Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Juno Direct Station at 12Li03, 6-3
Ceres enters Taurus, 6-5
New Moon at 23Gm40, 6-14
Mercury Retrograde Station at 11Cn35, 6-15
Uranus Retrograde Station at 18Pi41, 6-23
Mars enters Taurus, 6-24
Saturn Opposing Neptune, 6-25
Full Moon at 8Cp24, 6-30
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
If it feels like we're stuck in a rut this spring, it's because we are. There's a planetary pattern that's been in place since March that has totally dominated the energies we're experiencing. And guess what? Except for the fact that the pattern is weakening somewhat as the planets spread out and the connecting aspects back off, it's still here. Essentially, all the outer planets except Pluto (who is operating as an independent agent these days) are banded together -- that includes Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus and Neptune in a loose fan pattern. From Chiron on, most of these bodies represent various forces within the unconscious mind, both individually and collectively, so we are subject to deeply transfromative influences that few people understand or see clearly. The majority of us are most likely to notice life spinning out of control or in directions we hadn't anticipated, for reasons we don't get, and it feels very stressful and anxiety ridden. People want something to change, but somehow life continues in these funny directions. We underestimate how much "inertia" there is on the physical plane and how difficult it is to create authentic change in the world. Sometimes you need to be stuck a long time before the pressure to change becomes strong enough to be felt. This is evident on the political scene quite prominently, where the public is clamoring for rapid turnarounds, but the "leaders" lack the political will, wisdom and clout to deliver. Despite the setbacks, the national conversation is changing, however, and the longer we talk, the more these shifts that were unimaginable a year ago gain credibility and take on a life of their own. It requires patience to master the outer planets because they move so slowly. Their dance is measured in years, not months and weeks. Hang in there -- the universe is in no way done with the changes in our lives.
The most notable events this month are the 3 stations. After the 23rd, all the outer planets except Saturn will be retrograde, giving this time a "stuck" feeling, a waiting for the other shoe to drop. The only "big aspect" to become exact in June is the opposition of Saturn and Neptune on the 25th. Further, Ceres and Mars are changing signs, both heading into Taurus.
Juno reaches her direct station of 12Li03 on the 3rd. This completes a retrograde cycle that started with the station at 27Li53 on Feb 14. Juno is the Queen of Relationships. She wants nothing more than to love and be loved, to be respected as an equal partner. Of course, the real world of relationships is rarely that simple. Most people are too short sighted or self centered to really treat another person as an equal, to commit themselves fully to a relationship, and unfortunately, Juno is hardwired to notice these lapses of her expectations. She might take the little slights silently at first, but as the "transgressions" pile up over the years, a seething pool of resentments gathers pressure. When Juno is caught in a no-win situation, eventually the rage and jealousy come to the surface and poison the relationship even more. All this because she and her needs are not being taken seriously. This entire retrograde cycle is taking place in Libra, the most partnership oriented sign of the zodiac. This only doubles the stakes around this spiritual lesson of being equal partners. The last few months may have been a testing period for our shakier relationships, a time to see if we can get past our egos and learn to live together. As we are reaching the direct station now, we can see the results of this testing. Some of these relationships won't survive, which is regrettable, but it's still an OK outcome. The more desireable outcome is to listen to each other, work out the difficulties and reach a deeper acceptance of each other than before. Relationships are one of the greatest arenas in life for us to learn our spiritual lessons. Our partners are our best mirrors, showing us both our strengths and our foibles. Ideally, this is the most fruitful place for us to grow. Be patient and loving, if you want your heart to grow.
Ceres moves from Aries into Taurus on the 5th. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, this is a long 10 month stay until 2008-3-29. Ceres (or Demeter) is the Great Mother Goddess of ancient times. As an astrological influence, she is the nurturing part of us, the part that feels a connection with all the other living beings that we share the planet with. In Taurus, the most earthy of all the signs, this kind of concern takes on a very physical nature. She wants to enjoy the life of the body and the senses, as well as tend to others' physical needs. As with all planets, this urge can come out in either positive or negative forms. It's no secret that our culture has a rather tortured relationship with the body and the physical world. We're not good at knowing when enough is enough when it comes to our physical desires -- witness how rampant obesity, eating disorders, addictive behaviors, etc. distort our lives. Sexual love, the greatest expression of the spiritual life of the body, is an area commonly surrounded by shame and taboo or else so depersonalized that the joy is driven out. Having a healthy regard for the body is something that only comes with age, if ever. On a more global level, Ceres in Taurus is quite literally Mother Earth. We are just learning how to have a healthy respect for the environment, to realize that being a good steward is not just a noble thing to do, but it is a matter of life and death for us and future generations, not to mention all the species being driven to extinction. You don't destroy the only home you have to live in and call it sanity. Such respect and wisdom needs time to emerge, much like a growing plant must be nurtured and supported. This is a placement that teaches us to trust the body, nourish its needs and enjoy the glorious world of the senses. It shows us how to appreciate the fragile beauty of the world around us and our obligation to care for this planet. It's an invitation to get outside and get your hands dirty in the soil, to feel the mud between your toes. This is the world we live in. We are its children, not its masters.
The new moon is still one of those many Koz Alerts from the big storm pattern, but you can see already that the faster planets are moving on to their next destination. Pluto is gaining in prominence this coming week, while the Hexagram planets are taking a break. In fact, the new moon is directly opposite Pluto in the sky, reminding us to pay attention to "the other story" in our lives this year.
I've talked a lot in recent months about Pluto going over the Galactic Center (GC) this year and the deep spiritual forces that stirs up within us. We haven't seen much of Pluto in broad daylight since his retrograde station on Mar 31 -- he rather enjoys it that way. This new moon tends to shine the spotlight on him briefly, bringing his issues to the fore for a time. Normally, his retrograde cycles are a time for letting go of habits or things that we've outgrown, that no longer suit our higher purposes. This is even more important this year, since he's entangled with the GC, one of the most powerful spiritual centers in the sky that you've barely heard of before. This passage is not only rare, but it catalyzes forces that operate on humanity as a whole on the broad scale of centuries. OK, so we get a tap on the shoulder now -- are you waking up? are you letting go of your old delusions? He's not blatant about it (yet), but he's watching us. Oh, and the Hexagram craziness is still going on, for the most part, even if it wanes in strength in coming days. Don't forget that Mercury is standing still tomorrow. Just something to think about, the Dark One whispers...
Mercury goes retrograde at 11Cn35 on the 15th, starting 3 weeks of reverse motion. It backs up to 2Cn28 by Jul 9, when it turns around again. Mercury retrograde! How people love to hear those words. Mercury is the talking, thinking, language using, story telling part of the psyche that we effortlessly utilize every day to pidgeonhole all our experiences and make "sense" of the world. Something is sensible or reasonable whenever we have a workable story that explains what you need to know about it on a daily basis. It's truly amazing how useful and effective this mental ability can be. However, like all powers of the psyche, even rationality has its blind spots, gaping holes and grey areas of ambiguity and confusion. One of the dirty secrets of the Mercury mind is his tendency to confuse actual experience with our stories and explanations of this experience. Mercury is continually distorting reality by believing in his stories too much. In fact, it can be a rude shock indeed when life dishes up a situation that contradicts our stories, when reality stubbornly fails to fit inside those mental boxes we provided for it. We say the world makes no sense, that it is crazy or chaotic, when it refuses to operate "by the book". (In fact, it's amazing how often a person will reject the report of their senses and cling to their story instead, as though the world was lying to them.) When Mercury is backing up like it is the next 3 weeks, the world seems full of more nonsense than usual, as though the world is perversely trying to wiggle through the holes between our explanations. To be honest about it, the world just is what it is. It's our stories, the constant mental chatter flowing through our brains, passing for knowledge and awareness, that is the problem. During these times, the thinking mind is not up to the task of making sense of things. Our thoughts are confused, communications with others garbled, plans go awry, the grey areas crowd out our certainties. It can be very frustrating and annoying after awhile. It's best not to make any decisions now that you might regret later -- give yourself the chance to back out later when you can think clearly again. The lesson here is one of humility and discernment, of learning the limitations of language and thinking. The story teller is much bigger than the story he tells, even his own autobiographical "who am I?" story. Mercury retrograde teaches this lesson through clumsiness; Uranus teaches it though a lightning bolt of intuitive insight. Either way, remember that your brain cells are in moth balls for a few weeks. Don't take the screw ups too seriously. It's kind of funny, actually...
As if to complete the mental confusion, Uranus is standing still at 18Pi41 on the 23rd, starting its own retrograde cycle. It will be backing up until Nov 24, when it hits its direct station of 14Pi46. While Mercury is the lower mind (or "monkey mind", as I call him), Uranus is more the higher mind of intuition and "aha!" consciousness. Uranus is also a Trickster who loves to overturn Mercury's carefully constructed mental boxes. He works by creating chaos and contradiction, making it impossible to carry on with our limited stories and typical ways of responding. These guerrilla attacks on the foundations of the thinking mind are Uranus' way of introducing you to the higher level. So what happens when Uranus is retrograde? These times can be truly confusing, since intuition and even perception itself can be distorted and out of sync with reality. Whether you realize it or not, everything you know, feel and experience is not really seen directly and clearly -- all experience is filtered through the distorting lens of the mind and your personal point of view. The psyche is a hall of mirrors, the distorting, wavy kind you see in amusement parks. We've just gotten used to thinking all this waviness is normal, "the way things are", and never question why it is so. I'd say most people assume they see the world perfectly clearly, just as it is, that the peculiar perceptions created by their perspective are really out there. It's a total shock when you learn that all conscious awareness is as flimsy as Mercury's stories. At least that's the grand mal version of Uranus retrograde. The more garden variety versions of his insights are usually lessons in how we fool ourselves into believing deeply held assumptions about the world and ourselves. He's a paradigm buster -- all of a sudden, the beliefs, god-given truths and obviously so's look very strange and untenable. The world itself gets crazy and fast paced, defying our ability to analyze, plan and execute our actions -- Uranus prefers to just wing it. It's curious that this retrograde cycle is entirely in the sign of Pisces, the sign of faith, belief, religion and submission, themes that are very problematic in the modern world. We are being torn apart at a global level by incompatible one-true-faiths that cannot see past their limitations or accept the alternate points of view of the "unbeliever". The nexus of religion and guns, of ancient and parochial ideological stances and modern forms of destruction, is an insanity the world can't long endure. This is probably one of the hardest blind spots for us to overcome, as it cuts so deep into who we believe we are. We hardly even have the words and definitions to think more clearly, let alone the higher awareness. Follow the nonsense and silliness that crosses your path, look for the "aha!s" and "gotchas!" that challenge your point of view. You may not understand where you are headed, but a more open mind is on your horizon. Besides, Uranus is a very amusing fellow, even when the joke is on you...
Mars moves from Aries into Taurus on the 24th for a 6 week stay. He next slips into Gemini on Aug 7. Technically speaking, astrology would judge this placement as unfavorable for Mars, but frankly I've found it rather useful and productive. Mars often suffers from his rash and hasty actions, since he'd rather do something than sit back and think about it first. Taurus forces him to slow down and work at a steady, sustainable pace until the job is done. Mars may not like to plod along, especially after just coming through Aries, which makes him even more impatient and impetuous than usual. Taurus works slowly, one step at a time, letting no obstacle stand in the way. Taurus is also a physical, earthy sign, emphasizing the physical body. This placement forces all that yang, masculine energy through the body, making you want to express your power in a down to earth manner. In relationships, this can become a low-key, but powerful sensuality that accentuates sexual connections -- it can be a lot of fun. Slow down and enjoy life and its simple pleasures.
Saturn is opposite Neptune on the 25th for the last of 3 such connections. The previous contacts of this aspect were on 2006-8-31 and 2007-2-28. It's tough to remember, since things have changed so much, but this aspect began before the national elections last fall. The argument between idealism (Neptune) and pragmatism (Saturn), often considered totally opposed points of view, is still with us, but the middle ground of this discussion has shifted markedly over the last 10 months. We experience Saturn as the "nuts and bolts guy", the fellow that insists we take care of the mundane issues to the last detail. He has a very conventional outlook on life -- in fact, he's the personification of the status quo. This contrasts with otherworldly Neptune, who is more interested in the big myths that stand behind the world and shape it into new realities, than with reality itself. Since they are directly opposite each other in the sky this past year, we feel pulled between these very different tendencies, prodded to choose sides practically. Going to either extreme, however, is both unwise and shortsighted. Keep in mind that the Saturn-Neptune cycle is long term, about 37 years, and we are now only at the halfway point for a cycle that began in 1989, a very tumultuous year on the world stage. Idealism was on a roll that year, as Eastern Europe crumbled, the Berlin Wall was brought down and the old Soviet Union started to implode. Environmental issues were on people's minds a lot, especially after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Many of these same issues are still with us now, though the details have obviously changed over two decades, but the stakes are higher now and the fruits of idealism don't always seem so glorious. I think this opposition is showing us some of the unintended consequences of our beliefs and actions. Neither pure idealism nor died-in-the-wool practicality are a firm basis for creating new worlds, particularly if you are in too much of a hurry. The vision of a better future guides us to make the decisions that will create such a world, but in practice, the vision becomes tarnished when it meets reality. Similarly, the hard nosed "just business" attitude is often without soul, killing our dreams and creating a lifeless world. Saturn and Neptune need each other. They work better as a team in some weird, quirky manner than they do alone. The "argument" between them, when you cut through the meaningless noise, is bogus. We live both in the world of the psyche and the physical, these worlds are deeply intertwined and we have to make both sides work together in order to be fully human. We're going to change the world somehow or another -- that's inevitable. I just hope we have the insight to find the middle path, away from the extremes, and the patience to follow this higher path for decades, not days.
The full moon chart is much harsher and demanding in some ways than earlier in the month. The Saturn-Neptune opposition is triggered by the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars -- at a personal level, we are hotwired to the opposition. Many of the connections here are of the difficult variety, based on an 8th harmonic. It's time to look at how well you're doing at combining various levels of your life, bringing body and spirit together, filling your daily activities with higher purpose. In particular, Venus is going over Saturn shortly. This isn't a very flashy aspect, but it adds depth and solidity to the emotions. There has to be some substance to your heart connections with others, a sense of commitment. A Capricorn Moon is rarely demonstrative with her feelings, but you can count on her in a pinch. Slow down and don't get blown away by all the action. It's easier to focus on one or two things than scatter your energies in too many directions. We'll see you in July...