My take? These results are consistent with other investigations of sound therapy. Music can have a powerful effect on mind and body. When you listen to slow, calming music, your heart naturally beats more slowly, breathing deepens and brainwave patterns change. These physiological reactions are all components of the relaxation response.

Predrag Mitrovic et al, “Music as Medicine,” Presentation at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, March 18, 2020


Imposing Your Will Upon Others

When we impose our will onto others, we are telling them we want to control and leave them without a true voice.

The right to make your own choices is a precious one. We grow when we have the freedom to decide our own paths and determine what makes us happy. Yet there are those who are inclined to try and control others. They may be driven by insecurity, envy, fear, or the need for power. These people are deeply critical of themselves in their own minds, and underlying that critical nature is unhappiness. Their need to feel sure-footed and secure is quenched by controlling those around them, whether they are friends, colleagues, or even pets. However, nearly everyone has found themselves imposing their will upon others at one time or another.

Trying to impose your will on others can be tempting for many reasons. You may feel that your way is the best way or that you have a keener insight into the direction their life should be taking. But, in imposing your will, you are indirectly saying, “I want to control you.” Thus, even when you have the best of intentions, others may end up resenting you for your actions. It is always helpful to remember that it is possible to influence people and change their behavior through education or example without imposing your will on them.

If you’ve caught yourself being a bit bossy on a regular basis, make a note of it. Write down what the situation was and why you acted the way you did. You may have pushed a friend to try something new, because deep inside you wanted to try it yourself but were feeling hesitant. Or you may be unjustly interfering with work teammates because you aren’t sure of their abilities. Next, make an effort to understand and accept their preferences and ways of doing things. It can feel natural to impose your will when you feel that you “know best.” But there is a freedom to trusting others to find their own methods and joys, even when they might differ from yours. Sometimes the best course of action is to step back and relinquish control. You may, in doing so, see everything from a different point of view.


Ghost Hunting Theories
Chesapeake Lovers: Pirate Ghosts, Spooklights, and the Romance of Chesapeake Living

Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake
It isn’t talked about widely, but for 200 years, the Chesapeake Bay dealt with pirates.

Perhaps the most infamous pirate was Blackbeard. After a life of pirating on the seas including the Chesapeake, Blackbeard settled down in North Carolina to the married life. That didn’t last long, however, when Governor Spotswood of Virginia sent Captain Maynard to duel him in North Carolina. After winning, Maynard brought Blackbeard’s head back to Hampton Virginia on the bow of his ship.

Old House Woods
When I was back at my childhood summer home area of the Tidewater Region of Virginia last summer, my friend Julie and I did a little stop by an infamous supposed ghost pirate location, Old House Woods.

Legend says a crew of pirates came ashore in the 1600s and buried their treasure in these woods. They returned to sea where they perished in a storm. On dark nights mysterious figures have been seen digging in the woods with their lanterns.

That’s not all….

There is a Storm Lady of the Woods. It is the wraith of a woman in a long nightgown, her long fair hair fling back from her shoulders, appears whenever dark clouds gather, she is wailing and warning of coming storms.

A man’s car broke down on Old House Woods road and he was looking at the engine when he heard someone behind him say “Is this King’s Highway, I’ve lost my ship.” He turned to see a skeleton in armor. He promptly ran away from it.

As well, a phantom ship is seen in the water nearby. Fishermen report encountering it, lights blazing, men aboard, but no one seeing the fisherman. A fisherman shouted at the ship to not run into him. His small boat was pitched from the tide of it and he said it was a beautiful ship that made no sound, then he heard harp and organ music as it passed. It went into the shore, through the sand and into the Haunted Woods!

You can find a spine-tingling rendition of this legend in Weird Virginia (the Weird USA book series is my serious fav!!!)

Ghost Lights
The Hebron ghost lights are well known in the Maryland area in the County of Wicomico. First reported in the early 1950s, a spectral light was seen in the woods. Town officials wanted to explain it away, but the locals came up with a legend of a slave who was hanged in the woods and others said it was a slave trader and murderess.

Source: A highly skeptical Maryland state trooper, C.C. Serman of the Salisbury barracks, along with several other officers, was sent to investigate and chase the light.

Serman described the light as looking like a “sort of phosphorescent wash basin.”

“The light which appeared to travel about 50 miles per hour, eluded the troopers. The troopers agreed the light wasn’t a gag,” reported The Sun.

“The light, according to a police report, bounces along a back road which connects Hebron with United States Route 50. Or rather, it doesn’t exactly bounce. But it can disappear from the front of a witness, as Trooper Robert W. Burkhardt has declared, and reappear behind him,” the newspaper reported.

Whatever this “thing” is, The Sun reporter wrote, it caused “an uneasy tingling along the nape of the neck.”

I find this interesting because in my account in my book (below), I had watched blue balls of light dance around the graveyard across the sandy road from our summer home on the Chesapeake in Mobjack Bay. I went to investigate and heard a whizzing sound and felt the hair stand on end.

When I was a kid, our summer home in Newpoint at Doctor’s Creek faced a cemetery. I used to watch blue ball lights appear, dance around and then just disappear. I wrote about it in my book Vacationing With Ghosts. What was interesting was that I went in the daytime to see what might be causing it and I felt like I was under attack by something humming and buzzing by me, making my hair stand on end.

Vacationing With Ghosts
In my book, Vacationing With Ghosts, I share my childhood experiences at our summer home on the Chesapeake and the unexplained phenomena of the area, including the pirate legends. The book even includes a section of Chesapeake recipes from my childhood.

One such thing was a woman who seemed to scream across Mobjack Bay. She sounded like she was calling for someone. We were told that if you heard her voice while out fishing, it was a sign of luck for your fishing trip. I do recall us clamming in the pre-dawn hours during low tide and hearing her.

If you love to go to the sea in the summertimes and your only getaway this summer is to stay home and read about it, this book will sweep you away into the five senses, heart, and soul of the beautiful and mysterious Cheasapeake.

And, if pirates and spooklights aren’t enough, the Chesapeake also has its own monster, Chessie. She is reported as the typical serpent/dinosaur form.

Interestingly, the last time I went back to visit the Chesapeake, I was out on a boat going to the lighthouse I used to play in as a kid when the captain shouted “dolphins!” I was shocked to see dolphins in Mobjack Bay. I had never seen them as a child and I practically lived on the water. He reported it was something newer in the past several years. Perhaps a manatee or other creature not usually known for the Chesapeake has made a showing, but the legends of sightings of Chessie continue today.


The Druids Garden
Building an Earth Oven Part I: Foundation, Dome, and Structure


An earth oven is an oven made of cob (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw) with insulating features (firebricks, bottles). It is an extremely efficient and sustainable method of doing any baking you might need to do. One firing of your earth oven can allow you to bake different things for hours (pizzas, bread, casseroles, vegetables, etc), and it takes only a small amount of wood to heat. We fire ours by simply picking up deadfall sticks and branches, cutting them up, and that’s all we need. An Earth Oven is fully sustainable to build and cook with, and you can locally source literally all of the materials for the oven (and in fact, minus fire bricks, you can probably harvest everything you need from your own land or the land around you).

An Earth Oven allows you to connect deeply with the earth itself, encouraging you to slow down, root, and ground. It is certainly a nice example of “slow time” and “slow food”, as the oven takes a few hours to fire before you can bake in it, and it requires some learning. With that said, the rewards of this approach way outweigh any challenges you might experience as you learn and grow.

The other thing about your oven that is rarely discussed is that it is truly a sensory experience. Your earth oven will allow you to bake any number of delicious creations–and when you bake in it, the smell of the bread permeates the clay itself, and it has this incredible smell, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Even on cold days, being near your oven will keep you warm (and your oven will stay warm for literally hours–possibly all night). It is just such a wonderful thing.

Earth ovens are a wonderful kind of “hearthspace” where we can cook foods for ourselves and loved ones, use natural materials to build from the land and honor the land, and create a very sustainable and low-input cooking method that is a joy to make and a joy to bake in. In this new series, I’ll offer full details about how to build an earth oven step by step! This series will have three posts–today’s post covers materials, preparing the foundation, preparing the base, and creating the dome. Next week’s post will explore insulating the oven and finishing the oven through a mosaic/cob, finish plaster, and options for doors. The final post will explore how to cook in your earth oven and some tips and tricks I’ve learned in my first year with the earth oven.

Preparation: Materials
In order to build your earth oven, you will need to prepare some materials and do some prep work. Earth ovens are not expensive to build–most of the investment is in your own time and labor.

Materials for building:
Stone and urbanite: You will need some kind of base for your oven; most people use local stone or even urbanite for a strong foundation. Urbanite refers to waste materials like broken bricks, broken concrete blocks, etc. You can use urbanite to “fill” the inside of your base and create a stable foundation. I have also seen people build ovens on old large stumps or platforms.
Subsoil / cob: First, you will need access to your subsoil (that’s the soil that is not full of organic matter, but the soil below it). You will need quite a bit of subsoil, so make sure you have easy access. Once you have access to the subsoil, you will want to do some soil testing (which I explain in the link) so that you can be sure you have good subsoil to work with. To access subsoil here, I found a tree that had gone down and uprooted itself–the roots and ground below it was full of all of the subsoil I needed.
Straw: You will need a bale of straw for your cob. Straw adds strength, can provide insulation, and can help hold your structure together.
Sharp sand. You may also need some sharp sand (known as builder’s sand) depending on what your cob tests reveal. You can get this from a landscape supply or building supply place.
Sand: In addition to the sharp sand as an additive, you will need sand to build your sand dome.
Newspaper: You will need 3-4 newspapers for your dome.
Bottles: You will need at least 20 wine bottles for insulating your base. These can be foraged from recycling bins, saved by friends, or even found at local restaurants. Depending on your structure, you can also use smaller recycled bottles to help with insulation (I did this, but some people use only straw).
Tools for building:
Wheelbarrow or cart: You need something to move materials around your site.
Shovel: A shovel for digging subsoil and moving cob around.
Screen. To prepare your subsoil, you will need to screen it of larger items (stones, debris, etc). For this, you can build a simple soil screener (this also works great for screening compost!). Make your soil screener large enough that it will sit over your wheelbarrow or cart that you will be using to move it. I built mine with scrap lumber and 1/2″ hardware cloth.

5-gallon buckets: A few buckets are super helpful. They can move the cob from where you mix it to your oven. You can fill some with water to rinse your feet.
Tarps: A small tarp will allow you to mix your cob. You might want several, especially if you are doing the work yourself (I found that when I was doing the work myself, I would gather materials – screen cob, gather rocks, etc, on one day and then build on the next, so tarps were able to keep my cob screened and protect it from the elements). You also will need a tarp to cover your cob oven until you can have a structure built for it.

Cob screen in action – this was built with scrap lumber and 1/2″ hardware cloth

Other Tools and Materials:
Pizza peel (I created one from an old aluminum pan and an old rake handle)
Firing door and baking doors (more on this in an upcoming post)
Shelter structure
We’ll cover these last three in an upcoming post.

Preparation: Oven Size
You can decide how large of an earth oven you want to build. There are many measurements in the Build Your Own Earth Oven which I used as a reference. Here’s a simple diagram of the oven and the dimensions that I used. These allow you to figure out how large of a foundation and base you need and will determine the overall structure.

For example, to get good airflow, I created an oven that was 27″ in diameter, which included an 18″ high dome. Your door should be 63% the height of the oven or 11.5″ high.

Your oven can be larger or smaller, of course, depending on your needs.

Preparation: Selecting a site
I think it is really important to spend time selecting the right space. Your space needs to drain well (especially if you are in a temperate climate that has snow/ice). Your space also needs to be protected from the elements as cob is a natural material that will weather quickly if left without protection. Your space should also align with your landscape (see setting intentions with nature).

Your oven should be somewhere easily accessible. You will need to tend a fire every 20-30 minutes for four hours in order to have an earth oven hot enough for pizzas or other baked goods. Thus, you don’t want to put it so far away from your house that it’s hard to tend the fire (but not close enough to cause any insurance issues!)

For my earth oven, I decided to build a little nook on the edge of the property that leads into the forest. That provided both shelter from the elements (and it will get a permanent roof this year) as well as being pretty close to the house for tending the fire in the oven.

Preparation: Clearing and Foundation
Building your earth oven begins with a good foundation. Any cob structure should have “a good hat and feet”, and the foundation is the “feet” part of that equation. Here is step by step how I built my foundation.

I began by measuring out my foundation – 46″ based on the height of my oven. Then I removed all of the plant material in a respectful and reverent way (as described in this post); I worked to replant any material that needed to be replanted, etc.

After clearing, I dug down 1.5 feet and added a gravel base for drainage. It’s hard to tell from these photos, but we are on a slight incline, so I made a drainage area to the left of what you see here.

Preparing and Mixing Cob
The next step is to screen and create your cob. I went to my site with my wheelbarrow and put a 5-gallon bucket at a time in my screen. Using a rock, I worked the cob through the screen. (More details about making cob here).

After that, I moved it to my building site and prepared to mix the cob.

To mix the cob, you will need an old tarp, two or more buckets of water (I like to use warm water!), and some happy feet. First create a well in the center of your cob and, just like making noodles or dough by hand, then start mixing the cob with your feet. You can use the tarp to flip the cob and keep working it.

For building, you will want to also add handfuls of straw (I cut the straw up so it’s a little shorter) and work that in. Ideally, you want something with a good consistency that sticks together and isn’t too wet and crumbly. You can add more water or more soil as you mix. I have more detailed instructions on mixing cob in an earlier post.

You can also get others to help you–friends, children, or even geese.

Building your base
In addition to the cob, you will also need something to build your base up that is fireproof and stable–rock or brick is a very good choice for you. For my foundation, I used a mixture of cob along with locally foraged stones and urbanite (old concrete bricks that were broken and strewn about the property.) A good foundation and good base are critical to the success of your oven. You want to build your base high enough that it’s comfortable for you to fire and use the oven. I kept mine pretty low cause I like to sit on the ground when I work!

I began by mapping out a circle (using a string and some chalk) and building the outside of the circle up using the cob as a mortar. On the inside, I added my urbanite brick pieces and filled in all holes with smaller stones and cob. Here’s the first layer.

As I worked, I continued to build up the stones on the outside. Since I also planned some decoration, I had stones I had already added mosaic to that I wanted to include. These pieces were made of mosaic materials leftover from both from doing my mosaic bathtub a few years ago + broken pottery and plates that I save.

It took me two building sessions, but the base continued to grow.
You can see that I’m building up the inside of the base as I build up the outside of the base.

At this stage, I have the base at the top level and as high as I want it. You can see I am using a piece of wood and a level to check to make sure everything is level as I work. The next step is to add the insulation layer to the base. The insulation layer is made up of a straw-rich cob combined with wine bottles. Bottles offer insulation, which keeps heat from getting absorbed by the stone below. Insulation is really an important feature of these ovens–investing the time to do insulation will allow your oven to be used in colder temperatures, hold heat longer, and heat up sooner (meaning you use less wood to make that happen).

I started this with a thick layer of straw-rich cob. Straw itself is insulating as it traps small amounts of air in it as it is worked into the cob.

Next, I layered the bottles with more cob in between each to create a solid foundation.

After the bottle layer, I used the board to smooth out the layer and wait for the base to dry for about a week before continuing.

Except that we have powerful raccoon activity, and that night, someone tried to dig up my base to see what was in the bottles!

I repaired the cob and then started putting a tarp over it at night to deter the raccoons until my base was a bit drier.

Laying your firebrick
To start your hearth, you want to put down a fresh layer of cob so that you can set the bricks in carefully. Slide the bricks against each other and make everything perfectly level. To make an oven that is 16″ inside (which is enough to cook a few breads and two small pizzas, perfect for small groups or families) you can use fifteen firebricks in the following pattern (the two firebricks in the back were redundant and I removed them later).

Notice here that I’m also planning a lip to pull my pizzas in and out of the oven.

Using a string, I made a circle to show me where to build the sand dome for the oven itself. Now I’m ready to build the actual oven.

Creating Your Sand Dome
I think the most labor-intensive part of this entire process is building the dome and cobbing the dome. Everything else can be done in stages, but this really has to be done all at once. This part is a great time to invite some friends or family to help you if you are doing this on your own.

Start by mixing 1-2 large batches of cob (with straw reinforcement) and tarping that while you build the dome.

To build the dome, you will want a ruler (to test the height of the dome), newspaper, and a few wheelbarrows of sand. I mixed my sand right in the wheelbarrow and got it to a consistency where it would build up well.

So then, start building the dome, using the guide you drew. I stuck a metal art ruler down the center of the dome so I would know exactly how tall it was (with a goal of 18″ tall).

As you get further along, you can take a small board and smooth and shape the sand dome. PUll out the ruler, and you are ready to build!

Go head and coat the whole sand dome with a layer of thick wet newspaper (this creates a barrier both to keep the cob from sticking to the sand and gives you a sense of where to dig out later.

Now, you want at least a 2-3″ thick layer of cob all around the dome. You dont’ want to press the cob into the dome, but rather, shape the walls downward with your hands.

Keep working your way up.

A lot of ovens have some kind of door area. We used old bricks to build our door area (planned out in advanced). To keep the door balanced, we added two pieces of packing foam that we cut to the right size. These were later pulled out when the structure was dry.

The arch proved a bit tricky–we layered sticks in between the sand dome and the foam arches and that provided enough stability until the oven has dried.

At this point, you will want to give your oven some time to dry. We put a little pavilion over it and allowed the summer sun to dry it out.

Digging out the oven
The next step is to dig out your oven and light a few small fires to help dry out the inside of the oven. You can just use your hands, a small trowel, or a stick. You want to be careful as you dig out so that you are not digging into the cob itself (hence why the newspaper barrier is so useful).

I used my shovel to remove the bulk of the sand and then got in there with my hands as I got closer to the walls. I let the oven sit another week after I pulled out the sand, and then I lit a small fire for a few days to get the inside dried out. Here’s the very first fire.

Alright! That’s over half of the oven build. In my next post, I’ll show how I added layers of insulation, a final plaster, and also decorated it with more mosaic pieces that were salvaged from broken pottery.

One final thing I want to say now is this is an incredibly good way to connect with the element of earth. There is nothing more grounding than having your feet and hands directly in the soil, shaping it, honoring it, and getting to know it. I really enjoyed my time building this and felt incredibly grounded afterward!


Ghost Hunting Theories
Phantom Islands

Gather around, my dearies, for tales of phantom islands and shivers of delight. Phantom islands are islands that were drawn on maps long ago, but seem to have gone missing.

The Lost Phantom Island of Ireland is one such island. For ages, Ireland referred to an island by the name of “Hy-Brasil” (and other spellings). It was documented first in 1325 when it appeared on maps. It was described as perfectly round with a channel river running down the center. The people had known of the island and spoke of it, so it being shown on a map was an obvious consequence of documenting the shores of Ireland. It had earned a reputation for being laced in fog most of the time and possibly holding gold or the answer to immortality.

In the 1480s and explorer went out, determined to find it, but could not. Interestingly, one explorer kept pushing further and further and eventually ran into Newfoundland.

A few in the 1600s claimed they had managed to stumble upon it. One said that they fell into a fog and then found themselves at the shore. They reported giant black rabbits and a wizard living alone in a stone castle who gave them silver and gold. Another said that he was approached by an old man who gave him a book and told him not to open it for seven years. When seven years went by, he supposedly found it to be filled with info including medicinals. When I read that, I thought immediately of the unusual book called Voynich manuscript which has botanicals and unknown language that has been unsolved.

Island of Demons
The Isle of Demons was said to be off Newfoundland. The first time it showed up was on maps in the 16th Century. The story has a deliciously dark history. A woman in 1542 was traveling by ship to French Canada. She supposedly got pregnant by one of the sailors and so her and her lady-in-waiting were dumped off on the Isle of Demons. Supposedly her lover and lady-in-waiting, as well as her baby, died on the island, leaving her to wander around for two years and fought off the devils who inhabited the island. A fisherman found her and took her home to France where her story was put into a romantic novel. Later, it was believed that she had met up with Native American people in the New World and they were the “demons” she fought off.

Sandy Island
Sandy Island in the Coral Sea in the South Pacific near Australia is another phantom island. It shows up on Google Earth (above). It was first listed in 1875 and then up until 1908, and then not again. It had been mentioned as a low-lying island to beware of.

The island was reportedly the size of Manhattan and a research ship went in search of it. When they reached the spot, not only was no island there, but it was 1000 feet deep. It was decided to be a combination of old charts being passed on without question and digitalized issues. Another phantom island was removed from the charts forever.

There have been many infamous supposed islands of the past from the continent of Mu to the continent of Atlantis and even the supposed entry to Hollow Earth said to be at the North Pole region.

  • Movies To Get You In The Uncharted Island Mood –

Uninhabited (above)
Robinson Crusoe
Six Days, Seven Nights
The Beach
Lord of the Flies
Blue Lagoon
The Savage is Loose
Land of the Lost
Swiss Family Robinson
Island at the Top of the World


Jigsaw Puzzles

It’s possible that the inscription found on a headstone can solve a mystery that has puzzled you for years, but sometimes the headstone is a puzzle itself. That was the experience of Find a Grave® volunteer, Christine Hanson, and her daughter at Slate Ridge Cemetery when they found headstone jigsaw puzzles by happenstance.

This cemetery sits high on a hill which overlooks the small town of Delta, Pennsylvania. Christine and her daughter were in the process of fulfilling photo requests that day. There are two sections and the old section doesn’t include a lot of shady spots.

They were working out in the sun and after awhile took a break by a small grove of bushes. Christine shared her story with us.

While we were getting some shade, it was obvious there were stone pieces all around us. Some just above the soil line, some that one would never see without digging. We began the process of carefully recovering the stones, turning them over to see if they had intact carving on them, digging out those that were barely visible and so on.

There were many types of stone used in this graveyard (including metal), though the majority were black slate, due to the huge slate quarry which sits below the cemetery. Initially, we turned the stones over and left them in place, though when stones are found along the periphery, they tend to be nowhere close to the actual place of interment. There is always a combination of sadness and excitement when we find these pieces, particularly when we find multiple pieces of the same stone. It gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction when I find stones which are not currently documented and I am able to add them to Find a Grave, but even more so when I am literally able to piece together a broken stone that has been scattered about and left as rubble.

Elizabeth’s stone was in a pile of slate pieces not far from the edge of the cemetery, along the crest of the hill. We assembled her stone, along with many others and took photos. There was no way to tell where this person was initially buried, so like the others, we left them as they were, where they were, but assembled properly in a readable fashion. Again, we could tell she died in the 1700s, but that is a hundred-year span.

Her Find a Grave memorial existed, with a photo of three possible above ground stones taken in 2012 by another volunteer. Finding her stone allowed us to add a photo of her exact information to the Find a Grave memorial. Neither photo shows us exactly where she was buried, but considering this is a headstone from 1773 that may not be recorded anywhere else, it is so rewarding that I would be doing this everyday if I could!

John Wright’s stone was a particular challenge. It was carved from a local brownstone, which is very grainy and crumbles easily, not to mention the stone being over 150 years old and not well cared for. Still, we were able to find nearly all the pieces and reassemble them on the ground before photographing. The biggest challenge for that stone was finding the ‘when’ of Mr. Wright’s life. The only year had worn away. It was only just recently that we conclusively were able to match the stone to the young man and added the photo to his Find a Grave memorial.

These bits of stone, assembled into a complete picture, help me to add bits of information to often incomplete records. To me, each marker represents a human being, once living and breathing with a story or stories to share.

Thank you to all Find a Grave volunteers. Your valuable work and efforts are making a difference and helping family members with personal discoveries every day.


Coach Gilberto Chapter 11
Stephen Halpert

Maria’s red dress twirled as she skipped down the hall to the elevator. When Gilberto caught up with her, he swept her up in his arms and plied her with kisses. The elevator door opened; they hurried inside. Both were breathless when they reached the ground floor.
His eyes gleamed. “Your red dress is captivating.”
She shivered and clutched her scarf. “All for you.”
His hand touched her lower back.
She grinned. “Are you seducing me?”
He paused. “I was about to ask you that same question.”
“My answer is, definitely.” She patted her hair, which she had pinned up for the occasion, and smiled.
Same, me to you,” he grinned and took her hand as they walked toward the dining room.
The Ritz dining room was opulent. Glittering chandeliers hung above the flowers displayed in tall vases. Gleaming white tablecloths were set with crystal goblets and heavy, ornate silverware. A tinkling fountain was decorated in crystal, complete with shining lights and iridescent stones.
“You’re wearing that dress so nothing else matters,” he said. His arm went around her, sliding across her back.
“Thank you, kind sir,” she smiled. “That’s exactly what I have in mind. Loosen up that beast in you.”
“So then I act like a blithering fool?”
Her tone took on a touch of seriousness. “You’re no fool, Gilberto. You’re one smootfh operator, and you know it.” She pointed. “Look, there’s Joey and his friend.”
Accompanied by a thin young blond boy with piercing blue eyes, Joey walked toward them. “Hi Mom, Gilberto. Meet my friend Davie Kyle Conners.”
“Just Kyle,” he said quickly dropping his gaze toward his sandals. One foot went around the other, and he sighed.
Maria noticed his shy behavior. She noticed the touch of brown pencil on his eyebrows and just a hint of color on his lips. In his left ear was a small diamond chip.
Gilberto stood and offered Kyle his hand. “Gilberto Santiago.”
Davie brushed his hand against Gilberto’s.
“I really prefer being called Kyle.” His soft voice was determined. He wore an open blue silk shirt with a floral ascot and a brown leather vest. His long legs were sheathed in tight, fashionable jeans.
“Hello, Kyle,” Maria smiled. “I’m Maria Sanchez, Joey’s mother.” She turned to Joey. “Your Houndstooth blazer looks so spiffy with those khakis.”
Joey grinned and smiled sheepishly. “Glad you think so,” he said.
The waiter poured goblets of iced water. Gilberto ordered a beer. Maria red wine, the boys went for iced tea lemonade mix.
“How do you like Houndstooth Kyle?” Maria asked. Her tone was friendly and her smile warm.
“It’s a school,” his tone was languidly blasé, he sounded almost bored. “I’ll manage and graduate.”
“Any thoughts about college?” Maria asked.
He sighed. “Maybe Emerson in Boston.” He paused, peered upward at the ceiling. “Then again there are lots of dance arts schools on the west coast.” He looked at Joey. “A lot would depend…,” he looked at Joey and smiled shyly.
“And your special interest? Gilberto asked.
“Dance,” Kyle said. He looked at Joey. “But that’s something we need to decide together.”
Gilberto’s eye brows rose. “Really.” He looked over at Joey, who grinned somewhat sheepishly again.
“Yes,” Maria cut in. ” That’s a good way to make decisions.”
Gilberto looked down at his place setting and frowned. He picked up his beer and took a sip.
“I love the freedom of dance,” Kyle went on. He threw his hands out with a laugh. “I feel like I’m just leaping into the clouds.” He paused, squeezed Joey’s hand. “I want us to dance together.”
Gilberto cleared his throat. “How long have you been dancing?” he asked.
“Since I was four,” Kyle replied. “I think I was born to dance.”
The waiter came to the table, looking expectant.
“I’ve already ordered us lobsters,” Maria told him.
“Very good, Madam,” I’ll see to them, and a fresh salad to go with? Perhaps French fries for the young gentlemen?”
Maria nodded and the waiter departed. There was a silence, then Kyle spoke again. “I’ll go anywhere, doesn’t matter as long as Joey is with me.” He sighed and threw his arm over Joey’s shoulders. “We’re twin souls. Mom even said we probably shared a past life or two.”

Gilberto nodded. “You have fantastic taste; our Joey stands above the crowd.”
“Yes,” Maria echoed. “I second that. Joey’s one in a million.”
Kyle looked at Gilberto and Maria solemnly and took a breath. “And it’s ok? Us being like we are… us?”
Joey nodded at his parents and looked at his friend. “I told you they’re great.”
Kyle took his arm from Joey’s shoulders and seemed to shrink into himself. “Joey’s love gives me strength. He enables me to be the real me, the me nobody knows.” He lowered his voice to a bare whisper. “The me who scares me a little.”
Maria touched his shoulder. “Joey is a dear sweet boy,” I know you can both be happy.”
Gilberto coughed, What the hell was she doing? Giving up our son to a fruitcake? Can’t she see that? He cleared his throat again. “Joey’s one amazing athlete. Takes great endurance, as well as good coordination to play soccer.” Kyle nodded and seemed about to speak, but just then the waiter brought the lobsters, and everyone was captivated.
After they had done justice to the meal and the waiter had brought elaborate ice cream sundaes for the boys, Kyle asked Gilberto what he taught at Houndstooth.
“I’m the athletic director, and also a coach,” he replied.
“You’re a coach?” Kyle’s forehead wrinkled and his mouth turned down.
Gilberto half smiled and took Maria’s hand. “You’re not much into athletics?” he asked Kyle.
“Too competitive,” Kyle said softly. “Too much pain and so little gain. I know how strong my man here is.” He reached over and took Joey’s hand. “He’s athletic enough for me.” Then he turned to Maria. “Do you dance?”
She smiled and nodded.
But then he equivocated. “I mean serious dancing, allowing the self to be captivated and flung into the passions of the moment.”
Gilberto grinned.” Oh, she’s got that down good”
Maria smiled. “I’ve always enjoyed free form jazz dancing.”
“Way different from ballet,” Joey said.
“Oh yes, I know,” Maria said.
Kyle let go of Joe’s hand and smiled, looking more relaxed. “You two are pretty cool,” he said. “You both make me feel so comfortable I know I could even wear my skirt and be ok.
To be continued


Kitty Kat’s Korner


Resource Guarding — Why Some Cats Can’t Share
By Rita Reimers

Resource guarding is fairly common in multi-cat households, and most people have experienced it with their cats. Yet in our cat behavior practice, we have found that many people don’t know the term for it, nor what causes it to happen, let alone what to do about it.

Why it happens
Cats who have spent a great deal of time homeless or in shelters, especially those who have been deprived of food in the past, are most likely to resource guard. This behavior usually happens when there is a perceived lack of resources for the cats, even if there are plenty.

Usually there is also an underlying stress component that triggers this type of behavior. Often, we will see it happen by the resident cat when another cat enters the household. A new cat may also exhibit guarding if he has come from a situation of abandonment or lack of food and water. Feline insecurity can also cause your cat to feel stressed by any household changes, such as new people entering (new spouse or roommate) or by people leaving the household (divorce, kids leaving for college).

One of my cats, Smoochy, is very protective of her time with me. If any other cats try to come near me when Smoochy is on my lap, she will swat at them. Before swatting, she will growl and often “bark” at the other cat. When she’s on my lap, the other cats know to stay away until she leaves. When she does try to bully the other cats, I simply set her down on the floor and walk away. She’s learning that her guarding of my lap equals removal of my attention, so she’s getting better about sharing me.

What it looks like
Guarded resources can be anything from toys and food to places and people. Cats exhibit guarding of resources by:

  1. Hissing to warn others to stay away
  2. Swatting at other cats and perhaps even their human to stay away
  3. Literally blocking the other cat’s access to an item or place to prevent other cats from getting near
  4. Scratching items to claim as territory
  5. Spraying or peeing on items (or people)

Resources your cat might guard
Litter boxes
Cat trees
Cat scratchers
Napping spots
Anything else they decide is “theirs”

What to do
If you notice one of your cats is guarding resources from the other(s), there are things you can do to prevent the behavior from escalating into constant bullying or fighting. Nipping these behaviors in the bud is the key to preventing disagreements among your cats and keeping peaceful coexistence.

Here are a few tips:

Prevent food bowl sharing by putting a bowl down for each cat.

Remove lids from litter boxes, so one cat cannot trap the other in the box.
Provide more than one litter box area so the bullied cat has another option if one litter box area is being guarded.

Give each cat one-on-one time with you, as well as group play experiences.
Provide enough toys, cat beds, cat trees and cubby holes that each cat can claim one as theirs.

Try flower essences as a natural choice for calming stress in both the bully and the bullied cat. Two to try are Convivial House Cat and Cat Calm Stress Reducing Liquid Formula.

Give your cats praise whenever they are together and no bullying or guarding happens.
If needed, visit your veterinarian if your cats need anti-anxiety assistance with medication.

Living in harmony with multiple cats can be done. I live with 18 cats and rarely do I see resource guarding in my house. Providing enough toys, food and love for all cats goes a long way toward correcting, or even preventing, bullying and resource guarding.

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be able to bring harmony to your own cat household and prevent guarding behaviors before they become too much of a habit.

Help your cats adapt
When bringing a new cat home to your resident cat, prepare ahead of time with the following steps.

If it’s possible, do some scent swapping before the new cat enters your household or at the very least before introductions happen.

Provide enough toys and bedding areas for both cats to enjoy.

Feed your cats in separate bowls instead of having them share one plate.

Give your resident cat extra praise and love when in the company of the newbie, so he knows he has not been replaced.

Mutual playtime will help the cats become friends, as long as time and attention from you (and treats!) is distributed evenly and both also get special alone time with you.


Georgia Nicols’ Weekly Horoscope:
Sunday, May 15, 2022

All Signs
Whoa Nellie! This week starts with the only Full Moon in Scorpio all year. The challenge is this Full Moon triggers fast-moving change, which requires fast thinking; but meanwhile, back at the ranch, the wise choice might be to rely on our instincts rather than logic. This is because Mars is lined up with fuzzy Neptune, which makes our thinking suspect. It could be unreliable. On the upside, this promotes passion, romance and the arts – fun, glamorous choices! But the downside is a confusion between a willingness to try new things and a tendency to cling to old habits. “But we’ve always done it this way!” In most cases, the better choice will be to go with out-of-the-box thinking. Be courageous and trust your instincts. Take the red pill – it’s Tylenol.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Financial issues come to a head this week. This could be about your earnings, debt, the bank or your partner’s wealth. Fortunately, some kind of resolution will take place, which will give you a better idea of where you stand. (Although privately, it makes your teeth itch.) This new confidence will help you to use what you own in a more productive, useful way. You might restructure how you handle money, debt or how you use something that you own. Later in the week, you’re enthusiastic and upbeat! Old contacts with people from the past are encouraging. Quite possibly, new information will help you bring an old decision back into perspective.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Well, you certainly feel this Full Moon because it’s the only Full Moon opposite your sign all year! The good news is that after Monday, solutions will present themselves. In particular, relations with partners and close friends will improve. Bygones will be bygones. However, expect confusion related to a friend or a group to which you belong. In fact, an element of confusion from a friend or related to a group might affect your decision about future goals. You might be unsure of these goals, or wonder if you should change them, or if they’re realistic? My advice is to trust your gut instincts about this. When head and heart agree, it’s generally a good thing. By the end of the week, moneymaking ideas and your finances look good!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You might feel caught off guard as this week begins because this Full Moon vibrates in a quiet part of your chart. It could bring stress to health issues or your job and your work. Fortunately, these will be resolved. Nevertheless, relations with parents, bosses and authority figures (including the police) will be confusing. You might question what others expect of you; and likewise, you might question what you think about them. You might doubt their abilities or possibly, they might have doubts about you. Either way, this is demoralizing. Because you will investigate something, including your own motivations – you can trust your instincts. By the end of the week, you’re happy and full of big ideas!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
It will be challenging dealing with kids or friends at the beginning of the week. This challenge might also occur because of your involvement with a group. Fortunately, by mid-week, problems will be resolved. Despite the fact that travel plans or issues related to higher education, medicine and the law are confusing, and you might be unclear of your direction – nevertheless, you’ll get in touch with what motivates you. You will define goals to have a better life for yourself. This is reassuring! It’s like getting a sure compass setting. “I was lost and now I’m found!” Behind-the-scenes activities or research might boost your reputation in the eyes of others. Stay tuned!

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
This is a tough Full Moon because it’s a Sun/Moon opposition in Fixed Signs (Taurus and Scorpio); and you are also a Fixed Sign. This means everyone is at odds with each other! This is why you feel pulled between the demands of career and your public reputation versus the demands of home and family. You can’t keep everyone happy. Meanwhile, confusion about finances, money with the government, your partner, taxes or debt might be a challenge. If you’re not sure what to do – do nothing. Wait. (Instincts are a good thing but with finances – not so much.) Something might reinvent your reputation in the eyes of others. If so, it’s time to entertain some big goals!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Be careful Sunday/Monday because this Full Moon will create an accident-prone situation. Therefore, be mindful. Pay attention to everything you say and do. Furthermore, avoid controversial subjects when talking to others because they will escalate into nasty arguments. (You don’t need this.) In part. some of this unpredictable energy is because relations with partners and close friends are confusing. You don’t know if you’re coming or going. (Maybe literally.) Make no promises. Trust your gut instincts. Nevertheless, philosophical issues are important to you. You care. This means you will do your homework and your research. By the end of the week, you have good news for others.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
You feel a financial squeeze play as this week begins. Fortunately, whatever problem you experience regarding flow, earnings or your relationship to other people’s resources and assets might be quickly resolved. Meanwhile, issues related to your work or your job might be confusing. You’re prepared to give something your all, but suddenly, it’s a changing landscape? This makes you uncertain about what to do. Likewise, some of you will have this same confusion about a particular health issue. Later in the week, you will make strides dealing with shared property, taxes and debt. You will also be enthusiastic about travel plans and doing something that expands your world!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Relax and stay grounded while the only Full Moon in your sign all year is taking place. Naturally, this will stress your relationships. Fortunately, many problems will diminish and possibly disappear. (Fingers crossed.) Meanwhile, relations with kids are confusing. Things are up in the air. This same confusion will also apply o romance for some. While you have these feelings of confusion, do not act. (Although, a strong gut instinct can’t be ignored.) An intense conversation with someone powerful might resolve these issues. At the very least, they will probe them. Good news — assistance from others, or financial or practical support at the end of the week is grand.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This Full Moon makes you uneasy because it’s taking place in a hidden part of your chart. Be reassured that the concerns it raises will diminish in importance by midweek. Admittedly, confusion related to your family or something to do with your home might make you feel paralyzed. If you’re unsure, you can’t act. What to do? Probably, the best thing to do will be nothing until you are confident. Perhaps, listen to your instincts? Sometimes they are the clue you need. One thing is certain, you can introduce improvements to your job, your health and even to something related to a pet. This will make things better. Conversations with partners and close friends will be upbeat by the end of the week!

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The Full Moon taking place now will create havoc in your relations with kids, as well as tension with romantic partners. Issues build up and intensify before a Full Moon, and then, after the Full Moon peaks, these same issues diminish and sometimes disappear. Go figure. Nevertheless, there is confusion this week about your daily schedule, your daily interactions with others, and your relations with siblings, relatives and neighbours. You might feel you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The paralysis of the negative. Do nothing if you’re not sure. Fortunately, you will think your way out of any of these challenges because by the end of the week, you’re laughing. Clever you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This is a challenging time because Sunday/Monday is a Full Moon in Fixed Signs (Moon in Scorpio, Sun in Taurus) and you also are a Fixed Sign. Naturally, it’s impossible to please everyone, especially home and family. Just cope as best you can. Fortunately, despite confusion about money and possessions (and possibly deception) – a powerful talk with someone at home, perhaps a parent, will resolve things and get them back on track. This will lead to improvements. Perhaps things just needed to come to a head in order to provoke this solution? By the end of the week, social plans look promising. In addition, the arts and activities with kids will be upbeat and fun!

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Be careful because the Full Moon (Sunday/Monday) is an accident-prone time for you. Verbally or physically. Therefore, think before you act or say anything. Count to three. This is good advice because this week, Mars and Neptune are lined up in your sign creating a fog of confusion for you. It will make you indecisive. Therefore, don’t think you have to act when you’re not sure what to do. You don’t. Err on the side of caution. Do nothing unless you have a strong clear instinct to act. Meanwhile, a powerful discussion with someone might get to the bottom of something, which is ultimately a relief. By the end of the week, repairs and group discussions are some things that make your home life happier.


Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 15 May 2022

If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.

Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.

Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in a thrilling period. While, ordinarily, turning opportunities into lasting plans swiftly would be wise, with fortunate Jupiter having moved into Aries the 10th, and remaining until late October, this cycle of sudden and, often, stunning growth and opportunity has only just begun. The secret? Say a tentative yes to whatever appeals, but continue to explore your options. There’s lots more excitement yet to come.

A friend or colleague needs some compassionate and understanding guidance. You know what they are going through. You have lived this with them and can put yourself in their shoes. Emotions are raw. Compliments and cuddles will help others feel loved and needed. A request from a relative will need some further consideration. You will want to do what is best for everyone. It’s a good time to develop your spirituality and for quiet thought and contemplation.

Monday’s Lunar Eclipse may coincide with global financial challenge from which no zodiac sign can be immune. Anticipate the unexpected: the size of an invoice, or possibly even the loss of key documents or perhaps even harder to deal with, the challenge of information coming from abroad that doesn’t reach you in a timely manner. Your professionalism and expertise will surely be under scrutiny. Yet you can rise to the occasion and turn the situation to your advantage. Not for the first time, you may be asked to take on a leadership role. What’s likely different, is that this time, you may need to deal with not just daily finances, but a budget intended to last at least several months but where there are many unknowns.

Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20

Your horoscope for this week:

A pair of eclipses, on 30 April and now, on 16 May, are triggering timely shake-ups, in the world around you and in your life. Tempting as it is to avoid seemingly unnecessary changes, these are breakthroughs. The problem? Recognising them as that; and the secret? Learn all you can, especially from those who’ve dealt with similar changes. Their guidance will give you much-needed courage.

Big changes are ahead. This could take you away from all that is familiar. Starting a new life can be nerve wracking for you but the sooner you accept how it has to be, the quicker you will adjust to new circumstances. There are others going through this with you and the emotional support this provides will be priceless. When everyone puts their mind to it in a group situation, good progress will be made. Someone in power will offer their full and unconditional support.

Monday’s lunar eclipse is in your opposite sign. This, together with Mercury retrograde through one of the finance zones of your solar chart, suggests this could be a challenging few days when you feel overwhelmed. The costs of quality work might seem unsustainable and the temptation to do something quickly (sticking plaster) and proper works later may be great. It was surely be wise though to take time out and to discuss options – probably with a Sagittarius or Pisces to see if there are ways around this difficulty. You could yet steer around financial rocks and possibly even make sound and interesting investment. Recall that Uranus is still travelling through your sign, and that the drive to do things differently will be strong.

Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20

Your horoscope for this week:

Ordinarily, your quick mind is an asset. However, with your ruler Mercury retrograde, so triggering confusion, and a pair of eclipses bringing their own brand of disarray, complications are inevitable. They’re disruptive but also are breaking up once efficient habits that are now increasingly restrictive. Changes? Regard them as an experiment to be learnt from, but nothing final. It will make life easier and more fun.

You’re hopeful and optimistic that something real will come out of a campaign you are supporting. You won’t give up your support until changes are made. Someone you are dealing with can charm the hind legs off a donkey. It won’t be easy to distinguish between truth and fiction and further research will be required. If you are still left feeling confused by the end of the week, don’t dismiss the idea of talking to a professional.

You may remember that Mercury is retrograde in Gemini. Don’t think of this as being a bad thing: rather see it as an opportunity to ‘think before you speak’. You probably have plenty of instances of knowing when you’ve overstepped the mark or got involved in a conversation that was not beneficial either to you or to the people involved. Particularly around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse, it would be wise to stand back and stand clear. Fact is that disturbance is probable and upsets more likely than not. All could and should be resolved before Friday – but only after it’s agreed who will take the lead on a project and who will accept responsibility for it. The two roles may not be related. Your role should be to provide vision and design. It may be that you’re involved in providing a fitting memorial. Your wordsmith powers should work so, so well here – though true, edit followed by edit followed by edit will likely be necessary.

Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’ve long realised that, while most everybody adapts to even dramatic changes, certain individuals turn their difficulties into dramas, some unsettling for others. This is exactly what’s happening now. As a Cancerian, you’re ruled by the Moon, so have an instinctive understanding that these eclipses, on 30 April and this Tuesday, the 16th, are triggering timely breakthroughs. Encourage others to see it that way, too.

You’re inclined to turn down an invitation to a party or social gathering. This would give you a chance to talk to people you haven’t seen for some time and it will feel good to get together again. You may need to find someone who shares your long-term aims as a joint effort will be more successful than a solo one. Your boss or a senior colleague will support your ideas and this should help strengthen your position.

Monday’s Full Moon is also a Lunar Eclipse, and yes, it is possible that your reactions will be over the top. Actually, in this instance, and with Mercury retrograde, you may well be left speechless. True, it may be global events that prompt you to pull your shell down. Whatever, it seems you’ll need time to process information and how it will affect both immediate and long-term career plans and probable that someone in powerful position will declare that they simply cannot manage a task without your involvement. Being needed is of course, music to the Cancerian ear. Expect – and especially in the second half of the week, – to be wined and dined and told that someone couldn’t manage without you. After that, it’s up to you to work out how you can make increased involvement in the project work around existing obligations.

Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22

Your horoscope for this week:

The first half of May was unsettling, and judging by the coming weeks’ planetary acidity, the rest of the month will bring events that combine drama with thrilling and, often, unexpected opportunities. However, taking advantage of these means altering, if not letting go of, once worthwhile arrangements. While challenging initially, you’ll soon realise these are freeing you for far more worthwhile activities or pursuits.

There’s a lot of work to be done. Even so, don’t use this as an excuse to cut yourself off from your family and friends. Find a balance between work and play. A new romance may not be as warm or loving as you had expected but it’s not going to be very successful if you don’t have much time for it. A long-term partner expects to enjoy your company in the weekend. Don’t let them down or they will find companionship elsewhere.

Monday’s lunar eclipse accents the backbone of your solar chart and could coincide with a crisis involving property management. It would be understandable if the whole question of ownership required careful consideration. Even intellectual property would fall into this category. Note that Mercury is retrograde in one of the Air signs and that it will likely suit many to go over old discussions and agreements and refine these. In fact, it could take until Mercury concludes retrograde condition in mid-June before you really know where you stand. In the interim, and especially over the next few days, obtaining valuations and estimates takes priority. Given that your expertise will likely be under the spotlight too, expect to have to explain reasoning and/or the steps you’ve taken to acquire qualifications.

Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re superb at dealing with the unexpected events triggered by your ruler Mercury’s retrograde cycle, which began last Tuesday, 10 May, and continues until 3 June; but, also, you and the rest of the world are dealing with far-reaching changes. Tempting as it is to tackle each, as it arises, do the minimum. While this is out of character, it’s the best approach to this unpredictable but exciting period.

A quiet spell as the week begins is your chance to check goals you are working towards are still important to you. If not, make any changes you feel are necessary to bring you greater happiness and fulfilment. Taking on new responsibilities or applying for a new job will feel rewarding. You are making an effort to improve your life and your career. A group project will be fulfilling especially if you get involved from the start.

It would be understandable if you felt unsettled around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse. This takes place against the backdrop of Mercury turning retrograde at the apex of your solar chart. Career wise it might seem as though you’ve stumbled into a brick wall, or a mess that is not of your making but which will require considerable effort to resolve. This though, will surely find you at your best – especially if property matters are involved. There is little doubting that Virgos, once they’ve assessed a crisis, know exactly the kind of attack that will be necessary to reach resolution. You could say that this is where you are at your most creative. Whether you take a three, four or five pronged attack depends on your personal chart. What seems likely is that at least one of these approaches will be hugely traditional; follow exact rules and regulations and require support from a Capricorn who is only too eager to give it.

Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you’ve a talent for dealing deftly with even complex situations and, equally, others’ moodiness; but, recently, even you have struggled with their ups and downs. The trick? Do the minimum. This may seem unwise, if not unkind. However, with both circumstances and the general mood changing regularly, it’s your best option. Similarly, tactfully sidestep tricky issues. For now, offer emotional support. Serious discussions can wait.

Friends will not take a lot of persuading to join in with your ideas. They know they will have a good time. In fact, it won’t be long before you will be reminding yourself of how having fun together helps revive relationships. Good news around Wednesday will give you something to celebrate. All your wishes will seem to have come true as a tidy sum is received to enable you to afford luxuries you have always dreamed of.

It would be unsurprising if you experienced a cash flow crisis around Monday’s Lunar Eclipse. This is the annual one across the financial axis of your solar chart. What’s striking in 2022, is that Mercury is retrograde in one of the Air signs. It’s quite possible that you’ve overlooked a cost and that this matter will need to be addressed and resolved before the middle of June. Another possibility is reconsidering self-investment. This could be made necessary for a variety of reasons; not least of which are that travel and communication costs have risen dramatically. Career wise you could attract singular attention toward the end of the week when your value is recognised and an alliance with share of profits come under discussion.

Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21

Your horoscope for this week:

While there’s a Scorpio Full Moon sign each year, Monday’s is also an eclipse. This marks a turning point in past arrangements, and both ongoing and future plans. Ideally, you’ll go with the flow, especially because what’s least expected could be best in the long run. The trick? Avoid far-reaching plans and live one day at a time. While challenging initially, you’ll soon agree it’s wise.

It can sometimes feel as if it is taking you twice as long or twice the effort to get results compared with how you worked in the past. You will not want to fail and you may not have realised the standards you set yourself keep getting higher. Perseverance will always be necessary for you to achieve. Relationships are harmonious because you are keeping thoughts to yourself if these might upset other people.

Monday’s lunar eclipse is in your sign and may mark an ending. It could be that you conclude a financial matter or realise that a working relationship has come to its natural conclusion. Obviously much depends on your personal chart. Either ending could be fractionally messy as Mercury is retrograde. It could take some weeks for a deal to be finalised and the process be dispiriting and unsettling. That said, the end of the week, you should feel empowered. It’s worth noting too conversations taking place over Thursday and Friday are likely to be ultra-rewarding career wise – with sound advice and an exciting introduction being offered.

Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, when others are struggling with changes, you’ll be there with ideas. However, you’re also facing your own unsettling events, some welcome, others puzzling. In every case, you’re urged to take things slowly. This may be out of character or even seem a compromise; but once you learn more, you’ll realise being flexible, both about plans and the future, isn’t just wise, it’s essential.

You’re confronted with a number of choices. It will feel as if these are being thrown at you from a few different directions. It will be hard to keep up with it all. Even if some hold a degree of risk you might decide it’s worth taking chances. Luck seems to be on your side when things regularly go your way. Trust your intuition. It will lead you in the best direction. The latter half of the week will be quieter than earlier.

Monday’s Lunar Eclipse should prove useful energy. It coincides with Mercury retrograde in your opposite sign: the combination suggesting change of pace and yes, the possibility of altered working relationships. That includes a close colleague declaring their intention to move on next month. Unsettling as this might be, note that Mars will soon join Jupiter in the research and development area of your solar chart. It’s very likely that an idea that’s been incubating for perhaps as much as six years, will soon gain momentum. Perhaps what it’s needed is a navigator. That person may be hovering in the wings. Though the actual introduction might not occur until next week, the meeting could be arranged in the second half of this one.

Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19

Your horoscope for this week:

This may be a tricky period; but once you understand a single, essential fact, everything else will make sense. That fact is: during May, virtually every day will bring changes. Some will be welcome, others less so; but, whatever their nature, circumstances will shift. Knowing that, instead of dealing with those changes immediately, you’ll develop an uncharacteristically easy-going attitude. It will make life a lot easier.

For a few more days there will be more of what you have already been experiencing: lots of activity and little time to yourself. Be prepared to continue a short while longer on matters that have kept you busy since the month began. They may be growing monotonous but to turn your back on them now would make you feel a failure. There will be moments later on when you just won’t feel happy until you can shut the door on the world.

It might help to be aware that not only is Mercury retrograde, but that there is a Lunar Eclipse on Monday. These are arguably not the best cosmic conditions in which to begin the working week. The Lunar Eclipse marks an ending. The fact that Mercury is retrograde suggests it might be messy; and yet: A new team are likely to try to pull together as Mars conjoins Neptune. They may be full of grand ideas and designs but lack the expertise to see these through. This is where you come in. You’ve probably already made a name for yourself in showing professionalism and fortitude. You perhaps need to show a little more of that now. This though, could be regarded as one of your major strengths. Though you might balk at the idea of taking on more responsibility, fact is that you may be best placed to steer a concept through to reality.

Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18

Your horoscope for this week:

Although you probably weren’t thrilled with the changes triggered by late April’s eclipsed New Moon, since then you’ve realised, they weren’t just timely, they were long overdue. Consequently, you’ll probably be better prepared to deal with those triggered by Monday’s eclipsed Full Moon, which accents breakthrough in the structure of your life. Changes? They aren’t just wise; you’ll soon recognise them as powerful breakthroughs.

Delaying arrangements to offer a little help to a friend might upset some people but you know there is nothing to worry about. This isn’t going to cause a problem. As it is, it will be left up to you what you do, when you do it and how. Since you enjoy the freedom of making your own choices, this will suit you down to the ground. If your intuition is telling you someone isn’t being honest where money is concerned, trust your instincts.

Monday’s lunar eclipse accents the backbone of your solar chart and a significant career angle. That it coincides with Mercury turning retrograde in the research and development area of your solar chart suggests that you might wish time out to rethink an idea or concept, and perhaps accept that you either don’t have the required expertise or have yet to build the team that would support you. Either way, time out will likely be needed. True, as you gather information you could feel overwhelmed. Yet this feeling too should pass. Before the Sun arrives in another of the Air signs next weekend, you might need to accept that you are entering into a trial period but that this is an essential step before progress can be made. Perhaps you need to test strength and resolve – not in yourself – but in others.

Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20

Your horoscope for this week:

The past weeks have been dramatic, and the twists and turns continue during much of May. The irony is, while others are struggling, you’re quietly reorganising elements of your life, and with amazing ease. These changes are timely, so much you’re urged to conduct a serious review. Others’ problems? They’re complaining but, in truth, those issues can wait. For now, you and your interests take.

Relationships and events will be somewhat unpredictable early on. By Wednesday you will find it easier to get into the swing of things. No matter what chores or tasks might await you then, you will feel ready to take them on and complete them. Are you single? You might get talking to someone in a queue or while travelling on public transport. This could be the first cautious step towards a rewarding romance.

So, Mercury is now retrograde at the base of your solar chart and there is a Lunar Eclipse on Monday. It could be argued that these are not optimum cosmic conditions for pushing your career forward; and yet, these do provide pause for thought. It may be that you’ve been steering against prevailing winds and a rethink required. With Mars conjoining Neptune, in your sign, you could yet glide out onto new ocean entirely: and yes, take a few people by surprise. Fact is, that you do have vision. Anchoring this and determining the steps needed to realise success is imperative. To this end, it might suit you to join forces with a Capricorn who lacks your vision, but does have the necessary expertise and background to ensure that your dreams are realised.


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