How To Use Astro.com To Navigate Retrogrades and Other Things

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So, I was just about to do a write up on Uranus retrograde when I realized I hadn’t fully addressed one of the most common questions I get: Man, these blog posts, I get that they’re general but how do I drill the data down as it applies to me? 

You know how you’re scrolling through your timeline and you’re like, “Oh, look at that. Mercury’s about to fucking retrograde again. DAMMIT.” and you think, “Well, here comes the tech issues and the assholery”? Sometimes, the blog posts and articles outline the different aspects and other influences- but usually, we leave out a critical piece of information, in this case:

How to find where Mercury will be taking a giant shit on your life, using your natal chart:

Okay, let me dial that back a bit, because I think anyone who’s familiar with me knows, I don’t believe that. I’m a little less amused by it in recent years than I used to be when someone uses Mercury retrograde to excuse crap behavior and avert personal responsibility: but, the reason I am less amused is, I’m pretty sure the bulk of people believing this have actually made it so. Sort of a mass hypnosis thing, by way of bad, hysterical marketing.

And frankly, whereas many people know about Mercury retrograde and will “AAAAAAGGGH!” but I never did: oh, I did and do with Saturn and Uranus.

Oh, yes. If you didn’t know- other planets do in fact retrograde and they simply haven’t been latched onto by marketing departments. Anyone else find it more than a little ironic that this particular planetary retrograde involves communication and has been firmly co-opped by one of the industries that have seriously screwed up the way people communicate? Hell, given they’re always trying to sell SOMETHING, you’d think they’d have latched onto Venus retrograde a bit more, but…

Boy, I better stop. That’s a rant for another time.

So, the thing of it is, you’re probably not going to find a whole lot of information out there in terms of making it easier to do your own chart. Of course, there are countless blogs about learning astrology- but, typically, you probably know: you are better served going to a professional. Still, some of these professionals write in such a convoluted way that it’s pretty obvious it’s all “See? I am totally helpful giving you this weirdly detailed amount of information that you will in fact, look at, cross your eyes and then hire me anyway. After all, am I not helpful, confusing the shit out of you?”

Make no mistake: I would love it if you hired me, but, being as I am frequently digging in the couch cushions for change towards the end of the month- I also know: we are in fact, a luxury item. I hope to somewhat make things more accessible. That’s the plan, anyhow. It is true- hiring an experienced astrologer is definitely the way to go, and since I did use Uranus retrograde, you’ll see why in a minute. Sort of. I do not want to show you on the chart where Uranus retrograde touched me. No. Not today. (If you’re into this stuff, you’ll see it anyway.)

So, Mercury retrograde rant aside- we know we’ve got Uranus retrograde coming up on the 3rd of August. Now, how do you find where it is for you natally? What about currently? Transit ….progressed…oh god, Victoria, I AM SO OVERWHELMED. TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I’m gonna go eat tacos, now.

I’m not making fun of you. That’s how I think more often than not, actually.

First, I want you to head on over to www.astro.com but, I am going to rant just a minute about astrology software, too.

True story- myself and loads of others started out using astro.com to work with charts and otherwise before we bought our astrology programs. I won’t name names, but, I’m also not going to pretend otherwise. Some people were using Astrowin-

And you’re only supposed to use that as a free resource, not as a professional astrologer getting paid to do this. But…

That’s some sleazy shit right there. Big huge disclaimer: the site itself says don’t use this to make money and yet they do anyway? Yuck, man. Yuck. My parents taught me stealing was wrong, what can I say?

The first actually decent software that I used was SolarFire, but now I use Sirius. If you’re interested in getting your hands on some astrology software and I recommend that you do- check out Hank Friedman’s site: https://www.soulhealing.com/astrosof.htm

Before we go there, however, here’s my rant: the use of astrology software has a tendency to make people lazy. When I first learned how to draft a chart, slide rule, compass, really, seriously bitchy old lady practically whapping me on the back of the head. That sounds awful but the fact is, over the years I have encountered many, many, many would-be teachers- and she’s the bar that was set. I see a corner cutter or a fraud- and I run the other way. Red flags include use of “easy” or “fast”- this is a whole lot of information and it is neither easy nor is it fast. Do they also seem to be giving you some kind of math or geometry lesson? Oh, you may have a good one.

That, too, is another post for another time.

So, anyway- back to astro. Now you may note this site seems to have a lot of information: and this is why it’s awesome. It should. But, for now, I want you to go here:

 

And you’ll see something like this:

 

Since you’re here because you want to learn, I suggest you go on and set your profile up. It’s kinda snazzy, it’ll keep your charts all organized and neat as you go anyway.

Now, you’re going to key in your birth data and when you’re done, it’ll take you back to the page that lists your profiles and all that- at this point you can go see the neat little report and that will in fact, show you where your natal Uranus or other planets happen to be- see?
Scroll up, click on Free Horoscopes, Astroclick Portrait and there you go. If you click the planets, you’ll see a neat little write up about them.

Uranus looks like a TIE Fighter.
Okay, here- look at the little numbers around the middle there. Those are the houses. My natal Uranus is in the 1st house there. Now do you see it?

 

Where’s yours?

Okay, but what about transit and progressed Uranus? Back on up to the main menu here, then choose Extended Chart Selection-

Go to Chart Type and scroll down until you get to Transits, and then, you can either do Natal and Transits or Natal, Transits and Progressions Combined.

Put the date you want in there. Now, the next part you’ll see there, some people use their current location, some use their birth location- and they will bicker furiously about which is best. I usually use my current location, but, I don’t feel like it right now. So, click on Click Here To Show The Chart:

Tadaaaaa. Transits are in red and my transit Uranus for this retrograde’s in 5th house Pisces.

Oh, fantastic.

Where is your transit Uranus?

Now, to go from there, you need to understand- the sign is the what and the house is the where in your life but here’s the kicker- if you take a little peek there in your own chart, you might not know yet about whether or not it is transiting an aspect to a natal planet. This is where Uranus really stinks and is a little more complicated in interpreting than what I’ve shown here. In this- well, Uranus was a bit of a bad example too use but I was writing about it at the time, so it’s the one I went with.

However, the point of this particular blog post is to show you how to find where a planet is in your chart natally- and how you can find it in transit. I may talk a bit more about Uranus’s impact in a later post, but for now, take a minute to review your charts there. Since you know that we have a couple eclipses coming up, you might check where the Moon is for those dates and natally. Since you know Mercury retrograde is, as well, you can check that, too.

But, now you know how to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Gilded Tarot and Easy Tarot: Marchetti & Ellershaw

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Bare with me as I am working on a small catalog of posts outlining the decks I most frequently use. If you missed yesterday’s post, I talked about Le Tarot Noir. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about the Botticelli Tarot.

This is the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti. I actually got this as a part of the Easy Tarot: Learn To Read The Cards Once and For All and, since I know that’s why many would read this, I will go into that as well. If you’re looking for a decent basic primer to get you started learning tarot, you can purchase it here, via my affiliate link:

Yes, I do get a kickback if you purchase this via the button above and that helps offset site costs and otherwise. (Or, it’s supposed to. I just started doing this.)

This is a Rider Waite based deck and the images are really fantastic. Brightly colored and driven by mythic images, this deck is almost like a fairy tale in your hands. I really enjoy it when I am looking to create pretty Card of the Day readings or other posts involving photos of the cards as the design and color are incredibly appealing. Whenever I’ve used these for that purpose, they definitely catch the eye.

For personal use, I love this deck when I’m looking to offset some of my darker readings- and what’s interesting to me is that though it’s more whimsical, it’s also got an edge to it. The artwork is a nice balance. It’s sort of a blend of the more traditional and given a bit of a twist- but this is something Marchetti’s famous for: I also have his Gilded Reverie Lenormand. 😉

One thing I have seen mentioned about Marchetti’s work and have experienced myself is that these cards actually almost seem to have hidden meanings- they have symbolism tucked into them that would enable you to take away further meaning or expand upon the existing card interpretation. For instance, if you pay attention to the animal symbolism contained within many of the cards, you’ll find expanded interpretations can be made in that, as well. He’s mentioned a number of times that this is in fact, deliberate. This makes the deck a bit different- here, check this out, for example:

And this one:

And this one:

 

Think a bit on the questions that each animal begs and, it helps you to further expand upon the card, which is a really brilliant difference to standard Rider Waite decks. They appear throughout the cards here and there, in a way that just seems to pop up in the most appropriate ways as you read. It’s very cool.

I think that many people get up in their feels about “novelty” decks or the many clones on the Rider Waite but, Marchetti adds quite a few finer details that make this an easy stand out and hardly a clone. The great thing about this being used in a learner set is that it’s still traditional enough that learning the symbolism is fairly easy as it still holds true- while at the same time adding in those little touches that make it unique.

Of course, this is a Llewellyn deck, so it bears some similarity to others in terms of the brass tacks delivery: open top box, deck and Little White Book inside. The cardstock is excellent and sturdy- 2 ¾” by 4 ½” and they shuffle easily. The backing is black with a gold frame and jewel tone inlay- there is an ornate style design however, it’s done in such a way that you would not know if you’d drawn a card reversed or not until you flipped it.

When you get into the Easy Tarot- it’s a little different as it comes with a bigger box, bigger book and the bigger book is where I think you find considerable value in this, especially if you’re learning.

Josephine Ellershaw breaks things down VERY nicely and offers a number of different methods that you can use if you’re just starting out. Actually, given the wealth of her experience, I also noticed a few tips and tricks I myself hadn’t considered- and still use to this day. If you want to learn tarot on your own- but you find yourself getting a bit intimidated: this is an excellent resource at a very reasonable price and I highly recommend it.

Le Tarot Noir by Hackier & Ternel

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The minute I saw Le Tarot Noir, I knew I had to have this deck.

A beautifully dark and quirky 78 card Marseilles style deck with artwork by Matthieu Hackier it definitely makes a statement. It arrived in a sturdy cardboard, top lift box with a paperback guidebook in French. Though some have had issues with the book coming apart, mine is of fairly steady construction.

The details on the cards just tickle me. The artwork is a bit more intricate than is usual in a Marseilles deck and veers a little morbid, but I adore it. The colors are subdued but rich, the design work flows and though the pips are in typical Marseilles fashion, they still have quite a lot of detail.

If you’re unfamiliar, Marseilles decks have what is known as “unillustrated pips”, which simply means the Minor Arcana are not as detailed- usually. The artwork in this deck is so sophisticated, contemporary while at the same time traditionally, you’d be hard pressed to call this “unillustrated”. 

The edges of the 4” by 5.5” (10.5 cm wide, 14 cm tall) cards are gilded and the backings are black. They also have a lovely inset border- also gold. Centered on the back is another oval shaped border enclosing a golden flower design. The card stock is nice and sturdy, and has held up rather well to my abuse. (I’m a fairly vigorous shuffler!) The backgrounds of each card is a light off white, cream color and again, have a gilded border.

The Majors are titled in French, black lettering against the cream background on the bottom. Court cards have both title and suit in French, again, in black letters. Each pip, as I mentioned, is Marseilles style- so, suit icons only but they are designed in such a way that they speak with delightful small details. They do not have pip titles however, the number is on the left and right hand side of the card.

I have found that this deck works wonderfully in tandem with my Baphomet deck or as a stand alone. I love this for working with clients that are seeking guidance with shadow work or just for general readings. It is also excellent in my Darkness and Light spreads, particularly when used with the Botticelli Tarot Deck for the “Light” mirror.

Though in the past I have avoided monetization, I am now offering links to where you can purchase the decks I use or write about via Amazon’s affiliate program. This means that if you make a purchase via a link on my site, I get a little kick back to help offset the costs of maintaining our site- which is awesome. I appreciate all your support and hope you’ve enjoyed this look at one of the decks I use.

Would you like a reading with Le Tarot Noir?

Now’s a great time! On my Facebook store, my intense Wheel of the Year readings are now on sale. These comprehensive readings include your basic natal report, a 12 card, 12 month by month tarot reading, and your Solar Return report. Though these in depth readings are typically $150.00, you can get yours now for just $50.00- click this link to purchase yours.

Tarot and Astrology: A Basic Method For Combined Readings

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For those who aren’t familiar with me: I use Western Astrology. The deck used here is The Golden Botticelli by Lo Scarabo. I do not host ads or utilize affiliate links, the links here all go to resource sites you can use but I’m not affiliated with. 

If you’d like to learn more about me, you can pop on over to my biography.  Link will open in a new tab, try not to get startled.

I have seen this come up a number of times and so, I thought I would take a minute to sit and write this out. Okay, it was a lot of minutes.  This is a bit of a sneak peek for a free, comprehensive guidebook I will be releasing on August 1st, so, please be on the lookout for that.

What to do with this:

You can further deepen your tarot readings by looking at the corresponding planet or planets in your own chart. You can either look at where that planet is in your natal chart- or you can look at the transits- or both, or I have even done this to look at planetary placements in my solar return to discern maybe if there’s something I’m not paying enough attention to. It’s up to you. Either way, this is one useful method of using basic astrology to deepen your tarot readings. As you’ll see, depending on where a planet is placed: the tone and advice may change.

For instance: say that my daily reading or weekly readings have seemed to always involve The High Priestess, and my partner Kurt’s has, as well. The High Priestess here, corresponds to the Moon.

I am going to simply outline the technique using natal planetary placements for this- If you need your natal chart and you don’t have an astrology program- you can either go to www.astro.com and create your own report using their AstroClick Portrait or, well, of course, you can order one from me or another astrologer you like.

Moving on to the planetary placement and what that can mean in terms of different interpretations-

If we look at Kurt’s natal chart, you can see that his Moon is in Scorpio, and it’s in the 8th house.

Now, you’d take note of this and go on to explore what those things mean in your particular case. I won’t go into these things too deeply as they’re just examples to show you what I mean- but you should be able to get the idea.

Moving on to my chart- this is what I want to use to illustrate: now, though we’re both drawing the High Priestess regularly- think about his natal moon and now, look at mine: you can see my natal Moon is in Leo, 10th house.

That’s probably going to carry a VERY different message than his, right? Scorpio and Leo, of course, aren’t all that similar- but, also, with his natal Moon in the 8th: he would be focusing on the hidden things, sex, relationships and possibly inheritances or shared resources, possibly even ritualistic things or some sort of transformation.

Mine being in the 10th, mine might involve my father, though I tend to think that it actually depicts the more influential parent. However, it also encompasses my social status, role in my community or any authority I may possess or encounter.

Of course, there’s a bit more to all of that, but for brevity’s sake, we’ll leave it there.

Let’s take a look at a bit more complex example by moving on to the 7 of Cups.

 

So, at this point- what we have is two people, same repeated card, but two very different possible expansions and messages contained within the reading. Now, if you take a look- another example, let’s go with a Minor Arcana example: every day, we’re both drawing the 7 of Cups. This card corresponds to …not just a planet. But, more specifically, Venus in Scorpio. How does THAT work? Neither of us have Venus in Scorpio. (Venus in Gemini and Venus in Sag, if you can see that- funtimes, sure, sure. Lol)

Here is where we get into the method I work with- whenever I get one of those repeat cards that carries something like this- a transit, for instance: I will look at both the upcoming transit and the one before it. I will also often take into account what that transit’s impact is in a general sense.

So, Venus in Scorpio- look at the ephemeris and Venus’s next trip into Scorpio will be on November 7th, later this year. The last time it was in Scorpio was September 23 of last year.

Venus in Scorpio, in a general sense denotes a time frame when we might be just a bit prone towards falling for some mighty pretty bullshit. Oh, sure, it looks wonderful but it’s often similar to when you’re a kid and you find your first big ass bar of baking chocolate. HUGE BIG CHOCOLATE BAR?! Yes, please! You think and then you take a bite. Oh god, it’s BITTER!

(And if the ephemeris makes your eyeballs cross- and I know it does for a lot of people: cafeastrology.com has an excellent planetary overview and a plethora of resources for you.)

You can either take a look at the prior transit- that is, the one from 2016 and figure out what lesson you maybe should have learned but did not, or you can look ahead to the next and explore from there to determine what exactly the heads’ up the card is trying to give you may be.

Of you can simply go with what the transit means: not everything is as it appears, if it looks too good to be true, it may well be. (In a nutshell.)

Now, being we are a couple, I’d take that into account regardless of which one of these examples we’re going with- because, obviously, we’re close and impact one another. However, if it’s just him getting the repeat card or me: then, it’s different, obviously.

Isn’t he a dapper little fellow?

 

So, let’s move on to the next card, say you’ve been drawing The Devil.

Now, if you want to just go with natal, you would look at Capricorn, and figure out what’s hanging out there. If you want, you can scroll back to the example charts: my Sun, Mars, and Mercury are all in Capricorn, and all in the 3rd house. The house thing may or may not apply, but, you’re going to specifically look at what you’ve got kicking around in Capricorn.

Let’s imagine for just a second that my chart has NO Capricorn– nothing in Capricorn at all.

You are decidedly going to have to use your imagination on this one- as yeah, uh, there’s definitely Capricorn influence here.

 

Does this mean Capricorn has no influence in my chart at all?

Yeah, no.

Same holds true for empty houses, but this is another rant. The influences you see from empty houses or otherwise- may be more subtle. The first thing I do when I note there are no planets in a sign- I look at the other signs in that element. So, say I didn’t have anything in Capricorn, I’d look at the other Earth signs: Taurus and Virgo. We’ll pretend that I notice that there’s a distinct lack of planetary placement within those earth signs on the whole. Maybe one thing here or there- but it’s clear, Earth is not dominant.

But I drew the Devil- so, what does the Devil usually speak of, in a basic sense? Control issues. I might need to learn to take control in a better way- it may also mean that I do so to the extreme: perhaps I have such crazy standards for perfectionism that my ideals cannot come to fruition and are not realistic. OR…

Wait- I look and I note that freaking Virgo is placed right smack on my Ascendant or another important angle of my chart. That would negate the lack of Earth in my chart and indicate that perhaps the Devil is telling me that I’m being too nitpicky and need to unpucker my butt a bit.

So, anyway- you can see, these things go a bit above and beyond simply “The Magician ties to Mercury” and all that: but what do you do with this? Here is my method for tying astrology into my tarot readings, and it’s one I use with clients all the time with a lot of success. Of course, others will have other methods- and that’s awesome. If you find some, feel free to use those, if they work better for you.

 

The Method

I either identify a repeating card or, simply draw one for this purpose.
Pull up the chart you’re working with.
Note the astrological association of the tarot card.
Find it within the chart.
Analyze where this may be applicable to you and why.
Propose possible solutions based on that information or explore further with another card.

Go ahead and give it a shot- see what you discover.

My Friday Meditation

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I have been super lazy with the blogging- and we have pulled away from the site a bit to focus on social media for a while- but, I plan on writing much more often, and I figure, going into one of my meditations is a great way to break the ice and get back on the blogging wagon.

I have had a lot of people ask me about how I meditate, why I do it, and the processes I go through. Of course, I do the whole quieting the mind thing- I have to wake up hours before anyone else to do this, but, it’s worth it. If you’re not doing this and you find that you are constantly feeling overwhelmed: make the time to sit in the quiet for 15 to 30 minutes, every day. Even if you have to do this in the bath and lock the door. (I do this quite often. Hot water and sweat coupled with scents I love is perfect for this.)

One of my clients, Astrologic Answers– where you can currently find my weekly horoscopes, publishes them on Friday and I am not sure why that stuck with me, but: I developed a special, super simple meditation for Fridays, for the week ahead. I do not currently have an email list- but I am working on one for us, but they do and I encourage you to check that out.

Anyway- my Friday meditation is the message for my week ahead. It’s a highly personal thing and I won’t go into all my notes, but, I will let you in on this process- because it’s something anyone can do.

So, the first thing I do is I do a simple three card spread. Now, if you’re not familiar with Tarot, what you want to do with this- and this is just specific to my process but it can also help you if you’re just learning Tarot of Lenormand: use the cards like the skeleton outline of a story. Your story.

You aren’t asking a question- which is why clearing your head first helps, you aren’t trying to peer into the future: you are just telling your story for the week ahead. To do this, you need a deck of cards- I don’t care if you use tarot or Lenormand: both work. You also need a book- non fiction, self help, me? I usually use philosophy or poetry. This week I used The Tao Te Ching. I am not Taoist- I think if you know me, you know that’s fairly obvious. I do not appropriate cultures: however, appreciating them with honor and utilizing them in the same fashion is aces with me and, I often find a lot of peace in Taoist writings. (Well, der.) Now, to the cards. You can do your spread straight across if you like, for me, being able to focus on the first two cards- the action cards, is important. For this one, I used my new deck- Le Tarot Noir. I am not an Amazon affiliate as Missouri has stupid tax laws so Amazon was like “NOPE!” But, that’s where I got it- here’s the search for sellers.  

Fair warning, the book’s in French. Of course if you buy it and you wanna do tarot lessons with me: you can do that. Or there are a ton of resources across the internet available to you. Google’s your friend. 😉

Mine- The Empress, Strength, Ace of Wands.

There are times when I do these and I just throw back my head and laugh. This was one of them. I have felt fairly adrift and powerless lately: and the reason I did feel this way was an unhealthy manifestation of the Empress. I have been living as Empress reversed.

Yet, my first card in my story for the week ahead is The Empress. Straight up. My urge to care for people needs to combine with discernment, structure and boundaries. Because this is the first card in the reading- this is the focus for my week ahead. You may not know this- but The Empress and The High Priestess are very much two sides of the same coin. With The Empress, we have the more tangible aspects of the sacred feminine. Self care- more or less that cliche about how you cannot fill others’ cups if yours isn’t full.  The idea being: be more Mother than Martyr. It ties to the Earth- of course, The Mother Earth: and we all know, her nurturing is sometimes not easy. In nature, we find that mothers do nurture their babies, but: they do not engage in shitty resource allocation. I won’t go into it further, but: yeah. That’s a problem. And, it’s one that my cards are saying: This week, you intentionally CHANGE THAT. 

So, we go on to that next card, which is Strength.

It takes Strength to be vulnerable. It takes Strength to be gentle and kind. That put a song in my head:

Fitting given that first card. 😉 Anyway- I am very receptive to this sort of thing and if you are musically inclined or music is something that emotionally touches you: pay attention to things like this. I can’t really tell you why this works or even how it works: but it does, for me. If music is a part of your emotional landscape- it may for you, too.

For me, this is less literal and more about sections of lyrics and a symbolic representation of one cycle closing out and having the Strength to move forward, with an effective balance of compassion- that is, compassion that puts myself and my needs first: and heading into the third card:

The Ace of Wands

I cannot just emotionally process these things. I have to act on the impetus that is provided by way of the struggles I have been through lately- and the prompting I have seen. You know those times when you just cannot figure it out, when you’re just so overwhelmed and you feel you have no choice? You always have a choice. 

Often, when it’s like this: it’s just a really shitty choice. 

But once you make it: you can’t just decide “Oh, well, I want this to change.” you have got to act and this is what that Ace is all about. Not that it’s a negative card at all- matter of fact, the Aces often represent new beginnings and this particular Ace does tie back around to my first card, my focus card in that: with the Ace of Wands, we are listening to our gut. We are going with our inner vision and if the demands of others are clouding that- it’s time to knock it off. It is time to close that door- ever slam a door really hard in a room with another door that’s a bit wobbly? That other door tends to fly right on open. Doesn’t do you very much good if you don’t walk through it, though. And the Ace of Wands is walking your talk, more than it is talking it. Take the steps, even if your knees are knocking and you are scared. It’s time.

In conclusion: 

This is what happens- you must rid yourself of the baggage you carry in order to move forward and move forward you must. The baggage, then in this case, is self-sacrifice. It’s putting others ahead of yourself to the point that you go wanting. It’s trying to feed everyone with your empty cup. It’s time to let that shit go and have the Strength to stand up again and walk on out the door.

So, the next step in this, get your book and just flip pages until you land on one and go from there. If you want, you can do like I do. I flip once, twice, three times for the three cards.

I’ll just let the reading finish this up for you.

I tend to keep reading or whatever- you just go with what feels right and let it flow. Certain things will stand out- and that’s what I have posted here. Now for the final one:

And really, that’s all there is to it. I did not include my personal notes and as this is a general reading for the week ahead- if the message applies: great! Stand up and do that thing! If it doesn’t, well, you may try doing this on your own and see what your own personal message may be.

Now, if you’d like to see more of my odd rambling, figure out how to book a reading or get into my lessons or even catch me at some random event- go ahead and Like me on Facebook! 

I tend to write a lot about astrology, relationships and existentialism, and I love a good debate. 😉

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