The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon Sagittarius, 21 May 2016

Chart for the Full Moon in Sagittarius
Chart for the Full Moon in Sagittarius

It's not the load that breaks you down,
it's the way you carry it.
~ Lou Holtz

May.21 – FULL MOON in SAGITTARIUS (01:13 of Sagittarius)

Sagittarius is essentially about aspiring to our better nature. After emerging from the Scorpionic depths where we learn to shine a light into our darkest corners, we need to stretch ourselves to know the height of our greatest potential.

The Sagittarian Archer takes the creature part of your being, summons it up through the sentient part of your being, and aims it in the direction that speaks to the greater good—personal and collective. Sagittarius is the distant vision that showcases the broad range of possibilities, the what-ifs and the inspiration that can propel you there.

The Archer in you draws back your bow, which is the expansion of passion that fuels your aspiration. Your arrow is the intention, motivation and foresight that show you the most direct path between here and there. The target is your destination and the possibilities that inspire you. Your aim reflects the clarity and focus of your vision.

This Full Moon is the first of two Full Moons in a row in Sagittarius. This first one is in a very early degree of that sign (1:13), and the next Full Moon on Jun.20 is in the last degree (29:32). Lunations (New Moons or Full Moons) that repeat in the same sign happen 4 to 21 months apart, averaging about a year and 4 months between occurrences.

Does that mean the next Full Moon in Sagittarius is a Blue Moon? Technically, no. But then, what we usually think of as a Blue Moon isn't either! You'll have to read my article for the whole whacky story about Blue Moons. (Edit: Actually, this Full Moon on May.21 IS a Blue Moon, using the original definition! I missed it when writing the article. I'll blame that one on Mercury retrograde... ;-) )

Suffice it to say that we're getting a double dose of Sagittarius over the next month. All that excessive energy should make Sag very happy.

You're always free to change your mind and choose
a different future, or a different past.
~ Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

There are a few things in this Full Moon chart that really stand out. The first is that Mercury is stationary and turning Direct mere hours after the Full Moon is exact. (Doing a happy dance!!) Still in Taurus, this immobile Mercury may be focused on counting (or coveting) blessings, delighting in some exquisite music or reading poetry aloud with words that drip sensuously off the tongue.

However, the Mercury part of us is changing perspective as Mercury turns direct, so don't be surprised if you change your mind as well. The next couple of weeks may show you a rather different view of the events, ideas, perceptions and experiences of the last 3-4 weeks. You might find you can use what you've learned in a new way, or a different perspective helps you feel differently about a situation.

With Mercury stopped dead in his tracks at the Full Moon, your perceptions and thoughts could be edgy or intense. Your insights could come into sharp focus, or instead your ideas might become fragmented and tangled up. It's probably best to stay grounded by doing a reality check on wild ideas; those ideas could be very fruitful but for now keep your plans for them practical and methodical.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
~ Joe Klaas, Twelve Steps to Happiness

Even more remarkable is that the Mars is exactly conjunct the Moon. Mars has spent a lot of time in his tool shed making sure those Sagittarian arrows are very sharp and straight! Mars is such an important player right now that he almost takes over the whole chart, so it's a good idea to get to know how Mars is playing out in your life.

Mars is currently retrograde and therefore his aim and follow-through might not go as smoothly as expected. You might aim your intentions in a certain direction but find yourself stalled or blocked by obstacles. Or you could discover that the destination you've been striving for looks different now that you're closer to it.

Moon conjunct Mars retrograde at the Full Moon

Any retrograde planet tends to operate differently from when it's going in forward motion. Mars is normally an outward kind of energy – assertive, aggressive, action oriented and impulsive. When retrograde, Mars can become mellower or energy conserving or introspective. It might be a time to regroup and revise your strategy for how to get "from here to there." Or you might find your courage and enthusiasm aren't as sharp as usual and it might benefit you to try to find out why.

You may also find you're more triggered than usual by certain types of stress, so it can be a good time to explore how you manage anger, what sets it off and why. Your drive and passion could shift into a different gear – faster or slower, hotter or cooler, edgier or more patient. Mars' retrograde path may be taking you on a detour into situations that seem annoying but actually contain valuable tidbits of insight, resources or regeneration that you wouldn't have found without straying in a different direction.

On the other hand, Mars qualities could become more intensified during the retrograde. Anger and frustration might condense into rage and exasperation. Annoyed impatience could reach the breaking point of becoming just plain fed up – enough is enough!

Strapped to the pointy end of the Sagittarian arrow, a retrograde Mars is bound to intensify whatever direction you're aimed in. At worst, you might not be able to resist acting on impulses that are, shall we say, not exactly aligned with your better nature. Rather than feeling inspired and uplifted by divine purpose, you might feel more like "the Devil made me do it!"

If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.
~ Henry David Thoreau

"Fighting the good fight" can benefit from some soul searching scrutiny to ensure that you're acting in sync with your highest intentions. Consider it a chance to calibrate your Archer's bow, reassess your target and adjust your aim, as well as to give your assertive passion a chance to catch its breath.

At the other extreme, self-righteous overreaction can also be a risk. If your point of view is filled with judgment, blame, condemnation and resentment, Mars might ditch the arrows and launch cruise missiles instead to get your point across. Even if you feel this is truly justified, you should probably check to see if your own unconscious issues are supercharging the jet fuel. For example, are you expressing your point using sincere persuasion, or just looking to vanquish the reprobates for your fun and entertainment? (Hint: the latter will only perpetuate the problem, not solve it.)

The truth is this Mars-Moon merger doesn't have to be something negative. Even the difficult side of Mars retrograde can be beneficial. For example, the drag of that retrograde motion might slow down an ill-advised action or attitude long enough for you to rethink the wisdom of what you're doing and why you're doing it. The goal might still be a worthy one, but how you're trying to get there might need some adjustment.

Your pent up passion and rage can be harnessed as energy that could turn your mis-guided missile of destruction into enlightened purpose that's straight as an arrow. How will you know the difference? How will you know if you're fighting the good fight or just venting rage?

Well, there isn't an easy answer to that, but the retrograde motion of Mars can help you explore and understand how the target of your ire is tangled up with your own personal issues. Self-knowledge that seeks to comprehend rather than judge will make it easier to filter out your personal projections from your reactions to external frustrations.

This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
~ Martin Luther

Sun conjunct Venus at the Full Moon

On the other side of the galaxy far far away from the Moon and Mars, are the Sun and Venus. These two are conjunct but it's an out-of-sign conjunction (a.k.a. dissociate) and therefore more complicated, mixing energies that are somewhat foreign to each other. The Sun is in Gemini, precisely opposite the Moon (which is what makes the Moon full). Venus, however, is still luxuriating back in Taurus, reluctant to leave the cushy comfort of her own sign.

Merging these two signs creates the potential for not just amassing and counting your blessings (Taurus) but also finding new ways to think and talk about them (Gemini). This conjunction (which follows us through the next few weeks, as you'll see in the transits below) is a good time to take stock of your abilities, skills, resources and possessions, and to rethink how you view them, use them, think about them and how you refer to them. This might manifest as something like rearranging your furniture or changing your strategy for investing. Or you might discover that your material values get tangled up with your worldview, which may or may not be beneficial to how you relate to that world.

This creates a double polarity: Moon versus Sun and Venus versus Mars. We have a Venus-Mars opposition across the Moon-Sun opposition – each side is polarized to the other side. The Moon is a Yin energy that is sensitive and intuitive, with a porous boundary to the unconscious. Venus is also Yin energy that is receptive and creative, seeking balance within polarities.

The Sun is a Yang energy that is active, based on willpower and focused in the conscious self. Mars is another Yang energy that is assertive, forceful and impulsive.

Venus opposite Mars, Sun opposite Moon

Venus in Taurus provides some grounding balance to the fiery Moon-Mars torch. Mars and Moon in Sagittarius create an urge to look beyond the creature comforts of Venus in Taurus and beyond the Sun's playful use of information in Gemini. What lie beyond these are the Sagittarian qualities of meaning, understanding and wisdom.

In other words, it's not enough to settle for personal comfort while the world is "on fire" with strife and crisis, nor is it enough to get quick answers to complex questions. It's not that these are not worthy or that you don't deserve them. They are and you do. It's just that there's a farther horizon where a more meaningful level of understanding and wisdom can be found.

And in order to get there, you will need to study your relationship to assertiveness, willpower, courage and how you define right and wrong. It means looking deeply at how anger can hide insecurity, boredom, fear and despair. It means searching for understanding about why we sometimes react with condemnation to protect ourselves from the unknown. And it involves learning to identify this by observing others and ourselves in emotionally charged situations.

Do nothing because it is righteous or praiseworthy or noble to do so;
do nothing because it seems good to do so;
do only that which you must do and which you cannot do in any other way.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

We haven't said much about Jupiter, the planetary ruler of Sagittarius and the benefactor of our Full Moon. Jupiter just happens to be in an extremely tight trine aspect (120°) to that stationary Mercury. This can give quite a breadth of vision to our mind-changing Mercury. At its best, you may perceive a magnificent vista of possibilities to aim for over the next few weeks or even months, and through the spectacles of a Taurus Mercury it can be easier to see how to get there, step by methodical step.

Stationary Mercury trine Jupiter

On the other hand, Jupiter's tendency for exaggeration could goad Mercury into making mountains out of molehills. The result could be a vision that is grander than you can realistically build with the resources you have available (get better resources or revise your blueprint). You might be tempted to overstate your promises or overestimate your potential.

Both Mercury and Jupiter are in Earth signs (Mercury in Taurus and Jupiter in Virgo) so the best way to get them working constructively together is to do it the Earth way. Plan ahead. Be well prepared. Try not to over-estimate what you can deliver but don't sell yourself short either. When making decisions, take into account not just the material value of what you are assessing but also its moral and spiritual value. It could be a time when finances or resources come your way, but be careful that they don't leak out of the hole in the bottom of your wallet just as quickly.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Mutable T-Square: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune

Jupiter continues in the Mutable T-square that we saw at the New Moon in Taurus and which continues into late June. There's more about this T-square below in this update. For now it's important to just realize that Jupiter's membership in this aspect pattern affects the Full Moon energy, since Jupiter rules Sagittarius.

A T-square configuration signifies stressful and conflicted, yet dynamic and motivating energy. Made up of all squares and oppositions (90° and 180°), this figure is filled with tension that becomes so uncomfortable that it provokes you to get up off the couch and do something to just make it stop! It is therefore a problem-solving energy fuelled by frustration that, when harnessed, can be put to work and as a result be very productive.

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This Mutable T-square pits Jupiter against Neptune, and both of them against Saturn. The two rulers of Pisces against the anything-but-Pisces planet.

What this brings to the Full Moon is Jupiter's struggle to keep the faith of heartfelt beliefs and uplifting aspirations. However, being in Virgo and squaring Saturn, Jupiter has to do this in ways that are nailed to the ground and distributed into nice neat little boxes that have limiting labels and functions. Ugh! Poor Jupiter.

Meanwhile, there's Neptune in Pisces on the other side of the zodiac thumbing her nose and taunting Jupiter with her eternally ethereal energy that can go anywhere, do anything and be whatever she wants to be. Nya nya-nya nya nya! (That's not nice, Neptune!)

Jupiter's contribution to the Full Moon, then, is a struggle to be adaptable and flexible, but also concise, specific and practical. As the Moon and Mars retrograde receive this Jupiter energy, your emotions and moods may become even more wobbly and erratic than they usually are around a Full Moon. You might also be a bit more prone to over-compensating for feelings of disappointment, shame or unworthiness.

Doesn't that sound like fun?? No no, it doesn't have to feel this awful. :-)

The upside is that this can also be a very playful, experimental energy. There are many ways uplifting Jupiter can squeeze itself into those little Virgoan boxes without losing his integrity. Practical service that helps others, done in the spirit of a higher purpose, for example. Combining far-reaching aspirations with a systematic plan can give you the building blocks of leadership that may inspire others to join your quest. Adopting a "spiritual" fitness program could benefit both body and mind (and I mean "spiritual" as in anything that feeds the spirit of who you are, in whatever way that makes sense to you).

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

As mentioned before, this is the first installment of a two-phase process – two consecutive Full Moons in Sagittarius. This Full Moon evolves out of the New Moon in Taurus (May.06), so it's all about developing an approach to the physical world, resources, abundance, values and pleasure that is philosophical, enlightened and uplifting, not simply satisfying to your sensory existence. This cycle is about material and practical values – what is worth your energy, your love, your investment, your loyalty?

The next Sagittarian Full Moon grows out of the upcoming New Moon in Gemini (Jun.04), which is about developing awareness and sentience that leads to actions that are moral, just and consistent with your spiritual values. Before you can act with integrity and be true to yourself, you first need to be aware of who that Self is, how you're expressing your Self and what you believe your higher potential can truly be.

Stay tuned for the continuing story.....

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
~ John Lennon

May.22 – Sun opposite Mars Retrograde (01:47 of Gemini/Sagittarius)

When opposite the Sun, Mars is always retrograde. This also marks the half-way point in the Mars retrograde cycle. In the upcoming 6 weeks you will be involved in the deeper work of Mars retrograde. So: what have you been investing your energy in over the past 6 weeks (the first half of Mars' retrograde cycle)? Maybe you've been busy developing a new project? Or perhaps you've been wrestling with a situation that involves anger, confrontation, assertiveness, aggression or hostility? Or possibly you've been focusing on the need to strengthen and build up your physical energy, health or fitness, or changing your physical appearance?

The next 6 weeks call for a deeper, more steadfast commitment to your goal, ambition, challenge or issue. For example, if you've been consumed with frustration, impatience, anger or passions that seem to have a life of their own, this can be a good time to find some constructive or safe outlets for your emotions. This can make it possible for you to have your feelings, rather than them having you.

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As another example: if you're involved in developing a project or improving your physical energy, be careful not to drive yourself to the point of burnout. Instead, pay attention to the times when you hesitate or shy away from taking action – this may be showing you important clues to what holds you back and how you can break out of being stuck. Or, watch for times when you go into overdrive and push to the breaking point – you will be able to see what is driving you behind your conscious purpose; for example, maybe you're trying to prove yourself for reasons that have nothing to do with the task at hand, or you might be trying to win someone's approval so that you'll feel worthy, acceptable or visible. These clues may wind up being the most valuable and meaningful lesson of this Mars retrograde cycle for you.

Remember to take a break sometimes and allow yourself to appreciate and celebrate your victories, big and small, and to acknowledge what you've accomplished so far. If you're planning a launch or a significant decision, it might be better to wait until Mars goes direct before you assume that you're at the point of clear sailing. Use the final week or so before Mars goes Direct to ensure your t's are crossed and your i's dotted.

May.22 – Mercury Stationary Direct (14:20 of Taurus; next retrograde Aug.30)  ("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):

May.23-31 – Mutable T-square aspect pattern (Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune)

This T-square consists of Saturn in square aspect (90°) to Jupiter and Neptune which are opposite each other (180°). It began haunting our skies in early March. Now it pulls together into a tight orb of just 2 degrees from May.23-31, reaching its closest on May.25 (1:46 orb).

Mutable T-Square: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune

This is a Mutable T-square, meaning the planets are in Mutable signs: Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. Mutable signs emphasize adaptation, changeability, ambiguity and transitional energy. On the down side, this is a time when it can be difficult to nail things down clearly and concisely. You might feel a bit like you're running around "putting out fires," as the saying goes – in constant adjustment and reaction mode, rather than being able to follow through with plans and be proactive about what you want to do. Instead, it can feel more like you're herding cats!

On the up side, this is a time when you can make changes and tweak your plans in a way that resulting problems or complications are likely to be minimal, or at least more fixable than if you did them in full-steam-ahead mode. Think of it like patching up the holes in your wall before you paint it, or adding chocolate chips and nuts to your muffins before baking them. In other words, this is precisely the time to fight the fires and herd the cats, and get things organized and in order. Then what comes next can proceed much more smoothly and effectively.

Jupiter in Virgo says now is the time to tidy up your ideas and figure out what your vision will look like at the end of the project. Saturn in Sagittarius recommends that this is a time to make plans with the big picture in mind, so that you will build the first stage of it with room to grow.

Neptune in Pisces encourages you to look beyond the practical goals and immediate problem-solving, and consider how to imprint what you're doing with a sense of spiritual vision and fulfilment. Why are you doing this? Is there some way you can add a dimension that speaks to the greater good? Can you stretch yourself a little further to be more than you see yourself as in the present and speak to your greater sense of self?

Watch for late May and early June for this energy to come into very clear focus!

May.24 – Venus enters Gemini (until Jun.17)  (May.23 in HAST)

Relationships, finances, resources and values take on an air of curiosity, communication and cleverness. It is a good time to discuss, think about and create strategies to improve these areas or make them more enjoyable. You may be especially curious, flirtatious or easy-going now – so much so that you might drift into superficiality (which might be a welcome rest from more intense or committed social activity). It can be a good time to exchange ideas and information with others, especially in a social context. Schmoozing and networking with others are prime examples of this. This can also be a good time to negotiate contracts and agreements with people, in this atmosphere of information exchange. Just remember that it's one thing to use charm and humor to influence the direction of the discussion, but it may not be wise to indulge in blatant manipulation of others.

May.24 – Venus opposite Mars Retrograde (00:51 of Gemini/Sagittarius)  (May.25 in NDT, UK, AU)

Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, upfront side. The result can be either a battle of wills between Yin and Yang (yours or others'), or a new creative dynamic that brings both into a new balance. This could manifest in the form of relationship issues, financial struggles, or arguments about control. Or, you might feel it is time to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while, especially related to beauty, love, relationships, money, spending and negotiation. If you're usually more comfortable with Yin energy (receptive, diplomatic, beauty oriented), you might feel unusually sensitive to aggressive or forceful energy from others. At worst, you might feel backed into a corner or even bullied by someone who comes across as angry, pushy or (over)enthusiastic. If you're more at home with Yang energy (assertive, action-oriented, direct), you may feel pressured or manipulated to tone down your energy level to make it more socially acceptable. Either way, this is about finding a new cooperative balance that works for both sides, through compromise, negotiation and conflict resolution.

May.26 – Jupiter square Saturn (13:41 of Virgo/Sagittarius)

Jupiter and Saturn have a very long combined cycle—20 years! This aspect shows it is time to evaluate your development since 5 years ago, 10 years ago, and 15 years ago. "What development?" you might ask. Five years is a long time to think back and compare to the present day. At that time you might have experienced the end of certain hopes and dreams, although this cleared the way for new ones, which are now starting to take shape. Alternatively, you might have encountered the manifestation of your hopes and dreams, requiring you to reorient your direction and actions to apply what you've been building up.

Perhaps your spiritual beliefs, practices and faith have been changing, possibly to make them more in sync with your physical circumstances. Or, you might have wanted to find a more spiritual, uplifting and optimistic understanding of the external world of cause and effect. So, what has happened as a result of these changes? Where are you now in the long-term process that has unfolded over the last 5, 10 or 15 years? And where would you like to be five years from now on this journey?

This transit offers a time to commit to a more conscious focus in order to achieve your long-term goal. Is there anything about your goal or plan that needs to be adjusted or changed now? What, if anything, is holding you back from taking the next step? What dreams, inspiration, knowledge, perspective, faith or optimism can carry you beyond this point? What must you do now to get back on track, or to ensure that you stay on track? This is a major turning point in a long-term process, and the turn itself will take almost a year to complete. This is a good time to check in with your goals and reaffirm the inspiration that motivated you to begin your current direction (5, 10 or 15 years ago). Also, clarify your vision of where you want to be in another 5 years.

May.27 – Mars Retrograde enters Scorpio (until Aug.02)

Mars now swaggers through Scorpio – its own sign, by traditional rulerships. Our impulses, willpower and forceful intent are more likely to be intense, passionate and controlled (or controlling) under this transit. Sexual energy may run high, although this may be a hunger for emotional intimacy and deep closeness, as much as it is a drive to satisfy a physical urge. Jealousy, anger and revenge may be more easily triggered, since passionate feelings and instincts are closer to the surface and may be harder to keep under discreet control. This can also be a time of potent creative and transformative energy, since the same emotions and drives that can be so destructive can also provide fuel for powerful self-expression and growth. This energy can also provide a formidable resource when used to fight for a cause – just be sure that the cause (and your methods of fighting) are consistent with your ethics, principles and integrity.

Mars is retrograde in Scorpio, so the intensity of all things Mars could increase dramatically or seem to go dormant for a while. This can apply to anger, sexuality, passion, aggressiveness, assertiveness or putting plans into action. It can fire up a desire to pursue your passion with conviction and zeal, or you might feel rather lethargic or cynical about things you are normally pumped about. Either way, this transit could bring out the shadow of your usual emotional state.

For example, if you're usually enthusiastic about what you're putting your energy into, that exuberant part of you might need to take a break for a bit so you can come back to it fresh and not burn yourself out. Or perhaps you've been feeling some doubts or discouragement and you need to work through that before you can proceed with confidence. Alternatively, if you often find it easier to be cynical, sceptical or blasé about life, you could find yourself feeling quite strongly about things for a while. You might experience this as renewed enthusiasm and desire. However, it could also emerge as irritation, anger, pessimism or even depression, which ironically can be a sign that you are no longer content to be lethargic or accepting about something you secretly have strong feelings about.

At its worst, this transit could possibly release pent up rage that might come out as cruelty or revenge. If you see this in yourself, treat it as an opportunity to explore what is behind those feelings, rather than just dumping these reactions on someone else (even if you think they deserve it). It's one thing to lash out, but something else to assertively voice your feelings or concerns. The former is a reaction based on fear and powerlessness (and more likely to evoke a hostile reaction from the other person). The latter is based on a grounded, empowered response to the situation (and more likely to be effective).

If you encounter negative Mars-Scorpio behaviour from others, it's very important to use good judgment and to take steps to protect yourself if you feel you could be in danger. If you are sure you're not at risk, try listening for the sub-text of what they're saying or the hidden message in their actions. Sometimes anger or hostility is an attempt to simply be heard and understood. Listening can often defuse an emotionally charged, non-threatening situation.

Mars is retrograde in Scorpio (in whole or in part) in 1905, 1920, 1937, 1952, 1967, 1984, 1999, 2016, 2031 and 2046.

May.30 – Mercury Direct trine Pluto (17:03 of Taurus/Capricorn)   (May.31 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)

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.

May.29 to Jun.08 – Grand Cross aspect pattern (Sun/Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune)

There has been a Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn T-square aspect pattern hovering overhead for a few months, and has been at its tightest lately (see May.23, above). This Mutable T-square has been making things especially slippery, malleable and erratic that you probably have fervently wished would be more constant, consistent and forward moving.

Mutable Grand Cross: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Sun, Venus

From May.29 to around Jun.08, this T-square gains extra focus as the Sun and Venus move into the empty corner of the T-square to form a Grand Cross aspect pattern. The whole Cross figure is closest from June 1-4.

That focus could feel like a blessing or a conundrum, or maybe a bit of both. It could bring all that chaotic ambiguity into crystal clear focus and make you nuts! Or, it could allow you to step into the maelstrom and surf through it.

The Sun being one of the occupants of the extra corner means there is added vitality and well-being, which can give more will power, determination and motivation to get past the chaos. Being in Gemini, you also may experience illumination of ideas and awareness, and feel the urge to articulate or express these. Venus is tightly conjunct the Sun during this time, and in fact the Sun and Venus make their exact conjunction while in this Grand Cross (Jun.06). Venus in Gemini adds the ability to express that dynamic Cross energy with words, movements, creativity and poise.

The fact that the Sun-Venus pair is involved in a stressful, dynamic aspect pattern means that all that good stuff – vitality, well-being, grace, style and communication – will first need to climb over obstacles and wrestle with conflict on their way out into the world. It may take some interaction with friends, co-workers, neighbours or other people in your immediate surroundings in order to pull out those words and creative juices.

The take-away from this is that if you find yourself in the middle of continual commotion, your best bet is to stay curious and interested, and move forward through it by reaching out for the next step. This could feel like crossing a fast-moving stream by stepping carefully on one rock after another. There's a very delicate balance that can get you across quickly – you don't rush and you don't become overly cautious. Not all the rocks are stable and some might make you feel like you're about to go head first into the water, but the trick is to get into a rhythm with it and trust your instinctive motion. Stay awake and aware and mindful.

From June 5-7th (6-8th in AU), Venus will be Cazimi (more about this in the next update) which usually strengthens that planetary energy. It's a time when you can embrace your interactions, social connections and resources. Your sense of balance will most likely be found through rhythmic, perpetual motion that adapts quickly and intuitively to the changing situation.

Jun.01 – Mercury Direct trine North Lunar Node (17:59 of Taurus/Virgo)  (Jun.02 in ADT, NDT, UK, AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Today, and up to a couple of days before and after, things can feel like they're starting to make sense. What you read, hear and observe may seem more obvious and your ability to put this into words could flow more easily. You might identify and figure out how to utilize the tools, skills, assets and ideas that could bring you further down the road toward whatever destination you're pointed toward. However, a reality check about how wise it might be to act on these ideas and benefits is still a good idea.

Jun.01 – Sun square Neptune (12:00 of Gemini/Pisces)  (Jun.02 in NDT, UK, AU)

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.

Jun.03 – Venus square Neptune (12:00 of Gemini/Pisces)  (Jun.02 in HAST, AKDT, PDT, MDT, CDT)

Money, material resources, relationships and pleasure could be subject to confusion, deception, or unrealistic wishful thinking under this transit. It may seem that what you thought you had (love, friendship, pleasure, money, resources) has suddenly disappeared or isn't as dependable as you thought it was. You might feel disappointed, disillusioned, sad or alone, but this is more likely to be a passing phase than a serious crisis. The question is: what are your secret longings and subtle desires that may be operating unconsciously? These could be clouding your ability to relate to people and situations in your life. Old addictions, depression or idealism may surface as way of dealing with feelings. A better outlet would be to channel your feelings and experiences into creativity, beauty, inspiration and compassion; for example, art, music or helping others.

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Jun.03 – Sun opposite Saturn (13:07 of Gemini/Sagittarius)  (Jun.02 in HAST, AKDT, PDT)

You may be obligated to fulfil the expectations of others or of society under this transit. A situation or project (which may have begun around 6 months ago) might require that you start to implement the plans and preparation you've been building. Or you might find that problems you've been putting off must now be dealt with. Although you could experience this as stressful or heavy, it can also be a time when you are finally able to move ahead with a project or goal. All commitment requires some degree of limitation and pruning back, since we must choose one path and leave other options behind. This may therefore feel like a time when you are pressured by obligation, necessity or restraint...or it could feel like the rehearsals are finally over and it's time to launch the rocket. If it seems like you're only seeing blocks or obstacles in your way, this might be a reflection of not having done enough preparation (in which case you will need to draw on your experience to solve the problems or deal with the reality in front of you). This can be a time when you reap whatever you have sown in the past (especially the last 6 months), so if your current situation seems negative or punitive, it might be a time when you need to look back over your actions that lead to this and be accountable for past actions and decisions. Whether you are taking the final step to implement your plans or are facing the results of poor past judgment, this can be a time when you are called upon to move forward in your personal growth and maturation. Use it to strengthen your responsibility (response-ability), and don't let fears of inadequacy erode your self-esteem.

Jun.03 – Venus opposite Saturn (13:03 of Gemini/Sagittarius)  (Jun.04 in UK, AU)

There are realities to face and deal with, probably related to the way you handle relationships and/or finances. This is a time when you start to see a return on your investments – literally or figuratively. This could be an investment of energy, cooperation and good faith in a close relationship, or it might be the long-term development of a goal requiring financing or resources. It can be a time when "the bill comes in" and you are required to "put your money where your mouth is" and make a deeper commitment to that investment. Or, you might have to admit that the results are not what you had hoped for and you must decide whether to continue or reinvest your energies elsewhere. In other words, this is a time when something might come to an end or your situation becomes more stressful because you have some hard choices to make. The key is to take a long hard look at the realities before you – is it worth it to continue in the direction you're going? What is required if you decide to take it to the next step? The situation may demand effort, but there's also a more solid footing waiting on the other side.

Jun.04 – Sun square Jupiter (14:14 of Gemini/Virgo)

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).

Jun.04 – Venus square Jupiter (14:17 of Gemini/Virgo)

"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.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in GEMINI - available by June 4, 2016.

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