the cardinal 🐦

2018-01-14 17.07.48

Two of many cardinals in my backyard.

After having such a tough year, when January 1st came, I was desperate for some sort of good omen—maybe not necessarily openly desperate, but deeply and truly desperate.

Can I trust that 2018 will be as good as I believe it could be and should be?

Lucky me, on New Year’s Day, I read this horoscope from The Numinous for Capricorns/Capricorn risings. I latched onto it. Every sentence I wanted to tear apart and consume. Two weeks later, I still feel like that.

The image was for the horoscope: “A cardinal dips and dives to the next tree branch.

birds, birds, birds

Ever since I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve become an amateur birdwatcher. With so many birds, both of the everyday and the exotic variety, it’s so easy to see birds that I had never seen when I used to live in Chicago.

In my backyard, there are a bevy of birds that come by: hawks, blue jays, sparrows, mourning doves, and cardinals. Along the wooden fence, I’m sure to see both male and female cardinals, flirting or avoiding each other, flitting about in the air or to the ground. They all hang out in the tangled, sprawling overgrowth of a sweet almond bush.

On New Year’s Day, it was exceptionally overcast, with unrelentingly leadened skies loomed overhead. It was not the cheery scene I wanted to wake up to after having a bit of pink bubbly the night before, drinking away the misery and disappointment of 2017.

I can’t remember if I read the horoscope first, and saw the cardinal or the other way around, but I saw a plump, bright red cardinal on the fence. Its plumage seemed exceptionally bright in contrast to the almost white skies of late morning. It was either a harbinger or confirmation of that astrological weekly message.

The horoscope explains the etymology of the word cardinal. It comes from Latin root word for hinge.

What doors are being open for me right now? Are they doors that I have been waiting to open for months and years? Or are they new doors that I don’t even know exist? What is being initiated in my life right now?

Right now, the moon has moved into Capricorn. So currently, the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are all in this cardinal astrological sign. So although I had planned write about this two weeks ago, maybe I needed to write about the cardinal now.

🔎 A little astro-primer: Cardinal signs ♈♋♎♑ in the zodiac kick off seasons of the year.

🌷 The vernal equinox begins spring and Aries season. 🐏

☀️ The summer solstice begins summer and Cancer season. 🦀

🍂 The autumnal equinox begins fall and Libra season. ⚖️

❄️ The winter solstice begins winter and Capricorn season. 🐐

Typically, cardinal sun sign folks are natural leaders. They want to initiate things–projects, relationships, fights, action, something.

It’s hard for them to sit idly by and wait for things to happen. They make things happen.

messengers from the spirit world

The horoscope stated that the red cardinals, messengers from the spirit world, symbolize “renewal and happy relationships.”

During the holiday break, I definitely felt a sense of return and renewal of my life, of who I’ve always been–without struggle, without burden, without worry. It’s been blissful.

Happy relationships, though? Well.

I admittedly don’t have any real ones in town, which has been the case for at least two years. This has been a constant lament, a droning dirge I’ve been tired of singing–here and elsewhere.

Thankfully, though, I’m finally at peace with that–because I’ve tried my darnedest, to reach out, to connect.

As far as I can tell, it’s just not meant to happen here. I’ve acquiesced this bitter truth because if better were here for me, better would have come.

Finding contentment in where I am right now has been a long, wearying struggle. But I’m getting close.

Yet, as I continue to journey…to remain sane, to remain peaceful, I have to trust that within the bigger picture of my life, and where it fits in the larger story of humanity–those happy relationships are out there, somewhere

And that was the main idea of the horoscope: the cardinal for the first week of January was here to help me “renew my faith in love.”

So at the time when I read this, seeing that bird, I felt a lot of hope for the year. Like maybe, just maybe, things are going to go better this year. I’m a year wiser, at the very least.

But did I have faith in love? Is love going to arrive?

Isn’t love already here?

When I ask that, I do mean that in a general sense, but the horoscope has a reason for its wording.

So what is the message that the cardinals have for me?

I am made for relationships.

This was going to be in another blog post, but since this horoscope truly is about relationships, I might as well share now.

I have seen in my natal chart how relationships are so important to me.

Juno conjunct Sun

If you know your Greek mythology, Juno is Jupiter’s (aka Zeus’s) long-suffering wife. So this asteroid is about committed relationships. She touches a few of my planets. She’s conjoined to my sun, Mercury, and Venus, opposes my Jupiter (how fitting), and trine my Saturn.

A while ago, I had ordered an Astrological Goddess Powers Report from, and from it, I got this bit about Juno conjoined my sun:

“Juno, archetype of the wife and partner, unites with the symbol of your basic identity and conscious purpose [the sun]. An important part of your life revolves around developing meaningful, committed long-term partnerships.”

All to say, too–that Juno touches so many of my planets really screams at me that committed relationships are things I shouldn’t be ashamed of.

North node in Libra

Last year, I read Astrology for the Soul by astrologer Jan Spiller. It slayed me. I didn’t really want to hear this about myself, how I was destined to be in partnership.

But first, another little astrological primer…

The lunar nodes

The moon’s nodes, North and South, are places on the moon which show where the moon has crossed the ecliptic–the sun’s perceived circular path (it’s a star, so it doesn’t move).

When you are born, the moon’s nodes will be in two opposite signs. Right now, they are in Leo (north node) and Aquarius (south node), which are also the signs we had the recent lunar (in Aquarius) solar eclipse (in Leo) in August 2017. Soon, they will be in Cancer and Capricorn (the nodes are always going backwards).

Clear as mud? Don’t worry about it. What’s more important is what the lunar nodes symbolize.

The south node symbolizes the lessons you’ve learned in previous lifetimes. The north node is your destiny, the lessons you’re supposed to learn in this lifetime.

For me, my south node is in Aries, and my north node is in Libra. And yes, that’s more cardinal energy in my chart.

Aries is the warrior, Libra is the diplomat. So my north node’s mission is to go from wartime to peacetime.

One thing I used to think before reading Astrology for the Soul was that I had already arrived at my north node. I didn’t know that the north node symbolized a journey of soul evolution. So you can call me a recovering Aries.

Here’s what Spiller has to say about NN in Libra folks, which is what I believe sums us up perfectly: “Consistently, the solution for these people is partnership.”

My life’s journey is to go from me me me to we we we. And it’s scarier than I thought.

There’s a bit of shame that comes with this placement, of needing anyone, of being vulnerable. Warriors don’t need, they lead. They’re totally fine helping others, but receiving that help seems like a failure, a display of weakness. It’s also a paradoxical losing game for everyone.

Even as I’m typing about partnerships and relationships right now…even though I need them as a human being in order to thrive, still feels…strange. But other parts of my chart still say, even if I feel weird and conspicuous–this is what I was made for.

Scorpio Midheaven

I did a long Twitter thread in October on the Scorpio midheaven, so I won’t go over all that material again.

The main point about this deep, watery placement (which is somewhat similar to the lunar nodes, as it is another journey from the past to a future destiny) is about Scorpio’s longing for intimacy.

The midheaven is about your life dreams and how you want to live your life. Scorpio wants to seek the truth (although they don’t necessarily want this reciprocated in their lives! They are secretive mofos.) and wants to fully know another person.

Scorpio MC’s can set their sights on another person and just relentlessly (with consent, of course), dive deep into them. That other person will just feel instantly and fully known. It’s quite uncanny.

Even if I fear getting lost in someone else, I do enjoy getting to know people on a deeper level. I prefer it.

Full moon in Cancer, in the 7th house

As you probably know, I am a full moon baby. Astrologer Kelly Surtee explained full moon babies in this way:

Full Moon individuals are here primarily to explore the dynamics of relationship and constantly seek/ attract key partners. It is through the learning and awareness that arises out of being in relationships that Full Moon individuals find meaning and satisfaction in their lives.

She goes onto say how full moon folks are constantly working through the “tension of opposites” and will seek people different from them. “It’s a lifetime of illumination,” she writes.

Cancer as a zodiac sign is ruled by the moon, so the moon is at home in Cancer. Cancer folks are highly intuitive and emotional–and, like the glyph shows, that can make them a little crabby and overly sensitive at times.

Cancer is the momma of the zodiac (which, yes, makes Capricorn the daddy). They are hella nurturing, which shows up in their cozy homes and comfort food. They love to take care of their loved ones.

The unglamourous flipside is that Cancer peeps can use those crabby claws and hold onto people and things a little too long.

The 7th house, also known as the descendant (conversely, your ascendant or rising sign is the 1st house), in a natal chart is the house of partnerships and one-on-one relationships.

Dark Pixie Astrology describes this house as a place that shows you what kind of people you’re attracted to, your ideals and expectations about marriage and business partnerships, and your feelings about commitment. This house also holds your open enemies–eep!

The 7th house is where my Jupiter in Cancer also resides and is conjoined with my moon–so imagine expanded intuitive abilities and emotions, for better and for worse.

There’s probably more in my chart that says that my destiny is to be in an intimate relationship (this is becoming a theme in my writing, I guess).

But this past full moon has made it clear:

I’m not crazy or weak for wanting all of this.

I was made for all of this.

Saturn’s calling…

Even still, I didn’t know I was going to write about this today. Lately, I had been thinking about the state of all of my relationships, about how Saturn was opposing my moon and Jupiter.

It’s feeling like with these oppositions, Saturn is asking me to examine how good–or not–do I really have it with people who are close to me.

What patterns of “putting up with other people’s bullshit” am I still unconsciously holding onto? How can I restructure my own self-worth (in the 1st house of self) and have that be reflected in my close relationships (7th house)?

I realized today that I’m still not where I want to be with the people who are around me right now.

There’s been chasing, waiting, flailing, abandoning, worrying, pining and other kinds of gerunding that I don’t have to settle for any longer.

There’s also the actions of others that just don’t feel they come from a place of mutual respect.

A little inconsideration. A little arrogance. A little short-sightedness.

A little, a little, a little–a whole lot of a little.

So I still could use some renewal–like right now.

A very moony supermoon

I also brought all those other astrological aspects up because this horoscope was most likely was talking about the full supermoon in Cancer that happened on New Year’s Day.

And, now you know that the moon was in the 7th house for Capricorns and those with a Capricorn ascendant. 🌝

Full moons are seen as a time of releasing and renewal. They shine a light on the people, places, things, and ideas that no longer serve us.

To have a full moon in Cancer, my natal placement, at the very beginning of the year, with a very moony moon way to let go of the painful junk of 2017–it definitely made me take notice, and it’s still making me take stock.

And maybe because Saturn is around and at home in Capricorn, I don’t feel as doomed to be the lonely warrior. I can have faith that the journeys I’ve been taking, within and without, have brought me here, in this expanding sense and feeling of stability.

But with that bright red faith, there’s always reason to shroud myself in doubt.

My perceived pride, my actual shame

I remember telling this former friend how I had prided myself on my friendships, and this was during basically a friendship break-up that she had initiated.

She shook her head no.

Granted, it really was for the best, our parting. Where I was in my life, I really needed the support of friends that wasn’t about keeping a scorecard of how much one person was doing for another–something NNs in Libra are prone to doing themselves.

It was a stinging bit of a humiliation, those words contrasting to what was happening.

But years later, the drive to truly connect with another person, even as I sit on a newer heap of current humiliations and losses, hasn’t really waned.

I just have to continue to work on that shame part.

A family of cardinals

As I was writing this earlier today, I decided to try to take a picture of the cardinals that hang out in the backyard. In that crazy sweet almond bush, there were way more cardinals than I realized–maybe six, three males and three females.


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Someone on twitter told me that cardinals also represented prosperity. A while ago, I had a cardinal land on my window, vertically, grabbing onto the window screen. It was there for maybe a couple of seconds. I think it took a huge dump on my window, too.  It was an insane moment, like that bird was coming for me.

Cardinals are known to attack reflective surfaces, such as side view mirrors (I know this from experience!) because they are trying to protect their nests and view their reflections as competing males.

Still, I never thought of cardinals beyond a prosperous sign and a protective papa until January 1st.

As I write this, it really hasn’t fully sunk in how I have a large family of spirit messengers living in my backyard. But what it reminds me of is a recent tarot 12-month reading I did for a friend on Thursday.

The card 5 of Pentacles came up. It’s not the cheeriest card. In the traditional imagery, there are two people in tattered clothing, out in the snow, looking worse for wear. One is barefoot and the other has bandaged feet and is on crutches.

The five pentacles are gleaming in the stained-glass windows of the church that these two people are passing. I first felt to tell my friend that he should stop hanging outside the church, go in, and get what he needs. But I didn’t. It felt a little too forward. I did emphasize that he didn’t have to suffer alone, that he should ask for help.

He then described that his friend said over Christmas this card meant that everything that you need is right there, but you’re choosing not to go inside. That was confirmation, so then I told him what I should have said earlier.

Like the church in the 5 of Pentacles card, this flock of cardinals has always been here. I just never noticed, or knew to notice. I would watch them on occasion with amusement, as they hop and fly around on the fence, flitting and flirting.

Until today, I never knew they were really all just hanging out in that messy bush. And until today, I didn’t realize that I was outside a church that had all I needed, while I was hobbling by, cursing the snow and cold.

So the question bears repeating:

Isn’t love already here?

Yes, yes it is–and in abundance.

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