Reading Joy

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, originally published in 2009, Donalyn Miller explains her philosophy of teaching, and how she creates a rich reading environment in her classroom with structures, practices and support for independent reading with her students. I appreciated her long-term view of the importance of developing students as readers for life, not just for a test. I respect that the author has endured the test-happy environment in the great state of Texas as a Language Arts teacher.

Miller shows an obvious interest in her students through her support of their interest-based reading. She challenges students to read 40 books in a school year. There is precious little talk of this kind from most pedagogues. It seems everywhere in education the dominant mindset is that students have to prove everything through skill-based activities and multiple choice tests and that we have to hold their hand and spoon-feed everything. Sadly, this is the lowest common denominator and has not improved society’s literacy at all. It’s as if, “If it ain’t on the test then it doesn’t exist.” Getting kids to love reading in this environment is rather like trying to get someone to savor the flavors, scents, and sights of a gourmet meal while the chef is quizzing them about their daily calorie intake.

I recognize that if I am to embrace this kind of approach, then my first step is to contend with my own life as a reader and step it up a few notches. I love non-fiction, and am a self-professed nerd when it comes to reading. I have my own “Miller Mountain” at home of books I want to read. I also like to write, blog and write songs. I primarily “read to learn,” read/write poetry, love philosophy, ancient mythology and stories that connect to the great mysteries of life. But mostly, I love to read non-fiction.


I love books like The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and Malcolm Gladwell’s other books. I love Shannon Lee’s biography of her father, Bruce Lee, titled, Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee. It was a blend of philosophy, life wisdom, and biographical accounts.

I do want to connect my students with books they love too though, and in order to do that I need to be reading more of those books myself. I have to admit, she shamed me into reading more. My goal this year already was to read 25 books, which I think I will make this goal. But I set that goal before I read her book. To be a better language arts teacher, Donalyn convinced me I need to read more of the books my students will want to read, which I tend to avoid doing during my free time because it feels like “work.” So yesterday I pulled 4-5 titles from my classroom bookshelves that I want to read and who knows, I may make 40 books yet by December. I have convinced myself that it isn’t really “work” if I choose titles I am interested in. I hope I can convince my students of the same.



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Uranus and Mars conjunct North Node

I just ran across the work of Jessica Davidson while I was looking for good descriptions for Part of Fortune.  She has a wealth of great writing on her site at https://jessicadavidson.co.uk/.

I appreciate her insights and explanations on the current Uranus transit, which I am re-posting from her blog.

Jessica Davidson

Chaos is the theme for 2022 and it’s about to get even crazier as Uranus closes in on the north node over the coming weeks. They’ve been within orb since late April and Mars joins the party in July so we can expect a lot more volatility and churn. The disruption has been ongoing for a while but it builds in intensity into July and early August and then bubbles under for the rest of the year.

The conjunction between Uranus and the north node will become exact at 18° Taurus on 31 July and the Mars conjunction becomes exact on 1 August. These events may happen on the same day in your time zone. Mars will be conjunct Uranus and the north node by degree from 22 July to 15 August, while Uranus stays within a few degrees of the north node for the rest of the…

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How to Read Your Own Birth Chart

Where to begin?

If you are like I was, the first time I went to astro.com and printed my free birth chart it all looked like a confusing mass of symbols and lines splattered over the page with twelve pie slices and circular wheel. I printed out the computer-generated interpretive reading, which gave me all of these wordy descriptions, but it all seemed somewhat generic, vague and even contradictory, and it really did not make a lot of sense to me. In this post, I am going to lay out my best suggestions for how to get started understanding your own birth chart and making your own interpretations about it using the free online tools available. Below is an example of a natal chart.

Birth Chart for Freddie Mercury

First of all, if you did not already know this, you need three pieces of information: your birthdate, the EXACT time of your birth, and the location. The exact time can often be found on a birth certificate or other official birth record, and sometimes it is commonly recorded in a baby book or baby scrapbook if your family kept one of those. Then, go to one of the free sites like astro.com and print out the actual birth chart.

LEARN THE ALPHABEt

Just like when we learn to read, we have to start with the alphabet. To help you translate, print out a handy “legend” for decoding the planetary symbols and the zodiac glyphs. Being able to identify the symbols easily is akin to knowing your ABC’s. Without it, reading a chart can be painfully slow and confusing. In case you don’t have one, here is a basic PDF from http://www.physics.ncsu.edu. I also highly recommend drawing out a reference chart by hand which helps to cement them into your memory.

Build Sentences

In my first foundations class we were given many “keywords” sheets. There are keywords for the planets, the signs, and the twelve houses. The next step towards translating the meaning of a particular planet in a sign is to thread the keywords through each of the planets- sign-house into a meaningful sentence. By stringing together the keywords for planet, sign, and house you construct some basic meanings and can put together some initial interpretations. For example, what does it mean to have “Jupiter in Aries in the 3rd house?” Jupiter is the planet of “expansion and growth,” Aries is the sign of “impulse, instinct, survival, and pioneering leadership.” Third house is the house of communication, siblings, habitual learning and short distance travel. One might then interpret Jupiter in Aries in the 3rd house as a strong propensity to communicate forcefully or impulsively, or a desire to grow through communication and travel that is more impulsive or pioneering, or a desire to grow through relationships with the siblings where some travel and some risk is involved for example. This is what I mean by threading through the keywords from the planet-to its sign-to its house to hone in on a particular meaning.

For a free pdf of astrological keywords see below.

KNOW YOUR AXIS of TRUTH, or the angles of the chart

Every birth chart consists of a circular wheel. This axis is made of four angles that are essential to understanding the essence of a chart. For this explanation, I am going to use directional words top, bottom, left and right just to be clear.

At the left side of the chart is the ASCENDANT, abbreviated as ASC. The ASC is the location of the first house. At the bottom is the Nadir of the chart, or sometimes called the IMUM COELI abbreviated the IC. The nadir is the location of the 4th house. At the right is the DESCENDANT, abbreviated as DC. The DC is the location of the seventh house. And, lastly, at the top is the MC, or Medium Coeli, sometimes called the Midheaven and this is the location of the tenth house. Use the descriptions in the graphic below to help you identify the meaning of that angle of the chart. With this, you would take note of what sign appears on each angle. You would thread the keywords of that sign through the filter of the keywords for that angle.

The Four Angles of the Chart

sun-moon-asc

For many people, their first exposure to astrology is understanding that we have sun signs. But most would agree that it seems a little ridiculous to think of the entire population of billions of people on earth all neatly fitting into only 12 descriptions! Of course astrology is not at all that simple. One easy step to diversify and individuate further from the simple sun sign astrology is to understand the combination of sun sign-moon sign-ascendant sign. This gives a more complex combination of 12 x 12 x 12 types, or 1,728 combinations or types of expressions of the signs of sun-moon-asc. This is still not as complete of a picture as the entire natal chart, but it goes quite a bit further than simply 12 sun signs or even 144 with only the sun-moon profile. Therefore, take a look at the moon sign, and the sign of the ASC. The keywords below can help you to pair up the sun-moon-asc keywords.

Keywords for Sun and Moon
Keywords for Each Sign for the Sun
Each Moon Sign

LONGER CYCLES OF LIFE

There is a basic cosmic timeline of human development that provides a predictable sequence of meaningful transits. Understanding Jupiter and Saturn cycles will help you get a better picture of forecasting the longer range transits everyone can expect at predictable ages. This helps us to know what is coming on the horizon in one year, two years, five years, ten years, and so on. This can be very helpful in terms of setting goals, navigating life and expecting the coming changes.

Still lost? Got more questions? Ask in the comments section, or visit my learn more page, or sign up for a reading where I can personally orient you to your chart.

Full Moon July 13, 2022

For this Full Moon, I highly recommend listening to Mary Stewart Adam’s Story of Selene (appx 1-2 minutes.) Adams does an excellent job of using story and myth to weave imagery into the study of the sky. Virgo is on the ascendant at the time of the full moon. It seems the Sun, Mercury, and Ceres are partners at the top of the chart, while the Moon and Pluto are partner at the nadir. Venus and Saturn flank each cluster, evenly spaced at 29 degrees, creating a beautiful trine to the ascendant. Then within 60 degrees we have the rest of the planetary wanderers. By sidereal zodiac, both Jupiter and Neptune are in Pisces now, with Neptune at 0 degrees.

Chart of the Full Moon for Jul 13, 2022

what astrologers can and can’t tell you

What are the kinds of questions that you can ask an Astrologer? This is a very good question, especially if you have never had a reading done before. I found a helpful article from Holisticm that I’d like to share:

5 Great Questions To Ask An Astrologer

Alright, so you’re ready to meet with your astrologer for the first time — what do you ask?

  1. According to my natal chart, what are my natural gifts and talents? What aspects of my life require more focus and attention from me?
  2. What is the lesson I’m supposed to learn in this life (ask them to check your North Node!)
  3. What do I need to know about how I give and receive love?
  4. What do I need to know about money and my relationship to it?
  5. What types of people would make great partners and friends for me?

For the full article from Holisticism visit

https://carrot-guitar-jhrz.squarespace.com/journal-library/ask-astrology-question