Nourishing Hope

Art, astrology, Events, Mundane Magic, Services, Tarot

Well… we’re in it, folx. We have speculated, wondered, had concerns, prophesied, read the theories and waited for THE event that would begin The Unraveling of structures and societies as a whole: but now it’s here.

We have already endured so much trauma: continents on fire, unarmed citizens of color being murdered in the streets by police, super-storms destroying entire islands, the election of a sociopathic rapist in a prime leadership role, countless wars, multiple economic travesties, immigrant children being locked in cages and more. Being alive has felt bleak for so long.

However, we are now enduring the fall out of a very contagious disease that threatens every single human on this planet. This is the moment where we look back and say to ourselves “that’s when everything really fell apart.”

Image: 9 of Swords tarot card with rolls of toilet paper

I know it’s a lot. I know we’ve all been inside for too long: nervously coping as best we can. I have found myself sitting a lot, packing my guts with sugar to get myself through this mass-trauma. I stay as informed as I’m able and open my heart just as often. It. Is. Rough. Right. Now. And the future? After I stop wearing slippers more than shoes and (hopefully) get back to work after being laid off? It’s taken two months of being quarantined to my home to even begin considering what the next month, three months, year and even few years might look like after Covid-19.

Right now, I’m grateful for the ability to detach enough from my chronic fight-flight-freeze-fold responses to look to the astrology of our situation: checking in with the stars and cycles of things. I wish I could say that this is the worst of it… That we’ll just have to make sure to wear a mask in public places, wash our hands more than we’re used to and get on with living like we aren’t confined to our homes. But this is the beginning of a mass-transition of power, ideals, community-living, and sustainability that is coming in a rough package.

Image: Judgement tarot card among outdoor debris next to a human skull wearing a mask

One of the current transits that I have been thinking about lately is the shift of the Nodes from Cancer and Capricorn to Gemini and Sagittarius. If you aren’t familiar with the Lunar Nodes of astrology, I like to think of them as our collective invitation to evolve based on poles of archetypal energy. These are the arenas of life that are ripe and ready for us to change: and if we really dive into the signs of the zodiac, we find that the way to remedy these situations is almost laughably obvious. Like caricatures that emphasize what we love and hate about ourselves, the South Node (our collective baggage) and North Node (how we can heal this baggage, together) are key to growing as human beings on earth at this time.

We have been experiencing the karma of Capricorn/Cancer nodes since November 6, 2018. Since then, the south node (baggage) of Capricorn has unearthed cold-heartedness, overly prioritizing work, and abuses of power: revealing the shadow nature of this sign that can only be remedied with the care, prioritization of home-life and commitment to doing everything we can to take care of each other: all things that a North Node (healing) in Cancer brings to the table. Now, since the signs shifted on May 5th, we get to explore the space between a South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini.

Image: 7 of Swords tarot card in the center of an opened Bible

What is the baggage of Sagittarius (The Storyteller)?

Beliefs super-ceding reality. Propaganda. Limits of education and religion. “Teachers” and cult-leaders telling irresponsible and dangerous stories.

How can we heal with Gemini (The Researcher)?

Doing accurate research. Informing ourselves and each other. Thinking things all the way through. Paying attention to and embracing facts.

That’s right: Plandemic came out right as soon as we entered this healing cycle and there is a lot more of that coming in the next year and a half. These “theories” are coming when we are most vulnerable and their impact could be devastating if we are not prepared to verify their accuracy and ground ourselves in reality. Is the spectrum coming alive yet?

The thing about Gemini is that Gemini is THE most anxious personality of the zodiac. This mutable energy is restless, impulsive, relentless, quite chatty and constantly changing on a good day…. And we are supposed to savor this flavor of healing at this time? How can we possibly take on MORE anxiety? Choices? Thoughts? Current-event conversations? Reading? Possibilities? Politely informing our misinformed neighbors? Over and over?

Image: 3 of Swords tarot card surrounded by broken glass

Like it or not, Gemini is here to nurse our collective belief systems in the coming year. Serving as:

1. a North Node of evolutionary potential
2. the source of vital energy in June when the sun cycles out of Taurus
3. our experience of art, beauty and relationships when Venus does an extended residency in this sign come May 13th

If we are to steward the change that is truly needed at this time, we must adapt our lifestyles to Gemini’s reality-checks.

We need to earn our knowledge and learn from each other, which means giving our brains as much support as possible.

Anyone interested in a super power readily at our disposal for this work? THE INTERNET. Our ability to check Snopes, assess the validity of Facebook “news” stories, or even do a quick type-click-and-search to get instant results (another vice of Gemini: immediacy) is one tool that often gets taken for granted.

This gift is something we need to responsibly embrace as individuals with agency during this era of karmic healing: access to limitless information at our fingertips. Does anyone remember the energy it once required to ask a question, use a card catalogue, open more than one book, compare sources and devote an entire afternoon to a trip to the library?

Image: Queen of Swords alongside many non-fiction books

Gemini is STIMULATING, which means as we do this work, we must also remember that spending so much time in our heads takes a toll on our physical bodies: figuring out ways to diffuse this often intense energy is crucial… especially when reading often invokes trauma to our nervous systems as we figure out how to move forward with our lives right now.

I am not sure about anyone else, but I have noticed an almost Pavlovian response when I read the news: with each word, I brace myself. I hold my breath. I skim ahead, hoping that reading just some of the data will give me less emotional responses, but enough information to get the jist of what the writer is trying to say (big no-no’s with Sagittarius baggage ripening before our very eyes.) I need to figure out how to take care of myself while also doing The Big Work.

I have decided that if I am going to even pretend to have hope, courage, joy, faith and a willingness to undergo these changes, I need to also feed myself sensory pleasures that fuel my body and soul.

I need embodied practices that bring me back to my physical-self, give me mental-breaks when I become exhausted, initiate the energetic boosts that are necessary to get back to the facts of life and even enjoy myself every once in a while. I cannot expect myself to perform at my highest potential without rest, relaxation and reminders that this work is only a part of the importance of being alive right now.

Image: Strength tarot card resting gently on my sweet sleeping cat

If any of the above has resonated for you and you’re interested in joining me in this work, here are a few options:

#venusretrogradechallenge2020 : on Monday, May 11th, I will reveal on Instagram my challenge to myself (and you!) for the 40 days that Venus dances backwards through Gemini for the purposes of rest, release and reflection. This endeavor will use this social media platform to call back the creative energy that we have already put out into the Universe that no longer serves us or the world. We will reclaim the threads of ourselves that we so desperately need at a perpetually exhausting time. The best part? It’s free. More details to come! Be sure to follow me for further instructions and guidelines: auroradawning

Queering the Planets : beginning on May 22, Tere Parsley Starnes and I will co-facilitate our second online course on the planets of astrology. My section will focus on the embodiment of each Planetary Godd within our lives as they are now, using methods and practices that titillate our senses: music, digital art, and daily contemplation that embraces both the traditional foundations of astrology AND fresh, queer associations that have been overlooked. This class is three months long, takes place on Discord and is $liding $cale. We would love to taste the visceral flavors of Mars, catch a whiff of uplifting Jupiter and feel the tendrils of Mercury’s wisdom tingling our scalp with you! Registration is open until May 21.

Readings : as always, I am available for tarot and natal chart readings at a safe, convenient distance over the internet. Check out my tarot and astrology pages for more info!

Image: The Star tarot card in the center of a chalk-drawn seven pointed star on concrete

I’ll admit my heightened interest in this cycle of healing: my Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Uranus are in Sagittarius, all of which oppose my moon in Gemini. I simultaneously understand the need to trust people at their word (Gemini) and also love a good theory that illuminates “The Greater Meaning” of things (Sagittarius).

I know that Change beyond what I can even comprehend is on the way, but right now: tending to my needs means nourishing hope for the future. I need this change to be worth the devastation that it’s causing and I intend to do my best to serve the dawn of that vision.

Queering the Planets

astrology, Events, Services, starsdance astrology

The new moon is here again, friends! Which means that the Starsdance Astrology Online Mystery School team is thrilled to announce that registration is open for our next online course!

DATES: May 22 – August 14th
DURATION: Three months
COST: Monthly subscription =  $20 – $30 ← OR → Just this course = $90 – $120 (sliding scale)

The Godds of astrology – the planets and celestial bodies – are the teachers, guides, and companions to knowing our truest selves. Authenticity is queer.

“Queerness isn’t about who you love, it is about daring to love who you love.”

Donald Engstrom-Reese

Queerness lives in contrast to dominant culture, daring to question and challenge messages that keep us smaller and disconnected. Queerness challenges assumptions about gender, about worthiness, about cultural values. Queerness challenges internalized systems of oppression. The planets are here for that!

In this class we will deepen relationship with the planets and queer our understanding of who they are and what they tell us about who we are. We will spend one week on each celestial traveler: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

SECTION #1: Gifts from the Godds — retelling our stories with Tere Parsley Starnes

This section of the workbook relates the stories of the planetary Godds through the lens of healing and liberation. What are the stories of oppression we have inherited? What gifts do the Godds offer for repair? This section offers:

★ Myth and lore
★ An understanding of each planet from the perspective of Queer astrology
★ Personal reflection about the planet

SECTION #2: A Sensual Encounter — Invoking the Planets with Aurora Dawning

This section of the workbook is intentionally designed to sift into our daily lives through experiential exercises. We will explore the qualities of each Planetary Godd through our sensory bodies in co-creative ways:

★ Lists of traditional and queer magical correlations PDF
★ Playlists via Spotify
★ Questions and exercises to investigate our daily interactions with the planets
★ Evocative digital art

The best part? You don’t have to choose which section you want to do! Both are included with the price of the course. They can be done simultaneously in a supportive online community OR do one now and save one for later.


Our experiences have things to teach us– and the Planets are already engaging with us! By the end of this course, you will have intimately encountered each Godd at some level and cultivated your own ability to connect with Them in a way that best works for you and your lifestyle.

The Importance of Online Community

astrology, Events, Mundane Magic, Services

COVID-19 aka the Corona Virus: heard of it? Chances are if you are reading this on a media device you have. There are so many questions swirling… How have you been feeling lately? How can we keep ourselves, loved ones and vulnerable populations safe? How long will the outbreak last? How can we best prepare our households? How concerned should we be?

One answer that applies to many of the above questions is to self-isolate if you are prone to respiratory illness, over 60 years old or show any signs of infection. If you are one of the privileged individuals who are able to financially make this choice not to go to work, this seems to be a great option: so long as you have support to help with grocery delivery and a willingness to put the external world on hold for half of a month. If you cannot afford this option, this puts the population at a greater risk: spreading or catching potentially deadly germs everywhere you go.

The thing about isolation though is that it’s….. isolating.

Being stuck inside and away from friends, family, co workers and friendly faces is lonely business. And being out in the world? When many others are sick and fearful? Intense. I know that the tendency for those who are a part of supportive, loving, inspiring communities is to get together. However, Health officials say that’s not a great idea right now.

So how do we take care of ourselves while also remaining connected and hopeful?

My answer? Online! What a time to have “social media” at our finger tips. We intend to offer the ability to talk instantly with other queers, witches, astrologers and guides without the trauma of the Facebook news cycle. We are building a Sacred Space online that will hold us as we share our array of experiences and lift each other up when things feel overwhelming. We will craft opportunities for introspection to ground ourselves and remind us of the things that we CAN control. Like Our Self.

We know that time off from work, buying supplies or just living in poverty can be expensive. We have done our best to make tuition affordable while also allowing the Work of facilitator to be sustainable for us. Interested? Check out our FAQ and Tuition pages for more information!

We have five courses planned for our 2020 cycle, which begins on March 24th. My co facilitator, Tere Parsley Starnes, and I hope that each one will serve as supportive, soul-healing that can be done inside, with slippers on. First up?

Magic of Earth and Sky

DATES: March 24th – April 22nd
DURATION: One month
COST: All 2020 courses (one time fee) =   $240 – $345 | Monthly subscription =  $20 – $30 | Just this course = $40 – $50 (sliding scale)

“If we surrendered to the Earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted like trees.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Starsdance magic honors the wisdom of the Earth as we look to the stars for inspiration and guidance. This class offers a framework for using astrology in magical practices. We will cover philosophical and ethical approaches to queer magic, which honors our birthright of joyful authenticity grounded in sacred relationship. Love fuels our magic and extends to encompass both Sky and Earth. Inspired by the stars, we will create altars, set intention, practice divination skills, ritualize the transits of the moment, and deepen devotional relationship with the Sky, Earth, and Mystery. 

This class begins at the Aries new Moon. Together, we leap into astrology-based magic to nurture fresh beginnings. All our classes include at least one webinar that students will be able to attend live or view later, instructional materials, portions of the Starsdance Mystery School workbook, and online discussion.

Radical inclusivity is important to us!

We are working to dismantle oppressive capitalist practices by offering sliding scale payment options. We also ask that those who are interested in our offerings, but perhaps unable to afford our prices right now: will you send us a message? We would like to make this school available to those who are committed to The Work and would like to join our community.

Follow us on social media:

Facebook: starsdance mystery school
Instagram: starsdance.mysteryschool

Become a student:
REGISTER: fill out our form

Stay safe, healthy and snuggly out there!

Dreams Made Manifest

astrology, Events, Services
When you think of a “Mystery School” what comes to mind?

A common interpretation is “exclusivity”: a Hogwarts-style of admission that selects students based on how elite (or better) they are in one form of another. We, the facilitators of Starsdance Astrology online mystery school, do not consent to those minimizing and oppressive practices.

Mystery is NOT for the select, chosen few who are more destined for Wisdom, Right-Sized Pride and Power-From-Within than everyone else. Every single person living on this planet has the right to tapping into these energies, and if you want to be a part of our community: we want you with us.

This online mystery school is a collaborative effort. Tere and I have shared this dream for years, but this is the year that we have chosen to launch this grand experiment. We are not without help, though! Our team is growing before classes have even begun: Juniper Caldera as our spread-sheet wizard of a registrar and Cabra as our lightning-fast tech gremlin to guide all Discord n00bs. I am grateful to call these witches my cyber-circle that will help invoke this online academy of Queer Astrology.

We will be teaching five classes online during our first year, which will include: pages of our printer-friendly PDF workbook, at least one webinar per course, facilitated online discussion via Discord and limitless opportunities for introspection using this sacred science. You do not have to be an expert or even experienced in the realms of astrology or magic: just willing to explore, assess, learn and listen. We hope to reveal the complexity of astrology through simple, yet meaningful astrological concepts.

It is our intention to make this school as radically inclusive as possible. Our tuition options offers sliding scale prices as well as multiple tiers of involvement. If the prices that we have listed do not work for your budget, but you are still feeling called to join us in this deep, meaningful work: please contact our registrar at: starsdance.mysteryschool@gmail.com to discuss further options.

As astrologers, we know the risk of initiating registration during a retrograde. However, we feel that the refinement of our dream and spreading word of the Work that we have been doing for years. We do acknowledge and Respect the Will of Hermes (ie: Mercury) during this time of necessary pause, offering this prayer as we begin to collect our classroom:

“Hermes, be gentle with us as we are craft the beginning of a grand dream and experiment! May our efforts honor You and the other planetary godds who take such a curious interest in these human lives.”

Tere Parsley Starnes

Queer Craft Market 2019

Art, Events, Jewelry, Services

It’s been a long time since I opened myself up to the idea of vending at craft markets again. Tendonitis crushed my spirits a few years ago, as well as my ability to produce enough goods necessary to cover tables costs. Markets are a wonderful way to meet new people, connect with other craftivists and financially support my art endeavors, but concerns in the community have been raised about accessibility to those who may not be able to afford a spot.

However, the Queer Craft Market hosted at Ace Hotel by Assemble and WorkshopPGH has compassionately and Justly considered these issues: accepting all applicants and making table costs accessible to all who are looking to join the fun. I am proud to announce that I will be back at the booths as a vendor at this year’s Queer Craft Market!

From the event page:

The Queer Craft Market has been a community event for many years and taken on by several organizations. In 2016-2018 the Market was organized by Assemble, a fantastic non profit that supports STEM & maker education. In 2019, Workshop PGH DIY school began organizing the show to help expand the event to include more makers & community organizations. This event is a staple of the Pittsburgh queer community and is inclusive to all.

WHO.
We welcome:

Artists
Makers
Zine Makers
Creatives
Community Organizations
DIY schools & organizations that support the queer arts, handmade & Creatives
This event is all about the makers & folks involved, giving them a platform to sell and show their work. You can learn more about the vendors on the Vendor page as we update it.



It’s organized on a volunteer basis by Kelly of Workshop PGH (ally business & inclusive space) and several nice volunteers with support from Assemble, sponsors & the community.

WHEN.
The Market happens twice a year in Summer before Pride and Winter at rotating locations. In 2019, Ace Hotel Pittsburgh is gracious enough to host our event and is a Queer friendly event space and Employer. Thanks Ace!


I will be there, vending all sorts of witchy goodies (amount will vary based upon my physical ability to produce them):

★ Hand-burned, ethically sourced acorn runes
★ Upcycled jewelry: complete with semi-precious stones with metaphysical properties* combined with old charms and chains
★ Intuitive collage prints from my Book of Shadows
★ Holiday talisman keychains
Concept photography prints for personal reflection and cultivating intuition

Vending is a really fun experience. I love watching bewildered, intrigued eyes scanning my stock and finding themselves delighted by what they find. Each sale is a bright reminder that I am not the only one who wants to adorn themselves with Nature’s Wonders, but it’s really the conversation that I’m there for.

I can remember my days as a maiden witch and how vulnerable it was for me to ask about this tradition that was once violently kept quiet. I would have loved the opportunity to chat with a friendly face about what witchcraft is all about.

This will be the cherry atop my magical year: will it be yours too?

I hope to see y’all there!

*UPG: items with metaphysical properties are derived by Unverified Personal Gnosis.

Design Promotion: $100 New Client Special

Design, Services

People inherently trust good design. Whether it’s a Netflix film or a package of instant rice: if the imagery of packaging pleases the eye, buyers are more likely to purchase what’s inside. I have known this since I was a child and I am passionate about supporting the stories, goods and services of those who are doing their best to relay their gifts to the world. As I build the client base for my freelance design services, I will be offering a sale to those who are in need of a reliable, timely, skilled graphic designer with over ten years of experience.

I am currently running a New Client special 👉 $100 on any of the following graphics:

★ Print or media advertisements
★ Book, Magazine or Zine covers
★ Business cards
★ Page layout design for teaching or handbook PDFs (limit: 4 pages)
★ Logos or graphic as symbolic representation of goods or services
★ Posters, flyers or Instagram graphics for events
★ Resume layout design
★ Invitations to your special day
★ Email Signatures
★ Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube Channel, Tumblr or Google+ banners

This price includes:

★ Initial consultation via email, phone or Zoom
★ Brainstorming
★ Research and ethical image sourcing
★ Initial draft (or final draft, should no revisions be required)
(2) rounds of revisions
★ Final design in JPEG, PNG, standard PDF and/or high quality print PDF
★ Contact with the printer of your choice (should there be size or resolution issues)
★ Email contact throughout the creation of your project

Turn around time:

(1) week from deposit payment*

Deposit:

$50 (due via PayPal after consultation; must be submitted before I begin your project)

After deposit is sent, the one week deadline countdown clock begins. Then I will send you a final mock up of your design with a customized watermark over top (for copyright purposes) for you to approve. After the remaining $50 is paid, then I will send you a final copy of your project without the watermark. Then, the graphic is all yours!

I am committed to this Work with you and will represent your vision to the best of my ability. I look forward to learning about your offerings and giving wings to your Work.

To take advantage of this special, please visit aurorathewitch.com/contact > select “Design” from the drop down menu > fill in the required sections > tell me a little about your project and services in a few sentences > click “Submit

I will reply with my availability and initiate a scheduling of a consultation. I look forward to collaborating with you!

* Should your project require revisions, you are then required to be timely and responsive to emails regarding those revisions. Should it take you more than (24) hours to reply to an email regarding your requested revisions, another day will be added to the timeline of the project’s completion. It is my intention to get your project to you on or before that one week is up, but I need input from you if the project requires adjustments!