Happening in Kentucky

Happening in Kentucky

Excerpt: ‘Secret Louisville: The Witches’ Tree’
This is the second in a series of five excerpts from Insider Louisville contributor and author Kevin Gibson’s new book, “Secret Louisville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure,” to be published by Reedy Press this month.

Did witches of long ago place a curse on this gnarled tree?

This unique-looking maple tree at the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue is startling to look at no matter how it came to be so gnarled and grotesque. But the back story is even weirder than the tree itself.

As the story goes, during the late nineteenth century a coven of witches would gather there to perform ceremonies, until a city planning committee decided to cut the tree down for a May Day celebration, angering the witches and prompting them to cast a curse.

Less than a year later—actually, eleven months to the day—the city was hit with a storm so severe that it actually caused locals to fear the witches had called forth a “storm demon” (a phrase which made the local headlines), unleashing damaging storms on the city. During the storm—and this is lore, mind you—lightning struck the stump of the old tree, and a new tree began to grow. A tree that looked like . . . well, just look at that thing.

Whether the legend is true or false, the tree is something to behold, although it’s advisable to be polite and not mess with the offerings. You just never know.

WHAT A cursed tree
WHERE At the corner of Sixth and Park Streets
PRO TIP Might be best not to disturb the tree. Just in case.



Insider Louisville

Magickal Activity for March 29th, The Festival of Inanna/Ishtar

Magickal Activity for March 29th, The Festival of Inanna/Ishtar

The Marriage Charm

Bind two small gold rings together with a white ribbon. Hold the bound rings in both hands as you chant the following over them:

With body and spirit
As these rings entwine
Unite our souls
Our essence combine.

Place the rings in your pocket or purse. Carry them with you whenever you are with the one you wish to marry.

Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality 365 Days A Year for March 29th – Festival of Inanna/Ishtar (New Year in Mespopotamia)

March 29th

Festival of Inanna/Ishtar (New Year in Mespopotamia)

The most significant rite of the new year was the hieros gamos-the holy marriage between the king, who represented the God Dumuzi, and one of the temple priestess, who represented sented the Goddess Inanna. It was ordained that the King of Summer, no matter what his lineage, must become the husband of the life-giving Goddess of love, Inanna of Uruk. The role of the priestess of Inanna was that of the dominant partner who makes love to the king. The ceremony was called the “fixing of destinies” and determined the prosperity of the New Year. The entire ritual took place in a chapel on the summit of the ziqqurat and was considered essential for the fertility of the land.

The Witches Spell-A-Day for Wednesday, March 29th – A Spring Abundance Spell

A Spring Abundance Spell

Now that trees and shrubs are beginning to show signs of growth, it’s the perfect time to perform this ritual. You’ll need a pliable stem about two to three feet long from a tree or shrub such as a willow or forsythia. Being by weaving the steam into a small wreath. As you weave, say:

The winds of winter are a thing of the past
Spring, I welcome you at last.
Growth and abundance are draw to me.
Now I’m blessed with prosperity.

As you weave the stem, visualize growth and abundance being bound to you. When you’re done, hang the wreath on a branch to the tree or shrub from whic it came. Thank the tree or shrub. You’ve created some positive karma, which will increase the flow of abundance coming to you.

James Kambos, Author
Llewellyn’s 2017 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac

Wednesday Is Ruled By Mercury

Wednesday Is Ruled By Mercury


Wednesdays are wild and wacky days. They are for communication, change, cunning, and the arts. This is a Mercury day, and just its patron god this day is full of contradictions, change, and excitement. Some suggestions for Wednesday enchantments would include:

Pulling a little Wednesday color magic into your life by wearing purples or orange

Carrying a multipurpose agate with you and tapping into its various charms

Working with magical plants such as the fern for protection. This plant will also boost the power of any other magical plants with which it is arranged.

Incorporating lavender into charms and spells for transformation

Using the charming scent of lily of the valley to improve your memory, or working with the aspen tree for communication

Calling on Athena, patron of arts and crafts, for inspiration for a new project

Fanning out a Tarot spell to increase you creativity

Calling on Hermes on a Wednesday night to bring movement and good luck into your life

Magickal Workings for the Zodiac Sign of Taurus

Magickal Workings for the Zodiac Sign of Taurus

Notes: Perform during bright noon or the hour of Venus, and during the waxing Moon with the Full Moon being strongest.

Color: Pink and blue

Ruling Planet: Venus

Stone: Emerald

Flower: Violet

Description: Patient, loyal, emotionally stable, stubbord, practical, dependable, organized, mmaterialistic, possessive, polodding, sweet, calm, determined, security-oriented.

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Nebula with Laser Beams

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 March 29

Nebula with Laser Beams
Image Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de America, TWAN)


Explanation: Four laser beams cut across this startling image of the Orion Nebula, as seen from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in the Atacama desert on planet Earth. Not part of an interstellar conflict, the lasers are being used for an observation of Orion by UT4, one of the observatory’s very large telescopes, in a technical test of an image-sharpening adaptive optics system. This view of the nebula with laser beams was captured by a small telescope from outside the UT4 enclosure. The beams are visible from that perspective because in the first few kilometers above the observatory the Earth’s dense lower atmosphere scatters the laser light. The four small segments appearing beyond the beams are emission from an atmospheric layer of sodium atoms excited by the laser light at higher altitudes of 80-90 kilometers. Seen from the perspective of the UT4, those segments form bright spots or artificial guide stars. Their fluctuations are used in real-time to correct for atmospheric blurring along the line-of-sight by controlling a deformable mirror in the telescope’s optical path.

Your Solar Return

Your Solar Return

Navigate the next year of your life with guidance from the Sun


Did you know that around the time of your birthday, a unique, temporary chart can be cast that encapsulates what you’re likely to experience over the next year of your life? You give birth to this chart annually when the Sun reaches the precise degree and minute it occupied at your birth. This can occur on the day of, day before or day after your birthday. Technically, this is the moment when you’re really supposed to make those birthday wishes. So just what is this?

Solar Returns 101

Known as a Solar Revolution or Solar Return, it’s a potent moment in time when you’re infused once more with all of the potential your Sun sign impregnated you with. Ever notice how saturated you are with vitality around your birthday? That’s the direct result of the Sun in the sky connecting to your natal Sun. This is your moment each year to begin the next chapter of your exciting life. What does that chapter contain? Well, interestingly enough, the outline can be found right there in your Solar Return.

Your Solar Return chart is cast for the date and time the Sun reaches your natal Sun placement. However, the location of your chart is not your birth location. Most astrologers prefer to use the location you are physically at during the moment of your return because this is technically where the energy imprint occurs. What is this energy imprint? Well, your birth chart works because at the moment you took your first live breath, the planetary energy patterns into the sky imprint onto your physical body. The same principle applies to the Solar Return chart. What’s the difference? In a natal chart you have this imprint for an entire lifetime, whereas your Solar Return chart is only active for one year. A Solar Return chart is read much like a birth chart, with an emphasis on the house placements of planets and their aspects. Of most important consideration in a Solar Return chart of course, is the placement of the Sun that year and any aspects it makes to the rest of the horoscope.

The Sun’s placement in different houses

A year where the Sun is placed in the 1st House of Identity, for example, suggests a time of focus on self-development. A year that you find the Sun placed in your 7th House of Partnership on the other hand, will be a year you focus on others — particularly a close business or personal alliance. If other factors agree, a year where the Sun is in the seventh house might point to a marriage year. Is your Solar Return Sun in your 10th House of Career for the year? Expect significant themes surrounding professional advancement or shifts in your vocation. Wherever the Sun is placed in your horoscope is where you’re meant to shine your light for your entire life. Wherever the Sun is placed in your Solar Return chart will be where you shine your light specifically for that year.

Of course this is a general, bare bones analysis that does not include the aspects the Sun makes or other important considerations, but hopefully you get the idea. Remember: the Sun is the primary consideration in this Return chart.

The importance of comparing charts

Another major consideration in synthesizing a Solar Return is to then go and compare it with your natal chart. What sign, for example, is rising in your Solar Return chart? Where is that sign located in your birth chart? This means something vital since the Ascendant is an area of energy manifestation. Any angle is where the “stuff of life” happens. Do you have any natal planets conjunct a Solar Return angle? Again, this is important! All of these nuances add subtle but vital elements to a thorough assessment of your Solar Return.

As you can see, the Solar Return chart is an incredibly useful tool to add to your astrological toolbox. Think back on the years you had life changing moments such as a marriage, career milestone, move, divorce, or major life change. Check over those Solar Return charts and you will be amazed. Then, look into the future as you create your upcoming Solar Return chart. Anticipate what is yet to come.

Wishing you many happy returns!



Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2017

Navigating Your Saturn Return

Navigating Your Saturn Return

Discover what it means when Saturn returns


If you’re in or approaching your late 20s, you’re likely to hear murmurs about the ominous Saturn Return. If you’re brave enough to inquire, you’ll get the message that you should be afraid, very afraid. But the purveyors of fear probably won’t give you any helpful information about what to expect — or, more importantly, what you can do.

So let’s look at what’s actually happening. Saturn takes approximately 29 years to orbit the Sun. Therefore, when you are about 29 years old, Saturn returns to the part of the sky where it was when you were born — your Saturn Return. You can find out exactly when your Saturn returns by looking at your birth chart, too.

In Astrology, Saturn is the Cosmic Taskmaster — the demanding teacher who presents you with obstacles and challenges so you can gain strength and wisdom. Saturn’s position in your Astrology birth chart reveals your major life lessons, as well as the fears you have to overcome to achieve success.

Saturn also represents what’s important to you, and shows the goals you are here to pursue, based on your values. When your actions — especially your work in the world — are aligned with your inner Saturn, you experience a sense of integrity and satisfaction. When you’re out of alignment, you feel Saturn’s shadow — restriction, lack and fear.

Committing to your calling

Your Saturn Return — which typically kicks in around age 27 or 28 — is a time of coming into alignment with your life’s true path. Work tends to be a major theme, and many make significant career changes during this time.

Don’t think that you’re “too old” to take your work in a new direction, or even go back to school for training in an entirely different field. Saturn rules longevity and old age and wants you to imagine yourself at age 80, looking back on your life. What do you want to have accomplished? What will you regret not doing because you were afraid to take a risk?

Saturn will give you very clear signals if you’re not aligned with your calling and pursuing your passions. Feeling stuck, depressed, frustrated and/or jealous of other people’s careers are signs that it’s time for a change. Those who ignore the signs and resist change could be forced by circumstances into a new line of work. Saturn is the “tough love” planet, whose lessons can feel harsh. However, whatever losses you experience during your Saturn Return are really helping you in the long run, compelling you to come into integrity with your truth.

Because your Saturn Return is typically a time when you have to “make your own luck,” don’t expect work opportunities to come falling out of the sky. Be willing to be humble and start small. If you’re interested in pursuing a new path and don’t yet have the experience to land a paying job, then volunteer your time. If you can’t afford to go back to school full-time, start by taking a class at a community college.

When you demonstrate your commitment to your goal by taking one concrete step in that direction, Saturn will reward your effort. If you’re willing to work hard, take responsibility, face your fears and let go of the past, your Saturn Return can be a time of major achievement.

Love at the Saturn Return

The Saturn Return is a time of significant endings and beginnings, and relationships are no exception — both weddings and divorces are common. This is a “make it or break it” transit, when you are ready to commit, one way or the other, and when you will receive clear signals to guide you.

If you’re already in a partnership at the start of your Saturn Return, the relationship will be tested. The Saturn Return calls for personal growth and major life changes, and your partnership will also have to grow and change if it is to survive. Now is the time to address any issues that have been lurking beneath the surface, and to take responsibility for making necessary adjustments in how you relate.

Plenty of partnerships do survive the Saturn Return — and ultimately achieve a deeper level of love and commitment. Honesty, flexibility and a willingness to release old habits and take a more mature approach are the keys to success.

If you start a new relationship during your Saturn Return, expect your sweetie to “play Saturn” — triggering your insecurities, and pushing you to step up and take greater responsibility for yourself. You will be tested to stay committed to your work and goals, even during the excitement of a new romance.

Because the Saturn Return is a period that requires solitude and introspection, many people experience being single — or temporarily separated from their partner — during their Saturn Return. In some cases, it can feel like you have so much going on in your own life that you have no time or energy for a partnership. If you find yourself in this situation, commit to being your own best partner for the time being. Trust that the energy you invest in your individual growth and development will necessarily result in a more satisfying future partnership.

The second time around

By age 58, Saturn has completed another 29-year journey around the Sun, and you get your second Saturn Return. While this can also be a challenging period — requiring big changes in work, relationships and other areas of life — the second is typically less tumultuous than the first. As you revisit themes from your first Saturn Return, you now have the wisdom and experience of the past 29 years to draw on, and are likely to have much greater clarity about who you are and what you want to accomplish.

At the second Saturn Return, people often feel like they’re finally free to do what they want — no longer trying to please or prove themselves to others. Retirement is a common theme around the second Return, freeing up time to pursue a hobby or creative passion, and some even start on a new career path altogether.

Even though people can still feel quite youthful at age 58, the second Saturn Return marks an initiation into the role of elder. This could mean taking a more active role in your community, or mentoring or teaching the younger generation.

The bottom line: reclaiming authority

Ultimately, both Saturn Returns revolve around the theme of authority, confronting you with the question — “who is the author of my life?” In any area where you are feeling restriction, limitation, deprivation or fear, look to see how you have given away your power to someone or something outside of yourself.

Reclaiming your authority means taking responsibility for whatever is happening in your life. Saturn, the great teacher, shows you that the only way to experience happiness and freedom is to take full possession of yourself. At the Saturn Return, giving away your power can lead to dire consequences, while reclaiming your authority will result in lasting success and inner satisfaction.


Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2017

Sun in Aries

Sun in Aries

Charge into spring with the bold Aries Ram

Get ready to make a bold move! The Sun charges into fiery Aries on March 20, marking the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of a brand new Astrological year.

As the days grow longer, it’s time to celebrate the renewal of life and take action again after the slower pace of winter. This is why we will all feel the urge to get moving when the Sun is in Aries from March 20 to April 20.

Ruled by action planet Mars and symbolized by the fearless Ram, there’s never a dull moment during Aries season. That’s because Aries lives life head-first, and they don’t let fear hold them back from doing anything.

Those born from about March 17-23 were born on the Pisces-Aries cusp, and those born from about April 16-22 were born on the Aries-Taurus cusp. Being born on the cusp simply means that you were born during the transition time between two zodiac signs, so you retain some qualities from each sign.

It’s time to make like an Aries now: Take charge of your life and blaze ahead fearlessly!

Here’s how to make the most of life during Sun in Aries:

What to do: Take the lead on something new! Fearless Aries is a natural born leader, so adopt this courageous energy for yourself now and use it to go after something you want.

What to say: “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Yes, Aries can be bossy, but this is just because they don’t have time to be wrong. They’re trying to get somewhere fast and they can’t let anything stand in their way! The point is to enjoy the confidence you’ll feel while the Sun is in Aries, without being too pushy.

Where to go: Aries loves action, so head to the stadium or the ballpark to catch a game. Better yet, take a sporty lesson, such as tennis, or a join a local kickball team so you can become a part of the game!

What to wear: Sneakers and a flame-retardant jumpsuit! Ok, that may be going to far, but you’d better be dressed to go anywhere and do anything at a moment’s notice while the Sun is in Aries. Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes and that you have a lot of Band-Aids in your wallet, because you never know where life will take you now!

What to eat: Red hot Aries loves all things spicy, so dish it up with lots of extra fire-sauce now. Munch on Hot Tamales at the movies, and think about keeping a few extra bottles of Sriracha on hand during Aries season.

What to watch out for: Impulsive Aries is in such a hurry to get ahead that they don’t always think about what they are doing or saying. Spontaneity is great, but if you rush too quickly you could hurt yourself or others — both mentally and physically. Take a moment to look where you’re going and think before you speak while the Sun is in Aries!

What to look forward to: Excitement! Whatever happens while the Sun is in Aries, you’re likely to be seeking out things that are new and fun and bold and different. It’s time to shake off your same-old dull routine and seize life with the renewed energy of the bold, bright Aries Sun!



Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2017