Eclipse Families

March 9, 2016

Eclipse Families &  A Call to Work Cyclically

We have heard the emphatic, almost battle-cry seeming outpourings announcing “ECLIPSE SEASON” throughout every corner of the internet and from the semi-astro involved. We may even be gleaning inspiration from those writing on the sign that each particular eclipse falls in, along with the symbolic attributes of what aspects are being lit up. Or even a bit more nuanced, we may be aware of whether the eclipse is happening at the north or south node. Awesome. Great. This is fantastic. But did you know, that eclipses happen in families? Did you know that the nature of each families’ inherent polarity as well as how far into it’s Saros Cycle the eclipse occurs unearths the the key to a deeply mysterious, psychological process that has actual application?

Eclipse Families -

Application of the energies becomes possible due partly to the fact that these cycles have a finite beginning and end. An 18-19 year cycle to be precise. Within this cycle a particular family will get lit up every  7-8 years.  And each time a family or polarity gets lit up it will having 6-8 eclipses over a period of 18-24 months.

That means there are six to eight opportunities to work in one area over a two year period – to then revisit every 7 to 8 years and finally, reflect upon every 19 years. That’s quite a growth opportunity if I ever did know one which, is why eclipses get so much attention – they are P O W E R F U L L.

And here lies the elegance of eclipses: they are by nature change agents working rapidly to expedite our work in certain areas of our life when they individually occur, but when you look at the cycle as a whole, it’s as slow as molasses. This duality of sharp repetition of pushing forward and the slow reveal of unfoldment through time is pure gold.  Why? Because you can engage with these changes in the immediate sense (we get 4-5 eclipses a year) without knowing how the cycle will eventually revel itself. Engagement mixed with surrender – it’s the stuff that personal practice is made of.

I want to share why working cyclically is so important. In a culture that has instant access to forecasting, which tends to paint lunar and solar eclipses as well as mercury retrograde cycles as isolated events, the overarching narrative of planetary journeying becomes isolated or disjointed.  In fact, the language of forecasting often focuses month to month or week to week on transits that could be impacting us all regardless of cycle. When you are layering transits and aspects, it is complicated enough, nevermind including each planets cycle. And that’s not even the half! This is without layering it on top of the natal signatures and individual cycles of our own personal charts. So. Much. Information.

Now, I just want to pause and say ‘What a Relief!’ that we live in the time we do. How everyone has access to the knowledge of planetary positioning without having to sit down and write logarithms. I know that instant access to the charts of “now” has bridged gaps in my own studies in the years when I became too lazy to hand-draw, when I was swept up or disillusioned by the sheer amount of sweat and mental grit being an astrologer requires. It also provides easy access to entry. Anyone with a computer or the right app can forecast. I think this is important and that easy access produces more engagement, more interest, more voices. I firmly believe that a wide plurality of voices in any field, while saturating it, forces it to elevate itself, requiring more rigor and personal accountability; not only in regards to technique but the ability to innovate and be creatively fast-paced in production. More voices = better.

Diatribe over, back to eclipse families. Looking at these cycles as holistic processes rather that sparks of instantaneous happenings is important to elevate our own astrological practice. When we look at the family as a whole process we can start practicing real life application, which is my life goal as an astrologer- to show HOW application of astrology is possible!

Eclipse Families

I’m starting with the assumption that we already know what eclipses are. What we want to keep in mind is that they always arrive in pairs, coinciding with new moon and full moons, as solar and lunar eclipses, respectively. They occur in a family of signs that are directly opposed to one another, or 180 degrees parts.

It’s a great way to practice working with the six polarities:

Aries-Libra / Taurus-Scorpio/ Gemini-Sagittarius / Cancer-Capricorn / Leo-Aquarius / Virgo- Pisces

Each one of these polarities is considered a FAMILY.

Here’s a breakdown of the last few years to show you the amount of time it takes to go through a family cycle. It also illustrates that there are one than one family cycle happening in any given year. As one ends, another begins and various overlapping occurs. As I write this we are deep into the Virgo-Pisces family of eclipses and just about to wrap up the Aries-Libra family cycle.  That means we will soon begin a new eclipse family cycle in Aquarius-Leo.


Lunar Eclipse Apr 25 2013 05° Scorpio 46′
Solar Eclipse May 10 2013 19° Taurus 31′
Lunar Eclipse May 25 2013 04° Sagittarius 07′
Lunar Eclipse Oct 18 2013 25° Aries 46′
Solar Eclipse Nov 3 2013 11° Scorpio 16′


Lunar Eclipse Apr 15 25° Libra 16′
Solar Eclipse Apr 29 08° Taurus 51′
Lunar Eclipse Oct 8 15° Aries 05′
Solar Eclipse Oct 23 00° Scorpio 25′


Solar Eclipse Mar 20 29° Pisces 34′
Lunar Eclipse Apr 4 14° Libra 21′
Solar Eclipse Sept 12 20° Virgo 17′
Lunar Eclipse Sept 27 04° Aries 38′


Solar Eclipse Mar 8 18° Pisces 57′
Lunar Eclipse Mar 23 03° Libra 10′
Solar Eclipse Sept 1 09° Virgo 23′
Lunar Eclipse Sept 16 24° Pisces 13′


Lunar Eclipse Feb 10 22° Leo 35′
Solar Eclipse Feb 26 08° Pisces 10′
Lunar Eclipse Aug 7 15° Aquarius 31′
Solar Eclipse Aug 21 28° Leo 51′

eclipse families Application

Yeah, yeah, but how do we apply this knowledge? Great question, I’m so glad you asked. It’s not a fancy answer and may not sound very magical, but hear me out: documentation. 

This could be journaling or creating in whatever form suits your needs. It can literally be as simple as emailing yourself, ” April 1st – moved across the country” or …. started a job, ended a friendship, was massively inspired or became obsessed with making pies. Just document it somewhere. When the family of eclipses rounds out to a close you can gather these note and facts and spread them before your consciousness. I can’t tell you exactly how the next part works, but it certainly is magick. You’ll have to try to for yourself to experience it. This form of self-reflection is so sweet when working with eclipses because they are sure to make an impact if you have any natal planets in their path. If you don’t have natal planets in a particular family, you aren’t as likely to be moved by their eclipses. I mean literally. When eclipses transit your natal planets – something in your life will shift, move, change, transition.

I know I was surprised/not surprised when major life events coincided with last years eclipses. If I were to treat these individually they give me vague strokes of meaning relating to the houses they occur in for myself natally. But when I consider all six eclipses in each family that are occurring right now I see a great narrative unfolding. These changes at each eclipse mark are playing part into a greater cycle that ABSOLUTELY reflects the nature of not only the houses involved but the natal planets touched.

So, to recapitulate how these cycles would be documented and applied it would look like this:

When a new family cycle initiates, determine if you have natal planets there.

If you do, Yay!

Each time an eclipse occurs, document the circumstances of your life.

At the end of that particular eclipse family’s cycle gather all the pieces of writing and scribbling from each eclipse. Lay it out before your consciousness. 

When the family gets initiated 7-8 years later, repeat the process.

After 19 years when a Saros Series is complete – big reveal perhaps. Massive integration likely.

They’re other circumstances surrounding eclipses that I work with that increase potency. Namely, when it falls near a birthdate, transits a major configuration, occurs on one of you natal nodes. But that’s all for another time. Working with families is a great technique and requires very little documentation because the operate so literally. Finally, working with polarity is an astrologer’s super power, so any technique that helps you advance this skill is money! Happy Lunar workings, astro lovers!



Saros Series

Eclipse Families -





For more technical information on the Saros Series look  here and here. Here’s a nice visual for you that ranges from 1360 – 2622:

Gems and Astrology

April 4, 2015

Gems and Astrology … a match made in the heavens.

I am thrilled to be teaching a class later this month at Portland School of Astrology on

Gem Remediation and Altar Construction.

citrine, gems, altar


Have you ever wondered if the magickal qualities of gems live in any relationship with the planets and their archetypes? Well, if you have you are now in luck. We will be exploring how gems and planets communicate through our physical self. Beyond just categorizing and applying we will take is even deeper by exploring stones that harness integrative energies between two opposing signs. There are countless ways to use polarity in magical work. We will use our North and South Nodes as a jumping off point since this mysterious and wonderful tug of oppositional force exists in all of our natal charts.


gems and astrology

There is so much juicy information on this topic. I have been working hard to distill it into a few short hours. But you will walk away with a packet of exploration, exercises and resources to continue your magickal work at home.

Bring your natal chart if you have it! If not, no big … my ephemeris travels with me ev’rwhere!


Emily Trinkaus

March 18, 2015

Emily Trinkaus

Meet Emily Trinkaus — astrologer, writer, energy healer and planetary priestess. Drive out into The Gorge, climb a hill into the forest and that’s where you’ll find her at home in her temple, usually with something delicious fresh from the oven. Emily has not only touched the lives of countless clients but has been a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration for a whole generation of astrologers. I should know; luckily, I have had the opportunity to apprentice under her myself! She is launching her latest project Venus Revolution which explores Venus as a “transmitter of Divine Feminine energies on Earth.” We chatted a bit about some Venusian themes. I’m so excited to participate in the free teleclass this Sunday, you definitely do not want to miss it!

Emily TrinkausEmily Trinkaus

You have been a professional astrologer for quite a long time. How has studying astrology with such depth influenced your spiritual path?

I grew up in a totally non-woo-woo, atheistic environment, and in retrospect, I think my early attraction to astrology was a way of connecting with something beyond the materialist paradigm. My introduction to astrology was reading Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs when I was 13, and it seemed fairly accurate, practical, a useful way of understanding myself and the people around me. When I first got into it I didn’t consider myself, or astrology, in any way spiritual. Astrology just “made sense” to me, and I figured there was some good scientific explanation for why it worked that humans just hadn’t figured out yet.

But the deeper I went into my astro-studies, the trippier it got – the planets seemed to mirror human experience so precisely, so elegantly. And if astrology works, if our experiences on Earth correlate to the movements of the planets way out there, then we must live in a magical, miraculous multiverse. I think astrology’s greatest gift has been to open me up to magic and mystery, to connect me with something bigger than my little ego self, to remember that we are all connected. Like a lot of astrologers, I went into astrology thinking that it would somehow help me get control over my life, make sense out of it, know what’s going to happen, etc. – but instead, astrology has taught me about trusting and surrendering to the greater mystery of Divine Order. 
emily trinkaus
The perception of femininity continually changes throughout time, has this also happened with Venus as an archetype? 
Absolutely. Venus has served, and continues to serve, as a screen for a culture’s projection of femininity. To the ancient Sumerians, she was Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Goddess of both love and war. She had a full range of expressions, that fluctuated depending on her cycle in the sky – whether she was visible as a Morning Star (Warrior Goddess) or Evening Star (Goddess of Love/Fertility) or if she was invisible (“in the Underworld”). She had a consort, Dumuzi, but she was very independent. As the Goddess-worshiping cultures were destroyed by patriarchy, Venus devolved into the Greek Aphrodite – Goddess of love, beauty and fertility, but no longer a warrior Goddess. Instead of being sexually sovereign and choosing her consort, Aphrodite was ordered by Zeus to marry, so that her irresistible beauty wouldn’t cause trouble among the Olympians. In this patriarchal paradigm, a woman’s sexuality must be controlled, it’s seen as dangerous and threatening to the established order, rather than contributing to the fertility of the land and health of the community.
As astrologers, we’ve inherited this very limited and distorted version of Venus, which keeps us stuck in an outmoded, disempowering expression of the feminine. We’re ready for new stories about the feminine, more possibilities for feminine expression, and I think we desperately need to bring the Warrior side of Venus – the fierce feminine – back online.
emily_trinkaus-008 emily trinkaus


For those of us new to working with Venus could you explain what a gate is?
After a period of invisibility – when Venus is traveling so close to the Sun that we can’t see her in the sky – she returns to the evening sky, appearing after sunset and gradually becoming brighter and brighter. During this period as an Evening Star, she forms 7 (occasionally 8) conjunctions with the waxing crescent Moon.This phase of Venus’ cycle correlates to the story of Inanna’s return from the Underworld, and each conjunction with the Moon represents a “gate” that Inanna goes through, when she regains one of her “vestments,” which she had surrendered when she descended into the Underworld. The gates correspond to the chakras, so that the 4th gate – when Inanna regains her breastplate – represents the 4th chakra, the heart chakra. In my preview call I’ll talk about how we can work with the energy of this gate in our own lives.
Did you choose to apprentice with Venus or did she choose you/ why at this time in your life/ why Venus versus other planets? 
I think she chose me! Venus is a very powerful planet in my birth chart, and I started my apprenticeship with her about 3 years ago, at the beginning of major transits (influences from planets in the sky) to Venus – a square from Pluto and opposition from Uranus. I was hearing a lot about the return of the Divine Feminine, Goddess this and that, and I felt the call too, but didn’t really know what it meant – or what it meant for me. I also felt like I had a lot of personal experience with the disempowered/distorted feminine, and had a lot of models for that in the culture, but wasn’t clear about what an empowered feminine looked like. Since I’m an astrologer, I figured Venus – associated with the Divine Feminine for thousands of years – was a good starting point to get to know the Goddess. 

What does Venus illuminate about one in their natal?

This is a great question, and one that I don’t yet have a clear answer for, it’s a work-in-progress and an exploration for me as I continue to uncover and understand Venusian archetypes. In conventional modern astrology, Venus is seen as having a lot to do with relationships, partnership, marriage. But if we look at a more ancient version of Venus, she’s not really about marriage or monogamous relationship at all, she’s more about sacred sexuality – the archetype of the Sacredly Sexual Priestess or Temple Harlot. (Astro-scholar Demetra George suggests we should look to the asteroid Juno as a better signifier of the partnership archetype.) In modern astrology, sexuality has been assigned to Mars (the masculine) rather than Venus, but again, based on ancient archetypes, I now understand Venus as a signifier of feminine sexuality. So I’m experimenting. At this point, I haven’t done much actual research on Venus in natal charts (which is needed) because I’ve been more focused on how to align with Venus directly in the sky, regardless of her placement in the birth chart.
 emily_trinkaus-009Join Emily’s Venus Revolution: here

Rhea Wolf

April 8, 2014

Rhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland Witch

Meet Rhea Wolf — feminist anarchist witch, astrologer, author, activist, teacher and all around radical Mama. As if this lengthy list of active roles is not enough, she recently added academic and zine creator to the mix. Clearly, Rhea is a force to be reckoned with. She remains a brightly shinning beacon of spiritual insight amidst swirling chaos, which she says enlivens her. I’m deeply inspired by her thoughtful extroversion and active involvement in the pagan community.

Her zine Which is Witch just released its first issue entitled, Initiate. Rhea’s magical writing is infused with Blix Fischer’s incredible illustrations, creating a reading experience that sweeps you up into the mystical, encourages you to ponder the political and shines light on the personal. Upon first reading, I swung from deep consideration to laughing out loud to “Ain’t that the truth sister!” It’s a journey you want to take. I asked Rhea to share some words with us. Enjoy!

What does it mean to you to be a witch?

To me it means first of all, making a commitment to know myself and to be honest about what I find out. Being a witch requires developing an awareness of relationships – how different people, places, times and energies effect each other. It means taking responsibility for my own self within the context of those relationships. As a witch, I consciously engage with the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Center), with the Divine and with other people in order to create change within myself and/or the world. That has translated into various activities such as helping others with their healing, volunteering in prisons, street activism, personal ritual and lots of therapy. Being a witch is ultimately about love and respect for the Earth, for others and for myself – how we are all worthy of that love.

How do you find time for craft? 

The volunteer work I do as a pagan minister in a women’s prison has turned out to be very beneficial in my own practice. It grounds me and reminds me to keep it simple. You can’t take a lot of tools into prison. I tell the inmates that we have everything we need in our own bodies: we have the elements within us, we have our voices, we have our imaginations and we have our hearts. Before I had children, I would engage in magic or ritual that took a lot more preparation and time than I often have available now. I joke around with others about creating five-minute spells, but it’s really true. I’ve had to find ways to simply live in the magic, to let it hold me, to listen for the Divine in ordinary things, and to be very grateful for any extended periods I may get for reflection or magical work.

How has being a mother influenced your spiritual path?

Being a mother influences EVERYTHING. It has put the pressure on me to practice radical acceptance and surrender. I would not be the person I am today as a writer, astrologer and witch without my daughters’ influences. Being a mom really forced me to look at a lot of aspects of myself that I was denying or hiding from. Ultimately, being a mother has freed me from a lot of harsh baggage, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is the hardest job I have ever had.
Rhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland Witch

Has your path influenced your daughters perceptions of spirituality?

I’m sure it has, but I always strive to offer many different points of view about spirituality and religion. I talk to them about Buddha, the Christian God Yahweh, Hinduism. They know I am a witch and that they can choose to be one if they want, but it’s not a requirement for this family. I want them to make their own choices. Having a witch for a mom is not cool to them. They don’t like hiking, for instance, which is so frustrating to me! There’s some eye rolling and confusion, especially around representations of witches in stories and around Halloween. We talk about the differences between real witches and storybook witches.

How do you remain an active part of the community while raising a family and building a career?

I don’t know, do you? I try to gather other witches in the same room whenever possible. We’re lucky to have the Blue Iris Mystery School in Portland, so there is more community activity around that than in other towns certainly. People are busy, including myself, so it is an on-going journey of creating community together.

Do you bring your witch-self to all facets of life, or is it kept to your home and community?

I feel that being a witch is an inseparable part of my identity. But I also strive to remain open to new ways of knowing, being and relating to others. I’ve been very “out” as a witch in Portland, especially since I have a profession that is often viewed a little skeptically as well by mainstream culture. I feel like part of my service work to the larger community is helping to make more space for witchcraft and other earth-based spiritual paths, to educate others about what it means and to be a bridge to other spiritual communities when possible.

 Why a zine?

Because I am always 17 in my mind. Because zines are anti-authoritarian. Because zines are friendly and personal. Because they’re cheap to make and often more accessible than other mediums. I appreciate the accessibility of the internet, but personally I love holding something in my hands that’s been made by another human artist.
Rhea Wolf //Portland WitchRhea Wolf //Portland WitchRhea Wolf // Portland Witch

You can get a copy of Which is Witch here

Also, her incredible book The Light that Changes is a must for any moon lover!

Thank you for sharing, Rhea!

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