Editor's Note: This is a column written by Shannon Gill, an evolutionary astrologer and life coach who serves as president of the Austin Astrological Society. To learn more about her work, or to schedule a personal session, you may contact her at shannonleigill.com. The column was edited by Russell von Ohlhausen.
Feeling like you're in a transition period? It could come down to the stars, according to astrologers including Austin Astrological Society President Shannon Gill.
For those not well-versed in the world of the Zodiac, the study of astrology is one of humanity's oldest collective endeavors, going back thousands of years. The 12 constellations represented by their corresponding Zodiac signs are identified with the Sun's path along the Earth's ecliptic and can be observed throughout the year.
After the fiery, creative and playful Leo season, the Sun is now transitioning into Virgo. Here's what that will look like:
This is a time where we take the creative passion of the Lion, Leo's namesake, and offer it into service of the Earthy world. Virgo is the 'Soul Mother' archetype and is here to assist us to create 'order out of chaos'. Whew, what-a-job! This is the month to separate the wheat from the chaff, as Summer's garden of abundance comes to completion and we begin the transition into the Fall harvest season. It's a time for grounding, getting organized, and preparing for the shifting of the energies to come.
Aries (March 21- April 19)
This month may bring about relationship challenges for you, dear Arian. You may experience this as resistance or opposition from others resulting in disputes, minor or major. One of your deeper evolutionary lessons in this lifetime is collaborative compromise! Put your energy into fruitful co-creations. Practice compassionate listening, resist digging your heels into the soil, and you may surprise yourself and get what you wanted after all. The new moon September 6th may bring a moment of insecurity with moving forward with certain goals, but by September 20th's full moon, you will have managed to align your personal will with higher will.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Taureans, your world has been a bit more topsy-turvy than you may be comfortable with. September offers you some rays of later summer sunshine to relax into your natural state of calm and tranquility. You may, however, face a crossroads of sorts where you may need to make some quick pertinent decisions. You should have the clarity to do so with self confidence. Your greatest growth area this month is relationships; any issues that have been festering beneath the surface will tend to reveal themselves. Remember your deepest work in this life is to anchor yourself into self love, and emotional self reliance. Practice non-attachment!
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Light-hearted Twins, you have been put to the test this year! Your principal purpose is the dissemination of knowledge; yet, this time in history will go down as the most confusing and confounding in the world of information. Remind yourself that it's ok to not know sometimes. You are mastering duality and paradox in this lifetime. The Sun supports you this month towards slow successes. It may feel like you have to work harder than usual. The September 6th new moon brings a burst of personal power towards birthing a new chapter. Even a misstep is perfect through the evolutionary lens.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Crabs, you may be pried out of your comfortable shell as you feel challenged by authority or the collective narrative. September's tempo and demands may feel edgy, leading to nervous irritability. Tap into your profound watery intuition where the Sun's clear Virgoan light can help you see clearly and avoid reactivity. It's a wild world out there these days, and you may feel an increased desire for intimacy and comfort to bring balance and ease the tensions and chaos, and this month brings a lovely flow of relational energetics.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
We can depend on you to be the life of the party radiant Leo, yet in September you may experience mild feelings of heaviness or pessimism, which are not native to your central nature. Accepting certain realities and taking responsibility will ease the weight and build your character in lasting ways. Remember Leos, you are here to lead with your heart! Some friendships may hit a wall, so be ready to let go if need be. You will have great Mercurial flow this month, increasing your capacity to communicate with clarity and to navigate the terrain consciously.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Happy Re-Birth Day soulful Virgos! This is your month to be celebrated in all the ways you serve the world. There is a pile up of planets in your sign, giving you a cosmic outpouring of creative vision and the ability to bring it into fruition. There are moments throughout the month you may find yourself in Neptune's fogginess. Through the axiom, "as above, so below", you will find your way! Make sure to shine, and your projects, associations, and creative actions will connect you to your karmic destiny. Don't dream small—plan big and get ready for your next trip around the Sun!
Libra (September 23-October 22)
This month, you too will get a boost from many planets passing through your sign, enhancing your magnetism and creativity. Let flow the elan vital, to breathe life into your Airy aspirations! September also brings with it a sprinkling of good luck fairy dust (which Libras love); it could be just what you need to incite a partner, new or old! Partnership is a focal point of your evolution. September may require a period of shadow work but the transformation will be well worth it in the end.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
The Sun shines upon you, little creature of the night, with rays of enthusiasm and buoyancy. Come out from under that rock and launch a creative endeavor. You may have an "ah-ha" life altering moment or flash of genius insight into your future which steers you onto a new course. Wrap yourself in feel-good vibes and cultivate some tactile intimacy. Around the 15th you could dig up something potentially upsetting as you go a little deeper. Overall you should enjoy a softer side to yourself, and an increased in compassion for the current state of our world, which is much needed!
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Sagittarians, this month may test your capacity to expand your mind. Knowing this, your invitation is to loosen up on your belief systems a bit, peer behind the curtain of someone else's experience, and adjust your own level of reality. There is a war on beliefs currently brewing in our world, and you are here to help us move beyond the consensus mindset. This is a great month to accomplish your intentions and you will have the perseverance to see things through. And finally,love and money feature highly and should flow forth in abundance, if you keep your mind right!
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Industrious Capricorn, you should feel accomplished, as the Earth-sign Sun gives its support to your hard work. However, you may be challenged by other people not meeting your expectations. It's not easy for you Caps, but remember "to live and let live"—not everyone has the same work ethic as you. Practicing restraint in your dealings with others will avoid conflict and potentially create creative alliances forwarding the projects dear to your heart. The New Moon is prime time to ground your next project, yet you still have to stop, smell the roses, and make time for your own self care.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
You radical ambassadors of the New Age, it's time to lay a little real groundwork from the mental energy you've used in conceptualizing a future. You may feel torn this month however, itching to break free from restrictions, charged with revolt or ready to run. Remember though, it is our deep interconnected root system of real souls which enables us to fly so high. Expansion and opportunities are abundant all year for you. Doors will open to new timelines where needed. Stay connected to your heart to bring balance to that futuristic mind of yours! This is your year to bring your dreams into reality!
Pisces (February 20-March 20)
Polar Pisces, you do know that you are the opposite sign of this transit in Virgo, right? You may feel a little bit confronted with the Sun counterposing each of you throughout the month. Showing up fully (with boundaries intact), rather than hiding, is your best option. Be ready to face some of your flaws with grace. You Fishies have to balance the being and the doing while not letting the details merely flow by you. A retreat into nature may be needed to rebalance your nervous system. Stay connected to the natural flow of elements. You are of the most empathic of all the signs, so remember to keep your waters clear to channel your purest insights.
No matter how long you’ve been in Austin, Samuel Grey Horse has probably been here longer than you and the spirit of his indigenous ancestors walked the land far before anyone living did. Born and raised in the capital city in 1961, the city has grown and changed all around him.
You’ve probably seen or heard of Grey Horse before—he’s been called the “Sixth Street Cowboy” due to his penchant for riding his horses through the city streets, dressing up as Santa Claus during the holidays and making national news back in 2011 when he received a DUI while riding his mule down Sixth Street.
“I remember when I could see the capital from anywhere,” Grey Horse told Austonia during a visit to his East Austin ranch. “I never thought or imagined that I would see Austin like this.”
Now, living with his three horses, mule and dogs in East Austin on “the road that time forgot,” Grey Horse lives the “Native” lifestyle; he cares for his horses, tends to his garden, holds sacred prayer ceremonies, writes music, sings with legendary musicians and occasionally films with Richard Linklater, director of "Dazed and Confused."
Just as Austin changed over the years, so too did Grey Horse. On June 26, 2010, he was in an accident that he credits for changing his life. While riding a racing horse, Grey Horse’s saddle came loose and dragged him underneath for 150 yards. By the time they had stopped, Grey Horse had 12 broken ribs, collapsed lungs, a broken neck, broken clavicle, cracked skull, broken wrist and went into a coma.
“I had all the things done to me but that's how the universe teaches you,” Grey Horse said. “They said I would never ride a horse again or walk correctly, but no, I don't live in that world, because where I went to with my coma. I was living in another world, in the other world’s illusion.”
His road to recovery was long, arduous, miraculous and aided by his horses: Big Tex, Big Red and mule Mula, who have all been in his care for well over a decade. Grey Horse said they took care of his “energy” when he needed them most. Despite the pain that ensued from horses, his accident drew the cross-species family together.
Big Red and Mula have been living with Grey Horse for 16 and 14 years, respectively. (Sam Grey Horse/Instagram)
“I ride them around town and share them with everybody because everything has a purpose,” Grey Horse said. “You don't throw something away just because it's a little beat up. I was all beat up.”
The winters are still painful for his joints but he powers through so he can bring joy to the people of Downtown Austin in his Santa Claus costume every year.
“I can't hurt because I'm Santa Claus, and I got to be Santa for the kids and everybody. I give them inspiration and energy, I make millions happy downtown,” Grey Horse said. “I sing often with a cordless mic, my horses dance and they're happy. If I can make one person happy that makes a difference.”
Though it was never his intention, a career in music found Grey Horse and it felt right due to his mother telling him as a child he would be a singer one day. Grey Horse recently returned from his tour with The Greyhounds and Sir Woman across Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
His original song, “Crow Dog,” is a tribute to his life and the people who have passed along their loving energy in it.
Show biz can’t get enough of Grey Horse, who also models for Patagonia and Levi’s; he taught Joe Jonas how to ride a horse for a video shoot. He is now working with a British filmmaker on a documentary, and was featured on episode 10 of Linklater’s “That Animal Rescue Show.”
“I sing with Grammy winners, which is very special to me, and I write songs about my life. Very magical stuff,” Grey Horse said. “(The tour) was one of the best runs we've done for now—people are out and want to get out and the energy the guys bring is amazing.”
You’re certain to see Grey Horse around town if you spend some time near The Continental Club on South Congress or the Texas Capitol into the night. Until then, tok sha.
“There are no words for goodbye in my language, it's 'tok sha,'” Grey Horse said. “It means I’ll see you again. I'll see you soon. I'll see you in the next life.”
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For women who feel threatened while they’re out, an app that lets users easily call for help is now available in Austin.
Launching in the capital city on Tuesday, SafeUP, works by training users over the age of 18 who are known as “guardians” on how to respond in times of crisis. Those who are placing a call for help are connected to guardians less than half a mile away who, depending on the situation, can chat on the phone or physically go to the user and escort them.
SafeUP allows women to contact others who can help them when in danger. (SafeUP)
First launched in Israel, the app was co-founded by Neta Schreiber, who became interested in safety tools after her friend went missing at a house party about a decade ago.
"My friend and I searched for her in a panic, and, as we headed upstairs, we heard her voice amidst a group of men's voices," Schreiber has stated. "We went into one of the rooms and there they were—the men and our friend, half-naked, fighting them."
The assailants fled once the friends stepped in. "We managed to get there just in time," Schreiber said. "Luck and women saved my friend that night."
Schreiber told Reuters that during the testing phase of SafeUP, two guardians stepping in was enough to have people leave a woman alone.
Earlier this month, SafeUP became active in other major cities including Boston, San Francisco, Miami and New York City. There are more than 70,000 members in the global network with approximately 200 guardians in Austin so far.
Mira Marcus, a spokesperson for SafeUP, told Austonia most users are millennials and younger, and a lot of college students use the app, which made an Austin launch especially fitting. The company also has a partnership with Lime so that guardians can take free rides to reach a person.
SafeUP's partnership with Lime allows users to take free rides to a person calling for help. (SafeUP)
“You could always call the police, but they won’t necessarily be there within a matter of a minute or two. You could always speed dial your mom or girlfriend, but they won’t always be available to answer,” Marcus said. “The idea behind SafeUP is no matter where you are and what time, you can always turn on the app and see on the map the guardians around you.”
The app also allows users to call the police if the guardian finds the situation requires their backup. With that function, the app uses the phone’s camera and microphone to record evidence.
In a somewhat similar fashion, the Austin Police Department discussed possibly issuing a civilians unit to assist with non-emergency crimes over the summer. The discussion came as the department announced it would not respond to 911 calls where there was not a present danger due to a staffing shortage.
Some have turned to personal safety tech as public safety in Austin continues to be a hot topic with a record-breaking number of homicides in the city.
SafeUP joins other tech like the Citizen app and Ring cameras that track crime and include tools for reporting to the police. Some scholars and activists have criticized this tech for potential racial and gender bias, as well as expansion of surveillance. Biometric data is also taken in before users have full access to the SafeUP app so they can be verified as female, though facial recognition systems have a tendency to vary in accuracy.
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Giving Tuesday: Dell Foundation gives $38 million to combat homelessness as Austin celebrates 'radical generosity'
It's the most (philanthropic) time of the year, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation added to Central Texas' $100 million Giving Tuesday donations by promising a $38 million commitment towards combatting homelessness in Austin.
The Round Rock-based foundation, headed by tech giant Dell CEO Michael Dell, will donate the lump sum to three local nonprofits: Multiplying Goodness, Foundation Communities and LifeWorks.
Almost all of the funds—$36.6 million—are headed to Multiplying Goodness, which is a capital campaign to grow the Community First! Village in Austin, a neighborhood that offers permanent housing for the homeless. The 51-acre housing development has already rented out tiny homes to 220 formerly homeless residents and has plans to add 1,400 more units with the Multiplying Goodness program headed by Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Dubbed a "hand up, not hand out" program by Mobile Loaves CEO and Founder Alan Graham, the neighborhood also helps residents with services and resources as they leave homelessness behind.
The Dell foundation is asking the public to match their donation as the "most talked about neighborhood in Austin" looks to reach its $150 million goal. Expansion of the Community First! Village is expected to break ground in 2022.
“As Austin grows, it’s more important than ever that we care for those most vulnerable in our communities,” Dell Foundation's co-founder Susan Dell said in a press release. “By coming together as a community, we can provide those experiencing homelessness in Central Texas with the dignity they deserve through stable housing and the opportunity to experience community again. We are honored to partner with Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Foundation Communities and LifeWorks—along with the broader Central Texas community through our community match—to accelerate the difference these organizations are already making on the ground each day.”
Community First! Village, a 51-acre housing development, currently houses over 200 formerly homeless people. (Community First! Village/Facebook)
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation also announced a $1 million donation to Foundation Communities as they construct 100 units on the Burleson property at Community First! Village. LifeWorks Austin, a nonprofit aiming to end youth homelessness, will also receive $400,000 as it looks to provide permanent housing for local youth experiencing homelessness.
All three donations will funnel to the greater cause of ending homelessness in Austin, a hot topic in local politics in recent years. Around 3,000 Austinites are currently experiencing homelessness, with nearly 50% described as "chronically homeless." That's 25% above the national average.
Giving Tuesday has seen more than just the Dells digging into their pockets: known as a "global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world," the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has ushered in donations from corporations and private individuals around the world, including $100 million coming to Central Texas nonprofit I Live Here I Give Here.
The nonprofit has become the front for Central Texas' Giving Tuesday campaign. In 2020, Austin businesses, individuals and nonprofits contributed over 20 million acts of generosity during the holiday.
This year, Home Depot surprised small Austin nonprofit Green Doors with a $30,000 donation as they work to combat homelessness.
AppSumo, a leading digital marketplace for entrepreneurs, announced that it will match donations to Future Front Texas, PeopleFund and Swan Impact Network—all Central Texas nonprofits looking to benefit the area's small business owners—from Giving Tuesday through Friday at 5 p.m.
Local philanthropy group Impact Austin awarded $226,200 in grants to four Austin nonprofit organizations on Tuesday as part of their fall giving cycle, while Austin influencer Laura Lux agreed to match any donation under $1,000 given to Austin Pets Alive! on Giving Tuesday.
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