Current Transits for May 2005

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


Jupiter Quincunx Uranus, 5-7
New Moon at 17Ta51, 5-8
Chiron Retrograde Station at 3Aq17, 5-8
Pallas Direct Station at 23Vi23, 5-11
Neptune Retrograde Station at 17Aq36, 5-19
Full Moon at 2Sa47, 5-23
Saturn Quincunx Pluto, 5-23

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

My intuitive sense about May is that it's going to be more rough than smooth sailing. It just seems like a time of confusion and stressful challenges for the most part. The storms this month are not that imposing in terms of intensity, but they are based on a lot of outer planet action tied together by a 24th harmonic. The 24th is almost always tough going as it brings forth powerful energies in a contentious fashion. This is especially the case for the storm between the 10th and the 21st of the month, which includes a highly disruptive conjunction of Mars and Uranus (ouch!). Pace yourself and take things one step at a time -- it's easy to become overwhelmed if you juggle too many balls in the air at once. Much of the confusion is due to Neptune's station on the 19th, which casts a fog over matters all month. Keep in mind that matters aren't exactly the way they appear to you now. Give yourself some wiggle room to change should your perspective become a bit clearer at some point. Keep a cheerful mood, as your emotional approach to situations is probably a bigger obstacle than anything the world will throw at you. Let's get through this time...

There are a pair of "big aspects" to consider in May, plus 3 planets are reaching their stations.

Jupiter is quincunx Uranus on the 7th, the second of 3 such contacts. The first contact was last fall on 2004-10-10, while the final connection is coming up on July 8. At first glance, this aspect sounds pretty good. After all, Jupiter and Uranus are both upbeat and forward looking characters that you'd probably invite to your next party. However, quincunxes have an intriguing ability to combine planets together in such a way that they invariably step on each other's toes. There's typically something subtly out of sync about these planets, something that prevents either of them from expressing their energies clearly. So it's worth asking how Jupiter and Uranus can disagree with each other. Jupiter in Libra is a "shmoozing" placement, a drive to socialize and connect on the broadest scale possible, even if these contacts are lacking in emotional depth. Uranus in Pisces is more introverted, more deliberate about who it associates with, though there's often a depth of commitment that is truly baffling. If anything, the emotions are so clear and transparent that it's hard to understand how they can be so intense. These two wavelengths are so different, it's easy to see how they can be at odds. Of course, you have to remember we're discussing Uranus the Trickster. The particular form for any emotional commitment may take some bizarre twists, as Uranus loves to turn convention on its head. There's likely to be a situation where people are operating on such different levels that mutual understanding is difficult at best. This dynamic may be easiest to see on the world stage where the divergences are highly exaggerated (think a 21st century US trying to deal with a Middle East that is still playing by 13th century rules), but it also applies to our own lives. One topic that Jupiter in Libra may bring to the fore is the idea of justice, of what is the "right" way for people to treat each other. Just behavior is obviously a notion that means vastly different things to different people. You can't assume others are thinking along the same lines as yourself. If you find yourself stepping on other people's toes despite your best intentions, it might just be that they are looking at the same situation from an alternate perspective and coming to conclusions that are truly baffling to you. Such confusion easily leads to conflicts and wars, even among otherwise "spiritual" people, so step back and reassess the situation from a much wider viewpoint than you're currently used to. Uranus forces us to question our "god given" assumptions by introducing conflict and discord. Your point of view is not as right and natural as it appears to you, nor is another's view quite as foreign and strange as it seems at first glance. There's room for growth on both sides, if you can keep the dialogue going. Truth is not an absolute concept with a capital "T" -- there are 6 billion versions of it on the planet. With a little luck and perseverence, maybe we can narrow the gap between all these versions. We have to try, at any rate.

As you can tell by the fractured looking waveform for the new moon, this chart is not well organized by any means. The planets split up into a number of separate, loosely connected groups which fail to speak with a unified voice. There are several "little stories" in this new moon, not one big one.

The first group to check in forms a T-square. The Sun, Moon and Vesta in Taurus are opposite Ceres in Scorpio, which are all square Neptune in Aquarius. There's a lot of inertia and resistance to change in these 3 signs, which seems to contradict the indications of change in the other events this month. It's likely most people will be dragging their feet when it comes to responding to the outer planet influences, a tactic that usually backfires in my experience. Some of it is plain old mental confusion and some of it is a refusal to look at the problems facing us seriously -- that stationary Neptune that affects the entire month is a big part of this T-square. Mars is part of this picture, via a quintile to the new moon, but he is rather lethargic over in Pisces and unfocused to boot. If he can achieve some quick results with a few deft moves, he can be surpisingly effective, but don't ask him to put in a big effort right now. A second group consists of Mercury, Saturn, Pallas and Pluto. The upcoming Saturn-Pluto quincunx energies are softened a bit by the mental/intuitive forces of Mercury and Pallas (which is at its station on the 11th). Bring your mental powers to bear on any problem areas that show up on your radar. You can't make them go away easily, so you might as well take the smartest path to a solution. Just remember Neptune is active -- the tendency to minimize the issues and ignore them will only allow the problems to grow even bigger. Radical solutions may be required, but the urge is to stand your ground. It feels as though the tensions in our lives are slowly building in intensity over the coming months, much like stress builds up in a geologic fault until the earthquake comes. Balancing these competing forces of inertia and flexibility is a major task during the next lunar month. Remain open to the shifts in the wind...

Chiron is standing still at 3Aq17 on the 8th, about to start a 5 month retrograde cycle. It will back up to 27Cp48 by Oct 4, when it resumes normal motion again. This cycle is a rather pivotal one, since it marks the year long transition of Chiron moving from Capricorn into Aquarius, so the normal Chiron themes we've grown accustomed to are changing this year. I normally think of Chiron as the parts of the psyche that have been put in the closet for too many years since they never seemed to gain acceptance earlier in life. These parts of you remain hidden away for many years until the urge to express them becomes so great you can no longer stuff them away. With the change in signs, we are moving away from more practical issues of taking care of your concerns on the physical plane to a more ideological level. Aquarius is known as a progressive, future oriented sign concerned with growth and change. However, like all Chiron issues, there's a shadow side to Aquarius. The crusading spirit is often so convinced of the rightness of its causes that it inadvertently steps all over the very people it set out to help. This spirit is so focused on the grand and glorious future before it that it becomes narrow minded and set in its ways. In effect, it becomes the very thing it is fighting against. It's very important in coming months to reexamine your basic assumptions, realizing that people are more important than ideology any day. A good place to start is by getting to know your "enemies" better, seeing that your common ground is bigger than your differences. Are you treating your opposition in a way that truly reflects your higher values or are you simply taking the conflict to a more subtle level? Does your behavior resemble the actions of the very same people and things you are working to overcome? This is the "shadow" at work, the tendency to become the very thing you hate most. This year is a good time to break through this phony virtue and operate on a level that actually serves your goals instead of undermining it. It's also a good time to examine these goals and see if they need updating. Utopias grow old with time and your shining vision may have lost its luster and relevance over the years. Your certainty may suffer terribly during this process, but it makes you more honest and effective in the end. A little doubt is good for Aquarius.

Pallas is standing still at 23Vi23 on the 11th, completing a 3 month period of reverse motion. It started this retrograde cycle at 12Li37 on Feb 1. Pallas is a highly mental or intuitive body, often with an artistic streak of some kind. When she is backing up like she has been in recent months, it's often a time when you need to hole up and follow your Muse to the exclusion of external concerns. This can be some research or intellectual studies that you've been putting off for some time, or it can be some arts or crafts project that catches your fancy. Since this retrograde cycle is back and forth between Libra and Virgo, the artsy side may be on the rise, although Virgo demands there be a practical side to the project. There may also be an interest in legal or social issues, since Pallas tends to look after the underdog in any situation. Anyway, as we approach the direct station on the 11th, this project of yours may be reaching fruition. It's time to crawl out of your shell again and show the world what you've been working on all this time. Your creative juices are on full tilt -- make certain you give them tangible form at this time.

Neptune is the next planet to reach its station, standing still at 17Aq36 on the 19th. It will back up to 14Aq49 by Oct 26, at which point it resumes its regular forward motion. Actually, considering how slowly Neptune is moving in May, it's pretty much standing still the entire month, so get used to this influence. Neptune is a dreamer and an idealist that looks at the world with an unfettered heart and little concern for practical issues. He knows the way the world should be and has scant interest in the realities currently in play. The problem during Neptune's retrograde cycles relates to the interplay of ideals and reality, of how the glorious vision of what should be intersects with what is. Just because an idea has spiritual overtones doesn't necessarily make it right or even desireable. Ideas have a shelf life, especially in this fast changing time we live in, so the appropriate vision for one era may be totally unsuited to another time. It's not that the goals have become wrong or bad, just irrelevant under changed circumstances. The dreams of the past, whether an "old time religion" or a political goal, are usually more suited for the past, not the present. You may find as you attempt to put your dreams into action that you run into all sorts of interference and roadblocks. That's simply a way the universe has of telling you to look over your basic assumptions with a clear perspective. Remember you are older and wiser (hopefully) than you were when you first came under the sway of your vision. It's time for your ideals to become older and wiser as well. Myths are not some eternal story from the past, but a living urge from your deeper self to transcend old boundaries and limitations. When your myth stops growing, you start dying inside. The interplay of myth and life is not one way, like the pronouncements of a prophet descending from the mountain top. The realities of everyday existence breath life back into our stories, challenging them to become more relevant and useful for modern times. Yes, the coming months are a time to reinvigorate life by injecting some vision of a better time, but it's also an opportunity to force your vision to better reflect who you truly are. It's interesting how this process reinforces the role of Chiron's cycle during this same timeframe, especially since they are both in Aquarius these days. Also, recognize that confusion and doubt are often parts of Neptune's retrograde cycles. The tendency is to wear your rose colored glasses too much, which skews your point of view and blinds you to uncomfortable facts you'd rather not see. Problems that arise now frequently come from an urge to not look reality squarely in the eye. It's as though you bring your dreams into reality, only to find they don't work like you expected. All these symptoms are a signal to update your vision. Don't abandon your dreams, just move them to the next level.

If anything, the full moon is even more disorganized and scattered than the new moon was. There's practically no structure here to speak of, just some subtle hints.

There are a large number of planets in fire and air signs, emphasizing the spiritual and mental side of life. The trine of Neptune and Venus is particularly intriguing, pointing to a potential heightening and refinement of your perceptions and mental outlook. The intuition is given precedence over straightforward logic and reasoning -- you need to "feel" your way through life these days. The full moon in Sagittarius creates a very expansive and high minded attitude towards anything that crosses your path. However, at the same time we are just hours away from the quincunx of Saturn and Pluto, which is as far from light and airy as you can get. Powerful forces for change are building pressure in the psyche, pushing us in directions we hadn't planned for or would rather avoid. With Saturn and Pluto, the ego and its wishes are not in control, so don't expect to get your way. Take some of that light-heartedness and direct it towards the karmic chores dumped in your lap. It's much easier to take evolutionary change in stride if you don't take it personally. The universe has its own agenda and sometimes we humans get drafted to do the work. Take care of business and don't create an "attitude" about it. It makes it easierr to move on cleanly when the work is done.

Saturn is quincunx Pluto on the 23rd, just after the full moon, the last of 3 such contacts. The previous occurences of this aspect were on 2004-7-31 and 2005-1-19. This aspect is part of all the storm energies at the end of May, so we'lll have a good chance to tune into this pesky contact. There's no sugar coating this aspect -- this is a difficult influence with karmic overtones, no matter how you look at it. When it comes to planets with a potential to make life unpleasant, Saturn and Pluto are right up there at the top of the list. Saturn is about hard work, structure and discipline, of getting down to business in order to achieve results. The structure and discipline that are associated with this planet are prerequisites for getting anything accomplished. It has a connection with the past and the influence of existing forms to affect the present, hence its reputation as a karmic planet. Pluto, on the other hand, is more of an underground figure representative of the evolutionary forces than undermine our current structures and force us to change and grow. Essentially, Pluto has an idea or spiritual vision of what you came into this world to accomplish and he will allow nothing to get in the way of that goal. He's more or less a symbol of your own higher self and the spiritual path you chose when you entered the physical plane. Anything that deviates from this path or distracts you from your calling is subject to his effects. When Pluto is active, anything that is inauthentic in your life is likely to be stressed, broken or taken away from you. You don't need these distractions in your life if you're going to be yourself, so he is more than happy to cause them to drop out of your life. That includes, unfortunately, all the wonderful and productive structures that Saturn had you build and all the trappings of a conventional life. Obviously, when these planets are on a collision course, life gets pretty strange. Such was the case in 2001-2002 when Saturn and Pluto were in oppositon, which happened just before the World Trade Center disaster and the ensuing war on terror. The quincunx is not quite so melodramatic perhaps, but I doubt these two are on peaceful terms currently. We're nearing the end of this aspect, so it's worthwhile to look back at the process. I've noticed the contacts of this aspect have obvious connections with American politics: the first contact was during the Democratic convention (remember John Kerry, anyone?) and the second was the day before Inauguration Day. It wouldn't surprise me to see presidential politics in the news later this month. Some of the problems we're facing, such as Social Security or other aid programs, seem to mimic this breakdown of existing structures in the face of real-life limitations. We get a brief break in this action over the summer, but Saturn and Pluto continue their long dance with a trioctile aspect starting Sep 9, another harsh angle. It seems our national karma is far from being resolved. These same influences affect our personal lives. I hope you're handing them well...

Mercury joins up with Saturn and Pluto around the 25th to form a Yod pattern, which is basically the start of the second storm in May. With the Moon going over Pluto today, the Yod is especially active. Yods (aka "the Finger of God" pattern) are generally a time for making critical decisions that can alter your life path forever. The hard part is that you rarely can see the consequences of your decisions before hand, so you pretty much have to make your choices by gut instinct alone. Listen to Pluto: who are you really, deep down? If you decide to take the path of authenticity, life will have its ups and downs but you will be able to live with the results because they reflect who you are. If you take the easy path, Pluto will likely express his disapproval anyway. Follow your heart.