Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter Trine Uranus, 5-4
Pallas Retrograde Station at 19Cp37, 5-7
Full Moon at 22Sc23, 5-13
Chiron Retrograde Station at 9Aq45, 5-15
Neptune Retrograde Station at 19Aq49, 5-22
New Moon at 5Gm48, 5-27
Vesta enters Leo, 5-27
Jupiter Octile Pluto, 5-31
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
May has a little bit of everything going on, but if I had to pick several planets that dominate the action, it would probably be Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto. Most of the important configurations of planets this month involve combinations of those three bodies with some of the faster moving, personal planets. Jupiter is generally a pleasant, easy-going energy to deal with, even when it's in reverse motion, but Uranus and Pluto appear to be highly disruptive influences lately. Life seems to be rather chaotic and up in the air recently. It's a symptom that we are being exposed to deep-acting and transformative energies that we are having trouble consciously coping with and integrating properly. The other outer planet, Neptune, is making its presence known later in the month, due to its retrograde station on the 22nd. This produces a hazy, dreamy atmosphere that permeates all our activities. This is especially the case in areas of life that are ruled by the house in your natal chart that contains Neptune's retrograde zone. I suspect we are being exposed to powerful forces from our deeper nature to change and grow, even if we are unaware for the most part of how these forces are molding our behavior. We are likely to be experiencing these forces coming from people around us, with the events of day-to-day living having a double meaning or significance that points to a deeper understanding of life. It's fortunate for us that the energies this month are generally moderate in intensity and rarely sharply focused, as this gives us some "breathing room" to take these forces in without overloading our ability to cope. Too much change too fast is generally not a good thing, even if the changes seem "positive", because you can't incorporate the changes effectively into your life if you are overwhelmed and out of control. Slow down and look your life over at a very deep level. Enjoy the novelty and joy of your daily encounters. Slowly, over the coming months, a new way of handling the chaos will reveal itself to you.
As we saw in March , this month is dominated by a large number of retrograde stations, which tends to give a sluggish, "nothing's moving" feel to the world. We have 3 such stations in May. The two "big aspects" are the trine of Jupiter and Uranus on the 4th, followed by the octile of Jupiter and Pluto on the 31st. The asteroid Vesta moves into Leo on the 27th, right after the new moon.
Jupiter is trine Uranus on the 4th. This is the second of 3 such contacts. The previous one occurred on 2005-11-27 and the final contact will be later this summer on Aug 29. The chart for the contact on the 4th is quite dramatic. The Sun and Moon form a T-square with Jupiter, while Mars is soon trining Uranus. All the aspects here are close to being exact, making this the second most powerful waveform all month. Jupiter tends to expand and exaggerate anything it comes in contact with. Uranus is "crazy mental energy" in a sense, with a crisp sense of overdrive that feels electric in nature. Mentally, it can feel like your mind is on steroids. I've been noticing that Uranus and Pluto have felt very active since the solar eclipse of Mar 29 anyway, so the trine only seems to make these mental energies even bigger. (It's also been hell on electronic equipment like computers and printers.) It should be noted that Jupiter tends to be more conservative in outlook than Uranus (who is mostly an anarchist by nature). Thus there is a gentle clash of cultures going on between differing points of view, though the discussion is likely to be more fruitful and less of a knock down, drag out. Jupiter is in Scorpio and Uranus is in Pisces, both water signs. We normally think of water signs as relating to the emotions and feelings, not the thinking mind, so there is a bit of a mismatch here. Perhaps these signs are stimulating the more intuitive side of the intellect, while bringing some clarity to the feelings. Above all, this is a positive and optimistic aspect. The world may not look much like a place that justifies much optimism, but the more people there are who operate at the higher level of this aspect, the more the world will shift in the right direction. It's a good time to strike out in some new directions. Just keep your feet on the ground.
Pallas reaches her retrograde station of 19Cp37 on the 7th. She will back up to her direct station of 0Cp49 by Aug 24. This is a most amazing chart, a Grand Hexagram! Every 60 degrees, more or less, is another planet: the Sun, Mars and Juno, the Moon, Jupiter, Pallas and Uranus. Such patterns are quite rare. Pallas retrograde periods are often a time when your creative drives turn in on themselves. You get bitten by an idea and want to see your Muse through to the end. Normally, we think of Pallas' creativity in more artistic terms, but it's important to notice that this retrograde zone is entirely in the sign of Capricorn. The old Seagoat is undoubtedly the most practical and down to earth of all the zodiac signs, so your focus may be on straightening out "material plane" issues that are keeping you down, such as money problems or work. It's a good time this summer to step back from the problems and take a fresh look at them. Pallas is good at strategic thinking, planning how to get from point A to point B in the simplest way possible. But she needs some space in coming months to look at things from a fresh perspective. Ironically, you need to remove yourself from mundane issues in order to address them better. Pallas has her ways. Trust your intuitive voice and see where it takes you.
The full moon is a good example of a "wannabe chart" -- it could have been truly awesome if only its orbs were tighter. In fact, this chart is the final leftovers of the big storm from the first week of May. As the planets go their separate ways and drift out of aspect with each other, the sharp Koz Alert is turned into a messy waveform that is on the verge of falling apart. Practically all the planets fall between 9 and 22 degrees of various zodiac signs and despite the wide spread of this region (which causes many potential aspects to go away), you can trace enough tenuous connections between planets to actually consider it a group. Things barely hold together, which is why I've nicknamed these kind of charts "Rube Goldberg patterns". If the spread were even half as much, this chart would be talked about for years.
There's a very wide T-Square of about 7 planets in fixed signs, with about 6 more planets in supporting roles. Fixed signs are known for their tenacity, so don't expect there to be a lot of give and take the next few weeks. People have their reasons for standing their ground, but it doesn't make it easy to get along or work together. Still, if you can get beyond the more petty emotional issues, there are some higher issues at stake, as hinted by the Aquarius planets. Chiron and Neptune are both approaching their retrograde stations all too quickly, so lessons associated with those stations are grabbing our awareness. Further, this may be one of the first check-in points for the conjunction between Chiron and Neptune (exact on 2010-2-17, at 26Aq15), about to come into orb next winter. We are going to know Neptune at a whole new level over the next 5 years or so, but it is going to challenge our sense of "reality" severely. The first reaction to major shifts is always resistance, digging in you heels, saying "It just ain't so!" -- which fits into the nature of this T-Square precisely. Set aside the knee-jerk rejection, suspend your beliefs and just feel. Neptune is best understood via feelings -- it can never be known. Maybe...
Chiron is at his retrograde station of 9Aq45 on the 15th, about to start 5 months of reverse gear. He goes direct again at 4Aq24 on Oct 12. Since Chiron spent 2005 moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius, this is the first time Chiron's entire retrograde zone will be in Aquarius. One of the major qualities of Chiron is that it represents the parts of the psyche that have been suppressed, neglected and forgotten. These parts of your personality may have literally gotten "stuck in time", representing who you were in the past but not resonating with who you are now. We leave all sorts of things in the past, some of them quite beautiful or useful, often because we've become "convinced" by others that we should grow up and get over it. I often liken Chiron in my readings with clients to "the psychic closet" that holds all the old junk in our lives. Occasionally, especially once you reach middle age, you just need to open the closet door and start rummaging around in this past you've left behind. It seems much of what makes us feel alive and fired up has gotten lost along the way and needs to be rediscovered. Liberating all these old and nearly forgotten parts of ourselves is a way to free ourselves from the tedium of life. They are also often the spiritual gifts you came into this world to offer, though repeated rejection of these gifts makes us less eager to offer them. In Aquarius, the realm of ideas and ideology tends to come to the fore. Aquarius is usually a very progressive, forward looking sign, looking to "lead the masses" to a more enlightened future. The trouble is that Aquarius loves his theories and manifestos too much. He holds onto them even after their usefulness has past and they no longer fit current conditions. In the process, he becomes dogmatic about the very things that should liberate him and others. This is really a good time to reevaluate your positions on broader issues, especially your political views. It's interesting that this retrograde cycle falls during the 2006 election cycle, an election that may change the political landscape at the federal level quite markedly. The Democratic party and progressives in general need to go through a process of redefining themselves, of cleaning out their "political closets" and getting back to principles that still resonate with today. With the move from conservative Capricorn to forward looking Aquarius, the time is right to tilt the balance back to the left. Just be careful to keep an open mind -- dogmatic thinking is what turns you into the very thing you are fighting.
Neptune reaches his retrograde station at 19Aq49 on the 22nd. It will back up until 10-29, when it goes direct at 17Aq02. Don't get too fixated on the 22nd date. Neptune is moving pretty darn slow these days and you could realistically consider it "standing still" much of May and early June. Also notice that, like the Chiron retrograde cycle, this zone lies entirely in Aquarius. I suspect the two stations are reinforcing each other. Neptune is the Dreamer and Idealist of the solar system. He envisions a world united in heart energy with no boundaries and no concern for "practical" matters. He takes the concept of utopian ideologies to a spiritual level that transcends normal politics. And that is both a plus and a minus. There's a curious interplay between idealism and reality during a Neptune retrograde cycle. Certainly we try to mold the world into a more perfect version based on what we believe in, but at the same time our beliefs are molded by the facts on the ground. In these quickly changing times, even spiritual ideals seem to become old and outdated if you aren't careful to keep them vital and grounded in your everyday experience. And there's nothing more tyrannical than a spiritual, religious or political idea whose time has past. In the attempt to cram everything into the belief system of some "old time religion" that no longer matches reality, great cruelty and ignorance can emerge from the high, holy vision. Neptune provides a subtle, but powerful mirror for our beliefs, particularly the ones we aren't aware we even believe in. I refer to it as "the magic of the unconscious". For some crazy reason, we live in a world where the outer, physical side mirrors symbolically the inner, psychic side. It's almost as though the psyche reaches out and draws people, things and events into our lives that reflect the psychological lessons we are struggling with. (This tendency may well be the reason astrology works at all.) It's interesting to watch this mirror as the Neptune cycle progresses. If you find the situation becoming muddied, confused, compromised or otherwise turning into the shadow side of your ideals, this is simply Neptune's way of saying your beliefs need an overhaul. He's simply showing you where your outlook on life is weakest and undermining itself. Take off your rose colored glasses and prepare to face your confusions, self-delusions and self-serving fibs head on. Deal with your own messes first -- saving the rest of the world can wait. By the way, we will probably be learning much more about how Neptune works at this deeper level in the next few years. As I pointed out in an article of mine that was just published, in 2009 Neptune will be crossing the exact position of where it was when it was discovered in 1846. This "Neptune return" is a trigger to take our understanding of this energy to the next difficulty level. It may get weird for awhile.
The mini-storm that arose just before the new moon is breaking up and the sky is becoming very quiet, like your TV screen when the station goes off the air. There's one group involving Pluto, Venus, Mars and 3 asteroids that looks like a lot of emotional relationship intrigue. Being in a partnership and looking after your own concerns can get to be quite a balancing act. The new moon itself joins up with Saturn and Chiron, another indicator of self-other concerns. There are a few other interesting aspects here and there, but what this chart is missing is a cohesive center that pulls it together. There's no central theme or direction at this new moon, just some vague questions. It may take some time for a new direction to show itself. Keep your eyes open...
Vesta moves from Cancer into Leo on the 27th, shortly after the new moon. It will stay in this sign until Aug 3, when it moves into Virgo. This placement certainly feels like a contradiction at first. We tend to think of Leo as flashy and outgoing, while Vesta is quiet and retiring most of the time, so it may not be obvious how these two influences fit together. When you get past the clichés, Leo represents the stage of psychological development when a conscious being discovers a sense of self-identity and creates a healthy ego for interacting with the inner and outer worlds. It's not about showing off or puffing yourself up at another's expense, though some people definitely go through that phase. Particularly when dealing with the inner world, a strong ego is the tool and the safety net for exploring the parts of ourselves that lie outside of normal conscious awareness. Vesta is wise enough to realize that true personal power comes from within, not from the noise of the outer life. When she feels drained, she retires from the world and reconnects with the soul within, the true source of what vitalizes her. It may not appear that much is happening on the outside, but inside Vesta is growing in power, confidence and faith in herself. That's more important than a big head any day. Nourish yourself!
Jupiter is octile Pluto on the 31st for the second of 3 times. They previously connected on 2005-12-7 and their last contact will be Jul 24. We normally think of Jupiter as a kind of cosmic Santa Claus that brings us all the goodies in life, but his reputation is not all positive. Essentially, Jupiter is how we join up with the rest of society for the purposes of sharing our belongings, wisdom and talents in order to make everybody's life more pleasant. There's a price to pay, however, for joining the greater game. As we move out into society at large, we put on a mask (or as the Jungians call it, a "persona") that presents a simplified version of ourselves for the world to interact with. We suppress some of our individuality and project a more generic version of ourselves that makes it easier for others to connect with us, without having to worry about too many quirks. Over the decades, this mask becomes more and more real to others and even to ourselves, suppressing our unique human natures. We lose ourselves over time. Pluto comes at the world from the opposite corner. He believes that the only part of us that is truly important is the deep authentic self, warts and all, that is free from social conventions and restrictions. This can be thought of as your higher self, in a sense. He sees no reason for putting on a false mask, of hiding your true nature from the world, at least as long as there are no big power games going on. Since this aspect is a troublesome octile, these two tendencies are at odds with each other. There's a delicate balance point between being real, honest and genuine vs. wearing a mask that "greases the wheels" of social interaction. It's hard to let down the mask we all wear, but with Pluto so active these days, it's even harder to put up a false front and remain alive inside. Let your guard down more than usual. You might be surprised at the joys it can bring into your daily life.
It's sometimes embarrassing as an astrologer to have to admit that the planets affect me too. With Uranus and Pluto apparently very active in April and early May, the last few weeks have had their share of mishaps and distractions. I've been suffering from a broken printer which died and then spent 10 days in the repair shop when I could have used it most. Uranus and Pluto are practically "death and rebirth for electronic equipment" -- one friend has lost several computers to hardware failures recently.
It's also been a highly creative and intellectually exciting time. I'm still analyzing the results of the experiment my friend and I did over the Mar 29 solar eclipse. I've been dusting off my Local Space astrology studies that I love so much and had to update one of my charting programs to do a new kind of map for me (I think I invented a new astrological technique!). The astrology has been fascinating (and rather freaky at times in how thick the "co-incidences" are), even though my friend and I seem unable to agree on how to talk about what happened.