by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April 2016: Our Will Within


In honor of the Sabian Symbol for 17 Capricorn (and thus Pluto's station this month):
'The Union Jack Flag Flies From a British Warship',
an image of the HMS York in the port of Montreal
(photo credit: Conrad Poirier, 1937 - photo in the collection of the
National Library and Archives of Quebec, Vieux-Montreal)

April 2016
If March was a month all about eclipses (which astrologically, it was indeed), then April could be said to be about two things, the first of which is a pair of stations due to come into noticeable effect as we move towards mid-month, and the second of which is Mercury retrograde rearing its communications-garbling influence just at the end of the month (which is an event sure to tickle a few fancies … or irritate them, depending).

But first things first. 

April 1 
With Sun and Mercury in Aries, asteroid Industria – a symbol of industriousness and everything from need to inspiration which gets us to doing things and generally being industrious – Industria enters Leo, initiating just over a month of days which can be very productive, very contentious, highly instrumental or inspirational with regards to either things we want to get under way or that which is already in progress.

Beyond this, as a main belt asteroid, Industria represents something we ‘meet up with’ or encounter on a periodic basis – theoretically at least every 4.21 years, as that’s the length of Industria’s orbit around the Sun. So theoretically, at least every four (plus) years or so we enter into a month or so when that which we are involved in or focused on becomes an ‘aim,’ – one we feel we need to (or want to) master, deal with or make something of … or which we might want to “conquer,” develop, make use of or measure ourselves against in light of something else we want to accomplish.

The Iron Rolling Mill (Modern Cyclopes) by Adolph Menzel 
(1875, oil on canvas, Alte Nationalgalerie, photo credit - Google Art Project) 
Industria is going to spend the whole of April in Leo (and that’s no April Fool’s joke…!) and a bit of May as well – it moves on into Virgo, a sign of general effort (or the lack of effort) as of May 5th – at least in the UT/+0 zone, meaning it may be the early part of May 6th by the time Industria enters Virgo for those living or working in zones east of Greenwich. 

Looking at the pattern as the month starts out …

… Industria’s shift into Leo is one of several items which seem to be pushing energy and situational motivations towards that which will push our sense of personal initiative, getting us to think about what we want to do as well as the motivations behind whatever is making us want to (or not want to) get something done. There are no concrete ‘right or wrong’s here: each one of us has our individual considerations and areas of strength, vulnerability, consciousness and denial. So will any of these attributes, positive or negative, be or become something we will now ‘work’ on, oh so industriously? That’s one possibility – and with Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Mars and Uranus all in fire signs there is a lot of envisioning going around, some of which is high minded, some of which is destructive, and some of which is entirely reflective whether that ‘reflecting’ refers to thinking things through with a critical eye on where we may be off-track (or just plain wrong) or the echoing (or ‘mirroring’) of something we may or may not understand the full potential of as part of some effort to get along with others or make our way in life.

April 2 
Of course, with Dionysus direct at 1 Leo on April 2nd, its ‘station allowance’ began just before Industria made its shift from Cancer into Leo. And since upon entering Leo Industria would first conjunct Plutino 2003-AZ84 (which is sitting at 0 Leo) and then Dionysus while said asteroid is still on station, we should expect that April will begin with something – maybe the effort we’re making and perhaps the reason(s) outlining why we should do something – we should anticipate some effort … or some factor relating to some effort … becoming central to our focus (that being the AZ84 effect) as Dionysus’ goes on station.

And what does Dionysus being on station suggest we will feel, face or reflect on? Similar to the asteroid named for its Roman counterpart, Bacchus, Dionysus refers to a celebration or the act of celebrating. However with Dionysus, there’s less celebrating with confetti, cake, balloons and dancing and more ‘celebrating of’ ideas, ideals, traditions, beliefs or memories through the remembering and honoring what those traditions stand for in our everyday lives. Given Industria’s entrance into Leo just before Dionysus goes direct, we shouldn’t be surprised by things which prompt or inspire us, particular if that prompting or inspiration gets us to try something new – either on our own or with others.

Bronze head of Dionysus (50 BCE-50 AD, British Museum)
(photo credit: Jononmac46, April 2014)
With the degree 1 Leo being one which is concerned with inability, we may be feeling our own limitations about now – or we may be moving to aid or support someone or something which is itself in trouble. 1 Leo being known equally for moments when standing one’s ground is essential and when standing one’s ground is sheer foolish defensiveness, especially with a Plutino (2003-AZ84) in the mix it may be difficult to know exactly what the right choice or direction to go in is, and given 1 Leo’s reputation for moments when insecurity or lack of understanding flash over into aggression and/or ‘striking out’ at someone or something, we shouldn’t be surprised if we encounter (or hear about) unanticipated moments when our better angels seem to be not only not on watch, but temporarily missing in action. 

April 3 
April 3rd is marked by another asteroid going on station – which shouldn’t be surprising, as there are literally thousands upon thousands of asteroids! This one is named Rachele, a point which whatever else its energetics may promote tends to impart a note of humility, whether that’s something we’re experiencing or encountering. Sometimes this humility is useful in that it represents (or requires) us to let go of the kind of egotistical defensiveness which while natural, gets in our way by preventing us from seeing something important. Then again, sometimes it’s a kind of docile, servile energy we would associate with giving in too soon, ‘going along to get along’ (as the expression goes), a general unwillingness to stand up for one’s Self as well as the willingness to back down before superior – even threatening odds, power, knowledge or capacity.

So asteroid Rachele is going on station as Industria is moving into Leo, meeting up with Plutino AZ84 at 0 Leo as it does so. Does this mean that some ‘work’ or situation has, in AZ84 fashion, gotten our attention? Is that about humility or something which causes us to take a step back, allow someone else to go first – or are we finding our Self humbled in some way? Is this conglomeration of events a sign that we need to work on our humility? A focus on something or someone of ‘humble’ means or presentation?

It could be any one of the above – or anything else which brings on a moment of humility.

What’s the point of that, you ask? Answer: simply to know ourselves and our capacities better. In the end, that’s what the metaphysics of astrology are – a series of events which we can know something about the nature of in advance through transits global (as in here at astroPPM) and personal, which is in your individual hands.

Being that Rachele is going retrograde at 16 Sagittarius – that being the degree Saturn went retrograde at just a couple of weeks ago – this moment can also be a ‘continuation of,’ some commentary on, or even a response or a reaction to whatever occurred during late March, around the time when Saturn went retrograde on the 25th... which would be why this particular asteroid station would be so interesting at the moment. Plus there's how 16 Sagittarius is a degree associated with pleasure and (shades of Saturn!) maintaining a path, a course of action or some effort which aims to achieve some goal, for those who were turned aside from pursuing something as Saturn went retrograde, Rachele going on station may even offer some sort of information or reflection on why something which felt like a limitation in that moment now seems like a fortunate turn of events. 

April 4 
Whatever is afoot, with asteroid Germania following the parade into retrograde at 12 Sagittarius on April 4th, we shouldn’t be surprised to feel – or see others acting with a great deal of intention, strength or determination, which with the ‘two-day-prior/two-days-after’ allowance we give to astrological stations means feelings, emotions and the strength with which messages are ‘delivered’ will have started flexing as Dionysus went on station.

Does this mean early April is going to be a time when we are driven by convictions?

Possibly so. Looking at the whole of April, especially with the month starting out (as it always does) with Sun in Aries, there is a personal and individualizing ‘theme’ to the energetics of these days. So while we may be involved in some group effort, as April is getting under way – and pretty much throughout the first half of the month – what we can do or what we are responsible for – all that is being emphasized.

We are the ones emphasizing it (to be sure - who else is living our life, after all!).. whether that is, or becomes an expression of increasing ego, or not. Seeing as Venus is moving into-and-through the last degree of the zodiac on this date in preparation for recycling its planetary self into Aries come April 5th, that means Venus is in an exactitude of conjunction with fixed star Scheat - which means it could be.

That, or the 'results from' some ego-driven act, position or whatnot, which would go right along with Scheat, which if you remember its attributes, then like as not you'll be remembering Scheat's reputation for manifesting as a specific or ‘backdrop’ or circumstance which, despite best intentions, inflicts a negative influence we then see if we can cope with.  Old texts refer to Scheat as having a distinctly Saturn-like quality. So it affects some (Pisces/water sign) feeling about something we are, or have worked on. Scheat often evidences through some sort of denial or rejection, generally on the part of others simply because it's not the 'right time,' whether or not what is being offered is entirely viable, correct or otherwise true.

And that too is sometimes why we come to feel negative. Either we feel rejected, or we are feeling not all that happy with how others are conducting their emotional life or dealing with their feelings.

(Remember, with Pisces we get to feel both positive and negative about the same thing!)

Plus with Scheat sitting in the last and final degree of Pisces (and therefore the zodiac), that also implies a culmination and various kinds of dynamics or situations where the thing we know is true is likely to be denied while the thing we can’t yet prove (at least to our Self) -- and which doesn’t feel, sound or feel right -- comes to be the thing which is valid (at least in this moment) after all.

So with Venus in this mix, as Venus always represents the reward or the getting of or 'making real' that thing we have been after, in combination with Germania going retrograde in a degree (12 Sagittarius) which capitalizes (even doubles) Germania’s already very determined qualities, things could go very, very right.

Then again, some efforts may get stuck or shut down for reasons we can’t yet begin to fathom.

And yet, all may still be well. Sometimes we’re just not going to know everything – which is another lesson most of us need to learn, be reminded of and intrinsically master. 

April 5 
But then the hours shift, a day passes and at 16:52 (4:52 p.m.) UT/+0 time, Venus enters Aries.

Venus in Aries (glyph chart)
April 5, 2016 - 16:52 (4:52 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

Venus in Aries (text chart)
April 5, 2016 - 16:52 (4:52 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
And not to be outdone, a few hours later (at 23:10 or 11:10 p.m. UT/+0 to be precise), Mercury enters Taurus, changing the immediate tone and emotional coloration of everyone’s outlook.

Mercury in Taurus (glyph chart)
April 5, 2016 - 23:10 (11:10 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

Mercury in Taurus (text chart)
April 5, 2016 - 23:10 (11:10 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Far from the norm of astrological teachings which speak of transit aspects of outer planets and celestial objects (i.e., anything beyond Saturn) as being timers for that which moves, shakes, transforms or innovates either our particular life or life itself lies the somewhat contradictory idea (and truth) of how it’s the shifting from sign to sign of the personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) which we tend to ‘feel‘ most least to begin with. Outer object transits mark events and changes of our status quo, many of which result in changes – even major changes – which occur in each of our lives.

Meanwhile, inner ‘personal’ planets speak to changes in the day-to-day pace and life's more immediate (even daily) situations. Or the pace of our week, our approach to a situation, or even if we’re in the ‘mood’ to give that project we know is just waiting for us a good and solid go. So this ‘unity’ of Venus and Mercury changing signs is something we’re bound to utilize, whether or not we stop to ‘feel’ it. When Mercury transits Taurus, many parts and factors having to do with what we want or how much we want it (even how much we believe or don’t believe in it) come into play. Being this is mentalist Mercury we’re talking about, some time will be spent examining our own ‘side’ of things, and part of the time will be spent on doing our best to understand the situation of others – or the ‘lay of the land’ when it comes either to advancing our own cause or defending some personal choice or position.

And will everything (and everyone) we see, hear or contend with be, turn out, or come running to our side, causing everything to be all fine and rosy?

Probably not. And when we get to the ‘why not?’ of that, the first thing to point to would be Venus having just arrived in Aries, as Venus in Aries is a sign of a period when we either need to rely (or work) on something personal or important to us with life seemingly bent on not making it easy to do that. Or we get into situations where we need to rely on our Self whether for approval, applause, resources, estimations and other forms of responses, reactions and support – generally in a moment when it’s inconvenient to do so.

Ah yes, another lesson to learn.

With asteroids Echo and Byblis sitting at 0 Aries as Venus leaves universalist Pisces for individualist Aries, there is certainly some sort of question as to whether what we have already done is now rippling back to reward or haunt us, or whether this shift of sign represents a shift of tact, tactic or aim.

Maybe we have to rethink our approach, as what we’re doing isn’t getting us where we want to go. Or maybe – in truly unfortunate Echo style – we are now paying some price for having simply acted like echoes, repeating what was said without thinking it through, without dealing with whether something was true or not … or whether our choices represent something real we truly believe in, or something we’re just playing around with in a ‘going with the flow’ sort of manner, not thinking it’s important or telling … when it is.

As for Mercury, its entrance to Taurus has it meeting up with Mirach, a fixed star said to have a mixed character typical of Venus plus Jupiter – which would be lovely if Venus had not just entered Aries.

The story behind Mirach is that of Andromeda, the maiden princess sacrificed by her parents in order to atone for their own braggadocio. Chained to a rock and abandoned so that her parents (who happen to be the local king and queen of a country, by the by) can continue ruling things without having to change their attitudes or tendency towards thinking about everything in life as a reflection of their regal and royal personal vanities.

So there Andromeda is, chained to a rock. And as she’s waiting for the sea monster whose latest aim in life evidently includes showing up to devour her, along comes Perseus, flying by courtesy of Mercury’s winged sandals (which Perseus has on immortal loan) on his way home from slaying Medusa.

And let’s just put it this way: if you’ve just faced your (Medusa) fears of some truth or the truth of who you really are and have been being … if you’ve just screwed up the courage to do away with all those writhing snakes of conscience which tend to turn us one and all into stone, what’s one little sea piddling monster?

Andromeda being rescued by Perseus (engraving, 1731)
So Perseus slays the monster, gets the princess, and flies on home with a really unusual set of souvenirs to show his mom. And though he will have to first rescue said mom the creepy louse of a king who is trying to corner her into a marriage mom isn’t all that keen on, once again, that’s no big thing if you’ve just killed Medusa.

In fact, having brought Medusa’s snake-clad head home in a sack as proof the gorgon is dead, that’s really all it takes. Perseus shows the gorgon’s head to the thoroughly creepy king and that’s all it takes to turn said king into stone, eliminating him, saving mom and allowing Perseus to marry his princess and live happily ever after.

(Relatively speaking of course.)

With both of these ingresses occurring with Jupiter in Virgo (a sign Mercury rules) and in opposition to Neptune which is itself in conjunction with Kassandra, there’s a very good chance that someone – or some force – is very set or determined as to how things are supposed to be done even if they aren’t going to work if done that way.

Is that part of what lies behind Venus in Aries – the fact that we’re learning (or going to be facing) that something we had thought was going to work isn’t going to? Are we having to rely on our Self and our personal conviction/insistence in spite of something we are being confronted by (or opposed by) which we just don’t believe – or believe in?

Probably the biggest key to any of these situations lies in the obvious – the fact that Mercury is transiting Taurus, a sign + planet combination which is fully capable of drawing our attention to our own vulnerabilities NOT so that we can get all defensive about them, but rather so that we can think about where they come from. Taurus represents a time in life – and therefore a set of qualities and feelings – which are more instinctive than thought through. If you think of the zodiac as a progression (which it is) and then about the sign of Taurus coming before Gemini, the sign of mentality, thought, planning, choice, priorities, schedules and objectively fact-based, analytical thinking, then it’s easy (or at least easier…) to understand why Taurus – polarity sign to conflict-ridden Scorpio -  represents those ‘unspoken’ and sometimes impossible-to-voice (or put into words) feelings about security and vulnerability and our desires for whatever it is which we believe would fill in the gaps, make everything comfy and cozy and by and large ‘good.’

At least in terms of how we as an individual define good. (And therein lies the rub!)

With Taurus ruled by Venus, the whole of Mercury’s transit of Taurus is going to be ‘colored’ by wherever Venus is. So during the 3 ½ weeks of Venus in Aries (Venus moves into Taurus on April 30th) we’re bound to be running into situations and moments which aren’t perfect, which could use improving, which aren’t as we thought they would be or which don’t tickle our fancy.

As for how long that Mercury transit of Taurus is going to be, that’s another question. Yes, I hear you groaning because I’m pretty sure you know what comes next – and you’re right: Mercury will be going retrograde in Taurus as of April 28th. And with the whole of this next Mercury retrograde taking place in Taurus, between the run-up to retrograde, the whole of retrograde and Mercury’s return romp through Taurus, that means this year we are getting treated to a total of 9 ½ weeks of Mercury in Taurus.

That’s right – over two months … within which falls an April-May Mercury retrograde period.

So, what could that possibly mean - metaphysically? Maybe we need the time to work something out or deal with something important to us. Maybe as we come into this time we are beginning, or are already in the middle of doing something or sorting through what is or isn’t valuable … or even reasonable to expect of our Self - or others.

All that aside, whether we’re thinking in terms of the signs being moved out of or signs being moved into, this is a continuation of a semi-sextile (by sign) relationship between the symbol of thought and thinking and that which indicates ‘rewards,’ responses and what we think of how things work out – and that means things aren’t quite comfortable. Signs which are next to each other share neither modality (the way or pace at which things get done) or ‘elementary’ basis for motivation, which means every little thing we get into for the whole of April will continue being just a little less easy or predictable than we might have expected.

Or maybe that’s ‘than we might have wanted to expect.’

In this case we have Mercury moving out of Aries – a sign in which Mercury tends to manifest as all sorts of situations, contemplations, conversations, and decisions which tend to be direct, directed, or far too ‘in our face’ for total comfort. (Even sometimes for our own good.) In moving into Taurus, Mercury represents the mental search for security and personal satisfaction as each one of us – as an individual – defines satisfaction. Taurus being a fixed sign by nature, this means we are all likely to have (and voice) our opinion now through various means, at least some of which is going to stem from that instinctual understanding of that we feel but often cannot express place Taurus embodies from A to Z.

And those Venusian ‘rewards’ and ‘responses’? To the degree that we expect something and don’t work to make it happen, it like as not won’t happen as Venus in Aries is (among other things) a time when by hook or crook the universe manages to make us do the growing we need to do not because it’s what some ‘good’ person does … but because we need to know what such situations can teach us. When the dealing of the cards is delivered through the unfurling of space-time energetics, there is no ‘opinion’ being delivered – metaphysical ‘lessons’ are about equipping us with to gain, not about teaching us we’ve been “bad.”

With all of this, having this Venus and Mercury shift occur a couple of days prior to the April New Moon suggests a ‘letting go’ or a ‘wrapping up’ of certain things prior to starting something new or tackling something from a new perspective, whether we know that’s what we’re doing or not… whether we’re even paying attention Given the ‘traveling semi-sextile by transit’ being demonstrated by Venus and Mercury, not everything is exactly graceful at the moment, nor is all likely to be entirely or exactly to our liking. We have to let go of something, be it an ideas, an effort, some stance, belief or feeling simply because we have to. ‘It’ isn’t working, so what else are we going to do?
April 7 
Theoretically (or at least astrologically), that idea of ‘newness’ gets renewed in its own right (not to mention new form) as a New Moon at 18 Aries takes shape at 11:25 in the morning of April 7th, UT/+0 time.

New Moon at 18 Aries (glyph chart)
April 7, 2016 - 11:25 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific) 
New Moon at 18 Aries (text chart)
April 7, 2016 - 11:25 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific) 
Appearing in a degree between 10 and 19, this New Moon is first and last defined as a moment of emotions or emotional conviction. And what is that conviction about? Aries: the first person dynamic all about the physicality, awareness, consciousness or a person, whatever motivates them to act, and the actions they take. So we’re invested in our Self here, or we’re starting to be or become more conscious of what we’re involved, invested in, or being affected, motivated, inspired or alienated by. And since 18 Aries is specifically associated with the ideas of tranquility, peace and the idea of personal harmony either as that which secures and comforts us within our Self, or our ability, willingness or access to that we need in order to exist, work or just live in harmony with others, this New Moon can be expected to raise questions and opportunities which give us something of an intimate ‘check point’ on where we stand with such questions.

As for aspects and modifiers, the first (and most obvious) astrological quality of this particular New Moon is how it’s occurring in conjunction with Uranus and Eris, which together image the idea of a moment of insight of the kind which occurs without warning. Whether this takes the form of a scientific breakthrough in society or a personal breakthrough great or small and whether it comes to us through an accident of either the happy or regrettable kind (or anything else which rattles, shakes up or even shatters some ongoing status quo) this is a conglomeration which speaks to different perspectives, ideas, statements, voices and the possibility of changes which allow for or which support improvements, modernization and the removing of barriers which separate us from ‘the whole,’ the ‘mainstream’ or some form of understanding, support or resource which itself is getting in our way.

And of course the basics still apply: where Uranus is concerned, flexibility is advised. And where Eris is concerned, we are always reminded about how the choice which benefits everyone (as opposed to that which pleasures ourselves and our preferences), while only sometimes the immediate necessity is always the long-term better course and choice. 

With Uranus still in its long-standing square to Pluto (aka Pluto-conjunct-Vega) this is part of a greater and fairly ‘ugly’ job which whether by our efforts or as a matter of life itself exposes the corruptive and/or corrupted underbellies of many things, many people, many goals, attitudes, societal structures and feelings, causing us to revolt against our own allegiance to things we frankly find unworkable … if not out-and-out disgusting. Kalypso’s presence at 15 Capricorn (exactly conjunct Vega) suggests a lack of follow-through, though whether this is on our part, the part of others or just as part of a situational dynamic will vary.

Add to this the notion of Niobe (pride going before the fall) at 16 Capricorn, and it would seem likely that something about what we are proud of, the ‘worth’ of being proud or prideful or the mere act of pride on our part or someone else’s is also undergoing some change. With Scheherazade at 17 Capricorn and exactly conjunct Pluto, ‘changing stories’ or a change in regard for some tale, some story, some ‘storied’ person or ‘historical tale’ seems affected here, and with all of this being in square to asteroids Bali (paradise, happiness), Circe (sensory enchantment) and Waterloo (that which backs us down or which we retreat from) there would seem to be things going on in all of our lives which are causing us to either avoid something (some truth, fact or evidence) with a degree of dedication – or to do just the opposite by seeing that truth, that idea, that opportunity to get straight with or within our Self even though such a clarity may cause us to break with some commitment, tradition, relationship or idea(l).

Beyond all that, this 18 Aries New Moon is also in position to be trined by a Saturn which is still sitting at the degree (16 Sagittarius) it was at when Saturn took station and went retrograde just a few days ago – back on March 25th. With Saturn-Moon contacts tending to refer to things which matter and are important (at least emotionally) with regards to our plans, choices and efforts, this fire sign trine speaks to some idea or ‘image’ of someone (even our Self) or something which, given how Saturn is sitting at the apex of a mutable t-square, is either in flux, in need of (re)consideration or re-calibration seeing as it is not ‘playing out’ or functioning as predicted or as we had anticipated it would.

April 12 
Just a day after the New Moon, Plutino 2003 AZ84 (which I’ve nicknamed The Magnifier) goes direct at 0 Leo – with Industria also still at 0 Leo and Dionysus alongside at 1 Leo lending something of an ‘I (Dionysus) need to (Industria) work on this…’ air in whatever way or to whatever purpose. With AZ84 stationing at 0 Leo, we can expect all sorts of focus on, and a magnifying of many Leo positives (strength, independence, self-determination) … and Leo’s varied negatives (arrogance, insecurity, defensive-aggressiveness) – all of which may or may not have validity.

As with Pluto, Ixion, Huya and other Plutinos, the challenge of ZA84 is one of ‘the thing we like’ (or want to be true) against the thing we don’t want to believe – all of which comes from the astronomical fact that the orbits of Plutinos are governed by a force known as ‘magnetic resonance’ which in this case is being generated by Neptune.

And Neptune is all about the idealism and illusion we bring to the party and assign to the idea, never mind the validity of same. Wherever we find Neptune or its effects, we know we are dealing with an energy which if invested in our hopes seldom pays off as Neptune is all about the denial of ego and everything which happens when we don’t hold our ego (and its desires) in check…

… which generally ends up with our having tried to fool our Self.

… which generally ends up with our being disappointed (even embarrassed) about how foolish we can be, and how innocently we can fall into habits and attitudes which have no basis in fact.

Will AZ 84’s station manifest as some sort of feeling bad and getting down on our Self for being gullible or willing to be led along some path where we chose to only see the roses but not the thorns? It could. Then again, AZ 84’s stationing at 0 Leo could indicate an emerging from some (retrograde) period where we were focused on our ‘inner’ world (or inner Self) with all that effort now having gotten us to where we are ready to focus on what (more) we can do in the world and with our days, our abilities and life.

We may also want to see this station as something of a ‘starter’s gun’ or bell going off, marking the week prior to two stations (those of Mars and Pluto), each of which holds powerful potentials in its own right – and which together would tend to bring out the utter and incandescent best or most explosively rancid worst in everything and everyone involved. The week prior to any station being always where the effects of that particular station and the planet’s particular position begin to pool, eddy and build, maybe having Plutino AZ84 take station here is going just about getting us zeroed in on whatever our Pluto and Mars issues are at the moment? If so, its station is likely to bring out something which sets feelings of – and about - survival, power, control and connection into emotional motion. 

April 14 
Speaking of retrogrades, April 14th is the day when Mercury dances into the shadow of its upcoming April 28th retrograde …


… which is an astrological notification less about intensity or feeling pressured (as the week leading up in particular to Mercury’s station tends to be) than about bracketing off whatever it is we are going to be thinking about or needing to complete or continue working through during Mercury retrograde.

Think of it as the sign of incomplete things yet to come, and you’ll be about there. And as on April 14th Mercury is rolling over 14 Taurus (that being the degree it will go direct at come May 22nd) that gives us a nicely well-rounded-sounding finger point at something (the 14 Taurus part) which we are going to ‘come back to’ – at least metaphysically – by the time Mercury’s retrograde is done.

And let’s remember – Mercury is going to be having company. Outer planets come and go in and out of retrograde and though their stations seem quite poignant and important, we don’t seem to sweat out the day-by-day issues of outer planets in retrograde (which is to say, anything from Jupiter on out, ad infinitum). 

But personal planets? That’s different. We know how screwy things can get when Mercury goes retrograde – which it’s going to be between April 28th (UT/+0) and May 22nd (ditto). And to the joys of Mercury retrograde, this time around we get to add that a generous helping of Mars retrograde detours, hold ups, dead ends, frustrations and goodness knows what else. (Try to remember it’s not permanent!)

So back to those brackets… once Mercury (or any planet) passes into the so-called ‘shadow’ of an upcoming retrograde (the ‘shadowed’ degrees being those the planet passes through going forward, again in retrograde motion and for a third time after it goes direct), things which are in progress, process or ‘on the table’ (mentally or otherwise) are going to be those which get ‘worked’ over or be the focus of effort, reflection, conversation, concern (etc.) during the retrograde.

That makes the degree that shadow starts in (which is the degree the planet will ultimately go direct in) worth noting. So what is 14 Taurus about? It’s said to be about polarities and a wide-spread search for truth. Given this is a second decanate degree of a sign about everything which we think of as resource, security, comfort and self worth, there is a desire for ‘the thing which works’ in spite of all – and all may be a lot, as 14 Taurus is said to be associated with ‘storms’ whether meteorological, relationship, societal or other.

In spite of its reputation for being associated with ‘stormy’ situations, lore suggests this is not a harmful degree. In other words, the bull may indeed walk through your china shop and break a few things, but it was only trying to get from the front door to the back in order to access the lawn there and get something to eat.

Necessity, in other words, may triumph in the end, and our searches may be intellectual, emotional or physical, taken on alone or committed to in the company of others. It is said much can be achieved by those able to utilize this degree productively – if sometimes in spite of everything.

So good luck to us all there – not that we don’t seem to have assurances that our searches will pay off in some regard. 

April 16 
That assurance comes from the Lyrids – one of the two meteor showers which Earth’s orbit around the Sun takes it through during the month of April. Annually seen between during mid-late April (this year’s experience of the Lyrids runs from April 16 through April 25th), like all meteor showers the metaphysics of the Lyrids speaks to ‘sparks of inspiration’ which, when or where we are ‘in the dark’ (as we would be if we were to go outside at night to see such ‘shooting stars’) come to us when least expected.

As implied by their name, the Lyrids are associated with constellation Lyra as Lyra is where Comet Thatcher (the comet whose tail we see in the sky as those ‘sparks’) ‘radiates’ or comes from, tying right into other April astro-events through Lyra’s being the location of fixed star Vega – the same charismatic star which in being currently conjuncted by Pluto represents trials around the world with regards to what works and doesn’t work and how standards are changing whether we want them to change or not. Traditional appeals and that which we have found traditionally appealing – or which appeals to us through comparisons of ‘now’ against ‘then’ – all this is in flux and is likely to remain in flux through a ‘primary’ period which ends  December 1, 2016 as Pluto leaves 15 Capricorn, the degree in which Vega is currently positioned.

An orbital diagram of Comet Thatcher at April 16, 2016 (the
start of this year's Lyrids meteor shower).
(image courtesy of NASA-JPL) 
Even after that, change – particularly as that affects what we are drawn to (or fascinated by) – is going to continue until Pluto moves beyond the orb of Vega’s metaphysical presence, and that part of the Pluto-Vega experience will last through mid-late November 2020. As discussed with regards to 2003 AZ84, it’s the Neptunian ‘is this real?’ quotient which trips us up whenever a Plutino (like Pluto, like Ixion, like 2003 AZ84, etc.) is in play. The Neptune effects which says we will long for what is (and which generally can only be) an ideal colors everything about Plutino operations. And given that, so long as Pluto remains in orb with Vega (i.e., through November 2020) we are given to know that we’re all going to struggle with telling the difference between the real or workable and that which is merely a false promise or faked potential. That struggle is about us – about the difference between what we WANT to be real and what is real … what we WANT to be an ‘enduring standard’ in a world which will not support that standard. 

Maybe it did once, but no more. Maybe the standards we long for will always be pipe dreams. The issue here – as with all Pluto transits – is not the ‘thing’ at hand but rather our longing to replace reality (and how things work in reality) because that would make us feel better and more secure(d).

That … the insecurity … is the real problem. Yet as is also true whenever we see Plutinos in action, this long-term Pluto conjunction of Vega is barking up a tree we humans don’t seem to want to climb. Why not?

Because if we climbed that true we would gain perspective not on others, but on our Self – and there are some things humans don’t want to have to see about themselves, as that would destroy our ego … (speaking of Neptune). 

April 17 
Then again, maybe having the Lyrids begin just a day prior to the onset of the two-day-prior/two-days-after ‘allowance’ we give to stations is a good thing. After all, with Mars going retrograde at 8 Sagittarius (at 12:15 p.m., UT/+0 time) on April 17th, and Pluto going retrograde on the 18th, perhaps the Lyrids are a sign we are finally getting to the heart of what is actually going on ... at least in our own mind, or from some personal perspective.

A view of Valles Marineris, a feature on Mars which is 3,000 km long and up to 8 km deep.
Photo taken by the Viking 1 Orbiter at 2,500 km in altitude.
(photo credit NASA - USGS, February 1980)
On its own, Mars taking station and going retrograde speaks to motivation and the will to ‘do’ (exert effort, etc.) turning inward. When Mars is in direct motion, our will is being metaphysically directed towards doing things in the world. We see the sense and feel it is right to take actions with regards to things external and our social or societal world. We participate -- or at least we react to that which is available to be participated in, or with. Life itself is our motivation -- which is a clue as to why the weeks of Mars being in retrograde feel odd. When Mars is retrograde, we have to be our own motivation. And if that sounds as unappealing as having to appreciate our own efforts with no support or applaud us (the typical Venus retrograde bugaboo) you have it just about right - though how we react to one versus the other tends to be oh so different! Under Venus retrograde, most of us experience a lack of feeling satisfied, contented, comfortable or appreciated - while under Mars retrograde we typically experience sluggishness or various forms of a lack of interest. We feel limited - even restricted, and sometimes misunderstood, put-upon or defensive.

There is one exception here - and that belongs to those who were born (in this case) under Mars retrograde? Those of us who have some natal planet (or planets) in retrograde don’t tend to feel that planet's retrograde effects as someone who was born with that planet in direct motion. So in this case, someone born with Mars in retrograde will see and feel Mars retrograde-type things going on. But lucky them, they aren't as likely to be letting such things get under their skin the way someone born with Mars direct is likely to. 

But before the whole of the retrograde comes the Mars station. And when it comes to that, it’s important to bear in mind how, though there is a great deal of potential being astrologically indicated by these Mars and Pluto stations being just a day apart, how this cuddling up of stations is NOT the same thing (and isn’t describing) the sort of ‘impactful’ and sometimes explosive energy we see when transiting Mars and Pluto come into a challenging aspect with each other - say, a transiting opposition or transiting square.

And no, Mars and Pluto are not in aspect here! Mars is going retrograde at 8 Sagittarius and Pluto is going retrograde at 17 Capricorn.

Numerically, that’s not even close. 

However, by sign - they are close. Maybe even too close for comfort, as combining any pair of adjacent zodiac signs indicates differing sets of considerations, values, style, methodology and perspectives, creating the kind of need to 'reconcile' a few things which tends to interrupt us (if nothing else) because of something we probably don’t want to be bothered about at the moment.

Despite this, the idea that Mars and Pluto are both taking station within the same little soup bowl of time can be an extraordinarily good thing, especially if getting something creative under way is part of anyone’s personal plans. Moreover, considering how together Mars and Pluto are the joint rulers of Scorpio, even if in adjacent signs and not in aspect there is a potential for a little excitement or jockeying for position (either in real-time or behind the scenes).

Providing we don't allow ourselves to get overly caught up in the emotional side of things, a lot can still get done. But with this pair of planets, it is important to know why we are choosing as we choose. What to do and how to handle  various options, challenges, obligations, responsibilities and opportunities is up for grabs here, with the greatest gains coming where we are NOT being driven emotionally.  

Mars Station-Retrograde (glyph chart)
April 17, 2016 - 12:15 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
 Mars Station-Retrograde (glyph chart)
April 17, 2016 - 12:15 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

As a signature of ‘tone,’ the Moon is going to be in Virgo throughout this two days of stationing. So whatever is at hand, solution(s) and plans which work all the way around (or with appeal to the broadest audience) is best - and we should expect (and guard against) biased information and choices which are less 'choice' than they are dictates or choices being chosen simply because they please us, never mind anyone else.

Beyond that, this Virgo Moon is also pulling off an interesting little trick as it will be in position to square Mars as Mars is on station and then - just a day later - be situated to trine Pluto - giving us a picture of challenge, transformation and ongoing change, some of which is less than genteel. The Moon-Mars square suggests not only a few heated moments (frustration or anger, either will do) and difficulties with timing, getting things done and sticking to the facts, the subject or the point of some undertaking.

In fact, this Moon-Mars square is not just a square, but a t-square which has the Moon at its originating point (i.e., feelings as motivation), Mars at its apex (ego as the challenge) and Neptune (plus Kassandra) as its goal, speaking to some 'unbelievable' ideal or 'triumph of faith over disbelief' which seems at stake

With Mars at the apex of this t-square, we are also being given the indication of ‘sticking points’ or 'prickly subjects' which need to be gotten past ... and which at some level we aren't sure we believe we can get past, even though the need and desire to do so is truly there. For some, this t-square will also manifest as something important which needs to be grappled with if they are to go on from there to being able to do something truly ‘unbelievable.’

With Mars and Neptune involved by square, a lot of energy is simply going to get used, dissipated or wasted during this period, particularly where emotionality takes priority.

And no matter who we are - and whether we are not being believed or in the position of not believing, our tendency is going to be to hold onto cherished (Neptune) dreams rather than face whatever facts we don’t want to believe.

Why not?

Answer: because whatever is likely to be shown up now (or which we fear may show up now) is something which -- whether it's good or rancid -- it's just something we find difficult to think about, or think about our Self having to deal with openly, honestly and to the fullest degree.

As to this diagram ... remember, the maximum orb for a square is five degrees. So not all of the points above aspect each other. Orcus at 6 Virgo, for instance, is not technically conjunct Jupiter, but it is (itself) still square Mars at 8 Sagittarius and in opposition to Neptune at 11 Pisces.

They're all involved somehow.

So let's start at the 'originating' Virgo end of things. Of the three points noted, Jupiter is conjunct the Moon and the Moon is conjunct Orcus, but Jupiter is not conjunct Orcus. So we have two different 'nodules' of energy. Having the Moon conjunct Jupiter in Virgo suggests an expansion of, an overemphasis on, or an enlarging upon the causes of deep convictions and deeply held feelings, including those which represent real need if not limited to just that which is born of, or indicative of need. This is a very motivated energy which seeks to get a lot of things done, and isn't likely to be all that hesitant about doing whatever seems necessary to get things done.

To this Moon-Orcus adds issues of some ‘cause’ or motivation which comes from something already done, or already learned or committed to. Having Orcus here specifies some need to reflect and learn from the past (or past results), but does not guarantee that such reflection is going to be (or has been) dealt with responsibly.
At the apex of the t-square, Mars-Antares is something  obsessive (or possibly fascinating) which, with Germania present, speaks to something ‘hard hitting,’ whether that's a philosophy, action, attitude, idea or notification. Adding in Achilles either adds a note of testing moments and challenges which require a demonstration of skill, or speaks to how hard it may be – for whatever reason – to acquire skills or challenge some idea which may … particularly in light of (Jupiter) increasing necessities and/or (Orcus) past deeds, choices and/or methodologies employed … to stop the talking and start the ‘doing’ phase of something. 

April 18 
Give or take the idea that overnight the Moon will have moved from early to mid-Virgo (and into position to trine Pluto), everything else about Mars’ t-square (and the general Mars station chart) remains active as come 7:24 in the morning (UT/+0 time) on April 18th Pluto stations and turns to retrograde motion at 17 Capricorn.

Appearing in the element of earth, Pluto’s grand trine in some way refers to ongoing ‘transformations’ to things which are real and tangible – or to how we consider things which pertain to our real and tangible life or ability to proceed through life.

Looking at the grand trine itself with an eye to five (5) degrees being the extent of orb either by trine or conjunction, this one also displays what we might call ‘a bit of a quirk’ in the Virgo-to-Capricorn department in that while the Moon, Hebe and North Node are too far away from Jupiter to be in conjunction with Jupiter, both the Jupiter and Moon-Hebe-North Node are in position to trine both Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury in Taurus.

What might this suggest? On one hand it suggests how there may be two or even ‘twin’ aspects to elements which are part of some (Virgo) ‘methodology’ by which things are happening or the ‘goal’ of some project or process which are not entirely in sync. Even as this is going on however, the ‘separation’ between Jupiter and Moon-Hebe-North Node also says that while something is close to being (Jupiter) overblown or in a state or situation where it could be ‘allowed’ (or even provoked) into getting off course or out of hand through some kind of overly ‘narrow’ assessment or situational judgment, it’s probably not going ‘over the edge.' 

Not that there may not be (or isn’t) any cost to what is in progress at the moment. Mercury-Vesta is the continuing contemplation of what something is worth and is not worth, with every chance of there being enough good coming out of something to not throw in the towel (hence the ‘continuing’ quality of the grand trine). Inherent in this process is an understanding of what something will ‘cost,’ and as Venus – the ruler of Taurus – happens to be in square to Pluto at the moment of this station, one of those ‘costs’ is going to involve some form or measure of passion.

Does that mean we’re losing passion for something? It might be. Then again, especially as Venus is mid-Aries and in conjunction with Uranus at 20 Aries, this may simply be a moment of unpredictability or fluctuation as that pertains to how we feel about that which is going on or long-standing matters about which we’re traditionally ‘passionate.’

With the North Node and Hebe conjunct the Moon, what we (North Node) ‘should’ be doing to (Hebe) ‘nourish’ or support with Hebe’s position at 20 Virgo speaking to qualities of courage, the Moon’s position at 19 Virgo underscoring the kind of mental abilities which support the sort of analytical ‘calculations’ which end up in critiques or criticisms and with the North Node at 21 Virgo speaking to a need to deal with inner insecurities and whatever emotional (or emotionally driven) limits which threaten to, or tend to create situations where the pinching of pennies leads to the undermining of, or an ‘impoverished’ life.

As for Pluto, having Pluto in an exact conjunction with Kalypso could indicate one of two rather different dynamics which really amount to whether something is being ‘created’ or ‘eliminated,’ which at some level is as simple as thinking through where we are ‘at’ as we come into this time as Pluto tends to simply change that which is – which means you have to know what you have (or don’t have) in order to know how Pluto is going to change or ‘transform’ things. 

As for Kalypso, the Kalypso part of this mix has to do with our regard for and experience of love. Is love about being loved? Or is love about something we feel about someone else or something we love outside of our Self which we care enough about to put their good or its survival and ability to flourish above anything we might want for ourselves?

With Kalypso, number two version is the only way to go – which means this time and moment is at some level about changing how we see things with regards to something we have loved … something we ‘should’ love … or something we are coming to, or being inspired to love (or at least treat lovingly) whether we have had any positive regard for them prior to this time. The ‘lens’ of the degree through which all this is being focused (17 Capricorn) supports analysis as well as an artistic ability which is particularly pronounced in the areas of mimicry, ‘acting’ and/or imitation, which with Scheherazade (the ‘story teller’) at 18 Capricorn creates positives when the ‘stories’ being told are inspirational and negatives when and where ‘shading the truth’ or out-and-out lying is the intent or method being currently employed.

To all of this, Niobe adds the question and quality of pride, one which in 19 Capricorn may be the negative of ‘too much pride’ or the kind of pride in personal conviction which helps us in the taking of some position or personal stand. 

As almost all of these grand trine points are positioned in the second ten degrees (the second decanate) of Capricorn, we may be assured this is not a ho-hum time. For good, for ill, for delight or despair, the (Capricorn) structures of our life and how to structure our life now and going forward is up for grabs. Effects of this station (and pair of stations) will also be stronger if we have a planet, dwarf planet, axis point, lunar node or other sensitive point in aspect to either Mars’ or Pluto’s station in our natal chart.

Those whose charts are aspected by both stations (like yours truly) are the most likely to experience changes in direction, priorities and effectiveness now and in the immediate days ahead, with the plus and minus of all having much to do with how we perceive things have been going coming into this time. But even if neither planet has any direct connection to your natal individual chart, you are still likely to see and feel the manifestations of these stations in life, and the world all around you. So it's not that you're not affected, it’s just that the effect for you is somewhat more subdued. You will react to some things and not to others as things do or don't come into 'compelling reality' or become sufficiently clarified as to inspire you to action. 

With the Sun due to enter Taurus just a day after Pluto’s station, the day of its station is occurring with the Sun at 29 Aries – the last degree of Aries and that which is most about our ‘pushing’ to make a mark of some kind, whether in this world, in our own life or towards some goal we have already set for ourselves. Known for getting to the heart of ideas and situations with a forward-looking, Taurus-like eye to values, stability and stabilization, Aries’ final degree supports either our drive to accomplish or the liberating of energies we do not otherwise have any constructive plan, 29 Aries also has a reputation for sudden or unexpected changes – a quality which, in echoing Pluto’s known capacity to represent transformations large and small, underscores the many ‘turnabouts’ likely to happen during these days of Pluto’s station, whether mental, physical, financial, philosophical, emotional or otherwise. 

April 19 
Another day passes and the Sun does enter Taurus - at 15:31 (3:31 p.m.) in the afternoon of April 19th, UT/+0 time. And given Pluto and Mars having just gone retrograde, this shift from Mars’ primary sign of rulership (Aries) into the earthy world of the sign (Taurus) which opposes Mars’ alternate sign of rulership and that Pluto is the ‘outcome ruler’ of (Scorpio) we may all be in for some days filled with intensity generated by any number of things. While the Sun was in Aries, the Aries-Mars connection would have indicated more ‘blowing off steam,’ ‘getting the kinks out’ and situational venting of pent up energies, where Sun in Taurus tends to direct its energy more concisely, often holding back so as to find the time when maximal effect seems most likely.

Sun in Taurus (glyph chart)
April 19, 2016 - 15:31 (3:31 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Sun in Taurus (text chart)
April 19, 2016 - 15:31 (3:31 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Beyond that, as the Sun enters Taurus is also conjuncts fixed star Mirach, which as said back when we were discussing Mercury’s shift into Taurus, is a generally constructive influence associated with the kind of willingness which allows us to approach things which might be difficult on a positive note even while Mirach also ‘echoes’ that thread of instinctual vulnerability (real or imagined) which while being part of the Andromeda story is equally experienced throughout Taurus.

At the moment the Sun enters Taurus, it is doing so without influences we would associate with any standard Ptolemaic aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine or opposition) connecting the Sun other full-fledged planets. This indicates a period of time (here, the Sun’s month-long transit of Taurus) which is going to carry with it something of the flavor of ‘flying solo’ or ‘doing it myself,’ whether voluntary or otherwise – all of which mirrors the typical experience of Mars retrograde, a time when we famously (if not infamously) tend to feel ‘cut-off,’ isolated, boxed in or incapable of grappling with anything more than what we already have on our personal plate.

On the other hand, there are other aspects outside the Ptolemaic list. Among them are the 30-degree semi-sextile and 150-degree inconjunct (or quincunx), both of which are being activated by the Sun entering Taurus. With the Moon at 2 Libra at the Sun’s Taurus ingress, we are being given notice that there is work we need to do on our ability to relate to others and how we go about doing that relating, some of which (at least) likely has to do with something which for good or not-so-thrilling we now recognize (courtesy of the Mars and Pluto stations) hasn’t gone quite the way we expected it would.

Do we need to change anything? Do we have the ability to change anything? Should we wait to see what happens? Do we know what others are thinking, planning or doing about anything – and why their choices are what they are?

The Sun is also entering Taurus in a semi-sextile to Ceres at 1 Aries - with asteroid Chaldea right alongside at 2 Aries, a combination which with Ceres in opposition to Black Hole M87 in Libra brings up questions about options and alternatives – do we have any? Are they worth taking? Something (Chaldea) old or ‘traditionally established’ (or) ‘established through cultural tradition’ is, or has reared its head, forcing us to consider aspects of situations which either get in our way or which feel like critiques or criticisms, whether they are or aren’t.

With Mars having just gone retrograde, our very uncertainty is as difficult as anything else to cope with – and seeing as we’re unlikely to be the only person going through such a moment, priorities (especially those which negate or don’t pertain to us directly) may put things into something of a tangle. 

The ‘up’ side here being portrayed by a sextile Pallas at 28 Aquarius (and conjunct asteroid Apollo), this solar month - and by extension, this whole Mars retrograde period – is about if we have, or how we are to gain an (Apollo) true (Pallas) perspective on where our issues with others really come from. We want to think our problems are about ‘them’ – and yet they aren’t, as our problems have to do with our feelings, and where our feelings come from is never about anyone other than our Self. Wherever things seem at a standstill or unable to advance, wherever we are either feeling rejected, excluded - or possibly insulted or otherwise ‘put upon’ because others don’t agree or are standing in opposition, those are issues we are likely to be dealing with throughout Mars retrograde. Getting or gaining some measure of (Pallas) perspective on situations and ‘the truth of things’ is unlikely to reveal any quick solutions, but for those willing to utilize this time as one during which reflection and self examination can give insight on where, how and (most importantly) why we don’t succeed – particularly in areas or arenas where we’re sure we’ve done our homework - the clues which are there as the Sun reaches Taurus will, like as not, provide us with something valuable to chew on during the weeks (and even months) which lie ahead.

And with Mars in retrograde, having something to bite or chew through sometimes isn’t the worst idea!

One more item of interest here: the start-up of another yearly Earth encounter with a trail of comet particles we know as a meteor shower. Starting on April 19th and ending on the 19th or 20th of May, this one is known as the Eta Aquarids in honor of the radiant point (the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to ‘radiate’) lies in Aquarius. Like all meteor showers, the Eta Aquarids represent a time when if we will but go outside (take our Self outside our fortress of protections) and in looking up admit on a metaphysical level that we are not the ‘summit’ or do-all, be-all, end-all of Existence, if we will just do that, now and again ‘bright sparks of inspiration’ (the ‘shooting star’ or meteor) will appear, coming to us as if ‘out of an unfathomable darkness’ (the dark of space), forever changing us – even if that’s just a little bit - by its momentary presence and through our seeing its transient, unforeseen light.

Does adding this ‘Aquarian’ note to things perhaps underscore or otherwise support the Pallas notion of ‘the wisdom gained through perspective’ we’ve already seen? Perhaps yes, though with Mars in retrograde, insights – whether they pertain to something we’re inspired to do or be, or as such inspirations may apply to problems-in-progress – such projects and possible solutions are unlikely to be of the ‘just add water’ instantaneous type, but rather something we have to work towards and eventually through.

It’s just a Mars retrograde thing. 

April 22 
For Earth Day 2016, we are getting a Full Moon. (And happy Earth Day to you – may everything which may get ‘soiled’ today eventually bear yummy fruit!)

In taking place at 5:25 a.m. (UT/+0 time) at 2 Scorpio, this Full Moon speaks to a ‘highlighting’ and raising of issues which in true Scorpio style mean a lot to us … and which we also find somewhat testing or trying – at least as that applies to our own ability to deal sensibly, calmly and insightfully (speaking of Pallas and the Eta Aquarids) with whatever issues are currently center stage in our lives.

Full Moon at 2 Scorpio (glyph chart)
April 22, 2016 - 5:25 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Full Moon at 2 Scorpio (text chart)
April 22, 2016 - 5:25 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
As a degree, 2 Scorpio - in being one of Scorpio’s first ten degrees - automatically refers to something we are doing, being, working through or deciding how to handle. As a degree known for the ability to harness one’s abilities and (in particular) control, 2 Scorpio has a reputation for allowing any of us to reshape our own thinking and/or personality (which here is defined as what others get to see of our personality) … and this may thus speak of this Full Moon as a time when, given everything else going on, we get some sort of insight into where (and how) we are holding our Self back either through what we reveal to others, or through what we are too afraid to show.

Also being known for memory (and memories), 2 Scorpio also has the ability to bring out or elicit great delight or hostilities, much of which has its ‘roots’ not in the present, but in times long gone. This is an interesting Scorpio degree in that it appears to attract grudges as easily as display them, with this ‘reciprocal’ quality being highly Scorpio-and-metaphysical in that it will often attract negative poking (from others and from circumstances) which ‘point’ to areas of character or regard where we should be thinking but aren’t, as denial and various versions of ‘that’s not me, that’s them’ are far easier or more pleasant to operate with.

With Ceres still in a semi-sextile to the Sun (at 2 Aries) and thus inconjunct to this Moon in its monthly moment of transient Fullness, something isn’t going quite right. It may be out of balance, or it may be suffering from a lack of, or glitch in the area of planning, maintenance or upkeep. Such problems don’t have to be serious or deadly to any person or effort, but they could be, particularly where they are manifestations of things we have been warned about (Nemesis at 1 Scorpio) or where they (Sisyphus at 5 Scorpio) represent someone or something we know violates some personal ‘boundary’ or accepted standard but about which we don’t have to care … and so we often don’t.

Reflective of the challenge we all meet up with when it comes to anything Scorpio, the Sabian
Symbol for 2 Scorpio "A House-Raising Party in a Small Village Enlists the Neighbors' Cooperation"
(photo credit: A barn raising; Leckie's barn completed in frame - John Boyd, June 2, 1908)

With the Sun in this figure at 2 Taurus, some form of isolation also figures in here. And with Atropos (endings) at 5 Taurus and thus not just conjunct the Sun but also in exact opposition to Sisyphus, the connection between that isolation and things which happen now speak to something which needs to end … or which has been ended prematurely, and which in having gone (Ceres) untended is promoting or leading to difficulties, interruptions or things just now going as smoothly as they should. 

Does Mercury retrograde figure into this? Well, it might. Considering how Mercury will be going retrograde on April 28th and how the week prior to Mercury’s retrograde station tends to be one where our schedule breaks out in hives or we can’t figure out how to get everything done (often because someone else is too busy doing something else to complete what we need from them!), this Full Moon may well mark when things begin getting bogged down or otherwise off-track.

As always, the astrological teaching with regards to Mercury retrograde staring you in the face is ‘don’t push.’ If something come to fruition or completion with a normal or natural amount of effort, that’s fine – and if it represent the end or conclusion of some longer process, that’s very much in keeping with Mercury retrograde. However, if what you are doing is one step in a longer process, even if Step One gets solved or taken now, it’s more than likely that additional steps will become subject to those delays so often associated with Mercury’s retrograde.
With Mars already in retrograde, it’s more than likely that this week (plus) leading into Mercury’s station is going to be frustrating, irritating, or simply a giant headache. Things will get said (and done) out of turn and even where things are going fine, nothing is likely to seem quite as easy as it ‘should be.’

That alone should tell us a lot, as the idea of how easy things ‘should be’ is not about the thing but about expectations causing us to feel like something is amiss or currently on – or even over the line. 

April 28 
As April 28th comes upon us, two things happen. One is the anticipated Mercury station which has Mercury going into retrograde at 23 Taurus at 17:21 or 5:21 p.m., UT/+0 time … and the other is about asteroid Lachesis, which is also stationing and going retrograde at 3 Capricorn.

The second of the Greek Fates, Lachesis refers to ‘the duration’ or how long something is going to last (or) whatever period of time we are metaphysically ‘given’ in which to do something – whether that’s a specific timed task, or the ‘time’ or duration of someone’s life. As I say that, many familiar with astrology will probably laugh, as in the astrological sense there’s nothing more likely to mark a time when we’re mentally aware of having to wait or last through something than Mercury retrograde.

And since Mars is retrograde, we’ll just make that ‘a time when we’re mentally aware and somewhat irritated with having to wait or last through something.’

Possible frustration levels aside, Lachesis going retrograde in tandem with Mercury may thus simply be a celestial indicator pertaining to ‘waiting about to be endured’ – and for those inclined to be annoyed with that, my suggestion is that we should ALL be thankful Lachesis didn’t go retrograde in tandem with Mars.


That’s simple: Mercury retrograde last (on the average) 21 days. Mars retrograde lasts several months. So I don’t know about you, but if someone was telling me I had to weather a particularly trying time, I’d vote for 21 days of tough time over ten-and-a-half weeks of hard challenges!

That piece of personal fluffery aside, Mercury going retrograde at 23 Taurus is Mercury taking station in trine to the Lunar Nodes, indicating an ongoing need to attend to relationships and that we are committed to (or responsible for) as that pertains to others. Being that this on-station Mercury is also conjunct Vesta and Sedna, we are also all (that’s the big ‘All’ as in everyone on the planet!) have something at stake at the moment, and how whatever our personal concerns (which may be earth-shattering, but certainly don’t have to be) involve several ‘threads,’ some of which we never expected to get challenged about.

For one thing, we have in some way (or at some point) gone ‘over the line’ or beyond some ‘boundary’ somewhere. That may be a boundary of good sense or good taste … or we may have just blown our monthly budget. Since Mercury is involved, we may have spoken out of turn – or maybe we felt we had to do something, take some risk or take some stance at some point in the past, and now that’s coming back around to ‘haunt’ us. Questions about why have we been doing the things we have been doing in the manner we have been doing them may certainly arise now as under any circumstance Sedna-Mercury may well refer to something we want to (Mercury) think ‘should’ work one way either doesn’t work that way at all – or no longer works that way, even if it did work as we supposed way back when. With hard headed, overly self-confident Phaethon at 25 Taurus and thus in perfect conjunction with Sedna, some kind of ‘hard-headedness’ and immaturity has … or is contributing to this situation, and with the ruler of Taurus (Venus) currently at 29 Aries, in a billion different ways a billion different people (i.e., everyone) is going to face having to get past (or ‘let go of’) how they want to think of things in the face of evidence that current methods and assumptions simply don’t work.

Not that any of this is likely to be a welcome addition to our days. With Capulus and Algol also involved in Mercury’s station (by conjunction) there is all sorts of energy urging us to ‘cut off’ that which doesn’t work or is inhibiting progress and much Algol energy making things better or much, much worse. Mercury is not only trining the North Node (and sextile the South Node) but also in trine to Pluto-Kalypso, making the whole of this figure into a Kite.

And since astrological Kites are ‘steered’ by the object at their ‘tail,’ that means we should be doing what we can to (North Node) support efforts and deal with things responsibly. With this North Node conjunct Hebe, the ‘bringing of’ or furnishing ‘that which sustains us’ (vital necessities) seems key to the whole of this figure – though what ‘vital’ means to each person is bound to change, depending on situation. 

Said to be a figure which through guidance creates situations which can ‘lift us higher’ and advance our cause, Kites challenge us to make good use of what we already have or already have underway, ‘aiming’ for what in this case is represented by Neptune – planet of idealism and illusion.

And that poses a whole other question: is what we want possible? Are we looking to create some ideal which, though it works in our mind would be unworkable in reality? 

April 30 
Not to be outdone by having the other two personal planets (Mars and Mercury) which do go retrograde in retrograde, Venus enters its personal sign of rulership - Taurus - at 37 minutes after midnight UT/+0 time on April 30th, encountering fixed star Mirach (which we’ve already talked about) as it does so.

With Venus’ theme being ‘rewards’ and what it takes to make situations turn out as we might like them to (our ‘reward’ for making whatever efforts in the situation may benefit us), its conjunction with Mirach speaks of some ‘paying of the price’ to create that which will attract needed support, as well as the tendency to find out (or learn more about) whatever success in a given situation means at a level which confronts us with questions as to whether we are willing to have enough faith in ‘the process’ or some eventual goal/reward to do all which would be necessary to achieve the desired aim.

Venus in Taurus (glyph chart)
April 30, 2016 - 00:37 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
Venus in Taurus (text chart)
April 30, 2016 - 00:37 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
This seemingly having been a month for individualistic doings, Venus is reaching Taurus without being in Ptolemaic aspect to any of the standard planets. Traditionally a sign that the planet (in this case Venus) is ‘free’ to act as it will, this can indicate a series of weeks (just over three weeks here) when some of us who have been feeling very ‘pent up’ or ‘held back’ will for whatever reason be allowed to –- or be inclined to allow ourselves to – express or demonstrate ourselves, our feelings and our needs with great directness and to a degree we usually don’t (or aren’t capable of).

Venus in Taurus being all about things most basic and personal, it would be very typical to hear a lot about preference and – for those willing to stop and think about it – a lot about motivations, some of which aren’t ‘on display’ at other times. With this Venus ingress in exact sextile to Pallas at 0 Pisces, insights into where people are coming from (emotionally) are useful, and with asteroid Moskva alongside Pallas (at 1 Pisces) such insights may well have been long in coming, the object of patient research or exploration and besides all that, the sort of thing which will give you an ‘edge’ when it comes to understanding what some of our unspoken wishes, hopes and insecurities really are. 

Given how these conditions will exist interactively as well as personally (as all global transits do), whatever we learn now about our Self or someone else can benefit us – and with Circe (enchantments), Bali (pleasure, paradise), and Amor (friendship, loyal but platonic relationships) clustered at 0 and 1 Taurus as Venus moves in it wouldn’t be at all unusual for whatever happens now to concern a friend, friendship or a willingness to act in a ‘friendly’ manner in order to achieve some personal end.

Venus is going to be in Taurus for just over three weeks – until May 24th, when it moves on into Gemini just as Mercury (ruler of Gemini) is turning back to direct motion and coming out of retrograde. That idea suggests a good deal of value which gets done privately, through solitary efforts or in a ‘behind the scenes’ manner during these next few weeks. It also suggests that changes, revisions and some ‘editing’ of plans, ideas, writings may occur during this time in response to that which is being learned in order to make some effort down the line (perhaps as Mercury comes out of retrograde or even beyond that) more effective and successful.

Considering how Mercury and Mars are both in retrograde for the moment however, it would also be understandable if, as Venus enters Taurus, arguments break out over things of value … or with regards to what the value of something truly is. Debates about money (or debts) would not be unlikely under this trio of influences and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if public announcements and/or pronouncements get made, get disputed and get critiqued for their lack of value and/or ‘appropriateness.’

There are certainly some among us for whom the Venus clock striking Taurus is going to mean good times and putting responsibilities aside. Yet even there, some need to pull back, move cautiously or at least to not behave in an ‘extravagant’ manner is likely to arise or become apparent as Juno (which is already in retrograde) comes into orb to oppose Venus from that oh-so-sensitive zone known as Scorpio.

But that’s May. 

So in the April meantime, here’s to this month's opportunities to zero in and focus on things along with April's capacity to bring changes which challenge and opportunities to captalize on efforts long in the works. Will there be a few questions? Of course! We're bound to ask ourselves once or twice whether this or that is what we really want to be doing ... and more than a few of us will try on life's 'extra credit' question which asks why our goals strike us as so appealing. 

It's certainly not a moment for all the answers to be in the hopper or chiseled in stone - not with April's end being all draped in Mars and Mercury retrograde.

But if every moment has its purpose, and every period has its ability to open our eyes to greater potential, this one would seem to be all about that thing which makes us tick, deep down inside. Are we driven by our strengths or our vulnerabilities - our resolution or our insecurities?

We all want to think it's the 'good stuff' of course - but can that be true (you know, entirely, completely and really-in-our-heart-of-hearts totally true) in a life and greater world which is as it is, seeing how metaphysics is based on the contiguous and continuous nature of all Existence?



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