Illustration by Anna Cruz
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study, is one day with a great teacher,” or so says the Japanese proverb. This rings all too true for me. I remember the day I met my astrology teacher. I was an English major in college selling vintage clothing on Etsy to make extra beer money. On one particular afternoon, when shipping out packages, my local U.S. postal worker disclosed that she had plenty of old clothing stored in her attic. She was willing to sell all of it to me for a reasonable price – an ideal situation for any collector. Within a week I was at her house, eager to get my hands on some outdated fashion.
When I arrived, an older man – perhaps in his early 60s – with bright white hair was sitting cross-legged in the center of the living room rug, eyes closed. Apparently he was meditating. I quietly tiptoed past him to reach the stairs, then rummaged in the attic for hours, until I had about five garbage bags crammed full. I was just about to leave when the man with white hair, no longer meditating, approached me.
Once he was standing next to me, he was so tall I had to look up at his shining, calm face. “I have Jupiter in the first house,” he explained with a grin. “Makes me big.” I must have looked rather confused by this statement because he quickly asked, “So, what’s your name?” I explained that my birth name is Rebecca Jill but that I really prefer RJ. As we stood next to the door in his hallway foyer, stuffed garbage bags crowding my feet, he began to tell me the history of the name Rebecca. “I’m so glad you changed it, the name Rebecca means a life of struggle, you know?” I was only a few weeks shy of 21 but somehow that already rang true. “I’d love to do your birth chart,” he insisted. “I think I can help young people get on the right path.” I clarified that astrology seemed super cool, but really wasn’t for me.
A few weeks later, I was speaking again with my friend from the post office. She insisted that I come back for dinner. She promised to make apple pie from scratch. She also claimed her partner, the man I awkwardly spoke with in their home foyer about how much I despise the name Becky, would be willing to do a birth chart reading for me – for free. My cynical, damaged New York brain assumed I was getting roped into swapping partners or other illicit sexual activities. But I decided to risk it.
This time when I arrived, the man with the captivating white hair was waiting at the dinner table. This time he was wearing his reading glasses and staring very intensely at a piece of paper in front of him. As I approached, the information on the paper appeared like the backend of a crappy website – series of cluttered numbers, characters and lines.
He explained he was looking at my birth chart and over the next two hours, he went house by house, sign by sign, divulging every personal detail of my life. Prior to that evening, all he knew about me was my lousy name and love for vintage clothing. He did not claim to be a psychic, a channel or a medium. He insisted he was simply decoding the information in front of him.
Over the course of a very delicious meal, with a truly incredible homemade apple pie for dessert, he aired out details of my life that I had kept secret for years. He debunked a series of traumas that I had harbored resentment over for years – that would probably have taken months to even address in therapy. He opened up my emotional attic and cleared out all the vintage bags of trash I had been accumulating for years. My head was spinning. How could my birth information carry that much weight? I begged him to teach me everything he knew.
As he was a cisgendered, white, Christian-raised man who spent most of his life working as a judge, I couldn’t help but ask how he got into astrology. “It was all for my daughter,” he explained. Driving home one night with his 10-year-old daughter, he was struck by a drunk teenager. His daughter died on impact. He said his life felt over after her death. Hopeless and self-destructive, he was dragged by some friends out to get a birth chart reading. Thirty-something years prior to our conversation, an astrologer explained in detail the purpose of his daughter’s death, both why it was intended to happen and needed to happen.
From that moment forward, he dedicated his life to studying astrology. Since our dinner nearly 10 years ago, I have been his secretary, student and dear friend. In dedication to my greatest guru, without whom this article would be impossible, I smile brightly, knowing he is probably in the center of his living room, right now, still meditating.
June Horoscope for Sun Signs:
Aries (March 21–April 19)
This month we lift off into the intellectual, mental world of Gemini season. Entering into June, the sun (representing how we express our personality) will transit the sign of Gemini. By the middle of this month, the new moon (representing how we think) will transition into Gemini as well. This double serving of Gemini energy will stimulate and amplify all of your intellectual interests. Gemini season will push you to engage in your love of mental labor – Aries is known as one of the hardest-working signs. You may find yourself excited to explore areas (whether in writing, reading, working, etc.) where you want to test the limits of your mental abilities. This could manifest in communicating more about projects and creative ideas to others. Mars is going retrograde at the end of the month in Aquarius (the sign of universal love), so, as much as you like to lone-wolf it most of the time, remember you are not an island. This combined planetary conjunction will push you to embrace your own mental work as well as engaging in teamwork. You will learn this month what it will require to stay focused and also better communicate your needs.
Taurus (April 20–May 20)
This month we finally depart from your comfortable planetary season of Taurus into the airy world of Gemini. Most charts with a strong Taurus energy show unique creative gifts in childhood and spend most of their lives downplaying their natural gifts to focus on routine career work instead. Simply put, Taurus likes stability and Gemini likes change. When the sun and moon in Gemini energy collides this month, it will impact you by opening up a sense of freedom. You may find yourself exploring new areas where you allow yourself to break from routine and embrace your creative skills. Mercury will also be transiting Cancer this month, which will also benefit you. Mercury (the planet of communication) and Cancer (the sign of emotional expression) will encourage you to express yourself on an emotional level. Taurus tends to be known for having a very level head and "masculine" demeanor (think of the notorious bull associated with this sign). However, Taurus is actually ruled by Venus, the planet of beauty, love and femininity. This might be your chance to break from illusions created around your stoic personality and embrace different forms of authentic expression.
Gemini (May 21–June 20)
As your natal sun energy collides with the new moon in Gemini this month, you will find yourself feeling more playful and cheery than usual. In addition, your ruling planet of Mercury (the planet of communication) will also transit Gemini this month, making you even more inclined to speak as much as possible in group settings. During this month, you may find your mind racing with a thousand thoughts, or be excited to channel many different ideas at once. Tracing back to Greek and Roman influence, the archetype energy of Mercury is also symbolic of perpetual adolescence. This means that during this monthly transit, you may find yourself having a relaxed attitude toward life's changing circumstances. You will keep a wonderful sense of humor about yourself and all oppositions in life. This positioning will reinvigorate your childhood spirit and love for variety, leaving you feeling both carefree and eager to express yourself. This is a great month to hone in on any communication you can get your hands on. Your charm will captivate audiences and make them want to be present for your gifts of youth, vitality and carefree attitudes. It is important to meditate or do breath work before large events or social gatherings, simply to tune into what you feel is the most important feedback to share with others. Your charming, chatty nature simply inspires others, so make sure you have a personal message to share with those in awe of your light.
Cancer (June 21–July 22)
This month, Cancer will bring emotional heart strength to the mental world of Gemini season. Mercury (ruled by Gemini) will enter Cancer in the middle of this month. Likewise, the moon (ruled by Cancer) will transit Gemini the month. These planets in opposing signs will work together to help teach you how to honor your emotional sensitivity, while also speaking your truth. With a natal sun in Cancer, you naturally pick up on or sense others’ emotions during conversations. However, due to this, sometimes a Cancer sun can have a hard time communicating due to feeling overwhelmed by others’ strong emotional presence. With a sun and moon transiting Gemini this month, it is a wonderful time to embrace emotional healing and open more space in your cerebral world. Relax by breathing into your heart and practice merging intellect with your gift of intuition. The glyph of Cancer (two 9s paired on their sides) represent male and female seeds. This is your month to let creativity burst forth in diverse ways – expressing both what you think and feel.
Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)
As Gemini’s charming sun and moon begin transiting this month, Leos will love the warm social embrace. The sun in a natal chart represents how your personality shines. As celestial energy transitions into the archetype of Gemini this month, you will feel inspired by their ability to engage anyone in conversation. The fiery, popular nature of Leo will adore the mental stimulation from Gemini. This energy will have you feeling quick-witted, eager and spontaneous when in social settings. Gemini provides the air, only to flame your natural gift of light. Coming out of the grounding depths of earthy Taurus last month, Leos will feel more excited to take life on. Likewise, Venus will enter Leo later this month making, you crave more pleasure and luxury in life. The sign of Leo rules the 5th house (the house of pleasure), with Venus in your sign, so you will crave all things self-satisfactory. Perhaps you will enjoy some thoughtfully prepared homemade dinners, a massage or make one big purchase. Gemini can encourage you to live life carefree (which is a good thing for your temperamental nature); just be sure to keep an eye on your monthly spending.
Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)
Gemini comes in swinging hard this month with sun, moon and Mercury all in this sign. These energies are extremely different than Virgo in nature. A Virgo sun can be rather shy and prefers consistent, routine work (you are ruled by the Earth element!), whereas Gemini embraces frequent change and craves social functions. However, both signs are ruled by Mercury (the planet of communication), even though they seem to be at odds, with drastically different communication styles. The good news is the energy of Gemini will help you lighten up. Virgos want to be the heroes in service to and liked by others, where Geminis do not care – at all – what you think about them. This energetic merger will push you in a unique way to move past unreasonable or rigid expectations for yourself. Virgos are known for being perfectionists and highly self-critical. Gemini sun, moon and Mercury will help you find a way to act, think and speak without fear of judgement.
Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)
As Gemini season takes over this month with the sun, moon and Mercury all transiting this sign, you will feel right at home with this combination of energy. Geminis and Libras are both air signs, which means they’re both extremely sociable, naturally chatty and adore cerebral stimulation. These signs individually rule the houses of relationships: the 3rd house (Gemini) and 7th house (Libra). This definitely manifests in their ability to effortlessly connect with others. However, that is the front end. On the back end, these air signs take in plenty of internal stresses constantly blowing around in their heads. Those with a strong Libra influence in their chart can often overanalyze events or words spoken during emotionally charged conversations. Although comfortable in a social light, Libra can often neglect their own needs in order to make others comfortable and attain harmony. This planetary combination of Gemini will offer you more lightness, or air really, to become more equipped at brushing off what no longer serves you and speak up when that isn’t clear to others crossing boundaries.
Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)
This month we move out of Scorpio’s opposing sun sign of Taurus, into the mental world of Gemini. The watery nature of Scorpio is all about transformation. It’s about exploring deep areas of the emotional body to achieve self-awareness and conquer one's fears. However, Gemini is all air, floating happily along with a light heart – not willing to dive too deep in emotional conversations. This will encourage Scorpio sun signs to practice having interactions this month that are more relaxed and being patient during lengthy discussions. Likewise, at the beginning of the month, Venus will be transiting the water sign of Cancer, lending itself to support Scorpio energy. This combination of Venus in emotional Cancer and sun in social Gemini, will help Scorpio sun feel more encouraged to express deep inner thoughts out loud to others. Venus will transition during the middle of the month into the sign of Leo, helping add fire to releasing what is in your heart and letting go without self-judgement. Remember, Jupiter (the planet of knowledge) is still in the sign of Scorpio. This time is all about self-awareness and inner growth.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)
The sun, moon and Mercury will transit the air sign of Gemini this month. The archetype energy of Sagittarius is polar opposite to Gemini (sitting 180 degrees apart in a chart). This is an excellent pairing because they complement each other in the ways they are both alike and drastically different. This kind of energetic connection, when your opposing sun sign transits, will offer behavioral lessons contained in both the north and south nodes of your chart. Sagittarius rules the 9th house (the house of philosophy and higher education), and Gemini rules the 3rd house (relationships and short travel). This month, when Gemini transits, you may find yourself excited to to travel short distances and seek education through relationships. You may find that it is in the aftermath of Gemini’s social energy where you finally get a chance to communicate all you have learned about how to truly connect with others.
Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)
As Gemini season kicks off the beginning of this month, with the sun, moon and Mercury all transiting this sign, you may feel a bit uneasy with the flighty nature of this air sign. Capricorns crave stability, routine and long-term planning in both their love and work life. Similar to their fellow earth sign Virgo, those with sun in Capricorn can often find themselves engaging in mental cycles of defeat. Capricorns often get caught up in their mistakes and regrets, instead of celebrating their successes. Gemini blows air all around their emotional walls and will ask you this upcoming month to simply stop judging yourself. Perhaps this month you won’t take every personal decision in life so seriously. Gemini teaches us to be easy and flexible with ourselves. When Venus enters into your opposing sign of Cancer later this month, Capricorn will learn how to chanel some of that carefree nature into your heart space to find some healing. This is a great month for both mental and emotional growth. These transits offer lessons in detachment to your endless expectations and goals.
Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)
With the sun, moon and Mercury all transiting the sign of Gemini this month, those with a natal Aquarius sun will be feeling more independent and free in both thought and action. This is an interesting and exciting social time for you. Gemini offers the air you crave, as you are both unpredictable and affectionate when floating socially in public. However, Mars (the planet of action) will be retrograde in Aquarius this month, which means it will not function optimally. It may have you feeling more detached or misunderstood than usual when working in group settings. (Aquarius is all about grouplove.) Aquarius also represents ancient knowledge and wisdom. Use these combined planetary energies this month to challenge yourself to find ways to slow down your desire for action (as Mars is asking you to do this) and use Gemini Mercury, sun and moon to express your ideas clearly.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Gemini season will blow in strong changes for you this month with the sun, moon and Mercury all transiting this sign. Likewise, later this month, Neptune (a ruling planet for Pisces) will retrograde. Neptune represents dreams, illusions and psychic awareness in one’s chart. Although these abilities come naturally to you with a sun in Pisces, when Mars retrogrades, you may find yourself a bit cut off from your naturally intuitive nature. With the combined effects of Mars and a social Gemini sun, this is an excellent opportunity to focus less on your immediate emotional responses and move back to a logical perspective. This planetary combination can truly offer the chance to sort out what narratives or illusions you are creating about the relationships in your life. You can use Gemini energy to analyze your communication style. (Are you always focusing on only your feelings when participating in discussions? Are you listening or tuned into others' feelings?) Likewise, you can use the energy of a retrograde Neptune to clear any bad habits, such as nights of heavy drinking or not getting enough sleep. This can be a powerful month of change for you.