Posted by: Donna Cunningham | November 23, 2010

Being Grateful when You’re Not

©11-23-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 It’s 3:00 and 4:00 AM, two days before Thanksgiving. Last night, I decided to do something to make Thanksgiving a better place for my neighbor/friend Martha and I. Neither of us have family to be with on the day.

What scraggly little bit of family I have is more than a thousand miles away in physical distance and 50 years away in emotional distance.  Recently, on a day dedicated to forgiving oneself (Global Forgiveness Day, some of you may remember), I came to the painful epiphany that all that holds my only sister and I together is my survivor guilt.

 Neighbor Martha has just emailed her sister to say she won’t come for the holidays anymore because the sister has grown increasingly irascible and abusive with age. Oddly enough, both Martha’s sister and mine are named for Diana, goddess of the Moon.

And it’s the Moon that seems to be setting me off tonight. I stare out my 8th floor picture window in the 3:00 AM stillness at an ivory moon that’s still quite full and  seems close enough to touch. I’ve been weeping for the best part—no the worst part—of an hour with a sense of being quite alone in the world.

 No, please, this is not some riff about how much life sucks for poor old me. I would never do that to you. I happen to LOVE my life much of the time. I could not be more grateful for all of the blessings and gifts God has given me. I frequently make a heart-felt gratitude list as a spiritual practice.

 Just not tonight.

 Tonight is one of those dark holes of grieving for the lack of family.  And the lack of a partner to share all that bounty of blessings. Grieving honestly for What Is Not.

And I know that, as alone as I feel, I am certainly not alone in feeling alone. You’re out there, I know. If public officials were being REAL, they would declare this Thursday a national day of mourning for all we’ve collectively lost in this devastating year of 2010.

 The question I am wrestling with, as I stare at the big, ivory Moon is this. How do we celebrate Thanksgiving this year with integrity?

Do we give thanks with our fingers crossed?  Do we fake gratitude when it really is not in us to do anything but mourn for the things that no longer are?  Do we B.S. our Creator while in our heart of hearts we wonder whether the Old Dude has forsaken us?  

I don’t know about your Old Dude, but mine doesn’t care for hypocrites. Mine likes it better when I’m real about being sad or angry. Or when I’m in grief, which so many, many people are. Real grief tops fake thankfulness any time, because that’s when the real communication with the Divine begins. The real dialogue. And the real solace.

 Anyway, before you go feeling all sorry for me, let me just tell you my Thanksgiving plans. Martha and I decided not to go traditional with the meal—no turkey, no stuffing, no nasty-tasting cranberry mold that you have to choke down a spoonful of so not to insult your hostess.

(Vegans and PITA members, skip this part.)  Martha and I live in subsidized senior housing, and neither of us is what anyone would call upscale.  But we’re going to the most upscale butcher in this upscale neighborhood and pick out the best, most upscale steak in the place. Martha will cook it instead of me—nobody with an Aries Moon ought to be trusted with a piece of meat that good.

And we’ll have baked potato with sour cream and chives, and everything else that goes with a top-notch steak dinner. Wine—Pinot Grigio would suit both of us just fine. And something truly reprehensible for dessert—cake at $5 a slice, maybe.

And we’ll probably watch a great movie on Pay Per View. (Julie/Julia tops my list, just to carry on with the gourmet theme.) And sure, by that time, we’ll probably find a few blessings to count, but it’s optional.   

Later in the weekend, I’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner by a group of wonderful young people. (Well, you know you’re getting older when your idea of a group of young people doesn’t include anyone under 28.)

They’re all enthusiastic students of a variety of metaphysical subjects, in that heady phase of just discovering and loving it all. They put me back in touch with how very fortunate we are to have encountered Spirit in this way.

They all have food stipulations, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a vegan to raw menu complete with tofurky, but the companionship is a delight.

And by the time we go around the table for that traditional round of telling what we’re grateful for, I’ll probably be back on good enough terms with the Old Dude to have a list of my own to share.  

 What about you, Readers?  How are you dealing with Thanksgiving?  If you feel  like it, share your thoughts—or laments–in the comment section.



  1. You have your Internet family who appreciates your talent and advice. Though you probably haven’t met most of us, we are thankful for you.

    • Thank you, Terri–I really love and appreciate this community we’re building. Donna

      • I and my 11th House Sun agree with Terry! Right on, Donna!

  2. Donna,

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again for expressing in words EXACTLY what some of us have felt during this full moon phase.
    Ironically, I too woke up at 3 am. Unable to fall asleep again, I starting surfing the web trying to find out more about my astrological chart.
    My husband is currently unemployed, and I cannot find employment. We think we will be fine (we have saved like crazy for many years), but still this is just the tip of the iceberg of what we have been through this year.
    The situation I am currently grieving over is my brother and his wife. Both live a rather, how shall I put it nicely, priveleged lifestyle. They have put me through an emotional roller-coaster. Politically and spiritually, we are polar opposites, but this has never stopped me from reaching out, trying to remain open-minded, and trying to connect. A dream. It won’t ever happen, they have been quite cruel in their dealings with me. I too have finally decided to let go. Yes, Donna, I too have felt lonely and abandoned by my family.
    Great that you and your friend will go out and enjoy that sumptuous steak! Kuddos to having fun and enjoyment despite or rather because of the rocky year we have all endured. May you thoroughly enjoy and embibe this Thanksgiving day.
    You have touched me in such positive ways, and for that I am sincerely thankful. We love you! Would it be ok to adopt you as a fellow spiritual sister? :0)

  3. My heart goes out to you!

    I agree that we need to take out the time to grieve. It is just one step in the healing process. So many, I think deny this step. You are right because so many have lost alot.

    I left my husband three years ago and lost alot of my family in the process. That second house Sun/Neptune thing. It being in Scorpio has helped. I can identify rising from the ashes.

    Every Thankgiving since then has been tough. This year will be harder because I will not be able to see any one except my two yougest kids. No one has any money to travel. We are saving for Christmas.

    To combat this, I think that I will write out my Christmas Cards and call everyone this weekend.

    Transiting Saturn is conjunct my Asc/Venus, squaring transiting Pluto which is conjunct Ceres and Lilith as well as trining my Natal Saturn. It isn’t fun when Saturn reminds you of the work that needs to be done?

  4. P.S. I have an Aries moon too. Does it say anything that I will not be cooking our turkey this year?

    • Oh, God, I’m already verklempt, and it’s barely light out. I’m going to get dressed (no, no, I’m not blogging in the buff, but I finally got my thermal winter nighties out). And go around the corner to the fancy schmantzy pattisserie and have something forthy. Donna

      • And I will make muffins. They’re safer! ( I think) Drat this cold, rainy, awful weather!

  5. You’re certainly not alone, Donna! You have legions of fans who love and admire you for the many years faithful service you’ve put into this field! I know it’s not the same as family, but I just wanted to say in the spirit of expressing gratidtude, that I am grateful as a young astrologer to have you and so many other incredible, experienced astrologers offer their wisdom so unselfishly to all of us youngsters. You’re a wonderful woman to share the expertise you’ve gained over the years, and myself and thousands of others are deeply appreciative of your work.

    I struggle with this too, though most times it’s more of a pensive sadness than an outright mourning. I’ve no relationship with either parent, and have good relationships with only half of my sibs. I am sad that my family isn’t the picture-perfect image of love and support, but the realist in me asks “What family is these days?” I had a lot of the same types of feelings, specifically with regard to one sib in particular as I have a Moon-Neptune conjunction in the 3rd. The only thing that really kept us together was the idea that we’re the only family we’ve got since there are no parents involved. It’s not the type of glue that should hold a family together, IMO – the ties of sadness and desperation to at least have “something” no matter how small the crumbs are shouldn’t be what binds us. It should be love and mutual support – a relationship based on reciprocity – and I just don’t have that with 2 of my sibs.

    As for celebrating authentically? Well, for starters I am grateful for so many litlte things each and every day. Small things make me happy, and those are what fill me up inside even though I’m missing some of the bigger pieces. I don’t ignore the bad things in my life by any means, but I look for the good things IN SPITE of them. I think Thansgiving is more about taking stock of your blessings than anything else and thanking God, The Universe, or whoever for the gifts we are given throughout the course of the year. It doesn’t make the holiday any less authentic if you’re celebrating it in a slightly less traditional way. I think having the wonderful companionship of a good friend/neighbor is reason enough to give thanks, what do you think?

  6. Donna, as always you have touched a cord. I have been moody and broody this holiday, I have beel blaming that Venus Rx for everything! Anyway family is 3000 miles and many lifetimes away. I have had a lot of time to adapt to not having the Ozzie and Harriet holidays. Sometimes I merge with others, but sometimes others families just make me miss more of what I just don’t have. So I just set the day for me, I consider it my special time to be with myself. I do make some holiday treats so I don’t feel I have missed out. I love movies, music and books, so am never without something to do. If I focus on what I don’t have I am in trouble. Needless to say there are surprisingly quite a few singles in the movies on the holidays. If you think you are missing family, watch Robert Downey Jr in the older movie, “Home for the Holidays,” about as dysfunctional a family holiday–will give you some laughs. Donna you have created a healing community–I hope you get as much as you give. Enjoy that steak! Peace to all.

    • Lisa,

      I SO love that movie and it parallels my own in many ways!
      Yes, I believe the holidays can be overrated. I like the idea of just taking time out for oneself! Heck, do whatever one wishes! Why not make our own holiday?I love everyone’s ideas.

  7. Donna, you are most certainly not alone. You have been such a constant and faithful friend and teacher to all of us, and we appreciate you immensely! Sending love to you on the holidays….

  8. Dear Donna! last night I was actually thinking about the things I’m grateful for (after on ad off grieving for a good 2+ years about what I’m not…but learning to let go through the cadinal T square working on my moon/pluto conj) and guess what? I was thinking of you and how wonderful and healing it has being for me (and my family) to find you and your blog, and the amazing level of growth that comes from you sharing your knowledge and experiences and all of us sharing ours. Plus all the links to insightful websites and bloggers.
    You are definitely one of the things I’m very thankful for, so I wish you a liberating, decadent, gourmet celebration!!!

    p.s if you plan to be watching Julie/Julia don’t forget to add some really good butter to the menu 🙂

    • Thanks to you all for your thoughts and wishes. It’s turned out to be a bright, sunny, day after all and I’m feeling better for having had a catharsis and your kind sharing. Donna

  9. I think your Thanksgiving plans sound wonderful. I usually feel very alone among the family members I have to be around for the holidays. It is definitely an obligation to be there, but I’d rather be somewhere else. It is interesting how some families seem to be this way now and I wonder why. I also have come to appreciate the smallest of things on a daily basis because it feels good to be grateful, lifts my spirits. I, also, have come to really appreciate your posts that share so much of your knowledge and they really help me to heal and figure myself out so I am thankful for you too. I hope you enjoyed your treat from the pattisserie… sounds wonderful. I think I’d watch Chocolat with my steak 🙂

    • Chocolat–great movie choice, especially with my very favorite, Johnny Depp. Donna

  10. You have certainly given a voice to what so many of us are feeling at the end of what has certainly been a rough year. I have struggled for years with shame; I have hidden my tears, crying in the bath, because I am “grieving honestly for What Is Not” when I have so much. Your post reminded me just how self-defeating it is for me to deny or try to justify my very real sorrow. In truth, running away from the grief also leads me away from enjoying what is good in my life.

    Thank you for your words of honesty and wisdom. I hope you have a wonderful Feast and Fun Day. I will raise a glass to you at my table: )

  11. No Thanksgiving in Europe but still… thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I wish you a very good Thanksgiving. 😉

  12. I Love You, Donna! You are so special to all of us! This recent Full Moon seems to have gotten to most of us emotionally. You were being authentic in your thoughts and feelings and thus, touching a deep cord that resides in us all. As always, you are teaching us by example how we can deal with the dances of the planets. I can just picture you and your neighbor having a total ball, laughing and eating wonderful food. I wonder if your neighbor realizes that she will be keeping company with someone so awesome. Me thinks not!

  13. I have five planets in Cancer in my 7th house ruled by gem/cancer intercept. Maybe that’s why I’m so nostalgic and sentimental about Thanksgiving, which has always been the biggest holiday event in my family of origin.

    Hubby (thankful for him, yes) and I agreed to drive my folks (in their eighties) and a sister 8 hours to another state to be with another sis and her hubby (who is dying with cancer) and her family. I am trying to keep an open mind, but it is a struggle for me to be with them these days. I chose, due to the circumstances, to show up for them in response to their request and will remind myself over and over that their baggage and hx (an ugly one) is NOT mine to carry, period! I don’t have to take on their stuff or play transmitter for them. I hope to leave any rocks they want me to carry out of their heavy bags on the floor. Not mine!!! Not mine!!!

    Thanks for letting me share. I wish you and your friend a blessed day, Donna.


  14. Dear Donna,
    Though i cannot say that i know what grieving for the lack of family is, i know what fear of losing one feels like. I only have a mother and a father and not a single other soul in the whole world whom I could call family. The older I (and they) become the more I fear the day when I am left completely alone. This has taught me to be thankful for every moment i am together with my parents. I am really sorry that I hadn’t been more attentive and kind to my grandparents, hadn’t spent more time with them, hadn’t talked to them often enough… It’s too late now.

    In our country (Russia), we don’t have any official day to be thankful on, which is a pity, i think. The idea of being thankful is hardly pupular with the people here. On the other hand, we don’t have to make up a gratitude list when there seems to be nothing to be thankful for 🙂

    I hope your remedy (steak dinner, friend, wine and movie) works just as you have so temptingly described! I hope you arrive at the actual day of celebration with a lighter heart 🙂

    • Ah, Tuta, I never knew that part of being an only child would be that fear of losing the parents. It sounds very difficult. Donna

  15. I so related to this post Donna, having spent many a holiday grieving, longing for a true sense of connectedness. Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been particularly difficult, and this was especially true after my mother became ill, when any remaining illusions I had regarding the meaning of “family” were completely shattered. Even before my mom passed away, I’d made a conscious decision to forgive them and let them go.

    But then my mother’s siblings began reaching out to me during this last year, and when an uncle became ill, I responded by offering to help. On the last night of my visit with him (a few days ago), they made me a full Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. The whole experience was very healing, and I left feeling grateful for the opportunity to forgive and re-connect, minus the illusions.

    Now that I’m back home, I’m looking forward to a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner out with my husband at a favorite seafood restaurant. And after dinner, we have home-baked pumpkin pie, which a good friend made for us.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Donna! Enjoy your friends; sometimes they can be the real “meat and potatoes” in our lives.

  16. This seems an appropriate time to express my gratitude to you for this wonderful blog, Donna! I’m quite sure I have a lot of company in that sentiment. And along those lines, I do think we all can find a few things to feel very grateful for, despite the inevitable messes that we can only deplore.

    The holiday season can be a rough time to be single, because it’s all too easy to imagine other people out there sharing warm and loving family meals. The media does tend to give us the impression that this is what’s going on with 99% of the other folks out there, though as Lisa reminds us, there are a few perceptive and hilarious depictions of what family holidays can be like in dysfunctional or even just semi-dysfunctional families. I was feeling a little wistful the other day about probably being alone (I’ve invited a friend but am not sure she’ll be coming). But I reminded myself that I’m newly single by choice and would not want to relive some of the awkward and anxious Thanksgivings of the past.

    I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, and am a little bit behind in my goal of writing 50,000 words of the first draft of a novel by the end of the month, so much of Thanksgiving Day will be devoted to getting more words written (and to being grateful to the NaNo folks for giving me this kick in the pants).

    Enjoy your steak, Donna!

  17. dear donna,
    thank you for being so REAL… yes, i’ve had years of being alone for holidays, it was very painful and even now with a bit of family, there is still somethings to grieve for. i find it must important to be real. i, in my dark nights of the soul, took to writing out the minute details of what i had to be grateful for. it went something like this, a bed with warm comfy sheets and blankies, and it did help me. The frothy things to drink sounds like a wonderful start to your celebrating! Thank you for all your hard work and wisdom you have shared with your fans over the years. i would like my life to be much better too and i think it is fine to be REAL and grieve the things we do not have while, to get through that tunnel till we can focus on the things we do… many blessings to you

  18. If this will make you better, even in the darkest hours there, on the other side of the globe, it is sunny and there are people reading your blog 🙂
    I don’t know much about this holiday you have there, but since it is for thanking, I would like to use the occasion and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and patiently answering our questions 🙂

  19. Donna-Enjoy that steak! It has been a tuff year for many. I thought it was going to be one of the best years of my life, then lost my 45 year old son to an accidental suffication at work while he was adjusting heads inside a tank at a Kidney Clinic were he was a Bio-Med Tech. I know the grief isn’t going to go away, as I also lost my eldest son many years ago, tragically, when he was 19. They were both wonderful perfect sons in every way. Maybe it is true that only the good die young. I am so proud of the honorable type of men they each were. I am going to be enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner at my daughter’s home this year. She and I are early Capricorns, dealing with Pluto. My son, early Aires with Taurus rising, Uranus hit his Venus and Venus hit his Uranus then of course that Pluto square. Uranus got my first born too, conjunct his sun, squared Mars and more of course. All we can do is love one another and do our best each day of our lives. Love you for sharing your Astrlogical knowledge. Take Care! Kathe

    • What a shattering tragedy. So sorry to hear it. Donna

  20. Thanks Donna for sharing so much — your feelings, your knowledge, your wisdom. I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better today. Amanda xo

  21. Great blog topic Donna. While I do have so much to be grateful for, there are some deep spots of sadness accompanying me this Thanksgiving. I have decided that they are getting in the way of my enjoying the good things and good feelings. So I will acknowledge them and celebrate everything else with appreciation and joy in my heart. Somewhat similar, I think, to what you are doing.

    Happy Thanksgiving, and my mouth waters thinking about your steak! If you can get them, try a blue (some people call them purple) potato instead of white. They are wonderful with butter and sour cream or plain yogurt.

  22. I wrote this in 1978 to help me remember every day that I have much to be thankful for:

    Viewed through the lens of history
    No one ever had it so good as me.
    I am healthy, with resources to keep me that way.
    I can earn a living – and the livin’ is easy.
    I am warm and well bundled in winter.
    I sleep in a warm bed.
    I eat whatever the hell I want, whenever I want.
    I am sane (sane enough, anyway).
    I am loved.
    I am free. And I can act to stay free.
    I have privacy.
    I have choice.
    I have access. Means. Lots of help.
    I can grow, expand, discover, investigate, learn and improve.
    Compared to 99% of the world, and all the humans who ever lived,
    I am truly blessed.
    I pray I have enough sense to appreciate it all.

    • Sally,
      Thanks, -you said it better than I did. We live likle royalty compared to the rest of the world…and also to our own grandparents.
      To all the humans who ever lived…

  23. Jeezo, peezo…I am relatively new to your blog, Donna, though I have followed your writings since “the olden days”…near 40 years now. Never expected this gush of sentiment from the Rock of Cunningham…did it surprise you, too?
    Does this mean ALL of us have feet of clay? Of course, we do. Do we ALL feel the “dark night of the soul”? Yup.
    Have you ever posted your entire birthchart on this site? Since you are in a needy and confessional moon-mood…would you be willing to do so now? … maybe only for women over 55?. We are here for YOU. We old-timers CAN help, Donna.
    Okay, gang,…let’s all back up a few posts and take a loooong look at the -‘starving Biafran children’- photo that Donna posted. I don’t know about you, but I feel privileged already…
    I don’t eat beef but will bring the bourbon, B.

    • My chart is on the net already, without my permission, so I won’t aid and abet…seek and ye shall find. Donna

      • Took your comment as permission. Sought and found. That wound would have finished most others but you are one scrappy lady, Donna. We knew that! Now I understand your comments about material renunciation– and your selfless service via the divine guidance that sees you thru. (My 12th Sun, Chiron, Fortune conjunction in Cap. mirrors your placement).
        12 d. Cancer– same as my late mentor’s Sun and conjunct my Uranus. No wonder that I’ve learned so much astro from you. Our second house NNs (another mirror, mine is Pisces) will always provide us the basics, if only at the 11th hour, -and after some begging!
        Within the last few years we have “lost everything”. My husband’s career, pension, savings, investments, AND our home (the one he was born in… OUCH.)…also my gardens, my uterus, and my 14 yr. old Labrador. With Pluto nearing my Cap’s and Saturn its second return square the whole mess, well,…I can honestly say that all I grieve for is my dog. The rest I’m just pissy about.
        Hope you’re feeling better today. (This is as close as a double Capricorn ever comes to a hug). B

  24. That sounds like a nice day. Once again I have to go see the relatives who don’t especially care if I’m there or not (I spend the day on the computer while they are all gone doing whatever). I very nearly talked my mother into going into the city for dinner… but no, we have to be with our family that loves us so much 😛

    Yours sounds more fun.

  25. Amen Sista! you hit the nail on the head! it is a time to think of what you don’t have but i have taken it further….what has the hard stuff born out in us? for me it has made me more self assured-instead of thinking that i don’t fit in with my family the hard times have made me embrace my uniqueness even more. Yes it is hard and i could share my own story but i would prefer to share that which has come from the “sh*t”. I am resilient, secure in my beliefs and have gotten thru alot this year…and most importantly survived it! So if there is something to be thankful for this year…i am thanking the Big Dude for the sh*t and the for the new opportunity to embrace new traditions and have new rituals to celebrate the day. Afterall the cranberry mold is highly overated! Enjoy the day, everyone, whatever way you want! that is the gift in the sh*t !

  26. Donna,
    I am kind of in the same boat as you (Saturn rules my 4th and is stuck in my 12th, don’t ya’ know!) vis-a-vis not having close kin and the closest kin I do have reject me.
    That can be truly painful and lonely in a society that puts blood kinship above all other relationships and extols so-called family values as if they had been written on stone tablets back in the days of yore. We don’t treat ‘orphans’ too much differently than we did back in the olden days. We are still suspect, as if somehow our lack of kin is our fault. Maybe our deodorant failed us. Who knows?
    Hells bells, so many of the people I do know squabble with their kin constantly and/or live in each others socks, calling and talking on the phone for hours a day. I would hate that. I was an only child, I have Moon conjunct Uranus, and NN in Aries in 7 (not to mention that damn Saturn in 12) and I need space.
    For years, when I ran a rooming house, I used to have all the people who couldn’t make it home or had no family to my place for dinner. I’d prepare the turkey and dressing (I’m a Leo Sun, Cancer Venus & moon & Libra Rising, so I can cook, especially feast foods.) and let the others brings the salads, veggies, bread, dessert and wine. Those were the best Thanksgivings I ever had, truly fun and joyful.
    This year I will have to put up with my housemate’s sister, brother and dotty mom and we will eat out
    No joy, there, but it will be tolerable.
    I am GRATEFUL that I still have job in today’s economy and am doing overtime even and can put food on my own table.
    Your spread with your pal sounds wonderful. Have a great meal and a great day!

  27. I don’t know where you live, but in my community, there are lots of volunteer opportunities to help serve Thanksgiving dinners for the community. You get more out of it than you ever give.

    You can have your own meal later as some of the volunteers do. By the way, it (your meal) sounds pretty good!


    • They do have one in my community but its run by restauranteurs and food service folks.
      It is also downtown and I live in the ‘burbs where the buses don’t run on holidays and at night and on weekends. I don’t have a car.

      • I did that one Thanksgiving when I lived in the city. I helped serve meals and clean up at the homeless shelter. Most of the other volunteers were from the seminary.

  28. First of all you are most appreciated for your kindness and sharing of your knowledge and feelings. Happy Holiday.
    I too have very little family only a sister 16 miles away and many light years away. I have spent each Holiday since 2000 alone. I have given up the Holiday’s and for the most part find something else to do. Makes it easier. Learned from you to list my blessings and be grateful. Only had a loving Grandmother since my mother died when I was born. She was in her seventies when we began together. She was my greatest blessing. Moon in Aries – so understand why I have given up cooking.

  29. Ok 3am must be the Universal Alarm….I have been single so long I forgot what it feels like to be touched. I understand. A funny thing happened to me though as I have had many of the same thoughts you wrote about Donna. I opened my purse last night looking for something and pulled out a small rock. Yes, a rock, but a heart shaped rock. I have a tiny heart of stone and I laughed and cried at the same time, because I knew that God had heard my prayers for a sign that I am going to be okay. I found my heart last night and I have it on my desk and am looking at it as I write….Yea though I have a heart of stone, I HAVE a heart and it’s beating. My faith has been restored and I will pray that everyone’s faith is restored sooner rather than latter…..Much Love, Robin;-))

  30. Friends are the family we create for ourself.
    Maybe that’s my 11th house Libra stellium shining through and trine my 3rd house jupiter in Aquarius but a long time ago I had to find away to celebrate Thangsgiving, Christmas and other holidays without my my bio-relatives around…Your menu sounds delicious….Peace

  31. Thank you for opening up to reveal your vulnerability with us, Donna. It encourages the rest of us who are not as comfortable with expressing our deepest feelings. Your Thanksgiving plan/story is like a tender ballad that touches us in our tender and sensitive places.

    You are so right to say that although you might feel lonely you are not alone in feeling so. I am blessed to have a very loving family and caring friends, but the bed still feels cold especially on the holidays sleeping alone. I have been a single mom for a long time and feel blessed to have such a wonderful daughter, but she now grown up and the empty nest is even more empty with just one lonely bird.

    However, I am so fortunate to have friends like you to share wonderful new insights, deep thoughts and feelings, even though we’ve never met.

    Thank you for the knowledge you share on this blog and the wisdom you impart. Thank you also for sharing the story of your wonderful Thanksgiving plan with Martha. It’s so inspiring.

    Much love,


  32. Thank you for sharing, Donna. As someone who stayed away from my family for 25 years, I can relate. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in my country, so I don’t have to worry about the turkeys. Perhaps a Global gratitude day would be something to think about?

  33. Your catharsis related to this Thanksgiving is a gift to so many of us. I am here in beautiful Santa Fe ,NM, but have been feeling kinda vulnerable and lonesome about this holiday. Family (daughter, brother) are out-of-state and I’ll be working the day after, so no plan to travel. Yes, a friend invited me to join her and her family, but I have decided to skip the traditional dinner. Instead, I’m going up north to Ojo Caliente, a wonderful mineral hot springs, to treat myself to a relaxing soak and maybe a short hike. Love to all!

  34. Donna, thank you for voicing the feelings that I, too, have, around the holidays. Thanksgiving is the toughest, since I’m alone. Now I know for sure that I’m not alone in my feelings. The media promotes Thanksgiving as being a time for the perfect family to be together for the perfect meal in perfect harmony. The reality is far different for many, if not most, people who experience dysfunctional family gatherings or lonely alone-ness. Thanks for being real. Enjoy your delicious steak dinner!

  35. Hi Donna,

    It has been a very rough year for all of us. Per other posts, I lost my job in March and have been looking ever since. Started networking last month (sitting at home applying online wasn’t working), so I’ve been online much less and out trying to make connections to get a job. Have learned a lot about the current job market and none of it is very good. The bottom line: the best way to get a job right now is through someone you know.

    Between the economy, job losses, global natural disasters, the election, etc. it’s easy to feel discouraged. But the sun is now in Sagittarius (as you well know), so it’s a time for renewing our faith and hope and giving thanks.

    For my family, we’re circling the wagons in 2 states. I’ll be down here with my mom, aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, niece & hubby & baby and nephew. The northern contingency will be back home missing me and my mom; recent transplants. While I come from a very large dysfunctional family and have had my fair share of issues, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. So true to my Sagittarian Sun, Mercury & Jupiter, I will be giving thanks for the following:

    My life, health, family, friends, people I’ve loved, animals I’ve lived with, places I’ve lived in, things I’ve done and seen, my new home near a beautiful beach, the sunshine, the new friends I’ve made here, yoga, the peace that yoga brings, your blog that I found this summer and the renewal of my hope, faith and love. And of these great three, love’s the greatest beauty … Love.

    Sending you lots of love during this time for giving thanks ~

    One of my favorites:

    P.S. Getting out of the house to go to all of these networking and job seminars has allowed me to meet new people and adjust my perspective. I know it’s cold and rainy there right now (my BFF in Roseburg posted on FB that it was snowing today!) … but we’re all just spiritual beings having a human experience, which includes loss, grief, pain and sorrow. Joyce’s PUNC personified. I might change that to PUCS; Pluto, Uranus, Chiron and Saturn. I have felt like a hockey puck being slammed around the ice rink of life during the past month. I’ve been touched by the willingness of others to reach out to comfort or help however they can. My brother kept telling me to ‘get out of the house,’ and I can vouch for the sanity in this. It is through our emotional connections to others that we retain our hope and faith in humanity and life. Godspeed.

    • It sounds very rough, Karen, but you’re making the most of it. I absolutely love your metaphor: “I have felt like a hockey puck being slammed around the ice rink of life during the past month.” So Saturn and Capricorn. Donna

  36. Thank you.

  37. Firstly, THANK YOU Donna for sharing your insights and understanding – your soul – all these years through consultations and now readlily through this blog. We are grateful to you! Years ago, I received a consultation from you and still hear your words comforting and guiding me to this day – and now we all get to hear your words available to us 24/7 – what a privilege.
    While I recognize that each individual’s “Dark Night of the Soul” time is so very personal and private (in a 12th house sort of way) – my heart still goes out to you, for those moments have certainly passed over me too – or I’ve passed through them – not sure how it transpires, just that the “night experience” so engulfs the soul. At least for me, at that moment, my soul powerfully aches not only from my personal hurts and longings but also for the collective – and that’s alot of ache! And you are such a soulful being anyway – I’d say you were definately put through the wringer.
    So – you enjoy that steak and baked potato! And being a Cancer Moon myself (altho this may be my Venus in Taurus speaking too!) – do NOT hold back on the sour cream and butter. Lather it on. And if you want a 2nd piece of cake – you go for it darling! Comfort and appreciate yourself as we would love to be doing for you if we were all there sharing the meal with you.
    Bless you and thank you! Michelle

  38. Sending you a BIG hug

  39. Donna, I love your plan ! Dammit, I have envy.

    Here we will have a pre-cooked turkey dinner ordered in an Anerectic fit when some younger son announced his intentions to come home Monday. We will eat at the *children’s table’* in the living room, a tradition I resurrected some years back. It has had varying degrees of success, but it has never measured up to the many happy memories I have of eating here as a child.

    Don’t know about dessert yet, this is what bakeries are for. (Hard to believe I have Cancer rising, I am such an Anti-Kitchen person).

    I could watch the Dog Show, but we lost our 17 y/o companion 2 weeks ago and so that might not be the best idea.

    One of us will draw the short straw and take dinner to my Alz’d Mother and her Aide.

    When it comes time for *grace* I will thank the Matrons for the difficult blessings of 2010. Included in my gratitudes will be your blog, and all that I have learned from it. (CJ’s too !).

    And when it is *done*, I will likely read a mystery until the tryptophan nap kicks in.

    Not the Worst year. Not the best. It was what it was.

    May all your readers live well enough on 11/25/2010.


    • 2010 was what it was. That’s right. When I was struggling recently with the realization about no real connection with my sister other than survivor guilt, I didn’t grieve, just said, “It’s just what is.” Maybe my meltdown the other night was delayed grief. The Full Moon was at the very end of Scorpio/Taurus. Donna

      • Donna, I thought it was Full Moon related too and obviously that affects you greatly since you’re a Cancer with multiple Cancer planets. But I wasn’t going to write that because your point was that you just wanted to get the grief out no matter how fleeting. What I liked about that was your willingness to share and give your feelings credence and show them in the light of day. My Virgo moon and Cap rising have difficulty doing that; my childhood taught me not to have feelings. It would have been like my mother saying to me, “Is your period coming dear?” when I was a teenager having a meltdown; what always pissed me off was she was nearly always right, my period was coming!

  40. Hi Donna:
    OMG…I have a sister named Diana too – we have not spoken for the past 10 years! Both parents have passed on and as for friendships they seem to just come and go (pluto 11th?), so I have spent many a thanksgiving alone. I love to cook and one year I went all out and made a huge thanksgiving meal…just me a few glasses of wine, some nice music, a movie,and my pets. I totally understand how you must be feeling and I guess I am writing to let you know you are not alone. I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving with you new friend/neighbor. Really enjoy reading your blog, you are so talented. Take Care, Pamela.

    • Yes, it’s odd about that name Diana, isn’t it? Well, wasn’t she the warrior/hunter goddess too? Donna

      • Yes; Diana / Artemis

  41. Hi Donna,

    I’ve always been of the mind sharing a meal is where the emphasis needs be placed rather than the food, even if one is sharing a good dinner with oneself. However. I cook, bake, all to the hilt , or at least I used to, now in the situation many find themselves, no one to invite to some big to-do dinner. I used my cooking as the glue to bring, and hopefully keep people together, only to find my approach seemed to be all wrong, one of those hindsight lessons.

    I think the best thing this post of yours did was provide me with a list of things to be grateful. Not to deny or obscure the loneliness, sadness or disappointment, but in addition to those things.

    I have a sister too. We own a small apartment building in which we each have an apartment, so we live in (too close) proximity but mght as well live in different galaxies. We celebrate nothing together, but my longing for the sister I always wanted remains in some form. It never occurred to me my reluctance to give up living here might include or be survivor guilt. For your help with that insight I am grateful. Any weight taken off one’s shoulders is huge, and right now balances out some of the holiday negation.

    Which in turn has reminded me to be grateful for the urge, strength and whatever else it takes to be on a healing journey as opposed to being diametrically opposed.

    As I am still learning the signifigances astrology can point to, I’d appreciate some help with why an Aries moon would be a factor in keeping one from choosing/cooking the steak? I have that Aries moon and as mentioned, good food even the best of the best would have often been my choice or preferrence. I’d like to think I managed to do the steak justice in its cooked form. Asking then for one more piece of your guidance; putting this additional fact in my hat of knowledge would also provide for another appreciation on my impromptu and inspired list of thanks.

    Enjoy your friend and dinner and the decadent dessert, sounds lovely. And thanks.


    • Yow, that survivor guilt with your sister hits pretty close to home!!

      As for Aries Moon and cooking, you probably have some other factors to compensate, such as good planets like the Sun, Moon or Venus in Cancer, Virgo, or Taurus. But a typical–one might almost say archetypal, were it not so mundane–Aries Moon female doesn’t take kindly to domestic tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. and is likely to get them done, if at all, hurridly. I still remember an article I read in my early days in astrology that said Aries Moons weren’t the greatest cooks because they burned everything. I’m still pissed about it, because it happens to be true. I have noooooo patience, so I crank up the heat as high as possible, then go back to the computer and forget there’s anything on the stove! Donna

      • This info helps Donna. I did suspect it was the Aries impatience. I’m of the I want it all and want it now mindset – therefore please get out of my way while I do so – just in other areas of my life! What I taught myself about the joy of cooking (and for that matter perfectly ironed, folded and scented laundry) is the meditative state one could be in and end up with a thing of beauty and one that provided lingering reminders of the meditation. Sometimes nothing better than cool, crisp, fragrant welcoming linens on one’s bed.

        Once again, TY

  42. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all people all over America, Donna!
    Oh, and wise choice to skip the turkey, we have it on christmas day here -the bird is inedible!

  43. Love the image.

  44. Dear Donna,
    Happy Thanksgiving for you and Martha. What a shitty day, it’s not celebrated here in Argentina, thanks Dude, it’s just another day, we have enough with Xmas … Everybody gets together and mostly not by choice. The good thing about having lovers is that you don’t have to get together on this date.
    Don’t tell me Im not great at finding things to thank for!!!
    Much love and yes, we are definetely your large worldwide family!!!!

  45. Happy Thanksgiving, Donna. Steak and pinot grigot sounds terrific.

    Thank you for this great blog and for being so generous with your teach
    ings. I bought “Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World” 20 years ago, and I still go to it on a regular basis. It’s such a delight to be able to ask you a question now and then and get your personal insights.

    I’m recovering from an injury right now which has left me a little isolated and a lot pissed off with the Universe. Being able to tune in to the on-line astrology community has been a nice diversion during this time. I have a great physical support system of friends and family for which I am very thankful, but this community has been a source of private spiritual refreshment for me.

    Thanks for all you do!

  46. Thank you SO much Donna for daring to bare your soul & voicing the existential loneliness that many of us are feeling at the end of this long & difficult year. But most of all, thank you for calling “bullshit” on forced gratitude this Thanksgiving. For days now I have been telling myself that I have much to be thankful for, yet somehow my heart just wasn’t in it. The truth is that there’s been too much loss in my life & in the lives of those I love (& throughout the world) this year to pretend that everything is fine. So no more pretending – from now on I give myself permission to feel ALL my feelings, even those aren’t the slightest bit grateful. Thank you Donna for sharing your Thanksgiving epiphany – you really do make a difference in the world.

    • YES!! Ingrates of the world, unite!! No, seriously, I applaud your willingness to tell the truth. I honestly feel better AND more grateful for having said what was true for me. Donna

  47. hi donna,

    i am late to the posting and it is officially thanksgiving day being nearly 1 a.m. i’ve gotta tell you, i’ve been up every night the last few nights into the wee hours of the morning and until i read your post just now, i didn’t really think anything of it except maybe restlessness.

    your post is so poignant. it has me thinking more consciously about what i am always thinking about, but perhaps more unconsciously – and that is my father. we lost him three years ago, october 23rd, after being diagnosed in stage IV cancer only five weeks earlier. the holidays, in general, but maybe more thanksgiving than xmas always-ALWAYS had my dad as the central figure tying us all together. my dad was nothing if not a family man, his familial relationships were at the top of his list and it really showed. he was the oldest sibling of his family and acted as the anchor in keeping them all communicating. he called his mother every week until she died (7 years ago yesterday). he even kept in contact with his grown cousins. it was always HIM calling people, making connections, planning the family gatherings, being the mediator for (his) sibling squabbles. he LOVED getting people together and thanksgiving was certainly a huge deal to him – cooking the turkey, planning the side dishes. my mom sometimes wished someone else would host of us kids, but my dad relished hosting duties.

    i have to say, it just isn’t the same without him. i think coupled with how close the date of his passing is to these two big holidays…well, obviously that first year was impossible and very painful for all of us, very broken feeling. but the last two years weren’t much better, with my sister doing her best to take on hosting duties. this year, we are back at mom’s house in beaverton. the general concensus is that now we do this for the grandkids (who are all 6 and under), but the rest of us are kind of going through the motions. it’s not all sad and mopey. it’s just not…dad.

    as a side note: for me, particularly, this holiday is oddly bittersweet in other aspects of my life. i’ve been unemployed for three weeks and had a pretty good attitude up until a few days ago (coinciding with anxiety that’s kept me up at night, i’m sure). and yet even still, i am grateful that i was “let go” from my job and that company. sure, i feel uncertain and some anxiety, but i am thankful for how life works in ways that follow soul urges if you look deeply. and just yesterday – totally out of the blue – i heard from a friend i’d had a falling out with a year ago. he wrote me to apologize, told me he’d missed me and hoped we could reconcile and be friends again. two weeks ago, another male friend contacted me out of the blue to apologize for something that happened five years ago and asked for my forgiveness! i mean, ’tis the season of healing, i guess! i never would have thought these relationships would mend. so while there is a deep underlying sadness at how the term “family” has changed in the past three years, there is deep gratitude that i can even take a moment to recognize what IS here, what IS now.

    i appreciate your posts, as always, donna and hope you thoroughly enjoy your untraditional thanksgiving with your friend!

    • Holidays, in themselves, can be hard, but it’s harder still in the wake of events and losses. You’re handling them well, considering. Donna

  48. See? This too passed! We’re on the 26th now! I’m sure you made the best of it and had a great time with your friend! And just in case you wanna cling a little bit more to the bittersweet melancoly of the day before going to bed, here’s a song that fits the mood and keeps good company:

    • Thanks for thinking of me, VR. I did have a good day, and it turns out my young astrologers are excellent vegetarian cooks. Donna

  49. Did you get to watch the movie? I saw it recently and liked it.


  50. Hi Donna! I hope you and your neighbor enjoyed the movie and savored the juicy steak and forgot all about the woes of the “what is not” for Thanksgiving. Some of us (like me, for instance) who come from a dysfunctional family of origin, have great educations, and for all practical appearances SHOULD have it all together (and from the outside look like we do), but are just miserable this holiday. I was more alone than you were, WITH a husband! Even though I am a counselor ( I am PLutonic!), my husband is shut down and totally and completely unavailable to me and has been for over 20 years. We own a successful business and I am retired from counseling, but the lack of love in our relationship has manifested in physical ailments that will require both of my hips to be replaced soon. I live in an upstairs apartment, in seclusion as Pluto ends his transit of my 12th house and has hit Chiron, Ceres, and is currently conjunct Mars, 3 degrees from Ascendant. We had family (my son and his wife) over and that was the highlight of Thanksgiving for me! But I do believe being alone on purpose is better than being alone in a relationship! Especially for a Scorpio! This has been my Dark Night of the Soul and I will never forget it. It is probably my own fault for building a business with a controlling man and then leaving my source of independence, but when I get new hips at age 60, if it is humanly possible, next Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for the ability to be independent! BTW, I have a sister just like your Diana….One thing I am thankful for is nature. It is a rejuvenating force for me. I can go outside and somehow reconnect to the Universe that way. I am thankful for you too, Donna! Your books have helped me keep my sanity in the wake of an awful childhood that I still carry scars from and I still use your tips for dealing with my own trauma as an infant and young child! You are wonderful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge of astrology and counseling so freely with us! I love your blog, too! I admire you greatly!

    • Thanks, Cindi, I did indeed have two great thanksgiving dinners. (It turns out these West Coast vegetarians can COOK!) I had both hips replaced too, going on 10 years ago, and it gave me a whole new lease on life. (Do what they tell you during recovery, though!!) Donna

  51. I, too, am on my own in this life, and carry the scars of a dysfunctional family. But manage to keep a gratitude journal of at least 5 things I am grateful for every day. As a matter of fact, I just finished my list for today.

    I love this blog, and we are all wonderful!

  52. That was an intense moon.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    • Doing fine, thanx. The Moon does pass quickly, gratefully. Donna

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