Low-Down Archives April-May 2009

April-May 2009

For the New Moon in Taurus
and the Full Moon in Scoprio:
April 24/25 to May 24, 2009

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Apr.24 – NEW MOON in TAURUS (05:03 of Taurus)

NEW MOON in TAURUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Apr.24, 11:22 PM EDT

London, UK:

Apr.25, 4:22 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Apr.25, 1:22 PM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

There are three separate but related lessons to learn during this lunar cycle:

  1. There are treasures to be found by patiently excavating down into the compost, but if you dig too fast you might cause an avalanche.
  2. If you have to beat yourself up to achieve perfection, you've probably missed the point.
  3. If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out.

There are three separate groupings of planets at the time of the New Moon, which present three different lessons.

Lesson #1 is rooted in the New Moon in Taurus itself, which brings a focus to our physical existence: sensory experience; slow, patient progress; the resources that enable us to survive and thrive; and the pursuit of abundance. It's about what you have, be that your body and its senses, material wealth or skills, talents and other resources you can draw on. At its best, it sustains our growth and physical existence and gives us the joy and pleasure that can be found from living in a physical world. At its worst, it may become an obsession to have more, more, more – to never feel like you have enough, and to never believe that you are enough unless you have more.

The Sun and Moon are in trine aspect to Pluto, the ruler of riches that are found deep in the earth. Pluto itself is an energy that demands we dig far below the surface to find hidden treasures. But to get there it is usually necessary to dig down through the muck, the garbage, the compost. It involves a process of eliminating, removing, ending or letting go of that which is no longer useful, needed or relevant to your present life. Think of it as taking out the garbage.

You are like an archaeologist who is excavating through the layers of dirt to discover precious things that lie dormant below the surface. It is necessary to work slowly, patiently and carefully, lest you throw away or damage something that is valuable or important.

And if you dig down too fast, you could wind up with an avalanche – overwhelmed by the stuff you're trying to clear out. That's the Venus-Mars conjunction in Aries that is squaring Pluto right now. Your desire and drive might impulsively want to dive head first into the fray in an effort to get to the good stuff as quickly as possible. For example, if you find you're attracted to someone, it might be tempting to jump into intimacy quickly so that you can skip that awkward phase of getting to know each other and feeling uncertain if the two of you are really compatible. Or you might be confronted by a person or situation that threatens to control you in a way that feels confining or even abusive; and it might be tempting to react erratically or lose your temper rather than patiently work through the tangles one step at a time.

So whatever you're pursuing right now that you're hoping will fill your heart with joy, boost your bank account with abundance or bring renewal and growth into your life – take your time, do it right, be open to the deeper lesson, and enjoy (or at least appreciate) the journey along the way. That's Lesson #1.

Lesson #2 relates to Saturn in Virgo. Saturn is important because it is the handle of the chart (off on one side of the chart with everything else on the other side). However, it is also unaspected, meaning there are no major aspects to other planets and precious few minor aspects: a parallel to Chiron, a couple of quatro-noviles, some quatro- and quinque-undeciles, and a tri-decile. That might sound like a long list, but these are very subtle aspects! If aspects were like sounds, these would be the high-pitched little squeaks heard only by dogs and teenagers. That Saturn is really "out there" from the rest of the chart!

Unaspected planets often seem like they're controlled by a light switch – either they're completely on or completely off. When they're "off" it's not that they don't exist, but they've gone underground, internalized and often unconscious. It's difficult to draw on their energy at will. When Saturn in Virgo is unaspected, it is likely to be experienced as sudden and strong bouts of guilt, perfectionism, logical analysis or a drive to organize everything in sight.

Virgo typically has the reputation to be tidy, organized and clean, but Virgos can also be the opposite. For example, their home might look very messy and unkempt, with piles of "stuff" all over the place, but the Virgo living there will likely know where everything is. Ask them to find the book you lent them 6 years ago and they can put their hands on it in an instant. They know exactly which pile it's in.

Unaspected Saturn in Virgo could easily manifest alternately like the person who goes on a sudden rampage to tidy up everything all at once, or the person who lets everything go so that the place disintegrates into piles of crudely but effectively organized piles of "stuff." With this happening in the context of a Taurus New Moon – itself, preferring things to be organized, stable and efficient – an unaspected Saturn could feel disturbingly chaotic, disruptive or erratically demanding. Circumstances or an inner urge might appear suddenly that force you to drop what you're doing to attend to something else, for example. Or you might swing between letting your nagging priority list fade quietly into the background while you focus on enjoying life, versus beating yourself up with guilt about how much you haven't achieved in your life (anything from how tidy your kitchen is to how successful your career is).

Taurus works best when it encourages you to find room to enjoy your life, which means beating yourself up about anything is decidedly counterproductive. So Lesson #2 is: if you have to bash yourself over the head with guilt or pressure to feel like you're successful or deserving of reward, then you've lost the point of the exercise. If you can't enjoy (or at least appreciate) the journey, then find another way to travel down that road or else find another road. Anything else will only work against the very goal you're working toward.

Lesson #3 is about Mercury that is in its first of 3 square aspects to the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction, and the first of 3 sextile aspects to Uranus. Why three passes? Because Mercury is about to go retrograde (May.07-30). Mercury sextile Uranus is about open-mindedness and being open to new perspectives, of which humour is a delightful example.

Chiron-Jupiter-Neptune is about tempering the lofty visions of Jupiter-Neptune with the human imperfections of Chiron. This collective energy merges the healing power of faith and meaning with the struggle of the human dilemma: how to reconcile both the pleasure and limitations of our creaturehood with the transcendent potential of our sentience. Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune are currently just three degrees apart and edging closer. They will take another month to form their first exact conjunction, but with them so close together, we're certainly feeling it now! (Be sure to read the new article about the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction.)

Mercury squaring this trio is likely to bring a (possibly acute) sense of awareness of the combined and complex energies of these outer planets. At worst, you might feel some depression, lethargy or hopelessness, perhaps due to seeing the truth about a difficult situation in your life. However, at best, this can also break through illusions and misconceptions that need to be reframed, let go or dealt with before you can move on.

Here's the thing: Mercury sextile Uranus can open your mind to new insights. Mercury square Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron can amplify the enchanting quality of those insights to the point where your objectivity could become compromised or pushed into the background. So, by all means trust the process and follow your intuition, even though what it tells you might not be what you want to hear. By all means do a reality check about anything you need to make an important decision about. Let yourself be open to new perspectives. Just don't be so open-minded that your brains fall out.

It will help to stay grounded during this lunar cycle. An objective sounding board will also help: talk to a trusted friend, advisor, counsellor, or your astrologer who can give you a clearer idea of how all these planets are influencing your personal chart and how best to navigate through these energies.

Apr.25 – Mercury Direct square Chiron (25:36 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.

This is the first of 3 passes of this transit: Apr.25, May.20 and Jun.09. Your words may hurt or discourage others if you speak from a place of woundedness, cynicism, resentment or chronic doubt. The problem is not being honest about your feelings, but more in presenting them as indisputable fact. Cultivating self-awareness about this over the next few months is the key to whether this energy is used constructively or to simply feed negative thoughts.

Apr.25 – Mercury Direct square Neptune (26:10 of Taurus/Aquarius) (Apr.26 in UK, AU)

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.

This is the first of 3 passes of this transit: Apr.25, May.20 and Jun.09. You may be especially susceptible to flights of fancy over the next few months. This can be channelled into a creative outlet or imagining a more positive reality in your future. The risk lies in believing in quick, easy answers to complex or difficult questions. Better to be alert to the ways you are vulnerable to deception, and to find uplifting, inspiring visions in simple, humble existence: Remember, Be Here Now.

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Apr.26 – Mars square Pluto (03:10 of Aries/Capricorn) (Apr.27 in AU)

This can be a volatile combination of energies, which can generate enormous stress and conflict, but can also motivate you go beyond your perceived limitations. The biggest dangers with this transit include obsessive control, violence in response to frustration, and natural reactions of anger being blown out of proportion into rage. However, if you are able to harness this energy and put it to productive use, it can fuel your ambitions and drive you to push past the barriers that are in your way (including your own discouragement or lethargy). There can be a fine line, though, between empowering yourself with determination and courage versus forcing the issue in a way that creates more problems than it solves. And there is a difference between being obsessively attached to the outcome versus discovering that you have more courage, strength and tenacity than you thought you did, when your back is against the wall. Sexual tension can be strong under this transit, so it is wise to use some good judgment about whether or how to act on that. Power struggles with others can become very intense, so strive to be clear in yourself about what you really want and how you can assert your interests without inflicting the emotional equivalent of nuclear war.

Apr.30 – Mercury enters Gemini (until May.13)

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 will go retrograde at 1 degree of Gemini on May.07. While Mercury is in Gemini (until May.13), your perceptions and communication might feel insightful, quick, sharp and playful, even when Mercury turns retrograde. However, it will slow down considerably once it's back in Taurus and retrograde, so enjoy Mercury it his own element while he's there!

May.02 – Venus square Pluto (03:06 of Aries/Capricorn) (May.03 in 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.

This is the final pass of Venus square Pluto that Venus has made in her recent retrograde cycle: Feb.05, Apr.03, May.02. This transit has put a powerful spin on the overall energy of this Venus retrograde cycle! For example, relationships that were already feeling a strain before the Venus cycle began (beginning of February) might have had to be reconsidered, renegotiated and revised during this time. With Pluto being a challenging part of this dynamic, this experience might have felt quite heavy at times, even to the point of having to make a decision about whether to end the relationship. A similar dynamic might have been present in financial matters, creativity or just your ability to feel good about life and yourself. Pluto is ultimately about transformation, but that process often strips away whatever was there to begin with, before a rebirth is possible. Often, while Pluto energy is acting on our lives, it becomes necessary to shut down a bit, simply our responsibilities and take extra special care of ourselves. And certainly with Venus travelling through the Underworld during her retrograde journey, forward motion in Venus-affected areas (relationships, finances, creativity, social connection and well being) might have been difficult if not impossible at times.

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With Venus now making the final pass in this extended cycle with Pluto, this struggle is coming to a resolution—one way or another. It could be as simple as being ready to come back and participate in social activities again after a hiatus, or it might be something much more cathartic that involves some serious choices about Venus-related areas. The trick is to make your decision somewhere between a pessimistic sense of weariness that Pluto can sometimes bring and the optimistic knowledge that rebirth will certainly grow out of the empty space left after this period of letting go. In other words, if this time has been a difficult struggle for you: it won't always feel this bad, although it might not simply return to "normal" afterwards either. Change is called for, in one way or another, so gather your determination, gird your loins and be willing to make choices that will affirm the best you have to offer life!

May.05 – Sun trine Saturn (15:01 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.

May.07 – Mercury stationary Retrograde (01:44 of Gemini; until ) ("What's a Station?"  What does Retrograde mean?  Read article about Stations.  Read article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury now goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped during the station. During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress. Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is best to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures. It is typical for new insights and information to emerge later in the retrograde cycle that you didn't anticipate, which can change the whole picture. Because of this, it is usually advised to avoid making final or permanent decisions (e.g., signing contracts or putting new projects into action), during the retrograde and even up to 2 weeks after Mercury goes direct. However, it is an excellent time to do fact-finding, research and investigation to prepare for major decisions, which are usually best put off until well after Mercury goes direct. In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible; for example, it's common to have to reschedule appointments. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

Mercury makes 3 squares to Jupiter (Apr.22, May.20, Jun.10) Chiron (Apr.25, May.20, Jun.09) and Neptune (Apr.25, May.20, Jun.09). This has implications for the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction that is becoming exact throughout May. These 3 outer planets combine energies that are all about heightened optimism and sublime dreams, tempered with the bitter-sweetness of knowing that our inspired reach will inevitably exceed our limited grasp. As retrograde Mercury squares these planets in mid-May from slow practical Taurus, that awareness of our human limitations could really hit home. This might have one of two effects: it could make you more determined to mould and shape that inspiration into something real and useful, or it could bring a sense of sadness or pessimism based on the idea that the most sublime vision will inevitably lose something in the translation when it is converted into practical reality. Or both. It might help to lower your expectations a bit and refocus your vision to acknowledge the universal beauty and meaning of simple things. Inspiration and potential don't need to be grandiose, clever or something "out there" that lifts you out of your current reality. It can be seen in the magic of the simplicity and the miracle of life – the perfect beauty of a flower, the smell of fresh cut grass, the subtle radiance of a sunrise or sunset, the music of bird song or the feel of cool rain on your skin. These are things that can be explored and experienced in new ways throughout this Mercury retrograde cycle.

Scorpio 19: A parrot listening and then talking

Sabian Symbol for the
Full Moon in Scorpio

Scorpio 19

A parrot listening and then talking.

A parrot is a colorful bird that has the ability to imitate human speech. That makes this Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") about communication and information.

Relaying information has the effect of transforming a little each time it is passed along. Little details become altered, embellished or dropped. Like the child's game of "Telephone" (at least that's what we called it in Canada when I was a kid), the story that is told initially is vastly different from the one that results after it is whispered from child to child.

As a game it can be hilarious; as a life experience, it can be either creative or damaging. The evolution of information can be illuminating, as it draws from a variety of perspectives and morphs into something greater than its originating parts. However, if it takes the form of gossip, for example, it can be hurtful and misleading.

This symbol seems to reflect the retrograde Mercury that works best when it "listens" and gathers information before it draws conclusions enough to speak its knowledge. As a Scorpio symbol, it shows a type of transformation that absorbs new experience and then reflects it back, and in the process both the person and the external world are changed to some extent.

 

Find out more about the Sabian Symbols in 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

May.09 – FULL MOON in SCORPIO (18:40)

FULL MOON in SCORPIO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

May.9, 12:01 AM EDT

London, UK:

May.9, 5:01 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

May.10, 2:01 PM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

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Someone who once wrote: "How many Scorpios does it take to change a light bulb? None. They'd rather sit in the dark." Welcome to the Full Moon in Scorpio!

Let's face it – life is not always rosy and warm and fuzzy. Bad things do happen to good people, and life is often unfair. There is a distinctly dark side to human nature. And it seems like every time I turn on a TV lately, all I see are shows that illustrate increasingly sinister and senseless cruelty that we humans can do to each other. Is that all our imaginations are capable of conjuring anymore? Are violence and malice the only things that will sell a can of spaghetti on a TV ad?

Scorpio is the zodiacal energy that can look into those shadows and not run away. And at some point in the process of life, it's important to do just that. You can't fix what you can't find. You have to feel it to heal it. But sometimes it takes gritty courage to face something that is painful, frightening, humiliating or just unknown.

That's when it helps to have a strong Mars or Pluto in your chart (the planetary rulers of Scorpio), or to have a strong Scorpio energy in your natal chart (Sun in Scorpio, Scorpio rising, etc.). Scorpio energy is what fortifies you to help you get through hard times (like having to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when faced by necessity), or to confront difficult life experiences (like addiction, obsessions, oppression, abuse or death and other kinds of endings). Scorpio energy might sound like a nightmare, but it can actually get you through the real nightmares that life can throw at you.

The Moon represents our sensitivity, feelings and the need for safety and security. Scorpio is not the most comfortable place for the Moon, and in astrological terms is said to be in Fall, as if it has "fallen from grace." Scorpio is a rather caustic energy for the tender Moon, so with the Full Moon in Scorpio it's not uncommon to feel a bit raw or crispy around the edges.

The problem with Scorpio is that you can become seduced by the darkness. The sorrowful, arduous, intense side of life can become an end in itself, which can just trap you in a closed view of the world. When you've been engulfed in hardship for a long time, shadowy shades of grey can start to look like bright light and you can forget what joy and lightness of being feel like. Alternatively, if you tend to shy away from the Scorpio darkness out of fear, you can become obsessed with life having to be sweetness and light all the time.

However, Scorpio is ultimately about transformation, which is made of deep-rooted change that alters you in some fundamental way. We are like coal that goes through a time of intense pressure that transforms it into a diamond. In Scorpio we are diamonds in the making, and like diamonds, the change takes place underground where you can't see it. Our transformation takes place below the surface, on an unconscious level. The darkness then becomes like the mystery of the womb from which we are eventually reborn.

The real challenge in Scorpio can be how to acknowledge and work within the intensity and struggle, yet not lose sight of optimism, hope and the pleasure that life has to offer. The Scorpio Full Moon forms a T-square with the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction. Jupiter and Neptune are about faith, hope, mercy and rapture. The challenge here is how to grapple with the grit of Scorpio without losing touch with the potential for bliss.

Yet, with Chiron involved, it's not a straightforward challenge. The bliss, relief and freedom possible in Jupiter-Neptune must be balanced in a context of human limitation and a healing of deep wounds. Scorpio understands how to get at the wounded issues but can get stuck there. Chiron can heal those wounds with the help of faith in the ever-present power of potential, but potential must eventually become manifest if it is to have a true healing effect.

Jupiter and Neptune are quite content to remain in the abstract and in the imagination, but Chiron needs to work with those wounds on a more concrete level. That's part of why Chiron often manifests as physical health issues – it gives us a chance to grapple with the spirit of who we are through our physical experience. When you feel sick physically, it's common to also feel sad, depressed or lethargic on a mental, emotional or psychological level. We live through our bodies, and if our bodies are not functioning well, neither are we. The other can also be true – when we feel depressed or stressed, our physical health can sometimes suffer by becoming more susceptible to colds, for example.

Mercury is another factor here, still being virtually stationary after turning retrograde 2 days before. There is both the opportunity and the need to reflect and reconsider the information we are using to make decisions about how to work through this time of struggle. Forward progress might not be very productive right now unless or until you focus inward. Your external circumstances and your experience of them could well be affected strongly by the way you frame your experience – either as overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Your inner attitudes and the perceptions you use to lead you through decision making may be have farther reaching consequences and implications than you realize.

So there is a struggle between how much Scorpio darkness will be transformative and how much of it just keeps us shrouded in a negative or stressed state. The transformation might come through physical exhaustion or a body response to stress, in which our physical being forces us to slow down and get in touch with what it going on under the surface of our conscious mind.

Whatever the struggle, if we listen to what it is telling us, we can pick up clues to what we need psychologically, spiritually, emotionally or physically. It also helps to consult with someone who can give you food for thought and information to chew on for the next few weeks. Important decisions will probably work best if you can put off final decisions until after Mercury goes direct (May.30). If it can't wait, triple-check any assumptions you might be making and make sure you and everyone involved are on the same page about things. Leave lots of flexibility to make changes and adjustments. And invest some time and energy by exploring your inner motivation, feelings, hopes, fears and human limitations. A reading with your favorite astrologer can guide you through your inner and outer landscapes.

May.13 – Mercury Retrograde enters Taurus (until Jun.13) (May.14 in UK, AU)

Mercury is retrograde in Taurus, which can slow down your thoughts and put you in a very experiential kind of space. You might find you "think with your body" which can communicate what you need to say or do without needing words or conscious thought. You might feel a bit "spaced out" or sluggish mentally, like when you first wake up after a deep sleep. This is probably because your mind is more tuned into your body right now than on words and language. Your intuition may tell you more than your conscious thoughts. It is probably a good time to get into a routine where you can just do whatever you're doing and you don't have to think about it a lot – kind of like a moving meditation. Slow down, don't "push the river," and give your brain a well-deserved rest. If you have to use words and focused thought, give yourself lots of extra time to prepare and map out your plan of action.

May.16-21 Sun and Mercury Rx square Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune (Read article about Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction)

During this time the Sun and Mercury are conjunct, and at least one of them is exactly square to at least one of the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction. In other words, for 5 days there is effectively an exact square aspect between Sun-Mercury and Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune. Although the Sun and Mercury are exactly square these planets from May.16-21, they are in orb of the square from early May until mid-June. This is a time when we are likely to feel the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune strongly. We're dealing with a square aspect, which is focused on conflict, motivation, pulling in contradictory directions, and discovering what isn't working that needs to be fixed. This transit will bring awareness of these, and since Mercury is retrograde now (and making its second of three passes to Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune), it may be a time when you rethink how you are dealing with areas of life affected by this multiple conjunction. For example, you might need to reconsider some conclusions or opinions you have held, perhaps based on new evidence or seeing old information in a new light. This new viewpoint might not be easy to accept or absorb, since it could involve some disappointment or having to admit you were wrong. On the other hand, it can also be a time of revelation when the light comes on and you're able to see the path that will take you where you want to go. You might need to take a long hard look at yourself, your life, your beliefs or your attitudes. However, this can lead to a renewed determination to go after your dreams and goals, even though it may require you to refocus your vision, recalibrate your direction and recommit yourself to a clearer destination.

May.16 – Sun square Jupiter (25:37 of Taurus/Aquarius)

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).

May.16 – Sun sextile Uranus (25:47 of Taurus/Pisces)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are more finely tuned during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. Just have fun pushing the envelope! You may also find you want things to be spontaneous and new and out-of-the-ordinary so much that it's hard not to feel restless and dissatisfied with ordinary life right now. But remember that trying to plan spontaneity defeats the purpose of the exercise. And if you are hungering for something new but can't seem to find something satisfying, try digging a little deeper to see what is driving that hunger from inside you. You could find surprising answers.

May.16 – Sun square Chiron (26:08 of Taurus/Aquarius) (May.17 in AU)

Your self-confidence and patience may be a bit strained right now, stretched by the urge to break free of chronic constraints. Motivation and self-esteem may seem to sag and suffer from old problems that you thought were resolved. This is probably because you are seeing "the flaws in the system" that are preventing you from getting the results you want. It will help to take a fresh approach to your situation. You may need to let go of what you think the results "should be" or how they should come to you. Be open to getting what you want in a different form than you were expecting. You may have to work extra hard for results now, especially if it means having to find a different route to success. If it seems like a door of opportunity has closed, look for an unexpected advantage or hidden alternative. This could allow you to tap into other opportunities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

May.16 – Saturn stationary Direct (14:54 of Virgo)  (May.17 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read article about Stations.  Read article about Retrogrades.)

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.17 – Sun square Neptune (26:26 of Taurus/Aquarius)

Your ideals, hopes and wishful thinking may loom a little too large during this time, making you prone to disappointment and disillusionment. You might want a fantasy or dream to come true so much that you disconnect from the reality that seems to be in the way – only to find that the obstacle was serving a positive purpose after all. Your imagination may be very active now, but not easy to control or balance with reality. However, it can be a very creative time if you're able to harness that imagination for productive use. Unconscious urges and longings may be especially close to the surface, so you have an opportunity to learn more about the hidden forces that drive you (and perhaps distort your view of the world around you). Spiritually, you might discover that your yearning for enlightenment is not the straightforward path you had hoped for, but it can be just as valuable (although disappointing) to discover what is *not* your best path. Emotionally you may feel a bit overwhelmed, discouraged or confused. On the plus side, you have an opportunity to observe a deeper part of you, which is usually camouflaged against the distracting background of day-to-day life. There is tremendous creative, spiritual and healing potential to be found by listening to and working with the inner voices from those depths.

May.18 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (27:36 of Taurus)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

May.20 – Mercury Retrograde square Neptune (26:27 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.

May.20 – Mercury Retrograde square Chiron (20:10 of Taurus/Aquarius) (May.21 in AU)

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.

May.20 – Sun enters Gemini (until Jun.21) (May.21 in AU)

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Gemini! This is the time of year for the cosmic Twins to party, but it is also a time for all of us to explore our dual nature and our sentient awareness that emerges from it. Communication and exchange of information and ideas are specialties of Gemini, and this period brings these areas into focus for everyone. If you're looking for ideas to explore your Gemini nature, try writing your thoughts down, or listen to the buzz of activity around you, or express your observations in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Pay special attention to conversations with others, and be alert to the new information that can be learned there. Connect with your Inner Imp and let yourself be playful, clever, cheerful and fun! Learn a new word every day. Find out the names of things you never even noticed before. Read a book or newspaper or newsletter...or write one! Ride the bus to an area of town you've never been to and see what you find. And remember that it is largely through our interactions with other people and with the immediate world around us that we develop consciousness, perception and mental focus. Therefore, use this as an opportunity to increase your awareness of your immediate surroundings. Exchange information and ideas with others. Use your ability to communicate in every way you can think of. And let yourself be curious, clever and playful!

May.20 – Venus leaves the Shadow (until Sep.06.2010) ("What is the Shadow?"  Read more about Venus Retrograde.  Read more about the Shadow.)

Venus finally finishes her retrograde cycle. She has been in the retrograde shadow since Feb.02 and now This means Venus has been going through the same span of the Zodiac since that date – first direct (Feb.02 to Mar.06), then retrograde (from Mar.06 to Apr.17), then direct again (Apr.17 to May.20). Look back on these periods of time and see if you can identify a pattern in your life. The first direct phase may have seen the development of issues, problems, challenges or desires in relationships, finances, resources or the need for balance. During the second phase, you may have reconsidered and re-evaluated these areas, seeing things you wanted to change or perhaps allowing yourself to express feelings or desires that you normally keep locked away. The last phase (which ends now) is the time when you make changes or choices based on what has emerged during the other two phases.

May.20 – Mercury Retrograde square Jupiter (26:01 of Taurus/Aquarius) (May.21 in UK, 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.

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May.21 – Mercury Retrograde sextile Uranus (25:57 of Taurus/Pisces)

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.

May.23 – Jupiter conjunct Chiron (26:12 of Aquarius) (Read article on Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction)

Magnanimous, merciful Jupiter meets Chiron, the "wounded healer." At their best, their combined energies can bring healing and balance through compassion, justice and greater understanding. On the other hand, Chiron tends to introduce an element of struggle, so this conjunction might not be entirely straightforward. Chiron is not a planet that tends to bring "happily ever after" endings, although Jupiter certainly aspires to them. Conflicts or struggles can't always be resolved completely, but you are likely to gain some relief and clarification.

The more difficult side of Jupiter-Chiron could involve becoming more aware of how you struggle with the less attractive side of Jupiter. That could include judgments, prejudice, blame, arrogance, blind faith or even believing so strongly in your own viewpoint that you can't or won't co-exist gracefully with the opinions of others. With Chiron involved, you might discover some of these qualities in your mental blind spot. It can help to remind yourself of the vast multiplicity and rich diversity of perspectives about life held by the billions of people on our planet, and consider the possibility that disagreement is a natural phenomenon rather than a sign of failure. Our survival – collectively and individually – depends on our ability to get past the limiting belief that there is only one right answer to the great questions of life. We need to allow Jupiter's expansive qualities, as reflected in human nature, to be free to grow and fulfill our greater potential. Chiron's role is to remind us that if we fall short of our most idealized visions, it need not indicate failure on our part, since it is not always possible to control everything that happens to us and around us.

This is the first of 3 passes of this transit: May.23, Jul.22 and Dec.07. The conjunction has been in orb starting around mid-March. Think back over the last couple of months and see if you recognize any of these themes in your life. You are on a journey to explore, develop, heal and accept the truth about these themes that lies beyond mere facts.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in GEMINI - May 24, 2009. Available by May.24.

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