New Moon in Virgo August 30

If there’s anything or anyone you want to purge from your life, the New Moon in Virgo is the time to do it. The New Moon takes place at 7 degrees of Virgo, quite close to disciplined Saturn, at 3:58 p.m. on Aug. 30.

Virgo, the sign of the Virgin, is about cleansing and purification. If you’ve been eating junk food all summer, as I have, now is the time to go back to a healthy diet. It’s harvest time, so that makes it easy to embrace the fruits of the nature. I plan to make a big batch of ratatouille this weekend.

If you’re looking for something more extreme, it’s a good time to fast (not too long, please!) or start a new exercise regimen. The only thing I’ve been exercising this summer are my fingers, which have been dancing across the keyboard. I really need to get back to the gym.

Of course, the New Moon in Virgo means back to school for lots of children, as well as the parents who drop them off and pick them up. It’s back to a routine, another Virgo word, as we put our noses to the grindstone. In the Hudson Valley, where I live, there’s a giant grindstone in the lobby of the Town of East Fishkill offices that dates from colonial times.

When my friend Don and I visited the reservation of the Agua Caliente Indian tribe this summer in Palm Springs, the ranger who gave us the tour told us Native American women were traditionally judged by how finely they ground their flour. This was a mind-boggling concept for a woman accustomed to buying Gold Medal flour at the supermarket.

The concept of grinding finely comes naturally to those born under the sign of Virgo. They have fine intellects and a keen attention to detail. Everyone knows the stereotype of Virgos as neat freaks, but, as my former astrology teacher Eileen McCabe taught me, they can also be total slobs. Why? They just give up and surrender to chaos if they can’t achieve perfection.

That love of perfection can become an addiction in itself. It’s not unusual to see people with a strong Virgo emphasis in their chart to have body issues and struggle with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. This is mistakenly thought to be exclusively a female problem, but now that thin is in again for men, don’t be surprised to be hearing more about men and eating disorders.

Virgo also rules work, and therefore it’s apt that the New Moon in this earth sign often falls close to Labor Day, the holiday that honors the working class. As you rest from your labors this weekend and prepare to dive into a busy fall schedule, thank the Goddess for the fertility she bestows on our lives.

In exchange for these blessings, why not take time to perform service? Send a soldier overseas a goodie box, bring the neighbor next door some zucchini from the garden, or participate in a neighborhood cleanup. Better yet, perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. The lesson of the New Moon in Virgo: Virtue is indeed its own reward.

Carla Bruni: France’s Femme Fatale First Lady

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in months: I bought a magazine. I get all my news on the Web these days, but I couldn’t resist the glossy pages of the September Vanity Fair with Carla Bruni on the cover.

The VF stylists have Bruni, a former model, dressed in riding clothes for the cover photo by Annie Leibovitz. I’ve never owned a horse, nor am I to the manor born, but with all my Sagittarian planets, I love the horsey look.

The cover headline also sold me: “Carla Bruni: The New Jackie O?” Like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bruni knows how to dress for the occasion. One of my favorite shots in the VF photo spread shows Bruni dressed in a prim tweed suit fit for a dowager and wearing flats as she chats amiably with Queen Elizabeth of England. No doubt the 5-feet, 9-inch former model didn’t want to make the Queen uncomfortable by wearing high heels.

A lot has been written about Bruni, a former muse to rock stars like Mick Jagger and a best-selling chanteuse in her own right, since she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy got married on Feb. 2 after a whirlwind romance.

Bruni’s colorful past has some French citizens questioning whether she is fit to be First Lady. From where I sit, she is the perfect First Lady for France. Her background (fashion and the arts) plays to France’s strengths on the global scene. Oh, and did I mention that she’s beautiful?

Claire Courts, the Frenchwoman who writes AstroRevolution, did an excellent post on Bruni, a Capricorn born Dec. 23, 1967 at 6:10 p.m. in Turin, Italy, and Sarkozy, born Jan. 28, 1955 at 10 p.m. in Paris, the day after their wedding. (Now that’s fast work!) You can read it here.

Courts has done a formidable job of analyzing both the charts of Bruni, who is Sarkozy’s third wife; the mercurial French President; and the composite that combines both their charts. Just so I don’t look like an astrological hitchhiker by linking to AstroRevolution, I’m going to weigh in with a few observations of my own.

VF says that when Bruni was 28 (ah, the old Saturn return!), Italian industrialist Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi told her that he was not her “genetic father.” Bruni learned that her biological father is Maurizio Remmert, a classical guitarist. So her success as a musician is due not just to nurture, but to nature. As astrologers, we might chalk it up to her Venus/Neptune conjunction in Scorpio.

Getting a sudden shock about one’s family reflects Bruni’s Virgo Moon conjunct revolutionary Uranus/Pluto. Interestingly, this Virgo stellium opposes Chiron in Pisces. Since Chiron is called the “Wounded Healer,” this aspect suggests a psychic injury concerning Bruni’s home or background.

Those who follow sun sign astrology might notice that Bruni is a Capricorn, an earth sign, while Sarkozy is an Aquarian, an air sign. These signs are next to, or adjacent, to each other. This position is usually dismissed by the cookie-cutter astrology books, which favor combos between signs of the same element (earth, water, air, or fire) or 60 degrees away (fire with air, earth with water).

Here’s a little secret that my longtime astrology teacher Eileen McCabe taught me: “Adjacents” frequently hook up because the two signs have much to teach each other. The staid Capricorn can give the revolutionary Aquarius some oft-needed discipline, while the Water Bearer can get the stiff-necked Goat to loosen up a little.

Now, you ask, what’s staid about Bruni? Well, she was to the manor born and was raised in a wealthy Italian family that is part of the Establishment. In contrast, Sarkozy is an outsider. He’s the son of immigrants who had to start over after leaving Hungary in 1947 and he did not attend any of the top schools that turn out France’s political leaders. In politics, he’s pursued a maverick style typical of an Aquarian.

Given McCabe’s theory about adjacent signs, it’s interesting to read in Maureen Orth’s VF article how Bruni has reined in Sarkozy’s flashy way of dressing, which had earned him the nickname “le President Bling-Bling.”

A footnote about the Bruni profile in VF: An editor’s note says author Orth turned in the piece a few days before her husband Tim Russert died.

While we’re on the topic of Vanity Fair, I wish the magazine would bring back astrologer Michael Lutin. The magazine isn’t the same without his Planetarium. Yes, I can read Lutin’s horoscopes elsewhere, but as an astrologer, I couldn’t wait to see how he was going to distill complex aspects and transits into a cocktail that the masses could imbibe.

The North Node and Second Chances

My former astrology teacher Eileen McCabe was very big on the North Node as an indicator of revivals in fashion, entertainment, and sociopolitical issues.

I think the North Node bears watching in the chart of individuals, as well. Case in point: In May, 1971, my fifth-grade class at Fort Riley (Kans.) Elementary School was taking a field trip to Six Flags Over Texas. I badly wanted to go, but my parents weren’t keen on the idea. Maybe because I have Chiron, the wounded healer, in Aquarius in the fifth house of fun and entertainment.

At the moment when my hopes were dashed, the North Node was at 20 degrees of Aquarius, not far from my Chiron at 23 degrees of Aquarius.

Flash-forward 36 years later. I’m about to embark on a cross-country trip with my niece and nephew. We’ll be stopping in Fort Hood, Tex., to visit another nephew, who is headed off to Iraq in the fall. The starting point of our trip is Albuquerque so it will be quite easy for us to make a stop at — you guessed it! — Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.

Where is the North Node right now? Quite close to 20 degrees of Aquarius, the same place it was when I didn’t get to go to Six Flags back in the fifth grade. Like the T-shirt says: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!”