Posted by: Donna Cunningham | April 13, 2015

Survey: Sixth House Planets and the Jobs You’ve Had

©4-13-20015 by Donna Cunningham

One of the things I love most about blogging is the sharing and learning that happens when you readers share your own charts and how various features play out in real life. We haven’t done much with the 6th house—the house of daily work—which often shows the kinds of jobs people have had. They aren’t necessarily your chosen career, which would more often be the 10th, but many of us work steadily for years in places where our skills and backgrounds meet the job description, and we make a contribution in those jobs.

For answers, we’d want to examine the 6th house:

  • Any planets in that house and their signs
  • The sign on the cusp of the 6th
  • The ruler of the sign on the cusp and the house it’s placed in

Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | April 10, 2015

Another Scam? Email box full?

ANOTHER SCAM?  I just got an email saying that my email box was full and that I couldn’t send or receive any more emails unless I clicked on a link and supplied information. As I have a new email server, I hesitated, but didn’t click, as I had just been sending and receiving emails. NEVER  click on a link like that or give personal information.   Donna

PS. Thank you all for joining the discussion on scams and for your helpful suggestions.

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | April 5, 2015

Computer Locked up? Beware of Ransom Scam

By Donna Cunningham, MSW

I’m writing this to warn you about a very dangeorus scam.

I’m just slowly recovering from a weeklong nightmare.  On Monday morning, I went to use my computer, but the startup page was locked, with a phone number I was to call.  The person who answered said he was from Microsoft, and that the computer was locked because my 5-year warrantee was up. If I didn’t renew it immediately, it would crash and I would lose all my files. He offered me several plans, from 3-5 years, for anywhere from $150-$350, but pressured me to get the money to them that very day.

It sounded like ANOTHER computer scam, but in fact, I bought my computer 5 years ago in early April.  I called a couple of knowledgeable people, and they told me it was something called a ransom scam–in effect, they were holding my computer hostage.   They suggested I call the Microsoft customer service line at 1-800-642-7676.

When I called, they said it was a scam going around, and that 1) They NEVER call customers, and 2)they would NEVER lock up a customer’s computer.   They tried to help me by long distance, but there was no way to get past the locked up opening screen without having the machine to work on.  They also suggested I call their hot line for further advice at 1-877-696-7786.

After further conferring with friends, I decided it was time to replace the old computer anyway, as it had been limping along for months.  I’d been saving money for a new one, but had been putting it off because it would take about a month to learn the new one, and to redo preferences and bookmarks. I was in the middle of writing a book and couldn’t see taking that much time off.

On Tuesday, off I and friend Lynne went to Best Buy, carrying along all the software I’d need them to install.  I bought a great Hewlett-Packard laptop and a service contract from the Geek Squad, finding the man who helped us both patient, kind, and capable. For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to pick it up until  Friday.

I am so not good at technical things, so another tech-savvy friend, Kent, kindly came to set it all up for me. Alas, my email server has gotten all new connections (Round cube vs. Mozilla) and Windows 8.1 and the up to date Windows Office as proving very difficult to master. I appear to have lost all my personal email addresses (the old computer still being locked) and all my bookmarks are gone.  (Emails to Skywriter readers come through Feedburner.)

Enough about me. My reason for writing this is to warn you about the ransom scams, as apparently they are going around.  Don’t pay them.

The scammers will hound you by phone, threatening to crash your computer if you don’t send them money.  If you have call blocking, block them. (The number they called me from started with 1-315-370-76xx.)

See if the Microsoft hot line can help you.  If not, take it somewhere in person like the Geek Squad or your own trusted computer person.

The question that remains is, how were they able to get into my computer to lock it in the first place?

I suspect that it was because some time ago, I fell into another scam.  Suffice it to say, they convinced me to purchase a 3-year service to fix my computer by remote screen.  DO NOT GIVE ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER.

Anyway, my email addresses are gone, so I can’t write to anyone until I create a new address book.

I want to add that a backup drive to keep all your essential writings on is crucial. If I hadn’t done that constantly after every writing session, all my ebooks and articles would be gone. I use a Sanyo about the size of a deck of cards that costs maybe $50.  It’s absolutely essential now with these ruinous scams. 

Has anyone else out there been locked out of the computer?  How did you resolve it? There has to be some other way besides getting a new one.  Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | March 28, 2015

“But NOTHING happened!” Why Big Transits Can Sometimes be a Bust

© 3-28-2015 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 A longtime Skywriter reader wrote to ask a question that had been bothering her for quite a while. She said that despite predictions of big changes in her life, major transits had often produced little or no effect in the way of happenings. I understood what she was saying about big transits and nothing happening. I have observed such things with myself  and others, too–clients and friends or loved ones. When I examined their lives more closely, it became clearer that the long outer planet transit correlated with internal changes that moved them. Eventually and only gradually, under internal and/or external pressure, did they take action to change their approach to life and to significant others. It’s often something like a realization that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 12, 2015

Mercury Retrograde Makes the New York Times Sunday Magazine

 © January 12, 2015 by Donna Cunningham—and the New York Times

 I never thought I’d see the day, but Mercury retrograde was given an entire article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine yesterday. The article was articulate and informative in enumerating both the astrological and astronomical facts about the planet Mercury.

Due to its closeness to the sun, it has 372 craters, each one named for a creative artist of some sort, from writers to poets and graphic artists. There’s even a Walt Disney crater and one for Hemingway and another for Johan Sebastian Bach. (“Retrograde Beliefs– in Defense of Magical Thinking,” © by Kristen Dombeck, New York Sunday Times Magazine, January 11, 2015, pp. 11-12.)

Since most copies of that issue will be in the recycling bin by the time this appears on Skywriter, I’ll quote verbatim from the article. I plan to willfully exceed the 40-word limit on quotations by several hundred words, so please don’t rat me out. Wouldn’t want the New York Times coming down on me like a ton of bricks! Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 26, 2014

Free Table: 2015 Postions of Saturn to Pluto, Plus Eclipses

(c)12-26-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

I created a one-page summary table of transiting planet positions, using Solar Fire’s ephemeris generating function.  For me, a table like this one makes it simple to see what’s going on. You can download it here: 2015 Ephemeris table

In 2015, Mercury will be retrograde during:

January 21 – February 11

May 19 – June 11

September 17 – October 9



More Free Downloads:  

Transit Tracker:  This one-page reference summarizes the transits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto from 1990-2020. Print it out and use it to look back on past transits and to look forward for the next few years. Download it here: HO-transit trackingtable-1990-2020. (Note: in creating this table, I rounded the positions of the planets up to the nearest degree. EG, if a planet is at 25 Libra 45, I round it up to 26.)

Links to Skywriter’s 650 Astrology Posts, sorted into categories, including the houses, planets, signs, and transits. Excellent resource for astrology students. Save it to your hard drive rather than print it, and then all the links are live. Download it here:  1-Articles Index Skywriter 12-14.





Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 20, 2014

Donna Cunningham’s Writing Tips

(c)2008, 2014  by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Note: The seventh anniversary of this blog  represents the first major aspect from the blog’s Saturn by transiting Saturn. As it’s just past, I went on a tour of my earliest articles here.  This one,  with excerpts from a writing seminar I did back then, seems as relevant now as it was then.  Donna

I’m known as a “prolific” writer of books and articles, and part of why my writing reaches people is  that I work hard to make it clear and accessible.  Below, for those of you who yearn to  share  your own knowledge and experience, are some of  the things I’ve learned during my long writing career.  I hope you find them useful.

1)  Many who yearn to write hesitate because they feel they have nothing original to say.  They wonder, since there are so many authors who write about each subject, how could little old them have anything new to offer? What helps to get past the fear that you have nothing new to say is to identify your own personal slant on the topic.

wordlewhatIn a few sentences, boil the piece down to the core. What’s the message you wish to convey to your readers? Why do you want to write about this subject? How do you propose to inform, uplift, or entertain your readers?  What’s your point of view about the topic?

What’s different or new about what your piece than what others who’ve written about the subject had to say? Do you agree or disagree with them? If you’re a newcomer to the scene, what has intrigued or excited you about it? What has amused or exasperated you about human nature?  What experience moved you? Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 17, 2014

Readers’ Favorites: Top Skywriter Posts of 2014

©12-17-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 2014 bestThis week is Skywriter’s 7th anniversary. This blog got underway in December, 2008, and in the seven years since then, I’ve published over 600 articles on a large variety of topics. Today, the statistics from WordPress tell me that there have been over 3,300,000 page hits since then. That number doesn’t include the 3300 of you who get my new posts by email.  What a happy anniversary!

From time to time, I like to look at the list of reader’s favorite articles to see what topics we could explore more thoroughly. WordPress keeps a list of the top articles and how many visits each of them received. The all-time favorites include most of the tests of planetary strengths you’ll find under a tab on the front page.

Pluto seems to be the one people worry about the most, since more than 62,000 have taken that test since this was published in the spring of 2010. (This past week alone, 236 people took it.) From their comments, it’s not clear whether they’re bragging or complaining! Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 10, 2014

How to Avoid Using Negative language in Your Predictions

(c)12-10-14 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Donna explains: I always say that serendipity is the law of my life, and that timing is perfection. That belief is very strong for me today as I am finishing an assignment that will appear in the April issue of The Mountain Astrologer. It’s part of an upcoming series of three issues dedicated to predicting.  My particular assignment is to write  about how to make responsible predictions.  It  fits right into our current theme on Skywriter about boundaries and the  long term effect of negative predictions. Here’s a very brief excerpt from my 3000 word article, as it describes a helpful approach to talking about the effects of tough transiting planets.

We  need to avoid negative ways of describing the planet’s effects. Astrologers often talk as though the planets gang up on us and yank our chains. It’s a kind of shorthand, not to be taken literally. However, people can feel powerless if we give them the impression that transiting Saturn is about to put an end to their career or that slow-moving Pluto will be kicking their keister for the next three years.

Here are some alternate ways that express connections between two planets but don’t imply that the planets CAUSE something to happen. Instead say that the aspect: suggests, represents, implies, shows, symbolizes, could indicate that, hints that, can correlate with, goes along with, is associated with, corresponds to, depicts, or portrays a particular behavior or event. (This goes for written predictions on blogs or websites or in published articles as well.)

(P.S. If you like this post and want to join my email subscribers list, sign up in the box at the top right hand side of the the front page.)

Related Posts on Skywriter: Read More…

A guest post by Liz Howell, (c)12-6-2014

 Note from Donna:  Our current discussion on setting healthy boundaries started with thoughtful exchanges on that subject with fellow Portland astrologer, Liz Howell.  I asked her to share her conclusions on this blog.

Donna, thanks for provoking some thought on this topic and getting me to churn my wheels on boundaries and guidelines I have developed for myself over the years in my astrological practice.

I can’t say that I have any hard and fast rules, but I do know that I am forever learning, adjusting and bringing deeper clarity to both my ability to help others and the appropriateness of my engagement as an astrologer.

When in doubt, I generally error on the side of caution and will not hesitate to say NO to a new or existing client or opportunity if I feel that there is any conflict of interest. I think the most common thread that appears in all the boundary issues I have encountered as a practicing astrologer boil down to having to play multiple roles and wear more than one hat at a time. Two Examples: Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 4, 2014

Awful Things Astrologers Say to Clients

©2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Note: I am reposting this article because of our current discussion about setting healthy boundaries in astrological sessions.  It is an excerpt from  my ebook, Counseling Principles for Astrologers.

For many years, I had a monthly advice column in Dell Horoscope Magazine, a Dear Abby type column in which readers wrote their problems and I answered based on their astrology charts. Part of the job description for that column seemed to be putting out fires that other astrologers have set, for I got many letters from readers who were devastated by the way their chart reading was handled.

These letters pointed to the need for true and responsible professional training in our field and the need, especially, for a certain amount of counseling training. Like it or not, counseling is what an astrologer does each time a client comes for a reading.

I’ve heard from any number of terrified young mothers who were told terrible things about their babies’ charts. Astrologers, please exercise extreme caution and empathy for the parents if you decide to interpret children’s charts. Nothing upsets me more than hearing about astrologers who make dire forecasts based on an infant’s chart, as they are prone to do when the outer planets are strong. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 2, 2014

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Astrology Sessions

(c)12-2-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Setting and respecting boundaries has been a theme on Skywriter since I started it in 2010. We’ve talked about how the concept applies to our connections with family, friends, and coworkers. We’ve discussed related topics like codependency, enabling, and bullying. At the end of this post, you’ll find links to several past posts on the nature of boundaries.

As those posts discuss, the astrological signatures of bad boundaries often involve some combination of Neptune, the Moon, and Pluto, as well as their associated signs, Pisces, Cancer, or Scorpio. With Neptune now in its own sign, Pisces, boundaries in the world at large are harder and harder to discern and to maintain.

Only recently did it occur to me that we’ve never discussed how crucial it is for a professional astrologer to establish and maintain clear, healthy boundaries in sessions with clients. Many of us hold sessions in our homes, creating an informal atmosphere that can be comforting and cozy, yet can lend itself to overly relaxed boundaries unless we are watchful. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | November 10, 2014

How Are You Using the Strengths of Neptune in Pisces?

©11-10-14 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 In a recent article for the Mountain Astrologer, I wrote that Pluto in Scorpio—the sign it rules—wasn’t like Pluto plus Pluto, it was more like Pluto times Pluto in terms of its concentrated Plutonian energy. This morning I realized that having Neptune in its own sign, Pisces, is a similar concentration of Neptunian energy, perhaps like Neptune times Neptune.

An excess of Neptune can be expressed in extremely negative ways, no doubt about it. However, today let’s ponder the positive potential of Neptune in Pisces. It seems like we’re in an era when there’s little compassion, when the toughness of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio creates an atmosphere of cutting no one any slack.

So perhaps Neptune in Pisces could be a way the Universe is giving us a break from the relentless toughness of our age. And when would be a better time of exploring how we can use Neptune’s energy for good than in the upcoming holidays? That’s a time of year that’s often difficult for the many who are suffering.

Here are some of Neptune’s more positive expressions: Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 21, 2014

Travel Alert—No Security Guards at Many Baggage Claim Areas!

(c)10-21-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 I heard an item on last night’s local news about the many airports around the country that have discontinued the security guards at baggage claim areas in order to cut costs. No employee looks at the baggage claim checks any more here in Portland, or in Seattle or many large cities around the country. There are gangs who walk in off the street, pick luggage off the wheel, and walk out with it.

Those with black suitcases or other common types that come through baggage claims by the hundreds are especially at risk because the thief can easily say it was a mistake. You’re advised to pack anything valuable into your carryon luggage and, once you land, to hurry to the baggage claim area. If traveling for the holidays, don’t pack gifts in your luggage, and if possible, send them ahead by mail.

Still another reason air travel has become far too difficult for the likes of me!

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 2, 2014

Pluto’s a Planet Again! Now We Can Breathe Easy!

(c)1-2-14 by Donna Cunningham, MSWweightlifterscorpio-a2d

Were you, like me, perturbed when Pluto was demoted from planet status several years back?  I mean, what were we supposed to do about Scorpio, and what if Pluto was one of the strongest features in our charts?  What about Pluto transits that kicked us in the keister on the way to transformation? And how were we going to explain it to our clients?

It just didn’t make sense somehow to dismiss Pluto’s role in astrology when its expressions were so hard to ignore. (Here’s the backstory: Planet or Not—Pluto IS Powerful! )

Well, there’s good news today. Astronomers have reconsidered. (Who made them God in the first place?) And now Pluto is back on the rolls. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 29, 2014

Announcing My New Ebook Collection of Astrology Articles!

©9-29-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSWNew-Insights-into-the-Astrology-Chart-220x300

Dear Readers,  Today I’m releasing New Insights into the Astrology Chart, a collection of 25 articles on various facets of
the horoscope. This month began with a spectacularly huge Super Moon, the largest in a series this year.

It was also the Harvest Moon, the autumn Full Moon that marks a time of harvesting crops and preserving them for long-term use. It couldn’t have been more a more fitting time to add the finishing touches to this book, because its purpose is to harvest articles published over the years in The Mountain Astrologer and here on Skywriter.

These readers’ favorites are now preserved for many years to come. To learn more about the book, download a sampler of its contents here: SAMPLER 2015 NEW INSIGHTS. Order here:

Each essay stands alone and is related to those around it only by virtue of the fact that they all arise out of my personal perspective on the horoscope and my 45 years of astrological practice. In my ongoing series for intermediate students, “Essential Elements of Chart Interpretation,” The Mountain Astrologer has provided a rewarding venue for examining single chart features in depth 

I’d also like to acknowledge Skywriter’s readers for their enthusiastic participation in our exchanges on various topics. We were able to collect valuable examples of how natal chart features and transits manifest in life experience, and some of our insights are reflected in this collection.

 Astanal 2014 cvr smNote: If you like this ebook, you might also enjoy my earlier essay collection, Astrological Analysis: Select Topics in Chart Interpretation. Download a sampler here: Sampler–2015 Astrological Analysis and order here:

 What’s next?  Believe it or not, I have another whole collection of essays waiting in line to be written, this time about vocational astrology.

Do you ever wonder whether books have natal charts and transits?  I believe the release date and time is the birth chart of the book, while the chart of the moment you actually started writing the book is like a conception chart.

The electional chart for today’s release has some terrific aspects:  a Grand Trine in Fire consisting of:

  • The Moon and Mars in Sag in the 10th conjunct the Midheaven, a potent position
  • Trining Uranus in Aries in the 2nd
  • Trining Jupiter in Leo, which is in the 6th but on the Descendant also, and thus very strong.

(Sure there are some difficult aspects too, but I don’t want to wait forever for a perfect chart. We’re in very trying times and no current chart is without tough, long-lasting outer planet aspects.)   The launch time is 5:00 PM, PDT on September 29th,  2014, in Portland, OR, and, yes, I still use Placidus houses.




Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 15, 2014

Love Mysteries? Here are two Free Astrology-Based Mystery Novels!

Free Mystery Novels: My two mystery novels are now  free e-books!

These two novels chronicle the adventures of astrologer, Jillian Malone, and Tarot reader, Robert Pierce, friends who–under duress–leave New York City and move to Port Townsend, Washington, to work on a psychic hotline. The astrological charts of major characters are shown in the book, and they work–even by transit!

Download a copy  of Hotline to Heaven here: hotlinetoheaven07.  And the sequel, Angel in Peril here: Mystery-angelinperil.

For more free offerings here on Skywriter,  go to the Free section on the tool bar: Free and to learn about more of my ebooks, go to My Books.

Next:  My latest ebook,  New Insights into the Astrology Chart, a collection of 25 essays on various facets of chart interpretation.

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 31, 2014

Neptune and the Cosmic Soup–How Psychic Contagion Depletes Us

New-Insights-into-the-Astrology-Chart-220x300©8-31-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

This is an excerpt from Donna’s 2014 ebook, New Insights into the Astrology Chart, a collection of 25 essays.
To learn more, download a sampler of its contents here: SAMPLER 2015 NEW INSIGHTS.  The ebook, delivered by email is $15. (order it here:

If you went out shopping, came home anxious, depressed, or angry, and couldn’t shake it for hours, then while you were out, you may have had a hefty helping of what I call the Cosmic Soup.

The Cosmic Soup is the energy of the Collective, an immersion into the field that surrounds the earth and all the Beings on it. It contains the Spirit but also the emotions—good and bad—of everyone around you and of the world at large. In short, it’s the very essence of Neptune.

The current batch of Soup has been split-pea level or thicker in recent months, since we’re in a phase when Neptune is very strong. That’s because transiting Neptune is in Pisces, its own sign—and will be there for a total of 14 years. That pot has been bubbling on the back burner since 2012, but it’s served up in huge tureens during times when we’re more open and vulnerable.

There’s both good news and bad news for those of us who’ve entered the Cosmic Soup through a period of a spiritual growth and psychic awakening of the sort that often accompanies a Neptune transit. The good news is that you come to experience moments of knowing that all of us are one with All That Is.

The bad news is that you soak up more of the collective turmoil during trying intervals like these past several months. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, empathic people can be deeply affected by it. If you have any current issues of your own that collide with the Cosmic turbulence, exposure to other people’s suffering is bound to intensify your own emotional turmoil.

Are YOU Susceptible to Being Immersed in the Cosmic Soup? Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 12, 2014

Robin William’s Two Astrology Charts—Only One Makes Sense

(c)8-12-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 A reader wrote this morning and asked, “Would you be willing to elaborate in your blog on the issue of predicting suicide in charts that are so heavily impacted by this year’s astrology in light of Robin Williams’ suicide? I think his death has torn up half the world, and shocked us all. I would love to hear your comments, as opposed to what else I’m seeing out there in the astrological section of the web.”

I’ve been devastated by these events and haven’t had the heart to venture out onto the web, but it’s easy to imagine what she might have encountered in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, there are astrologers who glory in the negativity and get a thrill out of making astrological interpretations that are terrifying to people whose chart or loved ones’ charts have related natal or transiting aspects.

Back in June, Liz Howell created a guest post here about the charts of several young men who committed massacres and then killed themselves. Eventually, there were so many comments that reveled in the negativity and speculated on its origins that Liz and I agreed to delete the post and the comments. (Eventually, I put up some posts on the ethics of the situation, and on predicting suicide—see the links at the end of this post.)

I find myself not wanting to put up this post or to open the comment section because it would be disturbing—and infuriating—to get comments like those.

I feel such a compassion for this man whose work so many  of us have loved for decades. Having worked in mental health settings and seen non-medicated manic people in action, I believe he was bipolar (manic depressive), as his comedy was wildly manic and because he struggled often with a deep, bleak depression.  Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 26, 2014

Counseling Principles for Astrologers—2014 Expanded Edition!

 2014 CPA cvr-Cunnningham ©7-26-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Today’s New Moon conjunct Jupiter in Leo seems like a great day to announce the release of the new, expanded edition of my classic ebook, Counseling Principles for Astrologers: Becoming an Effective Change Agent. 

It draws on my decades of practice as an astrologer and social worker, and is full of tips for professional astrologers and those who want to turn professional. It shows how to focus the session on clients’ concerns, explain the chart in plain English, and boost clients’ problem-solving skills.

Chapters include effective interviewing, vocational astrology, crisis counseling, relationship issues, and doing children’s charts. This ebook has regularly been used as a text for online astrology classes at Kepler College .

Here’s what’s new about the 2014 edition : 74 pages of added material, including these new chapters:


This ebook is $15  Download a sampler here: Sampler–2014 Counseling Principles for Astrologers.

 and order here:

Read More…

(c)7-5-2014 by Donna Cunningham,  MSW

An often-missed aspect in astrology charts is the out of sign conjunction, which consists of two planets 8° degrees apart or less, but placed in adjacent signs rather than the same sign. Several days ago, I asked Skywriter Readers who had out of sign conjunctions to share their observations of how those aspects played out in their lives. Here are some excellent examples.

One Reader observes, “I have my Sun at 5° 57’ Virgo and Mars at 27° 09’ Leo, both in the 7th house with my South Node sitting between them. It’s a bit wide – not sure it counts (Virgo nit picking?!) I get a lot of push and pull between wanting to hide out in the background and not be noticed or make a fuss, and being more forceful and direct.

“I always attract and am attracted to very creative men, often with Leo in their charts or other fire signs. I have my moon in Leo too, right on the descendent. There has been a dynamic of me being the practical, sensible one and my partners being the creative one. And then I would get resentful that they seemed to be having all the fun while I was stuck making sure the bills got paid. I’m managing to express more of my creativity now but that seems to have been at the expense of my relationships – to date, at least.”

I assured her, “No need to let those few minutes deter you from looking at that conjunction–especially since aspects to the Sun (or Moon) get a wider orb.

My rule on orbs is that when an aspect seems like it might be a bit wide, I describe the aspect to the person to see if they relate to it or not. They often respond strongly to even a bit wider orb than you’d think, especially with the Sun or Moon. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 4, 2014

My 2014 Solar Return—and Yours!

©7-4-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Though my actual birthday is tomorrow, today is my 2014 solar return. It seems like a good time to say a few words about solar returns in general and about the difficult patterns many thousands of us are seeing in our solar returns this year.

For those of you who are fairly new to astrology, the solar return happens once a year within a day of your actual birth day. It results in a chart drawn up for the date and time the Sun returns to the exact sign, degree, and minute that it occupied when you were born.

That chart describes the most important trends, issues, and events that you’ll experience in the year that follows from that date to next year’s return.

(There’s always been controversy among astrologers about whether the chart should be drawn up for your birthplace or the place you are on this year’s birthday. I fall into the current location school of thought.)

About this year’s solar return—mine and yours—I do know that most of us aren’t having easy ones. But, then, we’re living in an extremely difficult time. Remember the transiting Cardinal t-square or Grand Cross that astrologers have been fretting about for many months? Though it’s a transit, the solar return is based on those same current placements. Thus these formations will appear in the return charts of most of us this year. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 2, 2014

Out of Sign Conjunctions: Your Input Needed

©7-2-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Any time you find one planet in the last few degrees of a sign and another in the first few degrees of the next sign, it may be an out of sign conjunction. If the two planets are within 8° of one another, they’re conjunct. Many astrology students and practitioners ignore them, most likely because they’re complicated to interpret.

I’ve started to research out of sign conjunctions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that not only do they work; you run a risk in ignoring them, because they can represent an important dynamic in your life.

Suppose that you had a Sun-Neptune conjunction. It’s hard enough to understand these two planets merged in a single sign—lots of confusion and denial about who you really are. If they were straddling two signs and you ignored the aspect, you’d have an even harder time seeing your true self clearly and realistically. Read More…

©by Donna Cunningham, MSW on 6-22-2014

 Note: the following is a brief excerpt from a chapter on counseling clients in crisis in my ebook for professional astrologers,  Counseling Principles for Astrologers: Becoming an Effective Change Agent. Order here:

 Occasionally, astrology clients will express suicidal thoughts­ during the session. Sometimes they do it indirectly by saying­ something like, “I just don’t know how much longer I can go on.”

 You first need to assess the seriousness of the client’s ­desire to die. Can you tell from the chart? I think not.

The ­National Council for Geocosmic Research, one of the major­ astrological organizations, conducted a ­painstaking and well-designed research project on suicide. They­ did it over a span of six years, from 1974-80, coordinated by ­Nona Gwynn Press. Read More…

6/20/2014 From Donna Cunningham, MSW

 This is a bit off-topic from suicide, but, then again, perhaps it’s not. I subscribe to Scientific American Mind, a magazine connected to Scientific American, but focused on emotions and psychological principles.

In the July/August 2014 issue on page 15, I found an article reporting on several important research studies into the ways that women’s bodies react differently—usually more strongly—from men’s bodies to medications for things like depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and pain. The side effects of these medications on other bodily functions are much more likely to be toxic or overly strong when women take them.

For instance, with sleeping pills of one kind or another, women typically have more of the drug left in their system the next morning than men do, creating problems in being alert for work and driving. Read More…

©6-18-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 My recent post that came out strongly against predicting violence or suicide stirred up a lively—and productive—discussion in the comment section. (Why Astrologers Cannot and Should Not Predict Violence or Suicide.) You might have a look and something to add.

Serendipity is the law of my life, and it’s at work here. It finally got clear this morning that materials from this series need to be included into the new and expanded edition of my Counseling Principles for Astrology that’s in process now. There’s already a chapter on clients in crisis that has a section on suicide, but it needs some of the material we’ll be covering in this and upcoming posts.

Apparently, some readers took my comments to mean that we shouldn’t address people’s difficult chart placements and transits that are driving them to the brink of drastic actions like violence or suicide. Long-time readers know better. I’m not one of those terminally positive astrologers who look at charts through rose-colored glasses and only talk about the woooooonderful effects of tough transits like the Pluto-Uranus square.

People are hurting now with these astrological conditions and hurting badly, and we need to be prepared to let them talk about their realities. In a coming post, we’ll learn more about suicidal people and the warning signs.

 What Can You Do for Desperate Clients?

 However, those who come to us in a desperate ­state need hope for the future. With severely depressed people, I tend not to do­ long-range forecasting. The client can find it terribly discouraging to be told that the same astrological conditions accounting for this current emotional ­black hole are going to repeat themselves several times over the next two to three years. Instead, look for where help can come from, in terms ­of chart aspects such as trines and sextiles both natally and by transit. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 15, 2014

Why Astrologers Cannot and Should Not Predict Violence or Suicide

 ©6-15-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

There have been an alarming number of tragic mass murder events over the past few years. On several of those occasions, when the age and birth date of the killer were revealed by the press, it was clear that they fell into the range of 1988-90, the period when Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune were closely conjunct in Capricorn. The younger ones tended to have concentrations of planets in Aquarius, including Uranus and Neptune.

A guest blogger created a post, published on Skywriter a week ago, in which the birth charts (mostly without birth times) of shooters in several of these events were presented—in particular, several who were behind school shootings. Readers were invited to look for astrological patterns in the charts and report their observations in the comment section. 

The intention behind the discussion was a positive one. She asked readers, “What be learned from the astrological makeup of the few who did kill? Can we use astrology to identify those of this generation who might be at high risk for a tragic meltdown if they don’t get help?” 

I would add a caution for readers to keep in mind when doing an analysis of a chart in that age range: Of course, very few of the people born in that period with that conjunction have resorted to violent behavior—after all, there were 138 million of them born worldwide in 1989 alone, and nearly as many as that divided between 1988 and 1990. Thus, on any of the 365 days of 1989, about 378,000 people were born around the globe and thus had most of the same planetary aspects.

Given that each rising sign is on the Ascendant for two hours a day, that makes approximately 31,000 kids born with the same house placements. And getting the same transits to their natal placements. How many of those 31,000 kids wound up doing a massacre?

Rather than making dire conclusions about an individual’s astrology chart, we need to view the chart through that perspective of a long-term, world wide generation of people.

The discussion in the comment section was lively, but I grew uncomfortable with the tone of the comments, as did the guest blogger. We weren’t just uncomfortable, frankly, we squirmed at things like speculating that one shooter’s mother might have been raped or violently assaulted. Read More…

Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 10, 2014

Fake Credit Card Scores–Newest Identity Theft Scam

(c)6-10-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Identity theft is a major problem–one that can be financially ruinous and take years to clear up. Identity thieves are extremely brilliant and come up with one after another tactic to scare people into revealing crucial personal information like date of birth, address, Social Security number, and bank account information.

What people should know is that they will NEVER be contacted by the bank by email for any reason. They will only be contacted by the credit reporting agencies if THEY set up an inquiry and receive a response within 30 days. Any unsolicited email from anyone claiming to be these companies is not from them and should be sent to junk.
Many people think, “but I don’t have any money or property, so why would they bother stealing from me?”  Unfortunately, you don’t have to be rich to fall prey to thieves, because they can counterfeit driving licenses or other identification easily and open credit card accounts in your name. You must also guard any insurance card numbers, because they can use your insurance accounts to charge expensive medical or dental procedures.

Often, as a scare tactic, they will send you a frightening email that claims something has gone wrong with your bank account or credit card, something that makes you alarmed enough to open up the email and click on a link that supposedly goes to your account. They are capable of copying and counterfeiting any commercial website.

The newest scam for the past week or so is to announce in the email header that your credit score has changed. It may claim to be from credit score bureaus like Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion, or even from LifeLock.

The thing is these firms are not going to just contact you out of the blue. You have to PAY them to do that. Even if you are a customer of any of these firms, do not ever click on a link, and you are better off not even opening the email, in case it contains malware. Instead go directly to your account with them on line to see if there is legitimately a problem.

One thing that will tip you off to a fake email is to look at the email address. The ones I’m receiving start with Experian@  but what comes after the @ is totally unfamiliar.

More Identity Theft Information:

Crucial Information about Preventing Identity Theft.

Identity Theft Transits – And Inexpensive Identity Protection

Fraud Alert for PayPal Users–Fake Account Statements sent by Identity Thieves


Posted by: Donna Cunningham | May 26, 2014

The Pluto-Uranus Square: Go Big or Go Home

From Donna Cunningham, 5-26-14

 I’ve often noticed how the newest buzzwords and slogans reflect the current signs and aspects of the slow moving planets—Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  One that strikes me in the past year is, GO BIG OR GO HOME. 

It urges us all to take our performance up several notches if we want to stay in the race. I believe it expresses the energies of the long square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. The impact of a transit is in affect within a 3° range, and the pair them together have been strongly affecting  natal planets in the early to middle Cardinal signs since 2010.  (That would be Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.)

Lately, of course, that’s been further complicated by aspects from Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra—that Cardinal Cross we’ve all been hearing about. Cardinal signs are action-oriented and work hard toward their own personal goals, depending on the planet, sign, and house involved. Read More…

©5-15-14 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Recently, I held a contest contest, where readers were asked to suggest a topic for a contest to be held here on Skywriter. The entries with the best suggestions would win one of my ebooks of their choosing.  I started with Eunice’s suggestion of the best thing that happened to you under a Pluto transit.

I liked it because we hear so many tales of woe about awful things that happened to people under Pluto transits, but seldom does transiting Pluto get rave reviews. Admittedly, sometimes we only see the transformative effects by hindsight, because events under Pluto transits are often intense and life changing.

 So I asked Readers to tell your positive Pluto transit story in the comment section. Include the sign and house of the natal planet or angle (Ascendant, Midheaven, IC, or Descendant) as well as the sign and house of transiting Pluto. Then tell us the transit story, in simple, clear language, but not your whole life story. Be succinct. (Be advised, also, that a blog is a public venue, so don’t tell what you’d want kept private.) Read More…

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