December already?

The frangipani in our front garden

Yes, it’s me…I’ve been missing in action for a while but now I’m back.

What have I been up to? I’m glad you asked.

In short, I’ve been working and I’ve been writing – and sometimes writing and working.

Towards the end of October, I finished one novel – it’s ready and waiting to go off and be formatted for publication – and during November I joined in with everyone else doing Nanowrimo and wrote the first 50odd thousand words of another. The words almost seemed to write themselves – something that hasn’t happened since I wrote the first draft for Big Girls Don’t Cry. I wrote a wrap-up of this year’s nanowrimo challenge here.

What’s stranger is that this book is different to everything I’ve written before. My characters are grown up – my age, or thereabouts – with grown-up problems. They’re dealing with mid-life stuff and adult children and the problems and decisions that we face in those years. It’s actually been a tad confronting to write.

It makes sense though that I’m writing both so prolifically and outside my own boundaries. Jupiter (which is natally in my 5th house of creativity) while in Scorpio is transiting my 9th house and I’m challenging both my own beliefs and my own boundaries.

I was saying at an Astro group that I’ve become involved with since moving to the Sunshine Coast, that it was Jupiter’s transit of Scorpio and the 9th house 12 years ago that had me reading anything I could lay my hands on about astrology. I began formal learning in 2007, but it was in late 2005, 2006 that I really started trying to teach myself about astrology. I began going below the surface, looking deeper into something that was, at that time, beyond the scope of anything I’d learned about previously.

It was through this learning that I got into blogging and started writing, and through that rediscovered the ambitions I had as a child to become an author and write love stories. Strange how it all works out.

What else? During October I did a short road trip a few hours up the road to Bundaberg, and a couple of weeks ago I had a long weekend in Wellington, New Zealand, visiting my bestie.

Coming up we have that same bestie and her family over for Christmas and will be doing another short break up to Fraser Island while they’re here. On the radar for next year (so far) is another mini break to Melbourne, three weeks in Northern France visiting another friend, a road trip to the Snowy Mountains in July/August, and something else yet to be determined in November.

And yes, the last time Jupiter was in my 9th house it was a similar situation, although all my travel then was for work.

The big news for December is Saturn moving into Capricorn for the first time in nearly 30 years. Saturn was in Capricorn from Feb 1988 – June 1988, and Nov 1988 – Feb 1991. Of course I’ll pop something up, but for now have a think back (if you can remember back that far or were alive then, of course) to what was going on in your life at that time.

I began working for a bank in Feb 1988 as an Economics Graduate, met my (now) husband in June of that year and started dating him in June 1989. We moved into the first house that we’d bought together the weekend before Christmas in 1990.

I was just 21 when Saturn moved into Capricorn, but he was 27 and, with Saturn natally in Capricorn in his chart, committing to both me and the house was his Saturn Return.
If you want the actual dates, Saturn moves into Capricorn on December 20 (Aus time).

Other key dates for your diary are:
December 1 – Venus into Sagittarius
December 3 – Mercury retrograde
December 9 – Mars into Scorpio
December 20 – Saturn into Capricorn
December 22 – Sun into Capricorn
December 23 – Mercury Direct
December 25 – Venus into Capricorn

I’ve also spent a large chunk of time over the last few weeks organising my other website Joanne Tracey – The Rambles of A Hungry Writer. If you’re interested in what I’ve been up to in my normal life, are interested in the process of writing, or maybe keen to check out a recipe or a destination, jump on over there. I’m more than a little proud of what I’ve created.

The Month Ahead: May…

Petone Beach, Wellington
Petone Beach, Wellington

I’m madly scheduling posts ahead for May, so I’ll keep this update short and sweet.

Ok, how was April?

My novel has come back from the editor, so is now ready to start being re-written. I’m also writing all the extra bonus bits for the Toolbox ebook. I’ll tell you more about the progress of that in June.

In between freelance assignments and corporate busyness, I spent a fabulously relaxing long weekend over in Wellington, New Zealand. I’d kept the detail of what had been going on in my life fairly quiet from most people, so took the opportunity to do the unburdening thing with one of my besties. There was also much eating and drinking. My liver may have suffered, but my heart certainly felt lighter.

Some of the chaos of the last few months began to smooth itself out during April. Hubby effectively finishes work at the company he’s been with for over 36 years this Friday. The process has been an emotional one, but we’re all getting there.

The timing couldn’t be better. Our 22nd wedding anniversary is next Saturday (as is the New Moon- how much more text book new starty can you get?) and we fly out for Bali on Sunday. The perfect fullstop to one part of our life, and the perfect start to the next.

Naturally, you’ll be able to follow my travels on instagram and and anyways. The links to both are in the sidebar.

What else is happening in May? Of course there’ll be scheduled posts for each of these events, but for now*:

Planet Movements

23/5/16 Venus into Gemini

21/5/16 Sun into Gemini

28/5/16 Mars into Scorpio (Rx)

Lunations

7/5/16 New Moon at 16 Taurus 41’

22/4/16 Full Moon at 1 Sagittarius 13’

Retrogrades

8/5/16 Jupiter stations direct

17/4/16- 28/6/16 Mars Retrograde 8 Sagittarius 54’- 23 Scorpio 5’

18/4/16- 25/9/16 Pluto Retrograde 17 Capricorn 29’- 14 Capricorn 55’

29/4/16- 21/5/16 Mercury Retrograde 23 Taurus 34’- 14 Taurus 25’

Saturn is retrograde until 12/8/16

*Note, dates and times are based in Sydney, Australia. I use the Aussie date format.

April Already…?

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Lake Crackenback…

Has March finished? And February? Are you sure? Is it safe for me to come out yet?

Let’s just say, between the eclipses, every single previously stable structure in my life has been rattled. Every. Single. One. I’m talking health, relationships, work, home, faith, friends, money. It all sounds so dramatic and mysterious- it’s not, not really. It’s just that some of what’s happened, although directly impacting my life and plans for the future, isn’t my secret or my story to tell- so will remain untold. Am I ok? Thanks to everyone who has asked- but I will be. Besides, this sort of stuff is all relative, right?

In hindsight, it’s been all quite textbook in nature- the way the transits have built, been triggered, and continue to unfold. In a way, it’s actually renewed my faith in the way this astro stuff works- and it’s put a lot of other things- especially relating to health, money, work and friendship- into perspective. It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m now seeing the opportunities that are being opened up by the endings- and I guess that’s the way it should be.

Without going into the detail of the events, I’ll try and break down the transits in a separate post- we might as well use them to learn from, right?

What else has been happening?

I’ve been juggling my corporate gig with finishing the draft of Finding John Smith and working on my allocated copy for next years’ astrodiaries. The book was sent off on Tuesday for structural editing, and the last of my work on the astrodiaries was delivered last night. These will be available later in the year. I’ll post the details closer to the time.

What’s next?

I’m taking this weekend off manuscript work to catch up on some blogging, and next weekend off completely from all writing to duck across the ditch and see a friend in NZ. Then I’ll start again. I have another freelance astro job lined up, the first series of Tuesday Toolbox to turn into an ebook, and, by then, Finding John Smith will be back for edits.

What else?

Miss T turned 18 last weekend, so we took advantage of the extra long Easter break and ducked down to Lake Crackenback. Located midway between Jindabyne and Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains, it was the perfect country escape to recharge flat emotional batteries. I wrote about it here, but will be popping more up over the weekend as well.

I was able to leave the stresses of the corporate job behind and take my writing deadlines with me. And what a spot to be deadline chasing from!

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Looking ahead to April, two events are standing out to me: the stationing of Pluto and Mars to go retrograde.

The reason that transits by Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are such a big deal is because they move so slowly. They can sit on a single point for a while, and cover just a few degrees of the zodiac in the space of a year. Their energy is concentrated on that part of your chart for that period of time.

When they slow to get ready to station- either to go retrograde or direct- that already concentrated energy is intensified. The power is intensified. If it happens to be aspecting a planet or chart point for you at the time- and I’m talking no more than a degree- you will feel it.

Take Pluto for instance (please, take him…). He’s been at 17 degrees Capricorn since March 6- and will be until June 3.

At the other end of this retrograde cycle, he’ll spend some time at 15 Capricorn- from 17 July until 9 September.

Anyways, my point is, these degrees are points of intense focus.

The thing with Pluto transits is they are (and I’m loath to use these words) both evolutionary and transformational. If there’s a trigger point (usually from a faster moving planet, a lunation or an eclipse) there could be an action or series of actions, but more often the extent of the development, change, whatever isn’t fully known until you look back and say something like ‘Man! Really? All of that?’

The other thing about Pluto is he needs you to go into your own shadow and confront it before moving forward. That’s where the reflection part of the retrograde comes into play. It’s like the Judgement card in the tarot deck- things need to end before they can begin…or something like that.

Also in April, Mars stations to turn retrograde.

Unlike Pluto, Neptune and Uranus who are retrograde for around half of each year, Mars is only retrograde once every couple of years- for about 2 ½ months at a time. The last time was March-May 2014.

Mars is all about direct action. He’s energy, assertion, vitality and going after what you want. When he slows down, he’s at his most destructive- like the toddler or the dog who all of a sudden goes quiet and you just know is up to no good. Yep, we’ve all seen those memes.

naughty dog

Anyways, Mars stations retrograde on 17 April, and Pluto does the same less than a day later. Depending on where you are in the world, it could both be happening on the 17th. I’ve given up thinking that when it comes to the Universe there’s any such thing as coincidence.

What else is happening in April? Naturally there’ll be scheduled posts for each of these events, but for now*:

Planet Movements

6/4/16 Venus into Aries

6/4/16 Mercury into Taurus

20/4/16 Sun into Taurus

30/4/16 Venus into Taurus

Lunations

7/4/16 New Moon at 18 Aries 4’

22/4/16 Full Moon at 2 Scorpio 30’

Retrogrades

17/4/16- 28/6/16 Mars Retrograde 8 Sagittarius 54’- 23 Scorpio 5’

18/4/16- 25/9/16 Pluto Retrograde 17 Capricorn 29’- 14 Capricorn 55’

29/4/16- 21/5/16 Mercury Retrograde 23 Taurus 34’- 14 Taurus 25’

Saturn is retrograde until 12/8/16

Jupiter is retrograde until 8/5/16

*Note, dates and times are based in Sydney, Australia. I use the Aussie date format.