Dispatches From The Smoke

by Maria Theresa Maggi on September 15, 2020

"Blood Moon Wolf Moon," pastel life sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Blood Moon Wolf Moon,” pastel life sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

Last Tuesday night out at the coast the once in a century hot unseasonable high wind event hit us. The fires north of Lincoln City in a town called Otis were blazing and Hwy 18, the way out north to Portland, was closed because of two fires. By Wednesday, Lincoln City, the town about 10 minutes north of me, was starting to evacuate at the north end. The sky was red and it was dark as night in the late morning. My neighbor across the street and her just graduated from college daughter had said to me a couple of days before that if this gets bad we’ll take you out. So on Wednesday we decided to go out south after consulting with my son in Portland and  finding a route through other fires to the south, checking the ever changing situation as we went. It was a weird scene going slowly in traffic heading south on Hwy 101 as people started to leave through thick smoke, seeing the storm damage and stopping for ambulances to go by, evacuating patients from the hospital in Lincoln City down to Newport, and watching sheriffs turn back cars trying to go north. But we made it through that–with a dog and a cat who miraculously didn’t know the other one was in the car), and a lot of good will and good nature. I had to laugh at the fact that I haven’t left my house/immediate neighborhood in six months due to the pandemic. I always said it’s going to have to be a really good reason for me to go out there,  and this was it!

My immediate neighborhood did not have to evacuate, it turned out,  thank goodness, but all of Lincoln city did and Hwy 101 was closed. Many lost power and were still battling that off and on. When I left I had power but no internet and only the ability to call, not to text on my phone. Some of my friends are still in the neighborhood and at the moment the air quality is improving and those fires are starting to be contained. Now we are awaiting rain.
Meanwhile in Portland, we are covered in smoke from two huge wildfires to the south of Portland, which we “saw” in the form of gargantuan smoke clouds coming that way–as it built–I did see the blue sky that evening but the next day the smoke came over us. It’s been off the index charts so we’re inside, boiling steaming herbs, sealing off the fireplace and laundry room doors so smoke doesn’t creep in–which it still does. Only out for quick walks with masks on so the dogs can do business. Better in the morning when it’s foggy. Supposed to rain by Wednesday or Thursday.
Nevertheless it’s good to be with my family so we are not worrying about what’s happening with each other from afar. It was hard and scary to pack in a hurry, and I don’t have many of the things I usually have but they are just things. All in all we are safe, if smoky, and we are together, which is what counts. Maybe after rain this week I’ll be able to return to the coast. Baby has appointments the state scheduled for them at birth for this week so we need to stay around for those, which may turn out to be virtual given the conditions. I have so much respect for this little soul coming in at this time to be loved by us in the middle of a pandemic and wildfires, with faith that they would find us. So very grateful for life amidst all of it.
September 11
So, sweet little foster baby (not so very new little person) and I did our part in a collective rain dance/prayer for rain this morning by hanging out and singing “singing in the rain” a million times. First with hand motions sitting down, till we were tired of that, then walking around and slow dancing to it, then rocking to it while sweet little foster grandchild sucked on my thumb, and occasionally chimed in with an ever so charming coo or two of approval. So we got some good medicine in for turning this weather pattern around. Whatever we might say about 2020, and there’s plenty of expletive to go around, it will always be a gem of a year for me because this little soul mate arrived on the scene.
On a late afternoon smoky dog walk:
Nearly back at the house, we passed by a rose bush at the edge of the sidewalk with two coral colored blooms, one just opening. If the one just opening could have whispered to me it would have been saying, Psst! Psst! Over here! Come smell me!” And so I lifted up the very tip of my mask and did just that. Oh so fruity and rosy and heady and healing and worth it!
In this neighborhood there are many rose bushes so I have made it a practice to go smell the ones who call to me when we are out tending to business.
Yesterday my son came in from being double masked after walking their dog to report that he actually saw a small piece of blue sky. I went to the kitchen window and looked to the Northwest, in the general direction of my house on the coast, and I saw it. For a few minutes it was visible–so the blue sky is still there! Then later that evening a friend at the coast sent me a video of the sun starting to becoming visible over the ocean and the color of the water starting to turn away from the constant gray. It was beautiful to see.
I started my horoscopes for the Virgo New Moon on September 17 before the high hot winds came and in the last few days Ive been able to finish. If you are so inclined I hope you enjoy them. Sitting at my son and daughter-in-law’s kitchen table as I type, I am ever grateful to be camped out here with my loved ones, that the fires did not reach my neighborhood, and I send love and strength and resilience to all my fellow humans, and animals too. who have lost so much. A former colleague of my son’s is one who lost relatives to the fire. So every bit of gratitude and joy and resilience is meant to honor those who are fighting the fires, who have rescued others from harm’s way, for those who have lost their homes or are waiting to return to them,  and especially for the families who are mourning the loss of those who simply could not get out in time. May water and healing and cool winds from the ocean come to enfold us all.

My Moon Musings


(formerly StarGarden MoonWatch)

by Maria Theresa Maggi

The moon will be new at 25 degrees Virgo on September 17, 2020. Virgo’s energy is the opposite of the all-encompassing, border-dissolving, empathic, universal love and oneness energy we found ourselves immersed in during the Pisces full moon September 2. As the sixth sign of the zodiac, Virgo is the analyst to Pisces dreamer. Virgo’s attention is analytical and detail oriented. Its striving toward perfection can sometimes result in criticism, especially self-criticism, worry or micromanagement.

Virgo’s domain can be found in the trenches of everyday routines, work flow, health habits and practices. While its opposite, Pisces, pulls us to toward a peaceful, all encompassing altered state of revelation, Virgo brings us into the moment of how we get there by placing ourselves on the meditation mat, taking the pen up to journal, the rhythm of following a pattern or a recipe to create a knitted sock or bake a cake.

Though some may be put off by Virgo’s attention to detail, beneath it is a humble and sincere willingness to serve. It is in the routines of Virgo that we learn how to give ourselves to a task that will make something better for more than just ourselves. It provides us with an effective training ground for successful partnership.

While the hair-splitting and worry are definitely part of the Virgo spectrum, its highest expression is that of discernment. Seeing the details allows us to make a nuanced decision that serves those who need it the most. It allows us to step back when we have made things better so someone else can shine.

This quality of discernment is going to be even more necessary as Mars retrogrades through Aries. This retrograde started Sept 9 the day much of the fires in he Northwest and in particular Oregon were spurred out of control by hot unseasonal high winds. This new Virgo moon communicates with Mars retrograde in a pattern requiring conscious adjustment to routines that are necessary for health and safety. It may help ground us in life-saving practices during a time of continued upheaval.

When the lunar cycle begins in Virgo, we have both the energy of the sun and the moon fused together. The spark of our creative being represented by the sun is infused with the desire to serve, and our emotional habit and instinct is to help however we can. Moon in Virgo may also make it more important that we stick to dietary and/or health routines to maintain emotional well-being. We may be finely attuned to the beauty of repetition or practice, and renew our commitment to it as a saving grace.

Here are some suggestions for each of the sun signs for how to let this Virgo new moon assist you most effectively:

ARIES: Mars is at home in your sign, and the new Virgo moon is making an aspect to it that requires you make some conscious adjustment to your starting point, especially when it comes to habits or work routines. In other words, cool down about what’s setting you off, and discern a way to be of service.

TAURUS: You may start working hard on a project that involves some large institution of learning or justice. It may be happening at a distance, but you sense your individual part impacts others you may never meet. A fountain of courageous energy from a hidden source within keeps you going.

GEMINI: While future plans may seem to be engulfed by warring factions or infighting in a group you care about, amidst the seeming chaos you have the potential to find ways to express love that brings you surprising happiness. The Virgo new moon supports assistance or practices from your family or ancestors.

CANCER: If you have been locked in battle with a partner or an institution, articulating a seemingly humble approach to communication may turn out to be a powerful tool to improve necessary routines. Sometimes the simplest gestures can provide a powerful light out of a very dark situation.

LEO: You may watch a long held set of beliefs go up in flames. This frees you to view your future from multiple viewpoints. As you realign your foundational values with those of service, your work and health routines become powerfully useful, which brings you to an unexpected starting point of happiness.

VIRGO: Forces beyond your control may push a legacy of chaos and discord, but you’ve got your eyes on the prize of a peaceful partnership. You’re willing to take initiative to be of service and express that through institutions and structures useful to this end. This may put you in a position to speak publicly about the details.

LIBRA: As you try to find the words to restabilize a volatile partnership, what to say and when to say it seem to come out of nowhere. Almost miraculously, there is the possibility of stepping back and saying nothing, which seems to have the greatest potential for long term stability.

SCORPIO: Powerful people in your immediate environment want to challenge the way you’ve always maintained a certain work routine or health practice. An unusual partner may appear to help you be true to your authentic self and stay true to the spirit of your future plans and goals.

SAGITTARIUS: If you’ve grown attached to a starting point that is mostly for show, now is the time to cast it off in favor of something less showy and more authentic. Your public personae will actually be strengthened by taking a more humble and practical approach. Call a truce with anything that makes your temper flare.

CAPRICORN: A large historical feel for details helps you sort out where to begin reconciling tensions between large societal forces and the need for personal security and safety. Let this large perspective help you find ways to use soothing words that keep seemingly impossible dreams alive.

AQUARIUS: A seemingly humble legacy from a female relative, ancestor or benefactor may help ameliorate a volatile or even potentially violent situation in your immediate environment. Or maybe it helps calm a selfish impulse or temper, helping you to return to the source of more compassionate values.

PISCES: A partner who is there for you rolls up their sleeves to help you achieve a dream, or bring your feet back to the ground in a practical endeavor. You may be impatient for results, but listen to the voices who show you the long view. Someone who’s there for you every day can make all the difference. Be patient.

One of my first introductions to astrology as a teenager was reading the old popular classic Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs back in the early 70’s. I still have that battered copy on my shelf. The story in it I remember most vividly is one about Virgo. Goodman tells the story of a Virgo housewife with two small children who wrote to her about why she thought none of the horoscopes for Virgo accurately described her. In very careful and precise handwriting and wording, she laid out the reasons why by detailing all the work she did from early in the morning until midnight to keep her home clean and running, all the while saying it wasn’t enough. She never seemed to realize that her letter itself was testament to her Virgo characteristics, and Goodman quipped that someday she would frame the letter with the inscription “Virgo” at the top of it.

My friends and I who are Virgos or who have Virgo rising and I like to kid each other about these tendencies. We even have a silly song we sing. But we do it to ourselves and to each other tenderly. Virgo energy always means well. It never criticizes to hurt or belittle others, only to make things better. So this new moon be kind to yourself and others. Honor and immerse yourself in all the ways you can serve the good. No help is too small or not enough when it is given with a kind heart.

Especially so in these uncertain times, it’s important to shine your light, shed some light, and keep it light!


Maria (moonwatcher)

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marge Evans September 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

thanks so much for the read. In my wildest dream I would have never guessed the you would have wildfire on the ocean. things are massively gross in Seattle. Praying that is pours down hard in WA,OR, CA


2 Maria Theresa Maggi September 17, 2020 at 8:16 pm

Thank you, Marge. I wouldn’t have either, but this is a rural area and so there’s plenty of vegetation. Adding my prayer for pouring rain in these three states to yours. xo


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