Current Transits for April 2006

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


Jupiter Parallel Pluto, 4-3
Saturn Direct Station at 4Le22, 4-5
Mars Opposite Pluto, 4-8
Full Moon at 23Li36,4-13
Mars enters Cancer, 4-13
Jupiter Parallel Neptune, 4-24
New Moon at7Ta24, 4-27

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

After the very dramatic planetary storm pattern at the end of March, a little down time might be in order. However, April seems to have overdone it -- there's practically nothing going on this month! This may be a short newsletter, due to lack of material. I think it's because April is a transitional month, a time when the planets are moving from one major pattern into something new, but we haven't gotten there yet. (It looks like May is more active again.) If you look at the waveforms this month, they are frequently dominated by high frequency (mostly H48), noisy static energies that show up when the planets aren't connected well by aspect. They break up into small groups of planets that have little to do with each other. This is not to be confused with inactivity, however. Especially as we come off the total solar eclipse of Mar 29 (wow!), there's a lot of transformation going on in the background. We just don't seem to run into any notable crescendos or climaxes that make us take notice. As befitting the Pluto influence at the eclipse, much of this change is working its way at a quiet, unconscious level, where we won't really be aware of it until much later. This is going to take some time, so be patient.

I'm having trouble coming up with much to write about for April. The biggest piece of news is Saturn's direct station on the 5th. Mars moves into Cancer (one of his least favorite signs) on the 13th. There are a few aspects to discuss, including a pair of parallels, but none of them rise to the level of "big aspect" in my mind. Slow news month...

Jupiter is parallel Pluto on the 3rd, which means they are the same distance south of the equator at that time. This is the second such contact this year, with a previous contact on Feb 1. Parallels and their cousin the contraparallel are the "second dimension" of astrology, measuring connections in the north/south direction instead of around the zodiac. Because they are "an added complication" for many astrologers (the zodiac is hard enough to master), many of us never pay attention to these subtle aspects. Parallels and contraparallels are often described as similar in effect to conjunctions and oppositions, resp.: powerful, not markedly positive or negative as a rule, but heavily influenced by the nature of the planets they combine. In my limited experience (I must admit I'm as lazy as the next person when it comes to following parallels), they seem more subtle and slow moving than conjunctions, but that may just be my biases. They are most noticeable when the two planets form conventional aspects at the same time as a parallel -- there seems to be an amplification effect when the two planets are connected in two separate ways. Anyway, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto are making a series of parallels to each other this year, often backed up by contacts from the faster moving planets as well. The first wave of parallels happened in January and February in the aftermath of the big Grand Cross storms in Dec 2005. Besides the initial parallels between the main three planets, the faster planets created about a dozen more, making this second dimension very active at that time. Jupiter, of course, is the way we interact with the world at large. He represents the social glue that brings people together, their beliefs, common outlooks and goals, and the vision that we can prosper better through cooperation than conflict. Many of these kinds of social glue become rather standardized over the centuries, often becoming big social institutions in their own right (like government or religion) that serve people less as they become more conservative in outlook. The status quo needs to be shaken up every once in awhile if it's to remain fresh and vital. I can't think of any planet better able to shake things up than Pluto (well, maybe Uranus...), as he hates it when our lives fall into a rut. Anything phony or inauthentic in Pluto's eyes is fair game for change. By ripping the blinders from our eyes and making us face these areas that are holding us back, Pluto urges us back to a path of being truly human again. It's hard to get a handle on how this aspect is working in our everyday lives, because it works quietly and in the background. It's interesting how government, especially at the federal level, is going through a spasm of reform and realignment this year as people start questioning the grand stories and myths of our culture and the people who tell us these myths. Mistrust of the people in power is at a high water mark that we haven't seen in at least a decade. Old "truths" are crumbling. It's this process going on behind the scenes for the most part. You aren't going to see "Headline: Major Paradigms Collapse!" on the nightly news programs, but the process is real nonetheless. The energies coming in the next few years are bigger than the current social norms can accomodate. Things can change over night, once a critical mass starts believing in a different reality. We may not be all that far away from such a shift.

Saturn is standing still at its direct station of 4Le22 on the 5th. This completes a retrograde period that started on 2005-11-22, when Saturn reached its retrograde station of 11Le19. Saturn retrograde periods are rarely much fun. What they are is old work that can no longer be ignored, the unpaid bills and outstanding karma that must be paid back, a time to get serious and face the grindstone, up close and personal. It's best to notice which house in your birthchart is hosting Saturn's extended stay and which of your planets it's aspecting, as these are the themes and areas of your life that need to be reexamined carefully. Saturn has been hanging out in Leo since last summer. Leo is an often maligned sign, as most people think "egotistical" when he's mentioned. Leo is about ego alright, but it's actually about developing a healthy ego that helps you get through life successfully without getting in the way of the bigger issues in life. An "I" that knows the world doesn't revolve around him. The last few months have likely not been easy ones. It gets pretty obvious (and depressing) that your life is not going the way you want when Saturn keeps pointing out your shortcomings. Rather than accept it as just your fate, it's time to roll up your sleeves and take some remedial action. Your unhappiness is motivation to change something and make life better. It may not feel good in the short-term, but ultimately your life is on a firmer foundation. This retrograde period hasn't been easy on people who are full of themselves and how important they are. Saturn demands you prove your worth before you're allowed to shine. A true friend takes you to the woodshed when you most need it. He's fair, but unyielding when it counts. Respect this kind of judgment. Anyway, as Saturn starts to move forward again, some of this hard work is starting to pay off. Don't slack off now just as you're starting to get some momentum. Persevere -- thing's are getting easier.

Mars is directly opposite Pluto on the 8th. While not exactly a "big aspect" in my book, it's one to perk up and pay attention to. Mars is ego and will-power, while Pluto is the undercover power of the unconscious and the unseen. Any aspect between these two planets brings in a large amount of energy, often at a very physical level. If you can handle it well, this power can be channeled into any number of productive goals. Unfortunately, most people don't handle Pluto well at all and have a very undeveloped Mars as well. So this aspect is like a two edged sword, in a way. On the one hand, it's very useful for getting work done, particularly if you really need to put in some effort to accomplish your goal. You've got more drive to succeed than you know what to do with. On the other hand, Pluto can make working with other people rather dicey just now. It's easy to get into power struggles with people before you even realize it's happening, as dimly understood unconscious motivations dominate every interaction. It might be better to work alone if you can't spell "diplomacy" correctly. Remember that Pluto is the 800 pound gorilla in our lives this spring, as he is a conduit for some powerful spiritual energies (from the Galactic Center) that are reshaping the world the next few years. With Mars in the same picture, these higher forces are able to hit even closer to home. Don't act rashly or without self-awareness, as that is the rude way to learn these spirtual lessons. (P.S. -- stay out of dark alleys. These aspects can bring out the worst in people.)

There are a few signs of life in the waveform for the full moon as we approach the coming planetary storm. However, as the still noisy appearance of the wave attests, much of the sky is not playing along with us yet. In fact, the basics of this chart can be boiled down to 5 planets. Besides the Sun and Moon, the only planets of significance now are Pluto, Venus and Mercury.

The full moon chart is a time of change and transition. We're pulling out of the low energy of the last two weeks. This shift hits us at a very individualized level, since all the important planets except Pluto are fast moving, personal planets. Much of the influence on us seems to be emotional in nature as we try to come to grips with our situation in a way that relies on feelings, not the intellect. This includes making accomodations for the other people in our lives. The full moon with the Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra is usually seen as a balancing act between the self and others, between asserting your desires and making room for the needs of your partners and friends. With that overwhelming Pluto as part of the picture, the balancing act is seen to go far beyond our stories as individuals. There's a higher quality to the struggle now, a need to view matters from a spiritual perspective that goes after a greater good than most of us can currently understand. What keeps your relationships from being satisfying, from being the best they can be? What are you holding onto that skews these relationships down the wrong path? Very often with Pluto issues, the very thing you're grasping onto the hardest is the thing you most need to release. Puffing up your ego and protecting your pride are poor excuses for behavior that adversely affects others. You can give a little without much pain and it makes all our interactions much smoother. There's a balance point in here where you can feel comfortable. Just make sure it has some Heart...

Mars moves from Gemini into Cancer on the 13th. He will stay here until Jun 3, when he shifts into Leo. Mars in Cancer -- what a drag! I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but these two just don't go together. Mars is a warrior, a dashing hero out there achieving great things and gaining much renown. Cancer is incredibly "we" oriented, constrained by the conventions of family and history, looking to support a common good. These two motivations just clash. I generally imagine Mars in Cancer as a Roman centurian in full battle gear and a frilly lace apron. This is a time when will-power can be frustrated, when the needs of the group mean more than your personal goals. Emotional issues take precedence over more "practical" or "rational" matters. Accepting that the world is just that way for now and being less pushy of your own agendas is the best way to handle this placement. However, it's a bitter pill for Mars to swallow. Patience my dashing warrior! This restraint doesn't last forever. Just wait until you hit Leo!

Jupiter is parallel Neptune on the 24th. This is the second contact; the first one was Jan 31. Like the Jupiter-Pluto parallel on the 3rd, this connection is likely to be subtle and non-obvious, especially since Neptune is the most elusive planet around. The Jupiter status quo doesn't measure up to Neptune's standards either. Neptune demands a lot of Heart in whatever he touches. To the degree that the social glue diminishes or devalues people, you'll hear Neptune whisper "That's not right!" in your ear. Neptune recognizes no distinctions or barriers between people (or anything else, for that matter) because the underlying connections and commonalities seem so much more real to him. It's impossible to work against the interests of anyone else, since it feels like you're cheating yourself instead. There's often a lot of confusion and contradiction in the air when Neptune is active. The god-given truths in your life don't seem quite so convincing anymore; the impossible doesn't look so unreachable. Situations, people, thoughts, impressions, all become "fuzzy" now. This is Neptune's way of getting you to question your reality, to make room for change to happen. Unfortunately, neither Jupiter nor Neptune is very high in the motivation category. We could use some Mars and Saturn now to help reorganize and structure our world along new lines. Don't let this aspect become just a "dreamland" experience -- put some teeth into it! Stand up for what you believe in, even if you don't realize that's what you believe in (did I say Neptune is confusing?). As you get away from the conventional ways of assessing the world and view life more from the heart, this Neptune approach will make more sense. Stay with your confusion and your questions -- that will show you the way.

If this chart had been just a little more organized, it would have been spectacular. As is, it's still quite intriguing, but without blowing us out of the water. The focal point is clearly the Sun and Moon. Aspecting this new moon point are Saturn, Jupiter and Chiron. If the aspects were a bit more exact, this would be a powerful Grand Cross pattern -- which is not to say we won't be feeling this pattern. Unlike the more fluid nature of the full moon chart, the new moon seems more solid and fixated. In fact, flexibility may be the first casualty of this lunation. Just what this world needs now, more intransigence! Curiously, most of these pseudo-cross planets are not very strong ones. After the Sun and Moon, the most influential planet is Mars in Cancer, followed by Venus. Some of this stuckedness may simply be digging in your heels out of frustration. Don't take it out on others if you feel hemmed in by people or the world at large. A little patience goes a long way. At the very least, don't take the slights of daily living as a personal insult. Such emotional baggage serves no purpose now. This cross will gain in strength and exactitude the coming week, forming the backbone of the storms of early May. Get ready for the next round of activity!

I spent a lot of time last month talking about Pluto. More to the point, how Pluto is standing still in March and April next to the Galactic Center (GC). For weeks now, people have been asking me what's happening astrologically, looking for a reason for why their lives seem so out of control lately. I've been scratching my head over this one, in lieu of any obvious reasons in the sky, until it dawned on me that Pluto might be the culprit. It's been a time of intense stress and great demands, which means people are dropping like flies. Many people who made it through the winter without getting sick are suddenly coming down with something, myself included. I've had to scale back some of my commitments to more manageable proportions. I still don't feel 100%.

There was a major shift in energy around Mar 28, the day before the total solar eclipse and Pluto retrograde station. Many sensitive people I ran into that day commented about how things seemed lighter, more energized, less stuck. It was an exhilarating change of pace after the long doldrums.

The eclipse itself was a most unique experiment between my best friend and I. We've been discussing the powerful forces at work in this chart for a long time and he wanted to do something really special for it. As it happens, he had planned to be on vacation in Sedona, AZ the week of the eclipse, with crystals packed. I've been doing eclipse rituals for 15 years now, turning eclipse energies into homeopathic remedies, so I was planning to do my ritual here in Minneapolis at the same time. We concocted a way to energetically join up our rituals at the last minute before he left town (based heavily on some techniques from Local Space astrology that I'm fond of), with an agreement to share stories when he got back. The energies were wild and hard to stabilize on my end. At one point, it felt like there were two of me simultaneously, one of them being me as I was 10 years ago or so. My friend had an even wilder ride and had to quit after a half hour or so. In fact, the energies he was drawing in (amplified by the Sedona rocks and various people checking in with us around the country) were so intense, one of the quartz crystals in his hand cracked right at the new moon! I think we need to go over the results of our "experiment" before trying it again. We seem to have overloaded the circuits and crashed the system.

The flurry of emails after the eclipse confirmed this high, intense state of consciousness for many participants, which seemed to last for days. I'm looking forward to making my eclipse remedy.

So this is what 2007 will be like!