Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Saturn trine Neptune, 4-1
New Moon at 22Ar42, 4-12
Mars enters Gemini, 4-13
Chiron Retrograde Station at 9Cp09, 4-17
Jupiter opposite Chiron, 4-18
Uranus parallel Pluto, 4-25
Full Moon at 6Sc41, 4-26
Jupiter quincunx Neptune, 4-30
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
The doldrums of the last two months are starting to lift, at last. We've been in a long "dry spell" since the big storms of last January, with little to no planetary support to keep us going. April isn't overwhelming as energies go, but we are seeing more life than we've seen in way too long. The next 3 months are a crucial time. If you remember last August to November of 2001, I spoke often of a pattern I called "the Giant" that has had an enormous global impact on us (think 9-11 and the war on terrorism for starters). Like many patterns between the slow moving outer planets, such big patterns often repeat themselves through 3 separate phases of activity. 8-9 months later, we are entering the 3rd phase of the Giant pattern. April is a warmup act for the main fireworks that are coming in May and June, so start gearing up for the final push to these ongoing activities. The energies are still mild and rather fickle, changing every few days. The dominant influences come from Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron and Neptune (which form the "backbone" of many storms this month), so there's a lot of collective healing and restructuring that we're about to go through. Get moving! Life may seem chaotic for a time, but we are headed for some pretty big changes in coming weeks.
There are a large number of "meaty" astrological events this month, including 4 "big aspects" -- most of these are marking the ends of cycles that have been going on for 8 to 10 months already. Chiron reaches its retrograde station on the 17th and Mars enters Gemini on the 13th. This should be enough to keep us busy!
Saturn in trine to Neptune on the 1st. This is the last of 3 such contacts, following on the previous trines of 2001-6-25 and 2002-1-23. Whenever you reach the final connection in a long series like this, you're looking at the conclusion of a long process in our lives. It's a time to wrap things up, draw them to a close, mull over how much you're pleased with the results or would do things differently next time. With these two planets, the tasks before us have been rather difficult, due to their radically opposite natures. Saturn is the planet of hard-core reality, the necessity to give the requirements of the physical plane their due. He asks hard, disciplined work of us, without cutting corners or making excuses. Our responsibilities and commitments to others and to society take precedence over our personal demands. Neptune, on the other hand, literally lives in a dream world. His concerns are not of this world. He's a dreamer with his mind's eye always trying to discern the next hill over the horizon. Visions, ideals and illusions are his realm, wishing and visualizing his mode of "action". Fortunately, trines have a way of making things work out anyway, unless you get totally lazy and unfocused. It's been a 9 month period for focusing intently on your dreams for the future, while working very concretely to bring them about. Now is the time to step back and see how well you've made your dreams come true. Dreams are like children -- they have a mind of their own quite often, never turn out the way you expected, and you probably need to change your approach numerous times along the way. Here's your last chance to make a difference in these current situations -- make the most of it.
The new moon chart barely hangs together. It appears the planets are splitting up into all sorts of little groups, working at cross purposes to each other. It's not a fortuitous start to the coming lunar month.
The backbone planets seem unusually quiet right now -- we are getting a momentary reprieve from the challenging healing issues we've been facing all month. Probably the Mercury-Mars-Uranus picture is more prominent, pushing us to excited activity and a lot of talk. If you combine brains and brawn, major breakthroughs are possible -- just be prepared for the faster pace. It's intriguing to me how Venus and all the feminine asteroids are tangled up with Pluto. There's much confusion and turmoil in the "softer side of the psyche" which affects both men and women equally, each in their own way. It may be necessary to withdraw from the world a bit in order to get in touch with these changes, as the concerns of being involved with others drown out these small voices. Be flexible -- answers will appear eventually.
Mars moves into Gemini on the 13th for the next 6 weeks. This is a funny placement for our Warrior God, since Gemini is such a mental sign and he's such a physical kind of guy. Essentially, this is a time to pick up the pace of your activities, after settling into the plodding Taurus rhythm of previous weeks. It's a great time for light mental work, especially where there is lots of information that needs to be examined and organized. Unfortunately, this placement can be rather flighty and prone to wander intellectually, never sticking with one chore long enough to finish it (Saturn in Gemini should help here). Yes, let your mind roam, but don't forget that "to do list" on your frig. This is often a stimulant to greater social activity, as you have a real passion for mixing it up with others. Mars will enter Cancer on May 28.
Chiron is standing still on the 17th at 9Cp09, about to start 5 month's of reverse motion. I tend to think of Chiron's retrograde cycles as a type of initiation or rediscovery of some part of you that's been deeply hidden. This entire cycle takes place in Capricorn, a sign that rules over perfecting your approach to the physical and social world. Obviously, most of us have some issues relating to being effective and successful in our lives, areas where we don't feel comfortable meeting the outside world. Unfortunately, it's not easy to admit to such shortfalls, given our cultural ideals of always being competent and on top of things. It can be downright embarassing at times to have no clue about things others just seem to know how to handle well. This embarassment is often the mark of a Chiron issue, a part of your personality that is deeply hidden and tinged with shame. This shame is what makes us keep these problems in our "dark psychic closet", so to speak, afraid to let others and even ourselves take a look at it. I've noticed that people often spend the first half of their life stuffing more and more into the closet, until they reach mid-life. At that time, with the closet bursting at the hinges, they ask themselves why life feels so sterile. It turns out that all the goodies in life have been stuffed away. The coming months are an excellent time to take some of these items out of mothballs and reintegrate them into your everyday life. The pain of hiding them any longer is greater than the fear of confronting them. Besides, these hidden parts are often the greatest gifts you have to offer to yourself and others, no matter how much they've been put down in the past. It's time to open the closet and let in some light! Chiron will be in reverse gear until Sep 7, when it goes direct at 3Cp13.
Coincidentally, the final Jupiter opposite Chiron is the next day, the 18th. Once again, this is the third of 3 contacts, with previous connections on 2001-6-22 and 2002-2-10. I'm realizing now how nuanced this aspect is, with multiple layers of meaning possible. In a nutshell, Jupiter is about how we reach out to the world and bring new experiences and resources into our lives. Opposing Chiron like this, there are ways in which this reaching out is being blocked or sabotaged. We all have parts of our lives that seem to sap our strength, drain our enthusiasm and leave us feeling like the world is not supporting us. It seems, no matter what we do, we can't succeed. Sometimes it's a matter of timing -- good ideas don't catch on before their time. Mostly though, humans have an incredible ability to undermine their own intentions with unconscious actions and beliefs that tell us abundance is impossible. It's time to break through those roadblocks and let the world drive past your house once again. However, I was just noticing that Jupiter is in Cancer and Chiron in Capricorn. Cancer is about family and a sense of belonging emotionally. Family support can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we all learn many of our sabotaging patterns from our family while growing up. But when we grow up and realize the true sense of family as the people that help and support us, we can see there are people available to help us out of our ruts. Similarly, it's great to be fully competent in the outer world (Capricorn), but not if it drains the juice out of the home nest. It's tough balancing these two extremes, but it's worth the effort.
There is a rare parallel aspect between Uranus and Pluto on the 25th. Parallels (and their buddies, contraparallels) are a curious type of aspect. Instead of measuring the distance between two planets along the zodiac, you're interested in whether the planets are the same distance north or south of the equator. Acting somewhat like a conjunction (where two planets are in the same place in the zodiac), it indicates a powerful connection between revolutionary Uranus and transformational Pluto in coming months. Now, I don't normally pay a lot of attention to parallels (more out of laziness than lack of interest), but this one intrigues me on two counts. First of all, it's repeatedly triggered this month, as Venus, Mercury and the Sun all join in. Secondly, the parallel is like a preview of the coming Uranus-Pluto quintile, which is already in orb and will be exact for the first of 7 times in May. There's a synergistic effect when planets are in both a "normal" aspect and a parallel or contraparallel, as though the planets are linked on two separate dimensions at once. If you notice it, I would expect this influence to be highly disruptive, since both Uranus and Pluto are major change-makers. Look for the chaos and excitement in your life, where things are rapidly being overturned, and you'll find these two. This parallel is a 3 part aspect, with 2 more repetitions on Jun 22 and Dec 13.
The full moon chart is somewhat more together than the new moon was, but there's still a great deal of chaos going on. The main action centers around 8 or 9 degrees, including a prominent T-square of Neptune and the full moon. Saturn is starting to drift out of the April backbone, moving back to its opposition with Pluto that began 2001-8-5.
A T-square in fixed signs like this can be quite troublesome, if only because it pushes people to take extreme positions and defend them fiercely. Sun in Taurus creates a slow and steady outlook, heavy on sensuous, body-oriented experiences. Moon in Scorpio, on the other hand, makes for a very intense emotional swamp where feelings rule over everything. The way out is represented by Neptune in Aquarius, which asks us to look at life from a lofty, detached perspective where the particulars of our life stories are unimportant. Neptune may well help defuse the intensity of those fixed signs, but Aquarius can be strangely opionated (even when you're being "spiritual"). Remember the larger social context you're in (even a guru has to work with people) and take your own positions lightly. Temper your ideas with healthy intuition and a sense of grace. That graciousness will take the edge off many situations in coming months.
Finally, there's a quincunx of Jupiter and Neptune on the 30th, with help from Mars. This is the final contact, with earlier connections on 2001-8-15 and 2002-1-20. Quincunxes normally indicate a mismatch of planetary energies that are having trouble working together. I don't normally think of Jupiter and Neptune as being a mismatch, since they are quite similar in many ways. They both have a dreamy, optimistic mood about them, though Jupiter is the more material plane influence of the two and Neptune is more the mystic. There can be some problems with taking too much of a "big picture" approach to some situation, losing touch with a more down to earth, detail oriented strategy that would be more successful. Look for areas dominated by fuzzy thinking or an unrealistic attitude -- you may be overextending yourself here. You can stay focused on your dreams, just keep your feet on the ground.