Current Transits for May 2004

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


Jupiter Sextile Saturn, 5-1
Chiron Retrograde Station at 26Cp08, 5-1 or 2
Full Moon / Total Lunar Eclipse at 14Sc41, 5-4
Jupiter Direct Station at 8Vi55, 5-4
Mars enters Cancer, 5-7
Juno Retrograde Station at 24Cp45, 5-16
Neptune Retrograde Station at 15Aq24, 5-17
Venus Retrograde Station at 26Gm08
Ceres enters Leo, 5-18
New Moon at 28Ta33, 5-18
Mars Conjunct Saturn at 11Cn18, 5-25

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

May is kind of a paradox -- it's both sluggish and intense at the same time. The first thing to notice about the month is that many of the planets are standing still now, either going into a retrograde cycle or just coming out of one. Having this many stationary planets has a couple of notable effects. For starters, there is not a lot of aspect activity going on, since nobody is moving. Aspects are the "fuel" of astrological influence on us, the energies that trigger events and trends in our lives. On the other hand, if any of these lumbering planets happens to stand still in a ticklish area of your own birthchart, the influence it casts on you is long acting and particularly intense. Further, retrograde cycles (the time periods when a planet is apparently backing up in the sky) always have an intensity of their own. They point to areas of your life that need closer attention and a lot of conscious remedial work. These cycles often work by setting you up. You casually and rather blindly walk into a situation that requires much work, leaving you in a situation over the next few weeks or months of having to sort out messy circumstances. Be patient with this process. It may be unpleasant at times and seems to drag out longer than you think is necessary, but these cycles can't be rushed and must evolve in their own good time. To top it all off, the full moon on the 4th is a powerful total lunar eclipse, another influence that works on us for many months to come. You may be frustrated by the lack of progress you feel this month, but "pushing harder" won't make things easier or faster. We're cleaning up old messes, not breaking new ground.

The list of important astrological events is pretty long in May. It includes 5 planets at their stations, a big aspect between Jupiter and Saturn, and a pair of sign changes. Oh, and did I mention a total lunar eclipse? This should keep us busy.

Jupiter is sextile Saturn on the 1st for the second of three such contacts. The first contact was on 2003-11-1 and the final one will be on Aug 17. Jupiter and Saturn rule over what I like to call the "social contract" between people. Our lives are much enriched and improved by our associations with other people around us, but it comes at a price. Saturn says you have to play the game properly by being responsible for your actions, following the rules (at least in spirit) and being respectful of the rights of others. Within those guidelines, you're free to pursue your own interests however you see fit. Jupiter is then the giver of "the goodies" you create through your efforts with others. Jupiter is sorta like Santa Claus or a rich uncle in most people's minds and few have any complaints about him. However, everybody grumbles about Saturn. Few people truly appreciate the value of responsibility, hoping for a free lunch or an unequal bargain whenever possible. It's hard to maintain the trust of others if you're always trying to get the best of them -- that's not rocket science. Saturn keeps us honest. Since this is a sextile, any honest efforts you perform are likely to be rewarded. Sextiles appreciate the application of elbow grease to a project -- things generally work out well. The only way for this time to backfire on you is if you decide to freeload. As I've said so many times, you can't really understand any Jupiter-Saturn aspect unless you look at it in the context of the 20 year cycle that begins with their conjunction. Jupiter and Saturn were last conjunct on 2000-5-28 at 22Ta43. That was just before the elections that brought Bush to office. Many astrologers associate this cycle with the deaths of U.S. presidents every 20 years or so -- many of them are "concerned" for Bush these days. It certainly seems to be a time when his credibility is on the line. The stock market peaked in early 2000 and then tanked -- it's only now showing signs of recovery. The conjunction was right on the Israeli Sun position and the Mideast issue has been in turmoil ever since (thanks in no small measure to Sharon, though there's plenty of blame to go around). I've been thinking this sextile would be condusive to some kind of agreement in the Mideast, but it seems none of the parties really want to embrace Saturn yet. Notice that Neptune is aspecting Jupiter and Saturn since last fall, forming a spectacular Yod pattern (aka -- the Finger of God). Neptune adds a whole new spiritual, idealistic level to the sextile, as well as points to the fateful, crucial importance of decisions playing out now. Misunderstanding and suspicion may yet poison this opportunity for peace. Let's pray otherwise...

Chiron is standing still at 26Cp08 on the 1st (or 2nd, depending on your time zone), about to start 5 months of reverse gear. It backs up to 20Cp30 by Sep 26, before resuming normal forward motion. Chiron often represents the weakest links in our psyches, the parts we try to hide away and not let others see. You generally do this because these parts were never accepted or understood by others and they gave you a rough time until you stopped. The pity is, these parts of ourselves are often the best we have to give. Sure, they need a little dusting off and updating, but they've been in the closet a long time now. Chiron's retrograde cycles are an initiation time, of sorts, when we get to dive into the closet and pull out another gem from the depths. This cycle is entirely in Capricorn (as was last year's cycle), so issues of coping with the grand world out there may be coming up. Very few people are so competent that they can handle everything life dishes out; some of the rest of us are pretty clueless about something or another. Our society values that air of cool competence, which means many of us fake it as we try to get by. This is a time to drop the pretenses and learn to really take care of yourself. Chiron is also a shamanic figure, an image of spiritual power and authority. That's a goal worth pursuing, even if you can't balance your checkbook. Go easy on yourself -- you're a better person than you give yourself credit for.

First of all, the standard eclipse disclaimer is in order: eclipses do not mean run for the hills. Essentially, they produce change, overhaul, renewal as part of the natural rhythms of life -- after all, you can't grow unless you change. It's only when you have an attitude about these changes that they become problematic. Second, it could be "worse", as the storm pattern is breaking up by the eclipse. This is quite an intriguing chart, with 2 T-squares.

There's a fascinating T-square involving the Sun, Moon and Neptune. It's got tight orbs and is reinforced by parallels and contraparallels -- this is a tightly wound pattern. Further, all three planets are near 15 degrees of the fixed signs, positions sometimes known as Avatar Points. All these positions are considered spiritual power spots in the sky, though it's not too clear what's supposed to happen here. With Neptune nearing its station, this T-square is highly significant. I'd like to believe it would tip enough people to "see the light" that real progress might be made on this planet. That's a bit too optimistic, I realize. Few people receive such inspiration, fewer still act on them, but sometimes that is enough. A few dedicated people can tip the scales. Unfortunately, there's much confusion in the air, so those scales can be swinging in all sorts of directions. Try to maintain clarity about your goals -- wooly thinking will get you nowhere. The other T-square (Juno, Chiron, Ceres, Mercury) seems to require fairness and clarity with others. Something interesting is coming soon...

Addendum (5-9): I noticed a few days ago that this eclipse axis lies right across the ascendent and descendent of the Bush administration's birthchart. No wonder this has been such a weird news week, with all the uproar over the Iraqi prisoner abuse story. Bush's own chart is also challenged, with Pluto going back and forth over his South Node all year and the Jupiter station on the 4th near his natal Mars. Bush's progressed Sun is also going over his Mars (exact in June), a very ominous influence. It doesn't look like this will blow over quickly...

Jupiter is at his direct station of 8Vi55 on the 4th, just after the eclipse, about to resume normal motion. He's been in reverse gear since Jan 3, when he stood still at 18Vi54. When Jupiter is backing up, it seems "the goodies" dry up for a few months. The people and things you rely on for support don't seem to be there for you, forcing you to fall back on your own resources for awhile. This is especially a problem for people that are in business for themselves, as their usual customers hide their wallets and disappear for a time. It's always best to plan ahead for this 3 month drought every year, setting aside a little something to get you through the lean times. Of course, if you can sail smoothly through these retrograde cycles, you likely have developed the skills to truly prosper when your connection with the world becomes more free-flowing once more. It will take awhile following this direct station for Jupiter to pick up steam again, but rest assured that life is improving quickly.

Mars moves from Gemini into Cancer on the 7th for a six week stay. He heads into Leo on Jun 23. Mars in Cancer has to be one of his worst placements. I always have the image of a Roman centurian in full armor, with a frilly kitchen apron around his waist. To put the most yang, ego-centered planet in a zodiac sign known for family ties and mother's love is truly a cosmic joke. Mars probably has more trouble expressing himself in this sign than any other, because the emphasis is so much on connecting with people, rather than standing out as an individual. Cancer is about emotional sensitivity and Mars can't even spell the word. Things work best if you channel your energies into helping or supporting others and working for a communal good. I know, it just doesn't suit Mars very well and he's going to get very frustrated in coming weeks. Keep telling yourself it builds character and it's only 6 weeks. Better still, give your Mars something to do (the more physical the better) to keep him from getting impatient. You can let loose when Mars hits Leo -- it's only 6 weeks away...

Juno goes retrograde at 24Cp45 on the 16th. She will back up to 9Cp10 by Sep 1. Juno is a relationship planet. What she really wants is a partner that treats her like an equal and is commited to a life together. And if she doesn't get that from her partner, there will be hell to pay. She can be extremely devoted, but if the trust is broken, she can also be very vindictive. Obviously, if Juno is retrograding, there must be some relationship issues to face. Matters of jealousy vs. trust come to mind, as well as expecting a lot from your significant other without holding up your end of the bargain. Any areas dominated by a double standard are apt to become increasingly uncomfortable and a source of friction in coming months. Rather than take it out on your best friend, why don't you just fix your end of the deal and leave it at that. Good relations always thrive after a trial like this, while shaky ones often break up. Juno's love is tough, but fair.

Neptune is standing still on the 17th at 15Aq24, starting 5 months of retrograde motion. It will turn direct at 12Aq37 on Oct 24. Actually, Neptune is pretty much standing all month, not just the 17th, so get used to this influence. When Neptune is standing still, confusion and misunderstanding rule. Neptune is a Dreamer, an Idealist, a Mystic. He knows how the world is supposed to be and doesn't really comprehend that his visions are at odds with reality. You're motivated to do wonderful things, but for good reasons that apply better to another time or another situation. Your vision, no matter how noble, needs some upgrading. Somehow, it's human nature that our grand vision for the future is based on a past that no longer applies, not so much wrong as merely irrelevant. You need to remake yourself from time to time, updating your plans to make contact with reality again. Otherwise, you keep doing the same old thing time after time and you can't understand why it no longer works. Even spirituality needs to be aired out occasionally or it goes stale. Look at the areas of your life that seem to go off course for no apparent reason -- there's fertile ground for this retrograde cycle. Don't give up on your dreams -- move them to the next level...

Venus is also at a retrograde station on the 17th, standing still at 26Gm08. She will back up to 9Gm39 by Jun 29. Venus' retrograde cycles are quite rare (only Mars does it less often), which is quite a blessing in my estimation. When Mercury backs up, your thinking processes go haywire. But when Venus retreats, it's your gut level instincts that go on the fritz. Venus works through the feelings, often simple feelings of attraction or repulsion, of I like or I don't like. Most of the time, we can fly through life by the seat of the pants very expertly, since our instincts guide us through all the routine decision-making without much effort. But sometimes (like now), this inner guiding voice seems to take a left turn, causing much trouble. Astrologers often warn people not to buy things for aesthetic reasons during Venus retrograde, because your tastes are different now. That beautiful painting you had to have might look pretty ugly in a few months when you come to your senses again. The person you met that strikes your fancy so much turns out to be someone you really don't want to be around. It's best not to make big, irreversible love decisions now, because your emotions are acting funny these days. Combined with the Neptune station earlier today, your heart strings may be throbbing and singing, but it's hard to make sense of the tune. There's an additional note to this retrograde cycle. On Jun 8, Venus will pass directly between us and the Sun, appearing as a small dark dot that crosses the face of the Sun, what astronomers call a transit of Venus. Such transits come in pairs 8 years apart, separated by over a century. The last two transits were in 1874 and 1882, so nobody alive has ever witnessed this rare phenomenon. The best viewing is in Europe and Asia; the eastern USA may catch the end of the show at sunrise. It's probably easiest for us to view the transit on the Internet -- sigh...

Ceres shifts from Cancer into Leo on the 18th, just before the new moon. She will be here until she moves into Virgo on Jul 29. Here's another one of those paradoxical placements. Ceres is about having a caring connection with all of Life around you, while Leo is commonly considered synonymous with "ME!!" consciousness. There's a deeper level to Leo, thank goodness. At a mythic level, Leo often symbolizes the Divine Child, just as Ceres is the Great Mother Goddess. Leo plays out the myth of the divine being born within each of us as individuals. It's rather odd, in a way, but it's incredibly common that a person will take care of or support all their friends, but seem to ignore what's good for themselves. It's as though the individual is never good enough in his own mind to deserve self-love from himself. (The other Leo extreme is the over bearing, narcissistic character we mentioned earlier -- such behavior is also a distortion of self-love.) Sometimes the little kid inside just needs some reassurance, just needs to hear he's OK as is. It's impossible to comprehend Ceres as the Great Web of Life if you're constantly cutting yourself off from this web. You need to gather your courage and join in. Honest, you're OK...

The Taurus new moon is in the wake of the stations of Juno, Venus and Neptune all at once. It wouldn't surprise me if our emotions and intuitions are all over the place, curiously disconnected from seeing reality. Whatever is happening on the emotional level, it seems out of touch somehow, so try to stay calm and grounded. Some practical "horse sense" can save you a lot of grief now. It's vital to treat others with respect, since people can display a hair-trigger temper in coming weeks. If your behavior is sqeaky clean, you can't be dragged into the fray. Keep in mind the confusion factor now and don't jump to conclusions. It's just one of those odd months when the usual rules don't apply. Get used to it...

The biggest Koz Alert of the month is going on during the 24th and 25th. The focal point of this pattern is the conjunction of Mars the Warrior and Saturn the Taskmaster in mid Cancer -- double ouch! These planets are termed "malefics", which is Latin for the bad guys. They produce effects that most people don't like to see, hence their reputations. It's important to express yourself in a disciplined and calm manner, leaving the ego stuff at the door. Otherwise, it could be very difficult for a few days. Jupiter and Mercury soften the blow a bit, hinting that some optimism and perspective make the tasks easier to handle. Don't butt heads with others -- it could get nasty. The storm blows over in a few more days.