GrannyMoons Weekly Feast: 28 Aug 2022

To leave the world a bit better …
to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded. ~Bessie A. Stanley (commonly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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

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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
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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: Waxing Moon

Time: From New Moon To Full (Approx. 14 Days)

Goddess Aspect: Maiden

Associated Goddesses: Artemis, Branwen, Eriu, Nymph, Epona

Magickal Attributes: Invoking Beginnings, New Projects, Ideas, Inspiration, Energy, Vitality, Freedom. Workings On This Day Are For “Constructive” Magick (Love, Wealth, Success, Courage, Friendship, Luck Or Health.)


What’s Happening This Month?!?

Goddess Month of Month of Kerea runs from 7/11 – 8/8

Celtic Tree Calendar Month ~ August 5th to Sept 1st – Hazel

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

Flower of the Month for August: Gladiolus

August is National Watermelon Month

AUG 28: Pepsi-Cola (originally an herbal drink to treat indigestion) got its name on this day in 1898.

AUG. 28: Norse Harvest Festival.

AUG. 29-Sep 11: Return of Isis – Egyptian festival marking the return to Egypt of Goddess Isis (as the star of Sept/Sirius) and God Osiris (as the rising Nile River).

AUG. 29 – SEPT. 11: Return of Isis & Osiris (star Sirius, rising Nile waters)

SEP. 2: Grape Vine Festival honoring Ariadne & Dionysus.


Face to Face Workshops with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones
Sticks and Stones is moving! But just upstairs!

Join us at

The Herbal Cauldron 1 PM – 3 PM – Sept 11
The Magick of Crystals: 12 PM – 2 PM – Sept 18
WitchCrafting: 1 PM – 3PM – Oct 2


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 on-line 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 the entire online 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 online 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.


John Marani—Astrologer, Tarot Card Reader, and Metaphysical Teacher

Hi there folks! I’m pleased to be among the talented speakers chosen by Kathy Rose to present at the upcoming Empowered Astrology Virtual Event on October 22-23, 2022.
My mission: To facilitate the best astrological discussion ever had on this planet. Can I do it? Duh. Have you MET me? Perfect spot in the lineup for this Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 11th house.

Please consider joining us for what I feel will be an incredible event! Get more details and sign up at


Moon Giant
Moon Phase Today: August 28, 2022

The Moon’s current phase for today and tonight is a Waxing Crescent Phase. A Waxing Crescent is the first Phase after the New Moon and is a great time to see the features of the moon’s surface. During this phase the Moon can be seen in the wester sky after the sun dips below the horizon at sunset. The moon is close to the sun in the sky and mostly dark except for the right edge of the moon which becomes brighter as the days get closer to the next phase which is a First Quarter with a 50% illumination.

Visit the August 2022 Moon Phases Calendar to see all the daily moon phase for this month.

Today’s Waxing Crescent Phase
The Waxing Crescent on August 28 has an illumination of 1%. This is the percentage of the Moon illuminated by the Sun. The illumination is constantly changing and can vary up to 10% a day. On August 28 the Moon is 1.08 days old. This refers to how many days it has been since the last New Moon. It takes 29.53 days for the Moon to orbit the Earth and go through the lunar cycle of all 8 Moon phases.


Heartwings Love Notes 1049 Reading is a Great Pastime

Heartwings says, “A book is a doorway to a wonder of destinations.”

When I was growing up, on any summer day it wasn’t raining, or even a nice fall day on a weekend, my favorite occupation was to sit up in the big beech tree near the henhouse and read. Even though all it was, was a wooden platform I had hauled up and set on the branches, I thought of where I sat as my tree house.

I brought couch pillows up and sometimes forgot to take them in. I had read the Swiss Family Robinson a number of times and was enchanted by the thought of living in a tree house. This book about a shipwrecked family that managed to live on an island with the various items taken from the wreck was my idea of fun.

I enjoyed the game of pretending to be them and also of being Tarzan or some other person living in the wild. The imagination is a wonderful thing. In my opinion it can surpass any cell phone or computer for entertainment. I feel somewhat sorry for the many who grow up knowing only that mechanical entertainment. They don’t know what they are missing. The wealth of worlds to be found in books is endless
Reading also provides a way to expand the vocabulary as well as to achieve the knowledge of other times and places. I remember a series of books I had as a child that were all about children in different countries. They were titled The Little Twins of Japan, Germany, etc. I believe and very interesting. I devoured books. My neighborhood was devoid of families, and unless someone was brought over to see me, I had no one to play with. I was mostly alone, yet never lonely.

I made my own fun, and much of it came from reading. Because my parents had many fine classics on their book shelves, I read The Count of Monte Cristo and other books by Alexander Dumas, Treasure Island, and many Scribner classics at an early age. They also had books of poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay that I loved to pore over and Rupert Brooke, an English poet of the early 20th century.

Did my early reading of these poets help me become the poet I am today? Or was it the wonderful book of verse by Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s garden of Verses? Perhaps it was A. A. Milne’s When We were Very Young and Now We Are Six that were read to me before I could read for myself.

Certainly, it was reading that helped me grow into who I am today. How will the video games and computer feed that today’s young absorb themselves into influence them as they become adults and beyond. I am happy for the rich background I grew up in, the deep fertilizer that nourished my roots and helped me to grow. I hope they will discover for themselves the joy of reading.

May you enjoy what you read with appreciation.

Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert

P.S. Do you have favorite books you loved as a child? Did any influence your heart and mind for life? Write and tell me what you remember. I so enjoy getting your emails.


The Sacred Sisterhood

Only women can make the change in how women are seen, not just by other women but by the world at large.

As women embrace the fullness of who they are as individuals, they may find themselves supporting other women, helping others to reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom that they themselves have found. Among those who are less sure of themselves and their place in the world, it may be more common to criticize other women than to seek their help. But there are things that a woman can only learn from another woman, as there are things about being a man that can only be learned from other men. We all recognize that we have much to learn from each other regardless of gender, but sometimes we could use a supportive role model that gives us a more precise example of what and who we can become.

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women. It is only natural that the pendulum swings out of balance for a while so that we may have the experience of what we do not want. It is up to women to bring the pendulum back into balance and bring back the sacred sisterhood we yearn for at our core.

If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are refuges for the insecure. As we help others to become self-assured, we create a world in which all people help each other, regardless of gender. Only women can make the change in how women are seen and understood, not just by other women but by the world at large. The way we speak about each other to other women and to the men in our lives informs everyone to treat us with the respect that all women, and all people, deserve.


Pineapple-Cilantro Agua Fresca

When you want to sip on something fruity and refreshing, make this agua fresca. Popular throughout Mexico and South America, this fruit-infused water blends pineapple and water with lime juice and cilantro for even more flavor. The fruit is pureed and can be strained, but we skip the latter step for a thicker beverage. You can spike it if you want; stir 1 1/2 ounces of rum into each serving.

Servings: 2

Pineapple-Cilantro Agua Fresca


2 cups chopped pineapple
1 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
Ice for serving


Step 1
Combine pineapple, water, lime juice, agave and cilantro in a blender. Process until smooth. Serve over ice.

To make ahead
Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups

Per Serving:
106 calories; protein 1g; carbohydrates 28g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 21g; added sugar 5g; vitamin a iu 122IU; vitamin b3 niacin 1mg; vitamin c 82mg; folate 33mg; vitamin k 3mg; sodium 6mg; calcium 26mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 22mg; phosphorus 14mg; potassium 191mg; niacin equivalents 1mg.

© Copyright 2022 EatingWell. All rights reserved.Printed from 07/28/2022


Plant-astic Facts
Traditional Medicinals

Green Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, enjoyed for its health benefits for thousands of years.*

Uplifting yet grounding, Green Tea is loved for its mild, yet sustaining, energy benefits.*

A versatile herb that can be used in a variety of recipes. Our favorites are: Vegan Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream, Green Tea Lemonade and Lemongrass Basil Sweet Tea.
A hardy evergreen shrub, Camellia Sinensis is harvested as the leaves emerge beginning early spring and processed in different ways to create White, Green, Oolong, and Black Teas.

Smaller, young tea leaves and leaf buds are used for making Green Tea. The leaves are plucked, slightly withered, then immediately cooked to preserve the green quality and prevent oxidization.


The Druids Garden
Animism and Permaculture: Introduction and Ethics
by Dana

Permaculture design is many things to many people–but ultimately, it is a system of design that works with nature rather than against nature. Permaculture uses principles to allow us to have a clear thinking process for creating resilient ecosystems, fostering care, and ultimately, building interaction and connection with the natural world. But it is so much more than that. One of the things that happen with people who pick up permaculture is that they start seeing the world differently. Way, way differently. All waste becomes resources. The soil web becomes a living thing that becomes sacred. You learn how to nurture seedlings and watch them grow. You attune to the ways of the earth and the cycles and seasons. Even for people who aren’t particularly spiritual, something fundamentally shifts and you grow much more attuned with nature and begin having spiritual experiences.

I remember a conversation I had with one of my permaculture-practitioner friends some years ago. He was like, “Hey Dana, I know you are a druid. So…uh…the plants are talking to me.” I smiled and said, “That happens.” There was a long pause. He said, “That’s not weird? I’m not crazy?” And I was like, “Nope, they talk to me too. They’d like to talk to all of us, but we aren’t all in a space to listen.” Long pause. “Hmm. Well, that’s something.” Then I said, “What are they saying?” This conversation stuck with me. Here was a person who had dedicated his life to practicing permaculture, offering consultations and designs to others, and to nurturing the earth. But a rigid religious upbringing had him disbelieving that there was more than matter, that there was a connection to spirit. But for someone who literally spent all of his days with plants, nurturing plants with care and dedication, and teaching others about plants–it isn’t surprising that he started hearing the voices of the plants. And he just needed someone to say, yeah, you aren’t crazy.

Permaculture practices intertwine you very deeply with the land. And since the land is full of spirits, it is not surprising that people who practice permauclture start having experiences like the one I’ve described above. In the next few posts, I’d like to build a conversation about the philosophy and practices of what I call “animistic permaculture”, a practice that interweaves a belief and reverence towards the spirit of all things with the ethics, principles, and practices of permaculture. This post is part of my animism series–if you want, please check out the first post two posts: introduction to animism and biocentrism/ecocentrism as a core part of nature spirituality. If you are interested in learning more about permauclture, you can see the following posts: permaculture through the five elements, permaculture design and intentionality, permaculture’s ethic of care, permaculture for the inner landscape, Sankofa, and a discussion of my first homestead using permauclture principles.

Animist Philosophy applied to Permaculture Ethics
Let’s start with animist philosophy. This is a brief summary of my longer post on animism from earlier this year, so please feel free to visit that post for a more full discussion.

At its basic level, animism is a belief in the spirit of all things, which includes living things (animals, plants), natural features (stones, rivers, mountains), but also things that come from nature (which is everything human created, everything present on this planet and beyond). Thus, animistic philosophy assumes that all things have spirit in the world and that world of spirits can be interacted with in various ways. As I described in my earlier post, here are some common threads that define animism.

Recognizing and honoring the spirits present in things present in the world and universe, both animate and inanimate, both natural and created
Recognizing the importance of interacting in a respectful way with those spirits; building the right relationships and connections with them, and learning from some of them as teachers and guides

Recognizing that humans are part of nature, like any other animal, and that we have a set of tools we have evolved, including both our five senses as well as instinct and intuition

Recognizing that we have to cultivate our own intuition, observation, and listening skills (inner and outer) so that we might effectively communicate with the spirit present in all things.

Recognizing that our actions have a significant impact on others and that we can engage in right actions to behave in ways that honor the sovereignty of all beings
Animistic philosophy and practices surround working with spirits, learning from them, avoiding the bad ones, and recognizing our connected and collective places in the world. Animism facilitates a deep connection to the world of nature through the spirits that inhabit all things on earth, and thus, offers a deep connection to the “inner” world of nature. That is, animistic practices highlight the interaction of the physical and metaphysical world of nature.

Permaculture is a set of design tools, practices, and philosophies that offer guidelines for how to design, create, and inhabit spaces that work with nature and that regenerate ecosystems. Permaculture is meant to help cultivate resiliency, help bring people closer to the land, and work with natural cycles and systems for intentional interaction in the world. The overall goal of permaculture is recognizing that humans can be a force of good, and that we can work to heal our landscapes and allow them to provide for the needs of all inhabitants–human, insect, animal, plant, and otherwise.

Permaculture has a foundational set of three ethics (people care, earth care, fair share), which help guide decision making and allow us to orient ourselves in practices rooted in care. Moving into practice, permaculture principles are used to help us apply specific practices that build resilient ecosystems (like swales, hugelkultur, planting polycultures, sheet mulching, etc). The principles are guidelines for how you can design and interact with the landscape to create dynamic, bio-intensive ecosystems that are resilient and sustainable. There are between 12-20 principles, depending on which specific version of permauclture you use–here’s one that describes Holmgren’s principles.

In sum, permaculture offers a wide variety of tools to ethically connect to and work with the “outer” world of nature, including understanding ecology, cycles and seasons, plants, pollinators, and so much more. This is a very physically-based practice rooted in what our five senses can hear, see, and experience.

Why Animistic Permaculture?
So when we look at the above, we see that animism offers deep insight and connection with nature through the world of spirit, and permaculture offers deep insight and connection to nature through the physical world. If we combine these things, we can gain insight and connection to nature through both metaphysical and physical practices, which allows us to do better work on behalf of the land. In other words, while these are two powerful tools separately, together, they amplify and enrich each other. These two practices are highly complementary and fit beautifully together, particularly for those who are interested in nature spirituality. Also, as my opening story suggests, those practicing permaculture end up developing very deep relationships with the land–relationships that often end up having spiritual significance. Putting these two together

Over these last 15 years at two different homesteads, I’ve been exploring the intersection of these two philosophies and exploring how to bring them together. I’ve been an animist druid since 2005. I took up the practice of permaculture in 2010 by applying these practices to my homestead in Michigan. Later, I earned both my Permaculture Design Certificate (Sowing Solutions, 2015) and my Permaculture Teacher Training (Omega, 2017). My book Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices interwove many permauclture design principles, thinking, and ethics into earth-based spirituality. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve also learned a lot. In the rest of this post series, I’ll share some of what I have come to understand as the basic practices and principles for engaging in an animistic permaculture practice and philosophy. Maybe someone else would do things differently, but these are the things that have worked for me. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments!

Animistic Permaculture Ethics: Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share, Spirit Aware
Permaculture ethics are the foundation upon which everything else in permaculture is built. They give us a compass, a way to make sure we are making the right decisions from the right place. The three permaculture ethics are:

Earth Care: Care for the earth and all of her inhabitants. This would include caring for the land, the rivers, the soil web, all plants, animals, and other beings. But also caring thinking about the ecosystem and biosphere as a whole. While permaculture focuses on local issues and small solutions for individual practitioners, the principle of earth care applies to both the parts and the whole. In permaculture, earth care is a fundamental ethic–all things we do need to consider this ethic.

People Care: Caring for the peoples of the earth. This includes considering people’s basic needs (food, shelter, water, warmth, community, creative outlets). In permaculture, we’d consider also how designs are able to meet both the needs of the earth and the needs of the people living there. People care also can be expanded more broadly to consider how we best care for each other and create a safe, supportive, and healthy world. Many also include “self-care” in people care–for to care for everyone else (land and people) one also needs to care for oneself.
Fair Share: Taking only what you need redistributing excess or returning it to the land. This ethic speaks to the heart of how permaculture practitioners are trying to unwind capitalism and its excesses–thinking carefully about what you need to survive and thrive, but not taking more than that.

These principles are extremely useful to live and follow if you are also following an animistic philosophy, especially because of point #2 above–the need for respectful interaction and building right relationships with the land. By recognizing that care is a fundamental part of interacting with both the worlds without and within, you are essentially setting yourself up for positive relationships and connections with the world of spirit. If you are offering care in every interaction with plants, the spirits of those plants are going to work with you on the deepest level.

For an animistic philosophy of permaculture, care is a foundational principle but is not the end of an ethical system. Here’s why: one can care for something and still see it as a “lesser” being (perhaps rooted in narcissism). I’ve seen a lot of this in permaculture practices–you have a flock of chickens, you feed them and care for them and make sure they get free range time each day–but they are still lesser beings. Care in this case is insufficient–if that chicken has a spirit and you are both equals, is care enough? And even more problematic, sometimes care can become unbalanced or destructive. In fact, we see “care” being applied to all kinds of things that not care-oriented actions at all (“lawn care” being a great example–there is nothing care-oriented about chemical applications to eradicate dandelions).

In applying animism to permaculture, it is important to recognize not only care but equality–we are equal to all other beings and all beings are deserving of their sovereignty. The difference here is that this approach re-frames the relationship of humans and nature into a biocentric one rather than an anthropocentric one. Hence, I offer one more ethic to turn the triad into a quaternity: spirit aware.

Spirit aware: Spirit aware has several aspects. The first is that we are aware, engaging, and interacting with the spirit of all beings. The second is that in accepting that all things have spirit and we are equal in all things, we are able to offer due respect, reverence, and autonomy to all other beings. In theory, this seems straightforward but in practice, it requires some pretty big shifts. I’m going to delve into this in more depth next week, but I’ll share a small example here:

Let’s say you want to cycle your nutrients and take up the practice of humanure (yay!). If you are a permaculture practitioner, engaging in this practice would start with a period of observation and interaction where you can decide how to place and manage your humanure piles. You decide to place them over by some trees on the edge of your property. The site you choose is flat, it does not have drainage issues, and it is in the sun. It is also not too far from your home. You’ve considered earth care (no drainage to a local stream), people care (not too hard to carry buckets to the compost pile or tend it), and fair share (humanure practices allow for nutrient cycling, not waste streams).

But without talking to the spirits of the land, you may never know that the root systems of the nearby trees are very close to the surface, and situating your pile there would eventually kill the trees due to the weight of the piles. In talking to the spirits about the need for a humanure pile, they suggest a spot 20 feet to the left of the tree stand. This allows you still have an excellent location but does not cause any harm to the trees. The trees are happy because you’ve worked with them to find the best spot, and you still get everything you need to have a successful humanure practice.

The difference between scenarios 1 and 2 is that in scenario 2, the practitioner is spirit aware–asking the spirits for their guidance and making sure they are in agreement. The practitioner has taken the time to do this additional step, and it is a critical one. How can this step happen? Stay tuned for next week when we dig into a few permaculture principles and explore how to deeply connect with the Genus Loci, or spirits of place.


Casting the Runes

When casting the Runes, you will find illumination in the unlimited possibilities laid out before you.

Many millennia ago in northern Europe, ancient peoples sought a means to understand their roles in the world at large. They created runes — an alphabet of symbols that served both as a functional writing system and as a unique system of divination. Though the symbols themselves were little more than varying combinations of straight lines carved on natural mediums such as wood, stone, or bone, these individuals devised a method of comprehending the past, making sense of the present, and interpreting the future using the runes as guides. The significance of each symbol was a product of its general orientation once cast and its location with respect to other runes. In the present, runes can play the same role in our lives that they played in the chronicles of distant history. Through them, we open ourselves to a form of universal guidance that helps us help ourselves.

There are many casting styles, each of which serves an individual function. Casting a single rune can help you answer specific questions or choose a daily meditation subject. Three runes, cast during confusing or distressing situations, provide you with insights into the past, present, and future — as represented by the first, second, and third runes cast, respectively. A nine-rune cast can help you understand where you are on your spiritual path. The runes that land face up relate to your current circumstances and the events leading up to them, and any runes touching are read as concurrences. Rune readings, however, are by their very nature subjective and open to interpretation. Your casting style should reflect your intuitive knowledge of your needs. Grabbing a handful of runes to cast at random can be just as effective as choosing a set number to cast.

Whether you buy your runes or carve them yourself is less important than your sincere desire to understand the messages conveyed to you via this alphabet of enlightenment. Your intentions will have a direct impact on the wisdom you receive while casting. The runes are representative of forces outside of the realm of human understanding, so your intent will act as your anchor. By simply reading the runes, you will find illumination in the unlimited possibilities laid out before you in each new cast.


Weedy Wonders

One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.

Simply expressed, a weed is any plant that grows where it isn’t wanted. Weeds are defined by their tendency to flourish at the expense of a gardener’s overall vision, and we tend to battle their presence in our yards. It is interesting to consider, though, that a plant is a weed only within a certain context, which is to say that one person’s weed is another person’s wildflower. Most of us have pulled at least one dandelion up by its roots and disposed of it in the interest of preserving the look of a perfect green lawn, yet the dandelion is good medicine, packed with healing properties and vitamin-rich leaves that are a delicious, spicy surprise in a summer salad.

In the wild, there is no such thing as a weed because the overall vision is in the hands of Mother Nature, who accommodates and incorporates all forms of life. In nature, balance is achieved over the long term, without the aid, or interference, of a human supervisor. While one plant may prevail over others for a certain period of time, eventually it will reach an apex and then it will naturally decline, allowing for other forms to be born and survive. This self-regulating realm was the first garden of our ancestors, who learned the art of agriculture from studying the forests and fields of the as yet uncultivated earth. In a sense, weeds are harbingers of this wildness, pushing their way into our well-ordered plots, undermining more delicate flora, and flourishing in spite of us.

The next time you see a weed, you might want to look deeply into its roots, discover its name, its habits, and its possible uses. Instead of seeing an unwanted intruder, you might see a healer offering its leaves for a medicinal tea or its flowers for a colorful salad. At the very least, if you look long enough, you will see a messenger from the wilderness of Mother Earth, reminding you that, even in the most carefully controlled garden, she cannot be completely ruled out.


Coach Gilberto 26
Stephen Halpert

The dead body of Gertrude Sharp knew no shame. Half dressed in skimpy cotton briefs and a gold tank top, she looked strangely at peace for someone who had been murdered and was on a slab in the town morgue.
Her blue green eyes were glazed; a romantic smile reflected delight, rapture, and expectation for so much more. Her face certainly did not express fear, shock, or surprise. If anything, it held more a willingness to surrender even more deeply to whomever had murdered her.
Were it not for the small bullet hole just under her left ear covered by her thick auburn hair matted in blood, she might have been relaxing in the arms of her lover.
The police chief had called Gilberto and Rain in to come view the body.
“Looks like she had no idea what was coming.” Rain told him.”
“How you figure that?” he asked.
Rain looked down at the body “She looks like she was just kissed, and not threatened or expecting harm in any way,” she said.
“To die upon a kiss,” Gilberto said, remembering that line from the conclusion of Shakespeare’s Othello.
“A strange way to go, that’s for sure.” Rain said. “One moment blissful surrender, the next a one-way ticket to the big sleep.” She looked up and smiled as she noticed a familiar shadow moving across the ceiling. Cy Willobee was with them.
The Chief sighed. “We’ve put out a call to bring her husband, Bob Sharp, in for questioning,” he said. “I’ve heard rumors. My take on this is he Scould be involved up to his neck.”
“Who’d kill her and leave her body right there on the front lawn of Houndstooth Academy?” Rain said.
Gilberto frowned. “Unless her murderer intended to send a very definite message of some sort to others at the school?”
“Obviously she must have known her murderer intimately,” the Chief said. Looking up, Gilberto noticed the shadow that was Cy move toward a leather bag nearby. Sticking out of it were copies of the invitation to the frolic at Camp Wigwam. He pointed it out to Rain.
“This looks like a set up to me,” she said. “In fact, this whole murder seems to have been artfully staged for the benefit of the Camp Wigwam crowd,”
Gilberto vaguely remembered meeting Gertrude and her husband at a gathering in Brookline. The wheels in his brain brought up more: Gertrude’s husband Bob taught earth science and biology, while Gertrude headed up the Modern Language’s Department and taught Spanish. Then her quip that night that made little sense, now re-occurred to him. At the time it had seemed odd. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Gilberto had heard her say. Bob’s reaction had reflected anger and fear that had blended into his expression of remorse and sorrow.
“Crime of passion, maybe?” he said.
Rain nodded. “Maybe.” She turned to the Chief. “Can you identify the weapon?”
He frowned. “Not officially without an autopsy. Unofficially it looks to me like it could have come from a kid’s zip gun. My guess is a 22 short bullet fired from point blank range right against her cheek, just below her left ear.”
“Then she must have known her murderer intimately,” Rain said.
“Seems that way,” the Chief agreed.
“But the body was located outside the Administration Building on the front lawn of Houndstooth,” Rain said. “Obviously the murderer was intending to send a very emphatic message.”
“Seems like there is some kind of connection,” Gilberto said. He remembered vague polite suggestions of intimacy concerning the nudist frolic at Camp Wigwam, shared that night at the Brookline condo.”
“Killer was most likely a woman,” Rain told the Chief.”
“How you figure?” he asked.
“Call it female intuition,” Rain said. “A bullet that small? A man wouldn’t choose that kind of weapon.”
Gilberto pointed out the shoulder bag with the same invitations to the Camp Wigwam frolic he and Maria had received in the mail that morning.
“Gertrude must have been the one who mailed them out,” Gilberto said.
The chief frowned. “I’ve sent a patrol car to pick up her husband at their condo in Brookline.” His device rang. He answered and an expression of dismay crossed his face. “Take care of it and report details. Dust for fingerprints.” He turned to Gilberto and Rain. “The plot thickens,” he said. “Bob Sharp’s nude body was discovered on his patio; shot once, just below his left ear, a small hole similar to that of his wife’s. This looks to be a double murder.”
Why nude?” Rain said. She shook her head.
“I wonder if the murderer removed Gertrude’s body and brought it to Houndstooth,” Rain said. “Could be…”
The chief frowned. “Why bother moving a corpse?”
“It’s symbolic. Like I said, a message,” Rain said. “Letting others know what’s going on and perhaps what’s to expect.”
“Unlikely,” the Chief said. “The grass was matted down as if she had fallen there.” His phone rang. He listened, then hung up and spoke. “Bob Sharp was dead a while. Could even have been killed before she was. Any ideas why?”
Gilberto shook his head. “Doesn’t make any sense.”
Rain cleared her throat. “Or too much sense, depending on motive and intention. The murderer must have been very close to them both.” she said. “Now all we have to do is establish a connection. ” She turned to the chief. “You said you’d heard rumors…”
He blinked and looked down. “Oh, you know, people talk…”
“Any information could help,” Rain said.
“Still think the murderer was a woman?” The Chief said, changing the subject.
Rain nodded. “Absolutely.”
Gilberto noticed Cy’s shadow moving above his head. Cy Willobee nodded and Rain’s face brightened. She let out a short laugh. The large leather shoulder bag lifted from the table where it had been and emptied onto the floor. Amongst the clutter of envelopes, makeup and other small items was a sinister looking tube with a barrel and trigger device as well as a small box of twenty-two short shells.

To be continued


Kitty Kat’s Korner

Cat Colors — Get the Fascinating Facts Behind Cat Coats & Patterns
By Susan Logan McCracken

Modifying genes means endless possibilities for cat colors and patterns. From tabby cats to pointed patterns to tricolors like calicos, let’s learn more!

Cat colors, patterns and fur length are a cat’s calling card. We include these characteristics when referring to specific types of felines. For example, we would call fictional cat Garfield a red tabby Exotic Shorthair.

Note the color, pattern, breed and coat length in the name. The cat fancy — or the community of feline enthusiasts, cat show judges, breed registries, breeders and others who study and adore felines — gave us these designations to make it easier to identify cats.

This may seem hard to believe, but cat colors basically include black, red, white or some combination, dilution or mixture of these. It almost doesn’t seem fair when birds get 15 vivid colors like pink, green, blue, yellow and purple.

“Birds derive their brilliant coloring because of the chemical structure of their feathers and amino acid modifiers, which is different from that of cat coat textures where pigmentation is based on melanin types,” says Joan Miller, the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s outreach and education chair and renowned cat expert.

Cats basically come in black, red, white or some combination, dilution or mixture of these
Cat colors — what coat colors can cats have?
Basically, when it comes to cat colors, cats are black unless they have inherited the sex-linked orange masking gene, in which case, they are red, Miller explains. By red, we mean what is commonly called orange.

“The hundreds of colors and patterns displayed in domestic cat coats come about because of modifying factors that include both genes and polygenes, which change these basic two colors,” she says, giving an example of the dilute gene, which changes cat colors from black to blue (commonly called gray) and red to cream.

Polygenes, genes that require multiple others of their kind for their effects to be observable, then determine whether the coat color tone will be a dark steel gray-blue or a pale powder blue, she explains. These inherited polygenes are controlled through selective breeding in pedigreed breeds. If you’ve studied cats for very long, you probably know that calico and tortoiseshell cats — those with both black and red coat colors — are female. That’s because the orange gene is carried on the sex-linked X chromosome. Because males are XY with only one X chromosome, they can only be black or red (or the variations of each due to modifying factors).

Since females are XX, they can be both black and red. “This is how we obtain the flashy tortoiseshell-colored females, who have black coats with splashes of red. If the dilute factor is inherited, the female cat will be a blue-cream. Should a cat also inherit the piebald white spotting factor, then this female can be a tortie and white bicolor, or calico tricolor cat with large black and red areas on a white coat,” Miller says. Piebalds are spots or patches that are absent of pigmentation, or white.

When it comes to coat patterns, here’s a mind-blowing fact: All cats start as tabbies.

The tabby pattern
When it comes to cat colors and coat patterns, here’s a mind-blowing fact: All cats are tabbies. “Whether they show their tabby pattern or not depends on whether the cat has inherited the dominant agouti gene or the recessive non-agouti solid color gene,” she explains. “However, even solid-colored red cats will show tabby pattern because the sex-linked chromosome is not affected by the non-agouti gene. Solid-color kittens will sometimes show their underlying tabby pattern when young before their kitten coat sheds and the adult coat grows in. Also, when an adult cat with a solid coat lies in bright sunlight their underlying tabby pattern can often be faintly seen.” The tabby pattern includes the characteristic “M” marking on their foreheads and four basic types:

Classic tabbies, also called blotched tabbies, have a combination of stripes, swirls, blotches and what looks like a bull’s-eye on the sides of their bodies.
Ticked tabbies have banding on each hair shaft with a lighter color at the base, which creates an iridescent speckled appearance but without stripes on the body. Abyssinians and Somalis are these types of tabbies.

Mackerel tabbies have vertical continuous stripes on both sides of their bodies and a dark spine line extending from shoulders to tail.

Spotted tabbies are just that. The size of the spots and the spacing between them vary. Ocicats have large thumbprint spots, Egyptian Maus have high-contrast, randomly placed spots of varied shapes and sizes, and Bengals have rosette spotting, according to Miller, “but random-bred cats will often have broken mackerel or classic striping giving a spotted appearance.”

There’s also a pattern called patched tabby. These are female cats with any of the four tabby patterns but that also show additional red-colored patches due to their inherited sex-linked orange gene, Miller explains.

The point-restricted pattern gene gives Siamese and related breeds their pointed pattern, or a light-colored body with darker colors at the extremities.

The pointed pattern
Here’s another cool point about cat colors: The point-restricted pattern gene gives Siamese and related breeds their pointed pattern, or a light-colored body with darker colors at the extremities. The gene must be carried in both the male and female for any of the kittens to be pointed.

“The gene is temperature sensitive, causing color to be restricted to the cooler extremities of the body — the face, ears, legs, tail and testicles,” Miller explains. “It is part of the albino series and modifies the color tone so that black appears dark seal brown on a light fawn-colored body. The genetic mutation, chocolate color, and its dilute version, lilac, also were seen in the early Siamese cats.” Tonkinese cats, which are a mix of Siamese and Burmese, have a more subtle point contrast called mink coloring.

Siamese cats were named after the ancient kingdom of Siam, where they originated. “These cats were a sensation when first imported to England in the mid-1800s,” Miller says. “When the Siamese first came to America in the early 1900s, they quickly became popular as pets, leading to the spread of the recessive point-restricted pattern throughout the country. It is still hidden in the genotype of many random-bred cats and surfaces in litters when both the sire and dam are carriers of the gene.”

Three types of shaded cats include: chinchilla, shaded and smoke, each distinguished by the extent of the shading on individual hairs.

Shading patterns
Another thing to consider when we’re talking cat colors? Shading, which is characterized by color at the tips of the hair with a pure white undercoat. Three types of shaded cats include: chinchilla, shaded and smoke, each distinguished by the extent of the shading on individual hairs.

In chinchillas, only the very tip of the guard hair, or outer coat, is colored. With the shaded pattern, a quarter of the guard hair farthest from the cat’s body exhibits the color. In the smoke pattern, half of the guard hair farthest from the cat’s body displays the color. When a smoke-patterned cat is still, the coat pattern may appear solid, but when the cat is moving or you pet him, you can see the white undercoat.

The tortoiseshell, or tortie, are referred to as particolored. These cats are female, and they’re black with random patches of red.

Bicolors and tricolors
With cat colors, people love to talk about bicolored cats, which are white and any other color. The cat can have a little spotting, even only one patch of white, or can be mostly white with a little bit of the other color. The colored area in bicolored cats can also feature any of the tabby patterns.

“The bicolor and tricolor patterns are created by the incomplete dominant piebald white-spotting gene,” Miller says. “Polygenes help determine the amount of white in the cat’s coat. Black bicolored cats with only a small amount of white, such as a ‘bib,’ white paws and perhaps a white facial ‘blaze’ are the ‘tuxedo’ cats. The other extreme is an almost entirely white body with color only on the tail and perhaps a spot or two on the head or body. This is called the ‘Van’ pattern referring to the cats found in the Lake Van area of Turkey centuries ago.”

Calicos are white females with large solid areas of black and red patches as well as other colors like blues and creams thrown in. They can have a little bit of white, a lot of white or anything in between.

Tortoiseshells, or torties, are referred to as particolored in the cat fancy. Like calicos, these cats are female, except they’re black with random patches of red. The black and red can also be the dilute blue and cream. A dilute tortie is a blue female with patches of solid cream or chocolate with red or lilac with cream. The patches on the tortoiseshell can also be tabby patterned.

Calico and tortoiseshell cats are female, because the orange gene is carried on the sex-linked “X” chromosome.

The University of California, Davis, surveyed 1,200 cat guardians in 2015 and published the results in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. The respondents were asked to choose a color category that best represented their cat and to answer questions about cat colors and their cats’ behaviors. The results seemed to confirm a reputation that calicos and torties are feisty and unpredictable.

In another survey, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, East Bay, asked 189 cat guardians to assign the terms – active, aloof, bold, calm, friendly, intolerant, shy, stubborn, tolerant and trainable — to five different cat colors — red, tricolored, white, black and bicolored. The results showed that respondents were more likely to attribute friendliness to orange cats, intolerance to tricolored cats and aloofness to white cats.

Keep in mind that these were surveys of human perceptions, not scientific studies that controlled for other possible personality influencers, such as gender and coat length. Calicos and torties are female, which might play a greater role in personality than coat color. Longhaired cats are generally believed to be docile, while shorthaired cats are purported to be energetic.

I have two red tabby domestic longhaired cats who came from the same litter. Some of my friends can’t tell them apart, and one cat could work as a stunt double for the other. But when it comes to personalities, the two couldn’t be more opposite. One greets everyone who comes to our house; the other has enough love only for me and my husband.

More studies are needed before we can conclude that cat colors influence personality.

Cat eye colors
Another cool point to consider when it comes to cat colors — cat eye colors. All kittens are born with blue eyes. At about 6 to 8 weeks of age, “their potential final eye color begins to become apparent,” Miller says. “Full brilliance is not achieved until a cat reaches maturity.” Full maturity can take one to two years, depending on the cat breed. “There are only three basic eye colors,” Miller says. “However, eye color of domestic cats is striking and greatly varied. Interestingly, the brilliant copper eye color of a Persian, the deep gold eyes of an Abyssinian or Bombay and the emerald green eyes of a Russian Blue are all derived from the same gene. It is through years of selective breeding that this extreme eye color spectrum has been perfected in the breeds. Random-bred cats usually have greenish gold or hazel eye color; however, a colony of free-roaming cats resulting from natural-line breeding will often develop golden or lemon-yellow eye color.”

Some cat eye colors are linked to coat colors or patterns. For example, white cats can have blue, yellow, gold or odd eyes. “Any cats that have inherited the piebald-spotting factor can have odd-eye color — one blue eye and one golden, yellow or greenish eye,” Miller says. Cats with the point-restricted color pattern, like the Siamese, have blue eyes because of a gene that is linked to albinism. Tonkinese often have aqua eyes. “Tonkinese showing the deeper Burmese coat colors (sable, blue, champagne or platinum) will have gold or green eye color,” Miller says.


Georgia Nicols’
Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, August 28, 2022

All Signs
This will be a productive week. We’re eager to accomplish a lot, even if we bite off more than we can chew. (Hey – motivation is everything. Why not be optimistic and hope for the best?) Our ambition, combined with enthusiastic confidence, might trigger clashes with authority figures. Nevertheless, in the big picture, our confidence will shine! We will feel capable of anything! This is wonderful because we are always affected by our state of mind. We’re like Dumbo the flying elephant, who believed an ordinary feather was the reason he could defy gravity. “Saw a peanut stand; heard a rubber band — saw a needle that winked its eye; but I think I will have seen everything, when I see an elephant fly.”

Aries (March 21-April 19)
You will be vibrating with tremendous enthusiasm this week because your ruler, fiery Mars, is sitting in the part of your chart that influences your daily habits and your communication style with everyone. In a word – you’ll be busy! Plus, you’ll be direct, proactive and to the point. “You talkin’ to me?” In addition, Mars will heighten the influence of lucky Jupiter in your own sign, which will make you confident, enthusiastic and super optimistic. Meanwhile the Sun urges you to work and work smart. This combination guarantees results. However, fear not. Life will not be “all work and no play” because Venus will promote socializing, fun times and romance!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
It’s play city for your sign because you are in a four-week window that encourages you to do exactly what you want, especially in terms of socializing, having fun, exploring sports, going camping, enjoying barbecues, the beach and fun getaway holidays. You will also enjoy entertaining at home and doing what you can to redecorate or make your home more beautiful. At work, you are enthusiastic and excited about big ideas. Small wonder that it appears that you can boost your earnings and make even more money! (We’re not surprised because after all, you are the financial wizard of the zodiac.) Ka-ching!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Once again, a reminder that Mars is now in your sign. Mars represents energy. Mars is usually in your sign for six weeks once every two years. However, through a celestial fluke, Mars is in your sign from now until April 2023 – over seven months! This means you’re going to be gangbusters! You will not be bossed around or dominated by others. You intend to be free to do what you want. This week, you feel happy, buoyant and optimistic. Your primary focus is on home, family and perhaps a parent. Nevertheless, you have big ideas about vacations, fun times, sports and activities with kids. You want to play! You have a wonderful window of time ahead where you will accomplish a lot. Lucky you!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This is a busy, active week. Not only that, you are confident and excited about big ideas. For many of you, these ideas might include home repairs or making changes at home that are significant. These changes will make a difference and the difference will be better. Very likely, family discussions, even family reunions will take place. Those of you who write, teach, sell, act, edit or promote will be very productive. Along with your interest to make home improvements, will be your increased desire to buy beautiful things for yourself and loved ones. Fortunately, you continue to attract money to you! (We like!)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You have a variety of interests this week: you have a strong focus on money, cash flow and earnings. You want to organize your possessions so that you are in control, and what you own is working for you, not dragging you down. If shopping, you should know this is an excellent week to buy wardrobe goodies for yourself. Meanwhile, you want to travel. You also want to make plans for future travel. You might make plans about publishing, the media, higher education, the law or medicine – all exciting topics! Your interaction with groups will be strong; in fact, you might play a leadership role. You might be competitive. No moss growing on you!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
This is a strong week for you because the Sun is in your sign, which means you’re energized! You are also fortunate, because you will attract important people and favourable situations to you. In an unusual astrological development, fiery Mars will stay at the top of your chart until April next year. (Normally, Mars would be there for only six weeks, once every two years.) Mars symbolizes energy, so what this means is your ambition will be aroused as never before! You will identify with what you do, and work hard to achieve your goals. You might be bossy. (This could create problems with parents or authority figures, or conflict with coworkers.) Meanwhile, you have big money ideas and high hopes!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
A mixed message for you this week. (Same opposing influences as last week.) Part of you wants to lie in the weeds and keep a low profile. However, Mercury is in your sign, which makes you talkative and eager to discuss issues with others. Venus is in your House of Friendships, promoting warm, friendly exchanges with others, especially creative people. (In fact, for some of you, a friend will become a lover.) Meanwhile, Mars is unusually hyped this week because of the energizing influence of Jupiter. This makes you want to travel and make future travel plans. You have a desire for adventure and a change! Preferably somewhere with impeccable service and a fine table for dinner. Why not?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This is a popular time for you, which means you are enjoying schmoozing with others and interacting with groups and organizations. This is also an important time for you in terms of setting future goals. With Venus at the top of your chart now, you create a favourable impression on others. Bosses are impressed. Regardless of what you do for a living, people will seek out your creative advice about furniture arrangement, gardening, design and layout. This same influence promotes romance with a boss. This week, Jupiter will be on your side in discussions about how to share or divide anything, like an inheritance. This means you’ll come out laughing all the way to the bank.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is the only four-week window when the Sun sits at the top of your chart, which symbolizes you are thrust in a flattering spotlight. The upshot of this means you are admired! Others see you as capable, competent and talented even if you don’t do anything special. (It’s smoke and mirrors.) Obviously, this is the time to press your case. Push your agenda forward! Ask for permission or approval or a raise. Timing is everything and for your sign – now is the time! Interaction with young people will be upbeat and exuberant. Travel for pleasure will delight. Meanwhile, relations with partners and close friends are feisty but enthusiastic. Definitely a joust.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
This week, you will make great headway at work or making major changes at home, especially anything that improves your home by expanding it, or renovating it, or possibly, even changing residences. Fortunately, discussions with parents and bosses are upbeat and enthusiastic, which is encouraging for you. Some of these discussions will inspire you to make ambitious plans for your future. In part, this is because you are energized and willing to work hard. The good news is this high energy and determination to work efficiently and effectively will last until April 2023. Wow! You’ll be PowerPoint on steroids! Personal relationships are affectionate and sexy.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
This week your optimism knows no bounds! You are full of positive energy and enthusiasm. Indeed, anyone who meets you will see this. This is why you want to socialize, play and explore creative ideas. You want to express your talents and your true self to the world. With Venus opposite your sign, relations with others are warm and cozy. Meanwhile, you will be inspired by lofty ideas, philosophies and belief systems, including exciting political and religious discussions. Remember that you are at the beginning of a seven-year journey, which involves reinventing yourself. Right now, you are trying on new personas almost like overcoats. “How do I look?” “Is this one me?” It’s an exciting time to be alive.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Get used to the fact that you have to focus on home, family and your private life much more than usual for the next seven months. This could be due to residential changes, people coming and going, redecorating or renovating projects, visiting family – anything. You will work hard to pull your act together because you want everything to run smoothly. This week is an excellent time to begin because you feel upbeat and energetic. Furthermore, relations with coworkers are supportive and friendly. Not only that, practical help from others as well as loans and mortgages will be available to you. Some of these changes at home are based on the fact that you are letting go of what is no longer relevant in your life. It’s definitely time for you to streamline and downsize so that you are lighter and ready to enter a new world in 2023. “Lucy! I’m home!”


Weekly Horoscopes beginning Sunday, 28 August 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:

On 20 August, your ruler Mars moved to accent new ideas. Some are about reviewing existing arrangements. What’s more, it remains there until late March, 2023, indicating both your way of thinking and living will become broader, in terms of what you do, and your circumstances. However, this is also about breaking away from outdated, restrictive beliefs. Be bold. The more you explore, the more you’ll benefit.

You’re ready to make a big career change. This is something that has been discussed within the family. Now you need to prepare your boss and workmates for what you are planning. They need to know it has nothing to do with the job or their company. You just want and need something different, that’s all. You are in a position to carry a sport you love forward, and this is a great situation to be in.

Mercury is not yet retrograde but it soon will be. As it crosses through the early degrees of Libra, your opposite sign, the potential for forming unions increases. The problem comes when Mercury turns retrograde on September 10. Some of these deals might not stick. Rather than be entrapped with something that is completely unworkable later, it would surely be wise to ensure elasticity in any agreement. Though doubtless your ideas – buoyed by joint creativity – have considerable merit, it’s probable that they can’t really gather momentum until mid-October. This week should be for preparation and trial – preferably with assistance from a Scorpio who could alert you to potential difficulties.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

True, sudden developments that alter existing plans will be unsettling; but you’ll soon recognise these as breakthroughs, often in situations you’ve regarded as unchanging. The challenge? Either things will be moving very swiftly or lead you into unfamiliar territory. That’s the point. What you’re experiencing and who you encounter will add to your life, in wonderful ways now, and over the months and years to come.

A journey took at short notice will cause some confusion. Meetings and appointments need to be arranged, and a few people won’t be happy about this. You sense their annoyance, but you are also aware of your priorities, and this change in plans cannot be helped. Events at this time are important to you, so keep your own interests in mind and don’t listen to anyone’s complaints or objections. They will get over their disappointment.

With Mercury having arrived – for an extended stay – in that area of your solar chart that is all about joint and long-term commitment, there is much work for you to do. Balancing the books might not be easy. It would be as well to accept that you will need to put extra focus on daily expenditure. This isn’t just about money, it’s also about how you spend your energy. Until the end of this week, ensuring that your home and workspace offer as pleasant an environment as possible would be wise. You should also, enter into contingency planning. Though the Full Moon on September 10 is still a week away, crisis management may be necessary. Yet you have a gift for being practical and could join forces most likely in the early days of September with a Virgo whose efficiency is well recognised making you a formidable ‘A’ team.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re always up to date on the latest places to go, and things to do. However, another side of your nature is cautious about anything unfamiliar. Note, with the warrior planet Mars in Gemini until late March of next year, life’s about discovery and breakthroughs. While some events will be immediately recognisable as that, others may seem overwhelming. Still, at least explore them. You won’t regret it.

You’re surprised when a close friend shows little enthusiasm for your ideas. It might seem as if someone is holding back their true thoughts about a situation which is causing you a little concern. You’re trying to see things from an objective point of view, but this is difficult when emotions get in the way. Writing about your feelings and experiences in a diary can be an excellent outlet for your emotions.

With Mercury moving – and for an extended stay -through the ‘research and development’ area of your solar chart, fun and games should start and continue for the next couple of months. Yet Mercury turns retrograde on September 10 and ideas that are bounced around this week hit the buffers. It’s long been recognised that Gemini plays well with Aries, Leo and Sagittarius (Fire). You know exactly how to fan flames. Be careful though, that you don’t fan them into forest fire levels. It is essential that you apply thermostat control. Taking action too quickly would be unwise and likely imperative that you understand exactly the strategy you intend to employ and when, where and how you will alter direction should that become necessary.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

True, you enjoy sticking with the familiar. This applies to where you go, what you eat and your companions. Yet with the fortunate Jupiter accenting the structure of your life, even unexpected changes are part of a pattern of growth, often in ways or a direction you regard as unsettling. For now, focus on what you’re discovering. Decisions? They can wait until you know more.

You just can’t understand what has got into those around you. Some people seem to be deliberately awkward and uncooperative. Others are being amazingly childish in their behaviour. It may be the general atmosphere that’s causing everyone to be disheartened but try not to expect too much from others. It isn’t, for instance, a good time to make demands or to ask people to make important decisions. Concentrate instead on areas that should cause the least contention.

True, Mercury passes the base of your solar chart every year but doesn’t always coincide with a retrograde phase as it does this year. There’s high probability of considerable comings and goings on the home front between now and the end of October. Those with younger children could feel this acutely. Anticipate being overstretched yes, even more than you are already. Yet all Cancerians should find communications challenging and important that any arrangements have flexibility. It will be necessary to alter course – possibly several times over. Careerwise, comings and goings should be more than you’ve experienced – with Gemini and Virgo colleagues requiring extra support. Keeping your career plan in mind and allowing too much distraction to deflect you from your long-term aims should be this week’s quest.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

The trick to making the best of this cycle of unsettling; but ultimately worthwhile, change is to approach events with curiosity, yet make it clear you’re not committing. That way, despite your doubts, you can focus on learning as much as possible, about the people, places and, often, the exciting events involved. Gradually, as you become better informed, you’ll exchange suspicion for genuine interest and, ultimately, enthusiasm.

There’s not much time to relax when demands from all directions will keep you on your toes. A friend or neighbour will approach you for advice on how to get their life in order. Don’t treat this as a joke, for they really are being serious, and they do need guidance. Someone wants to take a leaf out of your book, and it should please you to be able to give them some practical support.

Now that Mercury has joined Mars in another of the Air signs and with the energy following the New Moon (27th), expect busy-ness. It might seem that others are operating with no clear plan. This is where they need you. Now maybe the time to show leadership and, in the first half of this week, delegate. By Thursday, and as the Moon arrives at the base of your solar chart, you can stand firm. (Someone has to). Gemini, Libra and Aquarius friends should be quick to react to suggestions. Bear in mind that they are likely playing with many different projects and not be in a position to give you undivided attention. It might help to schedule regular weekly meetings to check their progress.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Planning ahead may be a virtue. However, with the Virgo New Moon on 29 August bringing a timely fresh perspective on both recent changes and those currently being discussed, the more flexible your thinking, and arrangements, the better. This may differ from your usual cautious approach to such matters; but as each day passes, you’ll become increasingly aware the time has come to broaden your horizons.

Productive talks within your household will lead to you making important decisions about living arrangements and new domestic routines. If you decide to make a start on beautifying your home, use your imagination to come up with ways to make your space more welcoming and comforting. Think twice before giving advice or offering to assist someone who isn’t as experienced as yourself. You will no doubt want to help them, but they may see this as interference.

There is a greeting card on sale that says ‘if in doubt blame Mercury’. It seems unfair to blame just your ruling planet for the twists and turns that will surely occur over the next few weeks. Yet it is probable that decisions taken this week, will need to be rethought and reworked several times over. Flexibility is essential. The problem with this approach, is that those who need decisions to be taken, could be exasperated by your approach; after all, they need to get started. They won’t appreciate you being indecisive or endlessly changing your mind. The art is surely to have regular meetings to assess progress. It might also help to have an assistant (a Scorpio?), restrain you from asking too many questions. All this said, following on from the New Moon in your sign it does seem probable that you will embark on a career adventure that is exciting and exhilarating.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

While you seem easy-going, you’ll sometimes battle changes furiously simply because you dislike the idea of them. However, the stars have a different plan in mind. Events, some both unexpected and sudden, are drawing you into arrangements as unfamiliar as they are unsettling. Yet your intuition tells you these are in your best interests. That’s true. For now, focus on exploration. Decisions can and should wait.

Confidential matters are a source of concern. These won’t be helped by the fractious atmosphere in the workplace. Someone you work with is not being honest with you, and they are fooling themselves if they think you haven’t noticed this. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. Some of this will be to your advantage, but you need to be patient before you start seeing results.

Mercury has entered your sign. Yes, it makes this transit every year, but it doesn’t turn retrograde in Libra every year. This suggests eyes will be on you and the decisions you make. The retrograde period is perfect for rethink and trialling new systems. This week, with encouragement from both a Virgo and Scorpio you could set out terms and how you anticipate a project should be managed. Anticipate that the next few weeks will be super busy, and that your nervous system will be under some strain. It might be wise to check vitamin B levels and practice yoga breathing exercises to maintain calm and balance.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

You’re in the midst of a cycle of breakthroughs. They’re welcome; but their pace and, often, direction are so different from your expectations that you’re tempted to back off, then wait and watch. That’s understandable. Still, take a deep breath and leap in. Once you’re in the midst of the changes triggered by this thrilling cycle, you’ll wonder why you hesitated for even a moment.

A group effort is never going to bring you a lot of satisfaction when you are constantly at odds with other members of the team. Leaving a job half-finished is the exception rather than the rule for you but for the sake of your mental health, you may have to cut some ties. As it is you won’t say no to a travel offer. Getting away from your usual hang-outs will be the best thing you can do for your health and happiness.

Following on from the New Moon (Aug 27th), it would be unsurprising if others looked to you for assistance with organisation. They likely need to pick your brain. New systems presumably need to be put in place. You may be seen and valued as a researcher and quiet authority. With considerable emphasis on Air signs between Monday and Wednesday, the likelihood is that many ideas will be swirling, but that few of these are actually grounded. You might also sense that those who are on a ‘high’ now will be on a ‘low’ later. Keep in mind that Mercury will turn retrograde on September 10 and that plans will need to be rethought. Overreacting to proposals now would be unwise (others likely need to learn through error). What would surely help would be in to ensure that all facts are checked: an area in which you should excel.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Usually, you’re amazing at making swift decisions, even when facing tricky situations. Now, however, certain matters are taking you into unfamiliar territory. You worry that, once involved, you’d struggle to get out. Discuss these concerns frankly. This is the beginning of a cycle that’s not only about timely changes, you’re learning a lot about situations that, in the past, you’ve avoided with all you might.

Resist the urge to take control of a situation that involves a partner or close friend. Someone close feels a need for a longer rein than usual. They won’t thank you for the words of advice you are trying to give them, albeit in their best interests. Some people need to learn from their own experiences, and this is one of those times. When you sense the tension in any area, it would be better to leave others to their own devices.

Winds of change should blow hard now that Mercury has joined Mars in another of the Air signs. Expect the flames of your Fire to be fanned; and yes, this should and be super exciting. If there is a drawback, it’s that your stamina may not be all that you would wish. Whatever you agree to, you have to know that you have the energy to maintain pace for the next few months. A close colleague should be your best ally. Be wary though of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius colleagues who could so easily excite you without considering the quality of your thermostatic control. By September 1, acknowledging that you need a sound strategy in place would be wise. It might also be helpful to seek advice from a mentor or career adviser and to ensure that you don’t have too many irons in your fire and so run the risk of being accused of being unfocused.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

As a cautious Capricorn, you’re happy to work long and hard to achieve your goals; and, because of that, you’re uneasy about offers that appear from nowhere, and require little of you. Yet you’re in a cycle that’s about exactly that. Explore these, if only to learn about them. These aren’t just intriguing; they’re broadening your horizons in ways as wonderful as they are unexpected.

An older colleague’s high-handed tactics are starting to vex you. They need bringing down a peg or two, and you are justified in making an official complaint. Just don’t let your temper get the better of you, as the only way you will get results is by using smart tactics. Avoid touchy topics in family discussions. Remember to leave out a certain person’s name in conversations if this will cause further tension. For the sake of your health, keep the mood relaxed and calm.

Mercury has now arrived at the apex of your solar chart and for an extended stay. This is the planet of communications and of commerce. Activity is likely to be great and super busy between now and the end of October. Yet Mercury will turn retrograde next month, and a rethink of systems put in place this week is probable. It’s imperative that you agree flexibility and preferably, that new systems are put in place under caution and regarded as a trial. It’s very probable that your workload will increase considerably putting your nervous system under strain. It might be wise to make arrangements for a health check. It might also help to use the second half of this week to agree – most probably with a Scorpio, – the parameters of research.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

The current planetary setup is thrilling for you, as an Aquarius. Still, what comes your way could be so different, and so much better than what you’ve anticipated, you could end up being suspicious. The secret? Take events day by day. This allows you to explore and, also, disentangle yourself from any restrictive arrangements. For now, regard all decisions as more of an experiment than anything lasting.

It will be red tape or some other restrictions that will cause some sort of stalemate in a legal matter. At all times, remain alert as some things may not be as they seem. The best thing you can do is ask plenty of questions. Don’t take anything or anyone at face value. Official matters will make very slow progress, but it won’t be long before you will be able to put these behind you. You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to job and family dealings.

With both Mercury and Mars now moving through the other two Air signs, you can expect to be filled with ideas. Just how practical these are will be questioned. True, you could enthuse – especially a Leo. Yet Aries and Sagittarius (Fire-sign) colleagues too should be captivated. It’s long been recognised that those of your sign, can be truly, truly focused. Yes, some would regard that as pig-headed; and yes, in the first few days of September, you could dig your heels in; leaving others questioning whether or not they can really work with you. What’s arguably important – bearing in mind that Mercury will turn retrograde mid-September, – is that you allow others to challenge and also to follow their own goals and try not to assume that in so doing, they are being disloyal.

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

Your horoscope for this week:

Although many Pisceans can be amazingly tactful, when you disagree with somebody or an arrangement they’ve made, you can be stunningly forthright. While certain arrangements may inspire you to take that firm stance, first, gather some information. Once you’ve learnt more about the people and the actual circumstances involved, you’ll not only change your mind, you’ll probably decide to lend a hand.

You are about to take a step up the success ladder. If this means accepting a more senior post, be prepared for the need to make business matters a priority for a wee while. Face the fact that others will be looking to you to set an example, and as complex as this may be, you will still want to give this new opportunity a go. You’re incredibly sensitive and have uncanny insight into what people are thinking and feeling. This will bring a new depth of meaning to your relationships.

Both Mercury and Mars are travelling through Air signs. You come from the Water set. Expect your waves to swirl and to be built up. A storm could brew. True, that storm might not break until the Full Moon on September 10. Even so, you should be aware that with many people throwing new ideas around, that chaos lies ahead. You perhaps also sense how imperative it is to be grounded – preferably by an Earthy Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn. Sticking with those who have clear strategies would be wise. You should also steer clear particularly of those (Leos?) who are so focused perhaps on their needs, that they are oblivious to your own need to work quietly and develop ideas you have been incubating over the last six weeks.

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By GrannyMoon Posted in Pagan

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