Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Mercury Retrograde, 5-6 to 5-30
Full Moon at 18Sc40, 5-8
Saturn Direct Station at 14Vi54, 5-16
Jupiter Semisextile Uranus, 5-19
Jupiter Conjunct Chiron at 26Aq12, 5-23
New Moon at 3Gm27, 5-24
Jupiter Conjunct Neptune at 26Aq28, 5-27
Neptune Retrograde Station at 26Aq28, 5-28
Chiron Retrograde Station at 26Aq13, 5-30
Chiron Semisextile Uranus, 5-30
Mars enters Taurus, 5-31
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Enjoy the relative calm of the first half of May (as laughable as the word "calm" may sound right now). The second half is an overwhelming planetary storm that stars Neptune and his friends. There's a tight knot forming at 26 degrees of Aquarius, as Jupiter closes in for an extended meeting with Neptune and Chiron that peaks the end of May. Coming on the heals of the "Neptune return" of Apr 11 that I talked about last month, it looks like Neptune energy is saturating our lives. You can see this (and feel it!) in any number of ways. The middle of the month consists of some incredible Koz Quake waveforms, the most powerful energies since late January. Throwing in Uranus, there are 4 "big aspects" during this time, triggering and retriggering the energies into action. And to focus these rays even more blatantly, both Chiron and Neptune go retrograde the final week of May, followed by Jupiter in mid-June. This Neptune knot is ringing like a bell and won't be ignored! How it's going to manifest in our lives, that's a lot harder to discern. Neptune is a slippery character, running the gamut of human experience from the most sublime to the most vulgar and degrading. Whatever is going on in the psyche, in our inner worlds, is what we experience in some way in the outer world simultaneously. What I find scary about this prospect (from the perspective of late April, as I write), is that all too many people are in a terrible mental state these days. Whether it's the paranoid hysteria over the recent swine flu outbreak or the continuing economic anxiety or any of the other "crises" of our times, people are frankly rather crazy lately. As Neptune projects our inner craziness into the material world we inhabit, the world is likely to appear as a very frightening place, with dangers and hidden enemies lurking all over the place. It's paranoia as a spiritual wake up call, but that's a really rough way to learn about the inner world. Of course, if your psyche is reasonably free of fear and confusion, this same Neptune knot is a highly enlightening experience. The end results really depend on your own working assumptions. Strive to realize the higher vibrations of this remarkable influence and don't let the horrible negativism around you get the better of you. Neptune is prodding you to wake up and be fully present, the original Buddhist meaning of the term enlightenment. You may not "get it" right away (we've got roughly a year for this process), but you can get started.
There's an abnormal amount of astrological activity in May. It includes 5 stations, 4 big aspects and for good measure, Mars changes signs. This should be enough to keep us busy.
Mercury reaches its retrograde station late on the 6th (just before midnight) at 1Gm44. It backs up to a direct station of 22Ta52 by the 30th before resuming normal motion. Mercury rules over the thinking, symbol-using and story-telling part of the psyche, the tools the ego awareness uses to weave a story line of who you are. Since retrograde cycles represent times when a planet's energy fails to operate in the usual fashion, requiring you to examine the workings of this part of the mind more intently, this Mercury cycle is an intriguing backdrop for the larger Neptune knot story. While most people think of Mercury retrograde in mostly negative terms, it's important to realize this particular cycle has benefits as well as problems. Sure, your thinking is fouled up, you can't communicate a single clear sentence, you're constantly surprised when the world doesn't behave according to your preconceptions -- such things are expected now. But if you can get past the soap opera of your internal narrative, letting the mind go quiet, you'll be in a position to perceive the Neptune story going on within you. Neptune tends to operate non-verbally and in a state of mind that resembles dreaming more than wakefulness. Mercury normally suppresses this kind of awareness, preferring the shallow chit-chat of our everyday world. You may not be able to make sense of your inner world this month and it may not fit into your usual ideas of "Who am I?", so don't try to reduce this experience to mere words. The thinking mind should be the servent of the soul, not the other way around. Don't let your endless story-telling get in the way of a true experience.
The full moon chart is rather nondescript -- there's not a heckuva lot going on now. There are only two small groups of planets of any consequence in this chart. The first consists of the Sun, Moon and Pluto in harsh aspects, the other is the Neptune knot. The remaining planets are essentially of negligible strength. Mercury is standing still.
The full moon is the calm before the storm. New experiences are brewing below the surface (Neptune and Pluto), but there's not much evidence of that activity up in the light. You may have vague ideas of what you want to do next or feel some attractions to a certain path, but your ability to get the job done is limited now. The mind is limited or confused, the will and drive aren't quite engaged. Life is just plain out of sorts. Hang in there during these delays, because you will be busy all too soon. Take some time off to be with your thoughts. That's the easiest way to get in touch with the subtle Neptune and Pluto currents. Life is about to get very strange -- but not yet...
Saturn reaches its direct station of 14Vi54 on the 16th, ending a retrograde cycle that began with the station at 21Vi45 back on 2008-12-31. Saturn's new years gift was one of many influences that colored the start of 2009. Saturn is old karma coming due, the need to face up to the consequences (intended or not) of our actions so we become more responsible and conscious participants in the world. There has been plenty of karma coming due, especially on the national level, the legacy of past, inept leadership. As a people, we've created a life for ourselves of ever greater comfort and consumption, while leaving a trail of destruction behind us. Saturn does not like that. Early 2009 has been a wake up call, a time when this old life style runs into a brick wall. The earth cannot support this kind of excess and there will be dire consequences as our support systems collapse. This is a time of painful readjustment, as we move away from this blindly self-centered path and try to create something new that is more modest and sensible in approach. It won't be easy -- Saturn is a good friend, but a difficult taskmaster. Examining your "footprint" on the world is more than changing a few lightbulbs at home -- we impact the world in endless ways, many that we don't even notice. In the give and take of life on this planet, each of us needs to strive for balance, giving back as much as we receive. At the direct station, these lessons may be sinking in finally, despite the discomfort they cause us. Compared to our earlier excess, moderation is the right thing to do.
Jupiter is semisextile Uranus on the 19th, the first of 3 such contacts. The upcoming contacts are on Jun 30 and Dec 12. This is the first of a number of big aspects related to the Neptune knot. This is also the last aspect in a 14 year long cycle that goes back to the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of 1997-2-15, part of another massive Koz Quake period in early 1997 that I called "the Grand Finale" because of all its fireworks. Jupiter and Uranus both have a lot of mental, intuitive overtones. Jupiter is more the conventional wisdom and optimism of our culture, while Uranus is the Crazy Wisdom that flashes through our brains like a bolt of lightning in the night. Together, this cycle tends to overhaul our old realities and make new, undreamt of perspectives the new normal. It also tends to promote the advancement of science and technology, as well as various communication media. It's obvious that such advances have totally altered our lives, the near universal presence in recent years of the Internet and cell phones being a prime example. Of course, the question becomes one of what we will do with this new found power. I doubt we've made much progress in using our technology wisely. Maybe that's a lesson for the next cycle which starts a year from now (2010-6-8).
Jupiter is conjunct (the same zodiac position) Chiron on the 23rd, the 1 of 3 contacts. The next contacts are Jul 22 and Dec 7. Like all conjunctions, this aspect is the start of a new cycle. In this case, the cycle lasts from now to 2023. Jupiter represents the way we reach out to the world, bringing in new experiences, knowledge, resources and companionship. Chiron is more typically where our energies are constricted or bound up, where we're afraid to move beyond the safe boundaries of conventional behavior. Since this conjunction is in Aquarius (not to mention entangled with Neptune and Uranus), the urge to break out of the mold and try on new ideas and behaviors is emboldened. The unconventional looks more attractive than ever. Some of this enthusiasm may wane later on as this cycle runs into roadblocks along the way, but test your boundaries and try out something new. Fear is a poor motivation for making choices in life, no matter how common it is. Don't settle for too little.
The new moon falls between the huge Quakes of a week ago and the second wave of storms starting in a few days, so it is a bit of a transition period. None the less, this chart is much more powerful and well organized than the chaotic looking full moon chart. Not too surprisingly, the guts of this chart is the Neptune knot, with Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune all at 26 Aquarius finally, remarkably only a quarter degree apart. Uranus (at 26Pi03) is also a key player. The triggering planets are Mars and to a lesser extent Mercury, soon to be stationary again. The actual new moon point closely aspects Pluto and Venus -- a group seemingly cut off from the knot. It's almost as if the new moon is of two minds.
Between the stations of Neptune and Chiron in a few days, plus all the big aspects going off as the planets play tag, the knot energies are unfolding quickly. There's an urge to do something with all these influences, to make a mark on the world, the question being what. Unfortunately, your understanding of these fast moving forces is probably a buzzing confusion still. If similar events in the past are any indication, I'd expect the upcoming weeks to have an ungrounded, "otherworldly" feel, a sense that we aren't operating in normal time for awhile but are moving through a period when the usual rules of living don't apply. It's almost like a free high. However, higher realities have their own rules and demands, so don't get lazy just because you feel out of this world. Curiously, the new moon is talking to Pluto, not Neptune. You may miss the true importance of this time because you are looking in the wrong direction. Some situation in your life may be hogging your attention as it creaks and groans, failing to work like it used to, slowly falling away. That may certainly be the case, but the vacuum it leaves behind creates an opening for something new. Due to Neptune's famous fuzziness, you just may not be able to make out the new conditions emerging. Don't jump to conclusions right away about what is happening since you're only seeing a tiny piece of the whole puzzle.
I'd certainly like to be more specific than all this vague "spiritual talk", but we're in new territory now. We not only don't understand the changes entering the stage, we don't even have a good vocabulary to talk about it. It will take time to plant our feet firmly in this new land. For now, be confused humbly and gracefully. Clarity comes later, if ever...
Jupiter is conjunct Neptune on the 27th for the first of 3 times. There are two more contacts on Jul 10 and Dec 21. This conjunction closes out one 13 year cycle that began back on 1997-1-9 (another Grand Finale aspect) and starts a new cycle that lasts until 2022. Neptune is more of a mystical influence generally, bringing out some of the more spiritual qualities of Jupiter. It's an impulse that prods you to reexamine your old beliefs about the unseen world and learn to experience and integrate this other reality into your life. It loosens your assumptions about your relation with the people and world around you, letting you see how you are intimately connected in ways you can scarcely imagine. This is not just a single "aha!" moment and you're done. The conjunction lasts the rest of the year and the cycle itself is 13 years long. Your spiritual path is long and winding, with many choices and challenges along the way. Start making better choices and more enlightened plans as the cycle first kicks off -- it'll save you much trouble later on down the path.
The next day, Neptune stands still at 26Aq28 on the 28th, starting 5 months of reverse gear. It backs up to 23Aq41 by Nov 4 before resuming normal motion. The really peculiar part of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction yesterday is that Neptune is standing still, practically screaming at us to pay attention. As I've alluded to already, Neptune is a slippery fellow to understand. First of all, he's an Idealist and a Dreamer. I use the term Idealist in a philosophical sense: Neptune operates on the level of archetypes and ideal forms that act as the patterns and blueprints for the material world. This is the part of the psyche that is gripped by a vision or a future promise and tries to create the world in this image. Of course, the small part of the vision that we are aware of is dwarfed by the parts we are unconscious of (that's the nature of an archetype), so we are going to inevitably create something that confounds your best laid plans. Neptune behavior, especially when carried out sloppily or without awareness, is full of unintended consequences. Put away the rose colored glasses right away if you want to avoid surprises later. Another feature of Neptune is that it dissolves away all the boundaries and distinctions of our mundane lives. This includes basic notions like the distinction between reasonable and nonsense, or even the difference between the inner world of the psyche (having the experience of an inner life) and the outer material world. To Neptune, they are all the same, a typical trait of the unconscious, mythic world -- there is no distinction here. While it seems unreasonable that the mind can fashion the outer world, in fact, that's the world we live in. This is most clear in the field of quantum physics, where the rational notions of the Newtonian universe have been turned upside down. Connections, not separateness, are the norm. When Neptune goes through its retrograde cycle each year, we are forced to examine this magical world a little deeper each time. So what makes this cycle different from most? Besides the Neptune knot we've been discussing, the biggest difference is the Apr 11 Neptune Return (repeated 2009-7-17 and 2010-2-7) when Neptune came back to the zodiac position where it was discovered in 1846. Everything we've learned about Neptune must be taken to the next level now. Reality ain't what it used to be and anybody that can't get that fact is going to have a rough time. We need to create our worlds more consciously, starting with remaking ourselves. The world comes into being from the inside out, warts and all. We need to become better magicians...
Chiron stops at its retrograde station of 26Aq13 on the 30th. It will back up to 21Aq12 by Oct 30 before turning direct again. Part of becoming a better magician involves cleaning out the old "psychic closet", the pile of behaviors and personality quirks that we've hidden or repressed over the years, for whatever reason. Chiron times are excellent for cracking open the closet. Falling in Aquarius, this retrograde cycle focuses on ideas and grand visions, as well as a passion for debate and exploration. We may have felt this passion early on in life, but over the years the flame gets dimmer and dimmer. Life becomes very boring and staid as we replace spontaneity with more conventional behavior, until it becomes intolerable. It's time to bring our passionate ideas out of the closet again and see if they still hold up. Undoubtedly, they will need some dusting off and bringing up to date. In fact, some of your idealistic ideas may indeed be irrelevant to current circumstances without considerable reworking. But just putting in the effort can force you to face the fears and compromises that prevent you from being the person your soul intended you to be. Don't let your limitations define you.
Chiron is semisextile Uranus on the 30th, the 2nd of 23 contacts for this remarkable aspect. The initial contact was back on Jan 30, the next one is Dec 30 and the whole series continues until 2038! Any aspect that stretches over 3 decades is going to be hard to summarize, so pardon me if I don't have a good handle on this one yet. Due to the intricate dance of these two planets, this aspect unfolds in 3 distinct waves: 2009-2011, 2016-2021 and 2036-2038. Given the transformative nature of the two planets, this aspect is surely apt to remake us at a deep level, changing our relation to the world radically. However, we're too early in the cycle to really understand what's going on. Maybe in a few more contacts, the general direction of this aspect will be clearer. We've got time...
Mars moves from Aries into Taurus on the 31st. It will remain in this sign until Jul 11, when it shifts into Gemini. Mars in Aries, his home sign, can be rather rowdy and unruly -- he needs to get it out of his system sometimes. As our Warrior God marches into Taurus, he needs to settle down a bit and fall into a slower, more methodical pace. I've actually come to think of Mars in Taurus as a pretty good placement, even though tradition says otherwise. That's because Taurus supplies some structure and discipline, a stick-to-itedness, that the impetuous Aries Mars lacks. Rather than barging in like gangbusters (and just as quickly losing steam), this placement lets Mars see that slow and steady works just as well, if not better. Aries rarely finishes a task if he loses interest along the way; Taurus will see it through to the end. It's also a nice, earthy influence that embodies and grounds Martian sexuality, adding a sensuousness that he normally lacks. It's a good period to buckle down and get some chores behind you -- put this energy to good use!