Aloe, I Love You

Aloe, I Love You

For far too long, wonder plant aloe vera has been relegated to a staple of summer skincare, and summer skincare alone. But just because it has the magic touch when it comes to too much time in the sun doesn’t mean you should forget about it when the temperatures drop.

That’s right: aloe can benefit your skin just as much during the winter as it can during those longer, warmer summer days (that seem eons away right now as the sun sets at 4pm). Read on for the lowdown on aloe and how to take advantage of all it has to offer as the frost creeps over your windows.

What is aloe vera, anyway?

It’s a plant! A succulent, to be precise, that tends to grow in dry, tropical climates and has been used medicinally for centuries. When it comes to skin benefits, we’re interested in the clear gel that fills the plant’s leaves we’re interested in.

And what makes aloe vera so special?

Well, aside from the aforementioned CENTURIES OF USE and the fact that ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera gel is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E, as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc. It’s also full of polysaccharides (hydrating, anti-inflammatory, protective) and phytosterols (soothing, acts as a humectant aka keeps moisture in rather than letting it escape), and auxin and gibberellins, two hormones that provide wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, stimulating the growth of new skin cells.

Each of these alone is good for your skin but together, in one single substance, they work magic. Seriously. Not only does it have cooling properties that can soothe irritated or sun-exposed skin, it just generally rocks at reducing all types of dermal irritation and inflammations (couch cough acne and eczema cough). Those vitamins and minerals work to replenish skin when it’s missing something, which is especially true if what your skin is missing it moisture.

Ok, you’ve convinced me. How do I get to the good stuff?

You’ve got a couple of options. If you’re something of a green thumb and already have an aloe plant growing in your house (they’re very easy to take care of, I promise) or property, you can harvest the gel yourself. Look for one of the bigger, fatter leaves and pull gently but firmly from the base. Once the leaf is free, slice away the thorny edges, cut it open length-wise and use a spoon to scrape the gel away from the leaf. Put that stuff in a container and stick it in the fridge.

Not into the idea of manual labor? Many grocery stores carry large, pre-cut aloe leaves in the produce section that you can just slice open. And if that’s still too much, buy some that’s pre-cut and packaged. Just make sure the product is 100% natural with no added colors, fragrance or alcohol. (The ingredient label should read “100% aloe vera,” full stop.)

Now that I have some fresh aloe vera, how do I use it?

Let me count the ways!


For the simplest option, take a filleted leaf and just rub that sucker directly onto your skin as a mask. You’re welcome.

Spot treatment:

Picked a zit or dried one out with a topical treatment and can’t stand the dry, patchy skin left behind? Dab fresh aloe gel onto the spot to help moisten the cells and get them plumped back up. Alternatively, if you’re battling a fresh, painful spot, consider freezing the aloe vera gel in an ice cube tray, then rubbing the frozen stuff on the inflamed area to calm it down.


No, seriously. It may feel sticky but aloe vera gel is actually the perfect consistency for a natural, DIY shave gel that won’t gunk up your razor blade. And it’ll hydrate and condition skin while you’re shaving. And if you nick your skin during the process, you can use any leftover gel to speed up the healing process on the wound.


DIY your perfect body scrub using aloe vera gel as a base. It’ll lend a nice consistency to the scrub and hydrate while being applied. (Consider mixing it with an exfoliating ingredient like brown sugar and one that will help with slip, like almond or coconut oil.)


Fresh aloe has a seriously high water content, making it a near-perfect serum for oily skin that doesn’t play nicely with oil-based serums. After you cleanse, simply apply the gel to your clean face, then layer a moisturizer right on top to help make sure the goodness of the aloe is fully absorbed.


Free People Blog

The Journey of Abuse and Power: Where to Begin

The Journey of Abuse and Power: Where to Begin

In this 3-part series, Nina Endrst drops into the heart of a dark but all too common matter. Abuse. From subtle to extreme. To begin, to move through and out of these patterns and relationships – because you don’t have to stay. You are worth so much more and you are stronger than you could ever imagine.

I find my work fascinating, heartbreaking and expansive all in the same breath/session – countless breakdowns and breakthroughs. No one is the same, but they do all have something in common.

I have yet to work with a human being who has not been abused.

Abuse is not reserved for the most extreme situations, although it certainly occupies that space. It is present in unlikely circumstances and seemingly “normal” relationships. Clearly, we have a problem and I mean WE. There is no you or me.

Abusive behavior is commonplace for too many. There are cases of varying degrees, from physical violence to emotional cruelty.

What if it’s your boyfriend?  

When I was in my early 20’s I dated someone with whom I was deeply in love, or so I thought at the time. He was in a lot of pain, but I thought being with me would help him – we would be there for each other. He was incredibly charming, handsome, said and did all the right things…at the beginning. He was older, and I was not impressed with the boys my age – he was a man with an apartment that he owned in Manhattan. I felt like I fit with him. It started to go downhill soon after we began dating, I was in college, still in Boston, and he was incredibly possessive and controlling – needed to know where I was at all times. There was no trust – zero.

I was constantly explaining myself; fearful of his reactions or apologizing when he would get angry at me for simply living my life. I felt it happening. My gut said this isn’t good, but the self-esteem I needed to move away from this dynamic was just not available. It’s so strange how you watch yourself almost float out of your body at certain points in life and observe. I felt trapped, powerless, constantly anxious but still determined to make it work.

He never hit me, but he did slam me against a concrete beam one night. My head bounced off and I crumpled to the ground. I frantically called my friends to pick me up and ran to the car. He chased us down the highway at 100 miles per hour – I was terrified. Yet still I stayed. The day I graduated college was a blur. We’d been fighting all night, drinking, crying – it was ugly. We were going to start our lives together, though, so I packed up my things and left with him immediately following the ceremony. We drove to NYC where I was planning to move into his midtown apartment. I will never forget the moment I arrived — the pain in my stomach was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Like knives stabbing me relentlessly. I was in bed for 2 weeks until I gathered enough strength to go to my mother’s house in CT to recuperate. Something was seriously wrong with me. Down almost 15 pounds, my health was deteriorating quickly. I never went back. Broke up with him over the phone. He was fuming but I couldn’t do it any longer. Months later I was diagnosed with Crohn’s which, for me, flares during times of stress. The relationship had wreaked havoc on my systems. This happens when we hold it in, our bodies begin to scream out for help.

I still think of him. Sadly, a few years later he committed suicide and it hit me hard. His pain was so deep and so real – but it had nothing to do with me.

If you need help leaving:

Please use the following resources to get help immediately and discreetly so you are not harmed. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-SAFE (7233); The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-HOPE (4673); and The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, 866-331-9474, are all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can offer advice based on experience and locate local support and services.


Let’s talk about the less obvious types of abuse. I find many people I speak to about their trauma are a little confused when it comes to non–violent situations. How do I know if this is abusive? What if the abuser is a teacher? What if they say I love you before, during or after –is that still abusive? 

What if it’s your therapist or mentor?

A client of mine told me a story about her therapist — I’ll call her Katherine. Katherine has been seeing the woman for about a year and has gained a lot from their relationship – she had no plans of cutting ties but then something happened. Her therapist started to use the information shared during their sessions to manipulate her. Katherine was explaining the exchange to me in which her therapist was saying things like “you always do this” or “you’re so reactive!” Maybe this isn’t a huge red flag to most, but I was concerned and rightfully so. A few days later the woman called Katherine and yelled at her for almost the entire session, berating her for putting up boundaries. She was clearly uncomfortable with Katherine stepping into her power and was trying, unsuccessfully, to regain it by bullying her. This is abusive. Especially considering the sensitive nature of their dynamic. If someone who is supposed to be helping you, is hurting you – it is not OK. This is not therapeutic, this is emotional manipulation and a prime example of gaslighting. 

What if it’s your family member?  

Another client, Ashley, has a complicated relationship with her mother. When we first started working together, she often glossed over their interactions or dismissed them as “whatever.” Ashley is incredibly strong willed and self-sufficient. She often internalizes her pain, a pattern that I see in adults who were verbally or physically abused as children. Ashley’s mother has a fiery temper and, in my personal opinion, may have an undiagnosed mental health issue. She constantly calls Ashley names, tells her she is stupid, tells her that she’s an asshole – the list goes on. Ashley has shrugged this off on many occasions saying “it is what it is.” No, this is not OK, and just because someone is family does not give them the right to verbally assault you. Ever.

So, what if one or more

of these stories resonate with you?

Where do we begin?


If you’re in danger, please reach out for help immediately. If you feel physically safe but the relationship leaves you empty, upset, angry or confused – try saying NO. It is not our job to fix the other person. You do not have to say yes to their demons. A simple yet effective way to move away from said person is to tell him/her that their words hurt you and you will not tolerate it. Distance yourself, reach out to a friend or trusted family member and speak your truth.

Please remember, this is not your fault – nothing you could have done warrants any such behavior. So, let’s begin there: without shame, without guilt and absolutely dependent on a foundation built from self–love.


Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I deserve to be safe,

I deserve to be happy,

I deserve to be free.


Check in next month for Nina’s second installment in this important series. Peace and love with you all.

Artwork by Mitchell Hoffmaster. Learn more about Nina here.


Free People Blog

Create a Winter Sanctuary

This post is in partnership with World Market The sun came out in Seattle yesterday and I have to say, it was glorious to get a glimpse of spring. January is usually a pretty gloomy month around these parts! I think that’s one of the reasons I love being a homebody. It doesn’t really matter […]

This article Create a Winter Sanctuary is from The Inspired Room Republishing this article in full or in part is a violation of copyright law. © 2009-2013, all rights reserved.

Source: Create a Winter Sanctuary

Free People Weekly Horoscope by Tracy Allen, Week of Jan 14-20

Free People Weekly Horoscope by Tracy Allen, Week of Jan 14-20

Bunker in — Tracy’s got a LOT to share with you this week! Follow @astrotherapist on Twitter and email to schedule a reading over phone or Skype. Available in-person in NYC! 


December 22–January 19

This week’s Venus-Mars tête-à-tête says you should allow yourself to be a little vulnerable in showing your feelings and a little bold in conquering insecurities. The payoff? You can bond with someone or leave emotional baggage like a heartbreak firmly in the past. Venus and Neptune aren’t getting along so well later in the week, which could cause you to relapse and dream about an ex or see them in low definition, blurring reality. You’re also likely to blur boundaries and possibly make an ill-advised gesture — so watch out that your heartfelt feelings aren’t being wasted on the wrong person. When Mercury and Pluto mingle in Capricorn, your mental and verbal powers will be formidable — and can be used for good or evil! You have the ability to see through people and influence them; you might offer penetrating insight or turn into a master manipulator (worst case scenario!) A few ideal uses of this pairing: Make a big decision, answer an important question or figure out a necessary change. The sun in your sign is at odds with Uranus, so your mood or home life could change on a dime and affect your behavior. Deal with what’s going on inside you, in your family or in your living space before you try to get back to doing your thing. This is only a temporary challenge, and you’re totally capable of rising to the occasion. Next, the sun segues out of Cap and into your worth house, turning your focus from who you are to what you have, what you need and what you value. A lunar eclipse in the opposite house wraps up a cycle that’s been going on for the past two years, pushing you to master the art of give and take. Your finances, assets, self-sufficiency, values, self-esteem and stability have been highlighted, as have sharing, sex, interdependence, closeness, control and change. An outside resource like a loan could finally come through; you might pay off a debt; or you could lend your support (financial or otherwise) to someone. Sex is extra emo now, and an intimate connection could heat up or burn out. Transformation is in the air, and saying yes to change will fuel psychological growth.



January 20–February 18

Whether you’re interested in meeting new faces or connecting with people who are already in your life, this week’s Venus-Mars mashup will help that happen. You can find the right combo of assertive and agreeable that allows you to get along with everyone and still make your presence known. Your gut feelings will kick in when Mercury meets with Pluto in your subliminal corner, turning up the volume in your subconscious. Behind-the-scenes research and investigation should yield big results, so hole up and delve in! Pay attention to your dreams and inklings because they tend to be packed with hidden messages under this influence. It might be best to keep quiet for a bit, searching your psyche rather than spilling its contents — you run the risk of divulging secrets and offending others now. A sun-Uranus scuffle can also trigger unconscious communication, reminding you to err on the side of not saying a lot. And if someone irritates you with their bluntness, wait a beat rather than reacting in the moment. Your thoughts aren’t fully formed, and speaking off the cuff can backfire. The sun blasts into Aquarius next, bringing a welcome energy surge and pushing you out into the world if you’ve been hibernating lately. This is the time of year when you’re supposed to focus on yourself and personal matters like what you want out of 2019. Others are likely to focus on you too, since the sun’s vitality amplifies your personality to the nth degree. Granted, Venus’s momentary tangle with Neptune could impact squad rapport if a lack of realism about money, belongings or values confuses matters or insecurity strikes. Try not to let a desire to fit in with people cloud your judgment and warp your priorities because you may wind up feeling like you were led astray. A lunar eclipse in your interpersonal angle is the last in a two-year cycle, and it’s powerful enough to push a partnership to another level of commitment or to a breaking point. If a connection is tested, trust that it’s for a reason. You’re meant to shift your relationship dynamics in search of a healthier balance between me and we. And even though it’s your birthday season, if others seem to need the spotlight, give it to them—you’ll get it back soon enough. Happy solar return!



February 19–March 20

Mercury in your network zone vibes with Neptune in Pisces early in the week, so people may seek you out for your sympathetic ear. And if your mind is on a new dream, this transit can help you ask for the support you need. Days later, Merc merges with Pluto, sending a powerful contact your way or enabling you to conquer a fear of public speaking and present something to a group. You could get into a deep conversation with a friend, but steer clear of gossip since language carries a potent charge now. Hurt feelings could affect your squad if your words or someone else’s come across with excessive force. Luckily, Venus and Mars are making music, allowing you to put your talents to good use and do creative work. Positive professional relations may ultimately improve your finances, so play nice with colleagues, schmooze higher-ups and turn on the charm with potential mentors. Venus’s clash with Neptune a couple of days later can make it harder for you to pick up on social cues and recognize the image you’re projecting. Your desire to make a good impression may lead you to glamorize success and power. Try to create your own version instead of aiming for an elusive ideal. The sun and Uranus are at odds, so your confidence might waver due to peer pressure, or your personal values might deviate from group interests. Don’t compare yourself to others! Recognize that everyone has their own unique qualities and deficits. Be open to the idea of bending a little, but stay true to yourself. After the sun sneaks into your release corner, your energy will wane as your solar year draws to a close. If you need more alone time to rest and reflect, don’t feel guilty about taking it. When a lunar eclipse lands in your productivity corner, the universe is handing you the year’s best incentive to give up a bad habit once and for all. A health or work crisis might grab your attention, pointing to what needs to change. You could finally admit what must get dropped from your schedule, to-do list, job description or routine. It may be an ongoing process, since a series of eclipses has been activating this corner for the past couple of years. If you need help, ask and you shall receive!



March 21–April 19

When Venus in your exploration corner sweet talks Mars in Aries this week, unfamiliar pleasures like new people and places will get your juices flowing. You’re drawn to difference now, and with your ruling planet in your sign, going after what you want is likely to end well. Since Venus gets into a muddle with Neptune a couple of days later, wistfulness or self-doubt could dampen your enthusiasm temporarily, or you might take a good thing too far and indulge in escapist pleasures. This planetary pattern makes it nearly impossible to stay in the moment. Just try not to compare and contrast the present with the past or future. A Mercury-Pluto summit in your achievement angle can help you get your message across in a public or professional setting, but weigh your words carefully when communicating with authority figures, since you’re likely to sound rather authoritative yourself. Speak with conviction; just be careful not to steamroll. And bypass the power struggle if you encounter resistance. Make your case and then rest it. If you’re researching careers or plotting your path to a goal, laser focus will bring positive results. Note that the sun is also in that angle and quarreling with Uranus in Aries late in the week, making it necessary to keep your impulses in check. Resist the urge to rebel against a boss or bureaucracy or to veer off-track to get your freedom back. And don’t make yourself crazy trying to rush success! Your individuality can be an asset and a liability now; use it to stand out, not to game the system. Once the sun moves into your network house, you’ll find it easier to integrate your identity with that of others and be a team player. Collaborations and group settings will fire you up, and your energy will naturally shift to the circle of people in your life. In contrast, a lunar eclipse in the opposite house gives you permission to stand out from the crowd. This lunation wants you to show off a little, wear your heart on your sleeve and reach for love and happiness with both hands. A love affair could blossom or break up, and it’s important for you to be bravely authentic no matter what.



April 20–May 20

Your ruler — Venus — is in sync with her cosmic mate — Mars — this week, generating sexy sparks and emotional breakthroughs. You might get close to someone special behind closed doors or face a psychological demon and feel more at peace with yourself. There’s also a chance you’ll decide to release something (or someone) from your life so you can heal and move on. Venus’s discord with Neptune in your group house may blur the distinction between platonic and sexual, and a friend could turn into a friend with benefits. Be careful not to put anyone up on a pedestal, from which they’re bound to tumble — and also try to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. If you’re not sure what you want or are willing to give, don’t rush into things blind. A Mercury-Pluto meetup can help you dig for deeper answers and piece together meaning, but your mind may not be on relationships so much as broader issues like truth, justice and faith. You might become obsessed with a cause and win people over to your side or have a revelation that changes your own worldview. The sun in your exploration corner is feuding with Uranus in your subliminal zone, hinting that a subconscious impulse could catch you by surprise and go against your own best interest. You might give up on a new experience prematurely out of fear, sabotaging your growth. You’re meant to be waking up and shaking things up, so keep moving towards what you don’t know, even if that requires some zigging and zagging this week. When the sun ascends to the peak of your chart, you’re ready to channel more energy into achieving your goals, and the coming month may nudge you into the spotlight. Don’t hesitate to prove yourself in a public or professional setting; it’s your time to shine! The lunar eclipse in your foundation angle reminds you to attend to your home life as well, and it may take a domestic or family crisis to get your attention. Your living situation might be due for one last tweak after two years of intermittent change. Do your best to find a work-life balance that suits you. And if you have a major mood swing, that’s your cue to chill at home and administer self-care stat.



May 21–June 20

Mercury aligns with Pluto this week, convincing you to get to the bottom of something and not to stop until you do. Any kind of research or investigation is likely to deliver answers, but there’s no guarantee what you uncover will sit well with you. What you need to know and what you want to know aren’t necessarily one and the same! Be careful what you share and with whom, but if you confide in someone you trust, an intimate dialogue can prove transformative. Plus introspection could produce profound psychological insights, so you might stick to mulling things over by yourself. Although you can benefit from focusing intently on something or someone, try not to get into an obsessive loop. A Venus-Mars confab brings you back up for air and makes it super easy to click with people and team up. You might make a new friend or meet a potential love interest through the circle of people you already know. If you’re in a relationship, doing stuff as a couple and involving your respective squads won’t be as tricky as it sometimes is, and you’ll also enjoy pursuing new interests together. The sun’s spat with Uranus is a whole other story, as a sudden need for personal space might trigger jealousy or mistrust. You may suddenly want to lighten things up and spend time apart seeing your friends solo. Twins need to switch gears often, but see if you can do so without sacrificing the upside of more in-depth focus. Try taking brief breaks from intense intimacy or a passion project you’ve been preoccupied with. After the sun zings into your exploration corner, you’ll feel much freer to broaden your horizons and have new experiences, so it’s a great month for any kind of learning and travel. Venus’s tussle with Neptune can also complicate one-on-one relations, and you’d do well to remember that nobody’s perfect and even someone who knows and loves you can’t be expected to read your mind. This week’s lunar eclipse is the last in a two-year series that’s been shaking up the way you think and communicate. A development related to writing, a sibling, your community or your attitude may finally reach fruition. Information overload or sudden busyness could pull you in a hundred directions at once, so take a breath and process one thing at a time. If you’re overwhelmed or anxious, let people know how you’re feeling.



June 21–July 22

When Venus in your efficiency corner gels with Mars in your achievement angle, your creativity, drive and ability to work well with others can all come together, helping you to make serious headway. You’re able to beautifully balance a pleasant approach to work with formidable ambition so you’ll neither come on too strong nor fade into the woodwork. This combo allows you to climb the ladder without stepping on any toes. Mercury and Pluto rendezvous in your interpersonal zone next, propelling you into a heavy convo and possibly helping you to drill down to the heart of a matter. Strong words can inflict pain, though, so try to temper your speech with that in mind. You can have a powerful effect on someone (and vice versa), making it important to listen attentively, avoid defensiveness and just say no to power struggles. A dialogue can be highly productive or destructive now, and the more conscious you are, the more you can steer it in a productive direction. The sun is also in your interpersonal zone, and he’s at odds with Uranus this week, making it hard to see eye to eye on goals. One party might be itching for more autonomy or balking under the thumb of authority. The sun plunges into your depth sector soon after, compelling you to shine a light on a close relationship, passion project or private emotional matter and give it your all. This is the time of year when you put blinders on and really focus on what (and whom) you’re most invested in. Since Venus is out of sync with Neptune, no matter how much you’re enjoying what you’re doing and relishing the flow of being on your grind, you’ll still yearn to escape now and then. If you long to be elsewhere but can’t swing a getaway, remind yourself that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side — then allow yourself the simple pleasure of a daydream or a new experience that takes you out of yourself. When this week’s lunar eclipse hits your worth house, retail therapy could be irresistible, thanks to a tidal wave of emotion surrounding your needs. Conquer the urge to splurge if money’s tight. The good news is you could just as easily experience a cash inflow. If you can gracefully juggle your own values, needs, confidence, possessions and priorities with those of another person, you’ve aced this lunation!



July 23–August 22

A tryst between Venus and Mars can inspire you to break out of the same old routine and do what makes you happy. Take a creative risk; add more spice and romance to a relationship with an impromptu, decadent date; go out with someone you’re drawn to who doesn’t meet all your LTR criteria; try your hand at something new like snowbiking; or pick your pleasure! The idea is to have a fresh experience that brings you joy. Since Venus will square off with Neptune later in the week, you might hold someone to an impossibly high standard and need to let that go. Love and sex can be both blissful and bewildering, so do what you can to separate fantasy from reality. Mercury’s meetup with Pluto allows you to latch onto a problem and not let go until you solve it. Your mental focus is off the charts, and you should be sure to direct it toward a useful, demanding project to get the most out of it. Your attention to detail and thoroughness can veer into obsessive perfectionism and wounding criticism if you’re not careful, though. The sun’s skirmish with Uranus indicates that your attention span will reach its limit, at which point you’re sure to get distracted and need time off. Overwork can backfire if you’re so stressed and tired that you’re no longer productive — and more susceptible to illness. Take a break before you desperately need it! The sun crosses your interpersonal angle next, breathing new life into your one-on-one relationships. Look for chances to connect with other individuals and partner up to accomplish more than you could alone. Although your attention will be oriented towards others, this week’s lunar eclipse is hosted by Leo, pushing you back onto center stage. This is the last in a two-year series of eclipses, and it’s all about necessary personal endings. So if something or someone truly needs to exit your life, there’s no time like the present! What no longer serves your needs? Who have you outgrown? It’s possible that you don’t need to cut the cord, and a major shift in your relationship with that person or issue will suffice. Also, something might reach a climax now — for instance, you’ll finish your pet project and get rave reviews. If you sense a meltdown coming on, keep your cool and explain what you need. Or steal away for some me-time!



August 23–September 22

This week’s Venus-Mars tango will create the perfect blend of sweet and sexy, thanks to their current positions in your emotions and intimacy zones. You feel safe enough to express your feelings to someone and powerful enough to make the first move. And no big deal if you happen to be on your own! This planetary pairing suggests an underlying sense of wellbeing can help you build resilience and move on from a crisis, loss or hurt. Later in the week, Venus gets lost in Neptune’s fog, luring you to gloss over the truth about someone to stay comfortable and secure. Or maybe a dubious individual will throw off your equilibrium and disturb your peace. It’s a good thing you’re a sensible Virgo! Call on your intellectual powers and communication skills to pinpoint what’s really going on. Speaking of which, your ruler, Mercury, has a get-together with penetrating Pluto that’s lending extra depth to your thoughts and words. You might feel drawn to someone you’re talking to or hit upon a solid creative idea. Witty banter and fun flirting won’t cut it now; you want a heart-to-heart with someone you care about. But given that the sun is in the same house as Mercury and quibbling with wild card Uranus, you can’t expect anyone to be coming from the same place as you. Don’t put too much pressure on the response; just be you, and if another person doesn’t seem to get you, that’s okay. You can only play your role and allow others to play theirs. And your feelings are yours to feel; if someone doesn’t share your exact feelings, it’s because their feelings are uniquely theirs. Once the sun blazes a trail into your productivity corner, you’ll get fired up to accomplish a ton in the coming month. Your energy is geared toward work instead of play now, so get down to business and take pride in how much you can check off your list. The lunar eclipse in the opposite corner may signal that your spiritual side needs some attention too. Contemplate how the mind-body-spirit connection operates in your life and how you can bring your whole self into better balance. It may be time to recognize that control is an illusion (gasp!) and trust in the divine plan of the universe.



September 23–October 22

Venus, Libra’s ruling planet, flirts with her planetary paramour, Mars, this week, greasing the wheels for you to do what you do best: connect with people. The yin-yang energy generated by this pair allows you to show warmth and affection but also assert yourself in relationships. Sometimes your sign errs on the side of people pleasing, but that’s not the case here. So get out and meet some new faces or make a point of hanging with individuals you like. When Venus gets caught in Neptune’s web days later, the logistics of socializing could become more complicated, and a health or work issue might cast a cloud over your cheery outlook. The antidote to a feeling of depletion? A healthy dose of nature! Even a quick fix can replenish you. A Mercury-Pluto huddle at the base of your chart pushes you to dig into your private thoughts and emotions, so make time for introspection and resolve to get to the bottom of anything that’s troubling you or solve a mystery from the past. And maybe share what you’re feeling with someone you trust implicitly — perhaps talking to a strong but sensitive healing professional. The sun is also hunkered down at the base of your chart, and his feud with Uranus implies you can’t predict a person’s response (or behavior) and shouldn’t try. If a curveball comes your way, don’t take it personally and swing wildly. If you have to confront someone, do what you need to do. But be sure you’re not reacting based on projection. Not long after, the sun shows up in your joy sector, giving you the go-ahead to have more fun. Shift your attention to what makes you happy — and get more of it in your life! Express your personality, creativity, feelings and romantic side. And when a lunar eclipse lands in the opposite sector, balance out all that self-expression by shining a light on your squad. You may need to put group interests first for a minute or be there for a friend in need. This is the last in a two-year series of eclipses, signaling that if a friendship or affiliation with a particular group has been on life support, pulling the plug may be what’s best for everyone. It’s natural to revamp your team as your interests and goals change and you change.


October 23–November 21

You could get the reassuring feeling that you know what you want and are willing to work hard to get it when Venus in your worth house vibes with Mars in your productivity corner this week. You can magnetically draw in what you need and also go out and make your own luck. Take advantage of this fortunate flow by concentrating on your highest priorities. When Venus and Neptune get tangled up days later, you might lose sight of what’s important and covet things (or people) you’re romanticizing. Listen to your intuition, but don’t paint an overly rosy picture. Sprinkle plenty of realism in there for good measure. Are you being honest with yourself when it comes to depicting your heart’s desire? Trust that you’ll get what you need in the end. A Mercury-Pluto summit invites you to ask those hard questions and try to come to grips with the dark stuff swimming around in your head. A deep dive is nothing new to you! Be mindful that your words carry a lot of weight now, so skip the gossip and leave out the loaded language. No low blows and no covert attempts to manipulate either. Use your powers for good and stay true to the Scorpio code of loyalty and respect for privacy. The sun’s clash with Uranus can divert your focus and force you to change gears—for instance, if work, health or circumstances spring a surprise on you. Don’t stress if life doesn’t go according to plan. You’ve been tweaking the everyday systems that help you function, and they should have some wiggle room. Next, the sun dips down to the base of your chart, and you’ll be much more occupied with home and family in the month that follows. Plant yourself in familiar surroundings and ease into the comfort of being who you’ve always been. Relax solo or invite your fave people into your inner sanctum. But when a lunar eclipse rocks the peak of your chart, you might have to emerge from your cave and step into the spotlight — possibly to take a bow for a major accomplishment you’ve been working toward; to take on a high-profile role; or to deal with boss or parent drama. If you’ve spent the last two years trying to turn a corner in your career or to shift directions in your life, this represents that last push to make it happen.



November 22–December 21

No one can say no to you with Venus twirling through your sign, and this week she’s partnering with go-getter Mars to send your mojo skyrocketing. Your powers of seduction are off the charts, with enticing charm and sexy boldness working in tandem to slay suitors or make your mate fall for you all over again. Don’t sleep on this opportunity! Milk that sweet-with-a-side-of-sass energy for all it’s worth. Later, Venus wanders into Neptune’s quagmire, leading you to crave soothing downtime at Chez Sag. You’ll probably be tempted to overindulge in comforts like delicious food and a cozy bed and might end up taking care of a family member or housemate — ideally, out of love and not because they seem helpless and need you to play savior. With Mercury and Pluto mingling in your worth zone, at some point your lens will zoom in on a money matter, and you may hit on the core truth about your attitude toward belongings, income, assets and budgeting. This is a handy pairing for devising a no-BS financial strategy or negotiating like a pro (especially if you don’t show your hand!) The sun is also in that zone, and he’s sparring with Uranus in your pleasure sector, daring you to grab for today’s treat and forget about tomorrow’s security. Of course you deserve to enjoy life! But you may not be doing your future self any favors if you roll the dice to get what you think you want and lose what you need in the process. Find clever ways to use what you already have. Rebel in small ways that feed your hunger for adventure. You don’t have to be predictable to be prudent. After the sun rockets into your thinking-and-talking corner, your brain and everyday life will feel more up-tempo. You’ll become more interested in getting out and about, engaging with people and learning new things. You might plan day trips and weekend getaways to keep boredom at bay. But when a lunar eclipse shakes the opposite corner, you could feel a sudden need to aim higher and book a big trip you’ve wanted to take for a while or get an entrepreneurial venture running full force. If you’ve been studying something for a couple of years, you may finally feel like you know your stuff and are ready to move on. The hidden bonus of this lunation: It’s your annual excuse to dump a belief that’s limiting your growth.


Follow @astrotherapist on Twitter and email to schedule a reading over phone or Skype. Available in-person in NYC! $125 for 60 minutes, $150 for 90 minutes.


Free People Blog