The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Taurus, April 2017

Chart for the New Moon in Taurus
Chart for the New Moon in Taurus

To be content with little is difficult;
to be content with much, impossible.
~ Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms

Apr.26 – NEW MOON in TAURUS (06:27 of Taurus)

Taurus loves money. More accurately, the sign of Taurus loves the physical – money, physical rewards, things that are worth a lot. It's also about resources, pleasure and the sensual side of life.

It holds a connection to what we value, what is valuable to us, and what is worth spending our money, time, energy and effort on.

The short-sighted side of Taurus may work hard to accumulate money merely for the sake of having it. For the bragging rights. For flashing one's bankbook around. As an end in itself.

This side of Taurus tends to identify oneself with wealth. If I have more, then I am worth more as a person. If I lack wealth or resources or possessions, then I am worth less than others who have more than I do.

Taurus is also about our relationship to our physical body. If I see my body as feeble or unattractive or shameful, I might project that feeling onto how I feel about myself. So I may invest large amounts of money in cosmetic products or surgery, for example, trying to improve my body in an effort to feel more deserving.

This association becomes more pronounced in extreme instances. It's one thing to use make-up or get the latest hair style or buy a membership at a gym. Taking care of your body and keeping it in good health are positive goals. But it's quite something else to spend most of your earnings on these things and still feel that you need more to be "okay."

When winning this kind of game becomes a major priority in your life, you have to ask yourself what you're really trying to compensate for. If you're unable to enjoy what you already have and focus so much on pursuing what you don't, then you've kind of missed the best blessings of Taurus. It won't matter how many commas are in the bottom line of your bankbook or how much weight you can bench press or what your measurements are or how much your gourmet chocolate is made from organic, fair trade sources – it will never be enough to satisfy that empty, hungry place inside.

That said, the wound of poverty is very real. Not having enough, especially living that way for a long time, is a soul crushing experience. It takes an immense inner focus to keep your balance and not tilt into self-deprecation or despair when you're living in that condition.

Some people mistakenly believe that the pain of poverty is only felt by people who grew up being used to having more, and that those who grew up in poverty simply take it for granted. But the truth is poverty is deeply draining, no matter who you are or what your background.

So it's not that any pursuit of money or possessions or material comfort is misguided, but it can be when it becomes a compulsion. Most of us buy into this craving to some extent, especially in a consumer society that pressures us at every turn to buy, buy, buy. Advertising is everywhere, and marketing strategies set out to push our buttons that they hope will evoke fear that if we don't buy their product, we will be less-than somehow. That's hard to resist.

So, there is a difficult side to Taurus. In the archetypal progression of the zodiac signs, starting with Aries, Taurus is our first real connection to the physical world and ourselves as physical beings. If Aries says "I am" then in Taurus we search for an answer to "I am what?"

Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She's wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers...
~ Leonard Cohen, Suzanne

Okay, then what is the up side of Taurus? If the down side is about over-attachment and over-identification with our physical nature and surroundings, to the point where our sense of self is tethered to what we do or don't have, then what are the blessings and benefits of Taurus?

For one thing, using something external to reflect who we are internally isn't always a bad thing. We can use this to our benefit. When we're feeling down, it can be uplifting and liberating to surround ourselves with beauty. Buy some flowers for your home. Dress in your favorite clothes. Treat yourself to a scrumptious dinner or some wicked chocolate. Turn on some music that moves you. Take a walk in nature.

If I have beauty and abundance around me, I may find it easier to feel beautiful and bounteous inside me. If the world is filled with decay and hardship, and I start to slide into feeling depressed, unworthy, inadequate or ashamed, I have the ability to choose what to surround myself with. I can choose beauty, pleasure, abundance, growth and patience.

It's easier to feel good about yourself and life and the world when the world is reflecting good things back to you – so go out and get some good things. The problem comes when we do this to the extreme and forget that we also need to absorb the positive effects into ourselves. If we rely only on what's outside of us, it won't sink in where we really need it—inside us.

Taurus is also about cultivating and investing in the future. Taurus has a special relationship with simply Being Here Now, but it also knows that it's easier to maintain our focus on today when one has reserves of strength, resources, and being centered and grounded. That's a big part of the absorption process: to store wellbeing like a battery charge where we can draw on it tomorrow.

So, when the world becomes stressful with its inevitable struggles, hardship and difficulty, then you can draw on your own reserves of self-worth to keep from taking on that adverse image of a stressful world as your own. It is crucial to cultivate an internalized sense of wellbeing that is not dependent on the things you have in your life.

Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.
~ Amy Poehler, Yes Please

If you have planets in Taurus in your natal chart, they will show what can help you nurture those reserves. If that planet is conflicted in your chart (stressful aspects, for instance), it will point to the area of life where sustained work and growth can yield great benefits.

(No one living was born with Neptune or Pluto in Taurus.)

There’s a trick to the 'graceful exit.' It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.
~ Ellen Goodman

Venus is the planetary ruler of Taurus and also of Libra. Venus is all about pleasure, love, wellbeing and harmony. In her Taurus gown she leans more toward sensory delights that come from physical sources: food, aromas, art, music, textures and luxury.

Venus has been retrograde (Mar.04 to Apr.15) and remains in the shadow until May.18. So we are still processing the changes, disruptions, flip-flops and re-evaluations that were happening under Venus retrograde.

Venus is still in Pisces ...just barely! Since she retrograded there on Apr.02 and turning direct (Apr.15), she has now reached the last degree of Pisces. The final degree has special significance, sometimes known as the Anaretic Degree or often misnamed as the 29th Degree. (It's actually the 30th degree of a sign, since the first degree is 0 degrees-and-change, the second degree is 1 degree-and-change, and so on. But because this is 29 degrees-and-change it feels more intuitive to call it the 29th degree, even though it's incorrect.)

The final degree of a sign can be a tricky place to live – you're neither here nor there. You're not fully invested in the matters of the current sign (in the case of Venus, that's Pisces), but you're not yet officially into the next sign either (in this case, Aries). It's like being in mid-step where you have one foot off the ground starting to step forward and the other foot rising off the ground behind, and your weight is in transit somewhere in between the two.

So Venus isn't really invested in Pisces anymore, and is anticipating her journey through Aries but isn't there yet. She has finished her business in Pisces and is just doing a last minute check before turning out the lights and closing the door. Put another way, nothing new is likely to happen at the final degree and all you can do is dot the i's, cross the t's, take a deep breath and pray that whatever you've done will do the trick.

The good news is that Venus is exalted in Pisces, so her 3+ weeks spent here has given her added strength, grace and warm fuzzies. Venus in Pisces is receptive to art, music and any form of beauty that is uplifting and inspirational. It can add an extra glow to your ability to see the best in people, events and ideas. On the other hand, it could just put some fake chrome on a cheap knockoff of something that only looks real and awesome. All that glitters is not true chrome, and if you haven't invested in the real deal you could find the polish flaking off.

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi

Venus is still square Saturn (90°), which could indicate that this is a time when the final evaluation is made and you get to see whether what you've cultivated with Venus in Pisces is something real, lasting and valuable or if it was only temporary to tide you over until you're ready to go a step further. If you are hoping the recent changes in your finances, values, pleasures and interactions will last, or that your hard work to turn these around will bear fruit, this New Moon could be the time when you find out how solid and enduring it really is.

Venus is also still conjunct Chiron (0°). Venus stationed (Apr.15) just 0:23 orb shy of making an exact conjunction with Chiron, and although moving away from him, they are still just over 2 degrees apart. But that's not all. They are also parallel by declination. (There's an excellent video showing the interaction of Venus with Chiron and Saturn here at the bottom of the page.)

All planets travel from sign to sign through the zodiac (longitude), but at the same time they also move North and South relative to Earth's equator. Fast-moving planets fluctuate more quickly, across weeks or months, while the slow-moving ones shift more gradually across months or years. When you graph these movements they look a bit like sound waves.

Venus and Chiron declination graph
Click for larger image.

Venus and Chiron are travelling in close parallel across a period of a month or so, starting early/mid April. Venus moves south by declination, gently curves and then moves north again. Venus reaches the tip of the curve at virtually the same time as the New Moon.

The bottom line is that Venus is not quite through with Chiron, and they are not quite through with us. Venus-Chiron may have brought issues in relationships of all kinds – lovers, spouses, friends, co-workers, any kind of interaction – as well as finances, possessions, values and resources. You may have experienced a loss in these areas or a shaky foundation that has threatened to disturb the balance.

The whole situation has probably been in a state of flux for a few weeks now, as Venus slowed to a crawl and then changed direction. Trying to nail down a solution or agreement in that situation has probably been somewhat precarious, since the options, circumstances and domino-effect have continued to adjust and readjust.

Saturn squaring Venus-Chiron may have brought a sense of urgency that a solid resolution was needed as soon as possible, but not even Saturn can stop the river of unfolding change. Saturn might also bring a disturbing awareness of what you lack or of failed efforts to acquire it. It's a good time to practice acceptance and patience, or at least to pace yourself and take a disciplined approach to what you can't simply accept.

So it may help—or not—to know that Venus-related issues are still unfolding and the current situation isn't likely to stay like that forever. That said, though, there isn't much new that can be done in terms of how you have been dealing with things. Aim instead to perfect and fine-tune the way you have managed the situation.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.
~ Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings

The direction of this energy will likely start to shift on Apr.28 when Venus moves into activating Aries, but it still won't be possible to go back and undo any mistakes or questionable decisions you made before then. You can figure out a new direction to head into from where you are, but it will have to unfold from where you are and what you did or didn't do to get to where you are.

Unlike exalted Venus in Pisces, Venus is in detriment in Aries, meaning she is ill at ease, out of her element and must dance to a drummer's beat that doesn't come naturally to her. Venus prefers to languish in sensual luxury (her Taurus side) or share pleasurable delights with others (her Libra side), both of which are about creating balance, harmony and ease. In Fiery Aries she must move from a graceful, leisurely waltz to a primal, lively dash across a bed of hot coals.

This shift in Venus expression is great if you need to take action to make something new happen in Venus-related areas of your life. It will help if you keep in mind the ideals, vision and higher principles you have been working with while Venus has been in Pisces (since Apr.02). Aries likes to operate by impulse and instinct, and doesn't necessarily care about the greater context or implications of its actions. Therefore it's best to act only after you've checked in with your higher vision of what you hope to accomplish or the higher principles you want to align yourself with.

As Venus moves through Aries, she is also in that long-term sextile with Mars (which I talked at length about in the Full Moon in Libra article). These two glide like a pair of dancing figure skaters together for 11 weeks (Apr.08 to Jun.25). Whereas Venus was exalted (in Pisces) and Mars was in detriment (in Taurus) when they began this waltz, now Venus will be in detriment in Mars' sign of Aries. Now Mars has the upper hand, so you are more likely to feel the urge to take action through outward expression rather than exploring and cultivating awareness through your inward experience.

Do you imagine the universe is agitated?
Go into the desert at night and look at the stars.
This practice should answer the question.
~ Lao Tzu

The New Moon in Taurus is unaspected in the New Moon chart. In other words, there are no planets forming major aspects to the Sun and Moon, and precious few minor aspects. Unaspected planets tend to act like an on/off switch – one minute they're camouflaged in the background, the next minute they're front and centre and demanding attention.

Adding to this erratic energy is Mercury conjunct Uranus. Mercury is still retrograde (until May.03) and the two remain closely conjunct throughout the Mercury station. In fact, they are conjunct within 3° of orb from Apr.23 to May.15, so it's especially helpful to keep coming back to your practical, grounded centre to stabilize you through this time.

Taurus issues may unexpectedly jump up and require that you deal with them. This might take the form of sudden stubbornness, or an overwhelming desire to choose the easy option over a harder one, even if the harder one would bring better results. You might be swallowed up by possessiveness, triggered by a fear of losing something or someone you have. Or, on a more positive note, you might be seized by a creative urge or the need to nourish yourself with beauty and pleasure.

This is a good time to cultivate ease, pleasure, peace and wellbeing in your life. In demanding situations that cannot be ignored, it may be necessary to pace yourself, draw a bit from your reserves (especially inner resources), devise a methodical approach to the problem, and find ways to balance yourself with the positive delights of Taurus.

Make time to bring yourself into a calm, grounded centre within your body. And don't forget to notice and appreciate the beauty around you. It has healing powers, both for you and those around you.

Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. ... One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs – not new ideas and inventions, important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can "be," that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.
~ Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself

Apr.28 – Venus enters Aries (until Jun.06)

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.28 – Mercury conjunct Uranus (25:16 of Aries)  (Apr.29 in AU)

Communication and thoughts can be radical, spontaneous, unusual and uncharacteristic under this transit. You may be compelled to speak your mind to say things you've held back from saying before now. However, as the saying goes, there is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded." It is a time when you are likely to be open-minded and flexible in your perceptions. Our eyes are wide open, and as a result, we may be a bit shocked, surprised or stunned by what we see. This can also release our creative genius and bring inspired clarity, especially as we look to the future. Encounters with groups, friends and the greater community are also possible at this time.

Apr.30 – Saturn square Chiron (27:18 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (May.01 in AU)

Chiron is the planet of wounding and healing, where we face our fear of inadequacy, alienation or endless sorrow. It points to our Achilles Heel where we are the most vulnerable, imperfect and humbled—which ironically is also where we'll find our best, most human side. Saturn is the planet that teaches us to be self-defining, take responsibility and grow up. Bringing the two together suggests a difficult yet productive struggle.

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Chiron's orbit moves between Saturn and Uranus – between the mundane world of matter and form (Saturn), and where we awaken and grow beyond the limits of our ego identity (Uranus). As such, Chiron represents the need to balance creaturehood with sentience; our participation in the here-and-now world versus our potential to exceed the sum of our parts. Therefore, when Saturn comes calling at Chiron's door, especially in a stressful aspect like the square (90°), it is usually to let us know that we need to adjust that balance back toward more practical matters.

During this transit you may find your woundedness or distress getting the better of you, requiring you to refocus and reorganize your efforts to deal with them. This can be a bit of a tricky manoeuvre though. You could feel tangled up in discouragement, unresolved conflicts with ghosts from the past or cynicism about the future. It may be tempting to try to use Saturn in a defensive way, to wield control or authority over others. However, Chiron's lessons are usually not about either of these qualities. Chiron requires a certain level of acceptance about what lies outside your realm of personal control, as well as a commitment to change and adjust what lies within it.

Therefore, your best way to turn this corner in the Saturn-Chiron journey is to start by examining where your boundary is between what you believe you can and can't do about problem areas. The question is whether that boundary is still relevant and effective for you. You'll probably find that some adjustments need to be made, but first you'll need to understand why and how to do this. So that's the next step – to discover which skills, resources, policies and principles are missing or have become stuck or needs additional support.

This transit has 3 passes: Dec.28.2016, Apr.30.2017 and Nov.02.2017. The last time we saw a Saturn-Chiron square was 41 years ago: 1975-1976 (with an extra long opposition in between, 1986-2006, due to Chiron's eccentric orbit). The next time they square each other will be 2039-2044.

Dates for the current Saturn-Chiron cycle:

May.03 – Mercury Stationary Direct (24:15 of Aries; until Aug.12)  (May.04 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Mercury finally turns direct! Yippeeee!!!! ;-) But we're not out of the woods just yet. For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3½ weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The Direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

Over the next couple of weeks, while Mercury is still in the Shadow, your brain may feel a bit like it's gradually waking up after a deep sleep. During this time, you can gradually put into practice the learning and knowledge you've gained from your retrograde "dreams" and moonlight visions. It will take time to get fully back into sync with the Mercury direct energy. So, take it slow, one step at a time, and untangle yourself one strand at a time.

The key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

I'm lecturing at the SOTA Astrology Conference! DonnaVanToen.com

May.03 – Sun sextile Neptune (13:45 of Taurus/Pisces)  (May.04 in UK, AU)

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.

May.09 – Sun trine Pluto (19:18 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (May.10 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.

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May.09 – True North Lunar Node enters Leo (until Nov.06.2018)  (May.10 in AU)   ("What's a Lunar Node?")

When the North Lunar Node is in Leo, its opposite point, the South Lunar Node is in Aquarius. Together they form an axis of energy which, in this case, moves toward Leo and away from Aquarius. At the North Node, you take in the energy; you take on new awareness and learning and you confront (or are confronted by) new challenges. For roughly a year and a half, you are learning about Leo energy: creativity, fun, self-expression and the celebration of life, as well as doing things in a heartfelt way (out of love and giving, rather than duty or obligation). This is a time to strengthen your sense of self, so that you are fully in touch with the "you" that is doing the creating, expression, etc. Feeling good about who you are is often confused with egotism and self-absorption, but ego only becomes unhealthy when we require ourselves, our needs and our priorities to be the most important all the time. Healthy, spirited individuality is strong enough to share the spotlight or even to shine it on others who need some love and light.

At the South Node (Aquarius, in this case), we let go of something that is no longer needed. Once you've learned the lesson of the South Node, you release it; move it from the foreground to the background. Aquarius is about who we are within the context of the groups in our lives: friends, acquaintances, associates, community, clubs, organizations and society at large. The trap in Aquarius is that it's often too easy to become part of "group-think" where we just go along with what the group thinks or wants. During this time it may become necessary to separate yourself from any groups you are a bit too enmeshed with, or perhaps to stand up and voice your own ideas and observations that might be contrary to the group's. It may also be a time when you discover your involvement with some groups has lived out its usefulness and it's time to let them go and find others who reflect your current perspective more closely.

The Leo-Aquarius themes will also play out in the houses in your natal chart where these signs reside, taking on challenges of the house where the North Node is and letting go of the baggage related to the opposite house where the South Node is.

The True North Node is in Leo during these times:

The Mean North Node is in Leo from Apr.28.2017 to Nov.15.2018. ("What's the difference?")

May.10 – Mercury conjunct Uranus (25:55 of Aries)  (May.09 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT)

Communication and thoughts can be radical, spontaneous, unusual and uncharacteristic under this transit. You may be compelled to speak your mind to say things you've held back from saying before now. However, as the saying goes, there is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded." It is a time when you are likely to be open-minded and flexible in your perceptions. Our eyes are wide open, and as a result, we may be a bit shocked, surprised or stunned by what we see. This can also release our creative genius and bring inspired clarity, especially as we look to the future. Encounters with groups, friends and the greater community are also possible at this time.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in SCORPIO. Available by May 10, 2017.

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© 2017 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Illustration of Taurus the Bull by StockShoppe, via CanStockPhoto. Painting of The Woman of Samaria at the Well, by James Tissot [No restrictions or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Graph of Venus-Chiron declinations by Solar Fire software enhanced by Wendy Guy.


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