Monthly Archives: December 2014

Current Transits for December, 2014

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Category: Current Transits

Astrological Update for Dec 18, 2014 – Jan 22, 2015

by Barry Kerr

Sun moves into Capricorn on Dec 21

Capricorn’s spiritual intention is to teach us how to manifest our expansive loving visions into the world with ease and joyful fulfillment. Through Capricorn, we are learning control, discipline, orderliness and focus, both inwardly and outwardly. As we grow into an “adult” position of self-care, we accept responsibility for the life we are creating. We learn to focus on our goals, keep commitments and let go of the past. In maturity, we lead by example, build teams and hold others accountable with respectful compassion. We create a loving order.

Inner Planets

During January, Mercury, Venus and Mars are jumping ahead into Aquarius, thus prompting your mind, heart and will toward visionary possibilities for change and progress. However, Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, is squaring (90 degrees) Neptune, and challenging you to have confidence to take decisive actions toward your vision with heartfelt compassion for everyone, even those who oppose you.

Full Moon: Jan 3-5

The Full Moon in Cancer on January 4th is opposite the Sun and Pluto in Capricorn, creating a T-square with Uranus in Aries. The invitation here is to allow your feelings to bring awareness to your relationship to power, your own and others. Are you using your power to merely gain recognition and to stand out from the crowd? Do you look down on those who lack the will to use their power? In today’s complicated world, what is your authentic power?

Pluto square Uranus

The 6th of the recent Pluto/Uranus squares (90 degrees) occurred on December 15. The 7th, and final one, will occur this March 15-16. Uranus’s individualistic and freedom-loving dance with the collective, and often dark, powers of Pluto has been stirring up all sorts of issues in our planetary consciousness, from police brutality and CIA torture versus human rights to corrupted government versus free and open democracy to corporate psychopathy versus public welfare. It all keeps gushing forth, like hot lava, directly in our faces and leading to an inevitable earthquake-like transformation of our collective reality. Will enough people see through the matrix and claim their right to freedom? We can only hope. In the meantime, this Capricorn time is good for thinking through your own relationship to the powers that be and considering the practical issues one might face in times of change. Being in the world, but not of the world is the challenge.

Good Capricorn activities into January.

To heal and evolve your Capricorn self, get organized and take charge. It’s a good time to put into order anything that has been needing attention, whether it’s things, ideas or relationships. Take responsibility for things past, present and future. Make yourself accountable to others in areas you’ve been avoiding. Plan something, set a goal, commit to it and make decisions. Honor and recognize what you have accomplished thus far in your life. Give yourself credit and respect. Spend some time reflecting on how you’ve organized your life and to what extent you are living authentically, from your higher, loving self, bringing your soul’s true intentions into this world.

Good Capricorn questions to ask yourself into January:

To heal and evolve your Capricorn self, pay attention to your ability to take charge of your life. Does life seem chaotic? Craving recognition? Do you respect and honor yourself? Do you try to manage people, even their feelings, yet avoid your own? Do you have a vision for yourself and the world? Are you willing to take responsibility, even leadership toward creating that vision? Or do you depend on others for that? Are you in integrity in all areas of your life? Do you trust your intuition to guide your choices? Are you willing to upset people to get things done?

Barry Kerr, a certified soul-based astrologer, has 33 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals and alternative healers. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. Barry offers astrology readings and coaching by phone, Skype or in person in Madison, WI. Inquiries are welcome – free 15 minute consultation to explore if this is for you.  Visit for more information.

Metaphysical Properties of Incense

by Cathy Douglas

Incense smells good, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it for that reason alone. But as with crystals, incense — in all its different styles and fragrances — has metaphysical properties based on a long history of use. In fact, if you’re used to working with crystals, the nature of many incenses can to some extent be compared to the properties of specific stones: sandalwood to quartz, lavender to amethyst, rose to rose quartz, etc. Using a crystal with a complementary incense amplifies the power of both.

Most modern incenses are built around a sandalwood stick or cone, overlaid with perfumes, essential oils, resins or other sources of fragrance. (For more on the general types of incense and how they are made, please see our previous article, Incense Basics.)

As always, please remember that the healing properties of the incenses below are complementary to regular treatment, not a substitute. Use common sense and seek your doctor’s advice, especially if you are pregnant or suffer from respiratory conditions.

Common Incense Blends:

Nag champa: While there is a flowering plant called nag champa, the incense that goes by that name is actually a blend of sandalwood with floral scents that include the champa flower, ylang ylang, and others.Traditional nag champa formulations also rely on resin from the halmaddi tree (Ailanthus, or tree of heaven). It creates a soothing, relaxing mood. Uses: purification, creating sacred space, spiritual matters, meditation, enlightenment.

Aastha: Very much like Nag Champa, but a little sweeter. The name means “faith.” Uses: relaxation, meditation, religious occasions.

Aqua: A light floral scent with cyclamen and primrose. Uses: any kind of cooling, whether of temper, physical fever, or excess emotion of any kind.

Darshan: This traditional blend combines sandalwood, jasmine and vanilla. The word can mean “pilgrimage,” or may imply having a vision of a deity or holy person. Uses: concentration, freedom from negativity, reviving a tired mind or spirit.

India Temple: Since this is a brand name, the ingredients are proprietary information. The manufacturer will only say that they use “the finest fragrant woods, herbs, essential oils, and other ingredients of the highest quality,” and that it is designed to smell “just like temples in India.” Uses: connecting with Hindu traditions, ritual

Opium: This incense does not contain any parts of the opium poppy. It’s a blend formulated to resemble Yves St. Laurent’s Opium perfume, which is a blend of many typical incense ingredients, including sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, and many more. Unsurprisingly, it turns out smelling somewhat like a store that sells incense. Uses: sleep, lucid dreaming, developing psychic skills, contacting deities and guides in dreams.

Plum blossom: This Japanese incense is actually a combination of floral and spicy ingredients, blended to evoke spring. As far as I’ve been able to discover, it doesn’t actually use plum. Uses: meditation, connecting with Zen Buddhist or other Japanese traditions, purity, feeling young

Individual Scents

The following are properties for single incense ingredients. Remember, though, that in in the real world most stick and cone incenses contain more than one ingredient, usually including a sandalwood base.

Amber: love, comfort, happiness, healing, past life discovery, connecting with the past

Benzoin: purification, clearing negative energy, balance, prosperity, dealing with negative emotions (especially anger, anxiety and depression), working through grief

Cedar: purification, clarity, enhancing psychic skills, love, preventing nightmares, respiratory infections *

Cedarwood: purification, protection, abundance, grounding, clarity, male virility, strength (including strength during a healing process)

Cinnamon: prosperity, success, healing (especially during winter), love and romance, amplifying the energy of spells or rituals, strength, cultivating power (especially for people who feel otherwise powerless, or as if they are in a hopeless situation)

Copal: Purification, protection, exorcism, finding true love, separating from toxic relationships

Cypress (including Hinoki): Strength, comfort, stress relief, confidence, will power, concentration

Dragon’s blood (resin from dracena plant): removing negativity, banishing unclean entities, protection (especially during magical work), enhancing power, male energies

Frankincense: Purification, consecration, meditation, resolving conflicts, speaking up for oneself or others, transforming a chaotic environment to one of peace. Often used in religious rituals, sometimes with myrrh.

Gardenia: Love, healing or maintaining good health, peace

Geranium / Rose geranium: courage, protection

Ginger: love & romance

Jasmine: attracting love or money, cultivating beauty (especially inner beauty), creativity (especially creating something that will touch other people), connecting with others emotionally, wisdom, dreaming (including prophetic dreaming)

Juniper: psychic skills, psychic protection & protection from the evil eye, breaking a string of bad luck

Lavender: relaxation & sleep, protection & purification, romance, cleansing (especially after a period of health issues), healing (especially from addictions), serenity

Lemon: healing, purification, love. An especially good scent to use during fasting.

Lemongrass: mental clarity, relief of respiratory conditions *

Lotus: peace & harmony, improving mood, concentration, focus. Very good for meditation, or to burn while studying.

Mesquite: disinfecting, digestive problems, enhancing the energy of spells or rituals

Musk: love & romance, courage, facing one’s limits (especially one’s mortality), connecting with departed loved ones

Myrrh: purification, consecration, exorcism, banishing negative influences, connecting with solar deities & powers. Traditionally burned during funerals.

Patchouli: attracting love ** & money, connecting with fae, sensuality, fertility, finding happiness

Pine: purification, banishing negative energy, removing curses, moving beyond outgrown habits and circumstances, strength & healing, finding a job

Rose: love & romance, fertility, emotional healing, enhancing beauty (including inner beauty), divination, house blessing

Sage: protection, purification, wisdom, balancing mind / body / soul, cleansing, creating & purifying sacred space.

Sandalwood: Protection, purification, sanctification, offering to any god, good luck.

Sweetgrass: Purification, space clearing, calls up beneficial spirits.

Vanilla: love & romance, decision making, study, power

Ylang ylang: Love, harmony, peace, euphoria

* If you use incense as a complementary treatment for a respiratory condition, be sure to use a very pure blend, and stop use immediately if the smoke causes any discomfort. If the condition is a serious one, consult your doctor before burning any incense.

** If you use patchouli to attract love, it might be a good idea to make sure the object of your desires doesn’t hate the stuff. Many people have a visceral, negative reaction to patchouli, in part because in the past it’s been used to mask the smell of pot or BO.