Monthly Archives: October 2016

Has NASA changed the Zodiac?

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Category: Astrology

We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about a supposedly “new” sign of the zodiac and whether all of us need to worry about our signs changing. The short answer is, simply, no.

What happened is that a recent NASA article about the constellations caught the media’s attention, and the media did what it’s famous for: stirring up “controversy” where none actually exists. NASA’s article points out that the positions of the stars relative to the earth have changed in the 3000 years since the Babylonians started developing the system of astrology we know, due to the shifting tilt of the earth’s axis and the passage of time. The article notes that the relative positions of the earth, sun and stars are not spaced in orderly month-long increments, and that the sun actually passes through the celestial territory of thirteen constellations, not twelve. Based on this, NASA put together a chart showing the dates when the sun passes through each of the thirteen constellations — the traditional twelve that make up the signs of the zodiac, plus the constellation Ophiuchus.

All very interesting, but it’s completely irrelevant to western astrology. The western system we know isn’t based on the positions of these constellations, it’s based on the calendar. The cardinal signs of the tropical zodiac (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) always stay aligned with the equinoxes and solstices, meaning the twelve signs of the zodiac proceed in an even and predictable way as the earth moves around the sun. This hasn’t changed since the time of the Babylonians and isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Sure, an astrologer doing your chart might look at the positions of stars at the time of birth for meaningful details. But this isn’t the source of your sign.

Some eastern systems of astrology do use the sidereal zodiac — that is, the positioning of the stars that NASA discussed in their article. Vedic astrology is one such system, though it nevertheless divides the year into twelve equal parts rather than thirteen uneven ones. Through the years, a few authors — including, interestingly enough, one astronomer writing under a pseudonym — have suggested new astrological systems based on the thirteen signs of the sidereal zodiac. So far, none of these systems has gained much traction. Of course anyone may choose to follow one of these systems, but they’re very different from astrology as most westerners know it.

So what’s the deal, NASA? Here’s what a few professional astrologers have to say:

Jamie Kahl: “It’s been my experience that astrologers tend to be aware of the basics of astronomy while astronomers are not aware of the basics of astrology.”

Ophira Edut: “Your zodiac sign has not changed. It’s not based on the constellations directly. The zodiac … is based on the planets.”

Barry Kerr: These issues come up every few years, it seems. Some material-based, closed minded astronomer looks at astrology and thinks he has found the “proof” of how stupid astrology is. We astrologers just shake our heads and laugh at the irony of how someone so proud of being a scientist could make such bold statements without doing even a wee bit of research on the subject. Anyone who does look at how astrology works can dismiss the “scientific” claims within ten minutes

If you’d like to read a more detailed write-up about this issue (or maybe I should say non-issue!), check out this excellent article by astrologer Carmen Di Luccio: No, Your Astrological Sign Has Not Shifted

(Image by Patrick Denker via Wikimedia Commons)

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November 2016: Scorpio, Pluto & Current Transits

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Category: Current Transits

By Barry Kerr

The Sun moved into Scorpio on October 22.

In traditional astrology, Mars rules the signs of Aries and Scorpio. In Aries, our fiery Martian will learns to assert it self boldly, selfishly into the world, to claim its right to be here. In Scorpio, that same willfulness must adjust and respond to the same assertion from others, especially in our most intimate relationships. After the commitment we form with partners in Libra, in Scorpio, our personal will is now tested. Our ego is challenged. Between two egos that see the world from the illusion of separation and fear, vulnerability is dangerous. Intimacy can feel life threatening. Power struggles arise and in the illusion of winner-takes-all, emotional melodrama can run rampant.  

The discovery of the outer planetary bodies of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto during the last three centuries has given astrology a modern understanding of planetary rulerships. Unlike the inner planets like Mercury, Venus and Mars, which represent different expressions of our human personalities and egos, these outer planets* represent our ego’s ability (or lack of) to connect directly to our soul consciousness. Uranus, as a higher octave of Mercury, is our mental and cognitive connection to soul. Neptune, as a higher octave of Venus, is our heart and feeling connection to soul. Pluto is our connection to the soul’s will to transform and evolve, and in this way, is a higher octave of Mars. Thus, in today’s astrology, it is Pluto that also rules the sign of Scorpio.

Why? Well, because it is in Scorpio, in the intimate and emotional power struggles between two egos, that we are invited to reach past the limiting perspective of our ego. We use the human love (Venus) that is there as a motivating force to call in the higher wisdom (Uranus) that comes from our soul, to deepen our love beyond our mortal fears (Neptune), and to invoke our soul intention to transform (Pluto) the way we experience self and other. From a higher, spiritual perspective, whatever has created discord and conflict can now be seen as opportunity for expansion, growth, and evolvement of consciousness. Each time we engage in such a battle of wills between egos and choose to reach for this higher calling from our soul, we learn how to align the limited power of our ego (Mars) with our soul’s more powerful and transformative possibilities (Pluto), which are in kind aligned with the greater power of divine intentions. This is the synergy and magic that happens when two or more people conspire to blend their ego energies with loving intentions.

This is why watery Pluto and Scorpio are often associated with birth and death and rebirth, with darkness and light, with change. As spirit, we choose to come into form for the very purpose of experiencing the phenomenon we call emotions and feelings. Emotions are the energy of our souls interface with physical form and therefore are key to our returning to full consciousness of spirit within physical form. Pluto in Scorpio, though like Halloween, dark, scary and death-like, is the crucible of initiations toward mastery, leading to the wisdoms and unlimited expansions encountered through Jupiter in the next sign of Sagittarius.  

Current Transits

The New Moon is on October 30.

This New Moon is in Scorpio. Scorpio draws our attention to the deep, dark mysteries of life and death, the energy of change and transformation and thus, the fears that arise from such. Mercury conjoins this moon and trines Neptune, inviting advancement in our ability to understand and embrace change. Mercury represents our mental capacities for taking in information, sharing it, as well as our ability to see patterns and connections. Neptune is our ability to channel our divine soul’s love and compassion. As the world presents us with scary and dark prospects, this new moon is a good time to commit ourselves to staying mindful of the larger, divine and loving guidance we all receive that help us accept the death of the old and birth of the new and trust our ability to negotiate the coming changes.  It’s always darkest before dawn.


The Full Moon is on November 14.

With Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Taurus, this full moon illuminates the polarities between our material needs and our spiritual longings, between self-reliance and interdependency, and between self-preservation and intimate vulnerability.

As the Sun in Scorpio is quincunx (150 degrees) Uranus in Aries, and the ruler of both those signs, Mars, is in Aquarius, we are challenged to bring higher awareness and authenticity to our masculine tendencies toward individualism and domination by inviting egalitarian connections to others, with a vulnerability and interdependence that can result in synergistic co-creativity.  

The Uranus – Pluto square that has precipitated the unrest of social and political upheaval over these past five years is still in play through 2019. As Jupiter, in Libra, joins this square, off and on, for the next year, opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto, it indicates support and opportunities for major societal reform and progress, including advancements in freedom and equality in relationships.

Important to this unfolding is Neptune conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, which invites us to step through the shadows of victimhood, martyrdom, co-dependency, addictions, escapism and blame and instead embrace our sensitivity, compassion, creativity, intuition, and imagination and live from the paradigm or unity, rather than separation.

Barry Kerr, a soul-based, evolutionary astrologer, has 35 years of experience with an international clientele. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed therapist, 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, energy healing and transformational 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 or email Barry at

October Aromatherapy Recipe: Elemi

by Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT, CA

As we move into October, when the sun is transiting through the constellation Libra (represented by scales), we start to see a shift into more balance. It’s been a turbulent year for many people but the winds are changing and it is starting to slowly calm down. So it’s appropriate that the intuitive essential oil for the month of October is Elemi (Canarium luzonicum). Elemi essential oil is distilled from the resin of this tropical tree. The aroma is unique and pleasant; a combination of citrus, dill, balsam, and grass. Like many resins (Frankincense, Myrrh), Elemi is useful for respiratory conditions, skin care, and releasing deep emotional pain. Energetically, Elemi balances all the chakras and our entire energy system, including the chakras above our physical body (Transpersonal) and below our physical body (Subpersonal). Elemi means “as above, so below” in Arabic. It has a unique yin/yang quality, helping to bring wholeness, integration, and completion. When we experience trauma and stress, our energy system gets off balance. Elemi can be extremely useful to restore harmony, peace, and uplift the spirit.

My Elemi Forecast for October: We are starting to see a shift in our lives to a more quiet, peaceful calm. The universe is slowly restoring balance in many areas of our lives, particularly in regards to job/career and interpersonal/relationships. This is a good time of the year to evaluate what you are ready to release, purge, and set free. I highly recommend that you do some sort of cleansing ritual, such as a fire ceremony, to release the hurts of the past and energy that doesn’t serve you a higher purpose/greater good anymore. This will help bring you into balance as you release the old to invite in the new.

Recipe for Balance

  • 5 drops Elemi
  • 3 drops Geranium
  • 7 drops Bergamot

Use in a diffuser, make an aroma inhaler, blend in one ounce of a vegetable oil and use for anointing your chakras, or add to one ounce of water to make a mist or spray.

Aroma Readings are a divination technique using essential oils developed by Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach, a Holistic Health Psychologist, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, and Reiki Master Teacher. She offers individual Aroma Readings and spreads as well as teaches Aroma Readings in her level 2 ‘Holistic Healing with Aromatherapy’ certification series. Interested in learning more about herbs, aromatherapy and essential oils? Visit Mind, Soul, and Self LLC for more info: