What Does 'In Retrograde' Actually Mean In Astrology?

Memes Aside, What Even Is Astrological 'Retrograde'?

What this retrograde has in store for us.

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Our lives seem to be written in the stars and why things happen to us have meanings behind them. Currently, we are going through the retrograde of the planet Venus that started October 6th and will end November 16th... but what even is retrograde? A retrograde is an apparent change in which a planet seems to be moving the opposite way. This isn't true even though people like to say it is, the planet does not actually move backward.

Although it does not physically move "backward" there are astrology fanatics, like myself, that believe that these retrogrades mean something. Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.

So when you hear "my sign isn't compatible with yours because I'm a Gemini" yeah, that's astrology and yes, I am one of those people in case you were wondering.

As Venus is known to be the planet of love and values this is a time to reassess who and what we value in our life. So that being said this time is known for rethinking our personal relationships whether it comes to friendships or love lives. During this time people are known to make impulse decisions when it comes to love or even getting a crazy new haircut. If you have an impulse to do something drastic it is best to wait after this retrograde because you will most likely regret it afterward.

It is also said that past relationship partners may reappear during this time so watch out. This retrograde is said to be most sensitive to the signs Libra and Taurus. In other words, this retrograde will be affecting them the most out of the others. Even though this might all sound a little wacky when reading out loud to myself I have always found the study of astrology and all of this so intriguing. I love being able to learn more about myself and others when looking at their charts and why they are the way they are.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.
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I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com







10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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How Superstitious Sheep Herders Started Beltane, The Irish Fire Festival

Mayday, still a popular holiday across Europe, has its roots in an important festival of the past.
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A Celtic tradition, Beltane was still practiced until the 19th century. As one of the four major Gaelic holidays (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh), it was a celebration of the changing seasons. They divide the year into seasonal quarters. Beltane is the beginning of summer and marks the beginning of the second half of the year; the time of light.

Pastoral Ireland


This tradition is much older than the mayday festivities seen in Germany and Scandinavia. It dates to a time when Ireland was a pastoral community. May 1st holds no value for agricultural communities. It marks the transition of livestock to open pasture.

Herding is at the root of Beltane. Called Lá Bealtaine in Gaelic, it means “bright fire” or “lucky fire.” The tradition is celebrated in not just Ireland, but Scotland and the Isle of Man. It centers around the lighting of large bonfires to protect the herds.

Aos sí


Therefore, it’s one of the most important of the four Gaelic holidays, second only to Samhain, the beginning of the dark half of the year. This is because, at the split between light and dark, the veil separating our world from the aos sí is at its thinnest.

Aos sí translates to “people of the mounds.” They’re a supernatural race of spirits, gods, and ancient ancestors similar to the elves and fairies, thought to live in mounds or across the western sea. Inhabiting Ireland before the arrival of man, they live in an invisible world parallel to ours. Think of it as a mirror where they walk among the living.

Belenus


One such god, Belenus, is called the “bright one.” Speculation insinuates that Beltane is for him. Beltane can be translated as “bright fire” or “Bel’s fire.” He is likened to Apollo; he brought the sun across the sky in a chariot pulled by horses.

Belenus was one of the chief and most prominent deities worshipped in Ireland. Essentially, he was the sun god. He represented rebirth, youth, and life. With the coming of summer, and the entrance into the light half of the year, its not an unreasonable speculation that he was associated with Beltane.

Need-fire


A need-fire or wild-fire is used to start the Beltane fires. This is a very sacred and ritual tradition: rubbing two sticks together. It’s a primal method of fire lighting reserved for emergency and festival. It’s usually done by certain individuals, most often while naked.

In Scotland, the men starting the need-fire must devest themselves of metal. In the Herebides, the archipelago off the coast of Scotland, the tradition is that the age of the men lighting the fire must total to 81, and they must be married. In Germany, two chaste boys, while naked, must start the fire. The ritual varies culture to culture.

Murrain


Aside from Beltane, need-fire might be used in times of murrain. Murrain’s literal meaning is “death” which refers to various spreading diseases among sheep and cattle. It’s an antiquated term from when people believed disease was a sign of ill luck and they’d ask the gods for favor. They’d light a large need-fire for healing.

The ritual


Before lighting the two need-fires for Beltane, all the hearth fires in the surrounding area, the area between the two closest streams, needed to be extinguished. Each person would carry a torch or lantern and light it from the need-fire. Then after, re-light their hearths.

Once the two fires were blazing, the community’s herds of cattle would be run between them. It’s thought the smoke would cleanse the livestock of illness and bring productivity and fertility to the herds. Scientifically, this may have rid the beasts of some insect pests or at least repelled them with the smoky odor.

The ash was particularly powerful and would be sown in with the crops. Ash is heavy in nitrogen, which grows strong crops. These fertility traditions were applied to humans as well as crops and livestock.

Gone a-maying


Beltane was seen as a festival for fertility. Often a woman would be named May Queen (or the May Bride or Goddess of Spring) and a man would be May King (also known as The Young Oak King or the Green Man). Depending on the community, they’d go either into the woods to consummate the coming of Summer or publicly celebrate it.

This was a time for marriages, as well. Couples would often jump the fire for fertility in the coming year. Handfasting, the tradition of tying hands and committing each other for a year and a day, often happened on Beltane. And many went “a-maying” in the woods.

“Giving it to a pebble"


You could also jump the fire for luck in the coming year. An Irish tradition is to whisper a wish to a pebble then put it in your pocket. Walk around the fire three times and toss it in. You’ll wish will come true. Others believe the dew collected the morning of Beltane had the power to restore youthful skin.



It was recommended you wear your clothes inside out to confuse them, thus stopping them from taking you to the otherworld. People would also keep their need-fire torch with them to prevent spirits from attacking them.

Stay safe this Beltane, folks!

Cover Image Credit: Tookapic

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