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‘Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City’ Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, who donated her life’s work of more than 100,000 gorgeous images to the US Library of Congress for royalty-free use. Thank you, Carol!

On the 17th the reality picture pushes us to act, but there’s something we need to know: what we’re referencing as a smart choice was indeed smart, in the past; now it’s disempowering. We can’t use our minds to try to sort this out–that means it falls to the intuition, the emotions, and/ or the feedback from others to guide us today.

Photo By Sicilian – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25619216

Today’s word image is a bowl of figs. Those are symbols of Juno; look at your empowerment situation, options for conveying your Will, your personal province: are you expressing your power in the way you choose, or have you fit your power into the situation–and if the latter, how can and should this arrangement change?

The 18th we have two things that need doing: acting to improve our health, and thinking about/ communicating within our relationships (or, for some, substitute for the latter ‘thinking about expenditures, earning, and debt’). Keep the focus on your own options, choices, and preferences, rather than getting distracted by externals, including the demands of others on our time and attention.

Today’s word image is a song. Take the title to heart.

By the 19th we may be feeling like we’ve run out of options; the facts are causing conflict with our priorities and values, what we’re hearing seems to be denying us our rights, and our own negative take on things is discouraging, to say the least. The answer? Go at power, exercising your Will, and seeing to your ‘territory’ obliquely; it’s only by sneaking up on something that we can make an impact without having to contend with resistance, subterfuge, or a ‘disappearing act’.

By H. Ambrose Kiehl – H. Ambrose Kiehl Photograph Collection, Laura and Miriam Kiehl, Seattle, 1899 {{PD}}

Today’s word image is a woman chopping wood. What is the zen phrase? ‘Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water’. What change did you expect that never materialized? And have you undervalued what has occurred out of disappointment? Consider that evolution brings its own benefits, and we may need to set aside expectations in order to appreciate them.

The 20th may find us visiting (or even wallowing in) the past, with our focus being all that we should have done differently. Look–we’ve already inspected what was, already been propelled along the time stream–so why not shift our thoughts in the direction of what we’ve attended to in the past that made us a success? Here’s where we access that useful kernel of truth that can help us in the present.

Bronze-age dolphin fresco at Knossos. {{PD}}

Today’s word image is a dolphin. If these highly intelligent mammals had legs and thumbs, they’d surely be in charge. What’s the equivalent in your world? What threats or promises does this thing or Being offer, and how do you feel about it?

On the 21st inspiration empowers, spiritual alignment lends authority to the exercise of prerogatives, and the creative finds expression–but somehow we aren’t considering the facts, and this exerts a cost on our health. That’s a vague formula, I know–but its most likely manifestation is in a kind of optimism that prompts a euphoric disregard for indulgences or excesses that take a toll on our well-being. We know we shouldn’t, but things are going so well . . . we are tempted to, anyway. With the Sun in Aries we are likely hyper-aware that we are Self-determining; listen to instincts, as they speak without the distraction of either hope or cost.

Today’s word image is a suitcase packed well ahead of the trip. What are you preparing for, that it’s not time for yet? Could the reserved resources be better used elsewhere, at this point? Are you projecting part of your energy into the future, making it unavailable in the present? Living with one foot in a reality that hasn’t arrived may feel like being prepared to some, but in reality it can’t help but distract from where we are now.

On the 22nd we look to make the future pay off–and in focusing on what we can gain, we may kill inspiration, imagination, and genuine goals and ambitions, substituting a ‘sure thing’ (though a less desirable thing to us) in Love or Money, instead. Access your instincts (again!)–it’s the only way to balance consideration of the future with your dreams.

By Eva Rahman Nishi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32557857

Today’s word image is a topiary. This is a natural thing shaped unnaturally. What is being distorted in the name of beauty or to make it ‘presentable’, that you may want to let ‘go natural’, now?

The 23rd things suddenly get complicated, dynamic, and we may be faced with unavoidable realities that force decisions; we may feel that the smart way (that is, the way we would’ve gone) is blocked, and the mind resists change and those things it would rather pretend don’t exist. What assists us? A willingness to adjust our course, valuing our own strength, prerogatives, and those roles where we hold authority, and an openness to the spontaneous, the sudden, and the original–these factors can turn what seems like a frustrating dead end into a clever, unique, and exciting plan for the future.

Today’s word image is a little Emily Dickinson:

Much madness is divinest sense/To a discerning eye;/Much sense the starkest madness./’T is the majority/In this, as all, prevails,/Assent, and you are sane;/Demur,–you’re straightaway dangerous,/And handled with a chain