Current Transits for April 2004

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Jupiter trioctile Chiron, 4-1
Full Moon at 15Li59, 4-5
Mercury Retrograde Cycle, 4-6 to 4-30
Vesta enters Pisces, 4-16
New Moon / Partial Solar Eclipse at 29Ar49, 4-19
Pallas enters Gemini, 4-24

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

I would suspect that April will be a rather sluggish month, but it's kind of hard to pin this one down. That's mainly because there really isn't all that much happening in April, astrologically speaking. After the last few months, that may be a bit of a relief -- I think many of us are "in recovery" still. It doesn't help that Mercury is retrograde most of the month, putting our brain cells on hold for a time -- always a delightful influence during the climax of tax season! The first three weeks are the most troublesome. The outer planets are enough out of sync with each other that it's really hard to build up a head of steam these days. I wouldn't attempt too much during this period, since there is little planetary support for big efforts. The last week is an exception to all this, however. This is the biggest storm pattern in over two months, so the world should seem to arise from its doldrums and spring to action. As we're heading into an eclipse period (solar eclipse on Apr 19, lunar eclipse on May 4), this time will be busy and have lasting effects on our lives. Rest up and get ready for the demands of this storm.

There's not much news in April. Mercury undergoes its retrograde cycle between the 6th and the 30th. There's a "big aspect" between Jupiter and Chiron on the 1st, while the asteroids Pallas and Vesta both change signs. The new moon on the 19th is a partial solar eclipse.

Jupiter is trioctile Chiron on the 1st for the second of 3 contacts. This aspect started on 2003-8-17 and completes on 2004-6-5. Jupiter is concerned with how we reach out to the world, make connections, expand our boundaries. There's an air of optimism and confidence about him, a sense that he feels at home just about anywhere. Chiron, on the other hand, often indicates where we feel held back, afraid to be genuine. We all make compromises and accomodations with our surroundings -- that's just part of being a living creature. But if it becomes a habitual or defensive reaction, you slowly shut down over time. It may be more comfortable to "fit in" (assuming you even think about it), but you lose all that enthusiasm and joy that Jupiter is trying to bring to you. This aspect is a time to see how you sabotage your own pleasure, how you hold back from feeling welcome in your own world. There's a profound disconnection between these Jupiter and Chiron instincts, a heightening of the tension between these two ways of being in the world. Just remember that (contrary to the gloomy picture I've painted so far) Chiron is also a planet of mastery. When you free yourself of the fear and shame that is an early part of the Chiron process, you also free yourself up to be the individual you were born to be. This tension is designed to provoke a healing awareness within you, an urge to stop playing it safe and start being more open to the world. This can happen at many different levels, great and small -- you may not even notice some of the baby steps. Every fear transcended and released helps improve your world, which ultimately benefits you also. Move beyond the people, situations, ideas that drag your energies down. This may be a painful time, but it's truly important to face these issues this spring. It's time to break free of needless limitations.

The full moon occurs towards the end of the first transition period of the month, so the waveform is still rather quiet and disorganized. It may not appear that impressive on first glance, but there are some intriguing patterns of planets in this chart that merit mention. The results may be subtle and often focused on relationship issues, but these themes should dominate the next two weeks.

First of all, the Sun (self) is in Aries, the most egocentric of all zodiac signs, while the Moon (feelings) is in Libra, the most other-oriented of signs. Right away, this hints at conflicts between self and others that will need some attention and accomodation. On either side of the Sun, roughly 45 degrees apart, are Uranus in Pisces and Venus in Gemini. There's an interplay of intuitive insight and feeling going on here that provides ongoing commentary on the Sun-Moon axis. Neptune is also just past a sextile with the Sun, further affecting the full moon axis. It's important in coming weeks to balance your desires with those of the people close to you, to realize when the greater good requires you to take a back seat for a time. However, this doesn't mean total capitulation -- you may need to stand up for yourself sometimes. The main issue is to get outside of you normal ego-centered frame of mind and look at matters from a larger perspective. There's also a wide T-square going on between Uranus and Jupiter, squared off by Mars. T-squares are rarely known for producing easy-going results, but they don't always have to be mayhem and disruption. Again, the emphasis is on adapting to the big picture before carrying out your plans. Expressing your needs in a thoughtful manner is much more likely to achieve good results than simply barging ahead. Having both Venus and Mars in Gemini for the rest of the month is a nice stimulus to a light hearted play of the sexes, as long as you stay away from emotionally contentious issues. In short, this is a balancing act between differing points of view, but it doesn't have to be interpreted as conflict or discord. Keep your mind and heart open.

Mercury stands still at 1Ta56 on the 6th, about to start its retrograde cycle. It backs up to 21Ar07 by the 30th, ready to resume normal motion, again. Mercury in reverse gear is a time when the thinking mind is missing a few cylinders. Normally, it represents the part of the psyche that uses symbols and skills to understand and master the world. Language is a wonderful tool for ensnaring the world, of reducing the confusion of life to easily remembered sound bites in the mind. It's a kind of knowledge that has changed and remade our lives. But sometimes, our stories fail us. There always comes a time when some situation eludes our clever explanations, when life unfolds in a way contrary to what we think of as reasonable. Mercury's retrograde cycle is about 3 weeks of that kind of rude awakenings. I'd say that much of April will be lost in this mental fog where things don't make sense. Be very careful when communicating with others. Despite your best efforts, misunderstandings are bound to happen. If you're trying to carry out some plan, hidden snafus will emerge at the most awkward moments. (The guy who wrote Murphy's law must have been born with Mercury retrograde...) Actually, if you are attentive, all these mental slips are important clues to you concerning the weaknesses and misunderstandings of your stories. No explanation can ever fully capture reality, so don't be surprised that you still have more to learn. No person is so wise that they don't need to reexamine their own thinking processes from time to time. Stand back from yourself and give yourself a good "once over" from a distance. It's rather refreshing to drop off some unnecessary mental baggage when you can. Mercury is picking up speed as we head into May -- the fog will lift. Make good use of the mayhem...

Vesta moves from Aquarius into Pisces on the 16th. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, this in an unusually long 9 month stay in Pisces, lasting until 2005-1-11. This placement has the potential to make us very reclusive. Vesta's normal way of operating is to engage with others deeply until she feels like her energies are drained. This leads to the more typical Vesta behavior of withdrawal from the world into her private realm. Vesta is an introvert -- she finds her strength within her own depths, not with other people. When she feels overwhelmed by people, she craves some healing time alone. Pisces is also no slouch in the hermit department. Of all the zodiac signs, Pisces is most focused on the "other world" and least concerned with this one. It represents all those experiences that step outside of "normal society", hence its assocations with things like hospitals, monasteries or (on the negative side) prisons. Vesta has certainly found a good place to check out for awhile. What makes this placement so important is the length of its stay (9 months instead of a more usual 3) due to the retrograde cycle coming this summer. Obviously this theme of withdrawal is being emphasized for us. If you tend to keep to yourself anyway, it may be terribly hard to get out of your shell in coming months. Granted, not everyone relates to the Vesta archetype this strongly, but I think most of us will need to be alone more than usual. This may actually be a rather creative period, as you focus on bringing the inner world to the surface. However you manifest this influence, do so with the utmost of integrity towards yourself. Just remember to go outside and play every once in a while...

I stared at this eclipse chart a long time before it started to make sense to me. At first glance, there's hardly any structure to speak of in the chart and the waveform is a mess. I slowly started to notice a quintile fan, a group of planets roughly 72 degrees apart. I guess I wouldn't make too much of a chart like this under normal circumstances, but I've learned to never underestimate an eclipse. This influence may be a bit of a sleeper.

First of all, let me make the standard disclaimer: eclipses don't mean "head for the bomb shelters" necessarily. A lot of people freak out at their mention, but the reputation is not deserved. Eclipses indicate change in some area of your life (see the house in your birthchart that contains the eclipse degree), an opportunity to get that area working more effectively. The big problem is that people often don't want to change, even when they need to, so the overhauls can feel unwelcome and undesirable. This eclipse is at the last degree of Aries, the "summing up point" of all our self-assertion issues, closely conjunct Mercury. On one side of the quintile fan from the eclipse is Neptune, on the other side Saturn. A few other planets like Venus and Jupiter also contribute to this pattern. Quintiles rarely seem to describe conflicts or real problem areas. If anything, they indicate situations where a change in perspective totally redefines the issues so they are no longer a problem. We all have ideas about what we want and what's the right way to get our way, but quite often that puts us at odds with other people and their desires. So how can you "look at things differently" so this is less of an issue? One alternative is posed by Neptune in Aquarius. Here's a placement that talks about looking at your world in terms of big spiritual ideals that transcend the restricted ego, of identifying with the big picture so much that the little self is less important. Granted, such a perspective is not so easy to attain, nor do many people strive for it. "What about me?" That gets to the other side of the coin, Saturn in Cancer. This influence is very multi-faceted. At a lower level, it describes the emotion of fear, of feeling left out, unsupported and alone. Fear causes us to shrink inside ourselves and go into a defensive mode. It says you're not safe and you need to be careful. On a deeper level, however, this placement could also indicate it's time to find your safety and security within yourself, instead of relying on others for it. It's saying that just because you have to bend a little, it's no reflection on you per se. Heck, you can even be a source of strength for others. Somewhere in the middle of all these themes is a new way, one that allows you to be yourself in the company of others, without the worry and fear. This is not an overnight change, but an evolutionary path that will take months to pursue. Let out a deep sigh and let go of the feelings that shackle you to the past. It's time to move on...

Pallas shifts from Taurus into Gemini on the 24th. It will be in this sign until Jun 15. This placement has a markedly "mental" tone to it. Pallas has a strong affinity for a trait that can be called strategic planning -- the ability to look at a situation and figure out how to get from point A to point B. Gemini is always checking out and responding to its surroundings anyway, trying to see how everything is working. This influence is thus excellent for carrying out any plans or activities that require cleverness and foresight. The only warning is that Pallas is often out of touch with her emotions and intuitions. As I've noticed over and over again, pure intellect is frequently totally crazy. When you are in pursuit of "perfect rationality", you're basic understandings and starting premises can be widely off the mark. Which means your conclusions, so flawlessly arrived at, have no connections with the situation at hand. Your answers "make sense", but are mostly worthless. The feelings allow you to ground your mental experience in the tried and true realm of the physical body and the material world, places where bad assumptions are quickly falsified. Give yourself a reality check every now and then, to see if your plans make sense and just to get out of your head occasionally. Otherwise, get to work! This can be a productive time.