Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
New Moon at 11Ar38, 4-1
Jupiter Direct Station at 8Le04, 4-3
Full Moon at 26Li23, 4-16
Uranus Quintile Pluto, 4-16
Pallas enters Aries, 4-17
Mars enters Aquarius, 4-21
Vesta reenters Virgo, 4-22
Chiron Retrograde Station at 18Cp09, 4-25
Mercury Retrograde Station at 20Ta33, 4-26
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
What a difference a month makes! The world situation has been totally transformed in late March, though the dust is still flying and there's no telling how things will ultimately turn out. The energies in April are pretty much a follow on to the March influences, letting the forces unleashed work their way. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of significant activity to set April apart, mostly some stations and a big background aspect. The waveforms throughout the month are pretty tame, weak in intensity with harsh harmonics, but nothing we shouldn't be able to handle (at least during normal times, which this isn't). The Saturn-Pluto opposition, the signature of this whole war on terrorism thing, continues to unfold. We are also getting a better view of how Uranus in Pisces will be acting. Given that both of these major themes appear to be big disruptions of our lives, I'd say that the coming month will be more of the same energies we've already experienced. It's important, when unconscious planets like these are active, to disengage from the mass psyche, to remain calm and detached. Observe what is happening, dig deeper, but avoid jumping in with a passionate response that is premature. Reality is extremely multi-faceted and complicated -- simple interpretations of the "truth" fall quite short of the mark. Being certain of yourself now is probably a sign of weakness or immaturity. Hold back until things are clearer.
There's a wide variety of interesting events this month. The only "big aspect" is another quintile between Uranus and Pluto, the 3rd in a series of 7. There are also 3 stations to consider and 3 sign changes of note.
The new moon connects strongly with the Jupiter-Neptune opposition that's been active since last fall (the new moon May 1 is even more dramatic). This opposition seems to be associated with the buildup to the Iraqi war we are now engaged in. Coming only 2 weeks into the war, this new moon chart should have much to say about issues during April. The basic pattern exudes drive and enthusiasm, although it's important to be realistic (the "enemy" is more wily than we gave them credit for) and more than a bit concerned about security. Realities on the ground may require some major reconsiderations of strategies and tactics, so be flexible and learn from your mistakes. I'm especially intrigued by the tight conjunction of Mars and Chiron. While a cliché like "discovering your inner warrior" tends to trivialize this aspect, in a sense we have forgotten how to be gung ho and rely on ourselves. There's a toughness that is missing in our culture, as we've become overly sensitive. Neither extreme is healthy; a balance needs to be struck. Of course, this applies to all of us -- you don't need to be in uniform and carry a gun to experience these issues. Carry on, but keep your eyes open.
Jupiter is standing still on the 3rd at 8Le04, about to resume normal direct motion. It's been in reverse gear since 2002-12-4, when it stood still at 18Le06. When Jupiter is backing up, it seems your contacts to the outer world dry up. The connections with others that support and enhance your life just aren't available, forcing you to handle things on your own. These dry spells are often a good time to get your own affairs, especially finances, in order so you are in a stronger overall position. With the direct station now, this dought is lifting. Assuming you have done your work, you should be in a good position to utilize outside support as it starts to pick up, again. Of course, if you've burned too many bridges in recent months, external help may be hard to find now. As this retrograde zone lies entirely in Leo, part of the toll you've experienced deals with self esteem and respect issues. Your ego may have taken quite a bruising lately and it often feels like your creative expression is hemmed in. Lessons in humility are sometimes very useful (and necessary). If it seems like I'm hinting at George Bush, consider that Jupiter is standing still on his Mercury-Pluto conjunction in his first house -- an exaggerated and overblown attempt to manipulate matters for his own purposes via the spoken word. This worrisome transit for the president has been active since last August, when the war with Iraq was thrust on the world stage. Early April is a time to judge how well this strategy has worked. Draw your own conclusions...
The full moon is quite a dramatic chart, a study in stresses and tensions. There are at least 3 T-squares and Grand Crosses in there, enough action to keep us busy for weeks. The Sun and Moon form a tight T-square with Mars (which is conjunct the US Pluto!) -- there's a feeling of impatience, of wanting to go in and get things done, without regard for the consequences. It's important to remain focused and disciplined, particularly if anger or rage is below the surface. The next T-square is closely intertwined with the first: Saturn opposite Pluto, squared off by Venus and Pallas. This one is arguing for a more balanced, peaceful approach, one that foregoes extreme points of view and strives for a harmonious middle ground. Already, half the planets in the sky are in just these two potent patterns, so there's quite a planetary punch coming our way. The Grand Cross is more subtle and less focused, so it may be tough to pick up on this energy. It includes Ceres and Mercury opposite Juno, squared off by Jupiter and Neptune; Chiron plays a helping hand. Despite all the macho Mars energy in this chart, it's the more peaceful, caring undertones that are more helpful in the long run. A little respect towards others goes a long way. (Assuming the war is still going, which it appears likely, there should be some dramatic shifts after the full moon.) This is a balancing act in coming weeks -- there are no clear cut answers. Be on your toes...
Uranus forms another quintile with Pluto on the 16th, just after the full moon. This is the 3rd of 7 such contacts, covering the period from 2002-5-19 to 2005-2-12. The long term Uranus-Pluto cycle seems to create massive social change and shifts in mental outlook on a global scale, unleashing a tide of dissent and turmoil. However, since both planets work in a heavily unconscious mode to begin with, sometimes the areas that are transformed are so second nature that we don't even recognize there is anything there to change. It's like asking a fish what they think about water. Quintiles, in particular, operate at a mental-intuitive level, creating change by shifting the mental framework we use to understand the world. We've reached a point where our situation makes no sense in the old way of understanding things; old solutions are powerless to solve current problems. The attempt to bring about constructive change is stymied by a lack of imagination and will more than anything. To a certain extent, this kind of evolution can't be "managed" or controlled -- deep spiritual forces must work themselves out even if we are clueless as to their actions. But the workings of the soul, the unconscious, whatever you want to name it, can be cooperated with to make the process more palatable. These 3 years are a time for humanity to avoid some grave mistakes of the past and forge a new future. So far, we've done little to wake up, but as the world scene gets tougher, I hope more people will "get it" and change their ways. Curiously, the last time these planets were quintile was 1939-40, as WW2 was breaking out. Now, it's called Gulf War 2. My biggest fear is that if we don't make the shift now, the Uranus-Pluto square of 2012-2015 will be horrendous. Look for those moments of "aha!" that tell you your mental landscape has done a 180, those stirrings of the soul that alert you that something important is trying to emerge. Look beyond conventional realities and wisdom, our collective understandings of a past that no longer works. It's time to make a huge leap in consciousness (whatever that means!) while we still can. Don't settle for cheap answers and false certainty now...
The asteroid Pallas moves into Aries on the 17th. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, this is an extended 10 month passage lasting until 2004-2-25, not your usual 3 month trek. Pallas is often connected with a mentality of strategic planning, of being able to size up a situation and decide on a plan to get from point A to point B. So the strategist is moving into the martial sign of Aries. Too bad the war is already started -- we could have used her insight to avoid some of our early stupid moves. It's important to stay focused in this battle on achieving justice and equity for the "downtrodden" (another Pallas theme), since many people around the world are expecting us to operate from our basest motivations. It will take a major effort to convince them otherwise, since so many people have made up their minds already and stopped thinking. In the broader picture, this 10 month lesson is about more than military or political activities. It's about whether we can channel our efforts into creating a more just world around us, both globally and locally. It requires sustained effort to achieve a vision. Dumb luck will not work this time. The retrograde period (Aug 22 to Dec 6) will be especially crucial. Get to work!
Mars moves from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 21st for a 7 week stay (until Jun 16). This is an odd placement for Mars: the Warrior God puts on a scientist's lab coat. Aquarius is about mental energy, the more abstract the better. While this is excellent for purely intellectual activities, it can be dreadful when a human touch is required. We normally think of air signs as more social, but with Aquarius there are limits. This placement is about putting ideas into action, of actually trying to implement a plan or vision. Things work well as long as you're interacting with people that share your point of view, but sparks can fly when you have to mix with those who disagree. The shadow side of the humanitarian can come through when others fail to embrace their vision -- a kind of unfeeling, dispassionate technocrat emerges that forgets that people are important. Aquarius always feels it knows the "Truth" (always with a capital T) and Mars makes it ornery enough to blow away anyone who disagrees. Remember that all ideas, no matter how grand, have their limitations and blindspots and that thinking divorced from feeling and intuition is almost always dead wrong. Pursue your mental goals, but keep their limitations in mind. There's nothing more deadly than a warrior on a mission from god.
Vesta backs up from Libra into Virgo on the 22nd. She reaches her direct station on May 10 and reenters Libra on May 30. This brief respite from Vesta in Libra indicates some cleanup work for us. Vesta is the "vital flame" within that gives us enthusiasm for life. However, this is a flame that must often be tended in private, since interacting with other people generally depletes this energy. Having hung out in Libra since December, we've been overly concerned with others, their concerns and soap operas. It's been draining, particularly since most people are slowly freaking out in recent months. Here's an excuse to withdraw awhile and focus on some work or project that fires you up. It doesn't matter what that activity is or what others think of it, Vesta is only concerned that you feel jazzed up by it. This is also a good time to look into health issues, like changing your diet or starting an exercise program. Take some time for yourself -- everyone will be better off for it.
Chiron is standing still on the 25th at 18Cp09, about to start its retrograde cycle. It's stationary direct on Sep 17 at 12Cp22, at which time it resumes normal motion. I usually think of these cycles as a bit of an initiation, a voyage of rediscovery of who you used to be in your fullness. We all have parts of ourselves that we've forgotten or stuffed away over the years, mostly because these "wild" parts are not understood or approved of by others. Over time, we lose the core that makes us who we truly are. As we reach mid-life, the search for renewal often brings us back to discovering this lost territory within. This path requires facing all the shame and guilt we originally felt at not being the person others expected us to be, but it eventually releases the joy of being free and alive. This kind of shame can be encountered in nearly every part of life, as all aspects of human life are domesticated and shaped by others. In Capricorn, there are issues related to being successful, powerful and in command. Few of us can be said to have mastered the outer world and its games. We are all "victims of the system" in a sense, compromising our power to fit in. It's embarassing to be in situations where we don't know how to act, to be at the mercy of rules we don't understand. And you know, deep down it doesn't really matter. Chiron unleashes your power and authority by releasing the shame that undermines you. You may not master the entire world, but you can be on top of your own world. Lighten up and enjoy life more! It pays to break out of the box when you can. Let other people be responsible for their own judgments -- you don't need to carry their burden.
Mercury stands still the next day on the 26th, at 20Ta33. It retrogrades until May 20, when it resumes normal motion at 11Ta07. Mercury, of course, is the thinking, talking, symbol using part of the psyche. It's the power of language to capture and redefine our experiences, even creating a symbolic world of its own through words and images. This symbolic capability is an important tool for understanding and controlling ourselves and the world; perhaps it's the tool that makes us "human" somehow. But like all tools, it has its limitations. No symbol system, whether science, religion or mythology, can ever fully capture reality in all its infinite richness. Sometimes, language and symbols fail miserably at it. It's always illuminating to run into experiences that defy our understanding. It teaches us that all our stories are more fictions than truth. It makes us realize we are much more than we can capture in words. When Mercury is backing up, these lapses of the intellect are commonplace. We stumble over words and fail to communicate clearly. Decisions that are made turn out to be based on false assumptions and sloppy analysis. Agreements with others must be renegotiated when the parties discover they hopelessly misunderstood each other. Even basic assumptions about how the world works and what to expect under different circumstances wind up full of holes and misconceptions. The world is more than we think -- get used to it. (Obviously, this is a rotten influence on the battlefield -- watch the news for all the snafus.)