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I've  been in full-time professional practice since my 20's, consulting with individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs, teaching, writing on Experiential Astrology...

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Barbara’s Upcoming Chicago Events for September 2011

For my client, students and friends in Chicago:

I am coming into the city on my twice yearly visit and am offering several seminars while there.

First off, on Thursday morning September 22. between 10:30am and Noon, there will be a class, Small Wonders: Developing Your Child's (Grandchild's) Potential, at the Daily Method, 1714 N. Damen Ave. Description: Children express themselves in four “psychological modes,” Fire (energetic), Air (intellectual), Water (emotional) and Earth (practical). Learn practical recommendations to guide your child and promote greater harmony within your own family. I will need your children (or grandchildren‘s ) birth date, time, and place of birth, and your email address to send the chart/s in advance. $35 per child. RSVP to Barbara at 773-248-7108. The class is limited to twelve children's charts. (There is a child care space available if you need to bring the kids. Best if you can leave them at home!)

Later that day, on Thursday, September 22, at 7pm, my partner Sandy Rueve, millefiori-style clay bead maker, and I will host the second free Intention Bead Wine and Cheese Event at She Beads, 821 Ridge Road, Wilmette, IL (in the village). Sandy’s store is luxurious and comfortable, a pleasant place to spend an evening. We introduced the Intention Bead process there last May and since then have had thirty women go through the process and receive their bracelets. Your intention (your job is to come up with one, with assistance) is rolled into clay beads (Sandy's job) at the most auspicious cosmic moment (my job). In essence we create a magical talisman—and a beautiful piece of jewelry—together. We especially invite those of you who have had their bracelets made—we are eager to hear how your intention is manifesting. RSVP to 847-920-1923. See Sandy’s exquisite work at

The next night, Friday, September 23, 5:30–7pm, I will offer the up-to-date Cosmic Trends: Tuning Into Natural Rhythms, at Allyu Spa, 600 W. Chicago Ave. (easy city parking across the street). Description: Life consists of cycles and patterns that are hidden but knowable. Gain fresh perspective on the upcoming planetary cycles that affect us all—both collectively and individually. Wild times are upon us. Learn how to make use of these times and be given Yogic and psychological tools to turn tough challenges to your advantage. $25. RSVP to Barbara at 773-248-7108.

My last public event is on Tuesday night, September 27, at the Chicago Astrologers Meet Up. We’ll meet at the Waterfront Cafe, 6219 North Sheridan Rd., at 6:30pm. The Cafe is on the lakefront, behind the Berger Park District Cultural Center. (Limited parking is available to the West of the Building). This is a newly-forming group and has attracted some superb Chicago astrologers. 

I hope to see you at one of these events. They always attract a lovely group of people.


Barbara Schermer


In Love with the Night Sky

By Barbara Schermer

As long as I can remember I have been in love with the night sky.

My only memory of my Dutch-speaking grandmother Adolphine is her warning to me: “Pass op… Pass op!” she would say—watch out where you are going! Even as a toddler I was constantly in danger of tripping and falling because my eyes were always looking up

They still do. The stars and planets have continued to draw me upward in a profoundly spiritual way. From a young age I came to know that organic life and the land’s harvest are strongly influenced by the moon’s phases. My grandfather, Cornelius, made his living by the Moon. He grew vegetables and flowers, which he delivered every morning by horse and wagon to the Fulton Street market on the South side of Chicago. When visiting him on Sundays I would tag along behind this kindhearted man as he worked along the furrows.

Grandpa swore by his trusted Farmer’s Almanac, a dogged-eared copy he kept hanging in the garden shed. He set out his tomato seedlings and his beloved Dahlias at the first quarter moon, sowed root vegetables during the waning moon, and planted his water-thirsty melons when the moon was in the water signs.

There is no word but “starstruck” to describe how I felt when I saw my first truly starry sky. I was ten when my family took a summer vacation to Saugatuck Michigan. A friend of the family, an astronomer from the University of Michigan, took us out to the beach to show us the summer constellations. I remember feeling a sense of delight when I learned that, moving above me, was the summer triangle of bright Vega, Aquila (the Eagle), and Deneb in the tail of the Swan Constellation who is forever flying south along the Milky Way. The idea that a swan flew over my head every summer—that the constellations proceded in orderly fashion across the sky with a consistent and reassuring rhythm—gave me an inexplicable sense of comfort.

I was California-bound after graduating from college. In San Francisco I met new friends in who soon revealed they were passionate about astrology.  At parties they would stop speaking English and break into what to me sounded like a foreign language. “Well, your Mars made a trine to your Venus so, what did you expect?” Or, “Remember, Mercury goes retrograde on Friday so don’t buy that car yet.” I hadn’t a clue about these apparently meaningful exchanges. Astrology seemed like a secret language, yet one that had an intelligence that resonated in me. I was intrigued,  so, like many of us stargazers, I began to gain knowledge of astrology by studying my own birth chart. 

I learned that the ten planets, besides being bodies in the sky, are universal powers that exist in each of us—what depth-psychologists call archetypes, or universal principles—and that each planet travels through twelve signs and expresses itself differently in each, much as an actor shows different qualities when playing different characters. I learned also of the major planetary aspects, the energy dynamics that govern the relationships among planets as inner characters.

I closely watched transits, current planet positions in relationship to those of a birth chart, and found the symbolic meanings persuasive. I was especially impressed that so many astrologers warned John Kennedy against traveling to Dallas. As astrology revealed its mysteries, my ten year old sense of stellar awe quickened, and I have been a passionate practicing astrologer ever since. 

As a society, we have lost track of our cosmic connections, what our forbearers knew from their living daily experience with the natural world. Our ancestors had an intimate relationship to the night sky, and their contemplation of the heavens was a vital, primal communion that brought meaning to life. 

In fact, our ancestors very survival depended on someone having this star knowledge. In your own ancestral line there is a high likelihood that a member of your tribal family was an astrologer, priest or shaman who observed the heavens closely and knew when to successfully plant and harvest the crops that kept your community alive.

It’s a pity that most of us are cocooned in cities and that the streetlights keep us unaware of the wonder above us. Google the phrase “light pollution map” and you’ll see that Chicago, where I have lived for years, is one of the most densely light-polluted locations on the planet. 

I love Chicago though, especially in the fall, when the trees have shaken off their leaves. I then get my first clear glimpse of Orion the winter “marker” constellation in the northern hemisphere and the brightest constellation in the heavens. On a clear night you can find Orion, called “the Hunter,” by looking for the three diagonal stars that mark his sword belt. If you look down just below his belt you will see three tiny stars aligned beneath. We can imagine they make up his sword. A close look will reveal one that is not sharp like a star, but fuzzy. You are seeing the Great Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery, one of the most prolific generators of new stars that we know.

Chicago in winter is less congenial to stargazing. So, for the last eleven years, I have spent weeks and then months in Mexico—at first at Rio Caliente spa in Mexico, an hour’s drive from Guadalajara, and now, with my husband Bob at our home  on Lake Chapala.

I remember my many days and nights at Rio Caliente with deep affection. The spa (now closed for business—we hope for its return) rests in a 15,000 acre National Forest, surrounded on three sides by a river of volcanic lithium waters that feeds the blue-tiled pools. Days were a delight there, but my favorite times were at early dawn, between 3 and 5 am, while everyone else was sleeping. I would walk down to the pools in their private grove of high palms and flowering bougainvilleas—faded in the semidarkness from their daytime pink, white, and orange. I slipped into the steaming water carrying three plastic “noodles.” I put one under my neck to support my head and two under my knees to give my body buoyancy. 

Then I just floated, suspended between heaven and Earth, among my familiars—Scorpio and its red supergiant star Antares, just risen, with Sagittarius not far behind, bringing the Teapot for morning tea, his arrow pointed toward the Galactic Center. Libra and Ophiucus and their attendant stars were already risen, Leo with Regulus and Virgo with Spica having nearly finished their passage across the sky. Again, I just floated, in touch with the ten-year-old who imagined herself hugging the Swan and gliding along the flowing river of the Milky Way. 

That night sky is part of what brought me to Mexico to stay. While I no longer see it from the pools of Rio Caliente, most nights I can just step out onto myterraza, and look up to re-engage my childhood companions, my lifelong friends. 


Drawing Down the Divine: Astrological Magic and the Intention Beads

Throughout Western history ritual and astrology have been intimately connected. Good magicians (alchemists) had to be good astrologers or their experiment would fail.

Magic and astrology were “allied arts” in the Renaissance era. Forerunners to modern chemistry, alchemists were involved in an effort to pursue “the art of changing consciousness at will.” At a superficial level, alchemists worked to be able to change lead into gold. In reality their practices were much more directed toward an inner spiritual process in which the dense and grosser states of consciousness were transformed into the higher, more subtle and sublime spiritual states.

Ritual magic, alchemy and astrology rest on one principle: that man is the microcosm of the universe, “man is the great miracle whose mind is divine, of like nature with the star governors of the universe” Giordano Bruno. Commonly expressed as “As above, So below,” this statement reflects the understanding that behind all external phenomena lies a totality—one interconnected, interdependent whole which is sensitive and responsive to the movement of its parts. We recognize that the world is a symbol whose ordering is meaningful only as it represents a deeper, more profound aspect of our consciousness. The visible universe is, to some extent, a projection of the human psyche that is perceiving it. We can know the forces within and they can be called forth.

Intention beads are an experiment in astrological magic. Sandy Rueve (bead maker) and I are offering to partner with you- for me to help you determine your deepest intention and to find the most auspicious time. Sandy then uses her creativity to make your bracelet (talisman) and you then focus your awareness and concentration on your intention. My own experience has confirmed that, properly use, they can “make things happen.”—Barbara.


What to Do on the New Moon, 7/1–7/16

New Moon (Solar Eclipse) began July 1. Use this auspicious two-week period to focus on your emotional life and health. Recommendations: process and release emotional wounds, purify through detoxification (body scrubs, colonics, saunas, tears), make love and explore intimate feelings, get pregnant if you wish, develop your intuition by paying attention to symbols and above all, listen to your inner self and the messages of your dreams.—Barbara.


Back From a Magical Mystery Tour


I am just back from an inspiring trip to Chicago, part of the time spent “off the grid” at a cabin in the woods in northern Indiana—with a wood burning stove, a comfy bed and deer coming to graze in the evening. Oh, did you know that when you sign your initials on a rental car agreement you are saying you will not go off road? Well the car I rented, a red Impala, got stuck in the mud back in the woods between two hills. With much spinning and lurching and rocking it was still impossible to move. I think some of us now feel just like this—spinning our wheels without much feeling of control. I left the car parked there for two days, waiting for the rains to stop. When the path was finally dry I drove it out, dried mud thick in the undercarriage and definitely worse for wear. Sometimes, when we try so hard and get precisely nowhere, wisdom says to just wait, let the conditions change and then we can gain traction and move forward.

At my Cosmic Trends presentation at Allyu spa, nearly two-thirds of those attending had experienced “one door of their life closing and another one opening” over the last few months. Between January 23, 2011 and August 30, 2011, we all have had, and will continue to have, the opportunity to end situations or relationships with people who make our lives more difficult. (You can read more about this collective planetary influence in my previous post about Saturn opposite Jupiter and receive my recommendations on how to make best use of these remarkably dynamic times.)

A day later at another speaking engagement, “Small Wonders,“ at the Dailey Method, I got to talk to moms about their newborns and toddlers. The children ranged in age from 5 years down to two weeks old. Two of the babies, one born February 5 and one on February 27, have birth charts with five or six planets in Aquarius! In fact all children born since the winter solstice (December 21, 2010) have a pile up of planets in their birth charts—from Capricorn to Aquarius to Pisces to Aries—and now to Taurus and Gemini. It is worth another blog post to share insights about the special beings coming into the world now and what their evolutionary spiritual purpose might be. Be on the lookout for it.

The best experience of my trip? Starting a new project in partnership with one of my clients, Sandy Rueve, a millefiore-style clay bead maker and owner of “She Beads” in Chicago. Together we introduced Personal Intention Beads, at Sandy’s store on Chicago’s North Shore, with an event that drew 40 guests, to whom we gave a short presentation on our new collaboration. (See Sandy’s brief “Intention Beads” video on YouTube.) Sandy makes many stunning bracelets, but a Personal Intention Bracelet is even more special—a hand rolled, one-of-a-kind, multicolored clay bracelet created by Sandy at the precise time that corresponds specifically to our client’s personal intention. In essence we are creating a talisman with and for the client.  A talisman is an object “empowered and made sacred.” They are ancient and were especially resurgent during the Italian Renaissance as a tool to “change consciousness at will.” They are magical.

My role is to have a short phone session with our mutual client (with their birth chart in front of me) to help them define a unique intention. With their clear and potent statement of intent and their birth chart as my guide, I find the most auspicious time for Sandy to make the bracelet. The resulting “electional chart,” in astrology terms, depicts all the forces operating when initiating a particular action. Sandy picks up from here and makes the bracelet at the appointed time.

The stories from our first Intention Bead clients have been so much fun. The first woman’s intention was to become “more creative and inspired.” She picked up her bracelet, went to off to see her beautician, and in the course of a conversation was spontaneously told, “Oh, you are so creative and inspiring!” She left there for a church function, where she made centerpieces for the tables. The first two guests to arrive took one look at the displays and exclaimed, “Wow, you are really creative!” As you can see, magic works!

I set my own intention today, on the Solar Eclipse (New Moon in Gemini). Sandy is making my own Personal Intention Bracelet on my birthday in June. I have made talismans myself in the past and even taught others how to make them, but never with a sacred object as beautiful as these are. It will be such a pleasure to wear. If you are interested, post a comment to me and I will tell you more about them. Or go to and select “Intention Beads” on the menu. Welcome magic and beauty into your life.—Barbara.