Little Linda

I remember the day our new neighbors moved in, they had a daughter several years younger than me and her name was Linda, just like mine. I was happy to have a new playmate and so my sisters and I decided to call her Little Linda, in order to eliminate any confusion when we called out names. What we soon learned was that Little Linda had a big mouth and what she said made us all blush. Not only did she swear, but when she didn’t get her way, she would storm off muttering how much she hated us. After one such incident I was so upset I ran home to complain to my mother who was mixing a batch of my favorite sugar cookies.  Without missing a beat of her wooden spoon, she told me that people only acted that way when they were hurt and didn’t know any better, and that the next time she said she hated me all I had to do was tell her that I loved her. I looked at my mother in disbelief. For a child that sounded crazy, don’t respond in kind and add love to the problem, a bit philosophical for a seven-year-old. Mom winked at me in a way that said “trust me, I know what I’m doing.” And so I went back outside armed with new ammunition. I didn’t have to wait long to try out my new strategy. Little Linda was still on the block. I asked her if she wanted to play. She yelled at me “I hate you.” Without hesitation I said, “Well, I love you Little Linda, we all love you.” As the words reached her ears I saw the magic happen – her entire body melted, the fight within her dissolved and a small tear emerged at the corner of her eye. Mom was right; she was just hurt and lonely. I stepped forward and said, “Come on, Mom is baking sugar cookies and she should be taking them out of the oven right now! Mom gave her a big hug and made her feel special and I was not jealous for a moment because I knew that she was trying to make my new friend feel welcomed and loved. My mother, in her casual way, had given me a magic wand to carry throughout my life: don’t take an attack personally, there is pain behind it. Little Linda ceased to be a problem, I had refused to accept her negativity so had to accept my love. My mother had taught me how to detach from the moment and offer a bit of kindness — I do believe that is what creates miracles. Whenever I need one, I bake myself a batch of sugar cookies and eating just one makes me feel loved.


            Sugar Cookies


1 Cup unsalted butter1 Cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at

least 3 minutes. Beat in extracts and egg. In a separate bowl combine

baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet

ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.




The Hero In You

Heroism has a face of courage and is often associated with a monumental deed that saves lives. However, heroism lives within all us because it comes from the most basic of human values — a sense of justice and compassion for ourselves and others.

James Shaw Jr. was with friends after a fraternity party in Nashville, Tennessee. They entered the Waffle House at 3:20 am. At 3:25 a shooter entered and opened fire. Grazed by a bullet and watching others die before his eyes, he didn’t take a victim attitude. “. . .  I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill.” When the shooter stopped to reload, he rushed him. “I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar.” When it was over there were four dead and four wounded. Just hours after the shooting he set up a GoFundMe for the victims of the shooting and raised $165.000 in a few days. The Waffle House followed his lead and when they reopened pledged 100% of the sales for the next month to the victims. James Shaw Jr. had the courage and the heart of a hero.

Heroes are born when injustice becomes too great for a courageous soul to stay silent. Rosa Parks was a seamstress and a simple woman, but she could no longer be silent when she was asked to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white person. Her refusal got her arrested and convicted. The day of her trial a civil rights protest was formed and the segregated buses were boycotted. She became a symbol of the Civil rights movement. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired,” she wrote in her autobiography, “but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

In 2012 Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Pakistan, was shot in the head as she sat in a school bus. It was her punishment for keeping a diary about her life under Taliban rule and broadcasting it on the BBC.  Close to death she had to fight to live and when she recovered she didn’t skip a beat. She used her notoriety to embrace the cause of a girls right to be educated in school and she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

No one knows how they will handle a dangerous moment until they find themselves in one. A hero is born out of a simple need for justice. It’s like the perfect storm. Suddenly the necessity to act or speak is stronger than safety or reason. If luck is on your side you will survive and your act of courage will change your life and those who experience it with you.

Your Achilles Heel

In Greek Mythology Achilles was dipped into the river Styx by his mother to make him immortal. Unaware that holding him by his heel kept that spot untouched by the water and it remained human and vulnerable. As the myth goes, Achilles dies in battle from a poison arrow to his heel. Today, Achilles Heel refers to any weakness, imperfection or vulnerability one possesses.

Everyone has an Achilles Heel, an emotion, desire, wrong perception, or habit that surfaces to sabotage their goals. This part becomes over-protected out of fear and so it never gets healed or strong. Most Achilles Heel’s are formed in childhood. There is always something you wanted and didn’t get and so a fantasy is created around the issue – if only you had this, you’d be happy. Perhaps it’s love, wealth, success, romance or fame that you have elevated to the position of making you whole. Of course, none of these things have any staying power, if you don’t believe you deserve them. Accept what you desire and act as if you already possess it. If you do you will attract it.

The truth is we really don’t need a lot to survive. If life throws you a curve ball, don’t think you’re doomed, cursed or unable to have what you want. Stop making the moment worse — learn from it, make yourself smarter and wiser. If you experienced a bad romantic choice, then figure out why you didn’t see who he or she was at the beginning. What blinded you from the truth? It was all there if you were willing to pay attention. The more reality you can cope with without losing faith in life and yourself, the stronger and smarter you will be. Figure out your automatic choices when you’re under stress, they’re usually the ones that lead to disaster. Once you know your Achilles Heel, you can turn it into strength.


The Good Fight

Recently I was watching reruns of The West Wing on NETFLIX. The President, played by Martin Sheen, ended the show with these words, “Then let the good fight begin.” He was talking about the battle ahead to confirm his choice for the Supreme Court justice. It was a powerful ending that heralded the possibility of a new beginning and it reminded me of the most important Good Fight each of us face – the quest to bring forth our true selves.

Most of us survive the challenges of youth by sacrificing important pieces of who we are. Years later we find ourselves fighting for what we lost; our dreams, our truth and our values. To feel accepted, we relinquished the gift of originality and the uniqueness of our being  — and now we see that by doing so we have sentenced ourselves to living someone else’s life.

Differences often frighten people; it takes them out of their box and offers them something new. When fear rules, so do judgments, criticism and worry. Change is necessary to grow and if you don’t grow your life gets smaller, not plump and full of possibilities. It takes risk to be you; it takes disappointing those you love or those you hope will love you. To pursue your own ideals brings the fear abandonment and yet if you don’t you will abandon yourself. However, the truth is people are attracted to confidence; to those who own their originality, those who persevere for their dreams. Every great being or creator has fought “The Good Fight” under opposition. It’s a rite of passage to take the reigns of your life and decide for yourself what is right or wrong and where you are going.

Thus, “The Good Fight” is the battle to be you, to overcome the pressure to fulfill the desires of others over your own, whether it be your parents, society, a partner or your peers. Everyone will try and shape you into their image, they will validate what they like and criticize what they don’t. Of course you have to compromise, adjust, adapt, survive, but you must do so without disconnecting from your true nature. And even if you don’t voice your truth, you need to listen to it. Your mission is to walk your own path, to experience your own choices and to discover your own way.

If you’ve lost your way, just start listening to yourself. The voice within has always known exactly who you are, where you are going and what you want to be. Face your demons and put them on notice. Get rid of so called friends who only put you down; who never listen, but always have something to say. Open the door to those of like spirit, those who are also committed to fighting “The Good Fight” – a fight that makes you a winner just by entering the ring.

The Power of Truth

Truth is something we often take for granted, but in the world of “alternative facts” it’s become increasingly important to know what is real and what is not. Truth will never let you down, for at its core it never changes – although it’s appearance can be pliable, making it easy to be used in more than one environment. It’s a gift; something strong and enduring to help you build your life upon.  A lie, on the other hand, is destined to disappoint – it’s an illusion that can only be maintained with vigilance and energy. Its attraction is an immediate reward – a quick high, a false fix of hope, which only keeps you treading water and never moving forward.

Truth as a child was easy to see and embrace, but society and even friends and family will pull you away from his empowering path. Truth challenges the accepted reality, it disappoints and often angers those you love or want approval from. And so you repress it, rather than face a confrontation. Truth requires strength and commitment, so it is not for the weak at heart. A word of caution; don’t waste your time defending truth; it doesn’t need your sword. Truth lives in eternity. Invincible. it has unlimited patience and if you align yourself with it, it will teach you the wisdom and secrets of its power. Truth enlightens, strengthens, clarifies and keeps you steady on the rocky path of life. So seek the truth and accept it, only then will you be able to shape it into your own vision.

Crazy Times

If you’ve been wondering what is behind our crazy times, then perhaps astrology can add a little insight into the challenge. I don’t have to tell you that we’re in a state of transition; no let’s call it radical change. The shift and shake-ups haven’t settled yet; so don’t frame the picture of your life just yet. At the end of the year two major planets will change signs, once they settle into their new environment we may begin to see through the fog.

There are two types of planets, personal and outer. The personal planets (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars and Mercury), rule the individual and the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune) rule us collectively and socially. It is the outer planets that cause the big problems, especially when they interact among themselves.

Let’s start with the most benevolent of the challenging aspects:  Jupiter opposite Uranus. Jupiter will change signs on October 11th, but for the last year it has been pushing you to examine your independence. Can you be selfish or are you too selfish? Either extreme creates isolation and a feeling of emptiness. Often this is thought to be fixed by working harder or blaming others for not giving us what we think we need. The solution is to put yourself first and find balance in your life, then helping others will not only be easy but it will bring you great satisfaction.

The most challenging and slow moving aspect is Pluto in Capricorn square to Uranus and Jupiter. Jupiter changes signs this October, but Uranus is there until May of 2018. We’re coming to the end of major conflicts. However, the truth is, Pluto never needs company to cause problems. Its focus always takes us deeper into an issue, regardless of its environment. It digs and digs then it brings a hidden truth to the surface — a truth we buried due to fear. Find the courage to examine it; chances are you’ll toss your illusions and misinterpretations out and wonder why you’ve lived with them so long.

Uranus is the planet of change. It’s a catalyst and it ignites, inspires and destroys so the new can have room to be born and grow. It’s always prominent with earthquakes or sudden changes. When it moved into the warring sign of Aries in 2010 we had rebellion, which came in the form of the Arab Spring. When Uranus is around, our tolerance for injustice is minimal. What was tolerated yesterday is no longer possible today. So somewhere in your life your tolerance level has diminished and you are seeking change.

This is a perfect time to come for a reading and find out just what lies ahead on your path. I’ll be in London on May 9th – 26th   Make an appointment early so you can get a date and time that’s convenient for you. Let me clarify your challenges so you can overcome them, if and when you choose.

Saturn In Sagittarius

Mention Saturn and everyone get’s nervous. It’s time to understand what it really means. Astrologers often refer to it as the taskmaster. Like an Olympic coach who criticizes every nuance of a performance  – its aim is perfection – even though it’s an impossible quest. Understood is the knowledge that only by reaching higher and striving to be better can you improve and grow. Saturn entered Sagittarius, the sign of wisdom and beliefs, in December of 2014 and retrograded back into Scorpio in June of this year. On September 19th it will reenter Sagittarius and stay until December of 2017. Sagittarius rules how you acquire wisdom and knowledge, how you deal with differences and new ideas – it’s your beliefs. It’s time to make adjustments, change outmoded ideas and ideals. When you’re in alignment success and happiness are easier to achieve.

Saturn values perseverance, focus and steadfastness – it’s the turtle that wins the race. But what are you persevering for? Are you sure you’re on the right path to achieve your goals? To “know’ what’s right, you have to allow a debate, to see both sides of an issue and not be overinvested in how you get there. Fantasy is Saturn’s enemy, if it’s protected and unchallenged. When they work together everyone wins;  dreams become real, but they’re also capable of withstanding the storms of life. Work with Saturn, it’s your friend.

We all make judgments, some of them we’re aware of, some are passed on to us through our parents and some we create just to feel more in charge and less confused. A judgment is a label; once something or someone is defined you feel free to let it go and stop exploring its possibilities. Judgments are short cuts; they make life easier, at least for a while. When you keep judgments too long, they can prevent your growth — after all you’ve given up on going deeper — you’ve moved on.

Saturn can be your hero in the shadow, the one that shows you the way. To follow Saturn you have to be fearless and willing to look at yourself and your choices. You have to be ready to advance and update your opinions of yourself, life and others. With Saturn in Sagittarius you’ll have to get rid of the fears that no longer serve you. It’s time to move the boundaries of your life so you can have a greater life.

The U.S. Congress is a prime example of rigid beliefs; both the Republicans and the Democrats refuse to cooperate, bringing legislation to a standstill. The elections in 2016 will happen with Saturn in Sagittarius and already the political arena has had a taste of its power — it arrived with the name Donald Trump. His sudden appearance as a Republican candidate and his surprise popularity has forced everyone to reexamine their beliefs — after all, he has broken all the rules and his popularity keeps growing. Mr. Trump is Saturn’s ally, he has done the impossible by getting a great many voters out of complacency and offered them an easy fix to their problems – elect Trump president. Trump has conjured up a presence of boldness, American ideals, independence from being bought and selective honesty. He appeals to people’s self-interest and he continuously throws the press and other politicians off balance. He has shattered his competition’s power by not playing by the rules – something everyone else is afraid to do. Once Saturn enters Sagittarius he’ll be under greater scrutiny. Donald is a Gemini, the sign opposite of Sagittarius. Soon he’ll have to prove he has the credentials, knowledge and the ability to lead America, not just shake things up?

Kim Davis of Kentucky is another manifestation of rigid beliefs that refuse to change. Her denial of marriage licenses to gay’s or lesbians, in spite of the recent Supreme Court decision, has landed her in jail. For some she’s a hero and for others she’s standing in the way of their rights. As a Virgo, she’ll get some support with Jupiter in her sign, but eventually Saturn will square her planets. She’ll be forced to comply or resign. She’s entitled to her beliefs, but she can’t impose them on others. As a government employee she must abide by the law of the land.

Pope Francis has rejuvenated the Catholic Church and has brought a renewed spirit of forgiveness and love since his inauguration in 2013. In his recent letter addressing the “Year of Mercy” he expressed a wish to welcome women who have had abortions back into the church. Priests are given the power “to absolve the sin of abortion” for those who seek forgiveness with a “contrite heart.” His emphasis on mercy rather than judgment is the true power of love. However, he’s challenging old beliefs that are less inclusive. The Pope is a Sagittarian, born December 17th so get used to him stirring the religious pot and challenging others to embrace a greater and less judgmental truth.

Europe has its greatest boundary issues since World War 11. Refugees from Syria are flooding into Europe by the thousands. The humanitarian issues are astounding, but there is also fear, fear that this is a hijrah into Europe: the Islamic colonization of Europe. The immediacy of the crisis creates the need for action without reflection. When solutions are not simple, we are thrown into a battle between fear and humanity, between caution and compassion. The inner war has begun; the solution unsure.

To prepare yourself for what Saturn’s entry into Sagittarius means for you, ask yourself where your beliefs are being challenged? Are they holding you back? Do you truly believe in them or are you just afraid of the unknown? Have you isolated yourself because of self-criticism, or have you placed judgments on others to reduce their power and make yourself seem stronger and more important? If you have no boundaries at all, then you’ll need to get them now – add the word “no” to your vocabulary. Saturn is your opportunity to weed out the ideas and ideals that clash with who you really are. It’s time to be authentic and stand in your truth. The clearer you are about who you are and what you want, the easier it is to achieve your dreams.

Venus Retrograde

Venus is ethereal and powerful because it explains how one engages in life through desires and values. A man filled with yearnings becomes more attractive because he is motivated to achieve and has greater courage when it comes to facing his fears and meeting life’s challenges – desires lead to goals. When you cut yourself off from desire, you remove an important source of power. Venus is also the symbol of love and what you consider wealth. Remember, wealth is objective, only you know what turns you on and makes you happy. So listen to yourself, not others and as you change reexamine what you have previously deemed important – what you see may surprise you.

Venus — A Morning and Evening Star

The Babylonians called Venus the double-phased Ishtar — the morning star of war and the evening star of love. Venus journeys no more than 29 degrees ahead of the Sun (Morning Star) or 21 to 29 degrees behind the Sun (Evening Star). When it follows the Sun it represents peace, and its brightness is revealed immediately after sunset. If you are born during this phase you will appear mature and reserved; you strategize when it comes to your emotions rather than just respond to your instincts. And when Venus leads the Sun, you are a Morning Star and considered a warrior. Your nature is more passionate and impatient, independent and intuitive, responding to life instantly, instead of figuring it all out before you take action. Of course, this is only one factor in determining a chart, but Venus is a strong influence.

Venus Retrograde

Venus went retrograde on July 25th and goes direct on September 6th.  Venus is retrograde every twenty months for around forty days. This Venus Retrograde has been journeying through the end of Leo, making a trine to Uranus, the planet of change and independence, and a square to Saturn at the end of Scorpio. Saturn sets or resets our boundaries and in Scorpio the old must go because the new is waiting to enter your life. Learning what to let go of is the challenge and Venus retrograde will help you see the light. It’s a reflective time; so don’t fight pondering what’s important to you. It’s time to decide what’s superfluous and get rid of it. The cleaner your shelves are when Venus goes direct, the easier it is to bring in the new. What you need to see is where you have diminished your power by what you valued, change your priorities and you’ll change your life.

On a simpler note, it’s not the best time to begin a relationship; even if it seems to work, the cost will be high emotionally or financially. However, it’s a great time to tie up the lose ends of any old relationships so that you can move forward when Venus goes direct. When it comes to money, items will either cost too much or be offered at a bargain. If you’re not good at discernment and sorting out what’s important, then use this retrograde to improve that skill and don’t commit to anything until Venus goes direct.

 If you’d like to know if you’re a Morning Star or an Evening Star call for a reading and look ahead to your future, prepared and armed to take advantage of opportunity and chances to grow.

Does she do it with everyone?…

Sexual Double Standards Still Exist

The recent backlash from Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe’s sex escapade with Nick Viali, one of the finalists on her ABC TV show, has reopened the wound of the sexual double standard. For the last five years I’ve been interviewing men from the age of twenty-nine to seventy for a book I’m writing, “One Hundred Interviews with Men on Sex, Power and Intimacy.” I’m old fashion because of my generation, but I’m certainly not judgmental, I have a modern daughter and I’ve had to adjust. So I thought when I sat down to ask men if they judged a woman for first date sex I would get an evolved response. Their first words didn’t disappoint, “Of course not,” but that statement was immediately followed by one word that is famous for deleting everything that came before it, that word is  . . .“but” . . . “but I’ve never had a long-term relationship with anyone who did” or, “I’d never take her home to meet mom.” If you’re shocked, I understand. The picture of today’s dating scene doesn’t match its underbelly. Sex is available because women are liberated and men have welcomed them with open arms. However, what women don’t know is that beyond that perfect, romantic evening that ended in bed, is a question that could be a deal breaker, that question is, “Does she do it with everyone?” If you’re searching for meaning, don’t try too hard, it’s simple, men don’t feel special when sex is easy.

Most men are emotionally insecure. They’ve been asked, since childhood, not to show their emotions, not to cry, to be strong and man up. Men don’t trust their feelings; they trust money, power and success. It’s what the world values, not their sensitive side. They erroneously believe that if they are super successful, they’ll have it all and be happy. Doesn’t the little nerdy guy get the model when his net worth goes up? What amazed me more than the sexual double standard was how little some men cared if a woman was with them for money and power – it’s something they value and so its easy to forgive.  And besides, they trust that more than love. Offering your heart can lead to a broken one. One man told me that whenever he’s rejected, he tells himself, “If I had more money she’d never have left.” For men, money seems to be a stronger glue than their hearts.

Competition is in a man’s DNA. They are struggling to stand out, be noticed and valued. They want to feel special, either because they’re rich, powerful, sexy, a fabulous athlete, or the funniest person at a dinner party, it doesn’t matter as long as they stand out. If a woman gives in on a first date, there’s no one to conquer, nothing to fight for, no one to impress. Men want to win you, when you hand them the prize too soon, they feel robbed and they move on.

The double standard is in place for a reason other than tradition; men rely on women for their moral standards. Men can’t trust themselves to do the right thing when lust is activated. It’s a woman’s job to keep a man on the straight and narrow. Men can be players, but a woman has to be pure. In fact, the more deceitful a man, the more he expects his women to be loyal, sincere and someone he can trust.

The truth is Kaitlyn would have been judged a lot less severely for hooking up with a man for money, rather than for emotions and sex. The fact that she is a modern woman who expects less of a double standard is reasonable, until you push below the surface and realize we’re not as advanced as we thought we were. Women are still judged for having sex too often or too soon. The old stereotypes won’t disappear until they’re challenged. It’s the one good thing that has come out of a scandal that should never have happened.

The Retrogrades

How did you survive the last five months of continuous retrogrades? What did you learn about yourself? Are you ready to embrace change and believe that you have what it takes to live the life you’ve always wanted?  

The first planet to go retrograde was Venus in Capricorn. Capricorn, by nature, is slow and methodical and with a retrograde it brings things to a stop. Venus is often underrated in a chart because it rules love – an ethereal and subjective energy by nature. However, love is the glue that keeps the universe together. Many a powerful world leader has been brought to his knees by Cupid’s arrow. Love penetrates our barriers, our outer walls and it gives us a taste of feeling connected to something greater than ourselves. When Venus is in retrograde, there is often a feeling of disconnect, of being alone, of not feeling valued. If you felt unappreciated by the people around you before the retrograde, then those feelings were probably enhanced. Remember, others see your value when you do. Treat yourself with love and respect and you’ll find that others do the same.

Mercury retrograde is a common happening. We have one every three months. Mercury went retrograde three days after Venus went direct. Not much time to take a deep breath. Mercury retrograde doesn’t allow us to move forward, it makes sure we clear our desk of old projects; it brings people from our past into the moment, and throws our normal schedule into chaos. This forces one to slow down and deal with what they may have been avoiding.

The third retrograde was the most challenging — Mars, the warrior planet went retrograde in Libra on March 2nd.  Mars took us on an inward journey through our old issues of anger, frustration and denial. If everyone around you seemed upset or perturbed at the smallest indiscretion, now you know why. Mars put you face to face with the truth or what you didn’t want to see. For two months, avoiding your fears was not an option. Mars also rules your vision, so if you are not living your truth or doing the work you love, then you will feel the consequences of making choices that don’t support your soul.

With Mars direct, don’t panic. Things will begin to move and move quickly. If you’ve wanted a new job, you may just get one. If you were fed up in your relationship, then something may happen that gives you the courage to leave. The obstacle in your path will be removed; people will suddenly become available that were not in the past. The more you understand what’s happening, the easier it is to overcome any issue that may be preventing your success.