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I recently had an art-making session with artist, Carole Silverstein. Interestingly, this was a one-on-one class via Zoom not in-person as I've taken so many art classes in the past. We emailed each other a few times in the weeks leading up to our session so I did get an opportunity to become a bit more comfortable with the idea of me here in Pennsylvania with my limited stash of art supplies and lack of consistent art-making and Carole in southern California, a professional artist with an exceptional catalogue of work that has been exhibited all over the world. Let's say I was a bit intimidated going into this.

But once we were talking to each other at the beginning of the session, my guard dropped immediately as I found Carole to be warm and engaging and ultimately, a superb instructor. A couple of weeks prior, I had selected The Thread as the archetype that I wanted to work with during our time together. I chose The Thread because it represents a path, a vein, a way of connecting point A to point B. I've had a lifelong struggle with knowing if I'm on the right path or not.

The first activity we did before diving into our art supplies was a 5 minute timed writing with the prompt: The last time I can remember being fully alive. This prompt was not easy for me, but after a few breaths, I wrote about how I feel every time I am in northern California. I have a great sense of well-being whenever I'm there. After sharing my piece of writing with Carole, she noted that "place" is very important to me. I absolutely know this is true for me, but how wonderful it felt to be seen by someone I didn't really know. Don't you love it when somebody else "gets you?"

Next, she had me take a piece of paper and cover it with color. This was a timed exercise as well. I could use pens, markers, whatever to fill the page with color. I had some colored pens within reach so I just scribbled all over the page like a mad woman. It felt really good to just go wild with no goal in mind except covering the paper with color. This was very liberating for me, the person who otherwise wants to make sure that she is doing the exercise the right way. My natal Venus in Virgo who strives for perfection didn't know what hit her. LOL

Finally, it was time to make some art using the chosen archetype, The Thread. Ahead of time, I had brought out some colored pencils, pens, markers and pastels as well as my sewing supplies including needle and thread. After Carole read a soulful description of this archetype, we each set off on creating some art based on The Thread. She had some great music playing in the background and she checked in on me every 5 minutes or so. When I got stuck, Carole said simply, "do something different on the page." So after working with the markers and not liking what was happening, I followed her suggestion and grabbed my needle and thread. And when that didn't go as I'd hoped, I started using soft pastels until the timer went off.

Here is a closeup of my art piece. I started by drawing a heart in the center of the page and then wrote a poem around the heart. I will type out the poem below so you don't have to keep turning your screen around to read it. LOL

This is my path to wherever I need to go even if I don't know where I'm going.

Just following my heart, my heart knows the way.

Way out or way in, Love is the thread that keeps me tethered to this life.

My life!

There is no one way. There is only one way I know though,

My way.

If I follow my path I will always find my way because the heart knows everything.

Whenever you feel lost, find your way back home to your heart just by pulling on this thread. Just a little tug and you'll be on your way back home to your heart.

The remainder of the page shows hearts of every color with squiggly lines connecting them to each other. I titled my work We Find Love Wherever We Go. Here is a photo of the completed project.

It was pure joy to wake up my long dormant creativity. I look forward to doing another session with Carole incorporating a different archetype. In the meantime, I'm giving myself 30 minutes of uninterrupted creative time each week hoping that it will eventually become a daily practice.

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On Saturday I participated in a poetry reading at a local public library and presented this new poem for the first time. While I didn't write this poem particularly about today's total solar eclipse, I do believe its message insists that even during times of darkness, the angel of hope lingers and brings the promise of brighter days.

As the Aries New Moon dares to step in front of the Aries Sun today, we can go within and prepare to step forth into the light once again.

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Everyone seems to be talking about it so I will throw in my two cents as well. The world is abuzz with excitement over tomorrow's total solar eclipse scheduled to occur about 3:17pm (peak time) where I live in western Pennsylvania. Being the astrology nerd that I am, I tend to look at these phenomenons from a different perspective. Sure, I am looking forward to watching the moon step in between the earth and the sun and I have my "smoky glasses" as Virginia Woolf called them almost a century ago, to survey the event safely, but I'm more interested in how this eclipse will affect me, my life, and the people I love. So naturally, I look at my birth chart.

The inner ring shows my natal chart and the outer ring shows the planet placement at the time of the solar eclipse. Notice the 3 glyphs in the lower left portion of the outer ring - each at 19 degrees. That's the Sun, Moon and Chiron.

Tomorrow, at the time of the solar eclipse, we will be experiencing the New Moon in Aries blocking the light of the Sun (also in Aries) for a short period of time. This eclipse is further pronounced by another planetoid, Chiron (the Wounded Healer) occupying the same degree as the Sun and Moon....19 degrees 24 minutes of Aries. This is significant to me personally as this stellium of Sun, Moon and Chiron is stationed directly opposite my natal Libra Sun.

So what does all this mean? To me, it means that my energy (the Sun) is being diminished by the Dark Moon only to be magnified by Chiron, the Wounded Healer. Think of Chiron as the Therapist of the Universe who is here to announce that self-care is of the utmost importance right now. Do you think it's a mere coincidence that for the past week I've been nursing a cold virus in my body and I actually feel a bit worse today, the day before the eclipse? The way I see it is that my energy, my life force is being eclipsed. I feel tapped out. Yes, I know that this too shall pass and my get up and go will return, but for now, I can't ignore this relationship between how my mind and body feel to what is going on in the cosmos.

This is how my mind thinks. It makes connections between that which we believe is outside of us (sun, moon and stars) to what is happening inside of us or to us here on earth. Perhaps what we see as other-worldly is merely a reflection of humankind.

With respect to Mercury Retrograde (or Rx in astrology talk), I have learned to pay attention each time this event comes around, occurring 3-4 times per year and lasting about 3 weeks or so. Mercury is the planet of communication; therefore, I do anticipate snafus in my personal communications with others. I expect my computer to not obey my directives and we both have tantrums over it. I expect travel delays and being late for appointments. I'm learning to just roll with it and laugh when Mercury, the Trickster makes his mischief.

Additionally, I am welcoming these few weeks as a time to take a step back and look at my life. What in my life needs my attention? Where in my chart is Mercury traveling? This can also help me to ascertain where to place my focus. For me, Mercury is currently traveling through my 2nd House. So this would be a good time for me to review my finances and what I value including my own self-worth.

Mercury Rx always invites us to go within, to not force life to go the way you want. In the last few years, I have adopted a practice of re-reading books that I love. I've noticed with the second or even third times reading a book, I find new information, something I missed on the first go-round. If you're a writer like me, Mercury Rx is a great time to review and rework a piece you've forgotten about or stuffed in a drawer because you were frustrated and didn't know what to do with it. The other day I found a poem that I wrote years ago but never finished. All it needed was an older version of me to read it with some newfound wisdom that helped finish the piece.

Mercury is also in the sign of Aries right now. Aries wants to be first. It's energy is immediate, right now. It's impulsive, direct and bold. With Mercury in Aries in its retrograde phase, we are being asked to take a moment. Just wait. Don't send that email or post that photo before thinking (Mercury governs the mind) about it one more time.

As I was finishing up this post, my computer flashed a message that it "encountered a technical issue." Then it asked me to reload my browser. I held my breath and prayed that my text would still be intact. All is well. Autosave is turned on. Whew! This was a true Mercury Retrograde moment.

If all of this talk about the eclipse and such has dulled your shine, take heart. The total solar eclipse will last for literally a few minutes tomorrow and Mercury will station direct on or about April 25th.

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