Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter quincunx Chiron, 5-1
The Taurus Pile-up, 5-3
Mars enters Gemini, 5-3
New Moon at 14Ta00, 5-3
Ceres Direct Station at 25Vi25, 5-7
Neptune Retrograde Station at 6Aq35, 5-8
Saturn square Uranus, 5-13
Full Moon at 27Sc40, 5-18
Mars opposite Pluto, 5-19/20
Jupiter square Uranus, 5-20
Uranus Retrograde Station at 20Aq49, 5-25
Jupiter conjunct Saturn at 22Ta43, 5-28
OK, recess is over! Relatively speaking, April was pretty quiet astrologically, although it may not have felt like it at times. Last month was mostly about gearing up for May. Well, it's May. There are a large number of important astrological stories this month, including some powerful aspects that will have lingering long-term effects. There are several planetary storm patterns as well, the strongest ones since early March. Of course, everyone will be concentrating their attention on the big Taurus pile-up on the 3rd (though most writers seem to be focusing on the 5th, for some reason). I suspect that event is being over-hyped -- I'm placing my money on the fireworks later in the month. At any rate, get ready for a busy and challenging month.
There's lots of notable events this month besides the huge Taurus pile-up on the 3rd that everybody's talking about. My notes mention 4 big aspects, 3 stations, and Mars moving into Gemini. In addition, there's a Mars-Pluto opposition on the 19th and 20th that you should be aware of.
The first big aspect in May is the quincunx of Jupiter and Chiron on the 1st. Jupiter represents the ability of the psyche to reach out to the world at large. It symbolizes the ideas and systems we use to make sense of the world, the connections we make with others, and the benefits we receive by coming out of our shells and joining the party. When Chiron becomes involved, however, something is getting in the way of this natural exuburence and keeping you from freely tapping into this abundance and growth. Granted, there are often valid external reasons for these restrictions, but 90% of your problems are usually of your own making. Whether it's a fear of reaching out into the unknown or a belief that abundance is not in your cards, we all have self-sabotaging behaviors that keep us down. There is no need to hold onto viewpoints that restrict your own growth, when it's just as easy to view the world in ways that welcome the opportunities all around us. The last 11 months (this is the last of 3 contacts going back to 99-6-20) have been a time to reevaluate what you expect of the world and how best you can prosper. It's time to put those insights into action now.
I mentioned the big Taurus pile-up on the 3rd last month already. This event seems to have really captured people's imaginations -- I've had 3 phone calls today alone from people wanting to know what it means. In a nutshell, for about 14 hours today, all 7 of the visible planetary bodies are spread out across the zodiac sign of Taurus. This doesn't include any of the outer planets or the asteroids, none of which can be seen by the naked eye. Such line-ups are rare, but not unheard of. Essentially, it creates a marked emphasis on Taurus energy for a short time -- we are forced to look more closely at the physical plane and our relationship with our bodies, possessions and the material world around us. It's a time to get out of your head and rediscover the joys of living as a physical creature. The body, after all, is the base or foundation for the other levels of our being. The mind, soul or psyche does not exist by itself. By allowing sensual pleasures into our lives, appreciating the world as it is, we break the need to be constantly stimulated and entertained in order to be happy. A quieter, simpler lifestyle can be cultivated. We also need to reexamine our relationship to possessions and money, since the pursuit of goods often seems to take so much time and energy we have no time to enjoy those goods. On a global scale, the human race is so obsessed with maintaining an unreasonable "quality of living" that we are blindly trashing the very planet that supports life itself. We've become a mental creature that is out of balance with our surroundings. I believe this line-up is mostly a wake up call for us to return to a state of natural harmony. There will be echos of this lesson until the 5th, as the Moon passes over each of the other 6 planets in Taurus.
The pile-up "ends" on the afternoon of the 3rd when Mars slips out of Taurus into Gemini. Mars in Gemini stimulates your mental juices, giving you a lot of energy to tackle intellectual chores. It increases the desire to communicate and travel, to make connections and pursue many interests. Unlike Taurus, which gives your physical energy a "slow and steady" pace, Gemini tends to scatter your attention among many competing issues. You become intensely interested in one matter -- until the next one comes along. Except for some angry or impatient words, now and then, it also promotes the mental or verbal realm over the emotional -- there is not much depth of feeling with this placement. Use these coming weeks to handle light hearted issues of moderate intellectual depth (Gemini is a gad-about, not a deep thinker). Mars leaves Gemini for Cancer on June 16.
A lot of what has already been said about the Taurus pile-up applies to the new moon chart, so I won't belabor the point. With 6 planets in Taurus, it's important to look at the physical plane and come down to earth. It's amazing to me how out of touch many people are from the physical world, living in their heads and mental dreams instead. They'd rather trust what's on the TV or their computer screen than believing what's happening in front of their own eyes (I've heard some hilarious stories about this lately!) Granted, Westeners are well known for a massive split between body and mind, a kind of mass cultural neurosis. It's one of the major issues we have that is inhibiting our spiritual growth these days. This line-up is a wake up call, a time to "get back into your body". This is not to say there isn't anything going on at the mental plane -- the Aquarius planets bring out that trend. But much of that action is from the unconscious outer planets, a sign that it's the deep psyche at work, not the more superficial intellectual mind. The deep psyche brings things together instead of analyzing them into little pieces -- it's this process of integration that we are lacking. Remember we are still working with the conjunction of Chiron and Pluto from 99-12-30, an influence that is causing us to look deeply at our personal issues and heal the blockages we find there. If you're going to continue with your spiritual growth, it's time to mend these internal splits. Start with the body...
The asteroid Ceres reaches her direct station at 25Vi25 on the 7th, preparing to resume normal forward motion. As Ceres has been crisscrossing the Virgo-Libra border the first half of this year, several themes have come forward. Ceres, the Great Mother goddess, rules over issues of nurturing, caring and our connectedness to life in general. In Libra, she highlights how well you support partners and loved ones, providing your fair share of help in your relationships. In Virgo, very practical matters of health and bodily care are the focus. This retrograde period has caused us to look at these matters more closely and make appropriate adjustments in our lives. As she starts to move forward, the pressure is off some, but it's important to remember the lessons.
On the 8th, Neptune is standing still, beginning a 5 month retrograde period. Neptune is a planet of vision and illumination, as well as the ruler of delusion and false "glamour" -- the full gamut of the intangible, subtle side of life. It represents the invisible, but powerful ability of the unconscious to mold and guide the way we view life, which in the end creates the circumstances we care about -- or fear -- the most. When you strive in a single-minded fashion for the highest and the best that your soul can envision, the depths of the psyche will affect the world about you to bring that experience into reality. Of course, if you belief in and work for something less than that, don't be surprised if that is the reality you create. Now is the time to sort through your beliefs and goals for the future, clarifying your vision and focusing on what your heart truly desires. Manifesting that vision in the coming months requires that you faithfully hold onto it in your mind now. You'll know by Neptune's direct station on October 15 (at 3Aq48) how well you've held onto your truth.
Saturn square Uranus on the 13th is one of the most crucial events this month. This aspect has been with us for 10 months now, with 2 previous contacts on 99-7-17 and 99-11-14. As aspects go, this is a tough one. It completely challenges our beliefs and expectations about how "reality" should be, as all the rules and givens of our lives are stood on their heads. Saturn rules foundations and structures, the basic forms and understandings all people within a given culture agree on. Uranus is the iconoclast or anarchist that negates all that structure, showing all our agreements to be incomplete ideas, if not outright lies or delusions. You are forced to choose between old truths that don't work in the current circumstances, and an intuitive trusting in beliefs that don't make much sense yet. In the first case, the tendency is to cope with the new energy by digging in your heels and resisting necessary changes -- not really a viable option in the long run. In the other case, you decide to chuck everything and "wing it" as best you can -- probably more workable, but scary as heck to the entrenched ego. The middle path between these extremes, embracing chaos in a discriminating manner, is a path difficult to find sometimes. You may find yourself feeling fatigued or dragged out these days -- Uranus tends to produce much stress, even in the best of times. Pace yourself and don't burn out. Hopefully, you've managed to clear out the "garbage" from your life and get ready for some new openings.
First of all, on a global scale, this chart hints that a big financial shakedown is possible in the near future, as the "money planets" are being upset by disruptive Uranus. It could also show up as some kind of government level crisis. On a more personal level, we are looking forward to the next Jupiter-Saturn cycle, a 20 year period of new ways of interacting with each other as members of society. People complain often about how society is breaking down -- well, it's time to try a different approach. This is a path based not on more laws and control (the old Saturn approach), but on taking personal responsibility to make conscious, soul-inspired decisions about your behavior. Part of the soulfulness required is a sense of style and balance that comes from joining the feelings with the thinking mind. Bring a note of harmony and caring to each personal encounter -- you'd be surprised how the results snowball after awhile. Otherwise, the harsher Mars-Pluto angle will get the upper hand. If you thought our society's "dark side" was showing, you haven't seen anything yet. We can choose to take a higher path.
This planetary pattern is a curious break from the main themes this month. It's also a somewhat dangerous pattern, so approach this time with caution. Mercury and Mars join up in Gemini directly opposite from the Moon and Pluto in Sagittarius on the 19th , though the exact Mars-Pluto opposition isn't until the 20th. Mars-Pluto contacts should always be respected -- it's one of the few times I stop pooh-poohing the "doom and gloom" astrologers. They are definitely "stay out of dark alleys" kinds of influences. Mars brings a tendency for anger or violence, while Pluto can sometimes produce strange, "underworldly" streaks. If you can channel your energies without ego into safe, constructive activity in a non-threatening environment, you might get some useful work done. You may even make some interesting realizations about yourself. Don't take unnecessary risks for a few days.
Also on the 20th, Jupiter is square Uranus. This is a quick, single pass contact, much easier than the previous Saturn-Uranus square. Both of these squares are priming us for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the 28th, softening us up and loosening our grip on conventional reality so that a new cultural form can emerge. This contact seems to operate on the mental level. Jupiter rules our conventional understandings of the world, while Uranus acts to bust up old systems of thought. Whether religious, philosophical or scientific in nature, all ideas are up for grabs. It's a good time to let go of obsolete mental baggage and examine the world in a lighter vein. You may be finding your biggest roadblock is yourself. This square is part of a larger cycle that began when Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct (back on 97-2-15, during the "Grand Finale" configuration), so look to see if present changes relate to events 3 years ago.
Uranus is the next planet to stand still, grinding to a halt at 20Aq49 on the 25th and moving into reverse gear. This station acts to intensify both of the squares, adding an extra urgency to the need to change and shift. When Uranus is standing still like this, some area of your life that has gotten too cozy and confining will come under tremendous pressure. It's one of those proverbial kicks in the butt that we all need on occasion when we've lost our edge. Generally speaking, this urge to change operates initially at an unconscious level, emerging for our view through weird coincidences and synchronicities, or through unusual intuitions and insights that make little sense at first. Allow these mental monkeywrenches their due, checking to see if a shift in viewpoint like that might actually simplify things for you. As you start to embrace these interruptions consciously, the shifts become smoother and less disruptive. This cycle goes on for about 5 months, until Uranus reverts to forward motion on 10-26 (at 16Aq54).
Finally, Jupiter and Saturn are conjunct on the 28th, at 22Ta43. This starts a brand new 20 year cycle between these 2 giant planets. Since they rule over social or cultural matters, how we relate to the world at large, this cycle often has implications at the national or societal level. The conjunction is best known for its connection with the so-called 20 year presidential curse, overshadowing the coming election so that the president dies in office. Except for Reagan in 1980, this "curse" has been active since 1840, and this year follows the same pattern. (Technically, presidents have died only when the conjunction was in an earth sign; the 1980 conjunction was in Libra, an air sign.) It also causes more general changes in society. I suspect the areas of business and finance will be particularly affected, as the world economy is undergoing a major shakedown. It will take quite a long time for these influences to fully check in, taking the entire 20 year cycle to work out the ramifications, but the seeds are being sowed now. This conjunction is easily one of the most important astrological events of the year.
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