Low-Down Archives April 2008

April 2008

For the New Moon Cycle in Aries:
April 5/6 to May 5, 2008

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Apr.05 – NEW MOON in ARIES (16:44 of Aries)

NEW MOON in ARIES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.05, 11:54 PM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.06, 4:54 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Apr.06, 1:54 PM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience ARIES energy in your life.

It is time to get out your life force, dust it off and get it ready for challenges ahead! If you're north of the equator, your life force is rising with the tree sap, as you head into spring. If you're in the southern hemisphere, your life force is being challenged to sustain you through the cooler, darker seasons of fall and winter.

Either way, this is a time when you are shifting gears and making some new decisions about how to use your energy and your passion. The New Moon in Aries is challenging you to find healing by facing challenges and discovering more fulfilling ways to spend your energy.

Mars is the planetary ruler of Aries, and Mars recently ended a very long opposition aspect to Pluto. This has been an intense process of discovering deeper levels of passion, aggression, power and/or libido. You might have also discovered what happens to you when confronted by these energies in other people. Do you tend to impulsively fire back the same forceful attack? Maybe you react by pulling yourself back into a safety zone, perhaps experiencing fear or depression? Or perhaps you freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights?

The New Moon in Aries invites you to take what you've learned about Mars energy and integrate this into your worldview, attitudes, beliefs and identity. For instance, have you gone through an experience over the last 7 months that has caused you to rethink the ethics of using force to get what you want or to make a point? Have you encountered conflict in a situation that evokes extreme reactions or that makes it hard to know how to react without someone getting hurt? Are you struggling to find new ways to claim your personal power using wisdom, directness and confidence?

Mars is opposite Jupiter, and they are in mutual reception by exaltation. That means each is in a sign that it doesn't like, but which the other one does like to be in. Mars is in fall in Cancer and Jupiter is in fall in Capricorn. Both of them are equally unhappy about where they are, and both of them wish they were where the other one is. They can either blame each other in a fit of jealousy, or they can help each other appreciate the advantages and gifts of their respective signs.

The Sun and Moon form a T-square aspect configuration with Mars and Jupiter. This intensifies the effects of their energies. The New Moon—itself a release of initiating energy—becomes the release point for the T-square. The Sun and Moon are the mediators in the Mars-Jupiter tug of war. And since Pluto stationed retrograde just 3 days ago, this is bound to pump all this volatile, intense and potent energy up an extra notch or two.

Perhaps the trick for all of us is to find the "lesser of evils." There may not be a straightforward answer, but there is likely to be one that isn't as distasteful, unsatisfying or frustrating as your other choices. A willingness to accept a less-than-perfect solution is more likely to generate a better-than-terrible result.

Small changes are better than big ones right now, simply because big ones can so easily lead to swinging back and forth between extremes as you try to compensate for your compensation. However, holding back your impulses and refraining from reacting in a big way are going to take skill, concentration and effort. Think of it like riding a wild horse that is running off in all directions. You'll get where you want to go a lot faster and easier in the long run if you keep the reins firmly in hand and steer your beast gradually in the direction you want to go.

If your "beast" is out of control or out of commission, and you need some help to harness your energy in a productive way, seek out a healing influence that will help get you balanced again. A personal astrology reading can give you the insight, confidence and grounding you need.

Apr.05 – Mars leaves the Shadow ("What's the Shadow?"  Read article about the Shadow.)

Mars now leaves the span of the Zodiac where it went retrograde between Nov.15.2007 and Jan.30.2008. Mars first entered this space on Sep.17.2007, and now Mars leaves that space. This brings closure to a very long-term process of growth, transformation and ambition. During this time you have worked through issues, opportunities and challenges about aggression, anger, sexuality, physical activity, desires, ambition and taking action to get what you want. For the next  19 months, you will apply what you have learned, gained and conquered during this retrograde cycle. The next retrograde cycle begins in Oct.2009, so you have until then to play, experiment and utilize the fruits of the cycle just ending.

The current Mars retrograde cycle has been especially powerful because Mars has been in an opposition aspect to Pluto throughout this cycle. This has put a particularly intense spin on Mars themes, and has pushed us to use that intensity for deep transformation. Even if you felt sometimes like you were just overwhelmed, overpowered, depressed, afraid or withdrawn, there was probably a lot of depth in your experience that contains hidden treasures of insight, wisdom and growth. If you want to gain a better understanding of what this Mars cycle has brought to your life, a personal astrology reading can give you personalized insight to help you get the most out of your Mars experience.

Apr.06 – Venus enters Aries (until Apr.30)

Your style of handling relationships, finances, resources and values now take on an attitude of assertiveness, directness and the pursuit of freedom and independence. Impulse buying may be a stronger temptation than usual, so be sure you can afford whatever it is! Your way of interacting may be somewhat more direct, open or flirtatious during this transit. You may have opportunities to acquire money quickly and casually...and spend it too! You may also be more open to trying new things in the areas of finances, relationships, interactions and your values. Trying out new ideas can take you into uncharted territory...which may or may not be welcome depending on how comfortable you are with change. But this still may be just what you need to get you out of a rut in the affected areas. This can also be a good time to celebrate and appreciate yourself just as you are, as a unique individual.

Apr.06– Venus square Pluto (01:09 of Aries/Capricorn) (Apr.07 in UK, AU)

Relationships and interactions are likely to be deep, intense and transformative under this transit. The same goes for your sense of beauty, and your material and financial dealings, which may require you to delve far deeper than usual to discover the truth under the surface of things. You may encounter the dark shadow of your desires -- the obscure, secret or unconscious hunger that hides underneath the "politically correct" face you show to the world (and to yourself. This is a challenge to be resolved in some way. It might bring out conflict rooted in envy or jealousy, if someone has something (or someone) that you feel you are entitled to. Or, it might prompt you to reach very deep into your soul to find your inner beauty and value. You may be challenged to develop empathy or empowerment about something that initially seemed undesirable, unforgivable or scary. This transit can show you the problem areas that need to be transformed and healed. And seeing these more clearly can be a catharsis that sets that transformative healing in motion.

Apr.07-12 – T-Square Aspect Configuration (Mars, Jupiter, Sun/Mercury)

This T-square brings closure, resolution and awareness to challenges you've had about escalating anger, amplified ambition and finding ethical ways to use your aggression. This has been a long-term process (since last August, when Mars first opposed Jupiter). You might have sought out ways to use your energy (physical, emotional, psychological) for a higher purpose, or combined with increased wisdom, or in a freer, more open way. This T-square aspect figure challenges you to integrate what you have learned into how you think, how you communicate, how you view yourself and what you focus on. This is about being able to balance a positive, optimistic outlook with a "fighting spirit" that allows you to defend yourself against people and situations that could bring you down. Your self-image may need to be adjusted or challenged now, especially to strengthen a negative image or to soften an ego-centric one.

Apr.09 – Sun sextile Chiron (20:03 of Aries/Aquarius)

This is a time when you have an opportunity to mend and heal the chronic struggles in your life. You may find new inspiration, motivation or confidence that can help rejuvenate waning enthusiasm or reconcile persistent problems, although you'll still have to apply effort to bring it all together. You might get the chance to demonstrate your ability to walk your own path in a new way. Or, you might get a peek inside the hidden shadow of your worries and discouragement, giving you new insight into how you might be unconsciously sabotaging your conscious efforts. You may have to face a bit of your own fear of failure or low self-esteem before you can get beyond these feelings and tap into the benefits of this transit -- not because you are failing but because these concerns may arise in response to the new potential now available to you. By tapping into this potential for creative problem solving, you can bring some healing to whatever your situation is.

Apr.10 – Sun square Jupiter (21:05 of Aries/Capricorn) (Apr.11 in AU)

You may be inspired to expand far beyond your usual boundaries during this time, although this may or may not work in the way you hope it will. It can be a time of challenge, when you decide that now is the time to move beyond your current horizons and make the ultimate push for something you believe will bring you happiness, fulfilment and prosperity. How successful you are will probably depend on how prepared you are for what comes next. Your judgment and your ability to see things objectively and realistically can be a little "off" during this transit, since your hopes and ideals might distort what is actually possible. It can be easy to overestimate the envisioned results, or you might underestimate the amount of work necessary to sustain your dream and prevent it from being just a flash in the pan. Try to avoid being overconfident and making promises you can't keep (including to yourself).

Apr.10 – Mercury square Mars (15:12 of Aries/Cancer) (Apr.11 in AU)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging -- or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

Apr.11-May.02 – Wedge Aspect Configuration (Mars, Jupiter, Uranus)

Mars bounces off the Jupiter-Uranus sextile to form a Wedge aspect figure. Uranus challenges you to think outside the box when it comes to the attitudes with which you are using your energy. Do you use your anger and passion to persuade others to come around to your way of thinking? Perhaps you also have something to learn from those whose minds you want to change? You might have to break free of your need to be right, in order to be open to that learning. Alternatively, you might find that technology, science or groups can provide an unusual but effective way of promoting your intentions and actions, and you will probably have to think in a much larger context then usual to be able to take advantage of this.

Apr.12 – Mercury sextile Chiron (20:13 of Aries/Aquarius)

Your mental focus and communication could get an injection of healing energy under this transit, as long as you are prepared to put some effort into getting it. Your spirits can become uplifted now, from seeing a light at the end of the tunnel or from finding a light that guides you along the path in front of you. It will not, however, make the tunnel or the path go away; you'll still have to walk the walk. But your mental perspective can become more accepting of inconsistencies and frustrations under this transit, which can alleviate a lot of stress and make the journey a bit smoother. Mental struggles and critical "self-talk" may find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings peace of mind. You have an increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems, by providing insightful feedback. To get the most out of this transit, aim to find a mental outlook and communication style that can tolerate contradiction without having to eradicate one in order to justify the other.

Apr.13 – Sun sextile Neptune (23:45 of Aries/Aquarius)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Although this is mostly a very positive energy, you could become so immersed in your longing for the ideal that you have trouble dealing with the less-than-ideal realities that still must be dealt with. Gaining the benefit from this transit will still require some effort. Hope, optimism and imagination are in the air, which could bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity and imagination can be very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision, and you may experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential now to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime -- spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately -- although this will require your cooperation to take advantage of it. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

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Apr.13 – Mercury square Jupiter (21:20 of Aries/Capricorn) (Apr.14 in AU)

You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it.

Apr.14 – Mercury sextile Neptune (23:47 of Aries/Aquarius)  (Apr.15 in AU)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit, with a little applied effort and focus. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) The possible disadvantage is that you might want so much to reach a state of inspired intuition, magical outlook and effortless communication, that you are willing to be deceived rather than fall short of what you are hoping for. Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.

Apr.15-May.05 – Grand Trine in Earth Signs (Saturn, Pluto, Sun, Mercury, Venus)

The trine of Saturn and Pluto was exact last August, but they are making another very close near-pass now. The Sun and Mercury happen to be aligned right now so that they form a Grand Trine aspect figure with Saturn and Pluto. There is a peak on Apr.18, when Mercury forms a perfect Trine with Saturn and Pluto at 1 degree of the Earth signs. On Apr.20, Sun moves into perfect Trine with Saturn and Pluto at 1 degree of these signs. Then on Apr.30-May.01, Venus completes the Grand Trine at 0 and 1 degree of the Earth signs.

A Grand Trine in Earth signs can bring opportunities and advantages in situations that require commitment, structure, practicality and methodical action. This time might bring you only sense of being a bit more productive. However, if you are involved with a project or getting ready to launch a project after careful planning, this can be a time when your achievements and ambitions could bounce higher and farther than usual. Careful pre-planning is the key. If you haven't done this by the time the Grand Trine forms, use this time to do your planning.

This Grand Trine is strongly involved in the Full Moon coming up on Apr.20, so you'll have a chance to put an even stronger spin on the potential that is in the air now.

Apr.16 – Sun conjunct Mercury (26:41 of Aries)

During this transit, your sense of self and purpose can become merged with what you think, perceive and say. On one hand, this can make for an easy flow of ideas and communication from inside your brain to the external world. It can also increase your perceptions and observations of the world, as you file it all away in your internal database. On the other hand, you may find yourself a bit tongue-tied, as it could be hard to separate your sense of self from your perceptions and ideas enough to find the words to adequately express them. In that case, just observe and go with the flow; the words will come later. It can also be a time when it's not easy to be objective, especially about yourself and how you bring yourself to the world around you. It's like your Being automatically expresses and sets into motion the things you think, perceive and want to say. This can help you to feel like your sense of self is shining effortlessly, but if your thoughts and perceptions are in conflict with other parts of you (e.g., emotions, needs, objectivity) then it might become a time when you act a little too quickly with blinders on. Strive for balance and self-honesty before you act.

Apr.17 – Mercury enters Taurus (until May.02) (Apr.18 in AU)

Thoughts, communication and analysis work best when they are careful and methodical, during this transit. Your mental attitude and awareness may be somewhat serious and conservative -- or down-to-earth, relaxed, and grounded in simple pleasures. Your perceptions may be a little slower to form, and you may have to search a little longer to find the right words. But there is also an increased ability to savour and appreciate your experiences more, and it can be a time when you can relax and recharge your mental batteries. You might find that your body instincts and sensory experience give you more information than your conscious thoughts. This is a good time to plan out how to manifest the ideas that sprang from your imagination in the past several weeks. Take your best ideas, perceptions and words and sow them like seeds. Then watch them grow over time.

Apr.18 – Mercury trine Pluto (01:05 of Taurus/Capricorn)

It is possible to dive deep below the surface now, in your perception of situations, other people and yourself. If you have been working on trying to understand the deeper motivations and dynamics of what is happening in your life, there could be a breakthrough now. The light may finally go on in the darker corners that have eluded you, and your penetrating insight. You could find a way to articulate these perceptions and speak your mind in a way that is unusually powerful or intense (so be careful you don't inadvertently blow your audience out of the water). This transit can bring an opportunity to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. Try writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit. This is the only exact pass for this transit, since Pluto was out of range when Mercury came through this area two months ago.

Apr.18 – Mercury trine Saturn (01:52 of Taurus/Virgo) (Apr.19 in AU)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority -- yours or someone else's -- and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

Apr.19 – Sun enters Taurus (until May.20) (Apr.20 in AU)

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Taurus! This is a time when we all get in touch with the part of us that wants things tangible, practical, plentiful and pleasurable! Taurus is also connected to money, finances, possessions and resources of all kinds, so this is also a time to take stock of what you HAVE in your life -- literally and figuratively. Take some time to examine your values. What people, things or principles are worth spending your time, effort, energy or money? It's also an opportunity to explore how separate or enmeshed your sense of self is from your possessions. Do you think less of yourself if you can't surround yourself with wealth? What forms of abundance and blessings are in your life, and are you consciously grateful for them or do you take them for granted? Use this Taurus energy to approach goals in a methodical way, appreciate your blessings, and understand life at its most concrete, basic level. This might sound about as exciting as watching the grass grow, but the Taurus way is to slow things down enough that you can experience and take pleasure in the simple things, in the Here and Now. Enjoy it!

Sabian Symbol for the
Full Moon in Scorpio

Scorpio 1

A sightseeing bus.

This Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") is a rather intriguing one as the entry symbol to Scorpio. For a sign known for its intensity and intimacy, the image seems strangely trivial and impersonal. However, before we can delve into deeper feelings and experiences, we must first be open to them – not unlike a tourist on a sightseeing tour.

Dane Rudhyar talks about the collective nature of the symbol – people from different places and backgrounds who gather together to expand their social horizons. Their experience will bring "new feelings and an expansion of consciousness." (An Astrological Mandala)

Lynda Hill, on the other hand, sees the detached quality of the sightseers, who are observers but not necessarily participants. The destination is known but not what the experience will feel like. (360 Degrees of Wisdom)

Marc Edmund Jones sees the openness to new experiences. The symbol shows a release from boundaries that have held us back from new encounters with life. We can now take in all the new possibilities around us. (The Sabian Symbols in Astrology)

Put in the context of this particular Full Moon, I think this symbol is very fitting! We are entering a new realm of experience – Pluto in Capricorn. The best way to become familiar with something is to explore it and find out generally what it's about. It helps to take in the new information without necessarily committing oneself to participating in a particular way. Think of it as taking the introductory course before you decide which of the more specialized courses to take afterwards.

Therefore, this is a time to mostly sit back and take in whatever situation you are faced with. It may not be time to take forward action yet. There is more here than meets the eye, and only time and gathering more information and experience will flesh out the picture so that you more fully understand what you're seeing. Put another way: perhaps you need to find out what you're turning down before you can really decide what to choose.

 

Explore the Sabian Symbols for yourself with these recommended books:

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed,
by Blain Bovee

FULL MOON in SCORPIO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.20, 6:25 AM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.20, 11:25 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Apr.20, 8:25 PM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience SCORPIO energy in your life.

Apr.20 – FULL MOON in SCORPIO (00:43)

Transformation is at hand! But don't expect sudden changes – that only happens in the movies, usually. This transformation is gradual, intense, deep and very real. It comes in two parts, marked by two Full Moons in Scorpio! The first part is the Full Moon today, Apr.20. The second part comes at the second Full Moon in Scorpio on May.19. We have the Alpha and the Omega of the Scorpio energy – the first Full Moon is in the first degree of Scorpio; the second Full Moon is in the last degree.

This current Full Moon ushers us into this phase of change, which has been building for some time. The Mars-Pluto opposition, which was hovering in the skies for about 7 months, sensitized us to Plutonian energy. It challenged us to confront our issues about anger, assertiveness, action and attitude. We've had months of struggling with the more challenging elements of Pluto and its transition from moral, philosophical Sagittarius into structured, realistic Capricorn.

We have just begun to experience Pluto energy in a new way, however. Pluto moved into Capricorn on Jan.30 – the first time it changed signs since 1995. Pluto seems to be bringing tremendous change to the economy, ecology and political agendas, and challenging each of us to get serious about the structures and "constants" in our lives. Pluto is now Retrograde, heading toward a final brief visit in Sagittarius from Jun.14 to Nov.26, after which it will remain in Capricorn until 2023.

Now comes not one but two Full Moons in Scorpio, the sign ruled by Pluto (using modern planetary rulerships). These events bring us into even more awareness of Plutonic energy – intensity, emotional authenticity, intimacy and power. Do you see how we are exploring Scorpio and Pluto energy from all different angles this year?

That's not all. The Full Moon forms a Grand Trine Kite aspect configuration with... you guessed it – Pluto and Saturn. Saturn is also a very significant player here because it is the planetary ruler of the sign where Pluto now resides: Capricorn. Full circle! Pluto and Saturn weave together the whole Pluto-in-Capricorn theme with the Full Moon. The Grand Trine Kite contains enormous potential to combine its planetary energies in creative ways. It is composed of a Grand Trine in Earth signs (Sun and Mercury in Taurus, Saturn in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn), plus the Sun-Moon opposition which forms a Kite shape (hence its name).

This Kite therefore gives us the chance to explore the great potential in these combined energies. This potential reflects a bit of the ways you can utilize these energies in the years to come, as Pluto travels through Capricorn. The activities, events and experiences that occur around this Full Moon and for the next 2 weeks (until the next New Moon) can show you something that could be developed and made manifest in the long run. Think of this as the chance to scry into your future potential and growth.

What's the catch? The trick is that in order to tap into the potential of the Grand Trine, you will need to master the Sun in Taurus in opposition to the Moon in Scorpio. So what is the challenge of Taurus versus Scorpio? Both signs seek a depth and endurance of sorts—Taurus in terms of material stability and Scorpio in terms of emotional perseverance. Both signs are pleasure seekers—Taurus in terms of the physical senses (food, touch, visual beauty, music, aroma) and Scorpio in terms of intimacy (emotional, physical, psychological, mental, spiritual). And both can get stuck in their obsessions–Taurus in possessiveness and materialism, and Scorpio in jealousy and revenge.

In many ways they are two sides of the same coin, although they aim in rather different directions. Taurus wants tranquility, peace and simplicity. Scorpio desires intensity, passion and power. Both need to be balanced by the other. Too much Taurus and you could lose your survival edge that gets you through stressful times. Too much Scorpio and you might forget how to just enjoy life and trust your place in it.

The Full Moon challenges you to find that balance within your own life, and in doing so, you will find you have access to a far greater potential than you realise. Manifestation and structure (Earth Grand Trine) become not something to tie you down or oppress you, but a foundation of power on which you can build a sense of security, strength and certainty. This is a supportive structure that can feed your Fire and life force, not suffocate you.

However, you might begin this journey by feeling the absence of that Fire or the lack of a supportive foundation. Before you can build your Fire, you may need to first understand how it is missing in your life and why it is important to your well-being to acquire it. Or, you might find your Fire and foundation are overbearing and stuck, requiring you to break free of old patterns before you can pursue new ones. This is the influence of the T-square between Venus, Mars and Jupiter, also present at the Full Moon.

The Full Moon in Scorpio is ultimately about transformation and exploring your depths. A personal reading can give you insight and awareness that can guide you through this process and help you take advantage of this intense and revealing energy.

Apr.20 – Sun Trine Pluto (01:04 of Taurus/Capricorn) (Apr.21 in AU)

Your sense of purpose is strong now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so much in situations requiring delicacy or subtlety. Your ability to see below the surface of things is especially clear, and it may be possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours or others'). This is a time when your personal presence may come across as somewhat "larger than life," so you need to remember that a little goes a long way during this transit. This could be a time when you suddenly find the strength to stand up and assert your personal power in a situation that has felt overwhelming or discouraging. On the other hand, if you are still struggling to learn how to own your power, without using nuclear bombs to make your point, you may still feel a bit overwhelmed or daunted by this transit. In that case, take smaller steps and don't try to push the river.

Apr.19-27 – T-square Aspect Configuration (Mars, Jupiter, Venus)  ("What's a T-square?")

(See Full Moon in Scorpio for diagram.) This is another variation of the T-square from Apr.07-12, which initially included the Sun and Mercury, and now has Venus instead. Mars opposite Jupiter challenges you to find the middle ground between your "fighting spirit" and your "spiritual fight." You may need to keep mastering the urge to swing between extremes in reaction to new information. Or, you might be tempted to assume an attitude of confidence and righteousness that teeters between faith and arrogance.

With Venus as the apex of the T-square, you are challenged to "fight the good fight" using diplomacy, fairness and mediation. However, Venus is in forceful Aries, where she must be more antagonistic, vigorous and self-contained than she is usually comfortable doing. You likely won't be able to resolve that Mars aggression by simply retreating into Venus diplomacy and gentility. Even Venus must still grapple with the challenge of integrating force and passion with her usual win-win strategies.

This energy peaks on Apr.23-24 when all three planets are within less than one degree of orb.

Apr.21 – Sun Trine Saturn (01:48 of Taurus/Virgo)

This is a great time to apply yourself to serious work. You may feel especially self-sufficient and independent, with a strong and clear sense of self and purpose. There is support for your ambitions as long as you stay grounded and practical in how you approach them, which should come easily right now. Your ability to cooperate and feel comfortable with authority figures is likely to be high, along with your capacity to embrace your own authority and make solid decisions. This is a time when you are more likely to feel grounded and deal with problems in a practical, decisive way. Your energy may be more serious than "party animal," but even if you are in "party mode" it will be easier to realistically know your limits and not overdo it. If you've been waiting for the right time to move forward with or manifest a project or plan that you've been putting together (or wanting to), this could be the time when that happens. The final launch or manifestation may or may not happen now, but you will probably be able to at least move forward in some important steps.

Apr.22 – Mars trine Uranus (21:01 of Cancer/Pisces) (Apr.23 in AU)

This is a very high energy time, although not necessarily predictable or reliable. Your energy may come in spurts or in response to situations that don't normally affect you very much. You may find an upsurge of daring and confidence that seem to come out of nowhere. Or your sexual desire might suddenly come alive. This transit can inspire motivation that is spontaneous, sudden or unexpected. It might make your physical or emotional energy fluctuate or feel a bit "wired." However, it can also give a burst of courage and drive that can propel you out of a rut or inspire you to break free of limitations. Freedom, liberation and asserting your individuality are key areas that can ignite this energy. You might also find yourself involved in group activities, possibly in a leadership role or in a way that your ideas have a greater effect than usual on others.

We saw a preview of this aspect back in November 2007, when Mars and Uranus went stationary retrograde. They were within just over 2 degrees of trining each other then. Opportunity may have seemed within reach at that time, yet it seemed to slip away or shift in a different direction for a while. Now you have the chance to approach those opportunities again, but this time you have a broader perspective of knowledge, experience, information and renewed energy to find your best direction.

Apr.22 – Venus sextile Chiron (20:35 of Aries/Aquarius) (Apr.23 in AU)

Although this transit lasts for only a few days, it is possible to make some progress in your healing and rebalancing efforts, although it will take some effort to make it happen. This may show itself in relationships, social interaction, finances, values, health or your spiritual connection to the Universe. You have an increased ability to negotiate with others and with your circumstances to achieve a fair compromise that results in equal sacrifice and benefit for all concerned. However, there is a risk of wanting to avoid conflict and discord so much that you negotiate beyond what you are truly comfortable with -- peace at any price. By accepting and embracing the effort or struggle that is required, you can get out of your own way and achieve a more healing balance in those struggles. You now have increased ability to facilitate changes in situations that are within your control. It can also be easier to accept and adapt to that which lies beyond your control. Your effect on others can be potentially healing right now, especially by helping them find a new balance and point of acceptance in the conflicts and struggles of their lives.

Apr.23 – Venus square Mars (21:37 of Aries/Cancer) (Apr.24 in AU)

Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, decisive side. The result is either a battle of wills between your Yin and Yang, or a new creative energy that harnesses both. This could manifest in the form of relationship problems, financial struggles, arguments about control, or you are propelled to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while. If you're usually more comfortable with your Yin side (receptive, diplomatic), you might feel a bit backed into a corner or forced to negotiate under pressure. If you're more at home in your Yang side (assertive, action-oriented), you may feel compelled to blunt or sheathe the sword you would prefer to smite your enemy with. Either way, this is about balancing the two sides and finding a new cooperation that works for both.

Apr.23 – Venus square Jupiter (22:00 of Aries/Capricorn) (Apr.24 in UK, AU)

"Your eyes are bigger than your stomach" (as Mom used to say). That means you are more likely now to over-indulge, especially in the areas of relationships, spending, desires, pleasure and social contact. Your desire for fulfilment and satisfaction may exceed your resources, and you might not even realise it until the bill comes in later (probably under a Saturn transit ;-). You may also find you require more knowledge, understanding, faith, freedom or optimism than you have available, making it tempting to compensate by inflating what you really have. For example, you might want to resort to flattery, manipulation or over-optimism in an effort to make up for a lack of genuine confidence, rapport or preparation. However, this can also be a time when your creativity is running high and you are able to pull rabbits out of your hat on a moment's notice. The problem is that you could over-extend yourself by doing so.

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Apr.24 – Mars opposite Jupiter (22:01 of Cancer/Capricorn)

Both inspired action and brash overconfidence characterise this transit. For up to a week before and after this date, you may find that your energy, anger, libido and ability to take action are amplified -- so much so, that you may be pushing yourself beyond what is realistic or unable to deal with reasonable boundaries to prevent them from getting out of control. What is needed is to find that fine line of balance between ego-based desire and spiritual inspiration; between will power and focused faith; and between righteous anger and arrogant pride. Strive to bring both your ego's desires and your spiritual aspirations into what you do, for each has its own validity and won't operate well without the other.

This is the 3rd and final pass of this transit: Aug.23.2007, Dec.26.2007 and Apr.24.2008.

Apr.25 – Venus sextile Neptune (24:00 of Aries/Aquarius) (Apr.26 in AU)

Artistry, romance, creativity and faith have the potential to flow freely now. Your creative Muse is whispering in your ear, although it will still take your own elbow grease to turn it into something real. Socially and romantically, things could run smoothly and even a bit magically, so be sure you are clear in yourself about what you really want. This can be a time of blessings and abundance (in all areas of life) ...but there is also the risk of overspending and being overly optimistic in your assumptions about money and relationships. Your natural beauty and warmth can be brought out by this transit, but don't just waste it on creating a faηade of outer glamour and charm. Let the essence of your inner beauty and pure spirit shine through your appearance and mannerisms!

Apr.26-30 – Cradle Aspect Configuration (Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury)  ("What's a Cradle?")

The Mars-Jupiter opposition brings us yet another aspect configuration. This time we have crystal clear thinking and unconventional ideas being merged with the enthusiasm, passion and idealism of Mars and Jupiter. That is, there is the potential for that. In order to tap into the mental aerobics inherent in Mercury and Uranus, you will need to get past the struggle between your animal impulses and your civilized ideals. If your gut instincts are at war with your rational intellect, you will likely find it difficult to think beyond your immediate struggle enough to take advantage of the amazing insight, intuition and brilliance that can come from mastering that struggle. On the other hand, if you can catch glimpses of those unusual ideas flitting through your brain, they can give you new awareness and creative imagination to help you mediate the struggle between your will your wits.

Apr.27 – Mercury square Chiron (20:45 of Taurus/Aquarius)

Your mental focus and perceptions may feel a bit strained right now. You could find yourself locked in a struggle of indecision that stems from a "glass half empty" versus "glass half full" dilemma. It may be difficult to stay objective and evenly balanced in your perspective, but by working with this you could also find a new mental focus that gives you increased clarity. It might be tempting to sink into cynicism as a way to deal with what seems like a no-win situation. On the other hand, this transit could bring your mental perspective to a kind of "healing crisis" that forces you to get a better grip on the ideas, communication and frame of mind that have been problematic for you. Instead of reaching for extremes (hoping this will clarify the path in front of you), it will help more if you can take a few steps back to allow all the conflicting and out-of-sync elements to coexist together -- creative paradox. If you have been in denial about something, this could be a turning point that allows you to grapple with the complex reality of your situation.

Apr.27 – Mercury sextile Uranus (21:17 of Taurus/Pisces) (Apr.28 in UK, AU)

There is potential for brilliance and excitement under this transit. You may be more spontaneous, upbeat and eccentric than usual. If you are used to a fairly predictable lifestyle, it is a time when you may be inspired to experiment with something out of character. If you are used to being whacky, zany and impulsive, this transit can provide opportunities to express this. You may have an increased ability to "think outside the box" if you stretch your mind a little, and there is the possibility of having an "ah-ha!" experience, when answers and realisations fall into place. There is also the possibility of being mentally restless, so that it's hard to slow down your thoughts or apply yourself seriously to your responsibilities. Your attention span may be a bit short for a couple of days. This energy can be used to consider new ideas that seemed outlandish or impossible before, and see new potential in them.

Apr.28 – Mercury trine Jupiter (22:11 of Taurus/Capricorn)

This transit can make you quite talkative and flooded with ideas, along with those around you. Your stream of consciousness can flow abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun now playing with ideas to want to stop and make them manifest just yet. Your outlook is usually optimistic and open-minded under this transit, although it might simply neutralize an already pessimistic frame of mind. You are likely to be more open to spiritual or philosophical perspectives, being more able to see yourself as part of something greater than yourself. You might even find that luck comes your way because you are more receptive to opportunities and possibilities.

Apr.29 – Mercury square Neptune (24:03 of Taurus/Aquarius)

Your mental focus may be a bit clouded, confused or lethargic right now, as your conscious mind struggles to grasp the formless, limitless expanse of the Universe and the unconscious. You may experience some disillusionment or disappointment, in your observations or communication with others. However, what is flowing under the surface of events right now is the need to dissolve away the crust of old expectations that blocks your view from seeing a greater Truth. If you're feeling off-balance, try to listen more than you talk, so that you can be receptive to your inner sensitivity. Left-brain analysis might be difficult to work with right now unless you balance it with a lot of right-brain intuition. You may have to let go of a rigid mindset, or give up what you think you understand about a situation in your life, in order to open yourself to a new perspective that is difficult to define but is ultimately in the best interest of your spiritual growth.

Apr.29 – Mercury sextile Mars (24:47 of Taurus/Cancer) (Apr.30 in AU)

There is a potential now to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said, if you focus consciously on doing so. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Communication is probably easiest and most effective when it's direct, concise and quick, although it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that -- although perhaps a bit too forceful when a more delicate, sensitive touch is called for. It is a time when you might find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). This is a good transit for creative problem solving and trying on decisions to see if they fit.

Apr.30 – Venus enters Taurus (until May.24/25)

Venus rules the sign of Taurus, so she is very comfortable here! Your experiences of pleasure and sensuality are likely to be heightened...perhaps even a bit too much! You might be tempted to overindulge in sensory delights. On the other hand, you may feel the urge to be more grounded, practical and methodical in the way you handle relationships, money, possessions, material values, and attracting what you desire. It is also a time when your desires could manifest tangibly or at least become more apparent. It may be possible to see more clearly the ways that your self-worth is tied to material things, like income, savings, possessions and spending. Your finances and possessions could act like a "touch stone" to reassure you in times of stress. The trick is not to let this become a substitute for genuine self-respect. To make the most of this transit, take some time to relax and enjoy life! Take your time, smell the flowers, drink in the sunsets, listen to beautiful music, get an aromatherapy massage or explore new uses for chocolate. ;-) 

Apr.30-May.04 – Grand Trine in Earth signs (Venus, Saturn, Pluto)  ("What's a Grand Trine?")

This is a repeat of the Grand Trine that has been with us since mid-April. This time, Venus forms the third point of the triangle, providing a channel for all that power, strength and stable change into your relationships, finances and creativity. This may or may not mean specifically positive things happening in these areas, but it does indicate that there is potential for these qualities that you can draw on in matters of the heart and material abundance.

May.01 – Venus trine Pluto (00:56 of Taurus/Capricorn)

Close one-on-one connections with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) will tend to gravitate to a deeper, more intense level now. Instead of automatically doing the diplomatic, "nice" thing, you may find it is more fulfilling to share more of your authentic feelings. It may be possible now to connect with people on a deeper level, while still ensuring that your interests are equally balanced with theirs. The trick is to do this without trying to control or overpower the other person, and it may be easier to avoid those traps now. You could make some deeply intimate connections with people under this transit. Financial dealings with other people may also go smoothly, although it might be wise to get clear confirmation that you're both on the same page about the fine print.

May.01 – Venus trine Saturn (00:56 of Taurus/Virgo)

Stability in relationships and finances characterises this transit. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and to invest the hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and interaction with others. Commitment and structure are easier to achieve and embrace than change or taking risks. Self-worth can benefit now because you are less inclined to give in to mood swings. However, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

May.02 – Mercury enters Gemini (until Jul.10)

Mercury is the planetary ruler of Gemini, so the mind wants to fly fast and free. Communication and perceptions may come and go like a fresh breeze through an open window. This can create a wide variety of ideas but not necessarily productive application of those ideas. You might find it a little easier to articulate words, sharpen your mental focus, and collect and analyze your thoughts and information. This can give wings to your ideas and self-expression, but remember that you'll have to back up any promises and "fast talk" with action and substance. Let this be a time to explore possibilities and enjoy social interaction, rather than jump to final conclusions. Collect the raw data and exchange ideas, but be aware that understanding the broader meaning will likely come later.

Mercury is in Gemini for over 2 months! That's a very long time for speedy Mercury to be in one sign. This is because Mercury goes Retrograde in Gemini from May.26 to Jun.19. Luckily, Mercury is very at home in Gemini, since it is that sign's planetary ruler. This long journey gives you a chance to explore ideas in more depth than usual, including exchanging ideas and feedback with others and gathering perceptions of your own.

May.02 – Saturn stationary Direct (01:41 of Virgo) (May.03 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"   Read article about Stations.   Read article about Retrograde cycles.)

For up to a week before and after this date, Saturn’s energy is especially intense and strong. You might experience this as physical or mental heaviness or sluggishness. You might find you have to "get real" with some responsibilities, or make some difficult decisions. This can be a turning point in long-term projects and plans that you've been developing over the last 5 months or so. Or, you may start to deal differently with old limitations, either finding ways to move beyond them or finding ways to make peace with them. If you’re dealing with closure or endings in some area of your life, this could be a time when you can finally start to let go and move forward.

May.03 – Mercury square Saturn (01:41 of Gemini/Virgo)

Your thoughts, ideas and communication need to become structured, rational and discreet, although this may not be easy to achieve. You may have to work extra hard to get your point across now, since others might be resistant to your ideas or may not be familiar with the basic concepts. It is a time to be clear, objective and down-to-earth in your communication and thinking, but equally important to do this without going overboard and becoming rigid, autocratic or over-cautious. If you find yourself stuck in a "glass half empty" frame of mind, you might be sagging under the weight of melancholy ...Or, it might mean you are coming to terms with some hard realities and decisions and feeling the gravity of the implications. But also check to be sure you're not taking yourself and your situation too seriously. By applying your best efforts, this can be a very productive time, especially with anything involving communication, writing, organising or logic.

There is only one pass of this transit, but what makes it distinctive is the fact that Saturn is stationary and very strong right now. You may need to make some very difficult decisions now, or you might find you have to make a commitment to something that you have misgivings about. Your outlook might be a bit on the gloomy side right now, since pessimism might seem more realistic and predictable than placing your hopes in something positive. Realism and stability are good right now, but it's not necessary to let it push hope and faith completely out of your mind. If you get caught in a negative mindset, there is probably a gift in that for you – perhaps just by coming to terms with something you've been avoiding for a while. Allow this transit to bring you back down to earth so that you can find new directions to take flight again.

May.04 – Neptune conjunct Lunar North Node (24:07 of Aquarius) (May.05 in AU)  ("What's the Lunar North Node?")

2008 is a time when ideals, imagination, fantasy and your dreams may seem a little more present in your life. Your desire to surrender to a purpose greater than yourself can be stronger than usual, too. Thoughts about spirituality, God and/or the meaning of life are especially important, as you grapple with questions, ideas and experiences that inspire you to reach for a higher truth.

Today (May.04) is when Neptune is exactly conjunct the North Node, but they have actually been within a fairly close orb of conjunction since the beginning of March 2008. They are closest (within 1-degree orb) from Apr.23-May.15. They stay within a greater orb throughout this whole year, from January through November. This is the year when you can embrace a quest to discover ideals that enhance and enrich your life. This may come with some disappointment or sadness, as you let go of old ideals and beliefs that you have outgrown. That's okay—this is a natural part of growth. Trust the process, and resist the urge to stagnate and get stuck. There are new vistas to discover that will lead you to a greater understanding of your place in the Universe!

Next Update:  NEW MOON in TAURUS - May 5, 2008. Available by May.05.

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