Writing With Aliza: The Poetry Of Place (Class Begins April 10th)

keysI am happy to present to you my first on-line Poetry Workshop
the first of a series, designed to whip up your creativity and get you writing, reading, and seeing. 


What is your place?
Where are you in space?

Poets create worlds.

The poems I will be bringing you and the poems I want us to write — are anchored in the details of place, position, surrounding. Location location location!

Poets are often strong on consciousness or emotion (and I love them too) but sometimes we have no freaking clue where they are.

I want to know WHERE YOU ARE.

You can write about the wall. You can write about the door. The chair. You can write about your city. You can write about your body. Your favorite cafe. Your least favorite pier. Wherever you are. Are you rooted? Adrift? I want you to find out. About snow and sky and chair. And write from there. What do you see and can you describe it. What are your nouns? Nouns are so precious! How present are you? Can you see what is there? What do you see? 

With these thoughts, we begin.

Unlike my astro-tarot classes which are more free flowing, these will have more definite structure. Keep reading.



About Me and Why I’m Doing This

Well I’ve been thinking about doing this ever since I started my Astrology & Tarot classes a few years ago.

Timing is everything.

Many of you know I got my MFA a million years ago :) in my early 20s, and am a poet and playwright.

New work of mine will be appearing here and here and I’m probably most proud of my playwriting and short plays produced. The Lark book (coming out in 2016) will feature a poem-play. But all writing, for me, begins with the poem-utterance. The short phase. The cry!

And when I committed to this business of astrology/blogging/readings, I left behind all other “creative” writing. I am finding my way back.

I also just love teaching :)



How long will the class run? 
Six Weeks. Beginning APRIL 10th
Five Weeks of writing, reading, and new material.
Week Six is for integration.

Where will the class be held?
In a SECRET Group on Facebook. Nobody knows your business there :) except for me and the other participants.
All my classes thus far have been in FB Groups (someday I’ll migrate elsewhere but for now we are there).

(I MAY use a Tumblr actually as long as it’s a clear template, and not confusing at all. I’m building one now and will see if it’s suitable.)

What if I’m not on Facebook OR can’t take the class at this time OR want to work with you privately? 
You can take this as a correspondence class or independent study with me at this time or in the future.

Am I required to participate? 
I prefer lively discussion, but it’s fine if you are shy or prefer to lurk or just don’t have much to say or get too busy to say anything. It happens.

Do I need to be a poet or professional writer to take this course? Do I have to write a sonnet? 
No and no. What is required: an interest in poetry or talking about poetry.

Are there set class times?
Yes and no.

I will be posting new material in the group onMondays and Wednesdays.
And I’ll be around to answer questions. But you can read the posted material ANYTIME.

Each Monday I will be giving you a writing prompt and a handful (between 5-8) of poems for you to read, sent by email or as links posted in the group. There will also be videos (or audios) for you to listen to. I am posting these actually to save you money on having to buy textbooks :)

I am creating the writing prompts to give you structure, constraint, so you can be more free to create :) I want to reign you in while setting your poetic SOUL free.

Very simple example: I may ask you to write a 14 line poem, choosing 10 words from the poems we read that week.
Other assignments may be more devious ;)

Sundays are discussion days when I’ll be posting your poems (with your permission) and discussion topics relevant to the week’s material.

IF you want your poem workshopped, you MUST turn it in to me by Saturday 11:59 pm, EST.

(Workshopping = to have me and the group talk about your poem).

DO I have to share my poetry with the group?
No, you do not.

In fact you don’t have to write at all. You can just observe and listen.

But I will ask you to specify IF you want your poem posted and if you want to receive feedback on your poem that week and what kind you prefer (supportive only, gentle critique, a combination, what would make the poem better, strengths, weaknesses).

What is the cost:
$145 for the class. Slightly higher for independent study. Email me for details.
Paypal me at moonpluto@gmail.com

GOT QUESTIONS? SEND ME A MESSAGE :) Sooooo looking forward to this. See you there :)


Gods Of Fat: Jupiter Transits And The Almost Life

As I type this, the Moon is void of course in Aquarius.

Venus and Mars are conjunct in Aries, the Sun not far behind. Pluto sextile Chiron. Mercury in Pisces trine the North Node in Scorpio.

Just got some news that another short play of mine will be published. Already have one play published (by Smith & Krause). Both are  10-Minute plays that were in festivals. About this one, it’s the same theatre group who produced the bare bones production of my full-length last year. Also that poem is still to be published this spring. Need to keep track of these things. For a Virgo Moon, sometimes I get sloppy. I don’t have my writing resume at the ready. Jupiter rules publishing and Jupiter is transiting my 10th House but if this is the extent of my Jupiter transit (I wrote on Facebook), I’ll jump out the window. LOL I said. LOL.

Facebook Friend and fellow astrologer commented that Jupiter is lazy and needs a shove after I wrote that Jupiter is the great promiser, the so-so deliverer. Am I being unfair to the God of Fat? (And, no, that’s not a typo.)

Am I living the Almost Life? You know what I mean by that, right? The feeling that it doesn’t all add up.

I went outside to smoke a cigarette. The weather is AMAZING today. Cloudless sky, the birds don’t stop singing, quiet day, wonderful clients, three cats on the futon with me, I’m mostly healthy, and I felt a need to take a gratefulness inventory but my heart wasn’t in it.  I wasn’t feeling Jupiter.

I decide to take a look at my transits. Packed 8th House (not my favorite of houses!) ALL heading to oppose (put pressure on) my late degree 2nd House Jupiter.

Hey. I think to myself HEY. Jupiter oppositions… not sooooo bad. And still early. This transit is applying. It’s coming. It’s on the way. And there I go hoping again. Hoping and not pushing (wait. That’s not true. I have pushed and pushed and pushed) but an opposition to my Jupiter also means a trine to my Venus. Silver lining silver lining silver lining and the North Node in Scorpio is backing in to my Part of Fortune.

Something actually *is* happening and much of it is not up to me (and some of it is) and the timing cannot be rushed and this is one reason why I love astrology because I look at a chart and I see a story.

But what those transiting planets in Aries are actually doing is CHALLENGING my faith, my hope. I still hope. Even after all this time. I think I hate it.

And then I notice the Aquarius Moon squaring my Saturn.

Another reason why I love astrology: we get ANSWERS. Moon square Saturn is a downer!

When I was way out West, my Scorpio friend didn’t understand why I was always seeking reasons, explanations for physical symptoms. And to me it felt, seemed, like the most natural thing in the world. When something feels wrong, you look for the cause so you can fix it. Even if you can’t fix it, at least to know. Same with the chart. We look for clues to the past, present, future.

Have you arrived? Are you leading an almost life? 

Love, MP


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Daily Tarot!

Holy Mars In Pisces And A Little Poem For Saturday

On the message board, one of the gals pulls a Tarot card or two or three each day and sometimes I follow suit. Sometimes I don’t want to know!

Today I got a lovely spread and my intention was to draw for *me* but also the essence of the day, and I swear I look like Einstein here as I type: crazy mad scientist hair (he was a Pisces by the way) and what cards do I get? Happy, but working cards :)

The Sun, the  3 of Pentacles and the the Page of Pentacles.

And one thing I’d never considered in regards to the 3 of Pents is the literal art/artistic (and spiritual) connection which links back to my Mars in Pisces post from last night.

These words from Tarot amazing Rachel Pollack: to the right stand a monk and an architect holding the plans of the church. Together the three figures signify that the best work combines both technical skill (Air) and spiritual understanding (Water) with energy and desire (Fire). 

I wrote some notes to myself in the margin: hard work resulting in mastery.

Pollack also makes the point that “practical work, done consciously, and with commitment, may serve as the vehicle for self-development.” She connects this to psychic development as well and that it’s occurring here, interestingly enough, in the daily life of the earthy Pentacles.

Thus, my friends, my advice for Mars in Pisces: diligence, step-by-step thinking, goal-oriented but keeping in mind that you may not reach the goal until your next lifetime :) This transit is not wasted. And you apply this Mars strategy towards some spiritual or creative or compassionate design.

Mars in Pisces is an EXCELLENT transit for starting a meditation practice or a prayer practice or magical practice. Think about it. No limit to the possibilities and you can call on Virgo techniques (Pisces’ opposite) to create a little bit of order because we don’t want chaos (which Neptune rules) but we do want the vision and a good flow of water :)

Interesting, I think, that this transit is starting as the first Meditation Mini-Course is ending.

“Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with all our busy thoughts about earth, sea, and air; if the very world should stop and the mind cease thinking about itself, go beyond itself, and be quite still…”

He could be talking about meditation, right? It’s a partial quote from St. Augustine.

Let this unofficial beginning of Pisces Season bring you to God. And by that I mean… whatever YOU define as sacred, as set apart. Holy. I use the word God because I’m totally comfortable with it but I know not everyone is.

Mars in Pisces says: connect. Merge. You aren’t alone. You think you are but you’re part of a much larger whole which has absolutely nothing to do with your BODY. It has everything to do with PASSION (Mars) and desire (Mars) but it’s higher. It’s lighter. It’s clear, open, and free.

I’ll stop here so I can share a Little Poem for Saturday:



All day in the city, you waited for what?

It arrived and you were grateful.

But remember the first time you went away,

and the dresses you abandoned were weeping?

I think you knew what would happen.

And maybe that is why you did it.

The moonlight would be kind to them,

outline their almost empty figures,

and give them life.

North Node Story And The Gods Of Low Carb

"north node in pisces"I went for a walk in the old neighborhood and I got a slice of pizza and I heard the words “Forgive me” in my head.

And in that moment I finally understood that famous William Carlos Williams poem, “This Is Just To Say.”

See, I try to curtail my carbohydrate intake but I was so hungry and walking, and I got my slice, and I said to myself, as though to the Gods of Low Carb, “Forgive me…”

And immediately I thought of that Williams’ poem about the plums where he says, “Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.”

I am not a Christian so my knowledge about these things is limited but isn’t that what Christians say? “Forgive me, Father…”

Suddenly I understood this literary Modernist giant Williams and his short poems, which weren’t really about daily life. They were above the quotidian. Devotional.

Wait. They WERE about daily life, but that poem is a prayer, like any prayer, like the best prayer. “This is just to say/I have eaten/the plumbs/that were in/the icebox…”

I consider this an example of my North Node in Pisces in the 6th House. The North Node is where we make steady increments in this lifetime. Pisces knows that the world is more than this world, more than physical. And yet the 6th House is very practical, physical, is daily life.

You are probably living your North Node in a similar way. Pay attention. It could be showing up in little ways, more ways than you realize. You can put it together. What sign is it in? What house? What does it mean to you?

Love, MP

Reading Poetry On A Hot Saturday Afternoon In August

"moon conjunct jupiter"I’ve been reading poetry this afternoon and remembering the time when reading — no — writing poetry was all I did. Reading it was a close-second though :) Reading poetry, having love affairs. 24 years old.

And how grateful I feel that the play I wrote a few years ago will be seen, seen by a few ;) this fall. My 1st full length production. As though this is the beginning of… making up for some disappointments. The end of a cycle. We shall see, I am fond of saying We shall see.

Funny to look back. Funny to think that I’ve got clients almost 20 years younger than me and clients 20 years older, and more. I type in birth data and then I forget the age.

Reading poems is a time machine for me even if I’ve never read the poems before and just now was reading the work of a poet I had a class with, just once. I had these strange hopes back then. Had no idea how to… manifest anything. It was all luck. Luck or nothing. Luck or nothing and some natural writing talent. And that was it.

This is another post about creativity and the creative process, but this time from the perspective of memory and the past which of course makes me think of the Moon. But I wonder where else memory is stored in our charts.

There is no right answer to this question. The obvious answer of course is anything having to do with the Moon, 4th House, Cancer… but I’d like to think that each of you, each person, each chart, has her (his) own theory.

As I type this, the Moon is even farther along in its conjunction to Jupiter. No wonder memories (the Moon) are showing up big (Jupiter) time!

And the Moon and Jupiter are in Gemini: I am writing (Gemini) about it, telling my story (Jupiter).

What’s your story today?

Love, MP

The Stars Today: Sun In Cancer

"mercury trine neptune"

In my youth, I was a poet. Nothing else but a poet. I could do nothing else. I was incapable. I had no Saturn. I was minus-Saturn.

And I found my first poetry class, in college, by accident. In those days, before computers, one stood on line to sign up for classes and Poetry Writing had a very short line from what I remember, if I remember correctly, that is.

It’s hot in the Big City today and I’m staying indoors with the air conditioning and started to read a thick poetry anthology edited by Harold Bloom and got stuck on something that Robert Frost said about the writing of poetry. He said: Why not have it imply everything?

And I began to wonder how I could apply this to blogging and astrology and readings, to widen it, make it as vast as my Mercury trine Neptune will allow.

And then my thoughts followed another trail and then another and then another, past, present, future, pondering, reflecting, which made me look up the word “reflecting” and I was delighted to find these synonyms: throw back, send back, cast back like snow reflecting light.

I don’t have a pithy question to ask here. Just a mood.

The Sun is in Cancer where nostalgia is an emotion.


Love, MP

The Stars Today: Marry It, Marry It, Marry It

"full moon lunar eclipse in gemini 2011"
as above, so below

Be free: Sun in Sagittarius. Love the work: Venus in Capricorn trine Mars in Virgo. Think twice: Moon in Gemini heading to Full and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse. Hold steady: Uranus stations direct.

And the Moon opposing Mercury Retrograde as I type this: what you feel, what you think: balance it. Swap it. Marry it. Marry it? Yes. Venus in Capricorn: it’s hard but it’s worth it. 

There’s a line from a Donald Justice poem that goes, “I will die in Miami in the sun” which was actually a take on a line from Vallejo that goes “I will die in Paris on a rainy day.” And me? “I will die on this treadmill in the Big City.”


Pre-Eclipse feelings at the gym this morning as the Gemini Moon prepares to square my Virgo Moon. You mutables are really feeling this one.

Mars in Virgo, working on my fitness (sings Fergie) but… I feel like my heart will burst these days like a bomb.

But it’s not a heart of terror–

Can’t hear exactly what it’s saying, what the heart is saying, because Donna Summer is now singing I Love You in my headphones while I’m on the treadmill and the incline soothes my three-of-swords heart.

There is bliss in the blood, the pumping of it. It’s like a city too – pathways, routes, all leading to that One Place: heart. Heart-town!

Sagittarius runs. Capricorn waits. Sagittarius flees. Capricorn commits. Sagittarius is fast. Capricorn is slow.

So… you must wed both of these energies that are active in the sky now as we prepare as we prepare as we prepare for the shaking up and the over-turning: Uranus direct, the Moon in its Fullness, Mercury stationing direct a few days later, Jupiter direct later this month… And the Eclipse which will eclipse…

You WILL feel emotional these pre-Eclipse hours. You MAY have felt like a maniac this week already.

And I am telling you to marry this energy because this energy wants your commitment, wants you to see it through, wants you to lie beneath it like a strong board that can’t be broken, not even by the greatest Kung Fu master or Magician. 

Strong strong strong.


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Murder Your Darlings: In Praise Of Detatchment

When I was in college, I had a creative writing (poetry) teacher who used the phrase “murder your darlings.” What he meant was that sometimes a line in a poem that you are really really attached to… well… it’s just not working and you can’t see it because you are so in love with it. That sometimes you have to murder your darlings to make the poem better, to make the poem succeed.

I was thinking about this this morning and also something a friend said last night about my 11th House. It’s where my Cancer stellium is and she was wondering if it was “easy” for me to detatch because the 11th House is Uranus-related and Uranus can set itself free in an instant.

Over the years, I have definitely discarded. I’ve gotten rid of things, MANY things, and it usually feels good. I’ve left people, sure, if the relationship was… empty or not working or painful or… whatever :)

Relationships have to work for BOTH, not just one. BOTH.

So, do I murder my darlings? Well, at that point they aren’t my darlings anymore.

On a similar note: last night I had some monkey mind recurring thoughts and it was really stealing my energy. I was struggling to find some peace as I tried different techniques to make myself free.

Finally this morning I landed on something that worked for me and this may be related to the extra energy of my Mars Return but I shrunk the problem down, I shrunk the annoyance down and I stepped on it. Literally. Like a bug. Squashed. AND IT WORKED.

Because these thoughts would pop up and pop up and pop up and I didn’t want them in my head but breathing through it and meditating through it and being all hug the crystals through it and… whatever :) didn’t work.

So I  1) I shrunk it down and 2) I stepped on it. More than once. More than twice.

And damn it felt, feels, good AND made me smile because you feel kind of funny silly while squashing something, someone, in  your mind :)

The smile though was probably the most important part because it brought light, air, into the the tense tight mind.

What about you? Do you detatch? How do you detatch?

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"moon pluto"
Feel like screaming? Why not!

What Is That One Thing You Can’t Not Do?

"donald justice"
my teacher Donald Justice

When I was young, 23, I went to a famous Writers’ Workshop in the Mid-West. I was a poet. My undergrad teachers went there (or taught there), including Donald Justice, who took me under his wing. I was in awe of him.

After graduate school, nothing much happened. I published a little in literary journals, but couldn’t get The Book published. Papered my walls with rejection slips. For years, I saved handwritten rejections from The New Yorker. Editors seemed to like to discuss my poems more than publish them. I once got a note from The Yale Review detailing the arguments one particular poem had caused!

Some years later (after I was derailed by my mother’s death and my escape into Orthodoxy), I tried again to get The Book published. Didn’t happen. And then I started writing plays which I may or may not continue doing. I never stopped writing.

So here’s my question for you: what is that ONE THING that you never stopped doing, no matter what? No matter how it, or you, changed. Something that made you YOU maybe more than anything else. Maybe it’s partnering. Or travelling. Or dancing. Or… hell, I don’t know, but I’m curious how it is for others. Maybe some other lifelong writers out there.

What am I talking about here? Obsession. Devotion. Pluto.

Where’s YOUR Pluto? How is it aspected? Does it aspect that ONE THING you have to do in this life? 

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Help For The 12th House Venus Who Sang In Her Chains Like The Sea

"sun in scorpio"
Dylan Thomas: Cancer Rising, Scorpio Sun

Yes, I did paraphrase a famous poem in the title of this blog post, but the line occured to me as I was looking for another “jail” metaphor to describe how it feels to be Venus in the 12th House.

I never felt the way Dylan Thomas describes in the first stanza of Fern Hill, and maybe he didn’t either. But I suspect he did, despite the overwhelming nostalgia, which can be deceiving, Neptunian style.

I used to read and write poetry all the time. I got my MFA from a famous Writers’ Workshop, but never made a career of it. Not for lack of trying though. My point though is that, lately, poems, the desire for poems has been coming back to me and I find them as my blog posts lead me to them: today, a line from Fern Hill. Tomorrow? Who knows!

But back to Venus in the 12th House: the house of self-undoing, jail, prison, mental illness, drugs, escapism. Just a short list of the negative keywords but with Venus in the 12th, not all hope is lost. It just means that you, as a soul, have your work cut out for you. You want to float and merge and love freely but… better not. Better temper that Piscean Neptunian la-la-land with reality, with Saturn, with earth. So by all means, sing in your chains like the sea, but then get to work :) And by work I mean, examine what you love, how you love, and what you want, and what you are willing to do to get there. This goes for Venus square Neptune as well, and Neptune on the descendent, Venus in Pisces

Once, in poetry class, when I was an undergraduate, my teacher said to us “Murder your darlings,” which meant that that really hot line you think is so effective and moving and makes your poem a POEM… well… cross it out. It’s probably leading you astray. It may merely be ego, attachment and not what the poem demands.

Now, I’m not suggesting you destroy anything except your denial, your refusal to see how you hurt yourself and Venus in the 12th House or Venus square Neptune often has more than a side of masochism, which has its time and place but, please, Venus, don’t make a lifetime of it. There’s MORE to be experienced than the pain of love! 

A story: married (or otherwise taken) men have always been interested in me and I see this as a manifestation of my Venus locked up in the 12th House. These men came to me. I didn’t ask for them. And I mean, they came to me at young ages: my mother’s boyfriend, my sister’s boyfriend. They each tried. Imagine a child going about her life, as children do, and a grown-up comes, or an almost-grown-up comes, to disrupt this innocence. Yes, I know, shades of Pluto impossible to ignore

As I grew up, the pattern continued: married (or otherwise taken) men seemed to find me and at times I was all too happy to be found. Venus in the 12th House feels invisible, IS invisible. Hidden. This isn’t the entire story of my romantic history, but the pattern was there.

Venus in the 12th House People, know this: it is not a compliment. It is not something to be devoured. It is pathetic and you need to look away. Opportunistic types feed on Venus 12th House types because they feel the famous Venus 12 understanding, compassion, love, depth, boundlessness, tears, willingness to suffer for love.

Know that you were born into this energy to reckon with this energy and that you are not a victim. Pisces/Neptune/12th House can easily stay the victim and NEVER LOOK UP but look up you must.

Contact Me to talk about your Venus


The Astrology Of The Poet: Mercury Trine Neptune

"Mercury trine Neptune"
Poetry Magazine

Mercury in Cancer trines Neptune in Pisces today so I’m wondering who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about. Do you feel poetic? I think of Mercury trine Neptune as the poet’s aspect, although there are others.

And because this aspect is happening now, in water, it is accessible to all of us. Mercury, words, meet Neptune, inspiration. Mercury, writing, meet Neptune, dreams. Mercury, hands, meet Neptune, the bottle ;) Yes, many famous writers were famous drunks as well.

This aspect is transiting, and Mercury moves fast, so make use of this free, free-flowing good vibration while it lasts :) Because with Mercury trine Neptune, all your poems are love poems.

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Contact Me to talk about your own Mercury Neptune 

Negative Capability and the Natal Chart

When I was a student at Iowa, I studied with a number of famous poets. This was a long time ago. I was in my early 20s. And although I was mostly depressed and immersed in unsuccessful love affairs, I loved being there. I loved that all of us were together with a common goal: to talk about poetry, to be poets. Natal Neptune in the 3rd House. Square Venus. Bittersweet.

Continue reading Negative Capability and the Natal Chart