Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
New Moon at 10Ta43, 5-1
Vesta Direct Station at 28Vi21, 5-10
Neptune Retrograde Station at 13Aq11, 5-15
Full Moon / Total Lunar Eclipse at 24Sc52, 5-15
Saturn Trioctile Neptune, 5-20
Mercury Direct Station at 11Ta07, 5-20
Chiron Octile Uranus, 5-21
Ceres enters Gemini, 5-27
New Moon / Annular Solar Eclipse at 9Gm19, 5-30
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
It may seem unusual to say this, having just come through a messy war, but May is the time for the planetary energies to pick up after 3 months of aimless milling around. The waveforms have been boringly unstructured and lacking in energy for a long time. All that is about to change dramatically. May seems to be one major storm pattern after another, based on a very stressful and demanding group of planets. Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune dominate the entire month, contributing the crucial "background energies" of all the storms, and the aspects connecting them are all difficult ones. As this trio of planets is triggered over and over again by the faster moving planets, we will have plenty of opportunities to understand their lessons. Considering that these important aspects started last summer and fall (including the entire buildup for the Gulf War), we in a cleanup phase now, trying to tidy up all the loose ends and unresolved problems unleased the last 9 months. It's important to remain calm and grounded (not easy for Neptune) this month, because most people probably aren't thinking too clearly these days. We're all a little nuts lately. At least this won't be a month that's boring...
May is a busy month. First of all, there are 2 eclipses this month, one lunar and the other solar. Two "big aspects" are exact, 3 planets are standing still at stations and a pair of asteroids change signs. That should be enough to keep us hopping.
The first thing to jump out at you from the new moon chart is a beautiful, though imposing Grand Cross. The Sun and Moon are opposite Juno and squared off by Mars and Neptune opposite Jupiter. This cross stands out immediately in the graph for this waveform as 4 tall and slender peaks. Venus, Saturn and possibly Vesta also join in with this pattern. The trio pattern of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune is off and running, playing the commanding role for the entire month. This is a chart of stresses and tensions, of different areas of our lives being at cross purposes with each other. There doesn't seem to be much wiggle room for working things out either, since the cross (and half the planets in the sky) are in stubborn, dig in your heels fixed signs. It's tough getting anything to work smoothly with so many entrenched positions to contend with. It's important to be willing to question your own goals and assumptions, since we are often blind to our own failings. If anything is leading to discord or trouble, it's worth taking a good look at it. Mind you, problem areas won't show up right away (give them a week or so), since the new moon is only the opening act here. So stay loose and flexible, be patient and fair with others. You'll reap the best results from this lunar month if you allow others to prosper, too.
Vesta is standing still on the 10th at 28Vi21, about to resume normal motion. Vesta in reverse gear is often a time when your integrity and self-reliance are being tested and refined. She represents the urge to withdraw from the outer world in order to reestablish a connection with your inner world, the source of your true power. Most of this retrograde cycle has been in Libra, a very social sign, which is quite a strain for Vesta. The Libran need to stay engaged with others and keep relationships working smoothly is very much at odds with Vesta's tendency to disappear from the scene, creating much tension. The brief stay in Virgo (Apr 22 to May 30) has helped somewhat, but after the 30th, she's back in Libra for 3 more months (until Aug 26). I suspect this tension will start easing soon, as Vesta feels less inclined to run away.
Neptune is standing still at its retrograde station of 13Aq11 on the 15th, about to start 5 months of reverse motion. It resumes normal motion on Oct 22 at 10Aq24. To be honest, Neptune is basically standing still the entire month, so this sluggish energy will be around a long time. Neptune stationary is often a time when confusion reigns, when despite your best intentions, things go sour. It's because he's a Dreamer and a Mystic, not terribly inclined to consider (or even notice) practical concerns or that circumstances have changed. He has a vision of how the world should be and can't understand why the realities are something different. He's operating on idealistic, but often outright false assumptions that only lead to problems down the road, not the utopia he envisioned. This is a good time to reassess your ideals and hopes. Our visions of the future are sometimes more suited to a past that no longer exists. They need to be updated occasionally before they back you into a corner. Neptune has this uncanny ability to bring to reality what you actually believe inside (whether you admit to it or not), so watch for the trouble areas that emerge in May. They are symptoms of areas that need overhaul. Given the rest of the trio, it's best to be brutally honest with yourself now (not Neptune's strongest trait). If you're overlooking something vital, you'll definitely know about it by next October.
It appears the storm energies are cooling off by the full moon on the 15th, but there are two major extenuating circumstances to consider. First of all, Neptune is exactly at its station just a few hours before the full moon, a marked change in the way the trio expresses itself. Secondly, this is a lunar eclipse, which hints that these are long-term influences that will be with us for many months to come. So while the Grand Cross is starting to look a little ragged, the energies are building to a deep-acting level. Curiously, the Sun and Moon are fairly isolated, making few connections with other planets. This is somewhat disturbing, since it means the eclipse energies don't readily fit in with the rest of our lives, making for an awkward transition. (Check which houses in your birthchart contain the Sun and Moon positions if you want to see where the changes will occur for you.) This eclipse belongs to a group (called a "Saros family") that has a background theme of radical change and overhaul, so it will be interesting to see whether the next few months pick up on this theme. I'd expect stresses to be building for quite some time before it seems obvious to people that changes are needed. Try to maintain all the clarity you can in the midst of all this mental fog. It's all for the good, eventually...
Saturn is trioctile Neptune on the 20th, one of the important aspects within the trio pattern this month. This is the last of 3 such contacts; the previous ones were 2002-7-29 and 2002-12-30. It's hard to imagine two planets as different as Saturn and Neptune, but they seem to need each other somehow, like an Odd Couple. However, with a stressful and conflicted trioctile connecting them, this is not the easist time for this pair. Neptune, as I just said, is a Dreamer and visionary, more concerned with the way things should be instead of the way they really are. Saturn will have none of that. Saturn is Mr. Reality himself, that sense of practicality that demands the material world be dealt with properly and by the book. Either planet in isolation is an extreme that is unworkable in the long run, so a healthy balance between these two poles is needed. Granted, there's a lot of "reality" around that needs to be taken care of (Iraq being the biggest mess on a large scale). While ideologues argue in the streets about the one true way, somebody's got to get the water and electricity going. Saturn's good for handling the details and doing the dirty work. But people demand more than the material basics. Neptune can supply a bigger picture (one short on details and specifics, however), but often with a "religious" tinge that says "I have the only Truth" and is lacking in acceptance of others. The balance point is not easily achieved these days, but must be sought after. Anything less will create quite a mess to pick up later.
Mercury is standing still on the 20th at 11Ta07, about to resume normal motion. It went retrograde at 20Ta33 on Apr 26. Mercury retrograde is a time when the thinking mind goes haywire, breaking down in the most peculiar fashions. It seems thought processes and our ability to communicate fail in ways you just wouldn't expect and hence can't anticipate. That's the whole point here. The thinking mind is simply incapable of capturing reality in every detail, so we are always overlooking something. It's just that during these retrograde cycles, we aren't able to get away with such lapses. Rather than get frustrated by these times, consider them "aha!" moments that show you where your blindspots are. The Mercury mind can always become cleverer, even if it can't know everything. It gets easier towards the end of the month as Mercury picks up speed and our brains get out of mothballs, again.
Chiron is octile Uranus for the second of 3 times on the 21st. The previous contact was on Jan 10 and the final one will be Nov 5. One of the intriguing subplots of this aspect is that it coincides with Uranus' passage into Pisces this year, as though Chiron is helping it settle into its new sign. Both planets are of the crazy Trickster variety, leading us into areas that are unexpected and outside of "normal" reality. Uranus tends to work more in the mental-intuitive realm, while Chiron is more physical and experiential. The octile part of the story, a conflict or mismatch of these two energies, is a bit of a mystery to me still. It's as though we won't really understand what Uranus in Pisces is about until we get through this other stuff first. Chiron in Capricorn is about not feeling safe and at ease in the world at large, of feeling out of place here on earth. Uranus in Pisces sounds more like realizing that we really aren't limited to this world. However, until we come to terms with mundane life here and now, it doesn't make much sense to dwell on more cosmic concerns. It's a bit of a dilemma, but such contradictions are often part of the spiritual path. Work on both levels at once, if you choose to, but keep one foot on the ground.
Ceres enters Gemini on the 27th. It stays in this sign until Aug 10, when it moves into Cancer for an extended period due to an upcoming retrograde cycle. Ceres is usually represented as the Great Mother, the source of life and nurture for all beings. It's rather odd to put her in a mental sign like Gemini, but there are some obvious ways this symbolism can work. One is as the Teacher, someone who guides and shapes young minds so they can make their way in the world. Another view is that it fosters our concern for our "brain children", the offspring of our mental life. However, this mental emphasis somehow takes all the "juice" out of Ceres, reducing an emotionally caring Mother to a distant mental being that fails to give us support. It's important during this placement to not "intellectualize the feelings" or become detached from your emotions excessively. A brain child can be fun to play with, but it's no substitute for loving connections with other people.
There's a second new moon this month, a solar eclipse to boot. Even though the trio energies are still going (though considerably weakened at this point), the over all impact of this lunation feels much lighter and easy to handle. Part of the change is that the big storms of May are breaking up finally. Also, the eclipse joins up with Jupiter and Neptune by easy going sextiles and trines, not by pesky squares as earlier in the month. This brings out a much smoother side of the Jupiter-Neptune aspect than we saw earlier. Plus the eclipse is in early Gemini (9Gm19, to be precise) and Gemini is just a much lighter and playful sign than all those fixed signs. Yes, eclipses bring changes to our lives, but I wouldn't worry too much about this one.
There are a number of deeper issues about this eclipse chart worth mentioning. First, the eclipse is nearly on top of the US Uranus. I've seen lots of connections lately between eclipses and the US chart that produced dramatic historical events a few months later. A recent example is the eclipse of 2002-6-10, on the US Mars and George Bush's Uranus, unleashing the warrior energy that resulted eventually in the Gulf War. With our national Uranus being triggered this time, I'd expect some truly unusual twists and turns for the country this summer or fall -- something to keep an eye on. The Sun and Moon are also directly overhead in southeast China (although the eclipse is not visible there), one of the hotbeds of the SARS epidemic. Perhaps we will have some dramatic news on this front shortly as well. As for the Saros family for this eclipse, it has some powerful Neptune overtones to it, accentuating the powerful Neptune tendencies seen this month. Further, there's potent outer planet energies in this family. So underlying this breezy chart is a deeper, transformative energy with a strong visionary streak. Trust your intuitions now -- those vague hints mean something!