Summer Solstice, Solar Eclipse & New Moon 2020

Jonagold apples ripening in the orchard, a bit of nature to enjoy. Shantara Grace

Thinning and Pruning, Again…

The summer solstice marks the time for the summer pruning of the fruit trees. But inevitably, after I’m done with a tree, maybe weeks later from a different angle, I spot some watersprouts that need to come off that I had missed, or a cluster of apples hiding in the shade of leaves (like the Jonagolds in the photo above). Despite my best attempts, I never get everything in one go. 

So it is with the thinning and pruning of our inner and outer worlds. As much as we face challenges, grow and work on ourselves, something else pops up to ask us to look again and address it. The truth is, we will always be presented with opportunities to grow, and we always have the choice of how to respond. There are infinite opportunities to grow and expand, and I am so thankful for that. We don’t always get the whole lesson in one go, and that’s fine.

In the outer world, all kinds of issues previously hidden are now visible so we can take another look and perhaps make new decisions about what is intolerable, and what we’d rather see. It is an opportunity for growth on a national and global level. We can choose differently. We can choose to live in a humane world. One that is safe and nurturing for all the people, all the animals, and the ecosystem we live in. This time is offering us an opportunity to look again at all levels of our world and decide anew. 


A note from the angels: The angels want us all to take extra good care of ourselves right now. To take time to breathe deeply, being grateful for our breath, to feel our beautiful hearts, to feel our feelings and allow it all. They want us to see ourselves like they see us, with a love and compassion that is total, no matter what we are experiencing. We are loved immensly, completely, without conditions, every minute. As our world rocks, we can be secure in that love. 


Angeles Arrien used to say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that respect means to look again. And now is the time to reevaluate everything about our inner and outer world. Kate, who is an astrologer who has an insightful piece in this newsletter*, told me that by September, we’ll have six planets in retrograde. And retrograde is always time to look at everything anew. Reevaluate, reassess, revise, refresh, and all words starting with the prefix “re” apply here. It’s time to respect ourselves and our world by taking an honest look, again. 

When you make a new decision about yourself or the world, or about how you’d like to show up in your life, that’s the turning point. That’s the raw energy that starts right away to make the change. As soon as you decide. You don’t have to know the outcome, you could decide you don’t want to live in a certain way anymore, or be with a particular person, or that you want to be visible when you’ve previously hidden. You don’t have to know how anything will come to be, and you may not even know what you want yet, but  maybe you know what you don’t want. You can just start with what you DO know, because change is a process, and you’ll discover and know more after things start moving in the new direction. 

This is an exciting, intense, truly wondrous, crazy time. It may be inconvenient, we may need to be flexible, to adapt, but we might just wake up an inner strength and clarity we didn’t know we had. The new moon, solstice and eclipse this weekend is a great time to dream a new dream for ourselves and for our world.


The angels encourage us all to dive deep into our hearts and envision the best version of yourself, and your world. Envision with no limitations because there is a big opening now to reimagine and revise everything. Pray for it all, from deep in your heart. Every single prayer is heard.


Enjoy the journey, beginning with this moment right here. And then the next. And I welcome you to write to share your experience, your dreams or questions. 
I love hearing from  you.


*PS – scroll down for Kate’s astrological insights.


And, here’s an opportunity…

I have a beautiful orchard with six different kinds of apple trees. More apples than I could ever use, and hard to keep up with. If you’d love organic apples every fall and live in the Portland area, let me know if you’d like to participate in the orchard. You could buy a box or two of apples in the fall or you could work in the orchard 2-3 times during the year and go home with apples. And, if you have experience with fruit trees, that would be wonderful. 


Kate gave me such a clear and helpful astrology reading last week, I thought you might enjoy her insights into what is happening with the planets right now. She was so generous to contribute to the newsletter:


Retrogrades, Solstice, Eclipses…Oh, My!

As a counseling astrologer, I’ve been fielding a flood of technical questions lately, like “What the heck is going on?” 

If you’ve been feeling exhausted, like you just can’t make it through even simple projects or tasks, join the club!

Since April, we’ve had Pluto, then Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and now Mercury retrograde. They’ll be joined next week by Neptune. When a planet goes retrograde, it appears, from our perspective on Earth, to stand still and then move backwards.

Some people freak out about Mercury retrogrades, which, truth be told, often bring us technology meltdowns, communication SNAFUs, and travel woes.

I’ve actually learned to enjoy retrogrades. They’re the perfect time to do all those “re“ things, like reconsider, revisit, reimagine, recalibrate, rewind, reshape, rewrite…Think of them as a period for cleaning up unfinished business–for thanking and releasing old patterns, programs, beliefs, and behaviors that may have served you in the past but are not part of who you are becoming.

What you DON’T want to do, especially with all these planets retrograde at the same time, is to push yourself too hard. You won’t make much headway, and you’ll start beating yourself up about not getting enough done.

Stop. Breathe. Be gentle with yourself. Please. 

Mercury, the fastest moving planet in our solar system, is slowing to a snail’s pace. It normally covers a couple degrees a day, but over the next 5 weeks it will crawl, backwards and forwards, through a total of only 9 degrees. SUPER slow.

And it is doing its slow dance in the sign of Cancer. Cardinal water. Imagine trying to run in a rushing river against the current. Yeah, that’s it.

Between the retrograde planets and our “safer-at-home” directives, the universe is conspiring to bring us into a state of introspection. Which is a GIFT.

Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”

Over a year ago, Saturn began rubbing shoulders with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, of Death, Rebirth, and most importantly, Transformation. Since they both have been hanging out in the sign of Capricorn, until Saturn recently dipped its toes into Aquarius (it will slide back into Capricorn in less than 2 weeks), there’s been a dynamic of shaking up, even shattering, outmoded structures, institutions, hierarchies, and belief systems. Which is a GOOD THING.

We’re being called to take the deep dive, to descend into our personal underworld, to shine a light on those dark, shadowy things that we’ve chosen not to look at because they’re scary. Or at least they were when we decided to bury them.

Pluto’s job is to break down structures that are no longer useful so they can be transformed. Think caterpillar to butterfly. There’s a period of confinement, struggle, discomfort, and ultimately a complete metamorphosis.

The thing is, we don’t know exactly what we’re going to emerge into. There’s a huge question mark. 

If you’re reading this, you’re part of Shantara’s tribe, and I’m fairly certain you are someone who has chosen to dedicate your life to awakening consciousness on the planet. 

Now is the time when you have to summon all your faith and trust that your Angel Buddies, Cosmic Mentors, and Spiritual Guides have your back. It’s not quite like free-fall, but the changes are enough to make you dizzy, and maybe a little anxious.

Now is the time to wait, to receive, to be open to direction. Patience, Grasshopper…

Saturday night, June 20, 2020, at 11:41pm PDT, we have an amazingly powerful new cycle beginning. The Moon is aligning with the Sun to create a total solar eclipse. This eclipse is the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year series of eclipses in Cancer/Capricorn. We’re finishing up themes we’ve been working on for that whole time.

New Moons are a fresh start, a perfect opportunity to set intentions, to plant seeds for what you want to bring to fruition in the future. Normally New Moon energies last until the next month’s lunar cycle begins, but because of the amplification from the eclipse and from the fact that it’s happening exactly on the Solstice (a rare occurrence), whatever you set in motion now will remain in effect for about 6 months.

This is a MAJOR shift of energies. We are moving forward into a whole new reality. If you put in the conscious work now of re-examining your priorities, tying up loose ends, releasing old structures that no longer serve your highest good, you will be richly rewarded at the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which happens to fall at the December Solstice.

Instead of seeing 2020 as the Year of Limitations, let’s use our experiences as evidence that the human spirit can survive ANYTHING. The Sabian symbol for the first degree of Cancer says: “On a ship, the sailors lower an old flag and raise a new one.”

What flag are you retiring? What’s the new flag you are hoisting into visibility for all to see? Fly it proudly.


Kate Fotopoulos

The Star Whisperer

You can book a reading with Kate at 303-803-4615. 

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